Since the initial nationwide lockdown in March 2020, it’s become increasingly clear that technology is essential for businesses to continue functioning and succeeding in today’s modern world.
Technology has given us the power to be able to continue working from home, when working from the office became impossible. Now in lockdown #2, it’s apparent that flexible working is here to stay, and that SMEs need to utilise technology to remain productive, efficient and secure.
No one knows more about implementing safe online systems than Netstar, especially after their milestone month of joining forces with the Air IT group to further their net of Business Intelligence services. They spoke to me and shared that businesses often turn to them and say, ‘we know how important technology is for modern businesses, but what technology do we actually need to implement to add value?’ The answer to this always depends on your specific industry, goals and requirements.
Nevertheless, they’ve compiled our top five suggestions for implementing technology during the pandemic. Double check that you’re actioning these for a smooth and seamless work week …
Cloud-based phone systems
Unlike traditional phone lines, cloud-based phone systems enable users to make and receive calls using the internet. This means that employees can manage phone calls from anywhere, at any time – provided they have a suitable device that’s connected to the internet.
This flexibility is crucial during a time of uncertainty – it means that if lockdowns continue to occur, employees can quickly and easily continue to manage calls from the comfort of their own home. What’s more, cloud-based phone numbers help to maintain an air of professionalism and credibility, meaning that even if your employees are working from their personal mobiles at home, they will still be able to communicate with customers using their professional office number.
Additionally, unlike traditional phone lines, cloud-based phone systems don’t require an expensive initial capital investment for servers and hardware. Call costs are also significantly cheaper, meaning that your business will be able to save money whilst improving remote working capabilities and customer experience.
If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s how important it is to maintain effective communication and collaboration. Uptake of using task management systems were on the rise pre-Covid anyway, but with staff working remotely, the likes of Asana, Monday and Microsoft Teams have seen record numbers of new subscribers. Enabling users to communicate via instant chat messaging, video calls and audio calls means your team can stay connected and productive with real-time collaboration on documents between multiple individuals. This means that documents can be edited and updated by multiple team members at the same time without creating revised versions of the same document and causing confusion. Bliss.
Cyber security awareness training
With everyone working remotely there is increased risk of cyber threats and data breaches. Cyber criminals are working harder than ever to try and catch us out when we’re feeling most worried and vulnerable. I wrote in detail a few weeks ago about how Glow are leading the fight against WordPress hackers and it’s an ongoing problem wherever you look. In fact, there’s been a significant rise in coronavirus-related scams over recent months, whereby cyber criminals impersonate government or health officials to try and obtain our information.
Because we’re all working from home at the moment, it’s especially difficult to control what devices your employees are using for work purposes or how they’re using these devices. You need a way to ensure your employees are staying safe online.
Cyber security awareness training means that every employee would have to complete video-based learning with short assessments designed to increase their security awareness and prevent them from clicking the wrong link and falling victim to a scam. Netstar’s offering on this intrigued me because the training is ongoing – employees will also be sent simulated scam emails. If an employee clicks on one of these emails they’ll be informed that it was a simulated scam and will be required to complete additional training to ensure their security awareness is fully up to date and refreshed.
Storing your data in the cloud enables you to access it from anywhere, at any time, using any device, providing you have a stable internet connection. This has been absolutely crucial during the pandemic – it enabled professionals to continue working as normal as soon as lockdowns were implemented. In fact, it’s predicted that in a post-COVID world, flexible working will continue long term. As a result, businesses will need to adapt to ensure their staff can access the files they need, whether they’re at home, at the office or on the go – cloud computing is the perfect solution for this, as long as your security measures are in a tip top and Bristol fashion as explained above. One more tip to get completely secure follows …
A great way to add an extra layer of protection to your business is to introduce multi-factor authentication. This act requires users to verify themselves in two or more ways in order to log in to a system, device or application – inputting a username and password and then verifying your identity again by entering a passcode sent via SMS or through a dedicated mobile application.
Even if cyber criminals do gain access to your usernames and passwords, they won’t be able to login without a secondary means of verification – which is often personal to you.