The COVID-19 pandemic brought in many changes and established a new normal. New age remote working, or the ‘hybrid work era’ is one of the markers of the new order. Today, organizations are offering their employees the flexibility of working from the location of their choice — office or home, or even a location of their personal preference.
This huge shift calls for digital workspace providers to take the workspace to where the users are, while maintaining the basic principles of operations which is “system stability, performance and agility” without compromising its security perimeters and ease of operations.
The ongoing crisis is proving to be a critical time for field service organizations. To ensure business continuity, many are turning to innovative technologies to overcome these new and unforeseen challenges.
Challenges in meeting remote system support requirements
With a drastic surge in the number of employees engaged in remote work, an obvious outcome is the increase in the number of issues faced by them and need for more support. The safety of employees and customers, while ensuring business continuity, is top priority for digital service providers across industries.
Disruption in field-support and device dispatches: The abrupt shift to remote work combined with zero change to responsibilities to deliver on time has altered user expectations. For field services, balancing user expectations of seamless experience sans any device failure or interruption is a challenge. With stringent restrictions in place in view of safety, IT enterprises are constrained to rethink the legacy service systems approach of ‘hands and feet support’ and ‘device dispatches’.
Adverse user experience: Due to the prevailing restrictions, inordinate delays in dispatches of devices are inevitable. The prolonged downtime for mean time to resolve (MTTR) adversely impacts the user productivity, in turn affecting user experience and the organization’s bottom-line. This leaves some pertinent questions to be answered. Is there a solution available that can minimize hardware breakdowns that contribute to system’s stability and system performance? Even if there is a device break-down preventing boot-up / start-up, can a solution help fix it remotely? Can a solution isolate a virus-infected machine from the corporate network and still troubleshoot it remotely at the Bios level?
Lack of preparedness and dearth of solutions – especially remote-control ones: Most businesses were not ready for the pandemic-level disruptions, with only 2% believing that their businesses could run at ‘normal’ levels, according to a survey by Help Net Security.
The hybrid work era has also brought in a huge demand for more devices as people work from home. This is quite evident from the 8% CAGR expected in the global computers market by 2025, which will be a $500 billion industry. These numbers are indicative of the potential risks and challenges in end user device management.
It is widely accepted that end user devices are at the core of workplace technology. However, the non-availability of a remote management solution which can help administrators to remotely troubleshoot / isolate problems that lie beneath the operating system (OS) layer only exacerbate the problem.
Leveraging technology for adaptability
There is a strong need for enabling innovative ways to provide remote field support in the new normal. The IT enterprises focus should be on providing an integrated and stable workplace with cost effective out-of-band (OOB) remote management capability. Obviously, all these should be provided without compromising the system security and performance that can contribute to enhanced digital employee experience.
Leveraging a combination of in-band and out-of-band management holds the key towards effective remote field support. With in-band management, the remote session can be established over the OS layer. However, a prerequisite is that the device needs to be powered on and the user to be signed-in to the device.
In contrast, OOB management establishes a remote session at the bios level leveraging Transport Layer Security (TLS) communication. Since this OOB management is provided below the OS layer and runs on the hardware level, it does not require the device to be powered on.
Table 1 provides a high-level comparison between in-band versus out-of-band remote management: