The concept of having employees working remotely isn’t new. One study showed that up to 54% of U.S. workers work remotely at least once a month. What is different in the current COVID-19 environment is that the global companies which previously did not allow remote work for some or all employees now face the reality of having to allow it to maintain operations. Ultimately, that means they are scrambling to adapt their in-office technology to an at-home setting.
Moving to a remote-work environment, whether as a long-term strategy or as a temporary, short-term response, is a significant business decision. Relying on the expertise of IT professionals and taking a first-things-first approach, however, can make the transition a smoother one.
Here are key considerations:
1. Employee Access
Staff members who are moving to remote working must have the tools required to do their routine work. They also need to be able to access critical data. Having a cloud-based infrastructure is one of the easiest ways to allow your team to work securely from virtually any location. If you are not currently operating in the cloud, now is the time to find out how to move business workloads to that environment.
Additional considerations are assessing which employees can work from their home machines, how many desktops or laptops must be distributed to employees and identifying what applications must be loaded onto devices.
What about business-related phone calls? Few employees will want their personal numbers shared with customers. Here, too, a cloud solution might be the best solution to allow office phones to work from any location seamlessly. Secure video and collaboration tools that allow communication between colleagues and foster productivity are also available.
2. Security Measures
As if the novel coronavirus isn’t enough for companies to deal with, there are malicious attackers who tend to prey on companies in times of crisis. Why? Because many IT providers can be stretched in terms of coverage.
Fortunately, there are options available, including working with an outsourced managed IT company that can jump into action, assess current implementations, and propose cost-effective alternative solutions. At Avitus Group, for example, we have the ability to not only deploy our security stack to home workstations ranging from anti-malware to website monitoring and more to keep both your business and your employees safe.
Now is also a time to leverage multi-factor authentication and SSL encryption. Remote access done incorrectly provides increased threat landscape across your business for attackers to utilize. We can help implement secure access allowing your business to continue to operate efficiently without the security gaps. And of course, it’s also a time to train your team via video about phishing attempts and other malicious online actions. For example, the Department of Homeland Security CISA is currently warning individuals to remain vigilant for scams relating to COVID-19.
3. IT Support
Think about your ordinary course of business. Do you have people asking for help with IT needs? You can anticipate that they will require even more support in a remote environment.
As part of your effort to allow your staff to work from home, consider what IT support is available. Having an IT professional be able to see what’s happening is far superior to a staff member who may not be “tech-savvy” try to describe the problem, which can lead to confusion and frustration. Instead, talk to your IT team about how they can monitor a system in real time as well as how remote sessions—which allows the IT service provider to see a screen in real time—can be practical and robust solutions.
Finally, what is happening right now in terms of COVID-19 is serious, and it may have your staff worried about their work nearly as much as they are about their health. Moving to a remote work environment by maximizing your technology can help to alleviate some of those fears provided it is done in an organized and thoughtful way.
Let your employees know that the steps you’re taking are proactive ones, that they’re designed to protect them and your business, and that you’re working with IT professionals who are skilled at navigating these changes.
If you have questions relating to Avitus Technology Services and how we can help your company adopt remote work practices and policies, please contact us.