With remote work seemingly here to stay, many organisations are building and refining their remote IT support to cater to their out-of-office teams. Remote work offers many benefits but also comes with its own set of IT challenges.
In this piece, we offer practical tips for providing high quality remote IT support that enables your people to continue working at their best, while remaining secure. Firstly, let’s explore cloud technology and the crucial role it plays in enabling remote work and remote IT support.
Embrace the Cloud
Embracing the cloud has become essential in today’s remote work environment. Here are some key benefits and reasons why cloud-based solutions are valuable for remote work:
- Accessibility – Cloud software and infrastructure solutions are accessible via the internet. For anyone with the access permissions and user credentials, they can seamlessly access files, apps and data from anywhere with an internet connection. This foundational flexibility allows remote workers to undertake their tasks and to collaborate.
- File Storage and Collaboration – Cloud storage platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive enable harmonious file sharing and collaboration among remote team members. Multiple users can work on the same document at the same time, while version control features ensure accidental changes can be reversed. As we’ll see, cloud solutions also empower IT support with tools such as remote viewing software, enabling direct assistance despite physical distances.
- Scalability – Cloud services can scale quickly and easily with the needs of remote teams. This includes adding new users and increasing data storage capacity to meet organisational demands.
- Enhanced Security – Cloud service providers offer enterprise-grade security measures such as advanced data encryption to keep the assets on their platforms safe for their clients. This also includes advanced access controls and authentication protocols. While for businesses this is not a total cybersecurity solution, it does add a considerable layer of protection for your remote teams.
- Disaster Recovery – Cloud services typically include disaster recovery options, allowing businesses to quickly recover data and systems if they need it. Remote teams can have peace of mind knowing that their work and data are securely backed up and can be restored if needed.
In short, the cloud empowers remote workers to undertake a wide range of work tasks from the comfort of their home, while offering remote-friendly data security measures and the potential to receive IT support virtually.
Establish Clear Communication Channels
Without quality communication, it will not be possible to deliver excellent IT support to remote workers. Firstly, ensure you have a range of channels such as email, phone lines, chat applications, as well as ticketing systems that employees can use to get technical assistance. Service desk software can help your business track and promptly deal with support tickets if one has not been implemented already.
Clear communication also involves offering the right tools for problem-solving. For example, using software that lets users submit information in versatile ways, such as live video calling and screen sharing, or software that makes sharing diagnostic data easy, can empower the troubleshooting process. We also recommend regularly reviewing IT support procedures, escalation paths and response time expectations to align expectations and to help remote teams to get the best from their IT support.
While cloud solutions offer a range of cybersecurity measures, it is important for each business to take care of particular vulnerabilities associated with remote working. For example, home routers or the access of a company’s network from a personal device are just some of the risks that can come with remote working setups.
One effective starting point is to ensure the use of strong passwords and to regularly update them as well as implementing two-factor authentication. Beyond this, deploying endpoint protection and a VPN (Virtual Private Network) for all company devices to access your network securely will also help to protect your network despite these risks.
Ensure you regularly update your software and systems with the latest patches and security fixes to stay updated against the latest threats. Additionally, remote workers can be more susceptible to phishing-based cyber-attacks, so offering user awareness training on cyber threats and cybersecurity best practices can empower your people to operate securely and safely.
Provide Remote Troubleshooting Resources
An efficient and helpful way to empower remote workers to get their best from their IT environment is to setup remote troubleshooting resources. These resources include self-help portals, FAQs, written step-by-step guides, and video tutorials. These can eliminate the vast bulk of routine IT support enquiries, enabling your IT support teams to focus on more complex or strategic tasks. With self-help resources, remote workers can get themselves back on the road quickly without needing to rely on external support.
Remote Access and VPN’s
Remote access is a key benefit of remote working, but it also gives rise to a range of security risks. If remote workers do not have access to the company network and its resources, they won’t be able to work. To offer this more securely, deploying VPNs is essential, so we’d like to expand on this point.
A Virtual Private Network creates a secure connection between a remote worker’s device and your company’s network, forming a secure bridge for exchanging data. A VPN works by re-routing a device’s internet connection through a private service rather than a regular Internet Service Provider’s (ISP). The key benefit is that VPNs are configured to be more secure, while typical ISP configurations are less robust and secure.
Even if a cyber attacker has their eyes on your employees’ personal routers, the VPN will help to ensure that they cannot exploit this potential vulnerability to access your organisation’s network. In this way, VPNs can help to assure continued connectivity and security for your remote teams.
Remote Device Management
Managing a fleet of remote devices can be a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. It’s important to have a full and manageable inventory of the devices that are accessing your network. With a management solution, you gain oversight and can rollout updates and protocols that are aligned with your IT policies, without suffering from implementation and policy compliance gaps.
A Mobile Device Management (MDM) platform is the best solution to achieve this. MDM enables IT teams to enforce security policies, deploy software updates, as well as to troubleshoot device issues from a central location. It ensures that remote devices are secure, up-to-date and compliant with company policies.
Virtual Community Support
Virtual team support goes beyond resolving technical issues. Another way to empower remote teams to get the best from their IT is to create virtual communities which will facilitate knowledge sharing and a sense of cohesion. Community building can take many forms, including encouraging peer-to-peer assistance, knowledge sharing, as well as chat groups and forums. By leveraging the remote network and empowering it to help itself where it can, you can achieve a win-win with better IT support as well as creating a more engaged, proactive remote team.
Managing IT support for remote workers requires a proactive approach, a focus on cybersecurity, and effective communication channels. By embracing cloud-based solutions, prioritising cybersecurity, and providing self-help resources, you can ensure a smooth and productive remote work experience for your employees. Remember, remote work is here to stay, and adapting your IT support strategies accordingly will empower your remote workforce to thrive in the digital era.
Ready to take your business to the next level?
Contact Bells IT Support, Dartford’s top IT support company for SMEs. We provide a range of IT services, from managed IT to business telephony and project management. Our team takes a proactive approach to each of our managed service offerings, with solutions tailored to your business needs and budget. We are committed to providing strategic solutions to our clients and building business partnerships based on sincerity and trust. Partnering with us means access to expert tech solutions that are grounded in business reality, and a firm commitment to cyber security best practices. Contact us today to learn more.