Many businesses have been forced to make dramatic changes due to the virus outbreak—most notably, the rapid shift to remote work. This is not a simple transition to make. Most work-from-home models require a combination of virtual desktop infrastructure, migrating essential IT services to the cloud, upgrading VPN capacity, and beefing up security to protect business data that is now being accessed at the homes of your teams. For businesses that were not able to move their front-line workers to remote positions, complying with stay-at-home requirements may have involved changing support functions.
The government is starting to ease restrictions related to the COVID-19/coronavirus outbreak, and businesses are slowly beginning to reopen. The pandemic is not yet over, but as the economy struggles to stabilize, now is the time to start planning for your future business landscape. How prepared is your business to resume operations under the “new normal”? What will this environment look like? Will you even be returning to the office?
How COVID-19 Has Affected Businesses
The pandemic has inadvertently started the biggest work-from-home experiment ever. Video conferencing software, like Zoom, Google Hangout Meets and Microsoft Teams, saw huge growth in March. As the virus spread and more businesses abandoned their brick-and-mortar locations in support of stay-at-home mandates, KPIs like total users and total minutes grew to five to 25 times pre-pandemic levels.
This experiment is still ongoing, but a survey of CFOs at large organizations indicated that as many as 75% planned to shift some positions to remote work permanently. A few (4%) planned to switch up to half their workforce to permanent work-from-home positions.
What about small businesses? Unfortunately, the multiple months of lost income are proving to be difficult to survive, and some either have already shut down or will soon close their doors for good. Even those that are reopening face a tough economic climate, and will need to closely examine their capital expenses and operating costs.
Looking for the Silver Lining in the Pandemic Cloud
This is an unparalleled shift in circumstances, affecting businesses across all industries, but it also creates an opportunity for positive change. So why not take advantage of it? Consider the following:
- Should you make your work-from-home arrangements permanent after the pandemic? If your team was equally or even more productive and happier working from home, you might consider cutting your real estate costs and benefiting from greater employee satisfaction and retention.
- Is it time to transition more or all of your data and applications into the cloud? If you were undecided about the cloud before, this pandemic experience likely removed any remaining concerns. The cloud has proven its scalability and can be easier to secure than internal infrastructure. Migrating to the cloud can cut your costs for maintaining your internal resources.
- Are you getting the best deal on communications? If you’re considering ‘yes’ for the above two questions, you may need to increase the capacity of your current connections for Internet and telephone services. It’s very likely you could get more bandwidth for the same price, or you could partner with a broker company that makes it their job to get you the biggest bang for your buck.
- Can you streamline vendor management? If you’re sourcing your printers, networking equipment, software licenses, servers, and communication contracts from different vendors, the management and cost can be a sizeable headache. As you ‘right-size’ for the new business landscape, take a look at your vendors to see if you can consolidate services for easier managing.
At SOCBOX, we specialize in providing the cybersecurity services you need to protect your organization—whether in-office or working remotely. We also partner with FIT Solutions, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that helps with vendor management, cutting costs, and improving IT efficiencies. If you would like an experienced partner during your post-pandemic planning, give us a call at 877-284-7789 or email us today.