Choose the right remote work tools!

2020-03-31

Although there are various opinions and studies on whether remote work is effective for organisations and convenient for individuals, the virus-induced crisis is forcing employers and employees around the world to abandon face-to-face communication, rapidly acquire new skills and become significantly more digital. Today, there are many and different digital tools available to help you work remotely, promote digital communication, co-operation, and allow you to get feedback quickly!

Baltic companies will find appropriate digital solutions and technology partners at the RIGA COMM business technology event to be held on 15 and 16 October. Now, however, we would like to introduce you to digital communication and collaboration tools that help employees work flexibly and improve business productivity.

For medium-sized and large companies, the choice must be centralised
The leading researcher at possible.lv and IT security expert Kirils Solovjovs recommends the creation of a virtual private network, or a company virtual private network as the most secure solution to working remotely. This solution allows you to securely get access to the work network, all systems and documents without worrying about the reliability of the wireless network you are using. VPN installation should be centralised and should be entrusted to a competent company specialist. It should be stressed, however, that in every medium-sized or large company decisions on the choice of any digital tools should be entrusted to an IT department or department that would centrally choose the best solutions from both functionality and security perspective.

Reliability of the service provider
When choosing digital tools and cloud services, it is important to consider the reliability of the service provider and the service itself – how the service may be affected by the law of the country where the company is registered or physically located, will it operate smoothly and for as long as necessary, whether the user support will be available, will it be possible to retrieve the transmitted / supplied data, if necessary. It is also important to consider information security – whether the service provider has taken steps to minimize the risk of unauthorized access to the data, whether the data will not be deliberately passed on to a third party, whether there is a possibility that the data may be rectified, that the security has been sufficiently contemplated and cannot be hacked.

Company’s data security and availability
The most reliable tools in terms of service provider reliability, of course, are company-based tools, or at least those contracted for individual use. If an organisation chooses to use a publicly available and ready-to-use digital tool, it is important to carefully read through the terms of use and the rights of both parties, since they are likely to ensure a secure transfer of information and prevention against unauthorised access by your neighbours, for example, but will provide for the right of a service provider to use the transferred data. When choosing a service provider, it is important to assess the content of information – whether it is secret or contains sensitive information and whether its leakage may cause any problems.

There is also a variety of free and open source solutions that an IT administrator can install on a server, so a company does not have to worry about the security of data transmitted. As an example, the expert mentions the Jitsi video conferencing tool, which can be used as a more reliable alternative to the widely popular Zoom.

Clear company’s policy reduces mistakes made by people
The coronavirus has led to the largest mass exercise in remote working, it is high time to review the emergency and crisis management policies on the senior level management, so that the responsible employees know how to proceed; it is also likely that annual policy reviews and renewals should be carried out. In order to ensure the security of company’s IT infrastructure, employees should be reminded of the company’s IT user behaviour policy or guidelines – what action is allowed and what must not be done using company’s IT networks and resources, including e-mail.

Information for employees on security risks while working remotely
It is good to have a company that also has an employee remote work policy, draws employees’ attention not only to security of devices and Internet connection they are using, but also to that of their physical environment, for example, whether screens of their devices are not seen in surveillance cameras. If the company does not provide its employee with a secure and verified device, the IT specialist should make sure that the private device is secure and does not contain any malware. If the same device is used for both work and private purposes, it is recommended that you create separate work and personal profiles to prevent private and work files mixing up and minimise security risks.

Recommendations on IT security are provided by CERT.LV
The Information Technology Security Incident Response Institution of the Republic of Latvia CERT.LV has prepared recommendations on remote work in the state of emergency circumstances, general risks, storage of information to be processed, online meetings, VPN security, computers and access rights restrictions.

In cooperation with NIC.LV, the holder of the Latvian domain name register, CERT.LV has also created a DNA firewall. It is a free tool to protect individual users and organisations from cyberthreats, such as fake bank websites, fraudulent online trading platforms, sites spreading virus and malware, etc.

Available tools

Access to all necessary documents

Without easy access to organisation’s information resources, remote work would definitely become more complicated, if not stop at all. Some of the most popular document management tools are Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Sharepoint, Box, Xtensio and Dropbox.

Virtual private networks (VPN) to access your office systems and documents

Virtual private network (VPN) allows secure access to company’s intranet, all of the systems and documents on it, as if employees were working at their workspaces. Some of the available solutions – NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN, Hotspot Shield, Surfshark, PrivateVPN, TunnelBear VPN, IPVanis and Private Internet Access.

Virtual meetings

To encourage structured talks, to be creative and put forward new ideas, to communicate important information “eye-to-eye”, there are services allowing users to host video calls and video conferences ‒ Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams (including Skype for Business), Cisco Webex Meetings, GoToMeeting, Slack, CyberLink U Meeting, BlueJeans Meetings, Jitsi Meet, Whereby and Adobe Connect.

Task management and team’s performance monitoring

Task and project management and planning tools make it easy to manage complex processes with multiple stakeholders and keep track of task execution status. The most popular tools are Asana, Trello, BasecampProductive, and ProofHub or for example a tool for creative projects like Milanote.

Internal communication and team building

Digital platforms and internal social networks, intranets, that can be used by businesses to exchange work-related information directly and to conduct internal communication activities, are the Latvian-made Whimsical, Yammer, Jive, Trello, Teamwork, Asana, Bitrix24 and Workplace by Facebook.

For chatting and quick communication

For quick exchange of operational information, organisations may use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal, Discord, Slack and Google Hangouts Chat.

For time tracking

Software for automatic real-time recording of working time allows you to improve your team’s productivity and to record man-hours spent on each project – Latvian Desktime, Estonian Toggl, Hubstaff, Rescuetime, Time Doctor, Timeneye, Harvest, Qbserve and Everhour.

Content management

You can use the available content management tools (CMS) WordPress, HubSpot, Joomla!, Drupal, TYPO3 or Wix to easily provide business related information on your website and the Internet.

eCommerce platforms

If your business is selling goods or services, choose one of the online store platforms – WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento or PrestaShop.

Email marketing

Tools for automated emailing that make it easy and simple to connect with existing and potential customers worldwide are – the Latvian-developed Mailigen by Pipedrive, Smaily, Mailchimp, MailerLite, Salesmango, HubSpot, as well as ActiveCampaign.

Data visualisation tools

Simple business intelligence tools for convenient data visualisation provided by Latvian companies – Zoomcharts, eazyBI and Flex.bi.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

The following software is available to better serve your customers – Salesforce, Zendesk, MS Dynamics 365, Scoro, Pipedrive, Standard CRM by HansaWorld, SAP CRM, ZohoCRM, Sage CRM, Oracle CRM, Siebel CRM, Bitrix24, SugarCRM, vtiger CRM, Creatio, Meemo, Norgate and amoCRM.

Human resource management tools

Smart tools for recruitment, scheduling and assessment of working time are also available – Latvian CakeHR by Sage, Sympa HR, MS Dynamics 365, BambooHR, eddyHR, NetSuite SuitePeople, SAP SuccessFactors, Paddle HR, PurelyHR, Zenefits, Bitrix24, PeopleBookHR, Workday, Kronos and Namely.

Customer support software solutions

Tools and solutions to build and maintain good customer relationships: Help Scout, Zendesk, Zoho Desk, Salesforce Service Cloud, Jira Service Desk, Desk.com, Cisco Webex Support, Oracle Service Cloud, TeamSupport, LiveAgent, Freshdesk, Helpjuice, Khoros Care, ConnectWise Manage, Intercom, Groove and AzureDesk.

RIGA COMM is an annual business technology event in the Baltic States where developers and suppliers of enterprise resource management, document management, HRM and security systems, suppliers of cloud services, internet and digital marketing services, web solutions and mobile application developers, and ICT product manufacturers offer ready-to-use and tailored solutions for companies in different industries and of different sizes, municipal authorities and organisations to facilitate efficient operation.

The Information Technology Security Incident Response Institution of the Republic of Latvia CERT.LV has prepared recommendations on remote work in the state of emergency circumstances, general risks, storage of information to be processed, online meetings, VPN security, computers and access rights restrictions.
In cooperation with NIC.LV, the holder of the Latvian domain name register, CERT.LV has also created a DNA firewall. It is a free tool to protect individual users and organisations from cyberthreats, such as fake bank websites, fraudulent online trading platforms, sites spreading virus and malware, etc.

Available tools

Access to all necessary documents

Without easy access to organisation’s information resources, remote work would definitely become more complicated, if not stop at all. Some of the most popular document management tools are Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Sharepoint and Dropbox.

Virtual private networks (VPN) to access your office systems and documents

Virtual private network (VPN) allows secure access to company’s intranet, all of the systems and documents on it, as if employees were working at their workspaces. Some of the available solutions – NordVPN, ExpressVPN, CyberChost VPN, Hotspot Shield, Surfshark, PrivateVPN, TunnelBear VPN, IPVanis and Private Internet Access.

Virtual meetings

To encourage structured talks, to be creative and put forward new ideas, to communicate important information “eye-to-eye”, there are services allowing users to host video calls and video conferences ‒ Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams (including Skype for Business), Cisco Webex Meetings, GoToMeeting, Slack, CyberLink U Meeting, BlueJeans Meetings, Jitsi Meet, Whereby and Adobe Connect.

Task management and team’s performance monitoring

Task and project management and planning tools make it easy to manage complex processes with multiple stakeholders and keep track of task execution status. The most popular tools are Asana, Trello, Basecamp and Productive.

Internal communication and team building

Digital platforms and internal social networks, intranets, that can be used by businesses to exchange work-related information directly and to conduct internal communication activities, are the Latvian-made Whimsical, Yammer, Jive, Trello, Teamwork, Asana, Bitrix24 and Workplace by Facebook.

For chatting and quick communication

For quick exchange of operational information, organisations may use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal, Discord, Slack and Google Hangouts Chat.

For time tracking

Software for automatic real-time recording of working time allows you to improve your team’s productivity and to record man-hours spent on each project – Latvian Desktime, Estonian Toggl, Hubstaff, Rescuetime, Time Doctor, Timeneye, Harvest, Qbserve and Everhour.

Content management

You can use the available content management tools (CMS) WordPress, HubSpot, Joomla!, Drupal, TYPO3 or Wix to easily provide business related information on your website and the Internet.

eCommerce platforms

If your business is selling goods or services, choose one of the online store platforms – WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento or PrestaShop.

Email marketing

Tools for automated emailing that make it easy and simple to connect with existing and potential customers worldwide are – the Latvian-developed Mailigen by Pipedrive, Smaily, Mailchimp, MailerLite, Salesmango, HubSpot, as well as ActiveCampaign.

Data visualisation tools

Simple business intelligence tools for convenient data visualisation provided by Latvian companies – Zoomcharts, eazyBI and Flex.bi.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

The following software is available to better serve your customers – Salesforce, Zendesk, MS Dynamics 365, Scoro, Pipedrive, Standard CRM by HansaWorld, SAP CRM, ZohoCRM, Sage CRM, Oracle CRM, Siebel CRM, Bitrix24, SugarCRM, vtiger CRM, Creatio, Meemo, Norgate and amoCRM.

Human resource management tools

Smart tools for recruitment, scheduling and assessment of working time are also available – Latvian CakeHR by Sage, Sympa HR, MS Dynamics 365, BambooHR, eddyHR, NetSuite SuitePeople, SAP SuccessFactors, Paddle HR, PurelyHR, Zenefits, Bitrix24, PeopleBookHR, Workday, Kronos and Namely.

Customer support software solutions

Tools and solutions to build and maintain good customer relationships: Help Scout, Zendesk, Zoho Desk, Salesforce Service Cloud, Jira Service Desk, Desk.com, Cisco Webex Support, Oracle Service Cloud, TeamSupport, LiveAgent, Freshdesk, Helpjuice, Khoros Care, ConnectWise Manage, Intercom, Groove and AzureDesk.

RIGA COMM is an annual business technology event in the Baltic States where developers and suppliers of enterprise resource management, document management, HRM and security systems, suppliers of cloud services, internet and digital marketing services, web solutions and mobile application developers, and ICT product manufacturers offer ready-to-use and tailored solutions for companies in different industries and of different sizes, municipal authorities and organisations to facilitate efficient operation.

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