CSS Corp wins gold at the 10th Annual Best in Biz Awards

CSS Corp, a new-age IT services and technology support company today announced that it has been named as a gold winner in the ‘Most Resilient Company of the Year 2020′ category in the 10th Annual Best in Biz Awards.

Right at the onset of the pandemic, CSS Corp’s proprietary and award-winning resilience framework enabled the seamless roll-out of a 100 per cent productive Work-From-Home (WFH) model across its 18 global delivery locations. Being among the early movers in the industry to follow a WFH model from March, the company embraced the new normal with resilience, agility, and determination, thus rendering utmost support and efficient service with zero-disruption to its clients.

The three-phased resilience framework of prepare, stabilize, and thrive created a cohesive and structured blueprint for the organization which enforced guidelines, ensured employees with adequate support and resources, as well as assured clients with timely support, communication, and engagement. CSS Corp was among the few companies in the industry to roll out annual compensation hikes, as scheduled in April 2020.

The company also implemented their five-pronged strategy called the CHEER framework, which stands for- Communication with Employees, Highlighting Accomplishments, Energizing teams, Engagement with Employees, Recognition of achievements for employee well-being. It spreads positivity and recognizes employees for their consistent efforts during these unprecedented times.

“When the world was facing an unforeseen pandemic, we made sure to create a consistent and vibrant culture across the organization that encourages and comforts our employees and provides seamless and constant communication. We are proud to be recipients of this award as it reflects how CSS Corp ensured zero impact to its clients and employees through tremendous resilience. A lot of credit is due to our 8,000 plus employees across the globe who showed immense passion and unstinting commitment during this phase to keep our flag flying high,” said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp, commenting on the recognition.

“Corporate resiliency has never been more important than in 2020 and the winning entries in the 10th annual Best in Biz Awards have impressive accomplishments in this area,” said Mark Huffman, Consumer Affairs, having judged six of the last 10 Best in Biz Awards competitions.

2020 marked the 10th annual Best in Biz Awards and – with a continuing global pandemic – was also a year like no other in the program’s 10-year history. Despite the global challenges, the 10th annual program saw a particularly strong field of entries from public and private companies of all sizes and spanning all geographic regions and the judges were impressed with the year’s winners’ agility and adaptability that allowed their businesses to thrive, their willingness to always go the extra mile to help their customers in these unusual times.

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Demystifying the future of digital commerce

Digital commerce involves a combination of positioning and selling, and hence different from e-commerce.

The changing landscape of digital consumption is driving new services and experiences delivered in seconds, leading to digital commerce’s growth. The potential of digital commerce has been realised and enterprises and organisations will recognize that staying away from digital commerce is fatal for fortunes.

What does Digital Commerce entail, and how is it different from e-commerce?

Digital commerce involves a combination of positioning and selling, and hence different from e-commerce. It attempts to bring both parts together, resulting in a much more fulfilling and transparent experience for consumers, while tying everything between people, processes, technologies to deliver consistent and reliable user journeys.

With the pandemic accelerating the need to go digital, businesses that never had a website are digital today. This shift from a traditional experience to an online front means service providers need to rethink their strategies accordingly and scale up fast. This inflection point is where service providers can bank on digital commerce and drive success in the future.

Digital commerce helps businesses and enterprises integrate all their functions onto a digital platform, provides accessibility and interoperability through APIs, and enables customers to purchase goods themselves through interactive touchpoints and self-service experiences. The takeaway from such engagements is two-fold: one, high customer satisfaction as the buying experience is streamlined — two, a digital-first ecosystem that is agile and nimble enough to make transformational changes.

Digital commerce is the new normal

McKinsey reports that US e-commerce penetration made a 10-year growth leap in 90 days. This shows how the retailer game is changing – and changing fast. The 2020 pandemic put our best efforts at business continuity and disaster management to the test. Since then, the demand to go digital has only skyrocketed. Today, businesses have aligned to a digital-first model across every sector. With several countries still under clampdown and with a possible resurgence of yet another wave, digital is the only logical option to connect, collaborate, and move forward in these pressing times.

Due to the pandemic’s pervasive effect, almost all businesses and organizations have reduced spending and are on a cost conservancy model, spending only “mission-critical” requirements.

It is predicted that most organisations’ recovery may extend to two or three years to reach pre-2019 spending levels and requires a mindset change. This makes the case more potent for the B2B segment to invest in digital commerce platforms and drive business benefits.

What are the trends driving digital commerce?

Digital interactions, unlike the traditional ones, create consistent, reliable, and promising experiences that are rich in interactivity, information, and transparency. These attributes have exponentially spawned next-generation e-commerce activities that signalled the move from physical store experiences to more engaging, personalised, and contextual ones. Few key trends that will continue to fuel this growth into the future include:

1. Social commerce

Social media users are projected to reach 3.1 billion by 2021. More social media providers are expected to enable shopping directly on their platforms like Facebook Marketplace.

2. Mobile apps

Today, up to 70% of traffic happens over mobile phones. Thanks to integrated payment systems and biosecurity features, shopping in mobile apps have become seamless both in physical and virtual spaces driving its adoption and acceptance.

3. Omnichannel selling will become the norm

Customers like to see and interact with content across multiple channels. Service providers are already integrating their business platforms with applications like Amazon Personalize and Pinpoint that help them drive CX and communicate with customers across multiple channels.

4. Personalisation will go beyond purchases and forge bonds

97% of leaders agree that customer experience management is an essential business strategy for creating loyal and long-lasting customer relationships. Customers engage more often with the same brand when they personalise messaging.

5. Subscription commerce

The ability to provide repeat business by subscribing to service has swelled in popularity, making it a promising business model within industries. The global subscription e-commerce market is expected to attain a $ 478.2 billion market size by 2025, growing exponentially at an exponential CAGR of 68.0% during 2019-2025.

6. PWAs (Progressive Web Apps)

A nifty way to deliver bite-sized content helps enterprises connect with their customers through device and technology agnostic means. PWAs rank high on the experience quotient and blurs the lines between web and mobile applications by providing seamless accessibility services across both worlds.

7. Immersive experiences (VR/AR/XR)

Immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality have transformed the way users shop and interact with products. XR or Extended Reality is a new concept where the experience is made up of virtual and physical interactions. Unlike in-store VR experiences, these interactions and their outcomes can be dynamically updated. The retail sector has the maximum potential for XR, topping out at 80%.

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Customer Experience Emerging As Key Driver For Automotive Brands

Customer experience will continue to dictate business and operational models in the automotive and smart mobility space in the years to come.

Arguably, the disruption in the automotive industry over the last decade stacks up against all other industries. With the emergence of new media, technology innovations, emerging business models, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a tectonic shift in journeys of automotive customers globally, especially in the developed markets.

Like the rest of the world, the Indian market is also undergoing a dramatic transformation. Indian consumers are investing a significant amount of their time in researching about vehicles during the purchase journey. Deloitte’s Global Automotive Consumer study highlights that the manufacturers and dealer’s websites are among the most credible sources of information for Indian customers and often play a crucial role in influencing their final decision and that they’re embracing the idea of connected vehicles at more than 1.5x the rate than consumers in the US.

This study also points to the growing importance of getting CX right and delighting customers with dynamic content, interactive tools, meaningful insights, and customer support across all digital touchpoints to enable them to make better-informed purchase decisions.

Unfortunately, many automotive brands are failing to keep pace with new Customer Experience (CX) realities due to factors like the size of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), complex sales models of dealers (who continue to be the lynchpins of automotive distribution chains), and so on.

Interestingly, Google research has revealed that as many as 900 touchpoints can influence automotive buying decisions. Overall, this increasingly complex landscape of possible touchpoints has led to customer journeys becoming serpentine and leaving customers more informed than ever.

Traditionally, many auto OEMs have viewed customer experience as the primary post-sale responsibility of their dealership partners. But times have changed.

Some forward-looking OEMs have now begun to realize that CX is a differentiator and must be treated as a pre-sale activity and a focal point of innovation. Investing in building organizational processes and marshalling their resources to improve service experience have yielded repeat customers and improved customer loyalty for many of these OEMs.

Digital Experiences: A “New Normal” for Automotive Brands

Let’s face it: despite all the technological disruptions in the automotive space and cars becoming swankier and feature-rich, purchase and service environments and customer experiences haven’t changed much – even though customer expectations significantly have. Inspired by their digital experiences in other sectors, customers now seek new, modern experiences while interacting with automotive brands.

Today’s Gen Y or millennials find the automotive customer experiences somewhat outdated and inferior. With their declining interest in car ownership and preferences shifting toward new mobility concepts such as ridesharing, subscription models, or even rental services, the underlying model shifts from product to service to customer experience. But the current disconnect in what customers expect and finally get to experience is becoming more conspicuous than ever.

According to the Experience Per Mile 2030 report by 2030, “96% of new vehicles (will be) shipped globally with built-in connectivity (2X increase since 2020), 79% of new vehicles (will be) shipped globally with Level-2 autonomy or higher (vs 45% in 2020), 26% of mobility profits (will be) derived from new sources.

With these four megatrends disrupting the automotive sector – autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, sharing economy (ACES), legacy OEMs and dealers are now forced to rethink their business strategy to –

  • address the expectations of this first generation of integrated-mobility customers.
  • deliver more contemporary, superior customer experiences.
  • maintain their competitive advantage.

Even before the stage of purchase decisions, automotive brands are battling for customers’ attention based on the quality of experiences besides the quality of their products.

The transition to digital customer experiences in the automotive sector just hit fast-forward due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Incremental improvements didn’t suffice. Automotive brands were forced to jump years in a matter of few months to offer simple, intuitive digital customer experiences.

Digital-first Go-to-Market (GTM) Strategy

Nearly 70% of the customers expressed their willingness to replace visits to the automotive dealer, store, or bank with AI-enabled assistants.

Honda Cars leveraged this trend and launched their virtual showroom, enabling customers to browse through the digital version of a car and interact by clicking on different parts.

Interestingly, Avataar.me, a technology company, partnered with MG Motor India last year and used its own AI platform to offer life-size AR compliant renders on Facebook and Instagram platforms for the automaker’s new product line-up. Similarly, the company partnered with Volkswagen to offer immersive experiences to customers with life-size 3D versions of its SUVW range.

It’s a no-brainer that the “new normal” in the automotive sector is marked by:

  • A transition toward live streaming, digital product launches, virtual brand centers, etc.
  • Surge in digital experience solutions, e.g., test drives, AR product explainers, online consultations, etc.
  • Shift toward the on-demand purchase and usage models
  • Predictive maintenance services and replacement of vehicles
  • Next-best offers from OEMs and dealers focusing on emotional connect

However, automotive brands must address the complete spectrum of customer experience and not individual touchpoints across the customer journey while embracing a digital-first, GTM approach.

The German premium automotive brand Mercedes-Benz has planned to drive 25% of its new car sales transactions online by 2025 and developed a “single log-in” digital strategy that offers lifestyle, mobility and shopping solutions to owners and non-owners alike. Also, its customer touchpoints have widened to include temporary pop-up stores, lifestyle-focused Mercedes Me stores, events, and conferences.

However, shifting customers to digital channels even before the automotive brand is ready or only has subpar digital capabilities for targeted touchpoints can trigger the “boomerang effect”, forcing customers to repeatedly contact the brand for troubleshooting or issue resolution. This can severely hurt impact the CX and the brand’s revenue growth.

Nimble technology services organizations are well abreast of these trends and paradigm shifts in the automotive space. Using the right technology framework, they’re crafting streamlined and humanized digital journeys for customers, bringing together three pillars of customer service – end-customer experience, operational efficiency, and support agent productivity; powered by intelligent insights.

Customer experience will continue to dictate business and operational models in the automotive and smart mobility space in the years to come.


BPOs continue to hire Filipinos

CSS Corp., a global customer experience and technology consulting services provider based in Fort Bonifacio, announced plans to add 1,000 employees by 2022 to generate equal opportunities for prospective talent in the provinces.

The company also aims to foster a culture of learning and growth via a partnership with select universities in training students with technical and soft skills. CSS sees the need to enable students and talents to successfully navigate the job market and provide professional development opportunities for employees looking to step up in their career ladder.

“We want to give equal opportunities to fresh and promising talent and nurture our employees to take on management and leadership roles as part of our commitment to their career development, to empower them to deliver world-class customer service that CSS Corp has been known for,” said CSS Philippines country head Arvind Appavu who was recently promoted to senior vice president.

Appavu leads CSS Corp.’s 2,100-strong personnel in the country—a total headcount that doubled in the past fiscal year. Driven by its “people-first” approach to employee and customer engagement, the company ensured that no one loses their job amid the pandemic.

Based in Manila, Appavu has over 20 years of industry experience, setting up successful programs and operations worldwide. With his new role, Appavu is expected to lead the company’s global customer service delivery through process effectiveness, institutionalizing global quality standards to facilitate unified customer experiences across engagements. He is also expected to facilitate the expansion of CSS Corp.’s footprint outside of Metro Manila. Appavu’s promotion took effect on July 1, 2021.

Despite the challenges brought about by this period of uncertainty, Appavu expressed confidence in his colleagues and the potential that the Philippine market has to offer.

“The Philippines has truly been a growth engine for CSS Corp. not just in the region, but also globally. I am optimistic that through our efforts, we will come out stronger than ever, as we tread the path to what the future holds for us, for the company, and the customers we serve,” he said.

CSS Corp. is among the first IT-BPO employers to fully implement the work-from-home arrangement at the onset of quarantine restrictions in 2020. With the reopening of the economy and resumption of on-site operations late last year, CSS implemented health and safety measures that prioritize employee well-being, including its pick and drop services, work “bubbles” in the office premises, and provision of nutritious and balanced meals for employees on-site.

“When the pandemic struck, we made a conscious decision to put our employees’ well-being and safety on priority instead of churning profit. We believe that if we keep our employees healthy and happy, excellent customer experience follows. We are also in the process of running a vaccination drive for our employees,” Appavu said.

Meanwhile, US-based BPO company Afni opened a new recruitment hub in the Philippines on Aug. 2 in its bid to continue building a culture and creating opportunities that attract and retain the best and brightest.

The recruitment hub started accommodating applicants on Aug. 3. It will also remain open during the enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 6 to 20 for applicants who cannot process their applications online. Strict health and safety protocols are in place, and applicants are asked to follow such measures.


Budget 2021: IT experts seek clarity on SEZ tax benefits, call for increased digital momentum, & more

Unquestionably 2020 has been an unprecedented year and industry leaders hope that the upcoming budget will address the challenges faced by businesses and propel the economy towards faster recovery and growth.

IT experts opine digital technology and connectivity continue to be the cornerstone of India’s growth and leadership. Since the pandemic accelerated the shift to digital, they say there is a need to maintain this growth momentum, as it will have a cascading effect on creating efficient businesses, new jobs and all-round development.

Lower interest rate regime

According to CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra, R&D spending must be increased to accelerate digital transformation and jumpstart education with a focus on next-gen technologies, skilling, reskilling and upskilling programmes to nurture young talent pool, subsequently accelerating a journey towards an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India).

“We also hope to see focused initiatives to boost consumer sentiment, accelerate infrastructure development, move towards a lower interest rate regime and increase investments in key areas including healthcare and education,” he said.

ALSO READ | What IT industry expects from Budget 2021: Higher Innovation Quotient, push for infra building, and more

From an IT perspective, Gurnani expects the government to create a fund for product companies along with extended SEZ (Special Economic Zone) benefits in the new normal of remote working, besides nurturing an ecosystem for deep tech startups in areas including blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and virtual reality.

“India is on the path of a higher growth trajectory and the vision of a $5 trillion economy can be achieved with a focus on economic growth and development,” added Gurnani.

Sundararajan Sampath, EVP & Chief Financial Officer at CSS Corp, suggests that the upcoming tax regime must ensure that there should be 100 per cent clarity on the continued availability of SEZ tax benefits to all existing and new SEZ units even if they continue to operate on a WFH basis.

Furthermore, he said, “We hope all expenses to ensure WFH would be allowed as business expenditure. There should be no ambiguity on the allowability of such expenses.”

He further said, “With the recent Karnataka High Court verdict in M/S Biocon Ltd Vs Commissioner of IT, we hope the Employee Stock Option cost (Fair Market Value less strike price amortized over the vesting period of stock options) will be allowed as business expenditure.”

“We also urge the centre to bring back the 80G deduction for CSR expenditure for companies opting for the new tax regime,” added Sampath.

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Tech Firms Gearing up to Improve Workplace safety, Mental Health

It’s been more than a year since the pandemic upended the business universe. As companies plan to re-emerge in 2021 and beyond, CXOs will have to build on the lessons learned so far by revolutionizing business models and workforce strategy. One of the key concerns for companies is to ensure adequate safety and wellness of its employees. Leaders in the tech industry believe, it is their responsibility to make workplaces safer, maintain every possible safety protocols, streamline work through digital tools and automation and most importantly address the mental health issues of their workforce.

Digital tech makes work smooth
There has been a surge in the popularity of workforce collaboration tools focusing on team communication and efficient project management today. High-quality video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Google Meet, and Skype are the most popular daily communication channels between remote team members spread across the world.

“The access to high-speed internet in remote centres in India has helped individuals relocate to their home towns in tier 2 and 3 cities to continue business as usual,” believes Smitha Hemmigae · Head of Marketing at ANSR.

According to him, several organizations have upgraded their email etiquette and procedures to ensure data protection while still communicating effectively with external stakeholders.
Sankalp Saxena, SVP and MD-Operations, India, Nutanix states that technologies such as virtual desktop infrastructure and desktop as a service can maintain business continuity over the past year.

“These solutions enable organizations to have virtual workspaces running within an hour so that employees can immediately and securely access their work systems from the safety of their homes. Businesses in India will continue relying on end user computing and cloud solutions to support the decentralization of teams, even as offices open up and they adopt hybrid work models,” says Saxena.

By investing in cloud infrastructure, organizations have ensured that their remote teams have access to data or information available seamlessly across the organisation in a secure manner. As Vikram Ahuja, Co-founder of Talent500, says, “Remote work has accelerated the adoption of cloud services and along with it renewed the emphasis on cybersecurity.”

Organizations are strategically thinking about cybersecurity investments to protect their workers, data, and their infrastructures, as Ahuja states, a data breach can lead to loss in reputation as well as customer and employee data. Sudeep Ralhan, Vice President – People, Walmart Global Tech India, says, “Safe remote working is important irrespective of the size and scale of an enterprise and the core principles one could adopt has moved from a traditional “trust but verify” to a “never trust but always verify” space.”

While zero trust in security is preferred in a remote work setup, from a preventative front, he stressed on multi factor authentication as an important aspect with principle of least privileges. Ralhan says, “As we mature in the remote working models; protecting data will remain as the prime requirement.”

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#LiteracyDay: How companies are addressing skill gap in the current market

With the skill shortage becoming a major concern, companies are taking necessary measures to address such situations and helping employees to reskill and upskill.

The market has evolved over the decade making companies embrace technological advancements. However, the pandemic caused companies to shift from office life to remote working overnight. This is not the only change that we witnessed amid the pandemic.

Companies switched to the cloud model, started to work with Artificial Intelligence technology, and developed solutions for their clientele to survive the times. This increased the demand for skilled professionals in the market that made companies face the biggest challenge – skills shortage or skill gap.

Commenting on such a situation, Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, Senior Vice President, Head of HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp said, “With almost 18 months into the pandemic, we are already witnessing a paradigm shift in the way businesses operate. The pandemic has resulted in a greater demand for specialized skill sets to help enterprises evolve along with today’s myriad technological advancements.”

He added, “In the IT industry, with agility becoming imperative, custom development skills like JavaScript frameworks, AI/ML, cloud technologies like AWS, Azure and GCP, DevOps, AIOps, SecOps, and NoOps will go a long way.”

The employees were so comfortable in their skins that they stuck to a single technology or skillset without considering to upskill or upgrade themselves. Pandemic made employees and companies address it and work towards it to ensure that it can change.

To stay relevant in the market, the companies started to offer skilling programmes and employees also started to get courses or certifications to increase their chance of employment.

“As enterprises are accelerating their digital transformation journey, leaders have realised that providing current employees with regular opportunities to improve their existing skills and learn new ones is critical to business resilience,” said Smitha Hemmigae, Head of Marketing, ANSR.

Hemmigae added, “As part of their upskilling and reskilling efforts, tech companies are training engineers to become full-stack developers and attain skills in modern development technologies such as AngularJS and Python. This will not only help employees develop a great career path thus reducing attrition, but also keep the business competitive and forward-thinking.”

The company has grown its workforce by 2.5 times in the last two-and-a-half years in Costa Rica. It plans to add an additional 500 employees in the next one year to cater to the rising demand from global clients for multilingual tech support capabilities, especially in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German.

CSS Corp remains committed to its global expansion strategy to address growing business needs while enhancing its nearshore capabilities. Costa Rica has been a strong growth engine for the company for delivering world-class services to global hi-tech clients. The services span across the sales and post-sales lifecycle for top enterprise and B2C brands. They include omnichannel sales and marketing support, product development and deployment, technical support, customer success, billing, renewals, and advanced infrastructure and application support.

Costa Rica’s rich and diverse talent pool, its robust infrastructure and favorable time zone make it an ideal nearshore outsourcing destination for CSS Corp’s North America and EU-based clients. With three established centers in the Greater Metropolitan Area, CSS Corp is now looking to open its fourth state-of-the-art facility to accommodate its growing headcount in the country.

The company’s delivery centers are located in hi-tech zones, with convenient access from the airport, and are surrounded by a serene environment, making them ideal locations to work and to co-innovate with customers effectively.

Sunil Mittal, CEO at CSS Corp, said, “This is an important milestone in our ongoing mission to leverage the best talent globally. Costa Rica is the third country where we have crossed a headcount of 1,000 after India and the Philippines. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved here in a short span of time, balancing seamless growth with customer delight. It is really encouraging to see how our employees have adapted to the challenging Covid-19 environment while maintaining the high levels of service that our clients deserve. I expect the rapid growth trajectory to continue in the coming years.”

Jayagopi Andhoor, LATAM Region Head, who has been recently promoted to Senior Vice President said, “We are delighted to have grown so fast to a family of over 1,000 CSS Corpians in Costa Rica. The teams have taken on challenging assignments and excelled at driving business outcomes for global clients through customer-centric solutions. We have comprehensive expansion plans laid out for this region as we expect this momentum to continue.”


Will the non-human recruiters please stand up?

It was an enforced change imposed by an unforeseen pandemic, but that change is here to stay. Recovery may be on the horizon, but organizations have realized through this experience that they need to build even more resilient businesses than ever before to cope with future stressors.

In this week’s edition, we bring to fore some of the ways different companies in India are already leveraging AI in HR processes and are not only cutting down on manual labor but also seeing massive savings, and in cases even higher revenues.

If you were born before the ’70s, you’d clearly remember the protests against the introduction of computers in banks. Protestors would go on strikes in a fight to safeguard the interests of the employees of public sector banks.

Despite the concerns, technology has so far been proven to be a net employment generator than otherwise, and therefore when automation hit the recruitment industry itself, there have been more cheers than boos. Recruiters today have realized that AI and other automation technologies can supplement their work instead of competing against them. From resume filtering to validating the potential candidate’s certificates, there are a whole lot of activities that are part of a recruiter’s daily life that isn’t all sunshine and roses. AI helps cut down on these boring yet necessary activities while allowing recruiters to focus on more meaningful work.

In this week’s edition, we bring to fore some of the ways different companies in India are already leveraging AI in HR processes and are not only cutting down on manual labor but also seeing massive savings, and in cases even higher revenues.

Here’s how CSS Corp reduced hiring cost by 50%

The majority of hiring in CSS Corp happens through resume scanning which flows in the system through various sources. To go through those resumes, the company has developed a cognitive search integrated with the internal system that identifies the right candidate. CSS Corp calls this system TAMS


How CXOs Can Effectively Address Targeted Phishing Attacks

From Amazon’s Prime Day scam to fake websites offering iPhone 11 Pro and tricking people into bogus COVID-19 vaccine sites – the last couple of months have seen a massive spike in phishing attacks. Bad actors have constantly lured users to log onto phishing sites as a way to steal their usernames and passwords. Then there were more targeted and potent phishing attacks, and even seasoned journalists like

Phishing and fraud campaigns are not new and always existed in the history of cyber threats; but the number of incidents is escalating due to the rapid shift to remote work across the enterprise – thanks to the pandemic.

Parminder Kaur, Associate Director, Digital Transformation Practice, Frost & Sullivan, believes that the low volume-high impact phishing attacks seen in recent months are more sophisticated and targeted. “These are difficult to detect compared to mass phishing campaigns, thereby putting individuals and businesses at higher risk,” says Kaur.

One reason is that hackers are increasingly masquerading as legitimate sources and brands. According to a study by Check Point, the most frequently imitated brands by cybercriminals in their attempts to steal victims’ personal information or payment credentials include Microsoft, LinkedIn, Amazon, Google and PayPal among others. In Razdan’s case it was an equally reputed institution like the Harvard University. In most cases, lured with promises of monetary or career gain or threats of financial or physical danger, people are being dodged out of tens of thousands of dollars. Corporations lose even more — tens of millions of dollars.

But are companies ready to face this onslaught?

GV Anand Bhushan, Partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co notes, “While companies in general are taking measures to safeguard themselves from phishing related cyber-attacks, lack of employee training when it comes to cyber-security, skills shortage in the cyber-security industry, and failure to take timely assistance from the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in case there is a cybersecurity incident, are some of the challenges companies continue to face. That being the case, while many companies are giving importance to cyber-security, there is still room for additional measures that organizations can adopt from a cyber-security standpoint.”

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#HRDay: This is how HR role has evolved amid pandemic

International HR Day is an opportunity to recognise all the hardworking HR professionals and their efforts. If we talk about the contribution of the HR managers and their team during the pandemic is truly incredible. While the HR department of today is one of the most tech-savvy and agile teams, their role has undergone a massive transformation in the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. The pandemic has given us plenty of reasons to celebrate HR professionals and their efforts during the crisis.

Sharmila Khan, Director HR, Micron India
All playbooks went out the window with the ambiguity and uncertainty that came with the pandemic. I learnt to trust my instincts, and lead with empathy and kindness, while I validated day-to-day operational decisions with a trusted group of peers within the organisation and a larger HR fraternity.

Hence, this day, on May 20, we must celebrate International HR Day to praise them as a profession and their positive contribution to individuals and organisations. With most employees working from home, the HR team is catering to a new set of responsibilities. Let’s put the light on some of them:

HR people’ made a significant contribution during the COVID-19 crisis
2021 is no less tough than the previous year, and with the second wave of COVID-19, It has already been a tough year for HR professionals. Without their never-ending efforts and expertise from the HR department, continuous motivation to employees, and their respective organisations. Without their efforts, we wouldn’t be seeing productivity and team cohesion thriving in a virtual workplace and ambiguous job market.

Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, SVP, Head HR (Global) and Corporate Quality, CSS Corp
The pandemic has changed a lot in our day-to-day life, not least of which has been a seismic shift in work culture, as many of us have spent the past year working remotely. The primary thing that the HR function witnessed and learned is the liberation from the mindset that work can be accomplished when we are co-located (or physically in the office).

HR people have been quick responders
The early response from HR was really impressive, they were able to get a sense of employees’ worries and concerns even in the working from home environment. They put employees’ worries first, while also considering the various business impacts. It was their years of experience in doing this that enabled their responsiveness. HR professionals have demonstrated their strategic approach in the way they’ve responded to this crisis. Not only the HR community’s response to COVID-19 has been absolutely incredible, but they’ve kept their organisations working, they’ve focused on the mental health of employees and shone a light on that for the rest of the organisation.

Pavitra Singh, CHRO, PepsiCo India
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many valuable lessons and my biggest one has been to lead with compassion. I realised that softer skills of empathy, compassion and resilience are key differentiators in these challenging times. We, as leaders, need to be the torchbearers of hope and lead with our heart. We have to be more personal in our approach and find ways to connect in the new normal as there is no face to face interactions currently. Leaders should also ensure high-quality interactions and bring energy to every meeting.


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