As businesses face the challenges of COVID-19, it has become obvious to some that their IT provisions weren’t as prepared as they should have been. Unfortunately, as businesses began working from home, security incidents, downtime, and other IT disruptions have been on the rise, putting them in even more precarious situations during this global pandemic.
Remote working comes with many challenges, but many of those can be avoided when businesses have the right level of support to protect their remote networks. With 58% of American knowledge workers now working remotely as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important that businesses understand where their continuity plans can be improved and how to deal with at-home working challenges.
With that, here are 5 major red flags that your IT provider failed to prepare you properly for the COVID-19 pandemic and what you can do about it:
1. Your team is having trouble safely accessing files and programs.
Not having the right access to essential files and programs can be incredibly frustrating when working remotely, as well as slow down productivity. Not only that, but it can also be dangerous, as an improper server setup can often lead to employees sharing files through public or open Internet connections, putting your data at risk.
Your IT provider should have prepared you for at-home working by implementing a virtual private network or VPN for safe access to your in-house server data. If you don’t rely on in-house servers, they should have suggested cloud solutions that allow access to the data and programs needed to perform tasks on laptops or tablets remotely.
If your IT provider didn’t prepare you to safely access your data, this is a sign that you are in need of more robust IT services that can help you achieve safe business continuity.
2. Your team is struggling to communicate or collaborate effectively.
There has never been a more vital time for employees to maintain reliable contact with co-workers and clients than when working remotely. Not having solutions in place to promote effective communication can have a huge impact on productivity, as questions that could be answered within minutes when working alongside fellow employees could potentially take several hours to gain a response.
Not to mention, if your communication software is lacking, your clients may also be left waiting for a response or solution to a problem. Failure to implement effective remote communication tools can cause significant damage to your customer relationships.
Simple remote telecommunication solutions such as VoIP phone systems allow your team to keep calls secure while also implementing instant chatting and video conferencing features to increase productivity. VoIP phone systems are also much cheaper than traditional landlines, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses who need to preserve their bottom line now more than ever.
Other collaboration tools for your team such as Microsoft Teams can allow your employees to easily cooperate on group tasks and projects by offering remote editing capabilities on documents. Tools such as these can also consolidate your applications into one managed platform, allowing you to cut back on separate programs or software and save money.
If your IT provider didn’t offer solutions in the way of remote collaboration tools as part of your business continuity plan, your business likely has already felt the effects of lower productivity and communication. To remedy this and prepare better for the future, look for IT services that offer collaboration tools such as these.
3. Your cybersecurity didn’t get upgraded at all.
Unfortunately, many remote workers are now accessing sensitive data from insecure locations or devices, which has made them more vulnerable to cyber threats since the outbreak. In fact, the World Health Organization has reported a five times increase in cyber attacks since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown.
Your IT provider should have been thinking ahead and supporting teams to employ security solutions such as firewalls, spam filtering, and anti-malware that are adaptable to remote networks. Additionally, they should offer security training to employees and consulting on work-from-home policies to maintain data security at all times.
4. They failed to advise you on new tools and hardware.
One of the many challenges that companies had to face when transitioning to remote working was to ensure that all employees had the correct equipment to be able to successfully work from home.
Some companies had to send employees home with equipment from the office while others began working from personal devices—which comes with its own security issues. Some employees even had to wait for equipment to be ordered and delivered before being able to begin working.
The role of the IT service provider in this instance is to advise your business in accordance to what new equipment will be needed to maintain productivity and safety. Whether you needed new computers for your employees, a custom software to manage new administrative tasks, or cloud storage solutions, your IT provider should have already consulted you on these business continuity tools.
5. They still haven’t updated your business continuity plan.
With the world around us constantly changing, business contingency plans need constant revision to ensure they are prepared for any changing situation. This is especially true for businesses whose continuity plans have failed them in some regard when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
IT service providers should be evaluating how your contingency plan has been working amidst the pandemic and amend any flaws in the plan that have caused issues. This will better prepare you for the future and ensure that the best solutions are in place while you deal with the challenges of remote work now.
A reliable IT provider should offer its clients continuous support—especially during difficult situations such as the one we’re facing. They should have prepared you with the proper remote networks, tools, and cybersecurity to deal with the challenges you are now facing. If they didn’t and you’re experiencing one of the red flags listed above, it’s time to look for more comprehensive solutions.
At ISG Technology, our managed IT services are designed to prepare your business for anything. We work directly with our clients using a proactive approach to improve their systems continually. If you’d like to learn more about our managed services for businesses, contact us today.