I’ve always had this question about our IT infrastructure and given the fact that almost everyone is working remotely, it is more relevant than ever: what did we do to make sure that we are able to work securely from virtually anywhere?
Well, in today’s episode, Scott Anctil answers that question for us. Scott is our CTO at the Lockstep Technology Group. Here are some of the topics we cover:
- Enabling and optimizing remote workforce remotely
- Importance of hybrid cloud infrastructure
- best ways to communicate with your IT department
- How to build ideal disaster recovery and business continuity plan.
- and more!
Listen to the entire podcast episode here.
From the beginning, we built the company as a remote workforce even though we have an office location because we knew that almost all of our work will be done with our customers’ infrastructures. That enabled us to securely work remotely.
So we built our infrastructure how we recommend our customers building it.
Make sure your infrastructure has enough capacity
Most people have a well-established infrastructure already, which is either on-premises, a data center or on a cloud. And some portion of their staff is already a remote workforce via Virtual Desktop or VPN. But when the majority of their staff are now working remotely, you’ll run into bandwidth issues on the incoming connections or license issues where only a limited amount of users are licensed for certain applications and those require to rapidly expand.
For us, at Lockstep, we designed our infrastructure to support all of our users remotely internally, even when we are at our HQ we worked in a remote capacity. So we were all remote users working at the same place.
And for the most part, the majority of our customers have that functionality as well. The main issue we helped them with has been capacity issues. If there were bandwidth issues, we addressed it in two ways:
- Reach out to their ISPs and the providers to see if they have limitations set on their connections and asked the ISPs if they can expand the bandwidth or allow overages.
- Optimized their user experience. For example, lowering the quality of a session to get more bandwidth (Youtube does this too!) and also increased filtering for traffic. Making sure the users are connected to the work environment and also being able to stream Netflix.
Keep security in mind
One of the main concerns for companies that don’t have a work environment that is built for a remote workforce is that they want to open up access to all of their users or ease their restrictions that any computer can connect to their environment so people who don’t have a laptop can do their work on their personal computers.
I know security isn’t the highest priority for most companies. The main priority is getting people back to work. But everyone needs to be aware that the rate of the attacks and the compromises are also increasing because hackers are taking advantage of the fact that [everyone is working remotely].
Make sure if you’re opening up new services to your employees, they are also secure as well.
Using analytics to monitoring user behavior
Hand in hand with security, one of the other concerns is monitoring user behavior; basically making sure that people are actually working remotely. Using analytics we have helped our clients to ensure their users’ productivity and accountability, i.e. this user has been logged in for this many hours, this is how much they did, etc.
Identifying where connections are coming from
Obviously you are experiencing an increase in remote sessions and you want to allow users to be able to connect to your network from wherever they are but most of the users have never connected before so make sure to monitor the right connections are connected. If you’re a Georgia based company and all of your users are in Georgia, you want to make sure those connections are not coming from any other place than Georgia.
The biggest lesson learned: Disaster recovery and business continuity plans
A lot of companies don’t have an established process for an event such a pandemic. The disaster isn’t that your data center is down or the building has been destroyed or that it is a typical-class disaster. The problem is that everyone has to work from home now and nobody can go outside.
The majority of business continuity plans and Disaster Recovery plans don’t account for ‘How do we switch to the remote workforce overnight?’ You don’t always want to have the capacity available because you don’t want to make the investment into infrastructure that is going to be unused most of the time. But understand the plan and know how to switch those resources to make them available as soon as possible when the time comes. Also, make sure to build a secure environment that can support your entire workforce.
Listen to the entire podcast to get the full lessons learned.