[Cross-post from the Canadian IT Pro blog]
(photo by Neil McIntyre http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilmcintyre/4711178904/)
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of months – you probably know that the G20 summit is taking place in Downtown Toronto this weekend. As an IT guy – I can only imagine the amount of work and planning the IT staff had to do for all the Business Continuity plans that had to be activated for all the businesses directly affected by the security perimeter, checkpoints, travel and restrictions for one of the most densely packed areas of urban businesses.
From what I’ve been hearing – a good chunk of people are just being asked to take vacation / not show up for work today and over the weekend. The remainder will either brave the barricades to work as normal or will work remotely at alternate sites or from home. Of those that are crossing the barricades – I wonder how many of them are IT folks who are supporting the remote connectivity systems and keeping the lights on for the servers.
This massive displacement of the workforce has gotten me to think more about what technologies I take for granted being a “remote worker” on my team. Thankfully – I am writing this blog post sipping my coffee in my 3rd story home office over 500 KM away in Ottawa. I’ll be able to hear about all the G20 activities remotely via Twitter and from my contacts who are closer to the action downtown.
While it is a little late now to revisit your mobile working policy / technologies in time for this disruption it does bring up an opportunity to table them for discussion at the next IT review meeting. If you are looking for more information about these suggestions and even access to trials / online trials – check out www.microsoft.ca/uc.
Some things to consider for your Remote Worker plans:
Did you notice that none of these recommendations require a VPN solution to use? Why? VPNs are costly to maintain, cumbersome to manage and really are outdated in technology nowadays with applications that are more REMOTE AWARE then previous generations. Open up that VPN bottleneck / chokepoint with some newer investments in technology to enable a more flexible workforce. Heck – you can even dramatically IMRPOVE your overall security with Direct Access technologies – but that’s for another blog post on another day.
While we’re on the topic of remote meetings and how they can save time and money – when done right… Here are some Tips for making that LiveMeeting more useful for everyone involved (both local to the meeting and remote):
In case you are interested in trialing some of these options (Exchange, Office Communication Server, LiveMeeting or even the full monty of Business Productivity Online Suite [think hosted Exchange / OCS / LiveMeeting and Sharepoint]) you can check out the Canadian details at www.microsoft.ca/uc
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