Date:

Author

Category: Remoteworking, IT Security.

Just as most SMEs had got to grips with the need for robust cybersecurity, along comes COVID-19 with a new challenge. With many employees working remotely, how do you enable them to be productive – and keep your business and its data safe?

With owners and managers scrambling to maintain business as usual in the days and weeks after lockdown, the priority was simply making it happen – fast – with employees using their own tech and devices in hastily arranged remote “offices” to stay connected and functioning.

I’ve heard great stories of ingenuity and determination not to be beaten by the virus. But there’s no doubt that remote working, without IT support close at hand, has increased the risks of attack by cybercriminals, who are of course on the look out for opportunities to strike. And we all know the potential consequences of a serious breach.

Some businesses may already have additional security measures in place to cover these new working arrangements, but for those who haven’t, now’s the time to make sure you’ve got the right protection. For me, there are three elements to consider – technology, policy and communication.

  1. Technology: With increased use of more vulnerable personal tech and devices, it may be necessary to increase your overall security profile with some additional cybersecurity technology. For example, establishing a virtual private network (VPN) ensures that remote workers can receive and transmit company data securely over the internet without the risk of it being intercepted by a criminal. Then there’s multi-factor authentication (MFA), like that used for online banking, which will prevent a criminal who has stolen an email address, username and password from being able to access systems.
  2. Policy: Be clear about your security expectations of your remote workers and do so in writing. This is for everyone’s benefit and most people appreciate clarity. For example, your policy statements would include requirements to stay connected to the company VPN when using a public Wi-Fi network, to always enable software updates to ensure that the lastest versions of operating system software are in use, to ensure all data and documents are being securely backed up and to use only complex passwords.
  3. Communication: Team members unfamiliar with remote working, and away from the support of their colleagues and IT professionals, may simply be unaware of the new risks and dangers. So, it’s vital to reach out and provide regular help and support, to stress the need to maintain the same safe practices as they would in the workplace during the normal working day, being vigilant about phishing emails, using strong passwords and restricting the use of the internet to purely work-related activities.

Clearly this is a new challenge, on top of the other stresses and strains of COVID-19. So if you’d like some advice and guidance about enhanced security for your remote teams, call us on 03300 886116 or email info@pcsupportgroup.com – we’d be delighted to help.

Phil Bird,

Chief Executive Officer, The PC Support Group

Date:

Author

Category: Remoteworking, VoIP.

Here at The PC Support Group, we’ve been busy supporting our clients to enable their teams working remotely to function effectively and maintain business as usual.   Our own team is working very productively, this way too.

Despite the upheaval and uncertainty about the future, the surprising speed and ease of transition to remote working has led many SMEs to radically rethink the future shape of their businesses, with remote working now increasingly at the heart of their forward planning.

In recent weeks I’ve had many discussions with owners and managers about how to maximise investment value in the technology and platforms required to fully embrace remote working long-term. With that in mind, I’ve got two top tips for today – and the first is to make the move to powerful VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephony.

VoIP telephony makes remote working easier by enabling voice and video calls and conferencing anywhere in the world, from any device – with just an internet connection. And improved communications means you can manage your remote teams more effectively. Because it’s cloud-based, with VoIP you’ll enjoy:

  • next-generation technology that’s simple to install and easy to use and maintain
  • flexibility to use your own devices, keep the same phone number across all devices, scale up and scale down at speed and work from any location
  • access to the latest versions, updates, applications, and mobile working features, for example, enabling remote workers to appear to be office-based, or virtual geographical numbers where office or service location is important – missed calls and opportunities will be a thing of the past
  • integration with your other business-critical systems and platforms – call with a click of the mouse in your CRM system
  • exciting new opportunities, for example, to recruit remote workers anywhere in the world, adding additional skills, opening up new markets, and cutting costs.

My second top tip for great remote working that really transforms your business is to use as many of the great VoIP features as possible, like call forwarding, auto-attendant and virtual extensions, and fully integrate it with your other business systems too. Unfortunately, some businesses only use some features of VoIP and miss out on the game-changing benefits.

By embracing VoIP in totality, you’ll have a great phone system and secure communications platform that boosts productivity, agility, teamworking, employee satisfaction, and customer service. And you’ll achieve significant savings in business phone line and contract costs with no line rental or contractual commitments or major capital investment.

Customers embracing VoIP telephony tell me they’re amazed at how easy it is to make the switch. Some quick dos and don’ts: Find out when your existing telephony contract expires and use that date to plan your move to VoIP. Check out the strength of your workplace and remote workers’ internet connections. Don’t invest in new traditional hardware.

Then, because we deal with many of our clients’ combined IT and telephony needs, call us on 03300 886116 or email info@pcsupportgroup.com to see how we can help you to embrace and make the most of VoIP, and other remote working technologies too.

Phil Bird

Managing Director, The PC Support Group