The global outbreak of COVID-19 caused companies to revamp their IT and cybersecurity strategies to support remote work. Though we’re still in the midst of the pandemic, many companies have begun to take steps toward building out their return to work strategies. Full office buildings are still a long way off, and for the foreseeable future businesses will be balancing how to support both teleworkers and those who are able to make a safe transition back to office life.
Here are three ways IT leaders can support business continuity in the months ahead.
Reassess your network and software
The unplanned shift to wholescale work from home required quick decision making and huge changes to normal working practices. Now is the time to take stock and identify opportunities and gaps created by these unusual circumstances — and ensure your office network is running at optimal levels.
- Look for vulnerabilities: Remote working would not have been possible without laptops and other mobile devices. But those who haven’t been connecting to the corporate network through a VPN may not have had the system updates that would routinely happen.
- Quarantine devices: With cybercrime on the increase during the pandemic, it’s highly likely that many devices will need to be frequently re-validated as secure to protect the corporate network.
- Scan for unauthorized software installations: Despite best efforts, many users may have been tempted by unlicensed software, exposing them to malware risk. If not tackled quickly, the impact of malware can cost businesses more than $10,000 per infected computer.
- Review license usage: In the uncertainty of lockdown, new and quickly-acquired software licenses may have been issued incorrectly or in duplicate. Software Asset Management (SAM) will save you money by getting rid of unwanted licenses.
- Identify missing IT training: Normal training schedules have been thrown up in the air, with some missed entirely. Run a training audit as part of your return to work strategy to identify any gaps.
Make the most of new technologies
While some businesses are planning for a physical return to the office, it is likely there will still be a significant number of remote workers working concurrently. Managing this new reality will require businesses to maximize new technologies to support both on and off site working.
- How is your cloud structured? Cloud technology may have been implemented in a hurry to respond to the needs of remote working, but when done correctly, this avenue for digital transformation offers businesses huge benefits. Using SAM allows for a seamless transition from on-premise and legacy assets to cloud-based solutions and doing that now can bring double digit savings and support long term growth.
- Supporting BYOD and the IoT: As businesses look to reduce infrastructure costs and the need for employees to work more productively grows, using decentralized technologies such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) can play a significant role in your return to work strategy.
- Monitor your SaaS tools: As many businesses have moved to a Software-as-a-Service model to enable better remote working, issues can arise in the form of overconsumption or licensing compliance. One of the many benefits of SAM is that it allows organizations to keep track of tools being used across the organization.
- Maximize the use of collaborative tools: Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, and other collaborative tools have all become essential to power the remote workforce and may continue to have a significant role even as some staff return to the workplace.
Plan and communicate, but be flexible
There are many uncertainties that remain even as some businesses plan for a return to the office. For IT and business leaders, strong communication will be essential. Maintaining a flexible and agile approach will allow your business to continue to operate successfully, but safely.
- Consider simulations on security and IT best practices: As cybercriminals continue to take advantage of the crisis, employees can benefit from training on how to identify fraudulent activities, such as phishing or remote access trojans (RATS), to reduce cybercrime risks.
- Update your policies: As the work environment evolves, IT policies and procedures need to evolve along with it. Do yours currently reflect best practices for remote work, BYOD, and more? Now is the time to review and make adjustments as needed.
- Plan your professional training: Even though adding one more thing to the agenda may seem out of reach at the moment, professional training will be an important way to keep up with IT and security best practices as the work environment continues to evolve. The easiest training to attend will be those hosted online, such as BSA Verafirm’s online SAM Certification course. 88% of our users found that taking the SAM course was a good use of their time and 100% of learners found it easy to use. Learn more about the benefits of SAM training and how a SAM program supports your overall business strategy, including IT infrastructure.
- Expect unique situations: Businesses are operating in an environment where there are new challenges and surprises to handle by the day. Stay on your toes and look for a network or group of business leaders that can support you as you address issues many have not had to consider before.
IT professionals have risen to the challenge of shifting entire businesses to remote working. Now, with careful planning, they will also facilitate business continuity going forward. New technologies and software play a large part in preparing for the future and recovery.
SAM offers businesses many benefits at this critical juncture. By redefining how organizations manage their software assets, reducing cybercrime risks and offering significant cost savings, it is possible to maximize opportunities, even in today’s challenging landscape. BSA Verafirm offers the only comprehensive training and certification program in the world aligned to the latest ISO 19770-1 standard.