Telecommuting on the Rise

The number of telecommutersin the US rose 30 per cent to almost 7 million last year, according to recent data from InfoBeads a market research company.

Although most of those employees telecommute part-time, the Technology User Profile Study reveals that full-time telecommuters grew more significantly, up 78 per cent to 951,000 workers.

InfoBeads senior industry analyst Dave Tremblay says that while companies need to offer telecommuting to accommodate knowledge workers, the arrangement makes issues such as security, remote access, and hardware and software upgrades more complicated for IT.

Security measures that IT needs to consider include offering remote support in the case of equipment theft, as well as ensuring that telecommuters have secure remote access to the network. "Most of these guys are dialing in," Tremblay said. "It's not a dedicated secure link."

In order to provide remote workers with hardware and software upgrades, as well as equipment repair, Tremblay said one option is signing up with a national service provider that can service remote locations. In addition, both the IT worker and the telecommuter should be prepared for some travel.

"People outside the confines of a company want access to the same internal resources that on-site (employees) have," Tremblay said.

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