In an interaction with CRN India, Anjani Kommisetti, Country Manager India & SAARC, Raritan & ServerTech, brands of Legrand, shares how the company has addressed the Covid-19 crisis and how it is helping its partners and customers
What’s your assessment of the lockdown situation and what are the lessons learned?
We have been prepared for many kinds of disasters, where one doesn’t have resources – power, bandwidth, network. But nobody had anticipated a complete disconnect from person to person. This is where I think the industry learnt a big lesson and the moment we’re back to normal, everybody will shift their focus on how to run factories with lesser human interaction and still have a controlled production, or how to reach a specific machine without being physically available.
What’s your preparedness to handle such unprecedented situations?
From an IT point of view, we have enabled all our employees to work from home. We have trained the resources to effectively use the online tools like office 365 teams and Skype to conduct meetings, training, and establishing an online support system for our customers as well. During this lockdown period, Raritan is ensuring that its customers are not left behind, and we are constantly providing them with telephonic support too.
With rise in cyber threats and attacks during this period, how are you ensuring your customers’ data is safe and helping them mitigate risks?
We have fortunately dealt with accessing tools from home from a security point of when the industry moved from IPSEC VPN connections to SSL VPN secured connectivity. Today, tools like office 365 teams are completely on the cloud, and nothing has to be installed on an individual’s device or at the branch office. Our employees understand that they have limited access to the IT help desk, and as an added security measure for our customers, all employees have been trained online to ensure that they are self-sufficient during these times. In case any employee needs help, we have several types of training that are accessible on our website by simply logging in.
Highlight some of the challenges being faced in providing service or support in the lockdown period
There is not much of a challenge from our organisation’s point of view. We’re in the business of remote management solutions from more than two decades. Being in KVM and we offer KVM and IP solutions on very secure connectivity. The best part of this is that one can reach the test machines, lab machines or the data centers even when the core network is not available. With these kinds of solutions being offered to the world, one can say that we are well equipped to manage our work internally as well.
From a business standpoint, we have seen many of our customers who are into R&D labs and data centers sourcing more of KVM solutions in the past one to two months. There has been a dependency on Indian labs and for employees to have access to colleagues, customers from other locations like Europe, China, and the US. These labs have been equipped to give remote management, which can also help in conducting a real lab test & development activity, which usually requires physical presence. Our KVM or IP solutions have enabled our customers to have the same feel and the control as if they are in front of the machine. The only challenge is that we are unable to move any equipment from our warehouse to customers or import some of the goods due to complete lock down of freight forwarders, couriers and logistics currently in the country and other locations.
With remote working becoming the new normal, what are the best practices that your customers should adopt?
In these uncertain times, when business operations are disrupted, remote management tools can help keep vital IT infrastructure running and respond to unplanned situations. The challenges faced by businesses today present an unprecedented opportunity to consider adopting remote management strategy. Of course, working from home and communicating virtually with colleagues is necessary.
We need to understand the working from home is not just accessing the email and virtual applications like SAP etc. Our country runs on huge organisations who are into research and development – these users need access beyond simple applications and need access to high end workstations and servers at hardware and BIOS. Given this, we can categorise users into three types:
- Sales, Back end, and operational staff – these users predominately access Office 365, emails and applications like SAP, CRM, etc
- Research and Developers – these users need access beyond simple applications as process many times they need to work at Servers and workstations with access to OS & BIOS
- IT Managers – responsible to keep the show on; need access to all kinds of hardware console
Best practices organisations can adopt:
- Organisations need to focus on all needs for these users, focusing on speed and performance which is always a concern while working from remote
- Security is another area to focus on while allowing the external traffic to access – using Secure VPN , isolated network to external traffic, secured access to hardware through trusted platforms like KVM and Serial over IP, are a few to be considered based on the users need of access
- Having Audit trail report of user logs with terms of access for all kind of users, is another important factor that organisation should focus on
- Adopting platforms that can give access to user for heterogenous environments will reduce the time and risk in training users on various platforms
How would your company complement in such a scenario?
I think there will be a lot of focus on automation, robotics, and robomation in the near future. This is the time when automated delivery and productions will kick-off and set off a new trend altogether. As soon as the markets open, businesses will reframe their IT objectives in this direction. We will see a massive shift in budgets and focus in making sure business runs smoothly and with less human involvement in uncertain scenarios.