As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the economy, companies across the globe have been forced to seek digital reforms to protect their employees and consumers. Businesses have no choice but to review and modify their operational strategies to find new ways to function.

Those that were invested in building their digital capabilities prior to this crisis have been able to continue to collaborate with their teams, engage with customers, and generate sales at a time when the economy has almost ground to a near-complete halt. As such, these businesses are best positioned to manage and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

Below are some examples of how businesses have tapped into new strategies to successfully navigate this new challenge.

Leveraging Video Conferencing for Improved Collaboration

Stay-at-home orders, distancing guidelines, and capacity restrictions are forcing companies to get comfortable with video conferencing, quickly. While many digital-forward enterprises were already using this tool, SMBs have lagged behind in adaptation and are likely at higher risk of breach or security issues as they lack the resources to support a robust IT support team.

Market leaders in video conferencing tools such as Microsoft, Google, Slack, Zoom, and others have seen a considerable increase in usage as businesses strive to keep up with their workforce remotely and connect with consumers. Some of these services are being offered for free, but SMBs beware, you may get what you pay for. While these services may be seem intuitive and cheap, they may create vulnerabilities in your security you weren’t aware of.

The National Law Review recently published tips on how to safely integrate video conferencing to ensure your business is protected:

Educate employees about company policies and acceptable use guidelines when it comes to using new technologies on work devices or to perform work functions, such as team meetings. To avoid unauthorized or inadvertent exposure of sensitive employee or company data, employees should know to first check with a designated team, such as IT or legal, to see if a new product is company-sanctioned and/or governed by a commercial license or agreement that will protect the company and its employees by keeping sensitive data secure.

Research the product manufacturer to learn about any past practices that may demonstrate a failure to make data privacy and security a priority, such as past lawsuits, investigations, negative media or consumer attention, or settlements with government investigative agencies.

Create a culture that keeps everyone safe online by raising awareness about personal use or use by family members. As consumers, take the time to read terms of use and privacy notices, so that you know how the information you are sharing through the use of an online product, such as video recordings and conversation transcripts, is secured, used, and shared.


Addressing Data Protection Through VPNs

Data security and protection is more critical than ever with a remote workforce. Whether workers are using company-issued PCs or their home computer, that link from their house to your office needs to be kept secure.

Businesses are encouraged to use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to ensure data security and mitigate the risk of data leaks. VPNs provide an encrypted tunnel that protects your data and the location of your employees. Moreover, a good VPN allows you to control how your remote employees access the internet during working hours.

For added security, we encourage the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) as well as regular patches and updates to your network to ensure it is protected against ever evolving threats.

Embracing the New Normal

Companies need to re-imagine their business models to confront challenges and discover new opportunities as they seek to overcome the crisis. There is a silver lining to successfully adapting these technologies now – this is the direction you needed to be going anyways to stay successful in the future. While this change was sudden, it was actually just forcing the adoption curve to come a little sooner.

Independent business owners like you are at the heart of Great Lakes Computer Company. We are laser-focused on helping your business navigate your IT challenges. We can ensure your team can work productively and securely with the right IT setup. Whatever your remote workforce needs are, contact us to get started!