How cloud computing can support the remote office
by Nompumelelo Mokou. There are three components to consider when it comes to establishing a long-term remote office strategy.Wednesday, 07 Jul 2021
by Nompumelelo Mokou. Over the last 18 months the nature of work has changed fundamentally for many people around the world. Many previously office-bound employees now work from home full-time due to health and safety concerns forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are seeing a gradual trickle back to the office in the USA, the UK and other countries as vaccines are rolled-out, but it is clear that the office/worker relationship around the world has changed forever.
While the cost savings of moving to a full or hybrid workforce might seem obvious; there are three components to consider when it comes to establishing a long-term remote office strategy: the technological, the cultural and the health/wellness components. This article will focus on the technological component, and how we see this driving an enablement for the future of a permanent remote workforce. Before we even get there though, a company has to decide whether it will implement a remote office or hybrid office strategy in the first place, or revert to a full-time office setup. I am writing here on the premise that the majority of offices will adopt a hybrid approach where employees will be allowed to work at least some of their time at home.
Face to face communication is still key in ensuring alignment, collaboration, influence and cohesiveness. I believe that adopting a fully remote workforce model is unsustainable and that is why I argue for a hybrid approach that can tap the benefits of both worlds in the long run. Banks and brokerage houses in the USA seem to be pushing a full-time office approach whereas the same banks are allowing a more flexible approach in the UK for example. We are at the frontier of a new way of working and I expect different approaches around the world as working cultures adapt and transform.
One of the biggest impacts of Covid we have seen from our customers is the massive increased need for hosting support with scalable bandwidth for on-demand increased capacity to facilitate reliable remote work. The remote office digital journey is spearheaded by a hybrid cloud environment that enables private, public and on-premises solutions depending on the company’s needs; appetite for capital investment; consumption of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); and the stance on data management, storage and security.
The cloud offers improved security, greater mobility and easier collaboration, adopting flexible ways of working with different targeted touchpoints and intended outcomes can drive effective remote work. In addition to the general benefits, cloud also provides organisations with agility. What the pandemic continues to highlight, is the need for organisations to operate with flexibility, being able to turn up new services, shift the emphasis on others and shut some down. In the traditional approach of on-premises IT, this can be difficult, and the ability to repurpose, increase or eliminate capacity quickly, is a challenge.
Security remains a major concern, companies need to proactively tackle security and resilience by design, focusing on tools and technologies that help them to refine their operating models due to remote workforce. The initial priority was to connect people working remotely to enable communication and collaboration – and now the focus must be on securing these channels.
Identity and Access Management (IAM) will be a significant element of cloud security; the identity of users in the cloud will need to be prioritised to ensure that the right employees have adequate levels of access to the resources they need, all while thwarting unauthorised access attempts and malicious insider threats.
Whatever path is chosen and whatever technological choices are made, any remote work requires self-discipline, sometimes self-love and the support of employers on many levels in this new world of work.
Nompumelelo Mokou, is Managing Director of Dimension Data as of May 2021. Formerly the Executive: Intelligent Customer Experience, Mokou is a Chartered Accountant by profession but has always been known for her love for business. She joined Dimension Data in 2016 and is constantly inspired and challenged by imminent change. She believes that greatness is not achieved alone but through multi-faceted people, expertise, contributions and opinions. This is what makes teams work. Her core philosophies by which she lives her life are to have faith and courage in all seasons and to never be afraid of challenges, no matter the size or complexity.
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