Firewall Outages Plaguing Your Business? IT Automation Could be the Key

Firewall Outages Plaguing Your Business? IT Automation Could be the KeyWithout question, we live in a world where staying connected is critical – especially in business. Today, organizations of all sizes and industries rely on technology to manage day to day operations and remain competitive. What kind of an impact would an outage have on these businesses? What if that outage was to last for several hours or more? In many cases, the trickle-down effect could be devastating. So, how can one prevent such an outage from occurring in the first place? The answer is simple: automation.

In many instances, the problem of system-wide outages can be tied to the management of the company’s firewall. Every business has a duty to protect confidential information, which is typically done through the use of a firewall. This essentially allows users to access the web while also automatically weeding out and protecting against incoming hackers, viruses and other malware. Unfortunately, when that firewall experiences some type of failure, the entire connection becomes suspended, leaving end users with the inability to access the web, either externally or internally.

What is the main cause of these devastating firewall errors and, more importantly, how can they be prevented? Recent research revealed that the main source of firewall outages is human error. In fact, a whopping 1/3 of businesses have admitted to having this issue. The problem is mainly due to the fact that so many organizations still continue to manage firewall changes manually, which leaves the door wide open for costly mistakes and serious miscues. The result is often a systemic shut down across the entire network.

Just how many and with what frequency are these outages occurring? At last check, some 33% of organizations polled admitted that they had experienced at least 5 or more outages in the past year – outages that were directly related to their firewall management. What’s more, among companies that are categorized as being in the financial services industry, 17% reported that they’d experienced more than 11 outages over the last year. That’s nearly one outage each and every month!

So, what’s the solution? What can be done to combat these statistics, particularly in a climate that is shifting more and more toward cloud adoption and virtualization? The fact is, with all of these changes, network security is simply becoming too complex to be handled by humans. Even the most seasoned IT professional is capable of making a costly mistake, of which, even small ones can cause significant, system-wide problems. The only way to truly reduce the risk associated with managing firewalls is through IT automation.

When the human component is removed from the process, not only does the risk of error go down significantly, but it also frees up IT professionals to focus on other important business matters that cannot be automated. The good news is, more and more key decision makers are starting to realize this fact and are embracing IT automation as a valuable tool to improve IT performance while maintaining security and compliance, and most importantly – reducing incidents of down time.

What impact would a firewall outage have on your organization? Don’t take any chances. Protect your company with IT automation. Click here to start your free 30 day trial of Ayehu today.

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

What is IT Orchestration (and Why Should You Care)?

What is IT Orchestration (and Why Should You Care)?Before your organization can realize the full benefits of IT orchestration, it’s important to obtain a complete and accurate understanding of what an environment is like both with and without this powerful tool. Let’s delve into what orchestration is and explore some of the many ways it can improve enterprise operation.

What is IT Orchestration?

While it may sound like a relatively complex concept, in reality, IT orchestration as a function is actually quite straightforward. Simply put, orchestration involves the coordination of automated tasks and workflows across various tools, teams and environments. Specifically, IT orchestration can be used to coordinate processes designed for managing any of the following:

  • IT Incidents
  • Service Changes
  • Service Requests
  • System-Generated Activities and Events
  • Routine, Repetitive Tasks and Workflows
  • Ad-Hoc Activities

In an orchestrated environment, the majority of IT’s daily functions are automated. In fact, manual intervention by humans is the exception rather than the rule.

Benefits of IT Orchestration

Orchestration presents a wide variety of benefits for businesses, from improving efficiency and accelerating processes to boosting service levels and more. Most of these benefits can be categorized into three main tiers, as follows:

  • Savings of Time and Money – Orchestration is effective in reducing operational costs by automating and streamlining time-consuming, repetitive and manual tasks and workflows. This dramatically improves productivity while also freeing up skilled IT agents to focus their abilities and expertise on more strategic business initiatives. In other words, orchestration facilitates a more optimized allocation of resources.
  • Reduction of Errors – Orchestration enables the creation and execution of predictable, repeatable processes which can be automated. Not only does this help in terms of establishing a consistent, reliable IT environment, but it also eliminates costly human error, which ultimately improves the organization’s bottom line.
  • Speed Operations – The time required to deploy and provision business services can be greatly reduced by implementing orchestration and automation. This makes overall operations much faster while also reducing escalations. Furthermore, by automating the incident management process, organizations can also significantly reduce mean time to repair, ensuring that critical system outages are minimized and downtime extremely limited.

What Process Can be Orchestrated and Automated?

Given the vast number of processes, tasks and workflows that can be shifted from human to machine, it might actually be easier to list what cannot be automated and orchestrated. But, for the purposes of this article, here are a few commonly automated IT processes:

  • Incident management
  • IT service request fulfillment
  • Cloud orchestration
  • Database management
  • Server provisioning
  • Change management
  • Application orchestration
  • Disaster recovery

It should be noted that only processes that are well understood, well defined and have a standardized approach should be automated. Trying to automate a process or workflow that is inherently flawed from the start is an exercise in futility.

Who Should Consider Orchestration?

Any data center or IT department seeking to operate more effectively and efficiently can benefit from adopting automation and orchestration technology. This type of platform can be used to standardize repetitive tasks and workflows, both routine and complex, reduce delays across the infrastructure and ultimately empower the end user to handle many of their own IT service needs.

The good news is, you don’t have to make a huge investment to learn whether orchestration is right for your organization. In fact, you can try Ayehu’s fully functional IT automation and orchestration platform completely free for 30 days.

Experience for yourself what a difference the right technology can have for your business. Start your free trial today!

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

Ayehu Receives Application Certification from ServiceNow

servicenow certified logoNext generation IT automation platform integrated with ServiceNow delivers next-level ITSM workflow productivity and efficiencies

Orlando, FL –- May 9, 2017Ayehu, provider of a leading enterprise-grade IT automation and orchestration platform, today announced that it has received ServiceNow certification. To earn the certification, Ayehu has successfully completed a set of defined tests focused on integration and operability, security and performance. Additionally, the certification ensures that Ayehu utilizes best practices when integrating and implementing its software platform with ServiceNow.

“ServiceNow is a leader in IT Service Management and many of our customers recognize that adding automation delivers game changing benefits,” said Gabby Nizri, CEO of Ayehu. “Our integrated solution saves valuable time and dramatically improves results for the IT team. The certification validates our automation and orchestration platform, and improves our ability to reach new customers.”

Rapidly scaling, complex technologies have driven the need for integrated automation solutions. Ayehu acts as a force multiplier, driving efficiency through its simple and powerful IT automation and orchestration platform.  The platform provides ready to use, closed-loop workflow templates that extend ServiceNow’s ITSM capabilities. Using Ayehu, IT operations teams can reduce time spent on manual and lengthy service desk procedures, accelerate incident response and mean time to resolution (MTTR), and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure.

Ayehu’s integration with ServiceNow provides users with the ability to:

  • Automatically open, update, and close tickets and query tables in ServiceNow
  • Dramatically reduce alert storms
  • Bridge heterogeneous platforms through unified workflows
  • Accelerate the reporting, escalation, and resolution of incidents
  • Enforce problem and change management procedures such as ticket status

Ayehu’s next generation IT automation and orchestration platform is available at the ServiceNow Store.

Ayehu will provide live demonstrations of its next generation platform at ServiceNow’s Knowledge17 Conference (Orlando, Orange County Convention Center, May 7 -11) in its booth #708.

For more information, visit https://ayehu.com/integration-packs/servicenow-integration/.

About Ayehu

Named by Gartner as a Cool Vendor, Ayehu’s IT automation and orchestration platform is a force multiplier for IT and security operations, helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure. Trusted by major enterprises and leading technology solution and service partners, Ayehu supports thousands of automated processes across the globe. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com and the company blog.  Follow Ayehu on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

How to Land a Skilled CISO

In today’s ever-evolving threat landscape, the role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) has never been more critical – especially for larger enterprises. As such, these in-demand executives have become a hot commodity, with companies clamoring to attract, hire – and most importantly – retain a skilled cybersecurity leader of their own. What’s the secret to success? Well, while there’s certainly no magic formula, there are a few key considerations that might just help your firm stand out as the ideal option for landing that talented security expert you’ve been after.

Breaking it all down…

Hiring a great CISO is a two-part process. First, your organization is tasked with locating the ideal person for the job. This part is relatively easy, because it’s something that you can control to some degree. Your hiring manager (CEO, board of directors – or whoever is tasked with filling executive roles) can search sites like LinkedIn and any of the selection of career boards to locate candidates that possess the skillsets and experience you’re seeking.

The second part of the process isn’t quite as straightforward because it involves a decision on the part of the candidates you’re courting. As mentioned, CISOs and other skilled cybersecurity professionals are in high demand today, which meanHow to Land a Skilled CISOs it’s a job seekers marketplace and probably will be for some time now. These experts have their pick of employers from which to choose. It’s up to you to demonstrate effectively why your organization is the right choice, and this is no easy feat.

One of the biggest challenges companies seeking to hire a CISO face is showing candidates that they’re approaching the hiring decision from the right perspective. Unfortunately, many companies don’t jump at bringing in a cybersecurity expert unless and until they’ve experienced some type of crisis – usually a major security breach. If you are among these organizations looking for a quick fix to your security woes, don’t expect the industries top talent to be chomping at the bit to join your team.

The best way to win over a qualified candidate for the job is to do so during normal business operations, as this is a long-term strategy that will benefit both parties. The key is to view this hire as filling an overarching need within your company. After all, effective cybersecurity isn’t something reactive, but rather a proactive and ongoing function within the business. Just as a CFO is there to oversee the continuous accounting activities of the company, the CISO should be a part of managing everyday operations of your security team, not just put out fires that already occurred.

Different strokes for different folks…

An important thing to consider when searching for a CISO to bring onboard is the current status of your company’s cybersecurity program. Different things may appeal to various candidates, and certain strengths may be more beneficial to focus on when finding the right match. For instance, if your security strategy is still in its infancy, seeking a leader who is particularly adept at the planning phase might make more sense. The other two areas to consider include execution and optimization.

Becoming a frontrunner…

Once you’ve got a better idea of what type of CISO would be best suited for your needs and you’ve begun to map out your strategy for the long-term, versus finding a quick-fix, the last step is making your organization stand out as a frontrunner amongst all the other employers vying for your ideal candidate’s attention.

The more established and equipped you are in terms of the value you place on cybersecurity (i.e. showing commitment to investing in the best tools and technology, such as automated incident response, etc.), the more attractive your offer will become and the more likely you’ll be to win over the expert you’ve got in your crosshairs.EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

How MSPs Can Thrive In The Intelligent Machine Age

http://www.channelpartnersonline.com/blogs/peertopeer/2017/04/how-msps-can-thrive-in-the-intelligent-machine-ag.aspx

This article was originally published as a guest post on Channel Partners.

The age of intelligent machines and automation is upon us. Because they eliminate the need for humans to perform simple (and not so simple) tasks, machines and bots are a boon to managed service providers and IT outsourcers. Fail to take advantage of automation, and you will eventually be unable to compete.

The threat isn’t existential yet — the MSP market is expected to reach $242.45 billion by 2021, so there’s plenty of work to go around. But the competitive landscape is shifting, enterprise IT environments are becoming increasingly complex, and forward-thinking solutions providers are taking steps to get on board with automation and standardization because they understand that they’ll be essential to staying in the game.

For often talent-strapped MSPs and managed security service providers, without automation, bringing disparate technologies and systems online while moving resources to the cloud equals a complicated, manual IT workload. Add to this the escalating urgency to contain costs while improving service levels, and it’s no surprise that managed service providers of all types are worried.

Of course, managing innovation, complexity and cost is not a new problem. For decades, we’ve seen technologies come and go with the expectation that we’ll make it work, no matter the cost. That’s partly how IT has gained notoriety for being a “cost center.” But in reality, IT is not a cost center — it’s a resource hog. The more complex technology becomes, the more specialized and general IT resources we need to add, because it’s not as if the legacy stuff goes away.

This model cannot be sustained. MSPs must take steps to improve efficiencies in their own companies and for customers. Top priorities include delivering on SLAs, cost containment, connecting disparate systems from one client environment to the next and onboarding new customers using a repeatable and seamless process. All that requires automation.

Take the task of onboarding a customer that uses one ITSM system while the MSP uses another. Several issues arise — not the least of which is the sheer scale of human resources needed to align the two systems or switch the customer over. An MSP that can’t replicate tasks and workflows across its customer base can’t control costs.

The bottom line is that MSPs need to find a way to become not only experts in IT and security operations but also aces in efficiency. Thus it follows that intelligent automation will become the MSP’s best friend.

ROI Factors to Consider               

A wide range of intelligent automation solutions exist today, and the choices can be overwhelming. However, to get on successful track, consider these key ROI factors when evaluating options:

  • Technology features: How does the solution apply machine learning, artificial intelligence and other technology that adds value to what you are trying to achieve? What is the supplier’s road map?
  • Ease of use: Solutions that require no coding and minimal training will save you significant time and headache. Choose options that can deliver enterprise-level functionality and that virtually anyone on the IT staff can be successful with out of the gate.
  • Integration: Solutions that don’t integrate with existing systems will create a whole new set of challenges. Opt for those that offer integration out of the gate and open APIs for future flexibility.
  • Cost efficiency: MSPs must improve efficiencies through technology. With the rise of IT automation, more effective use of limited resources reduces costs and increases ROI.

Machine learning, along with other advanced technologies, has helped to propel the adoption and implementation of intelligent automation. By applying machine learning to IT process automation, manual, repetitive tasks are eliminated while gaining the benefit of intelligent suggestions and recommendations based on past history. Combined, this results in major efficiency gains, significant cost reduction, and greatly improved service delivery.

Machine learning also has the potential to enable an MSP to shift its focus to value-added services, realize increased margins and improve SLAs for a truly competitive differentiation. When used appropriately, automation and machine learning can equip MSPs to not only remain competitive, but blaze a path for future success.

To view the original article, please click here.

Ayehu Software Names Stefano Brozzetti of CHAMP Cargosystems as Latest ITPA Super Hero

IT Process Automation Super HeroAyehu Software, industry leading developer and marketer of enterprise-grade IT process automation and orchestration solutions for IT and security professionals, has named Stefano Brozzetti of CHAMP Cargosystems as the latest recipient of its ITPA Super Hero Award. Stefano was selected for his use of IT process automation (ITPA) to create a more efficient, streamlined working environment for his team and his organization as a whole.

In his role as Sr. Manager of Technology Architecture, Stefano is no stranger to automation. In fact, ITPA is one of the pillars of CHAMP Cargosystem’s IT strategy. And prior to implementing the Ayehu platform, Stefano and his team had experience using automation tools to add business value, both from a company perspective (shorter reaction time, consistency, effectiveness, accuracy in ITIL procedures), as well as from a people perspective (staff can focus on innovation and high value tasks rather than on repetitive, low value operations; engineers are summoned outside of business hours for technical problems far less often; better quality of work and life).

Automation is the winning tactic in the battle to reduce operational costs. Yet automation also helps CHAMP improve service quality and reliability for its customers who, being in the cargo airline business, work 24/7 and require extreme uptimes. The one thing missing from the equation however, was integration with existing systems – namely ServiceNow and Solarwinds. The team wanted to move to the next step in terms of organizational maturity, equipping the company with a tool capable of providing automated workflows with seamless interfaces to their core systems.

Stefano set out on a mission to find an automation engine capable of integration – that would facilitate auto-ticketing to create a dynamic, intelligent and flexible alerting process. He and his team took a close look at the Ayehu platform’s robust features and, after some discussion, conducted an exhaustive testing phase. It didn’t take long for them to recognize that the Ayehu platform was exactly what they were looking for.

The integration has been pretty simple and straightforward. Once Stefano and his team understood the platform’s mechanisms, they were able to setup an auto-ticketing workflow relatively quickly based on SolarWinds events. That was just the beginning. After more than a year of using Ayehu, Stefano is now pursuing even more ambitious goals, extending automation to other areas where repeatable workflows and processes can be identified, such as server provisioning, control tests, repeatable maintenance tasks, security controls, etc.

“We now have a much more effective alerting system in place reducing reaction time in case of outages, and even acting proactively to avoid the occurrence of incidents, with almost unlimited possibilities of customization,” comments Stefano. “Thanks to Ayehu, alerting is now part of the work tools of all technical people rather than being limited to very few systems, unreliable, and often ignored. Now if an alert comes in, the team can take immediate action, thanks to the reliable and precise information Ayehu provides to the right audience at the right time.”

The ITPA Super Hero award recognizes Ayehu customers for their successful implementation of automation to improve the way their departments and/or organizations are run. Any individual or team that uses the Ayehu platform is eligible to be named as a Super Hero. To learn more about this coveted award or to nominate yourself, your team, or someone you know, please click here.

About CHAMP Cargosystems

CHAMP Cargosystems is one of the leading suppliers of integrated IT solutions to the air freight community, providing outstanding service and a wide range of innovative IT solutions to the industry for over 30 years. The company is headquartered in Luxembourg with 7 offices worldwide, including London, Zurich, Manila and Frankfurt/Main. To learn more, please visit www.champ.aero.

About Ayehu

Ayehu provides IT process automation and orchestration solutions for IT and security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers 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.

5 Signs You’re About to Become a Victim of a Cybersecurity Breach

5 Signs You’re About to Become a Victim of a Cybersecurity BreachIt doesn’t take a whole lot of digging to uncover the disturbing number of successful cybersecurity breaches that are occurring (and at a mind-boggling rate). In fact, it seems there’s news breaking almost daily indicating that a high-profile organization has once again fallen victim to savvy criminals to the detriment of clients, employees, partners and other stakeholders. The best way to avoid becoming the latest headline is to be proactive, and knowing what to watch for can help you stay a step ahead of the curve. That being said, here are five signs your organization is at risk of experiencing a cybersecurity incident.

You don’t have buy-in across the board.

We’ve said it time and time again, but it’s so important that it’s worth repeating yet again: cybersecurity is everyone’s job. It’ s not just the IT team who should be concerned about keeping sensitive company data out of the hands of hackers. Thankfully making cybersecurity a company-wide initiative isn’t a huge ordeal, provided you take the right approach. (Here are a few tips that might help.)

You don’t fully understand your company’s cybersecurity risk posture.

The risk posture of your organization refers to its overall cybersecurity strength. In other words, how vulnerable are you to outside threats? Whether it’s that you’re failing to perform ongoing assessments, you’re not examining the right areas, you’re taking the wrong approaches or you’re simply not using the right cybersecurity tools, if you are discounting the amount of this risk, you are leaving yourself much more open to potential attacks.

Your policies are well-documented but lack true substance.

Your IT team may have spent hours, days or weeks developing cybersecurity policies and best practices, but if those plans are not robust enough, they won’t do you much good in the event of a security incident. A strong, effective infosec policy should be comprehensive and properly supported by the right technology, tools and technology.

You’re approach to cybersecurity is reactive rather than proactive.

If you are waiting until a breach occurs before addressing it, you are already behind the eight ball in terms of risk and potential losses. To the contrary, organizations that take a more proactive approach to cybersecurity by implementing tools like automation for better incident management are able to stay a few steps ahead of their adversaries and therefore avoid becoming a victim.

You’re not placing a strong enough emphasis on remediation and recovery.

Effective incident management emphasizes the critical importance of remediation after the fact. Like it or not, the occasional cybersecurity threat will make its way into your network undetected. The speed and effectiveness with which your organization responds to that threat could mean the difference between a minor setback and a devastating loss. This is another reason having the right tools and technology in place is so important. The faster you can isolate a breach, the better you will be able to mitigate damages. Likewise, the more you invest in the remediation process, the more effective you can make your future cybersecurity policies and procedures.

Is your organization at a greater risk of becoming a victim of a security breach? Start turning things around today by launching your free trial of Ayehu’s automation and orchestration platform. The more proactive you are, the safer your company will become.How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes