Analysts Butler Group have insisted that now is the time for IT departments to adopt a holistic approach to application delivery and IT infrastructure access, considering the fast growing trend for remote working.

The firm said it was crucial to provide key applications to remote workers and extend business processes to distributed locations through fixed or wireless communication technologies.

In a new report, called ‘Application delivery - creating a flexible, service centric network architecture’, the company wrote that application delivery, to what it called the extended enterprise, would allow organisations to improve processes. It also presented an opportunity for innovation.

Mark Blowers, senior research analyst and co author of the study, said: “The effect of changing social patterns on business models cannot be ignored, with more and more of the workforce now based away from head office.

“However, there is an increased business risk to this freedom, with the main issues being the security of information outside the confines of the office.”

Butler Group maintained that it was a complex, difficult task to manage connections for the entire workforce, especially with workers connecting via a wide range of fixed and wireless networks. Keeping costs low was also a challenge in this environment.

There was much praise in the report for the availability of wide area network optimisation software, to help centralise and improve the reliability of those networks. Butler strongly suggested that organisations with branch offices should look at trialling such a product.

Blowers argued that management was crucial to application delivery architecture. Quality of Service was important, as was security, but he added that the latter ‘should not be a barrier to the adoption of more flexible working practices’. In May, a Datamonitor survey of 500 IT decision makers identified security as one of a number of factors inhibiting investment in mobile technologies, as enterprises feared internet breaches and data leakage when deploying mobility solutions.

Customers, employees, business partners, suppliers, and contractors needed to be properly and adequately protected each time they accessed applications, Blowers concluded. “Within this context, there is a requirement for operational security solutions that have the scalability to deal with high volume access requests,” he said, “and still retain the functional granularity that is needed to deal with each user as an individual.”

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