Written by John Donegan who is an enterprise analyst at ManageEngine, the IT management division of Zoho Corp. John covers infosec and cybersecurity, addressing both the technology-related issues and their impact on business.
Given the precarious nature of the current economic landscape, it is wise to cut costs wherever possible. One way to do this is by utilizing some of the free software offerings at your disposal. Not only are there free web analytics tools available, there are also helpdesk, endpoint protection, and network monitoring solutions — all available for free.
Web analytics tools
Through the use of a free, real-time web analytics solution, you can learn exactly who is coming to your websites, at what time, and through what channels. From a UX standpoint, the heat map analytics help you identify exactly what’s working and what isn’t. Web analytics tools are a great way to improve your customer retention. As a quick caveat, be sure to choose a solution that fully respects your privacy and gives you total control over your users’ data.
Some helpdesk offerings allow your organization to run a complete help desk with an unlimited amount of users; however, there is usually a limit on the number of technicians that you can include. Nevertheless, free helpdesk software is a great option for smaller companies who are looking to cut down on costs in the short term and then scale up down the line. The best helpdesk tools will facilitate automatic ticket assignment, as well as automated notifications and alerts.
By incorporating automation in your helpdesk, you can shorten your helpdesk’s mean time to resolution. Also, be sure your helpdesk tool offers automated notifications; this way you’ll keep your IT personnel and end users informed about ticket updates, including resolution and closures. Lastly, it’s helpful to have automated alerts in case a specific event occurs.
With more people working remotely than ever before, it’s vital that you have adequate endpoint protection tools. Thankfully, there are solutions available that can help you manage all your employees’ devices from a central location. Many of these tools run completely in the cloud and are free for dozens of desktops and mobile devices.
With the right network monitoring tools, you can protect all the devices on your network for free. After your IT personnel sets thresholds for critical network parameters, alarms will go off if these parameters are ever breached. Through these tools, your system administrator is able to visual all your network’s data on one single screen. This screen, or Network Operations Center view, makes it easy to identify discrepancies and lower your mean time to resolution.
Build a strong IT Infrastructure with ping and traceroute tools that allow administrators to ping servers, routers, switches, and websites. With these free tools, you can easily learn about your website and servers’ performance, and you can also assess your devices’ round trip time, as well as the time it takes for them to go live.
Through the use of an effective log analyzer, you can protect your organization’s sensitive data by auditing your perimeter devices’ logs, as well as all user activities and server account changes. These tools provide you with insight into potential threats, allowing you to identify them before they turn into an actual attack.
There are also free enterprise-level password management software solutions on the market, which allows you to store all your passwords and docs inside a secure vault. Such solutions also help your IT personnel avoid password fatigue, and they can also help your organization meet regulation compliance, such as SOX and HIPAA. Additionally, should you ever suspect a privileged user of accessing inappropriate files, these tools can video record activity, which comes in handy in the event of a security audit.
Small businesses sometimes struggle to cut costs and navigate disruptions; however, by leveraging free offerings from solutions providers, it’s possible to do exactly that. With the use of these seven free tools, you can be sure that your network stays safe and functioning—all without breaking the bank.