Maintaining an up-to-date end-user device environment has been a challenge for many, but it does not need to be, Sam Newman, Technical Director of OGEL IT LTD explains
Companies are becoming increasingly concerned about the threats to the security of their data assets and are looking for help in ensuring they have taken appropriate steps to mitigate the risks. Some organisations are hesitant to patch or upgrade their systems, as they are so worried about the potential operational impact that they end up not doing it at all.
You may have heard the term Evergreen IT, if you haven’t, it’s been around for several years and the term is used to capture an approach to the provision of loosely coupled services that are designed to always be up to date. In the past, IT services have been engineered around a stack of software with several layers of integration resulting in an unnecessarily complex solution that can make it difficult to update or costly to replace certain elements.
Adopting a stack of loosely coupled services counters this by using software and services that are self-contained and accessible via standard interfaces, such as web browsers to minimise or remove the requirement for complex integration and simplifying the move to an alternate product.
The move to modern cloud services that are updated and maintained by established organisations largely removes the decision to upgrade out of the consumers’ hands, which can be worrying but helps ensure exposure to new vulnerabilities are minimised across back end systems. This, however, does not resolve the same issue with the client operating systems and associated software packages as these are not typically treated as self-contained and have dependencies across multiple systems.
Windows 10 and Office 365 click to run goes a long way to extending this evergreen IT model out to the desktop and with the right implementation and operational procedures, can create a secure and easily maintained environment. Microsoft Office 365 delivers several well-known services via both a browser and through the client installed applications and handles all the back-end management of Exchange, SharePoint and file services and so customers don’t have to. Windows 10 and the office client are designed to be automatically updated on a regular basis and will adopt this approach by default.
Embracing the automatic updates is critical for ensuring the most recent vulnerabilities are addressed, therefore, keeping organisational assets secure. There are many ways to manage the release effectively to minimise the risk of an update negatively impacting the business operation and this is all about preparing for the updates and identifying problems early. Creating a phased release strategy with key system owners early in the release scheduled helps move the testing burden from IT teams to the business reducing overheads and having suitable processes in place to capture and report issues early is critical.
Evergreen IT’ strategy
OGEL IT has transitioned several customers to Window 10 and Office 365 helping them to embrace the ‘Evergreen IT’ strategy, resulting in a significant increase in the update compliance of their end-user devices estate and a reduction in the overhead on operational teams to patch and maintain the environment. We work with our customers to design an autonomous patching cycle for their Windows estate that works for them by maximising exposure to early release issues and minimising the potential impact on business operations.
We encourage our customers who have previously outsourced the management of their end-user estate to external providers to take a more active role in the management of their devices which improves the quality of the service to the end-users and reduces costs. Where organisations don’t have the capability in-house, we work with them to help build it up by providing a flexible support service that can adapt over time as the internal capability grows or where they just don’t have the headcount or desire to take on the management we have done that for them.
Our entire team started their careers in IT support and have been in receipt of poorly designed solutions and services that don’t consider the associated operational overheads and, therefore, everything we design and deliver takes this into account and we take great pride in the quality solutions and services we deliver to our customers.
If you would like to find out more about what we do and how we can help you then please get in touch via email, phone or our website.
*Please note: This is a commercial profile