The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we knew it, in many ways, forever. While its impact on
our day-to-day lives has been huge, the impact has been even more severe from a business
perspective. The social distancing norms, staggered operating hours to limit crowds, the
masks, shields, barriers, and what-not! From the business continuity perspective, companies had
to adapt themselves to the new normal quickly.
One major change for businesses was the need to switch to the work-from-home model to keep
things running smoothly. When countries all over the world started imposing lockdown
restrictions, companies had no choice but to switch to remote operations if their line of business
allowed them to do so. Earlier what was perceived as an advantage for employees (the permission
to work from home) was now mandatory for the survival of the business. Even businesses that allowed
employees to operate from home before the pandemic had a tough time migrating their entire
setup to the work-from-home model.
Here are 5 common challenges they faced from the IT perspective
Access to critical data and applications
For businesses that didn’t store their key data and applications in the cloud, this was a huge
challenge. How do you ensure each of your employees has access to all the business data?
programs and apps they need to operate efficiently. Companies that had already adopted the
cloud as their core data storage means didn’t face this challenge as everything was accessible
from anywhere, using any internet-enabled device (laptops/PCs/tablets/smartphones, etc.,)
With employees working from home, businesses’ fears of cybersecurity incidents were increased.
Cybercriminals, on the other hand, knew full well all the security lacunae that existed in a hurried
remote working environment setup and exploited them to the fullest. Industry reports showed
that the initial few months of the pandemic saw an increase in cybercrime and related attacks
For businesses that didn’t operate in the cloud, data loss was another problem to look into. How
do you ensure data backup and recovery when your staff is using their personal devices for work?
purposes? Also, how do you ensure they are taking all the precautions necessary to secure the
data they are storing on their devices.
Some businesses provided their employees with their work devices at home. For example,
employees in some companies were allowed to take their office computers home for work use.
But that still didn’t solve the backup and recovery or cybersecurity challenges entirely, because
management still lacked ways to maintain control over the devices.
With employees working from home, it was a challenge for many businesses to manage the
phone numbers–especially for client-facing employees. Businesses with VoIP phone systems could
make this transition easily, whereas those still relying on the traditional phone setup (PBX) had to
resort to cell phones and couldn’t use their business numbers for a while.
Key lesson: Move with the times, adopt new technologies, adapt to newer ways of working
The one thing this pandemic taught businesses is that it is important to move with the times and
adopt and adapt to the latest technology. While you don’t have to be the first one in the market to
invest in the newest technology, once its effectiveness and usefulness is proven, it does make
sense to switch to it. For example, cloud technology offers solutions to almost all the challenges
we discussed and has been on the market for quite some time now. Here’s how the cloud allowed
businesses to overcome the challenges posed by having to suddenly switch to the remote
Challenge-1: Access to critical data and applications
This issue is easily resolved by migrating to the cloud. The cloud offers unparalleled connectivity
to your data—from anywhere and at any time, with any internet-enabled device.
Challenge-2: Data safety, cybersecurity concerns
The cloud provides solutions to data safety and cybersecurity challenges as well because data
stored in the cloud is naturally much safer and more difficult to break into than data stored in your
employee’s home computer. The cloud offers multiple layers of security, including some from your
cloud service provider.
Challenge-3: Data loss
With the cloud, businesses don’t have to worry about losing data, as it won’t be stored on them
employee’s personal computer, but at a centralized location in the cloud.
Challenge-4: Hardware issues
The cloud renders any hardware issues non-existent, as the employee’s personal devices become
gateways to their work stored in the cloud. This means personal devices may not need individually
installed programs, applications, etc.
Businesses that had adopted VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) were able to tide over this
challenge easily. VoIP allows you to communicate by sending voice as data packets using the
internet. The VoIP system is primarily software-based and can be accessed from anywhere, using
an application that your VoIP provider offers. (Physical instruments are optional). This means
companies with VoIP systems can keep their office phone numbers active even when their staff is
working from home.
While these technologies can help a great deal in helping you maintain business continuity, you
will need the assistance of a reputed MSP to deploy them and also to ensure they are functioning
as they are supposed to. Plus, there are always other security concerns that crop up in a remote
working environment when you can’t easily monitor your staff’s IT activities if they are using their
personal devices. Your MSP will be able to offer solutions and control mechanisms that can help
put these concerns to rest.