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Why remote IT infrastructure management is critical to your business

by Ahmed Fateen, Power Systems VP Gulf, Schneider Electric

As the world adjust to the new normal, the internet – and the electricity that powers it – has become a mission critical communication platform. Work, meetings, and information has shifted from businesses to residences, and education is moving from schools and campuses to homes as well.

Now more than ever, management of a remote IT infrastructure management is critical. Business networks and residential networks have historically been isolated from each other. Business networks didn’t have to deal with a lot of the things in homes that consumed bandwidth. Now, with far more workers and students at home, the uploading and downloading of videos will cause a tremendous amount of network congestion especially when you add in video conferencing, online teaching and remote courses, conference calls, and more.

Now is the time to improve network performance and explore the best ways to optimize the efficiency and reliability of the electricity that powers everything. Proactive measures must be taken to optimize remote IT infrastructure management and build digital resilience to ensure business continuity.

A modernized, digital backbone and infrastructure has been the gateway to resiliency, ensuring the ability to remotely monitor and conduct critical operations throughout server rooms, data centers and manufacturing floors. With this digital infrastructure foundation already laid, we can seamlessly deploy business continuity plans ensuring digital resilience.

From simplifying and harmonizing digital touchpoints to anticipate customers’ needs, to working with suppliers to capitalize on their value, to digitizing the supply chain – remote IT infrastructure has a critical role to play.

To solidify remote IT infrastructure and take full advantage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), companies must expand connectivity across their people, assets, and systems, and make full use of extracted data to improve their operations and processes. All this connectivity closes the gap between Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT), meaning a company’s operations are in sync with their business, enabling greater performance.

As remote work becomes the norm, IIoT promises to advance the world with significantly more cost-effective deployments, advanced analytics, and immense scalability, it also introduces cybersecurity threats previously relegated to the IT department.

Now, many devices can connect to the internet, share information, and receive control signals or configuration updates. These new devices present security risks that historically have been unfamiliar to operational teams. Connecting these devices exposes them to the outside world, which means malevolent actors with high skills can intercept, modify, or disable these devices.

With such complex OT risks, it is essential to protect industrial assets and processes and move from reaction to proactive prevention. Some practices that might seem simple are essential. For example, having stricter password policies, giving basic training to employees, or including cybersecurity terms within suppliers’ contracts are fundamental steps that can have a big impact on securing an ecosystem.

Here are some recommended steps for securing your IT/OT environment:
  1. Network segmentation
  2. People and operating models
  3. Avoiding the cascading effect
  4. Securing legacy infrastructure
  5. Adopting shared responsibility
Accelerated digitization is facilitating the new normal in a safer, more productive, and more efficient way in our hyper-connected world. However, remote business-critical infrastructures widen the attack surface for would-be cybercriminals.

Cybersecurity is a fundamental, ongoing business practice that strives to identify, mitigate, and reduce risks by applying standards and good practices to people, processes, and technology across the end-to-end digital landscape. Relevant challenges are identified for high-value assets, the at-risk population, and IT/OT segmentation. Then, the cybersecurity framework must be designed with a mix of policies and best-in-class solutions.

Technology and digitalization are the crux of what the world is reliant on today. Ensuring your business is ready will help you stem the tide and set your sites on new shores will make the difference.

About Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the indisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems. We provide integrated efficiency solutions, combining energy, automation and software. In our global Ecosystem, we collaborate with the largest Partner, Integrator and Developer Community on our Open Platform to deliver real-time control and operational efficiency. We believe that great people and partners make Schneider a great company and that our commitment to Innovation, Diversity and Sustainability ensures that Life Is On everywhere, for everyone and at every moment.

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