Home workers a pain in the IS neck

It’s one of the biggest nightmares the typical Information Systems professional charged with running an enterprise computing system is haunted by these days: She sits behind her desk, confidently observing her charges as they flawlessly maintain an infrastructure that — at last — is running glitch-free, when the CIO opens the door and announces that half the marketing department will now be working from their home offices and will require connections as secure and stable as the ones they have enjoyed in the brick-and-mortar protection of the office.

With one short directive, the IS leader’s finely tuned operation is turned on its side, threatened with a whirlwind of chaos as unpredictable as a class of third-graders let loose in a china shop. Unfortunately for many IS pros, this nightmare has become a reality.

With the growth of IP networks over the last 10 years, the reach of the typical corporate network has grown to often-unfathomable proportions. What was once a nicely contained little computing tree residing within a single building has now grown its roots underneath the concrete walls and out into the mean streets of the public domain.

This branching-out process has been a boon to business and has put a smile on the face of many a CEO and shareholder. By extending the reach of the network, business can be conducted faster, more efficiently and with more parties than ever before. Distance has shrunk as a barrier to growth, all thanks to IP.

It’s done so on the backs of IS personnel, however. They have painstakingly ensured that security is as tight as possible and that the end user’s experience is something quite similar to that experienced within the office walls.

As homeworking becomes more prevalent, however, the tech team’s challenge becomes larger. Users are apt to do things that they otherwise wouldn’t be doing if they were at work, such as downloading all kinds of useless junk that courts danger with every click of the mouse. In short, working from home further distances IS from the problems they are responsible for solving.

And the sad fact is that even though work-at-home end users are physically further away from their tech support teams, their screams of confusion are just as loud over the phone as they are in person.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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