Welcome to a new world of remote working

Emma Shaw, Marketing Manager

This week the UK Government advised everyone who could work from home to do so. Whilst some businesses were set up to allow their workforce to work remotely, for others it was a catalyst for change in their organisations to enable their operations to continue.

Wherever your business is along the remote working journey, the Government announcement has undoubtedly caused a significant change to the way most of us work.

Whilst having the ability to work remotely is not a new concept, undertaking remote working for a prolonged length of time may result in businesses facing new challenges and considerations.

In our latest blog we look at some of the key areas for consideration to keep your workforce productive and maintain business continuity:

  1. Communication
  2. Provide the right equipment
  3. Collaboration
  4. Remote Access
  5. Security
  6. Business Continuity Planning 
 
Communication

When remote working, employees will undoubtedly get more work done as there will be fewer interruptions. However, communication is the key to success in any business at any time, when remote working it is more important that you communicate well and often with your employees and more importantly your customers.  

The office environment also adds a social element to people’s working day, in times of prolonged remote working this can result in employees feeling distant from one another and disconnected from the business.

Having the right connectivity business continuity solutions in place will allow your business to continue communicating, and operating as normal as possible, regardless of their location.

Cloud hosted telephony and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions can keep your workforce and customers connected by simply turning desktops, laptops and mobile devices into a traditional desk phone, so missing a call need never happen again.

Provide the right equipment

Having a private and dedicated workspace, that is free from distractions, will go a long way to ensuring your team are able to focus on the work that is expected of them.

From a practical perspective, businesses need to ensure those who are working remotely have the necessary equipment to be able to conduct their role.

This could include laptops and other end user devices such as phone and tablets. However, for their added comfort and enhanced productivity this could include kit such as additional monitors, headsets, keyboards and mice etc.

Collaboration

Today, employees work collaboratively within their own team and across other departments to complete projects.

When working remotely you’ll need to consider how employees can still share files, notes and updates that are essential to maintaining the progression of any task.

Collaboration technologies such as Microsoft Teams and SharePoint allow your employees to securely access their files and work collaboratively, whilst maintaining version control, at any time. With integrated messaging, call and video chats, your teams can quickly and easily communicate with one another and never miss out on what is going on.

Remote Access

One of the most important things to consider when remote working is who needs access to what data and where they need to access this from, in order to be able to carry out their duties.

Employees will need to be able to access data and applications which may be stored on your servers or within the cloud, but what they will need access to will vary from employee to employee.

A sudden increase in remote working will put pressure on your network if you are not prepared. You need to check if you have sufficient bandwidth for a potential increase in VPN traffic.

Additionally, it is vital that you know if your current remote access/VPN solution is secure and stable, and you will need to check that your company has built-in VPN firewall capabilities.

We recommend only granting access to the tools and data the employee needs, and always ensure you have complete control over all data at all times.

This will help reduce exposure to cyber security attacks and data breaches.  

Security

One of the biggest security risks in an organisation is its people. An increase in a remote working gives rise to data management challenges.

Coronavirus and its implications on the workforce will likely mean there is a greater risk of human error and malicious attack putting your business at greater risk.

Employees are often the biggest threat to an organisation’s cybersecurity. Therefore, it is important that you have the correct training in place to mitigate the risk.

Reviewing your current security policies and procedures will highlight any vulnerabilities that may need your immediate attention, allowing you to secure your infrastructure against a security breach.  

If you haven’t already, configured MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) for all users to be used with work/personal mobile devices and ensure you have encryption deployed

It is also important to ensure all devices used by the employee are fully up to date with the latest software and firewall patches and can be managed, configured and audited whilst they are working remotely.

Business Continuity Plans

With the increased demands for employees to work remotely, it is imperative that you now test, review, continually monitor and update your business continuity plans to ensure your network can facilitate this.

By reviewing your policies and procedures it will highlight any gaps and allow you to act quickly to implementing the right infrastructure, security, licenses and end user devices to ensure your business remains operational and secure.

Another important thing to check is your backup and disaster recovery policy. You will need to check if your backup service is able to work with devices in remote locations, and that if can undertake backups remotely.

Our business continuity checklist can help you ensure you are covering all the bases and help prepare your IT infrastructure to meet the demands of prolonged remote working.

For expert support in developing your disaster recovery plan and more information about BCN Group's remote working solutions and cloud storage, please email info@bcn.co.uk or call 0354 095 7000

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