In 2019, your IT nightmare scenario probably centered around threats to the datacenter. Fast forward to 2020, and now you’re dealing with a vacant corporate office and nearly all of your teams going 100% remote overnight. That is not even to mention the myriad of concomitant surprises cropping up as customers, employees and other businesses struggle to adjust to the new world order, creating a ripple effect on everything, not least of all, your network.
In the context of what is essentially a global crisis, it can feel gauche to turn the focus to business continuity, but the reality is that keeping businesses operational and as close to normal as possible will prove to be an essential part of weathering this disaster.
On the positive side, we are fortunate that in today’s digital world, we have the technology to make that vision a reality, while still protecting the safety of your workforce. The key will be keeping your business and your workforce connected, and to impose control over the home office network environment.
Fortunately, there are network solutions that your IT team can rapidly deploy to establish – or reinstate – order amid the chaos for your remote workers struggling with internet connectivity problems.
The big question: How can you maintain internet connectivity in the home office and protect VPN resources to keep critical employees connected to critical applications in their new 100% remote environments?
IT Business Continuity Scenarios
There is a broad range of scenarios to consider for IT business continuity planning. But here are some of the unique challenges your business may be facing during COVID-19.
- Security vulnerabilities of the home network environment
- Over consumption of VPN resources
- Inconsistent connectivity of critical workers
- Poor application QoE in the home office
IT Business Continuity Plan for COVID-19
Here is the situation: your business has gone from less than a 40% remote workforce (statistically speaking) to virtually 100% remote overnight. Now, you need to find a way to ensure internet connectivity and application performance for the remote worker so that they stay connected to major projects.
A major challenge you're facing is keeping critical workers connected who have never worked 100% remote outside of the corporate office. These are the key areas you need to focus on to regain business continuity for your critical workers during COVID-19.
1. Leverage VPN to regain productivity for critical employees who are not typically remote
Many employees were never set up to be 100% remote for any extended period of time. Now, you need to protect their user experience and keep their key business applications working regardless of the state of their residential internet connection. Meanwhile you must also provide secure access to critical applications in the data center.
- Enhance VPN connectivity through the datacenter
- Ensure QoE for the apps they need to do their job
- Mitigate the unreliable and uncontrolled connectivity of their home internet
2. Insulate your remote workforce from global bandwidth hogs like YouTube, Netflix and Disney+
Telecom service providers are warning that internet traffic has already increased by 40% to support consumer applications like streaming services. You need to put safeguards in position for your most important employees to keep their productivity from being impacted by poor internet connections resulting from household internet use, residential overbooking, and a sudden increase in the number of on-net IoT devices.
- Enable critical employees to failover to the wireless business 4G backup in case the local network is compromised or down
- Ensure only business-appropriate traffic is crossing the VPN to prevent congestion
- Add application visibility and control to automatically control shadow IT and eliminate application downtime
3. Automatically steer critical application traffic to the most reliable internet connection to keep key business apps online
Keeping your workers connected means ensuring your most important business applications work as well over the remote connection as they do at your corporate offices. That means you need to enhance the connection of your high priority workers to prioritize business apps over less critical traffic.
- Leverage dynamic WAN selection to maintain the highest level of productivity for key business applications
- Keep household recreational applications from disrupting business apps like Salesforce, ERP, Skype, Teams, proprietary custom apps, etc.
- Keep the VPN clear of non-critical or recreational application traffic
4. Create network resilience for unexpected conditions - wireless business backup can be used for business traffic if home internet connection goes down
The key to establishing network resilience for your high priority remote workers that can rival the corporate office is to provide failover with a 4G wireless backup connection.
- Automatically protect the performance of the most important business applications by dynamically selecting the optimal connection in real-time
- Insulate your user experience by keeping non-prioritized applications like YouTube and Netflix off the VPN business link
5. Protect the capacity of the VPN by dropping unwanted traffic at the entry point (before it reaches the data center firewall)
Netflix is critical to maintaining sanity in the home, but it shouldn’t impact VPN traffic flowing to your datacenter. Enhance the visibility and control over your VPN connections so that you can drop unwanted traffic before it reaches the data center firewall.
- Use enhanced visibility and control to isolate and block recreational traffic that may be running over your remote workers’ home networks while they're unwittingly on the VPN
- Preserve the capacity of the VPN by ensuring all traffic is business related
6. Put a VPN endpoint in your employees’ offices without the need to distribute applications on laptops
Simplify how you upgrade your employees’ home office to keep them connected and productive. Add a VPN endpoint that is independent of employee laptops and home equipment to create a consistent one-step deployment for all remote workers.
- Eliminate the need to manually load applications onto individual employee laptops
- Reduce unique troubleshooting issues that can arise from handling upgrades on varied home-office machines and setups.
The greatest challenge is balancing the need to act quickly with a holistic solution that will set your people up to work productively from the safety of their own homes during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
We’ve spent the past month working with our customers to develop easy and rapidly deployed solutions to minimize disruption and facilitate the abrupt shift to a newly remote workforce.
By building a business continuity solution that takes into account the changeable nature of “headquarters” and “business as usual,” your organization will be strongly positioned to adapt to whatever the future may hold.
Check out these additional resources that explain how you can make fast, simple enhancements to your network that will immediately improve remote worker resilience, connectivity and productivity.
- How software defining the home office can ease remote working challenges
- Making sure critical workers have uninterrupted access while 100% remote