How Remote Working is Changing the Technology Stack
We spoke to CEO Andy Horn about the effect home working has had on the development of technology infrastructures for companies. He explains the challenges companies might face with remote working tech stacks, and how this developing trend may look in the future.
What are the essential components of a tech stack for remote workers?
I would say there are three essential components: productivity, cybersecurity, and control, aligned and compliant with company policies and procedures.
What impact has the pandemic had on remote worker technology stacks?
The key factor here is the user experience, and how the tech stack supports that. Customers do not care how you provide the same level of service as you did pre-pandemic, as long as you do. It is up to the technology to facilitate and enable that.
The pandemic has seen businesses reassess what’s worth spending money on. Most have realised that robust connectivity into the home is critical, for instance, and so setting up dedicated business lines in homeworking spaces can alleviate stress on worker’s existing domestic broadband. Video calls have also become second nature to most of us now, so solutions like Microsoft Teams have become invaluable.
Few people had productive working environments at home, and even less with respect to security, or indeed suitable connectivity – this has changed for some but is still a major issue for many.
Are companies re-imagining their remote working tech stacks and digital transformation roadmaps as essential IT components?
Some companies have implemented completely new technology, others have simply tweaked what they already had. In my opinion, every business should focus on:
Ensuring workers can work safely and are compliant
Enabling IT to provide a secure working environment and continued high levels of customer service, internally and externally
Having robust IT and data protection policies in place and technology such as 4G failover
Continuing to delight customers, irrespective of where people are working
Are there any remote stack trends you’ve noticed?
The hybrid workplace, and how that influences technology investment. Flexible managed services have really shown their value too. There will not be a complete return to how things used to be, so technology needs to enable the flexibility of hybrid working methodologies, aligned with business drivers.
What are the most difficult aspects of creating technology stack for the ‘new normal’?
Often, the challenge comes from within the business or the IT department itself. There was a proven way to deliver, manage and grow corporate technology pre-pandemic. The past year threw that rule book out the window, prompting firefighting and reinvention in equal parts.
Understanding what employees want from work without ever compromising on data protection, employee productivity or processes is a significant challenge.
We have found a challenge with IT teams who focus on the office and are less concerned about remote workers. Now that these remote workers make up the majority, the mindset of IT teams needs to align too.
This means a standardised safe and secure package of technology that includes access to corporate office systems and applications with backup and failover options aligned to business roles and responsibilities.
When companies are considering the new technologies to help their teams work efficiently and securely, should own device use be part of the conversation?
It should be, but many aren’t considering it. Home networks and shared devices are a significant threat to corporate data, with remote working vastly increasing the threat landscape to cybersecurity. Telling people not to use their home computers simply doesn’t cut it.
Through the right technology, businesses can implement policies that provide a seamless working environment for employees without relinquishing the control and visibility IT needs.
I would also advocate that having a separate business grade broadband and firewall would make sense, ideally hardwired to reduce Wi-Fi exposure.
Do you think businesses have got their new normal technology stacks in order?
Most businesses have made progress, but many are still trying to balance previous IT investments against what the business needs this very moment and also long-term.
A large majority of businesses have been fighting to survive and have not had the luxury of sitting back to evaluate the best options moving forward. Working with your MSP would be a great first step.
As the industry settles in to the new reality of home and hybrid-working, tackling the fundamentals of cybersecurity, productivity and control should be high priority for companies. Keeping businesses and their employee’s safeguarded is an ever-evolving element of IT management for IT teams. Get in touch to find out how we can help.