Do you work for a business or organization that has multiple locations?
Ever struggle to manage the IT at these multi-site offices? If so, you’re not alone.
As a matter of fact, you’re in good company. Most IT and leadership teams have issues in one way or another when it comes to managing remote offices and team members that are mobile.
We’re here to help. We’ve developed a list of things you can do to better manage the IT needs at all your locations.
Starts at the top.
Managing a business with multiple locations can be tricky.
In our experience, we’ve found that the best managed technology at businesses with multi-sites begins with understanding needs.
Technology is important. The owners and leadership all need to be on the same page and have the same mindset. Whatever needs to be done to build an environment where technology is celebrated, not sacrificed, to maximize productivity and continuity should be the goal.
Get your leadership all on the same page. Once this is accomplished, setting goals and managing expectations just got a lot easier.
Create and document standards.
In order to effectively manage your multi-site IT, you first need to create some standards (IT policies).
Security policies are the most obvious. This might include simple things like having users log out of their computers every time they leave their desk. Error risks like ensuring that employees aren’t clicking on suspicious links that are received in email inboxes, and avoiding the urge to open strange looking attachments.
You need to address the importance of VPN and how authentication tokens, putting in place two-factor authentication, can help primary and remote locations alike stay secure.
We also very strongly recommend internet failover services or some sort of internet and phone connection redundancy to protect your respective locations from having any down-time if something happens to your service.
You need to create and then communicate your IT plan and standards to the employees in which you serve. Make sure your staff understands what’s expected of them, and ensure that you follow up to determine whether these standards are being adhered to as part of overall employment policy.
Documenting this stuff is simple, but by no means is it easy. We’d suggest using a standard outline process to document your IT policies, then deliver this to your staff in a simple manner they can understand.
Getting your IT support and leadership on the same page comes first. That’s the hardest part. From there, create your standards, document them and deliver to your staff to set the IT expectations.
Business psychologists tell us that the average human being needs to hear something seven times before they understand what it is you’re communicating.
That’s seven times before they act. As a person who works in IT, you need to explain and follow up a lot. You need to repeatedly communicate your goals, your standards, and policies to your remote staff so they get it ingrained in their heads that it’s important.
Having this IT use and abuse documentation be comprehensive and communicated could yield countless productivity hours and company dollars saved in the case of breaches and disaster events.
Do this on a consistent basis and you’ll find that success in your IT-efforts just became a lot easier.
Scheduled Multi-Site IT Checkups.
While this may sound a bit like micromanagement, believe us when we say it’s not.
You need to know what’s going on at your different office locations. You need to know if people are connected over wi-fi or wired into a network. You need to be in the know about whether or not your employees are using caution with communications, using the appropriate servers and file locations for storage and generally respecting your IT policies.
The goal in scheduled visits and check-ins with your sites and mobile contributors is to show that you’re there to help. Help solve IT issues, help fix communication problems and confusion, help keep everyone on the same page and ensure that your business’s data is secure.
Train your team through team building exercises.
This may sound lame, but it’s very effective.
Training your employees with a boring IT training session will kill what could otherwise be a great opportunity to combine time and some creativity. Whether you’re training five employees or fifty, do something to make the training session more engaging and compelling.
Bring in food, or have some games to play as a team. Possibly have some giveaways as a way to motivate participation. Training about IT policies can be hard enough as there’s a stigma of boredom attached to information technology. It doesn’t need to be this way, however. Communicate and train your IT team and your employees with methods that make it more lighthearted and friendly. You need their buy-in to have the plan be successful, as with any other business process you attempt to put in place.
Get to know us.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of how to better manage your multi-site IT needs at remote offices. For more help with this and a whole host of other relevant IT concerns please don’t hesitate to email us here to learn more about how we can help you with your IT issues, or drop us a line via our Contact Us page.