Advice for Organisations using On-Premises Skype for Business & Lync with High Numbers of Home Workers

At the time of publishing this post it's clear that over the coming days, organisations will be taking more drastic measures to de-risk the spread of Covid-19 across the globe.  More people will be working from home and inevitably collaboration systems such as Teams, Skype for Business (SfB) and Lync will become the lifeblood of organisations, keeping them communicating and moving during this difficult period.  

Specifically, SfB and Lync 'on-premises' solutions require some special attention to ensure they remain stable in a critical situation like the current crisis.

Considering that many systems have not been designed to cater for the ‘entire’ user population working from home, what can an organisation do to keep it's SfB and Lync systems stable during this time?

5 Step Plan

Resonate have created the following 5 step plan to help organisations to manage their environment during this key period:

  1. Restrict changes: restrict any amendments to 'business-critical changes only' on your SfB or Lync environment during this time, this can help reduce the risk of failure.
  2. Assess SfB or Lync's 'capacity' for increased home working: assess your edge server capacity (assuming users are enabled to use the edge), reverse proxies, load balancers, network capacity and other infrastructure that will be used in a different way to the normal ‘in office’ mode.  Then, continue to monitor this daily.
  3. Take measures to prevent any undue load on the environment: edge server capacity is governed by user registration concurrency, therefore advise your users to only have one device logged on to your system; do not login in parallel to SfB mobile or other devices. 
  4. Emphasise good practice to your user base for home working:
    1. Use certified headsets
    2. Promote one-to-one calls as opposed to conference calls when calling individuals
    3. Manage home internet bandwidth usage; activities such as online gaming and video streaming being used in conjunction with other apps may reduce the bandwidth available on your users home broadband for SfB / Lync
    4. Where a user does have limited bandwidth at home they should avoid using video facilities; use 'voice only' to protect your users' bandwidth at home
    5. As mentioned above, login to SfB / Lync using only one device (avoid being logged in using your mobile and other devices in parallel to your desktop)
    6. If split tunnelling is not enabled, advise users to only stay on the VPN when needed, otherwise use the edge where available
    7. If audio quality is insufficient, use the dial-in option as a fallback for joining a conference bridge
  5. Helpdesk Advice: This situation will put a significant additional load on your help desk. In order to relieve the pressure, ensure the helpdesk is armed with ‘Best Practice for Users’ information as mentioned above to prevent unnecessary incident tickets.

In this unprecedented time, it is absolutely key to keep the organisation communicating and so unified communications & collaboration applications will be critical to enable home working.  If your organisation has Skype for Business or Lync on-premises, the above steps are a simple process to implement in order to protect those applications and your communications during this time.

For further information, individual advise or for specific support, please contact us here, or drop us a line on info@resonate-ucc.com.

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