New York Technology Firm Advises Businesses on Remote Work Environments in Response to Coronavirus Concerns

W. O’Donnell Consulting, Inc., a New York City-based IT consulting firm, has dealt with numerous business continuity challenges in its 24 years in the tri-state area, from 9/11, to blackouts, to Hurricane Sandy. With the potential for a COVID-19 outbreak, Bill O’Donnell, founder and President of W. O’Donnell Consulting, offers advice for businesses to prepare for events that may require employees to work from home. 

“Businesses of almost any size should be able to have employees work from home to ensure smooth and continuous operation with minimal disruption, in the event employees are restricted from the office,” says O’Donnell. 

According to O’Donnell, businesses that already have cloud-based infrastructures, which enable remote collaboration amongst employees, are already in a better starting place. However, this is not a complete solution. Most businesses will require remote office technology solutions.

Remote office technology solutions fall into three broad categories, each with unique advantages and disadvantages: 

  • Remote Control of Office Computers  

Solutions within this category enable employees to access work computers from home. This is usually accomplished with software that is installed on an individual’s office computer. This option is easy to implement, though all computers and logins must be managed individually. An alternative is a network-wide appliance that is centrally managed but may cost more. 

  • Virtual Private Network (VPN)  

VPNs also allow staff to connect to their office computers remotely and require less configuration. However, the remote computer must be configured with the same programs and applications as the office computer for optimal productivity.  VPNs offer greater security when utilizing a public network by masking the user’s IP address and encrypting data in transit.    

  • Centralized Server 

This is often the most secure and efficient approach. In this scenario, all applications need only be installed on the home server, not on individual computers. While this is more expensive and time-consuming to set up, it can be the best long-term option for many businesses, providing ongoing flexibility to staff and resource availability in emergency situations. 

O’Donnell also recommends implementing VoIP phones, that enable phone calling over the Internet.  With many VoIP solutions, a physical office phone can simply be plugged into a staff member’s home internet connection for use.  Some VoIP solutions offer “softphones” that enable a computer to provide telephone functionality, reducing the need to place additional equipment in the employees' homes.   

“Every company has a unique IT environment and needs – depending on the number of workstations, infrastructure, and applications used. A competent IT provider will work to determine all factors, including time and cost restraints, to select the best work from home technology solution. And, while all these solutions are good for dealing with specific events, they are good to have in place ongoing to ensure overall productivity. In response to an imminent threat, get the most expedient things done first, while keeping an eye toward a longer-term strategy for a remote office environment.”   

About W. O’Donnell Consulting, Inc. 
Founded in 1996 and headquartered in New York, NY, W. O’Donnell Consulting is a Woman-Owned Business, offering IT consulting and managed IT services to organizations of all sizes in and around the tri-state area. 
 

Sheila Papps 
W. O’Donnell Consulting, Inc. 
(212) 838-3339 x404 
spapps@wodonnell.com 

Source: W. O'Donnell Consulting, Inc.

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Categories: Business Technology

Tags: Coronavirus, Coronavirus preparation, Coronavirus workplace preparation, Remote Work Solutions


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