By Hewitte Lee
Panicked responses to the infamous COVID-19 have triggered strange, yet substantial adaptation in remote collaboration innovations became an essential for African organizations. However, the transition might not be easy, according to a survey by Liquid Telecom, IT decision-makers across Africa were asked for their insights on cyber security trends, with 57% of those surveyed have seen an increase in threats or cybersecurity incident since shifting to remote working during the pandemic, while research has also shown that it worryingly takes an average 228 days to identify a data breach, in which period the damage would most likely would have been done.
Further, it was found that most African organizations do not have an updated cybersecurity strategy and also lack solutions to address vulnerabilities that have been exposed due to the shift.
What will be an ideal remote working environment?
In hindsight, businesses have been heavily deploying tools such as Microsoft Team, Zoom, Slack, and other remote team collaboration tools for employees to leverage during this difficult time. However, the more concurrent users working online simultaneously, the heavier the resources and loading these service providers have to allocate. Consequently, we have to ask ourselves again, does a good remote and team collaboration environment only constitutes of the applications mentioned above, or there should be more to it? The answer should be more complex than a yes or no.
An ideal remote working environment is more than just utilizing collaboration tools provided online. The entire IT infrastructure, including networking and storage systems, needs serious reforms in order for businesses to ensure they have the capacity to host multiple users simultaneously, and to provide a stable and secure workflow for employees to operate remotely. Traditionally, companies leverage traditional file server such as Windows file server to store and sync company data, unless employees access the file servers using VPN, this framework conventionally was designed only for delivering services within the company’s network. Thus, that is why so many companies utilizes the hybrid cloud infrastructure such as the most common combination of Windows server and public clouds drives. Of course, this common practice often is being viewed as overly complicated, not to mention the added data breach risk in terms of unstructured and duplicated data, and resource allocation when adapting third party team collaboration tools. Thus, having a sophisticated on-premise server with built-in remote access may definitely help with eliminating issues with remote team collaboration, unstructured data, and various security issues.
The cost benefit that businesses may concern
With the recent rising demand in not just corporate remote collaboration mechanism but also stable and secure IT environment, a network attached storage (NAS) may just be the solution for businesses struggling with the problems mentioned above. Solution such as Synology NAS offers built-in collaboration tool that allows employees to edit files concurrently, and instant messaging app for team communication.
Additionally, such solution resonates the benefits of both Windows server and Google Drive, which allow files to be retrieved via mapped network drive, sync client, web portal or mobile app, all without the hassle of using VPN services.
Last but not least, what may come as a surprise is the cost benefit that businesses may experience. The accumulative expenses contribute by the Windows server Client Access Licenses (CAL), public cloud storage license, and SaaS licenses could be massive, alternative deploying solutions like Synology Drive may save your company’s limited budget drastically when most features mentioned are completely license free.
With a solution that meets all of the criteria for working remotely, SMBs and enterprises may still operate normally even during a difficult time with so many employees work from home protocol without blowing up the budget out of proportion With COVID-19 stirring up so much uncertainty globally, the primary task a company should prioritize is to provide its employees a complete and consistent team collaboration infrastructure to not only ensures the continuation of the business, but also safeguards employees’ and their families’ wellbeing.