Since the coronavirus pandemic spread across the entire globe, many insurance agencies have had to take quick actions to shift their workforce to a remote working environment. 

The sudden shift has forced many agencies – many with little-to-no previous remote work policies in place, to massively increase their cybersecurity technology. Along with instilling cyber protection measures, agencies have also had to consider new methods to track and monitor their employee performance.

At Edge, it’s no different. When the pandemic increasingly affected the globe, we took the initiative to have our team work from home. Because we already had effective security and monitoring technologies in place, our team was able to make the shift seamlessly. 

Here are the top two technologies we’ve been using to proactively keep our agency secure and productive while working remotely:

Secure VPN

For many insurance agencies, VPNs are a gateway to business-critical resources that employees need to do their job securely when they aren’t in the office. 

While most of us aren’t in the office, businesses still need to continue to operate, customers still need to be contacted, and internal resources such as business applications still need to be accessed. Having employees access such sensitive company data remotely, makes it more important than ever to keep online activity safeguarded. 

What is a VPN?

VPN’s or Virtual Private Networks essentially a connection method used to add security and privacy to both private and public networks such as Wifi Hotspots and the Internet. 

In most cases, a user will manually start a VPN client and authenticate themselves with a username and password. The VPN client will then create an encrypted tunnel between the user and a remote network – giving them access to privately hosted applications and resources on the network. VPNs mask your internet protocol (IP) address so that your online actions are virtually untraceable allowing for both privacy and security from potential cyber-attacks

Why Use A VPN Service?

Using the internet on an unsecured network means that you could be exposing private information and browsing habits. With the shift to remote work, employees using unsecured networks could lead to vulnerabilities by strangers using the same network. 

The encryption and anonymity that a VPN provides help protect online activities such as sending emails, online transactions, resources in the Cloud, data centers, and essential business applications. 

VPNs also give you remote access to view not only who is using the VPN but also for what they’re using it for. With web and cloud services being widely used and most company resources being in the cloud, this insight is crucial to keep track of any third parties attempting to gain access.

Affordability

Small businesses often tend to lack deep tech budgets compared to larger companies but the great thing about a VPN is that it doesn’t cost much. Investing in a VPN service account for your agency is one of the best IT investments for a secure network. Many VPN services are prices below $10 per user/month when purchased. Knowing that the investment means that every user session is protected by high-level encryption, authentication, and secure access, it’s not hard to see the value in VPNs.

ActivTrak: Productivity & Analytics Monitoring

Given the current state of the world and business operations continuing through remote work, managing a remote team the traditional way can become a challenge. Poor technology, lack of remote systems in place, and policies can make or break your transition to remote work. Employers and employees share the same goal – reducing risk and ensuring business continuity to remain productive during these uncertain times.

ActivTrak allows for immediate visibility and insights into how your team works so that you can boost productivity and ensure better outcomes for everyone. ActivTrak helps you manage your remote workforce as effortlessly as you would in the office.

We’ve been using ActivTrak across our workforce to ensure we’re on top of our goals and continuing to remain proactive regardless of our new setting.

Here’s How ActivTrak Has Helped Us Manage Our Remote Team

Application Usage & Efficiency Monitoring

ActivTrak summarizes your organization’s most frequently used applications and websites. You’re able to view details on what applications are being used, by who, and how often. This data also helps you identify apps that aren’t being used as much which can help your organization save costs on unused paid applications. Any unknown applications and sites are also saved as a great way to gain insights on application usage across your team.

Measure & Analyze User Productivity

With the ability to view your teams’ productivity levels, ActivTrak helps you identify top performers based on application and website usage. This can be used to encourage and praise team members who are putting in hard work.

Activity Log

The Activity Log allows you to view the login and log out times of your employees, when and what website they’ve accessed, and the time of when an application is opened. This data helps you understand employee productivity behavior and what activities take up most of their time.

Improve Security

ActivTrak has the ability to monitor security-specific events, such as access to prohibited sites, use of unauthorized applications, copying of sensitive information to cloud sharing sites, and USB activity monitoring. This feature helps management stay alert on security fronts while employees are operating remotely.

Extra Tools We Love

Firewall

At Edge, all of our computers have a firewall installed for extra network security. The firewall helps us monitor any incoming and outgoing network traffic. The firewall acts as a barrier between our internal network and any incoming traffic from external sources to block any malicious traffic such as viruses or hackers.

Windows Updates

Ensuring our Windows systems are always up to date helps our system run smoothly and efficiently. Windows built-in antivirus, Windows Defender also stays up to date to protect our systems against potential viruses.  

Slack

Slack has immensely boosted our agency communication as we work remotely. Our whole team has webcams which through Slack, allows us to have face-to-face conversations through the video calling feature. Not only does this help with quick and easy communication, but it also helps our team connect just as they would in a physical setting. Collaborating and holding meetings through video increases productivity and helps us get things done much quicker rather than sending emails back and forth!