Being a great leader requires developing new skills at every junction. In the last few years, that has meant dealing with and supporting remote, on-the-move, and traveling employees in a flexible work environment while ensuring both security and productivity.

According to the Future Forum Pulse report, at the beginning of the pandemic, organizations had to transition from supporting 30% of their workforce working in the office to 100% working remotely in just a matter of weeks.¹ It was a challenging task that forced an increase in telecommuting load and costs—and unexpected demand on IT departments. Even if that shift doesn’t need to happen at a moment’s notice anymore, it’s not going away. 

The Future Forum Pulse report shows that only 34% of knowledge workers globally are back in the office full-time. In Manhattan, a city of offices, only 8% of workers are back in the office full time.² The desire to work from anywhere is no longer a want; it has become an expectation. And with this expectation comes additional risk.

Organizations often reach out to our teams for advice and support on how to enable and scale hybrid working environments and workplace projects. Here, we’ll share five tips we often give IT leaders who are supporting employees on the move:

1. Uncompromising Simplicity

Demands are increasing, workloads are growing, and turnover is at an all-time high according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.³ Every advantage to make a workday simpler and less stressful will add to employee satisfaction. Making storage for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) simple to configure and provision, with no performance tuning or trade-offs, becomes a high priority for keeping employees happy and stress-free.  

When provisioning FlashArray™ storage, there is no need for complicated storage decisions. They’re automatically controlled by Purity software or simply do not exist, including: 

Raid Performance Tiers
Deduplication Cache Assignment
Storage Pools Front-end POrts
Compression Queue Depths
Encryption Block Size
Medium Types Provisioning Type

 

VDI deployment needs to be done on an architecture that is simple and can scale and integrate. Availability is key to ensuring an anywhere, anytime, integrated experience. The Pure data advantage delivers the capabilities and requirements needed to support employees on the move.

2. Consider Storage as-a-Service (STaaS)

The most difficult position many leaders are put in is budgeting for unexpected requirements. Specifically, how do I budget for infrastructure required today that we might not need nine months from now? 

Many organizations are using as-a-service models to meet current demand, rather than accelerating the acquisition of on-premises equipment that may not be required later. Storage as a service is a great way to quickly put resources in place for remote workers. Storage is the most critical component of any virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), so getting this right is critical to productivity. CIOs can use the capacity required immediately via OPEX, manage costs over time based upon discounting, and have the ability to burst into the type of high IO (a.k.a. “bootstorm”) that VDI desktops experience on boot, reboot, and login. 

We can’t always predict long-term requirements; however, Evergreen//One™ (formerly Pure as-a-Service™) provides a fully flexible storage subscription service that delivers the storage you need, when and where you need it. No more having to buy or lease storage years in advance and guess what your needs will be in three or five years—pay only for what you use. 

This lets IT leaders meet their needs without placing additional assets on the balance sheet as well as repurpose on-premises infrastructure into other projects when it is available, including SQL re-platforming or AI initiatives that likely are budgeted in this or the following year. Learn more about Evergreen//One.

3. Support Telecommuting

Centralized data allows remote access and physical protection of data. But, just because a centralized data source is the safest, that doesn’t mean that work needs to be centralized as well. In fact, according to the Future Forum Pulse, remote workers report that they’re not only more productive but also happier.

Remote

Source: Future Forum Pulse

Thankfully, working from home is a solid model that most organizations embrace. Pure offers several solutions that can simplify things for you when you’re looking to deliver additional VDI resources in a hurry to make remote employees happy. FlashStack®, a jointly developed solution from Pure and Cisco, is a great option to implement an integrated VDI infrastructure that is operational on Day 1. You get the latest in compute, network, and storage components in a single integrated architecture that accelerates time to deployment, lowers overall IT costs, and reduces deployment risk. 

Check out this Pure Report podcast with more detail on how FlashStack enables rapid deployment to get past the Day 0/1/2 challenges in setting up infrastructure.

To ensure productivity while workers are on the move requires performance. This means low and predictable latency, with high IOPS on demand. With FlashArray, the volume performance limit is the FlashArray performance limit. This means there is no need to provision many data stores for better VDI performance. You can separate based on business needs, not on performance. Purity is designed to integrate with VMware’s offload engines while also providing simple-to-configure storage delivering high levels of performance.

4. Have Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans in Place

During times of stress, the risk of human error increases. With IT distracted from standard day-to-day procedures, chances increase that systems will fail from lack of attention. Pure includes data protection features, such as snapshots and replication, at no additional cost. It’s simple to activate snapshots and set up replication, which can help you facilitate quick recovery in the event of a system failure or data loss. 

Not all organizations take advantage of these capabilities, though. Now is the time to leverage data protection broadly, including looking at backup and restore strategies for simple business continuity in Azure or AWS in the public cloud. Recover to the cloud for disaster recovery using Pure Cloud Block Store™ or recover to the cloud for disaster recovery or dev/test scenarios.

5. Security without Compromise

CNET reports that there were a record number of data breaches last year.⁵ While an IT professional’s primary job is to ensure user access to data and applications, security should be a high priority for everyone, regardless of their role. Ransomware, cyberattacks, and data breaches are just some of the words that no company wants to be associated with in the public eye. The results are not just expensive but also often tarnish reputations. These attacks can come in a variety of ways on all surface areas.

Download: 10 Questions to Ask Your CISO

Keeping data encrypted and on centralized servers protects against both theft and loss of media in transit. Purity Secure incorporates software and hardware measures to meet the highest security standards, ensuring the safety of customer data while streamlining administrative requirements. Purity is designed to ensure your data is safe, from full business continuity with Purity ActiveCluster™, to multi-site replication, to space-efficient local and remote snapshots.

6. Give IT a Seat at the Table

Most enterprises have created “tiger teams” to deal with the increased teleworking needs, but the participants are often limited to the facilities, communications, and HR teams. Make sure IT is represented to address the technical ramifications of telecommuting directives or hosting technical support visitors on site.

It is reasonable to expect that increased telecommuting could trigger certain elements of your business continuity plan — either due to outage or load. Because remediating any issues could require on-site assistance from vendors or consultants, make sure you have plans in place for access to your data center as well as screening onsite resources.

The Need for Balance

While the pandemic necessitated flexibility in work location, as well as agility in this regard, it’s been years in the making, with employees wanting more freedom and a better work-life balance. The continual demand on people’s time does not slow, while the demands on IT and security risks increase. The best defense against attack is a good offense. A solid set of tools that are intuitive and integrate with your entire data estate can keep your infrastructure reliable, resilient, and secure.   

Learn more about VDI on Pure Storage®.

¹https://futureforum.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Future-Forum-Pulse-Report-April-2022.pdf
²https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/10/business/return-to-office-manhattan.html
³https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf
⁴With a minimum reserve commitment
⁵https://www.cnet.com/news/privacy/record-number-of-data-breaches-reported-in-2021-new-report-says/