Thursday, February 15, 2007

HOW-TO guide for “Work From Home”

What elements need to be in place for a teleworker model for your company? Not as many as you think, I’ll list the main ones and then elaborate on each, one by one in future postings:

  1. VPN: you need a secure way for your employees to have access to internal applications from home, in a safe manner. Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, are a standard today just for that. It is a form of establishing a secure communication channel from anywhere in the [Internet] world, to your highly-private data and applications. The key point is that it must be a secure way.
  2. NAC: Network Access Control is gaining importance these days. If your data and IT infrastructure is important to you, you would like to know where are your users, from where are they connecting to your network, and with what they are connecting to the network. NAC gives you a framework for ensuring control on who can have access and from where can they gain access. The least thing that you want is an employee to log-in from an infested computer at a cyber-café.
  3. IP Telephony: if you want your employees to have full telephony with low expenses (e.g. zero long distance cost to the central office) you must have some IP Telephony scheme in place. For example, you can extend an IP phone to the employee’s laptop or home, and make it an extension of the corporate PBX or Key System. After all, think about it, if you want to have the virtualization of the employee as if he or she was in the office, you need to give him an extension, and free intra-office calls.
  4. Network Management: as you grow, your teleworker infrastructure will only get more complex. Therefore, it is imperative that you think about how to manage that beast. This must be easy to manage, easy to install, and intuitive. Also, make sure you get those reports of what your employees are doing, because after all, they are in your corporate network, but they might think that they are at home.

In the next couple of posting, I will dive a little deeper into these components.

2 comments:

Ramesh said...

Ah....Leo, in your quest to provide an abundance of insightful, and sometimes useful information, you have managed to overlook the most important thing from working from home. That is a HD television and surround sound- I joke, I am of course talking about wireless. Yes, I know that you need a straight connection to the Internet, which I understand can be achieved by a simple connection to a cable modem, but honestly, is that really how you want to experience your connection to the office? Of course not, you want to be able to connect in your living room, den, kitchen, maybe even the bathroom if you are so inclined. I am sure there is a Harvard study that shows productivity increases when the "cord is cut" and people are allowed to roam freely through their houses- including the room where people do their best thinking. In conclusion, Leo has completely overlooked the most important part of the teleworking experience. Wireless....it's just not for breakfast anymore.

Leo Boulton said...

Ramesh... Thanks for the note. Wireless is indeed a key technology for home teleworkers. Especially with the new 802.11n stadard for achieving high speed for transfers. I shall include it in my future postings for the guide for teleworkers...