Remote Work & Coronavirus: 4 Essential Tips for Supporting Your Business
With efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus and protect employees, many enterprise organizations are suggesting, or even requiring that employees work from home. Protecting people is of primary importance, but how do you also make sure your business is protected in the process?
This sudden spike in remote work presents a number of challenges for organizations. Setting up infrastructure quickly and securely to support users and devices is an overwhelming task for IT departments and support staff.
For healthcare providers, there is additional risk in protecting proprietary data and preventing cybersecurity breaches on medical devices spread across regions, while maintaining a high level of patient support.
With so many unknowns, you don’t want to be worried about whether or not your networks, devices, and users are secure. You want to focus on making sure both your workforce and your organization are protected in every way. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have all the remote working technology tools needed to enhance digital productivity. Check out these four essential tools that will help your organization transition to remote working.
Challenges of Preparing for Remote Work
Even before coronavirus, the trend towards global business operations and remote work have become commonplace for enterprise organizations. People can quickly and easily connect with the click of a button and hold virtual meetings without ever leaving their home office. In fact, since 2005, the percentage of employees who regularly work from home (who are not self-employed) has risen 173 percent.
With the coronavirus looming, remote work is expected to sharply rise, but that presents cybersecurity threats that many organizations and their IT departments aren’t fully prepared for. Let’s take a look at some of the common issues facing IT professionals.
Overwhelmed Service Desk Technicians
Service desk technicians are at the heart of IT departments. As the go-to source for information and troubleshooting advice, they are often the first point-of-contact for users who need assistance with remote working technology.
Any sudden rise in the number of remote devices and users puts additional stress on technicians and often leads to labor shortages. Technicians may find that their remote access solutions limit the number of users allowed, leaving many without remote access
IT Managers Struggle to Monitor Devices and Vendors
IT managers are responsible for many aspects of network security including the vast number of devices, platforms, operating systems, and vendors used by an organization. To do this, organizations often rely on numerous remote access tools, adding to the stress of IT management.
With coronavirus, it’s likely that reliance on all of remote work tools will increase, which means additional training for new users and onboarding of devices. Many remote workers also use VPNs to communicate proprietary information, but this may be an opportunity to transition to a more secure remote access alternative.
For IT managers in the healthcare industry, there is the added responsibility of ensuring that all systems and devices are compliant with regulatory standards like HIPPA. Onboarding new users and devices is expected as healthcare providers rush to meet the demands related to coronavirus.
4 Tips to Effectively Support Remote Work
The coronavirus is affecting all types of organizations, large and small, across every industry. For those with the ability to setup remote working opportunities, there are a few tools that will help smooth the transition for your organization and your workforce.
1. Establish Secure Remote Access
Many organizations rely on VPNs to connect users and vendors doing remote work but may still present cybersecurity risks by leaving the door open to third parties with malicious intent.
Secure remote access solutions allow all service providers, consultants, maintenance staff, and IT professionals to connect their devices, but trying to do this with multiple tools is inefficient. Using one consolidated remote access solution that can be installed on any device using any OS or platform enhances security and allow IT professionals to offer support far more efficiently.
For the healthcare and financial industries, compliance and access control are constant concerns. As users are working remotely, or new devices are being added to networks, how do you ensure that they are authorized, authenticated and compliant?
Using remote access tools can make it more efficient to maintain control by:
- Filtering IP addresses
- Creating closed user groups and secure deployment options
- Centrally managing groups and policies
- Establishing multi-factor authentication
- Offering complete logging and audit records
If your organization is global, compliance is especially important as regulations differ internationally. Compliance applies to every aspect of an organization, from remote access solutions to devices. If you can secure connections and devices with one tool across the globe, you’re like to save time and money, especially for your IT department.
2. Safely Connect Devices with Remote Desktop Solutions
Are your remote workers using their own devices, or the company’s? How will remote workers connect to devices at central plants if need be? Will they be able to access files? These are questions that organizations need to consider as they prepare for more employees to work from home.
Ideally you want employees to use remote working technology and devices that are company-owned so that you can make sure they have necessary tools and remote access software already installed. But with so many people needing to work from home, there’s a good chance that workers will have to rely on personal devices that might need mobile support.
To do this effectively, you want to have remote desktop solutions that can easily connect with one tool, which allows multiple devices to connect across operating systems and platforms for more flexibility, efficiency, and security. Some of the key features include:
- Keyboard, video, and mouse control (KVM)
- Screen sharing
- Integrated file transfer
3. Use Reliable Communication Tools to Keep Your Team in the Loop
Communication is crucial, especially when working remotely. To keep that communication happening while working remotely, people need ample tools, like the following:
- Reliable email
- Instant message chat groups
- Secure social networks
- Project management platform
Enterprise organizations often use thousands of applications to manage their businesses and communication. In addition to making sure those tools are loaded onto devices and accessible to users, there needs to be assurance that they are secure. Things like multi-factor identification, encryption, and user controls are important security needs for remote working technology that are offered by remote access solutions.
4. Stay Connected to Clients and Colleagues with Virtual Meetings
Virtual meetings are a regular part of daily operations for many organizations, whether it’s between colleagues or with clients. Staying connected with clients is especially important for maintaining good working relationships and showing your organization’s commitment to their success.
As you prepare your workforce, make sure that they have the following tools to successfully run virtual meetings:
- Reliable internet access
- Computer or laptop with a camera, speaker, and microphone
- Your organization’s preferred virtual meeting tools
- Secure remote access
Organizations Need Total Security with Rise in Remote Workers
Figuring out how to conduct business as usual in an ever-changing environment is tough. Knowing you have reliable remote working technology supported by secure remote access tools like Netop Remote Control is one less thing to worry about. With these tools, you can confidently encourage people to work remotely and protect their personal well-being, while making sure your organization is protected from potential cybersecurity threats.
Sam Heiney is the Product Manager for Netop Remote Control.