With COVID-19 restrictions confirmed by the UK Government as being lifted on Monday, July 19, and as guidance for employees to work from home wherever possible ends, how should businesses prepare their IT systems for the return to the office? We asked Neuways for their thoughts...
It’s being labelled as “freedom day”, the date the Prime Minister has settled on to lift the majority of mandatory Covid restrictions, including that of ‘work from home if you can’.
So while there’s to be a staggered approach away from WFH and back to the office, how will your company re-adapt to having staff back in the office?
We asked Derby-based company Neuways, a leading managed support service provider, and a member of our board, If they had any advice and guidance for businesses welcoming back their workers.
Words by Conor Davies, Content Marketing Executive, at Neuways.
Many organisations made mass changes to their existing systems to allow their workforces to adapt and work from home as seamlessly as possible in Spring 2020. These alterations saw companies become more flexible, with some moving their IT systems to cloud-based configurations, from previously on-premises settings.
Here are a few ways Neuways recommends your business prepares for the move back to the office to ensure it remains secure.
Communication and Phone Lines
When lockdown measures were first announced last year, many businesses were using Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems that were hard-wired to work in the office. While extremely effective in an office environment, these phone systems were found to be too inflexible for those who had to work from home.
This saw many organisations turn to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP phone systems, such as Microsoft 365 Business Voice, offer flexibility for users as it runs over data networks, meaning it can be used with ease across a range of locations and devices. Users can receive and make calls from the comfort of their own home, if they are on the move representing the business or if they are in the office.
And the best thing? You won’t need to do anything at all to prepare VoIP phone systems for the return to the office. As mentioned, Business Voice is available on a variety of devices and simply requires a working data connection to work making it perfect whether you’re in the office or working from home.
Having a comprehensive Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) plan has arguably never been as important as it has been over the last 18 month. While cyber attacks are just one form of disruption that can cause businesses downtime, they have risen massively.
A study by our BCDR partners Datto found that the average cost of downtime periods rose by 94% year-on-year, from £105,867 in 2019 to £205,878 in 2020. Further research showed that 59% of 1000 Managed Service Providers (MSPs) surveyed said remote work due to COVID-19 had resulted in an increase in ransomware attacks.
Businesses have had to ensure they remain vigilant in backing up their company data. But, whether your business will be continuing to employ a flexible working approach or returning in force to the office, the back-up and recoverability of your data and systems will need to be factored into your data management tactics.
By following the Power of 3 data back-up method, saving data on-device, on-premises and in the Cloud, businesses will be safe in the knowledge that their data is being saved securely.
Of course, whatever type of working plans your business is putting in place, it is crucial that data management policies adapt with them. If you are moving back to the office full-time, then it must be arranged for regular data back-ups to be taken from your office workstations. Failure to do so could lead to a gap in a business’ data were a period of downtime to occur.
Collaborative Tools & IT Systems
We know by now that the pandemic brought with it sweeping changes to how businesses operated. Through the implementation of Microsoft 365, Neuways ensured many of its customers were set-up with flexible systems. This allowed colleagues to work collaboratively with one another despite the distance, with the Microsoft ecosystem allowing for the secure distribution of documents and files without the need for large attachments to be sent over email.
Microsoft Teams and Zoom have also proved invaluable for businesses across the world, with video calls replacing meeting rooms full of colleagues and instant messaging allowing staff to stay in touch. The return to the office might negate the use of video conferencing software somewhat, but both it and Microsoft 365 will remain a critical tool for many businesses. Both from an ease-of-use point of view and the ability to provide collaborative working options for businesses.
If you’re returning to the office and need any further advice on your IT solutions, contact Neuways today on 01283 753333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’d like to thank Conor and Neuways for their advice.
As mentioned previously, Neuways sit on our board. We're currently establishing our Governing Board and if you would like to express your interest in joining, please contact us.
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