Thorsten Kurpjuhn, European Market Development Manager at Zyxel

The ‘new normal’ of home working

Thorsten Kurpjuhn, European Market Development Manager at Zyxel advises how resellers and MSPs can support businesses and their networks for remote workers during the coronavirus restrictions

 With much of the world in various stages of lockdown and office working restrictions in place due to the ever-growing impact of the Coronavirus, the way that many businesses operate has been thrown into a state of flux. The same goes for the demand on resellers and managed service providers (MSPs) from businesses to support these changes, and how they now work to manage evolving needs remotely.

For some businesses, the transition from local to remote working has been quite seamless, as some organisations simply strengthened a digital infrastructure that already enabled home working.

However, for many other businesses, this period of time has been a step into the unknown. While they may claim to adhere to digital working practises, the pressure to not just ‘cope’ but ‘thrive’ in this new climate has inevitably resulted in teething problems.

For these organisations, the main issue revolves around networking. It’s here where resellers and MSPs need to work with businesses to convert digital practises from simply talking a good game, to truly embedding a facilitative digital infrastructure for a dispersed workforce.

In this new norm, bandwidth can become a detrimental issue overnight, as different individuals’ home set-ups struggle to meet enterprise requirements.

To combat the problem, network infrastructures need to facilitate two things. Firstly, the communicative and management capability for employees to continue working as well as they would in-office. Secondly, the security and efficiency of their digital property must still meet the expectations of their customers.

Security, control and flexibility are the ultimate trilogy of considerations that companies now need to strive for to achieve a successful remote working environment. To do so, they must begin by setting up a virtual private network (VPN).

The combination of a VPN and a firewall ensures the requisite efficiency and security required for a corporate network to flourish in the current conditions. With users continuously connected to the company’s infrastructure, it allows them to operate as they would normally, without compromising the security of data being produced, collated or shared at any point.

A VPN creates an encryption-protected tunnel that connects each employee directly with their company’s network, thus preventing third parties from gaining unauthorised access to the data being transferred inside. The addition of a firewall to the home office provides protection against other deadly cyberthreats such as ransomware and attacks by viruses that sneak in from the home network.

It may not seem like the opportune time to be looking into operating expenses, but it is vital for companies to provide a remote workforce with multi-layer, bundled security solutions and a safe connection to the business network. Not only will such set-ups make employees feel more settled, but they will also feel more in control and reassured that sensitive data is kept secure, despite the disbursed sprawl of physical property.

In the coming months, pressure is likely to shift in the direction of resellers and MSPs, and their cloud management systems, which will be under more scrutiny than ever before.

Not only do resellers and MSPs need to offer a robust and quality solution, but they need to do so in a way that is accessible to a broader pool of users than previously experienced. Even the least tech-proficient individuals must be empowered to take greater control over their own network settings, remote monitoring functions and sharing capabilities.

To address the work-life balance of employees, who could benefit from homeworking, is a tangible positive to take from an otherwise negative situation.

There’s an old saying that you should ‘never waste a good crisis’. For many resellers and MSPs, the remote initiation, installation, deployment, management, and refinement of digital solutions to enable businesses and their employees to work from home may well prove to be more of a long-term transformation, rather than a short-term backstop. It’s critical that resellers and MSPs work with companies to realise this early on and in turn, embrace the potentials that VPNs and cloud management-driven networking have to offer.

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