Trial by Fire: Making the Mobile Workforce Work

My Post (11).pngMore people than ever are working remotely, and about one-third say the coronavirus pandemic was their first chance to do so. As companies return to a new normal, they are considering how to manage workers who are not in the office, and mobile workers add a unique challenge.

The term “remote worker” includes work-from-home employees and mobile workers. Most employees who work remotely do both. Using your phone for a video meeting, messaging from the grocery store or checking email on your laptop through a café’s mobile hotspot are all forms of mobile work. When you get back home and connect through VPN, you are working from home.

All workers need secure, remote access to co-workers, files and data, but mobile workers face another layer of complexity. When they go from computer to phone or tablet they need their data to sync, and they need a seamless experience from desktop app to mobile app. There are also the fundamental requirements of secure access, a quality wifi signal, video and audio. That is the ideal state.

The coronavirus pandemic exposed a lot of things that were less than ideal in our ability to work remotely. We’ve experienced co-workers unable to hear or be heard when their phone audio cut out, or headphones failed, or they dropped altogether because of dead batteries or bad connections. We’ve seen workers struggling to get necessary data or access tools and dashboards when on a mobile connection. And we’ve had IT leaders worry about privacy, even basics like screen protectors, for people working on the go.

As organizations transition to a new normal following the stay-at-home orders, they will need a strategy to sustain remote workers and their mobile needs, and that should center around three common business principles:

Plan and Invest

Employees need the right equipment to work from home and collaborate, both hardware and software. IT managers should plan for any additional software licensing and equipment purchases. It’s not just a corporate issue — consider the many schools that were unable to teach because students lacked computers and wifi. Identifying needs and planning for future investments is the way resilient organizations will manage through the uncertain months — or years — ahead.

Make the Best Use of Your Technology

For a tech geek like me, it’s easy to assume everyone knows how to use all the remote tools and is comfortable with them, but that’s not always the case. Even though remote connectivity is easier and more secure than it’s ever been, there are still a lot of steps, a lot of interactions and interdependencies. I’ve made some quick internal videos for Splunkers where I explain some of the basics and also some best practices.

You also need to make sure that remote workers’ tools are working optimally. For every computer issued and every software license granted, the IT team should have a policy and governance to track hardware and software updates. An employee on the go with expired software is not productive. It’s also absolutely vital to be able to monitor your network for potential issues and security threats, which can be done through cloud-based applications with both desktop and mobile versions, easily accessible through a company’s single sign-on. – Read More

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Prevent and Detect Threats Across Multi-Cloud Environments

My Post (22).pngThe cloud has become ubiquitous in all we do, and the line between the perimeter and the cloud continues to shrink as most enterprise organizations are looking to shift their cloud strategy to a multi-cloud approach. Moving to the cloud comes with plenty of benefits like performance optimization, improved reliability and overall cost savings, but cloud adoption is not without its risks and challenges. In a recent webinar, “Approaches for a More Secure Cloud Environment,” members of the Splunk security team covered how building a strong, unified multi-cloud security strategy can help detect and prevent misconfigurations and other security threats.

It’s important to understand that organizations are typically at multiple stages of their cloud journey simultaneously, and when building a cloud strategy, security must be considered at every stage. Also, cloud security and the journey to the cloud is not an exact translation of inside-the-perimeter security or lift-and-shift models — there are shared customer and provider responsibilities.

Cloud Security not an exact translation of inside-the-permeter security

Because of significant vendor competition and connected products, multi-cloud systems introduce new complexities and an expanded attack surface.  Additionally, the analytics products made available by cloud service providers focus on proprietary offerings and lack comprehensive views of an organization’s entire environment. Lack of visibility, ephemeral workloads and an ever-increasing knowledge gap makes cloud security an ongoing effort whether you have a single cloud or multi-cloud environment.

But let’s get our heads out of the “clouds” for a moment, because in another light, the cloud can be thought of as just another data center. By taking ownership and making security visibility a high priority, we can focus on preventing cloud attacks against targets like admins, users and data across AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud environments.

Common Criteria for Cloud Security

The Splunk Security Research Team recently introduced the Unified Cloud Infrastructure Data Model. In creating this data model, the first step was to create a set of common criteria for cloud security. The team identified six main categories that group together the three major cloud providers and created a data model to enable organizations to perform analytics across multi-cloud providers including AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud for a more unified security posture. The common criteria identified are: – Read more

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Turning Your Retail Data into Answers, Together

My Post (4).pngCurbside pickup. Contactless payment. Voice commerce. In today’s world, the retail landscape is changing at record pace as consumers and the global economy embrace digitization like never before. I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come for the industry.

My passion for retail and curiosity for finding answers in data are ultimately what led me to Splunk. A company that enables retailers to thrive in the data age by bringing Data-to-Everything has been a perfect match. But, I’m not the only one that loves Splunk. Hundreds of retailers are relying on Splunk every day to make the most of their IT investments. I’ve witnessed success time and time again as retailers trust their data to drive consistent, secure and reliable experiences across all channels for their customers and associates. Finding the answers to simple and complex retail questions no longer needs to be a roadblock to getting business done.

The digital evolution is creating a tremendous opportunity for retailers, convenience stores, restaurants and more to challenge their own ways of doing business by putting data at the center of every action and decision. Splunk, the Data-to-Everything Platform, brings together all of a retailer’s unique data sources including eCommerce environments, loyalty applications, mobile devices and associated apps, digital services, fulfillment applications, in-store POS systems, IoT devices and the supporting infrastructure. It’s empowering retailers globally through a single, actionable view of retail operations for better investigation, monitoring, analysis and action on large volumes of data in real-time. These retailers find value in Splunk’s platform approach as they deliver the most secure and reliable customer experiences in the industry while staying ahead of performance issues so customers or associates are not disappointed.

Here are the three pillars along with supporting use cases to help retailers get the most value out of Splunk. And good news, the retail data being ingested into Splunk can most often be reused across pillars to drive a number of outcomes for the business.

Omnichannel Operations

Omnichannel Operations enables frictionless digital experiences to customers while protecting revenues and accelerating development. For example, Domino’s relies on Splunk’s secret sauce to ensure that every order and every pizza exceeds expectations regardless of channel. That’s a recipe for success.

  • eCommerce Reliability: Gain greater visibility across digital channels to proactively monitor web applications and identify bottlenecks before they become an issue.
  • Digital Service Intelligence: Monitor complex microservices, the customer journey and eCommerce performance to predict and prevent service degradations.
  • Order Management Performance: Provide an end-to-end view of orders as they move through applications from purchase to delivery.

Store Reliability

Store Reliability ensures that brick and mortar locations are running as expected to keep customers coming back for more while keeping in-store associates engaged.

  • Store Infrastructure & IoT Health: Monitor and correlate issues quickly to determine the root cause of outages and performance degradation at the store.
  • POS & Mobile Device Monitoring: Ensure that Point of Sale (POS), payment services and mobile handhelds for associates are optimized for the best experience.
  • Retail Application Performance: Improve uptime and reliability of business-critical retail applications including workforce management, training, inventory, replenishment and back office functions.

Retail Security & Compliance

Retail Security & Compliance takes the guesswork out of securing environments while minimizing retail losses and privacy related risks. Data can be leveraged to identify anomalies and outliers in real-time so that action can be taken quickly or even automatically. – Read more

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