The COVID-19 pandemic is quickly and forcefully creating disruption in the workforce and as organizations move to implement their business continuity plans, many of them are turning to their technology partners for unique expertise in the following areas:
With almost the entire workforce now working remotely, most organizations don’t have the skills and tools required to manage a wide variety of computers, laptops and mobile devices that are currently being pressed into service from home. Some of those endpoints might be owned by the organization, however, most of them will be devices owned by the staff themeselves.
Organizations need to push a variety of agent software on to those devices to both manage them, secure them and ensure compliance with any number of regulations.
Service desk augmentation
Beyond the fact that most staff are not especially adept at working from home, many of the devices and peripherals they are using are likely not brand new, and in light of recent events there’s now a shortage of everything from PCs to cameras. Not surprisingly, the number of calls being made to IT service desks in some organizations has skyrocketed.
Vertical industries that deliver digital education and entertainment services are struggling. At the same time, providers of everything from groceries to the trucking companies that deliver those groceries to medical facilities are overwhelmed.
Supporting your staff while working from home will be critical, but the dynamic has changed. In most cases it will be easy to adapt but the conversation is important and understanding the unique situation of each staff member will help us bolster our ability to support and their ability to be effective.
Remote access tools
With so many people now working from home it’s apparent how dependent organizations still are on legacy desktop applications. We all have a few applications, whether Windows 7 based or in some cases DOS, which are required to perform specific business functions. Remote access tools that make it possible for employees to access applications that were never meant to run on anything other than a local area network (LAN) are in high demand.
Establishing secure access to legacy tools may be imperative moving forward. Relocating these tools to the cloud, or establishing secure tunnel access to them on-premises is possible.
Most people have some familiarity by now with online conferencing tools. However, using these platforms to manage and run multiple meetings a day that involve more than a handful of people is a substantial challenge for most organizations. Which platforms can scale to meet their needs and what are the best practices for using them all day long?
Collaboration tools can be used for just about everything, such as; online meetings, telephone calls, file sharing, group chats, planning and scheduling, digital signing and much more.
Most of our customers already leverage Microsoft Office 365 and being able to leverage tools such as Microsoft Teams, Delve and Sharepoint can significantly reduce the staff isolation and allow for full visibility and transparency of day-to-day work and interactions.
The network bandwidth most individuals have at home is shared. With everyone trying to access that bandwidth at the same time, throughput quickly becomes an issue. How can bandwidth crunching be mitigated?
By implementing certain tools along with a dedicated wireless access point, bandwidth crunching can be mitigated and improve overall performance for staff working from home, especially if there are other family members relying heavily on internet usage.
Migration to the cloud has been prevalent for the past decade yet nearly three quarters of applications still run on-premises. It may be time to accelerate your organization’s migration to the cloud, allowing those on-prem apps to be accessed remotely while also being able to centrally manage your staff, data, security and compliance. It may also be time to explore replacing those legacy on-premises applications with cloud based alternatives where possible.
It’s time to live in the “Cloud”. Aside from ease of access when working remotely, there are a number of benefits to relocating your entire operation to the cloud including but not limited to; 1. being able administer and manage staff from a central point, 2. being able to manage data globally and granularly, 3. ensuring security protocols are in-place and monitored, 4. ensuring compliance with your organizations rules and regulations as well as other legal requirements, 5. real-time backups and version control of documents.
Managed security services
Cybercriminals are already doing everything they can to exploit the current crisis. As cyberattacks increase in both volume and sophistication, organizations need to augment their cybersecurity capabilities to incorporate staff working from home and some instances from their own computers or mobile devices that may not be managed by the organization. Most organizations are now only a hack away from a major breach, simply because one credential was compromised while someone used a system from home to access a corporate application.
It’s time to expand the scope of Network Security and Firewalls to be sure your security measures incorporate home access from unsecured networks.
Access to IT staff will likely be less than it was few months ago. To make up for that shortage, most organizations should begin looking to aggressively automate their IT processes. For many of our clients we have already introduced automation across their organizations, however, there are a number of processes and workflows which can be improved further.
No one knows for certain how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last or how long it might take for the global economy to recover. Savvy organizations should assume the latter is going to be a lot longer than the former and adjust their practices. In the longterm, the processes, procedures and tools implemented today will not only allow your organization to operate through this new reality but will strengthen its resilience moving forward.