In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has changed the way we work. The question is, does your business have the right tools to work from home longterm?
Do you have the right security in place?
Can your team collaborate effectively?
In this blog post, we’ll cover the five ways you can gain control over your company’s data and devices while working remotely.
This post will show you how you can:
- Get clear on mobility needs
- Modernize data infrastructure for greater flexibility
- Make vital content easy to access
- Streamline collaboration
- Reduce security risks
Before diving into the five points listed above, let’s run through why these points are so important for your business to implement right away…
Employee mobility is here to stay
Everyone is talking about the work-from-home phenomenon, mostly in the context of the psychological adjustments required for the remote workers.
Less appreciated is that organizations are facing unprecedented strains on communications infrastructure.
Even the US Air Force has reportedly blown past its VPN maximum capacity of 72,000 users, according to a CNN report.
We’re unquestionably living and working in a time of mobility, employers and employees in every industry were working remotely before COVID-19, and now, everyone has to adjust to this new way of working.
Employee mobility is no longer a “nice-to-have”, it’s now an essential part of doing business.
But the organizations that aren’t prepared with the proper tools are suffering.
In fact, according to RingCentral’s ‘From Workplace Chaos to Zen’
“Workers lose up to 32 days a year navigating between the very apps meant for workforce productivity, costing hundreds of billions of dollars for businesses annually”
Companies that focus on improving employee mobility give customers a better experience, improve their response times, and can quickly adapt to changes in the market.
These advantages can help you stand out from your competition and drive revenue.
Many companies hope that mobility will make their employees more productive, as it allows them to work from any location and device.
However, too many devices and apps have the opposite effect – leading to overwhelmed teams, wasted time, and maxed out VPNs.
All of these devices also create data security and governance problems. IT teams have a hard time tracking how employees are accessing and sharing sensitive data.
Employee mobility causes three types of sprawl that can put your productivity and security at risk:
- Workforce Sprawl: Your employees log hours from a variety of locations such as the office, the factory floor, their homes, their cars, hotels, and airports. They need tools that keep them secure and productive — no matter where they are working.
- Device Sprawl: Look around the room during any given meeting. You will likely see people using PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets, and other devices. To ensure that your business is productive, you must make it easy for employees to access all their apps and files across all these devices.
- Data Sprawl: When employees need to save a file, they’ll put it in the most convenient location. Depending on which device they are using, they may save files in their hard drives, Dropbox, SharePoint, or another application. If multiple people collaborate on a document, some may not be able to access it. Even the employee who initially saved the file may not remember where they stored it. This can cause employees to waste time searching for files or working from dated information. Data sprawl also creates security risks, especially if employees store company data in insecure public clouds.
Flexibility: The future of workforce productivity
The future of workforce productivity is enabling mobility and flexibility, not giving employees more apps that claim to boost their productivity but end up slowing them down.
To increase your efficiencies, you must implement only the technologies that are the most relevant and valuable.
Each tool should support collaboration, productivity, and data security. Examine the apps that your employees use and ask if they help you in all areas. If not, employees are likely wasting time jumping between applications and searching for files. They may also be putting your sensitive files at risk.
Below are 5 steps that will help you harness the power of workforce productivity to support your changing workforce:
1. Get clear on mobility needs
Before you plan for the future, you must get clear on where you are now. Here are some questions that will help you understand your current mobility challenges and how they may evolve:
- How many of your employees work outside of the office? What types of devices are they using?
- What types of apps do they need to access?
- What are their top challenges when it comes to accessing and sharing files, especially large files?
- Do your employees need to access sensitive corporate data (that needs to stay secure) while mobile?
- What are your existing security gaps? How do your current file-sharing tools or processes contribute to these gaps?
2. Modernize data infrastructure for greater flexibility
80% of employees use apps that work outside of the companies approved systems, so it’s hard to track where people are putting sensitive files.
Gain greater control over your data by giving employees flexible, yet secure storage options. Look for a workforce productivity solution that lets you store data on-premises, in approved cloud services, or in both locations.
That way, you can keep financial info in your data center while allowing employees to post general communications in the cloud.
You can also use access controls to designate who can open documents, as well as prevent employees from sharing specific files with third parties.
Flexible storage options also allow you to leverage your existing on-premises and cloud investments — without the need to migrate your data to a new system.
This helps you build a cost-effective and customized storage solution that grows with your business
3. The future of work is mobility
The future of work is mobility, the ability to work from home or any remote location.
Employees expect to be equally productive — whether they are working from the office, from home, or on the road. It’s essential to remove all of the barriers that make it hard for them to share files and collaborate.
For example, many file-sharing services can only access a limited number of networks. Once employees go beyond your company’s walls, they may not be able to open the files that they need to complete a task.
This may create situations where employees miss deadlines because they can’t open a document that they need to review.
Workers may also drive to the office on a Saturday to spend 30 minutes working on a presentation that they couldn’t access from their laptops at home.
Your file-sharing solution should make it easy for employees to access corporate data — whether it is stored in the cloud or on a network file drive.
Look for a solution that gives everyone in your company a single point of access to all of your data sources — whether they are working in the office or from another location.
That way, they can be more productive without being tethered to a specific computer or database.
“Work is no longer a place you go to. Work is about making things happen where you are and having the experience you need to get things done available on every device wherever.”Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft
Most employees still rely on email when they collaborate on documents. For example, they may email an attachment to five people for review.
Then, they must reconcile five separate sets of edits. Not only is this time-consuming, but the employee can easily miss someone’s comments.
Automating your workflows helps employees complete tasks and get approvals faster. For example, they can post a document in a shared drive and then send all reviewers a link to it.
Then, everyone will work from one file that contains the most recent edits.
You can also set up automated alerts to notify reviewers when they need to sign off on a document, such as a purchase order or a new post for your blog.
This reduces the amount of time that employees must spend chasing after approvals and makes your company more efficient.
4. Reduce your security risks
According to a recent report, 90 percent of companies are concerned about insider threats. This number isn’t surprising, as Black Hat found that 84 percent of breaches stem from human error.
For example, an employee might upload your data to an insecure public cloud or share a document with someone who isn’t authorized to view it.
Putting the proper security policies and tools in place can prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands.
This will help you keep all of your files secure — whether they live on-premises or in the cloud.
Your file-sharing solution can be your first line of defense against both internal and external threats.
Here are seven features your file-sharing tool should offer to keep your company’s data secure and compliant:
- Information rights management and role-based access controls that designate who can view, print, and edit documents
- The ability for users to revoke access to files, which is useful if they accidentally send one to the wrong person
- Data encryption, as well as data loss prevention, features to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your files
- The ability to enforce your corporate data policies to ensure that every file is secure and compliant
- Integration with your existing security tools
- File archiving to help you retain detailed audit trails
- The option to remotely wipe lost or stolen devices
If you want to save time and collaborate easier – WHILE keeping your data secure, Mindcore offers the most complete and integrated workspace solution through our Cloud Services.
Our Cloud Solution enables people to securely access all the apps, desktops, and data they need to be productive. Using our cloud workspace, your entire organization will be enabled to access, sync and securely share filed across any device or location, regardless of where files are stored. Plus, you’ll be able to automate feedback and approval workflows to streamline your business and maximize productivity.
Learn More About Matt
Matt Rosenthal is a technology and business strategist as well as the President of Mindcore, the leading IT solutions provider in New Jersey. Mindcore offers a broad portfolio of IT services and solutions tailored to help businesses take back control of their technology, streamline their business and outperform their competition.Follow Matt on Social Media