It is important to note that remote working may not be a viable option for every business function at all times. While some capabilities can be performed outside of the office, others may require employees to be onsite. It is vital for firms to recognize and have an understanding of which parts of their business can continue to operate in a remote capacity. In all cases it is important to ensure security hardening and immutability of the changes to the environment, locking down all of the configurations, such as network and access control. Moreover, some of the changes, like direct internet access, may require additional security monitoring and tooling.
Unlike a regional disaster or weather event, the pandemic is forcing all employees globally to stay home to limit viral exposure and slow the spread of the disease. When large numbers of resources work remotely for an extended time, remote connectivity networks see much heavier-than-normal traffic, causing capacity and load-related access issues.
Here are some key questions to help you assess your current state:
- Do you understand the types of users in your environment?
- Do your remote worker solutions cover all necessary capabilities for users to do their jobs for extended periods?
- How closely is your end-user service catalog aligned to the needs of your users and business demands?
- What is your current capacity to support a remote workforce? Do you know what your lower and upper limits are?
- What is your burstable capacity strategy? Is your cloud strategy adaptable to support?
- What levers could you pull to manage the uptime of critical business services?
Know your users
Different business functions have different technical requirements. For example, an application developer may be able to work remotely full-time with just a laptop, while an equities trader may require tools and technologies available only at an office location. In the latter case, they will obviously be limited in their ability to support the business when working remotely.
Firms should identify common themes across different work profiles and build a set of personas based on business functions. The process first involves defining user personas for all key user types and business/IT functions to understand and map system and application needs. Components of a persona include loadset (the dependency on certain technologies), support needs, and hardware and software requirements.