KACE Blog

  • KACE Blog

    Connect, Explore and Learn – Without Leaving Your Keyboard

    Join the Dell Software Virtual Trade Show on June 23, 2016 and learn from industry experts through live webcasts, network with like-minded individuals, and explore Dell Software solutions, all from the comfort of your own chair. You’ll have the opportunity to share best practices, tips and tricks, and stay on top of the latest software trends and technologies. This virtual event features a full day of live presentations, so get ready, get comfortable, and collaborate.

    At the Dell Software Virtual Trade Show, you’ll be able to:

    • Learn about the different Dell Software solutions relevant to your growing organization’s IT challenges and needs
    • Hear from industry experts and IT thought leaders via live, web-based amphitheater presentations
    • View, download and save valuable resources such as presentations, white papers, case studies and  webinars  on such topics as asset management, ITAM, patch management, software deployment and more
    • Visit seven different booths hosted by Dell Software subject matter experts and get the experience of attending a real software tradeshow, virtually
    • Participate in live chats and discussions while networking with worldwide peers in real time

    Visit the virtual KACE booth to learn more about endpoint systems management and hear from subject matter expert, Ken Chalberg, who will discuss the challenges of device proliferation, ESM lifecycle management, and the benefits of all things KACE.

    This is no-cost, one-day event will run live from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET. It’s time for a new approach to controlling, securing and modernizing your IT world. Join us at the Dell Software Virtual Tradeshow, and see how the power to change your organization’s IT strategy is, literally, at your fingertips.

  • KACE Blog

    Tech Tools for Schools: New Initiatives, More Devices

    You don’t have to look hard in the media to find articles reporting a shortage of software developers and other IT professionals in the job market today. Educators and policy makers alike are responding. Computer science was finally listed as a core academic subject in the U.S. in December 2015 with the reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and initiatives such as CS for All promise increased funding. The topic even made President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address, when he urged the country to offer “every student the hands-on computer science and math classes that make them job-ready on day one.”

    However, technology in education today extends far beyond computer science instruction. Technology is broadly recognized as a tool for enabling a variety of educational goals, from mathematics to languages to study skills and research. In addition, it is a key component of increasingly popular programs such as blended learning and personalized learning.

    Moreover, EdNET Insight’s “State of the K-12 Market 2015: Executive Summary” notes that while the major technology companies began as providers of devices, operating systems and digital tools, they are moving in new directions as well. For example, the report notes, “Amazon, Google, and Apple have digital marketplaces to distribute the content and educational apps of others. Amazon has taken this a step further, acquiring ed tech company TenMarks in 2013 and elevating the startup’s co-founder to general manager of Amazon Education.”

    With the support of companies like these, educators are increasingly using technology to drive collaboration — for both students and teachers. For example, Google Apps for Education comprises a suite of free productivity tools for classroom collaboration, and Google Educator Groups (GEGs) “provide a platform for educators to collaborate with one another, allowing them to pick up new creative ideas from one another, and to help each other best meet the needs of their students with Google solutions.”

    It’s no wonder, then, that school districts are eager to put devices into the hands of all their students. The EdNET Insight report notes that the top two priorities of technology directors are building out their wireless networks and providing personal computing devices to their students. It also reports “some significant shifts in districts’ preferences for various kinds of devices and their plans for deploying them. Technology directors plan to rely on Chromebooks much more than a year ago, while tablets figure less prominently in their hardware plans.” However, both laptops and tablets still have a significant presence.

    Next Step

    With the increasing use of Chromebooks for education against a backdrop of a diverse variety of other technologies in educational settings, it’s critical for IT administrators to have an effective tool for managing all network-connected devices from a single pane of glass, and not just the Chromebook management provided by the Google Chromebook Management Console. Only Dell offers a systems management solution that enables you to manage Chromebooks alongside all your other network-connected devices, with features such as comprehensive asset management, remote administration and an integrated service desk. To learn more, download 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

    Why Workstation Security is Even More Complex Than Server Security

    Common wisdom holds that server security is far more critical than workstation security. After all, a security problem in a server can affect thousands of users or even an entire organization, while an insecure workstation directly impacts just one user. Right?

    Wrong. A security problem on any workstation connected to your network can cause widespread damage — and in fact most data breaches result from such problems. Verizon's 2016 Data Breach Investigative Report, for example, found that 63 percent of data breaches involved the use of weak, default or stolen user credentials. Malware, phishing and keyloggers were the next most common attack methods, Windows security expert Randy Franklin Smith concurs, noting that “all of the biggest breaches in recent times have started with a compromised workstation — not a server.”

    The takeaway is clear: Workstation security is every bit as critical to your organization as server security. (Note that I’m using the word “workstation” here to mean not just desktops but all non-server Windows computers, so we’re talking about endpoint security broadly, including laptop security, tablet security and mobile security.)

    Key security differences between servers and workstations

    But how can this be? Even though servers and workstations run essentially the same Windows operating system, securing workstations is very different than servers — and often it’s actually far more complex. The key differences that impact security include:

    • Servers run mostly unattended background services, while workstations are far more interactive.
    • Servers are usually housed in secure areas, but workstations lack this physical security. The mobility of laptops and tablets further increases the risk of the device being compromised.
    • Workstations have much more interaction with untrusted websites and parsing of internet content, raising a host of internet security concerns.
    • Servers are accessed only by trusted administrators. Employees using workstations are often less security-conscious and less technically savvy.
    • Far more applications are installed on workstations than on servers, increasing the attack surface.
    • Server inventory is small and static in comparison to the sheer number of workstations and how they come and go on the network.

    Workstation security requires protecting users from themselves

    More broadly, securing Windows servers is primarily about reducing attack surface and keeping remote users from accessing resources and services other than those they are authorized to use. Since trusted administrators are the only ones logging on interactively, and even they do so only for specific administrative tasks, interactive security is much less of an issue on most servers.

    Hardening workstations, on the other hand, is very much about protecting end users from themselves. Of course, a key part of your organization’s workstation security strategy must be effective and continuous user training. However, the details and scheduling of that training is likely beyond your control. And in any case, even the best training is insufficient — IT security professionals have to accept that users will make mistakes. They will fall for phishing attacks, reuse easy-to-guess passwords, leave their workstations unattended, plead the expediency of downloading an unapproved application they need to meet a critical deadline, and so on.

    Therefore, you need to use every strategy at your disposal to secure your user workstations.

    Learn about the most important controls for ensuring workstation security

    What are those strategies? We asked the aforementioned Randy Franklin Smith, who’s an expert on Windows security essentials. You can learn all about the top controls he recommends implementing on workstations in the free webinar Top 12 Workstation Security Controls. Smith built this list of controls based on his experience from his extensive IT audit/assessment practice, along with his research and knowledge of common desktop security standards such the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (now USGCB). Here are the 12 topics you’ll learn about in the webinar:

    • BIOS security
    • Controlling local accounts
    • Controlling unattended workstations
    • Encryption
    • Auditing
    • Anti-malware
    • Patch security
    • Tracking new programs
    • Internet Explorer security configuration
    • Security settings in other apps
    • Network, firewall and remote access
    • Certificate authorities

    You’ll also learn how Dell KACE system management appliances can automatically discover and manage all the systems on your network — automating the otherwise laborious and error-prone work of securing workstations. The recorded webinar is available for you to watch at your convenience.

    Sean Musil

    About Sean Musil

    Sean Musil is a Product Marketing Manager for Dell KACE. He believes the internet should be free and secure.

    View all posts by Sean Musil  | Twitter

  • 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 — 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 IT— 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 — 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