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5 Ingredients to the Optimal Remote Work Stack

5 ingredients Egnyte 

By Brandon Hurter, VP, Product and Industry Marketing at Egnyte

The massive shift to remote work has drastically changed how businesses operate around the globe. While remote work was already becoming more common, the transition had been gradual until coronavirus. What started as a necessary business adjustment to slow the pandemic has become a more permanent trend, with companies already announcing long-term remote work plans. Google, for instance, is keeping its offices closed until June 2021 at the earliest, while Twitter is allowing employees to work from home indefinitely. As more businesses follow suit, it's important that IT leaders consider how they can best support a newly remote workforce.

There are many challenges inherent to a distributed workforce, particularly from a collaboration and security standpoint. However, with a few strategic steps, you can craft a remote work stack that not only enhances productivity, but keeps company data safe and secure. Here are five key components to consider in order to create an optimal remote work stack today:

1.  Choosing the Right Remote Work Tools and Software

Successful collaboration takes more than simple communication; it also requires tools and software that enable teams to get their work done efficiently regardless of their location. Video conferencing, instant messaging, and document sharing and signing have become vital in ensuring business continuity and viability. Some common tools teams are turning to for easier remote work include:

  • Microsoft Office and G Suite for sharing and co-authoring documents in real-time.
  • DocuSign and AdobeSign for remotely sending documents for signature.
  • Zoom for holding video calls and automatically saving call recordings for future reference.
  • Slack and Microsoft Teams for quickly sharing messages and files in a less formal environment than email.

While these solutions may seem obvious, it's important that you conduct a thorough evaluation of your organization's remote work stack to ensure the right mix of tools and software are included.

2.  Integrating The Remote Work Stack To Boost Productivity

Individual remote work tools and software can be immensely helpful for distributed teams, but can also lead to a disparate collection of file sharing, communications and collaboration platforms that actually hamper user output and efficiency-the opposite of their intended purpose. A disjointed stack can create issues like document version control, trouble accessing important information from missed meetings, and time wasted sharing content across multiple platforms and communications channels. All of these challenges can make for very "busy" employees who aren't actually getting much done.

One way to help your digital business overcome these challenges is to connect remote work tools and software through a central content hub. For example, storing documents created in Microsoft Office or G Suite in a central platform can help ensure they are secure and compliant; automatically saving DocuSign or AdobeSign files upon signing in such a platform can help establish better version control; and saving Zoom recordings in central location can simplify sharing, archiving and governance. These are just a few examples among many. Connecting your remote work tools through a unified platform will enable safer, easier access to information and more seamless communication.

3.  Overcoming Content Sprawl From Additional Tools and Software

Before the shift to remote work, many organizations were already overwhelmed with content sprawl -- both in terms of sheer volume of data and the distribution of it across many different repositories. Files existed in on-premise shared drives, public clouds, in cloud applications and more. But these problems have only been magnified as more users add, access and update content from different off-premises locations and in new tools and software. This makes content discovery, categorization, protection and compliance increasingly complex.

With an intelligent content services platform, you can automatically sync content to a centralized cloud repository so remote users can always access the latest file versions from anywhere without disrupting the workflows they are accustomed to. This also enables you and your team to automatically classify metadata, turn unstructured data into structured data, securely manage content throughout its lifecycle and more.

4.  Giving IT Control and Governance Over Remote Work Data

While adopting new remote work technology can help employees quickly share information, it can also cause major shadow IT issues. As employees share files in siloed, third party apps, the challenge for IT is to maintain visibility, control, and governance over the data.

AI and machine learning can help automate the often disjointed and manual process of data governance and prevent users and external parties from sharing or accessing sensitive files across apps. This also empowers you to customize permissioning for folders and subfolders and automatically delete or archive sensitive content based on customized policies. As a result, your IT team can maintain control over company data, while still enabling remote employees to use the tools that they find most helpful.

5.  Protecting Remote Files From Security Threats

As companies adopt new remote tools and software, they need to maintain visibility into who is accessing content and how they are using it. Without this insight, content exfiltration, malicious insider behavior, ransomware extortion, and a host of other issues can go unnoticed until they threaten your company's operations and reputation.

To support your digital business' security needs, consider a content platform with built-in detection and controls for the most common security threats like ransomware and loose passwords. A central platform that enables custom policies to easily restrict or block the sharing of sensitive content can also help you lock down the riskiest files on your system without much manpower. It can also help you create a comprehensive audit trail of data and content lifecycle policies that are useful in uncovering abnormal - or even malicious - user behavior, finding data leaks, and calling attention to compromised user accounts before they cause lasting damage to the organization.

As remote work is further solidified as an essential aspect of modern business operations, you must reimagine your approach to enabling your distributed workforce. Adopting the latest and greatest remote work, collaboration and file sharing tools is only one aspect. You must also consider how those tools interact and integrate with one another, what their impact is on data governance and security, and how to effectively manage them and the data they generate, transfer and share. The above five ingredients will help you build an optimal remote work stack, and ensure that employees are able to be productive and secure regardless of their location.

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Brandon Hurter 

Published Thursday, August 13, 2020 7:30 AM by David Marshall
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