Technology Tips for the New Normal
During this challenging time facing middle market businesses, Newport LLC has released several short videos entitled the Newport Business Brief. The most current release provides guidance around five best practices for managing your IT and technology issues in this new remote workforce environment.
Newport LLC has identified 5 remote workforce best practices that are critical to effectively create and maintain remote workplace management while your employees are working from home during the COVID-19 crisis.
Aside from the cultural issues for employees associated with working from a remote location and not with coworkers, integrating great technology solutions are necessary to creating and maintaining your remote work environment. Following these 5 guidelines will help you successfully set up a remote work environments:
1. Review the company’s current systems capability and performance. Talk to the company’s IT leader or Managed Service Provider and ask these questions:
- Does the company understand all of the remote access mechanisms they have?
- Has the company maintained our service levels on their technology?
- What new vulnerabilities arise with a remote workforce in terms of unauthorized access, hacking and confidentiality?
- How is security maintained with respect to user identity, validation and authorization?
It’s important for you to know whether your systems are safely and reliably meeting your current needs.
2. Next, take a look at the telework platform of the company. Standardize your digital communication platforms wherever possible. With so many teleconferencing platforms to choose from – Zoom…Skype… TEAMS… Go-To-Meeting – it’s best to settle on one and make sure everyone is trained on how to use the system and its security features.
3. Another critical area is connectivity. It’s a good idea to poll your remote workforce and know who has strong, fast, reliable service, and who doesn’t. In any event:
- Know where your weak spots are and
- Allocate budget to reduce bandwidth bottlenecks
and adjust roles and responsibilities if necessary.
4. Data security is another important topic, and a real spot of vulnerability in a remote workforce environment.
Do your employees log into a secure system via VPN or benefit from some other system-wide protection, or are they actually working on a platform that is only protected by the virus/malware program on their home computer? Know your line of defense.
If you are depending on home protection, standardize on a virus/malware package, make sure everyone installs it and runs that protection scan every day. Also, if business data will be stored on a home computer, you should require a backup protocol.
5. Finally, remain vigilant for phishing attacks. These are occurring every day as bad actors try to take advantage of new processes with anxious and distracted workers. Among the best practices we see are all-employee cyber security training and for critical processes, like transfer of money or proprietary documents, have adequate controls such as dual authentication.
Newport LLC can help your business face the many challenges during this time of crisis and potentially recovery.
Be vigilant. Be creative, and as always, stay safe.
Lynn Lednicky is a partner in the Houston office of Newport LLC.