ITIL Service Catalogs

By this point, you hopefully realize that I'm a bit of an ITIL and process junkie! The ITIL Service Catalog is part of the ITIL Service design module, but while it seems very focused on the design side, it has implications in many other areas. Basically, its aim is making sure reliable, accurate information from all aspects of operations are easily available and understandable by others.





What is the ITIL Service Catalog?


If you’re unfamiliar with the ITIL Service Catalog, you should know that, at its very center, IT service delivery includes a list of services from the IT portfolio that are accessible for client usage. Inside this IT list, you will locate a digital summary of the majority of the IT benefits that your organization gives – from resetting forgotten passwords to the more complex, financial requirements of the system.

The ITIL system has been created based on the fundamental concepts of Service and Customer Care. Therefore, the Service Catalog is at the center of these essential ideas. Numerous IT companies are able to deliver a Service Catalog as a major aspect of their ITIL Service Level Management. Others see the chance to use the Service Catalog as the point of focus for cooperation among IT and the business, as endorsed in the latest ITIL Business Perspective catalog. Wherever you are in your ITIL activity, the Service Catalog is fundamental to progress, providing the establishment with key defining points and business material.

To be compelling, the Service Catalog must be comprehended, grasped, and utilized by the business. However very frequently, IT divisions contribute innumerable hours to make Service Catalog documentation that only a couple of clients will ever use. The greater part of these Service Catalogs are infrequently observed or perused by either clients or business leaders - and in this way have practically zero effect. With the end goal to guarantee an effective and client cantered ITIL activity, IT associations can pursue three rules for their Service Catalog:

Prioritizing the Customer


The Service Catalog ought to be made with a relentless spotlight on client needs. The most well-known misstep IT associations make is to explain their work from an IT point of view. Clients would prefer to be explained these processes in a way which they can easily understand. Fruitful Service Catalogs are characterized from the client’s perspective rather than from an IT standpoint.

A Service Catalog should resemble web-based customer inventories, with straightforward depictions and an instinctive retail interface with accessible services available for the clients to look at. A powerful Service Catalog additionally provides clients who may get to the list - regardless of whether it’s the clients or specialty unit executives - and gives distinctive substance dependent on capacity, jobs, needs, areas, and privileges.

This client-centered methodology guarantees that the Service Catalog is embraced by clients, and gives the premise to a reasonable, business-level discourse on administration quality and cost exchange offs with business chiefs.



It Should Be Usable


Next, the Service Catalog ought to be something beyond a static archive of data. A shopper seeing an online index of things expects that when they find something they like they can interact with it. This means that they can view it, separate from the catalog, view it and then if it meets their expectations, then they can order it. Moreover, the Service Catalog for clients ought to be providing similar features - with a web-based shopping basket for online purchases (if you’re operating an e-commerce website) such that it empowers end clients and allows them to use services in a way that satisfies them and allows them to keep track of their activities and so on.

Also, specialty unit officials should have their own one of a kind perspective of the Service Catalog that gives more straightforwardness into the IT spending things, benefit levels, and the business effect of each service that IT gives.

The IT service is important to workers when they need to update their workstation or when they have to include their email inbox. IT makes a difference to business officials when they are looking into spending plans or when they get their IT bill. It is at these times that the Service Catalog should be accessible and significant.

To guarantee success, the Service Catalog must turn into the single passage that clients will turn to for all their IT service deliverance, and promptly accessible whenever your business clients need to understand what IT does and how well it is.

Empowering a Record System


At last, a significant Service Catalog must fill in is that of record system that empowers IT benefit associations to be overseen like a business inside a business. The Service Catalog can give access to oversee client request, delineate procedures for each administration, guarantee benefit level consistency and drive process efficiencies.

No service sector business can flourish without such operational and financial information available and effectively accessible. By giving inside the main issue for asking for administrations, IT can use this information to all the more successfully control utilization.

With institutionalized and recorded information, IT groups can implement repeatable and quantifiable service delivery applications that eventually results in solid service quality.

Conclusion


The Service Catalog is the foundation for accomplishment in any ITIL activity. By characterizing and distributing a standard arrangement of business-significant administration contributions, IT can all the more adequately advertise its esteem and set up a system for correspondence with the business. Also, by making the Service Catalog operational and value-based, IT activities can help institutionalize benefit satisfaction forms, oversee utilization, and drive ceaseless enhancement.

Services that are not frequently used can be suspended. Delivery applications for high volume services can be streamlined. Key execution markers can give more insight to control costs, guarantee ideal administration quality, and support planning discussions with IT chiefs.

With a significant and client-centered Service Catalog set up, IT associations can genuinely work as an administration arranged supplier to adequately address the issues of their business clients.

Dispelling Misconceptions - What we Think we Know About IoT and Security

The internet of things - IoT for short - is taking over the world, specifically businesses. This technology is the latest in the series of technological evolutions that have taken place since the computer (and the internet) was first created. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are misconceptions not only surrounding IoT itself but also the security of the devices that come under its umbrella. But before we move on to address these misconceptions, we have to understand what the term actually means.



What Exactly is the “Internet of Things”?

The question of exactly “what” this technology is, is something that a lot of people don’t ask simply because they don’t want to know. In our day and age, we just want to consume more and more advanced and sophisticated technology without actually understanding it. And therein lies the problem.

When people don’t understand something, they tend to put the blame on it when something goes wrong. In an HBR article, writer Andrew Tannenbaum speaks of an Internet of Things hostage situation that is not difficult to imagine due to the security problems surrounding IoT devices. In the same article, he speaks of the reasons behind these problems. We shall explore them later in this article.

As for now, in order to understand Internet of Things, we must understand what it is.

Internet of Things is the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data. This definition is an oversimplification of something that is revolutionizing the world we live in.-      Oxford Living Dictionaries

IoT’s development is changing the way data is received, perceived and utilized. If anything, it is just a stepping stone which may ultimately be used by AI technology. But that may be years down the lane. The fact is, IoT is creating a network among devices that we use all the time - it can be through our phones, refrigerators, television screens - everything that we come in contact with every single day to learn more about us as a consumer so that it can adapt and integrate technology even further into our lives.

Basically, what IoT devices are doing is that they are making everything easier for us by using sensors, actuators, and software to connect everything in our lives from our front door to our smartphones to one central unit.

And this may sound scary because of the many, many “AI gone rogue” Hollywood blockbuster movies that have come out over the years, and because of growing hacking problems, security is a concern for anyone who uses the Internet of Things in any aspect of their life. Our job though is to help anyone with any misconceptions surrounding the usage of IoT.

IoT Devices are Secure

This may sound obvious, but it is the biggest misconception surrounding IoT devices and the reason behind it is pretty legitimate. After all, why would you care about IoT security? It couldn’t have been released into the market just like that.

However, it is important for individuals to understand one thing: the manufacturers of IoT devices aren’t selling their products with security in mind. It is you - the buyer - who must be wary of security concerns because, at the end of the day, you are the one who will be affected by any security breaches.

In fact, various individuals and companies have begun questioning the security of IoT devices because of a few cases where hackers have hacked into the network and used that as a bargaining chip. This is alarming. Luckily, big businesses and even government agencies like the FBI have taken notice of the lack of security in some IoT devices and there has been a lot of talk and implementation of more secure fronts for these devices.

In order to put this misconception to bed, it is important that you understand that IoT is a very new development in the field and therefore, a lot of manufacturers are rushing to take advantage of it but that doesn’t mean that its security is being neglected.

As for now, it is very important that you as an individual take care of your IoT devices yourself. It is not that complicated either. A lot of people think that IoT is just part of the IT department of the firm. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to ensure that your system is secure - all you need to do is be careful.


Only Those Authorized can Access IoT Devices and the Network

This misconception follows the first one and is part of network security. A lot of individuals believe that because they are spending a lot of money on the Internet of Things, their investment should be safe from unauthorized access. This isn’t true.

You do not need an IT expert to connect a device to your system. Anyone can do it. Therefore, it is important that you do not expose your network to everyone. It should not be easy for your employees, clients...anyone really to connect to your network.

Because the security of any other device plugged into your system is not checked - it could be the tool used to hack your system, and it’s really not that hard to hack into a computer or a smartphone that does not have the right security settings.  This is why we strongly recommend that every IoT device connected to your network is thoroughly checked to eliminate the chances of these devices being used to breach your network security.

All IoT Devices are Interconnected

This is yet another misconception that arises when people don’t understand a certain bit of technology. It is, therefore, very important that you understand this as it makes the case for why - in spite of the risk - you should be thinking about using IoT. It is also a good security protocol and can prevent security risks.

While all IoT devices are definitely connected to the main network, they are not connected to each other - unless the network operator wants that. They will also not work together i.e. you can choose to assign certain devices with certain tasks and protocols. By using this facility, you can ensure that the IoT devices handed out to your staff only shows data you want them to be able to access. This is also a very good way of preventing corporate espionage and also security breach.

The Internet of Things is a Waste for Small Business

Moving away from security breaches, we will now move on the usefulness of IoT for small businesses. Larger companies are at the risk of hacking and security issues because they have large corporate rivals who may be willing to pay quite a bit to know their trade secrets. This is why they have to spend more on network security than start-ups or small businesses. In fact, it has been shown that the security of small businesses has actually improved by using IoT. Not only that, but it actually helps to grow a business and make it more efficient by making the business “smarter”.

In today’s world, that is a brilliant way to stay with and ahead of the competition. IoT is helping small businesses to prosper so that makes a good case for the technology and is something small business owners should definitely look into. It may not seem so, but IoT is not very expensive for installation and you can take advantage of the organization and stability it brings to the table.

IoT devices are not secure

This statement contradicts the very first misconception introduced in this article and the reason behind it is that while a lot of people don’t even think about IoT security, many others believe that they are not secure enough to make the investment.

As mentioned earlier, there is research going on into IoT security and users themselves must also take the initiative to work on security themselves, the point is that IoT devices can be made safe.

As you can see, the security of IoT devices, in the end, lies primarily with the user. Companies can provide the user with a lot of security but it is up to you to use IoT in such a way that it does not cost you. So even though it might seem very daunting, with the right security check in place, IoT devices are quite safe and can be used to make your business better.

Conclusion

It is safe to say that IoT and security go hand in hand with proper work ethics. If you focus on the right things in your business and are generally concerned about its welfare, you will take the necessary steps required to ensure that not only does your business prosper under the Internet of Things, but that it will also remain safe.


Management & Problem Solving

As someone that has been involved in Technical Support and Operations for the majority of my career, problem-solving is something that I'm very interested in! Now many believe that this is a skill that only applies to the actual support resource but in reality, it is something that applies throughout the chain from the customer all the way to the SLT.



Managers & supervisors are generally the first ones to get the ax when it comes time to trim budgets as it's considered that they do not directly produce any specific goods or services. Their responsibility is to manage those who actually "do the work". However, if you look at operational effectiveness it's very much the manager's job to look at the best and most effective way to optimize and complete a task. The phrase that most aptly applies here is that you can - 
"have it cheap, have it quick or have it good ... pick two". 
Managers are the "choosers" where they can work to build products and services faster using fewer resources or they can strive for an improvement in quality. They generally are not able to accomplish all three goals unless a radical shift in technology completely moves the overall paradigm.

When it comes to Operational Effectiveness, you can look at three primary areas where Managers work:

Technical

The focus here is the efficient use of resources and tools using technology to best achieve the goals of the organization.

Human

The focus is on the resources (people) doing the actual work. How are they best used and utilized? Another aspect of this is the care and wellbeing of those resources.

Process

The third leg of the triangle is the development of new processes, systems, and methods of operation. This can be through the utilization of technology or otherwise.

As managers progress up the "ladder" the amount of work they do at each level changes. Junior managers, for example, spend a lot more time with the technical and resource areas while more senior leaders are focused more on the process side. 

Regardless of the level that you are at, you should always expect your role to have some component of one of the three areas.