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"The Holy Grail" of Product Managers: Software Distribution in Quarantine Times

We're back to early last year with mandatory quarantines and economic crises that predict (once again) a crisis for businesses. But let's be honest, we've been through this before and we're still standing... at least, those who invested in technology realized that it's the most effective way to counteract the adverse effects of sudden changes in business operations and models. One of these cases is software distribution to office teams. While it used to be done over the LAN (the corporate network within the premises), now we have to be like MacGyver and provide a prompt solution to prevent an incident from becoming a problem.

If you're working remotely, chances are you already know what I'm talking about. But in case you're just starting to implement this model, let me give you some ideas of what might happen:

1. The VPN keeps disconnecting all the time:

Imagine that the internet through which all the packets you send or receive travel is a funnel, and depending on the size of the packet sent through this channel, congestion may occur or not. In the case of large files combined with constant browsing through this VPN, you can imagine the slowness, and in a best-case scenario, the trend is for the network to crash altogether. Nobody can access, and it takes hours to resume work, wasting valuable time in management.

2. Suspicious file packages:

Ready, we already have a specific network to send these patches or software to employees at home, but how do we ensure that these packages travel securely without being corrupted by a hackerman on duty? We can't have an antivirus there in the VPN like a security guard checking every bit of the package, but we can have this same guard in a more specific way by encrypting our package with two security methods, no antivirus but cybersecurity.

Have you seen in movies when there are 2 people with different keys that if activated at the same time, the mechanism works? Well, that's how public and private keys (AES 256 for friends) work, ensuring the packages are securely sent. Additionally, the file is fragmented and becomes a strict numerical value (this is called hashing or signing the file), and in case that number has a different digit than the one we already had established, we have time to know what the corruption of the file was and prevent outside computers from getting contaminated or receiving the package incorrectly.

3. If you don't update the software, in the end, they stop working:

Now everything moves with constant updates, even games ask for updates all the time to run them. So, imagine in your daily work if the same thing happens. If you don't update X product and you don't have the license to update it at home, you also don't have the IT guy at the company or you're not on the corporate network to apply this patch. All you can do is cry and lose all the productivity you had during the week.

Being truly prepared for complex situations and having effective risk management saves us money and time in ways we may not know because this whole pandemic issue is new in the digital era. Technology is adapting so that IT and its engineers are some of the heroes of this technological 'Justice League'.

Let's move on to practice!

Juanito, the product manager at a huge company with over 5000 machines under his responsibility, along with the IT department, used to manage everything related to software and hardware over the LAN. However, one fine day in 2020, everything changed. The conventional software distribution tools they used came crashing down because nobody was in the offices anymore. The equipment from most departments moved to employees' homes, and all the control Juanito had over the technological assets was lost. As incredible as the solution he had at the time was, it wasn't adapted to the imminent risk of transitioning to remote work.

Months passed, and the solution they resorted to was to remotely connect to solve problems, all improvised with the first software they found on the internet. However, the day he feared the most arrived. He needed to install a new program on more than 3000 computers to support remote work. Now, imagine what solution crossed his mind. He would have to carry out a massive deployment with all his IT staff, going from house to house to install the software on each computer. This would take months to complete, considering the uncontrollable number of devices involved.

He realized that, in addition to the distribution problem, he also lacked control over IT assets. Consequently, he found devices with games installed or pirated licenses, posing risks of leaking important company information, as well as some unorthodox browsing compromising even more corporate data.

... And so, how did he solve the incident?

Like all good things in life, Juanito was at home chatting via video call with one of his college friends (also an engineer like him), and this friend recommended that he check out a software they use in their company to distribute software to over 30,000 machines automatically. This sounded like a fairy tale to Juanito. Amid jokes and obvious questions (about package security, download times, VPN saturation, and so on), Juanito began to believe that what they were talking about was the Holy Grail for Product Managers. He requested a demo of the system, and within a few hours, they responded, gave him a presentation, and he realized that he could continue operations and even more by working outside the corporate network.

Bit by bit, he watched as the packages were sent out without saturating the VPN, as the packages were sent in small fragments, all encrypted, and only he knew the security key. His surprise was even greater when he realized that he could also audit the software on the machines he was in charge of, eliminating the risk of important information leakage. They never heard of pirated software or unauthorized browsing on the company's computers again. And to give it a happy ending, let's just say he became the employee of the month.

The Super Heroes know about IT

I may have made up the happy ending, but the rest is true and happens all the time in companies with weak solutions that they rush to buy because they're unaware of the existing Discovery Solutions specifically tailored for remote work. (We've been in this mode for over 10 years, so we were well prepared.) This has kept us and the companies we serve afloat because the only way to avoid going under or decreasing productivity is by transforming services into technological solutions, especially automated ones. The truth is, if you don't keep up, you're toast in 2021.

Do you find yourself in the same situation as Juanito? Learn how you can install those updates on all your company's devices, right from the safety of your home, by clicking here

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