Thought Leaders: Give your business flexibility without sacrificing IT security

By Scott Warner - Connecting Point — 

Many businesses are adjusting to a new reality where their workforce needs to operate effectively in a “work-from-home” (WFH) capacity.  Moving forward, it will be important to have a technology strategy that allows each business to be agile and mobile without sacrificing security.  Here are some things to consider when building an IT plan for WFH functionality:

Choose cloud-based applications to run your business.  Most businesses rely on a core application package for their business (i.e., ERP/accounting software/document management/CRM, etc.)  When choosing those applications, opt for the “Software-as-a-Service” model or choose applications that are truly web-based. Not only will this offload continual maintenance/support to the app provider, but it will simplify the environment and typically carry enhanced security features to safeguard your data.

Use business-class email/communication platforms that are cloud-based but built for business.  Solutions like Microsoft Office 365 (or Google G-Suite) allow your users flexible access to familiar “Office Suite” apps on any device and allow for shared calendars, contacts, task lists, etc. to ensure easy collaboration.  These platforms also increase availability and carry 99.999% uptime guaranty.  This will also allow you operate on the latest “Office Suite” to avoid issues with version control/compatibiliy.

Ditch on-premise phone systems and opt for UCaaS solutions (RingCentral/Jive/Teams/etc.).          communication (talk/text/chat/video/presence/content sharing).  Desk phones and traditional phone lines aren’t needed anymore if you have a decent internet connection.  Elegantly communicating with customers/colleagues regardless of your physical location is becoming more important and UCaaS platforms enhance collaboration and the ability to feel like a team…even if you’re not physically together in an office.   

Equip your team with flexible endpoints.  Laptops may be more expensive, but they are more flexible than desktops.  As you evaluate your IT replacement cycle, replace desktop PCs with laptops to provide flexibility to your workforce.

Prioritize IT security.  Work with an expert who can help you evaluate the areas of your business where you need to enhance your security posture.  A layered approach to IT security is critical.  Turn on 2-factor authentication on all critical apps (especially email), build a robust endpoint protection strategy (especially as users operate remotely…away from the company firewall). Secure your email.  Train your users and build a culture of IT security awareness.  Develop policy and procedure to set minimum standards for work-from-home operation.

This is not a comprehensive list, but taking the above steps will yield a more flexible yet secure IT infrastructure.  If you need help or more information about how to approach this effort, call Connecting Point and we can help.