IT services

COVID-19: Remote Workforce Considerations

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As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to threaten and impact not only the lives of our loved-ones and those in our communities, but the way in which we live our lives and conduct our businesses, we’ve been forced to adjust to new priorities and workflows. These are challenging times to say the least. Most organizations have ramped up their remote workforce to keep their employees safe and adhere to Social Distancing requirements while trying to keep their companies viable. We want to share some considerations to make your remote workforce as productive as possible while maintaining your corporate security.

Avoid BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) if at all possible

We want your employees to be productive, but we also want your corporate data and workflows to be secure. When allowing your employees to use their personal devices from home to work remotely, you never know what kind of Malware or other Computer Viruses may be lurking on their systems. The last thing you need is to introduce data loss or breach to an already difficult situation.

Adhere to corporate IT Policies

If you have no choice but to let your employees work from home on their own devices, make sure that they are adhering to your corporate IT Policies around acceptable use, monitoring, anti-virus/anti-malware software and firewall use.

Phishing and Identity Theft

Even during these challenging times, bad guys are still bad guys. The World Health Organization has issued a warning to be on the look out for emails or social media postings regarding COVID-19 which are really attempts to steal your data and identity. Be sure to educate your staff to be on the look out for these phishing attempts and use only trusted websites and news sources for more information about COVID-19.

Office Internet Circuit Performance

It’s not uncommon for your office internet circuit to have different upload and download speeds. With your remote workforce, you may notice a slowness in your network as it puts more stress on the upload requirements of your circuit. You may want to consider staggering your workforce to alleviate the pressure on your network. In addition, upgrading your circuit or implementing an SD-WAN (Software Driven Wide Area Network) solution may also increase your internet performance and add some redundancy and fail-over capabilities to help your team.

At Digital323 we understand the challenges that we all face and have in fact implemented our own Business Continuity plans and remote workforce policies. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of any assistance during these trying times.

Be safe and wash your hands! No, seriously, wash your hands.

IT services

IT Policies

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In today’s world of ever-changing and expanding technology, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to manage and secure the data and systems which make their organizations run. Often times decisions regarding technology become a “knee-jerk” or ad-hoc event about solving system crises or reacting to a security breach in the environment. Creating a set of IT Policies brings a more mature and proactive approach to the way organizations manage many of the day-to-day functions and security of their computing infrastructure. So, how do you create a set of IT Policies for your organization? A good way to start is by asking the right kind of questions.

  • Is my industry or company regulated by any external entities or rules? (i.e., HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, PCI, NIST, etc.)
  • Does my company maintain different categories (or types) of data that may have different protection requirements?
  • Do I need to control who within and without of the company has access to the different types of data?
  • Do I need to keep track of what is changing within my IT environment and who may be making those changes?
  • Do I know what my data retention requirements are? (How many versions of the data should I be keeping, and for how long?)
  • Should I be making it a regular habit of testing my ability to restore my data and systems?
  • Do I know what the risks are to my business, specifically the technology side?
  • Do I know how my staff should be interacting with the computing environment, and have I trained them on those expectations?
  • Are we putting in to practice those elements which will secure and protect my customers, employees, data, and systems as a whole? (i.e., anti-virus, anti-malware, firewalls, etc.)

Your IT Policies should help to answer these questions, and your IT staff and partners can then configure your environment to enforce those answers.

If you would like assistance in developing a set of IT Policies for your organization, please don’t hesitate to call Digital323. We’d be happy to help!

strategic IT solutions

How to Choose an IT Partner

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With the ever-changing world of technology in these times, it’s critical for small businesses to find a trusted IT partner that can weed through the alphabet soup and help to make sound business decisions. Here are three critical factors in finding an IT partner that will make sense for you.

1. Know Yourself
The first step is to define your expectations. Are you looking for someone to assist with IT budget planning and operational considerations, or simply someone to press “next” when you don’t have the time? Many IT companies have a vast skill set and can assist with planning at a CIO/CTO level, through to an out-sourced help desk. Understanding what your company needs will go a long way in determining which IT firm will best fit the bill. Here are some questions that may help:
• Do I have a set of corporate IT policies that help govern the care, feeding and security of my business’s technology needs?
• Have I identified an internal super-user, who is the “go-to” person when things go awry?
• Does the company do any annual IT budgeting and planning?
• Do I simply feel lost when it comes to my technology?

2. Know Your Industry
Secondly, find an IT group that not only understands technology, but how technology applies to your specific industry. New software, and ways of interfacing with this software, is being developed at break-neck pace for all industries. You want a partner that knows the IT trends and future plans for your industry. For example, if you’re in healthcare you want to find a group that not only knows the varying technologies and EHR software that you are using, but understands the impact of the HITECH Act and Meaningful Use, and how it will impact your medical practice.

In addition, having an IT partner that understands any regulatory requirements your industry may be under will help with compliance and security concerns.

3. Know Your Partner
Third, you want a partner that you can trust. An outsourced IT group can potentially hold the keys to your entire organization. Be sure you find a partner that is proven with very good references and a track record for integrity and being trustworthy. You want to know that you can hold them accountable for caring for your technology, and that they will be responsive to your needs.

There are many additional factors to consider: cost, location, contract terms, etc.; but these first three are a great place to start.