According to Forrester Research, 34 million Americans work from home (at least occasionally today) and they expect that number will rise to 63 million by 2016; Gartner (News - Alert) predicts that this drive to mobility will become a $1 trillion market in the next four years.
Put simply, telecommuting means working from a remote location, which can be anywhere outside of a centralized organizational work place. Its major benefits include saving on in-house facility costs, expansion, and talent acquisition. Companies that allow their employees to telecommute save big dollars on construction, leases, and property taxes, since they may no longer need to build or rent larger offices or parking lots when they expand. Moreover, they can attract employees from a wider geography and retain top talent who—for whatever reason—can’t travel to the office every day.
Telecommuting is nothing new, but the way people telecommute and the IT processes that support them are constantly changing.
Why Cloud for Remote Employees
The telecommuting movement drives a great deal of interest in cloud computing. Cloud can better serve a workforce that's as likely to work at the local Starbucks as the corner conference room because they can push processing, storage, and enterprise applications to a middle tier between the company and the user. In other words, connectivity, security, capacity management, and resiliency become somebody else's problem.
Anytime, Anywhere Access
As cloud computing and mobile technology continues to mature, more employers and employees are enjoying the benefits of telecommuting. The days of IT departments setting up VPNs so people can work from home are thankfully over. With solutions like hosted virtual desktops, remote employees can have immediate access to all their files and applications from anywhere, anytime, using any device.
Built-in Business Continuity
Cloud computing helps organizations meet their business continuity and disaster recovery needs, and support remote employees by providing a secure way to access corporate data, even if the corporate headquarters is affected by a manmade or natural disaster.
Secure Access to Network
The traditional way of providing remote access to these employees increased the complexity and security issues. Many a sleepless night was had by IT administrators cringing that some remote user would spread a worm or Trojan through the entire organization. However, with cloud hosted desktops for example, organizations can provide secure remote access to their remote employees, and virus outbreaks are no longer a headache in a hosted desktop environment.
Many organizations are already implementing or expanding cloud solutions, an ideal technology to support telecommuting efforts. Look at solutions that provide flexibility in the cloud for both desktops and the applications – the end user and the business. That way, you have complete “business provisioning in the cloud.” If you are considering any cloud solution for your remote workforce, I would recommend setting up a discovery session with your IT consultant or a solution provider to see which cloud solution makes the most sense as part of your business strategy.
Ali Din is Sr. Vice President and CMO at dinCloud, a cloud services provider that helps organizations rapidly migrate their IT infrastructure to the cloud.