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Remote Work: Getting Away from “I Wish I Would Have … ”

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Prior to March of 2020, when only 6% of all US employees worked remotely no one could have predicted that a huge number of organizations would shift to a remote work model virtually overnight. The pandemic hit hard and fast, and nonprofits had to think on their toes. Many had only a few weeks to adapt. It was stressful and extremely challenging.

Looking back on it, many organizations wish they’d had a plan in place that would have made things easier. When the pandemic hit, many organizations had to absorb the huge cost of getting their employees up and running off-site. Not only was it costly, but it also took a lot of coordination and on-the-fly planning. This meant many things slipped through the cracks, including cybersecurity.

Put Your Plan Into Writing

First and foremost, have a standard operating procedure to put into action when things go sideways. For example, in early 2020, many organizations didn’t have any kind of security plan in place, let alone a remote work security plan. They had to make it up as they went along, which compounded the challenges they were already experiencing and left them vulnerable to cyber attacks targeting work from home personnel.

Managed Services Providers (MSPs) and IT consultants are experienced with developing business continuity and incident response plans for organizations.This plan should include a cybersecurity protocol, what number they should call for 24/7 support, how to identify suspicious emails, guidance on what constitutes an emergency and, of course, who to contact in an emergency

More than that, the plan should outline exactly what needs to happen when disaster strikes. Pandemic? Here’s how we operate. Fire? Here’s what you need to know. Power failure? Call this number immediately. The list goes on, and it can be pretty extensive.

Invest In Security And Backups

While every organization should have network security already in place, the reality is that many don’t. There are a ton of reasons why (cost concerns, lack of time, lack of resources, etc.), but those reasons aren't going to stop a cyber attack. Hackers don’t care that you didn’t have time to protect your systems, they just want money and to wreak havoc.

When you have IT security in place, including firewall protection, malware software, strong passwords and a company-wide IT security policy, you put your business and all your employees in a much better place. All of this should be in place for both on-site employees and remote workers. With the shift to a work-from-home model likely to continue, having reliable IT security in place is more important than ever before.

On top of that, you should have secure backups in place. Investing in cloud storage is a great way to go. That way, if anything happens on-site or to your primary data storage, you have backups you can rely on to restore lost or inaccessible data. Plus, having a solid cloud storage option gives remote employees ready access to any data they might need while at home or on the go.

Where Do You Begin?

Some organizations have the resources to invest in full-time IT personnel, but most don’t. It is a big investment. This is where partnering with an experienced IT services firm can really pay off. You may have employees in-office or you may have a team working remotely – or you may have a mix of both. You need support that can take care of everyone in your organization while taking care of the data security of the business itself. This is where your IT partner can address the range of issues. They are someone you can rely on 24/7 and someone who will be there for you during a pandemic or any other disaster.

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