The increase in remote work means an increase in remote IT operations, including onboarding and offboarding.
Your business needs to have a solid plan covering things like equipment logistics, workstation setups, and cloud IT services to ensure you don't miss a beat!
Experts are convinced that 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five times a month by 2025. In fact, working from home is now a legal right of employees in the Netherlands, and other nations are expected to follow suit.
Today, over 80% of businesses have a hybrid remote work model that balances off-site and on-site schedules. While these work arrangements help enterprises facilitate digital transformation, they also present new challenges in recruitment and virtual IT onboarding and offboarding.
HR professionals know all too well that onboarding can be made more complicated in remote situations. In a survey, 37.4% of respondents agreed that virtual onboarding and offboarding program are their biggest challenges.
Remote IT onboarding is not an exception; rather, it’s a norm that’s bringing a major paradigm shift. Here are five steps to ensure your organization facilitates effective remote IT onboarding and offboarding for your employees in every way possible as they join … or leave.
1. Understand the Challenges of Remote IT Onboarding
Proper remote onboarding doesn’t only affect business performance — it’s also a concern for new hires. HR and IT professionals are adapting to virtual interviews and work streams, while assessing strategies to potentially reshape the virtual IT onboarding process and ensure their jobs keep moving forward.
Here are some of the major challenges that HR and IT teams face:
- Equipment logistics – ordering and shipping physical office equipment and technology to remote employees requires additional planning and organization.
- Setting up workstations – ensuring employees have the right software installed on their equipment and the right level of access to the tools they’ll need.
- Ergonomics as a standard – supporting new team members to make sure their at-home work environment is ergonomic to prevent injury and foster productivity.
- Data security issues – setting up policies and processes to keep employees’ devices secure, no matter where they are working from.
2. Safeguard Against Security Risks for Remote Workers
An effective virtual onboarding program offers flexibility, ensures productivity, and enhances work-life balance. But it also comes with added security risks. These risks are largely the same worries you have in an office environment, just magnified due to employees not being there in person to troubleshoot issues.
You’ll want to be on the lookout for these potential issues during remote IT onboarding:
- Security and data breaches
- Email phishing attacks
- Lack of patching
- System downtime
- Problems with applications on your system due to poor patching
- Vulnerable backups
- Improper cyber and device hygiene practices
- Cyberattacks such as ransomware attacks, Trojans, malware, DDoS, and spyware
- Usage of unsafe or unapproved software
Related Reading: A Balanced Approach to Secure Remote Working: The New Normal
3. Streamline the Remote IT Onboarding Process
Your IT onboarding program must clearly specify security concerns along with their consequences and best practices to deal with them. Create an onboarding checklist that includes the following holistic tactics and tools to prevent security breaches.
- Provide antivirus and internet security protocols to those working from home to safeguard their devices against cybercrime.
- Insist that remote workers use a sliding webcam cover to ensure their safety and privacy from hackers. They should be able to take it off for video calls and teleconferences.
- Offer a corporate Virtual Private Network (VPN) to create an encrypted and secured network for employees to connect to and access sensitive files.
- Use a centralized and secured storage solution such as server storage.
- Encourage employees to strengthen their home Wi-Fi network with a strong, unique password, change SSID, network encryption, and limit network access.
- Enable two-factor authentication where appropriate.
- Keep all software up to date.
- Use a supported operating system, and ensure it is updated.
- Use an encrypted file-sharing platform.
- Train new hires about IT awareness, fraud, equipment storage, usage, and other best practices.
- Conduct regular security training for all new hires and seasoned employees. Remember, IT onboarding is an ongoing process.
4. Adopt Technologies That Are Changing the Remote Onboarding Game
Every company’s tech stack will look a little different — but some applications and tools should be in every plan for virtual employee onboarding and offboarding. These include:
- Remote monitoring management tools like ConnectWise Automate and Kaseaya
- Commercial-grade antivirus solutions, equipment, and licenses
- Scalable cloud computing solutions
- Unified communication channels such as Nextive Phone System, Google Suite, and, Microsoft Teams, and/or Slack
- Mobile device management platforms like MS Intune
- Project management tools such as Jira, Asana, Monday.com, and GitHub
- Remote monitoring tools like LogicMonitor
- Dedicated HR applications such as Bambee
- Employee appreciation platforms such as Assembly
5. Effectively Manage Remote IT Offboarding
Offboarding comprises a formal process to disengage the remote worker from your organization. In this retroactive process, you remove the leaving employee’s access to tools and systems.
While offboarding receives less attention than onboarding, executing it efficiently is imperative to any security protocol. So, an efficient offboarding process should involve:
- Retrieving organizational assets such as monitors, external drives, equipment, and access cards
- Regaining software, VPNs, emails, Cloud accounts, and license credentials and changing them ASAP
- Identifying data storage locations and backing up all the data
- Checking records for data transfers and investigating suspicious activity
Related Reading: How to Implement a Security Awareness Program for Your Business
Making Remote IT Onboarding Simple and Secure
Bringing in new hires within a remote environment comes with plenty of challenges. Businesses often end up struggling with IT and HR policies.
In this quickly changing landscape, you need reliable and scalable resources to make the most of digital transformation and remote working environments. Managing IT is not every business’s strength, and implementing an effective remote IT onboarding process requires specialized niche expertise and planning, which many organizations find difficult to take on themselves.
Ntiva offers complete managed IT security services through several solutions such as multifactor authentication, phishing prevention training, DNS filtering, vulnerability scanning, and more.