IT Infrastructure: The Key To A Flexible Workforce It’s a Monday morning and you just got a nice white blanket of snow to trudge through on the way into the office. You know your employees are dealing with the same thing, and you know how delays impact productivity. So, how do you handle it? If you have a flexible IT infrastructure—the kind with seamless access across multiple work locations and the proper levels of security—you could allow your employees the flexibility of working offsite. A Plan for Personal Devices While allowing employees to use their personal devices and internet networks for work can offer them the flexibility they want, it can also allow your business to become vulnerable to hackers. For example, you may want your employees to be able to access proprietary business information, such as sales pipelines, client records, product information, billing records, etc., anytime they want. However, giving them access to and the ability to store this information on their own computers, tablets, or smartphones at public hotspots, such as coffee shops and conference venues, can create additional risk to your business. This is especially true if privacy protected information, such as payroll and client information, becomes lost or stolen. It’s clear from a data perspective, businesses need a better solution to workplace flexibility. You need to ensure that your employees aren’t sharing confidential information, whether intentional or not, about your business or clients. Your first step should be to develop and implement a mobile device management plan that not only protects employee privacy, but also your organization’s most important assets. Once you’ve made the decision to give employees access to company information via their personal device, your next step should be to create an employee transition process and plan. For example, what happens to the employee’s personal device when they leave your business? Does the device get wiped? Is the employee aware that this could happen when they leave your business? Your transition and mobile device management policy should go hand in hand, and will benefit your business in the long run, especially if an issue occurs. The Virtual Desktop A virtual desktop gives employees remote access to specified applications. This lets employees access shared content and network drives, as well as any applications they would normally have “at the office” (or previously installed directly on their desktop). Information can be transferred out of the virtual desktop and saved on the specific machine of the user, but the applications themselves cannot. This provides enhanced security for the business and ensures employees only have access to pre-approved applications and network drives. A virtual desktop can help limit employee misuse of information, but it cannot completely prevent data breaches that can come from using open internet sources. It’s important to ensure your virtual desktop solution leverages encryption to help protect your business from data breaches. A cloud-based solution also provides your business with many efficiency benefits. For example, in a virtual desktop environment, upgrades can be made through one system, instead of pushing them out individually to every employee, which can help reduce management costs in the long run. Other benefits include eliminating hardware expenses and streamlining the ability to troubleshoot issues. [Related: Solving the Mystery Between Virtualization and Cloud Computing] Putting it all Together Businesses looking to compete for the best talent, particularly in this period of tight labor markets, need to adapt to the flexibility employees expect. While this may present a variety of technology challenges for your business, there are a variety of cloud technologies that can keep your workforce mobile and flexible, and maintain advanced levels of data security. Does your business need to accommodate mobile workers? Mike Wallen Mike Wallen is a Business Solutions Manager at Aureon Technology. Mike is enthusiastic and passionate about helping small to medium-sized businesses eliminate the hassle, waste, and headaches of all things technology in their business to create a worry-free environment. Mike has 15+ years of experience in IT, with a focus on healthcare, law firms, nonprofits/charity, and general small to medium-sized business. He believes in listening to his clients' needs first, then aligning those business needs with business processes and technology solutions. Mike considers himself a true business efficiency and technology architect. Aureon Technology provides end to end IT and communications solutions and has locations throughout the Midwest including Des Moines, Omaha, and Kansas City. Aureon strives to take care of your technology and back office needs so you can focus on what you do best.