10 Must-have Automation and Operational Tools for 2023
As your organization grows and becomes increasingly multi-faceted, managing the day-to-day operations of business, IT, and security manually can get more and more challenging.
If you have limited resources, time, staff, or other limitations, automation and operational tooling help you get more done in less time – with less effort. In today’s digitally demanding world, the most successful companies embrace automation and helpful operational tools.
For one thing, automation tools offer a way to simplify tasks by reducing human error and eliminating repetitive tasks that humans can't keep up with. Similarly, operational tools help you organize, resource plan, build relationships, or communicate efforts.
Choosing the right tool for every task, however, isn’t always easy. Take endpoint management, for example. According to the 2022 State of ITOps Report, many of you are using at least ten or more endpoint management tools regularly. That’s a ton of tools for one task. Why not automate and consolidate?
Although companies are embracing tech tools, weeding through which ones can provide capabilities unique to your organization’s needs is where it can get challenging. In this post, we simplify the selection process for you and showcase leading automation and operational tools to support your business functions and IT operations.
Top trending automation and operational tools
1. Network monitoring: Wireshark
Wireshark is a must-have tool in any admin’s belt that helps with troubleshooting device network issues. Wireshark helps capture and investigate network traffic in the event of suspicious or unauthorized access.
2. Password manager: Lastpass, 1Password, & Keepass
A big part of the day-to-day for an admin is authentication to websites and SSH terminals, password generation, and secrets storage. A good practice is to use a unique password for every managed service. Top password managers include paid services such as Lastpass, 1Password, and free tools like Keepass. Often, you can connect these password managers to your directory to automate and scale your password management capabilities.
3. SSH and Telnet terminal: Putty
The ability to login into remote servers is a key part of an IT admin’s day-to-day and the need for an SSH terminal to perform the tasks is crucial. If you’re on a Mac or Linux device you can use the built-in terminal, but if you’re on Windows you might need to use free, open-source terminals such as Putty. In many cases, you can automate these tasks with the help of batch or other scripting.
4. Text editors: NotePad++ & Sublime Text
An admin's daily core function includes making changes to scripts, configuration files, XML/CSV files, etc. Built-in editors such as Notepad or TextEdit are simple and lack efficient features such as the ability to open and read a variety of file-types, language-specific syntax editing, file-diff to compare and contrast document contents, and many more features. NotePad++ or Sublime Text editor are two fantastic and free options to consider. Automated behaviors include toggling automatic pairing of quotes or brackets, saving files automatically as well as finding and copying text.
5. Secure file copy tools: WinSCP & FileZilla
Whether troubleshooting, retrieving logs, or transferring payloads to and from a device, administrators need a secure, efficient, and (ideally) easy-to-use solution. While this is all possible using the command line and terminals, an often easier and free solution to use is a GUI SFTP such as WinSCP or FileZilla. Plus, capabilities such as file transfers or synchronizing files can often be automated.
6. Endpoint management: Automox
Automatically patch your Windows, macOs, and Linux devices with one easy-to-use platform. With Automox, security and IT teams are ultimately able to act faster and with greater confidence by automating many critical, time-consuming tasks to reduce costs and deliver better security outcomes. (We can’t help listing ourselves, we love automation!)
7. Help desk management: Zendesk
Zendesk is a help desk management solution offering customizable and automated tools for businesses to build a customer service portal, knowledge base, ticketing system, and other online support communities. Zendesk delivers a custom front-end portal, live chat features, and integration capability with applications such as Salesforce and Google Analytics. Automations within Zendesk include ticketing and e-mail notifications to name a few.
8. IT services management: ServiceNow
ServiceNow is a SaaS solution for technical management support. This company specializes in IT services management (ITSM), IT operations management (ITOM), IT business management (ITBM), and other management services allowing users to manage projects, teams, and buyer interactions through an assortment of apps and integrations, including the Service Graph Connector for Automox! The ServiceNow automation engine enables straightforward workflows by quickly connecting to any system and automating routine tasks.
9. Project management: Smartsheet
Smartsheet is a SaaS solution for project management, collaboration, and crowdsourcing. Smartsheet is also cloud-based and allows businesses to create, manage and share projects, tasks, and processes with other external users such as contractors or freelancers. With Smartsheet you can customize automated alerts and requests so your notifications are relevant to you and your team and are delivered at set times.
10. HR management: Worksuite
Worksuite is a cloud-based platform for HR and project management activities such as sourcing, onboarding, managing, reviewing, and paying external workers for companies of all sizes. The application includes performance tracking, project assignments, and metrics tracking for service procurement and payment. With automated global payments, invoicing, and customizable onboarding workflows, Worksuite can alleviate your HR workloads with automation.
Top 10 automation and operational tools wrap-up
There are countless IT automation and operational tools on the market today. Whether you need a cloud-based solution like Automox for your patching needs or an HR solution like Worksuite, there is likely a solution for your organization. It's important to save time and money with automation and let the right tooling help you minimize the need for too many solutions.
Some organizations have been using these technologies for years, while others are just starting to adopt them. However, it’s clear automation will be an important part of any enterprise’s IT strategy going forward. The key is choosing the right tool (or set of tools) that meet your organization’s specific needs while learning how to use them effectively.
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