Work from home

More and more people are working from home, especially during the current coronavirus outbreak. 

A Lehi-based company is looking to support residents who have been impacted by the recent spread of coronavirus by offering new customers free work-from-home cloud services for two months.

AirDesk Solutions, a remote access platform for companies and their employees, has been in operation for about seven years, and CEO Forrest Blair said in that time the company has helped about 250 companies and about 2,000 professionals move onto the platform each day.

“We take the IT infrastructure for the company, move it into the cloud and make that accessible to them back to their location,” Blair said. “Generally, that occurs in their office, but because of the way it works, it can just as easily work in their homes or anywhere else.”

AirDesk Solutions was founded with the idea that ultimately businesses would no longer want to have in-house IT infrastructure and that servers were a thing of the past, with companies instead opting to carry out services in the cloud. Blair said, sure enough, that has been his experience.

The global public cloud computing market is set to exceed $330 billion sometime this year, according to analysis by HostingTribunal.com. In fact, about a third of companies’ IT budget goes to cloud services.

Cloud computing is split into three categories: public, private and hybrid. A public cloud refers to services delivered across the internet, and private clouds are designed for internal use by a singular institution. A hybrid cloud uses bits of both private and public cloud technology.

As of 2020, 90% of companies are on the cloud, according to analysis by HostingTribunal.com, and about 60% of workloads ran on a hosted cloud service in 2019. The analysis also projects that cloud data centers will process about 94% of workloads by 2021.

The company has supported businesses as they make the transition for several years, but Blair said now, more than ever, the platform is almost essential for employees working from home amid federal and state health recommendations in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, more companies are encouraging their employees to work from home. In some cases, cities around the nation are on lockdown, requiring residents to stay in their homes.

Even tech companies, such as Amazon, Google and Facebook, have announced that most of their staff have been asked to work remotely due to the coronavirus.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018, about 24% of working Americans did some or all of their work remotely in 2018. Only a year earlier, however, about 56% of employees have the capacity for at least some of what they do to be done remotely, according to a 2017 study by Global Workplace Analytics.

In order to help make the transition from in-office employee to telecommuter more seamless, AirDesk Solutions is offering a new discount plan. New customers will receive free service for two months with no on-boarding fees. Ordinarily, the service is about $80-$100 per user per month.

“It’s difficult for companies right now when they’re not able to keep their people working,” Blair said.

The biggest thing Blair wants to stress to companies is the security platforms like AirDesk Solutions can offer users. A lot of times, he said, companies are fearful of working outside of offices because they like to keep their data on their servers, however, in recent years, there has been a transition of more and more people feeling comfortable enough to put their valuable information in the cloud.

According to the 2020 analysis by HostingTribunal.com, privacy, security and lack of staff training are the top hurdles for companies hoping to participate in cloud adoption.

Blair said the recent circumstances have forced the issue in a way that allows companies to see that storing information in the cloud is not as risky as they initially thought and also not as painful to transfer information from traditional servers to internet-accessed servers.

“One of the things we find with companies when we’re working with them to do the on-boarding is that they’re not really typically very secure,” he said. “They often times will have the same password on all systems, they don’t really have a very secure firewall. They’ve been assuming they are safe and in many cases they’ve been attacked by ransomware.”

Once these companies have put their systems in a data center within the cloud, the information is isolated with several firewall layers, virus protections and encryption. Blair said, most of the time, the cloud is considered a more secure environment than companies are already working with.

For a number of companies, he said, switching to the cloud can be compared to using a credit card to pay for products online. When the idea was first presented, Blair said, there was a lot of fear of having credit card information in a merchant’s online system, but that fear has almost completely dissipated.

“Although there have been some companies that have had security issues, those have all come from third parties that they’ve allowed to have access to,” he said.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants standards govern the security and operations of internet-accessible data centers, and companies like AirDesk Solutions are required to meet all of the established standards in order to host systems for their customers.

These services can be applied to almost any company, Blair said. Although AirDesk Solutions’ customer base is largely comprised of law firms, they have also catered to construction companies, certified public accountants and a variety of other businesses.

AirDesk Solutions’ platform, he said, is for any company that wants the opportunity to be mobile and to have access to their system and work environment from virtually anywhere in the world.

In a 2020 study released by Overheard On Conference Calls, Salt Lake City was ranked as the second best city in the U.S. for remote workers, which was mainly attributed to the area’s low cost of living in relation to the other large cities. Other factors included the average speed of Wi-Fi, the number of coworking spaces per capita and the number of coffee shops per capita.