The Cloud-Forged Workforce

I’ve been looking for a good article the discusses the cloud and it’s impact on work at home. I believe I’ve found a good one; “Telecommuting Tangles and Other Hiccups in the Cloud-Forged Workforce“.

The cloud is obviously an enabler for work at home programs. Most organizations find it difficult to launch a successful telework program without launching a cloud or virtual initiative. As the article states clearly the cloud is much more than just a cost saving’s initiative. It enables new, more productive ways to work. New technologies like chat, CRM, cloud computing, video conferencing and dashboarding all make telework easier to manage.

The article also does a great job of the detailed planning of the overall technical solution required for work at home and the security issues that must be resolved in advance of launching a telework program. According to the article one of the biggest issues that organizations face is “The number of variables with how a user is connected from a remote location…”  Wireless, wi-fi, smart phone, etc…. Now IT is faced with insuring security and delivering applications across all types of connections.

Cloud Based computing can help with application delivery, but security can be a trickier issue. The article suggests focusing on several areas:

  1. Develop a comprehensive telecommuting security policy.
  2. Make decisions on equipment usage early on.
  3. Provide adequate technical support and training.
  4. Conduct periodic audits.
  5. Don’t assume that restricting access to applications and systems is a fix for the program.

A telecom security policy can and should include guidelines around the use of wireless technologies. The article even suggests that perhaps disallowing wireless connections may be an answer. Otherwise the employee needs to be fully trained in how to set up a secure wireless network in the home and how to maintain that security. Many of my customers are contact centers and have opted for one of two solutions: 1.tto provide a “business only” broadband connection that is run over a separate line from the “residential” circuits entering the home or  2. They are using Ethernet (Layer 2) solutions and extending the LAN to the home. Both solutions make security easier to manage and improve overall performance.

One of the suggestions I found particularly interesting: “Provide adequate technical support and training”. I have been surprised how help desk handle times are much longer and resolution percentages much lower for work at home employees. This can dramatically impact up time and, as a result, productivity. With the right technical solution in place help desk calls should decrease and up times should rival that of facility based employees.

You can read the article by clicking on the link below. I hope you enjoy it and, as always, look forward to your feedback.

http://h30565.www3.hp.com/t5/Feature-Articles/Telecommuting-Tangles-and-Other-Hiccups-in-the-Cloud-Forged/ba-p/325

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