March 27, 2020

Simple IT Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to work from home in a significant capacity.  From an IT perspective, here are some thoughts that may be helpful (now or later) as you equip your business to better handle remote-work.

Cloud infrastructure and applications allow for more consistent, efficient and secure access.  Businesses that made the move to cloud-based infrastructure and applications have made the “remote-work” transition much easier.  Access, security and user-experience don’t change because the user is remote.  Businesses using on-premise servers must leverage VPN or remote desktop to access on-premise data and applications.  Businesses that have migrated to web-based/cloud-based applications have had an easier time keeping business operations flowing due to the flexibility and availability of secure access along with the enhanced redundancy of the cloud architecture.

Be aware of increasing security threats.  Cyber-crime is increasing during this challenging time.  Bad-actors are planting malicious content behind links to “breaking news” stories and COVID-19 outbreak maps.  On top of the normal barrage of phishing emails, ransomware and malware, the cyber criminals are taking advantage of users on less secure home networks and the increase in remote-access sessions.  Beware of clicking untrusted links.  Don’t open mail from untrusted sources.  Be vigilant as you operate.  To help mitigate risk, ensure systems are consistently patched/updated, verify antivirus protection, use a strong email security filter and enable 2-factor authentication on critical applications and remote access.

Laptops are more expensive but provide more flexibility. This seems obvious, but the rush to work from home has uncovered the need for flexibility.  Desktop PCs don’t offer the same flexibility as laptops.  The world is rushing to equip users with laptops.  We’re learning a LOT about our workforce’s ability to be productive remotely.  This realization will create more “work-from-home” opportunities and will change buying habits, with businesses leaning towards the laptop option long-term.

Traditional phone systems aren’t providing required functionality for the remote workforce. Businesses have moved quickly to operate business remotely.  One challenge has been working with on-premise phone systems.  They just aren’t flexible enough to effectively extend the voice network to remote workers.  Businesses using cloud-based phone systems have seen huge efficiency as their platforms seamlessly combine voice, video, webconferencing, collaboration tools, chat and much more on any device at any time.

If your organization is looking to work more effectively in a remote capacity, evaluate changes in one or more of these areas above.  If you need any help or guidance, the Connecting Point team is here for you.

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