By Kirk Waddell, EVP of Technology, One Source
As the COVID-19 epidemic propels our world toward stricter lockdown, businesses are feeling extreme constraints to support the abrupt magnitude of remote workers.
If you or your IT department is feeling overwhelmed as to what areas of the business can be of the most immediate impact, here is an emergency plan guide to get you thinking about what you can do with the assistance of a MSP (Managed Service Provider) and MSSP (Managed Security Service Provider) to give you a stronger safety net.
Right-Sizing Technology, Resources and Cost-Savings
It may have become evident to you already, but abruptly scaling a remote workforce is pretty taxing on your entire business: from the accessibility of your telecom/internet connectivity and overall IT infrastructure, to recognizing increased security needs. Leveraging a MSP to right-size your technology environment in a scalable, yet cost-effective way is key to organizational survival. Here are some of the key areas of focus where, as a MSP and MSSP, our organization One Source can help to leverage our expertise and take the burden off of you:
1. Increase Corporate and Residential Bandwidth and Connectivity
Evaluating your current bandwidth and its effectiveness to support the projected number of your remote workforce is a great place to start. Employers should be evaluating not only the necessary capacity of your employee’s internet at their homes but also the capacity of the data center /corporate offices to whom they will be connecting.
Something worth investigating is that managed service providers can offer business class services to be installed at places of residence, ensuring adequate bandwidth as well as cost and quality control. It might be easier to provide these services to your key personnel through the business as well as appreciate the advantage of handling billing on the business account. Most residential upgrades can be completed within 10 business days, with net new corporate installs within 30 days (subject to availability). Adequate bandwidth is the foundation to any and all cloud-based technologies and is a necessity for a functional teleworker environment. Without it your remote workforce plan has its risks that could prove a detriment to your business.
2. Implement an Emergency Infrastructure: Firewall Security is Key
Enabling authorized remote network access to your employees, while preserving the integrity and privacy of your corporate information, has never been more urgent. To ensure a safe gateway to your data it is imperative that you have adequate firewall protection.
For employees working from home that need access to applications and data on your network, it will be critical to address the following:
- Allow remote VPN connectivity to the company network to maintain workforce productivity
- Create rule sets for inbound and outbound traffic to protect your data
- Prevent unauthorized access attempts
- Examining network traffic to prevent malicious activity, such as malware
3. Increase Awareness and Prepare for Cyber Attack
The harsh truth of supporting an at-home workforce is you have more remote points of entry to your network heightening your security risk exponentially. Analyst Hyoun Park of Amalgam Insights estimates that between 55% and 65% of small and medium businesses have no plans or policies to deal with a security breach.
The reality today is that hackers will prey on the social isolation and potential naivete of your remote workforce. Per the article “How to Defend your Company against Coronavirus CyberScams” safety starts with your employees as your best line of defense when detecting phishing and cyber threats. Do you have the proper training and resources to teach them what to look out for? Phishing emails steal data by tricking users into believing they are interacting with someone or a company they trust. According to phishing defense technology company Cofense, as much as one in seven emails sent to professionals contains a phishing message. Phishing preys on our most basic instincts for community and belonging. Unfortunately, that is why organizations must take it upon themselves to teach employees to act against those impulses in the interest of self-protection. In the article “Changing User Behavior is Core to Averting Phishing Disaster” ,it explains that both technology and human behavior together is what combats cyberthreats. Leveraging an MSP, like One Source, that provides technology simulations along with elearning courses to train employees can be just what your organization needs to reduce your cyber risk.
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