There are thousands of people now working remotely due to COVID-19. Add that to the existing challenge of managing workers at remote and branch offices (ROBO) and it’s a tough time to be an IT admin. And, while the initial migration to home offices forced IT admins to duct tape together a quick solution, it’s time to face the reality that your ROBO and HO worker strategy needs to be updated. First, let’s explore a few reasons why then we’ll look at a few essentials every strategy needs.
Remote Work Is the New Norm
While many businesses had remote work policies before COVID, they were nothing like they are today. A few remote days here and there is much different than supporting remote employees for an extended period. And now many businesses are questioning whether they’ll open their offices back up at all. The Bay Area of California is even considering passing a law that requires office employees to work remotely three days a week as a means to reduce pollution. It’s clear that even after COVID, remote work will continue to be a standard part of how people get things done.
Data Is at Greater Risk Than Ever
The cost of ransomware surpassed $7.5 billion in 2019. Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that by 2021 a business will fall victim to ransomware every 14 seconds. Add that to the dangers posed by social engineering attacks, hardware failure, or good old-fashioned user error and it’s clear that a business’s data has never been more at risk. And the risks get much worse when you add remote employees to the mix. Without security protocols governing remote workers and branch offices, there’s an even greater chance of data breach or data loss.
Remote Management Tools Have Never Been Better
There is a silver lining. While dispersed employees create new challenges, it’s easier than ever for IT admins to support employees whether they’re at home or a remote office. There’s no reason not to update your strategy. Thanks to remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools that let you deploy, patch, and manage endpoints regardless of location, we’re fortunate enough to have the tools we need to protect data no matter where it’s created and stored.
Of course, understanding why you need a strategy and developing one are two separate things. Let’s look at a few key considerations as you update your ROBO and HO strategy.
Developing Your New ROBO and HO Worker Strategy
It should go without saying, but the key word here is remote. You must be able to deploy new solutions remotely because you often won’t have the option to go on-site—particularly with dozens of remote employees working at home. Outside of that, your strategy must include several key pieces of technology to be successful:
- Secure VPNs
A hack on several million users of free VPN tools allowed cybercriminals access to massive amounts of user data. Make sure remote users can only access company data via a reputable VPN.
- Reliable Backups
You should back up remote worker machines just like every other machine. If it stores data, you need to back it up, whether it’s a desktop hard drive or a cloud-based application like Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.
- Remote Recovery
Backups are important. But without a quick way to recover, employees can suffer from lost productivity and the downtime costs that result. Look for backup solutions that allow you to remotely recover end-user backups quickly.
- Video Conferencing
Video conferencing apps are notoriously subject to attack since they often lack end-to-end encryption. Since remote workers rely on these apps every day, be sure you have a standard solution for remote employees and help them understand best practices for keeping comms protected.
- Encrypted Storage Devices
Remote workers often use external drives to store data. Instead of basic storage drives, it’s wise to use encrypted drives. If a remote worker loses a drive encryption keeps data from falling into the wrong hands.
The biggest challenge admins face isn’t finding and deploying the right technologies for remote data security. Rather, it’s making sure workers use technology correctly and follow proper protocols. Make sure your strategy includes a structured plan for helping end-users understand how to secure and protect data. That will make a huge impact on your ability to maximize security and help eliminate the costs of data loss and downtime.
Thousands of businesses trust StorageCraft technologies to help them fortify data, whether it’s stored at headquarters or across hundreds of remote locations. If you’re looking for help in creating an effective strategy for ROBO and HO backup and recovery, schedule some time with our sales engineers to chat through StorageCraft’s solutions.