I recently had the revelation that never in the history of IT service has Internet connection held a higher importance. COVID-19 has changed the way we do business, both internally and externally; more than ever before, professionals are working from home and dependent on the Internet to get their jobs done. I personally went through the process of discussing connection options with my cable provider, Comcast, and learned that I could upgrade to a faster speed using my same coaxial connection – my connection performance nearly tripled!
Here at Evans Consulting Services we are working with our customers to optimize the work from home experience. These assessments include everything network related – not only the connections, but also the performance and reliability of the network. It is of interest how this focus has changed in just a few short months.
We recently highlighted the importance of collaboration and streaming tools in our white paper, Executive Guide to the Top 5 Virtual Meeting and Collaboration Tools. With a rise in streaming, in addition to these collaboration tools, internet connectivity is paramount; maximizing your speed, based on your budget and available options, is crucial.
The first question you should ask yourself as a CIO or IT leader is, “How can our business keep pace with the evolving demands of an at-home workforce?” In the past, the focus has been on connectivity and upgrading our network speed, but today there needs to be a shift towards educating our remote users on the importance of network and security options for their remote workplaces.
For example, one of our premium services offered by Evans Consulting Services is configuring software defined networking (SD-WANs) and optimized networks. The technology allows for wide area network (“WAN”) connections to be combined and utilized as one single pipeline. This service provides fault tolerance and application segmentation for increased performance and reliability.
Meeting the needs of workers at home
In our new world with COVID-19, a large portion of the workforce is now at home, so we must think about both our internal networks and the capabilities we give employees at home. The key factor to consider is that it is not just about speed anymore; it is about availability. Can workers reach important business systems from home in a secure and reliable way? What happens if a critical employee has an internet outage at home?
The cost of an outage or a poor Internet connection can be significant. These situations are amplified for executives and senior leadership; when the business needs to make critical decisions, the IT systems must perform.
What is the cost of losing your Internet while working at home?
Assessing your current situation
If your organization is looking to optimize worker productivity, it is important to take an inventory of your current situation and capabilities. This process can be complex, and our team at Evans Consulting Services has the expertise to help you to begin the assessment process, even if you are not sure where to start.
From a broad perspective, businesses and organizations need to be thinking about the following:
- How is the business meeting the needs of end users at home?
- Are the business-critical systems available?
- What is the plan if employees’ Internet connection fails?
- What is the plan if the company’s Internet connection fails?
If you are an employee, you can be proactive for your organization by assessing your current connectivity at home.
- What is your current Internet connection?
- How often does your connection go down or struggle to perform for high bandwidth situations such as video conferences?
- Is your employer providing you what you need to get the job done?
The answers to these questions can create a baseline of where your organization is today. There are opportunities to increase performance across the entire ecosystem, from optimizing corporate networking for performance to exploring options for employees at home. The best part is that many companies are offering heavy incentive pricing for the latest programs and offerings. In short, there has never been a better time to upgrade your capabilities.
Wrap-up: What are you doing for security?
With this article, I wanted to start the conversation for performance and service capabilities for your workforce. Today, more than ever before, it is essential that IT leaders are ensuring we are offering the maximum capabilities possible for our constituents.
As you are likely aware, however, performance is only the beginning of the discussion. As organizations, it is so important to make sure that these services are secure for everyone, including those working from their homes. With the explosion of the remote workforce, there has also been an explosion of targeting by hackers and bad actors to compromise this new portion of the workforce. Our next article will focus on IT security and trends in 2021 that your organization needs to follow.
If you are interested in assessing your current network performance and capabilities, do not hesitate to contact our team at Evans Consulting Services. We have over 20 years of experience working with organizations to optimize performance, stability and security. We would love the opportunity to enjoy a conversation around how our team can further help your business.
About the Author
I created Evans Consulting Services after running another start up business with partners. We ran the business like a corporation. Over the years, I have learned that entrepreneurship was a unique challenge. I learned that each member of a small organization is extremely important and must carry their own weight, earn their compensation and produce results. The negative impact of sub-par performance is devastating and cannot be sustained by an emerging business.
I’ve been in business as an entrepreneur for 22 years. Through ECS, we have continually demonstrated the ability to successfully partner with a variety of entities. ECS is a team player. For example, ECS entered a joint venture with Albert Kahn Associates, a 100+ old architectural firm, on a million-dollar project to design and install the cabling infrastructure for Motor City Casino Hotel. We also have maintained a managed contract customer relationship with KIRCO Management Services LLC, a multi million-dollar development, property management, and construction company that has grown nationally over the last 19 years. KIRCO is our flagship, cornerstone customer since 2001. In the future, our relationship will continue to strengthen as both companies grow.