How to Support a Remote Workforce

37810932_s“Any device, anytime, anywhere.” It’s a concept that has become more of a consumer expectation rather than a pipedream, thanks to rapid technological advancements in the past 10 years.

It’s a paradigm shift that has not only changed how we access our personal photos from a family vacation, it has also fundamentally redefined how modern workplaces function, with teleworking and remote work-from-home options becoming a more commonplace offering.

This evolution in how we work makes sense, as having supporting remote workforce with your business provides three key benefits:

  • Lower costs
    With reduced overhead costs – with less office space to rent, no coffee to supply, and possibly no equipment to buy – companies can often save up to 30 percent on these expenses alone.

  • Better talent recruitment and retention
    The ability to support remote employees means you can leverage talent for your organization in a way that may have been geographically restricted before. Moreover, 95 percent of surveyed employers say teleworking options has had “high impact” on retention of employees.

  • Increased productivity
    A recent study found that telecommuting employees not only provided a better work-life balance, employers reported 37 percent less absenteeism and higher rates of productivity.

However, offering a telecommuting option to your employees does present a challenge, as that same study found 33 percent of employees ranked IT as the top issue of working from home:

How do you handle the various IT challenges a remote workforce presents?

For example, what do you do if someone’s home computer no longer works? Or what if employees are not backing up data as they should be when working remotely? Those are just two small examples of situations that can and do occur in a telecommuting work environment.

In order to make sure that you’re ready to meet the challenges, as well as reap the benefits of a mobile workforce, there are two things your organization must proactively address first:

  • Develop a Mobile Device Management Strategy
    Whether you’re dealing with full-time remote employees or team members who occasionally work from home or access organizational data across a number of devices, it is critical that your business have a mobile device management strategy in place. This is especially true since the idea of BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) has not only become more prevalent, it also presents a number of security risks and data backup challenges that should not go unchecked.

  • An Online Backup Solution Is a Must
    Having an online backup solution – such as the cloud – is now essential for all businesses, no matter your size. Why? Cloud backup protects your organization’s most valuable information – be it business data or personal – from the risk of loss associated with fire, theft, hacking, or any other kind of technological disasters.

    A backup strategy becomes even more important when you factor in the inherent risks of employees who are not working onsite, as they are handling confidential company data from their own mobile devices and computers on a network that may not be as secure or stable as your own.

Final Thought

Employing a remote workforce for your business might seem like a scary concept, given all of the security and data infrastructure risks that should be weighed and addressed thoughtfully. However, with the right amount of proactive planning and strategic IT implementation, a teleworking option – either full- or part-time – for your employees can give you the edge your company needs in order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace.

However, if you do not feel your current on-site IT infrastructure is developed fully enough to support such a workforce, you may want to research managed service providers in your area. Working with an outsourced IT partner will enable you to keep a focus on your business, while their team – either working independently, or in tandem with pre-existing IT personnel – to ensure your approach is as proactive, as it is reactive.

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How CWPS Keeps You Connected When You're Stuck at Home

mobile device managementWhen an unexpected snow storm shuts down your businesses, you can breathe easier with planning assistance from CWPS. We'll help you implement a telework program that allows your business to continue serving customers until your team can return to the office.

On-the-Go, mobile workers can have 'always-on' connectivity, encrypted web access, and policy enforcement with the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Solution. This solution combines a software client that runs on laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Mobile Device Management with Cisco Meraki

In addition to AnyConnet, CWPS can help your business get set up with Cisco Meraki, which allows your employees to safely and securely use their own devices. So if someone is working from home and they left their notebook at the office, they can safely and securly use their own mobile devices.

In addition to Cisco's portfolio, we offer Citrix FlexWork and Telework Solutions that provide voice and IT infrastructure access to workers from any device, anywhere.

While others are scrambling to find alternatives until the snow clears, telework and mobility capabilities keep your customers happy and give you an edge over the competition.

Let CWPS help you set up mobile device management and other teleworking solutions. You'll get immediate productivity and efficiency benefits, plus blizzard protection when you need it. Contact the IT experts at CWPS today: (877) 297-7472 or connect@cwps.com.

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Are Mobile Devices Secure for Your Company?

13430047_sWith mobile devices becoming more popular, both private and public organizations are eagerly harnessing the mobility trend to connect with customers, clients, vendors and workers. This is because you can conduct a wide variety of transactions using mobility technology – from collecting credit card payments and implementing customer support services to remote data access opportunities and on-the-spot consultations.

However, mobile device management (MDM), as well as mobile device security, presents a serious concern for companies because of the possibility of sensitive corporate data, such as trade secrets and customer mailing lists, are at risk of being compromised. In fact, according to the Ponemon 2013 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis, data breaches and other cyber-attacks cost businesses an average of $5.4 million to repair.

Here is what you need to know to make sure your company successfully avoids the disruption and reputation damage that can be caused by a data breach. Mobile devices can be a great asset to your organization, if you know how to manage them correctly.

Bring-Your-Own-Device Is Here To Stay

Both public and private companies are embracing the “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) trend – the preference for employees to use personal mobile devices for work – which has a strong impact on daily operations. Yes, employees will a have seamless integration between their job and personal life with their chosen device, but this trend has resulted in a greater risk in data security if a device is compromised, lost or stolen.

Though Gartner forecasts that 50 percent of all companies will require employees to supply their own device by 2017, there are organizations that provide their staff with mobile devices for company data access. But regardless as to who supplies the equipment – an organization or their employees – having a clear mobile device strategy will be critical.

Having a Strategy in Place Works

Securing a network and guaranteeing the proper access of data by employees can be a daunting task. But research shows companies that implement a formal mobile management strategy can not only avoid potential issues, but actually take advantage of the proliferation of mobile devices in the workplace.

For example, a company can realize significant cost savings by including BYOD in their MDM strategy by adding provisions for personal devices and company-owned devices to an existing IT security or creating a policy from scratch.

It’s important to note that while your network and applications may not be accessible to everyone and every device, you should develop strategies that make business sense for the organization and make it easy for employees to comply.

Utilize Mobile Device Management Tools

With BYOD becoming an integral part of the workplace, one will not only need a plan in place, but will also need the proper platforms to control a large variety and number of devices that connect to their network. 

The process starts with determining what devices, users, applications and operating systems that connect to the network. This will provide one with a baseline from which to make support decisions and devise strategic MDM policies. As an example, one of the most basic tools one can use to make mobile devices more secure for their company is the ability to remote wipe data.

To manage the mobile devices that connect to their network, one should also consider utilizing an MDM platform. Most MDM platforms can support multiple device types and operating systems, in addition to providing setup of baseline policy controls.

As with any policy one implements across their organization, employee compliance will depend on the quality of the training employees receive. The better training around company policies is, the easier it will be to ensure buy-in from staff, thus making data that much safer.

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