How We Worklet: Automating User Notifications

These days, we’re all trying to work smarter, not harder, right? Well, in the spirit of making IT and security tasks easier and less time-consuming, we’re introducing this new blog series: How We Worklet.

The series focuses on special use cases our team has identified where automation makes a big difference in scaling back level of effort. Let’s dive in.

Quick recap: What’s a Worklet?

Automox Worklets™️ are super helpful automation tools. Worklets hand over the reins so you can automate any scriptable action on macOS, Linux, and Windows devices. What soul-crushing, manual task vexes you most? Script it and eliminate it.

When you write or use existing Worklets, you give your organization a shot at reaching its full automation potential. The best part is that Worklets help you do away with time-consuming manual tasks and help with compliance efforts.

Anyone can create and offer up a Worklet in our online community. Sometimes they’re written by the Automox team, but just as often it's our customers who have a great idea that comes to life in Worklet form. Automox users who create and share new Worklets are affectionately dubbed SuperUsers.

What is a Worklet used for?

You can leverage Worklets to remediate zero-day or unpatched vulnerabilities. Or use them to configure your devices, disconnect unauthorized applications, roll back patches, etc. Every Worklet available in the Automox Community undergoes a review and has ultimately been approved by a team of Automox experts.

To learn more about what a Worklet is and how it, well… works, jump over to the Automox Community.

What is the How We Worklet series all about?

How We Worklet aims to celebrate and showcase Automox SuperUsers while inspiring others to accomplish more through automation. Here, we’ll highlight an innovative new Winning Worklet each month. We’ll get to know the SuperUser who created the Worklet, and they’ll shed light on why they made it, what it does, and ideas for using it.

Today’s Winning Worklet: Automating user notifications

Ever feel like your users are experiencing notification fatigue? If so, this Worklet shakes up how you present notifications to your end users and is a great way to make sure your messages are actually received and read. The even better part? It cuts a task that can take more than 30 hours down to just 5 minutes – while delivering better results.

The User Notification Worklet uses built-in macOS tools but places the dialog box front and center (instead of in its default position in an upper corner).

Jessica included extra options with this Worklet so you can customize the notification further. Try additional button selections to direct a user to specific webpages, access setting timeouts, or even organize notifications.

We sat down with Jessica to learn more about her User Notification Worklet and the different use cases it can be applied to. We have a hunch you may find your own use for it.

Why did you build this Worklet? What problem does it solve?

We discovered that a few important notices from IT and Security were being overlooked in email and on Slack. Though we repeated attempts to notify users, the second and third notices still failed to impact consumption. We wanted to make sure users were gaining awareness of important events, issues, and notices. So we got to work.

What task does this Worklet accomplish?

The User Notification Worklet:

  • Notifies users of essential changes, notices, and alerts via a custom pop-up

  • Directs users to a custom URL such as an internal document or service desk

  • Creates custom input actions using configurable buttons

How long did it take to build?

It took me about two days to build it from scratch. Now that the Worklet exists, it would take only 5 to 15 minutes to deploy it in your environment, even with all the optional variables.

How does it work?

When accessed in its simplest form, you can fill out variables for “title” and “message.” The Worklet will notify the users of your message with a pop-up on the schedule you select. Then they can add a few other things to make the notification even more customizable. Here are just a few of the additional features:

  • Custom button preferences

  • The ability to open a custom URL based on input

  • Alert categorization

Before you built this Worklet, how much time did it take to do the same task(s)?

We recently built out a document outlining how many times we had communicated an internal project to respond to feedback. Surprisingly, we discovered we’d communicated the change 23 times, but we were still receiving feedback that users had no idea it was coming.

Previous communication approach and amount of time consumed:

  • 10 Slack announcements: ~5 hours

  • 8 Monthly newsletter mentions: ~4 hours

  • 2 Emails: ~30 minutes

  • 1 AMA: ~5 hours

  • 2 Confluence documents: ~16 hours

All of our security engineer team members participated in this process, which we found was sucking up the equivalent of over 30 hours (or nearly four full days of a single full-time employee’s time). The effort was taking valuable time away from all of us, so it made a great candidate for improvement through automation.

Now that you have this Worklet, how much time does the same task take?

Now, it takes five minutes or less to set this up. Anyone with access to the Automox console can implement this Worklet. And the variables are simple enough that even non-technical staff can fill out the form.

Is this Worklet device-specific?

The Worklet is set up to run on macOS. There is a similar Worklet for TOAST (Windows) up on the Community page.

Which type of IT or security role might especially benefit from using this Worklet?

Any system admin or security professional could benefit from using the Notification Worklet to communicate important information to end users.

And finally… just for fun, if this Worklet were an animal, what would it be and why?

The User Notification Worklet would definitely be a chameleon. I could see customers using this as a unique way to match their environments' looks, feels, and functionalities.

Stay tuned for more Winning Worklets

To dive deeper into Worklets and discover what they can do for you, check out the Community Worklets page. Here you’ll see what new Worklets are available. You can also ask questions about how Worklets function or submit your own!

Until next month, be well and Worklet on.

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