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Frequently asked questions about remote work

March 27, 2020  |  Remote Work, Tips & Tricks

remote work

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, firms across the country have been forced to switch abruptly to a remote work environment. Our support staff have answered hundreds of questions – from product-specific inquiries to general questions about managing a remote firm. Here’s what we’re hearing:

Getting started

How can I quickly set my employees and firm up to work from home?

AbacusNext has a number of solutions like Amicus Online, OfficeTools Cloud, and Abacus Private Cloud that will allow your employees to work from home with the same experience as they would have in the office.

Can your solutions be accessed from my office workstation and home computer?

Yes, our Abacus Private Cloud deployment options allows your employees to access all your mission-critical business applications, including the files they work with day in and day out, all from the comfort of their home computer and work-issued laptop.

How do I set my employees up for success at home?

It’s important to make sure that employees are equipped with the right technology, including a secure digital environment for your employees to remotely process private client data. You should also ensure that employees have access to all core firm applications, reliable internet access (firms can provide hot spots for immediate access to high-speed internet), call forwarding to employee cell phones, and virtual workflow tools. For more suggestions, read 5 tips for going remote now.

Security

How do I ensure that my client data is safe, now that my firm is operating from a remote environment?

You can ensure that your clients’ data is safe and secure by reviewing your hosting provider’s capability to secure data, including factors like:

  • Full-spectrum electronic protected health information (ePHI) and HIPAA compliance-ready solution technology.

  • Data centers that are in compliance. With compliance standards becoming ever more strict, it is common for organizations to require strict assurance certifications when contracting with third-party professionals. Those without certification are at a disadvantage. Common compliance standards include, but are not limited to, SOC1/SOC2/SOC3/SSAE16.

  • Provider encrypts at the database level, in transit and at rest.

Information about Abacus Private Cloud’s security credentials is available here.

Has the COVID-19 increased cybersecurity risks? How can my firm stay safe?

There has been an increased number of phishing attacks looking to exploit fears around COVID-19. Firms should be vigilant about identifying common phishing and ransomware tactics, hovering over links before clicking, enabling multifactor authentication (MFA) for all accounts, never opening attachments from unknown sources, using encryption of email for confidential/privileged communications (if encrypted email is not available, documents should be password-protected), and reviewing your hosting security capabilities (see above). For more information, see Phishing Attacks Are Getting Smarter – Here’s How to Avoid Them or The Growing Threat of Ransomware – How to Protect Your Firm.

How do I ensure that employees have proper permissions so that we are in compliance?

Setting up permissions for different users in your firm is an important part of protecting client data. Our first priority as your cloud provider is to maintain stringent security within your cloud environment, so we establish default permissions (also known as document management profiles) across the board. Find out how to create custom permissions here.

Product support

How do I open a AbacusNext Support ticket?

Submit a support ticket through the Customer Account Portal (learn how to submit a ticket here). You can also call Support at 858-882-4460 (Support offers a callback queue that holds your place in line so you do not have to wait on hold. We recommend leaving a cell phone number or direct line. The system does not recognize extensions.)

How can I chat with a support representative?

Use the support Live Chat feature located at the bottom right of your customer portal when logged in.

How do I log into my account portal?

Users can log in at:  https://portal.abacusnext.com/#/login

More information about the account portal can be found here.

Supporting employees

How do I keep track of my employees’ tasks and productivity without micromanaging?

Managing a remote team is new territory for many firm managers, and it can be hard to know what kinds of expectations to set. First, it’s important to understand that employees will likely be working more from home than they were on the office – or at least have a hard time “turning off” at the end of the work day. Make sure you set clear boundaries around working hours for your employees so that remote workers don’t burn out.

You can keep track of employee productivity by setting up daily check-ins, such as a morning call. It’s important to keep these calls structured and predictable (e.g., sharing three top priorities for the week), and to provide ample time for employees to voice questions and concerns.

How do I keep my employees engaged and inspired in a time of crisis?

Try to recreate some of the social engagement employees would typically enjoy in the office. Schedule a virtual happy hour, encourage employees to stay in touch via chat applications, and open up meetings with a check in (“how was your weekend?”). These small gestures go a long way in helping employees feel less isolated. 

In addition, point employees to resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for advice on coping and prioritizing mental health. For more tips, see How to stay productive, healthy, and happy while working from home.

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