An effective IT set-up will facilitate productivity, efficiency, security and success. Getting the right IT setup is vital, now more than ever. With most people still working from home, you need to be confident that your IT support partner has provided you with the right tools and technology to work effectively. In fact, many predict that working from anywhere will become increasingly common for a lot of businesses. With that in mind, it’s crucial to evaluate the effectiveness of your IT set-up now.
An effective IT set-up involves a multi-layered approach, offering different tools and technologies to cover all bases when it comes to productivity, efficiency and security. Ensure that your IT strategy adds as much value as possible to your business and don’t overlook any potential technological solutions!
We’ve outlined some extremely useful and valuable technology that you may not be aware of or that you may have overlooked previously, including:
- Same sign-on
- Self-service password reset
- Multi-factor authentication
- Cyber security awareness training
- Secure file share and sync
Read on to discover what each of these are and how they can add genuine value to your business, improving productivity, efficiency and security in light of current flexible working.
1. Same sign-on (SSO)
What is it?
A same sign-on function allows users to sign in once with one account to access all company devices, systems and cloud-based applications (including Sage, Xero, People HR, Salesforce etc.) Each employee will have their own unique and secure ‘identity’ which will allow them to sign in automatically, using the same username and password for each application. Ultimately, the same sign-on function will maximise security and minimise frustration for the end user.
What are the benefits?
- Security – SSO is significantly more secure than using multiple passwords. Users will be given their own unique ‘identity’ meaning only they can sign on automatically. Additionally, it removes the need to record multiple different passwords elsewhere, either digitally or manually, which could risk a data breach. Moreover, it prevents employees from devising multiple weak, similar passwords to log into different applications – instead they will have one complex password that will log them into each system securely.
- Productivity – SSO will massively reduce the number of unnecessary logistical errors. Employees will waste less time recording passwords, forgetting passwords and being locked out of important systems. Instead, they will have more time to focus on important tasks, increasing the overall productivity of your business.
- Efficiency – Because each employee has one ‘identity’ for their logins, the creation and deletion of employees, upon either joining or leaving your business, is incredibly easy. You no longer have to worry about deleting each employee account for each application, device or system individually. Instead, you can delete their overall ‘identity’, which will automatically remove all relevant accounts, improving the efficiency of your business.
- Employee satisfaction – SSO will streamline the process of logging in for each of your employees. It removes unnecessary stress and frustration associated with losing a password and being locked out of an important application. The process is quick, easy and simple to understand, improving overall employee satisfaction.
Why is same sign-on so important now?
In light of the furlough scheme, many businesses will have reduced the size of their current workforce but will need the quality of work to remain the same. Which is why productivity and efficiency need to be optimised. SSO will reduce the amount of time wasted on logging in multiple times across multiple channels. It will also prevent issues regarding lost or forgotten passwords, which is particularly important now that colleagues can no longer lean over to ask each other for help when logging in.
2. Self-service password reset
What is it?
Self-service password reset is another way to simplify your password policy, whilst improving the productivity, efficiency and security of your business.
Self-service password reset is simple, it allows you to reset your own password in the same way that you can with personal email accounts and applications. It really is just as simple as resetting your Facebook password. This, again, removes the frustration associated with forgetting your password or being locked out of accounts and applications.
Without self-service password reset, users will have to contact their IT support provider and wait for them to reset the password. No matter how efficient your IT provider, this will inevitably take longer than the two minutes it would take you to reset the password yourself!
What are the benefits?
- Security – With self-service password reset, there’s no need for any third-party involvement. If the end user is the only person to know their own password, security is maximised. Additionally, if you have an effective password policy in place, any reset passwords will have to reach certain criteria to ensure they’re strong enough, preventing employees from setting simple, unsafe passwords.
- Efficiency – Having self-service password reset in place means you no longer need to contact your IT partner when you’re locked out of a device, application or system. At Netstar, we’re proud of our efficiency and our SLA for password resets is up to 30 minutes (although usually less). However, once the ticket has been managed it could take from one to seven hours to rectify the issue, dependent on your IT infrastructure and IT Support provider. During this time, your employee will still be locked out and unable to work efficiently. In comparison, with self-service password reset, employees can reset their own password in just two minutes, saving a significant amount of time and money.
- Productivity – Less time waiting to reset passwords means more time spent being productive and working on important tasks. Most employees will be required to change their device and email passwords every few months. If every employee has to contact a service desk each time they need to reset their password, hours and hours of valuable time will be lost. Maximise the productivity of your business by using self-service password reset.
- Employee satisfaction – Being locked out of your device, emails or other applications can be extremely stressful, for both the employer and the employee. Giving employees the freedom to reset their own passwords will limit the amount of frustration felt by your workforce and improve the overall satisfaction of your team.
Why is self-service password reset so important now?
Password operating systems are programmed to notify users when their email password is about to expire, but this is only possible when the device they’re using is located in the office.
In the office, all of your firewalls and security systems are linked, which is what gives you the notification to change your password. With most people still working from home, the change in physical location means that users will not be reminded that their password is about to expire.
As such, it is incredibly likely that employees will unexpectedly get locked out of their emails at any time. Without self-service password reset, this could cause significant disruption to that employee and their working day, especially if they have targets or deadlines to meet. On the other hand, having self-service password reset would mean that users could quickly and easily reset their own password and continue as normal, within a matter of minutes. As such, productivity and efficiency are maximised and unnecessary frustration for the employee is removed.
3. Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
What is it?
Multi-factor authentication works well with the single sign on function, adding an extra layer of protection to your business.
There is significant evidence to prove that single-factor authentication (just using a password alone) is no longer adequate in protecting your data and keeping your business secure. Instead, we recommend using multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication is exactly what it sounds like, users are required to identify themselves in two ways before being allowed access to a particular device, application or system. These factors are usually at least two of the following:
- Something you know (e.g. a password)
- Something you have (e.g. a mobile phone)
- Something you are (e.g. a fingerprint)
Multi-factor authentication is a lot more common than you might think. For example, a chip-and-pin payment requires two forms of identification; the card is ‘something you have’ and the pin is ‘something you know’.
In terms of keeping your business safe, authenticator apps are a great option. When logging on to a system, users will have to know a password and have the app on a separate device. Once the password has been entered, the user will be able to verify their identity by using the app (either by confirming directly via the app or by generating a code).
What are the benefits?
- Security – The major benefit of implementing multi-factor authentication is that it will significantly increase the security of your business, minimising the risk of any potential data breaches. Hackers will now have an added layer of protection to try and infiltrate, making it a lot harder for them to access your data and therefore deterring them from doing so.
- Productivity – Multi-factor authentication apps will work, even when you don’t have access to your phone, provided you still have access to a device that can download the app. This makes them far less problematic than the more simplistic SMS-based authenticators, whereby devices will send codes to your phone via text message. If an employee loses their phone, they would be unable to verify their identity using an SMS-based authenticator and would therefore be unable to access work devices, applications and systems, leading to extreme productivity loss. Whereas, with an authenticator app, users can still gain access using the app on an alternate device.
- Efficiency – Multi-factor authentication apps are extremely user-friendly, so employees won’t have to spend time learning how to use them. Additionally, they are quick and easy to deploy across an entire company, so you wouldn’t have to worry about any disruption to the normal working day.
Why is multi-factor authentication important now?
With many people working from home or on furlough, there are far more risks to the security of your business, which is why cyber security needs to be prioritised, now more than ever.
Ultimately, hackers now have more time to innovate and the number of scams, particularly those related to coronavirus, has risen dramatically. Which is why you need to be stringent when it comes to protecting your data. Multi-factor authentication will make it extremely difficult for hackers to access your systems, therefore keeping your business safe and secure.
4. Cyber security awareness training
What is it?
Did you know that the number one weakness in IT systems is often the people using them? You need to be confident that your team know how to identify and avoid malicious threats. Don’t let your employees become a threat to your business, educate them on how to stay secure online.
Security awareness training will prevent your team from giving away important information, following malicious links, downloading dangerous attachments, and much more. Netstar’s security awareness service is comprised of short, interactive and up to date training videos on a variety of topics, including phishing scams and staying safe on social media.
Implementing security awareness training will reduce the risk of malware infections, data loss and potential cyber theft, keeping your business safe and secure.
What are the benefits?
- Security – Optimised security is the major benefit of cyber security awareness training. It will ensure that your team are educated on the latest threats and scams, preventing them from mistakenly clicking on or downloading anything that might put your business at risk.
- Efficiency – Netstar’s cyber security awareness service is extremely easy to use and quick to complete. Employees can complete a video and short test in around five minutes, meaning that it doesn’t detract from their normal priorities. Instead, employees can complete the compulsory training videos little and often, meaning their knowledge is constantly refreshed without leading to productivity loss.
Why is cyber security awareness training important now?
With many people still working remotely, colleagues can’t lean across and ask each other if they’re unsure of the legitimacy of an email, website or link. This puts your business more at risk than if teams were still office-based. As mentioned earlier, convincing and targeted coronavirus scams are also becoming increasingly popular, so it’s vital that your team are up to date and informed when it comes to cyber security. Cyber security awareness training also provides an easy to adopt solution to training your staff remotely as everything is online so employees can access the training at any time, from anywhere.
5. File share and sync solutions
What is it?
Using a system like Datto will allow you to store data in the cloud, meaning it can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, using any device. Data can also be synced to devices, allowing users to continue to work on documents even when offline.
Teams can use cloud-based systems like Datto to collaborate on documents, folders and files. Specific permissions can also be set so that certain employees only have access to certain files, meaning that data is protected both internally and externally.
What are the benefits?
- Security – Cloud-based systems like Datto have extremely strong security measures in place, meaning that you don’t need to worry about potential data breaches. Additionally, because all of your data would be stored in the cloud, you don’t need to worry about losing any important data. Even if there was a fire in your office, for example, you could be confident that all of your data would still be safe and accessible on the cloud.
- Efficiency – Teams can collaborate on documents using file share and sync solutions like Datto. As such, working on projects together is less cumbersome. Colleagues don’t need to tirelessly send documents back and forth to one another, instead they can all access and work on the same document via the cloud.
Why are file share and sync solutions important now?
With people now working from anywhere in greater numbers; easily accessible and secure data is a necessity. You need to be confident that your team can access the important documents they need, from anywhere, using any device. Cloud-based systems like Datto will allow for exactly that, whilst having the security of your business front of mind.
For more information on the technology discussed in this article, please get in touch today or speak to your Business Technology Advisor.