As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most organizations are scrambling to leverage remote work solutions in order to maintain operational capabilities. It is critical to implement IT systems in a reliable and secure manner as your employees work remotely.
Consider these key IT components as you work to ensure your core business processes continue to run efficiently:
- ERP and Accounting – If these key business applications are not currently on the cloud, establish secure access to them and optimize connections based on performance data. Then devise a migration plan for moving these applications onto the cloud to reduce availability and business continuity issues in the future.
- Email and Collaboration – Consider migrating to Microsoft Cloud Office 365 for email and productivity applications such as Word and Excel. Use tools such as Microsoft Teams so that employees can continue to collaborate. Other services such as Zoom, WebEx, and GoToMeeting are also very popular for enabling a remote collaborative workforce.
- Document Management – By consolidating all key documents in a centralized cloud-based repository, employees – whether working in the office or remotely – can access, share, and update documents from a single source. Microsoft SharePoint and Adobe are popular in the middle market, but you can also look into others such as M-Files for industry-specific applications.
- Process Automation – One of the challenges with an increasingly remote work force is limited ability for physical movement of paper forms, reviews, and approvals. In order to reduce manual processes, evaluate using cloud-based process automation and workflow tools such as Microsoft Forms and Power Automate.
- Phone Technologies – Voice over IP phones (VoIP) are commonly deployed on the cloud and allow for ease of access from anywhere at any time. If your phone system is currently installed on a local server, consider a cloud-based solution.
- Password Policies – Working remotely increases the risk of cyber vulnerabilities and hacks. Make sure all employees are using strong passwords (15 characters with numbers as well as upper and lower case letters) or password manager tools such as LastPass and Dashlane.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) – Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to provide access to company networks, files, and systems in a more secure manner. Stay away from non-secure approaches such as desktop sharing applications. While these are easy and low cost to set up, they pose significant security risks.
- Virtual Desktops – Virtual desktop technologies simplify remote user access and administration issues, creating an appliance-oriented approach toward computing. This allows users to use a variety of their own devices to access their office applications and files with improved security and standardization. Discuss the applicability of this technology with your IT team.
- User Education – Educate users on cyber and information privacy best practices. Increase user awareness by sharing periodic educational training notices, YouTube videos, and the latest threat news.
These are indeed stressful times, but putting the right measures in place can help overcome some of the challenges for your workforce and your business. As you navigate your company’s remote work environment, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or for guidance.
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