For much of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented and totally unexpected turn of events. Enabling a completely remote workforce, and supporting that workforce for 2+ months, is something many business owners never dreamed they would be responsible for, and unfortunately, were not prepared for. As shelter in place orders are eased and offices around the country begin opening their doors again, businesses are forced to ask themselves “Was there anything we could have done differently?” “In what ways could we have been more prepared?” and “What does this mean for the future of our workforce?” If you find yourself seeking answers to these sorts of questions, you’ve come to the right place! Below, we’ve listed 3 of the biggest takeaways based on common issues our clients faced in the wake of the global crisis.
The Importance of Having a Reliable Cloud Solution and/or VPN
Storing company documents and data within the cloud and/or enabling a VPN is essential for productivity and security because they help your employees access everything they need to work remotely with little to no risk of a security breach. For those who may not be familiar, the cloud allows users to store data remotely and can be accessed securely via the internet. What makes the cloud great is that it enables your employees to access work files anywhere, from any device outside the office, all they need is their cloud login and a reliable internet connection. Cloud solutions use many layers of security to keep the data housed within safe, making them much more secure and reliable than emailing documents or relying on an external method like a flash drive.
Another alternative is to use a VPN. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. VPNs can be used to access corporate data, shield your browsing activity from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi, and more. In short, VPN’s are a great way to connect your business networks together and allow employees to access their work computers and files from home using your office’s secure internet connection (as opposed to a less secure network like one from their home or local coffee shop.)
Without providing a way to safely store and distribute company resources, you’re not only stunting employee productivity, you also run the risk of exposing sensitive company data to hackers. We’ve helped several clients solve this issue by implementing Cii Cloud 2.0, an easy to use and manage cloud solution developed right here at Cii. You can find more information about our private cloud solution here.
The Importance of Having an Effective Cybersecurity Plan in Place
Cybersecurity always has, and always will, be a topic of importance when it comes to your IT. However, now that your employees are working from home, accessing company resources from their own private networks and computers, it is absolutely crucial that your cybersecurity solution be up to snuff. The COVID Crisis has turned workforces on their heads, employees are stressed and likely not thinking about things such as email security and hackers. Cyber criminals know that now is the time to strike, which is why we wanted to make sure our clients were fully aware and prepared for the threats at hand.
Of course we all know the basic security measures that you (should) already have in place- firewalls, anti-virus software, and etcetera. Unfortunately in this day and age, the basics aren’t going to cut it. Cyber-attacks are becoming more sophisticated every day, your cybersecurity solution should be as well. Sure, you may have a firewall, but how strong is it? And what would happen if someone were to breach it? Do you have a solid data backup and disaster recovery solution in place? What about your employees, have they received security training? Many individuals do not know what Malware, Ransom-Ware and Phishing look like. They do not know how to spot a suspicious email or website, unless you teach them what to look for. At Cii, we’ve helped many businesses develop a tried and true security plan and offer them real-time support to manage any threats as they appear. (Or even before they appear!) You can find out more about this on our cybersecurity page.
The Importance of Having the Correct Tools for Communication
If there is anything working remotely has taught us, it’s that communication is suchan integral part of every team. For most of us, this isn’t news. Successful working relationships and team-oriented work environments require day-to-day collaboration, however, this becomes a lot more difficult when your team isn’t in the same physical location. Email and phone calls help, but they can’t really mimic a true office or conference room environment. This is where tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Google Meetings come into play.
All modern offices should have some sort of meeting and communication tool outside of email in place. There are plenty of options out there, the tricky part is finding the right one for your workforce. There are actually a lot of factors that come into play when choosing a communication tool or software for your office. Functionality will probably be the biggest factor. Employers should ask themselves, what will I be using this tool for? Video and audio calls are all pretty standard, but what about screen sharing and file sharing, real-time messaging and chat rooms, or the ability to record meetings? Aside from the actual functions each tool offers, managers must also consider things like team size, price point, security and reliability of the service they choose. Picking the right meeting software can be daunting, but this is where your IT team can step in to assist! At Cii we’re familiar with all of the current software and tools and happily advise our clients on what solutions are best for their business. Check out our IT Consulting Services if you feel like your tech department could use a bit of extra help.
These are just a few of the overarching lessons we’ve learned from the COVID-19 Crisis. Lessons on how to be more prepared as a business and how to ensure your employees are able to work safely and happily, anywhere and anytime. Although things are slowly getting back to normal, at Cii we understand there will still be challenges ahead. The road to recovery may be long, but we’re here for our clients every step of the way.