As businesses around the world manage employees working remotely while determining the best course of action to return to office operations, Comcast Business is here to help and remains committed to the safety and security of our customers.
The value and perception of teleworking fundamentally changed as businesses across the country had to abruptly close workplaces. Over a matter of days and weeks, many scrambled to supply millions of workers with home internet connections that would give them top speeds and keep them connected remotely, full-time. Because of this, disaster recovery and business continuity rose to the forefront of IT and corporate planning for years to come with the potential for teleworking to be permanently adopted. In fact, according to a GetAbstract survey of U.S. employees who are currently working from home, 20% of respondents said their company has discussed permanently accommodating a flexible policy on remote work.
As the pandemic and its impacts play out, it’s imperative that businesses review how they continue to respond and what cracks have been exposed in their business continuity plans. IT leaders must find the resources to immediately shore up any glaring holes and rewrite their rule books for the days, weeks and months ahead. But where to start? Here are a few key things businesses should consider as they navigate the “new normal.”
Internet Bandwidth and Speed. This is the big one because just as an office needs Gig-speed internet service to support in-house employees, remote employees need excellent service as well, with enough bandwidth to handle streaming connections for tasks like video conferencing. Using safe and secure Wi-Fi hotspots is a great way for a business to cut down on data costs and save on overage charges. A business that upgrades its on-site speeds and equipment also will be able to set up a virtual private network (VPN), which allows for a stable and secure connection. Comcast has built the nation’s largest Gig-speed network to bring speed to more businesses in more places – that’s 20 times faster internet, faster downloads and support for more employee devices.
The Cloud. Employees need virtual access to the same information and tools they’d be able to access in a physical office. The solution here is the cloud, which hosts files, data and applications within a centralized server and makes them accessible from any device with connectivity. This means employees can work from anywhere on company-issued mobile devices, or their own devices. Comcast Business offers cloud solutions apps and Software-as-a-Service (in which software lives in the cloud, not on an individual’s computer). To be successful, determine what tools and applications employees need to do their jobs, and ensure that a cloud environment mimics the in-office experience.
Security. Whether it’s a spear-phishing campaign, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack or botnets infiltrating the network to steal sensitive data, businesses of all sizes in various industries can be even more susceptible to cyber threats when employees spend more time working remotely. According to a report from The Hill, by mid-April, the daily number of cyberattacks reported to the FBI had increased by up to 400% since the onset of the pandemic.
For employees continuing to work remotely, make sure they understand how to keep their devices (and, by extension, the company’s network) safe by avoiding unsecured websites, using virus protection, and refraining from downloading unapproved apps and software on company devices. All employees – remote workers especially – must follow key cybersecurity guidelines, including:
- Securing their work phone and computer
- Installing a firewall
- Downloading anti-virus and anti-malware software that is set to update automatically
- Regularly backing up information
Comcast Business also offers a suite of cybersecurity products including managed firewall, VPN, unified threat management and more, while giving customers peace of mind with preventative support.
Collaboration. When all employees are in the same office, it’s easy to get together to exchange ideas, but getting together in the current environment is not as simple. Collaboration platforms and unified communications systems – such as web conferencing systems and group chat software – are key for future workplaces.
Additionally, look for a flexible phone system in which employees can use one phone number that switches seamlessly from a desk phone to a mobile device, allowing them to stay connected from wherever they are. Comcast Business VoiceEdge offers benefits traditional wired systems don’t, like:
- The ability to forward a number to multiple phones and reach employees whether they’re on their cell phone, a home landline or an office phone.
- Call management and routing, which acts as a virtual receptionist to answer calls and help callers connect to the right person.
- The ability for employees to check voicemail remotely; receive notifications on a mobile phone when their office line receives a call or voicemail; and use voicemail transcription, which lets employees read voice messages on a mobile phone.
Throughout our region, Comcast Business has helped numerous businesses transition their employees to a work from home environment, or new normal, as a result of the pandemic. We recently highlighted some of those businesses – read their stories: Walnut Grill American Eatery & Bar, Branch Creative Group and City Church of New Castle.
As teleworking becomes more common, it can introduce challenges when it comes to keeping employees connected, productive and engaged. But, the right technologies make it a snap. Comcast Business is here to help navigate the new normal.