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With Employees at Home, Is Collaboration Suffering?

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Jen Toscano

With Employees at Home, Is Collaboration Suffering?

Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other collaboration tools are critical for your growing at-home workforce to stay as productive at home as they are in the office.

But all of this traffic suddenly bombarding your VPN results in Zoom calls freezing, Office 365 documents taking forever to load, and employee connections to the VPN getting dropped. Clearly, you want a better work-from-home experience for your employees.

When it comes to enabling successful collaboration among your at-home employees, every organization faces three common challenges. Let’s take a closer look at each of these, as well as the secrets to overcoming them for effective and secure collaboration.
 

Your challenges

Whether by choice or by necessity, more employees are working from home. And organizations have three common issues to deal with. Those are:
 

  • Connectivity: If your at-home workers are dealing with sluggish application performance and dropped connections, they will ignore the VPN and go directly to the internet. Legacy infrastructure can’t secure these direct connections, and they also expose the home gateway router IP address to the internet, increasing the potential attack surface.
     
  • Latency: Collaboration tools call for a fast, reliable connection that scales as user and traffic demands increase. Yet, traditional solutions are not built to absorb these fluctuations and spikes in demand. As a result, as your bandwidth consumption grows, so does your users’ frustration and your bandwidth costs. In addition, public cloud providers treat this business-critical traffic the same as they do recreational traffic, such as YouTube and Facebook.
     
  • Deployment: A remote workforce solution cannot require complex installation, configuration, and management of hardware or software. Organizations need to quickly and seamlessly enable employees to work and collaborate from home, the office, or wherever they connect.  


Our recommendations

To create a work experience that is close to, or even mirrors, the office environment, organizations should keep the following three tips in mind:
 

  • Secure connectivity: Look for a cloud-delivered, proxy-based firewall architecture, which shields IP addresses from exposure to the internet. At the same time, organizations should run all their traffic through a comprehensive cloud-based security stack, which protects users from phishing and ransomware attacks, as well as allows you to deliver identical protection to users no matter where they connect.
     
  • Exceptional user experience at scale: Ensure that you adopt a cloud-built platform with a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture so that it can scale elastically to handle any number of users, including all their voice and video sharing and SSL-encrypted traffic, with no capacity limitations. You should also look for a solution that allows you to send all of your traffic directly and securely to the internet to provide the fastest path to Microsoft and other collaboration applications. A true SASE platform should also provide full security and access controls across all users, devices, and locations, and enable you to confidently embrace those much-needed collaboration tools.
     
  • Ease of deployment: You need a solution that is a 100-percent cloud service, which is fast and easy to deploy because there’s no need to install, configure, or manage appliances or software. Organizations should adopt a cloud-based solution that can easily leverage a single policy configuration for all users across the globe.
     

Be ready for the new normal

The business landscape has changed. Organizations must provide their at-home workforce with speedy and secure access to work applications and collaboration tools. This can’t be done with a VPN or legacy network and security appliances. Organizations need to move to a cloud-based platform to protect employees, reduce risk, and secure all traffic.

Want to learn more about how to protect your employees, enable productivity, and maintain business continuity? Download our latest eBook, Enabling Your At-Home Workforce: Three Tips for Successful Collaboration or view our infographic.
 


Jen Toscano is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Zscaler



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