Beyond the Band-Aid

Most businesses turned to quick band-aid fixes to solve virtual work issues during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, including virtual private networks (VPN), video conferencing, and VOIP solutions that forward work calls to the team at home. Companies experienced many hurdles to get their employees the right tools to get their work done and turned to significant workarounds to service customers in a completely remote environment.

As states reopen our economy, we’re still in a new environment where virtual work will be part of the new normal. Working parents may need to continue virtual work until schools and childcare services fully open. Some employees may prefer to work from home more regularly, or businesses may decide to reduce office costs and continue the work from home model. Forward thinking businesses also need to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders again this coming fall and winter season.

All this to say that temporary solutions are fine when they are “temporary.” But remote work is becoming more the norm than the exception, and that means you need to find a reliable, permanent solution.

Preparing for the New Normal

According to Michael Thompson, co-founder of Sky Data Vault: “We all need to be more proactive about our IT needs. Flexible, scalable, and accessible mission-critical applications and infrastructure are crucial in every organization’s plan moving forward. Now is also the time to rethink how we spend our time and money when it comes to IT. Some businesses may want to outsource the burden of monitoring, managing, and maintaining IT infrastructure to stay laser-focused on your core mission. Organizations who are agile and adaptive will have the competitive advantage in 2020.”

As we begin to see more and more companies start to evaluate longer-term IT solutions, the key will be to look at what worked during stay-at-home orders and how to better prepare if it happens again. What you’ll want to put in place is more agile, flexible, and scalable technology that can be managed with less internal resources. It is wise to think through all the scenarios and requirements to be better prepared.

Start by Asking the Right Questions

Business leaders need to have an honest conversation with their technology team. Some questions to ask:

Look at Risk

  • How did you handle backup and disaster recovery when your office was closed?
  • How are you protecting company infrastructure and confidential data when workers are using personal devices to access company information?
  • Did you find there were limits to your ability to protect, recover, and ensure your networks were secure while phishing levels reached new highs?
  • What is our confidence level for being prepared if we have stay-at-home orders again this fall?

Resource Limitations

  • Were you satisfied with the speed at which you could turn your internal infrastructure to a remote environment?
  • How much time, effort, and costs were involved for your organization?
  • Did you face any service limitations due to:
    • Terminal Server Capacity
    • Virtual private networks (VPN) licensing
    • Bandwidth at headquarters/Infrastructure site
    • File servers or other mission-critical applications running at or near capacity

If you had capital expenditures planned for IT infrastructure, consider highly elastic and pay-as-you-go options. Those who faced furloughs may want to explore managed services to help them run with reduced resources in their IT departments.

Evaluating Your IT Needs

As you assess your IT needs going forward, look for a managed services provider that can support your needs now, and quickly adapt as your needs change. Consider business in the cloud solutions that provide high-performance tools for your team, no matter where they work.

As you think about next steps and how to manage a workforce that needs flexible work arrangements (sometimes at a moment’s notice), we can help. We’ll work with you by looking at your current situation, asking questions that’ll help you plan for your future needs, and provide the guidance you need to make the best decision for your company.

Contact us today to evaluate the right technology options for your business so you’re fully prepared for what the future may bring.

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