As British Columbia Nears 700 Cases of COVID-19, Businesses Are Forced to Shut Down Their Physical Offices and Work Remotely. Here’s Our Guide from a Technology Perspective.

Society is undergoing major changes to the way it operates – from individuals staying home as much as possible to social distancing in public to non-essential businesses, daycares, and schools being shut down. British Columbia has nearly 700 cases of COVID-19 as of this posting, with between 3,300 and 3,600 people being tested each and every day. The best way to maintain the health and safety of your staff members, loved ones, and communities around you is to stay home – meaning businesses must embrace the concept of remote work.

As Businesses Transition to Remote Work, It’s Time to Make the Most of Digital Tools and Best Practices Available to Make the Change Successful.

Most leadership teams and employees will have to adjust to a new way of working: remotely. Coronavirus introduces a range of challenges for businesses that have yet to embrace a mobile workforce – from ensuring sensitive data stays safe against cybercrime to leveraging the right collaboration tools to stay productive and everything in between. Our guide is designed to help you make the most of digital tools and best practices available, and ultimately, stay fully operational during the coronavirus pandemic.

Compunet InfoTech is taking the spread of coronavirus seriously. We’re working hard to transition many of our clients to a remote workforce that helps to limit the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible. Here’s what we recommend for transitioning to remote work from a technology perspective…

Stage 1: Assess Your Employees and Their Technology Resources

Before you can start investing in the right tools or creating processes for cybersecurity, it’s important to assess your employees and their technology resources.

  • What employees can perform their job functions from home?
  • Do those employees have the internet connectivity necessary for remote work?
  • Do those employees have up-to-date devices, including computers, laptops, and smartphones?
  • Will you need to purchase mobile hot-spots or data plans to supplement slow internet connectivity?
  • Will you need to upgrade any devices, including computers, laptops, and smartphones, to ensure adequate reliability?
  • Will you need to provide any extras, such as webcams for computers not equipped with them or high-quality headsets with mics?

Stage 2: Make Any Necessary Investments Into Hardware

Now that you’ve assessed your employees and their technology resources, it’s time to make any necessary investments into hardware and software. This means purchasing any equipment needed, such as computers, laptops, and smartphones or mobile hot-spots and data plans as listed above. A VPN, also known as a virtual private network, is a good choice for those who are using home computers. A VPN essentially:

  • Provides a secure, encrypted tunnel for employees to access the network.
  • Keeps sensitive data safe against unauthorized access.

You may also choose to leverage a VDI, also known as a virtual desktop infrastructure, as a more affordable alternative to upgrading employee computers within their homes. A VDI enables your employees to access their workstation in the office from home – meaning all of the settings, operating system, and applications will be available to them.

Stage 3: Sort Out Collaboration and Line of Business Applications

Your employees will need access to important information, documents, and files. If you don’t have a suite of collaboration tools, Microsoft Office 365 is a great place to start – giving your team access to emails, contacts, calendars, and files, alongside the following applications:

  • Word
  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • OneDrive
  • SharePoint
  • Teams

Microsoft Teams, in particular, is perfect for remote work as it allows employees to access a range of apps and tools within one window to help them work efficiently. They can:

  • Hold group chats and conferences with as many people as necessary.
  • Video chat with one another to maintain a high level of productivity and morale.
  • Access and edit files in real-time to collaborate on important documents with ease.
  • And much, much more

Microsoft is offering a free 6-month trial of Microsoft Office 365 E1, including Microsoft Teams, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Interested in getting started? Get in touch with us right away through our support agent’s chat box to the right of this article.

You will also need access to your line of business applications, including ERP systems, CRM systems, HR systems, accounting systems, and more. If you don’t have a cloud-based version of these applications, we can help ensure you’re set up and ready to go.

Stage 4: Move Your Business Phones to the Cloud

If you heavily depend on your business phones, it’s likely a good idea to move them to the cloud. A VoIP solution, also known as a voice over IP solution, allows employees to maintain access to their work line from home. Essentially, they can make and receive calls over the internet and access the enterprise-grade features they need to maintain a high level of customer service:

  • Voicemail-to-email
  • Call routing
  • Call forwarding
  • Conference calling
  • Music-on-hold
  • And much more

Stage 5: Create a Cybersecurity Policy

Lastly, it’s vital to create a cybersecurity policy that addresses all of the risks of working from home. Although a VPN can help decrease the risks, employees should be aware of the following:

  • Cybercriminals will be taking advantage of the pandemic and launching phishing attacks designed to convince unsuspecting victims to click on links or download attachments offering a “list of infections in your area” or “updated guidelines to staying healthy.”
  • Best practices in regards to using strong, hard-to-guess passwords and avoiding any dangerous or malicious websites must be followed at all times, even while working away from the office.

Get in Touch with Compunet InfoTech to Get Started with Remote Work. Call (604) 986-8170 for More Information.