Features: September 14th, 2012

When staff are based in different locations, the costs of maintaining dispersed networks are always greater. From an operational point of view, the delay in fixing problems can be an additional and unwelcome overhead. In this article Peter Holmelin explains how remote access can provide rapid support that not only cuts costs, but also gives a more reliable service.

Organisations with dispersed IT departments have had a shared directive for years: do more with less. As such, administrators are constantly challenged with improving efficiencies that both support an organisation’s needs and reduce costs.

Traditional costs associated with maintaining IT environments – people, hardware, power, facilities, maintenance – are relatively easy to identify, track and account for. How staff manage an IT environment, however, is not always as apparent, and can add significant cost to any organisation. Just having a team (or even a single admin) travel to a different location to maintain equipment, can quickly add labour costs and delay an admin from focusing on other projects.

Though a mature technology, a fully capable remote access solution can dramatically improve efficiencies while helping companies maintain compliance and protect data.

Tightening the belt

For the last ten years, IT administrators have been implementing technologies that increase the efficiency of their infrastructures, including information lifecycle management, thin provisioning, virtualisation and disk-to-disk backup, to name a few. These technologies have proven to reduce costs over the long term and provide real benefits to organisations.

But for many enterprises, especially those with dispersed network environments, remote access is a technology that can be equally impactful. Remote access enables IT administrators, managers and support personnel to view, monitor and control computers and systems from another location, thereby improving response rates, reducing downtime and keeping systems and users running as smoothly as possible.

The Mobility Conundrum

The modern workforce is increasingly mobile. The house, the car, clients’ offices, the airport, even the supermarket can double up as an office for many employees. In this reality, employees use a myriad of devices for work, yet still require IT support when issues arise. Today’s organisations must have the capacity to support an increasingly diverse set of devices across diverse network environments.

With the proper remote access solution in place, support personnel can gain visibility and control of virtually any device, located almost anywhere in the world, in order to monitor, troubleshoot and support mobile workforces.

Security and Compliance

Though remote access offers many benefits, there’s an inherent risk that can exist in the technology. In fact, remote access services account for 88 percent of all breaches leveraging hacking techniques, according to a recent Verizon business report.

The right remote access solution, integrated and used correctly, will offer organisations multi-factor authentication, client-defined access rights and session logging so they can avoid unnecessary risk and ensure security and compliance.

Must-Haves for Remote Access

There are many remote access solutions available today but not all are created equal. Solutions vary in level of security, access capabilities and features, but the most robust tools will provide:

• A rich suite of features – screen sharing, mouse/keyboard controls, file transfers, chat, scripting – so support personnel are equipped to efficiently resolve a diverse set of problems.

• The ability to support hundred or thousands of users and machines from a single user console regardless of devices, operating system or network.

• Security measures that enable organisations to centralise controls, integrate with an existing corporate policies and adhere to compliance requirements.

• Logging and reporting capabilities so companies can perform session audits and/or develop training tools.

• The ability to support unique and emerging technologies, from ATM machines and point-of-sales terminals to virtual machines and mobile devices.

If a solution satisfies all these criteria, a global enterprise will have in place a remote solution that will help the organisation stay secure, serve the mobile workforce and accomplish all this economically.

The Endgame

The goals of every IT team include:

• Supporting the needs of the end user
• Keeping an organisation’s data centre assets up and running
• Implementing new applications quickly and efficiently
• Keeping critical information and applications secure
• And doing all these things cost-effectively

A remote access and control solution with the ideal mix of security, flexibility, scalability and integration can enable a global data centre to achieve all of these things, and in turn, keep employees working, no matter their location in the world.

Peter Holmelin is Director of Development at Netop which specializes in remote technology assets, consolidating support resources and shortening issue resolution times. The company is headquartered in Denmark with subsidiaries in the United States, Great Britain, China, Romania and Switzerland. For more information click here.