It seems as though remote working will continue even once Covid restrictions have been listed. The BBC reports that a survey orchestrated by the Institute of Directors (IoD) reveals 74% of UK business plan to continue work from home policies.
Employees are equally enthusiastic. Flexible working gives people more autonomy to work where they want at times that are convenient for them. The freedom of remote working helps employees develop a work-life balance and can help parents save on childcare costs.
However, 66% of UK companies witnessed a downturn in productivity during the pandemic. To ramp up efficiency, firms need to install technologies, recruit IT support and implement remote-relevant policies.
The early signs don’t look too promising. A report published by McKenzie reveals that 40% of employees do not understand the vision of their organisation whilst 28% say the policies are ‘vague.’
There is also a lack of technical know-how. Cloud computing and remote working software are central to leveraging the efficiency of work-from-home employees yet there is a shortage of talent in this area of IT.
An industry think tank at the Learning & Work Institute has warned the digital skills shortage could be “catastrophic” for UK businesses. The report reveals that 70% of young people expect employers to invest in their digital development on the job.
In this article, we discuss how outsourced IT support services can help companies deploy remote working teams without compromising communication, collaboration and engagement.
We also discuss how to successfully implement BYOD (bring your own device) and CYOD (choose your own device) policies and enhance cybersecurity at the same time.
Outsourcing your IT support to qualified and highly skilled experts can even save you money. You don’t need expensive on-site servers or a large team of IT staff that ramp up the wage bill.
Remote working solutions require much more than simple file sharing in order for your teams to collaborate effectively and successfully. Cloud computing, therefore, takes centre stage when implementing a winning remote working strategy.
A cloud-centric model seamlessly brings your workforce into a central location. This enables you to optimise remote teams, maximise staffing and give your employees more flexibility to work whatever hours they prefer.
There’s a little more than a handful of reliable cloud computing platforms to choose from. Our preference is Microsoft Azure because it helps make IT management from remote locations smoother.
The comprehensive cloud-based platform is designed to facilitate the building, hosting and management of applications without the expense associated with maintaining onsite resources.
The Azure Portal is also a gateway to other key on-demand services that are accessible with a Microsoft 365 subscription. More about some of those applications later!
First, here’s a quick rundown of all the benefits you can expect when you embrace the cloud.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing
- Increase flexibility and mobility of remote workers
- Improve efficiency and productivity
- Enable real-time collaboration
- Save costs on IT staff and equipment
- Enhance cybersecurity (when implemented properly)
- Significantly improve disaster recovery and business continuity
- Automated software updates and patch management
- Sustainable and scalable
- Gain competitive edge
Remote Monitoring Services
Deploying a remote workforce naturally raises questions and concerns about cybersecurity and how your employees will get access to IT support when they run into technical issues.
IT support services have advanced software that can monitor your business network from a remote location. That gives you three distinct advantages:
1. Identify risks and prevent issues before they happen
Remote monitoring tools help to maintain the smooth running of computer systems and applications by regular updating operating systems, installing the latest anti-virus software, cleaning hard disks and addressing potential technical issues before they become a problem.
Remote management software allows IT professionals to take control of a remote device and fix issues that could affect the performance of the device or piece of software.
This saves a significant amount of time and ensures that technical issues are addressed before and not after the event. Therefore, your employees are not waiting around for an IT guy to call in at their home or join a long queue in a helpline.
With our expertise and Microsoft’s cloud solutions, we are confident of keeping your employees up and running 99.999% of the time.
2. Enhanced Security: Microsoft Intune
Outsourced IT specialists can also enhance cybersecurity despite the higher degree of risk. Software updates and configurations, device diagnostics, and troubleshooting can all be managed via the cloud.
In addition, we reinforce your remote-relevant policies with the latest cybersecurity tools.
The latest Microsoft package for businesses of all sizes was kitted out with additional security features which integrate seamlessly with numerous other Microsoft 365 services.
Microsoft Intune helps you to bolster the cybersecurity defences for your network, apps and devices used for business purposes.
The range of data security measures helps users to work more flexibly and effectively. The benefits include:
- A mobile device management (MDM) solution that enhances BYOD policies. All you need to do is install Microsoft Intune on the device.
- Enhances data protection by enforcing recommended password requirements
- Provides additional layers of security via dedicated data protection applications such as single sign-on (SSO) solutions and multi-factor authentication (MFA).
This enables registered users to access multiple applications through Office 365 – which only requires one login password. The user location, device and date are confirmed and any suspicious activity (unknown device or location) is flagged up and a member of your IT team is notified.
MFA sends an encrypted code to the user’s mobile device or email to confirms it is the registered user that is attempting to log in. This means that even if hackers were to get hold of a password, they wouldn’t be able to access your business network without the correct passcode.
3. Guaranteed Security Updates
At some point, all business networks develop a vulnerability that can be exploited by malicious actors. Typical gateways for hackers are software applications, operating systems and wi-fi routers.
To helps their customers defend themselves against cyberattacks, tech companies release “patches” which are designed to eliminate vulnerabilities.
However, it is the responsibility of the end-user to update the security patch. It is, therefore, the obligation of businesses to ensure all your employees update their devices.
Security updates are very difficult to manage when you have a remote workforce. People are naturally averse to maintain their devices and software because it can be time-consuming and impacts their productivity.
The longer security updates are postponed, the more your business is at risk of suffering a data breach. And GDPR officials are clamping down on firms that do not uphold their obligation to protect the personal data of your customers.
Microsoft Virtual Desktop
To enable remote connectivity, Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop (MVD) provides companies with unrivalled flexibility, enhances security and eliminates storage issues without the expense of on-premise servers and countless software installations.
Virtual desktops provide workers with a secure cloud environment that allows them to access data, apps and directories without compromising security.
MVD has an advantage over most other virtual desktops in that it can be accessed from iOS, Mac OS and Android operating systems. This gives your staff the flexibility to work with a device of their choice without having to calibrate the devices of your entire workforce.
Moreover, MVD is accessed through Windows Azure and is available to 356 business and enterprise subscribers – so you don’t have to invest in new hardware.
Lastly, your IT support team only has to perform security updates once and your entire workforce covered.
Today’s employees have a strong sense of self-management but still want feedback from their managers, keep in touch with their work friends and need to collaborate effectively with their team members.
Although remote working disrupts some aspects of connectivity and human interaction, Microsoft Teams boasts several features that streamline communication, empowers collaboration and fosters a culture of interaction between remote workers.
Equipped with interactive video conferencing, instant chat and co-authored document sharing, remote workers can communicate and collaborate from remote locations in real-time.
Teams also integrate other Microsoft 365 tools such as PowerPoint. This enables users to deliver training or presentations and customise how content is delivered to a live audience.
Participants can also interact with presentations from remote locations by toggling between modes and features such as a virtual hand wave to indicate when somebody wants to speak.
Mobile Device Management
Mobile devices and home networks are more vulnerable to cyberattacks than your on-premise network. MDM solutions enhance cybersecurity by monitoring, securing and managing remote devices.
Microsoft 365 Business seeks to resolve common issues with its built-in device management software that enables businesses to deploy, configure, maintain, and support smartphones, tablets, laptops and wearables.
The MDM agent gives network security administrators access to remote devices and enables your IT support team to monitor people accessing your network from remote locations.
IT support teams also have admin control so they can distribute security policies to mobile devices without the device owner needing to take responsibility for security management.
This helps companies to unify policies and standardise device management with minimal disruption. As a result, it greatly reduces the amount of time it takes IT teams to enforce security measures and effectively increases efficiency.
IT Support in London
A key component of a successful remote working strategy is an IT infrastructure that empowers your staff to leverage digital technologies with minimal input and disruptions.
Outsourcing your IT requirements to reliable specialists like our IT support team in London gives you access to a wide range of technologies and services that help you ramp up your remote working strategy to full capacity.
Moreover, we provide 24/7 support so you have access to IT professionals for a fraction of what it will cost you to invest in relevant technologies and hire an in-house team. This is how our IT support team in London can help:
Increase response time
One of the most crucial priorities for remote workers is having access to IT support professionals if they need it. What’s more, people don’t want to keep waiting. Downtime eats into their products which can be frustrating.
MicroPro boasts a 24/7 help desk which gives you access to IT professionals any time of the day. Our quick response times – depending on the complexity of the problem – can make a huge difference.
Businesses typically experience ebbs and flow between growth and downsizing. Moreover, a lot of businesses struggle to expand and waste money downsizing because they do not have digital technologies that allow them to be agile and cost-effective.
MicroPro gives you access to a wide range of technologies and services which you can add or remove. We offer monthly packages as and when you need them so you can manage your costs in accordance with your needs and budget.
A scarcity of cloud computing knowledge and skills has been highlighted as a concern for UK businesses. Our specialist IT support team in London has many years of experience working with cloud technologies and many other remote working tools.
Not only is our technical knowledge invaluable, but we can also offer expert advice and solutions which helps to maximise efficiency without overstretching your budget.
If you need to leverage remote working, give us a call today and speak with our knowledgeable and friendly team. Our IT support experts in London will be able to answer all your questions and make suggestions that provide you with the best solutions.