Standing up a remote working environment

Getting the entirety of your extended enterprise access to the critical assets they need quickly is no small task for IT.

Chris Panneck

Chris Panneck

Managing Director, CIO Advisory, KPMG US

+1 214-840-6781

Denis Berry

Denis Berry

US Microsoft Business Leader, KPMG US

+1 312-665-2866

Part of KPMG's series COVID-19: Insights for CIOs and IT executives on considerations for building IT and business resilience in challenging times

Let’s assume you have already, or are in the process of, instituting your business continuity plan.  

Getting the entirety of your extended enterprise access to the critical assets they need is no small task. To that end, KPMG has assembled a punch-list of questions to ensure you’ve thought holistically about what to do immediately.

In this video on remote working, we explore five key areas of focus and the questions to ask around each.

Video companion text

Getting your remote working environment up and running

Steve Bates, Principal, Global Leader, KPMG’s CIO Center of Excellence


With most of the world’s professionals now working remotely, it can leave your company scrambling to come up with a quick solution to meet the immediate needs. Instituting a business continuity plan is no small task, which is why it is important to think through the necessary requirements.

Beginning with infrastructure: Do you have enough VPN capacity to handle all of your employees now working remotely? Enterprise-wide VPNs are meant to handle outbound traffic, but with the COVID-19 situation, that now flips the model, requiring increased inbound network capacity. Along the same lines of capacities being tested, employees home internet connections may be pushed to their limits, impeding their productivity. Be prepared by working with your procurement group to ensure employees are authorized to purchase the necessary equipment, such as higher speed 4G routers, WiFi signal boosters or higher speed plans.

Access: Considering who needs access to what materials is an important step in setting up a strong remote working environment. Using a persona-based approach tied to critical business functions will enable those that you have prioritized to be their most productive with the appropriate levels of access. Some people in your continuity plan will need to be treated as mission critical, creating concierge groups for faster service with greater impact on business productivity. Remember to keep in mind key suppliers, contractors and third parties. As well as any regulatory implications, like GDPR, CCPA, or contractual obligations that may prevent you from providing certain levels of remote access.

Support: With companies now moving to a remote working environment, it is inevitable that help desk capacity will see an increase, in some cases by factors of 10. Be sure that you are ready and staffed accordingly to handle the influx of inquiries from both employees and customers. In addition, be prepared for the help desk staff to also have to work remotely as well and have a call center continuity plan in place. If you have outsourced your help desk, ensure that your provider is able to continue to support and scale. In some countries, outsourcers are seeing diminished capacity of up to 70%.

End user productivity: When it comes to the comforts of a new remote working environment, it will be important to consider monitors, printers, headsets, or other peripherals that be requested and needed to meet demand.  Have a plan for how equipment should be allocated and prioritized. If equipment is limited, what virtual or web options have been considered? Perhaps O365 and One Drive or leveraging virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions. Keep in mind the implications to security, particularly around O365, from phishing scams.

Collaboration tools: New tools can be exciting to some and daunting to learn to others. Either way, they will be a key ingredient to making sure your now remote enterprise stays connected. Though there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, security and scalability – be sure that the tools you have in place are secure for remote use and can handle your enterprise-wise use at any given time. Where tools are new, it’s helpful to provide virtual training sessions and scale up support resources. 

The most important part of standing-up remote working environments is to move quickly and think holistically.