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4 Steps to Seamless Remote IT Operations

4 Steps to Seamless Remote IT OperationsWhile the world is slowly starting to focus on recovering from the Coronavirus outbreak, experts are predicting it could be months or even possibly years until we’re truly able to return to normal (or some semblance of the word). Business leaders are working tirelessly to quickly innovate in an attempt to mitigate their damages and remain as close to operational as possible.

This change has brought about the rapid adoption of remote working which, while a welcome move, introduces a variety of challenges. If you are facing this evolution in your own organization, here are four tips for navigating the transition smoothly.

Establish a strategy to monitor and manage endpoints remotely.

With some or possibly even all employees now working from home, organizations need a way to efficiently and effectively manage all of those endpoint devices. Remote monitoring is key, as it enables optimal control.

Remote endpoint management allows the IT team to seamlessly access devices and equipment so that, should any issues arise, they can be easily troubleshot for maximum uptime. Best of all, with remote endpoint management, IT techs can operate behind the scenes causing little to no disruption to the end-user. This helps to keep productivity high across the board.

Automate as many manual tasks and workflows as possible.

Running a busy IT operation is challenging enough under normal circumstances. Add in the rapid and, in many cases, unplanned-for transition to remote work and IT teams are really feeling the pressure. Even the most proficient organizations are capable of managing all of this manually. The good news is, there are a wide variety of tasks and workflows that can quickly and easily be handled by IT process automation.

Leveraging automation technology will take much of the stress and burden off your already overworked IT team. For best results, look for an automation and orchestration platform that comes with a large library of pre-built workflows and other resources for fastest time to value.

Develop and implement a backup and disaster recovery plan.

With everything else going on in the world (hello, global health and economic crisis!), the last thing your IT team needs to lose sleep over is the reliability of your organization’s backup systems. To avoid this, you need to develop and implement a sufficient strategy for business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR).

Again, IT process automation can be utilized for continuous monitoring and autonomous incident resolution, effectively meeting the backup demands of your organization while preventing downtime or data loss.

Put protections in place against cyber-attacks.

While everyone else is struggling to handle a global pandemic, the reality is, cyber-criminals are viewing this trying time as a golden opportunity to exploit unexpected and increasing vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity is one of the most critical components of establishing a successful work-from-home arrangement. Understand that attackers can and will be coming at your business from every direction, and will be doing so relentlessly.

Keeping up with these incidents manually isn’t just inefficient. It’s ineffective. To the contrary, to protect your assets, you must fight fire with fire. That is, leverage the same sophisticated technologies as those endeavoring to cause your business harm. IT process automation can help you stay a step ahead of your would-be attackers and prevent potential irreparable damage to your organization’s future.

One Final Thought…

As you work to implement these four steps, one final but highly critical thing to think about is the cohesiveness of your current IT infrastructure. If you’re operating on a number of disjointed solutions, you risk further burdening your IT team and increasing the risk of operational failure for your organization.

Ayehu NG is designed to facilitate centralized and efficient management of IT operations. It integrates seamlessly with all the most popular IT and security applications (ITSM, ITOM, NOC, SOC, AI, intelligent chatbots and messaging platforms) federating enterprise applications, streamlining automated processes.

Navigating through the turbulent waters of our current situation isn’t going to be easy, but with the right plan, tools and innovative technology, it’s possible for your business to emerge mostly unscathed when the dust ultimately settles.

Start your free 30-day trial of Auehu NG and get your remote IT operations up and running in as little as a day!

Best Practices for Managing a Remote Workforce

Best Practices for Running a Remote Operation

The latest health crisis has forced many organizations into making the transition to remote work much more urgently than many would have liked. As such, a scramble to manage the logistics, like what kind of equipment will be needed, how to provision remote workers and how to maintain maximum data security have become the focus. What’s not being talked about nearly as much, but is equally as important, is how leaders who are used to managing staff in-person must adjust their approach in order to make the transition as seamless and undisruptive as possible.

Be intentional about individualization.

Not every employee is motivated or driven by the same things. Some may work best when given autonomy while others may require more hands-on leadership. Under normal circumstances, focusing on the unique needs and preferences of each employee is strongly recommended. When managing from a distance, this becomes even more critical. Managers must take the time to determine the circumstances and conditions under which each individual employee will perform at his or her best. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to remote work simply won’t cut it.

Set clear expectations right from the start.

Did you know that nearly half of all employees in the U.S. do not know what’s expected of them? Add remote work into the mix, and things could go off the rails pretty quick. To mitigate this risk, remote managers need to set crystal clear expectations with each and every employee. Specifically, employees should know exactly what the work entails, what the quality of that work should be and precisely when it is due. There should be no ambiguity whatsoever.

Arm them with everything they need.

You can’t simply hand out tasks and expect your team to perform them if they don’t have the equipment, information, guidance and support they need to carry out those tasks successfully. This is the case in an on-site operation, but even more so in a remote working environment, where people can tend to feel isolated. Implement technology that facilitates collaboration. Provide self-service options, like virtual support agents, so remote workers can receive the support they need on-demand. And make sure leadership is available to answer questions, provide feedback and offer guidance as needed.

Communicate openly and often.

One of the biggest challenges of working remotely, as mentioned earlier, is the feeling of isolation that comes along with it. This is magnified for employees who are accustomed to working on-site, where colleagues and managers are present in the flesh. Understand that managing a remote team may require more frequent communication, whether it be team meetings or one-on-one sessions (ideally, a combination of both). The key is emphasizing relationships, which are more challenging to forge from a distance.

Be supportive of front-line management.

Executive leadership needs to recognize that front-line managers are suddenly being forced to adapt to an entirely new way of working, and practically overnight. It’s an adjustment that brings with it a unique set of concerns that must be taken into consideration. For example, some managers may worry that they’ll be held accountable for disruptions to workflow that they have no control over. Others may find it difficult to trust employees that they cannot physically see working. Support and guidance – practical and emotional – is needed to make this transition as painless for managers as possible.

A Look Ahead…

A recent Gallup study found that 43% of employees in the U.S. are already working remotely to some degree. Thanks to recent circumstances, that number just skyrocketed. And although there will certainly be some growing pains, there’s a significant chance that once the dust settles and life returns to normal once again, far fewer employees will actually return to the office. By learning how to manage a remote operation now, you’ll position your organization for a much smoother ride, both today as well as in the future.

Click here to find out how Ayehu is helping organizations across the globe make the transition to remote working.

COVID-19 and Remote Working – 5 Essential Factors for Companies to Consider

A month ago, the economy was rolling along. Enter COVID-19 and suddenly everything seems to be grinding to a halt, with organizations scrambling to stay afloat and avoid disruption as much as possible. One primary way this is being accomplished is by enabling employees to work remotely. That being said, many companies were not adequately prepared to roll out work-from-home policies and, as such, are now trying to address the complex challenges that come with navigating unchartered territory. Here’s what business leaders should consider to make the transition safer, smoother and more seamless.

Identify and prioritize which processes will be impacted most.

Certain processes will be easier than others to transition from onsite to remote. The first step should involve evaluating how all of your organizational processes work, paying specific attention to the following:

  • Processes that are most mission-critical
  • Processes that mandate physical presence and/or are most challenging to carry out remotely
  • Processes that may be difficult to move online, such as paper-based processes
  • Any existing lockdowns or access limitations on systems, programs or applications

By gathering this data, you can more effectively develop process flow maps and – more importantly – prepare and plan for those processes which will have the highest impact on your organization’s business continuity.

Determine what logistical provisions must be made from a hardware perspective.

What equipment will your employees need in order to carry out their day-to-day duties from home? These provisions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Strong internet access
  • Telephones
  • Computers
  • Scanners/printers/shredders
  • Security keys/authentication devices

It’s essential that access to necessary equipment be assessed and addressed as quickly as possible. Equally as important is accounting for data protection so you can proactively manage risk and prevent potential security breaches.

And, of course, you need to determine what impact all of this will have on your IT team’s ability to provide support to remote workers. (Here’s where technology can help – more on that below.)

Figure out who should have access to which information.

A big part of ensuring secure business continuity is determining who should have access to information and exactly what that information entails. This step can become more challenging in a remote work scenario because people working from home will inevitably share their space with others. For instance, some remote workers may need to utilize equipment that is shared with other family members. It’s important to identify the potential risks and determine whether additional protections, limitations, equipment or training would be warranted.

Utilize advanced technology to your fullest advantage.

A lot goes into facilitating remote work, and given the current situation – where the entire staff of an organization (including IT) may be required to stay home – leveraging the technology that’s available to us has never been more important. Whether it’s video conferencing to keep meetings on schedule virtually or setting up and provisioning VPNs for all remote workers.

In these instances, artificial intelligence can be a real game-changer. For example, intelligent chatbots can be deployed to enable self-service IT support and automated workflows can be used to free up IT so they can focus on more critical business needs. If there’s ever been a time to consider implementing these technologies, it’s now.

Develop a strategy for managing remote workers.

The last piece of the puzzle is the people aspect. Many leaders find it difficult to manage employees and teams who are not situated in close proximity. Getting comfortable with the idea of remote work may take time. To fast track things and improve the odds of a smooth and uneventful transition, consider the following best practices:

  • Create a communication strategy
  • Define, set and reinforce expectations
  • Be accessible and check in regularly
  • Focus on outcomes rather than activity
  • Arm employees with the tools and technology they need to be successful

Making the move to remote work has been put on the fast track for many organizations. Thankfully, with the right approach and proper strategizing, it doesn’t have to be a painful or disruptive transition. In fact, you may just find this new way of working to be a viable long-term solution for your business.

Get started today by downloading your free trial of Ayehu NG and empower your IT team (and your entire workforce) to be productive from anywhere.