Taking to the cloud to support home workers

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, companies had to close offices and transition the bulk of their employees to full-time remote working. Here, we talk to IT leaders from IK Investment Partners and Brookfield Properties about their experiences of pivoting to a fully remote environment at speed – and how they empowered people to stay productive and connected.

Enabling a pan-European workforce

As Director of IT at IK Investment Partners, Peter Tucker was tasked with ensuring that 150 users based in eight European countries could work hassle-free from home.

“Most of our workforce was equipped with laptops, and the bulk of our applications – email, video, CRM, deal and fund management – are already in the cloud.” he explains.

Fortunately, Peter had recently rolled out Egnyte across the business as a content services solution. So, when lockdown hit, employees were able to access the critical documents and files they needed to work remotely –without missing a beat.

“The decision to replace our aging distributed file servers with Egnyte’s cloud-based platform gave us a highly flexible architecture that is ideal for the world of distributed work. Plus, having just a single data repository made it so much easier to maintain the services users need to continue to work as normal,” says Peter.

Fast tracking business continuity plans

“Creating a centralized data repository in Egnyte made initiating our enterprise-wide remote working strategy a pretty straightforward proposition… Quite simply, it all just worked.”

Migrating to Egnyte just prior to the coronavirus crisis also proved fortuitous for Eric Heidrich, Director of IT Infrastructure at Brookfield Properties.

Responsible for ensuring it was business-as-usual for a 2,000-strong US-based workforce, he had just 10 days to initiate a remote working strategy at scale. While all employees already had laptops, he credits the ability of the business to get up and running fast to the fact his team had taken steps to make it easier for users to access and share files.

“Determined to reduce our reliance on VPN, modernize our legacy file systems, and make it easy for all users to connect to the content they need, regardless of where they are working, we’d gone live with Egnyte in February – and then coronavirus struck,” he explains.

“Creating a centralized data repository in Egnyte made initiating our enterprise-wide remote working strategy a pretty straightforward proposition. Plus, Egnyte’s integration with Microsoft Teams meant we were able to roll that out fast. Quite simply, it all just worked.”

Staying in control

Even with so many employees working from home, neither Peter nor Eric had any concerns when it came to data security.

“We specifically chose Egnyte because of the strong governance and compliance controls it offers, so we had absolutely no worries on that count. With Egnyte, we can ensure that only the right people get to access the right content, and nothing can be accidentally or maliciously shared,” says Eric.

It’s a sentiment that’s echoed by Peter, for whom IT governance is a top priority.

“As a private equity firm, we were particularly strong on all things governance related. Egnyte has further extended our capabilities. For example, we can now fine-tune our policies for specific jurisdictions – like Luxembourg – where governance is especially restrictive,” he says.

A silver lining

“We promised our users they’d be able to work from home and that business continuity could be maintained, and we delivered on those promises.”

Both Eric and Peter believe that going forward, the lockdown experience will see a number of positive initiatives being fast-tracked in the coming months.

“We’d been looking to move more and more of our architecture and services to the cloud, and this recent experience has demonstrated just how cloud services can make us more agile – that it’s the right way forward,” states Eric.

“The events of recent weeks have proved to the business that moving to the cloud was the right decision. We promised our users they’d be able to work from home, and that business continuity could be maintained, and we delivered on those promises. They now understand what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it; this knowledge will form the basis for long-lasting trust going forward,” concludes Peter.

Hear more lessons on how Eric and Peter reinvented file services for remote work in a conversation with Egnyte co-founder and CXO Rajesh Ram:

 

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