As a small business owner, you know hiring and retaining employees is crucial to your success. With small and medium-sized businesses expecting nearly 40 percent of their employees to work remotely for at least some of the time,1 finding the best talent means you must stay competitive in the new remote workplace reality.
We know enabling your team to do their best work, wherever they work, and keeping your business running seamlessly and efficiently with state-of-the-art security technologies are top priorities to meet the needs of your customers and grow your business.
Whether you currently have members of your team working in a remote or hybrid scenario or out engaging with clients or you’re even considering remote work as a future option, we can help you understand how to get the most out of remote work technology.
We’ve gathered our technology recommendations for supporting a remote workforce and distilled them into three areas: security, employee devices, and infrastructure.
Security capabilities are critical for protecting your business’s and customers’ data and intellectual property and for business continuity to reduce the risk of interruptions due to cyberattacks.
The risk of cyber threats and having a cybersecurity defense plan in place should be top of mind for all businesses. Not having a strategy in place to address these threats can be costly. Global cybersecurity company Kaspersky revealed that the average cost of data breaches for small businesses in 2020 was USD 101,000,2 and Verizon estimates those costs can soar up to USD 1.2 million.3
The transition to remote work has only increased privacy risks for small businesses and the need for stronger data protection. In 2019, 66 percent of small and medium-sized businesses suffered a cyberattack,4 and a 2021 report found that cyberattacks on businesses per week increased by 50 percent.5 Hackers are preying on security weaknesses brought on by more employees working remotely.
Building a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy starts with expanding your knowledge about the current threats and implementing security best practices. Training your team on security fundamentals, such as creating strong passwords, spotting phishing emails and scams, and using secured Wi-Fi and encrypted file sharing, is an essential part of ensuring your business has a strong security foundation.
The next step is to have defenses in place to severely limit bad actors’ options for potential attacks. Attackers are now more sophisticated and skilled, which means software-based security is no longer enough to keep them from finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in your systems. The best way to help protect your employees, business, and customer data is to implement security features on employee devices at the application, software, firmware, and hardware levels. To ensure comprehensive protection from the ground up, it is recommended to begin at the hardware level, as it offers a robust defense against attacks that target below the operating system. While this sounds formidable, having a PC built for business can help you to simplify your security solutions. The Intel vPro® Essentials platform provides hardware-based security, giving you integrated defense in depth at the application, data, and firmware levels. This means protecting your devices doesn’t compromise system performance or interrupt productivity.
Technology is a critical component of daily work, and employee experience with the technology you provide directly affects employee satisfaction. Providing your employees with well-performing, responsive, security-enabled, and stable business-grade PCs can not only help improve employee satisfaction and retention6 but can also have a measurable impact on your bottom line.
Business-grade PCs built specifically for growing small businesses, like those on the Intel vPro® Essentials platform, provide the power, flexibility, and built-in security small businesses like yours need to thrive and grow.
Device performance has a direct impact on team productivity. For a seamless work experience, employees need a PC that can manage the concurrent applications they use throughout the day, including resource-intensive videoconferencing programs critical for collaboration and engagement with a remote workforce.
In a distributed workforce, staying connected with you, each other, and your customers is of the utmost importance for your employees. With devices that support wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi 6E (Gig+), 4G LTE, or 5G, your employees will have the rapid connectivity they need to access resources more efficiently and collaborate more effectively.
Intel vPro® devices come with Intel® Wi-Fi 6/6E (Gig+), the best Wi-Fi technologies for videoconferencing in a business environment, enabling up to 6x faster speeds than standard Wi-Fi 5 in the office7 and nearly 3x faster speeds at home.8
Support for Peripherals
PC peripherals may not always be top of mind, but they can help in creating a more seamless work experience for employees and help boost productivity.
- Wireless headphones: With features like noise canceling, hands free, and a built-in microphone, employees can stay focused on work, block out outside noise and distractions, and use their hands to continue typing or doing other valuable tasks while taking phone or video calls.
- High-quality video cameras: Keeping cameras on during meetings can be beneficial to everyone no matter where they work. When used in conjunction with video conferencing software, video cameras can help build trust and rapport among team members, improve engagement, and keep meetings on task.
- Docking station: Laptops are ideal for workers on the move. But what happens when they are ready to get work done at their desk? A docking station can remove the hassle of connecting and disconnecting laptops from various accessories, streamlining processing and saving valuable working time.
PCs that support Thunderbolt™ technology for high-speed data transfers, cable management, and flexibility for external port access can help to deliver even more benefits from peripheral devices.
When a portion of your team is working outside the office, investing in networking and infrastructure solutions, including cloud infrastructure, will be key to keeping your employees connected to the business and essential data. Cloud-based solutions are readily available, and scalable, including managed options where you don’t need to invest in infrastructure or equipment in order to get the access and benefits you need.
With cloud infrastructure in place, it’s much easier to adopt cloud-based versions of common work applications, such as productivity, collaboration, financial, or inventory management software, as well as provide secure access to the latest business data securely stored in the cloud.
Productivity, collaboration, and communication can flourish when both remote and on-site employees can work on the same project or documents together in near-real time.
Additionally, as your business grows, so will your need to remotely manage company devices. Business-grade PCs based on the Intel vPro® Essentials platform come with remote manageability capabilities that allow your IT consultant or service provider to access devices over Wi-Fi and CIRA (cloud support), even if the computer’s operating system is down or nonresponsive. This means that your IT consultant or service provider can centrally manage devices in a security-first manner, providing patches, upgrades, and troubleshooting, whether your employees are on-site or remote.
Intel vPro® Essentials: Built for Small Businesses
We know staying competitive as a small business is no easy feat. Managing the needs of a hybrid workforce while also meeting customer demands is a challenge. Investing in business-grade PCs built on the Intel vPro® Essentials platform can help you provide your employees with a fast, reliable, and collaborative working experience while helping keep your business secure, responsive to customers, and adaptable to the future.