How to transfer to a remote site 1000 people in less than a week
We began to prepare for the transition to udalenka on Wednesday, March 11. Then we understood that the likelihood of a scenario in which employees would have to work from home was high, but we assumed that we had at least a week. As a result, everything turned out differently, and already on Monday, March 16, most of the employees began to work remotely.
Those left on the office who depend on the adoption of operational decisions and on-call services, for example, in the CPCC, which basically work at any time of the year, monitoring the uninterrupted processing of all operations. But for the CPMC, we have monitoring systems that allow us to control processes and ensure that everything is going as usual. Therefore, all transaction processing processes are going in a completely regular mode, and unprincipled, a thousand people are in the office or ten. For those who remain in the office, the company purchased “advanced” medical masks, constantly treats all surfaces and takes other preventive measures.
Yuriy Mishchenko, Head of Infrastructure Division, IT Department (DIT)
“Of the approximately 1,000 people working for the company, about 150 IT specialists were technically fully prepared for the remote site. About 150 more people – these are the departments of marketing and business development – could also work remotely quite comfortably, because The main tools for them are mail and phone. Thus, we needed to organize a udalenka for the remaining approximately 600 people. ”
In a short time, our team had to solve several key issues, and the first of them was whether our external channels and equipment would withstand such a load? Indeed, in normal times, the bulk of the data is closed to the internal office network, and with remote operation of the communication channels, the office network would most likely not be enough. In total, we have four such channels from different operators, and in normal mode the expansion process takes 2-3 weeks. Under current conditions, we expanded the first channel even before the decision to switch to udalenka, on Friday, the rest – on Tuesday.
“The next challenge – it became clear that we did not have enough VPN licenses, we had a license for 200 remote connections (in average, about 50 were used on average), and now we need at least 600. Fortunately, the vendor allowed us to organize unlimited connections. We also thought about whether the VPN will withstand ten times the growth of connections and a significant change in the traffic profile on the perimeter? Therefore, on Friday and at the weekend we began to prepare the infrastructure, added VPN gateways, prepared equipment for servicing Internet traffic. ”
Then the question arose of providing iron for employees who had never worked remotely.
Olga Maslennikova, Head of IT Solutions Implementation and Support Department, IT Department (DIT)
“Fortunately, the NSPK is quite well equipped technically, and about a quarter of the employees were already ready to be removed, not even preparing for this – therefore, on Monday they could just get up in the middle of the working day, leave the office and continue to work from home. Some still had working laptops, but the services for remote work were not configured – we resolved this issue quite quickly. ”
But what to do with the rest? We had a stock of laptops in stock for the planned expansion of the staff, but they had to be prepared from scratch – put Windows, software, VPN client. We managed to automate this process, and no difficulties arose – we only needed two pairs of hands that brought the equipment from the warehouse, unpacked it, poured the software and gave it to the requestor. Unfortunately, a small shortage of laptops arose. Good relations with suppliers and manufacturers of equipment helped, and in just a day and a half, we found contractors who had a stock of laptops in stock.
“I would like to thank our suppliers and partners – without their help, all these changes would be difficult to implement so quickly and effectively. In the current conditions, we worked with them “honestly”, sometimes bypassing the regulations and without the necessary papers – and it’s cool that our colleagues trust us. ”
Now, by the end of the week, most of the technical and operational issues have been resolved and put on stream; tuning is underway.
“For our part, we are trying to optimize processes on the go. For example, some groups of employees who require complex technical access had to file three applications each. We quickly oriented ourselves and implemented a comprehensive service. Things went faster. I myself am amazed at how quickly we react and how ready I am for any surprises. ”
Learning to work from home
The challenge now is, rather, to teach people who are not used to working remotely, to build processes in the current realities. This is greatly helped by colleagues from HR and internal communications, who quickly share all the necessary information, and the company’s management, who promptly decides that business processes do not stop even in such conditions.
It was necessary to explain to people from non-IT departments how, in principle, to live at a distance, what is VPN and RDP. Given a fairly large number of organizational and technical measures related to ensuring information security, this is very difficult. We made instructions, strengthened support on the phone – and as a result, in two days we taught colleagues to use tools that they did not use while in the office. For example, Skype for Business was preinstalled on all computers on our computers – and many found out about this only on the day when they announced the decision on remote work.
Today, working meetings, including various committees, operational meetings, and top-management speeches, are held on Skype or other channels. For example, we also have a chat bot in Telegram, through which we usually solve small IT and everyday issues in the office – yesterday we launched a new update in the prod that will help us quickly and without involving employees to resolve issues related to the remote.
“As a result, in a couple of days, employees learned to work remotely fully functional. I’m sure that after the completion of the story of self-isolation and return to the office, the landscape of office work will change, and the approaches to organizing work too – there are different cases, and the company should continue to work. ”