IT Administration

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IT Administration is the processes and best practices for programming and development, and incorporates methodologies for managing activities and projects. Common methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, iterative and incremental development, spiral development, rapid application development, extreme programming and various types of agile methodology. The life-cycle "model" is a more general term for a category of methodologies, and a software development "process" a more specific term to refer to a specific process chosen by a specific organization.

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We take a look at some of the most common obstacles that IT teams run into as they work relentlessly to keep all the alarms and sirens from going off at once.
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Webinar: Security & Encryption in the MySQL world
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Webinar: Security & Encryption in the MySQL world

Join Percona’s Solutions Engineer, Dimitri Vanoverbeke as he presents “Security and Encryption in the MySQL world” on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 7:00 am PDT / 10:00 am EDT (UTC-7).

Let’s face it: one of the reasons your organization chose a SaaS solution (whether Microsoft Dynamics 365, Netsuite or SAP) is that it is subscription-based. The upkeep is done. Or so you think.
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Popular third-party chat platforms like Slack, Discord, and Telegram are just a few of the many new productivity applications that are being hijacked by cybercriminals to create command-and-control (C&C) communications infrastructures for their malware campaigns.
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Multi-threading long-running processes can have a significant increase in overall performance and drastically decrease over time it takes for a process to complete. Unfortunately, not all applications support native multi-threading, some by design and some by the implementation.
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If you are IT support and need to work after hours to resolve customer issues then here are a few tips on how to handle after hours support
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Postmortem reporting allow us to examine mistakes in a way that focuses on the situational aspects of a failure’s mechanism and the decision-making process of individuals proximate to the failure. Read our guide on how to handle IT post-mortem reporting.
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Recovering from what the press called "the largest-ever cyber-attack", IT departments worldwide are discussing ways to defend against this in the future. In this process, many people are looking for immediate actions while, instead, they need to thoroughly revise their security concepts.
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by:McKnife
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Andrew, thanks for the feedback. I am aware that this article is mainly raising question while not answering many.
Maybe it's rather a starting point for discussions than sharing solutions.

You ask "So what's the solution? Shutting it all down..." which is the same that I ask in the article and I answer with "no" immediately afterwards.
You write "it's not quite fair to point blame on IT administrator's shoulders ...These guys more often than not work with tied hands" - that's exactly what I am saying. If the admin is not comfortable making his concerns heard, then he is not employed at the right place and should not fear to be replaced but leave on his own.

Before you start discussing - let's wait for other comments.
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by:McKnife
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Some news that might be of interest for Americans: https://www.upguard.com/breaches/the-rnc-files
In short: US politicians payed for analysing voter opinions on US election-critical topics. Voter data (1,1 TB!) of 198 million Americans was uploaded to an amazon server but the access rights were incorrectly set - it was open to the public and the data was not encrypted. It leaked.
See what I am talking about?
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There’s a movement in Information Technology (IT), and while it’s hard to define, it is gaining momentum. Some call it “stream-lined IT;” others call it “thin-model IT.”
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Your data is at risk. Probably more today that at any other time in history. There are simply more people with more access to the Web with bad intentions.
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by:Mihai Corbuleac
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Absolutely true! Backup is mandatory these days. I would recommend multiple backups (different hosts). The most common threat these days is indeed Ransomware and that's because it is very different from other types of viruses. Learn more about it and what you need to do to keep your data safe. Remember to always keep everything patched and updated!
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How many times a day do you open, acknowledge, or close an IT incident? What’s your process? Do you have a process depending on the incident, systems involved, and other factors? New Relic Alerts gives you options for how you interact with notification channels for sending alerts.


Alerts is a new tool to manage your alerting policies and integrate with team communication tools like xMatters, HipChat, Slack, and more—so you can immediately let the right people know when critical issues arise.


We’re pleased to announce that xMatters is an official notification channel in New Relic Alerts.


With the new integration, New Relic provides a notification channel that you can use to manage your xMatters integration and communication plans easily. You can also use custom payload webhooks to control how the xMatters alert is delivered.


xMatters allows you to automate and structure communication as events unfold during a deployment or service outage. New Relic enables you to manage alerting policies and integrations, while still providing industry-leading insights.


How it works
With New Relic Alerts, you can choose the communication tool and easily set up the integration.



xMatters has a similarly easy interface for setting up an integration with New Relic.



Reaping the benefits

New Relic integrates with xMatters to replace manual steps in incident management processes:

  • Notify resolvers based on escalation rules, on-call schedules, skills, and location
  • Enrich notifications with insights from New Relic and other tools in the IT toolchain, to provide actionable content and increase resolver efficiency
  • Configure response options that trigger other xMatters integrations and drive workflow for tasks such as creating tickets, updating consoles, sending additional notifications, and initiating chat & conference-call collaboration all with context from New Relic alerts
  • Use the xMatters mobile app to quickly look up who’s on call, receive & respond to notifications, and engage other teams to minimize time to resolve service disruptions
  • Continuously improve operational processes with reporting & analytics
  • Allow stakeholders to manage subscription and notification preferences for proactive communications during service disruptions


xMatters is now available as a New Relic Alerts notification channel. Please visit https://www.xmatters.com/integration/new-relic for more information.

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Benefit from a mission critical IT monitoring with Monitis Premium or get it FREE for your entry level monitoring needs.
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When the s#!t hits the fan, you don’t have time to look up who’s on call, draft emails, call collaborators, or send text messages. An instant chat window is definitely the way to go, especially one like HipChat.


HipChat is a true business app. And while it’s tempting to call it a chat application, it’s much more. It’s persistent, searchable, and loaded with extras like group chat, video chat, screen sharing, and airtight security.


So if you’re busy doing other things when a nasty incident ticket starts hogging space on your screen, how quickly and effectively can you get into HipChat? That’s where we come in.


Combined with xMatters, this integration allows individuals to collaborate with the correct on-call resources via HipChat to coordinate and resolve incidents faster. xMatters leverages your group on-call schedules and rotations, escalation rules, and user device preferences to quickly engage the right resources into a targeted HipChat room.


Linking HipChat in your toolchain


Integration xMatters with your monitoring, ITSM, incident management, and communication tools enables you to share data across your entire incident resolution toolchain. Using the xMatters integration, you can open a HipChat room directly from JIRA Service desk or another ITSM system without leaving the ITSM environment.


When you send invitations to collaborate from HipChat, they reference key data from monitoring tools or service management systems. All this data enables your resolution teams to quickly get up to speed and act.


Within the targeted HipChat room, members can use slash commands to see who is on call from a specific team, invite additional resources, and make updates to a service management ticket or StatusPage listing. xMatters eliminates the need to switch back and forth between systems, so your team can resolve incidents instead of worrying about record keeping.


Here are a few other things you can do with the xMatters HipChat integration:

  • Automatically assign a JIRA issue to the responder
  • Record HipChat activity back into a service management ticket
  • Use slash commands to add comments to a service management ticket or StatusPage


Adding HipChat to your xMatters instance is easy. Just visit our Integrations Directory!

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We asked our MSP customer base what their favorite tools were and how they help them serve clients. We focused our questions on favorite tools in the following categories: >PSA tools >RMM tools >Alert management tools >Communication tools and Mobile Device Management tools.
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Dramatic changes are revolutionizing how we build and use technology. Every company is automating, digitizing, and modernizing operations. We need a better, more connected way to work together as teams so we can harness the insights from our systems and drive effective collaboration.


Just a few years ago, we were all looking around and asking each other the same question. Fortunately, some people are figuring it out and providing some guidance on how DevOps processes can improve all areas of business, from development and operations to monitoring and incident management.


Here are a few examples from our customers.


Pacific Life has transitioned its monitoring from a human-operated system to an automated one. Leaders had to overcome employee anxiety over losing jobs and providing direct access to customers.


Intermountain Healthcare, Utah’s largest nonprofit healthcare provider, has connected systems to provide telehealth first-response technology and major incident management processes.


Dealertrack is the leading provider of on-demand, integrated digital solutions designed to enhance the efficiency and profitability for all major segments of the automotive retail industry. Thanks to a combination of monitoring, management, and communication tools, Dealertrack has improved their time to resolve issues and product development speed.


So we know that dramatic changes are needed in how we build and use technology. And yet, a 2017 survey of DevOps maturity shows that only 36% of organizations have good knowledge sharing between development and operations.


The DevOps experts who know

Where can you go to hear how experts are solving these complex problems?


We're bring the Agility 2017 Tour to a city near you, where you can hear from experts and pick their brains regarding how they’re improving business and trends you should be preparing for. It's a great opportunity to hear from more than just talking heads.


Agility 2017 starts in San Francisco on June 13, then moves to New York on June 20, Chicago on June 22, and London on June 29. Besides the customers listed above, we'll be including New York City Health + Hospitals, Forrester, The Telegraph, O2, Tesco, Moogsoft, Cherwell, Praecipio, and others.


You'll also hear from our own experts, including CEO Troy McAlpin and CTO Abbas Haider Ali. They will be discussing:


  • The need for a better, more connected way to work together as teams
  • How to harness the insights from systems to drive collaboration
  • And in doing so, naturally preventing incidents within the normal flow of work


Reserve your seat at a free Agility 2017 event near you before they all disappear!

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Invest in your employees with these five simple steps to improve employee engagement and retention.
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Australian government abolished Visa 457 earlier this April and this article describes how this decision might affect Australian IT scene and IT experts.
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This article was originally published on Monitis Blog, you can check it here.


 

Some years back, I worked as the CTO.  During my tenure, I had a head of IT support reporting to me.  He did his job quite well and had a commendable sense of duty and responsibility, and I will always think of him as a model employee.

 

I recall an oddly frustrating conversation that I had with him once, however.  He struggled to explain what I needed to know, and I struggled to get him to understand the information I needed.

 

Long story short, he wanted me to sign off on switching data centers to a more expensive vendor.  Trouble was, this switch would have put us over budget, so I would have found myself explaining this to the CFO at the next executive meeting.  I needed something to justify the request, and that was what I sought.

 

I kept asking him to make a business case for the switch, and he kept talking about best practices, SLAs, uptime, and other bits of the shop.  Eventually, I framed it almost as a mad lib: If we don’t make this change, the odds of a significant outage that costs us $_____ will increase by _____%.  In that case, we stand to recoup this investment in _____ months.

 

In the end, he understood. He built the business case, I took it to the executive meeting, and we made the improvements.


As much as we might like it, people in technical leadership position often cannot get into the weeds when talking shop.  If this seems off-putting to techies, I’d say think of it this way. Techies hack tools, code, and infrastructure, while managers and leaders hack the business

 


Tools and Incident Management 


I offer this introduction because it illustrates a common friction point in organizations.  Techies at the line level do their jobs well when they both concern themselves with their operational efficiency and when they focus heavily on details.  This can lead to some odd patchwork systems, optimized at the individual level, but chaotic at the organizational level.  Here, the tech leaders feel the pain.

 

Any org with incident management concerns may find themselves in this position.  I’ve seen such approaches run the gamut from sophisticated approaches centralized around ZenDesk to an odd system of shared folders in Outlook to literally nothing except random phone calls.

 

Often times, the operations management of incidents is born out of frenzied necessity and evolves only as a reactive means of temporarily minimizing the chaos.

 

Unfortunately, that near term minimization can lead to worse long-term problems.  And so you can find yourself in charge of a system full of disparate tools, each beloved by the individuals using them.  But taken all together, they lead to organizational misses and maddening opacity.

 

Does this describe your situation?  If you’re not sure beyond the part about fragmented tooling, consider some symptoms. 

 


Missed Incidents 


First, and most obviously, does your system completely miss detection of incidents.  If you, as a technical leader, find out about operational incidents yourself, you’re experiencing misses.  This should not happen.

 

A byzantine incident management process across various tools will lead to incidents that somehow fall into a black hole.  This might happen because systems fail to capture the incidents.  Or, it might happen because the systems botch or lose them in communication with one another.  And finally, it might happen simply because your process has such a terrible signal to noise ratio that no one pays attention.

  


Inefficient Resolution 


Let’s assume that your process catches most issues.  That doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily out of the woods. 

Once identified, do you get an efficient resolution?

 

Maybe your team routinely struggles to reproduce issues from the information available.  Do many issues get kicked back to the reporters labeled, “could not reproduce?”  Do you routinely have angry users?

 

If reproduction doesn’t present a problem or isn’t necessary, do you have sufficient information to find out what happened?  Or do bits and pieces get lost, leading to guess work and longer resolution times?

 

And, in terms of assignment and communication, do your people know who should work on what and when?  Does this require them to log in to several systems and deal with ambiguity?

 


Insufficient Post Mortem 


Another sign of system complexity comes in the form of issue post mortems.  (You do retrospect on the root cause, 

don’t you?)  If retracing an incident through its lifecycle gives you fits, you have a problem.

 

But, beyond that management should have a coherent window into this in the form of a dashboard.  After all, improving operations is what management is supposed to do.  When I mentioned “hacking the business” earlier, I meant this exact thing.  You need the ability to audit and optimize organizational level processes.

 

If you find yourself entirely reliant on anecdotal information from individuals or if you find yourself mired in random log files, you have an issue.



Alerting to the Rescue 


Your absolute first step is to establish a reliable alerting infrastructure.  Effective incident management hinges upon the right people having the right information as soon as humanly possible.  This means alerts.

 

To alleviate the pain points above, you need to focus on two key points.  Reminiscent of David Allen’s wisdom in “Getting Things Done,” here they are.

 

  • Make sure nothing can possibly slip through the cracks and that the system captures and alerts about everything it needs to.
  • Limit the rate of false positives and issues to ensure that everything receives full attention.

 

I have offered you deceptively simple wisdom here because the devil lies in the details.  But if you keep your eye on these two overarching goals, you’ll eventually see improvement.  Find a way to guarantee the first point, and then work through the pain of saturation, making your alerts and responses more efficient.  Oh, and it never hurts to improve your products to produce less alert-worthy problems.

 

 

Consolidate and Standardize 


Once you’ve got efficient alerting in place, you need to standardize around it.  Look to minimize the number of different platforms and tools that you have to use to eliminate knowledge duplication and impedance mismatches from your workflow.

 

I do not intend to say that you should seek the one operational tool to rule them all.  Rather, I mean that you should opportunistically eliminate ones that have mostly similarities or that realize only a tiny fraction of their value proposition.

 

The key underlying principle here is one that any good DBA or software engineer could address: the aforementioned knowledge duplication.  Make sure that you have a single, authoritative source of truth for all incident related information.  And then, make sure that your alerting infrastructure draws from this well.

 

 

Layer Dashboard on Top


Last but not least comes making your own life easier and your time more effectively spent. With proper alerting in place and with the consolidation battle won, give yourself dashboards to make your decision making much simpler.  No more peering at log files and weeding through inboxes to calculate response times.  Make sure you have all that at a glance.

 

If you’re going to make business cases and hack the organization, you can’t spend your time talking shop and putting out fires, however much that might appeal.  You need to switch from tactical to the strategic mode and put yourself in a position to speak to the impact that various response times and incident importance thresholds have on the bottom line.  Your fellow managers or members of the C-suite will thank you.



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Read about why it is more lucrative for an IT company to participate in government projects.
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IT certifications are a concrete representation of continual learning on the part of the candidate.  Continual learning is necessary for the long term success of an IT professional, but are IT certifications the right path for you?
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Are client relationship the only driver of a successful MSP? While important, client relationships are only one component. Learn how else MSPs can broaden their horizon and differentiate themselves.
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Creating Instructional Tutorials  
Creating Instructional Tutorials  

For Any Use & On Any Platform

Contextual Guidance at the moment of need helps your employees/users adopt software o& achieve even the most complex tasks instantly. Boost knowledge retention, software adoption & employee engagement with easy solution.

LAND OF THE WALKING DEAD ZONE

Why pager replacement is still an issue


OnPage has what some might call a “hate/hate” relationship with pagers. Not much room for love. As we see it, pagers are an antiquated bit of technology. Pagers are dinosaurs which, like most dinosaurs, should be extinct by now.

You might be wondering why we’re at it again with our anti-dinosaur campaign? Haven’t we made our point in previous articles and thought pieces? Well, to be frank, the answer is NO. You see, last week we came across a great article in Computer World discussing the “dead zone” issue.  A dead zone is an area where you cannot receive pages due to outside interference from technology or the environment you’re in.

Reading this article, we just couldn’t contain ourselves. See, the article reiterated all that we’ve rallied against in using pagers; why they are unreliable, why they can’t be trusted in an emergency, why they are obsolete. That kind of talk made us realize that the fight is still ongoing and that we need to bring the issue up once again.


What part of dead zone did you not understand?


This great Computer World article retold the told the tale of how a new hire is handed a pager on his first day of work at an IT company and told he will be on-call. The notion that pagers have problems and dead zones doesn’t seem to penetrate the consciousness of his manager:

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Note: This is the second blog post in a series on email clearinghouses.
 
Every month there’s a blog, new app, new service, new productivity guru, or some other trigger that gets us to think, “Maybe this will help me tame the email beast and make sure that important stuff gets my attention.”
Can Email Work for Critical Incidents?I try a lot of these services, whether it’s Priority Inbox, Gmail’s category labels, Gmail inbox, Boxer, Dispatch, Mailbox, Zero, or the myriad other choices. They all have great features but don’t address the underlying problem. It’s still one unregulated communication channel. It’s open to use by individuals, companies, automated systems, distribution lists, and pretty much everything. Its strength in ubiquity is also its Achilles heel.
 
All that being said, I would estimate that no more than 20% of people in any given company are masters of their email, whether it’s through the use of a particular app, productivity hack, structure methodology for how they work, or a deal with the devil. The other 80% struggle to keep up with the signals in the noise of email.
 
The impact is most acute when communications are associated with a specific business process or event. If someone on your IT team is late or misses a major incident triage session, that has measurable impact to the business. …
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Learn how ViaSat reduced average response times for IT incidents from 10 minutes to 30 seconds.
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Scenario: Your operations manager has discovered an anomaly in your security system. The business will start to suffer within 15 minutes if it is a major IT incident. What should she do? We have 6 recommendations for managing major incidents.
 


1. Define a Major Incident


Define a Major Incident


Before your operations manager can determine whether the incident is critical, she has to have a definition for comparison. There is no official definition, so your organization has to have its own. ITIL recommends using three criteria:

• Urgency: Effect on important business deadlines
• Impact: Impact to the business’s finances, reputation and viability
• Severity: Impact to end users, including employees and customers

Share the definition with your operations managers and major incident managers, and put them through training and practices so they’re ready when they’re under pressure.

Bottom line: If you don’t define a major incident, you’re setting up your resolution team for failure.

 

2. Establish Incident Processes



Establish_incident_process.png
Watch now: On-Call Scheduling: Creating Escalations
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There's a better way to communicate time sensitive or critical info.
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You may have a outside contractor who comes in once a week or seasonal to do some work in your office but you only want to give him access to the programs and files he needs and keep privet all other documents and programs, can you do this on a local computer or only in a server environment?
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by:Abraham Deutsch
Comment Utility
Yes I went
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IT Administration

6K

Solutions

59

Articles & Videos

8K

Contributors

IT Administration is the processes and best practices for programming and development, and incorporates methodologies for managing activities and projects. Common methodologies include waterfall, prototyping, iterative and incremental development, spiral development, rapid application development, extreme programming and various types of agile methodology. The life-cycle "model" is a more general term for a category of methodologies, and a software development "process" a more specific term to refer to a specific process chosen by a specific organization.