The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business. It was the unfortunate push many companies needed to realize how physically being at the workplace isn’t fundamental to doing one’s job well.
Remote work is here to stay, but in what form? What challenges do IT departments face in adapting infrastructure to accommodate remote access and cloud integration? We explore these themes and more below.
Overcast Horizons – The Meteoric Rise of Cloud Computing
Technology frontrunners realized the cloud’s potential years before the pandemic. COVID made remote work mandatory overnight, so even stragglers caught up. Establishing effective communication was a priority. Cloud services that provided it grew exponentially in the early days.
The platforms workers now use to share files, keep in touch, and manage their projects are cloud-based. The pandemic might have declined, but such tools remain essential. Studies project that software as a service (SaaS) in general will increase its market share significantly by 2025 and beyond.
The Benefits of Cloud-Driven Remote Work
Cloud services retain their appearance and functionality regardless of one’s access point. That allows workers to seamlessly shift between the office and remote work yet have access to the same set of tools and data. The synergy between cloud services and remote work has other benefits. Here are a few.
A drop in productivity was among the significant concerns managers feared during COVID’s early days. Organizations had to scramble to deploy effective and sustainable remote work practices. This would have taken much longer otherwise. It’s also true that not all employees have a home environment suitable for maintaining professional standards.
Things have settled down in the meantime. It’s become clear that remote work doesn’t negatively impact productivity. If anything, not needing to waste time commuting or on unnecessary interactions lets remote workers focus on getting things done.
File sharing and storage
Timely file access is paramount for any agile team. A shared yet controlled file storage space accessible from anywhere is one of cloud computing’s greatest benefits. The best services have easy-to-use interfaces and offer generous capacities so that even large files or batches aren’t off-limits.
The cloud already stores the majority of corporate data. This obliges providers to keep investing in infrastructure and security. Users also have great flexibility when deciding whom to give access to.
Being able to share your files securely with specific individuals or only at certain times brings peace of mind. So do backups and encryption cloud storage providers offer, as a matter of course.
The company culture needn’t suffer either. Adopting a hybrid working model lets teams maintain cohesion. Business chat and video conferencing cloud services have become adequate substitutes when few people are at the office. Since users can be part of different groups or interact individually, getting crucial advice is often just a message or video chat away.
What IT Infrastructure Challenges Does Remote Work Bring?
The move from on-prem to remote working from anywhere puts considerable strain on existing IT infrastructure. The challenges are multi-faceted but ultimately boil down to matters of security and performance.
It’s easier to ensure all endpoints are up-to-date and compliant when everyone is accessing the company network from a single physical location. Remote work disperses the employees and makes it harder to account for negligence. For example, workers may use unauthorized devices to interface with company networks. Any remote access must be secure, so organizations need to invest in VPNs. Additionally, companies should maintain endpoint security by informing employees about how important to create strong login credentials and use a password manager.
Integration with numerous cloud services puts further pressure on networks already struggling before the shift. Such services speed work up. However, productivity may still suffer if employees experience lag, fail to download files, or can’t video conference seamlessly.
The IT department can solve such issues by budgeting for more bandwidth. Network monitoring and optimization have also become more critical than ever.
It makes sense that a business will want its employees to use the network responsibly and productively. On the other hand, monitoring helps pinpoint bottlenecks and lets the IT team set up which services get priority access.
Remote work can lead to a reduction in office space requirements. As communication and collaboration move to decentralized cloud networks, the need for physical on-site servers decreases too. Even so, some data remains too sensitive for someone else to store. Additionally, bespoke services or applications may not be compatible with cloud integration.
Cloud-driven remote work has a profound impact both on IT infrastructure and the way employees approach their daily responsibilities. The benefits are evident as cloud services empower employees to work smarter and more efficiently.
As long as a company’s IT department anticipates and plans for the accompanying challenges, everyone benefits in the long run.