As people get increasingly open about the idea of remote work, businesses are scrambling to find ways and tools to help them enable remote work. Building a remote team comes with several advantages including having a larger pool of talent to choose from as well as lower office costs. Remote work also leads to happier and more productive employees. The only problem is that a lot of businesses don’t know where to start or what tools to use to ensure the success of their remote work arrangements. In this article, we will look at some of the most important backbone and support technologies businesses can choose for their remote work arrangements.
Cloud computing is one of the backbone technologies enabling remote work. Cloud computing is where a business transfers its IT infrastructure to the cloud. By doing this, it gives everyone access to the same system regardless of where they are located. Cloud computing gives employees a remote virtual work environment within which to work.
Cloud computing enables things like instant file sharing, better and more efficient collaboration, more graphical and processing power when the team needs it, as well as unlimited storage. Some of the benefits of cloud computing include the lower cost of office software and hardware, as businesses do not have to install, upgrade, or maintain, scalability because businesses can add or remove software, hardware, or services they do not need or add those they do need, and convenience for remote workers who need to collaborate or share files and documents no matter where they are located.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
Although a lot of people use their virtual private networks to view geographically restricted content, VPNs are an essential business tool for remote teams. It allows remote employees to log into a system using connections that are secured and verified by their companies or reputable third parties. By using a VPN, the risk of data breaches and other security threats is minimized because employees do not use the public internet to access private servers that should be secure at all times.
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Remote Monitoring Tools
Remote monitoring tools are critical for businesses that do not wish to use the cloud but instead use on-premises cloud hosting. These remote monitoring tools can be set up to do a lot including monitoring performance (CPU, GPU, etc.), security vulnerabilities and threats, as well as unauthorized access. They can also be used to monitor the server hardware and let the relevant parties know when they need to update or switch out failing hardware.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
Voice over internet protocol enables phone calls and text messages over the internet through systems that make it seem like you are using a phone to make the call or send texts. VoIP also enables video calling and has become one of the most important technologies for remote work.
Importantly, VoIP allows businesses to switch from traditional phone systems to virtual phone systems. A virtual phone system allows phones and their associated numbers to be available anywhere in the world because everything is handled through the internet. There are no geographic or carrier restrictions as long as the person using the virtual phone system has an internet connection.
To better understand how a virtual phone system works, you can read Open Phone’s guide to virtual phone systems, which goes into greater detail about how they work as well as how businesses can take advantage of them. They provide businesses with a business phone system that allows them to take advantage of VoIP for collaboration, customer service, sales, and much more.
Unified Communication Tools
One of the biggest challenges to establishing a remote team is communication. In many cases, communication is disjointed because the types of communication we are used to are themselves disjointed. For example, it is perfectly ok to use email for an in-office team because the relevant communication can be passed physically to someone else.
On remote teams, one would have to copy every relevant person on the email. This creates email chains and branches that are hard to manage. Now add phone calls and texting and you see where the problem lies.
Unified communication tools bring all of these together to have one source of communication for the whole team. Each team member sees the messages sent and received, can send texts to anyone or everyone, and can even call people on the same platform. This ensures that all communication can be found at a single source and teams do not have to dig through emails, texts, or phone records to see who contacted whom or who said what.
Project Management Tools
Project management tools can sometimes be unified communication tools but for many remote teams, they are used to manage the tasks team members have been assigned. Everyone can see what needs to be done as well as what tasks need to be completed. Team members can then pick the tasks they would like to work on or be assigned specific tasks by their team leaders.
Many of the available project management tools allow for asynchronous collaboration where everyone works on their thing and then everyone’s output is brought together into one unified product.
Team leaders, as well as business owners, can always get in touch with team members through these tools to ask about the state of a task or project or even pass a message to everyone on the team.
Data Backup and Recovery
Data recovery is another backbone remote work technology. Data has become so valuable that it is now common to hear of companies losing their data to hackers. In many instances, the data is locked through the use of ransomware and a reward is requested for the data to be unlocked.
One of the best solutions to losing data or having it locked behind ransomware is doing a restore. To enable this, businesses must have backups of untainted data, which is supposed to be held off-site and on a different network.
Apart from the business itself, all remote workers should be encouraged to arrange for safe and secure backup solutions, especially if they work with sensitive data. Companies have been embarrassed because of sensitive data being stolen from individuals, although this is somewhat rare.
Time-tracking software has its upsides and downsides. On one hand, some remote workers might not like the micromanagement it can potentially introduce. Some people do not like to be policed while they work or being told the hours they should be working.
On the other hand, time-tracking software can send data to payroll staff, enabling them to pay workers easily and efficiently.
Time-tracking software can be a great tool when used the right way. It can be used to help increase productivity without micromanaging remote employees. It can also be used in case of payment disputes that arise due to a miscalculation in hours worked.
Remote work has been made possible by technology. Businesses no longer have to limit themselves to employees in their geographic regions as the whole world is now available to them. To ensure successful, efficient, and productive remote work arrangements, businesses should embrace the technologies that enable remote work.