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Webinar: Streamline IT Incident Management, January 20

JOINT WEBINAR BY MIR3 AND AYEHU REVEALS HOW AUTOMATION CAN STREAMLINE IT INCIDENT MANAGEMENT

Webinar shows how prominent organizations today are using automated, closed-loop systems to enhance IT incident management

For many IT operations, the flow between incidents, alerts, and remediation is fragmented and involves time-consuming manual activities. In this webinar we’ll show how organizations today are using closed-loop systems with automated notification to streamline IT incident management and increase efficiency.

The webinar takes place on Wednesday, January 20 at 11:00am PT (2:00pm ET). Registration is required, though there is no charge to attend.

The speakers will explore a scenario where an IT system alert is intercepted by an intelligent, automated tool that parses it, and then launches a workflow that finds on-call team members or SMEs to address the alert. That same workflow can evaluate the incident and determine which stakeholders, customers or management resources should automatically receive an informational message.

The recipient can be offered options to trigger automated remediation steps, or standard forensic steps can be executed automatically to immediately begin the resolution process. At the same time, a help desk ticket can be generated and automatically updated every step of the way; once remediated, the ticket is closed by the system, and the alert is dismissed.

The presenters will introduce actual case studies of prominent organizations that have streamlined their IT incident management with automation.

The webinar will be presented by Janice Hight, senior director of sales engineering for MIR3, and Guy Nadivi, director of business development at Ayehu Inc.

About MIR3
MIR3, Inc. is the leading developer of Intelligent Notification and response software, which helps organizations enhance communication, protect assets, and increase operational efficiency. MIR3 technology enables advanced rapid, two-way communication for IT, business continuity, and enterprise operations for many of the Global Fortune 100 companies, as well as government entities, universities and companies of all sizes in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit www.mir3.com. Follow MIR3 on Twitter: @MIR3.

About Ayehu

Ayehu provides IT Process Automation solutions for IT and Security 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. The company has offices in New York and Tel Aviv, Israel. For more information please visit www.ayehu.com

Webinar: Streamline IT Incident Management, January 20

Why it’s So Important to Have an Incident Response Plan in Place

It's Time to automate!We recently touched on one of the latest big security breaches, which occurred when retail giant Target failed to properly handle an incoming cyber security threat. That one costly mistake cost millions of Target customers their privacy and brought global consumer trust to an all-time low. Now, another serious security breach has occurred, hitting 200 hospitals in the US and compromising the confidential data of 4.5 million patients. So what can you do to prevent your organization from becoming the next target of online hackers? Simple. Develop and implement a quality incident response plan. Here’s how.

Incidents are basically our first indication that a problem has presented itself. They’re often precursors to a much more serious disaster. So, if they’re not handled properly, the results can be catastrophic (just ask Target executives). When an incident occurs, it means something out of the “norm” has happened. The next step should be analyzing and prioritizing that incident so that the next appropriate course of action can be taken to address the problem, if necessary.

In terms of its severity, an incident can generally be defined as any event that, if unaddressed, may lead to a business interruption or loss. For instance, a virus getting introduced into your network starts as an incident. If not properly handled, however, that virus can cause irreparable damage. Upon further investigation, it turned out that the reason for the Target debacle was not so much that hackers got into the system, but that IT did not respond to the initial incident as they should have. The result was the disaster we all heard about on the news.

To avoid all of this, an incident response plan should be developed that includes the following actions:
  • Have a quality monitoring system in place
  • Identify the potential incident
  • Respond to the incident in a timely manner
  • Assess the situation, analyzing the severity of the incident
  • Notify the appropriate parties about the incident
  • Take appropriate measures to protect sensitive data and minimize impact
  • Organize, prioritize and escalate the incident response activities accordingly
  • Prepare for adequate business recovery support in the wake of any damage caused in the interim
  • Review process, making necessary adjustments, to prevent future similar incidents and improve the way they’re handled

In our recent article, we also discussed how IT process automation can help streamline the incident response process. First, you can integrate your automation tool with your monitoring system. That way, all incoming alerts will be handled according to the predefined workflow and serious issues don’t get missed.

Not only does automation help to ensure that critical incidents are identified, communicated, escalated and addressed in the timeliest manner possible, but it can also help identify potential risks by recognizing when something occurs that is out of the “norm” for business processes. This allows you to proactively intervene and hopefully prevent any issues from occurring in the first place.

An incident response plan is something that every organization should have in place. Don’t risk becoming the next business that appears on the news for a breach of confidential information. Get your IRP in place today, and optimize it with automation to proactively protect your business against dangerous cyber-attacks, both now and in the future.




eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




Is Removing Humans from IT Using Robotic Process Automation Really a Possibility?

robotIn previous articles, we’ve talked a lot about the fact that automation isn’t something that humans should fear, but rather something that they should embrace. That it is something that will not replace humans, but rather make their jobs easier and more efficient. But is there really a possibility that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will one day completely replace people in IT? And if so, is this an opportunity to embrace or something to fight against? Let’s consider it for a moment.

In one respect, allowing Robotic Process Automation to handle tasks that humans were previously in charge of is actually a huge opportunity for business, and for many reasons. First, it can drastically reduce the risk of costly errors. People inherently make mistakes – especially when their jobs involve repetitive manual tasks. One simple error can cause huge ripple effects across the entire organization and even result in lost revenue. Shifting to Robotic Process Automation for these tasks can eliminate this danger.

Replacing human work with automation can also help to improve efficiency. For example, IT Process Automation can take away the need for manual script writing and replace it with complex automated workflows that perform the required tasks faster than any human worker could. Additionally, self-service options eliminate the need for IT personnel to step in and perform routine tasks, such as password resets and system restarts.

So, does this mean that humans are slowly being eliminated from the workforce? Will automated machines – essentially robots – replace people as we move into the next generation of business? Well, yes and no. The fact is, Robotic Process Automation does present a huge opportunity for companies to save money, improve efficiency and output, reduce errors and much more.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re headed toward a nameless, faceless workplace that is filled with computers rather than people. Why? Because, in most cases the tasks that are being automated were meant to be automated. Back when corporations hired people to slave tirelessly, doing the same thing, day in and day out, where no thinking was necessary, there was no alternative. Now, with Robotic Process Automation, there is.

So yes, automation will replace many functions that were previously managed by humans – the functions for which computers and software are better suited. What this means for people is not that they will become a relic of the past, but rather that they will be freed up to focus on more important matters – matters for which human input is necessary.

While Robotic Process Automation will most certainly become a key component of ongoing success, the fact is, businesses will always need human collaboration, communication and innovation and these things cannot be replicated by computer programs and technology. For that reason, we foresee a future where IT Process Automation complements and supports human endeavors, but does not replace them. And from where we stand, that future looks bright for everyone.




IT Process Automation Survival Guide




How Managed Service Providers Can Gain Operational Efficiency and Add an Edge to Their Clients

Managed Service ProvidersIn years past, businesses had little choice when it came to managing their own internal IT operations. For many, the only feasible option was outsourcing. Today, with so many advancements in technology, the concept of outsourcing has shifted and more companies are bringing these services in-house. So, how can Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) compete and stay profitable? Simple. They must maximize efficiency while delivering the highest value proposition to their customers.

Do More with Less

The first step in staying successful as an Managed Service Provider is finding a way to get the most out of their employees while also keeping expenditure down. While hiring more staff may seem like the logical step to staying on top of tasks and delivering exceptional service, doing so would be too cost prohibitive for most firms.

As an alternative, Managed Service Providers can turn to technology and leverage the various tools available to them to help boost productivity without the need to bring on additional employees. IT process automation is an excellent solution to this dilemma, as it can alleviate many of the day to day tasks. Not only does this allow firms to keep staffing lean, but it also frees up those who would normally handle those repetitive workflows to focus on other key business initiatives.

By automating activities such as incident management, the program itself can handle much of the process without the need for human intervention. This improves response time and efficiency levels, which ultimately enhances SLA to the clients.

Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

One of the reasons MSPs are in a risky industry is because tech advancements, such as cloud hosting, have made managing operations in-house easier and more affordable. To counteract this, MSPs must make what they have to offer too valuable to refuse. Beyond just taking on the task of handling operations for a company in real-time, these firms must remain one step ahead. This means taking a proactive approach and identifying issues before they occur.

Again, the best tool for this task is automation. By leveraging a robust IT automation product that can be integrated with other existing systems, things like alert management can be streamlined to maximum efficiency. This reduces human error and allows problems to be corrected at a much faster rate. When an Managed Service Provider can demonstrate to a company that is considering hosting IT in-house that their services are much more valuable, they’ve won the battle for survival.

eyeShare for Managed Service Providers

To stay afloat in an increasingly volatile, highly competitive environment and disprove the impending “outsourcing is dead” theory, Managed Service Providers must continue to adapt. Performance will need to be at its highest with cost at its lowest. The only logical solution to this is IT process automation. This will provide the edge needed to remain ahead of the pack in the months and years to come.

Are you an Managed Service Provider that is feeling the pressure to perform better? Are you ready to see what the right automation tool can do for your business? 





eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s




Free Ebook: IT Process Automation Survival Guide!

Before you go on your Thanksgiving vacation, let us help you to leave with a peace  of  mind.

Download our new ebook: IT process automation survival guide!

This guide will help you prepare and get started with IT automation in a systematic and practical way, by answering some of  the most common questions:

IT Process Automation Survival Guide




IT Process Automation – Which processes should you automate?

IT Process Automation

When discussing IT Process Automation (a.k.a Runbook Automation), one of the first questions (even before tools) is – which processes should you automate?

Operational or Business Processes?

There’s a popular distinction between business processes and operational, or data center processes. A business process may be, for example, change management, escalation, notification, etc. Operational/data center processes have stronger focus around IT operational systems and procedures – for example, backup & recovery, access management, etc.

The line between these two types of processes is not clear cut, and in many cases a process may be both operational and business oriented. For example, see the results from Information Week’s IT Process Automation report. It seems that survey respondents are focused mostly on operational and data center processes (31%) or on a combination of both operational and business processes (42%).  There is much less automation of business and customer processes (24%).

Top Areas for IT process automation

It’s always interesting to see what others are automating – even though you have your own priorities and unique needs. The same Information Week survey asked how critical was it to automate specific process areas?  According to the survey, “leading the pack were mostly hard core operations processes”:

  • Backup and restoration
  • Disaster recovery
  • Service fulfillment
  • Incident management
  • Data movement

This seems natural, as most of these (except for disaster recovery) are repetitive tasks that consume many hours from IT teams. In fact, some of these tasks are relatively easy to automate. Take a look at some of our Pinpoint IT process automation templates to find out more. For example, Active Directory password reset, free up disk space, file monitoring, restart Windows service, or monitor event logs for disaster recovery.

The researches, however, identified the following 5 “key win areas” for automation, which provide more value. (We added links from each of these areas to a specific customer case study in order to illustrate types of issues that can be automated):

Service Desk

So which processes should I automate?

Now that you know a bit what others think should be automated, we’re back to our initial question – which processes should you automate?

As a first step, start with mapping your current processes and their key operational metrics for each of the service and business applications.

Once you create such a list, try to prioritize them based on the following two questions:
  • Time. What are the quantifiable benefits from automating each process? Consider how many hours are currently spent on the manual process – both by IT employees, as well by management for each such process.
  • Effort to automate. What would be the required effort to implement automation, as well as maintain the automated process? Obviously, this question is more difficult to answer, since it requires a familiarity with one or more tools, and depends as well on the skills of your team. More about this in my next post.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide