Quick Guide: Setting Up a Remote Workforce During the Coronavirus Crisis  

Flattening the Curve. That’s the most basic rule businesses can follow as COVID-19 – the dreaded coronavirus – spreads around our communities. 
 
But business needs to continue. Your customers and employees depend upon the services or products you provide. 
 
One of the most effective ways to help flatten the curve is to enable as many of your employees as possible to work remotely from home.  
 
There are a few helpful items to make for a productive, safe remote working environment. 

Communication & Collaboration Tools 

  • Microsoft365 gives business access to cloud based tools such as Microsoft Teams for internal collaboration & communicating in real time. SharePoint is another MS365 tool that allows teams to collaborate as well as securely share documents and other assets. 
  • Cloud applications like Skype, Zoom and Slack allow your team to communicate with each other and with clients, vendors, and prospects anywhere in the world.

Centrally Managed Access & Security 

  • Your Managed Services Provider (MSP) is a fantastic resource to set up secure remote VPN access tools like Sophos Clientless Remote Desktop, Sophos VPN, SonicWall VPN, and others. 
  • As part of your MSP platform, user endpoints – laptops, tablets, and other company provisioned devices – should be optimized with the latest security patches and updates.  
  • MSP managed security tools also include managed anti-virus, anti-malware, ransomware protection, spam filtering, and other automated features to reduce security risks. 
  • Enable extra layers of security protection such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), updated password policies, and other features for your business applications. 
  • Remind remote employees DAILY about security threats such as phishing, safe internet use, and other cyberattack methods. Employees need to be even more diligent when using email and the internet away from the office. 

Your Business Controls the Technology 

  • Depending on security controls your business has in place, there may be changes required for a secure remote workforce. It is critical at this time that your organization continues to be diligent to avoid lapses in security. 
  • Be sure that the technology your employees use for business are devices and connections that your business controls. Use of personal devices, the ability for employees to ‘kill’ certain protections, or using devices that your MSP can’t “see” should prevent them from connecting to your network. 
  • Have an up to the minute inventory of all devices online and under management, and keep track of where those devices are physically. Once a device leaves your place of business, there’s always a risk of that device being lost, stolen, or inoperable. Your MSP should be able to provide an end point protection that tracks and secures devices remotely. 

Keep Tabs on your People 

  • Make sure everyone has accurate up to date contact information. Put this information into a document for employees so they can connect with one another outside of communication applications if necessary. 
  • Communication from leadership is key to making sure production levels remain as high as if everyone were in the office together. Check in, schedule conversations, and remain social to keep your teams engaged. 
  • Create a hierarchical communications protocol for any all staff or departmental communications. There are additional tools such as SMS/texting, and messaging apps that can be used outside of the corporate email chain if necessary. 

Know How to Get Help 

  • Make sure your employees know how to get help desk support from internal contacts or your MSP. It’s easy to find “workarounds” when they’re away from the office. Ensuring an easy path to IT support eliminates security, downtime, and data loss risks. 

Finally, pay attention to information posted on the CDC and WHO websites, social media channels, and other forms of communication. This will help you communicate clearly with unbiased information when making decisions and updating your team to any changes in the pandemic. It can also guide you on policies for client visits, employee travel, events, and more. 
 
For more information about how Klik.Solutions helps businesses with advanced, tailored remote working solutions, contact [email protected] or visit www.klik.solutions. 
 
Stay Healthy! 

You Already Have Security Tools. Now Use Them.

Security IT Tools

“Security” is a part of the new normal, but business owners typically tune out when they see or hear the word. Most of the sales push behind security involves scare tactics or product marketing – and when fringe security tools use the same buzzwords as full security measures, it is difficult to cut through the noise.

In reality, you most likely have all the tools your small business needs to reduce the risk of a breach.

You know who has your back when it comes to security? The people who make the computers, hardware and software you use. You own it, it’s already paid for. Security items range from features within hardware to settings within the systems, plus the constant patches and updates vendors push out to keep ahead of current risks. Vendors also publish best practices for their products, and advise when they will no longer support products well in advance of the “end of life” date. It’s all there in your network…right now.

Tools Require Technicians

Let’s say Microsoft issues a security patch and your IT person has that on their “to do” list. Then Suzi in accounting and John in marketing call for help – even for something as simple as resetting a password. That patch gets put aside for a minute, or a week, leaving your business exposed to hackers exploiting the vulnerability that patch was designed to close. Or, if a security feature affects the performance of an application or computer, the user or IT person disable the feature, trading tangible performance for protecting from the unknown. There are only so many hours in a day for a one or two person IT team to keep up with technology, maintain your technology, AND provide support to end users. How effective can a single IT person be with so many technical tasks to perform to keep your business running while learning new technologies to move you forward?

Know Your IT Team Capabilities

There’s a reason why so many IT assessments uncover major security issues within SMB’s. Knowing what to do with the tools you have, how to maximize your technology, and provide future guidance comes down to the level of expertise your IT team delivers. All of the services sound the same. Think about it, the competitors in your industry probably all have the same services, tout the same benefits, use similar messaging. What separates YOUR business from theirs? Go to the next level in evaluating the expertise, the tool set, and guidance provided by your IT team. This will help ensure you maximize your current investment in technology, leverage your security tools, and get amazing value for your monthly IT spend.

The bottom line is, you are already invested in IT and data security. It’s a question of having the right people in place to leverage those tools, train end users on safe best practices, and keep your business moving ahead. Otherwise, you’re letting hackers and end users control the fate of your business on any given day. That’s not a scare tactic – it’s simply the new reality.

Security Tips: Untrain Your Click Brain

Security Tips

Did you know that the best marketers in the world are cyber hackers? They use the same types of marketing tools and psychology as the big ad agencies do to entice you to let them into your home and business. Advertisers have spent years and billions of dollars training you to click on links, ads, and email offers. Hackers operate the same way, but without rules or boundaries. Throw online shopping habits into the mix, and your “click brain” is conditioned to click without thinking twice. To protect yourself at work and at home, you need to Untrain your Click Brain.

According to multiple security and government surveys, over 80% of security hacks are caused by staff error. That means end users like you are as much a piece to protecting your personal and business data as any product or software. There are several ways that you can be the first and last line of defense against hackers.

  1. Keep your security tools active – Disabling security features like antivirus, ad blockers, and “click to play video” settings allows malware into your world, even run automatically on your device. Is allowing your bank information to be stolen worth the risk of eliminating a step to watching cat videos?
  2. Changing Passwords Regularly –Hackers count on people using weak passwords without ever changing them. And, it’s likely you use that password for many different accounts. Change your passwords every 90 days using strong, complex passwords with multiple types of characters. Be sure to use different passwords for your accounts to minimize impact if one is stolen.
  3. Follow Policy. Does your company have policies for internet use, email, and data security? If so, be sure to follow them closely – they are in place for a reason. These policies are also a good rule of thumb for your personal data protection outside of work. Hackers are only as strong as your weakness, so reducing your vulnerabilities reduces your risk of attack.
  4. Slow Down. Take a closer, skeptical look at emails and ads. What are they asking you to do? What is the offer, the urgency, the context? If you are comfortable, then see who the email is from. Is the email address familiar and spelled correctly? As for ads…
  5. Don’t Click on Ads. EVER. Remember, hackers easily mimic legitimate ads. If you see an offer that interests you, open a new browser and do a Google search for the offer. If the offer is legitimate, go to the site via your search. Bad offers will either not show up in a search or the search will return complaints about the malicious ads.

Retraining yourself to use email and the internet safely can greatly reduce the risk of hackers affecting your business and personal data. Notice the word “reduce”. If you see something that looks out of place or if you have even the slightest doubt, take a screenshot and send it to your IT team. They’ll appreciate validating your simple request over having to clean up from a cyber attack every time.

For a complete End User Security presentation or more information on this topic, please contact our CMO Marc Winter via email [email protected].