NetMotion

Will they stay, or will they go (back to the office)?
Getting the technology stack right.

August 2021

Managing the technology stack for on and off-site working

Change has been the order of the day for well over a year now. Initially, organisations had to steer a course away from the traditional office environment towards managing an increasingly distributed workforce (all the while keeping a focus on productivity). Globally, the COVID pandemic merely served to accelerate this move towards agile, remote working whilst organisations of all shapes and sizes invested in the appropriate infrastructure and tools. So things looked good – employees had the ability to remain productive using secure devices when working from home (WFH). And WFH initially had the blessing of even the mighty big tech with likes of Google, Facebook, Apple etc all seemingly poised to manage a (mostly) remote workforce. But things changed again and the mutterings were of a ‘partial’ return to the traditional office environment and big tech appeared to be less keen on having so many workers away from the office.

So the only certainty seems to be change and with flexible working environments expected to continue for the foreseeable future, organisations now need to figure out how their technology stack may change accordingly. We can expect some workers to return to the traditional office environment, some workers will continue to work from home, and some will combine both scenarios along with stints in hotels, airports and even trains and buses. With all of this in  mind then, how can organisations cover all the bases so to speak? What technology investment(s) can meet the challenges of hybrid or flexible working habits?

Is it all about User Experience (UX)?

How important is user experience for your organisation? Arguably, the better the user experience for your workforce, the more productive they will be which in turn should have a positive impact on billing. And closely related to the notion of UX here is the issue of connectivity. We are not necessarily talking about bad connectivity necessarily, but improving the performance of traffic over any given connection. Also, you need to understand the day-to- day environment of different users. For example, are they always in the office or always at home? Do they only use their laptops or phones in certain places, like on the train? By focusing on these users you might be able to solve the vast majority of negative UX.

A useful analogy here is the comparison of 3G to 4G. People didn’t know what was good until they experienced something better – 3G was great until they had 4G. It’s about the level of expectation. Consider things like Application Persistence (not all apps need it, but many do) and

Traffic Optimisation solutions. Improving (optimising) the traffic often improves UX. Split tunnelling is also useful from a connectivity/UX point of view as it serves to send the traffic through a tunnel when connectivity/packet level drops below a certain point.

Getting remote access security right

The pandemic has had a huge influence on technology overall. Most organisations are trying to manage a workforce that work from their homes, from other locations outside of the office, and on diverse networks. And when you factor-in access requirements (employees could be using the public web or on-premise applications, for example), it’s easy to see why something like secure access service edge (SASE) is leading many technology conversations these days. In essence, SASE represents the ‘new normal’ from a security perspective of how we now need to work. That means saying goodbye to a working world that is focussed on the perimeter whilst organisations look to add cloud security to their existing on premises protection. With SASE, a different approach is needed other than that offered by legacy technology and includes all the tools and mechanisms required to provide optimal security to a remote workforce.

However you choose to look at the shape of your workforce today – WFH, hybrid, remote – one thing remains true for all organisations; it is much more complex for the IT teams of today to keep workers connected, in a secure and productive way, from wherever they might be working. For example, does your organisation currently suffer from fragmented, secure access? If so, then consider adopting a remote access solution that is unique and dedicated for all of your workforce. This is a good place to start your journey (unless you have already done so) with the concept of zero-trust, or zero trust network architecture (ZTNA).

Steve is planning on returning to the office on a full-time basis. Dan wants to continue to WFH as long as possible. Sarah is looking at mixing things up as she’s in sales and is on the road a lot. This scenario is very likely a reality for your organisation (and countless others). It is equally important that Steve, Dan and Sarah enjoy optimal user experience and can all work as productively as possible. Keeping them all connected with security front and foremost is a challenge that can be resolved by investing in the right technology.

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    2021-08-27T11:41:56+00:00
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