3 minute read time
April 3, 2020

As businesses across sectors combat the spread of COVID-19, workforces that can operate remotely must rely on network technologies in entirely new ways. With unprecedented numbers of remote employees, organizations are faced with new network challenges and growing concerns around capacity and security as they relate to home-working environments.

Earlier this year, CBRE expanded its Occupier platform to include the Network Advisory Services practice. The group has expertise in creating strategies to help clients access their data most efficiently - both on premises and remotely. Network Advisory Services’ capabilities also specifically include evaluating third-party collaboration platforms to ensure plans are secure, effective and suitable to support surges in demand.

CAPACITY


Questions of Key Concern:

  • Do I need to increase capacity to support my workforce that is now entirely remote?
    • Can my VPN (virtual private network) handle the increased usage?
  • If our business was not previously set up for remote working environments, what remote collaboration platforms should we consider?
  • Are my network capacity requirements aligned with the supporting infrastructure that we have in place?

CBRE Network Advisory Services Perspective:

The definition of “normal” business needs is evolving now more than ever. With organizations swiftly adapting to minimize adverse effects, many are implementing precautionary plans to keep employees fully operational while being location agnostic. Companies are tasked with providing both reliable collaboration tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams as well as assuring that the supporting network infrastructure can handle the increased demand. A key part of this process is to have a plan for consistent evaluation of business needs and how to execute to meet the needs. Recommendations to best manage and evaluate the capabilities of a network include running stress tests that can provide insight to how and when capacity adjustment are needed.

SECURITY


Questions of Key Concern:

  • Does the increase in the number of employees accessing the network remotely increase the security risk?
  • Are companies opening new access points to the corporate network that increase security risks?
  • Are there security concerns with home Wi-Fi networks?
    • What steps can employees take to limit vulnerabilities?
    • What implications do these have on performance?
    • Are cloud-based options more secure than traditional network structures?

CBRE Network Advisory Services Perspective:

As lines blur between employees work and home environments, demands are placed on both access and how security measures are implemented. The firewalls that are commonly used when most employees access information through the central network may be overwhelmed with remote requirements. Access to job-specific resources will be vital regardless of location and managing the flow of data will be a necessary consideration for companies as they plan for the “new normal.”

AT HOME WORKING ENVIRONMENTS


Questions of Key Concern:

  • How can employees self-test home Wi-Fi?
    • What constitutes suitable bandwidth/Internet speed?
    • What factors impact the equation (# of users and devices, apartment building vs house etc.)

CBRE Network Advisory Services Perspective:

Companies need to keep in mind that regardless of the capacity to access a network, available bandwidth will vary by employee. Today, the average household’s plan can support internet and streaming on up to 11 devices, however adding the demand for work requirements on top of normal use may overburden the bandwidth.

Potential Implications | How does this impact the new normal?

  1. Can employees be as efficient or more efficient working remotely? How does that impact quality of work and work/life balance? (For insights on how to stay productive wherever you work, check out The Art of the Virtual Meeting, Effective Team Collaboration and the Quick Guide to Improving Employee Productivity, Engagement & Health While Working Remotely.)
  2. Strategies that require large capital investment must be evaluated in the context of both present and future needs. Will the new technology or asset be relevant when the current crisis is over?
  3. Does the investment force the company to adopt a different strategy post-crisis that revolves around more of a remote workforce? How does the existing infrastructure support the heightened demand for network?

COVID-19 Outbreak

We remain steadfast in providing timely insights and expertise during this unprecedented time.