Written by Alberto Da Anunciacao, the chief infrastructure officer for Aptum
COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on almost every aspect of society, and enterprise IT is no exception. Early on during the pandemic, we saw the immediate impact of the shift to remote work with global networks seeing demand spikes of 800 per cent, and reports of major jumps in daytime internet traffic as students shifted to online learning and workforces set up home offices. While these findings represent larger work from home trends being discussed during the pandemic, it’s certainly reflective of the challenges we’re hearing from our customers as they devote more spending to supporting technologies such as communication and collaboration solutions, mobile devices and services, network capacity and security.
As an example, companies with employees that worked primarily from offices before the pandemic had networks that were built to handle traffic flowing into and out of one central location. Now those companies have employees working from home, accessing internally housed applications, often over virtual private networks (VPNs), putting significant strain on their networks.
Many of our customers have asked us to boost their bandwidth between particular environments, and our customers in the cloud have seen traffic volumes increase. We’ve had to make sure those customers have flexible capacity that can meet their needs.
Companies are wondering what the future holds for their IT operations. There’s no way to know how long the current situation will last, or whether we’ll find ourselves in a similar position in the future, but it is safe to say organizations are formulating plans to support a more remote work force. The following are a few predictions about what we’ll see over the coming months:
- Hyperscale cloud will continue to grow: One of hyperscale cloud’s biggest benefits is its ability to quickly scale up or scale down depending on demand. Companies that haven’t moved to a scalable cloud solution are being hit hard in terms of capacity and latency by the shift to work from home. They’ll need to learn from this current situation and adjust their infrastructure planning for the future. Where possible, many will shift workloads to the cloud.
- Demand for cloud-native solutions will increase: Cloud-based solutions like Microsoft O365 and Teams were already growing in popularity, but the sudden shift to increased remote work is increasing demand for them significantly. Organizations will also look to Software as a Service solutions for their internal operations such as accounting and human resources. Relying on cloud-native products means you don’t have to worry about suddenly scaling bandwidth to support remote work – the application provider does that for you.
- The influence of enterprise IT departments will increase: Digital transformation projects are often driven by business units with the IT department adopting a secondary role. But the shift to supporting more remote work means IT will be heavily involved in infrastructure and applications discussions to ensure systems are scalable and secure.
- Security will be more important than ever: Organizations have spent a lot of time and money securing their internal networks. But securing a remote workforce requires different solutions and planning. For instance, if your remote employees don’t have VPN capability, you become vulnerable because you’re only as secure as their home networks. Implementing endpoint security software with advanced threat protection and response is also more important than ever to defend against attacks.
We don’t know when we’ll be able to return to life as we knew it before the pandemic. When we do get back to a more normal routine, it’s safe to say there will be significant changes in enterprise IT planning, with more emphasis on remote work and solutions that allow employees to work from home as seamlessly as they work in the office.
Alberto Da Anunciacao is the Chief Infrastructure Officer of Aptum, a global hybrid cloud and managed services provider. Da Anunciacao is a seasoned IT industry executive with more than 20 years of experience in the data center, telecommunications and IT industries