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Enabling Your Business To Operate Remotely Using Technology

Posted by: Tara Clary - High Touch Technologies on Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Tara Clary is the Senior Director of Marketing for High Touch Technologies. As a guest blogger for the Chamber, she's provided a wrap up of the virtual Sunrise Scrambler that was held on Wednesday, May 20. The topic for that presentation was Business Technologies for the New Normal and our presenters were Jeff Lucas and Derrick Nielsen. A recording of the presentation is available on Facebook and YouTube. Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Credit Union of America, and showcase biz sponsor, Davis-Moore Auto Group for their support to make this program possible. 

If your business wasn't enabled for remote operations before the cornavirus pandemic hit, you probably had to make some quick decisions about how to adapt to the new remote landscape. In a remote environment, security, collaboration, and accessibility all look different for businesses. These differences go beyond the obvious of laptops versus desktops and cell phones versus desk phones. 

Currently, as we begin to transition back to our old physical environments, how can you prepare your business for future disruptions, like contact tracing or quarantining? Maybe, you’ve decided you want to keep operating remotely in the long run.

With that in mind, technology looks slightly different in a physical environment than a remote one. Your business should consider developing a well-defined remote workplace technology plan to be successful in the future. In this plan, you should consider cybersecurity, phone systems, virtual collaboration, and video conferencing.

Security in a Remote or Hybrid-Remote Environment

Think of your on-premise business like a castle. There’s a drawbridge (door), wall (firewalls), and security (anti-virus) that keeps your business and assets safe.

In our “new normal,” your business isn’t contained within the castle walls. Instead, your employees, hardware, data, and files are spread throughout the castle’s surrounding area. Your security responsibilities as a business have shifted from protecting just the “castle” to account for the castle, everyone coming in and out of the castle, and people who use to live in the castle who are incredibly important, but will never move back behind the walls.

When your employees are connected to the on-premise network, cybersecurity solutions like firewalls, anti-virus, and email monitoring do a great job keeping your business and its assets safe. If your assets are no longer protected by these on-premise networks, you need an additional layer of security to protect your remote devices.

In particular, there’s a substantial impending threat of ransomware laying dormant on remote devices until they’re reconnected to an on-premise network. Once reconnected, your whole network could be infected, instead of the single remote device.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) is a great way to combat this impending threat. EDR recognizes system behavior anomalies before a cyberthreat affects the entire system by monitoring your technology in real-time. Once a device has been infected, EDR quarantines it and notifies the system administrator that it has detected an attack. Some employees left the office with equipment every day prior to the pandemic. In that scenario, their devices were scanned quickly every day when they were reconnected to the network. They also received regular security patches. When a device is out in the field for multiple days, weeks, or months at a time, there’s a higher risk of experiencing a cyberattack, since it wasn’t being reconnected to the on-premise network and its resources regularly.

Click here to learn more about Remote IT Management and Cybersecurity.

Phone Systems in a Remote Work Environment

Did your phone system make transitioning to a remote work a breeze or a challenge?

Typically, the challenges aren’t due to the type of system you have, unless it’s really old. The challenges of operating a phone system in a remote work environment are more likely attributed to the system’s features. In some cases, you may need to enable these features on an existing on-premise phone system. In others, you may need to adopt a new VoIP phone system to get the features you need.

For remote workplaces, in-demand phone system features include:

  • Mobility. Remote IP phones, mobile applications, softphones, and work from anywhere capabilities
  • Security. Secure VoIP
  • Unified messaging. Voicemail to email
  • Call routing capabilities and features. Auto-attendant, call queueing, automatic call distribution, skill-based routing, interactive voice response, music on hold, call forwarding, redundancy, and call screening

VoIP phone systems easily scale to the size of any organization. Click here to learn about remote communications solutions.

Video Conferencing and Virtual Collaboration

When it comes to staying connected remotely, there’s a laundry list of platforms out there, making it difficult to choose the right solution for your business.

Consider your social hours. Platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts are great for seeing a large number of participants at once. Though, they’re not the best platforms for discussing confidential business. Compared to other platforms, Zoom and Google Hangouts have fewer security protocols in place.

Video conferencing. If your business is looking for a solution dedicated solely to video conferencing, there are several options available, including LifeSize, GoToMeeting, and BlueJeans.

Slack or Microsoft Teams? With the free version of Slack, an individual owns the messages, files, and data transmitted through the platform. With Microsoft Teams, the company owns it all. Everything done in Teams stays within the application and is the company’s property. If you’re not concerned about data, confidentiality, and ownership, the free version of Slack works well. If you’re more concerned with security and company ownership, Teams is a smarter choice.

Click here to learn more about Video Conferencing and Virtual Collaboration tools.

Pricing Remote Workplace Technology

Technology wish lists can get lengthy. It’s essential to work with someone you trust to ensure you’re getting what your unique business needs, not just the newest technology for the sake of having the newest technology. Additionally, it comes down to if your company is more comfortable with monthly operational expenses or a one-time capital expense.

For example, refreshing all your on-premise office infrastructure could be a capital expense. Migrating to Microsoft Azure and moving to a monthly charge for virtual infrastructure would be an operating expense. With phone systems, purchasing an on-premise system would be a capital expense. A cloud-based phone system would be an operating expense. You can implement a VoIP phone system either way, in most cases.

In addition, you should consider other financial factors such as the Section 179 tax deduction when purchasing or leasing new technology.

High Touch Technologies Can Help

High Touch is a software, technology, and communications company that provides comprehensive technology services and support to all industries. We bring the human touch to technology, helping businesses grow by expanding their technology and communications capabilities.

For more information, visit hightouchtechnologies.com

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