According to SMB Group, 74% of SMBs had options for employees to work from home prior to COVID-19. (Impact of COVID-19 on Small and Medium Businesses Study) In the same study, only 1%-10% were working from home on a regular basis. Those that were lacking a telecommuting option had to implement them quickly and for those that were already utilizing work-from-home, it became a true test of efficiency and effectiveness.
In order to have productive employees and maintain continuity and business performance, the pandemic left businesses and organizations no choice but to pivot and strategize new policies and procedures. This included the need for employees to have the right hardware in place (is the employee’s laptop capable of running Microsoft Teams, Chat, Sharepoint, Slack, Zoom, AND the CRM?) And to readjust and scrutinize the software systems in place. (Is my chat secure and can we send sensitive documents back and forth on Slack or Dropbox?)
The benefits of working from home via cloud access were murky at first but now more than 50% of SMBs have said that ‘work from home’ has had a positive impact on employee productivity. Many plan on increasing their cloud budget for the 2021. (Impact of COVID-19 on Small and Medium Businesses Study)
As the ‘new normal’ evolves, the amount of money that companies have invested into developing the work from home infrastructure will greatly outweigh the desire to have employees back in the office. As companies and businesses grow and expand and the labor market once again tightens, talent will naturally gravitate toward the flexibility of working from home. This leaves businesses that have not adopted the telecommute strategy the problem of having to leverage top dollars for talent to keep them on premises or to be noncompetitive in the marketplace.
If employee morale and job satisfaction aren’t enough of a reason (as well as increased productivity), there are additional benefits to choosing cloud applications and services that allow remote employees to access the corporate resources they need to carry out their duties.
Businesses are increasingly utilizing cloud applications and services to support their users, irrespective of location. The reason is that the majority of new software being developed and distributed are platforms based in the cloud. If you want to gain access to using the platform you simply sign up a number of ‘users’ that have access to an application or program. This means that employees are able to access the information and tools they need to do business at any time and anywhere they need to.
Messaging platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack facilitate interactive discussions and improve team responsiveness. Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Cisco Webex, and Google Meet allow for team meetings, 1:1 meetings, and even phone calls. Content collaboration tools such as Box, Dropbox, and Google Drive make it easy to store, access, edit, and share files with built-in data security as well as compliance. These solutions are ideal for people accustomed to working in the office, ensuring that they are never disengaged from the data or resources they need to perform well.
Even better is putting cloud applications in a centralized hub. Integrating cloud applications is easy but there is still the issue of maintaining inventory. Associated with inventory is the physical accounting of a unit: how old is it, how is its performance, does it have hardware issues, and is it simply on its last legs due to negligence? As a business you have to account not only for its initial cost but also the depreciation factor of how long the device will last and be kept in production. That also factors in having staff available to maintain the device: does it need an upgrade, are the ports still in good operation, does the battery on the laptop have no life left, is the user upgrading the OS when prompted, etc.
As businesses move forward post-pandemic, there will be an increasing shift to centralizing, if only for maintenance purposes. For companies that have the funds available to look long term and spend for scalability, they will push it one step for and spend on a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). A VDI allows a company to set up a ‘central computer’ that employees will access from a thin client or zero client device. This central computer can be set up on a public cloud (like AWS or Microsoft Azure) or you can build your own datacenter and create your own company cloud (for companies that need more security like government, healthcare, banks, and defense). This eliminates the need for individual maintenance on each device and makes it easier to oversee access to specific resources. A company can roll out policies to verify that users have the correct permissions for what they are and are not authorized to access. IT can also configure these settings remotely, eliminating the task of visiting the office and ensuring that workers can access what they need while working from home with 24/7 remote access.
What companies and businesses ultimately are seeking is the ability to proceed doing business with as much convenience and as little interruption as possible. Being able to leverage a hybrid cloud situation is what most companies can take advantage of quickly with minimal disruption. After properly setting cybersecurity protocols including employee training, email protection and proper configuration of a VPN and access controls, businesses can pivot and scale successfully.
COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of cloud computing, and to stay competitive, businesses should leverage the technology to optimize IT infrastructure performance. ClearCube offers affordable, custom-designed and engineered cloud computing work from home bundles to optimize your company’s IT efficiency and maximize profitability.
Author: ClearCube Technology
ClearCube Technology invented the centralized computing industry with the first blade PC and continues to drive centralized and virtualized computing innovation with the broadest set of specialized PCoIP desktop zero clients that connect to optimized SmartVDI compute/storage host platforms for task/knowledge users and PCoIP Blade PCs and engineering workstations for power and highly-specialized users. Many of the world's largest financial services companies, health care organizations, and government agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and Homeland Security, rely on ClearCube centralized computing solutions to equip their users with secure, efficient and manageable computing resources.