As technology advances, the ability to work from home has become more accessible to more and more workers. The coronavirus pandemic paved the way forward for ‘remote work’, as its capabilities were tested. Apart from critical companies, the rest were urged to close their physical offices and rely on remote workers to remain productive.
CSG Technologies has undoubtedly seen an increase in the companies trying to set-up employees to work from home. The managed services are about the same whether you’re working on-premises or remotely. Still, there are three ways Managed Services Provider (MSP) specifically supports the transition to remote workers.
- Provides redundancy for IT support.
- Proper installation an management of a firewall
- Configure the VPN for remote access.
By providing these services, MSPs can help organizations deliver on-demand or needs-based services to their users who do remote work.
Below is a recap of the ways MSP’s can help your remote workers:
1. IT Support redundancy
One of the most important overall benefits of Managed IT Services is the redundancy they provide to your business. MSP employs multiple IT engineers. A reputable provider assigns engineers to clients. Even if an engineer is absent, you can still access other engineers employed by MSP. Even if you rely on MSP for complementary IT services (extended IT), there is redundancy to cover the absence of internal IT staff. This does not change with Remote Workforce.
There are redundant MSP engineers who support remotely, regardless of the user’s location. This aspect of Managed Services is currently particularly beneficial in the global coronavirus pandemic, as businesses are preparing to have sick employees who are unable to work. If the assigned MSP technician is absent due to illness, the MSP must hire enough technicians to handle IT issues remotely.
This redundancy is useful for organizations considering or using MSP for advanced services. Also, if your internal IT staff is sick, MSP provides redundancy and backup to meet your IT needs.
2. Setting up a firewall for remote workers
CSG Technologies requires Managed IT Service customers to install a best of breed firewalls, such as Meraki, SonicWall or Fortinet. This not only allows the MSP (or user) to configure a VPN connection, but also provides a layer of security for remote workers accessing on-premises, web, and cloud-based files.
While firewalls have many uses and benefits, they are particularly good when it comes to remote workers for the following reasons:
A. Intrusion detection and prevention
The protection that firewalls provide relative to intrusion detection and prevention is increasingly important with Remote Workers. Working remotely makes employees more vulnerable to malicious attacks. Therefore, you can continue to protect your users and resources by introducing mechanisms to detect and prevent anomalous (and perhaps malicious) activity.
B. Content Filter (Focusing on Security)
With employees working remotely away for the office environment, they may be more likely to visit unauthoized website. The firewall also has options for filtering content. Administrators can configure filtering options based on words, phrases, IP addresses, domains, and more. Content filtering has two purposes. First, prevent users from using their corporate devices to access websites that they shouldn’t have, even if they’re working from home. Second, prevent users from accidentally accessing malicious websites and accidentally infecting your device or, worse, your entire network.
C. Prevent unauthorized remote access
Firewalls also monitor and prevent unauthorized remote access. If a hacker breaks into your home network and tries to access your desktop, this layer of protection prevents hackers from looking around or dropping malicious files.
3. Setting up a VPN for remote workers
When setting up a remote worker, the MSP first needs to know which files it accesses every day to perform its work. The advantage of web and cloud-based files or applications is that they can be accessed from anywhere. No additional steps need to be taken as long as security measures are in place. However, for files stored on your on-premises server, MSP configures a virtual private network (VPN) for each user to provide a secure access path. The VPN provides security and privacy to users accessing home networks, public networks, and WiFi hotspots. The VPN connection provides privacy and security in three ways:
A. It changes your IP address
When accessing public networks or hotspots, it is very important to change the IP address because you do not know which users are accessing those networks. By changing the IP address, you hide yourself from hackers and ultimately protect yourself. Home networks are generally less visible than public networks, but they are not invisible. If you work from home, neighbors and passers-by can spy on your network and compromise your privacy.
B. Encrypt data transmission
Another way a VPN protects a user is to encrypt the data transmission. This layer of security protects sensitive data such as bank details and login credentials. Similar to IP address changes, data encryption protects users from hackers on the same network if the public or home network is compromised.
C. It obscures your place when using a VPN
Security measures prevent hackers from verifying your IP address, sensitive data, and location. This does not provide additional protection, but you can avoid the restrictions that public networks may have by allowing them to be elsewhere. To grant VPN access to users, MSP installs a soft client on each user’s desktop. Each user uses their credentials to log in to the VPN and access those files on-premises.
The benefits of working remotely cannot be denied, but there are many that feel as though they may be missing out on the social aspect of work. You may have taken a position with a company where you work remotely and feel as though you’re not getting the same experience that you would if you worked in their office. If this sounds like you, we suggest you look into managed service providers, or MSPs, that can help you take your remote work to the next level. CSG Technologies can be your liaison with the company you work for as well as your IT department, so you can feel confident that you are still connected to your company, even when you’re not in their office.