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Are You Falling for These 5 Common Misconceptions About Robotic Process Automation?

Are You Falling for These 5 Common Misconceptions About Robotic Process Automation?Over the past decade or so, the buzz surrounding robotic process automation has continued to grow increasingly louder. Along with greater awareness, however, there have also been a number of myths, misconceptions and outright untruths being perpetuated which have led to many otherwise savvy professionals feeling leery about adopting this innovative technology. As a result, organizations across the globe are missing out on the many incredible benefits that RPA has to offer. That being said, we’ve identified 5 of the most common misunderstandings and the real truths behind each of them.

RPA will replace humans.

One of the biggest misconceptions about RPA is that it will eliminate the need for human workers altogether. This thought process has bred fear and caused a great degree of resistance, particularly among those in the IT field. In reality, RPA is meant to complement human workers and make their jobs easier and more efficient. Will that mean some jobs will be replaced by robots? Sure. But for the most part, adoption of this technology will ultimately create new and better opportunities for people to pursue.

You can automate everything with RPA.

On the other end of the spectrum, many early adopters of robotic process automation falsely believed that 100% of the workload within their organizations could be seamlessly transitioned from human to machine. While it’s true that some companies have been able to automate up to 80% of their processes, there will almost always be at least some areas where human resources are still necessary (further supporting the previous point). For best results, RPA should be implemented in small increments, testing, modifying and slowly increasing, thereby optimizing the technology to its fullest capabilities.

RPA is only for IT.

Small to mid-sized companies often forego adoption of automation because they believe it’s only ideal for larger firms with dedicated IT departments. In truth, RPA can be applied to almost any repetitive, manual task, workflow or business process – regardless of whether it’s housed under the umbrella of IT or not. Additionally, the right RPA product should be affordable, quick and easy to implement without requiring a great deal of technical know-how. In other words, perfect for businesses of any size or industry.

All RPA solutions are the same.

This is, perhaps, one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding RPA, or automation in general. While the basic concept is consistent across the board, the tools themselves are often vastly different, as are the companies that develop and market them. It’s also important to point out that more bells and whistles an RPA tool has doesn’t necessarily make it better. It’s all about what fits best with your needs. That said, when evaluating robotic process automation solutions the key things to look for include: ease of use, time to deployment, cost of ownership, scalability, ROI and support after the sale.

RPA is a passing fad.

Last, but not least, many have resisted jumping on the RPA bandwagon because they simply don’t believe it’ll still be around in the relatively near future. After all, how many other technologies have come and gone over the past several decades? The reality of this lies in the growing demand for companies in every industry to find ways to minimize costs, maximize efficiency levels and remain competitive. RPA is the ideal solution to each of these objectives, which indicates that it’s a technology that’s here to stay and will only continue to improve as time marches on.

Are you guilty of believing one or more of these myths about robotic process automation? Ready to shake off those misconceptions and experience for yourself just how beneficial this technology can be for the success of your organization?

Get started now by downloading a free trial of eyeShare.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Cyber Security Incident Response: The ROI of a Solid Disaster Recovery Strategy

Cyber Security Incident Response: The ROI of a Solid Disaster Recovery StrategyMany organizations place disaster recovery on the back burner because they consider it to be too big of an expense. Why allocate money toward “what if” scenarios when those funds can be put toward more immediate business needs, like sales and marketing? The problem is, treating cyber security incident response and disaster recovery as an afterthought or unnecessary luxury in an attempt to save money may very well end up costing your company a lot more than you may realize. In fact, some research indicates that upwards of 25% of businesses that close due to unforeseen events never reopen.

Even a temporary downtime can be incredibly costly, with average hourly losses ranging from $50,000 up to millions of dollars. Shifting perspective from expense to investment by identifying ROI can improve how disaster recovery is viewed and increase adoption, which means a safer, more secure business operation.

First and foremost, you can’t calculate the value of having a solid cyber security incident response and disaster recovery strategy until you first understand what a loss could potentially cost. Specifically, by determining what costs and losses are acceptable, you can then begin to establish acceptable recovery parameters. This will include a Recovery Time Objective (RTO) as well as a Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

Your defined RTO should indicate the maximum amount of downtime your organization is willing to tolerate. Your RPO should help gauge how much data your business can comfortably afford to lose, measured in seconds, minutes, hours and/or days. Typically a different RTO and RPO values will be set for each system or business process, based on importance. For instance, you would likely set higher objectives for systems for which downtime would likely have the lowest business impact, such as email servers, versus mission-critical systems that directly impact revenue.

Assigning priorities to each proposed scenario can be handled using a “cold” versus “hot” scale, with higher RTO and RPO scenarios requiring a cold solution and those will lower tolerances requiring hot capabilities. For example, systems that can withstand a downtime of 24 hours or more without making a significant impact would be categorized as cold while systems with an RTO of 15 minutes or less would require a much more urgent – or hot – response.

The final step in the process is to officially calculate the expected ROI considering the following factors:

  • Unprotected downtime (amount of time required to restore operations without a formal disaster recovery plan in place)
  • Protected downtime (amount of time to recovery with a DR solution in place)
  • Hourly revenue (amount of annual revenue divided by the total number of working hours in a year)

By multiplying both downtime scenarios by the hourly revenue you can determine the potential loss associated with each. The difference between the two represents the loss that can be avoided by implementing a documented disaster recovery strategy.

From there, the formula for calculating the overall ROI of DR is as follows:

ROI = (Avoided loss – cost of disaster recovery solution/disaster recovery solution cost x 100%)

It’s important to point out that given today’s digital landscape, the risks associated with potential online security breaches and the subsequent downtime they can cause should play an integral role in the overall disaster recovery policy. Specifically, implementing a strong cyber security incident response plan that features automation as a central tool for monitoring, evaluating and addressing incoming incidents can help avoid potential losses that a successful breach can result in. This can and should also be considered when calculating ROI.

IT professionals who recognize the importance of cyber security incident response and a strong, established disaster recovery strategy can make a case for their cause by presenting the proposed ROI to key decision makers. By selling the value of such a strategy and positioning it as it rightfully should be – an investment rather than an expense – the chances of getting the financial backing needed will greatly increase.

To learn more about how you can beef up your company’s safety and security and limit costly potential downtime, give us a call today at 1-800-652-5601 or click here to request a free product demo.





EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)




Gartner: Automation – The Next Frontier for IT

Ayehu Named a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT AutomationA great article that originally published by Gartner. Contributor:

 

Managing growth and taking cost out at the same time is a requirement for digital business, but it’s not easy for IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders to achieve. Automation is the answer.

The benefits are compelling – automation improves accountability, efficiency and predictability, while reducing cost, variability and risk. So why aren’t more organizations further down the automation path?

Until now automation has been deterministic, where discrete manual steps or processes were automated to lower costs and improve quality of service. While this approach has provided incremental benefits, it doesn’t handle massive scale or dramatically reduce costs.

Milind Govekar, research vice president at Gartner, said IT organizations need to move from opportunistic to systematic automation of IT processes.

“IT organizations need to move from opportunistic to systematic automation of IT processes.”

“Most current use of automation in IT involves scripting,” said Mr. Govekar. “Scripts are more fragile than agile. What you end up with is disconnected islands of automation, with spaghetti code throughout the organization when what you need is a systematic, enterprise-wide lasagne.”

Scripting also reinforces a “hero culture” in IT. An individual solves a problem by writing configuration scripts or code to automate something, but when the person who wrote the script leaves the company, there is no record of it.

Start by cataloging what you have

Given the continued growth of automation technologies, many organizations don’t know what they already have. First, identify what automation exists within the organization already and rationalize as much as possible.

“The more you standardize the environment before automating it further, the better placed you will be,” said Mr. Govekar. “Don’t automate the mess – get rid of the mess first.”

Next, attack cultural resistance

Automation has implications for skills and job roles. Technical staff may ask, “Am I automating myself out of a job?” The answer is often yes.

“Automation maturity cannot, and will not, happen when the team required to implement automation technologies is resistant or reluctant,” Mr. Govekar said. “You need to incent the desired behavior by rewarding automation efforts and efficiency improvements, and instead of reinforcing the ‘hero’ culture, create a culture of process definition.”

Without leadership and coordination, adoption of automation tools will continue to proliferate throughout the IT organization, including tools with overlapping functions. Institute the roles of an automation manager and an automation architect, who will work with a team to coordinate current and future requirements, tool considerations and implementations.

There is no single automation

Automation in its many incarnations will be a pivotal linchpin in the future data center.

Most IT organizations have a plethora of automation technologies deployed. Gartner predicts that by 2017, 75 percent of enterprises will have more than four diverse automation technologies within their IT management portfolios, up from less than 20 percent in 2014.

As businesses start to implement smart technologies and automation of their own, I&O leaders will have to start looking at automation beyond the traditional opportunistic areas. This means investing in “heuristic” capabilities that capture human learning and then automate it.

Gartner clients can learn more in the report ‘Consider Heuristics the Future of Smart I&O Automation’.

Automation was discussed at the Gartner Infrastructure, Operations & Data Center Summit in Sydney, Australia this week. The Summit will also be held inMexico City, London and Las Vegas. Follow news and updates from these events on Twitter using #GartnerDC.

The topic will also be discussed at the Gartner IT Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit 2016, June 14-15 in Berlin. Follow news and updates from the event on Twitter using #GartnerIOM.

Ayehu Named a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation. Click here to learn more

Webinar: How to Turbo Charge Your Cyber Security Incident Response Strategy

cyber security incident response webinar CTAIs your cyber security incident response plan truly strong enough to keep your organization’s sensitive data safe from falling into the wrong hands? With cyber-criminals becoming more sophisticated by the day and their efforts multiplying at an alarming rate, no business is safe. More importantly, without the right technological tools, your IT department cannot adequately safeguard information, which means increased vulnerability and immeasurable potential loss.

What if there was a way that you could fortify your security strategy to make catching potential threats easier, more affordable and more efficient? Great news – there is! Automation can be leveraged as a force multiplier for your CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team), making your data, and your organization, much safer from would-be criminals. And while no plan can ever fully eliminate risk, the more you proactively strengthen your approach, the more you can mitigate any potential damages.

Want to learn more? Join us Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 at 12pm EST / 9am PST for a free webinar entitled “How to Turbo Charge Your Cyber Security Incident Response Strategy with Automation”. This informative presentation will delve in-depth into a number of helpful topics, including several compelling reasons why you should automate cyber security incident response as well as how to deal with several concerns associated with automated incident response.

We will also demonstrate a real-life scenario of this type of automation so you can witness it firsthand.

If you’d like to prevent your organization from becoming the next victim of a cyber-attack, this webinar is an absolute must attend.

Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot right away. Click here to sign up now!

 

2016 Trends to Watch for In IT Process Automation

2016 Trends to Watch for In IT Process AutomationWhen it comes to IT, one thing is always certain: change. It’s ongoing and seemingly endless. It’s something everyone within this chosen profession must be aware of and prepared for at all times. In the IT process automation realm, technological advancements and ongoing enhancements are occurring at a lightning speed. Are you ready for what’s to come? Let’s take a look at a few of the trends to watch for over the next 12 months.

IoT – The Internet of Things, or widespread connectivity of devices has been quite the buzz in technology circles. More and more applications, tools and devices are being developed, implemented and integrated with one another as we speak. For IT process automation, this will mean a greater ability to bridge the gaps between legacy and existing systems and create a more cohesive and blended IT environment.

Security – The lengths to which would-be cyber criminals will go to obtain sensitive information will only grow and become more complex and sophisticated. As a result, businesses of every size and industry will have to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from becoming the next victim. IT process automation will continue to be the go-to tool for fortifying cyber security incident response strategies.

Self-Service – These days, the ability to handle transactions in our day to day lives without the need for human interaction is on the rise. From online banking to self-checkout at the grocery store, IT process automation is something that all of us experience on a daily basis. In the workplace, wide-spread adoption of self-service portals will provide end users with the ability to handle many of the routine tasks that would normally have required a call or ticket to the helpdesk.

Standardization – In the beginning, automation was typically adopted on a singular-tool basis. In other words, a specific area of need was identified and an automation tool was chosen and applied only to that one area. This meant dozens of tools could be working independently, a scenario that was neither efficient nor cost-effective. Tomorrow’s IT process automation will provide a more comprehensive, cohesive and standardized approach across the board.

Lower Costs – As has pretty much always been the case, 2016 is expected to bring about additional cost savings as a result of IT process automation. Organizations will be able to streamline operations to maximize efficiency levels, shifting everything from mundane tasks to complex workflows away from the human worker and onto technology instead. The result will save businesses money, do more with less and allow them to achieve greater ROI.

What will 2016 bring for your organization? Could IT process automation be the answer to the challenges you’ve been facing?

There’s only one way to find out – try it for yourself! It’s as easy as downloading a free 30 day trial.

Don’t wait. Let technology help bring your business to the next level.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




Webinar: Streamline IT Incident Management, January 20

JOINT WEBINAR BY MIR3 AND AYEHU REVEALS HOW AUTOMATION CAN STREAMLINE IT INCIDENT MANAGEMENT

Webinar shows how prominent organizations today are using automated, closed-loop systems to enhance IT incident management

For many IT operations, the flow between incidents, alerts, and remediation is fragmented and involves time-consuming manual activities. In this webinar we’ll show how organizations today are using closed-loop systems with automated notification to streamline IT incident management and increase efficiency.

The webinar takes place on Wednesday, January 20 at 11:00am PT (2:00pm ET). Registration is required, though there is no charge to attend.

The speakers will explore a scenario where an IT system alert is intercepted by an intelligent, automated tool that parses it, and then launches a workflow that finds on-call team members or SMEs to address the alert. That same workflow can evaluate the incident and determine which stakeholders, customers or management resources should automatically receive an informational message.

The recipient can be offered options to trigger automated remediation steps, or standard forensic steps can be executed automatically to immediately begin the resolution process. At the same time, a help desk ticket can be generated and automatically updated every step of the way; once remediated, the ticket is closed by the system, and the alert is dismissed.

The presenters will introduce actual case studies of prominent organizations that have streamlined their IT incident management with automation.

The webinar will be presented by Janice Hight, senior director of sales engineering for MIR3, and Guy Nadivi, director of business development at Ayehu Inc.

About MIR3
MIR3, Inc. is the leading developer of Intelligent Notification and response software, which helps organizations enhance communication, protect assets, and increase operational efficiency. MIR3 technology enables advanced rapid, two-way communication for IT, business continuity, and enterprise operations for many of the Global Fortune 100 companies, as well as government entities, universities and companies of all sizes in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit www.mir3.com. Follow MIR3 on Twitter: @MIR3.

About Ayehu

Ayehu provides IT Process Automation solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents, simplify complex workflows, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure through automation. Ayehu solutions have been deployed by major enterprises worldwide, and currently support thousands of IT processes across the globe. The company has offices in New York and Tel Aviv, Israel. For more information please visit www.ayehu.com

Webinar: Streamline IT Incident Management, January 20

Why it’s So Important to Have an Incident Response Plan in Place

It's Time to automate!We recently touched on one of the latest big security breaches, which occurred when retail giant Target failed to properly handle an incoming cyber security threat. That one costly mistake cost millions of Target customers their privacy and brought global consumer trust to an all-time low. Now, another serious security breach has occurred, hitting 200 hospitals in the US and compromising the confidential data of 4.5 million patients. So what can you do to prevent your organization from becoming the next target of online hackers? Simple. Develop and implement a quality incident response plan. Here’s how.

Incidents are basically our first indication that a problem has presented itself. They’re often precursors to a much more serious disaster. So, if they’re not handled properly, the results can be catastrophic (just ask Target executives). When an incident occurs, it means something out of the “norm” has happened. The next step should be analyzing and prioritizing that incident so that the next appropriate course of action can be taken to address the problem, if necessary.

In terms of its severity, an incident can generally be defined as any event that, if unaddressed, may lead to a business interruption or loss. For instance, a virus getting introduced into your network starts as an incident. If not properly handled, however, that virus can cause irreparable damage. Upon further investigation, it turned out that the reason for the Target debacle was not so much that hackers got into the system, but that IT did not respond to the initial incident as they should have. The result was the disaster we all heard about on the news.

To avoid all of this, an incident response plan should be developed that includes the following actions:
  • Have a quality monitoring system in place
  • Identify the potential incident
  • Respond to the incident in a timely manner
  • Assess the situation, analyzing the severity of the incident
  • Notify the appropriate parties about the incident
  • Take appropriate measures to protect sensitive data and minimize impact
  • Organize, prioritize and escalate the incident response activities accordingly
  • Prepare for adequate business recovery support in the wake of any damage caused in the interim
  • Review process, making necessary adjustments, to prevent future similar incidents and improve the way they’re handled

In our recent article, we also discussed how IT process automation can help streamline the incident response process. First, you can integrate your automation tool with your monitoring system. That way, all incoming alerts will be handled according to the predefined workflow and serious issues don’t get missed.

Not only does automation help to ensure that critical incidents are identified, communicated, escalated and addressed in the timeliest manner possible, but it can also help identify potential risks by recognizing when something occurs that is out of the “norm” for business processes. This allows you to proactively intervene and hopefully prevent any issues from occurring in the first place.

An incident response plan is something that every organization should have in place. Don’t risk becoming the next business that appears on the news for a breach of confidential information. Get your IRP in place today, and optimize it with automation to proactively protect your business against dangerous cyber-attacks, both now and in the future.




eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




Is Removing Humans from IT Using Robotic Process Automation Really a Possibility?

robotIn previous articles, we’ve talked a lot about the fact that automation isn’t something that humans should fear, but rather something that they should embrace. That it is something that will not replace humans, but rather make their jobs easier and more efficient. But is there really a possibility that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will one day completely replace people in IT? And if so, is this an opportunity to embrace or something to fight against? Let’s consider it for a moment.

In one respect, allowing Robotic Process Automation to handle tasks that humans were previously in charge of is actually a huge opportunity for business, and for many reasons. First, it can drastically reduce the risk of costly errors. People inherently make mistakes – especially when their jobs involve repetitive manual tasks. One simple error can cause huge ripple effects across the entire organization and even result in lost revenue. Shifting to Robotic Process Automation for these tasks can eliminate this danger.

Replacing human work with automation can also help to improve efficiency. For example, IT Process Automation can take away the need for manual script writing and replace it with complex automated workflows that perform the required tasks faster than any human worker could. Additionally, self-service options eliminate the need for IT personnel to step in and perform routine tasks, such as password resets and system restarts.

So, does this mean that humans are slowly being eliminated from the workforce? Will automated machines – essentially robots – replace people as we move into the next generation of business? Well, yes and no. The fact is, Robotic Process Automation does present a huge opportunity for companies to save money, improve efficiency and output, reduce errors and much more.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re headed toward a nameless, faceless workplace that is filled with computers rather than people. Why? Because, in most cases the tasks that are being automated were meant to be automated. Back when corporations hired people to slave tirelessly, doing the same thing, day in and day out, where no thinking was necessary, there was no alternative. Now, with Robotic Process Automation, there is.

So yes, automation will replace many functions that were previously managed by humans – the functions for which computers and software are better suited. What this means for people is not that they will become a relic of the past, but rather that they will be freed up to focus on more important matters – matters for which human input is necessary.

While Robotic Process Automation will most certainly become a key component of ongoing success, the fact is, businesses will always need human collaboration, communication and innovation and these things cannot be replicated by computer programs and technology. For that reason, we foresee a future where IT Process Automation complements and supports human endeavors, but does not replace them. And from where we stand, that future looks bright for everyone.




IT Process Automation Survival Guide




How Managed Service Providers Can Gain Operational Efficiency and Add an Edge to Their Clients

Managed Service ProvidersIn years past, businesses had little choice when it came to managing their own internal IT operations. For many, the only feasible option was outsourcing. Today, with so many advancements in technology, the concept of outsourcing has shifted and more companies are bringing these services in-house. So, how can Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) compete and stay profitable? Simple. They must maximize efficiency while delivering the highest value proposition to their customers.

Do More with Less

The first step in staying successful as an Managed Service Provider is finding a way to get the most out of their employees while also keeping expenditure down. While hiring more staff may seem like the logical step to staying on top of tasks and delivering exceptional service, doing so would be too cost prohibitive for most firms.

As an alternative, Managed Service Providers can turn to technology and leverage the various tools available to them to help boost productivity without the need to bring on additional employees. IT process automation is an excellent solution to this dilemma, as it can alleviate many of the day to day tasks. Not only does this allow firms to keep staffing lean, but it also frees up those who would normally handle those repetitive workflows to focus on other key business initiatives.

By automating activities such as incident management, the program itself can handle much of the process without the need for human intervention. This improves response time and efficiency levels, which ultimately enhances SLA to the clients.

Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

One of the reasons MSPs are in a risky industry is because tech advancements, such as cloud hosting, have made managing operations in-house easier and more affordable. To counteract this, MSPs must make what they have to offer too valuable to refuse. Beyond just taking on the task of handling operations for a company in real-time, these firms must remain one step ahead. This means taking a proactive approach and identifying issues before they occur.

Again, the best tool for this task is automation. By leveraging a robust IT automation product that can be integrated with other existing systems, things like alert management can be streamlined to maximum efficiency. This reduces human error and allows problems to be corrected at a much faster rate. When an Managed Service Provider can demonstrate to a company that is considering hosting IT in-house that their services are much more valuable, they’ve won the battle for survival.

eyeShare for Managed Service Providers

To stay afloat in an increasingly volatile, highly competitive environment and disprove the impending “outsourcing is dead” theory, Managed Service Providers must continue to adapt. Performance will need to be at its highest with cost at its lowest. The only logical solution to this is IT process automation. This will provide the edge needed to remain ahead of the pack in the months and years to come.

Are you an Managed Service Provider that is feeling the pressure to perform better? Are you ready to see what the right automation tool can do for your business? 





eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s




Free Ebook: IT Process Automation Survival Guide!

Before you go on your Thanksgiving vacation, let us help you to leave with a peace  of  mind.

Download our new ebook: IT process automation survival guide!

This guide will help you prepare and get started with IT automation in a systematic and practical way, by answering some of  the most common questions:

IT Process Automation Survival Guide