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Remote access? Greater flexibility? Make sure all the infrastructure works. Not just yours.

Remote access? Greater flexibility? Make sure all the infrastructure works. Not just yours.

Increasingly the workforce is changing in terms of how, when and where people want to work. To match this, workplaces are doing their best at meeting this need through cultural change and upgrading business technology to enable remote access. Often this requires investment in virtual desktop and application server technology, such as 2X Remote Application Server or Citrix.

These remote access solutions are excellent; utilising cloud technology they can deliver a seamless virtual environment to your staff ensuring they stay connected, are able to work in real time, and have the ability to work from ‘anywhere’.

Fantastic! So, now your staff can work from wherever they want and it will be seamless. But... have you considered the communications infrastructure at their remote workplace? It shouldn’t really be a problem, should it? We all live in the city with access to super-fast cable broadband (well... maybe when the NBN fully rolls out), and most of us have internet capability at home to connect into the office. Right?

You may be surprised to learn there are many locations across our wide brown land that can’t access the broadband network, and they aren’t as remote as you might expect. In fact, there are ‘digital black spots’ in our major cities and in areas near large regional towns. Often local geographical features prevent access or direct line-of-sight to relevant infrastructure, but in some cases these are areas telcos have historically ignored and are now more populated than ever predicted.

Infrastructure issues

For example, the picture attached to this blog is a telco ‘solution’ to a local infrastructure problem. It’s both funny and a totally inadequate resolution at the same time. In a recent windstorm, this landline cable was blown down, and the forked tree branch was Telstra’s semi-permanent solution to prop it up. Again, this area is not regarded as remote. Yes, it’s in the Victorian bush, but only 25 kilometres from a major town and at the base of one of Victoria’s most popular ski resorts. It is a digital black spot. There is no broadband and no planned future NBN coverage. Internet connectivity is only available via Telstra dongle (no other telco provider delivers any level of service in the area) or via satellite, as is digital TV coverage, so long as the satellite line-of-site isn’t hidden by trees. So, the old-school landline and home phone remain the only reliable method of communication to the outside world.

So, what does this have to do with business?

Well, while this might be an extreme example of how inadequate communication infrastructure limits connectivity in parts of Australia, it is representative of how infrastructure issues can impact a business goal. In this case, working ‘anywhere’. Put simply, without adequate technology and communications infrastructure at their end, your staff may not be able to effectively work remotely.

So, what can you do to minimise infrastructure issues, and help your people work anywhere? Here are a few tips:

  1. Find out where their primary remote workplace is located, and the capability of the communications infrastructure. If there isn’t high-speed broadband, look into other options, such as a high-capacity 4G USB dongle, or using their mobile device as a Wi-Fi hot spot (make sure your mobile plan covers this, as you don’t want to end up with ‘bill-shock’)
  2. Check the computers your people are using remotely (or at home) are up to the task. i.e. how current are they and do they have specifications equivalent to the computers you have in the office?
  3. If not, then guide them on what they need to buy, or better yet, supply them with a business-grade machine with all your corporate software, including your virtual desktop software, and security software already installed.

With all the infrastructure ‘boxes ticked’, and the right virtual desktop software installed, you can provide the flexibility your staff desire and be sure they have the tools to continue delivering effectively to your business.

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