IT operations teams are continuously in search of more efficient ways to eliminate exposure to vulnerabilities and improve employee productivity. This paper considers how a cloud-native IT operations solution can reduce corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to provide best-in-class security outcomes – doing things more quickly and with fewer resources. As described in real user reviews on IT Central Station, Automox delivers speed, ease of use, and the potential to maximize ROI.
IT operations teams need to constantly adapt to changes in business operations and employees’ work preferences. Today, that means supporting anywhere, anytime employee productivity, i.e., hybrid work, DevOps and more. Cloud-native IT operations solutions make it possible to radically increase IT operations efficiency while supporting rapidly changing business requirements. This includes the ability to quickly and effortlessly respond to the increased need for security, such as defending digital assets against the increasing threat of ransomware attacks. What makes for a good cloud-native IT operations solution? IT Central Station members who use Automox share their experiences and insights into the most important selection factors for a cloud native IT operations solution. As this paper reveals, these criteria include speed and ease of use, automation capabilities, such as with Automox Worklets, and the ability to realize a return on investment (ROI).
IT Operations Use Cases
Most IT Central Station members use Automox for patch management, but they also put it to work in a variety of other use cases. For example, a Director of Business Operations at Ihloom Cybersecurity, an IT services company that is also a managed security services provider (MSSP), uses Automox primarily for their own patching and policy management. They are also an Automox reseller.
Meanwhile, B/Net Systems, a small managed services provider, uses Automox for many monthly maintenance tasks for clients, including software patching. Their President and CEO reported, “[Automox] is really great because it manages software updates for every piece of software on the computer.” Likewise, a Security Engineer at a retailer with over 500 employees uses Automox for patching, configuration management and support. He explained how they have created ways for their help desk to work faster. He said, “We use Automox to create solutions that the help desk can use in an automated fashion rather than having to manually do the work.”
For an IT Director at a large healthcare company, IT operations span patch management, software distribution and implementing security controls. He stated, “Any time we have to connect to a machine and run an automated process, we use Automox. The solution gives us complete visibility for any laptop, desktop or server in our environment regardless of where they are located.”
"Any time we have to connect to a machine and run an automated process, we use Automox. The solution gives us complete visibility for any laptop, desktop or server in our environment regardless of where they are located."
// IT Director at a large healthcare company
Overview of User Benefits
Organizations that opt to deploy cloud-native IT operations solutions reap the benefits. For instance, the Security Engineer at the retailer appreciates the ability to automate repetitive tasks for the help desk. He said, “If the VPN breaks, we can just click a button and fix the VPN for that person. If the software is having a hard time, we can run solutions to remove and reinstall that software rapidly so that they can get back to supporting the next person in line.”
“You can’t protect what you can’t see,” warned the CEO of ThreatAware, a computer security service. He likes how Automox provides visibility into the patch status of devices in their environment. He also values being able to do patch management from a single console across Windows, macOS and Linux endpoints. He added, “Overall, the patch management is very good. If it can’t do something because I haven’t integrated it, you can use the Worklets and do it yourself, which is great.”
With employees working remotely more than ever, the Director of Business Operations at Ihloom Cybersecurity enjoys the complete visibility for any laptop, desktop or server in their environment, regardless of whether the person is working at home, at a branch office or a coffee shop. He said, “These capabilities traditionally only exist on machines when they’re in the office or in a defined place. It is a valuable feature to be capable of insights and machines regardless of their location and to be sure of our abilities to patch and manage them.” Figure 2 shows this functionality in action.
Importance of Cloud-Native Architecture for IT Operations
As more of the world moves to the cloud every day, companies are naturally becoming increasingly cloud-centric. One example is B/Net Systems, which doesn’t have a physical office. Their CEO explained, “We try to push as much as we can to the cloud for all the usual reasons: It is more scalable and robust, and the security will generally be better.”
The healthcare IT Director chose Automox because it’s a cloud-native platform. He also appreciates the cost savings that come with it, sharing, “Automox just charges us a set amount per user, per month for using the product. That is very important to us. Because it’s a cloud-native solution, you’re saving on the cost of hosting an on-premises solution on your servers. Not having to pay for the bandwidth and the power of an appliance in our environment is positive.”
Atlantic.net used to employ open source and a Microsoft solution together to handle patching systems. According to their Vice President, this approach was cumbersome and involved a long learning curve. His team was also very limited in what they could and couldn’t manage, and in terms of scheduling or applying updates. Now that they are using a cloud-native solution, life is much easier for his people. He said, “Being in the cloud reduced, by two VMs, what we would have had to manage, update, monitor and the like.”
The retailer’s Security Engineer also agrees that it is important to have a cloud-native platform. He said, “Software-as-a-Service means that I’m not maintaining internal architecture, servers, licensing and the like to keep it online, or High Availability if I need it. I don’t have to think about any of that because it’s just there.”
Selection Factors for Choosing Cloud-Native IT Operations
1 – Ease of use and ease of deployment
B/Net Systems’ CEO likes the ease of drilling down into systems that are compliant or determine where they aren’t compliant. The ability to push out updates is also simple and a huge time saver for his team and clients. He said, “If for some reason a Chrome update doesn’t take, then you can push out the updates from Automox and say, ‘Hey, try it again.’ If it doesn’t work after a couple of tries, then we can always remote into the user’s computer and do it manually.”
2 – Speed of solution and speed of setup
ThreatAware’s CEO is also impressed with the stability and speed of Automox, as he’s never had a problem accessing it. He said, “When you install the agent, literally within 30 seconds, the machine appears. This is really handy because if you are rolling out a load, you can just check them off as you go. You don’t have to wait half an hour and come back. It’s always online, and it’s always fast.”
3 – Return on Investment (ROI)
The healthcare IT Director pointed to two ways he has seen ROI as a result of employing a cloud native platform: 1) fewer person-hours spent trying to understand how to roll out patches, and 2) reporting. With his department saving 10-15 hours a week on tasks, he enjoys being able to do stuff quicker and easier. He said, “There are times when I don’t even know how we would have done some of the things that we do today without Automox.”
As the world of computing continues to evolve, IT operations must be able to adjust to the needs of their companies, employees and clients. In an effort to gain better visibility, save on staff time, improve efficiency and increase security, organizations are shifting to cloud-native solutions like Automox. In describing their experiences on IT Central Station, users agree that Automox delivers the speed and ease of use they seek, as well as a strong return on their investment.