The pandemic has changed the world we live in and has created a new business paradigm worldwide. Today’s hyper-connected world is supported by the digital backbone of modern IT infrastructure components. Organizations that have been long dependent on their in-house data centers, on-premises servers, and physical security perimeters are now facing a dramatic increase in expectations for better security, higher agility, and greater bandwidths to facilitate the remote working and new business models. Businesses with existing legacy infrastructure face significant challenges to survive and thrive in this new normal, as their IT function has now come under a tremendous pressure.
As COVID-19 pushes the businesses to accelerate the planning for the fast changing and growing IT requirements and security challenges; what is keeping CIOs and senior IT executives up at night? Some top-of-the-mind challenges include increasing demand for network capacity to handle unprecedented IT demands, a rising need for cloud-based applications to facilitate seamless remote collaboration, and growing demand for resilient and secure infrastructure stacks. Let’s take a stock of various such challenges posed by the pandemic and explore how effective infrastructure management and security measures can ensure resiliency during and post pandemic.
Besides accelerating the several underlying IT infrastructure challenges, the pandemic posed some new hurdles for the IT teams. Predominantly, the need to shift the mindset to work from anywhere which guides the overall IT infrastructure re-engineering. Organizations must address the need to facilitate remote work at scale while strategizing to ensure greater security, resilience, business continuity, and cost optimization. Following are the critical IT infrastructure management and security pain points that businesses must resolve to emerge as winners post-pandemic.
Inadequate Infrastructure to Support Remote Collaboration
Organizations must evaluate whether their IT environment enables a connected and seamless experience for their remote workforce. The unavailability of adequate IT infrastructure and the need for manual intervention of the IT team throughout processes hamper productive collaboration among the remote workforce. Inability or difficulty to access online tools and resources from remote locations also interrupts business operations and unified communication.
Increase in Cyber Attacks and Endpoint Vulnerability
With employees working from home worldwide and a drastic increase in cyber threats, it’s becoming highly critical to ensure endpoint security, enforce enterprise security policies, and assure secure remote access. Facilitating enterprise systems and data security is now a significant challenge for organizations. Moreover, most businesses have inadequate business continuity plans (BCP) and proactive threat detection and prevention plans to deal with the current threats.
Inability to Scale System Capacity to Support Instant Surge in Demand
The sudden influx of new traffic streams across various networks requires organizations to scale IT infrastructures quickly to support critical business applications. Moreover, it's crucial than ever for businesses to ensure the flexible on-demand provision of resources. Therefore, organizations must prepare to automatically provision the compute and storage resources in near real-time to support mission-critical applications.
Inevitable Need for 24/7 Application and Network Availability
The recent digital surge and the increasing network traffic have urged organizations to ensure that the business runs smoothly. Round-the-clock availability of the network, mission-critical applications, and transactional systems is imperative to stay relevant. Companies that are not ready for the demand surge witness unplanned system downtime, network congestion, and eventual loss of business and brand value.
Inability to Proactively Monitor and Resolve Performance Issues
Limited remote monitoring, integration with ITSM tools and delayed response hamper overall productivity. Organizations unable to review IT infrastructure’s health and performance constantly struggle to proactively identify issues thus impacting the overall end-user experience. Traditional infrastructure management and monitoring solution lacks in providing the full-stack visibility to ensure faster incident response management.
Ambiguity in Managing Hybrid, Multi-cloud, and Distributed Architecture
In the current scenario, businesses must become agile and resilient to support increasing workload and enable operational flexibility. Diversifying risks beyond the single provider model and moving to a hybrid or multi-cloud environment is inevitable. However, most enterprises struggle to deploy and manage hybrid, multi-cloud, and distributed architecture due to the lack of expertise in cloud and experience in managing complex IT environments.
Enterprises of all sizes must modernize infrastructure to optimize the scale of operations on-demand, increase the speed of delivery, improve security, and build a highly connected business. Here are some critical strategies that companies must embrace to overcome the evolving infrastructure management and security challenges to successfully thrive in the new normal.
Proactively Secure Infrastructure, Network, and Data Centers
Begin with reviewing the existing infrastructure to evaluate the security needs of a remote work environment. Map the protection requirements by assessing the devices used by remote employees, networks they work on, and data and information they need to operate. Implement endpoint security for remote devices and dynamic identity and access management to ensure secure access to business systems and data centers.
Continually Monitor and Adapt to Varying Infrastructure Capacity Requirements
It's critical to continuously evaluate whether current IT infrastructure meets evolving operational needs. Businesses must proactively determine any additional infrastructure and network capabilities required to maintain business continuity and employee productivity. Moreover, enterprises must be ready with an effective roadmap to transform the operating model to manage the rapidly changing network and IT architecture needs effectively.
Dynamically Manage Network Operations to Support Mission-Critical Applications
In today's hyper-connected digital world, proactive business continuity and resiliency strategy is a business imperative. Enterprises must identify critical business applications and map their requirements to underlying infrastructure and network components. It's essential to build resiliency into the IT infrastructure for minimizing downtime and associated costs. Effective network performance and adequate infrastructure are critical to maintaining mission-critical applications' performance during uncertain times.
Automate and Shift Critical Workloads to the Cloud
Automating workflows is significant to reduce turnaround times and expedite the end-to-end delivery chain. Businesses need to identify delivery chain capabilities and tools required to seamlessly automate tasks, procedures, and processes and eliminate manual steps. Additionally, IT teams should determine how to shift critical workloads on cloud environments by adopting a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy suitable to scale capacity as needed and support a stable work-from-anywhere model.
Prioritize Infrastructure Performance and Enable Real-time Remote Monitoring
Ensuring smooth infrastructure management is a key priority for IT teams to ensure remote operations are running smoothly. With real-time remote monitoring and asset management, organizations can avoid potential disruption to critical workloads. Businesses must plan to ramp up remote monitoring to get clear visibility across data center systems, servers, and endpoints while ensuring improved network performance and security.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated cybersecurity and infrastructure management concerns. Ensuring robust and secure IT infrastructure is the only way to navigate the new normal. Businesses that expedite the shift to the cloud, accelerate infrastructure modernization, and secure their people, systems and data from new sophisticated cyber threats will only emerge as winners.
Enterprises must collaborate with the right infrastructure management partner to overcome these IT infrastructure challenges ranging from strategy and transformation to optimization and outsourcing. An efficient IT infrastructure management partner like Mothersonsumi INfotech and Designs Ltd. (MIND) with technology competence with expertise offers a comprehensive, integrated suite of services to manage a distributed and hybrid IT environment. MIND's services, including Network Operation Center (NOC) Services, Security Operation Center (SOC) Services, and Remote Management Services, help enterprises identify opportunities to increase optimization, security, and efficiency of the entire infrastructure.
About the Author:
A leader with more than two decades of IT industry experience in various roles across IT Infrastructure Services. Gaurav has been part of almost all the verticals across IT Infrastructure Services that includes Workplace management, Network, Security, Identity & Access Management etc. His association with MothersonSumi INfotech & Design Ltd (MIND) is nearly two decades old. In his current role, he is heading IT infrastructure Practice, managing 150+ local & global customers. The key role includes building IT strategies to create an agile IT operations, service assurance and help customers in their digital transformation journey.
During the pandemic time, when majority of organizations struggled to keep the lights on, Gaurav and his team helped MIND to enable 100% IT operations from remote within no time and ensured zero service interruption to our esteemed customers. They were proactive in assessing the situation and built a solution within available resources to ensure a quality business availability for MIND employees.
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