How IT Process Automation Can Be Your Emergency Power Off Button

How IT Process Automation Can Be Your Emergency Power Off ButtonIn today’s digital age, the risk of an emergency shutdown for businesses is growing greater by the day. Is your data center prepared to handle such an emergency? Should the power go out – either due to a natural disaster or something else – what plan do you have in place to conserve energy and save precious battery power? You may not realize it, but IT process automation may be just the tool you need to be proactive and prepared ahead of time. Here’s how.

You’ve probably already heard the term “EPO”, short for emergency power off button. This is essentially the “big red button” that is in place to shut down all operations within the data center in the event of an emergency or disaster. The problem with this concept is that it essentially equates to an “all or nothing” approach. When activated, the EPO button will cut power to everything in an instant. If this happens in error, or worse – as an act of deliberate sabotage, the results could be incredibly costly.

What if, instead of setting your system up for complete shutdown in emergency situations, you were able to automate a sequence of processes that would shut down specific servers according to internal policies and priorities when power is limited? That way, those systems that are most critical to the business can continue to operate as needed, while other, less critical functions are shutdown to preserve battery or generator usage.

With IT process automation, you can plan ahead for a potential disasters by determining precisely which systems should remain up and running and which ones can comfortably be turned off in a predetermined order. When activated, the designated workflow will be initiated automatically, allowing those managing the situation to focus on other important matters, like getting things back up and running again as quickly as possible. This process is especially helpful in preventing file corruption or data loss.

The process of initiating an automated emergency shutdown workflow is similar to traditional EPOs in that it can be put into action with just one click. The difference, of course, is that because the workflow has been developed ahead of time, that one click sets into motion whatever series of events you have programmed it to do. Rather than shutting down the entire data center, IT process automation gives you the control to keep your most critical systems up for as long as necessary.

IT process automation can be used to handle an emergency shutdown from start to finish. A workflow would be created ahead of time that would include a series of predetermined steps ordering which systems to be shut down, and in what order. Once established and in place, the automated workflow would simply need to be initiated by the user in charge of handling emergency situations. Once activated, the system shutdown would begin and would continue on until the situation has been resolved. Then, it’s simply a matter of reactivating all systems to full capacity again.

This type of strategy helps to better manage a power outage, as well as reduce the risks associated with having a traditional EPO, since only those systems deemed to be less important would shut down if the workflow is triggered – either accidentally or deliberately. The most critical systems will remain up and running, greatly mitigating the potential damages of a total shutdown.

Does your organization have a plan in place for an emergency situation? Don’t leave it up to chance. Protect your data center and its most critical functions by leveraging IT process automation as your EPO.  Download your free 30 day trial today to get started.

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

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

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

RPA will replace humans.

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

You can automate everything with RPA.

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

RPA is only for IT.

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

All RPA solutions are the same.

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

RPA is a passing fad.

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

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

Get started now by downloading a free trial of eyeShare.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

How to Maximize Efficiency (and Profits) in Your Organization

How to Maximize Efficiency (and Profits) in Your OrganizationToday’s consumers have come to expect lightning fast turnaround and self-service options from the brands with which they do business. As a result, companies have had to adapt quickly and implement internal work processes and operational strategies that are directly in line with these changing customer expectations. Only those that successfully do so will remain competitive and continue to be profitable. If you are struggling to become a more efficient enterprise, workload automation might be the ideal solution.

To facilitate successful adoption of workload automation, there are certain key elements that must be determined and accounted for. For instance, the volume of data being processed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, time-frames and SLAs, as well as whatever accuracy challenges your business is currently facing. Producing accurate information in a timely manner requires that the right data is transferred securely and managed accordingly. It also requires a single point of control.

Due to the broad range of packaged and custom applications most companies have in place, attention must also be given to consolidation and integration in order to avoid costly resource conflicts. Management can now leverage workload automation as part of the operations process for virtually any area of the business. For example, forecasting when tasks will be performed and completed and then using automated provisioning to respond to incidents and address resource shortages can help ensure that all SLAs are consistently met (or even exceeded).

Ad hoc business transactions can also be optimized through workload automation. This is typically done through self-service interfaces, which allow the end-user to manage whatever task is needed without requiring any human intervention. This, of course, assumes that there is a seamless connection between IT operations and the rest of the business. It also requires a certain degree of abstraction which allows any user – regardless of technical ability and know-how – to define workflows without the need for complicated scripts.

In today’s fast-paced, technology-based world, job scheduling has undoubtedly evolved from the bare basics to advanced automated solutions. There are three main requirements for this transformation.

Centralized Control

First and foremost, you must maintain control of all activities in one centralized location. Because the entire enterprise is run on business process scheduling, and because these processes are all run on the same infrastructure, implementing workload automation can be compared to a juggler keeping all the balls in the air. Someone must ensure that every ball (business process) remains in flight and does not collide (conflict) with the others.

Workload automation must therefore become an enterprise-wide initiative. Systems and applications should remain interconnected to ensure smooth operations across the entire infrastructure. The good news is, most of today’s automation tools have been specifically designed to support existing solutions with the goal of enhancing the benefits of each to maximize efficiency, minimize errors and produce at the highest rate possible. For example, a company that already uses a particular software for help desk ticketing might integrate workload automation to facilitate a more self-service, autonomous business environment.

Timely Completion

The next requirement is that tasks and processes be performed efficiently and completed on time to meet proposed SLAs. Regardless of where the processes are scheduled from, the vast majority of them are critical to successfully delivering accurate information, both to employees as well as to customers. Most business leaders are already a step ahead of the game with forecasting, but struggle when it comes to controlling the process and being agile enough to adapt in the event of failure or resource shortage.

Where workload automation comes into play is in the ability it affords to monitor, analyze and manage things like performance, availability and capacity in real-time. Essentially, technology is running around the clock to ensure that any and all scheduled tasks are performed successfully. Should something go wrong, such as a system outage, the appropriate remediation strategy can be triggered, initiated and carried out instantly and without the need for human assistance. This ensures more timely and accurate performance, which greatly improves satisfaction levels, both internally and externally.

Self-Service Automation

Finally, for the benefits of workload automation to be fully realized, self-service options should be adopted in as many areas as are feasible. The end-user should be able to select from a pre-defined catalogue of various options and initiate the execution of the process of their choice on their own. This dramatically reduces the pressure on the IT department and frees up valuable resources while also creating a more efficient, productive working environment. When people can do their jobs better and faster, everyone benefits – from the empowered end-user to the focused IT professional to the customer who is served more quickly and accurately.

Workload automation essentially represents the marriage between IT automation and business process automation. As we move forward and begin to realize even greater advances in technology, organizational leaders would be wise to shift their thinking and planning from tactical to strategic and begin viewing automation as a tool for achieving much more than just better operational efficiency. For now, it’s a pretty good place to start.

Are you getting as much out of your operations as possible? Could workload automation be the answer to meeting (or exceeding) your business goals, particularly in terms of efficiency and profitability?

Why not get started today for free by downloading eyeShare? There’s no obligation – only opportunity.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

Lack of Cyber Security Incident Response is Costing UK Businesses Big Time

Lack of Cyber Security Incident Response is Costing UK Businesses Big TimeBusinesses today are under increasing attack by cyber-criminals, with often devastating consequences. One area of the world where these risks are posing a significant impact is in the UK, where security breaches are responsible for an estimated £34.1bn. Yet, despite this alarming fact, almost half of all UK firms admit they do not have an adequate cyber security incident response strategy in place.

Growing Concern

A recent study polled over 500 UK businesses located about crimes that have impacted their organizations over the past year. The study also examined business leaders’ current concerns surrounding the important topics of security and resilience. What was revealed was that key leadership personnel rank computer viruses and data breaches (theft) as the biggest threats to their companies. Over 1/5th of survey respondents admitted they are “highly concerned” about these threats and 1/3 of those polled (mostly larger organizations) list fear of hackers as a significant concern.

A Costly Problem

About half of those surveyed said they currently have cyber security incident response plans in place that they feel adequately protects their networks. 18% said they have taken extensive measures to protect against hackers and nearly 3/4th confirmed that they have insurance in place to cover any losses caused by a successful breach. Yet, despite the growing concern and recognition of the increasing risks, 44% of UK firms admit they only have basic levels of protection in place. Furthermore, 1 in 8 has experienced infrastructure damage due to malware in the past year at a cost in time, money and resources of about £10,516.

Another revelation of the survey in question was that larger and mid-sized businesses are at a significantly higher risk of becoming a victim of malware – almost twice as likely as smaller companies. 7% of organizations polled had been struck by hackers over the past 12 months, with the average cost of each successful attack coming in somewhere around £16,264. The risks associated with data theft also increased along with the size of the business, with some 16% of larger firms becoming victims over the past year.

What is essentially playing out is akin to an arms race between businesses and those who wish to do them harm through cyber-attacks. Leaders must go beyond simply recognizing that these types of attacks are detrimental to their ongoing success and focus on developing strong, solid cyber security incident response strategies that will be agile enough to combat an increasingly sophisticated enemy. In other words, knowing and taking action are two entirely different things with equally contrasting outcomes.

A Proactive Approach

The solution lies in taking a much more proactive approach to cyber security. Organizations must focus on employing advanced solutions that can facilitate seamless integration with monitoring platforms to create a much more comprehensive and impenetrable defense. Additionally, attention must also be given to the development and implementation of strategies that deal with more timely and effective response and remediation. Incorporating automation into the mix can further enhance and fortify the process.

A Board-Meeting Must

As most professionals are painfully aware, the biggest hurdle to adopting and implementing any new business strategy is quite often obtaining buy-in from key decision makers. Yet, with the number of threats growing in complexity and frequency, there has never been a more important time to position the importance of a strong cyber security incident response plan in front of board members. IT personnel can more effectively persuade those in charge of budget allocation by offsetting the investment with the costs and other critical consequences of successful cyber breaches to demonstrate quantifiable ROI.

Regardless of tactic taken, it is absolutely imperative that the topic of cyber security be placed front and center until it is properly addressed. If you are concerned that your organization isn’t adequately protected from would-be cyber-attacks, the time to take action is now.

Get started by downloading a free 30 day trial and help prevent your UK firm from becoming another statistic.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

6 Key Ways IT Automation Can Help You Meet Today’s Tech Challenges

6 Key Ways IT Automation Can Help You Meet Today’s Tech ChallengesToday’s IT professionals are under increasing pressure to perform at the highest level while simultaneously saving money, reducing downtime and maximizing operational efficiency. These demands will only likely increase as the years go by, which will require new and better solutions that can effectively meet and exceed these tech challenges. One such solution is IT automation, which is multifaceted, lean and versatile enough to support organizations of every size and industry. Here’s how.

  1. Monitoring – Critical networks, systems and applications can wreak havoc when they go down, especially when that downtime is unscheduled and therefore unprepared for. IT automation can facilitate ongoing monitoring so that problems are detected immediately and can be properly addressed in a way that reduces and/or eliminates potential negative impact to the business.
  1. Risk Management – As your organization grows, so do the many external threats to your network and sensitive data. IT professionals must ensure optimum security levels amidst this growing risk while also keeping their operations as efficient and cost-effective as possible. IT automation can bridge the gap between need and available resources to reduce vulnerability and keep networks protected.
  1. Configuration Checks – The vast majority of network issues can be attributed to faulty device configurations, but staying on top of ongoing audits can seem next to impossible given the extensive list of other demands the IT department is facing. Automated configuration management resolves this dilemma while reducing the risk and accelerating the detection and response time of configuration-related problems.
  1. Network Access Control – With increasing adoption of BYOD policies, IT pros have their work cut out for them, particularly in terms of controlling network access and managing IP addresses. Conflicts that arise can result in network downtime, which means a drop in productivity and subsequent financial impact. This can be avoided by using IT automation to centrally manage, monitor, alert and report on the IT infrastructure.
  1. Govern Virtualization – With virtualization taking up such a significant portion of the entire server workload, it’s absolutely essential that IT remains capable of governing virtual machines, and in the most efficient, effective manner possible. The solution can be found in automated virtualization performance monitoring, configuration management and subsequent capacity planning.
  1. Adopt/Embrace/Promote Mobility – With today’s technology, more organizations are realizing the value of virtual teams and a mobile workforce. Of course, this new way of working also presents new challenges to IT. Automation can facilitate consistent, centralized monitoring and reporting, regardless of user location. Additionally, advanced tools allow full visibility and control from anywhere, so IT employees will no longer have to remain chained to their desks in order to perform their duties.

From monitoring and control of networks, servers and applications to risk management and much more, IT automation can help ensure peak performance and ongoing success today and well into the future.

Are you ready to start taking advantage of these benefits? Download your free trial of eyeShare today to get started!

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes