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Since the advent of the internet, the percentage of people that work from home in the United States­ at least a portion of the time has steadily grown. According to a recent study conducted byPWC, pre–COVID-19, 39% of employers allowed most (defined as 60% or more) of their workforce to work remotely at least one day a week. Not all jobs can be performed remotely, but with the rise in the number of high-tech workers in the United States, researchers at the University of Chicago estimate that at least 37% of jobs could be performed entirely through a remote working arrangement. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 56% of jobs could be performed remotely at least part-time.

COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated the work-from-home movement as employers explore ways to keep employees healthy by keeping them apart. The need to keep the business functioning even when staff can’t be at the office has overridden any lingering sense of mistrust. Many have opted for part-time remote work arrangements to give staff more room to spread out. PWC researchers found that the percentage of employers that allow most of their employees to work remotely at least part-time jumped from 39% pre-COVID to 77% since the pandemic began.

Perhaps most interesting is PWC’s finding that 55% of employers expect to continue to allow employees to work remotely after the pandemic is under control — a figure that is very similar to Global Workplace Analytics’ estimate of the percentage of jobs that could be performed remotely. Moving forward, employers will be looking for ways to allow employees to work remotely instead of reasons to prevent it.

What remote work really means for IT organizations

While employers are recognizing the benefits of a remote (or even semi-remote) workforce, remote working arrangements put additional burdens on IT. IT must evolve their operational and architectural strategies to support the business’s new outlook on remote work. IT must be able to support employees’ technical needs as they move from the office to their homes and back. Data and applications must be kept secure without a sacrifice in application performance or availability. IT must develop new strategies for mitigating risks and responding to incidents based on new IT infrastructure architectures.

These objectives are highlighted throughout many of the sessions we have slated for this year’s BraveIT conference later this month. Read on to find out how to address these challenges. Read more about accelerating digital transformation.

Create remote workforce flexibility

Many remote work arrangements are part-time, rotating employees’ days in the office to maintain face-to-face connections, while giving them room to maintain social distance. For the IT organization, this often means implementing a mix of cloud and on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to allow employees to seamlessly transition between the office and their kitchen table, spare bedroom, or whatever corner of the home they choose to set up shop in.

The new NetApp® Virtual Desktop Service> helps you deploy and manage virtual desktops in the public cloud in just a few hours so that you can scale up and down quickly. NetApp HCI lets you run virtual desktops and other user applications side by side on the same system, giving you flexibility in the data center.

Reduce the risk of cybercrime

Remote workforces are a magnet for cybercrime, as laptops, devices, and home-based networks rarely have the level of security that office-based systems do. According to the FBI, cybercrime has jumped 300% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The innovative NetApp FPolicy Zero Trust Engine is built into NetApp data management software and uses behavioral analytics to identify and stop malicious activity. NetApp solutions for ransomware help you detect malicious code across public cloud platforms and on-premises environments, prevent that code from spreading, and recover quickly after an attack.

Keep remote IT staff up and running

IT workers need to be kept safe. This requires giving them remote visibility to assess IT performance, optimize applications, and monitor security. Many monitoring tools provide visibility into just one aspect of the infrastructure. NetApp Cloud Insights provides visibility across your entire infrastructure, including private data centers and public cloud providers, so IT engineers can configure systems, monitor performance, and make adjustments remotely to maintain reliability and manage costs. Read more about how you can put the right pieces in place to accelerate digital transformation.

Hear more about the future of IT at BraveIT 2020

The pandemic has forced most organizations to adapt to new ways of doing business. This year at the BraveIT 2020 conference, two sessions will focus on the business impact of COVID-19. The first session will address how businesses pivoted to the changes earlier this year. The second session will address how businesses will pivot for the post-COVID future. See the full conference agenda.

BraveIT 2020 (September 16-17) brings IT professionals, technology thought leaders, and cloud and infrastructure solution providers together for a two-day virtual presentation of workshops, panels, interviews, and peer-to-peer sessions on the future of IT. Register for free tickets to BraveIT 2020.

BraveIT 2020 - Virtual Event | September 16 & 17 | Register Now!

BraveIT Spotlights are guest blog posts from our 2020 BraveIT sponsors. Kim Stevenson is the SVP & General Manager for FDSBU. NetApp is a global leader in providing data management services and hybrid cloud data services.

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