Broadleaf Services - April 2020

YOUR MANAGED SERVICES PARTNER

APRIL 2020

With Coronavirus in Mind, Is Your Organization Ready for Remote Work?

Internet Access: Employees will need internet access that is fast and reliable. This could require an investment in mobile hotspots and their associated data plans or upgrades to existing access. Business owners also need to know the amount of bandwidth employees need to be productive. Often, remote employees have to sync their files and data when going remote. For industries that have a lot of rich data that has to go back and forth regularly, the internet speed will determine remote work productivity. Applications that are routinely used, like O365, CRM, ERP, HR systems, and collaboration tools like instant messaging, email, phone, and web conferencing/ meeting, also determine your bandwidth. Devices: Business owners have two choices when employees are remote. Employees can use their own devices, which is a big security risk, or a company can provide the necessary devices. Typically, the devices needed are a smartphone and a laptop or tablet. Remote employees may also need a webcam for web conferencing. Secure Remote Access: Most businesses provide this through the use of a VPN or virtual private network solution. This sits on the employee’s devices and creates an encrypted network connection that makes it safer for employees to access IT resources within the organization, the internet, and other networks. Best practices for remote employees include a policy that ensures no company work for the organization is done without using the VPN. While the VPN is the

While everyone hopes that COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, won’t become a major health event in their area, businesses are being forced into the world’s largest work- from-home experiment they’ve ever experienced. According to Aaron McEwan, VP of Research and Advisory at Gartner, “54% of HR leaders in our snap poll indicated that poor technology and/or infrastructure for remote working is the biggest barrier to effective remote working.” Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, remote work is suddenly a new choice for many employees and an overnight requirement for some.” But “it hasn’t been easy for many organizations to implement,” according to McEwan. Given the tenuous current business environment, we see this as an opportunity to bolster your IT infrastructure and prepare for the future. First and foremost, businesses need to create a safe and practical foundation for digital remote access. This must include secure IT access within the company, as well as to the internet itself, typically through an internet provider and a VPN (a virtual private network). This requires attention to every part of the tech stack from internet access itself, to providing a secure means to reach and interact with corporate networks, data, communication channels, and applications. It also includes the ability to manage and support the whole process. Here are a few key components every business will need to accomplish this goal.

single most crucial link in the remote work chain, it can be tricky to set up and hard to manage. Security, reliability, usability, and support services are essential when selecting from any number of VPN products available. Ensuring your VPN works across all your devices is crucial and will depend on where your employees are located. It can get complicated if using local internet services when IP addresses can be blocked for a variety of reasons. Setting up the VPN will require testing all service providers, devices, and locations to ensure adequate performance. Also, setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) significantly boosts security. Your IT department and/or your Managed Service Provider can implement, test, and manage your VPN. We have ensured that all Broadleaf Services MSP customers have a VPN capability. If you have questions about the readiness of your IT infrastructure to support a remote workforce, please reach out to us at BroadleafServices.com or 978-362-0500.

–Chuck Mosca

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978-362-0500

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