With the continued spread of COVID-19, many states are issuing stay home, stay safe, and non-essential closure mandates, causing businesses to either close their doors for the foreseeable future or pivot to a remote workforce. Companies are suddenly required to quickly transition their on-prem employees to remote-ready, but when it comes down to it, some companies, and employees, don’t know how to function in a “Bring Your Own Office” (BYOO) set-up.
Thankfully, these challenges are not insurmountable. In recent years, the tech world has seen a considerable push toward operating in the cloud, and Microsoft has been leading that charge with its cloud-based technologies.
Remote access allows businesses to continue to function in these unprecedented times, and the following Microsoft Technologies help employees stay productive no matter where they’re located.
Microsoft Technologies that Support Remote Work
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central
If your organization has already migrated to Dynamics 365 Business Central, you are one step ahead of the game because you’re already managing your accounting, sales, and operations functionality on a cloud-based system that’s available no matter where you are. Your employees can be given the same access to their ERP and CRM systems that they did before they went fully remote.
- Microsoft Remote Desktop Gateway
If your employees are using their personally owned home computers as part of their BYOO set-up, they’re likely using a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) as a convenient way to access their in-office machine. However, convenience should not overshadow security. Leaving ports persistently open for access is an open invitation for a data breach. Protecting your organization against remote desktop protocol vulnerabilities with Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Gateway is a smart way to ensure your employees have access to the information and files they need to maintain “business as usual” while simultaneously safeguarding your data.
**PRO TIP: Get help keeping your remote access options secure and functional and train your employee’s on how to access their desktop remotely with Tigunia’s Remote Access Offer
- Office 365 Enterprise E1
Office 365 is more than the collection of familiar applications – think Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint – your employees, use every day. It’s a full-service cloud-based suite that includes web versions of Office apps and business services like SharePoint and Teams that all work together to make staying productive while maintaining a remote operation entirely possible. And with 5 layers of security and monitoring and a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, it’s a dream for IT teams.
- Office 365
Web versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint offer the familiar interface of their desktop counterparts with the ability to share access to files without emailing different versions back and forth. Multiple users can be in a file at the same time, allowing for real-time collaboration, and all changes are automatically saved to OneDrive. Files can also be shared with individuals outside of your organization.
**Pro Tip: You can see who is active in your doc and chat boxes within applications allow employees to work together without having to switch between applications to another chat function.
With SharePoint, your company’s intranet is available from any device. It’s like your local S: drive at the office, but it’s cloud-based so employees can organize, share, and access files no matter where they are. SharePoint syncs with Office 365 and Teams, so files can be saved automatically no matter which application they are using.
**PRO TIP: You can set-up a SharePoint site to keep employees up to date with continually changing information about work from home orders, BYOO policies, changes to routine, or other helpful information. As a central repository, it ensures everyone always has access to the same up to date, relevant information, without creating excessive email noise.
- Microsoft Teams
While employees practice social distancing, you don’t want them to seem too distant. Microsoft Teams offers a way to “work remotely without feeling remote.” Teams syncs with Office 365 and SharePoint and acts as your company’s central hub to chat, meet, call, and collaborate with coworkers from anywhere.
From a high-level standpoint, in Teams you can host company-wide video conferencing meetings for up to 250 people or live stream meetings for up to 10,000 people.
Meetings held within Teams can be recorded for members not able to make the meeting or for future reference.
Channels are where the magic (collaboration) happens. Channels are groups of employees – whether by department, cross-functional teams, project-based teams, or just inter-office friend groups, etc. – that can share information and collaborate within chat threads, shared documents that are automatically saved to SharePoint, and video calls.
Groups of 3 or more participants can use the whiteboard for brainstorming during a meeting. The whiteboard itself won’t be saved as part of the recording but will be saved as a separate file to access after the meeting concludes.
**PRO TIP: Add files like meeting notes or recordings within channels for easy access to notes and/or frequently used documents. It’s all stored in the cloud, so there is no load on the system.
Frequently visited groups can be pinned to the top for easy access, and each group can be named for easy organization.
Individuals can view their calendar to see upcoming meetings, add new meetings, and respond to meeting invites. They can also set their status – available, busy, etc. – Just like closing the door to your office when you need uninterrupted time to focus on a project.
Each employee can make their Teams work for them by easily creating automations.
Make BYOO Work
If you’re still in the process of rolling out your BYOO initiative, or if your organization has recently gone remote but still needs help working out the kinks, it’s not too late to consider utilizing these Microsoft technologies to get the most out of your team. Microsoft has apps for all of these technologies so no matter what device or operating system your employees are accessing the tools from, they’re able to do so easily.
Tigunia is committed to getting the right-fit technology for every business, and can have your organization up and running with their Remote Access Tool in a matter of hours.