Is your network ready for hybrid working?

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As enterprises plan for a post-pandemic world, the sudden swing to home working will gradually settle to a hybrid state, with some working in the office, some remote, and many switching between the two options day to day.

Solutions were quickly deployed in early 2020 to cope with the sudden need for home working, but now it’s the time to take a more systematic approach, ensuring appropriate infrastructure and architectures are in place to maximise productivity and competitiveness.

For example – have you considered the potential impact of video traffic when people return to the office? Even with just half the pre-pandemic number of employees present, meetings with a virtual element will add a significant amount of traffic. You can see the impact with our bandwidth checker here.

Getting ready for hybrid working is something that every enterprise can do by going through three key steps: move to a fully cloud-based digital workplace, implement an extended security perimeter and support this with secure, flexible connectivity.

Step 1 – fully cloud based digital workplace

Can employees collaborate seamlessly and enjoy the same experience, whether they are in the office or working remotely?

For many aspects the answer might be ‘yes’, especially for internal collaboration with cloud based desktops a reality in most enterprises. However there is a key aspect that still represents a barrier for many businesses: how do you engage in a voice conversation with external parties, such as customers, suppliers or partners? If you have been relying on desk phones connected to an on-premise PBX, that solution won’t work remotely.

You need to move your voice infrastructure to the cloud and now you can do that in under 10 days.

Step 2 – Extended security perimeter

With data processed in the cloud and employees connecting from remote locations, is your security solution still meeting your needs? The security perimeter is likely to be significantly extended and if enterprise security is still based on on-premise firewalls, now is the time to consider a new solution.

There are many different options depending on the scenario and enterprise needs, with a fully cloud based security solution a good starting point for evaluation.

Step 3 – Flexible connectivity to the office

Are you wondering whether bandwidth at your premises will significantly drop? That’s not likely to happen if you want to keep productivity high: with hybrid working, you have to expect a surge in video traffic – compared to before the pandemic – due to a higher number of video calls with remote workers that will more than make up for a smaller average number of employees in the office.

But most importantly, you have to ask yourself whether your connectivity procurement process is still fit for purpose and you still have to cope with a lengthy procedure to place a bandwidth upgrade order and long delivery times.

In fact, office bandwidth needs can be hard to predict until the new norm is fully established, or longer, as employees are given freedom to decide how many days a week to spend in the office. With this scenario in mind, if your office connectivity isn’t on-demand enabled, now is the time to take real-time and scalable control of your connectivity.

Alberto Monterosso is Product Marketing Manager at Colt

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