Patches and updates have become a daily reality for most IT departments. Every new application and device brings another set of patches and upgrades, and it’s never clear which of those “critical updates” is as critical as the issuers claim.
Of course, some patches and upgrades are more critical than others. If you’re a consumer-facing company depending upon your customers’ debit and credit cards for most of your revenue, you can’t afford to miss a key update and put your PCI compliance at risk.
That’s what led an auto services retailer to develop a co-managed IT relationship with the Brightworks team. The retailer operated three dozen locations spread throughout the state. To move customers through as quickly as possible, and ensure every customer received the exact set of services they wanted, the retailer didn’t hesitate to invest in a sophisticated hand-held point-of-sale (POS) system. Every customer-facing employee at every location used the POS devices to handle customer transactions, and they worked well.
In addition to the devices, the retailer had an array of technology at each location. Top management didn’t hesitate to invest in new technology if they were convinced it would help them increase customer satisfaction and boost revenues and profitability.
All that technology required regular patches and upgrades, and the IT director entrusted responsibility for that to one of their team members. It wasn’t an easy role. Each location has at least a dozen devices, and because locations are open early and don’t close until well after dark, everything must be updated between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. to provide sufficient time for testing before customers’ cars start rolling in on their way to work.
Unfortunately, the staffer didn’t live up to the trust the company had placed in him. The IT director discovered that many updates and patches hadn’t been applied to every device. Documentation of his work was limited to a single page of sloppy notes.
The IT director reached out to others in the industry to find help with the update process, and someone recommended Brightworks. Although our team lacked experience with the retailer’s specific software platform, we dug in to develop a thorough understanding of how it worked and the best way to address the needs. We developed a plan and methodology for the updating/patching process, along with complete documentation and reporting to ensure the IT team always understood what we were doing on their behalf.
We developed a testing lab populated with examples of all their devices, so we could test patches and updates for bugs before rolling them out across the enterprise. That way, if an update to the software on a particular device created a deadly conflict with another system, the retailer wouldn’t find out about it when their entire business shut down.
Most of all, our co-managed approach gave the retailer confidence. When a new day dawns and the staff at their locations turn on the “OPEN” sign, they know their technology will work.