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3 Things Every security operations center (SOC) Should be Automating Now

3 Things Every security operations center (SOC) Should be Automating NowBy now most security operations centers (SOCs) are aware of the value of automation. Not only does this technology reduce errors and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but it also frees up IT personnel, allowing them to focus their talents on high level tasks and workflows that cannot be automated. For those just starting out with security operations center automation, it can be challenging to figure out where to begin. Let’s take a look at 3 key areas where SOCs can and should start automating today.

Identifying False Positives

SOCs spend far too much time sifting through incoming alerts to determine whether they are truly threats. This massive task is not only prone to costly error (when real threats slip through the cracks), but it’s a tremendous drain on resources. One of the most effective ways to handle this monumental yet time consuming necessity is to leverage Security operations center automation. All incoming alerts can be instantly assessed, verified, prioritized and assigned without the need for human input, thereby eliminating the false positive dilemma.

Help Desk Tickets

Believe it or not, many companies still have highly skilled IT professionals copying and pasting responses to incoming support tickets. Imagine paying a senior staff member to do such a simple task when his or her time could be much better spent elsewhere. Security operations center automation can help you maximize your staffing budget by allowing technology to handle this simple, repetitive task. As an added benefit, your top level personnel can then focus their energy on things like mitigating threats and training entry-level workers.

Generating Reports

Tracking and analyzing metrics is an important part of an SOC’s job, but the act of manually gathering all this information and converting it into reports can be daunting. The good news is, SOC automation can help take this time-consuming yet business-critical task off the plates of security operations center staff. CIOs and other powers-that-be will still be able to review, evaluate and confirm the department’s efficiency levels while IT personnel can shift their efforts to more important activities.

Of course, these are just three of the many different tasks and workflows that can be streamlined by security operations center automation, but they’re a great place to start for a company that’s just hopping on the automation band wagon.

Still need convincing? Here are 5 compelling reasons you should start automating your security operations center today.





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




4 Common Challenges with Robotic Process Automation Outsourcing

4 Common Challenges with Robotic Process Automation OutsourcingRobotic process automation is one of the biggest advances benefiting businesses today. The ability to shift a large number of tasks to technology as well as scale up or down instantly based on need is helping companies of every size become more efficient and subsequently more competitive. The problem is, when you choose to have this handled anywhere other than in-house, things don’t always go as smoothly as anticipated. If you’re thinking of outsourcing RPA for your firm, here are 4 common challenges other companies have faced so you can prepare for them ahead of time.

Time-frames and Red Tape

Inevitably, if you are going to rely on an external resource for your robotic process automation, there will be plenty of contracts, legalities and other red tape to deal with. There is also a longer time frame for getting up and running because the process almost always involves competitive bidding, provider evaluations, negotiations and then the actual implementation.

In-house robotic process automation, on the other hand, does not come with nearly as many burdens. Additionally, because it is built upon a much deeper knowledge of the business in question and can be tested and improved over time, the results are typically much more favorable.

Technological Limitations

Because outsourced RPA requires providers to offer a robust, enterprise-level global solution that can scale to support the highest capacities, the robotic software technologies these providers rely on may be somewhat limited. This isn’t to imply that the offering is a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather that there aren’t nearly as many options to choose from as there are emerging technologies.

Handling robotic process automation internally provides a greater degree of flexibility and the luxury of choosing from a wider pool of platforms based more on what your business needs are and which product has the best features for meeting those needs.

Roles, Responsibilities and Job Security

When an organization chooses to outsource RPA, the resulting shift in the roles and responsibilities of existing IT personnel can be quite disruptive. Many day to day tasks will no longer be handled in-house, and without adequate work to go around, downsizing will likely be a necessity. This can lead to an overall dip in morale across the entire organization, which is never good for business.

Conducting robotic process automation in-house, on the other hand, creates a completely different dynamic in the workforce. While efficiency levels will go up, operating costs will drop dramatically. Those employees who were once responsible for the tasks that are now automated will still be valuable to the company, it’s just that their roles will evolve. Furthermore, they will be freed up to take on more challenging work while the costs associated with keeping everyone on board remain constant or may even come down.

Governance/Compliance

Since outsourced automation means that human processes and activities will be reduced, the benefits to the business will naturally be more outcome-based rather than focusing on full-time equivalent (FTE). As a result, the delivery model will need to be closely reliant on customer business processes. This can complicate the internal governance process because any unanticipated changes could potentially impact automated workflows.

Because of this, workflow governance and compliance structures must be designed to incorporate complete transparency of any and all business process changes. Without an adequate plan in place ahead of time, a potential disruption could cause significant problems for the business as a whole. These challenges are mitigated when robotic process automation is handled in-house.

If you have questions about whether handling robotic process automation within your organization might make more sense than outsourcing, we’d be happy to discuss your specific needs. Contact us today!





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




How to Establish a Solid Cyber Security Incident Response Plan

10 Ways to Reduce Cyber Security Threats with IT Process AutomationIt’s been said time and time again that the best defense is having a good offense – that is, being prepared ahead of time can tremendously improve the outcome of any adverse situation that may arise. Perhaps in no context is this statement more accurate than that of cyber security incident response. These days, no business is safe from would-be attackers, so planning ahead is essential. Let’s examine the steps involved in developing such a plan.

Assemble a Team

Each member should understand his or her role in the event that a serious security breach is detected. The more prepared this team is ahead of time, the more smoothly the entire process will go, which means a much more favorable outcome.

Employ the Right Tools

A cyber security incident response plan is only as good as the tools you’ve got in place to deal with the situation at hand. The goal should be not just detecting potential risks, but employing additional tools, like automation, to effectively close the loop. This will ensure that every incident is properly assessed and prioritized and the appropriate parties are notified to take action.

Keep the Process Transparent

Having a clear and accurate picture of who is handling what can dramatically improve how well and how quickly a security incident is resolved. This is why leveraging the right software product is so important. Look for a platform that provides real-time updates that show incident ownership, severity, priority and status.

Gather and Analyze Data

There is something to be learned from every security incident and doing so can position your company in a more secure place moving forward. IT personnel should be designated to thoroughly analyze information received and assess the entire process as it exists currently to identify areas of weakness and places that need improvement.

Keep the Process Fluid

A quality cyber security incident response strategy isn’t something you simply set and forget. As cyber criminals become more and more savvy, the methods we employ to thwart their efforts must also evolve and become more sophisticated over time. As best practices are defined and implemented, your security response plan should also adapt accordingly.

Like it or not, if you’re in business, you’re at risk of a cyber-attack. Preparing ahead of time by developing a robust and comprehensive cyber security incident response can vastly reduce the chances of you becoming a victim.

Could your cyber security incident response plan use a makeover? Learn how the right automation product can make all the difference. Download your free 30 day trial to get started today.





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




3 Ways Financial Institutions Can Use IT Process Automation to Reduce Costs

• 3 Ways Financial Institutions Can Use IT Process Automation to Reduce CostsThere’s no question that technology is changing the way businesses in every industry are run. Perhaps in no field is this more evident, however, than that of finance. Practices such as electronic banking, mobile payment applications and digital check cashing are quickly replacing traditional transactions and financial institutions are finding themselves in a race to adapt as quickly and effectively as possible in order to remain competitive while also keeping expenses down. IT process automation can provide the missing puzzle piece that brings everything together and lowers costs. Here’s how.

Quick, Efficient and Adaptable Workflow Creation

The financial sector is riddled with complex and strict regulations. The ability to quickly adapt to the changing climate while also remaining compliant is critical to any financial institution’s ongoing success. Unfortunately, this used to involve the use of custom scripting and other manual tasks, which took a great deal of time and resources. Furthermore, having to modify processes based on changes to policy and/or regulations meant even more labor-intensive work.

The widespread adoption of advanced IT process automation tools, however, is completely revolutionizing the way these things are done. Instead of manual scripting, automation can be customized to handle everything from simple tasks to complex workflows. No more time wasted researching, developing, coding and testing. This also dramatically reduces errors. Additionally, these tools are designed to be modified in just minutes. As company and regulatory changes occur, business processes can be adapted with ease.  All of this results in a tremendous savings of both time and money.

The Power of Big Data

It seems the term “Big Data” was just coined recently, but in fact, it’s been a huge part of the finance industry for a very long time. The challenge has always been the ability to take the inordinate amount of data and information coming in and fleshing out what’s relevant in the most timely and efficient way possible. To this day, IT personnel are charged with this hefty task. How they accomplish it, however, is changing.

In simplest of terms, Big Data requires that all data (both structured and unstructured) be passed through a transfer application. The information is then stored in a data platform from which it is later extracted, translated and loaded so it can be accessed via a business intelligence (BI) platform. IT process automation is the tool that brings everything together by acting as the central hub of all systems and applications. This facilitates end-to-end execution of workflows and ensures that all processes run as scheduled.

Resource Optimization

Organizations in every industry are making the shift toward hybrid cloud adoption to help reduce expenses and gain the scalability and flexibility needed to adapt to changing resource needs. The challenge still exists, however, in managing and monitoring these resources. In short, IT personnel must keep a close watch on who has access as well as which systems should remain up and running and which idle systems should be turned off to avoid costly waste.

IT process automation can help financial institutions to maximize their resource usage by automatically provisioning and de-provisioning cloud systems. The ITPA tool can be programmed to detect when systems are idle and subsequently scale back. Conversely, as additional resources are required in order to ensure successful workflow execution, IT process automation can automatically free up the appropriate amount. And all of this can be done without the need for human input, saving the organization money.

As you can see, IT process automation has the potential to significantly improve operations of organizations in the financial sector (and beyond) while also minimizing costs. Could your firm use a little help in this department? Download your free 30 day trial today and see what a difference automation can make.




IT Process Automation Survival Guide




5 Common Cyber Security Incident Response Mistakes You’re Probably Still Making

5 Common Cyber Security Incident Response Mistakes You’re Probably Still MakingGiven the exposed vulnerability of big-name corporations to cyber-attacks, you probably already know how important it is to keep your systems as secure as possible. What you may not be aware of, however, is that you may be committing a number of common mistakes without even realizing it – mistakes that could be placing your infrastructure at great risk. Let’s take a look at 5 such errors so you’ll know what to avoid in your cyber security incident response strategy.

1. Inadequate Patching

Would-be criminals are constantly trying to find ways to sneak in the back door, so to speak, and if you’ve not properly dealt with weaknesses within your systems and infrastructure, then you’re leaving yourself wide open to become a target. Patches are sometimes necessary, but they should always be handled properly and followed up with actual solutions to mitigate risk.

2. Weak Password Policies

Having a password policy is an essential component of a cyber security incident response plan. This policy should include certain requirements that make it impossible to use simple (i.e. easy to hack) passwords. It should also require that all users periodically change their passwords to further prevent a possible breach. To make this easier and more efficient, businesses can leverage self-service and automation.

3. Accessing the Web on Unsecure Connections

We live in an increasingly mobile society, which means any number of your employees and colleagues could be accessing the web via work devices while on the road. Unfortunately, the convenience of working from the local coffee shop also presents a higher risk of breach because these places often feature networks that aren’t adequately secured. Your cyber security incident response plan should include documentation and specific instructions for mobile work.

4. Not Covering All Your Bases

You may think your infrastructure is secure because you have a quality monitoring system in place. The problem is, just because alerts are being monitored doesn’t mean they’re actually being handled properly. A solid cyber security incident response strategy should also include automation that will properly analyze and prioritize incoming incidents and assign them to the appropriate party for attention. This closes the loop and provides a greater level of defense.

5. Thinking it Could Never Happen to You

Often times a smaller organization ends up falling prey to a cyber-attack because they failed to recognize their vulnerability. These days businesses of every size and industry are at risk, so you must be diligent and proactive about developing and implementing a strong cyber security incident response plan to preventbecoming a victim.

Is your business committing any of these common security mistakes?

Could you use a more robust cyber security incident response plan?

Download this free eBook: 5 Reasons you Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response 





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




How Small Businesses Can Benefit from IT Process Automation

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There’s been a lot of buzz about IT process automation over the past decade or so, but most of it tends to be used in the context of larger companies. And while it’s certainly true that ITPA is incredibly beneficial at the enterprise level, it can be equally advantageous for smaller businesses. Here’s how.

Save Time

Small business owners often don’t have the luxury of hiring many workers to whom they can delegate certain tasks and responsibilities. Many times the company must run on a veritable skeleton crew with a few key employees wearing multiple hats. Saving time is also crucial because time is money. IT process automation can take much of the menial tasks off the plates of busy employees, freeing them up to maximize their time and efforts for the good of the business.

Lower Expenses

Most small businesses must operate on a limited budget, optimizing every penny they spend so they can maximize profits. Hiring a crew of IT personnel simply isn’t an option. One of the key benefits of IT process automation is that it can dramatically drive up efficiency and increase productivity. More importantly, with the right ITPA tool, this can be done on just about any budget.

Reduce Errors

No matter how great your IT workers are, they’re human, which means they’re inherently prone to making mistakes. A small error for a huge corporation may not be that big of a deal, but for a smaller sized company, the impact can be nothing short of devastating. Employing IT process automation can eliminate this risk, mitigating potential damages.

Do More with Less

For small to mid-size businesses, hiring a whole crew of IT personnel often isn’t an option. Yet those who are hired will still need to be at the top of their game, handling a broad spectrum of important tasks. Leveraging IT process automation can take much of the weight off busy workers’ shoulders, maximizing output without the need to bring in more staff.

Competitive Advantage

It used to be that small businesses could only really compete with other SMBs. Now, with technological advancements like IT process automation, organizations of every size and industry are able to keep up with the competition, even those businesses that are much larger. Thus, it has opened the doors to increased opportunity and virtually unlimited potential.

Curious about how you can leverage IT process automation for your small business?

Check out these 10 tasks you can start automating today and then contact us to get started.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Is Your Cyber Security Incident Response Plan Ready?

Internet Security System

It seems like almost weekly there’s a new report of some big name brand being hacked and the subsequent outcome of hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions of people having their sensitive information compromised. These days, online security is something every business must think about, regardless of size or industry. Is your cyber security incident response plan truly strong enough to handle a potential attack? Let’s take a look.

First and foremost, is it up to date? One of the biggest reasons organizations fall victim to cyber-attacks is that they fail to recognize the sophistication of their attackers. Nowadays, hackers are constantly adapting their tools and strategies until they’re successful, and if you’re not also staying up to date with your cyber security incident response, you’re more vulnerable than you may think. The first step in ensuring adequate security is to keep your strategy fluid.

Additionally, many businesses leave themselves open to attack by only considering half of the equation. Even the best monitoring system won’t protect your data if you’re not able to adequately field all the incoming alerts. This is precisely what happened to Target a few years back. They had a great monitoring platform in place, but could not keep up with the myriad of incoming incidents. As a result, the one that compromised the personal information of millions was able to slip through the cracks undetected until the damage had already been done.

A robust and highly effective cyber security incident response plan must also include a secondary process which essentially closes the loop between alerts and their subsequent resolution. IT process automation can do just that, and even better, it can achieve optimum results without the need for additional human workers. IT simply integrates ITPA with the existing monitoring system so that all incoming alerts can be instantly and automatically identified, analyzed, prioritized and assigned.

With this type of cyber security incident response strategy, your organization can rest a little bit easier knowing that any and all incidents will be detected and properly addressed the moment they arise, thereby avoiding the risk of becoming another Target (literally and figuratively).

Furthermore, a comprehensive security plan that includes sophisticated tools like ITPA can make predicting and proactively preventing possible attacks easier and more effective. That means your business can stay a step ahead of your would-be attackers.

Regardless of size or industry, businesses everywhere are facing the growing challenges of keeping sensitive data safe from the clutches of cyber criminals. Knowing what ingredients go into a solid, effective cyber security incident response plan that is designed to adapt to the changing climate can help protect your organization both now and in the future.

Not sure if your strategy is up to par? Could automation provide the added level of security you need? Contact us today to learn how we can help or download our new eBook: 5 Reasons you Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




Surprising Benefits of Robotic Process Automation: Scalability

Surprising Benefits of Robotic Process Automation ScalabilityImagine how much your company could accomplish if you had a veritable army of employees at your disposal. More importantly, what if these employees were perfectly happy waiting in the background for the next time you needed them? Believe it or not, that’s precisely what you’ll get with robotic process automation. Let’s take a look at the surprising way RPA can provide your business with the scalability you need to stay on top of your game.

Instant Access

With human workers, it’s not feasible to dramatically increase your workforce whenever the need arises, nor is it easy to decrease your numbers when things get slow. There’s a complicated process behind all of this and time is not on your side. With robotic process automation, however, you have a team of robots who are ready, willing and able to get the job done at any given moment.

Consistency

Bringing different employees up to speed via on-boarding and training can be challenging and time-consuming. Not to mention the fact that you have to initiate the entire process over again every time someone new joins the team. Robots, on the other hand, can be “trained” in groups of any size with the outcome being routine and perfect consistency across the board.

Cost Savings

Recruiting, hiring, training and retaining talented employees costs money. In addition to robotic process automation providing the ability to scale up or scale down instantly as well as train and deploy thousands of bots while maintaining complete consistency, all of this can be done at a reduced cost to the business.

Now, let’s take a look at a few real-world applications of these benefits.

Scenario 1

Your business is launching a new product and, as a result, will incur a substantial increase in transactions. Your current workforce is already maxed out and you don’t have the time or the ability to hire any additional employees. Robotic process automation can step in and bridge the gap, handling the influx of work at any capacity necessary without the major hassle and expense of staffing. Then, once things settle down, you can scale back down to normal as needed.

Scenario 2

Business has been particularly lucrative as of late and you’ve had to increase output significantly to meet the increased demands of your customers. Suddenly, the market takes a turn for the worse and your numbers start to rapidly decline. With robotic process automation in place, you won’t have to face the possibility of laying employees off. Rather, you could just scale back the number of robots.

Scenario 3

One of your biggest competitors has launched a new product or service and you’re scrambling to develop and implement something similar. Chances are you can’t afford to hire a slew of new employees to help bring your comparable product or service to market and doing so would take too long. Conversely, putting too much pressure on existing team members could result in costly mistakes and QA issues. RPA, on the other hand, is available at the ready to take on whatever is necessary for you to remain competitive.

Without question, robotic process automation has the potential to bring your business to the next level. Are you ready? Give us a call today or download your free 30 trial now to get started.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




What Does IT Process Automation Mean for Entry-Level IT Jobs?

What Does IT Process Automation Mean for Entry-Level IT JobsIt’s no secret that IT process automation is taking the IT world by storm. As this new and improved technology continues to be widely adopted and embraced by businesses of every industry, however, it will inevitably bring about changes to the workforce itself, particularly in terms of entry-level IT jobs. Let’s take a look at how ITPA will impact this demographic and, more importantly, what can be done to soften the blow.

The Old Ladder is Becoming Obsolete

Years ago, the way to move up the ladder in the IT field was to begin at the ground level. Up-and-comers would start in entry-level positions, learning the ropes and improving their skills along the way. As they beefed up their experience and honed their expertise, they naturally transitioned into more specialized positions. Today, thanks in large part to IT process automation, this career path is quickly becoming obsolete. After all, why would a company pay a human to perform what a software product can do faster, more accurately and at a much lower cost?

A New Dawn of Opportunity

So does this spell the end of the road for those just entering the IT field? Should they scrap their educations and shift their focus to other industries? Not necessarily. Just because IT process automation is eliminating routine, entry-level tasks doesn’t mean there isn’t still ample opportunity for humans within the IT realm. It just means that the landscape is changing. Rather than starting at the bottom and working their way up, those interested in a career in IT will need to become much more savvy right out of the gate. Businesses will be looking for candidates that have the skills and experience to do what technology still cannot – much more complex and advanced work.

Fundamental Changes on the Horizon

The inevitable changes that IT process automation is bringing will require a shift from the ground up. That is, schools will need to adjust their curriculum and focus to provide a more robust and comprehensive education. Students will need to be armed from the get-go in order to be marketable once they’re ready to enter the workforce. As existing roles become obsolete and/or evolve into more advanced positions, those seeking careers in IT will need to be ready to take on these new challenges.

So, while IT process automation will certainly have an impact on so-called entry-level IT jobs, in the end it will only become that much more lucrative for those who successfully break into the industry.

Want to future-proof your IT career and ensure that you’re ready for the changes that are sure to come? Check out these 10 time-consuming tasks that you can and should be automating today.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




Four Industries that Robotic Process Automation is a Perfect Fit for

Robotic Process Automation is a perfect fitAs the concept of robotic process automation becomes better understood and more widely embraced, it will inevitably end up in just about every industry. For now, however, there are still certain fields for which RPA is ideal. Here are four such industries that we believe will ultimately revolution the way work is done through automation.

Banking/Finance

Banks and other financial institutions are already leveraging automation to handle many of their day to day functions, but given the ability of robotic process automation to integrate and bridge legacy systems, its adoption will only continue to rise. Not only can RPA make the lives of database administrators much easier, but it can dramatically cut costs at the same time by reducing and/or eliminating the need for human input in a growing number of functions.

Legal

If there was ever an industry that relied heavily on record keeping, legal would be at the top of the list. For this reason, robotic process automation is poised to make a huge impact. And while implementing RPA may be a bit more of an undertaking for the legal system, the outcome will be well worth it. Imagine using technology to sort through mountains of documentation in mere seconds as opposed to having a human worker handle such a time-consuming and labor-intensive task. Not to mention the enhanced analytics ability.

Insurance

Another awesome benefit of robotic process automation is its ability to maximize efficiency in fields that have an extremely high volume of transactions. This is why the insurance industry is such a great fit for RPA. Not only can automation revolutionize the claims process, but it can also save a good deal of money because of its scalability. As needs fluctuate, RPA can adapt instantaneously.

Utilities

Another transaction-heavy industry is that of utilities. Electric, gas and water companies can leverage RPA to automate a wide variety of routine tasks, from billing and debt recovery to meter-readings and even customer service. Additionally, instead of humans having to handle time-consuming duties like trouble-shooting failed readings, robotic process automation can tackle the majority of the work, drastically improving productivity.

Of course, these are just a few of the many industries that can use robotic process automation to maximize performance, streamline operations and cut costs. Could your company be next? Download your free trial today.




IT Process Automation Survival Guide