Unplanned events can quickly disrupt “business as usual.” To keep critical processes flowing, your employees may need immediate access to tools that let them work remotely. This might require scaling up your organization’s infrastructure capacity—as well as extending high-performance networking to remote employees or edge locations. And of course, apps, data and employees must be kept safe from cybersecurity threats.
The best business continuity plans do more than help you weather a single event: They help improve operational resiliency. With a robust, comprehensive plan, you can spring back into action whether you encounter minor turbulence or large-scale disruption. Moreover, you can gain the agility to quickly respond to changing business conditions and new marketplace opportunities.
From electrical outages and fires to natural disasters and pandemics, many types of disruptions can make it difficult or impossible for employees to work on-site in your place of business. During those periods, enabling remote productivity is vital to keeping the organization moving. But what does “enabling remote productivity” really entail?
First, IT must give employees access to the same apps they use daily—from common productivity apps to the customized enterprise apps required for critical processes. Apps must be seamlessly connected to the data at the heart of those processes—whether that data resides in an on-premises data center or a public cloud.
Ideally, employees should be able to access apps and data from any device, including their own personal devices. Even if you’ve issued every employee an enterprise-owned device, there’s no guarantee that everyone will have that device available when work is disrupted.
Provisioning must be fast. Newly remote employees are unlikely to have the time—or patience—for long, complex software installation processes.
Furthermore, IT must be able to provide support remotely. Depending on the situation, employees may not be able to return devices to a service center, and support staff may be working off-site as well.
A digital workspace can help remote employees get up and running from day one. With the VMware Workspace ONE digital workspace platform, employees can use a personal or company-owned device to access an entire set of business applications and data. IT can manage any device, enable zero-touch provisioning and support devices remotely. Intrinsic zero-trust security helps reduce risk and maintain compliance.
For remote access to specific Windows desktop and application configurations, there are virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions such as VMware Horizon 7 and VMware Horizon Cloud. Using these solutions, end-user computing teams can quickly provision virtual desktops and applications across on-premises, hybrid and multi-cloud environments. You can also combine Workspace ONE and VMware Horizon solutions to provide access to cloud-based apps and Windows desktop environments all in one place.
Suddenly, you’re supporting a large number of remote employees, launching new online platforms and maybe even hosting virtual events for the first time. All these things can strain your organization’s infrastructure. If you want to deploy a virtual desktop solution from your data center, for example, you probably need to quickly scale up infrastructure capacity.
Of course, the same disruption that prevents employees from returning to the office can also cause problems for the infrastructure supply chain and IT maintenance workflows. Scaling up an on-premises data center by adding physical hardware might not be an option.
One alternative is to tap into cloud environments. They can provide the flexibility and agility needed to rapidly scale an infrastructure. The challenge is to access cloud resources without adding management complexity.
VMware Cloud on AWS can provide the on-demand scalability required to keep employees productive and critical workflows moving. It allows IT to augment capacity rapidly and continue to scale as needed. VMware Cloud on AWS employs the same VMware infrastructure stack many organizations already use for their private and hybrid cloud environments. As a result, you can avoid complexity by leveraging the same, familiar management tools. And when it’s time to resume more normal operations, you can keep capitalizing on these cloud resources to handle temporary demand spikes, short-term initiatives and more.
Beyond access to applications and other resources, employees need reliable, high-performance network connectivity to stay engaged and productive. The network must be flexible enough to distribute network capacity to meet a surge in demand.
Software-defined networking (SDN) can provide the required flexibility. With the right SDN solution, you can deliver robust performance to edge and remote work environments and handle shifts in demand—all while streamlining management.
VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud enables you to extend reliable, high-performance networking to remote employees as well as branch offices and other edge locations. IT can get up and running quickly with automated, zero-touch deployment. Consolidated monitoring and visibility across WAN links and service providers allow IT to retain control of SDN functions.
The VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer also helps deliver consistent, responsive experiences for remote employees who are accessing virtual desktops and apps—while reducing the network infrastructure required. The solution provides software-defined load balancing for VMware Horizon in any data center or cloud. It simplifies and centralizes management and provides analytics that help avoid resource utilization and performance issues.
Enabling remote work is a top priority in any business continuity or business resiliency strategy. But as you introduce new digital workspace or VDI solutions, you must constantly be aware of potential security threats. You need to protect the apps and data that employees are now accessing from their homes or other remote locations.
By implementing intrinsic security, you can protect apps, data and employees even as remote work ramps up. Intrinsic security is built-in, context-aware security that helps prevent breaches while unifying security teams and processes.
VMware is in a unique position to deliver intrinsic security. Because VMware solutions supply the buildings blocks you need to build a digital foundation for modern IT, they can offer deep visibility into and control over the apps and data that need protection.
VMware Carbon Black Cloud can play a key role in protecting endpoints and remote employees. It lets security operations teams maintain direct access to all endpoints so they can remediate any vulnerability or risky system configuration in real time. Layered prevention backed by machine learning and behavioral analytics helps stop malware, including never-before-seen attacks. As a cloud-native platform with a single, lightweight agent, VMware Carbon Black Cloud also simplifies security for both end users and remote-working security teams.
Most business continuity plans are focused on protecting the status quo—keeping an organization operating until normal processes can be restored. These plans concentrate on sustaining key workflows, maintaining the reliability and performance of existing applications, delivering on current customer commitments, and regaining stability.
But organizations can do more. They can develop strategies that adapt to new condition: establishing a newly remote workforce, identifying new models for customer support, implementing temporary solutions for patient services, extending education through distance learning and more.
By building in that resilience, organizations are well positioned to innovate. Unburdened by rigid systems, processes and cultures, these organizations now have the freedom to make bold decisions and new investments that will help them thrive. Far beyond weathering current disruptions, they can become agile organizations poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities and accelerate growth. ▪