At a time when more and more staff are being asked to work from home following the Coronavirus outbreak, it is important that your business has a contingency plan with a close eye towards avoiding serious disruption of your operations.
How will it affect Vital?
As you may be aware, Vital has fully embraced cloud, mobility and secure working, meaning we are already prepared to assist business with planning for remote working. Fortunately, all of our key systems for day-to-day services are cloud-based and easily accessible to our staff through a remote office connection.
Our telephone systems are also cloud-based, meaning that most of our staff and help-desk technicians will be able to continue to operate from home just as if they were in the office.
Clearly, there may be a small impact on response levels – especially if our staff are affected by the virus themselves – but in general, we should be able to operate as normal.
How can Vital Technology help you?
Being effective and productive away from the office relies on your staff have the right tools, information and contacts. Remote working and mobility have been a driving force in the IT industry for some time with the continued growth of the cloud and the development of a whole host of digital tools. Below are our key approaches to allow your business to get the most from remote work.
Communication and Collaboration – Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams can connect your employees seamlessly, regardless of whether they’re in the office or at home. By collaborating on Microsoft Teams, your staff will be able to work more effectively with each other and will be able to maintain consistent rapport, thanks to the Teams’ instant messaging. If you do not already have an effective communication application in place, talk to us about how Teams can assist your employees with remote work.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
SaaS is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the internet. Many applications are already SaaS-based. For example, your staff will be able to access https://outlook.office365.com remotely from their personal computer or smartphone. Other CRM systems are now also commonly SaaS-based, these include Xero and Sage Cloud. If your business does not currently operate its applications through a SaaS-based system, this may be something you need to consider in order to ensure your staff have access to your key accounts.
Many companies will already have a remote desktop facility which provides users with remote access back to the desktop and/or server at their office, in order to access data and applications. If your business does not currently utilise this facility, it might be worth putting it in place as part of your contingency plan. Remote desktop access is a highly secure option which ensures all data and applications remain inside the business system. Implementing this will allow your staff to log in from their own device without compromising the integrity of your private data.
With these systems in place, using them securely is extremely important. MFA (Multi-factor Authentication) is a security system that verifies a user’s identity by requiring multiple credentials. Rather than just asking for a username and password, MFA requires other additional credentials, such as a code from the user’s smartphone. With staff working remotely, employing an MFA system will provide enhanced security and ensure your data and systems are only accessed by verified users. At Vital we install Duo MFA for ourselves and our clients. If you do not have an MFA system already in place, talk to us about having it installed for your business.
VPN has been around for a long time and is in some ways the old man of the remote access cloud. A VPN creates a secure connection between your home and our office. VPN is still very relevant today, particularly in the current situation. For business laptop users, installing a VPN is a simple and easy way to ensure that your remote users can continue to access office or other service-based applications and data.
If your business has already fully embraced the cloud and adopted a completely cloud-based infrastructure, implementing your contingency plan and enabling your employees to work remotely should be a relatively smooth process. If not, it may be time to adopt cloud services. Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing service that we implement for our clients allowing their business to manage and run their applications and services through Microsoft-managed cloud data centres. Using a cloud computing service means that your staff will be able to access your systems and applications from anywhere at any time and on any device.
What to do next?
For specific guidance and assistance relevant to your business, send us an email to email@example.com for tailored guidance and support. Due to high call volumes at the moment, we would ask you to avoid contacting the normal helpdesk in the first instance to ensure they continue to focus on providing support to your users.