Jul 24, 2015 Blogs Virtual office

Are virtual offices risk free workplaces?

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Though many startup companies and large organizations are adopting virtual offices for huge cost savings, there are some skeptics who have apprehensions on virtual office solutions.  Some human resource managers have complained that virtual work-forces lack cohesiveness while others have doubts on issues like security and compliance.

Let us examine these apprehensions and see if they should stop someone from adopting virtual offices.

Lack of cohesiveness: There is a fear that in virtual offices, if employees choose their work hours, the organization would be fragmented and would lack cohesion. Also, some of them feel that the lack of social interaction among employees in a virtual environment would mean little or no team work.

Risk of reputation: Though this might sound very silly to those who are accustomed to virtual office setup, there are some who feel that a virtual company is not a real one and one that is not to be trusted!

Security and Compliance: Confidentiality of information and sensitive information being stored in remote locations seem to be a major concerns for skeptics. There are fears of accidental/intentional leakage or destruction of data, which might be disastrous to some sectors like healthcare and financial sectors.

To begin with, almost all new and emerging technologies are questioned by skeptics. The concept of virtual offices started back in 1989 and was founded by Ralph Gregory of Boulder Colorado with the establishment The Virtual Office Inc,” which was first commercially used in 1994. Later, Mark Dixon founded “Regus” which provided executive suites at affordable prices.

With changes in technology like the production of affordable fax machines, the internet, computers, and mobile phones has changed the scenario for virtual offices.

Virtual offices provide remote assistants, virtual assistants, answering services, voice mail, and most importantly a virtual office address. Space services include professional and mailing address, open envelope scanning, meeting and conference rooms, and onsite amenities like broadband internet, fax machines, conference calling, and many more.

In this age of BYOD (bring your own device), almost all the doubts of skeptics about the security of virtual office have been laid to rest. Early on, in the evolution of vital technologies used for virtual offices, the precaution to safeguard businesses from any kind of cyber invasion had been addressed.

Though many virtual office users don’t know how to safeguard their businesses, a safe working environment is certainly possible. From simple precautions like giving personal information only to trusted people to ensuring that only professional receptionists answer business calls, there are some dos and don’ts.

  • Receptionists have to be held responsible for conserving and passing on business data to the right person.
  • Securing voice mail services is done by restricting the access in virtual offices.
  • Secure systems should be used for outgoing calls and only a reliable virtual office provider should be opted for.
  • Only the corporate phone number should be used for distributing business information.
  • It is important to have a strict security policy for employees in a virtual office with proper guidelines so that information does not go into the wrong hands.
  • Business website should be upgraded so that identity (IP-address) of every computer that uses the website is traced.
  • Proper internet security software programs that are certified should be used.
  • There should be back up for all the data in hard drives.
  • To boost security it is always better to have a tight privacy policy.
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