Delivering on a secure Work from Anywhere Strategy

Mark Lambe

“At business places with 500 or more workers, 12% have access to telework, compared with 6% at places with fewer than 100 workers.

Source: 2019 National Compensation Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Work from Anywhere

What is evident from this U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, collated by the Pew Research Center, is that the digital workplace for many organizations was still an abstract concept in 2019. The striking reality from the headline statistic is that only 12% of employees have access to teleworker capabilities and worse for smaller organizations. Unfortunately, what this represents, is that many organizations were not ready for the long-term disruption of work from anywhere that the pandemic is having in 2020.

When you analyze the statistic for a small business with 500 workers, that equates to roughly 60 staff who had some remote work capability. What we do know from the recent pandemic is that many employers had to mainstream the abstract concept of the digital workplace almost overnight, to be a reality, to ensure business continuity.

For many IT teams jumping from 60 employees to 500 employees being external, creates many challenges.  At best, IT adopted stop-gap solutions for the short term. The result is that IT has lost some, if not all, the control and visibility required for security compliance, by having to rush to enable the entire organization as a remote workforce.

 

Meeting Employee Expectations

From an employee perspective, the expectation is that the employer can deliver on their needs to be productive from anywhere. Unfortunately for many, that was not the case, with many employees having experienced:

  • Device performance issues,
  • Networking issues,
  • Software applications are behaving slower when outside the corporate office.

This frustration has manifested in IT trouble tickets, with productivity or the ability to do their job remotely being cited as the fallout of the poor, remote work experience. Understandably, the IT team had little time to react and were reliant on existing infrastructure to rise to the challenge of having all employees external overnight.

 

The trouble with legacy VPNs

The problem with legacy remote access technology is that it does not scale. Reflecting more on our headline statistic – that up to 60 employees out of 500 have telework capabilities, is it is probably more like 50.  The reason for 50, is that it aligns with the basic seat license bundles and concurrent users that many traditional VPN vendors offer.

Furthermore, the VPN connection is not always-on, and for employees new to remote working, this can be a source of frustration of not knowing how to restart the connection. Plus, there is the issue that on the VPN disconnect, it will release the seat license, so that the next employee can use it. If the connection drops in the middle of the employee working on something, they may not get access until the next seat is available. The associated off-the-network time correlates to a productivity impact on the employee goal.

Another key takeaway is that VPN clients need additional security for the protection of employees when accessing private resources. The recent misfortune of a currency exchange bureau highlights how VPNs are susceptible to malicious intent.

 

Now is the time for change

The indefinite timescale of the pandemic means that employers need to adapt to the fact that many employees may not get back inside the office before 2021. Furthermore, studies are showing that employees believe that they no longer need to be in the office and that they can be as productive from anywhere. Organizations now need to think long term – how to deliver a secure, productive work from anywhere experience with governance and compliance, without breaking the bank.

 

Delivering ubiquitous Network and Security

The new office anywhere employee experience creates an expectation that IT deliverables are a consumer experience, i.e. network and security are merely available and without issue.  A moment of reflection would suggest that this base requirement is an ideal use case for mobile, ubiquitous connectivity anywhere. With 4G and 5G cellular networks, IT can quickly address the initial network and performance issues with ease.

Regaining control and visibility

For some software applications, performance correlates with being on the inside office network. Therefore, IT needs a simple and cost-effective means in which to extend the private network that is scalable and does not rely on a VPN client seat per employee — secure access without causing performance issues. Asavie, in partnership with both AT&T and Verizon, offers organizations the agility to extend the network to any mobile device.

With a private mobile network slice, IT can secure and control internet experiences with secure remote access to private resources. The Asavie advantage is that this all works on a standard mobile, eliminating the need for cumbersome and legacy technology. Plus, the IT team gets full visibility of all traffic no matter where the employee decides to work, facilitating compliance requirements.

 

Long term Work from Anywhere Strategy

For employers and IT teams looking to deliver on a vision of work from anywhere, the recommendation is to think mobile-first. With a secure private mobile network slice, organizations can quickly secure frictionless access to business resources to all employees, anywhere. Furthermore, IT can quickly adapt to meet the needs of employees without the frustration of legacy VPN clients and cumbersome premise equipment using a standard mobile and corporate connection, all of which cost-effectively contribute to productive employees.

 

To learn more:

Check out the joint Clavem Research and Asavie White Paper here:
White Paper: Enterprise Network Security and the Future of Work.

Or if you require further details on any of our services, please get in touch: support@asavie.com