Technical advancements over the last decade have enabled technology to deliver the capabilities to allow your users to work from anywhere with an internet connection. However, the marketing of products and solutions often make it very difficult to understand what the best and most secure way to achieve that is. The more you open up remote connections the more complex it becomes to protect your core systems and your critical data.
In this article we are going to provide some questions you should be asking when implementing a remote working strategy. Moreover, this article will make you start thinking about the important decisions that will need to be made to ensure remote working is as productive as it can be.
The first part of any remote working strategy is understanding what it is you are trying to achieve and for who? You need to understand the tasks a user completes and the capabilities they will require. Let’s start with a basic one. Say for instance you have an individual that is responsible for taking calls and logging them in a system. We need to identify the following items to address their remote working requirements. The first can we enable the user to take calls remotely? and the second is the solution they log details into web-enabled or does it use software on their local computer. Once we establish the requirements and the capabilities required, we can start to design the solution.
The Phone System
Option 1 – Calls are already using a phone system that supports remote working (Microsoft Teams, 3CX, etc). Well in this example the user is already able to work remotely. Simply provide them with the login details for the system and away they go.
Option 2 – Upgrade the phone system to a remote working solution. It could be possible to connect your existing legacy phone system to the cloud using session border controllers and other technology.
Option 3 – Calls are using an older phone system that does not support remote working. In this example we can create a new phone number using communication software (Microsoft Team, etc) and divert their existing number to a number in the communication software.
The Agent Software
Option 1 – The agent software is web-based. Well in this example the user is already able to work remotely. Simply provide them with the login details for the system and away they go.
Option 2 – The agent software is installed on the local machine. In this instance we could look to use virtual desktop technology and stream the application from a desktop in the cloud. This would provide the user with a full desktop experience the same as they would get in the office.
Option 3 – The agent software is installed on the local machine. We could also look to provide a virtual private network connection from the remote workers computer to your network to run the application.
As you can see in this very basic example, different implementations and configurations for users present different solutions. However, it is key to select a solution that works for most users to minimise the number of solutions and thus the support you require.
The second part of any remote working strategy that needs to be carefully considered is security and compliance. An example of the importance, are your users allowed to have documents stored outside of your corporate network? What if the device they had them stored on was lost or stolen? Security is very often overlooked with remote working and the results can be catastrophic. Review your requirements and ensure that you fully understand the implication of the remote solutions you are deploying.
The third part of any remote working strategy is how are you able to ensure your users are being productive? There are a number of platforms that integrate into remote working solutions to review the behavior of your users whilst connected. These can be configured to report on productivity and alert you to users that are using unapproved websites or software.
The fourth part to consider is the support element, this is the most important when it comes to your remote working strategy. If a user cannot log in or if a service of the solution does not function as expected they may be unable to perform the duties of their role. Having a robust support process implemented ensures that users can access IT professionals to remediate issues and keep them productive.
The last is the cost. You need to attribute all the different components that make up your remote working strategy and ensure that it really does make sense. In an ideal world you will develop a solution that is scalable but one that you only pay for as you use it as you use it, think cloud.
Next2IT are highly experience in remote working, find out how we can help you. You can start with a free consultation which will unlock the art of the possible and enable you to see what great remote working looks like.