Why You Need a Virtual IT Closet

July 5, 2023

Why You Need a Virtual IT Closet

Way back in the days of yore (2019) when I worked in an office, I would commute to downtown San Francisco from where I live in the East Bay. I’d wake up at about 5:30 a.m., walk to a bus station and take an express bus to the city, then walk to the office so I could get in by 7 a.m. and have some breathing room before my day full of non-stop meetings and interruptions began (yay!). My door-to-door commute experience was mild compared to some colleagues, as it took a mere hour and a half.

Coming back was worse though. The bus schedule wasn’t flexible enough to accommodate the last minute delays that would occur and I’d end up taking the BART train, which meant a far more involved journey. My home lay on a line that had fewer direct trains from SF, and often-times the trains would get really packed, so I’d have to ride the train in the opposite direction a few stations down the line where I could get into the train more reliably. Add wait times, a much longer walk home, the occasional BART delay somewhere, and this was easily a two hour commute on some days. Boy, do I miss that!  

Just joking. I don’t miss spending 3.5 hours on my “easy-ish” commute at all just to be in the office.

Behold the IT Closet

There was one thing that existed in the office that did come in handy sometimes. I’m talking about the IT closet. In our office, it was a room of mysteries near one of the open office desk rows occupied by the IT staff. That horn o’ plenty had cabinetry and counters piled with laptops in various states with sticky notes on them. I recall a clipboard, a cart with a bunch of cables on it, a workbench with one of those plastic hardware drawer organizers on it, and a bunch of junk—err, I mean, parts—on the table.

But, if you had a problem with your desktop hub, or needed another HDMI cable, or your mouse was giving you issues, you could just walk over there and grab a spare this or that.  This wasn’t an everyday thing of course, but if you were already in the office in the middle of your multi-hour commute, you might as well take advantage.

Where’s the IT Closet for Distributed Workers?

Stating the obvious, if you’re not coming into an office, and especially if your organization doesn’t have an office anywhere nearby (or at all) to come into, that closet is now a missing piece of the overall IT operating system at your organization. So, how do companies deal with this deficit?

The common way that organizations dealt with this in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, when everybody retreated suddenly to home offices, was to have employees order online and expense peripherals when needed.

But then that approach became a real liability. It turns out that it’s very hard to unleash employees into shadow IT mode and then get all those expenses to reemerge into the light of proper IT governance.

The other option was really popular (just joking again): Turn one of your IT (or HR) employee’s homes into an IT closet. Many remote-first organizations have done this, but it’s really not a great idea. Why? Hmm…. security, compliance, IT employee experience and turnover risk, less room for clothes, to name a few issues. But it gets worse.

IT Closets Everywhere!

When you go distributed, you will likely want to hire more globally to increase your access to talent. Plus, your existing employees may start going global themselves. Now that IT closet play gets even more difficult and more risky. Without proper oversight, you could end up becoming prey to the unscrupulous, like the tech company that realized that the person they were entrusting to handle equipment in one country was ordering a good deal more than made sense.

That’s Why You Need the Firstbase Virtual IT Closet

If you’re trying to operate, equip, and support a distributed workforce, you need a cloud-based IT closet that delivers:

This is exactly what Firstbase Virtual IT closet does. If you’re a Firstbase customer and haven’t fired up your virtual IT closet, now’s the time! If you’re new to Firstbase, this is just one of the many ways that you can transform your entire employee equipment lifecycle from onboarding through onboarding and every milestone in between.

Want to learn more? Take a product tour, contact your customer success manager, or request a demo.