Creating an anytime workplace
Posted on July 09, 2018
Mobile warriors, home-based workers, freelancers, contract roles. If these are the future of workplaces, how much longer are companies actually going to require one physical work environment if everything can be done remotely? While for some companies, having a physical office is a necessity, it’s still crucial to have allowances in place to accommodate for remote working. The key though, is making sure that any worker, regardless of location, can access the office securely and effectively...
Why provide a remote working option?
With the next generation of workers coming through the workforce accustomed to a digital first approach to their private life, it’s only reasonable to expect the sames from their working environment. This means workplaces are going to have to accommodate a more digital-savvy employee, but the rewards are there for those that make the effort..
There is a fine balance though, between providing a flexible, remote working environment, and still ensuring those remote workers feel included in the company culture and everyday life.
Creating the anytime workplace
In a recent Australian Bureau of Statistics survey, approximately 3.5 million people regularly work from home. While most say they do so to catch up on heavy workloads, there are others who do so due to geography, lifestyle or the preference to work remotely.
On top of this, a 2017 ManpowerGroup Solutions Work, For Me report found that the desire or need for flexible start and finish times as well as the ability to work from home is driving the remote workforce up. The demand for flexible working has increased dramatically in Australia and the number of employed people working from home has risen from 20 to 30 per cent in the past 15 years.
Faster Internet connections, many more ways to connect via social networks and internal communications tools, virtualisation and other internet services have made working remotely far easier. And it’s not just the younger generations that are demanding it.
Of course, to ensure a successful ‘anytime workplace’, there are some important measures which must be put in place.
Cyber security is critical
Managing a remote workforce means a range of network challenges including reliability and security issues, especially when it comes to public Internet access and sensitive material or documents. And while Remote Desktop Protocol and Virtual Private Network (VPN) are most commonly used, a VPN is the more secure, and therefore, favoured option.
Essentially, a VPN extends the network to the individual computer. If a VPN is setup correctly, it allows users to access the business network via their individual community. Users are given a username and password, plus an authentication certificate. The connection is encrypted, protecting the network from vulnerabilities, making a third party intrusion less likely. Even if a third party has the correct name and password, without the authentication certificate, they’re denied access.
The importance of good IT policy
So how does a business ensure the safety of their network while allowing access remotely? First up, it’s essential that an IT policy is implemented with repercussions for failure to adhere to the rules.
The policy should include whether there are certain types of activities that cannot be carried out remotely, for example, accessing sensitive data or sending confidential documents. And with the privilege of remote access, comes the responsibility. All employees should sign written agreements to protect business data at all times. Additionally, workplaces should regularly train their people on information security risks to mitigate the chance of a data breach.
Finding the right combination of technology
Secondly, find the right technology which works for your employees and business. This may be a combination of several options depending on the type of work the particular employee is doing. It could be a matter of storing everything in the cloud so that it can be accessed and edited from anytime, anyplace. Or it could be a matter of setting up VPN access on individual laptops.
Alternatively, it could be a combination of the two with a cloud gateway, which uses network protocols to integrate with existing platforms. Cloud gateway options can also include additional storage features, backup recovery and further encryption.
The key, of course, is ensuring your employees have the option to work remotely if they wish, but your business is most definitely protected.
Call us to discuss how best to protect your business and expand your remote access options.