IT directors looking to engage their company’s C-level leadership on issues of strategic relevance might wish to consider systems management as a worthy topic. Few other activities offer as much enterprise leverage — whether you’re talking compliance, security, mobile, or distributed environments. Here is part one we are going to look at compliance and security:
Systems management is how you enforce compliance when handling information across the enterprise — and a key part of that is policy automation. The ideal scenario is a single dashboard that provides one unified point of control over all IT assets, including remote endpoints such as employee laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Policy automation, as part of that scenario, means you assert control in a scalable, auditable and timely way — especially if your management tools come with “out-of-the-box” scripts you can tailor rather than build from scratch. Such “out of the box” system management can, for example:
- Assign multiple policies to each machine
- Determine which policies are obeyed or ignored if a conflict arises
- Check that each machine assigned one or more policies is in compliance
- Show policy status across the organization on a consolidated dashboard
- Enable manual policy overrides
One of the fastest ways for IT can attract C-level attention, and not in a good way, is to be the target of a successful cyber attack. Yet, even though data security is an obvious strategic concern, there’s a temptation to regard the issue as “handled” once a tactical solution, namely data security software, has been adopted. The reality is, however, that addressing data security at a strategic level calls for marrying data security with comprehensive systems management.
In fact, system management and data security solutions have a complementary relationship. Data security solutions can, for example, detect wireless intrusion, control system access, manage passwords and protect against viruses and spyware. What it can’t do (but good system management can) is provide a single holistic view of system health, including any security alerts generated by the data security software. That also includes monitoring suspicious spikes in utilization of bandwidth or other resources — conditions that might indicate an attack in progress. And it can also provide detailed logging of critical events across all IT, which, among other things, would be vital for reconstructing everything that occurred leading up to a security event. But perhaps most importantly, what good system management is uniquely qualified to do is monitor the software update status (including virus signature updates) and enable patches to be applied easily and automatically across the entire enterprise as needed.
Join us for Part 2 when we talk about how to handle BYOD and most importantly how to secure employees’ personal mobile devices within enterprise system management — without ruffling employee feathers over privacy or ruffling the business’ feathers over data security.
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