Technology Considerations to Support Remote Working
March 13, 2020
Making the Jump from the Office to Remote Work
Disasters happen all the time. Earthquakes strike whether we’re ready for them or not. Disease outbreaks happen. Let’s not forget about human-caused disasters such as riots, acts of war, and terrorism. They all have unpredictable consequences for the people around them; therefore, the question becomes: Does your business continuity plan cover what your employees should do in any of these situations?
The current pandemic is highlighting the need to be prepared in any circumstance, whether due to the potential economic strain or operating your business in a remote environment. Of utmost importance is reducing risk to your employees and your business.
What organizations will find is implementing a remote-work strategy involves more than just asking people to work from home. It requires a set of processes, communication, and security. For some companies, policies are already defined as part of their current disaster recovery and business continuity plan. For others – the opportunity to test and identify future strategies is very apparent.
Remote Work Considerations
To help organizations as we are experiencing a surge in the ability to operate within remote work environments, SC&H Group’s Technology Advisory team has populated a comprehensive list of things to consider to safely and effectively operate during this time. Our hope is these considerations help whether you are just getting started or already have existing remote work programs but would like to significantly upgrade effectiveness to minimize impact to your customers, employees, suppliers, partners, etc.
- Establish a clear communication plan to your organization to convey important pandemic information and updates
- Work with your internal IT department and/or managed service provider (MSP) to understand your remote access capabilities.
- How much capacity do you have to support the maximum number of users?
- Are you securely configured to access sensitive information?
- Can you remotely access all business-critical applications and services?
- Are you able to provide technical support in a remote work situation?
- Review and distribute your continuity of business (COB) and disaster recovery (DR) plans, ensuring key personnel understand roles and responsibilities
- Leverage free video and audio-conferencing tools to serve as a replacement to in-person meetings with staff and colleagues during a remote work situation
- Ensure all critical technology functions operate and complete as scheduled (this may require on-site work by IT staff if these functions cannot be performed remotely)
- Remote work does not mean a lowered cybersecurity posture. With convenience comes risk so ensure your remote access platforms are correctly configured and support multi-factor authentication
In our current environment, now is not the time to have an ounce of shame around not having a comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity plan that details what to do operationally during a worldwide pandemic. Instead, now is the time to think of this as an opportunity to make your organization more efficient and to build a foundation that will allow your organization to operate effectively. And what better time than now to test your plan.
The Importance of Testing Out Your Remote Work Environment (On An Ongoing Basis)
Now, and in the future, it is important to consider whether or not your business has the technological capacity to support your employees in an entirely remote setting for a period of time, say two weeks?
Technology has made remote work possible, but it doesn’t always function as you expect—especially if you haven’t asked employees to test out their home office or offsite configurations. If you created your company’s response plan more than five years ago, it’s long overdue to re-test.
Technology has evolved at breakneck speed; data, applications, and services are in the cloud, and cybersecurity has become more critical than ever. Consequently, no matter who you are, there is usually considerable room to improve the digital employee experience when working outside the office on an ongoing basis.
In conclusion, even if an emergency plan can’t solve every problem, creating a strategy and knowing it works will set your company on firmer footing in a crisis. No matter the timeframe, whether rushed or having a comprehensive strategy prepared ahead of time, this should be a coordinated effort with your C-Suite, leadership teams, and key operational personnel, communicating the plan clearly with employees.
Consider it from this perspective: there are two kinds of computer users – those who back up their data and those who haven’t lost any data yet. The same is true for emergency preparedness plans. They seem unimportant until the moment you need one.
If you need to implement a work from home plan now and are scrambling or struggling to do so – please contact us. We are here to help organizations in need as we all navigate this current pandemic situation.