Many businesses are thinking about their return to the office and life after lockdown, but with social distancing likely to be in place for some time to come, and a significant number of staff having to shield due to conditions such as asthma or diabetes, it could be quite a few months before things start to get back to what we would consider normal.
With that in mind, there will be important decisions that have to be made about the I.T. systems that your business uses. Here are some areas to consider when planning how your business will operate in the days and weeks to come.
- Data Security – with the initial focus being on business continuity, security and compliance were not at the forefront of most people’s minds. Many homeworkers are using personal devices that don’t have the same level of protection that you would normally expect on a corporate network. Shortcuts may also have been taken to get everyone working as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this has led to a sharp increase in cybercrime. As always, it is much better to have a pro-active approach rather than taking measures after becoming a victim.
- Systems – while many systems are now cloud based, local network client/server applications are still widely used. These systems, although fine when everyone is physically located in the same building, don’t work so well when staff are working from several different locations. Now is probably a good time to reassess the systems you use and see if there are any options to make it easier to work remotely.
- Resilience – another thing to look at is the resilience of your systems. Identifying single points of failure and addressing those is one way to prevent nasty surprises that could cripple your operations. For example, a failover internet connection is an extremely good idea if you have workers connecting to a central server. A disaster recovery system is also something that could be invaluable should a server go down. These measures pay for themselves very quickly when problems arise.
- Collaboration – most businesses have been using platforms such as Zoom or Teams to allow staff to communicate and work together. As staff had little time to prepare for lockdown, for many it was very much a case of learning on the job. Now that we all know how to change our backgrounds and unmute ourselves, it’s not a huge leap to properly utilising some of the more advanced features to improve collaboration and productivity. With Office365 and Teams in particular, many of us have had functionality for a long time, but it’s only now that we are discovering what is possible. So, whether your staff are working in the same office or from the garden shed, be sure to make the most of some of these features.
As well as being Microsoft Silver partners, we also partner with leading data security and business continuity vendors. If we can help advise on any of the above, please get in touch.