These days the number of people needing to work at home from multiple locations has gone up considerably. This can be due to a number of factors including cost, flexibility to staff, multiple offices, illness, disruption to public transport or even major events like the Olympics. The main challenge for remote working has been providing staff with the same access to all the systems and data that they need in order to carry out their job function and role.
Traditionally this has been done by having people connect into office networks with VPN's, file encryption, firewalls and software running on overpowered servers with much of this software not being web-enabled.
This route is expensive, complicated and often causes a large support load or problems due to the complicated nature of the setup. With the recent explosion in "Cloud" hosting this has opened up a world of much simpler hosted systems being made available to remote workers to store, collaborate and provide access to in a cost-effective and simple way.
I remember a certain conversation with a council some time ago that were looking at making redundant around thirty servers that they had running in their server rooms and consolidating this down to five dedicated servers which we were going to split up and manage for them as thirty virtual servers. Having done a lot of work with them on cost savings analysis they only seemed to be able to factor in the cost of the hardware into their own calculations. In other words, they refused to see the true cost of things like power, bandwidth, the initial purchase of Microsoft Licensing, staff costs and so on. The average dedicated server uses around £15 a month in electricity alone plus bandwidth costs of say £10-£15 per Mbp per month and just by cutting down on 3 servers in your own offices the costs savings on power and bandwidth could be in the region of £1,300 per year based on not paying any power charges and being able to reduce your company's bandwidth usage by 20 Mbps. In terms of staffing costs, you also save as these human resources can be applied elsewhere in the business. With the latest Cloud-based offerings from a company like Memset you can also obtain and pay for the resources you need rather than paying for hardware that is often under-utilised, which is better for the environment.
Cashflow is also a big concern for companies at the moment and having to purchase servers up front is capital intensive whereas paying for hosting services every month leaves more money available for you to invest in your company's growth rather than tying up that capital in servers. Also, paying a fixed monthly amount for your server needs with Memset means that you can accurately budget your server expenditure meaning easier financial forecasting for your business.
I guess what I am driving at here is that moving your servers to the Cloud for the purpose of remote working can offer much more flexibility, ease of access, cost savings and peace of mind as you don't have to worry about the servers being up and available 24 hours a day.