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Facing a Distributed Future: The Role of Remote Work Post-COVID

PARTNERS / 08.17.21 / Alex Willis

When history books record the most significant changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the global move to a distributed workforce may warrant its own chapter.

As we all contended with quarantine, many of us had no choice but to telecommute, and in so doing, many of us realized something: Once we got used to it, we found that working from home could actually be quite fulfilling. We could often be more productive, more focused, and more relaxed.

Rather than rushing out the door to work, we were able to spend more time reconnecting with the most important people in our lives – our friends, children, and spouses. Now, as many of us are faced with the prospect of returning to the office, we can’t help but wonder if we really need to. In many cases, the answer is no.

“In today’s world, especially post-COVID, telecommuting isn’t going to go away,” explains Arnaud Marlière, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Awingu. “It may shift a bit, but it will remain extremely present. Businesses need to ensure that they have a secure, compliant platform that enables staff that are working from home.”

Awingu was designed to be that platform.

“Typically, our customers are interested in one or two use cases,” says Marlière. “Remote work, and secure enablement of contractors. Beyond that, we’re a fairly horizontal solution – and since partnering with BlackBerry, we have clients all over the world.”

A browser-based “unified workspace,” the all-in-one Awingu solution enables remote workers to seamlessly and securely connect to whatever resources they require. It is fully GDPR-compliant out-of-the-box, and supports auditing, session recording, multifactor authentication, and security information and event management (SIEM). Combined with BlackBerry® Desktop, it offers extensive security and administrative controls, including:

  • Enforcing separation of work data from personal applications
  • Preventing screenshots and screen recording
  • Secure Cloud app connections
  • Behind-the-firewall access only from the work applications without a VPN

Awingu is also evaluating BlackBerry® Persona to provide Zero-Trust security and customers can optionally install BlackBerry® Desktop with BlackBerry® Protect for full endpoint protection.

“Simplicity is one of the big strengths of Awingu, particularly when combined with BlackBerry Desktop,” says Marlière. “It works almost as a sort of gateway in front of an existing IT environment. And it takes only a few hours to deploy, so it’s simple to manage, as well.”

The combination of security and simplicity made the product a big hit with organizations trying to navigate the initial phases of lockdown-driven telecommuting. And together, BlackBerry and Awingu have helped multiple organizations stay connected over the course of COVID-19. At one point, we even helped connect thousands of users over the course of a single weekend, preventing the continued loss of productivity as the lockdown extended beyond what anyone expected.

“The pandemic for us absolutely sparked our business,” says Marlière. “We experienced a huge spike in demand, with usage increasing by 300% during the first months. February to May last year were probably some of the busiest months we’ve ever had.”

Marlière recalls one customer, an oil & gas organization, that had a consultation call with Awingu on a Tuesday. The organization decided the following day that they wished to deploy Awingu. By Thursday evening, the platform was in production.

“Another customer, a water district provider based in the U.S., scaled up our platform in literally a single day,” Marlière recalls. “When I talked to the IT professional responsible, he said it worked like a charm. No one ever asked him any questions – it was intuitive, easy to use, and easy to deploy.”

“Where remote work is concerned, ease of use is second only to security,” Marlière concludes. “Through the combination of Awingu with BlackBerry Desktop, we’re able to provide our clients with both, on a global scale. The two solutions have excellent synergy together, meaning we’re well-positioned to support the ongoing surge in telecommuting.” 

Read the full Awingu case study.

Alex Willis

About Alex Willis

Alex Willis serves as the Vice President, Global Technical Solutions at BlackBerry.