Are you ready for a break? Your IT infrastructure may not be….

With summer upon us, many organisations are planning for holiday cover and IT departments are more stretched than ever. Unlike some areas of the business that may work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday; networks, application and storage just keep on running. Yet for many firms, the ability to attract and retain IT staff and especially security specialists means that there is often little available slack to take over the reins.  A better, long term option is needed!

Managing risk

With senior IT specialists potentially away, one of the biggest issues is ensuring that the people taking over responsibilities have the right skill set, and that they understand escalation procedures in the event of a service impacting issue.  Most organisations will have break-fix maintenance contracts in place in case of a hardware breakdown. However, many of the most difficult problems to overcome come from software, configuration changes or the patches issued to fix security vulnerabilities.  A recent survey from EMC found that 49% of all unplanned downtime is down to software issues while the average business experienced more than three working days (25 hours) of unexpected downtime in the last 12 months.

Keeping it secure 

Security is one of the most challenging risks. Although staff may need to take a break, cyber criminals are continually looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit; while software vendors are issuing patches to thwart them. In the event of an emergency patch being issued, the Heartbleed vulnerability of 2014 being a prime example, IT departments need to react quickly to patch affected systems before they are successfully exploited.  One solution is to employ short term IT contractors. However, this is not always ideal as it requires time for these new hands to get up to speed on the systems and procedures of the organisation, and the cost is often prohibitive with day rates well in excess of £500 not unusual. Another option is to put junior staff in an acting senior role to cover any absence. With this approach comes the risk that if something untoward happens, they simply don’t have the skills to deal with the situation. Or in some cases, lack the authority to even enact the fix such as taking critical systems offline to apply a needed patch.

Even after the holiday season passes; the challenge still remains. Many organisations are moving to more flexible hours to satisfy the needs of teleworking staff and international business processes that span time zones. The end result is that even though the supposed ‘night shift’ may be less busy, the core competency of IT skill sets need to be readily available.

A better option

In response, some organisations with deep pockets and regulatory constraints, such as financial services, may well run to the expense of doubling up IT staffing levels with dedicated out-of-hours teams. However, for the vast majority of midmarket organisations, a more sensible approach is to use a managed service approach that can cost effectively take over the bulk of day-to-day time consuming tasks such as device and application monitoring. In addition, if there is a staffing shortage or incident; these managed services can be ramped up to meet short term requirements and then turned down to reduce expense. A good managed service will retain and make available the skilled staff that are needed on certain occasions, and economies of scale of the shared model means that you only need to pay a fraction of the 24/7 staffing that doing it in-house would incur. This approach can be particularly beneficial in overcoming the skills shortage in areas like IT security and networking by freeing up time and allowing in-house IT teams to focus on activities that add value to the business.

Crucial for business continuity and network uptime, our 24/7/365 network monitoring service gives you the peace of mind to know our expert engineers always have a close eye on your network. Visit www.netutils.com/monitoringasaservice.com for more.

 

An Introduction to ChangeGear – ChangeManager

We’re proud to introduce SunView Software’s ChangeGear Change Manager, the new generation multi-modal change management solution purpose-built for speed and agility in the enterprise.

Network Utilities & Sunview Software at The Service Desk Show 2016

The Service Desk & IT Support Show took place at London’s Olympia on 8-9 June 2016. Together with our partners SunView Software an industry leader in service management software, we showcased a new multi-modal change management offering based on SunView’s powerful ChangeGear platform, ChangeManager. View our short video to hear why effective change management has never been more important in today’s agile enterprise.

Network Utilities and A10 Networks were recent sponsors of the RANT Forum

You’ve done everything in your power to inspect incoming and outgoing traffic, but everyone has a blind spot, and no matter how many times you check over your shoulder, that malicious, encrypted traffic can slide right by your network defences, buried in encrypted SSL traffic. How can we inspect ALL traffic, eliminate this blind spot and keep legitimate traffic flowing?

Network Utilities and A10 Networks were recent sponsors of the RANT Forum. In this short video we discuss RANT and discuss how Network Utilities together with A10 can support your current infrastructure and defence challenges.

Webinar Recording: Secure Access has Never Been More Vital – Find Out Why With Pulse Secure

In this webinar recording you will learn:

• Why enforcing traditional IT rules on a tech savvy workforce is no longer necessary
• How transforming traditional IT into Hybrid IT can enable the workforce and maximise their productivity
• How IT can offer flexibility while ensuring compliance and full corporate policy adoption
• How IT can offer continuous secure access seamlessly to their workforce
• How Secure Access for the Next Generation is solving mobile productivity challenges for organisations today

3 Ways Change Management Solutions Can Streamline

Collaboration is becoming incredibly important as IT departments work to accelerate change processes. While some chains of approval can be eliminated through modern change management tools, many still require complex scheduling and careful coordination. Maintaining a rapid pace of innovation while still making collaboration possible hinges on putting advanced communication tools in place. Modern change management solutions are designed to simplify and streamline collaboration through automation and robust messaging tools.

Empowering your IT teams to collaboration effectively requires the right strategic tools. Three change management systems that fuel better communication include:

1. Automated Notifications
Time management is one of the greatest challenges that come into play when trying get your employees to work together. The simple fact is that many IT professionals are so busy that they’d rather just put their head down and try to get through their worker rather than step beyond their individual workflows and collaborate. You can’t easily overcome this problem through cultural changes alone, as your employees may be unwilling to respond to those efforts if they are still too busy to adjust their operations. Automation, on the other hand, opens doors to cultural changes focusing on collaboration.

Automated notifications ensure that key collaboration tasks – like notifying team members when a process has been completed – are handled immediately without requiring significant user input. Sophisticated change management solutions provide simple, straightforward and powerful scripting tools that let you build collaboration workflows through automated notifications with ease.

2. Email Conversion
Many requests for change will come through email channels, not necessarily support tickets. With manual processes in place, the support team would need to read those emails, identify their core messages and convert them into support tickets. All of those tasks must be completed before the request for change actually makes it to the IT workers that can schedule and enact it. Conversely, an automated email conversion system can identify keywords in the email to categorize the request for change correctly and automatically turn it into a support ticket. This simplifies collaboration between your non-IT users who may email the service desk, and your support and technical teams that are primarily working through support tickets, not emails.

3. Review Processing
At some point in many change processes, the proposed schedule or completed tasks need to be reviewed by the change advisory board or IT managers. In the past, these review processes often served as major bottlenecks to efficient change operations. Collaboration is absolutely critical during CAB or managerial review processes to ensure that leaders have the information they need to make the right decisions and do so efficiently.

CAB and peer review processes can be simplified as the change platform can house key data pertaining to the event and ensure it gets distributed to the right people.

IT teams must work together as increasingly complex data center environments require diverse skills to manage. Cross-disciplinary skills are often needed to manage complex changes, and collaboration tools ensure that organizations are positioned well to keep up with enterprise change demands.

SunView Software Inc., an industry leader in service management software, and their exclusive UK reseller Network Utilities (Systems) Ltd, will showcase a new multi-modal change management offering based on SunView’s powerful ChangeGear platform at SITS 2016.

Live demos of ChangeGear Change Manager will take place on stand 800 throughout the show.8th – 9th June, London, Olympia. Book free tickets here.

SUNVIEW SOFTWARE & NETWORK UTILITIES AT THE SERVICE DESK SHOW – STAND 800

Introducing – New Generation Change Management Software.
Automate change control for IT, DevOps, and business compliance.

Location: Olympia, London, W14 8UX

Date: Wednesday 8th – Thursday 9th June 2016

SunView Software Introduces New Change Management Tool for Agile IT at SITS 2016.

SunView Software Inc., an industry leader in service management software, and their exclusive UK reseller Network Utilities (Systems) Ltd, will showcase a new multi-modal change management offering based on SunView’s powerful ChangeGear platform at SITS 2016.

Live demos of ChangeGear Change Manager will take place on stand 800 throughout the show. Book free tickets here.