The new normal: managing networks from home

Issue 5 2020 Smart Home Automation

As the COVID-19 disruptions continue into the foreseeable future, IT managers still need to maintain their ‘normal day job’ tasks of running networks – in addition to managing employees who currently need to make significantly increased use of online meeting platforms and remote working arrangements.

According to Uplogix, which provides integrated remote management solutions, many companies still have mission-critical internal systems that need to be accessible to home-based workers over VPN connections – even though some applications have moved to the cloud and are available through a website from a browser.

Risna Steenkamp, ESM business unit manager at value-added distributor Networks Unlimited Africa, which distributes Uplogix throughout sub-Saharan Africa, clarifies, “During this current working period, it’s important to develop a digital workplace strategy that includes security controls, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programmes, and network support. Out-of-band management allows remote IT staff to manage remote networks as if they were on site. Further, an innovative out-of-band management solution brings with it advantages such as reliability, security features like monitoring and alerting, as well as quick reactions in the event of a network breach.”

Out-of-band management provides a secondary channel of communication to access and control the infrastructure assets of the production network. Uplogix is securely connected to managed physical or virtual devices and the cloud, continuously monitoring, taking automated actions and providing remote access.

Steenkamp says Uplogix provides network managers who are currently home-based with secure remote access, along with tools to solve issues as if they were actually in front of the gear with a crash cart. “Using out-of-band, a remote admin can use the connections to the network infrastructure to continuously monitor the gear over the console port – not the network.

“With the relatively sudden move to remote working - for those employees whose jobs would support this – there is no doubt that some organisations would have had to move quickly into remote solutions that were not quite ideal at the beginning of the lockdown. At the same time, an Uplogix customer would have been in an excellent position to rapidly and effectively adapt to remote management of their network infrastructure, which is also secure.

“As South Africa wrestles with the unfolding of the lockdown situation, it is relatively certain that more employees will be allowed to continue working remotely even when more businesses are allowed to re-open their premises. It is therefore important that IT managers move from quickly put-together remote solutions and replace them with stable solutions that are designed to be used for secure, efficient remote working going forward,” concludes Steenkamp.




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