Remote offices represent additional challenges for IT. Support must be handled long distance, and there is seldom absolute assurance that all IT assets are being run as they should be. Still, the benefits of having remote offices far outweigh the IT burdens.

Below are some considerations IT personnel should include on their checklist in order to make remote office support easier.

1.     Security

Employees at remote sites are usually there to provide local sales and service. They view IT as a means through which they do their jobs, but their performance as employees is not based a how well they do IT. In these environments, security can easily lapse. IT must ensure that practices are in place for the safekeeping of data and the confidentiality of user IDs and passwords. Even the rooms housing IT at remote sites must be inspected to verify that they are locked and secure.

2.     Annual onsite maintenance checkups

Even if you secure local IT support and perform the rest of remote office support virtually, IT should plan annual visits to each remote site (at a minimum) to ensure that all remote IT conforms to corporate maintenance, as well as environmental and security standards.

3.     User hardware and software upgrade policies

When corporate IT is not readily accessible, it’s easy for end users to take IT into their own hands. Usually, this comes in the form of remote office workers purchasing hardware upgrades and new software out of general office funds and installing the items on their own. This self-help encourages system incompatibilities, technical complications, and security breaches. There should be an IT policy in place for preventing it—together with a local service option that facilitates the needed upgrades.

4.     Onsite point persons

For purposes of communications streamlining and coordination, there should be one dedicated point person for IT issues on each remote site. This prevents IT from receiving multiple calls from multiple users.

5.     Communications

Communications are the lifeline of remote offices. They loom even more important when these offices are making thousands of sales transactions on a daily basis. Quality of service should be negotiated with a capable communications provider, along with a comprehensive set of SLAs.

6.     Local repair outsourcing

If a remote office user’s laptop breaks down in Omaha and corporate IT is in Pittsburgh, it’s impractical to ship the laptop to Pittsburgh. One step IT can take is to subcontract support service for equipment breakdowns to local suppliers it pre-certifies for support.

7.     User administration policies and training

Appointing a point person at a remote site is one step toward ensuring that IT is administered in remote offices in a uniform way. But IT should also make sure that existing and new employees at these offices are properly trained in IT policies and procedures.

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This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 6:22:57 AM and is filed under Tech Tips & Tricks.

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