Hybrid work models driving increased need to access, protect and recover any files, anywhere

By Jim Liddle, VP Product, Nasuni.

The world of work has changed forever as the hybrid and fully remote models seem here to stay, leading to an increased need to store, access, share, protect and recover any files, anywhere. Unfortunately, core infrastructure has not changed enough to keep pace. The pandemic, and ongoing financial uncertainty are forcing organisations to re-evaluate how, and from where, their employees access data.

Securely accessing files, at speed, from remote locations in particular, is one of today’s biggest challenges, as many enterprises today run on file data. The rapid shift to hybridised work and the increased file traffic involved means that organisations can no longer rely on hardware-based network-attached storage (NAS), and additionally are under immense pressure to modernise their file data infrastructures, all while reducing capital and operational costs. So, how can IT leaders equip their workforce for success, while safe proofing their business?

Remote and hybrid work dictating evolving data access and performance needs

Remote access today, is undeniably essential for any business. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of employees expect to work fully remote while more than half (53%) anticipate a hybrid work arrangement, according to a recent Gallup poll. However, remote workers and employees in offices, especially with limited infrastructure, often face productivity challenges - poor network connectivity or no connectivity leading to high latency, inconsistent access, and file-sharing headaches. These different factors are making sustained access and sharing of files difficult, ‘killing’ crucial departmental, cross-team and organisation-wide collaborations.

Using a VPN to gain a secure connection can add to these performance issues and as a result, employees often save critical file data offline, or worse resort to shadow IT solutions, heightening the risk of data loss or security issues and making shared file access generally more challenging. At the same time, the rapidly growing popularity enterprise-grade collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack are also creating greater demand for workflow integration with organisation file shares. Microsoft’s drive to include audio and video files, only set to exacerbate demands on SharePoint storage – adding to the data storage cost and capacity issues for managers of collaboration servers. However, investment in data infrastructure is still limited.

IT is facing demands to provide a seamless workflow across all file data stored in SharePoint solutions and corporate file shares while maintaining centralised protection and management of file data. Branch offices with limited connectivity or organizations with multiple sites need access to central file data while maintaining control. Even with high latency, companies need to maintain connection during file sharing at scale and across geographies, and almost all offices need secure, high performance file access. This means that as part of their post pandemic digital transformation refresh, organisations should re-evaluate their tech and invest in platforms that ensure corporate file shares can not only be accessed easily and productively by hybrid workers but also within Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365, and Slack, facilitating frictionless collaboration - all while being protected from cyber-risks and ensuring business continuity.

The right tech can help your business access and secure files from anywhere – and anything

Building a competitive, productive environment for today’s workers comes with multiple infrastructure challenges. IT needs solutions that optimise user productivity while being easy to manage. Traditional solutions to file access in hybrid working environments are reaching their limit. Network Attached Storage (NAS) does not offer a great user experience when it comes to accommodating file access from anywhere and creates data silos that make search and analytics impossible. And, though security is paramount, as file and project sizes continue to grow, VPNs are becoming more of a bottleneck for productivity, performance, and collaboration. While studies show that many companies have adopted VPN for security, it can become expensive when deployed at scale and is known to have performance issues when moving files, particularly those of even a modicum size.

In today’s world of pervasive apps, machine learning, and IoT, data is everywhere, and users demand access to it from multiple devices. Teams & Office365 users want seamless access to corporate file shares. The Metaverse, simulation environments and ever larger media file sizes, are super-charging this trend – driving data use and new patterns of distribution. What’s more, collaborating with external stakeholders including customers and partners creates both security and ease of use challenges. Businesses need to take practical plans to strengthen their cyber-resilience and data management, to better secure and control external and internal file access across the organisation.

The right cloud-enabled file data partner can cover both performance and security – offering seamless workflow between leading collaboration platforms and corporate file shares backed by limitless, affordable storage and unparalleled data recovery and protection from the near inevitability of ransomware attacks. With hybrid and remote work often resulting in clunky file sharing and collaboration efforts across clients and global teams, an ‘all-in-one’ platform can offer secure remote data sharing with real-time editing for seamless workflow, and fast file transfer.

A brave, hybrid working world

Organisations need to invest in the right infrastructure to help their teams remain as productive and secure as possible - whether they’re working from headquarters, a branch office, a backyard shed, or a hotel lounge chair. They need a secure VPN-less solution that provides resilient access to files from any location, even in high-latency environments, which will enable employees to share files and folders with clients, contractors, and partners with enforced file security. An all-in-one file data platform can help them modernise their file data infrastructures, while reducing capital and operational costs – therefore addressing the security and performance needs of the distributed workforce and safe proofing their business.

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