As the polar vortex recently bore down on much of the Midwest and East Coast, bringing lots of snow and multiple headaches, the topic of remote working comes to mind. Seasonal events such as heavy snow—not to mention the ice storm that paralyzed parts of the southern U.S. in early December—can disrupt businesses as well as daily life in many ways. Lack of electricity, canceled flights, delays or shutdowns in local transportation all have an adverse affect on daily activities.
Keeping a business operating at optimal levels when employees can’t make it into the office quickly becomes a problem. The losses in productivity and resulting lost business can mount up fast.
Cloud Services Can Help
Luckily for today’s businesses, technology exists so that many employees can perform their jobs remotely as seamlessly as if they were in the office. For example, cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) enables employees to work remotely, helping to keep things running at the business. Communication tools such as softphones, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing help dispersed teams collaborate and work on projects even when the weather outside is frightful.
Enabling employees to do their jobs even when they can’t get into the office keeps them safe during dangerous travel conditions, but it also means not losing employee productivity over the course of the weather event.
UCaaS keeps communications running smoothly, especially critical for organizations that heavily rely on communications for their revenue. During inclement weather, unified communications solutions can:
- Integrate email, voice and instant messaging into a cohesive communication system so all employees can keep in touch
- Provide access points to all data used by an organization so that users can communicate with others inside and outside their organizations quickly and more easily
- Lower overall IT and telecommunications costs, particularly labor costs, because of the inherent economies of scale available through an integrated communications platform
- Give access to carrier-grade communications that deliver consistency with easy-to-use functionality
Virtual Desktops—at Your Service
Other cloud services can make working remotely a reality as well. For instance, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) means moving an employee’s desktop to the cloud and making it accessible anywhere, anytime by an Internet-enabled service. Virtual desktops can be linked through a private network connection to a secure, remote data center far from the bad weather. Best of all, desktops in the cloud look and behave as if they are part of a corporate IT environment. Customers and employees won’t notice a difference in the quality of service.
Plus, the ability to deploy, manage and support desktops through DaaS reduces costs and eliminates the complexity of deploying and managing virtual desktops. Hardware costs can be reduced by nearly 60% and easier management means lower operating costs. Other benefits of DaaS include:
- Improved security and compliance through centralized updates
- Better mobility for your workforce through seamless access from any device, at any location
- More flexibility to easily deploy and quickly scale desktops
- A disaster recovery strategy to get desktops back up and running quickly
Routing Network Traffic Using SDN
Software-defined networking (SDN) simplifies the network management, proactively addresses network performance and quickly re-routes network traffic as needed—all critical functions during a severe weather occurrence.
SDN can help businesses keep their mission-critical processes up and running. Using OpenFlow technology, an SDN solution centralizes control of the network and automatically monitors network traffic, distributing it according to pre-defined policies and constantly updated network resources and traffic conditions.
Think of a delivery truck’s route from point A to point B. If the truck runs into bad weather conditions or an accident on the route, the driver can access a traffic monitoring app such as Google Turn by Turn to identify and then access another route quickly. The driver is able to quickly re-route the truck so that it doesn’t lose any more time in making its delivery.
So, when bad weather strikes, having the right tools and technology in place to enable mobility among your workforce can make a real difference. Consider including UCaaS, and SDN solutions in your disaster recovery plans to help create a safe and secure environment that protects your data and applications and keeps your businesses running.
To learn more about these solutions follow the links below: