Why IT Automation is Key for Continual Service Improvement

IT Automation is the Key to Continual Service ImprovementA successful business cannot thrive in today’s world unless it focuses on ongoing improvement in every area of its operation. Stagnation is, in effect, the backward motion of progress. This is where the concept of continual service improvement (CSI) comes into play. As the business grows and changes, CSI is applied to produce both small and large changes across every facet, from service to operational efficiency to business continuity. Yet true CSI cannot be accomplished, at least in terms of technology, without IT automation.

What is Continual Service Improvement?

In simplest of terms, continual service improvement examines past successes and failures to identify areas within a business that need to be changed, adapted and improved in order to make the organization as a whole more successful. In particular, the goal of the CSI process is to continually improve the efficiency and effectiveness of IT processes and services.

What Areas Can CSI be Applied?

The question should actually be what areas of your business could use improvement? The answer should inevitably be every area. However, CSI is typically a concept that is specifically aimed toward improving IT efficiency. An audit should be performed to identify those areas that are most in need of change, and then individual programs and projects can be defined, developed and prioritized based on the organization’s overall strategic objectives. In other words, CSI can effectively influence every phase of the business process, but is typically implemented in IT and in order of importance.

How Does IT Automation Fit In?

The basic foundation of a successful CSI process is an audit of existing processes. IT automation provides the capability to conduct such audits in an efficient, accurate manner to quickly identify areas in need of improvement. With automation, organizations can define processes and the critical tasks and workflows associated with them, and then determine which of these areas could use the most improvement.

As each process and workflow is identified and completed, active, real-time assessments can be conducted. These assessments can be applied to any task-based process, such as incident management, problem management or change management. They can also be applied to non-IT processes, such as project management or any custom application, essentially broadening the spectrum and extending CSI across the entire organization.

As we drive full-speed ahead into the future of work, the focus on continual service improvement will only continue to increase. This is due in part to more and more businesses beginning to understand the benefits of embracing this concept, and realizing its affects across their entire organization. It’s also due to the fact that IT automation is delivering innovative ways to help businesses implement the CSI process with ease and efficiency, making it easy to incorporate the concept into the everyday operations and, in essence, the very culture of the business.

In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change.” Let automation be the catalyst to the change your business needs for future success.

Download your free trial of eyeShare today to get started.





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




Automated Cyber Security Incident Response – Your Best Defense for Any Attacks

Automated Cyber Security Incident Response – Your Best Defense for Any AttacksIn the realm of online security, it’s often said that organizations must prepare for the so-called advanced attacks that could potentially occur. But what about the common, routine ones? In reality, it makes very little sense to focus primarily on preparing for a sophisticated enemy who might be launching a complex attack when there are dozens, hundreds or probably even thousands of basic attacks coming in on a daily basis. The good news is, with automated cyber security incident response, your company can defend against any type of attack.

If you read the headlines on any given day, you’ll inevitably realize that businesses of every size and in just about any industry are under heavy attack. Moreover, most organizations are struggling to keep ahead of their would-be attackers, the majority of which are – let’s face it – your common, run-of-the-mill hackers. While the issue can occasionally be due to the complexity of these violations, most often it’s simply due to the overall frequency and number of incoming threats.

Furthermore, it’s not even the ability to detect potential cyber-attacks that’s usually the problem. Monitoring system providers, like those that develop and market malware detection, are doing their part to stay a step ahead of the enemy, but identifying a threat is only half the battle. In fact, the area where most businesses struggle is in actually addressing these assaults and preventing them from going any further. At last check, it takes an average of anywhere from 45-65 days for an organization to resolve a cyber-incident. Imagine the damage that could be done in that amount of time!

In truth, it doesn’t matter if it’s the same type of attack that’s happened hundreds of times before. If it’s not dealt with properly, it could still have devastating results.

This is where automated cyber security incident response comes into play. Essentially, technology is able to match the relentless number of incoming attacks stride for stride and much more effectively than any human worker ever could. Unless your organization has unlimited resources and an army of dedicated security professionals, your defense against an army of attackers – at least from a human capital standpoint – is inadequate. That is, unless you have automation on your side.

With automated cyber security incident response, every piece of the puzzle is covered. From the moment a threat is detected, it is automatically analyzed for legitimacy and dealt with accordingly, whether that means it is resolved immediately or prioritized and escalated for additional attention. This is true for every single instance, even if there are thousands or tens of thousands – something that even the most skilled team of IT professionals could not manage on their own.

The reality is that, although it’s certainly important to recognize and address complex and sophisticated attacks, for most enterprises, the problem truly lies in the gap between detection and remediation. Automation is the key to bridging that gap once and for all.

Are you doing enough to prepare for and address any type of attack that might come your way? Could automated cyber security incident response be the solution for your organization? Why not try it for yourself?

Click here to start your free trial and start fortifying your defense today.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




What is Service Automation?

When one hears the term “service automation,” it’s natural to envision robotic machines serving humans. In fact, this is somewhat true to a certain degree. Generally speaking, service automation is a broad term that in most instances encompasses the concept of technology that is used to help human workers complete necessary tasks faster, easier and with greater efficiency. Beyond this, there are a number of different ways an organization might benefit from service automation. Let’s take a look at how and why this concept is becoming more and more popular by the day.

Streamlining Operations

In every business, there are always going to be certain repetitive tasks that may seem menial, but are in fact necessary to ongoing operational success. Unfortunately, because these services are often tedious, they also bring along a particular degree of inefficiency, which can be costly over time. They are also, by nature, more prone to human error.

Service automation leverages technology to transfer these manual, error-prone tasks from human to machine, speeding up the process and eliminating mistakes along the way. Work is performed faster, which drives up efficiency levels. It also frees up personnel to apply their skills and resources to more business-critical tasks, increasing productivity as a result.

Maintaining Control and Visibility

Today’s technology has made it easy and incredibly affordable for organizations of every size and industry to be able to manage their IT and other key initiatives in-house. One such area that has been particularly beneficial is that of service automation. Where a small to mid-sized business might once have been forced to outsource or rely on a third-party to handle things like maintenance and help desk support, automation has allowed these things to be moved back on-site.

There are many benefits to maintaining IT functions from within, not the least of which is the ability to stay in complete control of sensitive data and operational processes. With the right service automation tool, housing IT internally can also provide greater visibility, which accelerates and improves the decision-making process.

Facilitating Scalability

Another key area where service automation has virtually revolutionized how businesses function is the ability it provides for instant and powerful scalability. Managing change and accommodating increasing demands was once a significant hurdle that smaller and even mid-sized organizations once faced. In certain situations, such as a sudden and significant increase in workflow, existing human capital simply wasn’t enough to meet the changing needs, making it nearly impossible to compete with larger enterprises.

With the adoption of service automation, however, the amount of work produced can be increased (and performed without the risk of human error) on-demand at the veritable click of a button. This has dramatically changed the competitive landscape and leveled the playing field, opening the doors of practically limitless opportunities for companies of all sizes.

Service automation may come in a wide variety of flavors, but its basic concept remains constant in just about every instance and application. If you haven’t yet looked into how this advanced technology could benefit your business, the time to consider it is now.

Get started today by downloading your free 30 day trial of eyeShare and experience for yourself what a positive impact automation can have on the success of your organization.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




How to Master IT Automation (Even When it Seems Impossible)

How to Master IT Automation (Even When it Seems Impossible)It’s generally best practice (and therefore recommended) that IT automation projects be handled in a way that prioritizes them based on benefit, such as time savings, cost savings, improved service levels, etc. Of course, as with anything else in the IT world, we know that there will occasionally be situations in which automation simply isn’t so straightforward. So, what should IT professionals do in scenarios where implementing ITPA seems nothing short of impossible?

First, when you’ve identified a particular process or workflow that seems as though it will be challenging to automate, resist the urge to give up and move on. Instead, take a deeper look into the details of the process in question and ask yourself the following question:

Can some or all of the steps in this process be standardized?

If you answered yes, then automation is a very real possibility. It will probably just take a more in-depth analysis and strategy for doing so.

If the answer to the above question was ‘no,’ that still doesn’t necessarily mean automation is impossible. It just indicates the need for further consideration. For instance, it could be that the steps within the process are, in fact standardized, but they cannot be automated using traditional methodology. If this is indeed the case, consider the possibility that your solution may support execution that effectively side-steps GUI, but is instead command-line-based. Alternatively, many products allow for the creation of a GUI macro, so this is another option.

In either case, building out an automation strategy can be challenging, but not impossible. It will simply take time, as testing code for efficacy and functionality is required throughout the process. Additionally, complex scripting is typically required, which involves identifying the steps necessary to correct the problem at hand and then developing and writing a script that replicates those steps. A procedure is then required to define the criteria and outcome, including resolution or escalation as necessary.

Finally, all of these activities should be recorded and included in your log reports.

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Not to mention incredibly inefficient.

The good news is that while the scenario above is certainly a possibility for those ambitious enough (and who have lots of spare time on their hands), with the right automation tool, much of this is not necessary. In fact, today’s IT automation solutions not only feature rich libraries of pre-packaged workflows, but also provide the ability to customize processes without the need for scripting or coding. That means even those challenging situations, as mentioned above, can be streamlined and automated quickly and easily.

If you find yourself struggling with complex workflows and processes that seem impossible to automate, it may be a good time to re-evaluate your approach and consider all your options. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Ready to get started? Download your free 30 trial of eyeShare and experience for yourself how simple yet highly effective IT automation can truly be.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Rolling Out Robotic Process Automation – Best Practices

Rolling Out Robotic Process Automation - Best PracticesWe recently discussed the many distinct benefits that robotic process automation has to offer businesses of every size and industry. But what about those first few steps? How can one develop an implementation strategy that will make rolling out RPA as smooth and stress-free as possible? If you’re preparing to adopt RPA for your organization, here are a few best practices to keep in mind.

Involve the Whole Team – Even if the RPA technology will be managed by a specific department, such as IT, that doesn’t mean the implementation process should be exclusive to that group. To the contrary, nobody will understand the very processes you’re trying to automate better than the end-user. Tap into this resource during the planning and implementation process to ensure that every necessary angle is covered.

Make it a Collaborative Effort – Expanding on our previous point, the implementation of robotic process automation shouldn’t be handled in silos, but rather as a collaborative effort amongst all of the teams and departments that will be directly affected by this new technology. During the planning stage, it might be helpful to hold focus groups and gather as much feedback as possible from different perspectives. As a bonus, this process can help you identify change champions who will further support the adoption of your automation initiative.

Develop a Core Team – When it comes time to focus on which tasks and workflows should be automated and what each step of the implementation process should be, it’s always good practice to have a dedicated automation team to lead the cause. Most likely, this group would be made up of individuals from within your organization, but it may involve some external consulting, depending on the size and scope of the project at hand.

Leverage Self-Service – The goal of robotic process automation is to maximize efficiency and productivity levels. Self-service automation is a great tool for achieving these goals. Not only does it save the end user time and aggravation, but it also frees up your IT help desk personnel to focus their efforts on more strategic and complex issues. Incorporate self-service into your RPA initiative as much as possible.

Drive and Measure Adoption – One thing is for sure, nobody likes change. Driving adoption of a new technology, such as RPA, can be incredibly challenging. That’s why developing a strong and strategic change management plan is critical. It’s also why identifying change champions is such an important step, since these individuals will lead the charge on your behalf. If you’re dealing with resistance, check out these tips for managing change effectively.

As with anything else in the business world, preparation is the key to success when it comes to implementing robotic process automation. By planning ahead and keeping the above best practices in mind, your RPA initiative will be a much more positive and painless experience for everyone.



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




ATTN. Higher Ed Professionals: 5 IT Automation Benefits

ATTN. Higher Ed Professionals: 5 IT Automation BenefitsThe 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 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 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.

Reset or 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 automation software product, system 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 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 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!

To learn more about these and other common tasks your university can and should be automating, download a copy of our free eBook today – 10 Time Consuming IT Tasks You Should Automate, below.


eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




 

Upcoming Webinar: How to Integrate Amazon Web Services with ServiceNow in Minutes

AWS SNOWAmazon Web Services (AWS) is the undisputed leader of the cloud computing market.  According to Gartner,  AWS offers “…over 10 times more cloud IaaS compute capacity in use than the aggregate total of the other 14 providers in this Magic Quadrant.”  Meanwhile, ServiceNow’s best-of-breed cloud-based ITSM platform is undeniably the most prominent vendor in its market and, according to Gartner, appears on client shortlists “…at more than double the frequency of any other vendor”.

Clearly these two tech titans rule the cloud, but up until now, it hasn’t been easy integrating AWS with ServiceNow to leverage both of their strengths together on one platform. With eyeShare, however, this is now possible. More importantly, it can be achieved in just minutes.

Please join us on Wednesday April 27th for a live, virtual demonstration of how AWS can quickly and easily be integrated with ServiceNow, enabling an entirely new class of self-service for your end-users.  Using eyeShare’s IT process automation capabilities, we’ll demonstrate how resource provisioning requests that burden your service desk can be turned into automated workflows that end-users trigger on their own with just a few simple mouse clicks.

This webinar will demonstrate:

  • Current AWS resource provisioning conventions
  • Integrating AWS with ServiceNow
  • Off-loading AWS requests from your service desk to end users via a self-service portal
  • Fully documenting each provisioning event in ServiceNow

It’s a demo that will leave you dancing in the clouds. But don’t wait – registration is limited and full attendance is anticipated. Sign up now to reserve your spot and discover how easy it can be to integrate these two cloud computing giants and harness their joint capabilities for the benefit of your IT organization.

To register and reserve your spot, please click here.

LIVE WEBINAR: HOW TO INTEGRATE AMAZON WEB SERVICES WITH SERVICENOW IN MINUTES




4 Distinct Benefits of Workflow Automation

4 Distinct Benefits of Workflow AutomationWorkflow automation is virtually revolutionizing the way organizations conduct business. If you’re not yet familiar, this basically involves the creation and execution of a series of automated steps that make up a particular business process. Workflow automation is incredibly versatile. In fact, it’s currently being used in virtually every business function, from IT to HR and marketing. Why are so many adopting this innovative technology? Well, for starters, it offers the following 4 distinct benefits.

Faster, Error-Free Work – Like it or not, humans are…well, human. That means they can only produce so much output of work in a given amount of time. It also means that the work they produce will inevitably be prone to error. Workflow automation can process work at a much faster rate and also eliminates the risk of costly human mistakes. Better, error-free work is always a plus.

Better Allocation of Resources – More than likely, the people you have working for your company possess a great number of valuable skills (otherwise, you probably wouldn’t have hired them). Many of these skills and abilities cannot be duplicated by machine. What workflow automation can do, however, is free up those experienced professionals to whom you’re paying a salary to be able to focus their efforts on more important business critical tasks.

Empower Employees for Greater Efficiency – When manual tasks and processes are shifted to workflow automation instead of human personnel, efficiency levels will go up in every facet. For instance, let’s say you’ve set up an automated process for password resets. Previously, this would require the end user to open a helpdesk ticket and wait for it to be processed. Likewise, IT workers would be bogged down by menial requests such as this. With automation, however, workflows are executed instantly.

Improved Communication and Visibility – Many workflows and processes involve more than one component. Some even require input from different departments altogether. When workload automation is adopted, it brings everyone together to communicate what needs to be done and how. And because these processes are being handled electronically, with the right tool, visibility and accountability also improve.

When faced with the many advantage workflow automation can provide, the question should then shift from ‘should you adopt this technology for your organization’ to ‘why haven’t you done so already’?

Get started today by downloading a free 30 day trial of eyeShare and start leveraging the power of workflow automation to power-up your business.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Ayehu Software to Present at ServiceNow’s Knowledge16 Event in Las Vegas

Banner3April 19, 2016 – Ayehu Software Technologies Ltd., industry leading developer of lightweight, enterprise-grade IT and security process automation solutions will officially be one of the exhibitors at this year’s ServiceNow Knowledge 16 event. The 6 day event is scheduled to take place May 15-20, 2016 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

Representatives from Ayehu will be on-hand to offer attendees – particularly ITSM professionals – live demonstrations of the eyeShare product. Specifically, these demos will provide real-time insight into how IT process automation, when integrated seamlessly with ServiceNow, can create a closed-loop process that accelerates incident management and resolution. The result is a significant improvement in problem resolution time, an increase in service availability, and improved overall IT operational efficiency.

Ayehu eyeShare IT Process Automation, integrated with ServiceNow, provides ready-to-use workflow templates and run-books that extend ServiceNow ITSM capabilities. Instead of manual repetitive tasks and lengthy service desk procedures, users are able to create automated processes in minutes that accelerate incident response and resolution.

The Knowledge16 event offers a 6-day agenda jam-packed with hundreds of interactive activities, demonstrations, hands-on labs, breakout sessions and unprecedented networking opportunities. With an anticipated attendance of upwards of 10,000 participants, this event will be the world’s largest gathering of service management professionals, offering attendees the chance to become a part of shaping the future of the service-centric enterprise.

“We are beyond thrilled to be a part of this year’s Knowledge16 event,” comments Ayehu Co-Founder and CEO, Gabby Nizri. “At Ayehu, we always design our product features with the specific needs of the end-user in mind. Being a part of this ServiceNow conference allows us to connect with our customers and prospective customers on a personal level, which allows us to continue to develop and offer automation solutions that address their true pain points most effectively.”

Ayehu representatives will be located at booth #1829 to offer demos and answer questions. For more information on the event or to register to attend, please visit http://knowledge.servicenow.com/.

About Ayehu

Ayehu technology helps IT 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. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com.



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




Cyber Security Incident Response: Dealing with Ransomware

Cyber Security Incident Response: Dealing with RansomwareIf you haven’t heard of the latest form of cyber-attacks, the time to get acquainted with what’s known as ‘ransomware’ is now. With this type of threat, hackers obtain access to a user’s system and lock it up, offering to release control back to the user in exchange for a monetary payment. Just as its name suggests, this new type of online crime essentially holds the victim’s information hostage for ransom, and unfortunately, it’s something that both individuals and businesses must prepare for. Here are some basic steps you can take to beef up your cyber security incident response plan accordingly.

Prior to an Attack

As always, when it comes to cyber security incident response, the best offense is a strong and well-planned out defense. The following steps will help you be more prepared in advance for a potential attack:

  • Adopt a system that is capable of detecting ransomware quickly and effectively
  • Fortify any threat detection system with automation for enhanced protection
  • Educate all team members on what ransomware is, what signs to look for that will help identify a potential attack and who to notify in the event of an incident
  • Always ensure that all important data is properly backed up and stored in a separate location
  • Ensure that all members of your incident response team – from IT and legal to executives – have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities should a ransomware attack occur

During an Attack

Unfortunately, despite our most valiant efforts and solid cyber security incident response plans, threats may sometimes make it through the detection process. The key is taking the appropriate actions to help mitigate the potential damages that could occur as a result of an attack. If you find yourself dealing with a ransomware attack, don’t panic and focus on the following:

  • Do NOT pay the demand for ransom (and make sure all team members are aware of this policy)
  • Immediately disconnect any and all systems impacted by the attack from the network
  • Take appropriate steps to remove the virus if possible
  • If the virus is successful in its attempt to encrypt files, remove those files that have been affected and replace with backups

After an Attack

The other important component of a strong cyber security incident response strategy is dealing with the aftermath once an attack has occurred. Hopefully, provided you’ve followed the appropriate protocol, the damages will have been limited and no serious impact will have been incurred. A good post-attack strategy will also help you improve your incident management practices in the future.

  • Notify the appropriate authorities and regulatory agencies
  • Analyze how the attack occurred and identify areas where security should be improved
  • Review your current incident response plan and make necessary adjustments
  • Document and communicate any and all changes to team members for future reference

Like it or not, ransomware is a real and present danger to businesses in every industry today. A well-defined cyber security incident response plan can help protect your organization from becoming the next target of would-be criminals and keep your systems and sensitive data safe from falling into the wrong hands.

Want to beef up your IR plan and make it safer against threats like ransomware? eyeShare is the perfect solution. Download your trial today to get started.





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes