SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Matt Brunk | February 27, 2015 |

 
   

Managing Against IT & User Snafus

Managing Against IT & User Snafus Sometimes the little things that get ignored or overlooked are what lead to big losses.

Sometimes the little things that get ignored or overlooked are what lead to big losses.

Sometimes we need a good laugh to improve our day or, yes, sometimes a good cry to reboot and move on. I'm not sure which you'd do after reading my stories below, but whichever it is, know that I am not kidding around but trying to provide insight into processes that could use some improvement.

For one, automated notices and alerts are pretty common in the help desk function, with the goal of funneling traffic and keeping the network running smoothly. But what happens when one automated help desk notifies another automated help desk of scheduled downtime?

Endless Email
If both help desks use email, then what might result is a loop of endless "receipt of your message" emails from one help desk to the other. You can imagine that this methodology would generate 60 messages for each help desk in one hour, which adds up quickly over the hours if the loop goes undiscovered. On top of that, add in the number of technicians that receive the group messages for the help desk and they, too, may receive messages at the rate of one per minute.

Now imagine that you call your provider for assistance in turning off this annoying message loop, but don't get an immediate response. What can you do short of shutting down email to the help desk? One quick fix is to set up a block or filter on the inbound mail, rejecting mail from the replying help desk with a no response/no reply.

Distribution Danger
Other message loops create an internal attack on users brought on by the users themselves. These occur when within a Group Distribution List (hundreds of users email addresses) a user includes the name of another Group Distribution List that included the first Group Distribution List. For example, the method below creates an endless loop of one message sent to Sales@yourcompany.com, which in turn relays to the members of Service@yourcompany.com, which relays back to Sales@yourcompany.com.

    Group Distribution List 1: SALES
    Members: Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, and SERVICE (Group Distribution List 2)

    Group Distribution List 2: SERVICE
    Members: Mr. Slate, Gazoo, Dino, Hoppy, Baby P, and SALES (Group Distribution List 1)

The issues that users report are sometimes humorous or worrisome, depending upon how you look it: "I cannot copy myself from the computer to the copier," and "My computer's cut and paste does not work." As funny as these are or aren't, you have to wonder: Do the users need training, or does IT need to hone in and do a better job of layering in features with responsibilities?

As trivial as these issues may seem, they can potentially have a ripple effect -- especially with hosted and managed solutions providers. Organizations end up spending lots of time and resources in cleaning up thousands of messages from message loops, for example.

Password Problems
Other problems come up when IT personnel with administrator control exit an organization, as I discussed in a previous post, Untangling IT's Web. These are not trivial matters, especially when it comes to ordering services, ensuring invoices are paid on time, and managing accounts.

Authentication processes are often lame. Some "Forgot your password" links, for example, actually work on email accounts that require only access to that specific email address. If the email is compromised, then the account information is usually pretty easy to obtain.

IT automation isn't easy, and asset management is a daunting task. This may only get more complicated with bring-your-own-device and freemium models, as each will impact how users think, behave, and even react to IT and IT policies. Both can be either detrimental or beneficial to the enterprise, but IT must be responsible for maintaining security and protecting the company assets. If the help desk is indicative of a company's intellectual capacity, then I'd be afraid for many firms.

Threats range from lack of training to lack of discipline within IT ranks, and, at the service provider, an inability to secure customer accounts. These low-level threats can be avoided, but we tend to focus on complex solutions and ignore everyday common sense managing and administering. Perhaps this is a sign of dealing with flat organizations and the new era of how work is done. Whatever it is that is being ignored or overlooked is what can create losses.

How do you manage? What art, craft or automation do you use to tackle everyday issues? Share in the comments section below.

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter and Google+!

@telecomworx

Matt Brunk on Google+





COMMENTS



August 16, 2017

Contact centers have long been at the leading edge of innovation in communications technology, given their promise of measurable ROI and the continual need to optimize customer interactions and sta

July 12, 2017

Enterprises have been migrating Unified Communications & Collaboration applications to datacenters - private clouds - for the past few years. With this move comes the opportunity to leverage da

May 31, 2017

In the days of old, people in suits used to meet at a boardroom table to update each other on their work. Including a remote colleague meant setting a conference phone on the table for in-person pa

August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.