Pure Cloud Solutions are an innovative provider of communication and IT solutions. They specialise in providing creative solutions that solve problems and help businesses to utilise the power of the cloud.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses favored traditional, office-based working practices, rather than embracing newer work styles such as remote working.

In doing so, a lot of companies missed out on the benefits this brings because of either insufficient means, technology, or simply because of a lack of trust in their workforce.

But ready or not, remote working was forced upon UK businesses back in February and those able to continue working during the crisis, have seen a huge shift in the way they work.

According to data from the Resolution Foundation 63% of all UK workers were working from home at some point during the lockdown. Compare this to the ONS’ report from 2019 where just 5% of the UK workforce said they worked from home and you can see how quickly things have changed in such a short space of time.

And while it’s unlikely the office space will disappear entirely, it’s likely many organizations will look to downsize as they take a blended approach, which we’ve seen a lot of our customers already implementing.

The truth is, the last few months have shown us that remote working and flexibility can be unlocked by more industries and companies than once thought. In fact, thanks to advancements in technology and an increase in cloud-based communications solutions, you can now work from anywhere providing you have access to an internet-connected device.

Remote Working Benefits

There is a wide range of research and strong evidence to suggest that remote working offers lots of benefits for both employers and employees. Some of these benefits include:

Employee Wellbeing

Productivity

Office Operational Costs

Recruitment & Retention

Environmental Impact

But despite the major benefits of remote working, its introduction has mostly been reactive, and this has meant that some businesses are making do with a basic set-up. If you are considering a long-term working from home solution going forward, be mindful of some vital factors to ensure you are doing it right.

Equipment

We suggest investing in a larger screen than a laptop and using a keyboard, maybe even a docking station so individuals can simply pick the device up and avoid having to plug in numerous leads to start their day.

Internet Connection

To make remote working successful and pain-free as a long-term option, consider supplying employees with a separate connection or a data-sim dongle. This allows you to better manage connections and ensure they have security protocols in place that protect against potential cyber threats.

Security 

Cyber-attacks have more than tripled since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic with criminals sadly take advantage of remote working vulnerabilities.

Leaving remote security to chance could have serious implications such as loss of revenue, reputational damage, and loss of important documentation or data. 

Here are 10 simple things you can do to mitigate this risk and ensure you’re secure when remote working:

  1. Use A VPN

This will allow your employees to access the company data from a remote location. This creates a secure tunnel and stops sensitive company data getting into the wrong hands.

  1. Invest in Technology

Ensure that you have adequate and credible anti-virus software and firewall protection that checks into a central admin console and alerts if updates are not completed.

  1. Train Your Staff

Ensure your staff are aware of possible security threats and they feel confident in their understanding of how to avoid, report, and protect themselves against these. In other words, make them your human firewall.

  1. Regular Password Audits & A Strong Policy

Ensure you have a robust password policy in place and that your staff understand the importance of this. You should audit passwords regularly to make sure the policy is being followed.

  1. Cloud Storage

Use a managed cloud storage solution to store company data. This way you control who has the permissions to access information and protect your most valuable asset – your data!

  1. Manage the Wifi

When employees are working from home consider getting them set-up with their own SSID. This ensures no one else can be on the same network as your home users and prevents potential security breaches.

  1. Disable USB Devices

Reduce the likelihood of infection by disabling removable media using MDM settings and only permit the use of approved devices. 

  1. Backup

Use a cloud backup system to avoid downtime and drama in the case of data being lost, accidently deleted, or infected by cyber-attacks.

  1. Encrypt Data

Ensure your employee devices are encrypted at rest by default. Most devices do this automatically, but in a lot of cases the encryption is disabled.

  1. Two Factor Authentication

Roll out 2FA so users must physically acknowledge and confirm their access to your network, software, or systems. This means you can be sure your home users are who they say they are and prevent unauthorised access.

Environment

Finally, to be as productive as possible when remote working, you need to feel comfortable in your surroundings. Dedicate a specific room in your home to work or a location you feel you can get stuff done. Ensure it’s quiet and free from distractions.

Employers should consider completing a short health and safety assessment on their employees chosen remote working locations, to ensure they are sufficient and safe.

IT’S HERE TO STAY

Working flexibly has become a reality for many more of us and research shows that the overwhelming majority of people do not want to return to the way they worked before. 

It’s unlikely the normal we once knew will be the normal going forward, and that’s ok. But adopting new strategies & technology is key to helping us adapt to this ‘new normal’ and ensuring the transition is as smooth as possible.

2020 has been a challenging time for UK businesses but it’s also been an opportunity to change workplaces for the better and for good. The time for change is now.

Anushka Malhotra

Anushka Malhotra

Anushka is a Content Executive for Birmingham Tech Week and writes about innovation, digital trends, new technology, and data science. She is an alumna of Warwick Business School where she studies Marketing & Strategy and has worked for a number of high-tech businesses.

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