Working from home is productive – but don’t forget security

Working from home is productive – but don’t forget security

By Jason McLaughlin

There are many ways to improve productivity for those new to working from home during the current Covid-19 crisis – but one thing is absolutely paramount: security.

For those in the IT Managed Services business, the past few weeks have been incredibly busy as companies face the challenge of getting their workforces up and running to work remotely.

It would be too easy to forget about the importance of keeping data safe and secure in these times, with cloud solutions enabling communication and collaboration effectively, but you have to ensure that local networks and devices are looked after too from a security standpoint.

From an Ortus-client perspective, we have been banging that drum for three years on ensuring that everyone is able to continue working during a crisis. With Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans front and centre in our planning efforts.

Global pandemic

Of course, we weren’t thinking there would be a global pandemic, but we were calling out the potential effects of bad weather or families with sick children who had to stay away from the office.

We were recommending people moving from desktop to laptops with secure VPNs and on-premise servers to the cloud with Microsoft Azure and many have done that. The great advice and good work of three years has borne fruit.

So, Phase One has been ensuring all people working from home are set up correctly and we are 99% there. Phase Two is helping to work well in their new home environment and, as Trusted Advisors, this is happening effectively. Watch our short video on Working Remotely Effectively here.

Since everyone is at home, no-one is worried if the kids pop up in the background of video calls and we are even seeing increased productivity from many of our engineers, as they don’t have travel times to worry about and can be flexible with evenings.

A key aspect is for people to take regular breaks and go for a walk around the garden or away from their screen.

Communications and collaboration

The IT industry has long been strong on using technology to provide full remote access to applications, data and systems. Broadband has improved in most parts of the country and Microsoft Teams has been a real boon for everyone – it is an excellent communications and collaboration tool.

We have been using it for a number of different types of meetings: our MD Cian Prendergast led a meeting for the entire company for what we called a Royal Rumble. Each team has been holding a Daily Huddle and there are regular daily Management Huddles. Keep team spirit up, build camaraderie and driving productivity.

Eat the frog

From a personal perspective, I always build a To Do list at the end of the previous day and prioritise the Top 5 things. It’s important to “eat the frog” first thing in the morning – take on the hardest task because then everything else is a little bit easier during the rest of the day.

And I break large tasks into smaller tasks – you can only “eat an elephant” in small bites.

Many people will struggle to make all the technology work at home: log it with your IT Managed Services company – they will get it fixed.

But it’s worth finishing on where I started: security is as paramount when working from home as it is in the office.

For more information about Ortus Managed Security Solutions, click here.