As we move into the next phase of lockdown and social distancing, it does not look like many of us will be rushing back into our offices anytime soon. Although Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said people who cannot work from home can return to their workplace as long as they are still able to observe social distancing rules, the number of home workers is likely to remain high for some months to come.
With this in mind, how have your staff been accessing your business data since lockdown began? Have they struggled to use applications they would usually rely on? If “yes” to the latter question, I have an explanation.
Office internet connections are not designed for a situation like this. When we are all in the office, we access data via our local data network and we access our information at high speed to enable us to carry out our daily tasks.
When working from home, we are reliant on our broadband connections to connect to these services. The UK is fortunate to have a broadband network that can offer downloads speeds of up to 100Mbps - even 30 or 20 Mbps will give staff plenty of bandwidth to access and pull information from your servers.
However, your office connection may not be able to cope, especially if they are all working at the same time.
It’s a simple mathematics equation. If your business has 20 employees capable of pulling down 30Mbps of data, then that equates to a 600Mbps bandwidth requirement!
Your office connection then becomes the limiting factor. Most office connections will have an upload of a fraction of that speed! Anything is only as fast as its slowest part, so if your upload – the information your office servers pushes to the web to be accessed by your employees – is only at 10Mbps, then that speed is divided between all your home workers and could be unbearable and unworkable.
You may have already experienced this pain and are wondering why we are bringing this up now after two months in lockdown. It was the subject of my colleague Khaled’s blog, Use our data centre to support your virtual private network, published back at the start of April. He had a customer who experienced the exact scenario above and with Openreach only deploying new connections to critical services, there was no way they could get better internet access for their office.
As social distancing continues and people remain at home, I would suggest moving business data to where it is accessible to all. One way of achieving this is to physically transport business servers to a data centre likes ours where the bandwidth is already primed for multiple users to pull data at the same time. A data centre is an integral part of the internet, so they can provide plenty of bandwidth to colocation customers. This solution can be achieved even under the current restrictive times and is exactly what we provided to Khaled’s customer.
We never saw a situation like COVID-19 coming and we do not know how long it is likely to continue or even if we may face another similar crisis in the future. Access to business data is key for home working staff to securely and productively achieve their daily tasks to protect both themselves and the business they work for.
If you want to find out more about this solution, please get in touch with me via the email below or LinkedIn.