Yahoo sure has been in the headlines lately. The interesting part of the story for me has been the spotlight on extracting worker productivity from the VPN logs. For a great synopsis and commentary, check out InfoWorld’s blog by Ted Samson. Ted makes some great points about the dangers of using a single set of analytics to derive employee value. For example, not all work functions require constant VPN consumption. On the other end of the spectrum, people are clever at gaming the system to make their analytics look good while doing dubious amounts of actual work.
I believe productivity is very hard to measure at the individual level, but one common thread lies at the core of both sides of the Yahoo debate. Everyone is hankering for more human interaction. By interacting with each other, we solve problems we could not solve by ourselves. Being able to find the right people to work with — at the right time, quickly and securely, and with resources that are available– is an indicator of efficiency that no one will argue with.
So while the banter flies back and forth on whether VPN usage is a leading indicator of productivity, here is a checklist of rock-solid indicators of how efficient your VPN is making your business right now.
Is your VPN…
1. The web of interconnection for your enterprise?
Can your VPN support data, voice and video services that allow each employee to log their presence and the best way to reach them during the day? Unified Communications software simplifies staying in touch whether you are at home, in the office, at a meeting or out-of-town. The VPN is the backbone and hub, not the public telephone exchange or any single piece of communications software that may run over the VPN.
2. Helping keep your company information secure from prying eyes?
We are all sick of hearing about security, but judging by the lack of investment in this area, the message is not fully sinking in. Consider this: More and more, the advantage one enterprise holds over its competitors is found in its internal process, innovation, and speed. If sensitive market-timed information leaks, that could be the end of an entire campaign’s effectiveness. Organizations that hack for a living and then try to sell intelligence were unthinkable only a decade ago. Today they are at every corner of the “interwebs.” Your VPN can help keep data secure for home workers on laptops, office workers on tablets, and traveling employees on their mobile devices if deployed properly.
3. Taking you to the clouds?
Cloud computing has the promise of lowering the enterprise need for computer resources, bandwidth, and increasing availability. However, these goals can only be met if the VPN is properly positioned in the mix. Using a VPN provider that has the needed cloud infrastructure — redundantly and organically attached the cloud — can be a huge advantage. Complexity greatly increases if the VPN needs to be built-out to intersect with a private or public cloud that resides elsewhere.