Your launchpad - choosing the right tools for remote working
In recent weeks, companies across the UK have found themselves transitioning to a remote workforce with little to no choice, despite the approach previously being treated as solely for limited or specific circumstances. There's no doubt that the rapid implementation of a whole new way of working presents considerable challenges, but as the Exponential-e teams who've partnered with organisations across a range of sectors to do so have demonstrated, it is very much achievable, provided you start with the right solutions in place.
In particular, consider the following…
A secure VPN
Virtual Private Networks have long been the benchmark solution for remote working, but with the spread of COVID-19, we are seeing companies moving from maintaining a few VPN licenses for specific instances to deploying them for their whole workforce. However, there's a good reason for this – if implemented correctly, it maximises security by encrypting all data you send through your company network. While you may require a cloud-based solution for specific applications, a quality VPN is an intelligent foundation for your day-to-day work.
A password manager
It's no secret that reusing passwords across different platforms presents a great risk of cyber criminals accessing corporate systems through guesswork. Nonetheless, it's still tempting for employees to do so due to the difficulty in keeping track of large numbers of unique passwords, especially when they need to be regularly updated, in line with internal security protocols. Fortunately, a password manager tool which integrates with your web browser makes it easy to keep your passwords secure, while still ensuring they are available when you need them. Ask your IT team if they recommend a specific one.
External backups are a key part of any effective business continuity and disaster recovery strategy, which should still be the case when you're working from home rather than the office. Your company is likely to have a system in place for this, particularly if you have already adopted a cloud-based strategy, so ensure you follow all guidelines when you begin remote working.
The right WFH solution
One of the biggest obstacles to remote working in the past has been the need to maintain continuity with existing business processes and systems, ensuring work can be conducted as normal, without compromising either security or efficiency. Fortunately, there are several ways of doing this, but it's important to be conscious of security when using such solutions, and always use the one recommended by your IT team. A proven, trusted platform like Exponential-e's Working from Home solution is ideal, allowing teams to continue using your company's preferred tools as normal, regardless of where they are logging on from. This will ensure a smooth transition to remote working for the entire workforce.
Two-factor or multi-factor authentication
Related to the above, two-factor or multi-factor authentication provides an extra level of peace of mind, by creating an extra obstacle for cyber criminals, even if one of your passwords is compromised. As password theft measures have become increasingly sophisticated over the years, this is no longer a 'nice to have' measure - it should be a standard part of your remote working systems and wider security policies.
Effective anti-virus protection
Viruses continue to evolve on a near-daily basis, and which means a robust anti-virus solution should still be your first line of defence and may even give you time to secure your infrastructure in the event of a password being compromised. Make sure an industry-standard solution is installed on all your devices and enable automatic updates.
Bear in mind that the technology and processes are only part of an effective remote working system. Establishing best practice amongst staff at all levels, ensuring chosen solutions are able to evolve with your organisation, and having the right partners to support your ongoing growth are all equally important. To find out more about how remote working can become a powerful tool for future business growth, download our Working from Home Checklist, which sets out our experts' proven strategies for making this a reality.