Through 2010, companies that do not implement new, more-stringent remote worker policies and network access controls, along with management tools, will see remote worker costs increase by five to 10 times and the number of security breaches increase exponentially, according to Gartner.
“The number one problem with a typical remote access strategy is that most companies think that technology alone will solve all their problems,” says Eric Paulak, managing vice-president at Gartner.
“Although this could be the case if enterprises gave their remote workers fully secured access devices and locked them down. The problem is that completely locking down remote devices could hamper the improved productivity that businesses want to gain. As a result, effective policies must also be implemented with the right tools.”
Gartner predicts that the known costs of centrally supporting remote access services will double by 2008 and the unknown costs without centralised management will triple.
More than 90% of all centrally controlled remote access service costs are for analog access minutes. Analogue access represents less than 20% of primary use, and that number is decreasing dramatically. More than two-thirds of remote access costs are buried in the company.
“The problem lies in the fact that different remote access technologies have been managed by different groups in the company, and new technologies are cropping up that no one is managing,” says Paulak.
“Many costs get buried in the company, and the hidden costs are growing rapidly while the centrally managed costs are declining. These costs could be controlled if they were part of a centrally managed remote access service.
“Many networking managers don’t want that to happen, however, because it takes a hidden cost that the business units have to pay and turns it into a known cost that the networking or IT department has to pay,” he adds.
“Yet, if these costs were centrally managed, the company would be able to control its costs much better. IT, networking and remote access managers should push their companies toward more-aggregated services to control rising costs. This will require buy-in from the Chief Financial Officer because it may increase IT costs, but it should lower total corporate costs by up to 40%.”
Gartner says that many solutions are emerging in the market that provide a full range of options for mobile and remote workers. The trend is toward heavier use of external services, especially for basic connectivity, VPNs and security services.
The researcher recommends that companies first focus their attention on individual user classes that have the highest usage. These users are likely to be first adopters of new technology who will then propagate into other user types.