As digital technologies continue to transform our lives, organisations of all sizes must continue to innovate if they want to keep pace and stay competitive.
Today, we live in a world where everything is connected: across cities and campuses, countries and continents. Influenced by the freedom and convenience they already experience in their personal lives, enterprise employees now expect to be able to work anywhere, anytime on any device, exactly as they would in their office. This creates a headache for IT departments tasked with providing an ‘always-available’ IT environment that satisfies user needs without compromising security, infrastructure or compliance.
This challenge is made even harder by the fact that many enterprise technology infrastructures still operate a traditional IT model, which focuses on providing employees with a consistently good office user experience delivered via on-premise hardware, on-site maintenance and corporate network connectivity inside a firewall that keeps data protected.
However, when those same employees step outside the building, the real challenges begin. They still require – and demand – access to the same systems and software they use to get the job done at their desks. But now, more than ever, they need it at home, on the train, in the local coffee shop and anywhere else they care to login: seamlessly and immediately.
Traditional IT services struggle to cope with this new breed of professional mobility. So, expectations aren’t met, and impatient employees find their own ‘workaround’ solutions to access what they need. This thinking is understandable, but not advisable. Ad hoc, un-policed, disparate technology solutions create enormous issues for corporate IT security and management – which impact productivity, increase workload and may even damage company reputation.
What’s more, those users who are mainly accessing cloud services may not need to connect ‘back to base’ for long periods, meaning critical security updates may not get applied. As a result, their organisations’ IT security ends up getting progressively worse over time.
This situation isn’t just unsustainable. It’s also a pain for everyone involved. For employees, who get stressed about whether they’ll be able to work on the files and contact the people they need to when they’re not in the office and grow frustrated with having to firefight IT problems themselves. And for IT support workers, who devote all their time and effort to maintaining and updating systems across multiple environments, in the face of constantly evolving OS updates and security patches for an ever-expanding myriad of devices.
Everybody means well – but no one gets what they want. IT departments simply don’t have the money or resources to keep up, so devices gradually become unsecure, too much is spent on unused product licences, equipment ceases to be fit for purpose and remote working strategies fall further behind the curve.
What’s more, these issues won’t go away on their own. As technology continues to rapidly advance, employees will in turn increasingly demand to work on their own terms, with elevating IT expectations. These expectations are already being exacerbated by ambitious young graduates entering the employment world. Having been used to a high standard of technology provision at their educational institutions, they will reasonably assume they’ll enjoy the same standards in their professional lives. Anything less will ultimately disappoint them: meaning organisations which don’t invest properly in IT will also fail to recruit and retain the best talent.
It’s a complex dilemma, but a common one. What is certain, is that time is of the essence. Businesses that don’t move fast to create a credible, secure and flexible technology environment for their employees, for the long-term, will simply get left behind.
Too cautious for the cloud?
Many of these mobile IT challenges can be met by deploying cloud technologies which deliver services on-demand, anywhere, connecting devices and locations seamlessly while keeping operational costs down using software-as-a-service. While this requires proper preparation and sounds strategic thinking, it can open the door to affordable, agile IT which can be managed internally and updated more easily.
This is all good in theory. But in practice, many employees remain nervous about making such a major transition in minimal time. They may want flexibility, but they also want to continue working with what they know. It’s human nature to fear change – and it’s no different with technology. The cloud can feel uncomfortable, too much of a stretch from their familiar ecosystem, too disruptive and sudden. Businesses must break down these behavioural barriers by demonstrating not only that the cloud is nothing to feel bad about – but also that it can revolutionise the way we all work and enable us to achieve more, wherever we are. Ultimately, your successful strategy will be the one that gives employees access to a solution which is simple, seamless and secure… but not scary!
Beware! Deploying remote desktops, Windows Virtual Desktops or other similar technologies is not cloud native working. Instead, you are pushing traditional IT solutions to your employees using an inferior user experience - which can leave them more frustrated and constrained than before.
This is essential, because the biggest threat to your corporate security is your own end users. If you don’t offer them the applications and configurations, they require to stay productive, they’ll find their own way of doing it. And the chances are, it won’t be compliant or constructive. This is the stuff of security nightmares, and it can be extremely detrimental to your business.
A managed solution makes all the difference
A managed cloud solution gives your people the freedom to work anywhere and stay connected, while you enjoy the peace of mind that activity is being monitored, managed and maintained in real-time… all within budget.
Centrality’s new solution ‘Connect by Centrality’ is one such option, which promises to deliver ‘productivity without compromise’ through a secure, evergreen and fully supported Windows 10 and Office 365 solution, powered by the Microsoft Cloud. Compatible with both new devices and existing hardware, ‘Connect by Centrality’ creates a platform for employees to access the files and information they need from anywhere, anytime. Because everything is in the cloud, no servicing or maintenance is required. All features are brand new and based on the latest technology.
The ‘managed’ element of solutions such as this is especially useful if your IT resources are limited or over-stretched, or if you simply want to relax knowing your employees and business are being safely looked after. The Centrality team looks after everything for you in this respect. We know the Cloud and can make it work in the best way for your particular organisation and its unique needs. All for the right price, with minimal disruption. Then, we’ll continue to review and evolve the solution around you, as things change.
Flexibility and agility are paramount, in a commercial and technical world which moves incredibly fast. Standard IT hardware now requires two major Operating System upgrades every year – not to mention constant new security patches and compliance policies. For IT departments, that’s a huge undertaking and a significant responsibility. What’s more, it prevents those people from working on other important initiatives that will add value to the business and ensure future wellbeing and profitability: for example, making the most of digital transformation.