The network edge is no longer treated as the edge, it is squarely in the centre of IT and end user computing. Networks have been hammered due to spikes in video conferences, studying from home, working from home, as well as gaming and entertaining from home.
All kinds of businesses – not just those within a technological setting – have been forced to address this challenge across all types of roles. Knowledge workers with laptops were the most prepared for this transition, but even they had to adjust to more full-time remote access than previous and of course, a more crowded last mile network that saw massive spikes due to the rapid shift that began in March.
Part-time or desktop computer workers had a bigger challenge to undertake and more IT staff needed to enable these people to be efficient from home while maintaining security standards. Light IT workers who spend less than half their day interfacing with technology probably had the hardest transition to remote work.
Like many businesses, IGEL swiftly moved to 100 per cent working from home and are only now seeing modest returns to the office with social distancing rules in place. Because of the nature of the company’s products and what we enable, we were very well prepared for this paradigm shift so were able to make this transition without a sacrifice in productivity.
Many of our existing customers increased their IGEL footprint very rapidly to address the new reality and our pipeline of enterprise business saw many organisations shorten their timeframe to evaluate or adopt IGEL/cloud workspace technologies.
I expect remote working to become a new normal for organisations. In many ways we were aggressively heading down this path before Covid-19. Trends like consumerisation and bring your own device (BYOD) have forced IT to rethink how they deliver secure, enterprise IT to their end users, as has the ongoing transition of legacy IT software to the cloud.
We all take for granted being able to do email and other productivity tasks from our smartphones and other smart devices, but this was a much more challenging problem to solve 10-to-15 years ago. Even businesses that require a physical presence – such as restaurants – are pursuing many more remote applications where before it would have been necessary to go to the workplace to carry out tasks such as staff scheduling and ordering supplies.
Work as we know it has changed forever. Anywhere, anytime access to IT systems is something that workers must have, and it needs to be able to scale from one per cent of the time to 100 per cent. The trend towards delivering IT as a service will not only continue but it will accelerate. As tough as the last four months have been, we were fortunate that this happened in 2020 and not 10 or 20 years sooner because the productivity hit would have been much greater. Even so, there are many things we can improve upon going forward.
Casey Cheyne is the vice president of cloud at IGEL
This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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