Moving to a virtual workforce? Four requirements and one key success factor

As part of the worldwide effort to stop the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), enterprises everywhere are scrambling to transition their global workforce to a virtual model. As a company that organizations around the world rely on for remote work solutions, Masergy has four requirements for seamlessly migrating to a remote workforce, including one key factor that will determine the success or failure of cloud Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

Basic requirements for moving to a virtual workforce

1. Equipment for all employees

Your employees will need all necessary office equipment for staying connected and productive (laptops versus desktops, extra monitors, power cords for IP phones, printers/ scanners, etc.).

  • Supply chain restrictions may impact delivery times, so quickly assess your needs and make orders proactively if needed to avoid delays.
  • Don’t forget about endpoint security for newly acquired equipment.
  • Your employees might want to take their monitor or their desk chair home with them, so you may consider an equipment checkout process.
  • Consider giving employees a technology stipend to let them buy their own equipment if needed. Every person works differently, using different equipment for doing so.

What you'll learn

  • How to ensure employees have the right equipment
  • Considerations for unified cloud communications
  • Tips for rapid yet secure VPN connections
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2. UCaaS technology

Remote workforce collaboration is made possible by unified communications as a service (UCaaS) including VoIP calling, video conferencing, instant messaging, presence, and team collaboration–available anytime, anywhere using any device.

UCaaS features are similar across providers, meaning many platforms will fit the needs of those with basic requirements. That said, pick a brand you trust to avoid frustrating your teams with unreliable solutions that cause more headaches than productivity.

  • Don’t forget about the network service and security. Bundled services speed time to deployment, and network services that are software defined provide real-time visibility and control (more on that later).
  • Use SIP trunking to layer UCaaS on top of your existing PBX systems. Known as hybrid cloud deployments, these strategies allow you to incrementally transition to the cloud on a schedule that works with your aging technology.

3. Rapid VPN connections

You’ll need to ensure rapid IT processes to dial up network connections for remote workers.

  • A spike in virtual collaboration requires an increase in network capacity and secure virtual private networking (VPN) connections so remote employees can use their home internet to get on the corporate network. Your IT team will need to plan for ways to quickly and securely deliver additional VPN connectivity and network capacity. Network service providers can also help.
  • Shadow IT—which refers to the cloud applicationsthat employees use but the corporate IT teamknows nothing about–can become an issue whenwork computers get used and shared at home. It’simportant to consider Shadow IT and other securityrisks in virtual models. Shadow IT Discovery toolsthat identify all cloud applications running on yournetwork, 24/7 network security monitoring, andthreat response are key capabilities for addressingthis.

4. Operational review

You’ll need a thorough process to review every detail of your business, management, and service delivery process: corporate mail, equipment logistics, even down to having enough power adapters for all your IP phones.

One factor determines the success of your cloud communications

What one factor affects your cloud communications more than anything else? The network. The UCaaS user experience is everything, and it’s largely determined by the network service that supports the application.

Research shows 63% of companies satisfied with their UCaaS experience use a software-defined network service. Why? SD-networks provide superior application performance and real-time bandwidth visibility and control in one portal. This makes it easy to dial bandwidth up and down, ensure performance of mission-critical applications, and innovate your workforce.

As companies transition to virtual models, they’re highly likely to run into application performance issues and service challenges along the way. Contrary to what some providers may try and tell you, broadband Internet access is not all you need for near-perfect performance. Public connectivity is a shared resource, known as a mere “best effort” connectivity type. It’s prone to jitter and latency when routing traffic across long distances— now more than ever as the world stays at home. Consider more reliable public connectivity options or private MPLS connectivity with a software-defined platform. These provide dynamic bandwidth control and full visibility into voice and video performance, helping you easily manage quality of service and bursts in bandwidth to keep your teams connected wherever they are.

Here at Masergy, we believe critical and real-time services should always traverse private network architectures to ensure packets arrive in sequence and on time. This ensures your mission-critical IP traffic receives the predictable outcome your workers and customers expect. And when problems do arise (they’re inevitable), you should have a clear and simple way to dig into what’s really going on with your corporate communications. Make sure your provider serves up application intelligence that empowers administrators to see bottlenecks and modify bandwidth as needed.

Securely adapt your workforce

The last thing you need to worry about right now is your business’ communications. As your organization navigates toward a virtual workforce, UCaaS + SD-WAN will keep your teams connected when it matters most.