How COVID Has Changed the Way IT Supports the Home Office

With the current global pandemic, organizations big and small across the globe hastily shifted to remote working models last Spring. While thanks to cloud technology, the ability to have employees work from home has been a saving grace for many businesses, but it comes with many challenges – especially for IT teams.

With the unplanned transition to remote work, employees at many organizations struggled to adapt and understand remote working technologies. Internal IT departments quickly became bombard with ticket requests from remote employees and many teams could barely keep their heads above water. Thankfully, the initial panic and transition bumps have passed for most businesses, and employees and IT departments alike are beginning to adjust to their new normal. That being said, has COVID changed the way IT supports the home office? Or are new approaches needed? Most IT security professionals in the  industry would agree that COVID has changed the landscape of IT support and that there are some new approaches that should be adopted by organizations to help keep their employees and networks cyber-safe while working remotely.

Support Changes

Many of the changes regarding how IT departments support home offices are due to new equipment that is required for employees to be able to work remotely, upgraded systems, and server connections. Home office set-ups that are not properly configured are a major percentage of IT support tickets for many organizations and these types of tickets present new challenges to IT teams. Being able to communicate with a (likely stressed out) remote worker to solve their issue without face-to-face intervention is a new process for many IT teams and employees.

New IT Support Approaches

Probably the most important new approach IT teams need to make is understanding that they need to embrace a new area of knowledge management that delivers an unprecedented experience for remote workers. Leveraging AI chatbots and developing an accessible knowledge base can serve remote employees with a self-serve omnichannel experience to provide answers to many concerns that can easily be solved independently, eliminating the volume of requests queuing for your IT support team.  IT teams should empower employees and educate them on how to use available self-help options to quickly resolves many requests.

Security Training

At a minimum, IT staff should provide remote employees with basic security knowledge to help protect them and your organization’s data. The minimum training should cover avoiding public or unsecured Wi-Fi, how to ensure that Wi-Fi routers are safely secured, how to verify the security of any device being used to perform work, and how to identify phishing emails.

As the number of phishing attacks has skyrocketed throughout the pandemic, employees need to be vigilant about not clicking on links from unknown senders or when a message seems suspicious. There should also be a process in place for employees to know what steps to take or who to reach out to if they think they have identified a security anomaly. Providing employees with a helpful one-page working from home safety guide is recommended.

Support for IT

The new remote working landscape can be a challenge for many internal IT departments, especially for small and medium businesses with limited resources. The demand to have longer or more flexible coverage hours or handling peak times can easily over-capacitate teams. Adding more internal resources can be quite costly to organizations, which is why leveraging the expertise of a Managed Service Provider can be an ideal solution. Whether it is to handle your front-line help desk support, to ensure that all end-point devices are protected or as cybersecurity experts to proactively monitor network threats, there are multiple solutions available to support your organization in these changing times.