by September 5, 2007 0 comments

You got the perfect man for the job but he lives in another state and is
acting pricey in terms of packing up and relocating to your office. What’s the
way out? Look for an alternative? In today’s world when the rate of attrition is
at an all time high? Frankly speaking, you don’t need to. With the concept of
‘virtual’ companies fast gaining ground, employee mobility and flexibility are
on an upswing. Nowadays, talent and expertise of an employee score over
geography at the time of hiring. But it’s critically important for IT to stand
tall amongst infrastructure that supports remote
employees, while at the same time ensuring data security of the company. The
starting point of course would be to make sure your remote comrade has a fast
and stable Internet connection. Once connected, you got to make sure the
employee has secure access to company’s resources. If he’s using a third-party
Internet connection such as DSL or cable for connecting to the company’s network
(rather than having a dedicated line such as T1), you need to set up a Virtual
Private Network (VPN) within the Internet. Although setting up such a network
could be somewhat esoteric, but the heavy, initial investment would prove its
worth with time, with employees finding it easy to share files, internal
applications, and confidential data from the comfort of their homes. Needless to
say, a wireless-enabled notebook and a secure VPN are the means to have a
productive desktop anywhere across the globe.

Adeesh Sharma

Issue Editor for this month

Such a configuration also helps rapid-fire communication amongst disparate
teams, sitting on a shared project late at night in their homes, and rather than
shouting on top of their voices across cubicles, they would be sharing notes
over Instant Messaging.

Online conferences can be conducted on the fly using today’s remote meeting
solutions. Imagine a typical meeting scenario where people from four different
locations take part using all sorts of devices-notebooks, PDAs, mobile phones,
whiteboards, video phones, etc; all privy to the same presentation on their
computers. For one-on-one sessions, it’s not even required to have such an
extensive setup. You have fairly standard telecom solutions that allow remote
access of another user’s screen on your computer.

All this is great but security becomes a critical issue when key official
information is exchanged over public networks. VPNs provide some succor while
secure IMs could address limited communication needs. Secure HTTP is used by
Web-based applications to prevent hacking. There are even more advanced
technologies and hardware devices. But it is imperative to have a security
policy that is well publicized to all employees, especially remote ones.

So, building the requisite infrastructure to enable true mobility of the
workforce is yet another way how IT can be used to make your company grow, and
give you a much needed holiday at the same time!

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