One of the biggest stories of 2020 so far has been the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). As the virus rapidly spreads across the UK, more and more businesses are under pressure to protect their employees and reduce the spread of infection. 

With that in mind, companies including tech giants, Google, Apple and Sony are asking their staff to work from home in an attempt to combat the virus and maintain business operations. 

In the upcoming weeks, as the number of remote workers increases, it’s imperative that organisations prepare their IT systems. Here, we look at the best tricks and tips to help your staff work effectively from home. 

 

Staying secure

As workers log in to work from home there is a risk they could increase the chance of exposure to another kind of virus, the kind that can infect your computer and exploit your personal data. It’s prime time for hackers who will no doubt sense the opportunity and steal sensitive information and commit fraud. 

There are a number of ways to keep your information secure, but most companies use virtual private networks (VPN). This creates an encrypted connection from an employee’s computer to their company’s IT system. 

However, it’s important to note that even businesses with a pre-existing VPN connection may need to buy more licenses to improve user capacity. Additionally, VPN installation can often take a couple of weeks. So, if it’s something you’re considering, it’s worth acting sooner rather than later! 

At ICT Solutions, our team will ensure the very best VPN system is installed to meet the needs of your business and help your employees work as safely and securely as possible. 

What’s more, we also recommend stress-testing your already existing servers to ensure they can cope with the increased demand of people working remotely.  

Another potential solution would be to access your work computer from home using remote desktop software (RDP). This will ensure your employees can access SaaS applications such as Office 365 and Salesforce from outside your office. 

It’s all well and good having a secure network system but if your employees are working from home, you might want to check that their broadband connects to a VPN (this can vary between providers and packages). 

Additionally, allowing staff to connect to the internet via public Wi-Fi is a big no-no! These networks are insecure and leave your personal data wide open to hackers. In many cases, we’d recommend you invest in a mobile hotspot or router that all of your staff can access.

Furthermore, it’s good practice to ensure that if your staff are using their own computers or company desktops that their systems are protected against viruses and vicious malware. You can shield their computers with Antivirus programmes such as AVG CloudCare – a first-class security software that protects your passwords and provides automated remote updates and scans.

What’s more, with employees working from home it’s likely your office building will be empty. This means that you could be at the risk of unwanted intruders. To give you peace of mind, we recommend installing a CCTV system which allows you to watch your business property live from the comfort of your own home. 

 

Keeping in touch 

Communicating with your colleagues is essential, which is why remote meeting services are currently on the rise during this tumultuous time. 

There are a number of different platforms available where you can keep in touch with your employees remotely and share documents. This includes Slack and Microsoft Teams, which offer file sharing, one-to-one and group video calls. 

 

Minimise distractions 

Last but not least, it’s important to try and minimise distractions as much as possible when working from home. We all know how easy it is to turn on your television or flick through your mobile phone apps. 

If you’re worried about your employees’ productivity then platforms such as Focusmate might be the answer! It provides you with an accountability partner by connecting the video of your computer to another home worker.  The platform claims that the social pressure of someone watching you work reduces procrastination. 

 

ICT Solutions is here to help

We hope this has provided you with some insight into how you can get your business ready as the coronavirus pandemic escalates. Long gone are the days when the notion of your employees working from home should fill you with dread. At ICT Solutions, our managed IT support services mean your business can continue to run as smoothly as possible. From VPN system installation to remote desktop access, get in touch with our team of experts and safeguard your business today!