Last year, remote work was the only option for many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). This year, many of the same businesses believe that it’s the best option.
We at OSIbeyond are among the businesses that are sticking with remote work long term, having successfully implemented a hybrid work model where all of our staff work in the office Monday through Thursday, and the entire company works from home every Friday.
This way of working lets us enjoy all the benefits of remote work without negatively impacting collaboration, quality assurance, and customer service. To get where we are right now, we had to overcome a number of IT challenges, and we’ve gained a lot of experience along the way—experience we want to share with you in the form of five actionable remote working tips that you can start implementing today.
6 Critical Cybersecurity Policies Every Organization Must Have
1. Take Advantage of Available Technologies
The massive global switch to remote work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (around 75 million people worked from home over the past year) would never be possible if it wasn’t for modern technology.
Without remote communication and collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom, remote employees would find it difficult to exchange ideas and keep information flowing. Cloud storage offerings like Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive help ensure seamless access to work-related files. And cloud-based CRM software, accounting systems, and sales tools keep the gears turning without requiring their users to sit behind specific workstations.
As a provider of comprehensive managed IT services to organizations in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, we had been taking advantage of many productivity-enhancing technologies before implementing our hybrid work model, which made it much easier to make the switch. Even if you’ve already embraced some of the above-mentioned solutions, we encourage you to keep researching new ones and making smart IT investments.
2. Optimize Your IT Infrastructure
One of the biggest advantages of remote work is the fact that it can happen even without an office full of desktop computers, printers, scanners, fax machines, and other IT equipment. In fact, you don’t even need the office itself!
But even if you don’t go as far as to ditch your physical office altogether—just like us at OSIbeyond—you can benefit from moving your workflows and data to the cloud, making them accessible from anywhere, easily scalable, and collaboration friendly.
By moving data and workflows to the cloud, you will have fewer security headaches to worry about because it will be your vendor’s responsibility to keep your data secure from internal and external threats alike. You also won’t have to deal with unexpected expenses related to faulty hardware and other infrastructure issues—a single, predictable payment will take care of everything.
3. Invest in Cybersecurity Awareness Training
When employees work from many different locations, using personal and work devices alike, they become much more difficult to protect against cyber threats. Many tried-and-tested security solutions depend on a firmly established defense perimeter, which is something businesses that are sticking with remote work don’t have.
The real solution is a new approach to cybersecurity, one that empowers employees to be in charge of their own security and provides them with the tools and knowledge they need to defend themselves against remote work cyber threats, such as phishing attacks, malware, man-in-the-middle attacks, and others.
To stop remote employees from being the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain, cybersecurity awareness training, which we at OSIbeyond offer, must be performed on an ongoing basis because cyber threats keep evolving at a rapid pace.
4. Consider Advanced Endpoint Protection
One cybersecurity solution that’s worth its proverbial weight in gold when working remotely is advanced endpoint protection that uses AI algorithms and machine learning to detect and prevent threats and is able to isolate infected systems immediately.
Because state-of-the-art advanced endpoint protection solutions take advantage of artificial intelligence techniques, they can identify even fileless, script-based, and zero-day threats that regular anti-virus software that depends on a database of malware signatures may miss.
Advanced endpoint protection solutions can protect not only desktop computers and laptops but also mobile devices, which are quickly becoming go-to targets for cybercrime. All protected endpoints can be conveniently managed using a single cloud-based console, making it easy to see exactly what’s going on at any moment and take action before it’s too late.
5. Create a Remote Work Policy
If you haven’t done so already, now is the right time to create a detailed remote work policy that outlines when and how employees can work from remote locations. Here are several key elements every remote work policy should include:
- Explanation of what the policy is trying to achieve.
- Clear specification of its scope.
- Description of the metrics used to gauge employee performance
- List of equipment remote employees are allowed to use.
- Information security procedures employees must follow.
- Outline of the expectations you have in terms of employee availability.
A well-crafted remote work policy provides clarity, mitigates compliance risks, and makes remote work scalable, just to name some of its benefits. Of course, you need to frequently update it to so that it always reflects your remote work arrangements and doesn’t become outdated.
While you’re at it, you should also consider updating your IT security policies to adequately address the cybersecurity threats associated with remote work.
SMB Remote Work Takeaways
SMBs have many good reasons to stick with remote work even after the pandemic.
To do so successfully, they must overcome many of the same challenges we at OSIbeyond faced when we switched to our hybrid work model.
We hope that the tips we’ve shared in this article will make it easier for you to stick with remote work long-term. If you would like help with their implementation, then don’t hesitate and get in touch right now so that we can tell you more about our comprehensive managed IT services.