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Going back to the basics of IT security implementation

To use a simple analogy, building a strong foundation for a house means you can build one floor after another with no risk to security. Security infrastructure in IT needs to be rewired and strengthened at this level to support IT operations, rapid application and development with minimal additional risk to security, enabling rapid and evolving business growth.

We are suffering now, to some extent, from a legacy of thought that there were no security risks and threats to and IT infrastructure. The old mainframe computing model meant that only those with terminal access could change and run code and the security was largely governed by physical access to those terminals. The huge developments in connectivity with WiFi and VPNs and, essentially, the internet, means (and have meant for some time) that physical proximity of access is now irrelevant. It can be argued that the enthusiasm for application development and the world of the internet, ecommerce and mobile has relegated, in some parts, security development to a lower priority.

During the 80s, with companies such as Novell replacing the Mainframe computing model by with contributions to the large area networks, there was a need to expand the functionality of security infrastructure across organizations. Running a mainframe was expensive, companies such as Microsoft and IBM seized the opportunity and became serious market players in the network connected PC space, but even then, security was not a priority, only the advancement in technology. It was not perceived as something at risk, unlike today. It was always about budgets and short – term solutions competing with issues of security. With cursory nods towards anti-virus patching the fundamental foundations of a secure infrastructure were still being ignored.

IT today is fantastically accessible. And that is, at once, the whole point of large parts of it whilst and the biggest threat – the world’s largest technological dilemma is you like.  A door isn’t enough, there is a need for a sturdy door with a robust lock that opens only when required. The landscape has fundamentally changed which requires us to go back and rethink the fundamentals of IT implementation. While there is no doubt that it is expensive and complex, it is imperative. Arguably the greatest threats faced by us today are cyber risks. Giving not enough considerations to the founding infrastructure of systems in the past was the problem – something that we realize today. Everything we now know means organizations must take a step back and look again at the fundamental components of their architecture and systems.

IT changes and technological advances at the end of 90s and during the early 00s, meant that breaches of security started happening on a large scale. More recent catastrophic cyber events called for a huge rethink and re-prioritization of security infrastructure. Organizations and individuals began to realize how cyber security infrastructure is key to the success of any business as the security maturity level of a company brings, not only the security itself, but also credibility to the organization.

With the vast amounts of data available today, and its increasing sensitivity, the core of dependable security lies in the strong architectural foundation of security infrastructure. Security is no longer a trade-off for convenience. As the attacks continue and become increasingly sophisticated, our approach and commitment to security infrastructure needs prioritising and tackling with the same enthusiasm as those looking to break it.

Where does your security sit? How mature is your current security? How resilient are you currently? These questions must be asked by each and every one of us.

The greater the immunity, the more resistance there is to the threat. And immunity comes from having a strong and fit body – a strong and fit infrastructure. Contemporary CIOs should be building a security strategy, taking the lead on restructuring security, and create and develop a culture of cybersecurity-first within the organization.

It’s not just a commercial issue of course and the IT systems that facilitate and support government operations are under a greater risk. It can be a disaster if security breaches happen with government related data. This article talks about current targeted attacks in South and Southeast Asia, proclaiming the importance of building an Information Security Infrastructure that is robust, resilient, and dependable.

There’s a stark bottom line here –  you either have a robust security infrastructure, or you have CloudGo set one up for you!

Adopt, Advise, Cloud Infrastructure, Collaboration, Customer Success, Enhance, Manage, Service Management, Services

Rory Fitzpatrick talks all things cloud, security and office of the future

*This article is reposted from “https://www.systemsgo.asia/rory-fitzpatrick-cloudgo-talks-things-cloud-security-office-future/”* 

Eighteen months into his journey of starting and building his cloud services consultancy, we spoke with Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO and co-Founder of CloudGo.  After starting the business with his colleague from Cloud Sherpas, Rahul Garg, CloudGo now employs 12 people in two countries.  CloudGo has venture backing by systemsGo, an IT Services and Solutions company founded nearly 20 years ago in Japan and now operating across APAC.  Understanding the importance of cloud services and how this needed to be developed hand in hand with an appropriate IT architecture, systemsGo decided to invest in established competence and expertise instead of trying to build a practice from scratch.

Rory started by telling me why this relationship with systemsGo is so important.

RF: “At CloudGo, we’re focused on solving our clients’ problems using modern cloud platforms.  This ranges from CRM, to service management, to Office 365 and cyber threat management – helping you sell more, save more, and stay secure with reduced risk.  Part of the way we solve problems is helping our clients get the best out of what are sometimes called business technologies and applications.  With any technology, part of getting the best out of it is ensuring that it is running on a properly designed and optimised infrastructure.  systemsGo has years of experience across technologies and regions, so having the investment from, and partnership with, systemsGo means we’re able to better scale to support our customer’s challenges and collectively adopt a solution approach with our clients.

“So, in your first 18 months what are the key questions and challenges people are coming to you with – what’s on people’s minds when it comes to cloud?”

RF: “Ha, that’s easy, there’s one question that stands out and that is simply, ‘am I secure’?  We’ve had several recent ransomware attacks in the global news so everybody is familiar with cyber security being a huge concern.  At CloudGo we have some specific capability around cyber threat management and compromised recovery across Windows and Linux.  We talk with our clients about points where a software environment and infrastructure environment is vulnerable to attack, known as attack vectors and surfaces.  These include vulnerability from a phishing email and the damage that could do, but also includes identifying insecure servers and network devices and unpatched machines, then hardening that environment to make you more secure.

“So, if I was to use an analogy of guarding a building with security cameras, you’re looking to minimize the blind spots?”

RF: “Exactly, visibility is a big part of it. It’s also making sure the fences and walls are strong enough and high enough, and making sure the right people have access to the building.  Controlling identities on the environment, ensuring that the right people can get at the right stuff at the right time and the wrong people can’t, is critically important.  This is another area where systemsGo are invaluable of course, with their infrastructure competencies and the experience they’ve built up over nearly 20 years.”

“So, after security what are people talking about?”

RF: “Interestingly, it’s user experience.  And by that, I mean our clients are talking about how users interact with applications or business technologies.  Mobile too now is very important and often the starting point of a UX/UI discussion, but the basics are the same.  Having an application that is easy to use and provides a wonderful experience promotes both user adoption and drives better and more productive results.

Whilst cloud-based services take away a lot of headaches we used to get with client deployment, I’d be kidding, of course, if I said that we don’t still encounter challenges with older and different version of operating systems, for example, and we rely on the systemsGo engineering team to help us in this area.

“It sounds like that area of things is very important to businesses”

RF: “It is, and it has broader implications too. Increasingly now businesses need to be adopting the latest business technologies and contemporary architectures for the fundamental reason of remaining competitive in attracting the right talent.

“Can you explain what you mean by that?”

RF: “Sure, people have a huge exposure now to contemporary technology and applications.  They’re doing things on the bus on their way to work that would have seemed fanciful 15 years ago.  People used to have to go to their office to use great technology and applications but now we’re running the serious risk of dumbing them down once they step into the office environment.  Just think how often your apps on your phone update and what your phones looks like now compared to even just five years ago.  Yet we think nothing of stepping into an office and using a system that might not have changed much in 10 years.  To attract the best people and to get the best out of them, companies need to be offering them business applications to do their job and environments that feel contemporary and ‘advanced’ –  that means that companies must consider cloud-based technologies.

Hand in hand with this too of course is the way that office environments must be vibrant and welcoming to the workforce – a workforce that is quite different in its expectations and demands from those looking to join companies as recently as 20 years ago.  With increased numbers of mobile and remote users, the reliance on conferencing facilities and other technology-driving factors, this has become a core proposition for our systemsGo colleagues when they work with clients to design office spaces and merge technology into user needs and great environments.

“It sounds like an exciting time”

RF: “We certainly think so, and so do our team members!  We’re experiencing rapid growth and hence are always looking for good people to join us on our mission of helping our customers solve these business problems.  Knowing systemsGo has our back gives us a level of stability and scale that a young company normally wouldn’t have, and makes us a more valuable proposition to our clients.”

Adopt, Advise, Collaboration, Customer Success, Enhance, Services

Revenue vs Margin – What Priorities Drive Business Success?

Recently we were lucky enough to have Mike Matthews from Twisted Thinking speak at a customer-facing lunch at our offices.  As Mike says, “Your results are simply the outcomes of something that happened in the past. And you can’t manage the past. You can only manage the present.”  And when you talk specifically about Revenue vs Margin, there are a number of leading behaviours, leaning indicators, and lagging results.

Champion teams know how the game is played, know what the game plan is, and have the behaviours, outcomes and results mapped out in advance.  If you focus on leading indicators – execution behaviour and the required outcome – then coach to get it right every time, you’ll start a cascade of results.  Your behaviour changes the customer behaviour which changes the results.

As Mike says, “If you want to change your results, you have to change your behaviour – and that means getting very, very clear on what good looks like”.

If you’d like a copy of Mike’s presentation which will give you exact examples of how to achieve this across revenue or margin, or if you’d like to go on our mailing list to know of our future events or thought leadership, email us.

 

Adopt, Advise, Cloud Infrastructure, Enhance, Manage, Services

CloudGo Turns One

Many thanks to all who joined us at last week’s birthday party! We’re happy and grateful that our business, our idea, of a consultancy that delivered business value through cloud and digital transformation, has made it through the first year.  We’d like to thank all those who have made it possible – our customers, partners, friends, investors and supporters.

We’ve been going through some significant changes recently – we’ve tripled in size in the last year, opened our Australian office, and launched a new Cloud Infrastructure and Collaboration practise to be led by Haythum Auda (see the other blog post).  Our Salesforce and Service Management practises continue to grow, and we’ve delivered a number of advisory workshops and engagements recently.

Thank you all again – we look forward to an even bigger party next year, and more cake!

Adopt, Customer Success, Enhance, Service Management, Services

SaaB – Software as a Bot

Bots are taking over the internet with Facebook, Microsoft (Skype) and Google investing heavily in them. More and more chat applications like Slack, WeChat, and Telegram are releasing Bot APIs to allow more customers to interact with Bots to get things done.  For example, WeChat allows people to send money, book a taxi and even buy insurance in China. With Bots, messaging apps becoming more than just human to human interaction.

It is interesting to explore how bots can help in customer service, as Techcrunch pointed out “Bots, Messenger and the future of customer service“. Chat is often faster and simpler than making a phone call. To explore this we at CloudGo have built ServiceNow integration with Slack, WeChat, Telegraph to make “ServiceNow as a Bot”.

Slack

With the CloudGo Slack-ServiceNow bot you can engage your employees with ServiceNow. Need to collaborate on incidents or service requests?  Want to centralise approvals and knowledge articles?  Use Slack as the messaging and collaboration app, and let ServiceNow act as a Bot in the background.

slack1

 

slack2

 

WeChat & Telegram

WeChat is of course huge in China, and Telegram is best known for its security and encryption capability.

wechat        telegram

Use cases for ServiceNow Bot –

  • Major Incident Notification
  • Approvals by chat
  • Update notifications
  • Reminder for Tasks
  • Password reset
  • Service Request
  • so on….

 

SUMMARY

As we drive digital transformation at our customers, leveraging powerful platforms like ServiceNow “as a Bot” is a powerful was to meet your staff and customers where they live and work. We predict that SaaB will reduce human intervention and increase automation, and will be the next evolution of Service Management.

Contact us for more details.

 

FEATURED IMAGE: BRYCE DURBIN

 

Adopt, Advise, Customer Success, Data Visualization, Enhance, Manage, Service Management, Services

systemsGo invests in digital transformation consultancy

systemsGo today announced they have invested in Singapore-based startup CloudGo.  CloudGo provides digital transformation consultancy services specialized in delivering customer success and service management.

systemsGo Group CEO David Devlin said investing in CloudGo  assists customers in driving innovation through cloud technologies and digital transformation, which is a key priority for many CIO’s and business leaders.

CloudGo co-founder Rory Fitzpatrick said the investment will help facilitate working capital and hiring in Singapore and Australia through the year.  Fitzpatrick is the former Asian regional manager for Cloud Sherpas, which were acquired by Accenture last year. “Having the backing of a successful, 18-year old company like systemsGo allows us to bring stability and certainty to our clients and team, whilst still retaining a startup ethos,” he said.

The service management offering helps unlock the complexities of IT Service Management (ITSM) and drive best practices into other business services like Finance, HR, Facilities and Legal.  CloudGo has also built proprietary apps for recruitment, time and expense management, and integration to Slack and WeChat.  For customer success, CloudGo’s frameworks for sales, marketing and service excellence helps move from reactive CRM, to proactive or pre-emptive customer engagement.

About systemsGo

systemsGo is a well-established and growing IT professional services company based in Tokyo with offices in Osaka, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney, Hyderabad and also servicing clients in Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi and Taipei.

We are committed to providing our clients with the highest-quality professional services which include IT infrastructure support, systems integration, project management, consulting and staffing solutions. Our client portfolio includes blue chip private equity firms, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, law firms, IT companies, trading & manufacturing firms.  Find out more about systemsGo at www.systemsgo.asia

About CloudGo

A startup with scale, CloudGo is a digital transformation company that solves customer success, service management, mobility and analytics challenges.  CloudGo helps customers in ASEAN and Australia improve time to market, reduce the cost of manual paperwork and workflow, improve customer retention and cross-sell and improve user and customer experience.

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Customer Success, Service Management, Services

The Four Challenges With Most Recruitment Applications

Businesses that use software to help them manage and recruit both fulltime and temporary staff are found to be 40% more productive compared to those without them. However, only 60% of small businesses use some form of recruitment app.  Why?  Our research shows that there are four main challenges.

Challenges:

  1. Wastage of Time: Recruiting without a recruitment application leads to several sourcing issues – mostly because of an overwhelming amount of unorganized paperwork. It’s a challenge to source resumes, to ensure you don’t call the same candidates multiple times, and to consistently capture candidate information. Because this is usually done in spreadsheets or a Word document, it’s difficult to form a strong database. Now extrapolate that to the challenge of contingent staff (temp workers, contractors, freelancers) and your challenge grows exponentially.
  2. Reporting and analytics: Those businesses which are using recruitment software are also facing problems especially relating to reporting and analytics. Reporting is a tool which is used by businesses to measure the performance and effectiveness. But our research shows that many companies struggle to get anything more than simple, out of the box reports. For example, if you wanted reports related to process flow for a particular hiring manager, time to fill, and other key metrics. Speed and accuracy of reporting is often a challenge.
  3. Cost: The integration of recruitment software into the industry was a boon to large companies, but to the small and medium sized firms, the hefty price tags made these systems untenable. Enterprise system can range up to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars per year.
  4. Not Integrated to Internal Systems: Great, we’ve picked a new hire. Now how to bridge that dangerous ground from offer through to them actually joining, and making that a great experience for all?  How can you automate the outreach while we wait for them to join, and ensure that Monday morning they have a desk, email, phone and laptop?

 

How CloudGo’s ServiceNow Recruitment Application helps overcome the above challenges:

  1. Time Saver: Integrating this application will help you capture every detail of the recruitment process in the system, and that record gets saved for the future. So this automatically eliminates your “spreadsheet hell” and reduces the possibility of doubling up work on the same candidates. As a result of which you can build a strong database with no duplicates along with candidate’s status in the process.
  2. Reporting and Analytics: This Recruitment application enables users to get reports of their choice. ServiceNow reports can be lists, charts, or calendar-based views of data in a particular table. We’ve built a range of predefined reports that pertain to applications and features. If none of the predefined reports meet recruiter needs, there’s a simple drag and drop user interface to get the data you need.
  3. Cost Effective: This application can be customized according to the budget of the organization. This product can be easily integrated in Mid-sized organizations making your recruitment process easier and faster.
  4. Onboarding capability: ServiceNow has pre-built capability around onboarding staff, from triggering tasks to ensure the manager is out-reaching to them before they join, to integrating to internal finance and IT systems to set up their payroll, turn on their email and internet access, and other Day 0 activities.

Apart from above there are following:

  1. Mobile & Laptop Version:In this age of technology, one expect and require mobile and laptop functionality and we provide it. So even if you are out of office, or you are not having laptop still you can have an access to this software and thus work can be done.
  2. Cloud Based & SaaS: These days one need to be able to access your entire business from any part of the world. The ServiceNow platform is a powerful cloud application platform that enables you to do that and meet end‑user expectations for a modern, consumerized experience. It empowers requestors and fulfillers of work tasks to achieve greater productivity by linking real‑time data with activities, tasks, and processes to achieve better work outcomes. With Software-as-a-service feature it becomes easy for an organization to implement and adopt this software application at lower cost in which upgrades are much simpler.
  3. Per Hire Visibility: You can have a real-time view of the progress of your candidates all the time. What stage are they at?  Whose approval are we waiting on?  Has the offer been sent?
  4. Improved Security: Every organization needs to know whether their data is secured in the cloud or not. ServiceNow’s security complies to international standards and is regularly independently audited. Your data gets secured by using access controls like by IP address, by User, by Role, and using multi-factor authentication.
  5. Workflows: Need to change how a process works? No problem. Workflows are easy to configure, for example if different level of approvals are required depending on the position hiring for, it just takes a few clicks.
  6. SLA’s and KPI’s: With SLA’s it becomes easy to track KPI’s of an Employee/Department/Organization. This gives exact picture whether KPI’s are being met or not. Also multiple SLA’s can be run simultaneously – for example, one can have SLA running from end to end (creating a requisition till closure) or an SLA only for Sourcing or for Screening or for both. This solves your challenge of calculating how much time it took to fill a particular position.

In summary, the four challenges that most businesses face in recruiting aren’t that challenging at all with the right systems in place.  What challenges are you facing in recruiting permanent and temporary staff?

Adopt, Enhance, Service Management, Services

ServiceNow Express for Mid-sized organisations

For the last 10 years ServiceNow has focused on enterprise customers in the Fortune 1000, and have a long list of successful deployments to show for it. Recently, they have started focusing on Mid-sized organisations and launched ServiceNow Express for organisations with less than 1,000 workers.

With ServiceNow Express, IT teams have a powerful new IT automation solution that provide these key functions:

  • Incident, problem and change automation to speed the assignment and resolution of tickets, fix recurring issues and help IT teams stop managing services with email.
  • Self service which gives supported end users a clean, simple front end to their IT support organization.
  • Discovery finds a computer or device, it explores the device’s configuration, provisioning, and current status and updates the CMDB accordingly.
  • Custom Application allow customers to develop new applications that meet their business needs.
  • Asset tracking to replace spreadsheets with a single system of record to see what assets the IT team manages, where assets reside, how they are performing and what issues are tagged to them.
  • Visual Task Boards to give IT managers a unique and easy way to assign the team work through a drag-and-drop interface, including changing assignee, adding tasks, resetting priorities and collaborating with the team.
  • One-click reporting on any metric to track performance and demonstrate the value of IT to business leaders.

 

Express is purpose-built to get IT up and running quickly with these elements:

  • Pre-configured workflows and more than 150 report templates speed time to value. IT teams can use the templates to automatically run reports rich with easy-to-read graphs, charts and lists and then send them to a group of users.
  • Codeless business rules help administrators define automatic data entry behaviors and assignment rules to track key metrics and ticket routing, such as automatically creating incidents from end-user emails.
  • A quick-start guide and an administration home page designed for time-strapped IT teams to get up and run rapidly with their in-house resources.

 

SUMMARY

ServiceNow express gives Mid-sized customers access to enterprise grade cloud to solve Service Management challenges. It is ideal for organisations with less than 1000 workers. If you decide to move to the Enterprise version there is no upgrade fee.  You may, of course, need more licenses, and please note CloudGo does not have the rights to resell ServiceNow to you, but we’d be happy to make the introduction.  You can signup to get a free trial, or for more details on Express you can see more videos.

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Customer Success, Service Management, Services

How to save between $60,000 to $400,000 by moving to the cloud

Many Singaporean entities are struggling with the same questions.  How do I innovate in difficult economic conditions?  How do I improve my business productivity, so I keep profit margins stable even while revenue is under pressure?

It surprises us that many Singaporean entities don’t know about the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme run by IRAS.  “Under the PIC Scheme, businesses can enjoy 400% tax deductions/allowances and/or 60% cash payout for investments made in any of the Six Qualifying Activities from the Years of Assessment (YAs) 2013 to 2018.”

There are six “qualifying activities” under the PIC scheme, the first of which is “Acquisition and Leasing of PIC IT and Automation Equipment”.  Items in the list include:

“Information technology software including office system software and software used in connection with provision of any office automation service, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management such as reservations, registration, queue management, ordering, billings and collections, inventory management, record management, knowledge management, human resource and payroll management, financial information and business management such as accounting and assets management, and personnel business travel request, information and management.”

The bold highlighting is ours – we are focussed on service management and customer success, after all – but also note you are entitled to a “100% accelerated writeoff for capital allowances” on these items.

So where does the $60,000 come from?  Simple.  There are two ways to claim PIC deductions:

  1. You take the “cashback” option and get back 60% of a $100k investment, so $60k in straight cash. OR:
  2. You take the “tax deduction” option. The Tax Deduction option lets you claim up to 400% of appropriate spend (max $600k) per year.  So you can claim up $600k x 400% = $2.4m, and at the company tax rate of 17% that’s $408,000.  So your $600k investment is actually only costing you $192,000 – an effective 68% discount!

Please note – CloudGo is not a financial services firm, this is advice only and conditions apply.  Please check with IRAS, your accountant or specialised firms like GAC Group who can help you make any claim.

So what does this mean to you?

CloudGo can help you pull together a first project around customer success or service management, and your investment in software like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Devicedesk or DocuSign can be offset.  Hence, your project doesn’t have to jump as many hurdles to show a successful ROI.

We’ll be running a webinar on this in late March.  To register for it, or for more information, please contact us.

 

Adopt, Advise, Analytics, Customer Success, Enhance, Manage, Service Management, Services

Welcome to CloudGo

CloudGo started as an idea first: that we could grow and have fun while solving interesting problems for people.  That we could create a business that the best in our niche in the market would want to join, and that we could invest in relationships with our customers.  Somewhere that was big enough to handle tough problems, but small enough to look after the people involved.

We’ve had plenty of comments about our startup, and thankfully all of it positive: the two most widely used comments “adventure” and “exciting”. And that’s what it feels like to us: an exciting adventure, where we might be able to do interesting things for and with our customers, partners and team.  Now, we’re not Scorpion who can deliver “any funded need” (Podcast from Tim Ferriss here)– we’re very specific about what we do.

We deliver digital projects with a speciality in service management, customer success and analytics. That’s it.  And we are very focussed on the PaaS/SaaS technology platforms that we use to deliver these outcomes.  We’ve leveraged our experience in these spaces to select the leading solutions, and then we’ve doubled down on those.  Although we’re still working through the official paperwork to be able to call ourselves “authorised partners” of ServiceNow, Salesforce, Devicedesk and DocuSign (plus hopefully one or two more in the BI/big data space), we have the skills now to deliver outcomes. Through partnerships, we have access to 250+ certified Salesforce developers and architects, 20+ certified ServiceNow resources, and many more Mobile/UX/custom coders.  That means two things for you: first, that we can scale to larger projects, and secondly, that we can provide offshore rates to reduce your cost.

With the backing of systemsGo, we have the APAC reach and financial backing to be able to focus on delivering projects for you, and not be distracted by the noise that other startups have to deal with.

Thanks for reading this – we’ll have our first technical blogs out next week.  In case it’s not obvious, as a startup, we’re looking for foundation customers and our first success stories.  I make an offer at the bottom of our about page – feel free to contact me to discuss what that could mean for you!

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