4 Steps to Increase your Trust in Endpoint Automation
We’ve only cleared the first few months of the year, but IT teams are already feeling the heat. With nearly 100 vulnerabilities patched by Microsoft in January and companies worldwide preparing for budget reductions and workforce layoffs, 2023 looks like a tough year for IT admins and IT Operations managers.
Nevertheless, there’s hope for teams looking to solve the challenge of doing more with less. That hope manifests mainly in one essential form: endpoint automation.
As you prepare for a year with ever-increasing workloads and staffing challenges, automating endpoint management processes may be, or at least should be, on your 2023 to-do list. You might have considered automation earlier as an advantage over manual updates and tighter control. But this article should help you see that automating endpoints is a crucial productivity and business enabler.
IT right now: A losing battle? It doesn’t have to be…
IT teams’ roles traditionally have been activity-intensive – with a heavy emphasis on managing vast volumes of devices on-premise, in the cloud, or remotely. But the diversity and distribution of endpoints globally have made manually managing these endpoints and devices increasingly complex. For a more detailed analysis, we discuss these challenges at length in our 2023 State of ITOps Report.
If your teams have always relied on manual endpoint control, you’ve likely observed a swiftly losing battle over trying to manage your entire IT infrastructure from a single platform, with multiple tools and systems thrown in for good measure. As you grapple with similar challenges with [perhaps] a reduced workforce, it might be time to rethink the number of manual repetitive tasks your team takes on and if they can be automated instead.
But just how much of a game-changer can endpoint management with automation be?
How can trusting endpoint automation improve your IT operations?
IT teams have traditionally used many tools and platforms for endpoint management. However, as if managing an extensive IT infrastructure wasn’t enough, getting these platforms to work together leads to a considerable learning and adoption curve for the teams involved. In fact, 55% of respondents use 6 or more applications, tools, and services to manage their organizations.
That scenario is hugely improved if you can consolidate your platform choices to 1-2 tools, using automation to the extent possible within your org. The benefits of using endpoint management in an automated approach are multi-fold.
Seamless endpoint configuration and patching
Configuring new endpoints and devices no longer becomes an arduous overhead on your ITOps team. In addition, patching across your IT infrastructure does not take days of effort, but it can now be managed with a few clicks and from a single platform.
Improved preparedness for security threats
You observe that your team has better control of their endpoints and can more easily avoid security threats. Automation can support the influx of patches where manual efforts often result in patch backlogs due to the sheer amount of work that must be completed.
Lesser unplanned incidents
You can experience fewer unplanned vulnerability-related incidents because automation ensures your endpoints are managed and monitored at all times with minimal effort. Automation also greatly reduces the chances of human error.
Give your IT team the gift of time
For IT teams, time is critical. Automation gives your team time for more strategic efforts instead of always playing catch up. In addition, your team might finally be able to handle managing and patching your endpoints and focus on learning best practices to secure these endpoints proactively.
These benefits alone are well worth the price for considering automating your endpoint management. However, you may still be unsure about evaluating and executing automation across your environment.
We’ve put together four key steps to consider when you are ready to take the leap and start automating. Let’s go!
Four things to consider when putting your trust in automation
1. Start with what you understand
Automating your endpoint management doesn’t mean rehauling your entire technology toolkit or writing automation scripts late into the night.
Start with an inventory of all the activities your team undertakes. Then, narrow it down to non-critical tasks (i.e. don’t start automation efforts with executive laptops) and those that drag your team down with manual work.
Chances are you’ve already deployed some scripting to perform these activities but have held back because of your team’s anxiety about letting them run without supervision.
To quell your hesitation, start small. Seize the opportunity to automate your endpoint management on a smaller subset of endpoints before you roll it out across your entire infrastructure.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel
Getting started may be most reliant on what tools you have available and your comfort level with each. This includes your current tools, APIs, and scripts.
From your current platforms, identify those that support automation. Case in point, the Automox console enables automated control as well as with our script-based WorkletsTM.
Additionally, APIs are everywhere and often publicly available in the cloud. There are more tools available that let you build automations without learning a whole new language.
As for scripting, a bit of copy-and-paste can go a long way with online resources like Stack Overflow, or product community forums that allow you to tap into other people's solutions that you can adopt.
3. Test and test again
As great as automations are, they can quickly unravel if the automated procedure is incorrect or missed a step. Before deploying any automated workflows, check that the workflow makes sense and test it – several times if needed to increase your comfort level that it will work.
4. Assign owners to address automation refreshes
Be diligent in documenting your automations and assigning owners. Automations that work flawlessly now may have to be updated on-the-fly as your environment changes. Lack of ownership can quickly cause issues. Foresee what lies ahead and plan for it now.
As you go through the four outlined steps, you’ll start to realize automation isn’t about relinquishing your hold on your endpoints. Instead, you’ll see automation is about gaining freedom while still maintaining control without manual effort. By taking that first step into automation, start freeing your IT staff from the deluge of manual work and get back to being a strategic business enabler.
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