Home Office: Stress Test For The IT Infrastructure

The big challenges organizations face when migrating to remote working.

In the Covid-19 pandemic, advantages and failures in digitization in Germany are revealed. Companies that were not prepared for mobile working with appropriate devices and tools have tried to find pragmatic solutions to keep their organization working. With far-reaching consequences: Inadequately secured private computers are currently the number one gateway for cybercriminals. NTT Ltd. reports a daily increase of around 15 to 20 per cent in security incidents in which hackers try to gain access to company data in this way. In addition, open ports on routers in the home office, unprotected access to the company intranet, hastily set up replacement servers, and freely accessible video conference tools make the criminals’ work easier.

Using secure communication channels

WhatsApp groups for communication within project teams or Dropbox to exchange documents may have been a quick solution in the first phase. Still, confidential company data can be viewed by everyone via such channels. Unencrypted emails, Skype calls and poorly protected collaboration tools also pose a major security risk. Internal company information belongs on the intranet, and messages and e-mails must be sent with end-to-end encryption.

Setting up access to the intranet via VPN

The most frequently used technique for securely accessing a local network remotely is connecting via an encrypted VPN tunnel (Virtual Private Network). In many companies, the number of licenses for mass relocation to the home office was initially insufficient, or capacity problems arose if too many employees logged in simultaneously. This bottleneck should now be resolved. Emergency access with simple transport encryption should therefore be a thing of the past.

A flexible and scalable infrastructure

It is important to set up mobile workplaces, buy new hardware if necessary, expand the required bandwidth and set up additional authorizations and accounts. Companies that may still be working with a token ring network or were not prepared for the home office due to their workplace architecture are struggling with distribution problems and need completely digitized secure access solutions as quickly as possible. The infrastructure must be modernized and geared towards scalability. The possibilities range from software-defined data centres to hybrid IT and multi-cloud environments.

Keeping costs down With a software-defined data centre or cloud model, the ability to quickly scale up and down helps keep costs down. In the event of declining sales or access, you only have to pay for the IT capacities used. At the same time, it is possible to react in an agile manner to increasing requirements, thereby ensuring the ability to innovate.

Another obstacle to massive remote work is the sluggish broadband expansion. The networks can cope well with the additional load from home offices and video conferences – provided that the employees are located in a region in which a fast internet connection via cellular phone, copper or fibre optic cable is available.

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