Effective home working has never been more important, and for many companies the ability to log on, access critical systems remotely and communicate with team members/clients could now mean the difference between success and failure.
The foundation for safe and reliable home working is the provision of secure access to IT resources within the business as well as to the internet itself. Typically, this is achieved through an internet provider and virtual private network (VPN), and it needs attention to every part of the connected tech stack, from internet access itself to providing secure means to reach and interact with corporate networks, data, communication channels, and applications.
Remote working blind spots
It would be a mistake to automatically assume your employees have adequate online access at home. While many will, some won’t have reliable or sufficiently fast connectivity, or may only have a smartphone or tablet rather than a home computer. Quickly survey your employees and decide where these IT gaps are. For some workers, be prepared to invest in hardware, mobile hot spots and associated data plans.
One of the largest blind spots is in knowing how much bandwidth workers need to be to do their job well. Remote workers, especially at first, have to sync their files and data. For some industries, this could involve a large amount of rich media and data that has to go back and forth regularly. How fast it goes will determine remote work productivity. More significantly, the types of applications that are used regularly, especially web and video conferencing, can determine bandwidth needs as well.
‘Bring your own devices’
When it comes to devices for remote working either workers can use their own, which is a bigger security risk, but quite a bit cheaper and faster to deploy if their devices are up to the task, or you can provide the devices that are needed. You need to make a call on cost versus security and reliability.
Secure remote access is typically provided by a virtual private network (VPN) solution, which sits on the PC, laptop, or mobile device and creates an encrypted network connection that makes it safe for the worker to access IT resources within the organization and elsewhere on the Internet or other networks.
VPN security measures
In general, an employee should never do any work for your organisation without a VPN on their device(s) being turned on. This includes online services on the internet. This is because the VPN ensures a higher level of security and safety between the remote worker and the service.
Business today revolves around teamwork using shared knowledge assets including documents, files, reports, spreadsheets, rich media, and both structured and unstructured data. Such assets are created and used with applications that include the usual office productivity suites like Microsoft Office365 and Google G Suite, local content/document management systems, the corporate intranet, HR systems, CRM, ERP, and countless other systems. As a guideline, the average 100,000-person organization has between 1,500 and 3,000 applications in all that run the business. This number of applications scales down surprisingly slowly. Even a 100-person organization could have 100-200 applications they rely on, many of which will need to be used in remote work.
Digital telephony and video conferencing
Add to this mix the increased need for digitised telephony (can your colleagues forward their desk phone to their home line/mobile?) and video conferencing and it’s clear that office digital networks need to have a clean bill of health to remain fit for purpose.
A basic level of remote-working functionality can be achieved relatively quickly from a standing start, but in order to give your employees all the tools they need and to fully optimise their productivity, companies need to invest on an on-going basis.
For more information about transforming your digital networks into a home-worker’s paradise, including network access control, secure remote access, telephony and video conferencing, contact Vodat International.