Tackling the changing landscape of modern-day working

Written by: SystemLabs Posted: 30/09/2021

BL74_Redcoinadv_JamieMcDonaldBL74_Redcoinadv_AlexBlackwellThe past year has seen many changes in how we work, all of which have introduced new challenges for businesses and employees alike. Jamie McDonald (pictured far right), Director at SystemLabs, a local provider of IT services and solutions, spoke to Alex Blackwell, MD of Redcoin, a local IT security distributor, about the challenges businesses faced when tackling the new normal 

Alex Blackwell: In March 2020, the landscape of work changed pretty much overnight. What sort of challenges did businesses encounter?

Jamie McDonald: One of the biggest challenges was the increase in demand for those working on the service desk.

When large numbers of users had to switch to working from home, they faced numerous issues because they were suddenly operating outside their normal network, which meant service desks saw a huge surge in requests for help. Many of our customers needed a tool to help manage this effectively and we introduced them to ServiceDeskPlus.  

AB: How did that help?

JM: Well, as a tool it provides an increased visibility of all requests coming through the service desk. Some smaller businesses previously didn’t have a ticketing system to track IT requests and needed a way to effectively manage these. 

Larger sized teams also saw a huge increase in demand for urgent requests and, because it is fully customisable, we found that ServiceDeskPlus helped address these issues. 

In both cases, this ManageEngine solution provided them with an increased level of visibility on all active tickets, which meant they were able to monitor the number of requests and progress of tickets, assign tasks and prioritise them too. 

Some tickets logged by users had a high level of impact on their ability to do their job, which would have a knock-on effect to business function, so these had to be dealt with urgently. 

We found that giving service teams a centralised view of these requests also meant that they had a means to overcome the barrier of working in different places as opposed to their normal close-knit environment.

AB: I take it the teams weren’t the only ones under pressure? The infrastructure of networks must have been tested, too?

JM: Absolutely. Before this happened, most workstations were connected to centralised secure networks. Many businesses had to shift to connecting into the office via Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or use more cloud-based solutions. 

Business continuity was obviously key and so our customers needed a tool to help with that.

We rolled out OpManager to a number of clients due to its capacity to identify and prevent critical errors, monitor storage availability, analyse bandwidth usage so there were no outages, and its ability to give users a clear view and prevent any unauthorised changes to network configurations. 

We also worked to set up secure and centralised password storage solutions using PasswordManagerPro, which provided users with the ability to remotely reset passwords and gave administrative staff a way to share updated passwords in a safe way. 

Helpdesk teams also used this to create secure connections when remotely logging in to users’ machines, to resolve issues that could not be handled over the phone.

AB: It sounds like security was a big concern for everyone? 

JM: The biggest. Unfortunately, we saw a large increase in phishing and ransomware attacks because the people behind these scams knew that a lot of businesses were operating outside of their normally secure network and tried to take advantage of that. 

Businesses had the additional challenge of a global shortage of laptops and mobile devices due to increased demand, meaning a number of people were forced to use personal devices. 

This meant that when rolling out security solutions, we had to switch our approach from securing networks to securing machines. 

As part of this, we needed to minimise the impact on the end user while ensuring companies were 100% compliant in terms of securing client data by providing encryption for documents, secure storage, file sharing and antivirus protection, to name just a few.

AB: What should businesses be considering to make sure they’re not at risk from the kind of attacks you mentioned?

JM: Each business has its own unique set of needs so it really is about tailoring the right solutions to the requirements on a case-by-case basis.

We’re always happy to chat to anyone who is unsure of how to approach this, with our on-site security reviews providing a great baseline for both SystemLabs and our clients to identify the gaps and develop a plan to address them.

Find out more

If you are interested in discussing ManageEngine’s solutions or our Security Reviews further, please get in touch by emailing info@systemlabs.io

• This advertising feature was first published in the 2021 Funds Edition of Businesslife magazine

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