The two biggest IT priorities for organizations with branch offices are providing a consistent end-user experience and improving security. But while most remote sites have basic IT infrastructure and services, they typically rely on the main office for IT resources and support. Failure to provide branch offices with the same capabilities as the main office can drag down productivity and increase risk for the entire organization.
Branch office users require the same level of performance and secure access to applications, data and services as the main office. They must be able to securely collaborate with other employees and have the same level of responsiveness when IT issues arise. At the same time, data must be backed up and regulatory compliance must be maintained.
Unfortunately, branch offices typically have minimal if any onsite IT staff, so troubleshooting and support are typically provided remotely. Because branch offices can be in different time zones or even different continents, support becomes an expensive proposition. Complex relationships between applications, networking and management systems at remote branches compound the issue, often resulting in less than optimal application performance and increased security risks. This has a negative impact on end-user satisfaction and productivity and makes management less efficient.
It’s not realistic to improve the end-user experience and secure sensitive data by upgrading the IT infrastructure, buying more bandwidth and hiring more IT personnel at all remote offices. While the cloud can help to ease some of the infrastructure and management complexities, you can’t just flip a switch, move everything to the cloud and call it a day. You need an overarching strategy and oversight by experienced IT professionals.
Organizations seeking to improve application performance and availability and bolster security at branch offices would be well-served to explore managed services. Instead of struggling to manage branch office IT, let a team of experts ensure that each branch enjoys the same level of performance and responsiveness as the main office.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and cloud-based backup and security can also benefit branch offices. The service provider takes responsibility for implementing and maintaining these core infrastructure components, relieving the burden on in-house IT staff.
In the next post, we’ll look more closely at the advantages of utilizing managed services and the cloud for remote offices.