When we first started discussing the cloud in the 2008 timeframe, many IT pros mocked it, but today the cloud along with mobile is helping them do their jobs even when they can’t be in the office.
In fact, a recent post on Infoworld showed off the favorite iOS and Android apps of IT pros. The slide show is chock full of remote monitoring tools, secure file access and utilities galore that let you communicate and work securely from your mobile device.
It’s the kind of thing that could help you out when you’re at a conference and you need to stay in touch with the data center or you’re at your kid’s Little League game and you get an urgent text about a pressing problem.
No problem, you just switch to your remote monitoring tool, see the nature of the problem and in some cases even fix it if you can. It’s nice to be able to be away from the office and enjoy the same benefits as your knowledge workers.
But not everyone is eager to take advantage of remote access, no matter how convenient it might be for IT Pros. There are still settings that are paranoid about opening up the data center in this manner.
A recent post on Computerworld covered some of these concerns, and to be sure, they are legitimate. As the article pointed out some CIOs prefer to have hands onsite, rather than offering the convenience of remote access because if you can shut down your system remotely, what happens if that capability gets in the wrong hands?
Yet more and more tools are coming along to help IT pros get that remote access many so desire (to, you know, let you live your lives outside of work – -even when you have to be in touch with the data center).
It’s a tough line to walk, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Each company has to build its own comfort level with this, but if you don’t want to provide remote system shut down preferring somebody on site to do it, then don’t provide this functionality.
For basic system monitoring and straightforward fixes, it makes sense for IT pros to have remote access. It also requires that the devices themselves are secured, and that if it’s possible to break the phone security, that additional security systems are in place including authentication on the monitoring system itself. What’s more, if the system is not in use for a period of time such as little as a minute, the person should have to log in again.
These and other security measures can help ensure that the worst case scenario, a lost mobile device, won’t give a stranger remote access to your systems, no matter how clever they might be in getting into systems.
The bottom line is that it makes sense to give IT pros at least some remote access to your systems through mobile devices, rather than forcing a body to remain onsite at all times. You just need to smart about it.
Photo by by sidduz on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.