AWS Smart Business Blog

How Small and Medium Businesses Can Use Remote Work Technology to Recruit and Retain the Best Talent

It has been a few years since COVID-19 changed the world. Every country, business, and person in the world has been affected. According to a McKinsey Global Survey of executives, companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years. To stay competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices. We witnessed a major opportunity and shift as a result of changing work patterns. We’re entering a new era of hybrid and remote working.

In conversations with Amazon Web Services small and medium business (SMB) customers, I hear about these benefits of remote or hybrid work:

  • Better productivity and efficiency while maintaining company culture
  • Improved work-life balance
  • Maintaining staff health and safety
  • Reducing operating costs
  • Redefining collaboration in a changing labor market

The pandemic changed our perceptions of the way we need to work. It’s time to reimagine where and how work will get done. For knowledge workers—or those who do not actually manufacture goods or interact with customers in-person—being tethered to one’s desk isn’t a requirement. Whether you’re opening your laptop on a Greek beach or working from your kitchen table three days a week, you and your talent can enjoy more freedom in remote or hybrid jobs.

According to the United Nations (UN) 2022 Global Assessment Report on Climate Reduction, worldwide disasters will get worse if current trends continue. Managing business continuity and talent acquisition in an age of increased threats is challenging. Having a choice of work environment and location is now a key factor for many job seekers when searching for a better work-life balance and evaluating new career opportunities. The massive transition to remote work during the pandemic was a necessity for many office-based companies that wanted to maintain operations. However, many of these small size companies realized the benefits of remote work and, as a result, are adopting hybrid work models for the long haul.

Companies don’t need to be global, multibillion dollar enterprises to implement remote or hybrid work policies. In fact, many SMBs have realized that physically being at the office full-time isn’t necessary to produce great results.

Over two years into monumental shift to work-from-home, business leaders are more convinced about the productivity gains achieved. Hybrid or remote work also helps you appeal to top talent that may just be geographically distributed or are seeking a change in their working habits. All things considered, putting together a remote or hybrid working policy is in an organization’s best interests. Using cloud technology can give companies many options to implement best-in-class tools and security for their remote employees. If your SMB has a Human Resources team, they can be your partners in this process.

Remote work diagram depicting how the AWS solutions mentioned in th blog post map to business needs

Figure 1: How the cloud can improve collaboration and communication among your team


The key challenges of flexible work  

Organizations are increasingly looking for options for employees to work securely from any location. Whether it is to support working from anywhere, global workforce collaboration, or help employee retention, organizations want remote work solutions that they can depend on. Over 40% of SMBs have no IT staff. Most of these businesses outsource their IT needs to third-party technology partners. They are also facing unique challenges such as a poor talent pool, “poaching” by and from your competitors, high attrition rates, and lower hiring budgets. The surge of remote workers is placing a huge pressure on IT team members to provide fast, secure, and easy access to remote work and learning applications.


Gartner research shows that 88% of company boards regard cybersecurity as a business risk rather than solely a technical IT problem. But when trying to protect themselves against the growing number of cyber events, SMB companies face more disadvantages than their larger corporate counterparts. The drawbacks include a lack of staff skills, and resources. At AWS, Security is our top priority. Our core infrastructure is built to satisfy the security requirements for high-sensitivity organizations. This is backed by a deep set of cloud security tools, with over 300 security, compliance, and governance services and key features. With AWS, cloud native security features and our partner solutions, SMBs can improve their security posture. We subscribe to a Shared Responsibility Model to keep all parties accountable.

Scale and agility

Remote work is becoming the norm in a volatile economic and geo-political environment. Being ready to change where and how your workforce gets job done is more important than ever. Customers tell us the new normal in a post-pandemic world will be a journey. They don’t know the exact right mix for their workforce, and they believe they will need to change regularly. While supporting their new or existing business requirements, SMBs can scale up and down their work environments with AWS End User Computing in minutes at any AWS region. It provides organizations significant advantages in two distinct areas: securing remote and hybrid work environments at scale virtually and simplifying cloud infrastructure. It also provides a variety of services that help customers align operating cost with the value to their business. With Amazon WorkSpaces, financial services provider, Atlanticus, enables 1,600 call center agents to work flexibly, securely, and safely.


Traditionally, on-premises customers use VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) to segment physical servers into virtual machines that in turn host virtual desktops, which users access remotely from their devices. AWS Services help you eliminate infrastructure and management costs for the underlying VDI Infrastructure. You can add and remove users on-demand in the cloud, and pay only for what you use, when you use it. You no longer need to overbuy hardware, storage, and licenses for peak user capacity.


The consequences of service disruption in normal business processes can be devastating. Disruptions in business can cost small and medium business a lot. Maintaining customers trust and retention is vital in any business. You need to find a way to continually serve your clients and customers, and deliver value and protect the integrity of your business. With AWS, organizations can automatically recover from failure, test recovery procedures, scale to increase workloads, stop guessing capacity, and manage change in automation.

Support and global operations

AWS recognizes the importance of global operations and uses, regions and Availability Zones to support customers. We define regions as physical locations around the world where we provide datacenters. Availability Zones are distinct locations within a region engineered to be isolated from possible failures in other zones. As of November 2022, AWS Global Infrastructure consists of 93 Availability Zones within 29 geographic regions around the world. Using AWS global infrastructure, SMBs can:

    • Build their business continuity or disaster recovery solutions
    • Deploy highly available solutions to two or more regions to maintain high uptime
    • Achieve data protection while adhering to local data residency regulations

New to digitization or looking to add more cloud capabilities to your SMB? Explore solutions by industry, benefit, use case, and more on AWS Smart Business

Five ways SMBs can improve remote or hybrid work environments with AWS

1. Cloud desktops and apps

SMB customers are adopting more managed cloud services as it allows them to offload their operational burden to cloud service provider. They cite benefits including cost reduction, greater flexibility and efficiency, improved speed to market and increased security and compliance. Managed cloud service offers partial or complete management of cloud resource or infrastructure. With Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon AppStream 2.0, AWS offers virtual desktops and apps delivered as fully-managed cloud services that help organizations rapidly onboard remote employees with access to the applications they need from any connected device.

2. Remote communications and collaboration

AWS lets you meet, chat, and place business phone calls with a single, secure application from anywhere. You don’t need to switch between applications to collaborate and can instantly go from a chat to a call, share your screen, and even invite more people to join your meeting. When it’s time for your meeting, Amazon Chime will call you on all your devices to ensure you are never late and your meetings start on time.

3. Virtual contact center

AWS enables businesses to have a fully operational contact center that can be operated virtually anywhere. Agents, supervisors, managers, and admins can work at home and still be able to perform all their normal contact center activities. Agents can make and take calls. Supervisors can monitor and coach agents in real time as if they were sitting in the same office. Managers can view dashboards, run reports, monitor service levels, listen to call recordings, and track performance, all from home. You can set up an Amazon Connect contact center in minutes and start providing the best possible customer service.

4. Business mail

Building and managing your own email service is expensive and time consuming—you need dedicated physical servers and staff to run and manage it. Other challenges includes upfront cost, backups, disaster recovery plans, and maintenance. Amazon WorkMail is a secure, managed business email and calendar service with support for existing desktop and mobile email applications. You can integrate Amazon WorkMail with your existing corporate directory and control both the keys that encrypt your data and the location in which your data is stored.

5. Secure remote network access

Virtual Private Network (VPN), is designed so your employees can access any internal company resources if they’re not working on-site.  AWS offers fully-managed, pay-as-you-go VPN services (AWS Client VPN and AWS Site-to-Site VPN) that scale to support tens, hundreds, or thousands, of remote users. You can set up authorization rules so your users can access the resources they need – whether using laptops or mobile devices.

SMB hybrid and remote work customer stories

To maximize limited IT resources and support more remote users with secure, reliable and scalable access, many customers including SMBs already trust AWS for wide variety of use cases.

MRS BPO is an account receivable management firm with client base include variety of Fortune 50 companies. MRS BPO transitioned to a 90% remote work environment in 21 days with AWS

Sixth Force Solutions consults across a broad spectrum of industries. They quickly grew their customer base for the new cloud and streaming versions of its software. “We grew our cloud-hosted and SaaS versions…from zero to more than 60 in less than a year since using AWS,” says founder Nizam Mohamed. “We have also generated 150 percent revenue growth in the past year and a half. Much of this is due to the scalability and flexibility we have by running on AWS.”

Next steps

To learn more, check out the AWS re:Invent 2022 session called “Creating the workplace of the future with AWS end user computing.” If you can’t join us in-person, you can register for the virtual conference for free. Already have an account team at AWS? Contact your AWS Account Manager to discuss remote or hybrid work use cases. If you don’t have an AWS account yet, you can reach us here. We look forward to helping you create a smart business.

Aman Sharma

Aman Sharma

Aman Sharma is a Senior Solutions Architect with AWS. He works with startups, SMBs, and enterprise customers across the APJ region and has more than 19 years of experience in consulting, architecture, and solutioning. He is passionate about democratizing cloud technologies and helping customers design their migration, modernization, data, and ML strategies. Outside work, he likes to explore nature and wildlife.