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How to ensure safe & effective remote working.

There’s probably parts of your organisation that have been remote working for years.  For many, it may be new and un-chartered territory that’s been accelerated by recent events. Microsoft is reporting a near 40% increase in Teams usage in just 1 week*.

If you’re working with Office 365 and Teams, here’s some tips for keeping secure and productive.

*Reuters

It can be perceived as a ‘pain’ and an inconvenience by end users, but Multi-Factor Authentication is vital for security. End of.

Check out this article for information on how to set it up: https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2020/01/15/how-to-implement-multi-factor-authentication/

Keeping up spirits is essential when working in what can seem like isolation.  Set up one or more general Teams for your co-workers around which they have a virtual coffee or lunch break.  Having a way to socialise that isn’t all work-related will be a welcome relief, but make sure you set down guidelines for the tone of conversation.

Criminals are very clever and you’ll be surprised who they can convince to OK a bank transfer or enter logon details.  The backstop should be to get any unusual requests confirmed in person on a Teams call or on a phone call – even if the request is urgent and there’s reasons why the person in question can’t be contacted at that time.  From experience it’s the higher echelons of an organisation that are prime targets, so don’t be shy in briefing ‘CXOs’.

As Teams are being used to enable collaboration with external clients, companies need to ensure the right permissions are allocated.  Although users may be applying sensitivity labels, they may not be doing this correctly.  Shortly to be released (currently in public review) is the ability for admins to apply sensitivity labels to content in Teams, Office 365 groups and SharePoint containers: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/sensitivity-labels-teams-groups-sites?view=o365-worldwide  This will enable admins to revisit their policies and apply privacy settings that override any previously used.  It will also enable admins to control whether the group owner can add external guests and control access by unmanaged devices.

Whether speaking with co-workers or clients, it’s time to forget that double chin.  Just spend a few minutes tidying up your workspace and getting your camera/lighting right, and set the camera going.  You will find the whole tone of the conversation changes, but don’t forget that the camera is switched on.  Along with the background blurring (to stop footage of your youngsters crawling into your home office (introduced last year), there’s other tools coming soon to help with remote calls including a raise hand feature, which is ideal for when lots of people on the call or when there’s a delay on the ‘line’.  Check out this resource for Teams etiquette https://storyals.com/blog/5-mistakes-using-microsoft-teams.

Now is a good time to do a review and clean-up any unnecessary or forgotten permissions.  For example, as a remote service provider, we have made it part of our service to ensure remote access has been disabled by the customer at the end of our service.  You would be shocked to know the number of times we’ve encountered remote access being left open – even years later.  There are many other scenarios to address.

For a first-time user, Teams is confusing.  There are lots of things that ‘trip people up’, such as:

  • NOT replying within a conversation thread
  • Failing to understand how the Files tab relates to SharePoint content
  • Struggling to keeping track of what’s where…

Getting users ‘genned’ up from the outset on best practices for working with Teams is worth the investment.   Check out this free resource on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlD_YJ6GN1HnBqUK9XQcl3EB2J3AwdyOq

At times like this, it’s easy to let panic set in and for staff to become de-focused.  This is especially the case if normal work flows are interrupted.  Giving departmental managers a way to keep their teams engaged and productive in a way that can be targeted and tracked is invaluable.  Perhaps there’s a new skill that can be acquired during this otherwise ‘downtime’, or essential security and collaboration tips you want to convey.  Check out our learning management system designed for Office 365.  It’s the ideal platform for keeping your workforce engaged and motivated.

There’s lots of sources of advice and training you can trust such as these:

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/home-working

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/customlearning/

https://getbiggerbrains.com/coronavirus-help-free-microsoft-teams-training/

If you want to deliver training from these sources, your own training or any other resources you have, we can help you deliver it in a way that’s easy to target to specified users, trackable and above all, delivered in a way that’s fun and engaging for your workforce.  Check out this page for more information a learning management solution that’s specifically designed to operate within (and be secured within) your Office 365 and Teams environment.

Our remote working essentials include:

Teams, SharePoint, ODfB & Yammer Security Checks

Collaboration security hardening

Data governance for collaboration

Office 365 baseline security settings

Teams training systems

Data Governance taxonomies

Mobile device management

Active Directory security

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