Top tips: Refreshing your network after the summer

Summer is coming to an end and the holiday season is over. Now that we’ve had a chance to relax (hopefully) in a sunny destination, it is time to take a fresh look at your plan for the rest of the year.

With everyone back in the office, it’s time to get the team together and undertake a seasonal review of the IT team’s priorities, targets and objectives to make the most of the technology available to move the entire business forward.

Here are five suggestions of how your IT team can refresh its approach this autumn to get over the post-holiday blues.

1. Integrate the DevOps culture

DevOps has grown in both use and discussion throughout 2016, however it is still broadly misunderstood by engineers, analysts and product managers. DevOps is about culture. Here at SolarWinds we explain it to be a software development process in which development and operations teams collaborate on taking the intelligence of performance and improvement of an application – creating a rapid iterative process.

Done well, a DevOps culture can lead to teams planning, coding, building, testing, releasing, deploying, operating, and monitoring in a continuous loop. Business and IT organisations need to realise the advantages of DevOps this autumn, such as enabling a faster time to market and reducing the long term support costs.

2. Securing the cloud

Since cloud migration has been a hot topic throughout the business world for the past few years, most businesses are now aware of what benefits it can bring. However, with a surge in security hacks, businesses need to be careful in ensuring their cloud storage will avoid becoming a victim.

Many businesses have moved to cloud so quickly that they have not spent the time and money to investigate the best and most secure solution for their business needs. In order to not get caught by hackers, the IT team need to start by critically looking at their cloud uses and whether it is the safest possible storage solution.

3. Understand the container future

Containers have become a key area of discussion in the cloud computing space. Put simply, a container consists of an entire runtime environment (an application, its dependencies, libraries and other binaries and configuration files needed to run it) bundled into one package. The IT team needs to put time into better understanding how best to utilise containerisation for their applications and services.

 Organisations may be reluctant to adopt containers as they are instead familiar with virtualisation. Containers are much more lightweight and use far fewer resources than virtual machines. In understanding and implementing containers in an organisation, IT professionals could be experiencing the key to the OpenStack kingdom.

4. Be cautious about the Internet of Things

As everything is now connected to the internet, including the network, the IoT trend, is becoming every hackers dream. Like cloud, the rush to be ahead of the game of innovative IoT solutions means that safety and security come as an afterthought. 

IT professionals struggle to maintain control of their networks as BYOD grows beyond just mobile phones, making the countless endpoints difficult to manage, monitor and control. Therefore, as IoT is still very much in development stages, businesses need to be cautious about what and how they utilise the trend within the workplace. The IT team needs to spend a lot of time and money protecting their network from what connects to it through careful monitoring and treating every device or ‘thing’ as a potential threat in the first instance.

5. Make use of end of package applications

The use of cloud in businesses allows availability, flexibility and scalability, depending on their needs. With the adoption of cloud already complete, IT is embracing and trying to enable ubiquitous and on-demand services, the real opportunity of cloud.

This autumn more and more businesses should be looking to bypass the model of apps simply running in the cloud. IT professionals need to further experiment with cloud native database systems, queues, communication brokers, distributed cache, and other foundational cloud technologies.

By making use of end of package applications within cloud, the IT team can benefit from only paying for what they use, an opportunity too good to pass up. 

Patrick Hubbard, Head Geek, SolarWinds

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