Latest COVID Variants Will Keep Work From Home a Top IT Priority

    For a little while there it appeared that IT leaders were starting to look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent survey of 400 IT leaders at organizations with more than 500 employees suggests that IT leaders are moving or had already moved to a hybrid work model. Conducted by Snow Software, a provider of a platform for managing IT assets, only a little more than a third (34%) said they expect enabling hybrid work models to be their primary focus over the next 12 months.

    However, now that the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus has proven to be more contagious, the rush to bring employees back into the office appears to be slowing. IBM, for example, is temporarily closing its offices in New York City amid rising Covid-19 cases. The company still plans to open other U.S. locations next month, but obviously, such plans might be subject to change.

    At the current rate of infection, it’s possible many employees will be working from home well into next spring. The issue IT leaders will now need to come to terms with is whether they truly did enough to enable remote work in the last year or whether employees simply put up with a suboptimal experience during a global emergency. In a lot of instances, employees are still relying on virtual private networks (VPNs) to create encrypted tunnels through firewalls to access applications that still run in an on-premises IT environment.

    PCoIP Could Gain Interest

    Now that it appears multiple variants of COVID-19 are capable of infecting both the vaccinated and unvaccinated, it’s become apparent that all the technologies that companies relied on to enable remote work will need to be re-evaluated once again. That includes potentially everything from replacing VPNs with secure access service edge (SASE) networks that scale more easily than VPNs to adopting a PCoIP remote display protocol that only transfers pixels to remote desktops to improve overall application performance.

    Teradici Cloud Access Software (CAS) is one technology enabling PCoIP. That approach provides end users with greater application fidelity when using remote access graphics applications, says Ziad Lammam, vice president of products at Teradici, a unit of HP. “It’s about providing a better user experience,” he said.

    In addition, PCoIP eliminates the need to rely on a remote desktop protocol (RDP) that has shown itself to be vulnerable to multiple types of cyberattacks, adds Lamman.

    Cloud Migrations Could Increase

    Of course, if more employees are working from home, the rate at which applications are moving to the cloud is also likely to accelerate. Most of that shift has involved replacing on-premises IT applications with more modern software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings that can be accessed from anywhere more easily.

    Regardless of the approach to enabling employees to work from home (WFA), IT leaders need to honestly ask themselves whether they are delivering a superior application experience to end users that is as secure as it needs to be, or whether they have merely done enough for now to at least get by. The truth is that what was once considered good enough a few short months ago is not likely to be in the days and weeks ahead. The longer the pandemic drags on, the more employees will expect their organizations to have proper tools in place.

    Further reading: Successful Cloud Migration with Automated Discovery Tools

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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