Permitting – even encouraging – employees to work remotely is a growing trend in the U.S. and worldwide. Thanks to today’s cloud-based technologies and collaboration tools, employees are able to work together, even when they are at opposite ends of the world.
A recent study found close to half (48 percent) of companies in both China and the U.S. actively encourage people to work anywhere from any device. For the average worker, this is great news. Working from home offers flexibility, eliminates commute time and studies have shown it can actually increase productivity.
Whether employees are working from home, logging on from a satellite office or from a smartphone on the road, network technology has to keep up with the global landscape of business – and that’s where the challenge lies for IT departments. Not only has the way employees work changed dramatically, expectations for site and application performance have only increased. Remote workers require the same speed and availability working remotely as they do at corporate headquarters.
To support this trend toward remote work, enterprise businesses have had to rethink their network infrastructure. How can businesses beef up their networks in order to support and accelerate applications to their remote employees? And, more importantly keep the applications and network secure. Let’s take a look.
Look to the Cloud
Traditional solutions to website and web application acceleration included hardware-based WAN acceleration products. While it works on some levels, today’s business environment make them increasingly ineffective.
First off, because it’s hardware, IT professionals must expend capital budget and then tend to the hardware (deployment, repairs, etc.) for the length of its useful life. Today’s worker is dependent on real-time communication and dynamic content, both high-bandwidth content that places stress on the WAN. Furthermore, even advanced WAN optimization solutions will struggle to scale as a company (and the number of employees) grows.
Adopting a cloud infrastructure and/or leverage a cloud-based acceleration product is a forward-thinking solution. It’s provides more flexibility in terms of growth and on-demand capabilities. Content delivery networks, with application acceleration for dynamic content, shorten response time and decrease latency. By partnering with a service, companies have less capital expenditure and liability and can include the cost in the operational budget.
Build in Security
The top challenge to cloud projects? Security. A December 2015 survey by Netwrix reveals concerns over cloud security persist for the majority of IT professionals. When it comes to migrating to the cloud, 65 percent of respondents were concerned with security.
There’s no question providing a secure access point to company data and applications is essential. The tried and true solution is a VPN to log into network servers, but there are newer solutions out there designed to protect the cloud-based applications workers need to access daily.
An enterprise application security solution provides layered application security and a secure cloudlet-based environment for employees and other authorized users (i.e. contractors or freelancers) to access enterprise applications. Users are authenticated outside the infrastructure reducing unauthorized access and protecting critical applications. Coupled with a global content delivery network, this solution can be both secure and accelerated solution to optimize user experience.
Be Ready for Any Device Access
Mobile will continue to drive changes in how employees work. As investments are made in cloud-based technologies, whether it’s a collaboration tool or customer relationship management (CRM), performance optimization should also be considered.
Cloud-based acceleration solutions provide the flexibility needed to handle users with different types of devices. It can speed the data-rich and dynamic content of a Web 2.0 program to geographically diverse users in the same way it can accelerate content to customers.
Find the Right Partners
Supporting employees working from diverse locations is not something that businesses should do alone. Assembling the right team of vendors to support the endeavor is incredibly important. Whether it’s a cloud storage, global data center, or content delivery network, be sure the vendor can provide your company with the service to fit your business needs and ongoing support to make it successful.