Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Ravi Rajamiyer

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Biggest Fears of the Modern IT Manager By @TMcAlpinxm | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

What keeps an IT manager up at night? Ghosts, goblins and ghouls?

Four Biggest Fears of the Modern IT Manager

What keeps an IT manager up at night? Ghosts, goblins and ghouls? Guess again. It takes more than a few measly monsters to cause a lack of sleep in today's IT department.

IT used to exist primarily to monitor and maintain systems, protect against data breaches and malware attacks, and repair or replace computers. However, with more automation in today's always-connected business, IT has assumed an even larger role, graduating from mere maintenance and monitoring to driving and managing numerous mission-critical processes that support core business operations. As a result, a bigger role brings bigger fears. Here is a list of the modern IT manager's biggest fears:

1. Alert Fatigue
When a major retailer suffered a data breach recently, more than one IT employee on the front lines saw alerts but nobody acted. Why? Large IT organizations can receive up to 150,000 alerts per day from their monitoring systems. How are IT employees supposed to sort through them all to pick out the one or two legitimate threats? It's simple - they can't.

So many alerts come in (many of them routine notifications) that alert fatigue sets in and IT often ignores or deletes them - even those bringing attention to a critical disruption. While malicious attacks grab headlines, a 2014 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM revealed that 59 percent of data breaches globally are caused by either human error or a system glitch.

As this is clearly a major issue in today's modern enterprise, IT teams can address and remedy alert fatigue with the following eight tips:

  • Plan: Have a communications action plan and set processes in place with targeted alerts for a variety of scenarios so you're always prepared.
  • Automate: Build steps into your plan to save time and ensure consistent service.
  • Be Proactive: Keep stakeholders abreast of even routine updates to keep them at ease and free your techs from inbound inquiries.
  • Target: Target your communications and alerts by matching the incident to the right people and devices. According to a recent Dimensional Research survey, businesses are usually already disrupted by the time the IT team identifies the right person to resolve a major incident.
  • Be Mobile: Enable message recipients to choose their preferred devices, from smart phones and tablets to pagers and fax machines. A new IDC report shows that traditional telephony vendors are losing ground to cloud communication companies due to both cost and effectiveness.
  • Close the Loop: Require acknowledgement before considering communication received.
  • Measure: Measure important metrics such as mean time to acknowledge, dispatch, and resolve so you can adjust your alert plans as necessary.
  • Prepare: Be ready for a future that includes more connected devices, wearable technology and attacks.

2. BYOD
In today's mobile-first world, most businesses now allow their employees to bring their own mobile devices (BYOD) to work.

The good news is that employees who bring their own devices are happy and productive. In fact, a study by a leading technology trade publication indicates that employees who use their own devices work an extra two hours and send 20 additional emails every day, and one-third of BYOD employees check work email before the workday between 6 am-7 am.

The downside is that IT departments can't ensure that employee devices are on the same platform versions, are using only approved apps and are visiting solely approved websites. Mobile phones are no longer immune from malware, and if the mobile landscape is unknown, the IT department will have a difficult time maintaining a safe environment.

Trust employees to use good judgment, but inform them of best practices and be vigilant about alerts.

3. Job Changes
Business continuity and disaster recovery situations used to revolve around whether the building would still be standing after a storm or a fire. Today, the building is just where the data happens to reside - the data is what really matters.

Major issues like data breaches or malware attacks can threaten the future of a business. For large global enterprises, the challenges can be enormous. Business continuity situations require issue resolution and communication, combined with the pressures of speed. Time, after all, is money, and downtime is extremely expensive, not to mention detrimental to the business. So pressure is squarely on IT to be prepared when critical incidents cause alerts and notifications. Gathering disparate information sources, assessing the causes and communicating with departments around the world requires technology, flexibility and strategy.

Conditions can change frequently, so be organized and prepared. If front-line service representatives are calm, the company will likely also stay calm, and eliminating panic could be the difference between disaster and recovery.

Processes have to be agile as well just to deal with business change. Re-organizations happen all the time, and employees will have to learn new skills and work with new people. Make sure they can.

4. Machine to Machine (M2M)
The widespread web of connected machines continues to be spun, and our always-on, always-connected world continues to grow. Unfortunately for businesses, this means that something as small as an operational glitch has the ability to potentially bring an extended enterprise to its knees.

As a result, it's important that machines are not separate from the IT department, as IT teams should have intimate knowledge of all the connected devices, and the ability to quickly produce a resolution to rectify a critical IT disruption.

Conclusion
As the role of IT continues to grow, modern IT managers now not only have to contend with routine service tickets but are also expected to contribute to business-critical decisions and operations, bringing on the above challenges and many more. However, having the proper communications plan, precautions and technologies in place early on, and working with other strategic partners and business units will help manage the burden and reduce the stress of the added responsibilities this new and exciting role brings.

More Stories By Troy McAlpin

Troy McAlpin brings more than 20 years of experience to his leadership role at xMatters, with expertise in process automation, strategic initiatives and corporate strategy. His domain experience includes IT strategy and vertical market expertise including technology, banking, consumer and retail industries. Prior to founding xMatters, formerly AlarmPoint Systems, he managed marketing, sales, development, M&A and financial aspects at two successful start-up companies and also worked at AT&T Solutions and Andersen.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...