8 tips to enable a cloud-based remote workforce

 In AWS, Azure, Cloud, Hybrid, Virtualization

Only a third of people in the United States worked remotely prior to March 4, according to a Workhuman survey. A mere three weeks later, the reality is starkly different.

Thousands of employees nationwide are being told by their employers or their government officials to stay and work from home with no clear answers on when the restriction will lift.

With so much uncertainty, one thing is crystal clear: Your organization needs a business continuity plan in place to minimize disruptions and enable employees to do their jobs from home.

Cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft offer platforms for employees to securely work remotely with cloud virtual desktops and remote app access. And over the last week, we’ve seen a sharp uptick in customer requests to scale out the number of virtual desktops in the cloud, rapidly interconnect public clouds to customers’ on-premises networks, and preconfigure remote access to Microsoft Azure services, like Windows Virtual Desktops (WVD) and Remote Desktop Services (RDS), or Amazon AWS WorkSpaces and AppStream with core business applications.

If you find yourself suddenly playing catch up, now tasked with enabling access to core applications and data in the cloud, consider these tips:

  1. Confirm that your staff can reach your cloud-based hosted desktops, applications, and services directly using HTTPS or SSL without having to go through the company network. Eliminating any single point of failure reduces potential downtime in the most critical of situations.
  2. Implement two-factor authentication using smart cards, security keys, or mobile devices. This will add additional layers of security for individuals truly authorized to access your data.
  3. Ensure you have enough bandwidth coming into your company to handle any increased remote traffic. Then consider doubling it. The last thing you need is a poor – or no – user experience, which eventually equates to productivity loss.
  4. If leveraging Azure, consider implementing technology like Azure File Sync to replicate data on-premises to the cloud to make it accessible, modifiable and maintain replication, and limit reliance on a virtual private network (VPN) connection.
  5. Validate you have backups, redundancy, and scale-up capability designed into your services so your employees can keep working when the extra traffic makes your primary services slow down.
  6. If using user-initiated VPN, ensure all remote employees can access it and that you have enough licenses for everyone working remotely.
  7. Enable the necessary logging and diagnostics tools so you can quickly mitigate and troubleshoot the user experience or connectivity issues.
  8. Clearly document all technology protocols and instructions and include visuals. For many users, this may be their first time working remotely and using extra layers of authentication. Clear documentation will help lower the learning curve and eliminate calls to the Help Desk.

We know how important the right technology is for your organization to continue to operate, serve customers, and support employees. And now, more than ever, we know time is of the essence.

Whether you already had a business continuity place in place, or you’re rushing to stand up a solution now, these tips will help ensure you’re on the right path.

SHI remains available and committed to helping our customers meet the technology demands of this new work reality. If you need help, please contact your SHI Account Executive.

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