Remote working solutions can keep your staff working even in the current Covid19 created scenario. Through Malta Enterprise aid your company can be refunded for part of the investment in a teleworking solution.
What ARE REMOTE WORKING SOLUTIONS?
Remote working solutions offer the facility to work from home in a fully productive environment.
Being at home during working hours and working remotely at a fully productive and operational level are two different standards. A lot of assumptions are made when we think about work from home strategies. “I’ll be fine, I have a good Wifi connection” or “I have my desk all setup with my second screen, keyboard and mouse”. Whether you are working from home temporarily, or possibly even a few hours/days a week, whatever your situation or role, there are many social and technological factors that we must consider. The first question should be “How much of my job can I perform remotely?” It comes without saying that certain job types that require a constant physical presence in a specific location cannot be executed remotely. On the other end of the spectrum are the job types which are completely remote and require no physical presence at all.
Most 21st century knowledge workers would fit somewhere in the middle. Depending on your job type, company culture and industry, you should be able to find a fair balance between working from the office and working from home.
Teleworking in the current scenario
Current events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, have demonstrated that companies might be forced into sending employees to perform their work duties from home. We have seen a substantial amount of companies approaching IT Service Providers (such as ourselves) to help take them develop an effective Work-From-Home Strategy. Teleworking is a great luxury, but the following metrics are key to its success:
- Accessibility & Availability
- Secure endpoint access to data and resources
- Effective Collaboration & Communication
- Performance & Reliability
The initial requirement of setting up a remote working solution would be to make all, or perhaps the crucial information/data, Information Systems and company resources accessible from any Internet location, most likely being the employees’ homes. Whether these resources are hosted on the organization’s in-house infrastructure or on a cloud-hosted platform, this data needs to be accessible from an external Internet endpoint. Secure VPN solutions can facilitate access to such information to the right employees.
Having this information available and accessible is key for employees to be able to operate effectively, but it is crucial for the organization to maintain the same security controls that one would have within a normal office environment.
Companies which shift towards teleworking abruptly are highly likely to oversee a substantial amount of risks and considerations
- User and Server Endpoint Security – Both endpoints need to be function securely, without risk of unauthorized exposure. Products such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security would protect both the user and the server endpoints.
- Theft of Information – Is there a risk of company information being stolen?
- Mobile Device Management – Can the company manage these devices remotely? Can access to specific data and systems be revoked without direct user intervention?
- Encryption – Secure encryption of endpoint devices such as employee laptops and mobile phones
- Password Protection – Implementation of strong password policies on company devices
- Device and Application updates – IT service providers need to have the ability to push device and software updates to the employees’ devices continuously
- Educate Employees – Basic security awareness should be standard training to every employee
- User-Owned Devices – Should an organization allow employees to work using personal devices over which the company has little or no control, it is important that the risks of doing so are carefully evaluated in terms of the employee’s role and the data he/she has access to.
HOW CAN INTERTEK HELP ME IN SETTING UP A REMOTE WORKING SOLUTION
Once your company has the correct technology and security requirements in place, the next requirement would be to successfully execute the business. Having the right tools for communication and collaboration with colleagues, customers and suppliers is a strong make-or-break factor for a successful work-from-home Strategy. Products such as Microsoft Teams and 3CX are becoming extremely popular for facilitating business operations and day-to-day communication requirements. Key features of such products include –
- Chat facilities for user to user and group communication
- File Sharing and Collaboration
- Video Conferencing & Online Meetings involving both company staff and third parties
- Integration with Office 365 applications or other cloud platforms such as Google Suite
Ultimately, once everyone and everything is where it’s supposed to be, the final key success factor is uptime, availability and performance. Systems need to be reliable and provide the necessary performance to ensure that users can work productively.
Factors one should consider to secure uptime and availability include:
- Multiple Internet Connections – Implementation of Internet Load Balancing / Failover policies to minimize downtime and increase bandwidth availability
- Power Backup – Installation of Uninterrupted Power Supply units (UPSes) for the company’s on-site IT infrastructure equipment
- Adequate Resources – Factoring in how many employees will be accessing these systems from a remote location is a crucial consideration for hardware and Internet connection bandwidth requirements
Time and experience have taught us that we must be pragmatic and realistic in every situation. Aside from the fact that every organization operates differently from the next, each also has its own beliefs, culture and work ethic. This will play a strong part in the design and ultimately, the successful execution of an effective Work-from-home strategy.