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Many organizations weren’t prepared for their entire workforce to suddenly go into full lockdown at home. When it happened, the immediate charge for IT was to ensure those new to remote life had access to what they needed to remain productive. 

Unfortunately, even in the best of times, there were issues with remote data protection and backup. In fact, many companies weren’t backing up end-user PCs at all. 

This problem has been made worse now that users have been forced to work on old home machines and devices, often with outdated networking and poor security. So, just how does an IT admin troubleshoot and secure endpoints when they don’t have access?

The following are some areas to focus on and related tips, aimed at ensuring data protection and keeping your company and employees up-and-running while in lockdown. 

Protect People and Property

Consider this a data protection PSA, one that emphasizes the need to protect, secure and adjust in order to make this new remote world spin correctly. 

For starters, you need to protect your people and intellectual property. If you were streaming local backups to a remote server, that networking is likely broken for employees on old machines, and even the strongest backup policy isn’t going to make a difference.

Solution? Look into Veeam® Agent. It’s a comprehensive backup and recovery solution that’ll link directly to a cloud services provider. Then, with Veeam Availability Console, you can control PC backups remotely. We can help you with this, from deploying and managing settings to scheduling automatic employee backup.

Security Beyond the Wall

Hackers never fail to take advantage of unfortunate events, and there are already reports of phishing attacks designed specifically to leverage COVID-19. What’s more, remember, many users are no longer behind a firewall and probably have some pretty outdated security software to boot.

Recommendation? Make sure they have a virtual private network (VPN) to securely connect to the company network. Further, make sure employees use it in order to force all traffic over the corporate network. It may slow them down just a little, but you’ll have much stronger protection.

Get some current security on those machines, too. I suggest VIPRE, a top rated antivirus and cyber security software for personal and business use made by our parent company, J2 Global.

Adjust expectations to conditions

As a global company, our data protection business isn’t location-dependent. Most employees are routinely  off-site; a work style made part of our culture by design. But even for a company used to working remotely, operating during a pandemic lockdown requires some adjusting, particularly when new office mates may include children that need attention, dogs that need walking or a partner who’s also trying to adjust. That said, here are some more personal-professional tips to help productivity. 

Many remote veterans will tell you to treat each day like you’re going into an office; continue with morning routines, dress and act the part. Approach each workday just as you always have, from that first cup of coffee to the moment you power down. 

A service like Zoom can help professionally and socially; keep that watercooler camaraderie alive by connecting with peers. Still, I’ve seen people do business calls from their couches, in kitchens, you name it. If possible, create a workspace where you can focus and limit distractions. It helps to have a door that locks; there’s plenty of fresh examples of unexpected interruptions, though I prefer this classic from the BBC

Know that time management can be tricky. In an office, employees leave for lunch; there’s not always an expectation that you’ll be around. Today, with people newly homebound, some co-workers may assume you’re available at any moment. Keep an eye on what is being added to your calendar and be sure to block off time for your own activities. 

Finally, just as you need to unplug from distractions, make sure you know when to unplug from work. The last thing you want to do when you’re hunkered down is introduce burnout. 

That concludes my public service announcement: remember to protect, secure, adjust.

Be safe.

What does COVID-19 mean for your business’s data? Check out our recent blog for further info and advice!