The Connected Homeworker

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Technology shaping the world of work is nothing new. But with homeworking now set to become a more permanent fixture for much of the British workforce, organisations need to invest in technology wisely, in a way that helps both support and shape long-term working models. We know that although convenient, working from home is not without its challenges and can present some unexpected constraints. We also know that investing in technology for investment’s sake doesn’t necessarily help address the specific challenges of every business. That is why we’ve identified the six most common homeworking challenges and how, through technology, we can help you overcome them and turbocharge your workforce.

42%

42% of businesses predict that they will keep 25% or more of their workforce working from home permanently

97%

97% of businesses need to make adaptations to working environments if homeworking is to be effective long term

Top six homeworking challenges

Connected Homeworker Challenges

Challenge #1: Security

A remote workforce can be fraught with danger: poorly-protected home networks, unsecured personal devices, written-down passwords, removable media, potential loss or theft of devices and data… you get the picture. And you had better hope your employees have technical skills, because should they experience any technical issues, there’s only so much your IT team can do to help.

For better or worse, security issues will happen. Innocent user mistakes such as the unwitting clicking of a phishing link will potentially compromise not only the user’s own security, but the security of the entire organisation too.

Here’s a few options you can consider:

Utilising software-defined networking to implement security at the network edge via a combined networking and security solution means your homeworkers can receive the same level of protection as the office – making the home a branch office extension with the same corporate policy set. We address some remote working security concerns in our SD-WAN frequently asked questions >>

Secure user’s access to web, email and applications using technology such as Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), to ensure they are safe working in any location. Find out five key cyber security considerations in our blog >>

Utilise Endpoint Protection, Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) and ransomware protection functionality to ensure devices are safe against cyberattacks at home without the protection of corporate firewalls. Our handy guide provides practical information, tips and advice that will help you avoid becoming a ransomware victim >>

Empower users to make the right decisions when it comes to judging potential security threats such as phishing emails and ransomware attacks. Click here to read a blog on cyber security awareness from our security partner Mimecast >>

Challenge #2: Connectivity performance

For the short-term, occasional homeworking of pre-2020, residential broadband connections were mostly more than adequate. But when a hefty portion of your workforce is to be near-permanently based from home – that is, based outside of your corporate network – how do you ensure that the experience of your employee is the same as it would be in the office?

Here’s how:

Providing enterprise-grade connectivity to employees’ homes is achievable for any organisation. We integrate multiple access technologies from all of the main carriers throughout the UK, meaning we can offer a comprehensive range of connectivity services to provide your homeworkers with dedicated corporate connections.

Supporting the networking demands of a large remote workforce is a bit like a Bank Holiday for your bandwidth – more people, more traffic. Thankfully, we can alleviate any potential congestion by either upgrading existing homeworker circuits to higher bandwidth products where available, or by implementing private business broadband linked into your WAN.

For our existing WAN customers, we can also look at increasing centralised Internet bandwidth for the increase in demand for remote users.

We can provide you with business flexibility by equipping your business and employees with the facilities they need to work remotely. GigaCube is an all-in-one home and mobile broadband solution. With speeds comparable to the fastest fibre packages and with no landline or installation charges, GigaCube is portable and easy to set up – so no need to book an engineer to install it.

SD-WAN is the straightforward solution that lets you extend your corporate network directly into your employees’ homes. Without the need for investment in leased lines or dedicated connections, SD-WAN can run over existing home broadband connections, providing enterprise-grade connectivity that ensures efficient traffic routing, optimal performance and even centralised management, visibility and troubleshooting – a bit like air traffic control for your network traffic.

Find out how homeworkers can get the same “in office” experience from anywhere in this guide >>

Challenge #3: Access to corporate systems and resources

When all is said and done, homeworking is made possible by the Internet, but both the expense and the complexity of setting up and maintaining remote access to a corporate network can be a little off-putting. Not to mention the additional headache of slow broadband speeds, and any sensitive files being sent beyond the core corporate network presenting a significant risk.

We’ve got you covered:

Deliver the office experience to users at home by extending your enterprise wireless local area network (LAN) to homeworkers via corporate access points. Utilising cloud-based management consoles and instant access points with built-in enterprise-grade security and seamless application access, we can get your remote workers up, running and connected to the network in no time.

Give your homeworkers access to your corporate resources and shared files with apps across the web, mobile, and desktop with Microsoft 365. By providing a secure working environment comprising Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), as well as posture assessment to ensure any vulnerabilities are not exploited, you can be assured that your data remains safe for consumption by those residing outside of your corporate network.

Daisy is able to deploy Microsoft 365 licences as well as provide project management and professional services to enable our customers to migrate to Microsoft 365. We can provide a Microsoft 365 Enablement Assessment to conduct an external review, current state assessment and migration strategy blueprint for adopting a modern workplace.

Use SD-WAN technology to connect remote workers to the corporate network, with a site-to-site VPN that provides a secure point-to-point connection between the user’s device and the corporate network hub and keeps corporate and personal traffic separate. The central cloud management allows for a more tailored approach to managing users, access, security and other aspects of connectivity back to the main HQ. With SD-WAN, you can prioritise access to cloud-based applications by routing traffic on the application layer or through policy management/traffic steering, meaning you can get users to their apps quicker and easier, and optimise performance for your users. Learn how SD-WAN enables today’s remote workforce in this guide >>

Challenge #4: Outbound and inbound calling

A common concern for many businesses is ensuring that employees can continue to make and receive all of their business calls without disruption when not in the office. Having a corporate mobile device isn’t always practical or even the most cost-effective way to stay in touch. So how do you ensure that calls previously going into the office are effectively directed to workers at home? Can you provide homeworkers with the same tools as someone at their desk in the office?

Let’s see:

You can give your remote workforce complete flexibility with a public cloud-based telephony solution that resides in the cloud rather than inside a bricks-and-mortar office. It provides an extensive range of fixed and mobile telephony capabilities accessed through an easy-to-use web portal. Discover the secret to a smarter more productive workforce here >>

With a secure, scalable unified communications solution, which can be delivered on your commercial model of choice, employees can enjoy the same communications functionality regardless of whether they are in an office, on the road, or working from home. You get all the voice, chat, and video capabilities you need to keep your remote team connected and productive. Download our guide for more information >>

Daisy’s Direct2 for Microsoft Teams is a suite of services designed to answer the need for collaborative homeworking. Thanks to features like Direct Routing, users can make secure, high-quality external calls, receive incoming calls, and participate in online meetings face-to-face from any location and on any device. Discover 10 ways to maximise homeworking productivity with Microsoft Teams >>.

Enable homeworkers to take and manage calls from their device of choice (computer, laptop, IP phone, tablet, or traditional handset using an adaptor and mobile phone) via a software-based solution over a broadband network. PhoneLine+ supports all the key features expected of a traditional telephone line including voicemail and call divert, giving remote employees a business phone that works every time, wherever they want it, while putting customer and call information in front of them in an intuitive way.

Challenge #5: Policy enforcement/URL management

In the office, employees are working behind layers of preventive security controls. But how do you apply these controls to a home environment? How do you implement similar safeguarding as in the office? Policies based on users, locations, devices and applications can enable control over when, how, and what data is accessed, helping ensure your users and data are not compromised.

Here’s a few options:

Standardise your IT policies and centrally manage all devices and users with SD-WAN resulting in a more consistent approach and a more secure, robust perimeter. With a range of rules, you can set and distribute policies quickly and easily, equipping homeworkers with consistent networking and security policies.

As demand for hardware increased so did concern about making sure the hardware is running the right operating system that’s patched to the right level, has the right security policies applied and can run all the required line of business applications. Daisy has two main solutions in this area. We can roll out, manage and maintain a traditional image-based desktop environment where the operating system is loaded directly to the device or we can provide virtual desktops utilising Citrix. The virtual desktop can be hosted in multiple ways to meet business needs. Both solutions allow IT teams to ensure that homeworkers have the correct operating system to keep them working securely and productively.

With URL filtering, you manage your users’ Internet access. Content filtering allows you to block certain categories of websites based on your organisational policies, preventing users from accessing sites your organisation deems unproductive; and with Google and Bing SafeSearch integration you enable a safe and secure Internet environment.

Using wireless LAN (WLAN) solutions, we can deliver corporate access points to your homeworkers. These remote extensions of the corporate network can provide full enterprise networking capabilities for your remote workers. Our WLAN solutions include features such as URL filtering and application performance monitoring. Through centralised policies you can ensure that every remote site maintains consistent policy enforcement at the edge, based on user role (e.g. guest, contractor, employee), device type, application and network location.

Challenge #6: Data backup

Protecting and backing up data is always critical but working from home adds an additional complexity; with more users working off-site, a flexible and highly-scalable solution will be needed. Regular and secure data backups will mean that the risk of an individual device or user being compromised is reduced, and data can be recovered up to the point of the last back up.

Here’s a few options you can consider:

We can ensure you have appropriate data and IT protection for your business by simplifying all of your data protection. We can include replication and backup services and blend live and archive technologies to protect different types of data most effectively and deliver cost and efficiency savings. Download our guide for 8 things you need to get right to protect your data and IT effectively >>

We provide an all-in-one solution that provides backup and security that can cover your mobiles, laptops, desktops, servers and virtual machines, as well as cloud suites such as Microsoft 365 and Google Drive. You can protect remote workers from viruses, malware and ransomware attacks whether they are at home, dropping into the office, or even at a coffee shop. Download these 5 must-do steps to protect homeworkers >>

Whilst Microsoft manages the infrastructure and maintains the uptime of the Microsoft 365 platform, the data stored on it remains your responsibility. Daisy’s Backup for Microsoft 365 service gives complete access and control of all Microsoft 365 data and eliminates the risk of data loss. The solution provides full backup capabilities of all customer Microsoft 365 data, with a choice of support packages. Download these 6 critical reasons for Microsoft Backup >>

Why Daisy Corporate Services?

Daisy Corporate Services has 20 years’ experience in IT and communications and we are the UK’s #1 independent provider of IT, communications and cloud. We can connect your business challenges to technology solutions to help you prepare for now and the future. If you would like to speak to us to see how we can help your organisation sustain remote and homeworking, please get in touch.