4 Ideas to Help Securely Transition Your Development Team to Remote Work
Shifting DevOps to remote work requires restructuring your approach to security, communication, performance, compliance, and monitoring.
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Remote work is becoming the norm and with development teams in charge of critical systems, security is more important than ever.
Whether it is the flexibility to work with top talent without geographical limitations or in response to the current global crisis, there are many reasons and benefits to transitioning your development team to remote work.
Organizations with development teams know how critical they are for business continuity and performance. Shifting DevOps to remote work requires restructuring your approach to security, communication, performance, compliance, and monitoring.
Security is a critical consideration when transitioning your development team to remote work. Most companies, however, find themselves confused about how to approach this organizational change while keeping their systems and networks secure.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when transitioning your development team to remote work:
1. Develop a Remote Work Policy
Having the right procedures in place before your development team starts to work remotely is central to the success of that team. You must outline and communicate the company expectations for these employees.
The first step is to create schedule and availability requirements so your remote employees know when they are expected to be online to communicate with the rest of the team. Even if you are working with employees from diverse time zones, you can have a policy that determines expected response time for communication and certain overlapping hours. This way there is part of the day where everyone on the team is available for live communication.
Your policy must also cover the tools and software your team will use for collecting, storing, and sharing data securely. In addition, you must outline the approved tools your team must use while working remotely. Unapproved tools could create a shadow IT problem where remote team members are logged into the company network while using tools that could be compromised.
Your policy should cover the metrics you will use in measuring the progress of a project or performance of an employee.
2. Provide the Tools Your Team Should Use
While teams are in-house a lot of the communication can happen face to face, while remote workers need to rely on tools to accomplish similar things. These additional tools could be used for communication, collaboration, project management and delivering code.
Here are some of the key tools you may want to consider:
- Communication and collaboration: Seamless communication between remote and in-house teams is crucial for success in any business. This is amplified when dealing with complex challenges associated with development projects. Using tools like Skype, Slack and Zoom are a good start, but development teams may want to look at more integrated suites of tools like Microsoft Teams.
- Project management: Having a robust project management workflow is aided by tools that control each step of a development project, specific team members’ tasks and a bird’s eye view of a project’s progress. Tools like JIRA, Workfront and Hive were purpose built for development teams to use for project management.
3. Have a Security Policy in Place
Apart from a remote work policy, you will need a cybersecurity policy when planning the shift toward remote work for your development team. Remote work directly increases the chances of cyber attacks by 30-40%.
To minimize these risks, a comprehensive securing policy should include aspects such as:
- A strong password policy where all members of the development team must set strong passwords to their devices and accounts. Using tools like Lastpass password manager can also help to prevent remote developers from using the same password for multiple accounts.
- Multi-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security.
- Implementing online security options such as using a UDP or TCP VPN protocol, remote browsers, and secure web gateways.
- Instructions on data sharing and encryption.
- Requirements on updating software.
- Training on social engineering attacks and how to avoid them.
- Backup policy.
4. Maintain Your Company’s Culture
Employees might not experience the smoothest transition to remote work, especially if they are accustomed to working in an office setting. Therefore, carrying their culture to work remotely will enhance their sense of belonging.
This culture should include a collaborative spirit among your team members, and stress the individual responsibility each member has toward the wellbeing of the organization.
Maintain the company's culture by encouraging team-building activities and shared retreats or meet-ups with other members of the development team. Casual group discussions and video calls also contribute to maintaining your company's culture. Water cooler type Slack channels are a great way to keep light-hearted communication between team members.
Transitioning your development team to remote work might be a necessity in the face of the present circumstances, but it does not have to compromise your organization’s productivity or security. By having a remote work policy, a cybersecurity policy, the right tools, and a defined company culture, you can make the transition to remote work easier and more rewarding for both the company and your development team.
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