We’re all dealing with a sudden, huge, change to the way we need to live and work. As someone who’s evangelised about the benefits of remote working for some time, I have compiled this list of simple steps to help you and your teams work from home effectively and securely.
1 – Internet. Before you do any work, check that your home internet connection is fast enough to cope. Run an internet speed test from https://broadbandtest.which.co.uk/.Anything over 2Mbps download and .5Mbps upload is fine. If you run the test while others in your household are using the internet, you’ll get a more real world result.
Check that your mobile phone contract includes unlimited data. Your monthly bill will detail this. If your broadband goes down, you’ll still be able to work online by using your mobile phone as a hotspot.
2 – Save your files to the Cloud.Saving files on your computer is convenient, but risky. If your computer fails during this current crisis, your computer repair man may not be able to come and collect your laptop. Using a software toolset like Google’s GSuite,gives you business email, 1TB of data, video calling, instant messaging and much more. It’s built on cutting edge security and costs around £10 per month. If your laptop fails, you can just grab your mobile or another device, login and carry on where you left off. No need to install anything.
3 – Morning Standup. Call it a roll call, catch up, or whatever you want. Start a group video call for 15 minutes each morning, with your whole team. You can use it to discuss tasks for the day, issues to be dealt with, or just to check on health and mood.
4 – Chat reguarly. When in the office, you probably take a few minutes to walk to the coffee machine and chat with your team. Don’t stop that just because you’re not physically together. Send an instant message to say, “Coffee?”. Go and make a coffee, then fire up a video chat, together. I have a colleague, who runs his own IT company, and we do this a lot. A quick message saying, “got 5 minutes?” and we’re on an informal call working through problems, discussing progress, or talking about F1 or Rugby. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is maintaining the personal connections. It’s very easy to act as if you are alone, when in reality you are not.
Everyone is talking about practicing good hygiene, I will now talk about how to practice good IT hygiene. Many people are being targeted by scammers and criminals, taking advantage of the uncertainty around the current crisis. Good IT hygiene is simple to set up, easy to follow and will help make sure you are not one of the victims.
1 – Email. Treat email like the front door to your home or office. You wouldn’t let just anyone waltz in and steal your valuables, so treat email the same way. Scammers are sending emails pretending to be from the NHS, or WHO, advising you to click a link for more information. Whatever you do, do not click on the link. It may install malicious software on your computer that will trigger a delayed response. Your files may be encrypted by the software and you’ll receive a Ransomware alert, demanding money.
If you get an email from a sender you don’t recognise, the spelling is off, or it looks odd. Be alert. Ask yourself how the NHS, WHO, or whoever got your business email address and why they’d waste their own time and resources emailing individuals.
The best thing to do is delete the email, or mark it as Spam. You can open a web browser, go to the website of the agency who supposedly sent you the email and call them to ask. Most likely they’ll tell you it’s not a legitimate email.
2 – Passwords.Please stop using your dog’s name as your laptop or email password. You think no one knows your dog’s name, but one look at your Facebook page shows you out walking with Fido, on his birthday. Hacking software picks these details out, chooses passwords from them and hammers your email and social media accounts until it hits the right one.
Use a password manager, like LastPass. It’s free, simple to setup and means you never have to remember your passwords again. They are encrypted and secure from any attack.
3 – Back your files up.If you already use Microsoft Office 365, or Google G Suite, you will need an extra layer of safety to avoid accidental or malicious data loss. A cloud based tool like Backupifywill give you peace of mind and ensure you can get files back if the worst happens. It’s inexpensive, too.
The beauty of these tools is that they are built to be flexible and informal and easy for you to use.
You work hard for your customers and staff, these simple steps will ensure you don’t risk it
Paul Goggin has over 20 years’ experience in the IT industry, if you’d like to find out more visit www.innovo-it.com