Der folgende Artikel ist in englisch, da Cloud-Lösungen in Deutschland trotz der vielen Debatten über Industrie 4.0 usw. immer noch rar gesät sind.
What is HEAT Service Management?
HEAT software provides a cloud based platform which offers a rich and highly customizable user interface to automate all the processes and workflows in your company. Or as HEAT software describes it
Managing IT services has rarely been as challenging as it is today. IT service and support teams face continuously escalating demands and complexity. With HEAT Cloud Service Management, improve service levels and productivity, leveraging ITIL best practices in a powerful ITSSM platform. Automate workflows, eliminating costly manual processes while making your business more efficient, compliant, and secure.
Let us look at one simple example
As a user of your companies infrastructure, you are used to sign in with username and password. Since most companies use the Microsoft Active Directory to manage the individual user accounts, your username is typically something that everybody knows. Your password is the thing that only you should know. Both, username and password, are used to identify you when using the companies resources like Computers and Software. Due to several reasons, you might have forgotten your password or mistyped it several times. This means that you are unable to do any work. You can’t access the vital resources you need in order to complete your tasks. This issue needs to be fixed as fast as possible.
With HEAT Service Management you can easily create a new “Service Request” and ask your IT personal to reset your password. Now you can choose a new one and continue working on the tasks ahead. Since the request is done in the HEAT portal, you don’t need to find the right person to talk to. Also the request is immediately visible to the IT person and can be resolved within a short amount of time.
This sounds great! Where is the catch?
The issue here is that, even though we have a fully automated workflow on how the service request gets to your administrator, the person actually resetting the password still has to do this manually. IT guys are rather smart and a password reset is a pretty common thing. They have some scripts or command line tools ready at their disposal, to quickly do the necessary things.
But in order to do that, they need to leave their environment (HEAT) and access a different environment (Active Directory Management). This context switch costs a lot of time compared to the actual work being done (running a script). Additionally this kind of work is rather tedious as it provides no challenge and involves simple, yet time consuming, gathering of information which are already available, but not automated.
Let’s free the IT department of maintenance tasks and give them the freedom to research and apply their skills on things that actually help evolving the company.
Why can’t I do this with cloud software right now?
Whilst cloud software has many benefits, it also has one significant caveat. It does not work well when combined with on-premise IT. For centuries now, our IT has protected us from the dangers of the world wide web, by using strong firewalls, anti-virus and many other security software. This protective layer is very good at keeping bad guys out, but it also keeps the cloud solutions out.
What you can do right now with HEAT software allows you to close the gap descried above, but at a very high risk to your companies infrastructure. There is no way of knowing, if the request coming from the outside is a good or a bad actor. There are certain means of protection, but the bad guys are also pretty clever at disguising themselves as harmless traffic and if they get into your system just one single time, they can wreak havoc. This causes IT to be extremely careful about not exposing any attack vectors for potentially malicious use.
To sum this up. In order to be able to let HEAT cloud service management execute apps in your company you would need to weaken your defenses.
Is there a solution to this problem?
Yes, there will be a solution. It’s called whoosh HEAT gateway.
This extensions developed by the freedom manufaktur for HEAT Service Management is a two component solution for closing the gap between cloud and on-premise IT.
The first part is integrating into your existing HEAT platform and providing you with a new way of specifying work that needs to be done. For the more technical inclined person. This means adding a new Business Object which can be used in any workflow or business process. It is completely compliant to the platform and can be tailored specifically to your needs.
The second part is an application that can be installed on any machine of your choice. The nifty little service application runs in the background of the chosen machines and listens for any request put into the Service Management platform. Whenever it finds new work to do, it grabs those tasks from the HEAT platform and reports back with the results.
If we apply this solution to the password reset problem above we could do the following
We install the whoosh HEAT gateway on an Active Directory domain joined machine. We configure a workflow in HEAT that creates a new whoosh HEAT gateway task (Business Object) once the IT personal approves the password reset request. This can be as easy as one click. The whoosh HEAT gateway agent grabs the task and executes a script, already developed by the IT, resetting the users password (the same way an administrator would do this by hand). The success is reported back to HEAT and the workflow continues, closing the service request. The requester is automatically notified via the HEAT Service Management platform that the password reset has been done and the user can get back to working on the things the bring the business forward.
Is this really secure and safe to use?
Yes. When communicating with the HEAT Service Management platform, the whoosh HEAT gateway uses state-of-the-art security for authentication and encryption of the communication using SSL/TLS. This technology is used in almost every secure application today, like in your browser when visiting https://freedom-manufaktur.com. Notice the “s” in “https://” stands for security. Due to way the technology works, the communication back to the sender (cloud back to on-premise) is not prone to attacks. Compared to opening your defenses in order to allow unsolicited traffic.
Great, where can I get the solution?
The solution is currently under development and will be ready in the beginning of 2017.
If you want to take an active part in the development of the solution with your input, your ideas and suggestions, get in contact with us. We would love to hear from you and give you exclusive access to the product before it is released.