In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses across the world have allowed teams to work remotely to reduce risk and keep employees safe. However, quickly deploying IT infrastructure and solutions, such as remote working platforms, that can meet the new demands of working from anywhere isn't without its challenges.
In this blog post, we discuss how businesses can adapt to change, with key insights from Intercity's David Owen, Managing Director of Intercity Technology’s Communications Division.
The New Normal of Remote Working
Businesses and organisations across all industries have had to focus their efforts on moving business operations online. Virtual conferencing, remote working platforms, and industry-specific cloud-based IT solutions have enabled them to keep operations running as smoothly as possible while teams adapted to home working. Simultaneously, they had to prepare continuity plans to help navigate the IT requirements of the new normal. Intercity's David Owen explains this further:
“At the start of the pandemic, businesses spent much of their time responding to the immediate challenges presented by the sudden shift to working from home, developing continuity plans to help navigate the ‘new normal’. Having adopted what, at the time, seemed like ‘temporary’ ICT applications, such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, businesses are now realising that these remote working technologies will continue to play a significant role as we witness the rise of the hybrid office model, where employees work remotely, flexibly, and from the office.”
The IT Demands of Work from Anywhere
IT solutions built for an 'office-based' era do facilitate remote working, but largely, a significant amount of IT technology isn't developed with the remote deployment, security, and connectivity requirements of effective and flexible remote working.
“As we see this ‘work from anywhere’ mentality come to fruition, companies must look at enhancing their ICT capabilities to meet the requirements of their more mobile, agile, and flexible workforce. To help strengthen these capabilities, businesses must look at security solutions that enable secure remote working, protect company assets such as data, and at the same time ensure continued Quality of Service (QoS)."
While managing these changes, it's has become apparent that IT and data security requirements are now a priority for businesses who are transitioning to work from anywhere. Be it the office, home, or from flexible locations.
IT Security and Remote Working
A recent study of over 1,000 businesses revealed that 46% experienced at least one security incident since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, with more than half (51%) recording an increase in email phishing attacks. Intercity's David Owen explains why:
“IT security has become a major concern since the start of the pandemic. People have left the security of their office locations to work remotely via their home broadband networks with only moderate firewall capabilities. Overnight, the ‘bubbles’ of security which companies have invested in their corporate networks were at risk of being burst, leaving data and technology more vulnerable to cyber criminals."
To overcome this, organisations must adopt solutions that offer multi-layered and compliant security protection to reduce the impact of cyber attacks. This helps keep business operations and data safe, and allows your teams to continue working without risk, from anywhere and at any time.
“Companies should consider expanding their own corporate networks, spanning into their users' home office environment. This enables a consistent level of assurance, providing a governable and multi-layer security model to help mitigate against cyber-attacks.
Protecting against this heightened level of threat should be one of the very first steps a business takes to making its remote working technologies more secure and less susceptible in the ‘work from anywhere’ era."
Connectivity and Remote Working
Another essential angle organisations must consider when moving to permanent remote or flexible working is the connectivity requirements of their teams. With two-thirds of adults expected to work remotely more often after COVID-19, businesses will see a significant influx in demand to increase technology performance, get connected faster, and increase bandwidth capacity.
“From a performance perspective, firms will have to look at their QoS in terms of the overall performance of telephony, computer networks and cloud computing services. A company’s bandwidth capacity must increase to ensure a seamless experience for the end user and other participants using applications and tools such as video conferencing systems like Microsoft Teams and Zoom."
To enable business operations to continue running smoothly, many employees will rely on virtual business conferencing software, such as Microsoft Teams or a comprehensive remote working platform, to stay connected. More so, businesses must consider how they will deploy and support these solutions in the long-term, helping their teams overcome problems if they arise.
“Now we are all used to video meetings, the next stage will be in making the technology more integrated and robust. For example, Microsoft Teams and Zoom have been revolutionary collaboration tools for many companies during lockdown. But in the future, companies will have to integrate it with their traditional office telephony systems", says Intercity's David Owen.
That's why at Intercity, we've developed a new solution that enables businesses to achieve this.
Introducing Direct Calling for Teams
Direct Calling for Teams is a new solution developed by Intercity that helps you overcome the limitations of the Microsoft Teams platform. An extension of MS Teams, it supports flexible working and lets your end-users make internal calls, as well as external calls securely to and from the PSTN. Intercity's David Owen tells us more:
"Our Direct Calling for Teams solution is embedded into MS Teams, enabling people outside of Teams to be dialled into calls. Already we are seeing significant demand for solutions like this as businesses are having to integrate traditional and new ways of working, something which will become a necessity in the next stage of the new normal."
By allocating UK and international DDIs, Direct Calling for Teams lets you fulfil the new business requirements of remote working from a single, integrated platform. Better yet, it acts as an extension of Microsoft Teams, a solution your teams are already familiar with. Direct Calling for Teams uses Intercity's own redundant network architecture – hosted within our geographically diverse, secure, and high-availability tier 3 Data Centres, ensuring that your remote working solutions are always connected, supported, and secure.