Working from home can present some IT challenges and every business needs to consider these three essentials to ensure stress-free IT environment and therefore, work environment. Most people enjoy when technology does what is it supposed to do: make their lives easier in getting things done. In this post we bring to your attention the three essential aspects of well managed IT system. These are also the three areas most affected by the current imperative to have home-bound workforce.
If you regularly work from home, and this is likely to remain a norm beyond COVID-19, you need to be both productive and secure. And, your IT system plays the key role in your performance.
Challenge No 1: Internet
The number one issue is your home Internet. Consumer internet services rarely guarantee high speed, reliable connections and almost always limit the speed you can upload (send) data. If you have a dedicated home office that you use regularly, you should also consider having a dedicated Business Grade Internet Service supporting your home office. Available for as little as $150 a month, the benefits far outweigh the cost.
- Sharing a connection with the rest of the family in the house can have you working at a very slow pace. You are contending with the rest of the family for bandwidth. Others in the household may be doing their own work, downloading or streaming movies or music and that’s ultimately going to slow you down. A dedicated Business Grade Service with a Business grade router with a wired connection to your PC will ensure you have a fast and reliable connection and can be productive.
- Sharing a home network also exposes your work devices to any vulnerabilities that any other devices on you home network may have. A network allows all devices on it to communicate so you are potentially sharing your data with everyone connected to your home network.
Challenge No 2: Security
The number two issue is security. Your workplace will have a secured network that is managed and monitored by your IT Department.
- The devices you use at home for work should also be managed by your IT Department. If you have work data or are generating work data on personal devices, those devices need to have security and application patches installed to minimise any risk of data loss. Unpatched devices are full of known vulnerabilities.
- Your IT Department will also be monitoring devices for failed login attempts or anything else they might alert you to potential breaches. They will also ensure you have up-to-date Anti-Virus software on managed devices.
- Two Factor authentication for access to your email or work data will protect you from unauthorised access even if your password is compromised. This is cheap and quick to implement these days and should be mandatory if you require remote access.
- Ensure there is an audit trail. You should be able to review who is logging on, where they logged in from and what they had access to. Your IT Department should implement this level of logging if it is not currently available.
- Never work from a public network unless you are using a secured VPN service to access corporate data. Many fast food outlets offer “Free Internet”. Remember, “A network allows all devices on it to communicate” so you are potentially sharing your data with everyone connected to that public network.
Challenge No 3: Digital Collaboration
The number three issue is collaboration. Communication issues compound when everyone is not in the same workspace together. People who are used to working in groups manage activities, share work and exchange information very differently to people working remotely.
- If you work regularly with other people, consistent collaboration tools are required to allow you all to work together on things without duplication and version issues. Business data should always remain where it can be securely accessed by anyone authorised to access it.
- Everybody needs to be using the same tools or collaboration applications for them to be effective. Don’t be the colleague urging everyone to use Zoom for videoconferencing when your IT Department has provided Microsoft Teams for Video conferencing.
There is no reason why you cannot take your office phone number home with you these days. This can be done with a simple application on your smartphone or a dedicated handset sitting on your desk. People calling your work number don’t even have to know you are not taking their call in the office.
Employees and Employers are starting to see the benefits of remote working. Implemented properly, there is no reason why you cannot be just as productive and secure when working remotely as you can in the office.
Working from home is not likely to be a thing of the past anytime soon – and may not come to an end when the COVID-19 crisis settles.
If you get stuck, and you don’t have a stand-by IT Partner, contact IT Networks