800 Future Processing employees - from office to remote in just 24 hours
Future Processing is an IT partner that provides companies with high-quality technical expertise and software solutions perfectly tailored to their needs. As a technology focussed business, it has always offered home working to its employees, which is why the company already had remote IT services in place prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, under normal circumstances, there would be no more than 200 employees at home and Future Processing knew it had to modify the existing infrastructure to withstand the load of 800 people working remotely at the same time during the COVID-19 crisis.
As soon as Future Processing realised that there may be a need to move the whole company to remote working, the IT department organised a series of meetings and calls to analyse the business’ needs and identify areas that may cause difficulties further down the line. Future Processing’s Service Desk assigned each task related to home working as a top priority and allocated the activities into four key areas: services infrastructure, security and hardware. The main focus was to ensure that the whole team had the opportunity to continue working in their home as comfortably as they would in the office.
In addition to nurturing its employees, Future Processing wanted to ensure that clients did not experience any interference or disruption to their ongoing projects. As a result, the business created dedicated landing pages for each client that outlined the processes that would guarantee the continued success of the projects. This was presented to customers by Future Processing’s Engagement Managers, just a few hours after the company’s transition to remote working.
Another important factor that Future Processing had to consider when moving the whole company to remote work was security. Not only is it critical to the organisation, but its customers and partners too. Since the transition, the business has been following the standards set by ISO 2700001, meaning Future Processing has:
● Enabled access the company’s network through secured connection (OpenVPN)
● Monitored traffic by firewall
● Used two step authentication
● Obtained security certificates
● Used filtration policies
● Managed the IT assets
● Provided special training on security for everyone during onboarding
At Future Processing, the team typically accesses the company’s network via a secured OpenVPN. This is an open source software that creates secure connection via routed or bridge configurations and remote access facilities. This worked well when the company had around 100 or 200 working from home but OpenVPNs had some limitations when rolled out on a larger scale. The biggest challenge was that OpenVPN only uses one CPU core, so the company had to find a solution that could meet the increased demands.
Future Processing created additional instances and set up a load balancer on its firewall, to ensure employees could access the network through different instances to balance the user traffic. The operation resulted in creating four instances that enabled employees to access the network without interruptions. In terms of access to hardware on-site, Future Processing had to check if its Wake-On-LAN tool would work for everyone and if a connection through remote desktop was available for owners of machines located at the office. The company also has two independent high-speed internet connections. Nevertheless, it researched the possibility of needing to implement an additional connection or increase the bandwidth, as network traffic was expected to significantly increase worldwide during the pandemic.
Team morale is one of the biggest motivators at work. Future Processing wanted to ensure that it could sustain the connection between team members whilst they worked from home and keep employees fully engaged. The best solution was to establish strong communication channels via email and collaboration platforms. With these software solutions, the team could arrange regular catch-ups to keep in touch and continue feeling connected with one another during this unprecedented time.
With the quick transition to remote working, Future Processing understood that most employees would not have everything they needed to work from home Therefore, each team leader coordinated what their team would need to ensure working remotely would be as seamless as possible. The business assigned equipment to employees such as laptops, monitors, headphones, PCs, cameras and LTE networks. With an asset database, Future Processing could track and locate where each piece of equipment was and had an inventory of stock available to provide to employees when needed. What’s more, it’s cooperation with a Work Safety Inspector ensured a safe process to deliver the company’s hardware to people on quarantine.
Whilst most of the company worked from home, some members of Future Processing’s IT team visited the office regularly in case of any emergencies, including any problems with the servers or VPN. However, to ensure that its office was manned, but at the same time employee’s health was protected, the company employed a week shift schedule. This ensured that there was always one administrator and two members of the service desk team in place, while the rest of the team worked from home.
If, for any reason, one member of the team needed to temporarily step up and take over a colleagues responsibility, Future Processing created Business Continuity Plans to ensure everyone was fully prepared. The biggest factor was ensuring that all members of the team shared knowledge and stored important documents on the cloud to ensure the continuity of work and the highest levels of customer service could be maintained. Future Processing also prepared dedicated documentation related to remote working for all employees to access. This included a list of helpful tools, FAQs and a chapter from the company’s WIKI.
Overall, Future Processing remained true to its company value, making sure that there was a place for transparency and ensured employees had access to everything they needed in this turbulent situation. With a unique company culture, nurturing employees and supporting customers was of the utmost importance and it considered the human factor while adjusting to the new reality. Due to its contingency plans, Future Processing was also able to move 800 employees to remote working with few challenges and disruptions, highlighting the importance of preparation and business continuity.
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