IT Focus Area: infrastructure operations
December 12, 2018
5 Solutions for a Remote Workforce
In today’s workforce, more and more potential employees are looking for flexibility and a work/life balance. The best talent in IT—or any industry—wants to be able to work from anywhere, at any time, and on any device. Work no longer means commuting to a brick and mortar location, it’s now about flexibility and work that fits into their schedule. There is a demand for instant, secure access to critical business apps, desktops and data while on the go… or simply from the coffee shop down the street.
How to enable a remote workforce
To ensure your organization can offer the type of flexibility employees are coming to expect, while also keeping your business needs in sight and secure, there are a few things to consider. It’s a good idea to have specific tools in place to meet everyone’s needs. Solutions and important things to take into consideration include:
- Application management
- Application and desktop virtualization
- Visibility into apps, desktops and user analytics
- Flexibility, speed and access
Let’s take a deeper look at these five areas.
By utilizing an application management solution, your business can allow employees access to all the apps they need to do their work anywhere, at any time, while maintaining one centralized management platform. Additionally, enterprise-wide network and application management solutions can provide real-time analytics, giving more visibility across the infrastructure. Administrators can then identify and address application performance issues across the infrastructure as they occur, and maintain all security requirements.
Other benefits of application management solutions include:
- Reduced operational costs and simplified tasks
- Analytics that provide actionable insights
- Automated workloads
- Simplified application deployment and reduced access disruptions
- Support for multi-cloud and hybrid environments
Application and desktop virtualization
It’s important to provide a secure but simple user experience that will encourage productivity regardless of whether employees are accessing the resources from a corporate-owned system or a personal device. Remote employees expect real-time responses from work apps regardless of physical location or devices used. An application and desktop virtualization solution that can optimize and adapt to a wide variety of variables will help to meet all of these user expectations. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions can get you there and free your teams from the limitations of traditional desktop and application management.
A VDI solution will:
- Give users a real-time experience that is indistinguishable from using a local desktop
- Be flexible enough for continued innovation without multiple hardware replacements
- Enable more user productivity
- Simplify application delivery with a greater return on investments
- Enable IT to package and deliver any app in minutes, on any hypervisor or cloud
Other beneficial aspects include single sign-on for SaaS apps, as well as portals that can combine all pertinent applications and files in one place. Additionally, virtual applications and desktops will run apps from or in the data center rather than on the user’s endpoint device, which will allow for remote/mobile connectivity from any device, at any time.
Visibility into apps, desktops and user analytics
IT needs visibility into application traffic flows in order to identify, understand and fix any application performance issues, address user-access issues, and ensure a high-performance user experience across the board. In addition, visibility into a user’s access details is essential for troubleshooting access failure issues. Network administrators will want to know when a user is not able to log on to a service, as well as the activity of that user and the reasons for logon failure, in order to resolve any issues.
Solutions that provide IT with more visibility will allow them to:
- Review application statuses via a dashboard, and then deep-dive into the details for faster troubleshooting
- Collect data from on-premises data centers and the cloud
- Map applications to infrastructure, so applications can always be managed end to end
- Integrate with orchestration and management systems
- Monitor and manage traffic, and manage user authentication and endpoint issues
With so many different mobile devices and apps needing to access corporate resources, security can be extremely complex. You don’t want people intercepting sensitive information or vital data, or not allowing employees access to imperative applications due to lack of security. You must begin by ensuring that any apps employees use that access servers have security measures in place to protect all data and prevent unauthorized users.
Security solutions should be put in place that can manage various platforms and devices, such as:
- Wiping capabilities
- App blacklists or whitelists
- Compliance notifications
- Protection against compromised websites
- Data loss prevention
Digital workspaces require solutions that protect against familiar threats while anticipating new and emerging threats to sensitive business data and personal information—all without undermining productivity or impeding legitimate access. Next-generation secure remote access solutions help IT craft security strategies that consolidate resources, facilitate cost efficiencies, improve user experiences and assure the effectiveness of business compliance strategies.
Flexibility, speed and access
Software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) is a service that provides the ability to dynamically connect branch offices and data centers on a global scale. As companies utilize a growing number of cloud-based applications, traditional WAN networks are unable to maintain acceptable speeds and optimized connectivity. Compared to a traditional routing hardware deployment, SD-WAN offers the flexibility to control connection efficiency even during periods of high network demand.
The benefits of using a SD-WAN solution include:
- Improved application performance and quality of service
- Reduced costs and scaled capacity
- Increased flexibility to prioritize business-critical applications over other network traffic
- Increased connection security across the WAN as applications and data migrate to the cloud
These five areas are the first things to consider when planning how to build out the ability to provide remote options for your employees. By doing so, employees will be happier and more productive. Consider working with a partner or solutions integrator to help you determine exactly what your organization might need to get started.