Since the pandemic ushered in a new era of hybrid and remote workplaces, Long Island companies need an IT infrastructure that will allow employees to perform all of their duties from anywhere. Fortunately, advancements in technology, bandwidth and cloud availability permit companies to manage a flexible workplace as efficiently and securely as if everyone were under one roof.
Greater need for speed
Prior to the pandemic, employees may have occasionally worked from. They may not have been able to do everything that they could do in the office–for instance, maybe they left certain files on their computer at work, or they couldn’t access a shared document, or they were missing an updated application on their at-home device. However, since remote workdays only occurred infrequently, these inefficiencies did not have a major impact on the company’s productivity. Nowadays, with people working remotely on a regular basis, your technology must allow employees to seamlessly do at home whatever they can do in the office, or productivity and client service will suffer–and your bottom line will take a hit.
UC and VOIP
Unified Communications solutions utilize Voice Over Internet Protocol and bring many applications and functionalities together in one centralized app. This allows lets you make voice calls, video calls, conference in others, send text messages, work in Microsoft Teams, share your desktop and much more from your smartphone, laptop or tablet. No matter where you are, you can answer calls to your work number on one of your devices and transfer the call to someone in your organization, and it looks and feels as though you are in the office. You can listen to voice mails or convert them to text–in case you are in a meeting and can’t take the voice call–or you can have text or email messages converted to voice messages, allowing you to listen while driving.
The pandemic rapidly accelerated adoption of cloud-based technologies, such as Microsoft 365, Google Docs and many others. Because applications, data and files are stored in the cloud, you can log in via a secure web browser and seamlessly access your files from anywhere. You can stop working on a document on one device in the office and pick up exactly where you left off home. Today, there are cloud-based solutions for virtually every type of software, from CRM to accounting to industry-specific applications.
Meetings and collaboration
When team members are working in disparate locations, your technology must support efficient communications and collaboration. For video conferencing, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are the most popular options. The latter, among other applications, also allows for collaboration on documents. For instance, two (or more) people can work on the same spreadsheet at the same time; if you are working in one particular cell, your colleague will see your initials on that cell.
Cyber threats have become so ubiquitous that it’s not a matter of “if,” but a matter of “when” your company will be attacked. A hybrid workplace adds incremental risks, making it crucial that companies implement and enforce strict cybersecurity policies. Users should log in to your system using a virtual private network. In this day and age, every company must have a strong password policy with multi-factor authentication. MFA adds an extra protection layer by requiring a second step in the log-in process; users receive a code via text or email to verify their identity prior to entering your system.
Strategic IT planning
Long Island comprises many small to midsize businesses, many of whom do not have the resources in-house for strategic IT planning. However, working with an experienced, trusted managed service provider can ensure you have state-of-the-art systems are in place to support efficient, productive and secure operations in a flexible work environment.
Robert Mesas is vice president of sales for Melville-based Central Business Systems, a family-owned company founded in 1948 that serves as a one-stop shop for all business technology needs.