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  • David Panitch

Remote Workforce: What Technology You Should Improve Right Now!

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

In these unprecedented times, everyone is adapting to new work environments, mapping solutions to logistical challenges, and developing innovative initiatives. In this article we will be addressing some key technology challenges/opportunities that should be on the forefront of your mind as you adjust to how your organization is working effectively today. If you want to discuss any of the following recommendations, please feel free to reach out. We believe that now more than ever, we all need to help each other by leveraging our knowledge and resources for our combined success.

If you are conducting a greater number of web-based meetings, you must take additional security precautions. The term “Zoombombing” is sadly a new disruptive force that is becoming more prevalent across all web meeting platforms. So what is zoombombing? It is the unscrupulous and uninvited person that joins your meeting and begins to post inappropriate content on top of your meeting. They have been known to insert pornographic images or video, foul language in both written and audio formats, and to disrupt being disruptive in anyway that they can think of. There are three important security features that you should enable right now.

  1. Protect your web-based meetings with passwords. Yes, it makes it harder for your invited participants to join, but it keeps out those “bad actors” that are trolling the Internet looking for open doors into your unprotected meetings.

  2. Enable a “waiting room” for all of your meetings wherever practical. This adds a little overhead for the presenter because they need to “admit” people into the meeting, but it allows them the ability to screen who to let and in and who to forbid admittance. Similar to an alarm system or just signs outside your house stating that you have an alarm, only the most sophisticated will try to get in. Most will just move on to another meeting.

  3. Stop using your vanity or default meeting ID. Again, this was a feature created for convenience, but criminals are looking for convenient ways to ruin your meetings. Go to the added trouble and security by allowing your web meeting system of choice to auto-generate a meeting ID each time you want to schedule a meeting.

A challenge still remains with public meetings, but utilizing a unique link sent individually to your invited audience can greatly reduce the likelihood of bad actors infiltrating your meetings.

  • Increase your team’s awareness of phishing and other attacks on your network. Each day networks across the US are being attacked by bad actors. The intensity has increased of late and shows no signs of diminishing. You should highly consider the following, if you haven’t already done so.

  • Raise the level of training and blind testing of your employee’s diligence when opening e-mails, clicking links, and responding to requests that involve money, passwords, or other confidential information. If you have already deployed an enterprise anti-spam, anti-virus, and anti-phishing solution, you are probably a quick path away from deploying the training that will help educate your team and protect your network and related assets from the outside criminal world

  • Deploy technology that monitors inbound e-mail activity and blocks these e-mails from ever arriving in your team’s e-mail boxes.

  • Deploy technology that monitors and protects your network from attacks. People and bots are trying to access networks and technology can quickly identify hits on your network that need to be blocked before they can penetrate your network.

  • Enable VPN for your remote workforce – don’t let them into your network without it. Rarely is this set-up in someone’s home, but when their home becomes their office, security through a VPN into your business network becomes critical.

  • Most homes do not utilize a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when accessing the Internet. This will be a new process for your remote workers to follow and there will need to be training provided to help them change old habits into new, more secure habits.

  • Monitor and protect access to your VPN. Criminals (bad actors) will try to penetrate and exploit your vulnerabilities.

  • Ensure that your Admin password is highly complex and not shared with multiple people at your company.

  • Increase your IT support to keep your people productive. Whether you have an internal IT staff or rely on a managed services firm for support, now is not the time to skinny down those efforts. Consider increasing your technology resources whether by hiring additional resources or by utilizing a managed services firm to a greater extent. People who are accustomed to working in the office will need more support while working at home. There will be some frustrations and it will be important to raise your level of support to increase your team’s confidence and efficiency while working from home.

  • Ensure that the technology that your remote workforce is using is more than adequate to get their work accomplished. Not only is the dining room table not the same as a highly organized desk with overhead storage and other compartmentalized areas; the equipment and software that one has at home could be well below office standards.

  • Assess what minimum equipment your remote worker needs and then help them equip their home “office” with the right technology. This can include computers, modems, routers, telephones, printers, scanners, etc.

  • Consider deploying the appropriate software that is needed via the “cloud” as opposed to downloading software onto devices.

  • Schedule coffee breaks where those that are interested can join a web meeting to interact about non-business topics. Whether people are extroverts or introverts, they are social. Help keep them engaged and socializing with their peers through video or voice channels. If you don’t have an instant messaging platform you should consider trying one out. If you already use one, create a separate channel for social chatter to help people stay connected.

  • People that are used to having a periodic break (around the proverbial water cooler) could benefit from a break with other team members.

  • These are brief social opportunities to chat about any appropriate non-business topics, just as if they were in the office.

  • Consider the possibilities of “structured” reasons to have this break, such as, a book club, watching reruns of “The Bachelor”, talking about the basketball game (replay) from last night, etc.

  • Leverage various communication technologies to provide guidance to your stakeholders through avenues that are best for them (E-mail, IM, web meetings, website, text, twitter, etc.). Don’t assume everyone uses a single platform. It is crucial that your message is sent via different means so that you don’t miss “talking” to any of your stakeholders.

  • Deliver consistent messages through all platforms

  • Let people know the different ways that you will be communicating

  • Don’t let your marketing efforts falter…while the message may need to change, there should be a consistent, unified message throughout.

These are trying times, but they are not without “bright sides”. Be positive, exude confidence, support one another and we will be okay. If you need any ideas on how to implement the suggestions above, please reach out and I’ll be happy to guide you to a solution that makes the most sense for you and your organization.

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