February 24, 2024

In the world of remote work, it’s important for employees to develop some basic troubleshooting skills at home. However, remote workers may also experience issues or concerns that the IT team should be aware of. Some may be more serious malfunctions that could affect productivity in the long term, while others may be warning signs of an attempted cyber attack.

So when should a remote worker call in expert help? Below, ten of its members Forbes Technology Council discuss technology issues, errors and messages that remote workers should immediately report to the IT team and why they are so important.

1. Downgrade device

We tend to immediately think of the prominent “error message” as the catalyst for reporting issues to tech support, but often it’s actually an ongoing change in your device’s behavior—particularly such changes as a degradation in speed during use, which may be an indicator of resource issues. Often, it’s the marginal losses that add up to a breaking point, so keeping an eye on that helps. – Al Kingsley, NetSupport

2. Repetitive pop-ups

Remote workers should notify the IT team of any random recurring pop-ups. Pop-ups could be a hacker trying to run scripts on your system, or pop-ups could be your system security asking for permission to run a script. Notify the IT team so they can do some research to find the source of these potential attacks, as well as let the organization know they could be targeted. – Michael Hoyt, Life Cycle Engineering, Inc.

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3. Phishing emails.

Phishing emails are usually downplayed or hidden for fear of being reprimanded. But remote workers should always report phishing emails—especially if they clicked—because the company may have been compromised through a successful or failed social engineering attack. – Tara Anderson, Frame safety

4. Issues with collaboration applications

Businesses cannot perform well without collaborative teams. Virtual teams cannot effectively sell, serve customers, and execute projects without a great user collaboration experience. A remote worker experiencing problems using a user collaboration application needs to update IT to enable reliable and high-performance collaborative work, which is critical to better team and business results. – Alfredo Ramirez, Viewpoint

5. VPN problems

VPN issues can cause significant security risks for an organization. When a VPN goes down, an end user will often continue to work on the Wi-Fi they are accessing. In this scenario, cyber attackers can more easily perform a man-in-the-middle attack and gain access to that user’s workstation. For this reason, reporting VPN problems is always a top priority. – Mark Fisher, Dogtown Media LLC

6. Questions related to security

Whenever a remote worker feels unsafe or has a security-related question or concern, there’s only one way to act: Contact IT support immediately. It is almost impossible, for example, for a non-tech person to find out if an attack has already been successfully carried out. That’s why it’s so important to report and discuss any concerns immediately. – Agur Jogi, Pipedrive

7. Site Performance Changes

If you notice a significant change in your site’s performance, you should contact your IT team. This is especially true if you haven’t made any changes that could cause this issue. There are several underlying reasons this situation could occur, including a cyber attack. It’s better to be careful and make sure your website and customer data are safe and secure. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

8. Questionable Electronic Communications

When someone is working remotely, attack vectors that would normally be ignored can feel as legitimate as a random text message from an executive asking for help. It is important for anything out of the ordinary to be confirmed by IT. Enough information is public that even random attackers can impersonate leadership with a focused attack, and the right message to the right person can fool even the smartest people. – Luke Wallace, Bottle Rocket

9. All Technical Problems

It’s important to report all technology issues to IT, from VPN issues to software issues. Too often, the technology department works in its own silo and can miss something happening elsewhere. The key is to facilitate easy and open communication. – Joanna Riley, Censia Talent Intelligence

10. Results of Challenges

It’s the other way around: IT should test remote workers by safely challenging them. Send them a secure phishing attack and monitor user behavior. Notify users of a potential breach and test how they report their findings. Finally, develop lightweight challenges for users to help them learn how they should behave when they’re remote and measure effectiveness, engagement, and participation. – Spyros Liolis, Micro Focus

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