In a remote office environment, employees rely on technology to collaborate and finish projects within deadlines. Network issues, however, can be a problem. Problems in your online platform, client websites, and other collaboration tools can affect the productivity of your employees. And since they are working remotely, they cannot personally tap your IT personnel to fix issues for them.
Even so, this doesn’t mean that you cannot provide your remote workers with adequate IT support. With new technology, below are several ways to do it:
- Outsource Your Tech Support
Once you realize that IT-related concerns are increasing after switching to a remote office setup, you need to have responsive IT support. You must consider outsourcing this department if you don’t have time and sufficient resources to have an in-house information technology (IT) team. Instead of hiring full-time technology professionals, you can immediately match with the ones who fit your organization’s needs.
A reputable IT service provider can conduct updates for compliance, make your channel available on multiple devices, and commission a security audit. Furthermore, you won’t need to provide them with high-end tools to help your remote employees because chances are they already have them.
Another outstanding benefit of outsourcing your IT team includes 24/7 service availability for your remote staff. For instance, if your night shift employee faces an issue within your platform, they won’t need to wait until the daytime to receive assistance. As a result, they will have a consistent workflow with zero to minimal downtime, ensuring a more productive workflow.
- Establish A Risk Mitigation Strategy
Every organization is exposed to various risks that might damage its assets and confidential business information. Without having a well-planned strategy to counter these threats, breaches may result in regulatory fines, increased employee turnover, and client dissatisfaction. Furthermore, companies that aren’t prepared to resolve a minor crisis might have to deal with reputational damage.
Regardless of the threat, entrepreneurs must provide their teams with a risk management plan. You should implement a robust risk mitigation strategy that will enable you to reduce the impact of high-priority risks. As you improve the cybersecurity posture of your remote team, you can ensure there’s an appropriate number of resources and personnel to track all projects. Also, this plan allows you to protect all sensitive employee information that will give your workers the peace of mind that their details are secured from unauthorized access.
- Encourage Employees To Use A Secure VPN
When you allow your workforce to accomplish their tasks wherever they want, they might decide to stay in a café or a restaurant. Usually, this means that they might connect their devices to a public Wi-Fi to gain access to the internet and work on their tasks. Unfortunately, they might face threats like malware distribution, theft of confidential business information, unencrypted connections, and session hijacking.
To safeguard your remote employee’s devices from these risks, you must provide them with a secure network. A secure virtual private network (VPN) might just be the solution. As you select a VPN, you must check the reliability of the provider so you can protect your company’s data. Additionally, you must ensure that the service provider you select has multiple servers in the countries where you want to access important content.
A secure VPN is also useful if your remote employees are working from locations that may be geographically blocked from accessing certain websites and content. For example, if a client of yours has only allowed US-based users to access their website but your employee is working in France, then a VPN can help with that. With easier access to the website, your remote employee can work more efficiently without needing assistance from team members who are in different locations.
- Provide Communication Options
When communication tools fail, project collaboration and performance both suffer. By implementing open lines of communication, managers and their staff can establish a robust level of trust, ensuring a smooth project flow.
Although email is still a reliable way to communicate with your remote workers, you must still provide them with other ways to interact with one another. You may try messaging apps to enable real-time instant messaging. This option will allow employees, managers, and the IT team to immediately resolve technical issues. Moreover, you must consider using video conferencing apps so you can talk to your staff at a more personal level. This also helps clear up any misunderstanding in case written requests and instructions were difficult to follow.
If you own a corporation and allow your workforce to deal with their tasks remotely, you may consider creating an IT call line. Doing so enables employees to receive immediate help by ringing in as soon as something goes wrong with their devices or accounts. You may also use this communication avenue in non-emergency situations like setting passwords to access old accounts or recovering unintentionally deleted files.
- Provide Appropriate Equipment
In an office setting, companies provide their employees with essential supplies like adapters, computers, and cords. So, you may want to consider investing in the same equipment and have it delivered to your remote workers to boost their efficiency.
Other than desktop or laptop computers, you should think about sending mobile phones to your remote employees. This strategy allows you to ensure that your confidential business information won’t put your company at risk if they continue accessing this data over their phones. As a result, supplying business-owned equipment to your remote workers will allow you to control security measures, offering uniform access to everyone while simplifying support obstacles.
If both options seem expensive for your organization, you may want to offer to pay for any essential calls they make on their devices as long as they record them. If you own a startup and can’t afford to supply high-end mobile devices yet, you must employ a mobile device management (MDM) policy. This system will incorporate security and software distribution, effective asset management, and policy enforcement.
- Educate Employees About Remote Security Measures
As you deliver new devices to your remote employees, they need to adopt the practical usage of these collaborative tools immediately. While most of them might have already instantly gotten used to them, some may still need further assistance in using specific features designed to improve their workflow.
Most network security incidents that can quickly affect an entire organization come from remote staff who don’t know how to deal with security threats. Therefore, educating your employees on remote security protocols that safeguard organization personnel and sensitive data is imperative. This activity strengthens your company’s security parameters by ensuring that all employees know different types of cyber-attacks and how they can respond to them.
As you plan for the cybersecurity training module for your remote staff, you must use easy-to-understand language. During training, the moderator must provide handouts about common technology-related issues. This activity must be able to tackle how to set up a strong password, what to do if a device or platform is not responding, and who your employees should contact once a program stops responding.
You must also warn your employees about phishing scams and how to spot one. This is quite common, especially if your company relies on emails as a major form of communication. There are hackers that employ phishing scams through emails. They may present themselves as legitimate representatives of partners, clients, or customers, then lure your employees to click a certain link where they have to input sensitive business information. Your employees must be wary of these tactics, especially because these hackers are very crafty at creating emails.
- Provide Weekly Security Reminders
Remote employees are vulnerable to threats that might leave sensitive business information in the hands of cybercriminals. As an organizational leader, you must remind them about the importance of dealing with cyber issues by sending them weekly notifications. Then provide them with additional security measures to ensure they’re all actively securing confidential data.
For instance, you may tell them to keep their devices inside their home offices and lock the door if they’re going on a break. After that, you must remind them to regularly update their firmware or router’s password to prevent other people from accessing it. Also, you must advise them to use supported versions of operating systems to stop putting business data at risk and at the same time, protect their privacy.
You can also consider strengthening your employees’ account security by using two-factor authentication or having them change their password every three months or so. These additional measures may seem like too much work, but they are good preventive measures. It’s better to prevent a security breach rather than deal with the damage later on.
As an entrepreneur, you must ensure that your entire personnel actively protects confidential business information. With that, you should consider following these seven strategies in providing IT support to your remote workforce. Aside from IT support, there are also a lot of measures regarding cyber security that educate and protect your employees from potential threats and cyber-attacks. As a result, you can boost the performance of your employees while safeguarding vital company data and sustaining a good business reputation.