Are You Prepared to Support a Remote Work Infrastructure?
All around the world, employees who used to report to offices every day are now working from home due to the COVID-pandemic. As a result, IT organizations have been forced to expand their remote work infrastructure and capabilities for their companies’ workforces.
This transition to 100% remote workforces was initially viewed as a short-term scenario. However, many companies have seen great benefit in allowing employees to work from home and thus are now considering allowing former office employees to continue working remotely some or all of the time even after the pandemic is over.
So, how can you prepare for this new approach?
Components to a Successful Remote Work Infrastructure
New Gartner research titled “5 Actions to Manage Outsourced Service Impacts Due to Coronavirus and COVID-19” summarizes the major elements for you to consider on this journey. These tenets have guided Optanix during our transition to a fully remote workforce and can help you get ready as well:
Connectivity: network bandwidth
Because business as usual is the goal of work-from-home, sufficient network capacity is of the essence. To manage bandwidth usage, organizations have picked up habits such as staggering work hours and using audio instead of video conferencing. For the big picture, however, it is essential to arrange with service providers to manage your bursts of activity and, if needed, to increase your fixed capacity.
Availability: equipment and accessories
For remote workers to be productive, work-from-home infrastructure is a fundamental need. This includes the provisioning of prebuilt laptops and accessories. Simple items such as keyboards, mice, monitors and webcams can become showstoppers when they start acting up. This drives the need to set up key locations or processes where these can be repaired, replaced or exchanged.
Adaptability: BYOD and DaaS
Since the rollout of the work-from-home infrastructure may be slow initially, you might consider enabling bring your own device (BYOD) capabilities. These could be used to access virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or cloud-based desktop as a service (DaaS) solutions. Both of these approaches enable remote workers to rapidly become productive.
Capacity: increased licensing or subscriptions
As the remote work infrastructure ramps up, allowances must be made to ensure that licensing and subscriptions keep up with increased demand. IT organizations need to work with providers to anticipate when further licenses need to be purchased. In addition, there may be cloud-based solutions that have the potential to scale to demand.
Flexibility: alternate collaboration tools
The demands on collaboration solution providers are immense in light of the increase in remote working. This results in outages that have a direct impact to productivity. Organizations must be willing to lean on consumer collaboration tools as an extension of existing enterprise solutions. Policies need to be put in place to ensure that sensitive business information is not compromised.
Integrity: IT security changes
The vast distribution of users in a remote working scenario brings with it increased vulnerability and exposure to risk. This makes it necessary to enhance protocols and processes to ensure endpoint security measures are in place to protect user devices. When users are operating in a DaaS environment, particular care needs to be exercised to prevent data from being copied from the virtual to the physical desktop. Employee education is key to maintaining the integrity of sensitive information.
Reliability: service testing
All remote working solutions need to be tested against a set of functional requirements to ensure that they provide a base level of reliability. Of course, this may not always be possible in light of the rapid rollout that has happened in this crisis. But eventually it becomes necessary to continue to pursue service testing, since the ability to catch and fix issues early in the deployment cycle will help reduce the disruption that follows.
Assistance: availability of support
As remote workers get their systems up and running and start using services, they will inevitably face issues. The ability to address them rapidly becomes a serious issue. In-house and third-party service providers need to ramp up support resources – including helpdesks and personnel – to help remote workers get going. In addition, efforts to beef up how-to guides can be a huge asset in providing self-help and eliminating the need for downstream support.
To learn more about how to mitigate the effect of pandemics on your operations, access the Gartner report Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak: Short- and Long-Term Actions for CIOs compliments of Optanix.