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Ensuring home working benefits staff, families and organisations alike

There's no doubt that home working is here to stay. While it may have initially been deployed at large scale out of necessity, in response to COVID-19, it is clear that we are witnessing the dawn of a fully distributed workforce. However, as organisations continue to invest in new solutions to drive this change, it's important to remember that these are still the early days. We've never seen home working at this sort of scale, which means we need to establish a new standard of best practice and - equally importantly - the technology to support this.
Home working's hidden challenges

There's already been a lot of advice offered by both the Government and IT providers to help staff adapt to working from home without compromising security, performance or morale. This has proven effective thus far, with much of the workforce now comfortable working from home. Indeed, questions are being asked regarding whether the traditional office environment will return as the default in the post-COVID era, considering the potential cost savings and the improvements in morale and productivity we have already witnessed.

However, while the distributed workforce has undoubtedly revealed its full potential in recent months, it has also forced organisations to completely rethink decades worth of security, networking and business continuity practices in order to ensure its long-term sustainability. This isn't just a question of equipping home workers with the right tools - the needs of their families must also be carefully considered. There's no doubt that the biggest adjustments in recent months have been cultural, as staff (particularly those with young children) have needed to balance their work- and home-related responsibilities. But there's also a technological element at play here…

Consider the amount of time our families typically spend on streaming and gaming applications. Then consider the amount of bandwidth this involves each day. This means bandwidth is quickly going to become an issue when accessing critical business applications from home. Furthermore, in spite of staff having been widely educated in terms of how to stay secure when home working, the full implementation of corporate security policies at the home remains a challenge, putting a strain on central security and VPN aggregation infrastructure.

So, how do we ensure we can provide staff with a secure, efficient remote working environment that doesn't in any way infringe on their families' needs?

Introducing SD-HOME

We've been deeply involved in the move towards large-scale homeworking ever since the early days of the pandemic, working with organisations across both the public and private sectors to expedite their journeys towards a distributed workforce. Our SD-HOME solution is the latest stage in an ongoing process of innovation, bringing together everything we have learned helping organisations respond to COVID-19 and the deep technological expertise we have acquired over more than 16 years.

A Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN), tailored to the needs of home workers, SD-HOME offers the level of control needed to prioritise business-critical applications at the home edge, supported by direct connectivity to the corporate WAN via a secure overlay network. By segregating the corporate network from the home network, staff's critical applications are always guaranteed the bandwidth they need. At the same time, security is fully optimised by routing specific applications to the corporate security hub, while SaaS platforms retain their access to the internet, with corporate security policies applied directly at the home edge.

The result is a fully segmented home working environment that works for everyone: staff enjoy the freedom to continue working from home, employers enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing productivity and security are fully optimised, and families enjoy minimal disruption to their home internet. And that leaves us with a powerful launchpad for growth and innovation as we plan for the 'new normal'.

Click here to find out more.

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