In January, news started coming out of China about a new flu strain and by March it was clear it wasn’t just flu and something that could be ignored. On March 23rd, the government put the country into lockdown. Only key workers were allowed to continue going to work. If your business wasn’t a key industry, your team had to work from home, or not work. The question to start considering now is: was the move to remote working a smooth one?
Already working remotely?
If you were already using Office 365, with many, if not all, your team working remotely, you were one of the lucky ones. Your staff were already used to communicating via mobiles, Microsoft Teams (or Zoom) and email. They were used to working on their own for much of the time and the data they create is all backed up and protected from ransomware and other issues. Just checking, but you are backing up your data, aren’t you? You do know that Microsoft doesn’t actually back up Office 365?
Mostly Laptop users?
Did you have a hotdesk environment, so your team all use laptops? Are some of your staff travelling extensively for business? Do you target your team with performance targets rather than working hours? All of these are characteristics of businesses with a highly flexible work ethic and, most likely, IT environment. Whilst your team may have struggled a little, moving from face to face team collaboration to ”Zooming”, the technical transition should have been relatively painless. Was that the case, or were there IT issues that took some time to resolve?
Teams based in the office, working on desktops rather than PCs, faced the biggest changes, especially if you still run a local server network. Was this what you faced in early to mid March?
- Procuring large numbers of laptops to enable your team to work effectively from home.
- Perhaps setting up VPN connections so they can use their personal devices to connect to your network.
- Worrying about the IT security implications of non-secured devices having access to your network.
- Unsure how much data, created by a team working from home, is being properly backed up to your network.
- Migrating from local Microsoft licenses to Office 365, and training your team how to use something that is just different enough to cause issues.
- Managing teams remotely instead of face to face.
How many of these issues did you have to deal with in a few short days? Was your IT support company a help or a hinderance? Think back a little while, perhaps up to a year before the pandemic and ask yourselves these questions:
- Did your IT support company ever raise the subject of remote working and the benefits, particularly for business continuity reasons? At Systems IT, we published our first blog about remote working back in May 2016, and we’ve been selling Office 365 for more than three years now.
- Did they raise the topic of the pandemic or did you go to them?
- Have they discussed Endpoint protection and malware protection with you?
- When did they raise the topic of two or multi-factor authentication as a way of protecting your devices and your data?
- Have they told you that Office 365 isn’t backed up by Microsoft?
- Were they able to quickly source the laptops you needed, configure and distribute them so your team could continue working?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and we can all look back and make better decisions, but you expect your IT support company to step up at times like this. As >85% of our client base are already using Office 365, we have only needed to raise the issue with a small number of clients. For those, we started talking to them in February. If your migration to working from home was a painful one, perhaps its time to re-consider your IT support for the future. Whilst we all hope that there isn’t a second infection spike, and subsequent lockdown, you never know what it around the corner….
If you want to talk, give us a call on 020 7227 9700 or click here.