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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Air CEO Shane Hegde received a frantic call last week from New York nonprofit Robin Hood (not to be confused with the brokerage app). The organization needed to immediately finish moving all its digital assets to the cloud as it was suddenly sending employees to work from home.

The only solution: He dispatched an employee to Robin Hood’s offices to pick up more than 20 hard drives and upload their contents as fast as possible.

The big picture: Despite the popularity of cloud-based work tools, all kinds of sophisticated organizations ran into technological challenges when the spread of the coronavirus suddenly forced them to send employees to work from home.

Between the lines: Many companies are set up to have some small portion of their employees working remotely at any given time, but few are prepared for all of them do so at once.

  • Not enough drawbridges: One popular remote work tool is the virtual private network (or VPN), which lets employees log into the company’s secure system without physically being at the office to log in. But as Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, whose company sells a cloud-based version of this tool, tells Axios, companies often don’t have these capabilities for all employees.
  • He adds that a 100-person travel agency recently called Cloudflare because it could only have five employees using a VPN at one time but needed to immediately move everyone home. Its outside IT vendor could come upgrade its equipment, but that would take two weeks, he says.
  • Other companies that are not usually set up for fully-remote work have to comply with government regulations or security requirements from business partners with whom they exchange data, adds Prince.

Even Silicon Valley’s tech giants ran into problems. Some Apple employees couldn't access work tools from home due to security precautions around unreleased products, while Yelp had to quickly purchase laptops for employees who didn't have them for work already, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The bottom line: Many companies will likely rethink their policies on remote work, both culturally and technologically, after this crisis.

Editor's note: The story has been updated with the correct spelling of Shane Hegde's name.

Go deeper

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between Brooks' reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

2021 sees a record number of bills targeting trans youth

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republicans in at least 25 states have introduced over 60 bills targeting transgender children — a legislative boom since January that has beaten 2020's total number of anti-trans bills.

Why it matters: LGBTQ advocates say the unprecedented push was catalyzed by backlash to Biden's election and the Supreme Court ruling that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender.