Enabling your remote workforce in the new normal
COVID-19 has had a massive impact on the way businesses are operating but it will also impact the way in which they operate in future. Remote workforce enablement has been a huge challenge, companies have had to increase their bandwidth and offer alternative connectivity, provision laptops and set up additional VPNs and security measures in order to facilitate a secure remote working environment that ensures business continuity.
Using the right tools and infrastructure to enable multiple applications to support an efficient work-from-home environment requires a skilled IT partner that can facilitate business operations through the implementation and optimisation of cloud-based infrastructure, services and solutions.
Work from home challenges
“Not only have workers had to adjust to a new way of working from home, but teams have also had to deal with major disruptions in the way they communicate,” says Jennifer Meggersee, Sales Manager for Software at First Technology National. “Having the right cloud-based software solutions is essential to improve communications between employees, employers and customers. This goes hand-in-hand with secure applications for hosting meetings, collaborating on projects, running workshops and training.”
Meggersee explains that workflow processes need to be streamlined with document management, digital signing, sharing, tracking and collaboration apps, all of which will help make the office paperless while keeping everyone on the same page, so to speak.
“A solution that includes business processes and methods to optimise the availability, flexibility, agility and efficiency of cloud services and IT Infrastructure is critical to enable a remote workforce,” says Gerhard Olivier, Solutions Consulting Manager at First Technology National. “Legacy hardware, VPN access limitations, remote access to business-critical applications, legacy reporting and CRM tools are but a few of the challenges that businesses have had to face.”
Olivier notes these are not novel challenges when it comes to enabling a remote workforce; however, the scale and speed at which it needs to be achieved has been accelerated by the impact of COVID-19.
IT teams have had their hands full managing these challenges, finding themselves with many balls in the air, as they juggle remote IT support provision with addressing the productivity and security demands of their remote workforce.
Ready or not, cloud has its place
Cloud services can ease the transition from traditional on-premises networks to the new normal, by providing infrastructure and services anywhere they are required. However, to make the most of the cloud's capabilities and benefits, manual workloads need to be assigned to the right cloud infrastructure in a manner that is scalable and automatable. With a distributed network cloud model, businesses can significantly reduce latency, network congestion, and minimise the risk of data loss.
Using a distributed network cloud provider that optimises edge networking, an organisation benefits from a cost-, space- and power-efficient solution that provides full network automation. Further to this is automation through software-defined networking (SDN), a virtualised overlay fabric to bridge the gap between legacy technology and cloud, as well as network segmentation with comprehensive visibility and analytics capabilities.
In short, providing a work-from-home environment for employees necessitates optimised cloud services to better support the applications and business functionality that employees need to collaborate seamlessly.
What is CloudOps and how can it help?
Cloud Operations (CloudOps) work to provide the efficient management, delivery and optimisation of IT services and workloads for a business, running in either a private, or public cloud. Cloud Optimisation is concerned with delivering business efficiency through cloud operations, reducing overall cloud and operational spend by identifying mismanaged resources, eliminating waste, reserving capacity for higher discounts, and scaling compute services.
“When workload performance, compliance and cost are correctly balanced against the best-fit infrastructure in real-time, then efficiency is achieved,” notes Olivier. It’s possible to gain the necessary agility and flexibility in terms of computing power and data storage required to meet the changing needs of the business,” Olivier continues.
This translates effectively into increased uptime and assured global access to information, especially for mobile workers and customers alike, providing the ability to work or engage from anywhere at any time. Furthermore, cloud optimisation provides the capacity to rapidly develop, test and launch software applications crucial to business growth.
The future is uncertain
Will the way businesses currently operate become the new normal?
Olivier believes it’s possible. “Partnering with the right solutions provider will provide an organisation with solutions that encompass the right technologies and processes, relevant to its unique business needs and giving stakeholders the necessary insights to make business-critical decisions based on a roadmap, such as operations expenditure forecasts.”
“Yes, it can be the new normal, although it will have to be refined over time and according to regulations. Taking a multi-layered approached to solutions is key, bearing in mind the scalability of each solution to cater for business operations downscaling or upscaling as and when needed. There are solutions for all business sizes and budgets that address the practicalities of working remotely,” Meggersee concludes.