THE CHALLENGES OF REMOTE WORKING

What challenges do you think a large international company with several foreign branches faces when it suddenly has to introduce remote working?

Introducing remote working in a large company is a huge challenge when you want to ensure the company’s activity is not interrupted at any point. It has to be done in such a way that productivity is maintained and the service to clients is unaffected.

  • Why was remote working introduced?

The decision to introduce this system was made so we could continue production while reducing the exposure of employees in busy, enclosed workspaces. The departments are currently divided into two teams that work from home and in the office on alternate weeks.

  • Has remote working been an issue in other countries?

Our factory in Villarrubia, Spain, was the first to implement remote working, but it was later introduced in our other factories without issue thanks to their infrastructure.

This is very complex project that requires certain resources. Luckily, SP GROUP already had these resources, thanks to the investment made to renovate and redimension its network, servers and communications infrastructure.

What are the disadvantages of remote working and how does a company with a large workforce deal with them?

As well as the complex technical issues, remote working also involves certain risks that have to be addressed:

  • Cybersecurity: Firstly, we need to take into account that expanding the company network to include new remote devices can make it more vulnerable. This is why as few services as possible should be exposed, and all access must be made securely through encrypted connections. Ideally, a zero-trust policy should be set up so that, by default, everything that is not necessary is not authorised. In other words, only specific devices held by specific users are permitted, and they can only access certain services.
    • Resources. Even if the dimensions of the server infrastructure are good, as is the case of SP GROUP, a device, such as a laptop computer, has to be provided to all users who do not have a mobile phone. Thin clients are an excellent option, because they allow users to remotely connect to a virtual desktop, but are cheaper than traditional devices.
    • High availability. Given that a large percentage of the company is now starting to depend on this new infrastructure, we have to ensure its availability. It must be fault tolerant, like the rest of the infrastructure. It must also be included in the contingency and recovery plans.

Do you think this way of working could become permanent in a large company?

It is impossible to know at the moment whether remote working will become the norm in the workplace. However, the flexibility that came with it will remain. The ability to work as a team without meeting face to face, and not needing to rely on printed documents has meant a great step forward for the company.

The situation has undoubtedly accelerated digitalisation in all companies, and its benefits will remain. For SP GROUP, the shift was easier because we already had ERP modelling all our processes. Many of these processes were optimised at the time of their creation, so they reflect the reality of the company and eliminate the need for paper.

What is the protocol to be followed in the event of a cyberattack?

The first step is to halt and control the cyberattack, stopping it continuing. Once stopped, we have to evaluate its scope and follow the disaster recovery plan to restore all the services to their original condition, allowing the company to return to normality.

The next step is to notify the Spanish Data Protection Agency of the attack and report it to the Police Technology Investigation Brigade or the Cybercrime Group of the Spanish Civil Guard.

The crime then has to be reported to all the clients whose information may have been affected, if applicable.

Lastly, the employees must be made aware of the scope of the attack and how it may affect them, and be reminded of the importance of following the basic rules of cybersecurity.

What guarantees does a company like SP GROUP offer its clients if they are affected by cybercrime?

SP GROUP has a high-availability infrastructure that is protected by a series of internal and perimeter security measures. The zero-trust policy only allows access to authorised services by known devices and people.

In addition, our policy of back-up copies ensures total recovery in the event of an unexpected incident.

Throughout 2021, we are also going to perform training courses for users to raise awareness and educate them on the importance of cybersecurity.

What are the key factors for the successful implementation of this new way of working?

  • Having a correctly prepared and well-dimensioned infrastructure. A change of this type cannot be made overnight. An initial infrastructure that supports the type of technology to be used is required. It must also be well-dimensioned, so that the new remote-working services do not leave the rest of the company without resources.
  • The experience for the remote users must be seamless. According to them, it must be as if they were sitting at their desk in the office.
  • Digitalised processes. One of the most important factors was that our ERP, designed in-house, supported all the company’s processes without the need for paper, or face-to-face communication.
  • User energy and good practice. The change was so quick that we had no time to carry out change-management processes or suitable training. Users did everything they could to adapt as quickly as possible.

How would you summarise the experience?

From a technical point of view, the result was excellent. At no time did the company stop its process, or even slow it down. Regarding the personnel, users were grateful they could work from home in these difficult times. We are proud to say we have been repeatedly congratulated on the fluidity and quality of our IT solution.

ASK US A QUESTION

At SP Group we optimise our production processes to provide the most efficient service to large industry. Many multinational companies already trust our ability to meet their flexible packaging needs on a daily basis.
If you would like to know how your company can benefit from our services, send us your details and one of our sales advisors will contact you. Or, if you prefer, consult the contact details of your area representative.

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