Supporting IT as it is, not as it ‘should be’
Deploying new IT systems, especially software, is child’s play these days. In fact, it’s designed to be as easy as possible: no-one ever sold software, for example, by making it nigh-on impossible to install. Instead, firing up a new cloud service or downloading an app to a desktop or phone is as easy as clicking a mouse or tapping a screen.
The simplicity of IT deployment in a business setting has had two main effects, one negative, the other positive.
On the positive side, businesses can now deploy the services they need to get the job done, at scale, in very short timeframes, and at low (or no) cost. That’s great, of course, for business strategy, and keeping any organization fleet-of-foot.
On the downside, however, deployments of software and services usually take place at the behest of business managers, and requests for permission to use such systems never cross the desk of the IT department.
Therefore, modern enterprise is run on software and services that is, to a notable degree, outside a centralized controlling body.
It’s important to recognize that these so-called “shadow IT” deployments are not malicious, nor are they intended to undermine the IT department’s overall position as arbiter, controller and protector of an enterprise’s IT systems.
IT departments, therefore, need to accept the existence of shadow IT and adopt procedures which help support and protect all deployments; sanctioned, purchased, shadow, rogue, or under-the-radar – call them what you will.
The big deal about shadow IT is that it can endanger the organization at a fundamental level. The perception that data is prone to hacker exfiltration if not managed by a security-conscious IT department is false. According to a survey by Logicalis, 81 percent of data that goes walkabout is inadvertently disclosed or easily taken. While cybersecurity is a concern, it’s the spreading of potentially compromisable data which is the issue.
By innocently using a personal DropBox repository, or rolling out an AWS or Azure service, enterprises are increasing their data footprint, but without allowing for the possibility of potentially critical data falling into the wrong hands, or being lost.
An entire working party’s project files, on a “shadow” service, not protected or backed up – as an in-house repository would be – is easily corrupted, or lost, or copied by third parties. So that can mean financial and intellectual losses.
Any IT department, therefore, needs to be able to answer these five critical points on shadow IT visibility and control:
- Is there a comprehensive audit of all applications and services in use? Note this list needs to include all applications, not just those which have the company’s “stamp of approval.”
- Are specific applications finding widespread adoption? Does this point to some need to be addressed centrally? Additionally, are certain applications redundant, poorly used, or in some way causing inefficiencies?
- Which applications or services can harbor sensitive or proprietary data? How is that data generated, transferred, and stored? Is there cybersecurity protection or backup facility in place to protect the data?
- Does the organization have the ability to identify new applications and services in-house and in the cloud as and when they become used?
- Are there any appropriate access and security controls in place which protect all application & service uses from malicious activity, loss, or theft? Do these protections extend to any involved third parties, suppliers, or partners?
Here at Tech Wire Asia, we know the IT department’s role has changed from one of centralized control to that of strategic empowerment of the overall business.
Therefore, we would advise using one of the suppliers below to help the enterprise use its IT right across the board. Proactivity does not necessarily mean prevention.
Instead, by using one of the solution providers below, you can best protect all users in your extended network, regardless of the solutions, applications, and services in use.
When choosing an IT (and IT protection) supplier, we would advise considering the following three key facets:
- A unified management system which can update, patch, install, deploy, and manage all the different workstreams in the enterprise. Regardless of platform or application, management is best centralized into one application or at least multiple applications from a single supplier.
- Auditing system which can gain an overview of all network activity, all devices attached to a network, intelligently discern the use of new services and applications and detect malicious or potentially compromising activities.
- Automating remediation, security, backup and continuous monitoring. Solutions should grant IT oversight proactively, yet not preventatively.
At Tech Wire Asia we have chosen three suppliers of IT management and protection systems which we feel you should consider.
Central to the Kaseya IT Complete platform is your “single pane of glass,” which offers a consolidated place through which the entire network becomes apparent.
Kaseya’s solution comprises of two areas, administrative software (service desk implementation and documentation repository) and a multifaceted service delivery software function.
As well as traditional endpoint and network protection measures, Kaseya offers high-end network management and security services. The offerings allow businesses of all sizes to be compliant with the host of regulations which now affect both small and large enterprises (PSI DSS, GDPR, HIPAA, ACCC compliance, etc.).
The company’s remote monitoring and management solution, VSA, supports Windows, Mac, and third-party applications and integrates with network management, backup, disaster recovery and access management facilities.
As companies move more of their services and applications to the cloud, Kaseya’s next-generation solutions mean that the deployments are always safe, and are blanketed by the same level of protection from which bare-metal installations benefit.
Additionally, the software suite allows a high level of automation in IT management, with patches, updates, agent procedures, monitoring by groups, and reports to be pre-programmed and left to run.
To read more about Kaseya, click here.
The company’s product suite is led by Intelligent Service Management, which is supported by artificial intelligence capabilities in the form of Luma™. Luma’s conversation-processing algorithms act like a buffer between users’ requests and support staff, so a helpdesk function is informed more precisely quite what the request, or ticket, entails.
The solutions are extraordinarily scalable and conform to the ITIL framework which manages helpdesk functions, from simple problem resolutions to full-scale change management requests. In this, Serviceaide is best suited for large-scale helpdesk deployments supporting up to many thousands of people.
Serviceaide is cloud-based and uses a drag-and-drop, low-code (or even no-code) approach to building automated workflows. The SaaS model ensures that organizations aren’t hit up front with license costs, and additionally, the solution can be part-deployed to test the water.
The solution comes with many pre-built interfaces and in-place API sockets so that it can be used alongside many hundreds of other systems via the Zapier interface. Additionally, there’s Salesforce and Skype integration built-in so that the solution can slot right into your current IT architecture.
From incident management to asset inventories to multilingual support and business intelligence insights via a series of compelling reports, Serviceaide is all you need for a 21st-century helpdesk provision in your enterprise.
The Cloud Management Suite from Verismic is an IT Management Suite which starts with an IT audit/inventory discovery system and database, via remote control and remote patching/updates, and to include software distribution capabilities.
For large IT deployments, therefore, Cloud Management Suite allows control of all devices – aka endpoints – both within the networked LAN, or indeed, those being used remotely away from the office.
In addition to the discovery and management of software, the suite also offers an overarching two-factor authentication process, which lets users in the enterprise unlock just one account (securely – with identity confirmed by SMS, for example) to get access to all functions required across the organization.
The Suite also allows granular privilege levels, so users can be given limited access to facilities – useful for setting up non-destructive data access for new staff, or interns, for example.
The capabilities of the Cloud Management Suite are further enhanced with a range of in-built business-oriented reports, which can, for instance, show patch and update histories.
The Suite allows IT departments to take a proactive approach to keeping systems up to date, rather than having to move physically around an organization, manually applying updates. The cloud-based solution allows IT teams to work more efficiently, and saves the business cost.
*Some of the companies featured in this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia