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BUSINESS SOFTWARE

Simplify Your IT: 4 Apps to Try
 

Can't afford more IT staff? Try these apps and services designed to do some of your critical, everyday tech tasks.

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A human brain is lightning fast. It can process thoughts in microseconds, recall information stored decades ago, and solve incredibly complex mathematical problems. In theory. But if you've ever tried to ask your IT team to do several things at once, you quickly realize the limits of our supposedly nimble minds.

Part of the problem is that, people are not built for multitasking--especially when the tasks are complex. The average IT staffer in a start-up may be assigned to network operations, systems management, and the help desk--all at the same time. And that's probably causing some serious IT bottlenecks.

These apps can help. They are designed not for replacing a human per se, but for handling repetitive tasks so your staff can work on other projects. Or at least avoid extra stress.

1. IPsoft
Software that automates certain IT functions can be a lifesaver for a small company. But as you grow, your back-end infrastructure tends to get more complex. IPsoft is one answer. The automation tools can analyze how you do password management, network permissions, and diagnostics, among other things. For example, if there is a problem on your network, the software can analyze how to resolve the problem. If the same problems re-occurs, IPsoft can apply the same script to resolve it again.

2. BMC MyIT
For those still using a call-in help desk, BMC MyIT is for you. The app is designed to weed out unnecessary support calls. Employees go through a tree structure to resolve common issues, like a missing password or a computer glitch. This frees up IT staff to work on more complex problems within your company. The company claims the app can handle 90 percent of the issues.

3. Hotspot Shield
It takes a handful of IT employees to run a complex firewall, set up (and maintain) a virtual private network, and snoop for malware. This app runs in the cloud and sets up a secure firewall between your data and the devices you use in your business. There's no on-site installation and the app also provides secure encryption to ward off hackers.

4. SiSense
Mention the phrase "big data analytics" and you might as well start looking for a computer scientist to add to your IT staff. Usually, it means using complex tools to analyze reams of data--say, who is buying what on your e-commerce site. SiSense is like a front-end for everyday non-technical folks to analyze that same complex data. You can see fancy charts and graphs without having to learn a programming language.

Last updated: Jun 17, 2013

JOHN BRANDON is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine covering technology. He writes the Tech Report column for Inc.com.
@jmbrandonbb




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