These somewhat strange and incredibly unfortunate times have produced an unprecedented challenge for all IT departments. For many, it’s a case of desperately struggling to keep the lights on, and of course doing that with huge chunks of their workforce now working from home.

As remote working grows, so does the pressure on infrastructure

Working from home is nothing new; over the years all sections of commerce and industry have gradually opened the corporate network to facilitate employees working remotely, be that from home, from client sites or – dare I say – from your holiday home in Cornwall. However, no one seems to have considered scaling that infrastructure to cope with everybody in your organisation trying to use it at once. In fact, based on my own experience helping organisations to implement business technology solutions, I would say that most companies have scaled things to allow for around 15% remote working, maybe higher. This is simply nowhere near the level of remote working they will be seeing now.

There are two main issues businesses may face with these increased levels of remote working. Firstly, whether you’re using a timesharing platform, like Citrix, or a VPN style solution, platforms will be struggling with the huge levels of concurrency. Secondly, your internet connection (which people are now using both up and downstream) will be struggling under the load.

Lightening the load with cloud-based remote access

Since the start of the major lockdown in the UK, the team at Aiimi have been thinking about novel ways to allow sections of a user community to work from home, without needing to use remote access technology – or at least not use it quite as much.

The main community that we’ve focused our efforts on are email and content users. These are workers who just need to access their emails and document repositories, such as network shares, SharePoint, or other content management systems.

Since many organisations (including several our customers) have already shifted to Office 365 or Google solutions for their email, security teams are usually quite comfortable with workers accessing things over the internet. With additional security measures in place, such as multi-factor authentication and device management solutions (like Microsoft Intune), this is now a managed and acceptable way of working.

So, how can we help with the other piece of the puzzle – document and data access?

You might have read some of my previous blogs about InsightMaker, our next-generation information navigation and discovery platform. This technology can easily be used as a secure internet gateway for your unstructured and structured systems.

In short, you can crawl, enrich and index all those backend platforms, and then securely allow your users to access this over the internet, in the exact same way they can access their email. All of this takes place with no need to connect to your remote access solutions.

Maintaining security, even remotely

As content repositories are made available to workers over the internet, InsightMaker honours their access permissions by only showing users what they are allowed to see. Just like with cloud-based email, you can integrate this with your corporate authentication and authorisation solutions, helping you to adhere to the same high level of security compliance.

Then, fold in our document classification technology and you can start to govern exactly what is accessible over the internet and what is not. For example, you can overlay privacy and security classifications onto standard access control, giving another layer of risk management for systems that contain super secure documents and data. Remote access can still offer the level of security you need to maintain business as usual.

Most organisations are on their own cloud journey at the moment, moving data, documents, and systems off premises and into the cloud. Using InsightMaker to facilitate remote access over the internet can simply become part of a longer-term, integrated cloud strategy. More strategically, it can allow you to decide what you put where, avoiding the need to move legacy files which can just present unnecessary cloud storage costs.

However, short term, right here right now, enabling remote access over the internet may also help alleviate the pressure on corporate IT systems, quickly, since InsightMaker is so fast to deploy (it takes just days, not months, to implement).

The whole team at Aiimi are delighted that, in these challenging times, InsightMaker might give a busy IT department one less thing to worry about.

Stay safe,

Paul

Find out more about our three solutions to help you maintain business resilience and empower your employees during COVID-19.