Editor's Note: Welcome to SmartAdvice, a weekly column by The Advisory Council (TAC), an advisory service firm. The feature answers two questions of core interest to you, ranging from leadership advice to enterprise strategies to how to deal with vendors. Submit questions directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Question A: As an overworked IT manager, what can I do to reduce my workload while maintaining high availability and good security?
Our advice: Security, data storage, and network access have been the focus of much technological innovation recently. Most vendors, however, target large enterprises with deep pockets and highly knowledgeable IT staff. Many technologies remain too expensive and dependent on proprietary technology for the average IT shop. Fortunately, there are lots of simple and inexpensive ways to improve systems administration, network availability, and application security.
Before investing in additional technology, assess the real "pain points" -- for example, processes and systems that take an inordinate amount of administration resources with little productive gain.
The best way to improve IT efficiency is to keep systems and skills current. Look for unsupportable legacy hardware and complex proprietary software that have outlived their usefulness. Replacing these low-hanging fruit with modern systems will make a significant difference in the ability of your IT organization to deliver value.