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SolarWinds of Change: Automation & AI

November 30, 2017

SolarWinds are a company that provide some of the monitoring tools for C5 Alliance to proactively monitor and connect our systems to our client’s, in order to manage their IT platforms remotely. Earlier this month I attended their MSP Empower Event which was an opportunity for us to understand what more we can do to improve the value of the service we provide and how we can prepare for the future in terms of skills and development.

For me the key takeaways from the conference were:

  1. Advanced Automation is coming via Machine Learning

Whilst the advanced automation features for SolarWinds are probably more exciting for those of us at the coalface of IT management, the impact of AI Machine Learning is going to be something that impacts all of us in our daily lives. This was a key focus of the Empower Event. We were introduced to a lot of ‘AI beings’ and the main difference was obvious, AI is very useful for automating the mundane tasks to allow us to develop in other areas/expertise. It also provides consistency, as tasks will always be performed exactly the same, human personalities and preferences won’t come into it. For us, this will enable the team to automate some of our routine processes such as unlocking accounts, password resets and disk/CPU alerts. This will free up time so that we ‘do more with less’, and will also help us to further improve our client’s experience.

  1. Better Education = Better Security

All of this change also means new skills are needed around security. At the event, it was pointed out that 90% of hackers begin their personal journey towards cybercrime between the ages of 12-15. The implication being that we need to begin education early, with security built into our culture, not just our processes. Speakers at the conference pointed to the proliferation of cyber security in popular culture as a way to bridge this gap in awareness. From Mr. Robot, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the upcoming BBC cybercrime drama McMafia, the popularity of the topic doesn’t seem to be waning. For our part at C5, we have committed to deliver cybersecurity awareness training to all of our staff and knowledge-sharing sessions from the conferences we invest in, meaning I will be presenting a lunch and learn session on the SolarWinds event.

  1. Employ technology to do new things, not just be efficient

The main takeaway for me from the event was to use technology and AI not just to become more efficient, but to do new things and make a positive impact. A quote that has stuck with me since is, “trust isn’t digital, happiness isn’t a program and relationships are not a code.” This backs keynote speaker, futurist Gerd Leonhard’s claims that technology is exponential, humans aren’t. Ultimately SolarWind’s vision for the next few years is one of rapid change, beyond anything we have seen so far. Gerd emphasised that over the next 20 years we will see more technological advances than we have seen in the last 300 years put together. This is an exciting opportunity for techies to start thinking creatively and shape the future with better use of technology.

Preparing businesses to be agile, and able to adapt their IT systems to handle that change, is what we are focused on at C5, using tools like SolarWinds. If you would like to have a chat with us about your IT and how we can support you, please email me at Lee.Coogan@c5alliance.com.