Optus cuts IT help desk costs by 60 per cent

Optus has slashed its IT help desk costs by 60 per cent after rolling out self-service security software.

Speaking at the CA World Expo in Sydney, head of information security at , Siva Sivasubramanian, said the telco was previously spending $300,000 each year on help desk fees to reset staff passwords.

“On any given day, we get about a dozen requests for a password reset,” he said. “...if these requests are from Optus staff in Australia, they would call the helpdesk staff.”

With staff located both within Australia and overseas, Sivasubramanian said Optus’ business structure created an extra layer of complexity in its security environment.

“The operational spread [of staff] poses a particularly challenging security landscape for us,” he said. “...We have an obligation to maintain the security in a slightly different way - security needs to be looked at more in depth.”

Choosing CA Technologies as a vendor, Optus rolled out a password management system within 90 days; a system which provided audit and reporting functions that gave statistics about the volume of staff password resets.

Providing greater education to staff about their use of the helpdesk function was important for Sivasubramanian, who said security implementations became more about people than technology as part of the rollout.

“People need to be brought on with you - the people at the ground level need to understand what you’re doing and if you take them on your journey, they will be more secure in their role,” he said.

“As long as we can take the people with us on the journey, the security will take care of itself - security is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation - we are just the facilitators.”

Currently rolled out across 10,000 of Optus’ workstations, Sivasubramanian said Optus has cut down staff calls to the customer service centre by 60 per cent with a long term goal of reducing this by 90 per cent.

Also speaking at the CA World Expo was former CIO of Google, Douglas Merrill, who said companies stuck in traditional management practices risk becoming irrelevant, and leaders should not be afraid to do ‘dumb’ things.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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