Many companies currently operate with a largely remote workforce. Some individuals have been working from home for a while, but the measures taken to control the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a vast increase in their number. Companies took advantage of remote work for virtually any job that could be effectively performed off-site. Though some organizations are now looking for their workers to return to the office, the remote workforce remains large and is here to stay.

A remote workforce requires the use of cloud resources to provide data and application access to geographically distributed employees. Maintaining the availability of these resources is critical to a company’s ability to operate its business.

Remote workers are accessing these cloud resources using endpoints such as laptops or mobile devices that are located outside the corporate infrastructure. Keeping these devices and their communication secure is a challenge that has to be addressed to deal with the increased prevalence of ransomware and cybercrime. The inability to meet this challenge puts a company’s data resources, and therefore its business, at risk.

Challenges of Supporting and Managing Remote Workers

Companies have to address multiple challenges and difficulties when supporting and managing a remote workforce. Some of these issues are similar to those faced by organizations with on-premises employees, but many are unique to the requirements of a remote workforce. A failure to resolve these problems can put an organization’s valuable data at risk, result in operational inefficiencies, and hinder employee production, none of which are good for your company.

Following are some of the most common and impactful challenges involved with supporting a remote workforce.

Endpoint security

It can be extremely difficult to provide endpoint security for a remote workforce. These devices are not connected to the corporate network and don’t live behind an enterprise-grade firewall. Additional security precautions need to be implemented to allow endpoints to access sensitive and high-value business data. Strong antivirus programs should be installed on all endpoints to limit exposure to known cyberattacks. Advanced solutions such as extended detection and response help address the evolution of cybercriminals and the sophisticated attacks they launch.

Data loss prevention

Data loss prevention (DLP) involves classifying all information and subjecting data elements to handling policies to protect them from loss or misuse. Ideally, no individual should be able to access or use data for which they are not authorized.

DLP solutions automatically enforce a data handling policy by taking actions such as encrypting high-value data before allowing it to be transmitted. Inefficient DLP solutions may enable malicious internal actors to subvert the data handling policy and print or transmit sensitive information using remote devices.

Effective device management

Device management is crucial when dealing with a remote workforce. All endpoints need to be accessible to technical support personnel for security and application patch maintenance. Outdated software can pose security risks that enable cyberattacks and can lead to data loss.

Device management is complicated by the use of cloud resources which are available to virtually any device with login credentials. Remote workers may be using personal devices to access company systems. These devices will not have the security software included with endpoints provided by the organization. They may offer a more vulnerable attack surface from which cybercriminals can gain access to the corporate network.

Application and cloud resource management

The members of a remote workforce rely heavily on the availability of cloud applications and data resources. Ensuring the availability and integrity of these data assets requires continuous monitoring and effective management. Users need to be able to quickly resolve issues that prevent them from accessing cloud systems. They also need to be confident they are obtaining good data that has not been tampered with by unauthorized entities.

Expertise regarding cloud model costs will enable a company to optimize its spending while maximizing productivity. Many companies lack the skills or personnel to handle the management of cloud resources. Without proper management and oversight, cloud apps may not deliver the required level of performance to meet business objectives.

Connectivity issues

Using cloud resources with a remote workforce demands reliable connectivity. Not all remote workers have access to the same level of network capabilities and may need to rely on systems that intermittently fail. This can result in login issues that require an id to be reset by a call to customer service. If your company doesn’t have a dedicated IT help desk, this kind of issue can end up being time-consuming and frustrating for all parties involved.

Virtual desktop issues

Deploying virtual desktops is a widely adopted solution that allows a company to efficiently support remote workers. When they are properly managed, virtual desktops provide a secure, flexible, and scalable solution to giving remote workers the tools and computing power they need to excel.

Virtual desktops are a cost-efficient way of quickly providing resources to remote workers. Managing the underlying virtualization technology may be beyond the skill set of a company’s in-house technical team. It may be necessary to work with a third-party provider to address this problem.

Companies with limited IT technical resources can find it extremely difficult to efficiently address the preceding types of issues. Engaging a managed service provider (MSP) takes care of the IT needs of the remote workforce so companies can concentrate on running their businesses.

How a Managed Service Provider Can Help

VAST’s managed services help businesses of any size address the challenges of supporting a remote workforce. Their team of experts can help your company avoid the pitfalls of supporting a remote workforce. Examples of the managed service offered by VAST include:

Get in touch with VAST and learn how their managed services can help your company thrive while meeting the challenges of supporting a remote workforce