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Tech Tips for Working Remotely

 

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5 Tech Tips for getting your workforce working remotely and keeping them secure

Whether by choice or by government order, as COVID-19 continues to spread, more and more companies are mandating employees work from home to self-quarantine and help flatten the curve. Here are some tech tips and tricks from DCNC to help make the remote experience better, and make sure you are not compromising security while doing so.

Thankfully we live in a day and age where the technology to work remotely is not only available it’s already been something most companies have implemented on some level. And while this will greatly help get employees up and running from home quicker, unfortunately many of the remote access solutions already in place were not designed to support the entire firm suddenly needing to use them. At least not in most cases.

So, to help you during this difficult time, follow these five steps below

1) Connect Securely

Hopefully if your firm or company already had some form of remote access in place, a method of getting connected securely to your office was already setup and in place for you to use. If not, or if you are unsure if you are connecting securely, reach out to your Office Admin or to DCNC and we can help you make sure this is properly setup.

As sad as it is, phishing scams and malware exploiting this crisis are already on the upswing. The bad guys are fully aware that everyone is shifting to work remote and they know many will not have the proper safeguards in place. Let’s review a couple of the top things to consider.

  • Make sure if you are working on WIFI it is a secured connection. Stay away from public WIFI and make sure your home WIFI is password protected.
  • Use a secure access method when connecting to your companies’ files. Some of these secure methods include Citrix, RDS, VPN, and RD Gateway.

There is one very important additional method to secure your remote access we would highly recommend everyone consider, and that is Multifactor Authentication. With Multifactor Authentication, even if someone manages to get your password they still can’t get logged in as you without your verifying the login via your cell phone. It’s relatively inexpensive, quick and easy to get setup, and truly almost a must-have in today’s world.

2) Internet Bandwidth

Now that you and the rest of your office are working remotely, you will be taxing your bandwidth as you never have before. Especially at your office. Plus, if you happen to have asynchronous bandwidth such as Comcast, you may have had 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up. When you were in the office you were using the 100 Mbps. Now that you are all remote, you are using the upload and that is the 20 Mbps. So not only did you just add more people that need to use that bandwidth, you also just went from sharing 100 Mbps to sharing 20.

The good news is that many Internet Service Providers (ISPs)are stepping up to the plate to help out during this time of need and are offering bandwidth increases for great prices and rather than forcing you to sign a year or longer contract, they are allowing increases on a month to month basis.   Reach out to your ISP and see what options you may have. A temporary bandwidth increases at home, as well as at the office, can make all the difference in your experience and efficiency.

If you are making a big increase at the office, I would also recommend reaching out to us here at DCNC so we can make sure you have everything you need. Often times, if you increase your bandwidth high enough you may need a new firewall as well. Certain firewalls can only handle so much throughput. Increasing your bandwidth with your ISP only to still be throttled by your firewall is obviously not what you want.

3) Computer Health

Now more than ever making sure your computer is in good health is more important than ever.

  • You know that “it’s time to update” popup you have been ignoring for weeks now? It’s time to get that done. Chances are at the office your IT team takes care of this for you. But if you are now using a home computer… it may be horribly behind on its updates
  • You will also want to make sure you have a solid antivirus software that is also up to date.
  • Finally, if it’s been a while, you should restart your computer. Often even if you allowed the recent updates to install, they won’t fully take effect until you have rebooted. So it’s possible you have a bunch of updates stacking up waiting on the last round to be completed.   As a best practice, get in the habit of restarting your computer as the last thing you do every day when you are done working

4) Data Protection

One of the possible dangers of working remotely, especially for extended periods of time is that you will be tempted to save your files locally rather than back to the company’s servers or cloud locations. As tempting as this may be, whether you are planning to work on it again shortly, or just hoping to speed up file retrieval, don’t do it. Your local system is likely not backed up at all. And even if you happen to have your own cloud backup, it’s likely not nearly as secure as your company’s backup. The last thing you want is to be responsible for your company’s data being compromised.

5) Video Conferencing and Collaboration

As we all begin to hunker down and get used to working apart from each other, it will now more than ever be important to take advantage of some of the amazing tools and software that is out to help keep us better connected. The term Social Distancing keeps being used in our world right now, but I think it needs to be reworded to Physical Distancing. Now more than ever, we need to remain social. Humans are social creatures and the more we can stay in contact and interact with each other through all of this the better off we will all be.

There are many different options out there that you can explore and use to help with this. One that you have probably heard of is Microsoft Teams. For many of you, those who are already using Office 365, you likely already have it. Teams provides chat, video conferencing, collaboration, file sharing, project management, just to hit the highlights. It’s super intuitive and easier to get off the ground and running with it than you might think.   Being able to have a daily or weekly video call with your team right now can be an invaluable way to stay connected and on task.   Being able to see each other and still interact and read body language really helps shrink that distance we are all feeling already.

DCNC has been using MS Teams for some time and is happy to help get you up and running with it in no time. In fact, watch your email and our social media post as we are going to running some free webinars on the basics of MS Teams and what you need to do to begin using it right away. We also have a Microsoft Certified Trainer on staff, so if you end up loving it, and want to take your knowledge to the next level, let us know and we can train you individually or your entire team all at once.

Final Thoughts

It certainly appears this will be our new normal for at least a few weeks so we might as well do all we can to make the very best of it. The tips above will help get you started off on the right foot. In today’s world, working remote doesn’t have to be a painful experience. In fact, if done correctly you might even find some added efficiencies you didn’t have in the office. But remember, don’t lose contact. We don’t have to physically touch to stay in touch. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the topics above, or anything else in greater detail please reach out. We are always happy to talk. Stay healthy!

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