Four Components of Effective Remote Work Infrastructure
Focus on the areas that matter most to your employees, customers, and leadership.
Surprise, surprise — the massive remote work migration expanded network and telecommunications usage by 30% across business of all sizes, according to Bain & Company.
Companies need to enable digital infrastructure that aligns with a robust network architecture and keeps workers linked to the information and applications that empower productivity. Enterprise networking solutions must account for increasing bandwidth requirements, cost impacts, accessibility, security concerns, and the perpetual addition of new endpoints.
While collaborative apps deserve their own discussion (we’ll get to that shortly), companies must first ensure they provide the network capacity to support such applications — in addition to video calls and other tools requiring an internet connection.
Cisco solutions, such as SD-WAN, rank first in their field for networking, remote, and wireless capabilities. SD-WAN not only provides a cost-effective option to connect remote workers to the cloud and alleviate bandwidth, but also offers security through the cloud and on-premises, an improved user experience, less downtime, and increased resiliency.SD-WAN is a key driver for:
Direct Internet Access (DIA): DIA allows cloud-based applications to connect directly and securely to the internet from remote locations instead of routing through a centralized data center for inspection first. DIA improves application performance, and Cisco’s DIA solution significantly reduces unplanned downtime.
Multicloud Access: Cloud OnRamp tools accelerate access to SaaS and public cloud IaaS applications for branches and remote workers. SD-WAN automates the provisioning, workflow management, and policy enforcement for businesses migrating their infrastructure to the major public cloud providers.
How SHI Keeps You Connected
SHI works with your business and technology leaders to ensure your network aligns with and enables your business goals. Using Cisco tools such as SD-WAN, VPN, Meraki Wireless and Management, we help you design and deploy a network architecture that maximizes connectivity to critical apps for even the most far-flung workers.
In a hybrid work environment, with employees at home and in the office, systems and processes that don’t bend tend to break. Flexibility is key to boosting remote employee productivity.
Cisco research from 2020 found that 98% of future meetings will include participants joining from home. The impetus for employers is to create an employee experience at home equal to or better than what they’d find in the office — not just in terms of network connectivity, but also for social and creative collaboration.
Going forward, companies that embrace hybrid-style collaboration that caters to in-office and remote participants will have a sizable advantage. The right technology makes for improved meeting experiences and productive teamwork.
The Best Tools for Uniting Teams
Info-Tech Research Group rated Cisco’s WebEx Meetings as the No. 1 web conferencing product for application sharing, screen sharing, audio conferencing, audio controls, and facilitator functions. Meanwhile, Cisco’s Desk Pro and WebEx Board are purpose-built devices that improve collaboration from remote locations.
SHI’s collaboration practice centers around three factors: assessment, architecture, and deployment. Once we get to know your business, we can help you design and deploy a WebEx solution that aligns with your structure and goals and enables your employees to collaborate as though they were in the same room.
A decentralized workforce expands your attack surface and opens new doors for malicious actors to cause untold damage with ransomware, malware, and other threats. Each remote employee potentially represents another vulnerability, since a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
The best security solutions effectively defend employees from threats without sacrificing productivity, mobility, or convenience. Astute companies realize that workers will bypass security and compliance measures if they impede work progress. So rather than forcing workers to jump through security hoops, they instead find ways to make risk management more user friendly.
"It’s just human nature for employees to try to work around security and compliance measure that get in the way of them doing their jobs. In response to this, they put a greater emphasis on user-friendliness of risk management measures."
– Safe and Effective Remote Working, 2020, Freeform Dynamics
Integrated security measures defend against security threats at each entry point, rather than from the center. You want your protection on the perimeter to eliminate data breaches or losses.
As field leaders in cybersecurity, SHI delivers modern security architecture to protect your remote infrastructure at every entry point as well as in SaaS and legacy applications. SHI builds your solution integrating Cisco’s best-in-class tools:
Cisco VPN provides users access to business applications on any device at any time and uses always-on endpoint protection.
Cisco Duo utilizes multifactor authentication for endpoint protection.
The Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) gives you visibility into what is happening, who is connected, and which applications are running across your network.
The cloud access security broker within Cisco Umbrella secures your identities, data, and apps.
SHI can manage Proof of Value (POV) engagements for Umbrella, a one-month trial where customers can deploy the solution and receive detailed post-POV threat analysis.
A new way of working should usher in a new way of managing the diverse workforce. With a remote workforce, you’ll need to keep tabs on processes that are invisible, agile, and always in motion. The right technology makes all the difference here.
Cloud-based management helps organizations control multiple environments as their infrastructure and data expand in size and complexity, providing visibility and insights across the enterprise. Another benefit: simplified security managed from a centralized platform.
Cloud-based management works with legacy apps or SaaS. This level of versatility is crucial, considering that IDC expects the deployment of more than 500 million new cloud-native digital apps and services by 2023.
Based on a thorough assessment of your current-state technology, SHI can design and deploy a cloud-based management solution that empowers your administrators and your hybrid workforce. The Cisco Intersight platform, for example, combines full visibility of technology, teams, and operations with total control over apps and infrastructure.
Cisco Meraki’s Mobility Management option allows workers to securely manage phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers — ideal for companies that use a BYOD policy. Through Meraki’s Systems Manager, admins can push apps and content, block or remove unwanted apps, and automatically enroll devices, which protects individual devices while they are on the network. Admins can use the Meraki dashboard to enforce passwords, restrict access, and track device locations in real time.
Set Your Remote
Workforce Up for Success
Ensure your remote workers are as engaged as your office workers
Widespread research indicates most organizations will not enforce a mandatory full-time return to the office in 2021. So how do you bring headquarters to the home office? How do you create technical parity for employees working from their kitchens and dens? What’s the best way to increase connectivity and collaboration without taking on new security risks?
SHI helps leading organizations answer these and other pressing questions in their efforts to bolster infrastructure for a permanent — and permanently successful — hybrid workforce.
Leveraging Cisco’s best-in-class solutions for connectivity, collaboration, security, and cloud-based management, SHI ensures you have systems designed for digital agility and resilience. As a result, you gain a distinct advantage over competitors still applying bandages to their temporary fixes every few months.
Our experts work alongside your business and technology leaders to select, deploy, and manage technology that supports new workloads and operating models.
For example, we can help you experience how Cisco Umbrella delivers actionable analysis on remote worker security and access, or demo multifactor authentication as part of an integrated security architecture with Cisco Duo.
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Assess your branch and remote worker access requirements with SHI’s Predictive Wireless Site Survey!