For Enterprise IT teams, the primary focus is always ensuring availability, perform troubleshooting and manage security mechanisms. Endpoint maintenance is equally critical, but gets overlooked, due to lack of time/ resources. Apart from that, maintenance usually consists of multiple repetitive, mundane but critical tasks which need to be done on a regular basis. Unnecessary manual intervention doesn’t just slow operations and stifle innovation, it forces IT decision-makers to overlook/ under-prioritize critical security tasks, often pushing off patches and updates, something that could put the organization at risk. This isn’t an isolated problem either: Approximately 75 percent of respondents in a recent Ponemon Institute study said they have fallen behind on patching processes. The scale and complexity of IT environments and endpoint configurations today burdens enterprise IT teams with a hectic overload. They are left scrambling trying to keep up with all the applications, software and services at their disposal.
Endpoint maintenance is highly critical for robust security and business continuity. For example, the Equifax data breach was caused by an unpatched software vulnerability that the IT department simply didn’t have time to address. Speaking to the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, now former Equifax CEO Richard Smith had to take ultimate responsibility for a massive data breach that impacted more than 140 million consumers. This incident is a reminder that business and IT leaders have an equal stake in in preventing data breaches, with IT needing better processes and corporate executives needing to provide the resources to empower IT to keep up. Right now, that isn’t happening. A Ponemon Institute study found that IT teams currently spend, on average, 1,156 hours weekly on manual processes associated with managing and securing endpoints.
Businesses need a better endpoint maintenance strategy to manage their environments better. If companies remain dependent on manual processes, attackers using artificial intelligence and scripted attacks will quickly find weak points and act. Five processes that need to be automated quickly are:
1. Scheduled Maintenance
Balancing everyday maintenance tasks, patches, updates and similar processes alongside the many emergency issues IT has to deal with can prove daunting. In many cases, the user clamoring to get a VPN fixed or to complain about being able to access an app will take priority over endpoint maintenance activities.
The problem with such a response-focused IT operational model is that there are always emergencies to deal with, leaving organizations with a huge technical debt that escalates over time. Automating endpoint management can address many help desk tasks, alleviating the response burden on the IT team. At the same time, formally scheduling maintenance work orders can ensure key tasks never get pushed to the backburner and set a foundation for cohesive, proactive operations.
2. Regular Patching of Computers
Generally speaking, even the lowest-level IT professionals enter the workforce with a four-year degree, refined technical training and highly specialized knowledge. Then they get a job and find themselves spending hours every week going around patching computers. This isn’t just a waste of skill, it’s also throwing away money to have a person with advanced training handle repetitive tasks manually.
The problem is simply that many businesses lack the ability to interact with endpoints and adjust their configuration in a streamlined way. Advanced endpoint management tools are filling this gap by automating patching and similar processes. Reboot to Restore solutions, for example, let you lock a device’s settings in place for everyday operations, temporarily open up access for changes, automatically roll out patches to a set group of endpoints and then freeze the configuration again.
3. Software Updates
Like patches, software updates create unnecessary tedious work for IT professionals, and many companies can’t easily keep up with complex schedules without falling behind. An integrated software deployment solution can enable IT teams to enforce update status on software across the IT setup, which will automatically roll out updates across multiple devices simultaneously. This doesn’t just simplify the actual update process, but makes it easier to comply with licensing requirements because engineers have full visibility into what is installed on various endpoints.
4. Software Deployment
Releasing software presents a major operational hurdle as instances of the software must be rolled out across a variety of devices. This leads to complex manual installation processes even though the actual technical part of the rollout is straightforward.
Simplify scheduling and ease the operational burden on the IT team with integrated software deployment and maintenance systems, especially solutions that let you set up multiple installers to automatically distribute solutions in the correct configuration for the specific endpoints they will reside on.
5. Regulatory Documentation
Regulatory compliance isn’t only difficult because it requires precise process management and enforcement. It is also challenging to deal with because organizations must constantly track and document their processes to validate that they are complying with industry standards. Furthermore, when it comes time to audit, all of that documentation must be compiled and analyzed. It’s a huge headache and the paperwork can detract from time that IT teams could be spending managing and securing the configuration.
By automating endpoint management processes – patching, updates and deployment – organizations are effectively scripting their day-to-day IT management procedures. As a result, the system can easily track who enacted an automated process, what was done and when it was completed. By automating configuration management, organizations are also creating audit trails that can be used to document regulatory compliance and make it much easier to enforce best practices across the organization.
Manual Processes That Need to Go
The contemporary IT climate is one of constant change and rapid movement. Businesses need to simplify endpoint maintenance and manage endpoints spread over diverse locations, and maintain a configuration of extremely diverse asset types. Organizations that get bogged down in manual processes won’t be able to keep up with the potential threats to their sensitive data systems. Automating everyday management tasks can go a long way in freeing IT to safeguard your business more effectively.
For more information on how Deep Freeze Cloud can help simplify endpoint maintenance, contact Faronics today.