The sudden transition to remote work has created hardships for employers and employees alike. Few businesses were sufficiently prepared for the technical challenges of supporting a remote workforce, and their employees typically lacked some of the tools they needed to remain connected and engaged.
In many cases, managed services providers (MSPs) have provided a lifeline with the delivery of critical cloud, collaboration, security and support services that have helped companies remain afloat.
Remote support was a challenge even before the pandemic sparked a global surge in the number of people working from home. In a CompTIA survey conducted in early March, only 41 percent of business professionals said their company had the technical capabilities to support remote work. More than two-thirds (67 percent) said they were likely to explore third-party assistance for building remote work capabilities.
Just days after the survey was conducted, the need for third-party assistance became painfully clear once social distancing and stay-at-home orders were implemented across the country. People accustomed to working with office technology that is regularly monitored, maintained, patched and upgraded by the company’s IT staff almost immediately discovered they needed a great deal of help working with their home computers, Internet connections and wireless networks.
Easing the Transition
For many companies, MSPs have been essential for remaining operational during the initial transition and beyond. In addition to traditional managed services such as remote network monitoring, maintenance and security offerings, MSPs have provided critical expertise on the deployment and use of cloud, collaboration and network access technologies.
Our customers have counted on us to relieve the burden on their IT staffers and remote workers. Here are some of the specific issues that we can address:
- Remote network access. Virtual private networks are essential tools for allowing remote employees to safely connect to the company network. However, those who had never worked remotely before the pandemic were usually unfamiliar with VPN technology. SSD provides guidance on installing and configuring VPN clients, as well as setting up authentication and permissions to safeguard data and identities.
- Conferencing and collaboration solutions. Team collaboration tools with integrated video and web conferencing capabilities have become essential for allowing employees to connect and communicate with colleagues and customers who are also working from home. Through our help desk services, SSD can help employees install and configure webcams or digital cameras, microphones and speakers, and team collaboration client software.
- Cloud support. Cloud resources are essential for enabling remote work, providing anytime/anywhere/any device access to key applications, services and storage. New teleworkers are often unfamiliar with many of the cloud-based applications they’ll need to use while working from home. SSD can provide guidance on selecting, implementing and configuring cloud applications and services.
- Security. The increased dependence on hardware, applications and devices outside company control creates multiple attack surfaces. Remote workers may need guidance to ensure they are using good security practices from home. SSD can help users install client security software on their devices, and we can ensure that application updates and patches are properly applied.
Although the coronavirus forced companies to make a hasty transition to remote working, there are indications it could become a permanent shift. Working with a qualified MSP such as SDD is a good way to ensure you have the infrastructure, staff and services to support such a transition. Call us to learn more about how we can help you address the challenges of supporting a full-time remote workforce.