Robust network solutions crucial for organisations to protect their brands as employees continue to work from home
By Hein Witte, Specialised Sales Executive for Telecommunication Services at T-Systems South Africa
As many organisations are likely to continue operating with distributed and remote workforces, it is crucial that they start to leverage existing network technologies and architecture available in the market in smarter ways. This will deliver a number of benefits, including enhancing their customer experience (CX), thus ensuring their desired brand images are protected.
The global pandemic has largely accelerated the implementation of digital transformation, forcing enterprises to rapidly adopt a host of technologies to remain operational and competitive. As part of this trend, work from home (WFH) has become the new normal.
However, in many cases, organisations have had to quickly respond to the hard lockdown announced earlier this year by leveraging off staff networks to ensure business continuity. While many employees of modern organisations do have some type of home network in place, these are generally used for entertainment, such as streaming of movies and music services.
Very few of these networks were previously used for business, but they became temporary business tools when the pandemic hit and companies had to ensure that their employees were able to work from home.
At that stage, IT teams had to focus on securing access from home networks, ensuring that employees could engage with and support customers, as well as remain generally productive. Despite organisations leveraging off these networks, they remained, by nature, temporary solutions.
Challenges of home networks
This meant it was difficult to segregate home and business traffic, potentially leading to congestion and poor quality connections. Similarly, securing home networks and ensuring they are compliant with data privacy regulations became a significant challenge.
Initially, companies had no choice but to turn a blind eye to these shortcomings in the interest of remaining operational. However, as the WFH trend is set to continue, businesses need to urgently realise that home networks must become corporate tools capable of representing and protecting the corporate brand, putting CX first.
From a corporate perspective, businesses need to realise that it is not just their employees that have moved to remote or home offices, but also their brands, which have to be adequately protected. This requires implementing technologies and architecture that provide a professional office environment from any location.
To achieve this, organisations have to ensure that home, mobile or remote networks conform to certain requirements, such as reliability and good connection quality, as well as meet stringent company policy and regulatory demands.
Furthermore, they also need to consider potential issues such as power outages and provide backup power for network devices and determine whether the right network coverage is available from any location where staff might be based.
Readily available solutions
Fortunately, solutions are readily available and relatively affordable for companies that wish to build permanent networks for staff working remotely. Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) are the ideal solution, as they offer typical corporate network technology and architecture that can be deployed in a home office scenario.
SD-WAN allows business to implement robust and well-secured networks across the different mediums, such as fixed-line fibre and wireless cellular, and has the built-in intelligence to use multiple carriers and navigate traffic across different connections.
Deploying a robust network, built according to business requirements, will ensure quality engagement with customers and enhance CX. Organisations must realise the importance of enabling their staff and customers to use multimedia that supports voice, video and content-sharing to ensure a seamless experience from corporate office to home office.
Organisations need to accept that their brands are inextricably linked to their staff, who will in all likelihood continue working from home for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it is key that companies ensure they have the necessary infrastructure, policies and governance in place to accelerate the WFH trend and take full advantage of it.
About Deutsche Telekom: https://www.telekom.com/en/company/at-a-glance
About T-Systems: T-Systems company profile
About T-Systems South Africa: TSSA Company Profile