Remote working will be a new normal

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Since the outbreak of COVID-19 at the beginning of 2020, the Chinese government has adopted a rigorous response and established control measures to prevent inbound and intra-city transmissions. It has also imposed strict control of events and avoidance of crowded gatherings nationwide. Most companies have also introduced temporary remote office and homeworking solutions.

China’s remote working population had reached 4.9 million as early as in 2018 , and since the pandemic, the number has increased substantially. According to data from a top-tier domestic remote working platform, it was downloaded and used by 12.062 million users from late January to early April 2020, four times the number before the pandemic. During that period, the platform hosted almost 30,000 high-resolution teleconferences, 25% more than before the pandemic, with total teleconferencing time reaching 29.42 billion minutes, up 25 times the number pre-pandemic. According to other research, 80% of medium-sized and large enterprises in China are using remote working software to increase productivity.

As China’s pandemic situation substantially improves, resumption of work and normal consumer behavior is gathering momentum across the country. It's worth noting, however, that despite the green light to reopen, many enterprises which have benefited from remote working are not too eager to rush employees back to physical offices, so have instead continued to embrace remote working. After the pandemic, remote working will continue to thrive and is likely to become a new normal. That said, what potential challenges could companies encounter when choosing remote working?

Challenges of remote working

The big moment has come for remote working, but it is not without challenges. Besides hardware and other constraints, which affect the quality of remote working, issues such as weak signal, audio and video collection and transmission failures will also undermine the efficiency of remote working. Moreover, as cloud platforms become increasingly used, many companies are concerned whether their bandwidth, cloud computing capabilities and network security meet necessary requirements.

Recently, hackers have taken advantage of the global crisis by creating pandemic-related malware and launching waves of cyberattacks. As home office environments and personal electronic devices fall far short of enterprise-grade security standards, and as employees become more reliant on "virtual" communications such as email, videoconferencing and phone calls, corporate users are now more vulnerable to hackers and face increasing cyber risks of their supply chains.

Furthermore, companies have been using VPNs to access certain corporate applications via intranet. The challenge here is that VPN solutions used by companies generally have special installation, deployment and debugging requirements, which are subject to force majeure challenges, especially during special periods. Even if these all go smoothly, the underlying technologies themselves, as they connect the systems to the Internet, create security vulnerabilities.

In summary, remote working during the pandemic has become a big challenge for companies’ IT infrastructure and has seen them recognize the necessity and urgency of implementing business digital transformation more than ever. As remote working is set to become a new normal, what should companies do to prepare for it?

A trusted partner

To make remote working work successfully, companies need to choose a telco that can be trusted to provide reliable service. Orange, as a network-native digital services company, provides a wide range of network solutions to help companies improve remote working efficiency and ensure secure and stable network operation.

With teams located in over 100 countries and regions, Orange operates a seamless voice and data network covering more than 220 countries and regions, leveraging its 16 SoC facilities, 10 CyberSoC facilities, 70 data centers, and 5 Major Service Centers across the globe. With its ability to quickly deliver stable and flexible solutions in a wide range of areas, Orange is ready to deploy and supervise clients’ networks and digital solutions on a daily basis, provide top-tier expertise in threat analysis, and support their business growth with reliable cloud services.

Orange has more than 70 data centers around the world, which bring together around 2,300 cloud experts, delivering the capacity that clients need to manage changes in remote working and cloud services. Our cloud service team can flexibly schedule bandwidth and provide cloud-based solutions according to the needs of clients and complete the upgrade within 48 hours. Solutions include interactive voice response, omni-channel contact centers, customer service development, and more.

In cybersecurity, Orange Cyberdefense provides clients with standardized services and customized hosted monitoring and response services, as well as timely data protection through a threat intelligence platform that analyzes 50 billion messages per day and can adjust eight new mobile SSL certificates worldwide at any time. In addition, Orange Cyberdefense provides professional migration services in 238 regions around the world to help clients transition from hybrid network infrastructure to SD-WAN and also brings them web gateway security suite hosting services for comprehensive protection.

Helping companies fight

COVID-19 is a virus that respects no borders, and everyone plays a part in the fight against the pandemic. Orange has quickly fixed all emergency remote working situations of customers, including multinational corporations, during the pandemic.

Remote working, which means many more remote connections, requires companies to strengthen their network infrastructure and connectivity. For example, during the pandemic, an international insurance company submitted a request to Orange to enable remote working for 15,000 employees. Orange immediately responded by upgrading the insurer’s network infrastructure in two phases: first, it increased the company’s VPN access capacity to local data centers from 50% to 100% within 48 hours; second, it doubled the number of regional physical network accesses within four days, allowing employees to connect remotely and securely to their corporate network from home. In addition, Orange Cyberdefense provided a virtual solution, which was completed within two days as opposed to the typical three weeks required for a hardware upgrade, and increased the customer’s remote working security by three times compared to before.

Jack Zhang
Jack Zhang
Jack Zhang is Country Manager, China for Orange Business Services and is responsible for leading the business and managing operations country-wide. He supports the Orange digital transformation vision for enterprises by developing opportunities in key growth areas including hybrid networks, IT services and cloud. Jack has over 15 years of experience in the dynamic IT and telecommunications market in China and has a deep understanding of the market and the communications industry.