It's clear that during 2020 the business world has been forced to become more remote. This has been a matter of business continuity in a crisis scenario that most were not prepared for. Millions of individuals are only able to keep working on a remote basis, and even where remote work is not mandated it is strongly encouraged. This brings several advantages, both for individual employees and for the business, but it needs to be managed carefully to ensure that any potential security risks can be avoided.
With a huge number of workers accessing their company's sensitive corporate data from remote locations, scammers are looking to exploit these new vulnerabilities. This means it is more important than ever that companies develop an effective security policy and ensure that strict security protocols are followed. This can be made easier with a reliable IT support team that can advise managers and employees on the best ways to implement IT security measures. These may include:
- the use of a secure virtual private network (VPN)
- security measures like multi-factor authentication (MFA), a web application firewall, network monitoring and fraud analytics and anti-distributed denial of service
- enforcing software updates on all devices used to access the corporate network
- implementing home monitoring systems
- employee training to ensure all security protocols are clear, as well as the reasons why they should be strictly followed
Unfortunately, cyber attacks have increased since the coronavirus outbreak, so businesses need to be more wary of the threats. Among others, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of phishing attempts that used the organisation's name in malware attacks. These are not the only cases of cyber criminals exploiting the global crisis. The number of cyber crimes reported to the FBI has increased fourfold. While the pandemic has introduced many new concerns, failing to maintain IT security could result in even more costly damages.
Remote IT services
Many IT support services can now be handled remotely. While there are still some things that need to be dealt with in person, often the physical presence of an IT technician is not needed. These services can include the following:
- Installations - This may be for installations and setups on desktop or laptop computers, mobile devices, or peripheral equipment. It can be through different operating systems, server configurations or server migrations.
- Cloud support - There are various options for different cloud services and different approaches can be taken to public, private or hybrid cloud use. Advanced security solutions could be needed to protect against cyber threats.
- Incident-based support - Remote support for a wide range of issues can be faster, and a dedicated team can work on a case until it is resolved.
- Managed services - IT support can be used to facilitate managed services through proactive management, consultation, server support or help desk services.
- Product support - Product-related support or advice can be provided via a remote helpdesk. Product and service malfunctions can also be addressed remotely.
While COVID-19 is negatively impacting various aspects of business, there may be some silver linings in the ways we have adapted to overcome the challenges. IT support can often be delivered remotely, so once restrictions have been eased businesses may continue to use services in this way. The main benefits to remote IT support include:
When support is remote, response time can be considerably reduced. As technical difficulties can be immediately addressed it is possible to avoid the bottlenecks that may result in the loss of business. This means both time and money can be saved.
IT support that is outsourced means the usual costs of employing in-house staff are avoided. When outsourced IT support is also remote the extra costs of transport can be avoided, along with travel time.
Studies suggest that workers who are given the freedom to work remotely are happier with their work-life balance and are more productive as a result. Remote IT support is a means of enabling employees to work remotely, and it also allows them to better focus on their duties.
Research has shown that many employees feel distracted in their roles, which affects their productivity. When technical challenges are passed on to IT support, one distraction is eliminated so staff can focus on their main duties.
When support is remote, the range of talent that can be sourced is unlimited. If one team member does not have the specific training to deal with a particular issue, it can be passed on to someone who does.
Monitoring services ensure that unusual network activity is identified and prevented from causing damage. Ongoing maintenance also means that any necessary updates can be applied, so potential vulnerabilities are reduced.
Engineers will always be needed for hardware issues, but for the high number of IT difficulties that relate to software, cloud services or training, remote IT support is the answer.
Hopefully the COVID-19 restrictions will not be in place for too much longer, but it is good to know that we will be completely prepared if it should happen again.
Copyright 2020. Article was made possible by site supporter Zachary Gottlieb