UK Wide Disruption
The travel chaos caused by the recent freak weather is costing thousands in lost revenue as workers across the UK are unable to get in to the office.
Over the next few weeks many businesses will be assessing their Business Continuity plans in light of the weather and calculating just how it has affected them by not having suitable plans in place.
Spring have worked with dozens of companies, to assess and understand their business practices and to ensure that all areas of Business Continuity are addresses. Sure we take care of all the normal stuff, such as backups, live replications, disaster recovery sites, etc… however with the snow on everyone’s mind at the moment we are going to look at how employees can successfully work from home.
Getting the hardware right is really important, if you are still using desktops within the Company, its time to start re-considering your strategy. The cost of a well spec’d laptop these days isn’t far off a desktop so invest a little extra and buy your staff a laptop. Allocating laptops will serve a few good purposes, not only are they going to solve your remote-working problem but your employees will love you too, plus they are more likely to work on things in the evenings as well. Don’t forget to make in Company policy that employees must take laptops home with them every day, they are no good if that have been left in the office overnight!
Now that your staff are stranded at home with their laptops you need to address how they are actually going to work and what applications they need. Before this they will of course need to connect to the corporate network to gain access to all the systems (applications, e-mail, network drives, phones etc..) almost everyone now has WiFi at home and can manage to connect their laptop to the home WiFi network. Once connected you have to consider VPN or something else. VPN works well, however it requires the users to manually establish the connection, typically by entering another password, maybe involving an RSA token for two-factor authentication, again something adding to the complexity. Spring are advocates of Microsoft Direct Access a technology which establishes a secure connection back to the office once the user has an Internet connection, there really is nothing for the users to do, once they have logged in and connected to WiFi the laptop will automatically connect to the network as if they are in the office.
Ok, so now we now that Microsoft Direct Access can provide our users with seamless connectivity back to the network as if they were working in the office, and will give us access to all our applications we next need to give our users the voice and collaboration tools that they need to communicate.
Enter Skype for Business…
If you don’t know what Microsoft’s Skype for Business is already click here to find out more. However, let’s just say that this is slowly replacing traditional phone systems and one of the most disruptive technologies in the voice marketplace right now. With Skype for Business (SfB) deployed in your organisation users will simply be able to plug in a USB headset and start making and receiving calls. In fact, not only calls, but see who else is on-line, send Instant Messages, Share Desktops and Create Conference calls.
In short, by investing in the right technology, the smart technology, you can give your business an edge over the competition while at the same time empowering your staff to do more from anywhere.