The recent work-from-home surge is impacting end-users and IT professions in very different ways. This is a two-part series on what we’re terming, The Work Anywhere Device Conundrum. In part one of this series, we’ll discuss: Enablement of workers while maintaining sufficient security, end-user devices – dependent on unique software needs – and lastly, VPN connection dynamics related to the end-user device type.
Enabling Productive Employees While Maintaining A Rock-Solid Security Posture
Work from home (WFH) use cases have exploded as companies look to comply with stay at home mandates. For some, this change is amounting to nothing more than “business as usual” from a professional perspective. For others, this is presenting a real challenge to not only be able to work from home but to remain as productive as they were when working from the office.
This challenge is rooted in the fact that corporate environments are sterile by design in order to balance security and performance. However, employees working from home want to keep personal devices customized to them in ways that are often far less secure than what your corporate best practices allow.
IT must bridge these two extremes to allow users to be productive during this time. Below are a few scenarios IT is likely to run into and some options to enable workers while maintaining an acceptable security posture.
Already Implemented Virtual Desktops or Remote Application Delivery
For companies that have already implemented desktop or application virtualization, this should be an easier exercise. There will be some items to check into before pulling the trigger. We’ll assume for now that end users all have sufficient bandwidth at their home.
- End User Devices – IT is likely to run into a multitude of different end user devices in the home office. If the current solutions are browser-based then users should be fine. If a client is needed, IT will have to lay out the types of devices that users will need to use to connect to the infrastructure. IT will also need to provide documentation for how to access the environment for any users that will be doing so for the first time.
- Additional Infrastructure – The current solution may be designed to service 20% of the workforce for instance. So, IT may need to acquire additional data center hardware and software to facilitate all users. While writing a check is pretty easy, management needs to be cognizant that there may be hurdles to simply adding more hardware that could result in additional spending outside of the direct hardware and licensing costs. For example, to add the remaining 80% of the workforce, IT must acquire a new SAN as the current model will not support that much additional storage or horsepower.
Users on Laptops Today
For users that are on laptops today, their experience should be roughly the same assuming they are using a VPN to connect to the corporate network today. However, the business will still need to address their corporate voice solution, an issue which Evolve IP discusses in great detail on the business collaboration section of our site.
In part two of this series, on The Work Anywhere Device Conundrum, we’ll dive into the three dynamics with VPN design that need to be address, as well as options to consider while deciding whether to bring the corporate desktops home for work, or to use existing personal devices. Stay tuned.