Avoiding IT "Blind Spots" at Remote Offices
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Thanks in no small part to the widespread adoption of cloud technology, many of the biggest enterprise success stories of the recent past revolve around a business’ ability to support a distributed workforce.

The benefits of this model are easy to see: Teams aren’t confined to the four walls of a central office, which opens up the pool of talent for a specific role to a global roster of experts, not just those who live in HQ’s backyard. This model also allows businesses to be “always-on” when they have offices across time zones that can address issues in real time -- not to mention meet customers, partners, or prospects on their home turf -- all without sacrificing a direct connection to teams elsewhere on the map.

But supporting this distributed enterprise model is an equally distributed enterprise network.

remote office network

Back in the days before cloud was commonplace, most enterprise networks revolved around a central data center (usually at or near headquarters) and MPLS connections to each branch office. Because of pricing and logistics, this limited the number of remote locations an office could cost-effectively support--MPLS can quickly become expensive, and it was easier for IT to manage all the hardware at a central location than staff a small army across branches.

Fast forward to today.

MPLS is fast being retired for cloud-centric network architectures that leverage an array of cloud and ISP vendors to connect remote teams or implement SD-WAN technologies to pair ISP connections. Rather than manage massive, centralized data centers to receive, send and store content, IT is using direct internet access (DIA) to deliver many of their teams’ apps.

When everything is functioning well, this distributed network model should deliver faster, more agile performance. But when things go south -- end-user experience of an app goes down or performance degradation plagues a remote office -- it’s still on IT to deliver the solutions, even though they don’t have full control over the end-to-end network pathways.

The challenge for IT is to find a monitoring solution that shines a light on areas of the network and app performance that may have gone dark when cloud and SaaS started playing a bigger role in enterprise networking. This solution has to support IT’s ability to manage performance at disparate offices without having a physical presence on the ground, which demands a solution that shows issues from the perspective of the end user.

A network monitoring solution should be able to track delivery pathways “end-to-end” to get greater context into the true performance of their ISPs and cloud vendors. If an app is lagging for users at a branch office, for instance, IT can identify where along the way there might have been a mistake -- ie. if there’s a bottleneck due to ISP peering or an outage at a public DNS provider.

Local visibility is key

Any monitoring solution should also be constantly looking at all network pathways to determine issues. With active monitoring, teams can also judge whether or not they’re getting the network speeds they’re paying for by measuring actual performance metrics against what’s advertised by their ISP.

What’s most important is that IT has an active, real-time grasp on what issues are impacting the end-user where they’re located. This calls on a solution that can monitor web experience on each app -- and for each user -- to validate issues when they arise. This also helps empower IT with the ability to hold their ISP or SaaS vendors to task when end users automatically assume blame lays on IT, delivering insights that can back up whether or not partners are meeting SLAs across all locations.

At the end of the day, a true performance monitoring solution will help IT go above and beyond without stretching themselves too thin, all in the service of helping users across the enterprise succeed.

AppNeta offers this with purpose-built hardware and software monitoring points that act as the eyes and ears of IT from whatever remote office or location they’re installed. From capturing packets to running synthetic web tests, AppNeta helps IT identify performance issues wherever they live -- whether in the network on in the applications that users access on a daily basis.


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Filed Under: Networking Technology, Performance Monitoring

Tags: cloud , cloud infrastructure , IT infrastructure , network performance monitoring , remote office , SaaS