The-12-technologies-for-the-holidays_SQThe festive season is in full swing and sysadmins are putting the finishing touches on many things, particularly those projects that are due before the end of the year – dealing with December’s round of updates, getting their gift shopping done, putting together their shopping lists, and hopefully taking some time off. If you’re looking to spend the last big of this year’s budget, you would be doing yourself (and the company) a huge favor by investing in one of the 12 technologies listed below.

1. Messaging hygiene: anti-spam, anti-malware, and anti-phishing

Nobody likes spam, not even the Grinch. If you’re not filtering corporate email to block spam, malware, and phishing attacks, you’re using up space on your servers, and hoping your users do not click on links they shouldn’t. That’s a pretty risky strategy. Messaging hygiene should be a critical part of your email infrastructure. Do go into 2015 without email security in place.

2. Archiving

Fruitcake may last forever, but it is older emails that your users never want to see go away. An archiving solution can provide your users with a virtually unlimited inbox, provide continuity in case something happens to your email system, and takes the load of expensive Exchange storage.

3. Patch management

This is one thing that many sysadmins will be doing over the next week or so while their colleagues are out partying. A good patch management strategy will feature automation by using a patch management application that can help you test, deploy, and when necessary revert patches. You should also benefit from complete logs and reports so that management can see and appreciate the hard work you do.

4. Third-party application patching

But don’t stop at patching your operating systems. Third-party patch management is more critical than ever, so you need a patch management application that can update all those Adobe apps your business cannot live without, along with the hundreds of other little risks hiding on various workstations and servers. Using a patch management app that can cover all those additional applications makes patching quick and easy.

5. Vulnerability assessments

And while we’re on the topic of risks, when was the last time you checked your workstations and servers for vulnerabilities? New ones are discovered all the time, so using a vulnerability assessment app to evaluate your systems on a regular basis is a great way to ensure not only that all your patches are applied, but that no misconfigurations are leaving you open to attack.

6. Network device checking

Everyone focuses on computers and apps, but if there’s one thing Shellshock should have made clear it’s that your network infrastructure needs patching too. While you’re making your list and checking it twice, make sure you include network device checking so that you close off every possible avenue of attack.

7. Software auditing

If there’s one sure way to land on the naughty list, it’s by installing software without a license. The Business Software Alliance takes anonymous reports of licensing violations very seriously, and fines can quickly exceed your IT department’s annual budget. The best way to be sure your company is not in violation is to audit software installs on all your systems to be sure everything is covered.

8. Compliance

If PCI DSS or HIPAA mean anything to you, then you know you need to focus on compliance. Whether you’re talking about configuration, encryption, or access, using an application that can help you enforce and validate compliance will help ensure business runs without interruption, and that you remain in compliance with all relevant standards.

9. Internet filtering

You probably don’t even want to know who is being naughty online, but with unrestricted Internet access you may have to find those bad Santas and have an awkward conversation with them. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could take simple pleasure in having Internet access, and not have to worry about malware, compromised websites, and inappropriate content? Ask Saint Nick to bring you an Internet filtering solution this year so you can protect your users and your network, without having to monitor what your users do online.

10. Endpoint Security

Sometimes Santa brings bad little boys and girls a lump of coal. Sometimes, USB devices bring good little boys and girls bad little things, like malware. Endpoint security can help ensure that the Whos of Whoville can dance and sing, and not worry about their machines being shut down and their data destroyed become little Cindy Who plugged that USB key she found in the parking lot into her PC to see who lost it.

11. Encryption

If Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and Vixen are codenames for secret projects; you probably want encryption to protect those sensitive plans when users want to take work home on USB. When HR is taking PII on the road, you need encryption. USB drives represent a huge enabler for data transfer and a massive risk when that data is not encrypted. Tell Santa you want USB encryption instead of that Red Rider BB Gun. You won’t have to worry about data loss or becoming front page news.

12. Faxing

And with everyone queuing up at that old fax machine to send Santa their wish list, one thing they all should put on their list is a modern faxing solution. Fax-to-email solutions are good for everyone. They let you fax from your desk, receive faxes right in your inbox, save time, money, and let you stop maintaining old hardware and consumables. Fax software is the gift that will keep on giving, all year round.

With the 12 technologies for the holidays on your list, you should be very happy. We wish you all the best for the festive season.