By Jean-Pierre Matte, Director of Fibre Deployment
Remote work is here to stay, but the office isn’t going anywhere either. Many organizations are embracing a hybrid model where people will split their time working between home and the office. Companies who are on the ball will see this as an opportunity to re-evaluate their office space, reduce operating costs and course-correct their digital transformation.
From Disaster Recovery to Future Proofing
The COVID-19 pandemic created a fundamental shift in how most offices operate, and companies scrambled to fill the connectivity and telecommunications gaps caused by employees working from home. For many, this resulted in an expensive, hastily acquired patchwork of communications and collaboration tools. These stacks are often plagued with difficult integrations, complicated workflows, creating siloed teams.
Now that there’s a sense of permanence to these workplace shifts, it’s a great time for companies to take a second look at their business continuity decisions and find the best communications and connectivity solutions for their long-term needs.
Communications solutions need to adapt to what remote workers require the most: an all-in-one solution to collaborate with colleagues, partners, and customers, from anywhere – including the office. Integrating a single, feature-rich UCaaS into an office PBX goes a long way to support virtual collaboration through voice, instant messaging, video calls, and team spaces, in one centralized communications platform.
Let’s Talk Bandwidth: 10G is the new 1G
Before the pandemic, an average company with a remote working policy could support a small proportion of employees working remotely at any given time. LAN and WAN remote access resources typically provided enough bandwidth and network licenses to support a low level of use. It might sound counterintuitive that work-from-home (WFH) measures led to an increase in corporate bandwidth demand, but many companies were forced to upgrade their office and/or data center Internet connection to get extra bandwidth at their offices so remote employees could access company servers from home through VPNs. Of course, this solution leverages the employee’s residential Internet as well, including bandwidth-greedy video conferencing tools.
Companies with a hybrid workforce won’t be able to do away with the additional bandwidth they acquired during the pandemic. In fact, since collaborating and communicating via teleconferencing apps are now an essential part of our day-to-day operations for staff are split between working from home and in-office, many companies find themselves needing more!
Still Housing Data On-Site?
On-site server rooms are huge investments, often requiring significant remodelling or the construction of a custom space. It needs to be fitted for the installation of bulky power, air conditioning, and networking equipment; it must be able to bear the weight of heavy IT equipment. Effective cooling requires proper airflow planning, and tight spaces won’t work. And above all, a server room must be secure, with monitored and controlled access.
This is a tough setup, especially if you don’t have staff on-site 24/7 to respond immediately should a server go offline. And go offline they do! From power to networking, to air conditioning, each of these components can be a single point of failure for the system as a whole. If there is only one router and it breaks down, the entire server room goes offline. The same is true of switches, power distribution units, cooling, bandwidth, and the list goes on.
Server rooms used to be a common sight in connected companies. Yet, a small to medium-sized business getting started today would not be able to match the economics of renting cabinet space in a data centre, by building an onsite server room. This is especially true when we factor in equipment upgrades, staffing and maintenance costs.
Companies would be wise to consider moving their onsite servers to a data centre or migrating their data to the cloud, regardless of whether they’re moving to a new office. And for those who are moving, there are probably zero economic benefits to outfitting a new server room in a new location.