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Analysts warn of rising remote worker costs

Gartner claims costs could rise tenfold over the next four years without firm policies and controls
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Companies that neglect to implement stringent remote worker policies, management tools and network access controls will face a dramatic rise in remote worker costs, Gartner has predicted.

During discussions at the analyst firm's Symposium/ITxpo event in Orlando, Florida, that rise was estimated at between 500 and 1,000 percent between now and 2010.

"The number-one problem with a typical remote access strategy is that most companies think technology alone will solve all their problems, although this could be the case if enterprises gave their remote workers fully secured access devices and locked them down," said Eric Paulak, Gartner's managing vice president, on Thursday.

However, Paulak warned that locking down devices in that way "could hamper the improved productivity that businesses want to gain", meaning that the answer lay in effective policies implemented with the right tools.

A variety of remote access technologies meant that costs were often getting "buried" across various departments, with hidden costs increasing as centrally managed costs fell, Paulak explained. He suggested a centrally managed remote access service as the best way to control costs, but warned that "many networking managers don't want that to happen… because it takes a hidden cost that the business units have to pay and turns it into a known cost that the networking or IT department has to pay".

Despite that obstacle, opting for "more aggregated" services could lower corporate costs by up to 40 percent, said Paulak.

Gartner's recommendation is that companies first focus their attention on individual user classes that have the highest usage, as these early adopters would then "propagate" into other user types.

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