Director of Product Richard Beeston explores how to get the most visibility and control over your distributed and evolving workforce
The uncertainty around what the future of the workplace will look like creates a significant challenge for IT teams in every industry because they need to be prepared for the unknown. But where there’s change, there is opportunity.
Organisations everywhere will need more control and better insights than ever before to ensure a secure connection for employees wherever they are located. The pandemic-induced working from home trend is expected to last for quite some time, and realistically, there will be no “big bang” where every worker returns to the office at once. Instead, employees will likely come in on staggered shifts, or on alternate days, to limit the number of people in the office at once. Additionally, organisations will need to prepare for a return to homeworking should another outbreak occur.
In a post-COVID environment, the network will be one of the most strategic technology a company has, as it connects workers and devices to applications, other networks and devices, and Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints. We know that the “new normal” is built on even more distributed connectivity, and this requires even greater levels of network control, assurance and insights.
So, what’s the answer?
It should begin with an assessment of the current network to see if it meets new requirements. This means taking a new look at IT hardware, security, services, and total visibility and control of a vastly distributed workforce from a centralised management system. It’s about being able to provide systems and services that enable the ‘work from anywhere’ requirement.
The challenge lies in the fact that most legacy networks are not designed for a world where many workers are accessing corporate resources from the outside. As we see more data, coming from more places, more connected devices, and more cloud-based applications, we deem cloud-driven networking technologies as a fundamental part of this shift in normal practice.
Secure cloud network management
Despite a widespread shift to cloud-based solutions in recent times, we understand security is an ongoing concern. With the frequency and sophistication of cybersecurity attacks on the increase as cybercriminals capitalise on the pandemic, the best cloud networking providers must keep up with the very latest in security standards and in order to stay steps ahead.
That’s where ExtremeCloud™ IQ can help. ExtremeCloud™ IQ is a machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) driven cloud management solution, built on a 4th generation cloud platform. It’s the industry’s only ISO27001 certified cloud, supporting both GDPR and CCPA protections, ensuring the highest levels of regulation, compliance, and data privacy. Organisations can rest assured that their customer, employee, and business data is always protected with ExtremeCloud IQ™.
Integrated with Extreme’s end-to-end enterprise networking technology, ExtremeCloud™ IQ assists in collecting data to build, secure, and maintain agile and distributed work environments. Additionally, its RestFUL APIs enables network administrators to take advantage of third-party applications or scripts to provide additional insights.
Contact tracing enablement
As more workers return to the office, organisations must consider ways to track their employees to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among their workforce. With a cloud solution in place such as ExtremeCloud™ IQ, organisations can enable contact tracing within buildings by delivering useful connectivity and identity data to the appropriate apps. Administrators can easily track where users connected, where they roamed within the facility, and what other devices were connected in those areas at the same time, then feed that data to third-party applications that support contact tracing.
ExtremeCloud™ IQ can also assist in occupancy management for facilities, human resources, and legal teams tasked with reducing risk reduction via safe social distancing. Administrators can see which areas are most visited and which devices have the most users across various points in the day. The collected data allows third-party applications to alert on excessive levels of occupancy, the volume of traffic over time, no-go zones, violations of directional flows, or notify staff when areas require additional cleaning, for example. ExtremeCloud™ IQ is also the only cloud-based platform that has unlimited data storage so that administrators can go back over a very long history to determine patterns such as seasonal traffic.
IoT monitoring and robotics automation
ExtremeCloud™ IQ offers secure wired and wireless connectivity and simple, safe device onboarding and management. It can assist with connecting IoT sensors and automation tools, and scale-up agile work environments wherever those are needed, as well as pop-up locations, employee’s homes, or additional smaller workplace locations to reduce mass occupancy in a single space. It also helps to manage remote operations for unmanned manufacturing facilities that are using robotics assistance to minimise staff exposure.
Where do we go from here?
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of a strong, secure and versatile network. The new normal will be built on data and the ability to use machine learning (ML) and AI technologies to deliver the insights required for businesses to not only reopen, but to monitor the environment in order to continually protect employees and visitors.
Together, Daisy and Extreme Networks offer the ability to effortlessly and securely connect and support your organisation, your network, and your people with cloud networking, helping you transition your businesses and thrive in a changed world. ExtremeCloud™ IQ creates the ideal conditions for your business to flourish, now and in the future.