With growing concerns over the transmission of the coronavirus, many organizations are asking how they can best work from home. Below are some quick thoughts.
If you'd like help setting up any of the recommendations below, please contact us.
Communication: If you have a Voice over IP (VoIP) phone/communication system like RingCentral (the one we use and recommend), then your team can use this system at home just like they use it in the office. Voice, messaging, fax, video meetings — everything needed to communicate with your team and clients! See our other RingCentral articles.
Storage: There is no shortage of cloud storage options. If your team hasn't already chosen one (or two) as your company standard, then now is the time. Popular solutions include:
- DropBox Business
- Egnyte (great for Creative professionals)
- Google Drive (part of G Suite)
- Microsoft OneDrive for Business (part of Office 365)
Remote Access (VPN): Organizations that have not yet moved to the cloud may have an on-premise server they remotely access via a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This probably works well (enough) for a few people. However, using a VPN to remote into the office with a large number of people (~10+) will most likely not be a pleasant experience — unless, of course, you built it to work this way! Some ideas:
- Grab what you need off the server and copy files locally — within reason and considering the capacity of your hard drive.
- Copy remaining items to your cloud storage drive — and communicate/coordinate within your team to avoid everyone copying everything.
- Use your VPN as-needed to retrieve only necessary files off the server.
Security: Check out the SANS Security Awareness Work-from-Home Deployment Kit. Everything you need to know to create a secure work-from-home workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
- For Organizations - Securely Working From Home Deployment Kit
- For Individuals - Securely Working From Home Factsheet
* * * * * MANY PROBLEMS WE SEE ARE RELATED TO HOME NETWORKS * * * * *
Your Home Network: Your home network might work great for streaming videos from Netflix but could struggle to perform well for video conferencing or VoIP phone calls. It's not as simple as having a fast Internet connection. Your router and wireless devices play a role too.
- Test your network at https://www.8x8.com/resources/tools/voip-test to see how your network performs. Did you get "Cloud Ready" or something else? (Another good site is https://fast.com/.)
- LATENCY of ~20 ms is normal for VoIP calls; a latency of even 150 ms is barely noticeable and therefore acceptable. Any higher than that, however, and quality starts to diminish.
- JITTER should be below 30 ms.
- DOWNLOAD (how fast you can read/browse/view/download files from the web) and UPLOAD (how fast you can send/upload/share to the web) is very much relative, but in general...
- Anything less than 10 Mbps up or down will probably feel slow.
- Creative Professionals working with large Adobe file will want 20 Mpbs or faster speeds.
- Tips to try and improve your network:
- Use a wired connection.
- Reboot your network hardware.
- Close bandwidth-intensive applications.
- Turn off devices you aren’t using.
- Ask your nonworking family members to stop using the Internet while you work (Good luck with that!)
- Contact your internet service provider.
STATUS PAGES OF CLOUD PROVIDERS
Unsure if it's your network or your provider, check their status page. (Some require you to log in.)
- AT&T: https://www.att.com/outages/
- Apple: https://www.apple.com/support/systemstatus/
- Box: https://status.box.com
- Comcast: https://www.xfinity.com/support/status
- Google G Suite: https://www.google.com/appsstatus
- Microsoft Office 365: https://portal.office.com/adminportal/home#/servicehealth
- RingCentral: https://status.ringcentral.com
- Zoom: https://status.zoom.us
- Don't forget your notebook Power Adaptors
- Don't have a MacBook Pro? Considering taking your iMac home!
- Accept the fact that your workflow must change.
- Wash your hands properly! See, washyourlyrics.com
Readers, please share your tips here in the Comments section.
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