Although common New Year's resolutions include eating healthier or exercising more routinely, there are plenty of IT-focused resolutions that can be incredibly beneficial to cultivating your skill set or helping your organization's overall enterprise strategy. Not sure where to invest your time in 2013? Here are my top four resolutions for 2013 to help get your new year started in a productive and meaningful way.
Start Learning PowerShell
A common theme that I repeatedly hear is the need for IT pros to learn PowerShell. In "Getting Started with PowerShell," PowerShell MVP Don Jones states that PowerShell expertise is a more reliable indicator of skillfulness than any Microsoft examination is. "If you think certifications were a key to you getting and maintaining your job, then make no mistake: PowerShell is even more crucial. Ignore it at your peril," said Jones.
However, the notion of learning PowerShell doesn't mean you have to be an expert by any means. For example, PowerShell expert Jeffery Hicks shows how easy it is to leverage PowerShell in his article "Top 10 Active Directory Tasks Solved with PowerShell." To jumpstart your journey toward learning PowerShell, see our PowerShell resource page for more tips, tricks, and how-to articles. Additionally, Idera has made its PowerShell Plus editor available to download for free to help users quickly and easily learn PowerShell.
Implement a Server Virtualization Strategy
With server virtualization benefits such as faster server provisioning and the ability to size down the data center footprint, it's a no-brainer for IT organizations to implement a server virtualization strategy. In addition, server virtualization also helps increase uptime and improves disaster recovery in ways that traditional physical servers aren't capable of.
Additionally, if you're already using Hyper-V for server virtualization, see "Hyper-V Replica for Disaster Recovery" for information on how you can take a virtual machine (VM) on one Hyper-V host and create a replica on another Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V host. For more information on implementing a server virtualization strategy, see "Network Virtualization" and "Top 4 Virtualization Mistakes."
Deploy Windows Server 2012 Across Your Enterprise
We asked Windows IT Pro readers through social media about what their IT-related resolutions are for this year. Several readers responded by saying that they aim to move their organizations over to Windows Server 2012 by the end of 2013. I'm not surprised by this response as Windows Server 2012 brings several big wins in terms of productivity benefits and enhancements for IT pros and their organizations. For detailed information on Windows Server 2012 new features, see "Introducing Windows Server 2012." Additionally, Windows Server 2012 is further strengthened by the updated Windows Server 2012 Server Manager, which provides a completely new feature set that's above and beyond the last version of Server Manager.
Make Security a Top Concern
In "Mobile Device Management in the BYOD World," Windows IT Pro editor B.K. Winstead says that mobile device management is on the minds of most IT pros today. "You also have to be aware that employees have the capability to carry around vast amounts of corporate data in their pockets. You need to be able to apply corporate policies to data on those devices just as you would on a desktop PC—particularly if you're in a highly regulated industry," Winstead noted on the importance of mobile device management.
Similarly, in "Secure Your Smartphone with the Lookout Mobile Security App," I wrote about a survey conducted by SecurEnvoy that found that 46 percent of respondents took no security measures to protect their device. With that said, the BYOD trend brings several concerns to the table in terms of security, auditing, and compliance for most organizations. However, what are organizations doing today to address these concerns?
I realize that the term security can be broadly applied to several different technologies. Mobile device management is just one example of a security concern for IT pros. Today, IT pros must also address security concerns when implementing a virtualization or cloud strategy. However, security concerns shouldn't stop you from utilizing these technologies.
During my undergraduate studies, I learned in my public relations class to constantly ask, "What are worst-case scenarios that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of a news outlet?" I believe that this question is just as relevant for IT organizations because we continue to see stories about security breaches. The Zappos and Citigroup breach in particular easily come to mind.
By asking yourself this question, you can address your top security concerns and develop a contingency plan and policies for your organization. Not only does a contingency plan help minimize security threats, but it also provides an excellent starting point for addressing problems as they arise in your organization.
Have you made any New Year's resolutions for 2013? Let me know in the comments, or send me a tweet at @blair_greenwood.