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Last updated: 25 Mar, 2020  

SME.Thmb.jpg SMEs adopting new work culture amid lockdown

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SME Times News Bureau | 25 Mar, 2020

With the 21-day lockdown period beginning from Wednesday, there is no choice for most companies in India other than adopting work from home mode, if they do not want to halt their operations altogether.

While it is not possible for every organisation to carry out their activities in full swing while working remotely simply because of the nature of their businesses, those companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), who can afford remote working are trying to adopt the new culture, leading to an increase in demand for video conferencing and other collaboration tools in India.

Some of the collaboration tools that have gained increased traction due to remote working include Microsoft Teams and Zoom, among others.

Microsoft Teams is a software solution that enables SMBs to perform many essential business tasks remotely. With Teams, one can virtually chat, collaborate, and meet with employees, customers, suppliers, and partners. The Microsoft Office apps are built right into Teams, so you can use and share the files you create in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook without leaving the tool.

"Teams is a part of Office 365. If your organization is licensed for Office 365, you already have it and you can log in here. Even if you don't have Office 365, we want to help ensure that everyone has access to Teams during these challenging times," Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, wrote in a blog post.

Reliance Jio recently announced that it is combining its digital capabilities with Microsoft Teams to enable individuals, students, educational and healthcare institutions to continue their professional lives while still practicing social distancing.

Zoom also has several offerings for educators, learners, as well as those working from home.

Networking giant Cisco said that it has seen "significant growth" in the usage of its web conferencing and video-conferencing service Webex in India.

With a suite of offerings such as Knowledge Management System (KMS), Learning Management System (LMS) and Rapid Content Authoring Platform Articulate 360, Stratbeans, a leading learning management solutions provider is also helping companies adopt the work from home culture.

These tools not only equip businesses to share information in real-time but also facilitate collaboration among employees in a contactless manner.

With Articulate 360, subject matter experts get easy-to-use tools for recording computer screen and audio, and also interacting in a cloud-based collaboration area, where all work items such as videos, ppt, pdf can be stored and reviewed in a controlled workflow.

A recent report by Gartner suggests that 54 percent of the companies in India do not have the required technology and resources for employees to work at home, especially non-IT firms.

Even those companies that have started work from home, however, should take their security very seriously as bad actors are waiting to take advantage of the fears due to the coronavirus pandemic and increase their attacks by sending fake emails containing dangerous links.

According to researchers from cybersecurity firm Sophos, unscrupulous marketers and cyber-criminals have seized upon concerns over the emergence of the COVID-19 global pandemic as bait for spam, phishing attacks and malware. In recent weeks, the use of "coronavirus" and "COVID-19" in domain names, potentially unwanted email messages, and phishing and malware delivery schemes has skyrocketed.

Cyber safety solutions provider NortonLifeLock said that in order to stay safe workers should follow certain practices like staying on top of company communications and know what is in your company's tech toolbox.

That might mean you do your work on company-supplied laptops and mobile devices. They likely include firewall and antivirus protection, along with security features like VPN and 2-factor authentication.

People should also control the impulse to improvise in certain circumstances, NortonLifeLock said.

Employees often work in teams, and that can mean using collaboration tools like instant-messaging platforms and video-meeting rooms.

"If a tool is not working right, you might be tempted to download a substitute. Don't do it. You could inadvertently introduce a software program with a security flaw - and that means someone unauthorized may be able to access company data, or any personal data you have on that device," NortonLifeLock recommended.

 
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