The growing threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recommend social distancing. In response, many businesses in the Tampa Bay area are activating a work from home policy.
As a managed service provider (MSP), we’ve received requests from clients looking to set up employees for working from home with a secure IT environment. However, given the current situation and time constraints, it is very difficult to do this in a way that meets our recommended standards.
Under normal circumstances, we would advise any business that allows employees to work from home to establish a virtual private network (VPN) and provide company-issued laptops with the latest security and software in place. However, the virus started in China, which is where many computers are manufactured. There is up to a six-week or longer wait on new computers. If employees do not already have company-issued laptops, it is difficult to get them now.
Temporary Solution: Use a Remote Access Provider
Given the health threat that coronavirus poses, we understand the importance of instituting a work from home policy now. Our recommendation for businesses that do not have established telecommuting policies in place is to use a remote access provider, such as GoToMyPC. These services allow users to access their office desktop from any device, such as a personal computer or tablet.
This is a good short-term solution for businesses that want to allow telecommuting but do not have the full IT infrastructure in place to support it at this time.
Keep in mind, employers should not view this as a long-term solution or permanent work from home policy. Once the coronavirus dust settles and employees are back in the office, uninstall these programs in favor of a more secure environment. In addition, we recommend using two-factor authentication and working with an MSP that provides IT support for your remote team.
Interested in establishing a secure IT environment for remote workers? Contact us to find out how your company can prepare for a big disruption.