Managing ROBO IT issues

A central office, where the data centre is located, and where most of the IT staff works, is the traditional setup for most businesses However, this structure is changing with remote offices and branch offices (ROBOs) becoming increasingly relevant. In fact, according to the 2016 Riverbed Remote Office/Branch Office IT Survey, almost 50% of all employees work in remote sites; 5%of companies' data is stored outside the data centre; and branch offices represent roughly 50% of the IT budget. These findings should come as little surprise when considering that the average corporate data centre serves 55 ROBO locations.
Managing ROBO IT issuesAs the number of employees who work in ROBOs rises, so do the amounts of business-critical information stored in these locations, and the IT budget devoted to managing related systems. The figure that is not increasing is that of IT personnel available to staff working offsite, forcing IT to remotely perform monitoring, maintenance and troubleshooting. This makes deploying and maintaining systems and applications for each complex, expensive and time-consuming, particularly with today’s hybrid IT architectures.

The solution is not to try to modernise the branch office IT infrastructure by purchasing and installing expensive new equipment and resources, but to implement a zero branch IT model consolidating ROBO IT operations to central data centres. Removing physical servers, storage, data and backup from remote locations enhances security, reduces operational costs, and ensures reliable data backups. It also increases overall business productivity by providing all users with the high levels of systems and applications performance that they expect and demand, when they require it.

A tough nut to crack


As organisations become more distributed, the challenges they need to address in the data centre are evolving. Like employees working in central offices, people located at ROBOs must have quick and easy access to systems and applications via a multitude of devices in order to get their work done on a daily basis. Performance slowdowns or outages are unacceptable.

However, IT professionals are finding that sustaining remote users' demands for anytime, anywhere support is growing too costly, demands resources they cannot spare, and increases the security risk of critical company data. In simple terms, IT teams are struggling to manage the needs of branch offices. As a result, 54% of organisations cite delays when recovering from ROBO outages as their top issue. These delays hurt the business' ability to generate revenue, expose the decentralised offices to risk from data loss and can tarnish the business' reputation.

What’s more, 46% of organisations struggle to supply adequate IT staff at ROBOs. In fact, they often have no IT staff onsite, making it difficult to supervise and ensure backups. Additionally, 45% reported the time it takes them to provision ROBO infrastructure, applications and services hurt their organisations' ability to increase revenue.

Implementing zero branch IT


IT can reduce the costs and complexities of managing a highly distributed environment without increasing security risks by implementing a zero branch IT model to centralise all systems, operations and services. By consolidating ROBO data back to the data centre, or in the cloud, IT can manage everything inside a secure, centralised environment, improving the user experience for all employees, while reducing the costs and complexities of managing a highly distributed environment.

The key benefits include:

  • Hardened security posture:100% of data is secured in the data centre instead of in far-away ROBO locations. In addition, all data is encrypted at-rest and in-motion for true end-to-end encryption, so that IT is in complete control of organisational data.
  • Improved user productivity: Organisations can generate up to a 100x increase in remote application performance. As a result, employees will encounter far fewer instances of downtime due to system outages or poor performance, enabling users to get their work done using any device they choose.
  • Ensure business continuity: 100x faster recovery times minimise the business damage done by outages. It teams can perform backup and recovery operations from a central location, in mere seconds instead of days or weeks.
  • Improved operational agility: IT can deploy new branch services and sites in under 15 minutes, and manage everything via a central dashboard. All heavy ROBO IT operations, such as provisioning new services and sites, and recovery of sites in the case of outages, take seconds or minutes instead of days or weeks. The result is a more agile IT team that is better able to support the always changing needs of the business.


Modernise edge IT


In today’s data rich, application-driven, and distributed world, organisations need to consider a new approach to remote IT. Combining storage delivery, server virtualisation and network optimisation technologies enables organisations to eliminate the need for physical servers, storage and backup infrastructure at ROBO locations.

Realising this vision requires implementing an effective zero branch IT model, where IT is readily available at all times, and can make better-informed decisions about which applications and services to provide to workers at various ROBOs worldwide. This will enable organisations to maintain the highest productivity levels, meet changing business requirements, and remain as competitive as they possibly can be.

About Taj ElKhayat

Taj ElKhayat is the regional vice president, Middle East and Africa at Riverbed Technology.
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