As the global pandemic continues, service desk teams are constantly under pressure to solve end user challenges as they move between the corporate network (managed) and home network (unmanaged). Service desk teams automatically scale the number of networks they must troubleshoot when end-users are remote.
If your organization has 1,000 employees, you end up troubleshooting 1,000 networks as the network topology changes.
The problem only worsens as these employees travel and log in from remote locations. It’s challenging to think through all the troubleshooting scenarios to keep your end-users productive. According to Gartner, nearly 50% of employees will continue to work remotely post-pandemic. Here are some critical considerations for service desk teams when supporting a global and distributed workforce:
Are they wired or wireless (2.4Ghz or 5.0Ghz)?
Remote workers are not always wired in an office (home or corporate office). They typically leverage Wi-Fi, and signal strength plays a key role when they do. For example, one room in a house could have excellent signal strength versus another, and keeping track of these changes is difficult.
Key consideration: Check whether the user uses a wired connection or wireless. If they are using Wi-Fi, check the signal strength (2.4Ghz or 5.0Ghz) and how that changes over time.
How is their upload / download speed? Is their Internet Service Provider (ISP) having issues?
Remote workers typically share a connection with other family members or shared space. They are not always in control of what’s happening on the network, which can cause congestion with their connection.
Key consideration: Find the network latencies and packet loss between all the hops from the end user’s device to the application.
Are they having trouble with their SaaS application (Box, Salesforce)?
It’s not always clear if the SaaS application is an isolated issue or if it’s widespread. The problem could be between the end device, any hops to the application, or the application itself.
Key consideration: Check the SaaS application from different locations and multiple end-user devices. It will provide you with full context to get to the root cause of an issue.
Are they having call quality issues with Microsoft Teams or Zoom?
It’s not easy to troubleshoot call quality issues as they are complex, from the end device running the application to network connections. There are several factors in play, from the type of internet connection (cellular or Wi-Fi) to the CPU on the end device. These can all impact call quality.
Key consideration: Capture end-to-end call quality metrics to get full context.
Are there any issues with their device (laptop)?
Remote workers typically report slowness or an application performance problem, and everyone wants to blame the network. However, it's not always the network that is the issue. It could be the end user's device.
Key consideration: Look at the device metrics to ensure the CPU, memory, and disk are all performing optimally. Also, verify the software deployed and the impact of their processes on the device.
A hybrid workforce enables complex troubleshooting environments
As you can see, there are several considerations in troubleshooting an environment, and these are only a sample set. The other challenge is figuring out where to start when receiving an IT trouble ticket. Do you start with the ISP, SaaS application, or end device? It's very time-consuming to dive deep into a user's environment and trace through each step. It typically takes days and multiple monitoring tools to troubleshoot their environment, which creates monitoring silos. Once you find a point when the user had an issue, you must correlate the data across several devices, leveraging multiple dashboards or their command-line interfaces. To further complicate matters, not all devices have the same commands, and knowing how to gather enough information from these devices could be challenging if you are not an expert in them. And as the users move between locations, it only exacerbates the problem.
Let's consider a scenario where you get a trouble ticket for slowness. Typically we look at the network and escalate to the network team. The challenge is that the network team isn't always available when users have trouble. They are usually focused on deployments, upgrades, or architecting new solutions. To help them, the service teams must provide them with insights into what's happening. You could try and capture some of the data from the network devices, but it's hard to pinpoint the actual location of the problem.
Provide network teams with insight and reduce their time troubleshooting
Wouldn't it be great if you could help the network team by troubleshooting the environment first and provide them insight into what's happening? What if you didn't have to be a networking expert either? And you could do this in minutes while getting to the root cause of what your users are experiencing. It sounds almost too good to be true. It doesn't have to be. With Zscaler Digital Experience (ZDX) solutions, you can quickly take complex networking problems and triage them for your hybrid workforce. ZDX provides end-to-end visibility from your end-user to the cloud, SaaS application, or private application.
Deploy easy-to-use monitor solutions
The ZDX console allows you to select a time frame of when an incident occurred. After choosing a time frame, it automatically lists out the most impacted applications. Once you choose an application, it updates a global map with a ZDX Score to help you visualize how that application is performing across your organization. The ZDX Score represents all users in your organization across all applications, locations, and cities. The ZDX Score is based on a scale of 1 to 100 (highest), with the lowest numbers being a poor score. You can quickly identify any troubled application and how many users are impacted by the score.
Note: Although the dashboard provides you with an organizational view, you can quickly search for a user, and ZDX will filter the data based on the user.
Visually analyze troubled locations across your organization
ZDX gathers this information from probes across your end-user devices to either internal or external applications that you configure. It has preconfigured application probes (Box, Zoom, M365, and more) to custom application probes (ones you define). These probes have minimal requirements and don't generate much traffic. They use the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange caching technologies to limit the traffic created. Once the probes are configured, you can see page fetch times, server response times, DNS resolve times, and availability and dive into the Cloud Path. It's all available from a single pane of glass. You don't have to log in to each one of the network devices or the end user's device to get this information. You save a lot of time!
Network latency between two hops highlighted as an area of focus
What if it's not the network but the end user's device? ZDX also correlates the end user's device metrics across the time frame you selected. It tracks the CPU usage, memory, disk, and network of the end device. The best part is that you don't have to log in to the end user's device. The insights are available in the same dashboard.
ZDX device health information
ZDX user device events showing network flap
Armed with this insight, you can go to the network teams and provide them with a detailed summary of issues and areas of focus. It reduces the burden across your IT teams and helps your users stay productive.
You won't believe how much information can be distilled in minutes when using ZDX. You can not only collaborate better with network teams, but you can provide your high-profile users with a great experience by quickly solving their problems. Imagine triaging complex Wi-Fi issues (hotel or home), even if they change locations. You would be the hero! But what if you wanted some suggestions on where to look without drilling into the exact details. ZDX now leverages Machine Learning (ML) technologies to analyze the ZDX Score. It significantly reduces the time required to troubleshoot by suggesting a potential root cause. ZDX analyzes data across apps, services, users, and regions due to ISPs, Wi-Fi, backhauling, VPN, internet, and more to provide you with root cause analysis.
ZDX Root Cause Analysis
Now we've gone from days of troubleshooting to seconds. It's truly a game-changer. Take a few minutes to learn more about ZDX and how it can help you take your troubleshooting to the next level.