Here at OneLogin, one of our core values is “Customer Focused.” As we found ourselves and our customers transforming to a remote workforce, we reached out to see if there was anything that we could do to help. For some, there were features we could enable or apps we could help them add that would make the transition easier. For others, just having OneLogin in place made the transition much easier.
After speaking to customers and hearing their learnings so far, we thought it would be incredibly valuable to share stories of how organizations have handled the COVID-19 crisis and the move to a remote workforce. So we decided to start a blog series dedicated to sharing the stories of what organizations are doing to ensure business continuity and productivity during these unprecedented times.
The Transition to Remote Work and Business Agility
Point Loma Nazarene University, a longtime OneLogin customer, is a liberal arts college in San Diego, CA. Due to the rapid changes enforced by the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, they faced the same challenge as many universities around the world — how to quickly transition to online learning and remote work. We reached out to ask them some questions on how the transition has gone.
Our two main points of contact in the IT department happen to be part of the few people on campus deemed essential, so they continue to work onsite. “It has been interesting working in such a ghost-town of an environment,” was one of the first things Joseph Alcorn, Manager of Infrastructure Services and Architecture, expressed to us.
Like many of us, a lot of their plans and previous projects have had to take a back seat. Dealing with the challenges thrown at them due to COVID-19 has had to take priority over everything else. Joseph admits, “Professionally, the hardest part about this transition is how fluid the situation has been and how targets can change from day to day. I have had to give up some planned projects that I really wanted to do in favor of ensuring that the university is on stable footing and we can make the transition to remote work and remote teaching as seamless as possible.”
Communication Challenges and Changes
Though our contacts at Point Loma are still going into the office, many of their teammates are now working from home. One of the greatest challenges for the newly remote team is adjusting to the different communication style that remote work demands. “When we were working in the same physical location, If we wanted to ask a coworker a question we could look over, grab their attention, and get an immediate response. Or maybe, we would see them walking into the break room and get reminded of something we needed to talk to about. This is a very natural and easy form of communication for all of us.” But, as Joseph also notes, “we have been far more intentional about communication and collaboration. There is no true Zoom/Slack/etc equivalent of turning your chair around to have an instant pow-wow with colleagues, but we are trying.”
Adjusting to New Working Conditions
We also asked what steps they have taken to ease the transition for themselves and their staff—since we know keeping your teams engaged is critical for success with a remote workforce. The staff of Point Loma put a high priority on making the transition as easy as possible for their teams. For many employees, it was as simple as allowing them to take their office equipment home so they could use peripherals, like a second monitor or an extended keyboard, to make their work easier. They also recognized that many of their workers now have to work while taking care of their children in the same space, so they made adjustments in working hours to help accommodate these new challenges.
OneLogin as Peace-of-Mind for Security and Scale During the Transition
Point Loma University implemented OneLogin as their Identity and Access Management platform three years ago. So, being a long and well-established customer, they have already been able to reduce a lot of their support complexity and enhance their security posture. The additional layer of security provided by OneLogin gave them peace-of-mind when they had to transition to a remote workforce. Joseph stated, “We had no worries about the security of our users’ identities while working from home on a potentially unsecured network. Every authentication from email, to VPN, to VDI is protected by OneLogin. Changing a password used to be so difficult for a remote user, it is now simple with OneLogin. Securing access to a potentially compromised account (if it ever happens) is a single step instead of tracking down multiple application admins. The identity platform we have in OneLogin is one of the single most valuable assets PLNU ITS has.”
To know that we were able to help them with this unprecedented challenge is incredibly meaningful to us. And we will keep striving to do so for all of our customers. Stay tuned for the upcoming posts in this series where we talk to J2 Global and Evernote about how they have approached this new challenge.