As COVID-19 Work from Home Continues, Security Upgrades Might Be Needed

With two months passed since work from home began due to coronavirus, systems should be reviewed to ensure IT security.

Todd R. Weiss

May 29, 2020

3 Min Read

When work from home began in mid-March under COVID-19 across the nation, no one knew how long it would continue. So far, it appears it will linger for some time and could change work patterns forever for many employees.

With that uncertainty continuing, checkups on remote worker security and connectivity are wise, says an expert from MSP Unitas Global.

“We’re getting a lot of questions from organizations that are saying they have to be prepared for when offices open back up and when workers come back to work,” Chris Smith, vice president of cloud solution architecture at Unitas Global, told Channel Futures. “They need to prepare for those coming back in later, but also for those who want to stay safer and not come back to the office.”

Unitas Global is a cloud-centric MSP with customers from 250-6,000 users, most of which are Fortune 1000 companies.


Unitas Global’s Chris Smith

“Some have been providing remote work capabilities, but if the situation continues for longer, they say they need to buckle down and make things more secure,” said Smith. “Others talk about providing better connectivity, from office buildings to data centers to SaaS providers, and now they need to do that for home workers as well.”

Not One-Size-Fits-All

What is apparent is there is no one fix for every client that established work from home arrangements for employees.

Keep up with the latest developments in how the channel is supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

“There are different needs for remote nurses, inside sales representatives and even for mobile device management (MDM),” said Smith. “A lot of organizations have not adopted MDM on a large scale. And any organization that is allowing a user to access corporate data from a device they don’t know are putting things at risk.”

One feeling has been almost universal, though — most organizations asking Unitas about their ongoing work-from-home strategies said they never planned for such a scenario.

“So they come now to ask, ‘How do we make that happen,’” said Smith.

Most clients also didn’t have large remote workforces before the pandemic spawned stay-at-home orders across the nation. For customers who need cloud capabilities, they can set up Microsoft Azure services in days to weeks, he said. That can include secure networking, virtual desktops and more for customers that haven’t had large groups of remote workers previously.

In other cases, VPN capacities must expand to provide secure access for additional workers, he said.

Unitas has a backbone of connectivity made up of virtual and physical infrastructure, and data centers to serve customers. The company manages and monitors the mix of technologies, which also contains broadband services. All the services are then wrapped in a blanket of security to keep customers safe.

“As the pandemic arrived and workers moved to do their jobs from home, companies at that point might have only been doing short-term planning,” said Smith. “Most organizations just kind of check the box on security.”

Preparing for the Long Haul

But as the coronavirus crisis lingers, customers need extra protection.

“If it’s going to be a long-term solution, then it needs to be a much more robust system, with MDM. How we implement those is the key. With all the COVID-19-related phishing attacks and more right now, you want to be sure you are protected.”

Some clients have dispersed workplaces in multiple states and in multiple locations, and that complicates their IT needs, said Smith. One state may be closed up while another is reopening, requiring different services.

“Companies need to be able to ask an MSP to help and build for that type of environment,” said Smith. “For years, companies have talked of business continuity and disaster recovery, but that was about worries about fires or floods. Very rarely did organizations plan for pandemics, where they wouldn’t be able to bring their workforces into another facility. So now they have to plan for different scenarios.”

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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