Data Center & IT Staff Remote Working Strategies
In this article
Securely enabling IT teams to work remotely is the first step in ensuring proper network functioning, information security, and overall business continuity for all users. During this process, you'll want to consider the needs of all IT team members including the following:
- Data center and IT managers
- Development and IT operations personnel
- Test engineers
- Information security staff
During these times when most teams are forced to work remotely, management software is essential for empowering IT teams to keep your organization running. It gives them a single point of access for tracking servers, embedded technology, power equipment and other critical network assets.
KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) switches and serial consoles are uniquely equipped to meet remote workforce challenges. KVM solutions include high-performance KVM (HPKVM), desktop KVM, KVM over IP and secure KVM. IT teams will be well-served by KVM over IP, while teams working in highly regulated or data-sensitive industries may want to consider the added protection of secure KVM. Serial consoles are needed to deliver secure in-band and out-of-band visibility and control to downstream equipment in data centers, as well as cloud and colocation facilities. Their cellular capabilities enable IT teams to access devices when wired networks are down or not available at the device location.
Regardless of your industry, there are some best practices to which you should adhere when providing your IT team with secure, remote access to critical infrastructure:
- Design redundancy and out-of-band (OOB) networking into your infrastructure for added business continuity.
- Integrate power management into an OOB management system to provide uniform access and remote outlet control.
- Use KVM devices to back up existing remote access software solutions. One example would be to have your remote desktop protocol backed up by a switch that includes both KVM-over-IP and serial console management technology.
- Integrate environmental monitoring along with serial console, KVM and rack power distribution unit (rPDU) access for full view of a remote site.
- Use a central management tool to monitor, configure and access IT devices and thus gain insight into the health of the entire network/IT environment.
- Ensure IT tools have the means to interface with other systems and automate tasks.
Over the past several years, organizations have embarked on new ways of doing business. Digital transformations and a movement to cloud-based tools have been more than just jargon terms. An increasing amount of our daily workflow is being done online and remotely.
The change in work structure applies to IT related jobs as well. It has driven the need for more network bandwidth, more storage, faster response times to issues, faster growth in capacity and more insight into how things interact. Simply put: there are more devices and systems for IT workers to configure and manage in their support of a remote workforce.
This growth impacts both those providing the tools (companies implementing the cloud infrastructure and tools hosted within) and those that consume them (local IT groups maintaining access to these tools). Exponential growth like this cannot be handled by simply adding more human capital — i.e. more IT workers doing things the same way as before. It must be done using tools that can access geographically distributed elements with automation aspects that both read and react to problems before they can hinder work.
As IT shifts to a remote working model, a wider range of IT infrastructure must be accessible outside the office to reduce the need for onsite visits. This includes equipment in data centers, engineering labs, wiring closets, edge locations, control rooms or any other location with IT devices.
Additionally, the types of equipment normally managed may need to be reevaluated. The scope of the equipment should include production, dev and test servers or any non-essential servers, admin desktops, storage devices, networking equipment, rPDUs, rUPS, sensors, rack door locks, cameras, etc. These should all be considered for remote working.
Looking back over the past 12 months, the impact on the remote data center worker has led to many new challenges and opportunities for businesses across the globe. Business continuity, data security and employee safety have all been important to us, and jointly WWT and Vertiv continue to provide the IT solutions needed to meet these growing demands.
Vertiv™ Avocent ™ provides solutions such as the ACS 8000 cellular which provides a safe, secure means for OOB management. The ACS 8000 has cellular capabilities that are needed not only for maintaining and monitoring the data center, but also as an auto-failover when connectivity to the network is lost. With the DSView 4.5 management software, Avocent can provide a centralized management solution for accessing devices locally, as well as a single view capability for accessing systems around the world.