A year of working from home – what have we learned?

For most IT managers around the planet, it’s been a year since COVID-19 turned everything upside down, and they were faced with the dramatic prospect of immediately shifting entire offices towards home working, often for the first time.

Many people in IT roles, previously comfortable in the background, were shunted into an uncomfortable spotlight. The best IT administrators are like the best football referees: it’s a tricky job, but everything runs smoothly so you don’t notice them. Yet suddenly, the most senior leaders in each organisation were asking them urgently how to transition to remote working, maintaining efficiency without threatening security.

So, what did they learn about home working during the course of that first year?

Maintaining security in a crisis

In many workplaces, the rush to get everyone up and running at home meant that corners were sometimes cut. Was intended policy applied properly in every instance? Unfortunately there wasn’t time to check. Was every homeworker operating on the latest version of the operating system, with completely updated software and without any security vulnerabilities, using only company devices to access the corporate network? Very unlikely.

Much of the work since the initial shock has involved catching up, especially from a security point of view. The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for hackers and scammers to exploit wide open vulnerabilities, so corporations have been running a race to tighten their loopholes as best they can.

The previous decade’s migration to the cloud, as a matter of convenience and efficiency, suddenly became a necessity. Network administrators could no longer guarantee access to on-premise servers: they absolutely required a solution that would patch over the internet.

Smaller businesses often found their incident management systems needed a rapid update, with a tap on the shoulder no longer available, so remote desktop control became a key tool. Similarly, offices that may not have previously seen inventory management as a particularly important consideration, quickly found themselves losing control of where each device was, and what was available in reserve.

Ease and flexibility

For many IT managers, the job of keeping on top of software updates, responding to incidents, and keeping all devices virus-free and running smoothly, has been harder than it ought to be. For others, already set up with cloud-based endpoint management, the switch to remote working made little or no difference. Our Deep Freeze Cloud customers made a seamless and totally secure shift to working from home, and during the subsequent year have straightforwardly managed all endpoints from a single intuitive console, including reimaging problematic devices from any location without requiring communication with an imaging server.

Alfredo Cole, Head of IT at The Mayan School, describes his experience over the last year, in which he saved 70% of his previous cost base: ‘Our biggest challenge was to control remote working, preventing unauthorized changes and minimizing downtime from improper use via executables, malware and viruses.

‘If we had not deployed our teams with Faronics Cloud, my staff would surely have increased from 4 people to 12 people, we would be dealing with problems from 8am to 5pm, and I would continue to be understaffed. The problems would recur and we would suffer from a low level of satisfaction in the end user. Faronics Cloud proved to be a solid and reliable solution, with the staff very willing to collaborate whenever it was necessary. The customer-supplier relationship has been very close and very satisfactory.’

Find out more

To find out more about how Faronics customers have managed their IT estates over the course of the last year, please join our webinar.

About The Author
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Tom Guy

Tom Guy is with the product team at Faronics, based in the UK, having made software for a decade. When not working in technology, he can be found watching Everton or walking Eric, his golden retriever.

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