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The struggle to support remote, branch office IT


Supporting the IT edge is expensive, resource-intensive and full of potential data security risks.
That’s according to a Riverbed Technology survey that shows organisations are facing multiple challenges when managing IT at the edge – at remote and branch offices (ROBOs).
IT at the edge continues to be provisioned and managed largely as it has been for the past 20 years, with distributed IT spread out across potentially hundreds of remote and branch locations.
However, this approach can bring data risk and operational penalties to companies at an extremely high cost, and in today’s increasingly distributed enterprise with a primary focus on data and security, past approaches may not be ideal for business success.
Given the various challenges associated with managing remote sites, organizations have their hands full in supporting the edge. The top three challenges of managing ROBOs in order of importance are:
* Handling ROBO disaster recovery (54%);
* High costs of providing ROBO IT (46%); and
* Providing adequate IT staff to support ROBOs (46%).
By all indications, today’s ROBO IT practices are significantly impacting the bottom line. Companies face substantial financial losses when recovering from an outage or struggling to provision new services or apps to hundreds of sites – along with the cost of supplying IT staff onsite at each location.
Respondents were asked to rank the degree of financial impact of individual challenges related to managing ROBOs. The percentages below reflect the respondents who ranked each item as having an “extremely to somewhat large” financial impact:
* Delays in provisioning infrastructure, apps and new services to a ROBO (45%);
* Delays in recovering from ROBO outages (44%); and
* IT staff time taken to manage ROBO backups (39%).
The survey also found that respondents would like alternative options to storing data generated at remote office locations locally in the ROBO.
When data is stored locally on physical servers in remote facilities or branch offices, it is especially susceptible to security risks, such as theft, human error or natural disasters. Not surprisingly, three quarters (75%) of respondents said that it would be “somewhat to extremely desirable” to store their remote data in the data centre or in the cloud.
“The new Riverbed survey shows that companies are really struggling to effectively and efficiently manage their IT operations at the edge,” says Paul O’Farrell, senior vice-president and GM of SteelHead, SteelFusion and SteelConnect at Riverbed. “As companies continue to move more of their operations to remote locations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage their backup and recovery processes and provide adequate IT staff onsite at each individual location.
“Riverbed’s SteelFusion is redefining remote and branch office IT by allowing businesses to centralize ROBO IT operations and data in the data centre (and/or the cloud), without any negative impact on remote office application performance, therefore simplifying IT management at remote locations while reducing overall costs.”