With Coronavirus set to interrupt normal work patterns, there might be situations where your workers are not able to make it into the workplace (even when lured by toilet paper). This is happening right now in virus hotspots around the world, and who knows where will be next.
What do you do? You don’t want to press pause on your business, but this isn’t something you’re prepared for.
The good news is that the more a business relies on the cloud, the more prepared it is.
However, for some older businesses with some legacy IT infrastructure, or larger businesses that need to run their own equipment, or for a variety of other businesses, a move to the cloud might not be possible. If you’re in that category, skip to the end where we talk about remote desktop and VPN.
There are a few ways to handle this, and it depends on your business and how far you want to take it at the moment. Let’s compare some popular solutions.
If you want to facilitate some short term collaboration, Googles free G Suite might do.
The Google App suite has been the go-to free solution for cloud-based remote collaboration for some time. It includes many services, but the key ones are Docs and Sheets.
Slack is well-loved team-based chat software. In some businesses, people right next to each other use slack to communicate while they listen to their music.
Skype is a great way to communicate via voice, chat or video. While its chat service is not as easy to use for teams as is Slack’s, unlike slack it’s something many people have used before for coms, and they may already have accounts.
However, it’s advisable that if you’re going ot dabble in the cloud, you
Google does offer business and enterprise versions of G Suite, but for small businesses going in on the basis plans, Office 365 offers much more capable email facilities, with 50gb of storage with unlimited archiving vs Gmail’s shred 30gb. Office also offers desktop apps for most of the 365 service which for many is a much smoother experience than working out of a single crowded browser window. Microsoft’s apps are, for business purposes, much more powerful than G Suite’s, which mostly suffice for basic consumer uses.
We have found that business users are much more comfortable in Office apps. It’s for this reason that we have partnered with Microsoft.
It might be the right time to jump on Microsoft’s leading cloud-based office software.
Office 365 includes browser-based versions of all the Office desktop apps you know but with the ability to share them with a link, organize them in team-based cloud folders, and edit them collaboratively from anywhere, even with clients.
Teams is similar to Skype in that it can be used to make VOIP call (it can also be used to make and receive calls to business lines, but not out of the box. Ask us how!).
Moving the hub of your office communication from email threads to Teams will mean faster and easier communication.
What sets teams apart is the integration of all documents, calendar, team-based chat, calls, and even editing in the same space. Teams also integrates with a huge number of third-party business applications, such as Projectwise and Trello.
Even if a lockdown situation does not eventuate in Australia, moving productivity into cloud-based apps and services has some pretty large advantages.
Security – with services managed off site by third party providers who have dedicated teams keeping their services up, you’re much less likely to experience data loss, downtime or breaches.
WFH – you never know when and why someone will need to collaborate remotely. Being ready to accommodate them will make life easier for both of you.
Larger enterprises that rely on desktop-based productivity may consider using Windows’ Remote Desktop, which allows users to use a PC remotely. This is usually fairly effortless to setup with the host machine’s IP address, machine name and user account.
However if you want to allow remote access, but prevent security vulnerabilities, you need to be using a VPN, which encodes the traffic between the computer and the remote user. For most businesses this would be the way to go.
As usual, we have a lot of experience in helping Businesses work through all these options and pick the best ones, so please give us a call on Monday if you’re keen to add a little peace of mind to your operations.