This week we at Kisi ran the v1 of our Office Automation for IT Meetup at Digital Ocean. After searching Manhattan for interesting IT office automation meetups we found a couple that didn’t quite fit. There are great ones like the NY Tech Meetup, Reddit’s NYC Meetups, Amazon AWS summit NYC or the enterprise tech meetup but we really felt there is a gap in the IT community.
Every day we’ve been talking about the unique solutions and problems the modern IT manager faces. However publicly there was no forum where people are actually talking about the evolving role of IT in regards to IoT. So we came up with this event and the response was overwhelming and the huge Digital Ocean event floor was fully packed.
Scroll below is the summary of the event.
KISI presentation slides
For anyone looking for the Kisi presentation slides – here you go:
IT office automation panel
The highlight of the night was the all-star panel with in-house IT and security professionals Nick Vigier, Head of Security at Digital Ocean and Matthew Anderson, IT manager at Harry’s Grooming. On the other side were the two outside (soon to be IT office automation) vendors: Noah Landow from Macktez and Anoush d’Orville with Scull’s Angels who was also moderating the panel.
Overview of IT
Before going into details we had a surprising observation while watching the panel. An IT office automation manager has to be a very good people person. That’s the only way to be able to read people’s ability. That’s the only way to see little changes in behavior and be able to react with technology workflows or updates.
Anoush even pointed out IT managers need to possess abilities of a psychologist. Anoush’s main thesis in IT consulting centers around that IT strategy is really business strategy and ultimately business success. However the challenge always remains how high growth companies implement growth strategies with limited resources. Anoush also gave a good overview of his take on IT:
What IT strategy can’t have is a one-size fits all approach. Today, more than ever, we have an array of technology choices and solutions. Comparing to a few years ago IT is no longer just the realm of the IT support guy who fixes your printer or connects your computer to the network. It is a broad set of solutions that can empower a business. It can help not only achieve success but create a unique working environment that has the intangible effect of increasing worker happiness and productivity.]
The IT department needs to be at the forefront of most if not all decision making. Questions come in all forms:
- what systems should be purchased (or leased)?
- what systems should be used to manage those assets?
- how can technology be intuitively implemented to maximize data sharing
- cross-departmental communication
- data integrity and backup strategies
- Fiber vs Coax
- physical server vs. cloud
- to that age old question of Mac vs PC
The Internet of things has only broadened the scope of these strategic questions even further.
IT at Harry’s
Matthew explained he is running IT alone for a 160 employee organization. He emphasizes this was only possible if new user provisioning and de-provisioning works right. Also he is taking a close look at the tools that are available to adopt technology. These mostly come with upfront cost but might save dollars in the long run by avoiding having to hire someone dedicated to that single task.
His favorite new tool is Casper Suite a popular Apple device management software (here are some free MDM providers). Despite the high upfront cost it’s worth for him because it comes with remote-control options for device management and significantly decreases the time to on-board employees. Regarding security Matthew just rolled out Two Factor Authentication company wide. Since this is less convenient in a day-to-day work environment, explaining every employee why this is important, what it means and why it’s effective is imperative. Matthews’s major headache today are printers because they never work and have a horrible user experience.
Security at Digital Ocean
Nick pointed out that 55% of their staff is remote at Digital Ocean. His challenge is to provide security and visibility from remote without interfering with the experience. Ultimately his goal is to allow the team to deploy quickly and fast like a sales team.
However a challenge remains to find what people are doing and solve it before other people do the same thing. As an example he mentioned saving passwords in white color in a google spreadsheet so they seem invisible which might make sense to a non-technical person.
Fundamental for Nick’s approach to security is that they don’t build a lot of things themselves. They use cloud software and rather focus more on operational security for example since uniform processes enable everyone on the team. Answering the question “Is it secure?”.
IT planning at Macktez
Noah said his premise is always to gradually move to where you want to be – basically taking a step by step approach with controlled outcomes. This is only possible by careful listening because for a technical person it’s easy to get in a room and say “oh my god” when there is a security issue.
Product presentation – Fast internet
Earlier this evening with around 100 excited office automation managers kicked off with something essential to many high performance spaces and IT office automation: Fast Internet.
Mike Egbert from fiber internet provider Pilot Fiber explained that many people are looking to move to the cloud, stream more live video, have real time data backup and transfers and generally looking to do office automation. This calls for networks with high throughput, low latency, a pricing that won’t break their IT budget and a better experience.
Traditional Options are just 2 types: best effort or traditional enterprise. While best effort comes with asymmetrical bandwidth, no SLA, poor network availability, high latency, low throughput and slow speeds it is relatively cheap but has frustrating support and no focus on the customer experience.
On the other hand enterprise comes with:
- symmetrical bandwidth
- low latency
- low speeds (100Mbps)
- expensive ($2000+)
- many class B and C buildings underserved or don’t even have it
- However they also do not focus on the customer experience
What Pilot is offering is gigabit internet for underserved buildings at 1Gbps for $1,000/month, a 100% Uptime Guarantee, low Latency/Packet Loss and amazing customer experience. At Kisi we definitely know how important stable internet is and it is almost becoming a requirement for the future workplace.
Happy hour for IT
After an exciting meetup we’ve had a blast at the happy hour provided by Awesome NYC and had a chance to exchange anecdotes, experiences and come up with new ideas (like equipping everyone in the office with a VR headset).
Next IT office automation meet up we’ll take advice from the audience especially:
- More live demos
- Focus the panel on one general topic like device management or user authentication
- Allow crowd submissions via the meetup page
- During Q&A pass the mic around so everyone in the room hears the question 🙂
Thanks to everyone for coming and being part of the IT office automation community!