News & Analysis

The Fundamentals of Building a Virtual Workplace


By: Neelesh Kripalani

As the world is grappling with COVID – 19, enterprises across the globe have been making every effort to safeguard their employees by following the rules and regulations laid out by the government. This has compelled organizations to shift to a remote work model overnight. As a result, employees are accessing enterprise applications, systems and data from multiple devices and internet connections. This gives a lot of entry points for a cyberattack. This sudden transition has introduced new uncertainties and heightened cybersecurity risks for organizations.

To build a robust digital infrastructure where employees can seamlessly work remotely needs a few basic essentials. Here are some recommendations:

Cloud Adoption–Cloud computing, along with new-age technologies enable employees to work from any location that has internet access, via a virtual desktop or remote infrastructure. It allows employees to access documents and data that is essential for their work by using specific credentials to maintain security. This is especially useful for companies that have presence across geographies and need to maintain uniformity and consistency across different offices. Cloud technology provides a greater level of flexibility and shared access to information centrally accessible via a single server.

In the present situation, when almost everyone is working remotely, there is an increased pressure on the digital infrastructure. Cloud allows organizations to scale up the infrastructure capabilities to accommodate the increased workload.

Usage of remote working tools–In building a comfortable virtual office, the need for collaboration and communication tools cannot be undermined. Employees need to connect and collaborate in real-time with other team members or customers to get a task done. In such a scenario, the use of audio or video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, Simple2call and Cisco WebEx becomes critical. While selecting tools, it is advisable to consider factors such as ease of use and hassle-free installation on multiple devices such as desktops, laptops or mobile phones.

Integration of cybersecurity–While working remotely, establishing strong cyber security practices becomes essential as hackers use this as an opportunity to launch cyber-attacks. Organizations must introduce resilient security policies and provide secured devices, software and corporate networks. It must also ensure that all access to an enterprise’s data and systems is through a secured VPN.

Employees need to take some hygiene steps such as changing the default passwords on their home Wi-Fi router to prevent hackers from accessing the network. Using strong and unique passwords on every account and device along with two-factor authentication (2FA) is a must.Employees should use software provided by the company to share files and data, and refrain from using personal email or 3rd party services.

Reskilling or Upskilling–Working remotely is a cultural and habitual change and it requires training and certain amount of hand-holding. As this was a sudden shift and employees did not get time to prepare for it, companies need to come up with proper training modules to equip their people to operate efficiently in the virtual workplace set-up. This involves training them on best practices in virtual team building, virtual communication and collaboration. It would be good to get them accustomed to working seamlessly with a range of internal collaboration platforms meant for video and audio conferencing as well as internal enterprise applications such as CRM, ERP and the company intranet.

Above all, reskilling cannot be ignored. If efficient and secure ‘Virtual Workplaces’ are built, the time saved by employees on commute can be channeled to up-skilling, cross-skilling and reskilling them to augment their expertise.

(The author is Sr. VP and Head – Center of Excellence (CoE), Clover Infotech and the views expressed in the article are his own)

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