How business IT must change in 2018
According to data from IBM, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, which means that 90 per cent of all data in the world was created in the past two years. However, much of this data is underutilised — particularly in business IT. Here, Brian King, Sage Business Cloud: Enterprise Management Product Manager at Sage business partner CPiO, outlines three ways that business IT culture must change to allow IT managers to gain value from their data in 2018:
Ownership of IT systems
In the same way that an IT manager will buy a PC and be responsible for setting it up, updating it and keeping it protected from malware, IT systems are the responsibility of the business in most cases.
However, while some programs may be rented through a software as a service (SaaS) business model where the supplier is responsible for upkeep, many businesses assume this for all systems — namely business management solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
This misinterpretation of responsibility reduces the effectiveness of the overall system. For ERP software such as Sage Business Cloud: Enterprise Management (formerly Sage X3), there is a wide range of ways it can be set up to flexibly add value to the business. The IT manager, or a specified member of the IT team, must take responsibility for ensuring the system is up to date and configured properly.
Software as an asset
If we consider that there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated each day, it stands to reason that there is a significant amount of insight to be gained from analysing it. If only one per cent is collected and analysed, as the International Data Corporation deemed to be the case in 2012, that’s a lot of potential value going to waste.
On such a scale, it seems unbelievable that so much data would be neglected. Yet this is the case for many business ERP systems, due to staff simply not realising they can analyse it. This often comes down to the perception of ERP software being more like IT infrastructure than the business asset it can be.
For example, Sage Business Cloud: Enterprise Management (formerly Sage X3) can keep data on suppliers that departments can use to keep records on orders and payments. However, this data can also be cross-referenced against other supplier accounts to identify significant variations in cost or lead time. This may allow the business to identify opportunities to change suppliers and improve these performance factors.
IT managers can only gain the most value from ERP systems and data by creating a culture where staff are encouraged to use the system to discover rather than just monitor and report. Doing so sooner rather than later may lead to businesses improving efficiency and reducing operating costs before the end of the year.
Training for lasting benefits
SaaS has had a profound impact on the way businesses approach their IT, but one of the repercussions of this is that many companies aren’t as committed to IT training as they should be. While we are often reported to be in the midst of a digital skills crisis, surely it’s fine as long as we can outsource IT maintenance to specialists?
In the short term, this might seem like a viable solution. However, a lack of IT training means that, for software such as ERP systems, businesses face either higher costs due to external servicing or reduced effectiveness due to staff being unable to use the system properly.
To make any business IT system a success in 2018, it is critical that IT managers and chief executives make training a priority. The right approach to software and systems is a fundamental basis to drawing value from business IT, but it is imperative that staff have the right skills to successfully extract the value of business data.
Brian King, Sage Business Cloud: Enterprise Management Product Manager at Sage business partner CPiO
Ivanti Acquires RiskSense to Combat Cyber Attacks
Ivanti, an IT asset and service management software solutions provider, has acquired RiskSense, a company that works in risk-based vulnerability management and prioritisation, to drive the next evolution of patch management.
This combination of the two companies will enable organisations to ‘shrink their attack surface, prioritise vulnerabilities to remediate, and reduce their exposure to cyber threats and ransomware attacks by taking a proactive, risk-based approach to patch management’. The terms of the RiskSense transaction were not disclosed.
“Over the past two years, cyberattacks such as ransomware have crossed the line from being a nuisance to truly disrupting society,” said Srinivas Mukkamala, CEO of RiskSense. “And unpatched vulnerabilities remain one of the common points of infiltration into organisations’ ecosystems. I’m committed to the global fight against ransomware. And I truly believe that the combination of risk-based vulnerability prioritisation and automated patch intelligence can help organisations reduce their exposure and make a major impact in global cyberspace. Together, RiskSense and Ivanti will help customers drive operational efficiencies and defend against the next wave of sophisticated cyber threats, including ransomware attacks.”
Providing IT teams with the tools to tackle cyber issues
Solutions from the combined companies are expected to reduce the meantime to detect, discover, remediate, and respond to cyber threats, particularly critical vulnerabilities linked to or associated with ransomware. Together, Ivanti and RiskSense will provide security and IT teams with context and adaptive intelligence regarding what their organisation’s exposures are to vulnerabilities that are being actively exploited, including whether those vulnerabilities are tied to ransomware, and then enable them to quickly remediate those threats.
Ivanti has already integrated the RiskSense Vulnerability Intelligence and Vulnerability Risk Rating, which prioritises and quantifies adversarial risk based on factors such as threat intelligence, in-the-wild exploit trends, and security analyst validation, into Ivanti Neurons for Patch Intelligence.
“This combination will allow us to provide our customers with a holistic view of vulnerabilities and exposures, and then enable them to take fast action through Ivanti Neurons for Patch Intelligence. Customers will be able to greatly reduce their attack surface and risk of breach because of the vulnerability intelligence and the resulting remediation prioritisation based on actively trending exploits and ransomware attacks,” said Jim Schaper, Ivanti Chairman and CEO.