How businesses can make data-driven decisions to optimize remote work infrastructure & improve security
Switching to remote mode of working wasn’t a smooth or an easy transition for most of the organisations in the first place. Many of them were compelled to jump on the bandwagon unprepared, to keep their operations running during the strict travel restricts. With work from anywhere becoming the new normal, organizations now need to take a fresh look at their strategies to ensure an enterprise-wide remote work for a long time.
The disruptions in business due to the Covid situation and the lockdown have already driven many organizations to the edge. They should look for ways optimize their remote work infrastructure to contain costs while ensuring seamless productivity in the long run. They need to assess infrastructure usage and scale up or scale down as per the actual requirement.
Employees are using internet and their own devices for working from home, widening the threat landscape and increasing chances of loss due to cyber security breach manifolds. IT teams need to identify and mitigate any potential threat at the earliest, for which they need real-time data on security postures of endpoints.
Work from home also means that user behaviour may not be as consistent as in the office environment. Employees are no more working under the direct supervision and guidance of their managers. Thus, enterprises need a means for productivity monitoring and a new approach for performance assessment. Further, with employees working in isolation, organizations need to put in extra efforts in ensuring that their infrastructure operates at an optimal level without glitches to ensure good user experience.
In short, what organizations need is actionable information or data for effective infrastructure monitoring, security posture monitoring, user experience monitoring and user productivity monitoring. The remote working tools should provide event logs and critical data in a way which is easy to comprehend and analyse to aid the managerial decision-making process.
User productivity monitoring
As businesses look for a speedy recovery, they need to ensure each employee perform their responsibilities properly. Thus, the need for user productivity monitoring becomes critical in remote work situations. The most important data point to gauge productivity of a user will be the ‘active time’ of a user within an application, i.e. the time for which the user is actively working within an application. As compared to the login time and logout time, the ‘active time’ will give a fair idea about the activities a user is spending his time on, and can provide a reliable insight into the user’s day-to-day productivity. Details on keystrokes, time spent on microphone activity, and per-user level data points on network traffic, memory usage, CPU usage may also help in productivity monitoring.
User experience monitoring
Poor user experience results in hindered productivity. A non-responsive slow system prevents users from carrying out critical activities at the right time. Though user experience is generally not easy to measure, response time is one data point which can give insights on user experience. Response time, that is, the time taken by an application or a machine to load and to respond to a user query, can help IT administrators monitor user experience. If the response time is found to be high, the reasons for the same has to be identified and acted upon quickly, to reduce the response time and in turn, improve user experience. Organizations can also plan their employees’ work shifts in a way that will ensure maintaining optimal load on the infrastructure and provide good user experience as well.
Ensuring optimal security during remote work and BYOD situations can be a challenging task. IT should be able to constantly monitor security postures of distributed endpoint devices. Data points like list of failed logins, OTP token failure rate, application access failures, geolocation-wise unsuccessful login attempts, etc., can be of great help in assessing the security postures of end points. Automated alerts can be sent out to admins based on login attempts’ geo-location details which imply unrealistic and impossible travel activity by users. By analysing the reasons for failed logins — like repeated attempts from outside a particular geolocation, or each login attempt being made from different geolocation, or login attempts implying impossible activity by users, or suspiciously high number of 2FA failures — IT team can identify and act upon anomalies, if any, immediately.
It is critical for any organization to understand whether its IT infrastructure is performing at its best to drive the business goals. Real-time data points pertaining to the OS functionality, each machine’s CPU usage, memory usage, network traffic, etc., can help organizations assess the performance of their infrastructure. Data on concurrent user activities, or how long each application is being used, can help organizations determine the optimal number of licenses they need. Also, a provision for automatic alert messages when a particular data point crosses a threshold value can help IT team take timely action and prevent overloading. Error logs with key details on all issues and errors within the remote work infrastructure can also help significantly in infrastructure monitoring. All these details can help businesses make informed decisions to optimize their infrastructure and associated costs.
The way all these data points are presented is also critical. Comprehendible data visualization using heat maps, area charts and a variety of time series data visualization techniques is essential for data-driven decision making.
Accops Reporting Server (ARS), which comes as a part of integrated Accops Digital Workspace solution, provides meaningful data-driven insights for organizations to optimize their remote work infrastructure and costs, secure endpoints and corporate resources, and ensure seamless performance.
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