Collective thinking needed to save economy from coronavirus
One of the very few silver linings of the Coronavirus is that it creates an opportunity for us all to re-think our working practices and the need for businesses to spend vast amounts on commercial property.
There is an opportunity to prove that people can work more productively and securely at home because many people lose hours of their working day commuting to and from work or meetings.
However, there are now some particular problems that are being caused by the rush to home-working.
There is a European shortage of laptops; with kids off school and more home-working there is a surge in demand for home broadband; and internal and external cyber threats to your business, with cyber criminals using the Coronavirus pandemic to target businesses with sophisticated phishing and malware attacks by impersonating organisations such as the World Health Organisation.
However, there is a solution to tackle all three of these significant emerging problems.
Most British businesses are run using a device-led IT model, where work and sensitive data is often held on devices, like laptops and smartphone themselves. At the moment we are getting a lot of new business enquiries from companies who are concerned about sending their staff home with sensitive information, which is held on specific devices and could be accidentally compromised, deliberately taken to a competitor, or used by employees to set up their own business.
Businesses need to move from device-led desktops and move towards what's known as virtual or server-led desktops, where information is stored on on-premise servers, private or public cloud, or any combination of the three.
Server-led desktops are a crucial step to ensuring business security during a switch to home-working because they take the control of business and customer information out of the hands of individual employees working on individual devices, where the information is more vulnerable, and give control back to company IT administrators through central administration and policy setting.
Using a server-led desktop allows businesses to remotely deploy user access policies, in order to prevent internal and external cyber-attacks. Moving to server-led desktops is also a brilliant way of tackling the broadband capacity issues millions of people will now be facing.
This is because server-led desktops merely stream information to a desktop, using only a small portion of your home broadband network (about 0.5meg of data). This is far more preferable than having financial services employees, legal teams, construction consultants, architects, videographers, and many others sending large chunks of sensitive data, videos and drawings back and forth to each other on clunky private networks.
Server-led desktops also free businesses up from the global laptop shortage by enabling workers to work from home on any device such as their own home laptop or tablet rather than them needing new devices.
The forthcoming lockdown creates a unique opportunity to re-shape how British businesses and people work long-term.
However, now is not the time to invest long-term. Now is the time for businesses to create immediate solutions to keep Britain running – because Britain’s IT managed service providers only have a limited level of capacity.
I would advise businesses to leverage the power of the public cloud for home-working until the extent of the Coronavirus outbreak is better known – or to remotely connect to their existing office PCs.
It is better for Britain if service providers deliver more immediate solutions and rapidly deploy remote working solutions that allow companies to make it through these uncertain times and then take stock once the worst is over.
Working this way means we can safely and securely move more British business to a home-working system and work towards creating longer-term, best-fit solutions.
There has never been such a need for British businesses to pull together and think collectively for the greater good.
The country needs to work together to make as many businesses as safe and productive as possible in the short-term so that the British economy can perform the best it can in the weeks and months ahead.