Your Guide To Long-Term Remote Work At Your
Even just three years ago, working from home was a fairly boutique concept. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has, out of necessity, taken remote working from a fringe idea to the mainstream.
Remote work is no longer a “short-term arrangement”. However you’ve managed remote work so far, if it’s to be a part of your long-term vision for your organization, then you need to make sure it’s optimized and secure.
“The evidence speaks for itself...”
“Our law firm has had an excellent experience working with Chris and the team at Parkway Tech. We have found the company to be highly responsive, knowledgeable, attentive to providing excellent service, and thoughtfully patient with us in a technical world often beyond our level of knowledge. They give us good solid advice.”
Mike Wells Sr.
The Modern Age Of Remote Work
According to an August Gallup study, 13% of telecommuters and 5% of all workers in 2019 said that they worked from home 20 days per month, while 2020 saw those figures increase to 45% and 22%, respectively.
25% of the working world will continue to do so remotely, and employers are now having to analyze the efficiency of potentially taking their businesses out of offices for good, while also determining whether workers are truly able to sustain an equitable amount of productivity at home.
The Benefits Of Remote Work
Hiring a talented and committed staff locally in your area is easier said than done. Have you considered expanding your reach through remote work?
The cost of living locally has steadily risen over the past few years, and even more so during the pandemic. That makes hiring (and keeping) talent difficult.
Even if there are a few qualified legal professionals living nearby, it’s likely that they’ll move somewhere more cost-effective within a few years.
What are modern law firms like yours supposed to do? Expand their pool of applicants by offering remote work.
Law firms are hiring more and more remote workers—in fact, it’s the way half the country worked every day even before the pandemic. It’s no wonder why, as the convenience of being able to take your work wherever you like is a fantastic benefit of current technology.
Your Firm Needs To Adapt To Succeed
Remote working is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and firms will have to evolve their strategies, not just for remotely engaging their employees, but also for safeguarding their firms for continued operations safely, securely, and without interruption.
Parkway Tech helps ensure that law firms stay afloat while having their workforces dispersed in their respective homes, offering a variety of services designed to remove the burdens of managing telecommunications and internet systems.
Through adoption of these available technologies, employers can be at ease knowing that productivity remains undeterred and that their business operations remain steady.
How Do You Build A Remote Work Foundation For Your Law Firm?
Remote working capability is dependent on the implementation of a comprehensive strategy for cloud services delivery. Remote workers need to be able to do their work, and easily. Any obstacles will prevent them from staying productive.
If they’re fighting against unintuitive software, a bad connection, or anything else tech-related, their standard workday won’t be all that productive. It won’t be long before your firm’s productivity grinds to a halt.
That’s why, so long as the remote worker has a strong Internet connection, the rest of the work is on the IT support team to deliver a responsive and user-friendly cloud platform with which the worker can access their business data.
With those two benchmarks in mind, there’s really only one way to achieve it: migrating all necessary work data to a reliable cloud platform. The more data that’s hosted in the cloud, the better it is for your law firm.
3 Questions To Answer About Your Law Firm’s Remote Work Capabilities
How Will Your Staff Access Data?
To start, you need to make sure you have software in place to allow remote data access, that your staff has devices through which they can use the software, and a viable Internet connection to prevent lag and downtime.
How Will Your Staff Communicate?
Your staff need a way to call and receive calls from clients. you won’t have to have your staff use their personal cell phones to make and receive business calls. It will be complicated to circulate everyone’s private numbers and to determine to what extent you’ll need to reimburse their phone bills.
How Will Your Staff Stay Secure?
Cybercriminals will undoubtedly be taking advantage of less protected remote environments and will target firms with unsecured remote connections. When law firms start prioritizing remote access to data over the security of that data, they make an easy target for hackers. That’s why you need to take additional steps to secure remote access.
Answering these questions begins with the cloud…
Parkway Tech Delivers Robust Cloud Capabilities
The bottom line is that effective remote working depends on the implementation of a comprehensive strategy for cloud services delivery. Remote workers need to be able to do their work, and easily.
Harnessing the power of the cloud allows you to enhance the way you work in a number of ways, and this innovative new set of tools and solutions enables you to benefit from:
Dedicated Data Center Space
Your critical digital assets are kept secure and close by in our dedicated data center space. Gain peace of mind knowing you have easy access and your data is safe and secure in an area owned, operated, and maintained by Parkway Tech.
Hosted Email Solutions
Email is a critical component of the communications of your law firm. We provide hosted email solutions that allow you to stay in contact, manage your contacts, and have constant access to your calendar.
Cloud Storage Options
By storing your important information and resources on the cloud, you are able to access them from any device in any location with the appropriate credentials. Pick and choose which information is kept on the cloud and control who has access while still leveraging mobility.
Flexibility and Scalability
The cloud is an extremely versatile platform, flexible and easy to scale to meet your firm’s needs, whatever they might be at that time. Growth and expansion are easily supported on a cloud platform.
The cloud comes complete with competitive pricing—making it affordable for law firms of any size. Easy, per-user pricing helps you control costs and only pay for the services you are using.
Data Backup and Protection
Data security and protection is a necessity for any business, regardless of size. We provide the highest level of security and maintenance available, offering around-the-clock monitoring of our servers to protect against intruders and threats.
Protecting Firm Assets Outside The Office
With more law firms operating from home, the operational capacity of those organizations must be optimally supported as well, ensuring that the transition from office-to-home is as consistent as possible.
Implementation of those services such as Slack, Zoom, etc. now requires more than just an internet connection, as sensitive information is likely involved as well.
Furthermore, it is critical to note that by working at home, company property and information are no longer under lock-and-key via physical security protocols and dedicated onsite server firewalls.
These assets are now at risk under the confines of a residential office, so re-establishing key physical and digital security protocols is paramount.
Whether it be security alarms, access controls, video surveillance, sound masking, or both cyber and fire protection, all of these important measures can be addressed under the purview of services by Parkway Tech.
Top Tips To Secure Your Law Firm’s Remote Work Capabilities
Not all data is stored in line of business offerings.
Like other businesses, law firms have data around administration, marketing, archiving, etc. that may be best stored in the cloud with systems they already own like Microsoft 365 via Sharepoint, Teams, and OneDrive.
Don’t forget that remote work comes with its own security considerations which can also be handled by the Microsoft 365 suite. Keep the following in mind when planning your firm’s remote work model:
Two-factor authentication is a great way to add an extra layer of protection to the existing system and account logins.
By requiring a second piece of information like a randomly generated numerical code sent by text message, you’re able to make sure that the person using the login credentials is actually who they say they are. However, this isn’t just for websites and common user accounts—2FA should also be enabled for VPN and Remote Desktops.
Conditional Access software gives you the ability to enforce controls on the access to apps in your environment, all based on specific conditions and managed from a central location.
It’s an extra layer of security that makes sure only the right people, under the right conditions, have access to business data.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
A DLP policy tracks sensitive data and where it’s stored, determines who has the authorization to access it, and prevents the accidental sharing of sensitive information.
Did you know that 96% of phishing attacks and 49% of malware attacks originate as emails?
That’s why you should have a powerful email spam and content filter protecting your organization’s inboxes. The right filter will defend against phishing, blatant malware threats, and that don’t involve malware, including impostor emails and business email compromise.
Given that many firms are using cloud-based platforms today, users often assume that their data is automatically backed up to a secure off-site location. But is that really the case?
Reliable backup capability requires additional support. The key is in finding the right third-party backup solution to support your cloud-based accounts. By adding data backup capabilities, you can make sure all your bases are covered.
When you use a virtual private network (VPN), your data is encrypted, or hidden, as it moves from your device to the VPN and then continues onto the Internet. That makes it harder for an attacker to identify you as the source of the data.
EDR is an emerging technology that addresses the need for continuous monitoring and response to advanced threats. This is a vital service that protects endpoints like laptops, desktops, smartphones, tablets, servers, and virtual environments. Endpoint protection may also include antivirus and antimalware, web filtering, and more.
Promoting Remote Worker Engagement
Running a successful firm is hard enough in-person, and moving the pillars that support that business—the employees—out of a collaborative, physical environment can be even more difficult.
However, with readily available digital solutions, keeping employees engaged has never been easier, and the results speak for themselves. 94% of 800 employers surveyed by Mercer stated that productivity via a remote workforce remained the same or increased to levels greater than they were before the pandemic.
So how can you maintain these statistics? Entrepreneur advises that employers and managers set clear goals and expectations; most importantly, making employee progress visible.
By defining measurable goals and visibly sharing progress, team members can see their individual contribution and how it impacts their team, thus keeping them on track.
Task completion rate, number, and quality are also positive productivity metrics for managers to consider, as well as simply providing feedback and praising work when warranted.
Tips For Supporting Your Remote Workforce
Keep Your Team Accountable
Try having your team share to-do lists with one another to promote accountability in their work. Have staff members pair up and meet on a regular basis to talk through what they’ve achieved, and how they can improve.
Maintain Working Hours
Your team may be working from home, but that doesn’t mean they’re on call 24/7 now. Make sure to set and follow working hours. Emails and items that come up in the evenings or early morning can and should be left until the start of the next working day.
Give Room For A Balanced Workday
Make sure that your staff is striking the right balance at home. Just as they shouldn’t be slacking off because they’re not being supervised, they also shouldn’t overwork themselves. Make sure everyone is taking breaks to decompress, stretch, stay hydrated, and relax.
Promote Social Opportunities
Don’t forget to schedule time for business and casual communication. Your employees should still communicate on a regular basis with one another and with you.
Parkway Tech Simplifies & Streamlines Remote Work
Remote work is the new normal.
Parkway Tech supplies law firms with the support they need to continue to flourish during these uncertain times.
By reducing infrastructure costs, strengthening cybersecurity, and increasing efficiency, Parkway Tech is readily able to limit the financial and personnel overhead of managing your own internet platform, as well as easing the added pressures of removing your firm from the office.
If you are thinking of switching IT companies but aren’t sure where to start, contact us now.