Article from our partners at TPx Communications. Written by Lucie Hys, Senior Product Marketing Manager at TPx.
An Emergency Work-at-Home Toolkit for Business
Twitter just told all of its employees to work at home 100% of the time because of the coronavirus and you may be next when it comes knocking on your office door. It is a scenario all companies should be thinking about at this time and get ready for. Fortunately, off-the-shelf solutions that enable quick, secure and effective implementation of collaboration, communication and business continuity are readily available. Here’s an annotated checklist of key tools to look for that you can quickly roll out to your workforce and help your business come through this period unscathed.
Unified Communications & Collaboration
- Video calling. There’s not going to be time for a measured culture shift to a newly remote, distributed workplace. Adding familiar faces to conversations will help lessen the dislocation and keep people connected.
- Instant Messaging & Presence (IM&P): When you can’t walk down the hall, these tools make it easy for users to see whether a colleague is available for a chat, then instantly send a message.
- Collaboration services: Virtual, always-on meeting room space for ad-hoc or planned meetings so your teams can easily share information and collaborate using any combination of group chat, voice and video conferencing, desktop and application sharing, and file sending.
- Unified messaging: Remote users need access to emails, voicemails, and texts in the format that works best for them, depending on where they are and what they’re doing. Unified mailbox, notifications, and user-defined call routing increase user productivity.
Security & Continuity
While communication and collaboration are essential for remote workplace, so is security and business continuity. It is critical to have the right technology in place that supports the remote staff’s productivity and connectedness, while keeping the company secure. The last thing you need is to adopt a patchwork of complicated applications and systems that tax your IT department and create new risks. Look for solutions that include these elements:
- Comprehensive firewall management: You want your newly remote employees to be safe within the corporate network via secure VPN access that gives them access to critical applications and helps them remain productive. Firewalls can ensure internet traffic from remote workstations gets the same protection as if physically in the office, given they are up-to-date and properly configured and managed.
- Secure endpoints: The laptops now sitting on home office desks can become vulnerable points of entry for cybercriminals, so securing them properly is critical. You’ll want to make sure that they can easily receive security patches, Next Generation AV, secure remote control and troubleshooting support.
- Failover when the cable hiccups: For mission critical positions you want to ensure that there’s not a single point of failure looming. If the home broadband connection goes down and you’re streaming TV, it’s an annoyance. For a business with employees providing essential services, it’s a disaster. There are solutions like managed SD-WAN that will automatically switch to a 4G LTE connection that will keep your folks working for as long as needed.
- Reliable support: It’s always important to be able to call for help when you’re implementing a new system or tool, but that becomes a matter of business life or death when you’re in the middle of crisis management and making changes on a timetable measured in hours instead of months. Consider simplifying your crisis workload by working with a managed services provider that can coordinate all the moving parts during this time so you can concentrate on your business – and sleep a bit more comfortably.
Upwork’s “Future Workforce Report” predicts that 73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028. Working remotely is slowly becoming “the new normal” and all companies should get ready for the work-from-home scenario.
Computers Nationwide Provides the Innovative Solutions Your Business Needs to Work From Anywhere, Without Missing a Beat!
During this time of uncertainty, both business owners and employees fear the impact of COVID-19 and what the future may bring. While many aspects are out of our control, we want to do whatever we can to help keep your business running as smoothly as possible! Here are a few services that will help SMB’s and remote workers thrive…
Put the power of unified communications to work! To be successful in this virtual work environment, you need to have access to your colleagues, customers, business data, and applications on any device and any network. UCaaS allows employees to easily find, connect and communicate with each other in real time using presence, instant messaging and voice. These internet-based tools gives the user the same experience from the desktop to mobile keeping work moving effortlessly. Send and receive calls, instant messages and video calls from any device – keeping all communications in the same location
While the ease of connecting with coworkers and the workplace virtual network is a good thing, that same connectivity that allows your employees to access the network remotely could be the greatest security risk to your company. What can your business do to safeguard your private data while also granting employee access to important files from any location? We have the answer for you: Endpoint Protection! This practice protects your desktops computers, laptops, and mobile devices from vicious cyberattacks.
The idea of telecommuting or working on a group project without physically being in the same place has been made possible (and easy) with cloud-based technologies. The conveniences these services bring to the workplace are crucial in supporting teamwork. With software like Microsoft 365, collaboration is easier than ever before. Storing your important documents in the cloud will make your data accessible, safe, and secure – even at home! Workers feel more productive, connected, and empowered due to the flexibility and efficiency of the cloud, and business owners feel more confident in allowing their team to work remotely. Microsoft Teams is a software solution that enables SMBs to perform many essential business tasks remotely. With Teams, you can virtually chat, collaborate, and meet with employees, customers, suppliers, and partners.
The SD-WAN model is designed to fully support applications hosted in on-premise data centers, public or private clouds and SaaS solutions such as Salesfore.com, Workday, Office365 and Dropbox, while delivering the highest levels of application performance. “SD-WAN uses a centralized control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the WAN. This increases application performance, resulting in enhanced user experience, increased business productivity and reduced costs for IT.” TPX’s managed SD-WAN will automatically switch to a 4G LTE connection that will keep your team working for as long as needed!