Keeping productivity and communication up while ensuring users stay secure can be challenging when working fully remotely or in a hybrid solution.
The pandemic showed us how many businesses weren’t prepared for a fully remote workforce, and with research from Gartner stating that 82% of companies are now planning ‘to permit remote working some of the time’, and 47% will be ‘letting their employees work from home all of the time’ after COVID-19, what solutions will your business be using to empower your users to work securely and productively wherever they are?
Crucial Factors for a Productive Workforce
- Collaboration & Unified Communication
- Connectivity & SD WAN
- Applications & Data
- Expert Support Service
There are many solutions available that you can implement in your organisation to cover these crucial factors – vendors such as Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Amazon and SonicWall all have powerful security and productivity tools available to empower your workforce. But how can you improve productivity and security?
During 2020, there has been an increase in demand for all major cloud vendors. At AZTech IT we have especially seen, and helped many of our own clients, implement and adopt various Microsoft 365 packages. This has helped both improve productivity and save costs by removing outdated or legacy applications.
Since April 2020, there has been confusion around the Microsoft 365 packages since they renamed them from Office 365 to Microsoft 365.
Previously, if you were using Office 365 and wanted additional security or collaboration features, you would have been required to purchase multiple subscriptions such as Office 365 E3, EMS (Enterprise Mobility Suite) and Azure AD.
With the updated 365 packages, you now get a combination of the latest business applications with Windows 10 and best-in-class security, including EMS+Security (Enterprise Mobility + Security). The packages include, Business Basic, Business Standard, and Business Premium.
Microsoft 365 Business Premium was created for small to medium businesses with under 300 users – it forms part of the Microsoft Modern Workplace and was purpose built to provide the best-in-class productivity capabilities of Microsoft 365 Business Standard, but with the added security and compliance features, such as Advanced Threat Protection, Azure AD, and Intune, that your organisation requires to safeguard business data and assets across all your devices.
Additionally, this integrated solution provides access to the standard Office apps such as Outlook, Word and Excel, but also collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint and Yammer, all of which help facilitate digital transformation across your business – it’s the ideal package for the modern business and it is the perfect choice when you want to empower productivity in a remote workforce. (For Enterprise businesses with more than 300 users, Microsoft has the Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 plans available.)
Protecting your workforce
Security doesn’t just stop at your cloud services. To fully protect your workforce and enable them to be productive, organisations need to consider device management, endpoint detection and response, advanced email security, safe browsing, data security on local devices, and SaaS applications.
A recent study by Greathorn revealed that 53% of organisations have seen an increase in email phishing attacks during the pandemic, with a third of these becoming more successful. Microsoft 365 Business Premium’s Advanced Threat Protection helps protect your organisation from these types of sophisticated threats hidden in email attachments and links.
In addition to this, if your remote workers have their laptops stolen, you can use Intune to remotely wipe the company data from the device, so you won’t have to worry about data breaches.
Reliable and secure connectivity
Wherever your employees work from, they need fast, reliable, and secure connectivity to remain productive and continue delivering services.
The familiar problems of homeworking – frozen screens during video conference calls, concerns over exchanging sensitive information, and bandwidth sharing – are just a few. Many residential connections are simply not fast enough, secure, or reliable enough to handle business traffic and ensure workforce productivity.
In some cases, it may make sense to consider alternatives for your homeworkers by combining business-grade fibre connections and Secure SD-WAN technology, which can provide many benefits for long-term remote working.
During the first initial lockdown, there was a dramatic increase in video calling platforms being used for meetings, such as Zoom and Teams. In the last eight months, Microsoft Teams grew by well over 800% due to it having not only face-to-face meetings, but also the combination of file storage, screensharing, phone calls, and much more to provide users a truly collaborative experience from any location.
Partnering with an IT company or managed service provider can bring expert services into your organisation to either relieve pressure from your internal teams, or fully manage your transition and adoption of the modern workplace. This can ensure your remote and hybrid strategy is successful and effective now and into the future.
AZTech IT are a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and provide 24/7 Expert IT support services, IT Strategy, and IT Security Solutions. If you need any help with your technology plans, call 0330 0949 420, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.aztechit.co.uk