The channel's role in supporting remote work

Before 2020, managers were sceptical about remote work. However, when the pandemic forced people to work from home, they found their teams could maintain, or even increase productivity. Furthermore, the remote work model gives businesses the ability to hire from an expanded talent pool, decreasing office space and overhead costs. Now that many businesses have successfully completed a remote work model proof-of-concept, Upwork research shows that as many as 40.7 million or 28 per cent of full-time professionals will be fully remote by 2026.

Due to the rapid shift to remote work, some businesses quickly found ways to accommodate the change, expecting it only to be temporary. Now that working from home will be permanent, at least part-time, for professionals, businesses are turning to value-added resellers (VARs) and managed service providers (MSPs) to help them implement technology that supports efficient operations and a secure IT environment.

According to Mike Majewski, CEO of SEH Technology, the shift to remote work is creating significant opportunities for VARs and MSPs with expertise in the following areas: 

Remote connections

Your clients can choose two ways to give remote workers access to company applications and data; virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) which allows employees to work remotely in a virtualised environment and virtual private network (VPN) which creates a secure, private connection to the business's physical infrastructure. Your experience as a solutions provider will benefit your clients as they decide how to connect remote workers to their systems, taking performance, user experiences, and costs into account.

Communication

Without the ability to walk to a colleague’s desk to ask a question, teams need to find effective ways to communicate and collaborate remotely. Hosted VoIP is a cost-effective way to keep a team connected with voice, video, and messaging, in addition to features that allow calls to find an employee who works in different locations at different times. Enterprise solutions also enable customer relationship management (CRM) integration and support for advanced unified communications (UC) solutions.

Hardware

Your clients are realising that issuing company-owned laptops or other devices can contribute to more secure networks. Requiring security-hardened devices and limiting the applications employees can use on them decreases the chance that malicious code will end up on the network. The downside of issuing devices, however, is that they can be lost or stolen, which could mean mounting expenses, particularly if a laptop is loaded with a copy-protected software licence. A USB dongle server can minimise losses by allowing the software to be loaded on the network where it’s protected from loss.

Cloud migration

Businesses and organisations often lack in-house resources capable of transitioning on-premises systems to the cloud. Your ability to plan and execute a move to the cloud will help clients avoid disruption to operations, delays, and data loss. You also can provide services that help them manage their cloud environment to keep costs under control.

Security

An IT environment that includes employees’ home offices and devices used remotely requires a fresh look at the company’s security strategy and deploying new security solutions. At a minimum, remote employees need the protection of antivirus and firewalls, multi-factor authentication (MFA) solutions, and email security solutions that protect employees from spam and phishing attacks. You also can provide services, including patching and updating software and backup and disaster recovery (BDR) to keep applications safe and data accessible.

While employers discovered that the remote work model could be beneficial to their organisations, many employees also confirmed they prefer it. The Buffer 2022 State of Remote Work survey found that 62 per cent of employees are more excited about their jobs since the shift to remote work, and 97% per cent want to work remotely at least part-time for the remainder of their careers. Competing for top talent and building capable teams will require employers to offer the option to work from home.

VARs and MSPs can give their clients the infrastructure, communications, cloud solutions and services, and purpose-built hardware that provides the foundation for secure, productive remote work.

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