6 Essential Features to Empower Your Team to Work Remotely

By Jon Finegold, CMO, Signiant —

For many, the last few weeks — with the increasing rise in COVID-19 and the resultant impact of the M&E industry — has illuminated the necessity of remote work capabilities for media organizations. As more and more restrictions and precautions are put into place, it’s the businesses whose teams have robust remote access solutions that are thriving and adapting, while those whose users struggle to reach their content from outside of the office find themselves in a frustrating dilemma.

For M&E enterprises — many of which regularly collaborate with partners and creatives around the world — remote work is an essential part of building flexible and successful operations. Certainly, recent events have made the need for this capability shockingly clear, but even once the current situation is alleviated, businesses who have failed to take the necessary steps to empower their users to work remotely will find themselves at a continued disadvantage.

For those who wish to avoid that, the solutions are there. But, in assessing them, it’s critical that organizations understand the factors that make remote access possible, and find a tool that provides these six vital features.

File Acceleration

The media industry is a high-pressure landscape with teams forced to meet extremely tight deadlines and move masses of content as quickly as possible in order to do so. The more diffuse your workforce is–the more partners or collaborators the make up a supply chain–the more important that speed becomes. Whether team members are sending files back and forth to other users or uploading drafts of a project into a shared folder, ensuring that content gets where it needs to go as quickly as possible is mission-critical, especially in a global environment.

While some solutions offer the potential for remote access and work, many lack the file acceleration capabilities that make them convenient or useful at all. Working remotely often comes with its own unique pressures and your users shouldn’t have to compound those with the fear that the files they just sent are going to take hours to reach the next user who needs to work on them.

No File-Size Restrictions

When it comes to M&E, the content that’s being moved is exponentially larger than that which might define other industries. While a huge file might be a rarity for some businesses to have to send, these are the most common files that media professionals are working with. As such, certain remote tools that work for other businesses simply will not support the workflows that film studios, television broadcasters, or game developers have to complete.

File-size limits are ultimately more ordinary than most M&E enterprises would like to believe, so finding a solution that doesn’t cap their content or charge them extra simply because of the nature of what they’re sending or uploading is crucial. The power of remote work ultimately lies in its flexibility, and the idea that teams would be limited in what they could transfer simply because of size limitations almost entirely defeats the purpose.

Checkpoint Restart

Imagine you’re working from home. You’ve just finished the latest edits on some extremely important footage, and you need to send it along to a post-production team in order to get some graphics added in. Midway through the upload to the shared folder, the transfer gets interrupted. You have to start the process all over again.

This is an all too common issue when it comes to file transfer solutions relied on for remote work, and — while the frustration may at first seem petty — when it keeps happening it leeches huge amounts of time away from an already tightly scheduled project. This is why checkpoint restart features are so essential when it comes to remote access tools. When your upload, download, or transfer simply picks up from where it left off, users don’t need to worry about wasting precious time hoping that that progress bar doesn’t fall back to zero again.

Easy Yet Powerful Web-Based Administration

Because admins, operations personnel, and IT professionals will be forced to monitor a workforce that’s spread out across a city, a country, or even the world, intuitive, easy-to-manage, centralized administrative features are crucial to ensuring that remote teams can achieve success. Not only does this make it easy for IT to keep track of all the activity surrounding incredibly valuable content, but it makes training, onboarding, and getting started far easier for users.

When dealing with working remotely, it’s immensely important that the ecosystem doesn’t devolve into chaos, and administrative features ensure media companies can avoid that, especially when operations leads can’t simply stroll over to a given user’s desk to address an issue. The more dispersed your teams are, the more important it is to effectively organize and delegate administrative responsibilities. Without an easy, web-based solution for that, things will get messy quickly.

Storage Independence

The content your users are working with is extremely valuable, and being able to confidently control where that content is being stored is a major part of making remote access strategies work. While some file transfer tools will force businesses to use storage owned and operated by the tool’s creators, storage independence allows these organizations to decide whether their files will live in the cloud, on prem, or across a hybrid storage architecture. Because remote team members will be accessing this content from many different locations at all different times, storage independence becomes a key element of security and control, which you can’t afford to ignore.

Enterprise-Grade Security

Perhaps this is the most obvious feature that remote collaboration and file sharing solutions should possess, but it’s also the one that deserves the most scrutiny. In recent years, major media organizations such as Disney, HBO, and more have suffered massive security breaches, resulting in the disruption of productivity, damage to reputations, and the loss of revenue in the form of greatly valuable proprietary content.

As with many other features, the need for security in the solution you select allows you to indulge all of the incredible benefits of remote access while also ensuring that no potential problems arise. Being able to monitor content that’s constantly on the move is one thing. Being confident that, should there be a security issue, you are able to respond swiftly and decisively is just as important.

Remote Access Can Fortify and Empower Your Business … If You Do it Right

As a growing number of media companies struggle to adapt to the increasingly hectic circumstances surrounding COVID-19, the ones that provide the most support for team members who must work remotely are coming out on top. The malleability that remote access allows makes certain that your enterprise can evolve with any challenge, bending to the demands of the moment with ease. Whether during a crisis or simply in periods of change and growth, organizations that provide users with remote access capabilities are in a far better position to succeed.

With these six important considerations in mind, any media organization can find a solution and design a strategy that suits their needs and empowers them to reap the benefits discussed. It shouldn’t take a pandemic to incentivize growth and evolution in the industry, but those who seize the moment will be standing tall when the dust settles.