Tackling the IT Remote Work Hurdles (Common IT Issues & Solutions)

Much like the world at large, the team at Network Right was faced with tackling the transition to a completely remote workforce. Not just for our internal team but our clientele. As an IT provider, we are thankfully in an industry more prepared than most for said environments. Nonetheless, we had to look at the most common issues companies would face in this movement from the IT side & how we can help combat it using the proper tools, policies, and planning at scale.

1. Video Conferencing

Arguable the AV space saw the biggest jump in our remote work transition. Many clients who had conference room solutions while in the office had to prepare their teams for fully communicating via popular apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet & more.

As such we make sure to work with our current & new clientele to ensure they had the appropriate software & plans in place to best support their workforce. With the increase in virtual events, we worked with department managers, assistants, and office managers alike to ensure the tools they used allowed them to easily host events that fit their criteria. For example, setting up Zoom accounts for companies and ensuring they had features such as breakout rooms, webinars, and licensed accounts for all their teams hosting calls longer than 40 minutes.

Staying in the touch with the team at this time is more important than ever. So we worked with our clientele to be sure their software stack met their needs to keep their employees in touch despite the remote times.

2. Corporate Network to Home Networks

The other major concern for companies was the move from a corporate network to employees being on individual home connections. Security & accessibility is the most important aspect here.

VPN:  Virtual Private Networks was one of the first things we worked with our clients to ensure they had some sort of solution available to help secure their employee’s traffic. VPN allows the user traffic to be tunneled safely when browsing & transferring data over networks especially that of the home where IT doesn’t have any administration. Furthermore, for clients with on-prem hardware (Servers, Data Storage, etc) at offices, we got VPNs configured at the network level to allow employees to connect as if they were at the office. This allows employees to access data and environments that they normally would on the corporate network.

Cost Savings:  Given most offices went on pause we worked with both our clients & ISP partners to see where we could help save on costs. With no internet being used in some spaces where contracts permitted we worked to reduce cost & implement temporary savings.

Remote Monitoring: Having some level of visibility on the corporate network was still important for a lot of our clients. Whether it was on-prem devices or to ensure empty offices were secure we worked with those who didn’t have enterprise-grade equipment to implement hardware that allows our team to monitor any network drops, status, and various other information. Giving clients a sense of safety & visibility despite being out of the office.

3. Remote On/Offboarding

One of the biggest hurdles faced was that of the transition to on/offboarding in these remote times from an IT perspective. We worked closely with HR departments to ensure we could have a plan in place for the remote work situation.

  • Implementing MDM or mobile-device-management tools for clients who didn’t have these in place effectively allowing us to both set up laptops brand new out of the box with zero involvement as well as offboard (remote lock, wipe/erase) machines upon offboarding/terminations
  • Worked with our partners to procure & ship hardware to new-hires be it laptops, monitors, or other accessories to ensure they had their entire IT setup delivered to their home residence.
  • Inventory management. Logging all hardware, asset tagging, and more to keep track of devices given the non-centralized environment. This also allowed us to collect & store equipment from employees who may have left the company. Giving office managers peace of mind knowing IT hardware wasn’t being returned to an empty office.

These are just some of the few ways we adjusted or implemented certain tools into some of our clients to ensure they were prepared & could handle the transition of onsite to remote hiring/offboarding in a way that’s efficient for all parties involved. While keeping IT security & employee satisfaction at the forefront.

4. Phishing Attempts

The post-pandemic world saw a huge spike in phishing attempts across the year. As more and more people began to work from the home, the physical disconnect could at times make these spam/phishing attempts more susceptible to succeeding in their nature. As we saw the increase globally we did our best to ensure our clients were prepared.

  • Hosting seminars & sending reminders became something we did heavily early on for some of our clients to help reinforce what potential threats/attempts look like to more easily spot them. Further what action needs to be taken when encountering said emails or contact. Setting up proper ways to quarantine and alert IT of said attempts.
  • Setting up improved & hardened filters for clients email programs to ensure things like spoofed domains, fake employee names, and so on are easily flagged & warn the user
  • Enabling certain email security protocols such as SPF & DKIM to help ensure our messages that we send outbound doesn’t end up in client customers spam and so on
  • In areas of compliance standards, we even had implemented test programs & tools to help test general security across organizations and how users respond to phishing. Allowing us to provide data to clients such as how many employees clicked on a link in a phishing email, submitted info, etc. All to then know what areas we can improve on & have said users go through training programs to help prevent them from happening in live scenarios down the road

This area was all about communication & being proactive to spot the troubles that would arise globally as a result of the remote workforce. Further how we in IT could help secure our customers & their data as well as educating the employees in such matters.

5.Communication with the IT Team

Lastly and most importantly we wanted to ensure that communication to our internal IT help-desk team was efficient, easy, and humane. We know that being outside the office and no direct communication can often leave problems left unchecked, urgent issues maybe not get flagged, and so on. Helpdesk being one of the leading services we provide, we wanted to be 110% certain in the transition existing clients didn’t lose the on-site white glove experience and that new clients felt our team was apart of there’s despite the remote times.

We achieved this in the following ways:

  • All clients get a dedicated helpdesk@companyname.com setup that triages into our service desk system. Tickets are auto-assigned to the client’s lead technician and available for our account managers & other service desk members to take on as needed. All without interaction from the client-side.
  • Users can contact our IT team via email & popular communication apps such as Slack. We further expand upon this by making it easy to flag a message in slack & auto-sync it to our ticketing system. Ensuring communication on slack conversations gets added to the ticket history.
  • Our service team offers responses in 24-hours supporting companies with multiples offices across timezones & even countries. We ensure a plan is set up so that your team no matter size or location has the resources allocated to support the team in this remote climate.
  • We implement software stacks from mobile device management, remote monitoring tools, and more to help further maintain the service we offer on-site. Allowing us with permission to connect to employee computers & diagnose their issues as we would in an office environment
  • At Network Right while we believe in not having IT be a barrier & fixes to get you on the way. We also believe in educating our clients & their employees. Explaining the root of issues & how to avoid or fix them in the event they ever occur down the road. Educating customers where we can in our field to help provide more context & insight into the matter at hand. Working to support teams of employees no matter their location, setup, and so on.

Communication is key in our field. Just as we offer our on-site service we wanted to ensure our remote presence was also felt if not physically at least digitally. We plan to continue to support all our client’s present & hopefully future ones for as long as these times or hybrid setups exist. While we enjoy the face-to-face connection at client sites we want to be able to safely & efficiently continue to offer our level of services regardless of conditions.

We hope to someday serve you as well! Be sure to reach out to our team if any of the above are issues your team may be facing & want to see how we at Network Right may be able to assist!

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