Adjusting Your IT Strategy to Support the Remote Workforce

This past year has been disruptive to businesses and how they organize and deploy their IT resources. The pandemic forced companies to quickly adapt their IT infrastructures to support employees as they worked from home. This accelerated cloud adoption and the integration of virtual services into corporate IT strategies allowed IT teams to more effectively manage systems and rapidly respond to issues as they faced the digital impacts of COVID-19.  

As companies look to the future, it is clear that the remote workforce is here to stay. To adapt to this change for the long-term, businesses need to shift the way they think about IT. While organizations have traditionally developed IT strategies to meet the demands of the business, this new environment will require businesses to focus on addressing the needs of geographically dispersed workers on a large scale. This presents a number of new challenges for IT decision makers. 

Remote employees need to work as efficiently and effectively as they did in the office. This requires access to the necessary applications and data without sacrificing speed, security or reliability. To support this, businesses will need to architect and execute IT strategies that incorporate more remote, nontraditional markets into their existing ecosystems. This challenge is best met with a hybrid IT solution that allows organizations to closely and cost-effectively match specific workloads to the best deployment models—whether on-premise, cloud or colocation. This offers businesses the flexibility to get exactly what they need, where they need it, with the necessary performance, control, security and compliance to accommodate the needs of their decentralized workforces. 

To effectively build a hybrid IT architecture that meets these requirements, businesses must focus on three key factors that impact the productivity and collaboration of remote users:

The edge strategy. To support the influx of employees outside of traditional corporate hubs, businesses will need an edge strategy to place applications and data closer to end users. Utilizing strategically located data centers, organizations can create pods of infrastructure to minimize latency and strengthen productivity, while attracting and retaining the best talent wherever they are. 

Connectivity. As businesses integrate edge deployments and cloud solutions into their IT architectures, they will need to securely and reliably connect these diverse infrastructures and link them back to the enterprise core. Additionally, with remote workers connecting via home internet services, the security behind this connectivity will be more critical than ever.  

Virtual technologies. Virtual technologies such as desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) will also help businesses support remote employees. DaaS virtualizes the desktop environment, providing users with the applications and data they need from any location and any device. With DaaS, IT teams can centrally manage the desktop environment to rapidly provision and deprovision desktop access, update or change the desktop image, onboard new employees, troubleshoot employee workspaces, and perform security updates and patches from a centralized server with a click of a button. This unified management also heightens visibility and control over the desktop environment to improve the corporate security posture. 

The integration of edge strategies, cloud computing and virtual solutions to support the distributed workforce will continue to be critical for survival post COVID-19, bolstering the value of a hybrid IT strategy. While hybrid IT provides the needed flexibility and control, it can also create a vendor sprawl as the varied solutions likely do not sit in one place or with one provider. This complicates the management of the IT solution, forcing businesses to pay multiple bills, stitch together their own network between disparate environments, make multiple service and supports calls, and manage multiple relationships with varied levels of service.  

Flexential can solve this issue by providing a full suite of technology capabilities—from colocation and cloud to connectivity and managed services—with a single partner. We help businesses navigate complex IT issues, offering best practices and lessons-learned from years of experience devising and executing personalized hybrid IT environments at scale.  

With 40 geographically dispersed data centers, Flexential can provide strategic colocation and cloud deployments to suit production, disaster recovery and edge strategies. Flexential’s private 100 Gbps network backbone securely and reliably interconnects our fleet of data centers and provides access to carrier hotels, hyperscale cloud providers and the public internet to support distributed architectures. The built-in redundancy and consistent management and monitoring of the network further ensures uninterrupted access and peak performance. Businesses can also use our DaaS capabilities to virtualize, manage and secure the desktop environment.  

Looking ahead, a hybrid IT infrastructure provides a flexible path for organizations to choose the specific deployment models and locations to support the organization, its distributed workforce and any other changes the future holds.