How to champion remote work in the “new normal”

Remote work has become the “new normal” for businesses of all kinds across the globe, and many expect to retain a certain level of location flexibility even after isolation measures are lifted. While this transition to a fully remote work model has been forced upon most organizations, there are a number of tools, strategies, and solutions that can help make remote work a success and take on the “new normal” with a flexible and agile approach. Here are my top four ways to make remote work, work.

Transfer your environments to the cloud

Cloudification - i.e., transferring on-premise systems to a cloud-based environment - allows companies to remove the need for the human presence that’s usually required to monitor physical servers.

Once an organization’s systems are transferred to the cloud, they no longer require technicians to be present to take care of the maintenance of the physical infrastructure, which would entail conducting repairs and monitoring performance. Cloud providers take care of all system maintenance themselves.

In addition, once an organization has moved their core business applications to the cloud, they can reap a number of benefits that will help them maintain efficiency and continuity while employees are working from home.

Providers such as AWS offer products to businesses that allow them to remain agile as they adapt their processes and strategies to adapt to the future ahead. For example, applications like Amazon Lightsail let companies rapidly deploy a web solution, which they might need when quickly adding a new offering or pivoting strategy.

Allow employees to work from their own hardware

Allowing employees to work from their own devices is a key part of a smooth transition to remote work. For example, many companies that in the past required their employees to work from a particular make and model of computer, complete with certain configurations, are now letting teams work from their own devices. This gives them the increased flexibility that they need to work comfortably and efficiently from wherever they may be.

If a company has legacy applications that run on the business’ pre-configured devices, these can be transferred and re-architected to be compatible with modern hardware, including laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones.

If this re-architecture is not feasible, services such as Amazon WorkSpaces and AppStream 2.0 can enable companies to quickly migrate their legacy desktop applications to the cloud, extending access for all users, no matter their device.

Make it secure

When employees are working remotely and from their own devices, it’s vital that all of the data is kept secure from potential hackers or leaks. This is particularly important right now as cybercrime is on the up, and hackers are making the most of workforces’ increased dependence on digital tools.

The vast majority of cyberattacks (98% by some estimates) use social engineering methods, so are likely to leverage these uncertain times for their own gain. This means that as well as  regular security measures such as encryption in transit and in-rest, companies should regularly perform threat modelling and penetration tests to keep their security posture high. A properly configured cloud solution helps by providing out of the box advanced security measures.

Organizations shouldn’t ignore the possibility of insider threats, either. Financial service companies or healthcare organizations in particular should make sure they have a full understanding of which employees can access sensitive data and make sure that nothing is over-exposed.

Document management systems can also be a key part of facilitating a secure remote work environment. These systems can be as simple or as complicated as necessary for storing information, and act as a central repository that’s accessible in the cloud.

Remote document management systems are protected by security features that only allow access to certain devices. They can guard documents with a high level of cryptography which is based on a combination of factors, such as a password and smartcard.

In order to ensure maximum levels of security, businesses can choose to work with an expert partner in order to implement a secure solution that encrypts data across all devices, and allows it to be easily wiped in case of loss or theft.

Tools that let you maintain business continuity

For example, healthcare professionals could use cutting-edge applications to help them remotely diagnose patients. StethoMe is a Polish startup offering a clinically validated system for remote examination of the respiratory system to detect abnormalities.

Team leaders can leverage virtual classroom solutions that are specifically designed for structured training and allow employees to partake in timed exercises and follow a communication protocol. For example, ReadyTech is a virtual instructor-led training tool that enables instructors to see all of the learners’ desktops simultaneously. Technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will also allow for remote training for teams that do physical work, such as repairing machines in manufacturing plants.

There’s no doubt that the “normality” that resumes will bear a distinct difference to that which came before it. Now businesses across the globe have witnessed the boost to efficiency and productivity that can come from digital transformation and remote work, many are likely to continue their adoption. These strategies will be key in facilitating a distributed work model for those forward-thinking businesses that embrace the post-crisis future.

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