The recent increase in cases of Coronavirus means many of us now face a new challenge in our working life as the government seeks that we work at home where possible. For some, this may be the norm but for many it will be a major shift and take some time getting used to.
Either way, figuring out ways to stay connected to colleagues while maintaining a productive environment can be difficult.
In this, the first of two working from home blogs, we’ve composed a checklist of things to think about from an infrastructure point of view to help make sure your home IT environment is safe, secure and reliable.
1.Communication & Collaboration is key
No matter what your role is, you will have a handful of people you will need to stay connected with at any given time – whether this is fellow employees or customers. Aside from traditional communication methods such as email and telephone, your employees can utilise Microsoft Teams that will enable them to do meetings, catch ups and demonstrations all via video. It also has the ability to share documents, so you’ll never miss out on what’s going on in your business. Check out our blog on getting started on Teams.
2. Remote Access
Working from home can be made easier when you are able to seamlessly connect to your desktop files, emails, databases and more. Doing this securely is a must. There’s a couple of options to consider here.
You could gain remote access through a Virtual Private Network (VPN) like FortiClient to allow a safe link from your computer network to your own laptop. Serious attention should be given here to installing the latest versions of antivirus, firewalls and spam filters.
Citrix is another alternative to remote access that provides virtualisation and application delivery and seen as much better than traditional VPNs when working with larger files.
3. Voice Communications
Another vital part of your home set up, especially if it’s important for you to maintain voice contact with customers and colleagues. Relying simply on a mic and speaker can result in poor quality calls and occasional echos that’s why at Kick we recommend Horizon. This provides businesses with an extensive fixed and mobile telephony capability, accessed via an easy to use web portal that enables you to take control of your telephony.
You are likely trusted with all sorts of information – passwords for login accounts, customer data or plans for upcoming projects, it’s essential to make sure this data is safe. Firstly, consider password security – you can do this through a password management device, or you can set up a two-factor authorisation such as Microsoft 2FA – a feature used to increase security and making it more difficult for malicious individuals to gain access to your account.
For those would use a multitude of applications or systems, SecureEnvoy would be recommended for a multi-factor authentication which can be used on premise, in the Cloud or a hybrid environment.
Firewalls are also an essential when it comes to data security, acting as an additional line of defence against attacks. We’d recommend a solution such as FortiGate, industry’s best threat protection.
An alternative firewall solution is WatchGuard – a network security device categorised as Unified Threat Management (UTM). In simple terms this means it’s a single device that provides multiple security features including WatchGuard Dimension that allows administrators to identify malicious devices on a access to online threat intelligence.
Imagine spending hours on a document for you to realise the next day it’s all gone, it’s a horrible thought. Fear not, we have a solution – to mitigate this risk we advise that you back up your files to ensure your data is kept safe.
One of the most convenient ways of doing this is for home workers is through the Cloud or alternatives like OneDrive to keep your files and documents secure.
Businesses can also utilise Office 365 which has a maximum of 30 days back up for mailbox and 93 days back up for files through SharePoint. Alongside taking advantage of Office 365 back up, we also recommend strengthening this through having a business continuity plan with Storage Craft. This will allow you to have unlimited back ups of essential services such as email, calendars, Teams and OneDrive.
Here at Kick we offer a range of services and support and work with a wide variety of leading technology providers to deliver a scalable, safe and secure IT environment for our customers. Get in touch if we can be of any help to your business or contact our sales team direct on 01698 844 600.
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