Automation, is it just a buzzword?

Automation, is it just a buzzword?

When you hear Opmantek refer to ‘Automation’, it’s not just a buzzword – it’s kind of a big deal! But..what exactly is it, and why should you care? Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of it.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) focuses on automating human processes and functional tasks.
Operational Process Automation (OPA) is the next evolution of RPA, which delivers specifically to IT and network operations teams and carries out advanced analysis and troubleshooting tasks.
So, whilst RPA focuses on only automating actions, OPA also integrates thinking and decision making.
When Opmantek talks about Automation, it’s OPA we’re referring to – It Detects, Diagnoses and Acts.

But “How does that help me?” I hear you ask…

The purpose of OPA is to get the right systems and workflows in place to:

  • Remove repetitive tasks from your workload
  • Predict faults before they arise
  • Remediate issues on your behalf
  • Assist you with maintenance tasks, and
  • Interpret complex data for you

In short, OPA serves to augment a network engineering or system administration role. That’s right, it’s the extra set of hands you didn’t know you had and allows you to give your tasks to machines.

Meet the new recruit

The good news is your newest team member doesn’t eat, sleep, or take time off! They complete tasks accurately and the same way each time, and like a human – learn and become more efficient as time goes on. The great news is they come experienced and will hit the ground running, but OPA can also be trained to take on more complex tasks that are specific to your network.

OPA’s Resumé

Let’s look at some of OPA’s experience working in real organizations.

Telecommunications Carrier – USA

In a Network Operations Center (NOC) environment: the team gets an alert, does some diagnosis and if they deem the problem can’t be fixed remotely, a field service team member is sent out to resolve the fault.
During recent snowstorms, field service calls were extremely high and they were finding over 50% to be false reports. That’s right, real-world field services team members were being sent into the snow to fix faults that didn’t exist.

OPA came onboard to handle alerts and find the source of problems. Event storms were brought to zero, deduplication was no longer a problem and only real events were pushed to the human team. Consequently, field service calls were reduced and the network was brought back to normal in half the time.

Energy Company – USA

New federal and state mandates required the company to provide in-depth and detailed accounting audits of devices and software licenses.

Their existing team didn’t have extensive IT experience, they were working in the confines of a highly restricted secure network, and they had a very limited budget to find a solution.
With OPA on the team, they can now generate detailed ad-hoc reports for internal management or audit demands. Federal and State audit requirements are now met and they’ve even saved 30% on their annual budget.

Wireless Internet Service Provider – USA

A WISP with infrastructure based in desert areas was experiencing equipment failure due to temperature shifts. They were constantly inundated with alerts and the resolution process involved physically attending the site to restart the affected equipment.

Failing to meet their service level agreements, they were losing customers.
They’ve now revised their operational playbook to incorporate OPA. Issues are being automatically remediated as they occur, and an escalation process has been built to look out for symptoms before they’re even triggered into events. They now proactively resolve faults before they turn into issues, with customers unaware there was ever even a problem.

Curious to see whether OPA could be the right fit for your organization? Speak to a network engineer about your requirements and learn more about automation. We’re a technically led team, so prepare for a conversation about solutions, not sales;

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Why IP Address Management Is Important

Why IP Address Management Is Important

Whether you’re a small organization or an enterprise, efficient management of IP addresses can be the difference between a functional network and an inaccessible service.

Increasing complexities, growing device numbers, Cloud Computing, IoT and BYOD continue to heighten the importance of managing your IP address space.

Relying on manual record keeping for network connectivity and core business functions can prove risky, even for the most organized of spreadsheets.

What’s Needed for an Efficient IP Address Management Strategy

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Accuracy

Accurate IP delegation and record keeping, ensuring no conflict or associated service outages.
opAddress can allocate and track IP addresses dynamically. Search, view and manage address information, ensuring a critical information baseline is established.

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Simplicity

An easy to use system that minimizes data entry, making the process for IT teams faster, more efficient, and less tedious
With powerful out-of-the-box capabilities, opAddress requires little or no configuration. Automatically discover the network addressing of production networks and quickly edit or reallocate addresses as needed.

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Security

Accurate, up-to-date data to help identify new devices and ensure only those authorized are on your network.
New data is captured and recorded by opAddress every thirty minutes.
Gain full visibility over IP address by device and analyze historical information.

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Scalability

Future proofing and capacity planning to accommodate increasing device numbers and network complexities.
opAddress is extensible to grow with your business. Handle complex environments such as multiple tenancies, subdomains and overlapping address spaces with ease.

Ready to see what opAddress and NMIS9 can do for your organization?

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How To Thrive In A Post-Covid Era: 10 Predictions For Enterprise Network Infrastructures

How To Thrive In A Post-Covid Era: 10 Predictions For Enterprise Network Infrastructures

An enterprise network serves as the foundation for reliably connecting users, devices and applications, providing access to data across local area networks and the cloud, as well as delivering crucial insight into analytics.

But in the wake of a year that was no doubt shaped by COVID-19 and the disruption it brought to the industry, how have enterprise networks been impacted, and what are the requirements moving forward?

What were previously technology nice-to-haves and future infrastructure intentions, are now swiftly becoming business imperatives.

In this blog, we’ll explore our top 10 predictions for network infrastructure in 2021.

 

1.   Cloud Application Delivery

 

The traditional office-based-model has no doubt permanently changed and flexible working arrangements brought forward by the pandemic will continue. A Boston Consulting study from last year found that 63% of employees want a hybrid model whereby they continue to work from home part of the time.

Organizations will further turn to the cloud for application delivery, placing an investment in remote connectivity and new security functionality.

 

2.   Businesses Turn to Big Data and Analytics

 

The requirement for businesses to be agile, change and adapt is more prevalent than ever, and decision-makers need to identify trends and ultimately stay ahead of the curve through outcomes-based strategies.

Big data is becoming an imperative tool in every organization’s arsenal, though its presence is superfluous without the appropriate means to disseminate and analyse it.

We predict this will drive the recruitment of data professionals and further, the simplification in data management through self-service means, accessible to non-data-professionals.

“It’s really about democratizing analytics. It is really about getting insight in a fraction of the time with less skill than is possible today.” – Rita Sallam, vice president and analyst at Gartner.

 

3.   The Year of Mass Adoption for Cognitive / Artificial Intelligence

 

With big data, comes big responsibility and moreover – big processing requirements, which is where AI will be heavily recruited.

2021 will be the year of mass adoption for AI, as businesses of all levels have experienced a paradigm shift into a digital-first model. Corporate networks have been tested through remote working arrangements, uncovering major reliability issues and security threats. IT leaders are looking for a set and forget solutions that automatically provide optimization and security, which is where software such as Opmantek’s NMIS, opEvents, opConfig and Open-AudIT can assist.

Opmantek software is a key system used by IT operations teams across all industries — it acts as the dashboard of a car and tells them how fast everything is going and lets them know when something is faulty. It even predicts future faults, and that’s a big part of the AI. The longer you run our software, the smarter it gets — it learns about your IT Infrastructure and starts to automatically manage it better and deliver better information to the IT operations team.” said Danny Maher, Chairman of Opmantek .

 

4.   Hybrid Clouds in High Demand

 

Agility, speed, security, scalability and compliance are all considerations for IT decision-makers.

Though, there’s never a blanket / one size fits all solution for every business use case, and so the demand for hybrid cloud environments will continue to grow. The traditional model of cloud providers is that of a one-stop-shop. However, we predict as demand grows; cloud market leaders will introduce greater interoperability and further allow users to introduce cloud tools across their existing on-campus networks. Collaboration between cloud providers may even be on the cards as users demand greater flexibility.

 

5.   Networking Virtualization

 

Network virtualization offers many benefits by automating and simplifying processes, including network configuration flexibility, improved control over-segmentation, speed, increased security and cost savings.

According to research by Spiceworks, 30% of businesses currently use network virtualization technology — and an additional 14% plan to use it within the next 2 years.

 

6.   Unified Communication And Collaboration Tools Are Here To Stay

 

End-user adoption is often one of the greatest barriers for IT professionals looking to implement new software. However, seemingly overnight, employees were catapulted into a reality where unified communications as a service (UCaaS) was no longer just an occasional collaboration tool, but rather a necessity of the employment.

We have changed our habits and the way in which we do business. Even as the workforce begin to transition back to office or hybrid office/work from home environments, there’s no doubt that UCaaS is here to stay. Providers will introduce new functionality and continue to diversify their offering to accommodate hybrid working in 2021.

 

7.   WiFi Gets an Upgrade

 

Businesses and consumers alike want things faster, easier and more efficient, and WiFi is no exception. Enter WiFi 6e.

6e not only offers new airwaves for routers to use, but it doesn’t require overlapping signals.

One of the major benefits of 6e is a reduction in network congestion, specifically in areas where users are closely spaced.  As the pandemic continues to unfold, rush hour and crowded spaces are less of an issue, so it may be a waiting game as to when in 2021 we realise 6e’s true potential.

 

8.   IoT (Internet of Things) – More than just Alexa

 

As digital transformation is on the rise, so is IoT and its use cases. A SecurityToday article forecasted that by 2021 there would be 35 billion IoT devices installed worldwide.

IoT is already revolutionizing the way key industries do business, however, healthcare will double down in 2021. Reduced access to face-to-face medical contact has accelerated the need for remote care, and according to Allied Market research – the global internet of things in the healthcare market is expected to reach $332.672 billion by 2027.

 

9.   A Focus on Cybersecurity

 

In light of recent high profile cybersecurity attacks which infiltrated private companies, state and federal organizations by inserting malicious code into trusted software; cybersecurity and secure network monitoring will be paramount.

If you have data or services of value, you need to protect it properly. Keith Sinclair – CTO & Co-founder of Opmantek says, “It is critical to business continuity and data security that you have security controls in your environment to mitigate risk.”

 

10.    Infrastructure Management Software Leveraged

 

Application demands are continuing to grow and networks must respond. Network professionals must find means of simplifying these increasingly complex systems and environments. Here’s where automated network management software will be leveraged.

Opmantek Software serves to augment a network engineering or system administration role. As well as emulating actions that network engineers take within a network management system, it can also perform advanced maintenance tasks, assist in the interpretation of network data and communicate effectively with other digital systems in order to categorise, resolve and escalate potential network issues.

 

 

For more information about Opmantek and the services we provide, get in touch. Our network engineers are available to chat through specific issues you may be facing within your own network environment.

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