The first wave of COVID-19 landed a punch on business, period. Adapting to the unprecedented crisis, we have learned our lessons in a hardcore way to share them with you today. Our task is to reflect on what we've been through during the first wave and hold an after-action review to face the next wave fully prepared. Yaqoob AlAwadhi, CEO, NGN International, reveals his IT insights gained during this pandemic.
Transition to remote work means two prime concerns for employers: act fast, keep employees safe. The first thing companies should do is to throw the doors open: provide access to internal resources, let employees take office computers home, and stock up with laptops and remote work tools. Bahrain switched to the home office mode as swiftly as possible. The next things business should consider, seriously and carefully, include information security, application performance, and user experience. At this stage, a practical way to secure resource access is to deploy VPN and VDI and take control over connected devices by using Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions. The final step is to supply users with all necessary instructions and help them with this transition.
Point one: Act fast
A readiness check will help get an overview of a situation and see who can work remotely and trouble-free and on which systems. Companies can do it themselves or engage third-party consultants. Our experience shows that at least 90% of staff, including finance, logistics, and many other teams, can successfully work from home, if they are provided with laptops, monitors, information security tools (for example, VPN), and tools to increase mobility (for example, VDI).
Remote communication channels grow in importance, since all matters you used to discuss personally in the office are settled digitally via corporate e-mail, intranet, and messengers. Meanwhile, customers continue digital expansion and launch online shopping and delivery services or start delivering ordinary services remotely. Eventually, computing systems take the heat. Increasing workload is a serious challenge that can knock down digital business transformation. Therefore, the first and foremost measure is closing that computing resource gap by either buying extra capacity or leasing some from a cloud – the best quick fix for a temporary load increase.
Point two: Keep employees safe
Remote employees face higher risks due to unsupervised software installation, malicious websites, and unsecured internet connection. To ensure colleagues' security, information security specialists take advantage of remote access encryption, mobile protection tools, secure remote access gateways, and virtual desktops.
Thus, you can use VPN to transmit encrypted information via public networks, eliminating interception of corporate sensitive information.
VDI helps you create virtual private desktops running on protected servers, so that employees could use personal computers and even tablets to work in a protected environment – all they need is to install a thin client on their device. Moreover, information transfer beyond the virtual workspace can be restricted or utterly forbidden.
Finally, EMM is a class of solutions to protect and manage employees’ mobile devices, when connecting to corporate infrastructure. EMM is a lifesaver, because you can remotely erase corporate data or wipe a device thoroughly clean if a smartphone or laptop is stolen or lost.
Adapt and get ready
NGN International has translated all its experience and insights into two solution portfolios to help business deal with both points above and successfully embrace remote work with the least risk and loss.
The first portfolio includes a set of remote work solutions to close all gaps, regardless of the business scope and industry specifics. Solutions are conveniently grouped by task and deployment time, which varies from one day to several weeks. Universally applicable solutions, such as virtual workspaces, and time trackers, are also included. We are well aware of how important it is to have detailed visibility of remote employees’ activities, since it gives an opportunity to provide timely technical support and, of course, prevent leaks of confidential information. Therefore, our portfolio includes solutions to address these challenges as well.
The second portfolio is a set of cybersecurity consulting services to improve security of a crisis-hit business. To sum up, leveraging the above solutions, Bahrain companies will not only get strong and ready for remote work and survive the pandemic, but also close dangerous vulnerabilities across the infrastructure.