Let’s face it, the Remote Workforce is now a reality. The amazing thing is that this has been launched in just three months, rather than the three to four years many Cybersecurity experts predicted it would take. But given the unexpected uptick in the COVID-19 positivity rate in some areas, the Remote Workforce will likely become, more or less, a permanent situation that is already starting to precipitate.
Cybersecurity problems have also resulted from this situation; while some have been resolved, others need more smoothing out. One example is the impact of the spike in Internet usage, causing connections to be much slower than normal. According to a recent survey conducted by WhistleOut:
- 35% of respondents claimed that a weak Internet connection prevented them from conducting their daily job tasks at some point in the last few months.
- 65% of video conferencing calls (primarily over Zoom) have been cut, dropped, or completely frozen while in process, because of a strained Internet.
- 43% of respondents said that they have had to use their mobile hotspot to supplement their existing Internet connection.
- 83% of respondents claimed that it is impossible to do even half a day’s work with a slower than normal Internet speed.
What can be done to resolve this escalating issue? It will obviously take quite a bit of time to install fiber optic cabling on a global scale. Thankfully, there are some other fixes that you can implement in the meantime.
How To Make The Most Of Your Current Bandwidth
Here are some quick tips for making the most of your current Internet bandwidth:
- Consider boosting your Internet signal. Boosting your signal takes some simple tweaking of your home router. For example, consider relocating your router to a more central point within your home. By doing this, the signals will be much stronger in nearly all cases. Preferably, you should avoid walls and other such barriers. Instead, try to position your router so that it is near an open space, such as a window, or a patio door. Also, to juice up the Internet speed even further, you should probably get what is known as a Wi-Fi Repeater. This device will simply amplify your existing Internet connection strength.
- Test your Internet speed. There are a number of free tools that will allow you to test just how fast your Internet speed is. If you discover that your Internet speed is actually slow, then your home network could very well be “saturated”. This happens when all the members of your family/household are attempting to connect to the Internet at once and using resources that are hogging your bandwidth levels. This typically happens when you are trying to steam an Internet video, which takes up a lot of processing power. A quick tip here is to try and limit this kind of activity until after work hours. But saturation can also exist from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you are on a lower tiered plan, there is a good chance that your Internet speed will be throttled down, in order to accommodate the other ISP customers that are trying to access the Internet as well. The only fix to this is to upgrade your plan to a higher tiered option.
- Change your work hours. While traditional brick and mortar offices are typically available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., working virtually can change that schedule. For example, the peak levels of Internet usage are typically in the morning hours, usually from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Perhaps, with approval from your manager, you could start your workday at 12 p.m. or so, after most video meetings have already taken place. Or perhaps you could even work in the evening or on the weekends when the levels of Internet usage are lower. This is especially true during the summer when people spend a lot more time outside.
- Set clear and distinct boundaries for non-work Internet usage. It’s not only parents that are working at home; many kids are learning virtually from home as well. But school hours vary, and with that in mind, you need to keep your children occupied with other non-Internet activities that will conserve bandwidth while you are working remotely. As previously mentioned, Internet-based entertainment can consume a lot of your bandwidth. Therefore, restrict online entertainment to after work hours and for only for a few hours.
This article has offered some simple tips you can implement to gain a higher degree of Internet bandwidth. However, you also need to determine the range of bandwidth the resources you use for work require.
If you find that the above-mentioned tips do not help alleviate your slow Internet speed, the only other option is to upgrade your existing plan to a higher-tier that offers the speeds that you need to work productively.
You may even want to consider upgrading to a business account, which offers the highest possible Internet speeds. But before you do this, find out if your employer will help offset the cost, based on a percentage of how much bandwidth you use for work-related activities. Other factors that may affect reimbursement are whether your employer requires you to work from home, or you choose to do so even when your office is once again open for business.
- “A Third of Remote Workers Say Weak Internet Has Hurt Their Productivity” (survey by conducted by WhistleOut), PC Magazine
- “How to Work from Home with Slow Internet,” Flexjobs.com
- “Is Your Internet Bandwidth Enough for Remote Work?” Complete Technology Resources.com
Ravi Das is a Cybersecurity Consultant and Business Development Specialist. He also does Cybersecurity Consulting through his private practice, RaviDas Tech, Inc. He is also studying for his Certificate In Cybersecurity through the ISC2.