Information Technology (IT) Software
Over the past decade, the IT department has evolved from what was traditionally seen as a support role (those guys who fixed a broken office printer) to a department that provides the technology, hardware, and software that allows a company to meet its strategic business goals.
The role of the IT specialist, from the CIO, to the systems administrators, to the support agents, has therefore become ever more crucial as businesses adopt more and more complex technology to help them get things done.
What is IT Software?
IT software includes a very broad range of software used by the information technology (IT) team to monitor, track, facilitate, and secure computing technology. By computing technology we mean the hardware, software, networks, and internet as well as the people and processes who use these technologies.
What are the types of IT Software?
There are a seemingly countless number of IT software, for the purpose of this article we will discuss the most common categories of IT software which include:
- Networking software -is a crucial software for any IT team that uses any form of network. It helps with the administration, deployment, management, and monitoring of the network.
- ITSM software - Also known as help desk software, ITSM software (or information technology service management software) is software used by IT teams to manage the delivery of IT services to clients, co-workers or both. Typically a requester makes a request to IT, a ticket is issued, a priority is set, a time estimate is issued, and the ticket is closed when the request is completed.
- Network security software -A sub-type of networking software, security software allows IT teams to ensure that a network is only being accessed by people or programs who are explicitly granted permission to access the network, while at the same time monitoring for an actioning on any threats.
- Configuration Management software -Configuration management software aids in the tracking and conducting of changes to applications and their infrastructure to ensure configurations are set as expected. Simply put they ensure software is configured and working as desired. Configuration management software works hand in hand with version control software, bug tracking software, and software testing tools.
- Device Management software - Device management software allows IT admins to monitor, manage and ensure security compliance of corporate owned devices. For example, when a company provides an employee with a laptop this can make sure that all security software is present and up to date.
- Mobile Device Management(MDM) software - Like the above but specific to mobile devices. MDM software is increasingly popular as more and more of the workforce is conducting business outside of the office. When work is done on mobile phones, laptops, or home offices, it allows for the same level of monitoring and security as an on-premise device.
Who uses IT software?
Pretty much anyone in an organization uses IT software in one way or another. Logging on to the company network or WIFI, having the company firewall installed, or using a password to access company data all requires some form of IT software.
That said, CIOs, IT technicians, IT managers, and IT administrators, are the ones who actively use the IT software on a daily basis, versus other employees who simply have the software running in the background.
How much does IT software cost?
Depending on the type of software, IT software can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month. Although this might sound expensive, keeping your company’s hardware, software, and network safe from both accidental and intentional damage is well worth the price tag.
What are the main uses of IT software?
There are many uses of IT software, the main ones would be employee monitoring, shadow IT monitoring, software and hardware evaluation, cloud infrastructure, device management, and network monitoring.
- Employee Monitoring - Employee monitoring might sound like scary big brother style activities, but in most organizations it has to be done to some extent to prevent employees from taking actions that might compromise the safety and security of the network or its data.
- Software and Hardware Evaluation - Rather than choosing what software a company uses like what was done in the past. Nowadays, different lines of business can request the software they want and it is up to the IT department to verify it won’t cause any issues. For example, if the marketing department wants HubSpot, IT will evaluate if it is possible given the current configurations.
- Shadow IT Monitoring - Still even with an IT team evaluating software and hardware, it is very common for individuals or departments to download, install, or otherwise use non-evaluated software and hardware. IT teams call this shadow IT, and are on the lookout for potential problems this may cause.
- Cloud Infrastructure Management - In order for companies to offer cloud products to their customers or their employees, someone has to manage the hardware, software, network resources, and storage of data. These fall under the IT team and cloud infrastructure software helps them manage these tasks. With more and more companies moving away from their own in-house servers, cloud infrastructure management is becoming a bigger part of the IT departments day to day.
- Device Management - When it comes to an organization's devices this may refer to laptops, mobile phones, or other hardware that is provided to or used by employees. Aside from tangible value of the devices themselves, there is also data and security that can be lost if any of these devices are lost or misplaced. As such, IT departments want to make sure they know where all company devices are at all times, and there is software to help them with that.
- Network Monitoring - Network monitoring is arguably the most important responsibilities that modern day IT departments manage. In the event that any part of a network infrastructure goes down, employee productivity also goes down, possibly even to zero as software, hardware, intranets, or the internet itself could be inaccessible. Network monitoring doesn’t just mean making sure that everything is working as it should, but also analysing risks that might lead to future outages.
- Data Management - For companies both large and small, data is one of the most powerful ways that they can strategically gain competitive advantage. Every company has its own data, whether it is on internal processes, customers, suppliers, manufacturers, or a bevy of other sources, but only a few have access to that data in a meaningful way. Connecting all sources of data, so that they can be merged, visualized, and/or acted upon by employees typically falls under the umbrella of the IT team.