3 Ways Financial Institutions Can Use IT Process Automation to Reduce Costs

• 3 Ways Financial Institutions Can Use IT Process Automation to Reduce CostsThere’s no question that technology is changing the way businesses in every industry are run. Perhaps in no field is this more evident, however, than that of finance. Practices such as electronic banking, mobile payment applications and digital check cashing are quickly replacing traditional transactions and financial institutions are finding themselves in a race to adapt as quickly and effectively as possible in order to remain competitive while also keeping expenses down. IT process automation can provide the missing puzzle piece that brings everything together and lowers costs. Here’s how.

Quick, Efficient and Adaptable Workflow Creation

The financial sector is riddled with complex and strict regulations. The ability to quickly adapt to the changing climate while also remaining compliant is critical to any financial institution’s ongoing success. Unfortunately, this used to involve the use of custom scripting and other manual tasks, which took a great deal of time and resources. Furthermore, having to modify processes based on changes to policy and/or regulations meant even more labor-intensive work.

The widespread adoption of advanced IT process automation tools, however, is completely revolutionizing the way these things are done. Instead of manual scripting, automation can be customized to handle everything from simple tasks to complex workflows. No more time wasted researching, developing, coding and testing. This also dramatically reduces errors. Additionally, these tools are designed to be modified in just minutes. As company and regulatory changes occur, business processes can be adapted with ease.  All of this results in a tremendous savings of both time and money.

The Power of Big Data

It seems the term “Big Data” was just coined recently, but in fact, it’s been a huge part of the finance industry for a very long time. The challenge has always been the ability to take the inordinate amount of data and information coming in and fleshing out what’s relevant in the most timely and efficient way possible. To this day, IT personnel are charged with this hefty task. How they accomplish it, however, is changing.

In simplest of terms, Big Data requires that all data (both structured and unstructured) be passed through a transfer application. The information is then stored in a data platform from which it is later extracted, translated and loaded so it can be accessed via a business intelligence (BI) platform. IT process automation is the tool that brings everything together by acting as the central hub of all systems and applications. This facilitates end-to-end execution of workflows and ensures that all processes run as scheduled.

Resource Optimization

Organizations in every industry are making the shift toward hybrid cloud adoption to help reduce expenses and gain the scalability and flexibility needed to adapt to changing resource needs. The challenge still exists, however, in managing and monitoring these resources. In short, IT personnel must keep a close watch on who has access as well as which systems should remain up and running and which idle systems should be turned off to avoid costly waste.

IT process automation can help financial institutions to maximize their resource usage by automatically provisioning and de-provisioning cloud systems. The ITPA tool can be programmed to detect when systems are idle and subsequently scale back. Conversely, as additional resources are required in order to ensure successful workflow execution, IT process automation can automatically free up the appropriate amount. And all of this can be done without the need for human input, saving the organization money.

As you can see, IT process automation has the potential to significantly improve operations of organizations in the financial sector (and beyond) while also minimizing costs. Could your firm use a little help in this department? Download your free 30 day trial today and see what a difference automation can make.




IT Process Automation Survival Guide




5 Common Cyber Security Incident Response Mistakes You’re Probably Still Making

5 Common Cyber Security Incident Response Mistakes You’re Probably Still MakingGiven the exposed vulnerability of big-name corporations to cyber-attacks, you probably already know how important it is to keep your systems as secure as possible. What you may not be aware of, however, is that you may be committing a number of common mistakes without even realizing it – mistakes that could be placing your infrastructure at great risk. Let’s take a look at 5 such errors so you’ll know what to avoid in your cyber security incident response strategy.

1. Inadequate Patching

Would-be criminals are constantly trying to find ways to sneak in the back door, so to speak, and if you’ve not properly dealt with weaknesses within your systems and infrastructure, then you’re leaving yourself wide open to become a target. Patches are sometimes necessary, but they should always be handled properly and followed up with actual solutions to mitigate risk.

2. Weak Password Policies

Having a password policy is an essential component of a cyber security incident response plan. This policy should include certain requirements that make it impossible to use simple (i.e. easy to hack) passwords. It should also require that all users periodically change their passwords to further prevent a possible breach. To make this easier and more efficient, businesses can leverage self-service and automation.

3. Accessing the Web on Unsecure Connections

We live in an increasingly mobile society, which means any number of your employees and colleagues could be accessing the web via work devices while on the road. Unfortunately, the convenience of working from the local coffee shop also presents a higher risk of breach because these places often feature networks that aren’t adequately secured. Your cyber security incident response plan should include documentation and specific instructions for mobile work.

4. Not Covering All Your Bases

You may think your infrastructure is secure because you have a quality monitoring system in place. The problem is, just because alerts are being monitored doesn’t mean they’re actually being handled properly. A solid cyber security incident response strategy should also include automation that will properly analyze and prioritize incoming incidents and assign them to the appropriate party for attention. This closes the loop and provides a greater level of defense.

5. Thinking it Could Never Happen to You

Often times a smaller organization ends up falling prey to a cyber-attack because they failed to recognize their vulnerability. These days businesses of every size and industry are at risk, so you must be diligent and proactive about developing and implementing a strong cyber security incident response plan to preventbecoming a victim.

Is your business committing any of these common security mistakes?

Could you use a more robust cyber security incident response plan?

Download this free eBook: 5 Reasons you Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response 





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




How Small Businesses Can Benefit from IT Process Automation

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There’s been a lot of buzz about IT process automation over the past decade or so, but most of it tends to be used in the context of larger companies. And while it’s certainly true that ITPA is incredibly beneficial at the enterprise level, it can be equally advantageous for smaller businesses. Here’s how.

Save Time

Small business owners often don’t have the luxury of hiring many workers to whom they can delegate certain tasks and responsibilities. Many times the company must run on a veritable skeleton crew with a few key employees wearing multiple hats. Saving time is also crucial because time is money. IT process automation can take much of the menial tasks off the plates of busy employees, freeing them up to maximize their time and efforts for the good of the business.

Lower Expenses

Most small businesses must operate on a limited budget, optimizing every penny they spend so they can maximize profits. Hiring a crew of IT personnel simply isn’t an option. One of the key benefits of IT process automation is that it can dramatically drive up efficiency and increase productivity. More importantly, with the right ITPA tool, this can be done on just about any budget.

Reduce Errors

No matter how great your IT workers are, they’re human, which means they’re inherently prone to making mistakes. A small error for a huge corporation may not be that big of a deal, but for a smaller sized company, the impact can be nothing short of devastating. Employing IT process automation can eliminate this risk, mitigating potential damages.

Do More with Less

For small to mid-size businesses, hiring a whole crew of IT personnel often isn’t an option. Yet those who are hired will still need to be at the top of their game, handling a broad spectrum of important tasks. Leveraging IT process automation can take much of the weight off busy workers’ shoulders, maximizing output without the need to bring in more staff.

Competitive Advantage

It used to be that small businesses could only really compete with other SMBs. Now, with technological advancements like IT process automation, organizations of every size and industry are able to keep up with the competition, even those businesses that are much larger. Thus, it has opened the doors to increased opportunity and virtually unlimited potential.

Curious about how you can leverage IT process automation for your small business?

Check out these 10 tasks you can start automating today and then contact us to get started.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Is Your Cyber Security Incident Response Plan Ready?

Internet Security System

It seems like almost weekly there’s a new report of some big name brand being hacked and the subsequent outcome of hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions of people having their sensitive information compromised. These days, online security is something every business must think about, regardless of size or industry. Is your cyber security incident response plan truly strong enough to handle a potential attack? Let’s take a look.

First and foremost, is it up to date? One of the biggest reasons organizations fall victim to cyber-attacks is that they fail to recognize the sophistication of their attackers. Nowadays, hackers are constantly adapting their tools and strategies until they’re successful, and if you’re not also staying up to date with your cyber security incident response, you’re more vulnerable than you may think. The first step in ensuring adequate security is to keep your strategy fluid.

Additionally, many businesses leave themselves open to attack by only considering half of the equation. Even the best monitoring system won’t protect your data if you’re not able to adequately field all the incoming alerts. This is precisely what happened to Target a few years back. They had a great monitoring platform in place, but could not keep up with the myriad of incoming incidents. As a result, the one that compromised the personal information of millions was able to slip through the cracks undetected until the damage had already been done.

A robust and highly effective cyber security incident response plan must also include a secondary process which essentially closes the loop between alerts and their subsequent resolution. IT process automation can do just that, and even better, it can achieve optimum results without the need for additional human workers. IT simply integrates ITPA with the existing monitoring system so that all incoming alerts can be instantly and automatically identified, analyzed, prioritized and assigned.

With this type of cyber security incident response strategy, your organization can rest a little bit easier knowing that any and all incidents will be detected and properly addressed the moment they arise, thereby avoiding the risk of becoming another Target (literally and figuratively).

Furthermore, a comprehensive security plan that includes sophisticated tools like ITPA can make predicting and proactively preventing possible attacks easier and more effective. That means your business can stay a step ahead of your would-be attackers.

Regardless of size or industry, businesses everywhere are facing the growing challenges of keeping sensitive data safe from the clutches of cyber criminals. Knowing what ingredients go into a solid, effective cyber security incident response plan that is designed to adapt to the changing climate can help protect your organization both now and in the future.

Not sure if your strategy is up to par? Could automation provide the added level of security you need? Contact us today to learn how we can help or download our new eBook: 5 Reasons you Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




Benefits of Combining IT Service Management (ITSM) and Automation

Benefits of Combining IT Service Management (ITSM) and AutomationIT professionals are probably already aware of the many benefits IT service management (ITSM) and automation present when used individually. What many have still not taken advantage of, however, is the enhanced positive impact combining the two together (ITSM automation) can have on both operations as well as the business as a whole. Here’s how.

First, let’s examine some of the many benefits of IT process automation on its own:

  • Lower cost of operations
  • Reduction of costly human errors
  • Faster process execution
  • Adaptability and scalability based on changing business and IT needs
  • Ability to adjust to the ever-shrinking pool of IT resources
  • Taking repetitive, menial tasks from skilled IT personnel so they can focus their efforts more effectively

Now, let’s take a look at some of the specific advantages IT  service management has for a company, based on a report by Forester:

  • 85% improvement in staff productivity, allowing the business to become more competitive
  • 83% improvement in quality of service, which increases uptime and enhances customer service
  • 65% improvement in reputation of the business
  • 41% reduction in operational costs – money which can be reinvested in newer and more innovative initiatives

As you can see, some of the benefits of each of these disciplines when used individually overlap.

Finally, let’s go over some of the ways combining the two into IT service management automation can further enhance these benefits.

  • Reduces the need to depend on people, as best practices are clearly defined and IT automation is leveraged to allow technology to do the heavy lifting
  • Subsequent reduction in people dependency brings with it a greater cost savings to the company as a whole
  • Enhanced reduction in human error
  • Accelerated and improved incident response process
  • Greater IT service delivery process, which improves both internal service levels and external customer satisfaction

These incredible results make it that much clearer that ITSM automation is the way of the future when it comes to leveraging both IT best practices and sophisticated process automation tools. Where one alone can be powerful, combining the two will bring business benefits to the next level.

Are you ready to develop and implement an effective IT service management automation strategy for your organization? It all begins with a simple download.

Start your free 30 day trial today and learn firsthand how you can put this strategic combination to work for your business!





5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation




Surprising Benefits of Robotic Process Automation: Scalability

Surprising Benefits of Robotic Process Automation ScalabilityImagine how much your company could accomplish if you had a veritable army of employees at your disposal. More importantly, what if these employees were perfectly happy waiting in the background for the next time you needed them? Believe it or not, that’s precisely what you’ll get with robotic process automation. Let’s take a look at the surprising way RPA can provide your business with the scalability you need to stay on top of your game.

Instant Access

With human workers, it’s not feasible to dramatically increase your workforce whenever the need arises, nor is it easy to decrease your numbers when things get slow. There’s a complicated process behind all of this and time is not on your side. With robotic process automation, however, you have a team of robots who are ready, willing and able to get the job done at any given moment.

Consistency

Bringing different employees up to speed via on-boarding and training can be challenging and time-consuming. Not to mention the fact that you have to initiate the entire process over again every time someone new joins the team. Robots, on the other hand, can be “trained” in groups of any size with the outcome being routine and perfect consistency across the board.

Cost Savings

Recruiting, hiring, training and retaining talented employees costs money. In addition to robotic process automation providing the ability to scale up or scale down instantly as well as train and deploy thousands of bots while maintaining complete consistency, all of this can be done at a reduced cost to the business.

Now, let’s take a look at a few real-world applications of these benefits.

Scenario 1

Your business is launching a new product and, as a result, will incur a substantial increase in transactions. Your current workforce is already maxed out and you don’t have the time or the ability to hire any additional employees. Robotic process automation can step in and bridge the gap, handling the influx of work at any capacity necessary without the major hassle and expense of staffing. Then, once things settle down, you can scale back down to normal as needed.

Scenario 2

Business has been particularly lucrative as of late and you’ve had to increase output significantly to meet the increased demands of your customers. Suddenly, the market takes a turn for the worse and your numbers start to rapidly decline. With robotic process automation in place, you won’t have to face the possibility of laying employees off. Rather, you could just scale back the number of robots.

Scenario 3

One of your biggest competitors has launched a new product or service and you’re scrambling to develop and implement something similar. Chances are you can’t afford to hire a slew of new employees to help bring your comparable product or service to market and doing so would take too long. Conversely, putting too much pressure on existing team members could result in costly mistakes and QA issues. RPA, on the other hand, is available at the ready to take on whatever is necessary for you to remain competitive.

Without question, robotic process automation has the potential to bring your business to the next level. Are you ready? Give us a call today or download your free 30 trial now to get started.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




5 Ways IT Process Automation Can Benefit Institutions of Higher Education

5 Ways IT Process Automation Can Benefit Institutions of Higher EducationThe challenges many universities and other higher education institutions face today involve the lack of qualified IT staff members and a shortage of highly skilled support staff. Add to that the astronomical number of students and teachers that need quick answers and/or resolutions to their many questions, as well as the fact that just about every student has either their own laptop (BYOD) and also uses campus computers makes it very complex to manage and operate a successful and efficient IT operation.

IT process automation has the solution that can address these and other common challenges that many higher education institutions are facing. Here are 5 specific pain points that ITPA can address, providing quick resolution and a reduction in human error and manual labor.

Password Resets / Unlock Accounts

With thousands of students and hundreds of faculty members, IT personnel for any given university will inevitably find themselves wasting precious time on routine tasks, one of the biggest of which is password resets. With IT process automation, the end user is empowered to handle many of his or her own needs, such as resetting their own passwords and unlocking their accounts through the use of self-service portals. This makes for a faster turnaround and therefore a better user experience, and it also frees up IT staff to focus on more important tasks.

Reboot Computers

Many updates and maintenance activities require a reboot of the system in order for the changes to take effect. Instead of relying on the end user to handle this task, potentially delaying and causing further problems system-wide, reboots can be automated. This saves time and improves both efficiency and usability of the entire infrastructure.

Restart Services

One of the biggest time wasters for IT professionals is the need to monitor and address system shut-downs. With the right IT process automation software product, service restarts can be handled remotely via email or text message. The software monitors the systems constantly and identifies the need for a restart the very moment it occurs. What’s more, these workflows can be fully customized to include as many, or as few, triggers and steps as desired.

Monitoring Alert Notifications

Keeping track of incoming alerts is incredibly time consuming. It also leaves a lot of room for human error. Just one alert falling through the cracks could spell disaster for your entire IT operation. One of the biggest benefits of leveraging IT automation software is the fact that the program itself can take the reins on monitoring and managing incoming alerts. These means a much smaller margin for error and a more organized plan of action to ensure that alerts are addressed in a timely and efficient manner.

User and Machine Provisioning

The right IT process automation product can provide the ability to instantly and seamlessly create new Active Directory users as well as provision new Virtual Machines as needed. Customized controls can be set to authenticate and authorize any new AD user accounts and VMs can be integrated right into the recovery process. All of these configurations can be predefined and customized to meet the exact needs of the particular university. Of course, these are just a few of the many benefits that IT process automation can have for the higher education industry.

If you are currently involved with IT operations for a university or other educational facility, ask yourself one question: what could your team do with more time and fewer manual tasks? The potential is virtually limitless!

Faced with shrinking budgets and increasing IT demands, a growing number of colleges and universities are turning to IT process automation as a way to stretch their bottom dollar and boost IT efficiency. 

What Does IT Process Automation Mean for Entry-Level IT Jobs?

What Does IT Process Automation Mean for Entry-Level IT JobsIt’s no secret that IT process automation is taking the IT world by storm. As this new and improved technology continues to be widely adopted and embraced by businesses of every industry, however, it will inevitably bring about changes to the workforce itself, particularly in terms of entry-level IT jobs. Let’s take a look at how ITPA will impact this demographic and, more importantly, what can be done to soften the blow.

The Old Ladder is Becoming Obsolete

Years ago, the way to move up the ladder in the IT field was to begin at the ground level. Up-and-comers would start in entry-level positions, learning the ropes and improving their skills along the way. As they beefed up their experience and honed their expertise, they naturally transitioned into more specialized positions. Today, thanks in large part to IT process automation, this career path is quickly becoming obsolete. After all, why would a company pay a human to perform what a software product can do faster, more accurately and at a much lower cost?

A New Dawn of Opportunity

So does this spell the end of the road for those just entering the IT field? Should they scrap their educations and shift their focus to other industries? Not necessarily. Just because IT process automation is eliminating routine, entry-level tasks doesn’t mean there isn’t still ample opportunity for humans within the IT realm. It just means that the landscape is changing. Rather than starting at the bottom and working their way up, those interested in a career in IT will need to become much more savvy right out of the gate. Businesses will be looking for candidates that have the skills and experience to do what technology still cannot – much more complex and advanced work.

Fundamental Changes on the Horizon

The inevitable changes that IT process automation is bringing will require a shift from the ground up. That is, schools will need to adjust their curriculum and focus to provide a more robust and comprehensive education. Students will need to be armed from the get-go in order to be marketable once they’re ready to enter the workforce. As existing roles become obsolete and/or evolve into more advanced positions, those seeking careers in IT will need to be ready to take on these new challenges.

So, while IT process automation will certainly have an impact on so-called entry-level IT jobs, in the end it will only become that much more lucrative for those who successfully break into the industry.

Want to future-proof your IT career and ensure that you’re ready for the changes that are sure to come? Check out these 10 time-consuming tasks that you can and should be automating today.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide