Trenches Law News • December 15th 2020
It’s been a difficult year for employers and employees alike, with workforces obligated to operate from physically disparate locations due to Covid-19. But with 74% of organisations set to maintain increased remote working practices when lockdown is only a distant memory, colleague connectivity has become of paramount importance for businesses large and small.
Discussing 5 tips to stay better connected in 2021 and beyond, we’ve invited Samuel Tamkin, technical director from London-based managed IT specialist Workplace Connect, to author our latest guest blog…
- Be savvy when it comes to homeworking security
A company’s IT infrastructure is typically protected by a robust corporate security network, in the traditional office environment. However, the move, at pace, to mass remote working, meant most business leaders’ priorities centred around sending colleagues home with a suitable device – laptop or desktop – so that they could regain their productivity as soon as possible.
Sadly, for many, security levels were overlooked – and worse still, have remained so, even months down the line.
Consequently, many employees are now routinely working remotely, accessing corporate resources including their emails, databases and files, via only their standard home network – which probably doesn’t even have a password. Even if the employee is fairly cyber savvy, the innocent behaviour of other household members could put the corporate device and its data, at risk.
This needs addressing – and quickly!
- Draw up a corporate configuration and compliance checklist – and stick to it
Business owners have – sometimes understandably – focused on rapid, ‘needs must’ decision making in 2020, but this has, at times, meant considered strategic thinking has been put on the back burner. So, when it comes to your communications infrastructure for the medium to long-term future of your organisation, take a step back, draw up a checklist of what needs to be done and when, and use this as a framework for progress. Seek help to create this checklist if any elements – such as disaster recovery – represent a step into the unknown.
- Prioritise productivity too
Many SMEs now have their data located in the cloud, which is convenient in some respects as it means colleagues’ access to information is not restricted when working from home. However, while superfast bandwidth may be common in the office environment, challenges arise if an employee’s new ‘workplace’ is in a remote rural area with poor connectivity or the individual doesn’t actually have their own broadband contract – as this cannot be presumed.
Employers need to sensitively explore this, and may consider supplying users with a dedicated internet connection – a separate line specifically for the corporate device. Alternatively, organisations can provide managed kit for the home, such as a managed router or firewall to carve up the traffic and ensure the quality of service.
- Embrace multichannel but realise one size does not fit all
The adoption of video conferencing solutions has advanced more in the last few months than it has for several years, with chat and instant messaging apps also proving popular to avoid clogging up email inboxes.
This multichannel, media rich experience really brings company communications to life and fuels productivity, but employers should express some caution when it comes to colleagues’ individual preferences and the continuation of more legacy comms systems too. Otherwise, the corporate tech stack can soon become vast, disjointed and unmanageable.
There are lots of product suites out there now which include voice too, allowing businesses to keep everything within one coherent ecosystem.
- Stay cyber safe
One of the biggest risks to a cyber threat or a phishing attack, can be non-malicious employee behaviour – or, more simply, human error. It is therefore crucial to ensure colleagues are thoroughly trained. Regular refresher sessions help too – particularly because it’s easy to slip into bad habits when away from the traditional working environment or working in ‘autopilot’ mode. One of the simplest ways to do this is to pause, breathe and do a 30 second check. If something feels ‘off’ – for example if the sender’s email looks strange behind the display name – stop!