The effects of COVID-19 continue to be seen and experienced worldwide. Many countries have shifted to using ‘Stay at Home” and “Social Distancing” as the major strategy in fighting the spread of the virus. With this as the backdrop, many businesses are looking for new ways to ensure sustained operations and employee productivity. There are many terms being thrown around with respect to being productive away from the office. The following are just a few:
- Remote work
- Work from home
- Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Remote access
- Cloud solutions
With all the above terms, and the thousands of others floating around in the Tech space, it can be very confusing for the consumer or business owner. The first thing that we recommend is an in-depth understanding of What does productivity look like for your business. Following the answer to that question, dig a bit deeper and ask yourself; what would constitute productive remote work for your business. These series of questions are all based on the fact that Every Business Presents a Different Scenario; thus, Requiring a Different Solution. There is no blanket solution that can be prescribed to all businesses at a time like this to address all their concerns for remote productivity. We have identified a few different scenarios below to further illustrate the above:
1. Legacy Systems:
Some organizations for example Insurance Companies and other financial institutions may have core business applications on older platforms. In many instances, these applications are either home-grown or developed internal and they are normally always hosted on-premise (from on the compound of the company). In cases like this, when one uses the terms remote work, remote access, or work from home, the required solution must be one that supports logically connecting the user to the premise and subsequently the in-house application. For this scenario, productivity is tied to employees having access to this core application. In this situation your users will need to utilize a VPN solution that provides remote access. The organization will also need to invest in and implement the necessary technology to connect these remote users to the environment.
2. On-Premise File Storage Solutions:
Like the above scenario; there may be organizations that have on-premise file storage areas where they hose and make available all the necessary documents required for day to day operations. Their understanding of productivity will require that their users have access to this file storage area and the respective documents. Since this solution is on-premise; a remote access solution similar to the one explained above will need to be employed.
3. Legacy System and On-Premise File Storage:
It goes without saying that there are many organizations that combine both scenarios 1 and 2; where their core business* application is on-premise, as well as their file-storage. This scenario too, will require a remote access solution which will need to include VPN capable equipment.
4. Hybrid Cloud Solution
The term Hybrid means a combination of. In this case I am referring to an organization that choses to combine the use of Cloud and On-Premise technologies to deliver the application and storage environment that supports their business. In a situation like this the company will need to evaluate what systems are on-premise and focus their remote access strategy on that solution. The necessary technology will need to be implemented to support that aspect (on-premise) of their business. Access to the cloud business application should continue, because all that should be required is Internet access.
5. The Cloud Based Organization:
There are more and more organizations that are moving their technology operations to the cloud. The adoption of cloud technology from a business perspective has increased tremendously. These companies will be well positioned to support virtual / remote work, since all that is required is access to the Internet. In a situation like this, it may be business as usual for this organization in adapting to a global Pandemic like the COVID-19.
6. Call Centers & Sales Organizations:
There are some situations where productivity is based on the ability of the users to communicate with customers to drive sales. An example of this can be a Call / Contact Centre. For a business like this to sustain their operations, VPNs may not be what they need. They may be able to operate using communication-based platforms that support either voice, video or a combination of both.
The point of the above scenarios and explanations was to show how critical it is to have an in-depth understanding of your business and what is needed for your employees to be productive. Is it VPN, is it Routers and VPN clients and SSL VPNs and IPSEC VPN? NOT necessarily. In some cases, all that may be needed is a laptop and Internet access and a shift in mindset.
To further demonstrate our commitment to driving positive change as it relates to the adoption of solid Telecom Infrastructure Solutions, our Team is going to hold a two (2) part webinar series entitled “Remote Work – The Virtual Team”. This webinar series will be held on Wednesday 8th and 15th of April 2020 respectively. Both installments are scheduled for 2:00 PM – 2:30 PM. Register for the webinar using the following Remote Work – The Virtual Team