MANAGED REMOTE ACCESS

Working From Home / Remote Work / Remote Access
How do these affect you, the Small Business Owner?
What do you need to consider?
What do you need to watch out for?

 

It is now clear that Working From Home, Remote Work, and Remote Access is likely to remain a big part of our lives. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has quickened the pace in which Small Businesses have to embrace these technologies to allow their team to function efficiently and to maintain a high level of productivity while being physically away from the office. The following are our key recommendations in the deployment of such a Work From Home / Remote Work / Remote Access solution:

 

1. Security

Protecting your business from cyber-crime should always be your biggest priority. You probably have got cyber-security covered in your office – all your computers have updated anti-virus software, you use a managed web protection facility, you use a secure VPN and you have your data safely and securely back up.

However, when your team starts to work from home, you will be widening your exposure to potential threats. When preparing for a potential full or partial office shut down, you will need to provide your employees with equipment and infrastructure in order for them to remain productive. We summarize this approach to being – If it is not secure, there is no point in having it.

If an employee requires a computer or laptop and the ability to access shared networks or data, it is of utmost importance that they do not use a personal machine. We do not know the extent of the machine in question and if there lies any potential threats to your technology and digital assets.

It is recommended to provide your employees with a work laptop or computer that they can use strictly for work purposes. This is a great way to immediately minimize risks to your business, especially from ransomware.

Here’s a quick overview of what else should be considered:

  • Ensure your employees are using approved devices for work purposes only, especially if you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network, which is the safest way to work remotely)
  • Educate employees on device use while at home (not using work devices for game downloads etc)
  • Ensure all devices have anti-virus software
  • Make sure wi-fi passwords are changed before using home wi-fi for business purposes
  • Set up multi factor authentication (if possible)

 

2. Access to Data

If your employees need to work from home, it is important that they are able to access everything they need to fulfill their responsibilities.

For smaller companies, the key is to make sure all data is in a location that is accessible to begin with. Because of this, you may need to reconsider how and where you are saving data and files.

We advise ensuring all data and files are kept in one secure location that is regularly backed up. SharePoint, part of Office 365 is a great way to save files and access them safely from different locations and devices.

Another consideration to think about is how your employees can access business applications and how your IT support company can access your server remotely.

All of this can seem quite daunting, but a really easy way to figure out what your employees need and how to ensure they have it can be done with a simple spreadsheet.

Start by listing out the following details for each user:

  • Name of user
  • Device
  • Access Required
  • Actions Required to Provision Access
  • Access Granted On

 

3. Home Office Setup

if your employees have to work from home, the obvious question to ask is: “Does your team have the equipment they need to work remotely?”

If the majority of office devices in your office is desktop based, it is important to consider if you need to purchase laptops as replacement. This is in line with securing your data assets while allowing your employees to access via a safe and secure work enviroinment throught the use of Virtual Private Network (VPN) capabilities.

Next, you might also like to consider telephony systems. If your team requires access to an internal phone system, Microsoft Teams (in Office 365) might be a better way to minimize costs if you are already using Office 365. If you need both internal and external phone facilities, perhaps considering a VOIP phone system might be more adapt.

Here’s a quick overview of what should be considered:

  • Do you require to replace existing desktops with laptops?
  • Do employees have the right internet access at home?
  • What telephony systems do your employees require and do they have a suitable telephone device to work with?
  • Do your employees require any other additional equipment to fulfil work responsibilities at home?

Some of your employees may find working from home extremely challenging. This can be made more difficult if they do not have a dedicated desk/chair combination at home. While we do not suggest that you go out and purchase everyone a desk and chair, we do advise that you clarify with your employees what their home working environment is like and being on-hand to offer support where it is possible and appropriate, to ensure that they remain as focused at home, as they are in the office.

 

4. Communication, Collaboration and Management

For any business owner or manager, there is always the worry that employees are not as productive working from home, as they would be if they were physically in the office.

This is where clear communication, collaboration and management channels should be implemented to ensure your employees stay focused while working from home.

This could be a great opportunity to look at your current processes, with the view to improve them regardless any of impending emergency. If you are part of the Office 365 ecosystem, as there are lots of applications in there that you already have access to and could use.

Here’s a quick overview of what should be considered:

  • Project management software
  • Video conferencing
  • Video meetings
  • Instant messaging and chat
  • Reporting and time management

Some Office365 applications that might assist include”

  • Microsoft Teams
  • SharePoint
  • OneNote
  • Planner

 

How Can We Help

Reading through this, you might feel overwhelmed by the information and requirements. However, understand that Working From Home, Remote Work, Remote Access is an area that needs to be extensively planned for and in certain cases, might be crucial for your business. The earlier that you plan for such an eventuality, the more prepared and the more protected your business is.

For many of our clients, this amount of planning is quite daunting at first but as we move long, they see the benefits of having a plan in place, the ability to deploy in phases and more importantly, to build the trust in us, to manage and maintain the remote access capabilities. The hand-holding and how we work with you is important to ensure that your business and your employees have everything they need to continue working safely and securely.

Contact us for a chat as to how we can get your business prepared today … and most importantly, how we Manage the Remote Access capabilities of your organization while you concentrate on running your business!

 

Embracing new technology may not be easy but if done correctly, it can be extremely beneficial.

Let us be your partner and make us part of your Managed Remote Access selection process.

Contact us via the following web form, drop us an email at sales@managedit.sg or give us a call at +65 6748 8776.

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