Situations for residents of various countries and cities have been changing rapidly as the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues. Quarantines are now in effect for the entire country of Italy, and major events like SXSW are being cancelled or postponed.
The desire to help prevent infection has also caused many employers to look at the possibility of a remote working situation if Coronavirus gets worse in their area or a quarantine is put into effect.
Companies such as Google have already sent their employees home to work remotely, but it’s not just large enterprise corporations that are coming up with telecommuting contingency plans. Small and medium-sized businesses in Fresno and the rest of the country are realizing that if things get worse, they may need to come up with a “plan B” for keeping their office running if employees need to stay home.
This is where cloud computing and virtualization can give you the backstop you need to keep vital business processes functioning from alternate locations.
How to Put Together a Telecommuting Strategy
Some of the biggest challenges when it comes to running your business from multiple employee homes have to do with the infrastructure and communications. Challenges include things like:
- Ensuring employees can access their work software
- Security of data when staff is connecting remotely
- How to keep staff on task and knowing what’s expected
- Keeping all data being updated in a central storage, rather than additional file versions being created on multiple devices
Virtualization can be used in two ways to overcome those challenges and give your business the flexibility it needs if you have to institute a remote work plan due to the Coronavirus, or if you just want to have the ability to offer remote work or use telecommuters on a regular basis.
Server virtualization involves moving programs and processes run on a physical server to a cloud-based virtual server. This allows your applications and data to be easily accessible from any location and gives you the freedom to use the software you want to, rather than having to find a cloud solution alternative.
Using server virtualization through a system like Azure and using Active Directory, you can institute credential management that will allow you to secure remote logins using multi-factor authentication, protecting yourself against unauthorized access.
Employees can also access documents stored on a virtual server, and ensure they are always working with the latest version, rather than having multiple copies of the same document being stored across different employee devices.
Migrating from an on-premises server to a virtual server is simple, and there is little disruption to workflow because your team can access all the same programs, files, and processes that they could with your onsite server, but now it’s easy for them to connect from home, or anywhere else.
Another form or virtualization that can make it seamless for employees to work remotely is desktop virtualization. This is where a computer workstation environment is hosted entirely virtually.
So, instead of your computer’s operating system, software, and files being stored on the hard drive of a computer, they’re all stored on a virtual server. Employee’s can then just login to their “virtual computer” from any computer, laptop, or mobile device and access their main desktop and files.
Desktop virtualization is one of the major trends to watch since Microsoft just released their Windows Virtual Desktop globally last fall. It basically allows you to take your computer with you anywhere you go, without having to carry it around.
Using the same desktop at the office and at home, reduces time moving emails and files back and forth between “work” and “home” computers, and creates a foundation that makes working anywhere much easier.
Bottom Line Benefits of Virtualization
A global pandemic isn’t the only reason to virtualize your business processes. Virtualization has multiple benefits, which can save small and mid-sized businesses money and help them become more digitally advanced.
There are multiple threats that can take out a company’s technology infrastructure and result in costly downtime. This includes things:
- Malware attacks
- Data breaches
- Natural disasters
- Manmade disasters
- Hardware crashes
- Human error
98% of organizations say that just one hour of downtime costs them over $100,000.
When you’re using virtual solutions, your critical infrastructure and files remain safely stored offsite on a cloud-based server, so you can quickly recover from a downtime disaster at your physical office.
Remote Work Savings
Remote work has been on the rise for the past few years as technology has made working from anywhere possible to do effectively. As this trend has unfolded, employers and workers have both benefited from cost savings and higher productivity rates.
Employers save an average of $11,000 per year by using telecommuting. Savings come from things like office space, office utilities, and other location-based costs.
Approximately 65% of people feel they’re more productive working from home. This is due in large part because they have fewer distractions than when at the office.
While not every job can be done remotely, thanks to virtualization and cloud technologies, many of them can. Having a contingency plan during this Coronavirus outbreak is a sound reason to build remote working capabilities into your technology infrastructure, and you may just find many other benefits for your company by virtualizing.
Get Help Preparing Your Office for Telecommuting Needs
Unity IT can help your business in Fresno, Clovis, Visalia, and Madera with the virtual solutions you need to keep operating effectively in the event your employees need to work from home.
Contact us today for a free consultation. Call 559-297-1007 or reach out online.