At Sinefa, over 650 customers have deployed our Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) solutions in their offices, cloud VPCs, and data centers across 45 or so countries, and our conservative count is that at any given time period (in normal times) we were seeing 600K+ end users via DPI traffic analysis through our hardware and software probes. So, with a data-driven lens on how the pandemic emptied out offices, and thought it would be interesting to share what we have found.
Before the storm hits
Six months ago, branch offices were buzzing with activity. The data set we’re drawing from is traffic detected for Office 365 from an anonymized sample of real customer branch locations in the U.S., monitored via Sinefa probes that then send metadata to our cloud back-end.
You can see in Figure 1 and 2 that January and February are fairly consistent. We’re detecting 24 locations with live traffic, hosting nearly 2200 users. February begins to show some drop off, going from 81M to 66M transactions, a 20% decrease.
Figure 1: January, 2020
Figure 2: February, 2020
We start to see some more movement downward in March (Figure 3). 24 locations are still active, but the user base has dropped by 20% since January, with traffic levels and transactions dropping by roughly 60% from January to March.
The pandemic is hitting, and offices are starting to empty out.
Figure 3: March, 2020
April is where we observe the dramatic change though, as demonstrated by Figure 4. Only 15 locations are detecting traffic, meaning that 9 locations are essentially empty. Traffic has dropped by 97% and transactions by 96%.
There is little change in May, as seen in Figure 5. Branch office activity has fallen off a cliff.
Figure 4: April, 2020
Figure 5: May, 2020
A small-scale return?
In the last 30 days, we’re seeing very early indicators of movement back into offices, as seen in Figure 6. 23 of 24 locations have traffic activity, though the population across those offices is still small, and traffic and transactions are barely above the March and April levels. This incremental change could be explained by core or essential personnel returning to offices.
Figure 6: Previous 30 days, as of late June, 2020
It’s a new normal, so think holistically about monitoring
Every indication across the industry tells us that a much higher level of remote work will stay in place for quite some time, and that branches will open slowly. We’ll be monitoring and sharing updates over time. In the meantime, you should be thinking about shifting monitoring investments to support remote workers with holistic insights into the service delivery chain between your users and their business-critical applications, including their endpoint devices, WIFI, local networks, Internet and SaaS or other apps. It’s also important, given the longer-term trends towards SD-WAN, to ensure that you have an integrated approach to endpoints, branches, data centers and cloud instances, so you have the same levels of visibility across internal and external/Internet/cloud factors no matter where users are sitting.
To explore what it means to have a holistic approach to DEM that gives you internal and external visibility from home or corporate offices, data centers and VPCs, Sinefa’s Founder and CTO Chris Siakos will be joined by VP of Marketing Alex Henthorn-Iwane to discuss.
Title: Holistic Monitoring for Remote Worker and Branch Offices
Date: Wednesday August 26, 2020
Time: 10 am AEST