Worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic Pushes Businesses to Sudden Remote Working Strategic Deployment – Is Your Business’ IT Ready?
With the Covid-19 pandemic impacting people worldwide, we also see business disruption across the vast majority of companies across Canada. Companies are looking for ways to maintain productivity as much as possible as we all deal with the new normal. For businesses of all sizes, this means that offices will be reduced to essential personnel only, with the majority of their staff working remotely.
For some companies, enabling working from everywhere has been a priority for a long while; for others, this is uncharted territory. While business continuity and productivity are key during the Covid-19 pandemic, your IT solutions team’s focus should be on strategic deployment of IT services, access, tools, and security to staff to maintain productivity while working remotely.
4 Areas of IT Services to Consider for a Rapid and Effective Remote Working Business Environment due to Covid-19
Here are 4 key IT services considerations to look at to enable a new remote workforce.
1. Can your internet connection handle employees working remotely due to Covid-19?
First and foremost, does your existing bandwidth support a large number of new remote users logging in from outside your network? If not and your urgent requirement mean a few dozen or even a few hundred new users, reaching out to your internet service provider is a good first step to see if you can easily increase your capacity, immediately.
However, if you have a large organization with thousands of new remote workers or are already at the highest level of connectivity in your area, then your IT services team needs to look at alternative strategies. For some organizations, time shifting their workers is an option, so not everyone is logging in at the same time. This can involves identifying critical workers and making sure that they have IT services access when they need to; it can also mean that your organization opts to operate as if you are in a disaster recovery situation.
2. Does your existing IT infrastructure support a pandemic-driven remote workforce?
After identifying any connectivity challenges, the next IT services area to examine is your business’ internal IT infrastructure. This includes assessing if your key IT solutions, applications, servers, and network can support workers operating outside of your office building. If your organization is facing sudden performance degradation in critical IT infrastructure, do you have the tools for strategic deployment of diagnosing and fixing the IT issues?
After analyzing your physical IT environment, another consideration is how new remote workers will change your software licensing for the tools they will need. For example, do you have enough licenses for your virtual private network (VPN) or your other IT solutions and tools that remote workers use, like Remote Desktop Session (RDS) for your Windows environment?
One solution to this is to look at an outside cloud provider that can supplement your existing IT infrastructure. There are a few different ways this can work and its best to discuss your specific situation with a cloud provider. In a case where a quick, strategic deployment is necessary, working with a cloud provider that can also architect an environment on your behalf can deal with one of the most prevalent challenges if your applications do not have a cloud native option.
3. Is your IT security able to handle the sudden increase in your remote workforce due to Covid-19?
There are a number of cyber security challenges that can come with a large increase in a remote workforce. These are not new or unique to COVID-19. In a journal article for ISACA, areas like company assets, personal security, cloud technologies, regulations, and compliance are potential issues and should be considered very carefully by your business’ secure IT services team.
In addition to this, if your organization is used to having most of its workers in the office, it can be more difficult to identify basic attacks such as social engineering or spear phishing where the attacker tries to convince you that they are an executive and ask you to share sensitive information, like the company’s banking details.
4. How do work-from-home employees impact your business’s disaster recovery strategy?
An unexpected increase in remote workers can also severely impact a company’s disaster recovery strategy. With more groups operating outside of your network, it is important to have both the means and process to ensure that all critical data is stored properly. This does require some effort in architecting your IT environment.
For example, some of the questions that your IT services team needs to ask and answered include:
- Does your primary data site have a redundant internet connection to avoid a single point of failure?
- How will you safeguard your remote data?
- How do you support IT problems for remote workers?
Organizations have been moving to a more mobile workforce for several years, so the path is carved. During these urgent and uncertain times, protecting your workers and clients from COVID-19 has, in some cases, forced a rapid acceleration and strategic deployment of remote working capabilities. With proper IT services planning and guidance from IT consulting experts, it is very manageable.
If your organization is looking for help to rapidly and safely deploy a remote workforce, contact a managed IT solutions provider with experience with rapid strategic deployment of IT solutions for mobile/remote work IT environments.