How to set-up your computer network to support a Mobile Workforce
Since the US Patent and Trademark Office began their own remote work initiative back in the 90s, businesses of all sizes, from enterprise to solopreneurs have found incredible value in the ability to hire and manage workers from afar — whether this means work-from-home Thursdays or offshoring.
But you are not likely to hear the term, “mobile workforce” for much longer.
The term isn’t going the way of the dodo in the same manner as the dodo (extinction). The opposite is true. The term is becoming obsolete because it has become expected.
Almost every company now has mobile capabilities, and as millennials become the standard employee (circa 2020), they will want to work wherever they are, on any device they have with them.
Mobile businesses have also recognized distinct gains in their ability to attract and retain talent, as well as to improve operational efficiencies. Mobile work spaces are more flexible, and they support collaboration across workspaces while reducing overhead. Many business applications — and even utilities — are now delivered via cloud, designed for use anywhere and on any device, making mobile much easier to achieve regardless of the nature of work.
How to Support a Mobile Workforce
If your business has not revamped its network and IT within the last few years, then there are many opportunities to increase the efficiency of your operations under the umbrella of a mobile project.
Wireless Routers and Mobile Wide Area Networks (WANs)
In the early 2000s, we had modems. Workstations needed to be connected via Ethernet cables to ensure fast upload and download speeds. Many enterprises today continue to use conventional WAN routers to connect branch offices to the Internet.
This traditional infrastructure poses problems when applied to a mobile workforce because mobile workers must connect using 4G phones, tablets and notebooks. These individual hosts cost higher mobile broadband fees, which can quickly add up.
Mobile WAN routers are portable hotspots that can deliver 4G Internet access to mobile workgroups, providing peak download speeds to multiple users without incurring exorbitant data expenses. Look at a few examples of mobile WANs.
Extend office communications to mobile devices
When telecommunications were delivered via analog copper wiring, it was impossible for workers to take their extensions outside the office. But in the last couple years, we have seen VoIP providers begin to offer mobile capabilities, allowing workers to download their office phone application to their mobile device and then take office calls directly through 4G connections.
To give employees all the tools they can use in the office, anywhere, you need to deploy cloud applications. Instead of an Old version of Microsoft Office, you need to lease Office 365, which is deployed via cloud. Instead of relying on a server at an office location to house corporate data, some data will need to be accessible via cloud.
If you are, like all of us born before 1980, averse to the notion of renting when you might own, read about the Backwards Economics of IT Investments, which details exactly why in IT forwards can sometimes feel, well, backward.
BYOD and Cloud Security
As your business opens up access through the cloud, as workers manipulate corporate data via their own devices, security becomes an incredibly important issue. Some pundits argue that data on personal devices should be controlled and viewable. But the more control you take, the more you run the risk of alienating employees.
BYOD Security is therefore a combination of policy, culture, and IT. It is therefore unique to every business. We recommend speaking with a cybersecurity expert to help you deliver a secure but workable system for your workforce.
If you are a Denver business and would like to discuss the matter further, please call us for a free consultation.