Recent developments in the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have necessitated the urgent transition to a remote workforce for many businesses. Current regulations in and out of the United States range from recommendations to limit social contact to government-mandated quarantines.
Even if businesses in your area haven’t yet been required to stop operations at their physical locations, it would be very wise to do everything possible to facilitate a remote workforce now as a precautionary measure against both future spread of disease and in case of stricter quarantine regulations.
To enable your employees to work remotely, technology must be in place which allows your remote teams to stay connected and access resources. In this time of immediate crisis, many organizations find themselves unprepared, with IT service providers who are unable to provide them with the full range of equipment, services, and resources they need to facilitate and set up an operational remote working environment. Mentis Group can prepare your company with all the resources you need for your computer and technology users to remain fully operational while remote.
Here are a few considerations and requirements to prepare for remote operations:
A Strategic Plan
When many companies think about Business Continuity, their immediate thoughts go to natural disaster, fire, or a singular event which impacts their operations. Full quarantine of the population is rarely considered, but that is what organizations face now.
A strategic plan transcends the hardware and software immediately at your disposal, and it is perhaps the most important point on this list. COVID-19 and the worldwide response to the virus are affecting many aspects of life as well as your business. While you may be in emergency mode responding to the issues currently at hand, now is the time to be thinking about future repercussions as well.
What effects will the outbreak be having on your business in the coming days, weeks, or months, and how can you structure your business’s operations now to have the best chances of success in the future? We’ll help you plan for your future goals and prepare for other unexpected situations that might occur.
A Strong Network Infrastructure
To work remotely, employees will need to have access to adequate equipment to keep them connected, both to the team and to essential data and systems. A strong network infrastructure that’s optimized for remote access is the first necessity in enabling this setup.
To function remotely, your business will need the following tools for your network:
An Enterprise Class Firewall and Router
A virtual private network (VPN) allows your employees to access a private network remotely by encrypting your data as it travels between your machine and the internet. Mentis Group leans heavily on enterprise class firewalls and routers, at both lower and higher price points. To facilitate adequate VPN throughput for your entire team, the router must be powerful enough to handle the load effectively, not just for a few users, but now for your entire team.
Adequate Internet Bandwidth
When working remotely, your business will likely be transferring large amounts of data. If your bandwidth is too small, your speed and productivity will slow significantly.
VPN Client Licensing
You’ll need to ensure that each device, or client, has the proper licensing to connect to your network. VPNS are generally licensed per client machine or user, so the number of remote workers and machines you have will impact the number of required number of VPN client licenses.
In most organizations with centralized offices, communicating with your team may be as easy as a quick office drop in or doorway conversation. That’s not the case when your team is working remotely. With the right collaboration and messaging platform, you can create a virtual office that allows your employees to communicate seamlessly even without being in physical proximity. Hosted tools like Slack or Teams give you options for messaging between individuals, dedicated groups, or company-wide channels, as well as video chat features and team meetings, while video conferencing platforms like Zoom are more dedicated to calls or video chat exclusively.
We at Mentis Group have been heavily integrated into Slack for years and rely on the platform for effective collaboration. However, Teams is also an excellent solution.
We can direct you to the right tool or combination of services that will best meet your needs.
Cloud applications are web-enabled, meaning instead of relying on physical hardware or devices, they are hosted by a provider and accessible virtually over the internet. Moving to cloud-hosted systems for your application function and storage will allow you to access applications and data remotely and securely.
Remote Desktop Services
Remote desktop services (or RDS) allow you to take control of another remote device over a network connection, whether that be a dedicated workstation or a multi-user single server RDS server or RDS farm. Operating in an RDS environment provides your team to operate the same or a similar desktop environment, with your line-of-business applications, just as if working from the office. RDS operation uses a very small amount of bandwidth per user and is perfectly suited for remote team operations.
As a best-in-class Managed Service Provider, we can help you implement these tools to help you transition smoothly to a remote workforce. With the right plan and technology in place, your operations and clients should see a seamless experience between in-office and remote workforces. Contact Mentis Group today to discuss and implement a strategic approach to remote operations.