From managing remote job sites to managing remote everything

You’re considered Critical Infrastructure so your projects and jobs keep going, but for the safety of your team and your clients, you’ve now got more of them working from home.

There are many similarities between setting up a job site trailer and helping your users work from home. You need to make sure everyone has access, stable lines of communication are available and equipment onsite is working and secure. But there are some unique differences, one of which is the normal operation that the environment is designed for- will your key software work off site? Can your team access shared or large files?  How are they sharing updates? All of these things can impact your users overall experience and productivity. 

When a specific job site is set up, you plan for the activities that will need to be supported and build the network infrastructure accordingly. They are sized and selected appropriately to ensure functionality, performance and a certain level of security. It’s unlikely the current infrastructure you’re using was designed to support the specific scenario presented by Covid. The sudden substantial number of your users working from home for a sustained period of time can put additional pressure on the collective IT environment. Even uncontrollable things like your team members home internet connections can negatively impact the system as a whole. It simply wasn’t designed for that use case. End users end up experiencing: glitchy Zoom calls, slower file transfer, inability or frustration in working with BIM models.

So what can you do about it? We’ll you can certainly design your infrastructure to handle the new peak load “norm” but this could be costly and certainly take time to deploy. In the meantime somethings to consider are:

  • Is your laptop backup deployment strategy still applicable?
  • Are your laptop patching and security updates still deployed on an appropriate schedule and frequency?
  • Are all of your applications available remotely? Begin to prioritize what it will take to virtualize these and make them securely accessible from a remote location.
  • What other sync features are enabled in your environment that should perhaps be reviewed for fit and schedules.
  • Can you prioritize your network traffic in a way that better meets the current needs of your team.
  • If running a Virtual Desktop environment, are the network protocols selected appropriate for each of the users requirements.
  • Communicate to employees about things they should keep in mind regarding their home networks and optimization, or strategies, they should consider to make their remote work more enjoyable. Such as:
    • Limit the streaming of other apps, devices or children during zoom calls.
    • Consider using audio only or a static profile image instead of full video when you find bandwidth limiting. Ensure sync on home devices is running at an appropriate time.
    • Use all available security settings when using Zoom meetings.

Further, users who don’t normally work remote or don’t do so with any level of frequency may also not be aware of some functionality available to them. Such as the ability to access their email through Outlook On The Web (formerly OWA), online file sharing tools such as Egnyte or web based applications. Many of these solutions are more efficient in their use of bandwidth within your overall network infrastructure, allowing you to go directly to the app without a VPN connections – thus lessening the strain.

This unprecedented change in the way we work can be a great opportunity to streamline and secure your infrastructure. Working remotely is here for the near future. Datotel is open and ready to help.