3 IT Process Automation Implementation Mistakes to Avoid

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Planning an IT Process Automation ImplementationPerhaps you’ve heard enough about it that you’ve become convinced of its benefits. Maybe you’ve experienced it for yourself and you’re eager to leverage such a powerful tool for your own IT department. Whatever the reason implementing IT process automation is a wise choice. Yet many find themselves dealing with additional, unexpected headaches and having to put out fires when something inevitably goes wrong. To help you avoid falling victim to this type of situation, here are 3 common mistakes to be leery of.

Don’t be short-sighted.

While it’s advisable to start small when automating, this shouldn’t necessarily be how you approach the overall project. To the contrary, achieving the maximum benefits of IT process automation involves looking at how it will ultimately impact the big picture, or your organization’s entire infrastructure. That means even if your first order of business is to automate a single task or simple workflow, everything from how you choose the right tool to defining the scope of the project to testing and more should all be handled with the idea of making automation a central part of your business.

Don’t think only about the present.

Certainly automation is designed to make life easier for your IT personnel right off the bat. But while this technology does provide instant benefits, there is so much more that it can do over the long haul. Viewing ITPA as a long-term investment that will benefit your organization well into the future is especially important when calculating ROI and attempting to sell the pros of ITPA to key decision makers. This is why IT process automation should be viewed as a long-term investment rather than a quick fix. If you’re not quite sure how to accurately measure ROI for your automation project, this resource should help.

Don’t choose a product that’s not flexible.

Remember, if you’re going to focus on implementing automation for the long-term you’re going to need a tool that is flexible enough to integrate with other systems, apps and platforms. Be aware of this when evaluating various vendors and understand ahead of time what existing systems you’ll need the tool to work with. This can help you narrow your selection while also ensuring that you don’t end up with an IT process automation tool that is inflexible and not customizable, ultimately leaving you with little room for growth.

Rolling out IT process automation for your organization can help you streamline operations and provide a more efficient, error-free environment. That is, provided you don’t make any of the above mistakes. Knowing ahead of time what to avoid can ensure a smoother, more successful rollout and implementation for everyone involved.

Are you considering ITPA for your business, but not sure where to begin? Download a free trial of eyeShare today to try it for yourself.





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How “Free” IT Process Automation Software Can Cost You

How Free IT Process Automation Can Cost YouWho doesn’t love getting something for nothing – especially when you’re working with a limited budget and have to find creative ways to keep your business running efficiently, such as with IT process automation tools, without breaking the bank? While some of the products out there that are being offered for free are great, and can serve a purpose for your business, some of aren’t quite so beneficial after all. In fact, turning to the wrong type of “freebie” can actually end up costing you more money in the long run. Here’s how:

First of all, free products typically focus on providing a single-use solution. In other words, they’re designed to address one or maybe two problems that you or your team may be facing, but they aren’t all-encompassing. This is all fine and good until you step back and realize you’ve got a dozen different tools running at the same time, and none of them are actually working together. In some cases, they may even be working against each other. The result of this fragmented approach is decreased efficiency and increased chance of human error, both of which can be costly to your business.

Secondly, free IT process automation products are not usually designed to support a long term strategy, but rather to fix a present need. Any successful business person knows that in order to continue to be profitable, there must be a strategy in place that will account for both the present and the future. Without an effective long term plan, you’ll only be able to realize short term goals, and you may find your tools falling short over time. IT automation tools that you purchase, on the other hand, are much more robust and can be figured into the big picture and help you achieve long term goals.

Another way that free software may end up costing you in the end is that they typically lack real substance. When they’re built to be free, they’re usually missing several key components that could really take your business to the next level. This means your automation won’t be running on all cylinders and the results will ultimately fall short. Some are even temporary, so you may find yourself with no other choice but to purchase the full product in the end just to avoid having to start over again. If the full version isn’t much better than the free one, you’ve wasted valuable money that could have been spent on a better product.

Finally, there’s the age old theory that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re going to place your trust in free IT process automation, you’d better make sure you understand the motive behind the giveaway. These businesses are in it to make money too, and giving everything away isn’t going to do them any good….unless they can somehow rope you in via their free product to have to pay for other things, such as ongoing support or add-ons. Before you know it, that “free” tool has suddenly cost you more than it would have to simply purchase a quality product outright.

In short, while availing yourself of free products may seem to make smart business sense upfront, in the long run it may end up costing you more. Do you really want to take chances on a half-rate product that could end up doing the exact opposite of what it was designed for by actually costing money and hindering productivity and efficiency? The wisest choice, at least when it comes to IT process automation, is to do your homework and select a quality tool that isn’t free, but will produce the benefits your business needs over the long haul.

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IT Process Automation Survival Guide




The Benefits of ITSM Automation

Benefits of ITSM AutomationWhen it comes to the IT service management, the one universal objective all players have on their plate is that of making business processes as efficient as possible. This is not an easy feat by any stretch of the word, yet it’s absolutely critical if an organization is to maintain a steady level of success in such a highly competitive field. More and more IT professionals are realizing that the adoption of ITSM automation can help them quickly innovate in order to meet their overall business goals. Here’s why.

IT service management professionals face many challenges that can hinder their ability to achieve and sustain optimum performance. These obstacles include everything from lack of a clear ownership of tasks and initiatives to subsequent frustration due to inflexibility or poor adaptability. They also often face issues due to lack of relevant metrics needed to conduct in-depth assessments for the identification and documentation of best practices.

ITSM automation provides the solution to these and many other challenges. It also happens to be the most cost-effective tool for achieving a greater degree of efficiency, remaining in compliance and maintaining both speed and consistency across the entire organizational infrastructure – all while reducing costs at the same time. Furthermore, the right ITSM automation tool can provide more control and better visibility so that ownership and accountability are no longer an issue.

So what’s standing in the way? Given these obvious and highly impactful benefits, why haven’t more IT organizations adopted process automation for their internal operations? Well, one of the biggest reasons is the gap that exists between traditional ITSM solutions and today’s automation products. Additionally, many ITSM products were originally developed to focus primarily on data management more than process orchestration.

Because of this disconnect, and the resulting lack of flexibility, visibility and extensibility, many IT organizations have adapted by piecing together their own make-shift ITSM solutions, using multiple platforms that often do not integrate well with one another. Not only is this inefficient, but it also comes at a high cost thanks to the ongoing licensing and development needs. Furthermore, these mish mashed systems do not contain any built in ITSM-specific functionality. Instead of achieving better performance, the result is often frustrated staff wasting time duplicating work that the right ITSM automation tool would have already built in.

For optimum results, IT organizations must consider the adoption of a more well-defined and specially oriented automation product. The new class of ITSM automation solutions are feature-rich and designed to support the unique needs and challenges of the service management industry. Not only can these types of tools expedite and expand the automation process, but also improve other areas of difficulty, such as process modeling, reporting, compliance, visibility and scalability – all without sacrificing data management.

Want to learn more about how ITSM automation can optimize your organization’s performance?

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




IT Process Automation: Think Delivering Faster, Cheaper and Better IT Services is Impossible? Think Again!

IT process automation makes delivering better, faster and cheaper IT services possibleWhile IT professionals certainly embrace technology as an integral component of the ongoing success of any business, the “powers that be” view technology as simply a means to an end. High level management and other stakeholders in the organization don’t care about the driving force behind what’s making the company run efficiently and productively – they really just care about the results. The ultimate goal is to continue to deliver a high level of IT Services in a way that is faster and less expensive. How do I&O leaders accomplish this without having to reinvent the wheel? By prioritizing service management and IT Process Automation. Here’s how.

Identify

The first step in prioritizing automation for IT Service Management (ITSM) is identifying the key areas within the organization that need to be addressed – the pain points, if you will. What areas are causing the most significant delays, expenses, and general frustration both internally and externally amongst customers? The problem with service management is that the customer focus has somehow become lost along the way. To be successful, IT professionals must begin to regain that focus and realign their planning to match up with the needs of the customers.

Design

Once the areas that present the most need are identified, IT professionals can set to work designing and developing the most effective solutions to meet these needs. In many cases, automation will be a key factor in streamlining operations and making the business run more efficiently as a whole. The more efficiently run the business, the better the output and service levels for the customer, so it’s a win-win. Not only can individual tasks be automated, but entire manual workflows can be designed to address whatever unique barriers were holding that particular business back from becoming more successful.

Implement

With the right plan in place, implementation should be a breeze. That’s why the first two steps are key. New processes and workflows can be rolled out, first in the IT department, then across all lines of business to create a more efficient operation overall. The concept of each department as a separate entity should be replaced by a more unified approach where IT departments and other teams work together toward a common goal (as we pointed out in our recent article about DevOps and IT Process Automation.)

Optimize

The last step in the process is an ongoing one, and that is to continuously monitor, measure and analyze the outcomes to ensure that they are consistently optimized. IT personnel must ensure the ongoing availability and quality of business services, both within the organization and externally. Not only should they ensure that previous processes and workflows are still being run at the highest level of efficiency and improved productivity, but they must also work proactively to ensure continuous improvement moving forward.

Essentially, service management and IT Process Automation go hand in hand and are critical in streamlining and optimizing the operations of any business. Yet simply understanding and embracing this concept isn’t enough to make the process a success. IT professionals must learn to prioritize the process and execute it in the most effective and efficient way possible to achieve the ultimate goal of improving the quality and timeliness of IT service delivery. This will better ensure that the “powers that be” see the ever-important results that they rely so heavily on and keep the business plugging on toward future success.

Could IT process automation be the boost your IT department needs to achieve unprecedented success? Find out now by downloading your free 30 trial of eyeShare.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




How the Right Cyber Security Incident Response Strategy Can Help Mitigate Damages

How the Right Cyber Security Incident Response Strategy Can Help Mitigate Damages2016 is barely off to its start and cyber-attackers are already proving what many believe to be the most dangerous year yet. Just a few days into the New Year, the signature Web Attack: Mass Injection Website 19 began registering significant spikes. This particular signature is used to detect incidents in which a hidden script is present within a compromised website. When a user browses said website, the script which redirects the user to a website that hosts malicious code is triggered. An automated cyber security incident response strategy could mean the difference between a mere blip and a potentially huge impact.

Nobody is Immune

One of the most disturbing revelations from this latest cyber security event is the fact that not only did it impact thousands of websites in multiple geographic locations, but that many of those sites were among those people believe to be the most secure. For instance, a number of websites that were found to have been injected with the malicious script code, many were government sites as well as those ending in .edu. Prominent business sites were also among the targets of the attack.

What this demonstrates is that nobody is 100% safe from a security threat. The key is having the right cyber security incident response plan in place to help identify incidents as soon as they occur, before they have time to wreak havoc.

The Potential for Damages

While in this specific case there do not appear to have been any malicious downloads associated with this particular injection attack, that’s not to say that it’s not of significant concern. That’s because the attack is believed to be a possible act of reconnaissance in an attempt to learn more about users. The information gathered could very well be used in a future attack, which could include anything from SEO poisoning and the delivery of malware to compromised and unprotected users.

Automation = Mitigation

It’s important to point out that there is no way to truly prevent or avoid every potential attack that could occur. As criminals are becoming savvier, their attempts are becoming equally sophisticated. The best course of action is to develop and implement a cyber security incident response strategy that is comprehensive enough to help identify potential attacks immediately. Automation is critical to this process, as it allows round-the-clock surveillance and instant, automatic remediation.

By incorporating tools like IT process automation into your cyber security incident response plan, every single incident that could potentially be a threat is immediately identified and assessed behind the scenes to determine its validity and severity. The information gleaned from this evaluation is then used to determine the next steps in the process, whether it’s to execute a particular response automatically or to escalate the issue to be handled by the appropriate party. Notification can be set up to go out via email or SMS.

Even though cyber-attacks cannot always be completely prevented, having such a robust strategy in place allows for a more swift and effective response. This reduces the impact of an attack and subsequently allows for the mitigation of damages. For instance, instead of having to track back and identify the cause of a system outage, a process that could take hours or even days, the right cyber security incident response strategy will pinpoint the problem and help you reduce downtime significantly.

Does your security plan have what it takes to address the changing complexities of cyber-attacks? Don’t become the next victim.

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eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




Are You Maximizing Your ROI on IT Process Automation? Try These 5 Tips

5 Tips for Maximizing Your IT Process Automation ROIEven though  IT process automation has presented itself as a tremendous benefit for organizations of just about every shape, size and industry, there are still many decision makers that fail to recognize the value this technology can have for their own enterprises. In order to demonstrate how important automation is for the future of business, IT managers must find a way to improve ROI and demonstrate those benefits to the powers that be. Here are 5 tips for getting those ROI numbers to tip in the right direction.

Clearly Define Needs, Benefits and Expectations

Simply put, you cannot focus on improving anything – whether it’s efficiency through automation or the actual ROI it offers – unless everyone understands what to expect. Time should be taken to identify and define the specific needs of the organization, and then specify how automation can solve those problems and meet those needs. Once this information is gathered, you can then more accurately measure all of the specific areas where automation is producing a solid return and how. Factors to measure include effort reduction, mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR), lowered rate of error, compliance and system uptime. Improving each of these things will directly boost ROI.

Understand the Process and Where Automation Fits

The driving purpose behind process automation is to use technology to replicate repetitive, manual tasks. To improve automation ROI, one must dig much deeper than this basic concept to understand the entire process at hand and identify exactly how automation can be integrated for optimum results. Important questions to ask in this analysis include: What factors should trigger an automated process? What must occur before and after the automated process? What variables and inputs will be necessary to achieve the best outcome? Most importantly, how does automation fit with the big picture – the larger business process as a whole? While individual tasks could certainly be automated, automating the entire process may actually produce a greater value for the business.

Recognize the Context and Customize Accordingly

Capturing true ROI involves understanding the specific context in which the automated process in question is running and customizing that process for optimum results. For instance, the automated response to a critical incident, such a systems outage, during peak business hours should be markedly different than the response to a similar outage that occurs in the middle of the night. These contextual considerations should be built into the automation process and they should also be considered whenever measuring results. By customizing the process, the automation can execute different actions based on each scenario, thereby producing enhanced ROI.

Comprehensive Testing Prior to Release

Testing an automated process manually or in a development system can certainly be time consuming, but it’s absolutely critical to achieving optimum ROI. Before an automated process is rolled out into the live environment, it must be adequately measured to ensure that it is producing the desired results consistently and successfully. Once the automated process is released, ongoing testing is still highly recommended, as this helps to ensure that the triggers, inputs, actions and outputs are all running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Routine audits can also help to identify areas that could be improved for even greater benefit.

Ongoing Evaluation and Improvement

IT Automation may feel like a “set it and forget it” solution, but those organizations that reap the greatest rewards from this technology do so by taking a continuous improvement approach. Regular evaluation of how automated process are working and analysis of where they may be expanded to produce even better results is a must if you are looking to improve your ROI. IT professionals should be asking whether additional tasks could be automated, or whether existing automated processes could be integrated with one another or built upon for greater efficiency.

Individually, each of these 5 tips can have an impact on your overall ROI. When combined, however, they can help to improve both short-term goals as well as drive long-term strategies to produce the desired results of reducing human effort, improving operational efficiency, boosting service levels, reducing errors and downtime, remaining compliant and much more. The end product is a consistently favorable return on investment, which can help to win over those who are not yet on board with automation.





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




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!

 

4 Industries that are Killing it With Robotic Process Automation

4 Industries that are Killing it With Robotic Process AutomationRobotic process automation is a technology that can realistically be leveraged in just about any organization and in virtually any industry. Generally speaking, RPA is most suited for automating business processes which involve a particularly high volume of manual, repetitive tasks, which makes it ideal in the areas of clerical, rules-based and/or screen-based jobs – something most businesses are familiar with to some degree.

To date, however, there have been 4 industries in particular that are already reaping the many benefits of RPA to keep them competitive and relevant in a rapidly changing IT world. Let’s take a look at each of these industries below.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) – In the outsourcing market, the key to success lies in keeping costs as low as possible while also delivering the fastest, most effective service available. With human workers, there are limits to this which simply cannot be overcome. With robotic process automation, on the other hand, output can be maximized at a fraction of the cost, creating competitive advantage in a highly-saturated field.

Insurance – When you think about all the work that goes on behind the scenes in the insurance industry, from managing policies to filing and processing claims to underwriting and the countless other administrative tasks that are a necessary evil, it’s no surprise how well robotic process automation fits within this field. RPA enables insurance providers to manage all the necessary tasks across multiple platforms with ease. It also provides the scalability necessary to deal with the many changes and challenges those in this industry face on a regular basis.

Health Care – The administrative side of health care involves mountains of paperwork, tremendous file and data management and a whole host of other routine, repetitive tasks that used to be handled manually. Enter robotic process automation. This technology has revolutionized an already forward-thinking industry by streamlining the backend of things to maximize efficiency levels, reduce errors and keep costs controllable.

Financial Services – One of the commonalities all financial service providers share is that of dealing with a ton of data and transactions. Take, for example, the banking industry. From simple processes like deposits and transfers, to complex workflows, robotic process automation has effectively transformed this transaction-laden industry into one that is fast, effective and reliable. This has helped to improve customer service levels on top of making the lives of those who work behind the scenes much easier and more efficient.

Of course, these are just four of the countless other industries that are breaking new ground through robotic process automation.

Could your organization be the next? Check out these 10 most commonly automated tasks and then click here to start your free 30 day trial.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




What Will Be the Next Step in Cyber Security?

What Will Be the Next Step in Cyber Security? Cyber security experts around the world understand now that they can’t stop the next attack.

The main questions that still exist are: when, how, what will happen, would I know about the attack, and how much time will it take me to stop the attack?

Good Information Security Standards has always been to use layers, with one technology protecting the other. Unfortunately, in the end, after all security control has been implemented, what will happen? Will my organization be secure? Once the attack has been detected, what action will need to be performed?

In other words, a lot of questions are left unanswered. But what we can say with certainty is that the attackers are here. They may come from multiple backgrounds with different agendas, but they are most certainty coming.

My goal as a cyber security professional is to stop them. In order to succeed, I need to perform the right action every time, all the time. I need someone to be able to be as fast and as methodical as my attacker is.

The world has changed. Cyber-crime is a full-time business, and as with every business, time is money. With that, approved security experts need to develop the next phase of security.

Cyber security plans need to be strategized around delaying the attacker, solving problems faster and costing the attacker money and time. After all, if it’s not worth it, why do it?

So now, every file is checked with every technology available. Every entry is checked and every communication is examined. But then comes the biggest problem. Who can take the necessary action to verify and block all the attacks that are coming from multiple sources?

As cyber security professionals, we’re trying to think about what to look for in the biggest collection of information that’s ever been monitored. We’re trying to find the resources to understand what an attack is and then block it.

The problem is, we’re all looking at the problem in the wrong way.

Our attackers communicate. They use scripting and other systems to do a lot of the “heavy lifting”. If we want to be able to stop/delay them, we cannot place a person in charge of pressing the buttons. We need to be able to fight fire with fire, and even better – use guns against knives.

Instead of implementing a cyber security system that was design for everyone, let’s face it; our company is not like any other company. We strive to change things, using our own knowledge, experience and expertise to our advantage. We customize our security to best fit the protection we need, choosing the best security architecture for each organization.

At Ayehu, we use automation for cyber security along with customized security design that will make would-be attackers give up before they even reach their goals. So, instead of alerts reaching a level 1 engineer, passing though multiple systems and then communicating with level 2 for accessing more systems to mitigate the attack, we build the procedure and leave level 1 with the knowledge of level 2 and strict access to stop the attacker within level 2 devices.

By doing what we do best faster, and by adapting our security to the relevant risks (even if it’s by just a few seconds), we could CHANGE the outcome for the positive.





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




The Benefits of Keeping Run Book Automation On-Premise

The Benefits of Keeping Runbook Automation On-PremiseWhile many organizations are shifting their on-premise services to cloud solutions such as ServiceNow, RemedyForce and JIRA, the question that is coming up more and more is, should we move everything to the cloud?

Take, for example, IT process automation (a.k.a. run book automation). Is this business function really safe in the cloud, or should it be managed on-premise? Although the recent shift toward cloud technology seems to support the idea of every function being handled virtually, it’s important to note that there are still lots of risks associated with doing so. While keeping your datacenter, servers, and networks secured, does your Chief Security Officer allow remote execution protocols, which are fraught with security risks when accessed via cloud service?

One of the main advantages of an on-premise IT process automation solution is the fact that you can keep your data secure with no need to open remote protocols, i.e. SSH, FTP, RDP, Command line, etc. No sensitive data flows between your servers and the cloud management tools; therefore there are no additional risks added to your already vulnerable systems.

Another plus to managing your IT process automation in-house is that you are not limited to the level of automation you can achieve while you are on-premise. Instead of being subject to the limitations of whatever security policies, cookie-cutter hosting services are available, you have much more flexibility in terms of customizing the solution to meet the specific needs of your organization and scaling it to accommodate future growth.

Additionally, you can still automate tasks which are in the cloud from your secure on-premise server. So you basically get the best of both worlds without running the risk of a dangerous or costly security breach.

One argument often used as a criticism of on-premise run book automation is that it incurs a higher expenditure because it requires more IT personnel to effectively manage the system in-house. To the contrary – the automation itself actually frees up internal personnel because it automates repetitive and time consuming manual tasks.

Finally, there is the issue of connectivity with cloud-based solutions. When your systems are hosted, there is always a chance that a service disruption could occur, over which you have little control. On-premise software provides more control, reducing the likelihood of being unable to access your mission-critical data and systems on-demand.

So, when the question of whether every business function can, or more importantly – should be moved to the cloud, much thought and careful consideration must be given to each area prior to making a decision. While leveraging cloud technology makes good business sense in many areas, IT process automation might be one area best kept in-house. Doing so will provide the security needed to keep data protected on your hybrid infrastructure in the future, while also giving you the control and customization you need to achieve the full benefit of run book automation for your organization.

Experience secure, on-premise run book automation for your business. Download your free trial today.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate