Remote working is here to stay long beyond COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a real drive of digital transformation across the UK Government, with the need to maintain services and securely share data from remote locations. At UKCloud, we enable our customers to make this transformation happen. On our trusted multi-cloud platform, you can develop secure remote working environments, from virtual desktops and compliant collaboration, through to secure remote access to public sector networks such as HSCN, PSN and RLI.

Whilst social distancing measures has led to an accelerated uptake in remote working solutions, this creates both risk and opportunity. On the one hand, organisations are looking for rapid deployments, which can lead to tradeoffs being taken in the safety, security, and long-term stability of implementations. Seen from another angle, this current situation actually presents a great opportunity to lay the groundwork for longer term digital workplace strategies to support the ‘new normal’ post-COVID as well as business continuity planning.

Beyond today’s tactical activity, we see the requirement for digital workplace solutions to encompass everything from remote desktops, through to collaboration environments. It’s an area that organisations are increasingly focusing on due to changes in employee expectations, new business drivers and key motivators such as sustainability and the path to become carbon neutral.

Employees are looking for more flexibility in their working lives to match their varied lifestyles and create a better work-life balance. According to research by the CIPD, 87% of employees today want to work flexibly by having the same ability to access applications at times that work for them as they see in their personal lives. By supporting contractual flexible working or other similar initiatives, employers can improve job satisfaction, increase employee retention, and attract new talent.

In addition to providing employees with flexibility, enabling teams to support activity in more dispersed environments has the potential to reduce operating expenses associated with travel and fixed assets such as office space rental. In this way, enabling a digital workplace can lead to real financial benefits which could become essential for public sector organisations when the government implements budgetary measures to begin to repay the national debt.

There are also other clear motivators to start building your future workplace strategy now. The increasing stability of network infrastructure, the introduction of wireless technologies such as 5G, the availability of more capable and more affordable mobile devices and the proliferation of remote working-enabling software mean that making the transformation is easier than ever. Another key motivator to consider for driving this change is the environmental impact. Remote working can greatly help to reduce the carbon footprint of organisations and supports the government’s commitment to reducing UK emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

Key to the successful implementation of a digital workplace is to ensure reliability standards can be kept high across virtual meetings and collaboration environments, whether that be chat, audio or video. Once a new service with such a large number of distributed endpoints has been established, the challenge facing the IT Operations Team becomes security related very quickly with the need to manage those dispersed IT environments. The biggest asset a business can have on its side is visibility, across both their network and security estate. As with most things, there’s no silver bullet; it’s about having the insight, intelligence and awareness to deliver the right interventions at the right time. The NCSC have recently published some guidance to help organsations with the security implications of remote working.

To provide robust remote working solutions, we’ve engaged with our market-leading partner ecosystem, which provides specialist expertise and technology. Our partners include VMware, Citrix, L3Harris and Bluescape to support remote working, secure native network connections and collaboration systems, respectively. We’ve developed our remote working solution closely with VMware and we’ve recently obtained Cloud Verified Status, meaning we’re best placed to deliver secure, flexible and future-proof solutions to UK Public Sector organisations at the scale and pace you need.

So as the dust is beginning to settle, now is the time to review the tactical remote working solutions you implemented urgently and really consider whether they provide you the compliance, sustainability and flexibility that is required to underpin a strategic solution that can stand the test of time (and scrutiny of your Chief Information Security Officer).

For more information visit our remote working solutions page, and join us for our Digital Workplace webinar on the 27th May at 11am where we will be joined by a special guest from our strategic partner VMware and will discuss the need for safe, secure and compliant remote working solutions into the UK Public Sector.

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