As a business owner today, we are now facing unprecedented challenges to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic. We are being asked to self-isolate and practice social distancing to “flatten the curve” of the pandemic. You are asked to have your employees work from home to reduce possible exposure and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
These are all reasonable requests. However, as a business owner you also need to maximize productivity, bring in revenue, keep people employed and try to grow your business in these uncertain times. How can you accomplish these goals when your office is now empty and productivity has fallen off a cliff?
The answer lies in setting up your office to function remotely. If you’ve never implemented a work-from-home policy before, it may seem like a whole new world. Managing an entirely remote workforce goes far beyond giving your employees a laptop and reminding them to check in every once in a while. After all, there are many factors most business owners haven’t ever had to consider, such as:
- What technologies do I need?
- How can my employees work from home without compromising the security of our network?
- How can I make this new work environment as easy, comfortable and productive as possible?
- How do we keep in touch?
- How can we deliver the same value to our customers in an alternative way?
We understand these are challenging times. We know that “business as usual” is going to be quite different for an undetermined amount of time. But together we can help you adjust to today’s “new normal” by giving you the tools, technologies, and insights to create a secure and productive work-from-home business environment.
Three Important Considerations for Remote Workers
Here are three important considerations to getting you set up and running a successful work-from-home business:
- Don’t allow employees to use home computers or devices. Their mindset may be, “Well, I’m working from home so I may as well use my home computer.” This is a dangerous mistake. As an IT Services and IT Support company in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area, our team works hard to ensure your companies computers and network are secure and protected from malware, viruses, and cyber-attacks. Your staff's home computers and devices could be littered with tons of malware, trap doors, and viruses. Families get this from downloaded music, videos, images and more. Because it’s more exposed, it makes your network more exposed. Rather, provide a company-approved and secured computer/laptop for employees to use at home is a much better option. If you cannot do this then at least have your IT support company put protective tools on those home computers to protect your business during this crisis. If you are a PICS ITech client we are doing this for no cost for the next 90 days.
- Secure their WiFi access point. Without a secure WiFi access point, you’re essentially leaving a back door open to hackers. That’s because WiFi signals are often broadcast far beyond your employees’ homes and out into streets. Yes, drive-by hacking is popular among cybercriminals today. A few tips for securing your employees’ WiFi access points:
- Use stronger encryption and a more complex password
- Hide your network name – this is called the SSID in the wireless access device.
- Use a firewall – everything incoming to the home should be blocked.
These security measures are not difficult to set up. But if you have any questions or need assistance, we will be happy to help get your employees set up remotely.
- Use a two-factor authentication VPN. VPN stands for a virtual private network. It’s essentially a private, encrypted tunnel that goes directly to your IT network in your office. Ideally, you’ll want your VPN to support two-factor authentication. This means it’s doubly secure because your employees will need to know something (their password) and have something (usually their cell phone) to access the network.
If you don’t have a VPN for your employees to use, you can consider other services, such as GoToMyPC. If you are a managed services client, if you get your support from an IT services company, chances are that your IT support provider can give you a way to remote into your machine. While these products may not necessarily encrypt the traffic and as a result may not be as secure, at least they keep your work network from being exposed to home computers.
Again if you are a PICS ITech client we can provide you remote access free of charge.
As business owners ourselves, we too are having to pivot and work differently than we ever have before. However, because we have the technology and infrastructure in place, we are still surprisingly productive, if not more productive.
We Can Help
Our team wants to help your business survive and thrive during today’s unique environment. If you and your IT team need extra hands right now…or solutions to help your employees work SECURELY from home…we have software, tools, expert staff and resources that we’d like to offer you to keep your business as productive as possible. We normally do not work with any company in which we don’t have a managed service agreement but during this crisis, we want to help anyone in need.
Take a Free Remote Readiness Assessment
Here’s a link to a COVID-19 remote work readiness assessment. You can answer 10 quick questions and get actionable tips on what you can do now to improve your company’s ability to stay productive. If you wish to speak to someone right away give us a call at 1-609-546-4060
Please know that this is not a sales call but simply an outreach to help a fellow business owner stay afloat. Terry Rossi PICS ITech