Businesses need to be ready for anything, no matter their size. Contingency plans must be in place for all aspects of the business. Critical components of business operations, such as network infrastructure and broadband connectivity, cannot be overlooked.
However, if the business community has learned anything in the last couple of weeks, it is that their networks may not be as reliable or as secure as they thought.
The new coronavirus (COVID-19) has prompted many companies and organizations to move all employees out of offices and instruct employees to work from home whenever possible.
But these employers are learning what others have long known: remote work on a larger scale can cause significant strain on IT infrastructure. That’s why it has never been more important for businesses of all sizes to keep their systems in check and up to date. If they don’t, companies run the risk of encountering severe lag times or complete outages. Productivity suffers once either of those scenarios occurs.
With employers both large and small starting to urge many or all of their employees to begin working from home to help keep them safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19, now is the time to make sure networks can remain stable and secure.
As employees begin to work from home, businesses are beginning to see the internet and wireless networks they rely on to connect with employees come under pressure.
The networks aren’t just trying to keep businesses connected, though. Businesses are competing with other heavy broadband users that have made many of the same social distancing decisions, including schools and universities. Many of these education institutions have enacted remote learning plans, which means while mom and dad continue to work from home, their children may also be logged in and using the same internet connection.
The FCC has warned that this increase in internet use could reveal weak points in our broadband ecosystem. In fact, the internet itself is already slowing in some areas. According to the New York Times, that is already on display in the form of slower download speeds and decreased video playback quality.
Internet service providers are doing what they can to make sure internet access remains available, but demand and traffic are at unprecedented highs.
Employers specifically may start to see issues with virtual private networks, or VPNs, according to a CNN article. VPNs allow employees who are working off-site to access an employer’s internal data, software and other tools. But experts have warned that many companies do not have VPNs that are capable of entire workforces working online and using the system all at the same time.
Then there are the cloud computing services and collaboration tools that many companies rely upon to serve up their information to employees, wherever they may be. These services are also under a lot of pressure to remain active without hiccups. It’s not clear if this can happen for everyone, which is why your business needs to act now to make the most out of this situation.
Some companies began making the necessary upgrades to how they operate on the cloud long before COVID-19 became such a major concern. They are in better shape than businesses that are just now realizing how much they rely on those cloud computing services and tools to operate.
Planning for a transition to the cloud is not a short process. To make a successful transition, there is a lot of work to be done. However, companies can prioritize what data and tools are absolutely needed to remain operational and get those running via cloud computing.
Businesses looking to move more of their operations to the cloud - or move to the cloud for the first time - need to know how to make that transition possible.
First, know how much cloud storage space is needed. Then, you can compare public vs. private cloud services. Large and data-heavy businesses may want to look into a private cloud. These are often more flexible, scalable and can be more secure.
Public clouds are more common, though. They often have lower cost, fewer maintenance requirements on the company’s end and can scale exponentially. They are also highly reliable. Small and medium businesses may want to further investigate public cloud options.
From there, you will want to determine what data, tools and other needs must be transitioned to the cloud in order to keep operations running as close to normal as possible. You will also want to keep data secure during the transition to the cloud.
A managed IT service provider can help make this transition as easy as possible.
Companies will also learn quickly what type of equipment and collaboration tools their employees need in order for the entire business to continue to function when teams are working from home.
Take stock of any existing cloud services your workforce already uses. Are there other cloud services that make functions such as communication, transactions, project management, etc. more accessible for everyone when they are working away from the office?
Also, ensure that each employee working from home has the proper hardware needed to connect. Now would be the time to invest in any needed computing hardware upgrades, especially for laptops or other work-related mobile devices that will be used by remote employees.
At Advanced Network Professionals, we are experts in cloud computing solutions and managed IT services. Our experienced technicians can get your business - large or small - set up to allow for all of your employees to work remotely without suffering productivity loss.
Cloud-based solutions can grow with your company. Get in touch with us and we will help you, every step of the way, to identify the needs of your business and employees that could be met by various cloud services.
We can also check your existing network and IT infrastructure to prepare for an increased workload and address security risks before they have an opportunity to evolve into problems.
Contact ANP to discuss your business’s needs.