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How IT Pros and Network Ops Can Overcome Challenges in Securing Remote IT Assets

Posted by RFC

As we rely more and more on data and processing power, experts predict global spending will shift significantly towards remote IT locations. According to the latest IDC data, global spending on edge computing should reach $176 billion in 2022—up almost 15% from 2021. By 2025, IDC forecasts spending will skyrocket upwards of $274 billion. With so much invested in decentralized assets, the need for real-time remote server monitoring has never been greater, especially given that the unmanned nature of remote IT remains a prominent challenge. But this issue is easily solved with the right monitoring tool, like Sentry.

How Do You Secure Critical Infrastructure When Not on Premises? Difficulties Abound

remote server monitoring

Think of all the data transactions occurring in a single retail store or office building. Pinging that information back and forth to a centralized data center can lead to unnecessary lag and inefficiency. Instead, enterprises turn to remote IT locations within (or local to) their distributed operations. In an increasingly decentralized world, bringing technology closer to end-users is the only path ahead. However, with so many sites to maintain, companies must be aware of the challenges facing their remote server monitoring efforts.

Generally, remote IT spaces are somewhat local to the building they serve. It may be a closet in the back of a retail store or a small room on the 12th floor of a high-rise office building. Keeping these spaces local reduces network traffic—but it also leaves them susceptible to several hazards.

Visibility Issues in Unmanned IT Locations

remote server monitoring

It’s a reality that most remote IT server locations do not have extensive monitoring or go unmonitored entirely. Who has the budget and staff to maintain around-the-clock surveillance of their distributed IT spaces? With hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of servers spread across a single organization, keeping tabs on all of them sounds outright impossible.

To make matters worse, oftentimes these IT closets are just that—closets. Perhaps a cupboard, a spare room, or really just whatever office space is available. They may have multiple purposes, leaving them highly susceptible to human error. For example, someone may accidentally kick a wire out or change the temperature, or a falling file case might knock the server off its support rack.

Still, for all the precariousness of their positioning, these small-scale IT locations are vital to the businesses they serve and a defective server could cripple a branch, leading to costly downtime. Consider this scenario: a server goes down at peak hours, suddenly grinding transaction processing and inventory access to a halt on the site. How do you notice? Perhaps you’re lucky enough to catch it yourself; if not, it may sit unknown until a customer complains.

Management then finds out and contacts a remote IT support professional. But IT then has to walk this not-necessarily-technically-savvy person through troubleshooting from a distance, just in order to diagnose the problem. It might be a server fan, a detached cable, or a humidity or heating issue—so many possibilities, but with so little to go off of, this diagnosis will eat up even more time. And supposing your remote IT support can’t solve the problem secondhand, you’ll then have to wait until a service technician can make it out in person, which could be hours or even days. So much wasted profit potential in this time span!

Considering how these servers run 24/7, it would prove impossible to keep your eyes on them even if they weren’t tucked in out-of-the-way corners and closets. How do you prevent disruptions that may occur during the night or when the business is closed?

Low Security in Remote IT Locations Poses a Significant Threat

In today’s age of sophisticated cyberattacks and ransomware, everyone is highly attuned to the importance of cybersecurity. However, business operators often forget about a different type of malicious activity: physical theft.

In traditional data centers, assets and personnel are closely monitored. Nobody is allowed in who doesn't belong. However, a remote IT server does not benefit from the same around-the-clock monitoring. As discussed, these are often out-of-the-way locations that contain server racks holding $5k to $500k worth of equipment. They may double as secondary storage for files and other loose data, and not look like much more than a small storage closet in the hallway.

This heightened exposure leaves valuable IT equipment and data vulnerable to theft. How many spare closets in your office actually come equipped with keypads and automatic locks to prevent just anybody from strolling in? Are they equipped with a device capable of detecting thermal and humidity issues, with an added camera that records things as they happen?

While there’s no guarantee that someone who steals a server will be able to penetrate your system, do you really want to take that risk? Those physical servers may contain personal data like credit card information. Thieves could still do considerable damage to your company with that data (literally) in hand. The physical safety of your remote servers is just as important as their digital security.

Enterprise IT Monitoring Systems Dont Work for Decentralized Facilities

It is entirely cost-prohibitive to equip remote IT locations with the same protective features as full-scale data centers. Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) just isn't designed for distributed IT locations.

According to Stream Data Centers, operating a large-scale data center costs between $10-$25 million annually. While that figure encompasses everything involved in maintaining the data center, a considerable amount goes towards preventative solutions and asset management.

This only works because all those servers are in one location. DCIM solutions are built on a site-by-site basis and assume that each site is individually monitored. Meanwhile, remote IT locations often go blind and untracked. It simply wouldn’t be feasible to extend the same level of protection to thousands of distributed IT locations.

Instead, consider a streamlined and cost-effective solution for remote server monitoring. Though unmanned, remote IT locations don't need the large-scale solutions meant for centralized data centers. They still need monitoring—just on a much smaller scale.

Sentry: Your Remote Server Monitoring Solution

Sentry is RF Code’s solution to the problem of maintaining constant eyes and ears in your IT closets.

IT professionals have a lot of things on their plate, and asking them to be on-prem just to monitor critical infrastructure can be a waste of their time and skills. Sentry can supervise 24/7 and raises concerns—by sending an instant notification—when something happens out of what has been configured as normal for a certain space. Your remote IT servers will be unsupervised. But if something does happen, you'll need to know about it in real-time.

“Enterprises of all sizes need the ability to see, hear, and secure these edge environments as though they’re onsite,” remarks RF Code CEO Dale Quayle. “Sentry makes it easier to prevent, mitigate, or remediate IT situations that threaten to disrupt normal business operations.”

Your remote IT locations are still the heart of your business, even if on a smaller scale. They remain mission-critical, and any downtime could lead to severe losses in productivity and profits. While something will inevitably happen, catching it when it occurs is key.

Sentry sends alerts the minute anything goes awry. Dangerous temperatures, power outages, and unauthorized access—whether major or minor, you'll receive an email or text notification explaining the situation as soon as an issue rears its head. For example, if your remote server monitoring system detects a temperature change in the night—a change that could lead to overheating if left unchecked—you can send someone in to make the necessary adjustments before a crisis strikes.

Keep Your Eyes on All Your Distributed Locations—From One Platform

With millions of dollars in lost revenue on the line, business leaders must do everything they can to prevent unplanned downtime in their remote IT locations. With Sentry, you can keep your eyes on all of your unmanned locations simultaneously. When something does go wrong, Sentry sends real-time alerts to you or your IT operator. With 24/7 digital surveillance, you can prevent downtime before it ever happens, and mitigate its extent with the right information.

Sentry's plug-and-play design means it can be up and running within 20 minutes, making it the perfect SaaS turnkey solution to your remote server monitoring needs. As the business world becomes more data-driven every day, protecting your servers is essential for continued success. Let Sentry keep an eye on your remote IT servers while you focus on running your business. See how Sentry can work to protect your remote IT servers—so that you don't have to.