The corporate world embraces Microsoft Azure which offers major conveniences to remote work
There is no doubt that the pandemic has irreversibly changed vital aspects of daily life. And no change is as prominent or as visible as the widespread acceptability of remote work. Remote work, before the pandemic, was in many instances, a privilege given by employers. Today, remote work is the norm across the globe.
As the concept of remote work gained strength and acceptance in 2020, with the deadly spread of Covid-19, working remotely has, indeed, become the norm across professions globally. In fact, by 2025, as studies indicate, 70% of the workforce will work remotely at least five days a month.
However, with the increasing acceptance of remote work, it has also been necessary to focus on the consequences of going remote. For instance, the CEO of Recreational Equipment Inc., Eric Artz, told his employees, “The dramatic events of 2020 have challenged us to re-examine and rethink every aspect of our business and many of the assumptions of the past. That includes where and how we work. As a result, our new experience of “headquarters” will be very different than the one we imagined more than four years ago.”
Similarly, many major companies have decided to remain remote as the pandemic shows no signs of abating, with most having no immediate plans to return to in-office work. Consequent to such corporate perspectives, tech companies have turned their efforts to assisting them, particularly on virtual employment, through creating remote employee monitoring software.
Likewise, Microsoft Azure is offering major conveniences to remote work, also providing employees the opportunity to save time and money by presenting a viable alternative to commuting to work.
For instance, in the pre-pandemic world, employees used company laptops connected to their office workstations. With remote work options, employees would have to buy new electronic equipment and software licenses, requiring a company’s IT department to include such items in their security management system to prevent tampering and theft.
In this environment, Microsoft Azure can rise to the occasion and make it possible for employees to have their own Windows Virtual Desktop, specifically designed for their requirements.
This is because Azure is a cloud computing service that builds, tests, deploys and manages applications and services through Microsoft-managed data centers. Moreover, it offers several solutions, including Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Thus, Azure offers the opportunity to store information, as well as for analytics, networks, and virtual computing services. It can supplement or replace a company’s onsite servers.
As a first step, the Azure Active Directory provides the opportunity for companies to manage authentication across devices, cloud apps and onsite apps. With a single sign-on, it allows employees to access resources from any device when engaged in remote work.
Furthermore, the Azure Active Directory Business-to-Business (B2B) collaboration is a feature included in External Identities that gives business the opportunity to invite outside entities to collaborate with the organization. This is a boon for remotely working companies to connect with other organizations, in the absence of in-location meetings.
Besides, with Microsoft operating and maintaining one of the world’s largest online networks, there are elements specifically designed to ensure high availability and flexibility, to endure different kinds of failure, from a single network failure, to failure in an entire region.
With a global focus, Azure services are geared to assist employees of one organization to access the company’s globally distributed resources. Such resources to be located in any Azure region, within onsite networks, or even in other private or public clouds.
For instance, the Azure virtual network peering allows establishing connectivity among multiple Azure virtual networks, enabling seamless connection. In this type of connection, traffic between virtual machines uses the Microsoft backbone infrastructure. Furthermore, these virtual network connections could be within the same Azure region or across Azure regions, as in Global virtual network peering. Some benefits of using Virtual network peering, are, the ability to employ a low-latency, high-bandwidth connection among resources in different virtual networks, the ability for resources in different virtual networks to communicate with one another, the ability to transfer data among different virtual networks across Azure regions.
On the other hand, Azure VPN Gateway connects a company’s onsite networks to Azure with Site-to-Site VPNs, same as establishing and connecting a remote branch office. The connection is secure and uses the industry-standard protocols Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) and Internet Key Exchange (IKE). This is an effective solution for remote workers trying to remotely connect to Azure VNets or onsite data centers from home or from a conference.
Moreover, Azure ExpressRoute provides the opportunity to establish private connections between Azure data centers and infrastructure on the company premises or in a Colocation, which is a third-party data center that houses privately-owned servers and networking equipment. Among the advantages of ExpressRoute connections are greater reliability, faster speeds, safeguarding of privacy as they do not use the public Internet, and lower latencies than typical Internet connections. Also, there are instances when using ExpressRoute connections for transferring data between onsite systems and Azure, can bring significant cost benefits.
Then there is Azure Virtual WAN, a networking service that brings many networking, security, and routing functionalities together to provide a single operational interface, allowing seamless interoperability between a company’s VPN connections and ExpressRoute circuits. Moreover, there are two types of virtual WANs. The Basic type which is site-to-site VPN only, and the Standard type which is available as ExpressRoute, User VPN (P2S), VPN (site-to-site), Inter-hub and VNet-to-VNet transiting through the virtual hub.
And so, technology has risen to the occasion and come to the rescue of remote workers, providing them the opportunity to achieve as much or even more than they had when they worked onsite. As Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg observed, “People are more productive working at home than people would have expected. Some people thought that everything was just going to fall apart, and it hasn’t. And a lot of people are actually saying that they’re more productive now.”