Blog

IT Considerations to Support Remote Workers due to Corona Virus Epidemic

IT Considerations to Support Remote Workers due to Corona Virus Epidemic

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread throughout the world, organisations are closing offices and mandating remote work. This has created an increase in demand for online or remote support tools due to the need to protect the health of employees and to ensure business continuity while at the same time alleviating the spread of the virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently declared a global health emergency, stating that most of China have been forced to work remotely-as at least 24 of the 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions of the country, including Beijing and Shanghai, have told businesses not to reopen. In other countries, such as Singapore, the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) color-coded framework has also implemented the Orange status, which shows the current disease situation. This status effectively forces organisations to mandate remote work for employees and to review corporate travel policies in an effort to contain the spread.

Such an approach places considerable pressure on IT infrastructure and systems as employees turn to mass remote work, creating a need for flexible remote support technology that scales, adapts and continues to meet rigorous security requirements. During such challenging times, choosing the right remote support software is crucial to the productivity and security of your service desk.

Organisations need a remote support solution that can cover an extensive list of usage cases while making the entire service desk experience better and keeping connections secure. Some important cases of use include:

  • Helping users inside and outside the traditional network perimeter
  • Remotely accessing servers and workstations, and other unattended systems
  • Maintaining network devices (switches, routers, etc.)
  • Supporting several platforms, including Windows, Linux, and Mac systems
  • Supporting a wide variety of mobile devices running iOS and Android
  • Facilitating remote access for vendors and other third parties
  • Fixing off-network devices, such as robots, machines, and any other device that aren’t connected to the Internet

However, no matter who or what you support, remote support technology users agree on a few things; remote support solutions must be easy to use, reliable and secure.

Here's what you need to consider when you make your decision:

Broad Platform Support

Modern remote support solutions should make it possible for support representatives to provide support regardless of their platform or end-user platform. When support reps are on the go, they should be able to provide support seamlessly via their mobile device. Sometimes, support technicians need to connect quickly through a modern web browser, such as Chrome. In these instances, it may be particularly beneficial to have an HTML5-based console.

The wider the compatibility of the platform, the better you will be able to standardize support with a single tool to improve incident handling time, technician productivity and other efficiencies.

Key Platforms to Support:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Chrome OS

 

Security & Compliance

As remote work has increased, so has the number of data breaches through point-to-point remote access tools such as PCAnywhere, RDP, VNC, and free non-secure access tools. The limited use of these tools often extends beyond what is safe or efficient and their safety features (or lack thereof) should be red flags. There are many problems with these tools. Almost universal failures include the dangerous lack of visibility of remote access sessions and the inability to apply the principle of the least privilege of access.

Service desk technicians are often required to use admin credentials with elevated privileges to resolve support issues. Although privileged account credential is a common target for hackers, best practice credential management is commonly sacrificed to try to resolve issues quickly. In fact, many service desk teams share and store credentials in plain text. It is imperative to provide the technicians with the credential and authentication they need quickly for accelerated access to IT systems, while at the same time implementing the credential management of best practices.

Today's threat environment and regulations require companies to be able to identify and record who, what, where and when they are involved in remote access activities. These are questions that only the best enterprise-class remote support tools are designed to answer. However, there may be substantial differences in security maturity and capacity completeness, even among enterprise tools.

Whether you are subject to PCI, HIPAA, ISO, GDPR, NIST, CJIS, FFIEC, or other strict regulations, the right solution should help you easily produce detailed attestation reports to demonstrate compliance. Security features that support these measures include advanced encryption, least privilege enforcement and granular control of access to sensitive data (such as PII), audit logs, and recording of all sessions.

 

Flexible deployment: Cloud-based remote support

Seek a solution that offers deployment and licensing options that best meet the needs and requirements of your organisation. Common deployment options include cloud subscriptions as well as physical and virtual devices. Some vendors may offer only one option. Other vendors may offer a number of options. However, sometimes the capabilities and features of the same vendor may vary or be lacking across different deployment scenarios, so check that the deployment model you choose includes the features and capabilities you expect.

For more information to help you make an informed decision when choosing a remote support solution, contact us at 01727 881 227 or send us an email at hello@totalgroup.co.uk

To enable comments sign up for a Disqus account and enter your Disqus shortname in the Articulate node settings.

© 2019 - Total Group International Ltd