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How Companies Can Prepare for Permanent Remote Workforce Transformation Post COVID-19

How Companies Can Prepare for Permanent Remote Workforce Transformation Post COVID-19

COVID-19 has overwhelmingly uprooted the way businesses operate today, leaving many to rely on remote workforces. Global IT solutions provider Technologent discusses how businesses can avoid operational security, access, and workforce disconnect issues when implementing permanent remote workforce plans.

(Irvine, CA) May 4, 2020A recentstudy of U.S. full-time employees shows 34% say their companies are not prepared to work from home, while a staggering 77% claim their companies haven’t implemented work-from-home protocols.(1) According to global IT solutions provider Technologent, establishing a remote workforce clearly poses significant challenges in demanding logistical and technical changes that companies are often unprepared for.“Most SMBs lack the IT infrastructure and security protocols to ensure widespread and secure remote and mobile data access,” says Mike McLaughlin, Technologent’s CIO. “And that’s only the first of many technical considerations to make work-from-home viable.”

During one week in March, business app downloads increased by 45% compared to the previous week—amounting in 62 million downloads (dominated by Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom Cloud Meetings).(2) While Zoom soared from 10 million users to 200 million in roughly three months, growing challenges related to installer, routing, encryption, and “Zoombombing” (hijacking a Zoom meeting to add content or commentary) have led to major security issues for users and companies.(3)(4)(5) Zoom’s example shows that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the need for security preparation for a permanent remote workforce.

Security Need for a Work-From-Home World

The average cost of a single business data breach increased to $8.64 million in 2019, which poses an even greater threat to companies without adequate remote workforce security infrastructure and protocols.(6) Avoiding that worst-case scenario means finding ways to deal with:

  • Application access; network, data center, cloud, and remote desktop and mobile device setup; security; and identity access management
  • Wi-Fi security setups and broadband (bandwidth) issues for remote workforce
  • Mobile/remote device data storage and security
  • Email and collaboration tool security/planning
  • Backup and disaster recovery

As company searches for security and hardware solutions for a remote workforce rise as high as 613% in search impressions, IT service desks grapple with how to deal with user ticket problems that risk straining the team or going unanswered.(7)(8) This includes tackling remote setup challenges, such as:

  • Corporate VPN
  • Software configurations
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (and other services)
  • Performance/bandwidth issues due to massive traffic needs

Maximum security of data both at rest and in transit is a bigger problem beyond the network—with every remote user a potential vulnerability access point. Protecting that data via conventional means (like firewall and end-to-end encryption) takes on a whole new meaning when having to scale-up across an entire company. The goal is to develop systems and protocols for protecting data and application storage pathways as well as permissions between the network, data centers, the cloud, and desktops/mobile devices.(9) When bandwidth and Internet Service Provider (ISP) broadband challenges are also taken into consideration, businesses are ideally positioned to embrace remote workforce challenges and reap the benefits.(10)

Embracing Remote Workforce Challenges and Benefits

Remote access, security, communication, and collaboration are all intertwined in a comprehensive IT strategy for technological needs for a work-from-home solution. These aspects of the strategy require an integrated approach for a permanent remote workforce that is robust, flexible, resilient, and secure. Company IT teams will need to accelerate their use of public cloud, virtualization, and software-defined WAN to remove networking and data/storage complexities.(11) But beyond the challenges of a rapid redirection for remote workforces are just as many (if not arguably more) opportunities. For example, each office worker costs $22,000 more annually than a remote worker, and studies show that remote workers are happier and more productive when given the right framework.(12)

According to McLaughlin, businesses will need to take a comprehensive and holistic approach to solve these challenges, empower their remote workforce, and ultimately benefit from a work-from-home world:

“Businesses may have to pivot quickly. A support partner for businesses across all these areas will be vital to developing secure network/application access, along with the technology and tools for collaboration with a permanent remote workforce,” McLaughlin says. “There’s also the introduction of software solutions to ensure that infrastructure is distributing workloads between data centers, the network, and beyond its edge into public clouds and back to adequate home remote setups for quick and secure access. That’s a tall order—but with the right planning and support partner, businesses and their workforces can be positioned to grow, expand, and profit in a post-COVID-19 world.”

About Technologent:

Technologent is a Global Provider of Edge-to-EdgeTM information technology solutions and services for Fortune 1000 companies. The company focuses on helping clients outpace the new digital economy by creating IT environments that are fast, flexible, efficient, transparent, and secure. Without these characteristics, companies miss the opportunity to optimally scale. Technologent mobilizes the power of technology to turn its clients’ vision into reality, enabling them to focus on driving innovation, increasing productivity, and outperforming the market. For more information, visit www.technologent.com.

1.Rebecca Corliss. Are Companies Prepared to Work From Home [New Report], OwlLabs, March 12, 2020, owllabs.com/blog/coronavirus-work-from-home-statistics

2.Sarah Perez. Videoconferencing apps saw a record 62M downloads during one week in March, TechCrunch, March 30, 2020, techcrunch.com/2020/03/30/video-conferencing-apps-saw-a-record-62m-downloads-during-one-week-in-march/

3.The CEO of the video conferencing platform company has apologized for the security holes that have allowed a rash of “Zoombombing” incidents. Motley Fool, April 2, 2020, fool.com/investing/2020/04/02/zoom-daily-active-users-surge-to-200-million-in-ma.aspx

4.Taylor Lorenz. Zoombombing’: When Video Conferences Go Wrong, New York Times, April 7, 2020, nytimes.com/2020/03/20/style/zoombombing-zoom-trolling.html

5.Brian Feldman. Is It Safe to Use Zoom? New York Magazine, April 9, 2020, nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/the-zoom-app-has-a-lot-of-security-problems.html

6.The 2019 Cost of a Data Breach Report, IBM/Ponemon Institute, digitalguardian.com/blog/whats-cost-data-breach-2019

7.COVID-19 Software Industry Statistics, Trust Radius, April 9th, 2020, trustradius.com/vendor-blog/covid-19-software-industry-data-and-statistics

8.J.R. Simmons. Adapting to the IT Challenges of Remote Work, No Jitter, March 18, 2020, nojitter.com/team-collaboration-tools-workspaces/adapting-it-challenges-remote-work

9.Jim Farnsworth 5 Technology Advances Creating a Secure WAH Model, Sykes, sykes.com/thought-leadership/5-technology-advances-creating-secure-work-home-business-model/

10.Rapid shift to working from home creates new IT challenges, Hewett Packard, March 19, 2020, hpe.com/us/en/insights/articles/rapid-shift-to-working-from-home-creates-new-it-challenges-2003.html

11.Aryaka’s Fourth Annual State of the WAN Report Reveals 2020 Insights From 1000+ Global Enterprises Top Issues Include WAN Complexity, SD-WAN Adoption and Migration to Managed Services; Future Plans Include AI/ML, 5G and IoT Adoption, Aryaka, April 22, 2020, aryaka.com/press/aryakas-fourth-annual-state-of-the-wan-report-reveals-2020-insights-from-1000-global-enterprises/

12.Chris Herd. Remote Work is the Next Operating System for Living, Thrive Global, April 15, 2020, thriveglobal.com/stories/remote-work-is-the-next-operating-system-for-living/

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