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How to support remote working without compromising productivity

By Sonny Aulakh, Vice President of Worldwide Product and Solution Marketing at Pure Storage

As the need to work remotely continues to impact the daily lives of people and businesses around the globe, it places unexpected demand on IT departments. How do you transition supporting 30% of your workforce to work remotely to 100% in a matter of weeks? This will be a challenging task as new organizations face a sharp increase in telecommuting load and costs.

In the past few weeks, a growing number of organizations have reached out to our teams for advice and support to enable and scale remote workplace projects.

The most difficult position is budgeting for unexpected requirements. Specifically, how do I budget for infrastructure required today that we might not need nine months from now? Many organizations are using as-a-service models to meet current demand, rather than accelerating the acquisition of on-premises equipment that may not be required later. This lets them meet their needs without placing additional assets on the balance sheet as well as repurpose on-premises infrastructure into other projects when it is available. Such projects may include SQL re-platforming or AI initiatives that likely are budgeted in this or the following year.

Here are 4 tips for IT leaders dealing with supporting remote employees during the COVID-19 situation:

  1. Consider Storage as-a-Service (STaaS)

Storage as a service is a great way to quickly put resources in place for remote workers. Storage is the most critical component of any virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), so getting this right is critical to productivity. Because we really can’t predict ongoing requirements, Pure as-a-Service provides a strong path. CIOs can use the capacity required immediately via OPEX, manage costs over time based upon discounting, and have the ability to burst into the type of high IO (a.k.a. “bootstorm”) that VDI desktops experience on boot, reboot, and login. With terms as short as 12 months and promotions offering the first 3 months free from Pure, this is an easy way to temporarily expand storage in place to support VDI without a lengthy financial commitment. Learn more about the Pure as-a-Service offer.

  1. Support Telecommuting

Working from home is a solid model that most organizations embrace. Pure offers several solutions that can simplify things when you’re looking to deliver additional VDI resources in a hurry. FlashStack™ from Pure and Cisco is a great option to implement an integrated VDI infrastructure that is operational on Day 1. You get the latest in compute, network, and storage components in a single integrated architecture that accelerates time to deployment, lowers overall IT costs, and reduces deployment risk. Check out this recent Pure Report podcast with more detail on how FlashStack enables rapid deployment to get past the Day 0/1/2 challenges in setting up infrastructure.

Encourage your teams to pick up the phone. Telephones are legacy tech for most of us, but one lesson learned over 20 years of telecommuting is that having a live conversation is easily twice as productive as email alone.

  1. Have Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans in Place

In periods of stress, the risk of human error rises. With IT distracted from standard day-to-day procedures, chances increase that systems will fail from lack of attention. Pure includes data-protection features — snapshots and replication — at no additional cost. It is simple to activate snapshots and set up replication, which can help you facilitate quick recovery in the event of a system failure or data loss. Not all organizations take advantage of these capabilities. Now is the time to leverage data protection broadly including looking at backup and restore strategies including recovery from ransomware attacks.

  1. Participate in Your Org’s Tiger Team

Most enterprises have created “tiger teams” to deal with the increased teleworking needs, but the participants are often limited to the facilities, communications, and HR teams. Make sure IT is represented to address the technical ramifications of telecommuting directives or hosting technical support visitors on site.

It is reasonable to expect that this event will trigger certain elements of your business continuity plan — either due to outage or load. Because remediating any issues could require on-site assistance from vendors or consultants, make sure you have plans in place for access to your data center as well as screening onsite resources.