Did we see you front row center at our latest webinar, Supercharge your work with IT Automation Profiles? Gila Glazerson, our rockstar Technical CSM shared her expertise and best practices for how you can use IT Automation Profiles to save time, increase efficiency and maximize your value to customers.
If you missed the event, or you want a cheat sheet of all those best bits, here are your highlights!
The challenge of manual patching and updates
So many of our customers are responsible for keeping IT devices running at high performance and fully up to date. This is one of the main ways that you can show value as an IT provider. However, many IT departments are doing this in an ad-hoc or manual way, with end-users patching systems locally, one device at a time, and using traditional, slow, and manual approaches for both software and OS updates.
Atera helps you automate these tasks and provide maximum value while returning hours back to your technicians. Run multiple tasks wherever you are for as many devices as you need, saving a whole lot of time and effort. This helps you to meet a strong Service Level Agreement and provides added value to the customers, who often don’t even understand the importance of software and OS updates. You can explain to your customers that you’re keeping performance running at the highest possible level, plus ensuring security is according to best practices, too.
As a business, you’re maximizing your profitability by being proactive, stopping issues from arising ahead of time so that you’re not left fire-fighting reactively in a moment of crisis.
A demo of how to build 3 different automation profiles
Gila walked us through three different automation profiles from the Atera platform, showing the audience step by step how to use this essential feature of IT remote management.
Head to Admin, Patch Management, and then IT Automation, and you’ll be able to see all of your profiles. In the bottom right-hand corner, click add profile.
You can create different profiles for different purposes, naming them accordingly. The first profile we created together was an Onboarding profile. This is for the early stages of getting started with a new customer, helping them get started ASAP. We focused on software installation for this profile.
The first step is to click the checkbox at the top left, which is named “Run the profile on newly installed agents”. This will allow the software installation to automatically be installed as needed. You can select specific software bundles, taken from HomeBrew for Mac and Chocolatey for Windows, and create a software bundle with the exact software solutions you want. In our case, we added MS Teams, Zoom, Dropbox, and Slack for Windows, but you can choose whichever software you want for new customers. Once you’ve clicked save, you will be able to see this as part of the profile, under software bundle.
Top tip: Make sure to choose whether you want Windows local updates to be enabled or disabled, depending on how much control you want over end-user devices.
Choose which customers you want to apply the Onboarding profile to, and you’re good to go.
Sometimes, you want to add recurring automation that is not specifically for new customers but allows you to perform a mass action regularly over time. Microsoft releases security updates once or twice a month, so you can set up a security updates profile to schedule this automation ahead of time.
Use the schedule automation option to select the frequency as every two weeks, or you can choose to do this daily, weekly, monthly, annually, or any other option you want! Just pick daily, and then choose the cadence of the updates with the customizable widget. Make sure to choose a time of day when most end-users aren’t using their devices, for example in the middle of the night.
Now use the Tasks section to pick the updates you want the automation to include. You can customize exactly what you want, such as security updates, definition updates, and update rollups. Exclude the patches you don’t want to include for full control.
Top tip: It can be helpful to run OS patches in one profile, security updates in another profile, and service packs in another, increasing the success rate of patches and updates.
Go to Devices, and choose which devices you want to run the automation profiles on, filtering out specific customers or device types by assigning automation profiles directly. You can also assign unlimited IT automation profiles directly from the relevant Customer folder.
Blocking Windows 11
Gila showed us how easy it is to run a script using an IT automation profile. One question she often hears is “how can we block Windows 11 install?” Here’s how it’s done!
Create a new automation profile, and then click select script. Here you can add your own scripts, or use the Shared Script Library, a community-driven library of hundreds of scripts, reviewed for safety and security. In the Shared Script Library, there is a specific script for blocking Windows 11. Simply search for the script, clone the script, and it will be added to your scripts. Now go to your scripts, select the right one, and it will automatically be added to your profile. You can then apply this script to whichever customers are relevant, either adding a schedule or running the profile immediately on all customers.
IT automation tips and tricks
Don’t forget to check out other options for IT automation profiles, such as defragmentation, deleting temporary files, and driver and tool updates. We recommend you keep your profiles light, and responsible for single tasks where possible rather than trying to put all your updates in a single basket.
Gila also showed us the reporting capabilities of IT automations within Atera. Any time you run an automation profile you can opt-in to have an email sent to show the outcome, giving you ultimate visibility into the status of the profiles. There is also a specific report, Patch and Automation feedback, which will provide a shareable report for all your automations. This can act as a status update for a specific customer or a set period of time, or for certain automation profiles. The report will show a breakdown of all the tasks that were run, their outcomes, and their history.
We also have Patch Status Summary reports which can isolate vulnerable or unpatched devices, and Patch Search and Deploy which might help you build automation profiles that work for your business.
We don’t know about you, but we feel like IT automation superheroes after all that information! Throughout the webinar, Gila fielded all of your excellent questions about IT automation profiles and providing greater value to your customers.
You can watch the whole webinar here, and make sure to get in touch if your own question isn’t covered!