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What businesses need in their work-from-home enablement

While the world is working on preventing the further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), organisations are making extraordinary shifts to work remotely. IT and data centre managers are facing a host of new technical challenges, from asset management and security to Cloud applications and workflow automation.

So, what did we do?

How do organisations with employees/contractors who carry sensitive data outside the firewall ensure compliance with CCPA and GDPR?

We talked to several IT managers, security experts and tech analysts during a live Twitter conversation to discuss some of the challenges that organisations are facing. It’s clear that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are some things we’ve learned from our experts to help optimise your work-from-home enablement to better manage your organisation.

Expecting the unexpected

VPN shield graphic

Preparation is key, and it’s recommended that organisations have remote access or virtual environments set up from day one. Ellie Hurst, Head of Marcomms & Media at Advent IM, explains that the single biggest challenge for organisations has been the “rapid deployment of equipment for those who don’t normally work this way”. By implementing virtualisation or remote access from the get-go, organisations don’t have to retrofit solutions or use a mix of public Cloud services as a stop-gap measure. As the coronavirus pandemic has shown, being able to stay connected, from anywhere, is vital to keep organisations running.

To establish remote access from the start, most security experts recommend ensuring that employees connect via virtual private networks (VPN). If you’re managing a large WFH personnel that used to be centrally located, it’s worth profiling your data with an entity search tool (Office 365, Cloud storage, laptops) to see whether the shift has put you at an increased risk. Using a well-proven VPN with clearly defined firewall restrictions will ensure that every remote device is tracked, and any risks mitigated.

Staying alert

How has WFH altered the methods by which IT keeps employees or personal notebook data secure?

Security systems need to be updated and patched, and employees need to stay alert to potential phishing scams. In these times, it’s easy to see hackers and cyber threats arise because people are more likely to trust an email that looks like it’s from an official source or website. As tech expert Matt Tyrer explains, “People are ready to take advantage of the situation, so it’s important to verify who that email came from, triple-check the links before clicking and watch what you download.” Re-educating your workforce about how to spot phishing scams and questioning any and all download requests must be a priority.

With the flexibility that working from home provides, not everyone is going to be available at the same time. This also goes for IT departments, when network or device maintenance will require extended IT response times. Time is a shared resource as employees balance working from home with their personal lives. This means employees might block out certain time slots to get work done or to focus on personal matters. Sarah Janes calls these changes in workflows “blurred lines” and says both employees and employers must be flexible in adapting to them.

Man working on a laptop PC with his son

Many of these recommendations are designed to keep business moving forward, but don’t expect it to be on a regular reoccurring schedule. The ways in which we work have changed, and companies must adapt to these new challenges for the foreseeable future.


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