Challenges of Connecting Teleworkers

In maintaining position on the path to IIN, it should be noted that some sections of the map are more mature and well-traveled than others, meaning that there is greater detail available. The industry experience with providing multiple enhanced functions to teleworker devices is at a relatively early stage. The enterprise teleworker solution provides an always-on (potentially), secure, and centrally managed connection to business resources and services. In keeping with established goals, this should provide services and applications identical to those available to users based in campus and/or branch sites. In doing so, a number of requirements spring forth:

■ Continuity of operation in case of loss of access to the workplace network (that is, home broadband connection outage)

■ Comparable network application responsiveness across geographical, functional, business, and/or decision-making boundaries—or, more to the point, one experience regardless of locale

■ Secure, reliable access to critical applications and services necessary for job function fulfillment

■ Cost-effective extension of data, voice, video, and real-time applications and services over a common (and sometimes best-effort) network connection

■ Increased employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention

Recommended practice dictates that targeted pilots be used to streamline the solution and document the process of its implementation to a very high degree. In all honesty, the use of network administration personnel as guinea pigs is advocated and applauded in such cases.

Consider the fact that the corporate network is being extended to co-exist with the user's home network. The corporation has no control whatsoever over the traffic flow habits in the home network. A careless teleworker can easily compromise the security of a corporate network infrastructure. In that, there are associated risks and potential for breach of security. This is the case for both wired and wireless home networks.

All functionality to be deployed at the home should be thoroughly tested before deployment. This includes security, data connectivity, and, most importantly, voice and video quality. This will allow the tweaking of the solution for improved quality of each prior to wide-scale deployment. Most network applications will perform well over the network within the corporate office. These same applications might not do quite so well in a teleworker deployment, however, due to the simple, yet chaotic, nature of the Internet. In any intrinsically latent network, you must take care to thoroughly test any proposed solution.

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