Challenges facing the IT Industry
There are a multitude of challenges that are shared by all those involved in IT. Those challenges, if not tackled, magnify in intensity as your environment grows. Below are some of the challenges that we've attacked head-on in our careers
Keeping track of software in your environment can be a hassle, or may even seem impossible. Keeping track of purchases, installs, licenses, and maintenance is a challenging task without the right approach. Having rogue or unauthorized software can lead to vulnerabilities as well as functional and potentially legal issues. Knowing when you have an out-of-date application that needs to be updated is another reason to keep track of what you have. Whether you are using a software delivery system such as SCCM or PDQ, or a remote query-based tracking system, we have experience in tracking software in large business environments.
Hardware/Physical Asset Management, or inventory management is essential to maintaining equipment, replacement schedules, and projects. The larger the environment, the more challenging the task. Having a reliable easy-to-update inventory that contains up-to-date status on each piece of hardware allows planning of major upgrades and equipment replacement to happen quickly and efficiently. We have experience in collecting inventory information from large environments that don’t have an existing inventory and we have experience in using data from equipment to keep inventory up-to-date proactively. If a piece of equipment falls off of the network or is replaced, our tools will point it out with proactively collected data.
Workstation management is another common yet important challenge facing IT environments. Keeping those computers up and running smoothly with error free operation, current security patches, virus definitions, needed applications installed: all of these things are critical to keeping your computer workforce in the shape you need it to be in to run your business. In many cases, for various reasons, the response to issues or needs is very reactive; a problem occurs and a task is given to fix it. Here at DSM Innovations we have always strived for a more proactive approach. Monitoring disk space, periodic proactive vulnerability scans, Windows event log monitoring, application installations and reinstallations AND configuring them for users who need them, and active baseline validation are just a portion of the tasks we do proactively. That being said, proactive approaches don't work for everything and if staff and resources are limited, making the push from reactive to proactive can be extremely difficult. We would like to bring our experience and tools to work for you to help build a more proactively managed environment to better manage your workstations.
License management and tracking is a very important part of running a business with IT. Commercial software products help us run our businesses, but frequently incur a cost. This is a normal part of doing business, but those costs can rack up quite quickly if not managed and tracked properly. Acceptable use of applications in your particular environment are controlled by the software licenses and incorrect or illegal use, intentional or not, can land you in a serious legal predicament. Tracking license provisioning and usage is key to finding the right balance of how many licenses you really need. Over purchasing licenses by a large amount wastes money, while not enough licenses for current usage or projected growth can restrict business function. DSM Innovations has experience tracking license counts and usage metrics over a multitude of environments and can provide tools that help you do the same.
Keeping tabs on all the issues in your environment, past and current, allows you to more efficiently allocate resources to areas that need it most. Analysis of this data can show trends or budding problems before they become more widespread. There are many commercial options for problem tracking, but sometimes there is a need for some custom augmentation of these capabilities. DSM Innovations has experience with additional, customized problem tracking for unique environments and circumstances.
If your environment uses SCCM, you probably understand how complex yet powerful it is. The better it is configured and tuned, the more value you will get out of it. We have extensive experience with SCCM in medium and large scale environments (4,000-50,000+) endpoints. From overall configuration to performance boosting tweaks, DSM Innovations can provide you with tools and knowledge to make your SCCM environment better than it's ever been!
True automation is the pinnacle of efficiency, but getting there can require a LOT of effort. There are various degrees of automation that are much more realistically achievable. Having repetitive tasks simplified through time-saving scripts, having complex procedures laid out and run automatically based on a schedule, alerts that process large amounts of data to give you the information you need when you need it. This is the automation that businesses need today, the type of automation that will lead into that true automation in the future! Time is money, saving time through automation saves money on initial effort, repeated effort, and frees up more time for other demanding tasks.
Consistent and reliable software installation is a must in all IT environments. Installing applications by hand on a large scale increases the chance for human error and consumes valuable time. A common practice is to wrap software into a single, silent installer package. There are many custom and commercial methods available. We do have extensive experience with software packaging and configuration for both mass deployment and integration. We have tools that can augment your existing software packaging and deployment technologies.
Security is paramount to maintaining healthy IT systems that keep businesses afloat; one of the cornerstones to this is auditing. Auditing is defined as a (manual or systematic) measurable technical assessment of a system or application. In most cases this refers to monitoring accesses. Who did what, where, and when? All modern operating systems have auditing functions built in, and many detail-oriented applications and configuration management tools also have auditing features. These features require configuration based on your business and security needs. Once configured, actually making sense of some of these audit logs can sometimes be a truly daunting task. In fact, depending on the audit source, it may require very advanced knowledge of the application or tool. We understand the value in knowing what is going on in your environment and built our entire business around it. DSM Innovations offers different auditing tools to help make sense of those auditing functions and get the most value out of audit data.
Scripting is a great method to simplify tedious, repetitive tasks and is often viewed as the first step towards automation. But a script is only as good as the logic and effort put into it. More advanced problems require more advanced scripts. Skill, experience, and foresight all factor into how well the script will be and how robust it will be in the future. We have extensive experience with complex scripting, as well as hybrid multi-language scripts (Batch, PowerShell, VBS, Python). Many of our applications leverage this advanced scripting concept and were in fact born from such origins.
Logging and information capture are essential to keeping track of how systems are functioning and what users are accessing. Sometimes applications do not have very comprehensive logging, sometimes custom scripts were not built with logging in mind, and sometimes you just need additional logging. At DSM Innovations, we highly value information and advanced logging is one of our key practices. All of our applications provide very detailed logging options or are actually built around information capture at the core.
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