What We’re Learning About Work from Home Technologies

What We’re Learning About Work from Home Technologies

By Ken Phelan
Posted in Infrastructure, Security, Staffing, Support
On April 02, 2020

In the early days of the COVID-19 crisis we saw many very large organizations quickly sending employees to work from home. At Gotham we weren’t surprised. We had helped many of these organizations set up the technologies behind this capability. It cost them nothing in productivity to send their employees home.

If your organization found itself challenged in that effort, this article is for you. In the midst of this storm, it’s hard to guess what the “new normal” might look like on the other side. My guess is that one of the things we’re going to want to do is have the capability to send employees home as needed. I see the word “unprecedented” being used a lot recently. Unfortunately, going forward, I feel these types of things might become quite precedented.

Given that, I’d like to take a few minutes to share some things we’re learning.

  • Pandemics are longer than we thought they would be. Business continuity strategies are a pretty normal part of Gotham’s life. Most large organizations have some sort of pandemic plan. That plan was generally for weeks, not months.
  • It’s easier to scale than build. Ideally, you might have work from home capability and capacity that would support your organization having to work from home. However, if you don’t have capacity, just having any sort of solid work from home structure is a big plus. Many of our customers allow some employees to work from home but very importantly, any employee could work from home at some point as needed. In these environments, they lacked capacity but the logical structure was all there. We could easily and quickly scale them up. Customers building WFH from scratch are challenged.
  • Virtual desktops are a game changer. VPN connections from non-company owned assets just aren’t a viable work method. Even company owned laptops can be tough. Customers with a mature virtual desktop strategy are faring best.
  • The remote end-point is important. If WFH is a sometimes thing, then a shared device or a small screen is OK. With the whole family at home for a longer period, sharing a computer with your children isn’t going to work. It’s important to plan for a usable device in each home office.
  • Cybersecurity is still a thing. A lot of business continuity plans have what could be described as a pragmatic attitude toward cyber risks. If we’re in the middle of a crisis, we may have to take some short cuts on risk protocols. For instance, we may have to process credit cards in a different way or suspend certain protocols temporarily. Unfortunately, bad actors are using this chaos as a time to up their game. They aren’t feeling sorry for us. It’s a bad time to suspend two factor authentication because it’s inconvenient.
  • Work From Home actually works. Companies are going to be rethinking the need for office space in general.
Ken Phelan

Ken Phelan

Ken is one of Gotham’s founders and its Chief Technology Officer, responsible for all internal and external technology and consulting operations for the firm. A recognized authority on technology and operations, Ken has been widely quoted in the technical press, and is a frequent presenter at various technology conferences. Ken is the Chairman of the Wall Street Thin Client Advisory Council.