CloudComputingKevin Downham is the IT manager at MacDermid, a UK-based speciality chemical services firm.

The infrastructure Kevin presides over is an accurate reflection of a modern SME IT department. He single-handedly manages around 80 PCs spread primarily across two locations, with a selection of mobile remote users spread across the world.

Prior to implementing GFI Cloud, Kevin dealt with challenges that will feel familiar to anyone in a similar job role: holidays were always difficult, with nobody to take the reins and leave him undisturbed. In addition, much of his time was taken up with repetitive routine tasks – such as monitoring service uptime and deploying patches.

How GFI Cloud has helped

As Kevin says himself, “I didn’t realize how much I needed a server monitoring solution until I started to look into it.”

IT managers like Kevin know how crucial it is to keep a constant eye on the IT services that keep the business running. This kind of proactivity is a relentless and thankless task if it must be done manually; as Kevin says, “even if I was checking every 15 minutes, it still wouldn’t be enough!”

With GFI Cloud now implemented, Kevin gets an SMS alert within seven minutes of any key service failure. If a server stops “talking” to GFI Cloud, he knows almost immediately and can act on the problem. Kevin describes this functionality as “worth its weight in gold.”

However, it’s GFI Cloud’s patch management functionality that has been even more life changing.

Patch Management

Patch management can be a monumental task for IT managers who are committed to doing things properly. Patches are constantly being released for everything from core operating systems to browser plugins, and failing to apply even one can mark the start of a disastrous security breach.

Kevin estimates that prior to implementing GFI Cloud, he was spending around a third of each day on manual patch management—an amount of time that equates to over 10 hours each week.

In Kevin’s case, the geographical dispersal of users made things even more complicated thanks to time zone variations.

With GFI Cloud, all Kevin now has to do is approve the patches. GFI Cloud takes care of everything else (including the time zone differences), and Kevin has, as a result, been able to decommission his Windows Update server.

Many companies work with a “one man IT team” like Kevin. In the absence of any humans to help, these IT professionals need solutions that save time and reduce stress.

Perhaps the best benefit of all for Kevin is that he now feels that he can go on holiday, because GFI Cloud is always on duty. And with 10 extra working hours freed up each week, he now has time for more project work too.