by November 17, 2005 0 comments



What makes your users happy? Easy to use applications, working machines and other network equipment? How about faster Internet access and negligible spam and viruses? Or maybe the excellent and quick support. Actually speaking, it’s all of the above. While these are very simple expectations to put down, meeting them is extremely challenging and we use all sorts of technologies for the job. So while the users get a smooth sail on your network, your IT team sweats it out in the back to keep everything under control. It’s important that you put in the right set of user policies to keep the burden on your team under control. Plus, give your team a good helpdesk-management system if you haven’t already to become more productive. 

Policies first, technology second
Besides technology, it’s important to have a set of policies that define how it should be used. Create an Acceptable Usage Policy (AUP), if you don’t have one already for various applications on your network, such as Internet access and e-mail manners. These should be drafted in a manner that’s simple and easy to read as well as understand. Keep in mind that this is to be read by users who are (mostly) non-tech savvy. You can’t,therefore, throng them with too much jargon. 

Start with some general principles and guidelines about Internet and e-mail access. Tell them what kind of usage is permitted, and what’s not permitted. It’s also important to inform them upfront of the action that could be taken for a breach of any policy. Besides the dos and don’ts of Internet access, another thing that’s badly needed today is user education about the latest security threats. You could either create a separate FAQ for that or add it to your AUP itself. We’d even recommend giving users training about security threats and how to look out for them. Given all the pharming and website hijacking frauds that are taking place today, users need to know how to identify them. 

E-mail has become the most used and abused service on the Internet today. It’s increasingly being used as a serious business communication tool. At the same time, spam, fraudulent mail, and phishing attacks have also gone up. In fact, a large number of attacks on network security come in via e-mail nowadays. One innocent looking e-mail with a malicious code as attachment, and one innocent user opening it is all it takes to bring a complete network down. So it’s imperative to have an AUP on e-mail. The AUP must talk about what kind of attachments should not be opened, and how to recognize a phishing or fraudulent e-mail. 

Help your IT team
Another critical part is a good helpdesk-management system. Many organizations don’t feel the need to have such a software in place, but if used properly it can improve the entire support system. For one, a good helpdesk system will keep a searchable knowledgebase of problems and their solutions handy for the support staff, so they won’t have to keep finding answers to the same problems all the time. It should be able to map machines with their complete configurations to the users who’re using them, along with the complete background history of problems that have already occurred. Some helpdesk software can even manage SLAs, contracts and software licenses. So while you’re investing in technology for your business, and keeping users happy, it’s also important that you give something to your overloaded IT team-can serve as motivation.

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