Adapting to the Remote Work Norm

Today’s unforeseen workplace disruption has put massive pressure on IT operations management as new security vulnerabilities emerge as employees access corporate applications and data from personal devices. Read on this article to learn how to maintain business continuity and network performance despite an influx of remote workers.

Adapting to the Remote Work Norm
Adapting to the Remote Work Norm. Photo by Andreas Klassen on Unsplash

Table of contents

Renewed Business Imperative to Keep the Pipes Running
Tools to Support a New Work Environment
Monitor Your Network
Maintain Business Continuity
Support Remote Workforce
Maintain Security Posture
Helping SolarWinds Partners Support Customers in the New Business Environment

With remote work now the norm, organizations need the right tools to monitor their IT Infrastructure and ensure operations are always up and running.

Business environments have changed dramatically amid the global pandemic, with workplaces extending into homes and meetings via video conferencing now the norm. The unforeseen disruption has put significant pressure on IT operations management and can potentially open up new security vulnerabilities as employees access corporate applications and data from personal devices.

It underscores the need for organizations to ensure that their networks can adequately support their remote workforces, while keeping their applications and data secure. And they need to do so efficiently and cost-effectively.

They need the right tools and the right partners to help them navigate this new business environment.

Renewed Business Imperative to Keep the Pipes Running

In some ways, the global pandemic has forced Asia-Pacific (APAC) enterprises to refocus on the information and communications technology (ICT) fundamentals: Keep the pipes running and infrastructure robust.

If employees are unable to access corporate files and applications due to high network latency or simply because they don’t have a stable home connection, productivity will suffer and the business will not be able to fulfil customers’ requests in a timely manner.

Sojung Lee, vice president of sales across the Asia Pacific and Japan for SolarWinds, explains, “Across the region, the COVID-19 situation has driven many enterprises, including small and midsize businesses, to go back to the basics. They want to ensure they have a sustainable and stable IT infrastructure to support their employees as well as customers.

“They need to know their network is up and running at all times, and they want the tools that can help them achieve this without breaking the bank,” Lee says, adding these solutions also should be able to scale as enterprises expand their ICT infrastructure.

Across the globe, companies already have begun reviewing their strategy. In fact, 93% have tweaked their IT priorities, updating their policies to support a remote workforce, which includes ensuring employees connect securely when they access corporate applications and data, according to a Telstra study.

Enabling remote and mobile workers to connect to the corporate network is especially critical, as eight out of 10 respondents in the global survey, which included APAC businesses, have segments of their workforce who are unable to work amid the pandemic due to ICT-related challenges.

Particularly in Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand, organizations note an urgent need to support a remote workforce, with 77% citing improvements in ICT and security resilience for business continuity as a top priority. Compared with the global average, more enterprises from this region are prioritizing investments in unified communications and collaboration tools, driving cloud adoption, and assessing IT solutions integrated with automation and digital tooling.

In Singapore, 60% of companies believe they don’t have the necessary infrastructure to support a remote workforce, but 46% are taking steps to plug the gaps, according to a Randstad survey. Some 19% will assess and upgrade digital systems to facilitate communication and collaboration, while 12% will upgrade their network security tools to safeguard the company’s data.

These findings are also confirmed by the SolarWinds® IT Trends Report 2020: The Universal Language of IT, which revealed a new reality for tech pros where roles have converged yet budgets remain focused less on emerging technologies and more on infrastructure, hybrid IT and expanding their charter from operations to optimization.

Lee notes that the global pandemic also has accelerated enterprises’ journey to the cloud, with many adopting collaboration tools such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams as well as other software-as-a-service applications.

“Many are running hybrid cloud environments, moving data back and forth between on-premises and cloud platforms,” she adds. “Again, they will need the right IT operations management tools to help them manage these multi- and hybrid cloud environments, which otherwise can be complex to administer.”

Tools to Support a New Work Environment

These new business imperatives and workforce environments highlight the importance of the entire IT operations management, including network monitoring, server and application monitoring, remote workforce and IT support, and security. These key areas ensure that employees get the support they need―securely― regardless of where they are accessing the corporate network and services, and that organizations can address potential issues before they cause major disruptions to business operations.

Monitor Your Network

With employees accessing files and services on the corporate network, this critical aspect of the corporate environment must operate without a hitch 24/7.

If virtual private network (VPN) tunnels are down, users may not be able to access the data and applications that are essential to their role. And without the right network monitoring tools, organizations cannot quickly identify the cause of downtime and deploy a remedy.

Network monitoring software also offers a holistic view of the current status of the network, detecting faults and alerting the relevant administrator to resolve the problem before users are even aware of the outage.

Finally, network monitoring can provide a “canary in the coal mine” warning for security purposes. If administrators know which traffic is normal and typical, then it’s easier to identify abnormal traffic and potential breach behaviours.

How SolarWinds can help:

Network Performance Monitor and NetFlow Traffic Analyzer scale and expand alongside your business requirements. These tools offer network monitoring capabilities across different vendors and valuable insights, so you can obtain deeper visibility into your network. It also creates a baseline of operations, including normal destinations outside the network, and can flag new or unexpected data movement. The NetPath™ feature helps establish a comprehensive view and analysis of all critical network paths, including traffic and configuration details of devices, as well as applications on-premises, in the cloud or across hybrid environments. It provides easy troubleshooting, facilitating faster time to resolution.

Maintain Business Continuity

Such unexpected global situations have made reliance on IT tools increasingly important for business continuity. Plans will be tested on a global stage, forcing tech pros to find and fill gaps quickly. IT departments must ensure they can quickly identify issues with applications and server health to ensure the remote workforce maintains productivity. In addition, one common aspect of all this change is the move from traditional corporate platforms to more flexible open-source options. IT professionals have to be sure their monitoring tools can communicate with and collect data from newer and non-traditional platforms, operating systems, applications and so on.

How SolarWinds can help:

Server & Application Monitor (on-premises) can make comprehensive server and application monitoring simple. With more than 1,200 application monitoring templates, the product gets started typically in minutes and is perfectly fit to monitor Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. It’s highly customizable, with infrastructure dependency mapping functions, which help administrators visualize application dependencies. AppOptics™ is another powerful SaaS-based application performance management and infrastructure tool for hybrid and cloud-native IT environments. IT pros can leverage these two tools to ensure that their server and application performance is well under control. While Database Performance Analyzer remains a powerful tool to monitor traditional corporate databases like Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and even Sybase, Database Performance Monitor extends both the capability and the focus to cloud-based open-source data platforms such as MySQL, Mongo and others.

Support Remote Workforce

A remote workforce requires reliable access to the corporate network, and employees need IT support when things go awry, regardless of where they are.

IT administrators need remote support capabilities to be able to respond to issues quickly and access end-user systems for fast troubleshooting. Such functionality also reassures support staff and their customers that face-to-face encounters will be minimal, keeping everyone safe.

How SolarWinds can help:

Dameware® Remote Everywhere is a cloud-based remote support solution built to help IT administrators start a remote session directly from the incident record. It secures remote support with advanced encryption and multifactor authentication and facilitates endpoint support for desktops and mobile devices. It supports remote access for different operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and iOS, Linux, and Google Android. Dameware Remote Everywhere also records a complete audit trail, spanning incident submission to resolution, so organizations can review and improve incident response.

Maintain Security Posture

As previously mentioned, an increasingly remote workforce significantly extends the organization’s attack surface and can potentially introduce security vulnerabilities as employees access the corporate network via their personal devices.

These user devices may not be properly secured and can open up loopholes that cybercriminals can exploit to breach the network.

How SolarWinds can help:

Access Rights Manager administers and audits access rights across the IT infrastructure. It understands and acts on high-risk access, and quickly identifies who has access and to what. It minimizes the impact of insider threats and can detect changes, which improves compliance that may require detailed user access monitoring. In addition, the Security Event Manager helps automate threat detection and response and provides centralized log collection.

SolarWinds network, IT operations and security solutions sit on top of the Orion® Platform, offering centralized monitoring and management of the entire IT stack, including infrastructure and applications. A major enhancement has been made to the company’s IT operations management portfolio, introducing new and improved software-defined solutions support, AWS and Azure workload troubleshooting and visibility, and full-stack application and infrastructure monitoring capabilities.

Also, the Time Travel feature in Orion Maps lets IT administrators go back in time to investigate issues in the past, across on-premises, hybrid and cloud environments. This feature generates a historical performance analysis to provide context and clarity to data.

To further help customers better navigate the new business environment, most SolarWinds on-premises IT operations management solutions are now available via subscription-based pricing. This provides an additional option alongside the company’s perpetual licensing model, offering enterprises greater flexibility with their operational expenses as well as predictability for their budgets—both of which are especially critical during these challenging times.

Subscription-based solutions include free trials of up to 30 days and offer the same level of functionality as versions bought via perpetual licensing. Customers can choose to deploy the tools on-premises or in any private or public IaaS cloud environment.

Helping SolarWinds Partners Support Customers in the New Business Environment

Apart from offering best-in-breed solutions with flexible pricing options, SolarWinds has a strong channel ecosystem to ensure customers get the support they need to operate efficiently in the new business environment.

In fact, SolarWinds’ APAC business is largely driven by the Channel, which encompasses regional distributors and boutique-style resellers. The former offers expertise and experience that can be leveraged across the region, while boutique resellers have strong local market knowledge to identify and build personalized relationships with customers.

Lee explains, “APAC is very diverse and comprises many markets. Our Channel Partners play an extremely important role in helping SolarWinds expand our reach and support customers across the region.

“However, like most organizations in this global pandemic, our Channel Partners are facing some key challenges we want to help address,” she says.

For one, in-person meetings and events are widely preferred in this region, particularly in markets such as Japan and India. With safe distancing measures largely in place across Asia, the lack of face-to-face meetings has posed new challenges to SolarWinds Partners to secure new deals.

To address this challenge, SolarWinds has jointly hosted webinars to engage potential customers and developed digital marketing assets alongside the Partners.

Restrictions around on-site visits also have impacted the Partners’ ability to provide support for customers who have purchased and deployed SolarWinds’ products.

“To address this, we produced a series of videos that provide a guided approach on the use of our solutions, which our Partners then can use to support our customers,” Lee says, adding that SolarWinds is fully committed to offering customized training and enablement activities for its Partners.

And this strong support for its channel community has not gone unnoticed.

In the company’s latest global Channel Partner satisfaction survey, 96% of respondents say they value SolarWinds technical resources. Almost 80% also plan to grow their business with SolarWinds over the next 12 months.

Moving forward, Lee says the company is keen to introduce an enterprise-focused team to further target and clinch big deals.

“Our Partners in APAC have been very proactive and this has enabled us to accelerate growth, and it will be how we can secure bigger deals in the future,” she says. “Partner success is our success. Through constant, transparent communication with them, and gathering their feedback on how we can create customer stickiness, we aim to continue differentiating our support and dedicated resources for our Channel Partners.”

Partners in the SolarWinds valued Channel ecosystem enjoy:

  • Access to tools and enablement, including dedicated technical resources and digital marketing assets
  • Training, including virtual technical and sales training to help Partners tap market opportunities
  • Marketing tools, including joint webinars, EDMs, and campaigns

Source: SolarWinds Worldwide LLC

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