The Ping: It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. 

Working Remotely. 

As the Corona Virus continues to become an ever increasing threat in the United States, provisions need to be made for the very real possibility of working remotely.  Even if we get lucky and not much happens here in Texas, it’s good to posess the ability for individuals to have the option of working remotely in the event of some other occurrence; a natural disaster or employee illness or injury.  

However, Remote Working has become a very real and ideal option for many of today’s businesses and has increasingly been replacing the traditional workplace environment.  Today numerous individuals work remotely full or part-time, or even while on business travel as a general practice.   

While Remote Work may allow an organization to spend less on physical real estate, it’s important to remember, where you save on physical space you need to invest in the appropriate technology infrastructure to allow for safe and efficient remote access.  In the long run, you may find that investing in infrastructure to allow individuals to work from home not only creates a better work-life balance, saves individuals time and reduces the traffic burden on our roads, makes for happier employees (who actually stay with a company as a result), but may even save an organization money. 

Safe Remote Working Practices. 

Whether an individual is working from home, or simply just another location it’s important to maintain appropriate safety protocols.   

From a cyber-security standpoint, ensure that all mobile devices (laptops, tablets, etc) have up to date security and malware software.  If sending particularly sensitive information or data, consider the option of utilizing encryption software, as well.  If you’re unsure whether your business software is up to date, or if you need suggestions on the most appropriate security or encryption software to utilize, please contact your UniVista Account Manager. 

If working in a public location, try to avoid using public Wi-Fi.  Public Wi-Fi is generally without a Firewall and essentially any nefarious individual staking out unsuspecting individuals can access your information. Additionally, anyone from the public network can access the information between your remote location computer and the office network if proper security measures are not taken into account.  Ideally, if working in a public location use a Hot Spot from a dedicated personal device or your phone.  Things to consider and take into account when accessing company information from a remote location are Multi-Factor Authentication, VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks) and Cyber Security Software (anti-virus, anti-malware and firewall software). If you have any questions or concerns regarding public networks, securing and backing up your business information or dedicated Hot Spots, again please don’t hesitate to contact your UniVista Account Manager. 

Other simple, but often overlooked non-technology security measures also have to be considered.  This would include simply preventing theft of your device which would include keeping your remote working location’s doors locked and never leaving your device unattended in a car or other unsecure location.  In the event a device is stolen, it’s a good idea to have encryption software installed on the system, as well. 

Also, when working in public places physically keep prying eyes away from potentially sensitive information by minimizing line of site from others or utilizing a location with your back to the wall and a clear view of others around.  Lastly, resist the temptation of utilizing a personal device for business communication or access, odds are your personal device does not have the same security measures a business device does and could therefore compromise data. 

Technologies for Remote Work 

Technologies and infrastructure an organization should consider when providing a Remote Work environment include mobile hardware tools, virtual collaboration and communication tools, project management tools, performance and employee engagement tools as well as the aforementioned Cybersecurity tools. 

Mobile hardware to consider would naturally include laptops configured with the appropriate speed, memory and software required to connect and collaborate efficiently.  Other hardware would include a Smartphone and optional items like a monitor and printer.  Don’t forget individuals working remotely will also need a robust internet connection. 

Virtual Collaboration and Communication tools would include email (Outlook, etc), VoIP (voice over internet provider) for phone communication/conferencing, Chat Apps to allow for simultaneous collaboration and communication amongst teams, as well as video conferencing options.  A good file sharing solution is also key for efficiency. Simple video conferencing between individuals can often be managed by apps like Skype or Facetime, but larger meetings will require more robust and comprehensive solutions along the lines of systems like GoToMeeting.  For file sharing there are business options within cloud-based platforms like DropBox or even Google Drive.   The best technology tools allow for teams to collaborate effectively, set goals, check off completed work and maintain group accountability.  Please contact your UniVista Account Rep to recommendations on the best tools to meet your business or organizations goals. 

It’s a Brave New World 

Technology is truly changing the way the world works.  With the correct steps and the appropriate IT infrastructure an organization can weather most storms.  Remote Work is a great way to insure business continuity during challenging times, but it’s also a great way to maintain employees by creating a better work-life balance.  Again, if you have any questions on how to set up a safe and efficient Remote Work Scenario for your organization, please contact your UniVista Account Rep. 

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