How not to lose sleep over secure remote working during Covid-19 and beyond
In what felt like just a few short weeks, working from home went from a nice-to-have perk to an absolute necessity.
And while many organisations already had at least some of their workforce working remotely some of the time, very few were completely prepared for all of them working remotely, all the time, overnight.
With no clear indication as to when ‘normality’ might return (if ever), the question now is how do you adapt? And how do you do that quickly, smoothly and most of all: securely.
Here’s our take on how to adopt and implement remote working technology the right way during lockdown.
Spot the right trends early
When the global Covid-19 crisis struck, many organisations understandably went into survival mode.
Just take a look at some of the Google Trends data during that period. It wasn’t just office chairs that saw a spike in popularity – searches related to secure remote working also went through the roof:
And the close correlation between searches for tools like a VPN and more generic terms like ‘working from home’ suggests that maintaining network security was one of the first priorities for both businesses and individuals when making the transition to remote working.
It’s no surprise that VPNs (virtual private networks) were the first step many businesses took towards developing a secure remote working strategy as soon as the UK’s lockdown was announced.
Without direct access to sensitive data, a VPN is a straightforward way to allow those working from home to connect to a secure office network.
But while providing remote access to secure networks can be an important first step, it’s only one part of a much bigger picture.
So how do you ensure you get the rest of your secure remote working strategy right?
Get some guidance
Perhaps unsurprisingly, demand for remote connectivity technology has gone through the roof since the Covid-19 crisis began.
Video conferencing app Zoom was downloaded over two million times1 around the world on 23rd March, the day the lockdown was announced in the UK compared to an average of just 56,000 downloads a day two months before. And Cisco’s Webex platform has seen a similar global surge in popularity2.
These numbers suggest many employees and organisations are turning to these platforms for the first time, so getting people set up with these basic tools that allow them to do their jobs from home can actually be quite a headache-inducing task.
And when you’re also trying to implement secure collaboration and a workable customer service solution for teams working from kitchen tables and home offices, that task can quickly turn into a nightmare.
Thankfully, a decent technology provider today will act more like a partner – not just selling you products but actually working closely with you to make sure that those products do what you need them to.
We’ve partnered with some of our own customers in this way during the Covid-19 crisis: ensuring key NHS staff can work securely from home, for example, and providing connectivity to NHS Nightingale hospitals in London and Manchester.
Think forwards, not backwards
60% of organisations had either put in place tools to support remote working or planned to do so in the next 12 months, according to a 2019 study3.
Clearly it was already on the minds of many leaders. But it seems like a worryingly low number now when you consider the current situation we’re in.
Without any shadow of a doubt, that 60% figure will now be closer to 100, with organisations everywhere looking to rethink their remote working strategy in order to adapt and thrive in this uncertain environment.
Will things go back to the way they were? Maybe. But likely not completely. And now that employers have been compelled to enable a new way of doing things (and make it work), will employees be ready and willing to go back to the old way any time soon?
Now is the time to think forwards, not backwards.
With demand for remote working technology only likely to increase in the coming months and years, yesterday’s technology infrastructure is simply not going to support this new way of working.
You have to be able to quickly and easily adopt and integrate new communication technology when the need arises. And you need to be able to do that securely without disrupting your day-to-day business.
For that you need a modern network that’s built with the cloud in mind.
This as an opportunity to get secure remote working right – not just for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis but for whatever world awaits us beyond it.
Need help getting your people connected securely at home? Get in touch
with one of our experts.