Get Your Employees Working Efficiently From Home
Virtual offices have become the new norm for many businesses. That by no means makes business owners experts in how to navigate this new environment. How to Get Your Employee’s to Work Remotely
For most employees, transitioning from an office to a home-working domain is not as simple as it may seem. For business owners, it is even more complex. From security concerns to home network reliability to dealing with turnover and new employee onboarding, the changes to address when suddenly managing a home office network for your business can be overwhelming.
Hexis Consulting is here to help. We have compiled some simple suggestions to help you embrace your new normal and face some of the biggest tech challenges that come with leading a virtual office.
Many small businesses implement extensive policies in their offices, on company PCs, servers, and other devices to ensure that sensitive company data is transmitted securely and that it is not susceptible to theft or damage by malicious actors. This often takes the form of anti-virus and anti-malware software, firewalls, other network-level security, user permissions, restrictions on users installing software on company PCs, and the list goes on...
One place that most small businesses are lacking adequate security is an unexpected one: on the computers and networks of your employee's home. If your employees find themselves in a position where they need to suddenly perform company business from home, security should be every business' first thought.
Particularly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, malicious actors everywhere have used insecure home networks as an attack vector, allowing them to gain access to sensitive company information. Oftentimes, this leads to that sensitive information being held hostage for extortion in the form of locking the files so that users cannot access them without paying a ransom, or even worse, by exposing sensitive customer data unless a ransom is paid.
How you can ensure security for your employee's home network:
1. Use a managed anti-virus product on all external PCs and devices that will access company information.
2. Secure your home user's network by segregating home and business traffic.
3. Implement a secure remote desktop solution that keeps all sensitive company information in the cloud.
4. Use a Hardware as a Service platform where fully configured PCs and phones are sent by your IT provider directly to the end-user.
5. Implement a secure password storage solution.
Effective Home Network Onboarding
The shortcomings of many businesses' digital strategy have become apparent in their ability to quickly shift from operating with onsite staff, to a model where employees have to rapidly start working from home. With call handling procedures, onsite company file servers, and a myriad of resources that are normally accessed via the same means every day, rapidly changing this flow can be quite difficult for the average small business.
Additionally, some of the required upgrades can be very challenging from a cash flow standpoint, especially considering the other hardships that are likely also hitting your business at the same time.
How you can achieve successful home network onboarding:
1. Install a VOIP phone system. A knowledgeable IT company should be able to get you set up with this in less than a week. Once it is installed, phones can simply be delivered through the post office to your employees to plug in and start using.
2. Self-troubleshooting guides that give your employees a simple checklist of procedures to follow can reduce support issues significantly when a problem arises.
3. A Hardware as a service program can allow you to lease or rent the hardware necessary for remote work, reducing the burden to cash flow.
Quality of Service
Perhaps the biggest issue with residential networks is that they are essentially un-managed. While your business has (or should have) an IT guy that checks on your hardware, physical data connections, and network connections, a residential network setup can go years or (alarmingly) even decades without a technology professional conducting a deep evaluation of performance. Under normal conditions, there is little reason to spend the time and effort needed to make sure that network connections inside of your house are functioning optimally, but when mission-critical business operations depend on the ability to make your employee's home network run smoothly, it takes on a newfound priority.
For better or worse, Hexis Consulting is staffed with professionals who have their roots in the telecommunications industry, where most of us started at the bottom - in the IT world, that means working the help-desk and field support tickets. What we can all agree on is that most home "internet" issues are usually not internet issues at all, but internal networking issues related to a bad Wi-Fi signal or incorrect internal configuration.
How you can improve home networks for business use:
1. Have your IT guy remote into your PC and run an analysis. They will be able to identify where a problem is stemming from, whether it is, in fact, internet-related, or a bad cable, bad wifi signal, or a bad configuration, and they will likely be able to sort it out.
2. Check your data cabling. Oftentimes home connectivity issues are rooted in the fact that there is a lot of old coax cabling that used to run to TVs and other devices that are still connected but are no longer providing a feed to anything. By disconnecting unnecessary cables and removing un-needed splitters, you can improve your cable signal and decrease loss. If you are not familiar with how the setups are connected - again, ask your IT guy.
3. WiFi is a no go. Most home PCs are connected via WiFi rather than via a hardwired Ethernet connection. While that is fine for casual web browsing, it should not be used for business-critical applications, especially ones that involve audio like Zoom, GoToMeeting, Skype, etc. In most homes with an unfinished basement, it is very quick to run data cabling from one room to another, in some houses, it can be much more challenging.
These are the top things that we think are important to take into consideration when adapting to a remote work situation. Following these steps with the help of a qualified IT provider like Hexis Consulting will have your employees working securely and effectively from home - or from just about any location - in less than a week. The one thing we can't fix is your cat jumping on your keyboard...