• Dell TechCenter

    Who Would Win a Lightsaber Battle?

    It's pretty safe to say that many of the folks here at Dell Software are big fans of  "Star Wars Day." Trust me, if you ask the dreaded "who shot first" question, you're going to get some heated and impassioned speeches.

    **cough** It was Han. **cough**

    But in any case, one of our most recent discussions led us to ask, "Who would win in a lightsaber battle?" Below are some of the top picks for who we'd like to see duke it out and who might ultimately win.

      

    IT Director vs. SysAdmin

    This lightsaber battle would undoubtedly be the quickest match of them all. The greatest advantage the IT Director can play would be his/her experience. The IT Director has seen it all, but time has passed and certainly they’re not as agile as his/her opponent, the SysAdmin.

    While the IT Director has immense wisdom and far-sightedness, the SysAdmin is cunning and hyperaware of his/her surroundings. And, let’s face it, the SysAdmin has probably been using a lightsaber since they first heard John Williams' score. The SysAdmin also runs full steam on caffeine. Energy drinks, soda, coffee… you name it, they had a cup or two this morning. It’s more than likely that the caffeine coursing through the SysAdmin’s body would outdo the energy put forth by the IT Director. And really, all it would take is just one person to get tired enough for the opposition to strike.

    At the end of the day, the SysAdmin spends the most time in the trenches and would be the fiercest competitor.

    Victory: SysAdmin

      

    [Fe] Man vs. Transforming Alien Robot

    For this duel, the notorious billionaire playboy, [Fe] Man, has an early advantage.  At roughly six feet tall and armed with rockets on his hands and feet, he has superior speed and maneuverability.  He could literally fly circles around a giant Transforming Alien Robot (TAR).  Add a lightsaber, and it's easy to imagine [Fe] Man doing significant damage to TAR.  However, TAR would have a clear advantage in wide-open space, allowing him the visibility and space to time his attacks.

    Still, if this battle took place on the city streets of say, NYC, it's feasible that [Fe] Man would use his size and the terrain to his advantage, hiding from and dodging the TAR's attacks. Armed with a lightsaber, [Fe] Man's guerilla fighting style may just be enough to bring a giant robot to its knees.  But don't forget [Fe] Man's special ability... his AI butler is waiting in the wings.  This AI butler would undoubtedly try to hack the robot's technology and disable it, making this duel a race against the clock for the TAR. 

    Still, TAR is not without its own advantages.  While not as fast as [Fe] Man, he too can fly and may have an advantage in open spaces where he has increased visibility and room to maneuver.  Additionally, this robot is around 30 feet tall with centuries of sword fighting experience.  If the average long sword is around 4 feet, or 2/3 of the average male's height, it's likely that a giant transforming robot would have a lightsaber scaled to his size, giving TAR a lightsaber that is roughly 15 to 20 feet long and the width of an average man. 

    In the end, TAR's size and superior strength means that he/she would only need to land one solid blow to [Fe] Man.  We find it likely that despite [Fe] Man’s speed and size, TAR would deal the final blow before [Fe] Man could break down enough of the robot.  The transforming robot's alien technology would make him particularly difficult to hack, despite AI butler’s attempts, which may just buy him the time he needs to swat [Fe] Man right out of the sky like a fly.

    Victory: Transforming Alien Robot 

     

    Radioactive Spider vs. Mutant Turtle

    In a lightsaber battle between these two opponents, it would appear they have a relatively equal footing. Both the Radioactive Spider and Mutant Turtle have been exposed to radiation/oozy substances that would have killed any human or animal. Both should not be underestimated.

    Radioactive Spider’s abilities really shine when you consider its size. While relatively undetectable, the spider could take out most opponents virtually undetected. Equally skilled at concealment, the Mutant Turtle spent most of his life in hiding underground. Because he knows the art of stealth so well, he likely would be able to detect the Radioactive Spider.

    It’s not to be ignored that the Radioactive Spider also has great reflexes and agility, including wall crawling. But let’s not forget, the Mutant Turtle is an extremely skilled Ninja and is nearly equal to the Radioactive Spider’s nimbleness.

    Also, one of the Mutant Turtle’s best skills is staff fighting! It is easy to imagine that he would wield a lightsaber very easily. It is this skill that really tips the scales in favor of the Mutant Turtle.

    Victory: Mutant Turtle

     

    DBA vs. Help Desk Technician

    This battle would probably be the closest match. Both DBAs and Help Desk Technicians are gifted problem solvers and can remain calm and collected during even the most heated transactions.

    Now the DBA has seen some major database battles; but, the Help Desk Technician undoubtedly is the master of putting out fires in his/her organization. Where the Help Desk Technician really shines is his/her patience. Think about it. Daily the Help Desk Technician must assist that handful of users that continually forget password and need a reset on all of their applications. Or those folks that need that reminder to turn on the power strip to their computer. Yes, the Help Desk Technician’s patience will take him/her far in this battle. Instead of making many attempts to strike the DBA with his/her lightsaber, the Help Desk Technician will instead be patient and wait for the right time to make the final and deciding blow.

    Victory: Help Desk Technician

     

    Jetpack Bounty Hunter vs. Space Bigfoot

    Floating deep in space, far, far away from Earth, resides a forest planet full of warrior Bigfoots.  Trained from birth with fighting skills to protect their tribe, the tree residing Space Bigfoot is a crack shot with a cross bow and trained to fight in close quarters.  When faced against a flying Jetpack Bounty Hunter, battle terrain will be everything.  Without the power of flight, the Space Bigfoot is easy prey from the skies as Jetpack Bounty Hunter attacks.  However, given this obvious disadvantage, it's unlikely that Space Bigfoot would linger long in open spaces. 

    At home in the forests of his home planet, Space Bigfoot would use the towering trees to his advantage.  With powerful claws and strong legs, Space Bigfoot could climb nearly as fast as Jetpack Bounty Hunter could ascend through the trees while using the dense wood as cover.  Swinging from a vine, the Space Bigfoot may be able to use his crossbow or even a well-timed blow from his lightsaber to disable Jetpack Bounty Hunter's flight abilities. Forcing Jetpack Bounty Hunter to the ground makes him an easy target from above. Still, the Jetpack Bounty Hunter comes equipped with a host of weaponry including small artillery rockets and wrist-mounted flamethrowers.  These weapons could feasibly be used to force Space Bigfoot from his hiding place in the trees where they must then face each other in single combat with their lightsabers.  Once exposed, Space Bigfoot would have a difficult time withstanding Jetpack Bounty Hunter's enhanced maneuverability.  In the end, the advantage goes to Space Bigfoot, whose powerful claws and climbing strength give him an advantage on his home world and his crack shot special ability would allow him to disable the bounty hunter's jetpack.  Swinging down from the trees above, Space Bigfoot wins this round.

    Victory: Space Bigfoot

     

    Your Turn

    Let us know in the comments below if you think our predictions are correct or offer us your alternative scenarios.

    Good luck and May the fourth be with you! 

    Emily Pizanie

    About Emily Pizanie

    Emily is a Social Media and Community Advisor at Dell Software. She began her role at Dell in December 2014.

    View all posts by Emily Pizanie | Twitter

    About Ryan McKinney

    Ryan McKinney has been a Social Media and Communities Advisor for Dell Software since 2014.

    View all posts by Ryan McKinney | Twitter

  • KACE Blog

    Are You on the Light Side or Dark Side?

    Today, May 4th, is a special day for "Star Wars" fans. “May the Fourth be with you” is a play on the popular line “May the Force be with you.” Many fans take the day to celebrate their love for the movie in various ways, such as hosting a Star Wars movie marathon, fighting with light sabers, dressing up as a favorite character or adding to their collection of "Star Wars" memorabilia.

    We decided to celebrate "Star Wars Day" by having a fun discussion. We asked a few of our customers this question: “Are you on the dark side or the light side and why?” Which of their responses resonates best with you?

    Choose Wisely You Must

    “Light side. Sith are weaker than Jedi.”

    “Dark side. We have more fun on this side.”

    “Light side. Good needs to prevail if we are all to survive.”

    “Dark side. We have cookies!”

    “Light side. Ours is the correct path.”

    “Dark side. Unlimited power!”

    “Light side. The dark side may have cookies, but we have brownies.”

    “Dark side. Clothes are way better looking.”

    “Light side. It always seems to win and we don’t get hit by blasters.”

    “Dark side. Red sabers — end of discussion.”

    While our customers are divided on this great debate, one thing is certain:  IT systems professionals maintain the balance in the IT force, which surrounds us, penetrates us and binds us together. And there’s no better solution to help balance the IT force than Dell KACE systems management appliances. With Dell KACE, the IT force can be strong with you, too.

    Whether you’re on the light side or the dark side, we celebrate "Star Wars Day" with you.

    May the Fourth be with you.

    Alyssa Luc

    About Alyssa Luc

    Alyssa Luc joined Dell Software in 2015 as a Social Media and Community Advisor for the KACE product team. Her specialties include customer advocacy and advocate marketing.

    View all posts by Alyssa Luc | Twitter

  • KACE Blog

    Chromebooks in Education β€” and in Educational IT Organizations

    The Rise of Chromebooks

    Over the past few years, Google Chromebooks have rapidly gained traction in the U.S. education market. In fact, according to Futuresource Consulting, Chromebooks reached over 50 percent of U.S. K-12 sales for the first time in the third quarter of 2015, with 1.63 million units sold (51 percent of all sales).

    A number of factors have contributed to this rise of Chromebooks. Many districts have needed to implement online assessment and meet the requirement that all devices need keyboards. Chromebooks fit the bill on both these counts, and offer a wealth of additional benefits as well, including:

    • Affordability — Chromebooks can be the most inexpensive way to put technology in the hands of students. Futuresource Consulting notes that the attractive price points (typically $200-230) has resulted in Chromebooks “effectively cornering the 'entry level' of the K-12 market (for non-tablet purchases).”
    • Ease of use — Students can just flip open the device and get to work. Plus, almost all Chromebooks have exceptional battery life, and users can share a Chromebook simply by switching between accounts.
    • Security — Chromebooks are kept up to date automatically, so users always have the latest virus protection. And since no data is stored on the device, there are no security concerns if it is lost or stolen.
    • Easy deployment and management — The Chromebook management console provides a broad range of functionality in a web-based interface.

    Microsoft and Apple are Not Conceding the Market

    Despite their increasing popularity, however, Chromebooks are unlikely to completely displace all their competitors any time soon. Futuresource Consulting notes that Apple and Microsoft both have significant ground to make up, and are working to do just that: “Microsoft is making strong moves, developing a partnership with Lightspeed to address device manageability, whilst bringing new devices to market which are likely to compete head on with Google in the key sub $300 range…. We envisage that the summer buying season in 2016 could be incredibly competitive with an OS price ‘war’ taking place.”

    IT Must Take a Broader View

    As a result of this continued battle for the device market, IT admins cannot afford to focus exclusively on any one platform. In fact, they must take an even broader view. EdNET Insight’s “State of the K-12 Market 2015: Executive Summary” points out that laptops are actually still the most widely deployed student device, having been substantially implemented in 52 percent of districts, as compared to Chromebooks and tablets, which have been substantially implemented in 37 percent and 35 percent of districts, respectively. (Interestingly, the study notes that “substantial implementation varies little by district size, but there are notable differences by district type. Urban districts are the leaders in Chromebook deployment, with 49% reporting substantial implementation, followed by suburban districts at 40%, town districts at 31%, and rural districts at 34%.”)

    What’s more, IT administrators cannot limit their view to just the devices used by students; they also have to manage a broad range of servers, PCs, Macs, printers, networking gear and other connected non-computing devices. In short, educational institutions today have a mixed bag of hardware and operating systems, and administrators, educators and students are perpetually on the cutting edge of technology. It’s up to IT admins to stay on top of this diversity and manage the entire breadth of their environments appropriately.

    While device vendors offer a variety of endpoint management systems, juggling multiple tools — no matter how good any one of them might be — is not a workable approach when you’re dealing with hundreds or thousands of endpoints. Educational IT admins, even more than their counterparts in other industries, need a comprehensive, easy-to-learn and effective tool that simplifies a range of management tasks across their diverse and constantly changing environments, which are increasingly likely to include Chromebooks.

    Fortunately, there is a single pane of glass that will help you manage all devices at your educational institution, including Chromebooks: the Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance. If you’d like to learn more about the rise of Chromebooks in the education market and how you can manage them alongside all your other network-connected devices, check out our new tech brief, “Educators Love Chromebooks. Now IT Admins Will, Too.”

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • KACE Blog

    Make Your Service Desk More Effective with Better Communication

    Service Desk

    Effective Communication has Multiple Dimensions

    Easy and effective communication between users and IT engineers is critical for swift resolution of problems. This communication often starts when users report an issue to the service desk. Support technicians need to be able to efficiently create tickets, prioritize issues, route tickets to the proper engineers, escalate them when necessary, and track them to completion — while keeping users informed about status throughout the process. IT staff members need to be able to pose troubleshooting questions and suggest workarounds, and users need to be able to easily respond to their questions and report back on their success with suggested fixes. Moreover, with today’s increasing mobile workforce, both users and IT staff need to be able to communicate no matter where they are.

    Good communication, however, extends well beyond the ticket lifecycle. Good communication is proactive, enabling IT to keep users informed about common problems and current outages or other widespread issues, and provide a knowledge base of how-to’s, known fixes and workarounds. By offering a self-service portal with this information, organizations can reduce the number of service tickets created while improving user satisfaction and productivity.

    Even more broadly, good communication includes easy access to relevant information. When service desk technicians can quickly access up-to-date information about all computer devices and assets on the network, inventory reports, configuration status, and device history — ideally from an integrated console — they can troubleshoot tickets faster, with fewer requests for details from users.

    What to Look for in a Service Desk Solution

    Together, these components of effective communication can reduce mean time to resolution while improving productivity for both users and IT staff. Therefore, you should look for a service desk solution that facilitates great communication by providing:

    • Customizable service desk tickets and queues — Look for a ticketing system that enables you to set up multiple ticket queues and tailor them to meet different needs. For example, separating facilities management concerns from IT user issues will streamline communications. Also ensure that you can customize tickets to ensure they include all the information required for troubleshooting, and that the solution can route them automatically to the engineers with the right skills and availability to resolve them quickly.
    • An intuitive self-service user portal — It’s essential that users be able to access an extensive knowledge base, locate hardware and software inventory information for their systems, install IT-sanctioned software packages, and submit and view the status of their support tickets. IT should be able to easily post announcements such as information on service outages or planned maintenance windows; provide links to useful web applications and information, such as pages on the corporate intranet; and enable access to tools for tasks such as self-service password management.
    • Easy problem reporting — Users must be able to easily report issues and provide supporting information to speed troubleshooting. For example, they should be able to quickly attach screenshots to tickets.
    • Mobile app — Look for a solution that can serve your increasingly mobile workforce. Technicians should be able review and respond to service desk notifications, examine inventory details, and deploy software and patches from their mobile devices. Likewise, users should be able to access the knowledge base, submit service desk tickets and check on ticket status wherever they are and regardless of problems with their primary workstations.
    • Bi-directional email integration — The service desk should be able to send and receive information through email in order to automatically create incident tickets, send notifications and export data to other tools.
    • Other integration — Look for an integrated solution that enables technicians to seamlessly access the full spectrum of user and system information from the service desk, including a comprehensive database of systems management information and best practices.

    Everything You Need in One Solution

    The Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance includes an integrated service desk that delivers all of these capabilities and more. With the K1000, you can enable effective communication in every direction to speed issue reporting and resolution, reduce service desk workload, and improve productivity for users and IT staff alike.

    To learn more about why effective communication is vital in a service desk solution and what other functionality it must provide to make your users happy and your IT staff more productive, check out our new white paper, The Ten Key Features You Need in a Service Desk Solution.

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • KACE Blog

    Service Desk and ITIL: Getting Started, One Step at a Time

    Service Desk

    IT departments today are striving to support new business initiatives, meet regulatory compliance requirements and operate under tough budget constraints.

    Strategically implementing best practices, such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), can help with all of these challenges. ITIL is a mature set of generally accepted information technology control objectives that IT managers, business managers and auditors can use to ensure the delivery of the best possible information services to users and improve IT efficiency and effectiveness.

    But while the potential rewards of ITIL adoption are great, actually implementing these best practices often proves to be a daunting task. All too often, organizations end up with broad, unfocused programs that struggle to deliver incremental value or that are stopped dead in their tracks.

    Fortunately, there are pragmatic ways to incrementally implement ITIL best practices that can reduce complexity and deliver measurable results quickly. It’s critical to choose a solution that enables you to adopt portions of a best practices framework, such as service desk functionality, without having to deploy all of the components immediately. That way, you can implement ITIL in a pragmatic fashion, step by step.

    Choosing a Service Desk that Helps You Align with ITIL Best Practices

    Because IT organizations are often swamped with more trouble tickets than they have resources to address, a service desk solution can be the perfect component to begin your ITIL implementation journey. But it’s important to choose the right one. Look for a service desk solution that will help your organization align with ITIL best practices by delivering the following features and functionality:

    • Flexible incident and problem submission
    • Easy-to-use issue tracking and management capabilities
    • Automated event management that can categorize and prioritize issues and assign tickets to technicians with both the necessary skill set and current availability
    • Facilities management, including the ability to set up separate service desk queues for managing facilities requests
    • A self-service user portal that enables users to easily submit and monitor tickets; access a knowledge base; view information about current known issues; download IT-approved applications and software updates; and complete common tasks such as onboarding and password resets
    • A mobile app that enables admins to perform service desk functions and users to submit and review tickets, regardless of their location
    • Easy integration with other systems, including email, asset management software, and change management solutions

    Pragmatic ITIL implementation with Dell

    If you’re ready to begin a practical, targeted implementations of ITIL best practices, be sure to take a look at the Dell KACE systems management appliances, which will help your organization begin to implement ITIL simply, effectively and inexpensively

    A great place to start is the Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance, which offers an integrated service desk that delivers all the functionality listed above, so you can improve user productivity while reducing IT workload and costs. Then explore how Dell KACE appliances can enable additional ITIL processes, including configuration management, change management and release management, all from a common, centralized interface. You can adopt these components in an orderly fashion, improving IT efficiency and user satisfaction with every step.

    Happy Users and Productive IT Staff

    To learn more about how to choose a service desk that will make your users happy and your IT staff more productive, check out our new white paper, The Ten Key Features You Need in a Service Desk Solution.

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • KACE Blog

    Green ITβ€” Not Just for Earth Day Anymore?

    The annual Earth Day celebration is upon us, and with it the goal to spotlight the planet’s environment, and increase public awareness of what can be done to reduce pollution and improve sustainability. Started in 1970, the original intent was to organize a nationwide movement that focused on educating people regarding the fragility of our environment, and develop ways to better defend our planet. Initially a grass roots movement, it has gained public support and has been the driver for such mandates as the creation of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air Act and the Water Quality Improvement Act, among others.

    Reading a recent article about Earth Day and its goals got me thinking about our own world of Information Technology, and how we in IT try to be more ecologically responsible. In fact, it kicked off an informal discussion in our office, which centered on the question... 

    What ever happened to Green IT?

    What had been the topic du jour for technology publications and industry pundits a few short years ago, now seems to have faded away like the iPhone 4. But what might be the reason for the disappearance of Green IT, or at least its shift in focus? My colleagues had some interesting views:

    • It’s a normal day to day activity — IT organizations now simply incorporate sustainability and resource efficiencies in everything they do- it doesn’t need a name or justification to make it a priority.
    • Regulations — The early focus on Green IT has produced both official and unofficial regulations that govern our devices and processes, reducing energy impact and making over consumption an unacceptable option.
    • The cloud — Moving much of the infrastructure for an organization’s IT processing requirements to an on demand service model has de facto reduced the concentration on individual use and footprint, and shifted the ecological onus to the providers.
    • Common sense — While less than ten years ago awareness and an ecological focus for IT needed a boost for acceptance and action, today’s understanding of the limitations of our collective global resources is just the correct way to approach the challenge.

    Just for validation, we did an informal poll of our customers to try to understand their take on Green IT and how it played (or didn’t play) in a variety of organizations. Not surprisingly, we were greeted with a breadth of responses:

    • Issues such as power consumption/savings were at the top of their lists for ecological initiatives, such as automated sleep mode for inactive devices.
    • Decommissioned devices were being recycled, or were being donated to non-profits to extend their useful lives.
    • New purchases all had an eye for optimal energy effectiveness.
    • Virtually all were recycling IT packaging materials.
    • While some said Green IT was not a priority, the bulk said striving for ecological efficiencies were now part of their daily operations.

    Dell has always been a leader in sustainability, from recycling initiatives to innovative ways to create packaging that doesn’t end up as land fill fodder.

    At Dell Software, we’ve also kept an eye toward environmental and ecological best practices via our Dell KACE systems management appliances. The ability to perform centralized configuration management, power down idle endpoint devices via power management capabilities, the elimination of travel necessary for systems deployment and remote management, the availability of a virtual appliance or hosted appliance that reduces energy consumption and resource drain, all combine to make Green IT a reality — even if it’s not today’s top news story.

    Welcome Earth Day, we’re all still working hard on minimizing our IT carbon footprint.

    To that end, we invite you to view an on-demand demonstration of the Dell KACE Systems Management and Systems Deployment Appliances.

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • KACE Blog

    Meet Kacey β€” What a Great Addition to Our Systems Management Team!

    We have a new member of our IT systems management team. His name is Kacey.

    He’s just come onboard, but we love him already, and couldn’t live without him.

    Kacey has a ton of systems management responsibilities that he accomplishes every day. There really is no typical day for him, and he loves that.

    He tackles projects with ease and needs very little help from his peers, who are strapped for time and trying to tackle a bunch of strategic initiatives. When we hired him, he was ready to go on day one! He provisions, manages, secures, and services all of our network-connected devices. He pushes out software without requiring the rest of the team to touch anything. He’s great at maintaining inventory of all our hardware and software assets, and making sure we're not paying extra for software licenses we are not using, or being fined for under—license compliance.

    Within the first hour of his first day, he was able to create a whole list of everything we have installed on our network, even non-computing devices like printers and other IoT devices — amazing! This would have taken us hours to muster on our own, especially since we’re always getting new OS installs and additional devices that need to be managed and secured.

    He can complete all his tasks from the comfort of his own UI, from any Internet-enabled device, even a smartphone. There's no need for him or anyone on our team to travel to remote locations just to remediate problems on the users’ devices, or to update their OS or applications. This has saved us thousands in travel costs, especially since we did not have the resources or budget to fund travel. Kacey ensures our users have the OS software and applications they need to do their jobs.

    Kacey has been an incredible asset, timesaver and lifesaver. I’ve never met anyone like him. He cares for our organization by showing what he can do for us on a daily basis. He does everything I need him to do to make our organization continue to grow without any major interruptions or distractions.

    We’ve seen a huge return on investment because we didn’t have to hire an additional system administrator to manually do what he can do in hours. Now, we’re able to redeploy our IT employees, who were taking time to complete their daily “lights on” tasks, to take care of the important strategic projects that our organization is counting on them to complete.

    With Kacey fully on board, I now have time to complete all the projects that are on my to-do list. He makes my life 10 times easier than what it was before. I didn’t have to hire, train, pay, or keep him up to speed. He came to us ready to go, and will continue to keep his capabilities upgraded with one mouse click. It’s like having two extra people on board without the headcount.

    Who is Kacey? He’s (or she’s, as appropriate) the Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance and the Dell KACE K2000 Systems Deployment Appliance — in short, the person in the back room doing all of the systems management tasks the rest of your live team doesn’t have time to complete. Thank goodness for Kacey’s help, without needing the additional headcount.

    Alyssa Luc

    About Alyssa Luc

    Alyssa Luc joined Dell Software in 2015 as a Social Media and Community Advisor for the KACE product team. Her specialties include customer advocacy and advocate marketing.

    View all posts by Alyssa Luc | Twitter

  • KACE Blog

    Finding the Best Service Desk Delivery Option for Your Organization

    In my last blog, I talked about some of the features and functionality every organization needs from a service desk solution. But there’s also a higher level question to consider: which delivery model is best for your enterprise?

    Most organizations are at least somewhat familiar with the on-premises service desk, which comes in both physical and virtual options. But today there is a growing trend toward adopting the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for a variety of IT needs, and in fact SaaS service desk solutions are available. This blog will help you decide which option is best for your organization.

    Benefits of a SaaS-based Service Desk

    • Reduced short-term costs — SaaS solutions replace up-front software investment and irregular ongoing infrastructure maintenance costs with a simple, predictable subscription fee.
    • Time to value — Third-party providers can have a cloud-based service desk up and running quickly. However, keep in mind that an appliance-based on-premises solution can also be implemented in just a few hours.
    • Reduced staffing requirements — Solutions managed by a third party usually require less work from your in-house IT pros than on-premises options, freeing them for other projects.
    • Better collaboration — Centralization of data and services in the cloud can make it easier for everyone to work together, no matter where they are. However, some on-premises solutions offer remote and mobile options that deliver similar value.

    Benefits of an On-Premises Service Desk (Physical or Virtual)

    • Better security and compliance — The security of cloud-based data is always a concern, and in fact it can be difficult to even adequately evaluate a cloud vendor’s security methodologies. Organizations that have highly sensitive data or that must meet stringent compliance regulations often prefer an on-premises solution for ensuring data security and demonstrating compliance.
    • More control — With an on-premises solution, you are not subject to some of the bandwidth limitations and connectivity uncertainties of a cloud-based application, and you can utilize internal support staff for problem resolution and remediation.
    • More features and functionality — Cloud-based solutions sometimes lack critical functionality offered by their on-premises counterparts. Moreover, being cloud-based is no guarantee that a solution will be easy to learn and use; some of the best on-premises solutions have had years to hone their design and interface.
    • Reduced long-term costs — Although an on-premises service desk requires an up-front investment, the perpetual fees and ongoing monthly or annual costs of a SaaS solution can make the on-premises option more cost-effective in the long run.

    The Best Options, All in One Place

    The Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance offers a variety of delivery models to meet every organization’s service desk requirements:

    • On-premises K1000 physical appliance — This all-in-one solution eliminates many of the cost and resource drains of traditional software. A plug-and-play server delivers the ease of use, comprehensive functionality, fast implementation, and stress-free upgrades and maintenance that cloud-based solutions promise, along with the added security and controls many organizations require.
    • On-premises K1000 virtual appliance — This virtual instance of the physical appliance includes all the same service desk functionality and benefits, but with the added energy and resource savings of a virtual form factor.
    • K1000 as a Service — The cloud-hosted virtual version of the appliance is offered on a subscription basis. This SaaS option further reduces infrastructure maintenance and ongoing costs without compromising functionality.

    To Learn More

    Of course, you also need your service desk to provide all the functionality that both you and your users need. Check out our new whitepaper, “The Ten Key Features You Need in a Service Desk Solution,” to learn how choose a service desk solution that will make your users happy and your IT staff more productive.

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • KACE Blog

    Improve User Support with a Flexible, Integrated Service Desk

    The service desk is often the face of the IT department organization-wide, so you want a solution that keeps your users happy. That means, primarily, a service desk that reduces mean time to resolution (MTTR) and helps ensure that issues are addressed properly on the first call. But today’s resource-constrained organizations also need a solution that minimizes IT workload and costs.

    Fortunately, these two goals are not mutually exclusive. In fact, by automating and streamlining ticket creation and processing, you speed issue resolution — getting users back to work quickly and with less effort and frustration all around. It’s a win-win.

    The key is choosing a flexible, integrated service desk solution. Be sure to look for the following features and functionality:

    • User self-service and an integrated knowledge base — Users should be able to perform frequently needed tasks, such as password resets, without help from IT. Providing them with information about known issues and workarounds and keeping them updated about current problems will further reduce ticket volume and IT help desk workload.
    • Easy ticket creation — Users should also be able to easily report issues and include relevant information, such as screen shots. But you should also future-proof your investment by choosing a solution that integrates with email-enabled devices and the internet of things (IoT). That way, as you adopt more of those devices, they will be able to proactively report their own existing or impending problems (such as a printer running low on toner).
    • Easy access to ticket status — A solution that keeps both IT staff and users informed about ticket status will reduce phone calls, frustration and confusion.
    • Multiple ticket queues — Look for a flexible solution that can serve multiple concerns or departments. For example, one queue might process users’ IT issues while another handles building maintenance requests.
    • Automated workflows — Look for help desk software that makes it easy to automate routine tasks such as onboarding. This automation improves user satisfaction and productivity while reducing IT workload.
    • Automated ticket assignment and escalation — An IT ticketing system that can automatically direct tickets to engineers who have both availability and the necessarily skill set will help ensure first-call resolution. Similarly, the ability to automatically escalate stalled tickets through the appropriate channels will help keep them moving so you can meet your SLAs.
    • Seamless integration with other systems — Service desk technicians and IT engineers should be able to easily access relevant information, including device and user history and details about how other tickets have been resolved in the past. But a service desk should go further, enabling easy integration that enables technicians to perform software asset management tasks such as distributing software updates and deploying patches, as well as tasks like pinging a host to check network status and latency, all directly from one management console. The ticketing software should also integrate seamlessly with your email system for both inbound and outbound messages.
    • Mobile access — In today’s mobile economy, organizations need a solution that enables both IT staff and end users to access information and perform tasks on the go.

    Where can you get all this?

    The Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance includes a service desk that delivers all these features and more. This flexible, integrated solution is easy for both end users and IT staff to use. It empowers users with an intuitive self-service portal while giving you the flexibility to customize tickets and queues and to automate a wide range of processes. Integration with other systems enables further automation and speeds access to information and functionality required for issue resolution. And its mobile app supports both end users and IT staff any time, anywhere.

    To Learn More

    To learn more about how to choose a service desk solution that will make your users happy and your IT staff more productive, check out our new whitepaper, “The Ten Key Features You Need in a Service Desk Solution.”

    About Stephen Hatch

    Stephen is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He has over eight years of experience with KACE and over 20 years of marketing communications experience.

    View all posts by Stephen Hatch

  • KACE Blog

    6 Sure-Fire Steps to a Holistic Endpoint Management and Network Security Approach

    When it comes to managing and securing the IT environment today, it’s easy to focus on one area and fail to see the broader picture. We call that technology tunnel vision.

    The more hectic and heterogeneous your IT environment becomes, the more likely you are to develop tunnel vision. In particular you can focus so intently on endpoint management that you take your eye off the ball of network security. It’s the natural but undesirable result of having your IT assets in different silos, without a centralized endpoint management system in place. Today, those assets include not only desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones, but a growing variety of devices from bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives, wearables and other connected devices from the internet of things (IoT), and more.

    This complexity has brought us to a tipping point. IT resources are overwhelmed, OPEX is skyrocketing, and organizations worldwide are experiencing security breaches that can damage both their reputations and their bottom lines.

    Six Sure-Fire Steps to Delivering a Holistic Endpoint Management and Network Security Approach

    How can IT manage today’s explosion of endpoints without getting stuck in silos and losing sight of network security? The way to eliminate tunnel vision is to replace the traditional siloed approach to systems management with a holistic view of network infrastructure and a fully integrated solution that offers centralized control and network security management. Here are six key steps to take:

    1. Be sure to have a fully documented and implemented BYOD strategy and policy in place. That will enable you to follow and secure your data anywhere it goes.
    2. Know that shadow IT is at work in your organization and plan for it. IT managers are accustomed to knowing (or thinking they know) about everything happening on the network, including all the devices connected to it and all the applications running on it. But with the high expectations of users and the consumerization of IT, that is a risky mindset to adopt.
    3. Put in place a centralized endpoint management system. That means trimming your arsenal of tools for managing the variety of endpoints. Tools that support only a particular OS or a certain application are management silos waiting to happen. Before you can manage all your devices, your tools must know where to find them. Be sure to include mobile device management (MDM).
    4. Ensure you can easily deploy, patch and update applications and block unwanted applications from running. This application management and control will improve not only compliance but also security, performance and availability.
    5. Build automated processes to save time and money, improve accuracy, and enable you to reallocate your precious resources to innovation and growth initiatives.
    6. Deploy a future-ready security approach that will secure your endpoints, data, network and user identities, including emerging technologies such as IoT devices. 

    To Learn More

    Be sure to check out this new e-book to learn more about escaping the downward spiral of technology tunnel vision. We explain how to replace your traditional, siloed approach to systems management with a more holistic view of your network infrastructure and a fully integrated solution that delivers both centralized management, and network and data security.

    And please let me know how you are fighting technology tunnel vision in your IT environment.

    David Manks

    About David Manks

    David Manks is a Solutions Marketing Director for Dell Software focusing on endpoint management and security products.

    View all posts by David Manks  | Twitter