Remote Working Challenges

How software defining the home office can ease remote working challenges

Mike Wilkinson
Apr. 9 2020

In the past month, virtually every industry has been forced into a nearly 100% remote working scenario with its employee base. Employees without remote working facilities must rapidly adapt to remote working challenges. Until a few weeks ago, most businesses will have designed their IT infrastructure to accommodate mixed remote working among no more than 30-40% of their staff.

Even in those cases, the assumption is that the staff has a varied working pattern of in-office and remote, rather than solely remote. In other words, few businesses will have the infrastructure in place to support a now-nearly 100% remote workforce. Remote employees need to be able to operate within the compliance and security framework of that business, which will vary based on the industry segment in which they operate.

Netflix vs. business traffic on the VPN

Many business-critical services with compliance requirements which reside in the data center are used by workers who are typically office-based but are now displaced to home offices. It is these users who will need to connect to the data center via a VPN tunneling solution. This has created a surge in demand for home routers, laptops, and VPN tunneling equipment and licenses. According to data from Protocol magazine organizations are increasing their VPN license pool by a factor of 500%! This is a massive change for what was considered a dying technology only a few weeks back.

But changes do not stop there. With a potential five-fold increase in traffic hitting the data center network links from the internet, there is a significant risk of performance issues to those business-critical applications that the formerly office-based employees are using. Additionally, telecommunications service providers are warning that internet traffic has increased by over 40% due to the high consumption of content from Netflix and other streaming services. For this reason, regardless of regional fiber infrastructure, some services will inevitably be impacted and cause remote working challenges for your teams.

Business Continuity for Critical Workers

The company’s internet link is now the new virtual “front door” for a vast number of employees needing to work from home AND potentially the digital interface of the business to customers interfacing with externally-facing systems. Suddenly, the change to remote working has created a two-fold business performance issue both within and outside the organization.

How to respond quickly to remote working challenges

So, what to do? Beyond acquiring the necessary VPN licenses, increase the business internet connection as much as possible. But that could take time, and it may not be able to expand to a level needed by the business in the timescales required to immediately remedy remote working challenges. And as we know in networks, things change quickly, and there could be numerous unforeseen compliance and security issues around the corner. With this in mind, companies must add a second level of defense by increasing the level of application visibility and control on the DC bound internet connection. This ensures that the business knows exactly what is happening on the internet connection and can take measures to control it.

There are different types of visibility and control solutions out there today. What you will find is that many vendors have a sound library of applications that can be identified, but the key is to manage at a very granular level, ideally down at the session-level. Only with this level of granular control can you identify a specific user’s traffic and ensure it is managed to the intent of the business, which is more critical than ever given the dramatic changes in how both employees - and customers - are now engaging with businesses digitally.

For high criticality workers - such as C-suite, customer care, etc - you can extend your resilience even further by adding a remotely-controlled on-premise device to combine with their home gateway to carefully manage the traffic and ensure that competing applications like home education, streaming, or education are managed effectively, and even failover their connection to business wireless backup in the event of an interruption in their residential service.

Today, Infovista is the only company in the market that can provide the application visibility and control at this level of granularity, which delivers that second level of reassurance that your network can manage the remote user experience even in these most testing of times.

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Remote workers shouldn't have to compete with Netflix traffic on the VPN

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