Once upon a time, the prospect of an organization letting another organization manage its IT infrastructure seemed either inconceivable or incredibly dangerous. It was like someone handing their house keys to a stranger. Times have changed.
Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) — when Company X lets Company Y, or a piece of software, monitor and manage its infrastructure from a remote location — has become the standard in some industries. It’s sometimes the de facto method for IT security, storage, and support.
When did this happen? When organizations started working remotely.
When the COVID-19 pandemic spiraled, and governments issued social distancing and stay-at-home orders, companies rolled down the blinds and closed the doors. When remote IT management was a requirement, not a request, CIOs came around to the idea. There was no other choice. It was that or nothing.
The C-suite discovered what IT leaders had known for years: RIM is safe, cheap, and just as effective as in-house management.
RIM is not perfect. There are challenges. Problems persist. So IT leaders need to iron out the kinks before RIM becomes the standard across all industries.
In this guide, learn the current state of RIM, then discover what the future holds.
- What is Remote Infrastructure Management?
- What is the Current State of Remote Infrastructure Management?
- How Much Infrastructure Management is Currently ‘Remote’?
- Remote Infrastructure Management Challenges
- Challenge 1: Growth and Scalability
- Challenge 2: Security
- Challenge 3: Costs
- Challenge 4: Automation
- Challenge 5: AI/Machine Learning
- Challenge 6: Cloud
- What is the Future for Remote Infrastructure Management?
- Final Word
What Is Remote Infrastructure Management?
RIM is the monitoring and management of IT infrastructure from a remote location. Company X outsources infrastructure management to Company Y, for example. Alternatively, super-smart software takes care of all this monitoring and management, and organizations can view management processes in real-time from their devices. An administrator might need to visit the organization’s physical location (or post-COVID, a home location) to repair broken hardware, but that should be a rare occurrence.
The term “IT infrastructure” — the thing or things that RIM monitors and manages — has different definitions but might include one or all of the below:
- Data centers
- IT services
- Customer relationship management (CRP) systems
- Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
The list goes on.
What Is the Current State of Remote Infrastructure Management?
The IT infrastructure management landscape looks completely different than it did 18 months ago. Back then, most IT teams took care of monitoring and management. But then the pandemic hit. Suddenly, organizations required RIM solutions for several reasons:
- IT teams, now working from home, could no longer manage IT infrastructure effectively.
- Work-from-home models presented unique security challenges that required a more scalable infrastructure management solution. Employees accessed different software on different devices at different locations, and only RIM could solve these challenges.
- As the economy stuttered, many organizations reduced IT spend, and RIM provided a cheaper solution than conventional in-house IT.
- New technologies like teleconferencing provided additional security challenges. Hence, the demand for a more comprehensive infrastructure management solution.
Recent research from LogicMonitor reveals the collective concerns of IT leaders who monitor and manage the IT infrastructure of at-home employees:
- Forty-nine percent say they worry about having to deal with internet outrages and other technical issues remotely.
- Forty-nine percent think too many employees logging into systems remotely will cripple networks.
- Thirty-eight percent worry about employees logging into systems through virtual private networks (VPNs).
- Thirty-three percent don’t have access to the hardware they need to do their jobs.
- Twenty-eight percent don’t think teleconferencing software is secure enough.
It’s no wonder, then, that so many of these IT leaders are looking for RIM solutions.
Read more fascinating insights from LogicMonitor’s Evolution of IT Research Report.
How Much Infrastructure Management Is Currently ‘Remote’?
The great thing about RIM is its flexibility. Organizations can choose what they want a service provider or software to monitor and manage depending on variables, such as internal capabilities and cost. Company X might want to manage its networks remotely but not its software, for example. Research shows database management and storage system management are the most popular infrastructure ‘types’ monitored and managed remotely.
Remote Infrastructure Management Challenges
Not all RIM is the same. CIOs and other IT leaders need to invest in a service provider or software that solves these challenges:
Challenge 1: Growth and Scalability
Only 39 percent of IT decision-makers feel ‘confident’ their organization can maintain continuous availability uptime in a crisis, while 54 percent feel ‘somewhat confident,’ according to LogicMonitor’s report. These professionals should seek out a RIM solution that scales at the same rate their organization does.
There are other growth solutions for IT leaders concerned about uptime in a crisis. Streamlining infrastructure by investing in storage solutions such as cloud services reduces the need for a lot of hardware, software, and other equipment. With more IT virtualization, fewer problems will persist in a crisis, improving business continuity.
Challenge 2: Security
Security is an enormous concern for organizations in almost every sector. The pandemic has exasperated the problem, with the work-from-home model presenting security challenges for CIOs. There were nearly 800,000 incidents of suspected internet crime in 2020 — up 300,000 from the previous year — with reported losses of over $4 billion. Phishing remains the No.1 cybercrime.
CIOs need a RIM solution that improves data security without affecting employee productivity and performance. However, this continues to be a challenge. IT virtualization doesn’t eliminate cybercrime, and not all service providers and software provide adequate levels of security for data-driven teams.
There are several security frameworks to consider. IT leaders require a RIM solution that, at the least, adheres to SOC2 and ISO standards, preferably ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 27017:2015 — the gold standards of IT security. Other security must-haves include data encryption, authentication controls, and access controls.
Then there’s the problem of data governance. Data-driven organizations need to adhere to frameworks like GDPR, HIPAA, and CCPA when moving data to a remote location. Otherwise, they could face expensive penalties for non-compliance.
Challenge 3: Costs
The cost of RIM remains a bugbear for many CIOs. As RIM is still a relatively new technology, some service providers charge larger organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars to manage and monitor hardware, software, networks, and servers.
Investing in monitoring software provides more value for money. These programs do nearly everything a RIM services provider does but without the expensive price tag. Service providers use software to automate monitoring and management anyway, so organizations won’t notice a big difference.
Regardless of whether organizations choose a service provider or monitoring software, the costs of both methods should provide an investment return. Research shows the average cost of a data breach in the U.S. is $8.46 million, so if remote monitoring and management prevent a breach, it’s well worth it.
Challenge 4: Automation
As mentioned above, software automates much of remote monitoring. However, some monitoring and management tools are better than executing this process than others. That’s because RIM is still a new technology, and some vendors are working out the fine details. Regardless, monitoring tools are becoming more sophisticated every day, automating nearly all of the manual processes associated with infrastructure management, such as network performance updates and security patch installation.
Challenge 5: AI/Machine Learning
RIM has struggled with AI and machine learning in the past, but this is changing fast. The best tools take advantage of these technologies by providing users with invaluable insights into every aspect of their IT infrastructure, from server uptime to network memory. This real-time business intelligence helps CIOs solve problems and make smarter decisions. AI and machine learning can also improve automation, making IT management a speedier process.
Not all remote management tools use these technologies, so CIOs and software procurement teams should research the market and find the best platforms and RIM service providers.
Challenge 6: Cloud
RIM and the cloud are a match made in technological heaven. With IT virtualization, CIOs can manage much of their infrastructure (and data) in a cloud environment, which provides these remarkable benefits:
- The cloud reduces the amount of physical hardware (on-premise hardware) in an organization.
- It safeguards data for security and governance purposes.
- Team members can access data remotely wherever they are in the world.
- It protects the environment.
- It improves energy efficiency.
- It scales better.
- It provides cost savings.
The move to full virtualization won’t happen anytime soon, with many business leaders still skeptical about the cloud. Seventy-four percent of IT leaders think 95 percent of public, private, and hybrid workloads will run in the cloud in the next five years, according to LogicMonitor’s report. Twenty-two percent think it will take six years or more; two percent don’t believe it will ever happen. Still, more organizations are using the cloud than ever before.
The cloud brings its own security challenges for IT teams, but the right tools will ease any concerns.
What Is the Future for Remote Infrastructure Management?
More organizations are investing in RIM. Experts predict the global RIM market will be worth $54.5 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 9.7 percent from now until then. Meanwhile, database management and storage system management will grow at CAGR rates of 10.4 and 10 percent over the next seven years. The two countries that will invest the most money in RIM during this same period will be China and the United States.
With such explosive growth, expect more RIM innovations in the next few years. Software will become smarter. Service providers will offer more services. Perhaps full cloud monitoring will exist if all infrastructure moves to the cloud.
RIM could also trickle down to smaller businesses that still rely on manual processes for monitoring and management — or don’t carry out these critical tasks at all. As the costs of data centers, servers, and resources rise, small business owners will keep a closer eye on monitoring tools that provide them with insights such as network and bandwidth usage and infrastructure dependencies.
RIM has existed, in one form or another, for several years. However, the growing demands of work-from-home have brought remote monitoring and management into the spotlight. Whether it comes from software or a service provider, RIM takes care of software, hardware, server, and network tasks organizations don’t have the time for or don’t want to complete. Despite some challenges, the future of RIM looks bright, providing busy teams with bespoke monitoring and management benefits they can’t find anywhere else.
LogicMonitor is the cloud-based remote monitoring platform for CIOs and IT leaders everywhere. Users get full-stack visibility, world-class security, and network, cloud, and server management tools from one unified view. Welcome to the future of remote monitoring. Learn more or try LogicMonitor for free.