Five ways to bulk up your network for telecommuters

Tips for adapting your corporate network for people working from home

Know that strong software can be just as important as strong network design

Having solid broadband infrastructure for your teleworkers is all well and good, but it's also vital to have good software that can be used to provide updates and enforce security policies.

"Teleworkers should be able to download software from the corporate Web site, and once that software is loaded it becomes part of the software administration model," Bozich explains, using his company's [[xref:http://www.qwest.com/networx/products/managedapplications/tws.html|teleworking services|qwest.com] package as an example. "With our solution, you have the ability to set policies and push them down to all your clients. You have the ability to maintain a list of software requirements, and you can validate that the software is active and that it has the current revision of updates loaded on there."

Gaskin says that many companies, particularly small and midsize businesses, should start looking at software-as-a-service (SaaS) as alternatives to more costly network infrastructure systems such as Microsoft Exchange servers. Gaskin says that one of the more popular and accessible SaaS offerings is Google Apps, which an estimated 500,000 companies use for hosted e-mail, messaging and calendar applications. He also recommends that companies look at HyperOffice, the online collaboration software aimed at small businesses that includes intranet software, business e-mail services and document management services; and as Ignyte Software, a Web-based company that specializes in content management and hosting that puts company data securely within the cloud for workers to access.

The advantage to using cloud-based software, Gaskin says, is that companies can outsource their security issues to outside companies and will rely less upon internal IT staff.

"Companies are getting better about rethinking applications from the remote user's standpoint," he says. "As more employees work at home, they're rethinking the applications and whether they should host them or not. This will make huge difference in security for these companies."

Tags Network managementtelecommutingdata protectionbroadband

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Brad Reed

Network World

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