The Employee’s Guide to Working Remotely

Security Considerations Even though you aren’t in the office, you still need to follow the same security protocols and the processes you would need to follow if you were working in the office. In fact, these processes become even more important, as your home network is likely less secure than the one in the workplace. Here are some tips: Be Hygienic We aren’t telling you to brush your teeth or wash behind your ears, we are talking about practicing good security hygiene while you work remotely. Don’t reuse your passwords, use multi-factor (or two-factor) authentication to secure all accounts, and don’t share out information over email if you don’t know for certain who will read it. In other words, all the basics still apply. Be Mindful For similar reasons, you also need to be extra careful of online scams or phishing attacks while working remotely. Lost business data is lost business data, regardless of where you were when it was left vulnerable. Make sure you are up-to-speed in terms of identifying and mitigating breach attempts. Use a VPN Finally, because you will not be protected by the defenses on the company network, you need to implement a few extras, such as a virtual private network. A VPN uses encryption to conceal the contents of any data you transmit over the Internet, protecting the contents from virtually all attacks. Business Practices Again, as you aren’t in the office, your remote work needs to follow the same processes as it would if you were in-house, and you will need to be more deliberate about carrying them out. For instance: Use Communication and Collaboration Since you are not working alongside your colleagues and coworkers while you are working from home, you should be extra diligent about remaining in contact with them. Use your email, instant messaging, and phone capabilities to keep the rest of the team apprised as you progress with your tasks. Follow Processes As we don’t want anything falling through the cracks as we continue our operations, it is important that each team member sticks to procedures with every task they touch. This will help ensure that all the ‘i’s are dotted and each ‘t’ is crossed, and that things progress productively. Schedule Strategically While you should still work the amount of time you would be in the office, you may have a little more freedom and autonomy as far as your schedule is concerned. Don’t be afraid to arrange your tasks around any scheduling conflicts you may have, or shuffle your tasks to better fit your productivity levels throughout the day. Personal Wellness Finally, it is crucial that you are able to manage yourself and your time while not in the office environment. Here are a few tips to help you do so, that may be useful to keep in mind. Set Limits While the assumption surrounding remote work is that employees are prone to slacking off, it is also likely that you may be tempted to push yourself a little further than you should with your day to try and accomplish as much as possible. While this is an admirable goal, it isn’t effective if you overwork yourself one day and accomplish almost nothing the next as a result. Moderate yourself and stop when it’s time. Build Patterns Process […]

What You Need to Know to Manage a Remote Workforce

These statistics outline that by allowing employees to work from home, your company will see some very tangible benefits. Like any human resources strategy, however, you’ll need to keep a few considerations firmly in mind to get the most out of it. Treat It Like Business as Usual When you are working with your remote employees, it is important that you don’t focus exclusively on your in-house staff. Maintaining communication with every one of your staff is necessary for your operations to continue, so if anything, you need to encourage your in-house workers to regularly check in with your remote employees and involve them in their processes. You should also avoid the temptation to hold off on meetings. Again, don’t act like anything has changed as a result of your employees working from home. If you have regular meetings at a given time, continue them, and simply use the technology available today to include your remote staff members. Provide the Means to Communicate Speaking of which, it is also important that your remote team members have the tools that allow them to communicate with their contemporaries. If you haven’t already done so, consider switching your telephony to a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution. This will enable your remote staff members access to your business’ phone system, rather than using their own for professional purposes. Other useful collaboration tools include things like video conferencing, instant messaging, and (of course) business email. Give Them Access and Tools Your remote workers aren’t going to be capable of being productive if they don’t have access to the necessary resources and applications required to carry out their assigned tasks. Make sure they have this access, either by enabling remote access into their workstation or by providing them with a laptop that they can take with them. It is recommended that, if you elect to take the remote access option, this access is secured through the use of a virtual private network (or VPN). This tool ensures that whether your files and applications are stored on-site or in the cloud, that access to data is available from anywhere a connection can be established. Don’t Forget About Security It is critical for the health of your business that you uphold remote workers to a higher standard for data and network security. Remote work brings increased risk. Using the aforementioned VPN is just one of the many tools that will work to maintain the integrity of your business’ digital assets. Another important security measure is to be sure that your remote users are forced into using password best practices for authentication. Some Suggestions: Hosted VoIP for using phones from any device and anywhere. A VPN for secure connections to the office network. Remote access policies to ensure compliance and security. Remote terminal access to keep files and applications centralized. Email accessibility for internal and external communication. Conferencing and meeting applications to keep your team engaged. Messaging applications to facilitate easy coworking. G-Suite/Office 365 for document publishing and collaboration. Disaster Recovery solution to prevent productivity-loss issues. Our IT professionals are here to help you extend the reach of your business and do it to ensure that your assets are protected. Reach out to SRS Networks today to kickstart your remote workforce on a path to productivity. Call (831) […]

Features to Seek Out in a Business Router

1.  Security Let’s consider the amount and kind of data that your business accesses, compared to what is assembled on your home network. While your own data is obviously important, the data you have on everyone else is what can get you into serious legal trouble for your business. Therefore, you need to ensure that your router has been configured to be as secure as possible. For instance, you should have a firewall in place to protect your incoming traffic. Any connection that is made to the Internet through your Wi-Fi router could potentially let in a threat, so you need to make sure that you’re mitigating these risks with an enterprise-level firewall. Furthermore, you should make sure that your Wi-Fi router is built with the hardware that a commercial-level router will use. 2.  Size The size of your network should be considered as you determine the router that you should be using. In addition to your workstations, you have a sizable number of devices connected to your Internet, including your laptops, tablets, point-of-sale systems, connected printers, and mobile devices. Balancing your network between devices that need to be hardwired and those that can serve you just as well when connected over Wi-Fi should be a priority. 3.  Support Levels Depending on how your business is set up, whether you have multiple locations or just one, you may need to have a different kind of router. An edge router is great for sending information from one network to another, while a branch router is suited for an internal network. Of course, the devices that your operations need will be impacted by a variety of circumstances. If your business takes up a large area, or shares space with multiple businesses or residential spaces, or if you will need to support guest users on a regular basis, your required support levels will vary. For more assistance with your Wi-Fi and your other business networking needs, turn to SRS Networks today. Our professionals and their expertise are only a call to (831) 758-3636 away.

Can You Really Afford Not to Have a Backup Plan?

1. How often is employee productivity and customer accessibility or service stalled each day from a downed network or system? 2. How much downtime can your business truly afford and what kind of backup or recovery solutions are in effect when systems are unavailable? 3. What level of IT support can be accessed? Can it be accessed quickly enough to minimize damage? Are you confident that your business can either be back online or be able to access lost data with minimal disruption, no matter what? 4. Is your most critical data frequently backed up? Is the data on the personal laptops, iPads or Blackberrys of employees backed up? Are all backups stored in a location off-site and quickly accessible in the event of theft, fire or flooding? Are you using any custom installed software and is the supplier still in business should this software need to be re-installed or updated? Are account details, licensing agreements, and security settings somewhere on record, and is it duplicated off-site? 5. Are your systems truly protected from theft, hackers, and viruses? Are passwords to sensitive data changed whenever employees leave the company or business unit? 6. When was the last time you tested backup processes to ensure they are working properly? How quick were your back ups? Answering these questions will help you understand if you are needlessly bleeding money every day by subjecting your business to the high hourly rates, service charges, trip fees and wait times of on-call IT support. If you are an SMB, you don’t have to fear technology failure. A trusted MSP can help you resolve these challenges in a more effective and efficient manner.