Server-TypesFew businesses were prepared to be thrust into a situation where you suddenly had to support remote work as a business continuity strategy because of COVID-19.

It’s likely that you experienced significant downtime and limited services — which ultimately impacted your customers.

You may now be seeing a more positive side of this change, as companies see the myriad benefits involved in remote work. While maintaining consistent operations is a must for any business, the challenges are greater when you’re suddenly forced to shift many business models without adequate support. Fortunately, IT managed services providers are able to step into the gap, providing a secure and reliable infrastructure for your business.

Las Vegas IT consulting specialist, Cameron Call shares a few of the ways your local technology partner can support your business now and in the future.

Tools to Support Your Remote Workers

If working remotely becomes the new reality of the future, it’s imperative Small and Medium Businesses (SMB’s) support their remote workers in a variety of ways. If remote employees can’t download files, struggle with pixelated video, can’t hear you on a conference call or consistently receive meeting invitations for times when they are still asleep, you have failed to address the basics. Therefore you must invest in reliable technology tools to make ongoing collaboration possible and effective.

1. Video Conferencing

Email alone is insufficient as a single communication strategy. Remote workers benefit from using technology such as video conferencing because conference calls lack an important component of communication and that is body language. Video is particularly useful for complex or sensitive conversations as it includes visual cues that allow for increased understanding of the context of a conversation absent from written or audio-only communications. Look at software like Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx, or Microsoft Teams to host online meetings.

2. Instant Messaging and Live Chat

Sometimes all you need is a quick answer to questions easily facilitated with instant messaging (IM). IM is perfect for simpler, less formal conversations as well as time-sensitive communications. You could use a messaging system like Microsoft Teams or Slack. You can also add live chat to your website using ZenDesk or LiveChat serving your customer’s needs instantly, therefore, improving service quality outcomes. Your IT managed services provider is able to come alongside your team and offer timely recommendations that will keep you moving without a lot of sidestepping or confusion.

3. Cloud Storage

Sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, 40% of businesses are accelerating cloud adoption plans, according to a survey recently released by MariaDB in partnership with Propeller Insights. Security is always a concern when remote workers need to access data. If you haven’t already done so, move your storage to the cloud. Cloud computing increases efficiency and promotes productivity as it allows your employees to work from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. Most cloud services offer mobile apps which may mean that employees are not restricted to use only certain devices.

Cloud computing uses greater security protocols which means if a laptop is stolen or an employee accidentally erases data, you can still retrieve or protect the data as cloud computing uses servers off-premise where all updates are managed remotely — including security updates.

Create a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Create a Virtual Private Network (VPN) using software like Microsoft Azure. This creates a secure connection to your private network over the internet and enables your remote workers to send and receive data as they normally would in an office environment. The greatest benefit apart from increasing productivity means all data exchanges are completely safe providing an added layer of security against cyberattacks.

Using technology to deliver ongoing remote services will not only increase productivity and lessen any downtime, but it will also provide you with a more consistent service quality for your customers. If you are unsure of your technology needs to support your employees, reach out to your local IT Managed Service Provider (MSP). These technical and project management professionals have relationships with numerous technology solutions and can make recommendations that will be suited to your needs and budget.