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Is your business prepared for the future of mobile or still living in the past?

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Do you remember Doc Brown, Marty McFly and their famous time machine? After having messed things up in the first Back to the Future movie (letting Biff get his hands on the almanac), Marty could simply go back in time to reverse the horrifying effects of his mishap.

It’s a real shame we don’t have a flux capacitor at hand to erase the consequences of a server crash or any other fatal incident—especially when it comes to downtimes that could affect thousands or even millions of users.

Today, users are accustomed to being online constantly and synchronising data between their mobile devices and the cloud. This challenges the network infrastructure of software providers as well as those of companies which allow their employees to bring their own mobile devices (known as BYOD—Bring Your Own Device).

Businesses must be able to leverage this trend – which leads to the question, is your network infrastructure ready?

The rise of the smartphone

It doesn’t come as a surprise that mobility is more important than ever.

Smartphone penetration reached 84 per cent in Australia last year and it’s estimated that the number of smartphones may exceed that of computers this year as Australians choose the flexibility and accessibility afforded by portable devices.

Some forecasts predict that already by 2017, the number of mobile devices including notebooks, smartphones and tablets will exceed the global population.

Another fact showing the shift towards mobility is that in 2013, almost 50 percent of daily active Facebook users exclusively used their mobile device to surf the site.

A similar report showed the number of Aussies accessing social media on their smartphone and tablets increased to 67 percent and 35 percent respectively, with declines in the number accessing via a desktop.

Don’t forget about the backend

Looking at those numbers, one thing is obvious: the future is mobile. However, it does not mean you can disregard classic network components like routers, firewalls or servers.

With the focus on apps, web pages and software, which enable their users to access information anytime, anywhere and from any device, it is easily to forget that the requirements for the backend are also increasingly demanding.

Most apps, cloud storage providers and SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions constantly process data on the server-side of their infrastructure and exchange this data with the frontend of their service.

Therefore, IT infrastructures need to be highly flexible in order to adjust to market needs or bring new services to market quickly.

A major backend issue that keeps millions of users from accessing their data is not only a technical, but more importantly, an image problem. Recovery can cost the company a substantial amount of time and money.

User expectations trigger monitoring needs

The growing complexity that comes with the user’s expectation of 24/7 mobility brings new challenges for network, server and backup structures.

Monitoring has become a critical factor in managing these complex networks and monitoring tools needs to match customers’ evolving needs for location-independent flexibility.

For them, unexpected downtime is not acceptable, under any circumstances. In this environment, the responsible administrator has to be even more aware of issues before they have a noticeable impact on service.

Since you can’t go back in time, forward-thinking companies must plan ahead, implementing proactive monitoring of their networks as well as mobile monitoring solutions that offer more flexibility than ever.

Luckily, we’re seeing more options for businesses to get all of the information they need, even when they are on the move.

Solutions that combine comprehensive, easy-to-use network monitoring with smartphone applications that can help you to avoid expensive outages, identify bottlenecks before they become problems and reduce costs anytime, anywhere, will allow you to make the most of this mobile future… even if you don’t have a flux capacitor at hand.

Dirk Paessler is the chief executive at Paessler AG, which develops and sells network management and network monitoring software.

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