Category

IT Support

Security Protocols

Mitigating Potential Threats with Sound Security Protocols

By | Cloud, Data Protection, IT Support, managed It services, Networking, Security

As cybersecurity becomes increasingly more complex, many organizations lack the resources or knowledge they need to create an effective security strategy. That’s why you need a trusted expert who not only understands the latest security trends but can accurately define your business requirements and implement a plan that aligns with your current and long term needs.  This is especially critical as companies move toward more hybrid cloud environments.  

 

One of the biggest advantages of the cloud―flexible data access―can also be a major weakness if security isn’t effectively factored into the equation. Safeguarding systems and assets against rising threats is crucial, but levels of protection should be carefully balanced against your unique business objectives.  

Technology plays a critical role, but equally important is the need to work with an experienced security expert capable of creating and maintaining effective security practices. Bad actors and cybercriminals s are continuously exploring new ways to penetrate your defenses, which underpins your need to develop and implement sound policies based on defined user preferences and your unique business needs.

 

Your managed service provider should be capable of implementing advanced security techniques and practices, including strong access controls, the latest malware protection, and proactive security scanning. You’ll want to make sure the provider you work with can adapt to change and growth and remains on the cutting edge of technology innovation.  

 

Your service provider’s security operations team should be able to clearly demonstrate the practices and processes it uses to safeguard vital business assets. To protect sensitive data, IT policy controls should be automatically enforced through technical elements, such as authorization, authentication, access controls, password complexity, alerting, and system monitoring. 

 

Your security provider should be clear about its procedures for keeping you informed about the ongoing performance and support issues. Your service provider should be able to clearly outline and define its response capabilities. What is the expertise level of support staff? What is the standard response time? What are your protocols for data access? 

 

Most managed security teams operate 24/7, with staff working in shifts to continually track and record activity and mitigate potential threats. Among the core operational protocols and security responsibilities include: 

 

 

Manage access. 

 

Strong application controls like encryption and authentication can help safeguard information across networks and on endpoint devices, helping to thwart attackers from transferring or copying critical business data. Your cloud provider should be able to provide documentation that shows a separation of duties for administrative functions, disclosing the level of access that each user has and how those levels are maintained. 

 

Define policies and procedures

 

Usage policies define what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable. You most likely have some protective measures in place to address internal threats. To help bolster this vital layer of defense, your security provider will work with you to define and implement policies and practices based on your usage preferences and requirements or mandates specific to your particular market.

 

Data protection. 

 

Data encryption is critical for organizations operating in a cloud environment, helping to make sure critical data remains protected while in use, at rest, or in transit. For even greater protection, consider full-disk encryption, which it encrypts the complete hard drive, safeguarding the data as well as the applications and operating system.  

 

Manage deleted data. 

 

Within a typical cloud environment, sensitive data can easily find its way into uncontrolled and hidden systems and services. When it’s time to delete confidential data, or remove resources storing sensitive data, it’s important to consider the potential spread or replication that often occurs during normal IT operations. Your service provider will analyze your cloud environment to determine where confidential data may have been cached or copied and decide the proper steps to help ensure successful deletion of the data.   

 

Preventative measures

 

To help potential threats, effective security protocols include preventative measures designed to keep team members up to date on the latest cybersecurity trends, recent advances in security techniques, and updates on new emerging threats. This knowledge can help shape your security roadmap and improve disaster recovery planning, helping to guide and prioritize your response in the event of a data breach. Preventative measures and protocols also include actions to mitigate potential, including regular updates to existing systems; modernizing firewall policies; identifying and correcting vulnerabilities.

Continuous monitoring

 

Security controls define the methods and protocols used by the operations team to monitor the network to identify anomalies or suspicious activity. Continuous network monitoring helps ensure your security team is immediately informed of potential or impending threats, putting them in the best position to prevent or mitigate impact. Continuous monitoring enables security teams to strike and optimum balance between proactive and reactive measures as any abnormality in activity is immediately detected.  

 

Effective recovery. 

 

In the event of a disaster, security protocols will be executed to recover systems and restore compromised or lost data. Actions may include wiping endpoint devices, reconfiguring and testing security systems, or implementing effective backups to circumvent the attack. Effective recovery execution will return your cloud infrastructure to its original state. Procedures and steps should also be in place to figure out what happened and how it happened. The security team will use event and log data to track the problem and identify the source.

Ensure compliance

 

Many cloud security processes are shaped by established protocols and best practices, but some are guided by compliance requirements. Your managed service provider is tasked with regularly auditing of enterprise systems to help ensure consistent regulatory compliance. Following regulatory protocols not only helps safeguard confidential data, it can also protect your organization from legal challenges and reputational damage resulting from a data breach.

 

A strategic approach to cloud security

As with any IT investment, migrating to the cloud comes with certain risks. Minimizing those risks and capitalizing on the full potential of cloud requires a strategic, pragmatic approach, evaluating essential infrastructure requirements, security protocols, risk factors, performance needs, and cost considerations.

it network assessment

Everything You Need To Know About Network Assessments

By | Cloud, IT Support, Networking, Security

Some businesses may think that once your network is set up you no longer need to invest any time or resources in it, but that is simply not the case. Your business’s network is constantly evolving and changing. Your network needs to be able to handle the growth of your business to ensure that there are no disruptions. One way to make sure your network goals and business goals align is by performing a network assessment

 

Unfortunately, assessing a network is often one task that is left at the bottom of any team’s to do list. This can create a number of problems that will send shockwaves throughout any organization. Any organization’s network can quickly become too complex and tangled to secure and manage if not properly managed. Companies that do not perform network planning and management miss out on optimization opportunities that could drive quality improvements and cut costs. 

 

Understanding the importance of a network assessment starts with a basic understanding of what a network assessment entails. 

 

What Is A Network Assessment?

 

A network assessment is a comprehensive analysis of your organization’s entire IT infrastructure, management, security capabilities, and overall network performance. Network assessments are powerful tools that can be utilized to identify performance gaps, areas for improvement, and network functionality. The knowledge obtained during a network assessment can help executives make key decisions around IT infrastructure and strategy going forward. 

 

Often organizations will order network assessments when their IT systems become too big or too complex. There may be issues popping up that are difficult to pinpoint through standard IT analysis. At this point, it can be difficult for organizations to gain a full understanding of what is happening throughout their network. Companies should be performing network assessments often to ensure that their systems are never out of control. 

 

What Does A Network Assessment Include?

Every organization’s network is different, which means that every network assessment will also be unique. A majority of network assessments have a few commonalities that organizations can use to build their own network assessment strategy. 

 

Take A Physical Inventory

Any network assessment has to include accounting for all IT inventory that your organization has. If your organization has no idea how many servers and users have, then you will certainly have a difficult time understanding all of your IT infrastructure. Accounting for all of your physical assets can help your organization properly assess your network. For some organizations accounting for all IT assets could take weeks or even months. Identifying all of the physical IT assets can help teams identify which assets are being underutilized and what infrastructure needs are being neglected. 

 

Cybersecurity Evaluation

Another key part of any network assessment is identifying any vulnerabilities present in your IT systems. The cybersecurity assessment portion of a network assessment examines current security controls and how effective they are in reducing overall cybersecurity risk. This portion can identify any vulnerability in a network, such as an inefficient firewall or outdated software applications. 

 

A cybersecurity assessment does not just involve hardware and software; a proper network assessment will also look at how users interact with the network. Employees and customers are often the greatest risk in regards to cybersecurity. Understanding how big of a risk human error is in the context of a network can help an organization reduce that risk. 

 

Network Performance Evaluation

Assessing your network will also involve evaluating the overall performance of your network. A slow network can frustrate not only employees, but potential clients and customers using your network as well. Poor network performance can lead to lost revenue and missed opportunities. 

 

Network performance can suffer due to a number of causes, such as faulty software configurations or a high number of users. Identifying bottlenecks can help your organization resolve any network performance issues. A performance evaluation will help your organization identify the root causes of slow network functionality. 

 

Potential Network Assessment Benefits

Network assessments are not just for show; they provide a number of advantages to organizations who put the time and effort into performing them correctly. Companies who invest in network assessments will have an edge over competitors who neglect their networks. 

 

Patching Security Holes

A network assessment can help your organization find security vulnerabilities throughout your IT network. A network assessment that is properly done will uncover risks throughout a network. Typically, a network assessment will rank risks based on their threat level and likelihood of occuring. Decision makers can then take the appropriate measures to prevent the risks from turning into reality. Organizations can utilize the cybersecurity assessment to prevent catastrophic IT events, such as data hacks. A data leak can result in the loss of customer trust and hefty government fines. 

 

Identify Cost-Savings Opportunities

Another advantage that network assessments offer organizations is the chance to identify inefficiencies in IT infrastructure. A majority of organizations have networks that are ripe with inefficiencies. Even the simplest network assessment can identify low-hanging fruit that teams can easily work on. Executives can then capitalize on these opportunities and drive down costs and improve efficiencies. 

 

If your organization does not have the capabilities to properly conduct a network assessment, you may want to consider hiring some outside help. BACS has worked with various organizations to help them perform network assessments.  

 

BACS Helps Organizations Optimize Their Networks

The experienced team at BACS can help your organization perform a proper network assessment that will give you the big picture of your IT infrastructure. No matter how complex or simple your network is, BACS will ensure that you make the right IT infrastructure decisions going forward. From identifying security flaws to creating cost savings, network assessments can help drive your business grow. 

 

The BASC team is here to help you and answer any questions you may have regarding network assessments. Reach out to BACS today to learn more about network assessments and how a network assessment can help you drive business growth. We can develop a customized network assessment plan that meets your business needs. 

ent plan that meets your business needs.

Virtual Desktop Deployment

Benefits of Virtual Desktop Deployment

By | Business Continuity, Cloud, IT Support, Networking, Technology

Implementing virtualized desktops across your enterprise environment can provide users with a high-definition desktop experience while helping to improve security and reduce costs. While the potential benefits are compelling, implementing an effective virtual desktop environment requires more than installing and configuring software.

In planning your virtualized desktop deployment, it’s important to look beyond the potential cost savings and make decisions in the context of an actual business case. That means carefully considering your goals, computing needs, resources, and many other factors. 

While no single strategy can cover every possible need or scenario, a sound implementation plan should take into consideration potential risk factors and adhere to best practice methods and procedures for optimum performance and return on investment.

Define business needs.

 Virtual desktop deployment projects can rapidly expand in scope and complexity. That’s why it’s important to be clear about why you want to move to desktop virtualization. Understanding which capabilities and which performance requirements are most critical will help ensure you choose the optimum mix of infrastructure for your unique business needs. If you’re starting with just a few applications, determining performance and infrastructure requirements is easier because you’re not transferring every desktop to the cloud, but rather just a few applications to certain end users. You can use this initial scoping exercise to begin capacity planning. What are your current processing and storage needs? How many users will you be extending desktop services to? What will your virtual environment look like in a year or two years? 

 

Create a server plan. 

Servers are at the core of your virtualized desktop infrastructure, so it’s vital that I/O, memory, and other resources are available to support the processing requirement of desktop users. This requires having a clear understanding of the capabilities and limitations of your existing server environment. What applications and workloads run on which servers? What level of performance and availability do these workloads require? One drawback with creating multiple virtual machines from a single piece of hardware is that if that hardware fails, the entire configuration can be compromised. One remedy is to distribute virtual desktops across several servers so that a failure in one server won’t shut down all users. A more advanced approach is to implement a server cluster for virtual desktops, which spreads workload processing across all servers and can transfer the load to other servers in event of a fault. 

 

Implement access controls.

Although virtual desktops can provide users with a more flexible experience, it’s critical to closely manage which users are allowed access to specific applications and data. The more connections linking to a single device, the greater the risk of data exposure or compromise. The challenge is creating policies that aren’t overly restrictive. Ideally you want users to be able to maintain control of their devices while making sure operational flexibility does not undermine existing security policies and controls. Also, be sure to sure you include virtual desktop servers and endpoint data storage in your overall backup and disaster recovery plan.

 

Check compatibility. 

Make sure the hardware you select is compatible with the software you intend to virtualize. Many virtualization packages will support a standard set of hardware regardless of where that software resides. This will help ensure you have a standard hardware design template for each virtual machine, helping to reduce the time and effort in managing different driver versions across your virtualized environment. Consider what components are needed for a successful scale-up. IT teams often overlook the components needed to scale up to a virtualized environment, including host hardware, storage, networks, and hypervisor.

Allocate sufficient resources.

Virtualization increases the hardware requirements for your environment. So in the process of scoping out your ideal virtual system configuration, it’s important to makes sure you have sufficient storage and processing power for your virtual machines and software. This means your host servers must first have enough resources to support your virtualization software of choice, plus the operating system and software used within the virtual machines. How many users do you anticipate using the service at the same time? Is your network infrastructure capable of supporting this new client-server communication load?  An inadequately powered virtual machine or server diminishes the benefits of desktop virtualization. 

 

Train users.

The shift to desktop virtualization will alter the way users manage their endpoint devices, so training is often an integral part of the deployment effort. The resource sharing capabilities that virtualization enables can presents a number of issues that will need to be addressed. Which users will have control? What new skills will be required?  Training doesn’t need to be extensive since the desktop user experience should not change substantially. However, users should be aware of changes to their access controls and rights concerning their desktop privileges.   

With the right virtual desktop deployment strategy, you’ll be able to reap several important benefits:

Better productivity. 

Virtualized components can be configured and implemented quickly, reducing the time and complexity involved with provisioning new servers, storage or other resources. Fewer physical components also reduces the time and expense needed for ongoing management and support. 

 

Lower costs. 

The ability to create virtual versions of computers allows you to significantly reduce hardware costs. Less hardware to install reduces space requirements along with power and cooling expenses, allowing you to reinvest this savings into more strategic initiatives.    

 

Enhanced data protection. 

Virtualization helps simplify data protection processes. With consistent and automated data backups, meeting your recovery time objectives becomes a more reliable process.

 

Improved scalability. 

A core benefit of a virtualized environment is the ability to quickly configure the infrastructure to meet shifting business requirements. Virtual desktop machines can be rapidly reconfigured to enhance their “hardware” performance capabilities ‘on-the-fly”.

 

Better disaster recovery. 

Automated failover capabilities inherent in most virtualization platforms helps improve recovery so that if a disaster hits, your infrastructure is already preconfigured with the proper backup and recovery steps to ensure systems are brought back online quickly and securely. 

Charting a path to success

Making the right decisions about how to best leverage virtualized infrastructure can be confusing. It often involves tradeoffs with significant strategic impact. Your best bet: Don’t go it alone. Work with an experienced virtualized expert whose core focus is improving your technology and optimizing your return on investment. Implementing an effective, smooth-running virtualized desktop environment can be challenging and time-intensive, but when done correctly, the effort will pay dividends far beyond the initial investment.  

Engineering IT Solutions

Four Costly Misconceptions Many Construction and Engineering Firms Have About IT

By | IT Support, managed It services

Have you started to doubt the value of your IT service provider? Misconceptions about this complex field can arise from a lack of shared knowledge when observations do not present a full picture. If you wonder about your company’s need for information technology (IT) services, your experience as a toughminded decision-maker may contribute to your evaluation. Your depth of knowledge and experience in contracting or engineering may obscure your awareness of IT’s detailed requirements, and misconceptions can form. Some of them may cost more than you imagine.

Misconception #1

My computer network does not need monthly monitoring and maintenance; I only want to pay for repairs or support on an “as-needed” basis.

An erroneous understanding of technical issues creates preconceptions that can make you devalue your IT, and it frequently happens among smaller construction and engineering companies. With the complexity and dynamism of computer technology, the demand for technicians who understand the relationships between software, data, firewall applications, and the total system becomes increasingly important. Computer systems need regular updates and routine maintenance to deter cybercrime invasions and prevent attacks by viruses and hackers.

Here’s a checklist of the necessary IT tasks you can use as a guide to ensure your IT system’s consistent operation.

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Updating Processes:

  • Check Bentley and Autodesk license managers for critical updates, conflicts, functionality, and potential issues.
  • Check Bentley and AutoCAD for updates and schedule updates with clients.
  • Update all Sage CRE, Viewpoint, Deltek, and other accounting applications.
  • Install security patches and updates as a critical factor in maintaining your system and detecting daily cyberattacks.
  • Update and monitor anti-virus software.
  • Update and monitor firewall applications.

Backup Processes:

  • Check backups daily to ensure that occurrences appear every hour.
  • Manage and monitor all computer networks and connected devices to safeguard against cybercrime, data loss, and sluggish system performance.
  • Monitor and maintain email file size to prevent difficulty with transmitting large files.

Maintenance Functions:

  • Install and update spam filter software.
  • Detect and remove spyware.
  • Conduct monitoring of workstations and server disk space.
  • Monitor hardware to detect any potential for failure.
  • Optimize systems to ensure maximum speed.

Recommended Action

You can expect a reliable IT support company to provide a regular schedule to update, backup, and maintain your system. You have a justifiable reason to replace a service that fails to perform these essential functions that protect your system. Regular service and efficient monitoring prevent the loss of valuable files and protect your system from malicious intrusion by hackers who intend to inflict damage.

 

Misconception #2

My nephew’s/neighbor’s kid/brother-in-law/office manager knows this IT stuff and can care for our computers.

Your ability to save money may account for at least some of your business success, and many other business owners share it. However, a decision to economize by eliminating a highly skilled position may produce counterproductive outcomes. The tasks of conducting maintenance, virus prevention, and updating computer systems demand an experienced professional’s full-time attention. Issues that may occur intermittently require time to observe; reliance on knowledge can help an IT technician identify and correct problems. When you remember that your experience helped you resolve difficult issues, you can understand the importance of relying on a qualified professional.

While interim part-timers may not know how to fix problems, you may find that they can create issues easily. Your IT network and the data that it contains may support the core of your business. Access to it by an inexperienced person can cause almost irreparable damage. The cost of restoring lost files or reversing the effect of mistakes can far exceed the price of a professional IT service.

Recommended Action

Stay with a qualified professional.

 

Misconception #3

All IT support companies offer the same service. You can find your best option with the one that offers the lowest price.

Generalizations can perpetuate preconceptions and help enforce false impressions. While assumptions may make you think that a product has low value because of a low price, the truth may lie elsewhere. In a high demand field, IT support technicians can demand competitive wages just as other professions require. Some may set lower prices to get started in the business, but a low rate may indicate a lack of experience. When you place a minimum of five years in business as a criterion for hiring an IT support company, you can expect a high-quality performance. You may find a closer alignment for your firm’s requirements by searching for a company with previous contracting or engineering firms’ experience.

Some IT service providers may offer a low price, but the quality of work may suffer. Outsourcing to overseas companies can allow access to your firm’s data, email, and personal files, providing a potential risk that can require your time, effort, and resources to resolve. Others may offer temporary jobs to college students or new technicians who accept opportunities to learn the work for low wages. The outcomes of these practices can produce consequences that you may not realize for weeks or months.

An unqualified technician’s improper diagnosis can allow work to proceed on a problem that does not exist. Television reporters have tested computer repair shops’ ability to find and fix a disconnected cable, and many failed. While not producing the same dire effects as a failure to note defects in your computer system, the possibility of an unknowledgeable worker accessing your company’s information deserves some consideration. No low price can compensate for damage to your accounting records, bank accounts, browsing history, client data, or your proprietary business concepts.

When you find a company that seems to fit your criteria, you can fine-tune your selection by interviewing its marketing representative. The best IT service providers spend time asking questions to understand how their services match your requirements. Just like your clients check your reputation with others who hired you for contracting or engineering services, any company that deserves your business can provide many satisfied customers’ references to check if you choose.

Recommended Action

Look for experience and knowledgeable questions as qualifications for your IT service provider.

 

Misconception #4

An honest IT support company can provide a telephone quote.

While the apparent convenience of getting a price estimate over the phone may appeal, your experience in the business world advises against it. Professional technicians need to inspect your system before they can tell you a price for their services, and you do yourself a favor by not asking for a guess. Some unscrupulous IT service providers offer a low price on the phone to get a contract with you, but the price may change with unexpected add-ons that add hours to the bill. Firms that you can trust do not use hourly billing. A flat-rate and a fixed fee quote before work begins can ensure you of reliable service.

Recommended Action

Invite an IT service provider to an interview at your site to review your requirements and provide a written quote for services.

Every misconception has at least a grain of truth in it, and each can provide a heads up to take note of vital issues. While they may mislead you on the importance of choosing a professional IT service provider with reliable references and competitive pay requirements, they serve a valuable purpose. By refuting them and getting to the facts, you gain knowledge that benefits your company.

 

it service provider

How to Solve the Top 4 Complaints Engineering, Architectural, and Construction Companies Have with IT

By | IT Support, managed It services

While you may be convinced that information technology (IT) makes work life easier for professionals who work in the building industry, you and your colleagues have some complaints about how IT is executed within your field. You want to continue replacing manual processes and tools with digital ones that support higher levels of productivity.

However, your work’s precise nature and the tight deadlines you live under leave no room for inadequate IT solutions. In most cases, finding the right IT solutions for your firm is as easy as choosing the right service provider.

Here are the top four IT challenges that slow the progress of digital transformations in the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction. We also give you some tips for securing the right IT service provider to resolve these issues efficiently.

 

  1. Ineffective Data Back-Up and Recovery

You’ve worked for weeks on schematics for a client’s new apartment building that’s scheduled to open in one of your city’s most upscale neighborhoods. The project means lots of money for your client and plenty of prestige for your community. It also means that you and your team are under tight deadlines to get the engineering documents finalized and off to the construction team. Then it happens. One of the critical CAD files that was under review by your team was accidentally deleted.

You wisely anticipated this kind of mishap and have a data backup and recovery plan in place for your firm. However, you’re unsure if your IT service provider can recover the most recent version of the file. If the IT company can’t restore that version of the file, your team will be spending a lot of time redoing work and doing quality checks on the new diagrams.it services complaints

The answer to this dilemma is in your service agreement. Check to see if your agreement supports file-based backups that allow the IT company to back up your data frequently. When in the market for a new IT service provider, only employ one that does hourly backups.

Be wary of companies that only offer incremental, hourly backups. While incremental, hourly backups are better than no hourly backups at all, they give users a false sense of security that their data can be completely and quickly restored at any time. File recovery from incremental backups requires administrators to piece together data from different sources of backed-up files. Missed data is common.

Ideally, you want a service agreement that supports full backups of files on an hourly basis. These types of data backup plans normally require larger storage spaces and higher bandwidths. Look for a well-known IT service provider with the capacity to offer this level of service.

 

  1. Email File-Sharing Limitations

Collaboration among team members on design-build projects can become quite intense. You create floor plans for multi-story buildings and want to get immediate feedback about them from your team. Your first move is to open up your email program, compose a note to multiple recipients, and attach your files. You hit send. After moving on to a dozen more critical action items, you check your inbox for your colleagues’ anticipated responses. Instead of getting marked-up files from your design team, you’re greeted with an ambiguous bounce message.

The message tells you that the email you sent either exceeded the system’s size limit or the recipient’s mailbox is full. For many email providers, the standard size limit for messages is 10MB. However, some internet service providers (ISPs) that offer mailboxes limit incoming mail messages to 5MB. This issue is hard to manage because you have no control over the amount of space left in a recipient’s mailbox, and you don’t know for sure the size cap for incoming messages that his or her service provider sets.

To avoid bounce messages and dreaded email program freezes, you’ll want to talk to your service provider about getting higher limits for the amount and size of emails you can send through your company’s account. You may need an upgrade.

Even if they have the highest limits that ISPs offer, some people still exceed their mailbox spaces. If you’re working with an internal team, it’s a good idea to set policies in place to archive old emails periodically and remove them so that they don’t impact mailbox space.

Experts offer best practices for emailing large CAD files that work well whether your recipients have generous email size limits or not. They recommend placing your files in a folder, compressing the folder into a zip file, and attaching the zip file to your message.

If your files aren’t particularly sensitive, you can always encrypt the documents and upload them to a cloud storage platform. You’ll then be able to email multiple recipients a link to the documents, which drastically cuts the size of the sent email.

 

  1. License Error Messages

Engineering software tools that are produced by Bentley Systems are the gold standard in the building industry. While nearly every architecture, engineering, and construction firm is familiar with Bentley tools and uses them regularly, users’ concerns about unexpected license fees go mostly unaddressed.

Consider this scenario. A small architectural firm has agreed to buy four licenses for Bentley’s Microstation software. As engineers check out the licenses one by one, the decremented amount of licenses shows up on a management platform that Bentley offers its clients. However, Microstation programs are still available to other company users who access them by signing up for a trial. At the end of the billing cycle, Bentley Systems charges the architectural firm extra licensing fees for using more licenses than the initial.

Several engineering firms have requested that Bentley Systems cap their license usage so that access to programs is blocked for members of their companies whether these programs are associated with trial subscriptions or not. Bentley hasn’t yet come up with a satisfactory solution to stop the surprise bills. The problem is so pervasive that new competitors such as Autodesk highlight Bentley’s billing flaw to boost their marketing campaigns.

Suppose you have no plans of migrating to new engineering tools any time soon. In that case, you’ll want to invest in a 3rd-party asset management platform to help you and your team manage Bentley software licenses, track license usage, and stop these billing errors.

 

  1. Poor Customer Service From Outsourced IT

While every IT company claims to have exceptional customer service, the reality is that not all of them live up to their marketing claims. You’ll find data backup and recovery experts who can’t give you access to a backed-up file that was mysteriously corrupted. If the company can retrieve your file, it will make sure that you know that it’ll take a week for its representatives to get the file and send it to you. You’re upset because all that you can remember about your agreement with this company is that it promised that its services would result in minimal downtown to your firm’s operations.

When working with IT service providers, the solution is to document the service needs of your organization, find a company that can fulfill those requirements, and get their performance claims in writing. If a company claims that it can quickly retrieve and restore your backed-up CAD files, get it to quantify a time frame for this task, such as within 24 hours. Before selecting an IT service provider, you’ll want to check out its marketplace reputation. If it has been unresponsive or incompetent with previous customers, it’s unlikely that it will change its operating style for your company.

Continuing to modernize your architectural, engineering, or construction firm with powerful IT products and services offers many benefits. Some of them include improved collaboration and better construction site safety. In fact, you can’t remain competitive without the help of IT. Partnering with a highly-responsive IT service provider with the same values as your company is a great way to solve these top four IT issues and keep your firm moving forward.

 

Everything To Know About Managed Service Providers

MSP 101 – Managed Service Provider

By | IT Support, managed It services

Managed service providers are becoming more and more popular. Replacing or supplementing traditional IT teams with an MSP can improve the quality of a company’s IT infrastructure. Companies all over the world are taking advantage of all the benefits that come with working with an MSP.

Still, the concept of a managed service provider may be confusing to interested parties and could keep them from utilizing an MSP. Understanding the basics of what an MSP is will help businesses stay ahead of the curve.

 

What Is An MSP?

In order to better understand managed service providers, a bit of history of how they evolved could be useful. Managed service providers have a history dating back to the 1990s. During the early 90s, many IT companies only provided repair services to various technology pieces. That began to change as the 90s evolved and the industry rapidly evolved.

Internet speed was rapidly improving throughout the 90s until it reached a point where software applications could be deployed from a central location. This enabled the development of software that could manage and control a computer from a remote location. Innovative software solutions could be developed and deployed to a number of customers all at once.

The early 2000s marked the beginning of the managed service provider industry. IT consultancies began to create companies filled with computer engineers that could create comprehensive IT frameworks for other companies. By the 2010s this process had become much more robust to the point where an MSP could manage nearly all of another company’s IT software, strategy, and infrastructure. The rise of the cloud has only accelerated this trend.

MSPs have recently exploded in popularity with the rise of cloud services. The cloud allows services and software to run through the internet, instead of on your local computer network. This enables your business to access software, applications, and data anywhere in the world. The cloud has opened the door to various improvements in company productivity, but there are some potential drawbacks.

Managing this complex cloud environment can be extremely challenging. This is one of the key reasons why companies have turned to managed service providers. MSPs can manage the entire IT infrastructure of a company, including the cloud infrastructure. Many companies use an MSP to help take their company into the cloud environment. Managed service providers can also keep software applications up to date, database maintenance and setup, data analytics, cybersecurity, and more. Even with all of these services, some businesses are still hesitant to utilize a managed service provider.

If you could bring all of your IT infrastructure in house, why would you want to pay someone else to do it? Trusting and relying on another company to manage your IT infrastructure and data can be a scary proposition. Many companies want to do everything themselves, but the benefits of MSPs vastly outweigh the risks.

 

Why Do You Need An MSP?

Managed service providers create a ton of value for companies that they work with. If you have not switched to an MSP then you are likely falling behind your competitors. Here are a few reasons why you need a managed service provider.

 

Take Stress Out Of Your Life

Your expertise is likely not in the area of IT. A managed service provider will make your life much easier. Your business can call your MSP anytime to repair any issue that is affecting your business’s IT infrastructure. Your website and IT infrastructure will have significantly less downtime, so your employees will not have to wait around while repairs are made. Instead of worrying about managing an IT department, you can focus on the bigger picture. Your team will have extra time to focus on projects and keep your customers happy.

 

Cost Savings & Scalability

Many businesses believe that hiring an MSP may be out of their budget, but that is not the case. Managed service providers reduce the costs that businesses are responsible for. Companies will no longer have to worry about paying expensive IT employees or investing in IT infrastructure. MSPs will handle all of those costly endeavors. Additionally, as your business grows you will need to add additional IT infrastructure. A managed service provider can help you scale your business easily. Your business can easily increase server space and install additional applications to improve productivity.

Use Their Experts

Managed service providers are full of IT experts that can improve your IT infrastructure. Your team can use an MSP expert to work on a project that will improve your processes and productivity. Instead of having to hire an expensive consultant, you can work with your MSP to finish the project. This is extremely beneficial from an HR perspective as well. Your HR team does not have to manage additional employees and worry about key team members leaving the company. Your team can simply rely on your MSP experts to help out on any projects.

 

How BACS Can Help

Whether your company has 10 employees or 1,000 employees, BACS can create a customized solution that will meet your unique needs. Your business can take advantage of all the benefits that working with us comes with. From cost savings to less stress, your business will be able to focus on the core competencies that drive revenue.

 

BACS can answer any questions you may have about managed service providers and how we can benefit your organization. Reach out to BACS today to learn more about our services and offerings. Our team can develop a comprehensive, customized plan that will make your life easier and help your business grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

virtualization - it consulting - cloud support

Gaining an Edge with Effective Virtualization Management  

By | Cloud, IT Support

Virtualization offers businesses a supremely agile infrastructure framework that allows services and applications to be deployed quickly and efficiently for greater competitive advantage. Not surprisingly, virtualization continues to grow in popularity due to its ease of scalability and its ability to reduce the need for dedicated infrastructure.

 

As businesses move toward more on-demand services, many are recognizing ―and capitalizing―on the benefits of virtualized infrastructure. Built-in abstraction capabilities inherent with virtualization allow you to manage servers, storage and other computing resources in pools no matter where they are physically located. The result: lower operating costs, increased application flexibility, and better resource optimization.

 

Although organizations can gain quick value by upgrading a single component or area of infrastructure, more substantial benefits can be gained by implementing a more comprehensive approach across an array of applications, devices and systems.  But like any technology deployment, the convenience enabled by virtualization doesn’t negate the need to effectively manage the underlying infrastructure.

 

While many businesses are leveraging the advantages of virtualization, some are not fully capitalizing on its potential. One challenge is the accelerated rate of technology advancements. An additional obstacle is a lack of planning and along with poor management practices.   

 

Businesses often launch virtualization projects in a disorganized, haphazard fashion. Over time, virtual servers begin to propagate throughout the infrastructure while IT struggles to manage two distinct environments―the virtual and the physical.  

 

Effective Planning

Every virtualization project has its own set of advantages and limitations. While resource optimization is important, transitioning to virtualized infrastructure is about choosing what is best for the enterprise―not entirely about reducing costs. Creating a purpose-focused strategy should be a chief priority. 

You can implement the optimum plan for your present needs, but your results will fall short of expectations if you don’t integrate flexibility and agility into your approach. Virtualized and cloud environments are evolving rapidly, therefore, it’s important to design and build virtual environments that can scale and adapt  to meet changing priorities and evolving business needs.   

 

At the core of an effective virtualization plan is gaining a clear understanding of the requirements and capabilities of your existing infrastructure. This requires evaluating your workloads and applications, where hardware and software components are installed, the amount of resources they require, and their role and function in supporting your business objectives. 

 

Inventory Tracking

Gaining clear insight into your current infrastructure and how it’s configured and used will provide a framework for determining the optimum approach forward. One you’ve transitioned to a virtual environment, you’ll also want to conduct a thorough inventory your virtual infrastructure, as well as a running inventory, which requires updating and recording changes in every instance. It’s difficult to effectively monitor performance and execute troubleshooting without a clear inventory of the infrastructure you currently have in place.  

 

Technology planning should take into account the present, along with the future, so it’s important to build hybrid scenarios into your virtualized deployments. Your virtualized infrastructure should be able to scale up and down as necessary, reduce administrative costs, and eliminate vendor lock-in.  

 

In planning your virtualized approach, it’s important to look beyond the potential cost savings and make decisions in the context of an actual business case. That means carefully considering your goals, computing needs, resources, and many other factors. It’s complicated, and often involves trade-offs with significant strategic impact.  

 

Management Tools

While virtualization can help boost business performance, navigating and implementing the right management approach isn’t always easy. Virtualization adds complexity at multiple points in your IT infrastructure, which can complicate troubleshooting compared to physical environments.

Consolidating resources and applications across a virtualized environment requires the migration and movement of workloads. This is where automated software tools can play a vital role, helping to balance capacity demands, avoid bottlenecks, and optimize performance.  In addition to easing the burden of your IT staff by eliminating a multitude of manual tasks, virtualization management software helps simplify a number of processes such as conducting inventory checks and analyzing virtual server correlations. 

 

Customizable, interactive dashboards display performance metric and reveal how virtual machines are mapped to their associated storage, host, and related components, which allows you to quickly identify and resolve any underlying cause of performance issues. You can also review and track storage performance, including parameters related to hardware condition, historical operating data, and configuration updates.

 

The right virtualization management tool can help simplify resource administration, enhance data analyses, and optimize capacity. Capacity planning entails looking at the baseline performance and needs of your system to determine where you might experience spikes in need, and where you might need more (or fewer) virtual servers or VMs. 

 

With effective capacity planning and testing, you can shore up your system against bottlenecks and other performance problems. When issues occur, you will be equipped to troubleshoot the problem and identify the root cause.  

 

Each management tool is different, but most will allow you to effectively monitor virtual infrastructure, compile reports, assign resources, and automatically enforce rules. Some systems are even compatible across different software and hardware brands—allowing you to select the management tool that is best suited for your environment.

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Security safeguards

Data protection and security are chief considerations in virtualized deployments, particularly in regulated environments. Safeguarding systems and processes needs to be carefully balanced against long-term business goals and objectives.  

Leveraging virtualization’s full potential requires a careful, balanced approach, taking into consideration cost savings advantages, performance requirements, and potential risk factors. Although virtual machines can offer users a practical, more convenient experience, it’s critical to carefully control user access to applications and data. 

 

The more access points and connections there are to a single device, the greater the potential for data to be compromised, lost or stolen. The challenge is creating policies that provide an optimum balance between flexibility and security. Ultimately you want to provide users with a certain level of infrastructure control while making sure virtualized benefits do not compromise defined security controls.

 

Although virtualization can help improve and strengthen data protection efforts, an IT security disaster can hit at any time. That’s why it’s critical to have a disaster recovery plan in place to help make sure your business can continue to operate, meet compliance mandates, and minimize business disruption and downtime.  

One advantage of virtualization is its ability to help streamline data backup and recovery. For optimum results, consider working with an expert consultant who can help you develop a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy that protects assets and defends against ongoing threats. The consultant will assess your security needs and determine an optimum balance of storing your most sensitive data on more secure infrastructure, providing an extra layer of protection.

 

 

Building a Solid Virtualization Framework

Virtualization offers substantial business advantages. By abstracting and encapsulating applications from physical hardware, you create virtual machines that are simpler to manage, easier to move and scale, and can be quickly implemented on physical hardware. Nevertheless, with virtualized technology, you still have a new set of infrastructure management challenges, including hardware configuration and server proliferation.

 

Making the right decisions about how to best leverage virtualized infrastructure can be confusing. It often involves tradeoffs with significant strategic impact. Your best bet: Don’t go it alone. Work with an experienced virtualization expert whose core focus is on improving your technology and optimizing your return on investment. By outsourcing ongoing support tasks to a trusted partner, you can focus on more strategic activities with greater peace of mind knowing that your virtualized systems and processes are running smoothly and efficiently.

data protection - IT security services

Reaping the Benefits of Proactive Data Protection

By | Data Protection, IT Support, Security

The rapid proliferation of digital technologies offers businesses vast potential for expansion and innovation, but it also creates a host of new security risks. As the growth in the number of connected devices continues to accelerate, one major challenge is determining the optimum level of security for certain types of data. Some assets require minimal protection while others may need more robust security measures.

Data breaches represent the most immediate need for effective enterprise data protection. Better protection means better compliance and reduced monetary losses and less risk of reputational damage. Improved security processes are also critical for emerging business priorities, including digital transformation, regulatory compliance, and privacy and reporting requirements.

While building an effective data protection strategy can be challenging, the effort can deliver immense business value on multiple levels. A robust data protection and privacy plan can help build and maintain stronger customer relationships, enhance brand value, and reduce the potential for non-compliance and its associated penalties. Whether through a targeted attack or an internal security lapse, businesses are at risk for potentially crippling loss of revenue through a single data breach.

Building a strong security foundation requires advanced tools and technology and an organizational culture that not only protects data and minimizes risk, but helps improve business agility, responsiveness, and transparency. It starts with a detailed assessment of your IT infrastructure and overall security requirements.

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  • Assessment: First, it’s essential that you build a solid understanding of your data, including how it is stored, how it is accessed, how critical it is to your business, and the potential risks if were lost or stolen. What types of data are most vital to your business? What is the level of confidentiality of the data you manage? What are your current methods of storage and will this change in the future? What are the protocols for data access? This insight will provide the framework for defining your security requirements and shaping a solution that strikes an optimum balance between data control, protection and access flexibility.
  • Controls: The next step is to implement higher-level controls. These are enterprise data protection and security tools that will help protect data when it’s being accessed or used. Strong access control and user authentication methods help ensure only approved users can obtain access to your networks and data. Encryption is also critical to safeguard data and provide additional reinforcement barriers to network-based attacks.
  • Monitoring: At the center of a proactive strategy is the ability to record events and execute actions based on those activities. This is where ongoing monitoring can help, providing important insights that can help safeguards against gaps in application and perimeter defenses by notifying you of issues before any serious damage occurs. Automated monitoring tools track data access and usage details and provide important insight into areas of risk and vulnerability, helping to improve the likelihood that a potential intrusion will be quickly identified.

 

Implementing the right technology is critical, but it’s not the whole solution. The users who interface with IT systems must also be educated and instructed in how to perform their tasks. And, the policies and procedures that define the actions must be properly designed and consistently enforced.

While there is no silver bullet to protect against all threats, new techniques and innovative approaches to blocking malware and securing endpoints can help safeguard your digital assets without hampering productivity or mobility.  Following some proven best practice measures can help protect against a barrage of new and emerging threats.

 

  • Strengthen access controls: Once an access point is compromised, attackers will often reuse the password to gain access to other systems. Authentication will help obstruct these attempts no matter how the hacker gains access to the password.
  • Utilize encryption: Encryption helps safeguards information in transit and on the endpoint devices, preventing attackers from copying or transferring that data. For even greater protection, consider full-disk encryption, which it encrypts the complete hard drive, safeguarding the data as well as the applications and operating system.
  • Tighten controls: Application controls can help prevent prohibited users from launching or downloading applications on endpoint devices. They also help shield the network from possible security threats with their ability to block departing employees from access to critical business systems and applications.
  • Use proactive scanning. Vulnerability scans provide reports on detected gaps in security and recommendations for security patches or vendor solutions. These reports describe the types of risks found and a potential cause for each area of vulnerability.
  • Ensure business continuity. In the event of a disaster or security breach, you need to be able to recover quickly. Work with a qualified security expert to assess your current environment and develop a disaster recovery plan that safeguards infrastructure and data and protects against ongoing threats
  • Monitor lifecycles. Network monitoring tools can help confirm the health of software and firmware throughout system startup, operation and during sensitive upgrade periods. Software updates and security patches should be delivered automatically by default.
  • Implement advanced threat detection. Advanced detection techniques, including machine learning and analytical tools, can help identify irregularities and weaknesses in ways that aren’t possible with traditional network security These tools analyze that data in real time to correlate events and spot individual anomalies or patterns of behavior that may indicate a security breach.
  • Define policies and procedures. Usage policies define what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable. Work with your internal team to define and implement policies and practices based on your usage preferences and requirements or mandates specific to your particular market.

As cybersecurity becomes more complex, many organizations lack the resources or knowledge they need to mount an effective defense. That’s where working with an experienced security expert can play a vital role, helping you define your business requirements, identify data priorities, and implement a security framework that aligns with your business goals.

The good news is that with the right mix of defensive measures, smart policies and sound technology planning, achieving a secure IT environment is possible. Establishing a secure and well-protected IT environment in today’s world requires a proactive approach—assessing vulnerabilities, updating technology and security defenses, and monitoring for vulnerabilities.

This is where additional proactive measures can prove critical, providing reinforcing layers of defense as part of a comprehensive security strategy.

 

  • Create a culture in which people talk about security, and make security a clear priority. Teach users about secure online practices such as how to recognize potential threats and phishing attempt. Check their security awareness with in-house hacking attempts and interactive security activities.
  • Simplify and streamline security with solutions that consolidate authentication, encryption and advanced threat protection into a single security suite. Compared with point tools, these integrated systems require a fraction of the IT resources required to maintain effective threat protection.
  • Deploy updated anti-malware to help prevent malicious software such as ransomware and viruses from sneaking into your network, and make sure your anti-malware software is consistently updated with the latest definitions.
  • Keeping patches current―make sure your practices include automated patching to help enforce policies and keep systems up to date and enforced with the latest software patching.

 

  • Make backups of all your data and software on a storage device that is not attached to your network or computer. Confirm that all your backups are operating properly and test them on a regular basis to make sure they will perform when you need them.

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to break through your defenses, which reinforces the need to create a strong culture of security knowledge, awareness and responsiveness.

Every IT environment is different, and hackers are constantly refining their techniques. Therefore, it’s imperative that you stay up to date on the latest techniques and remain diligent in your effort to shield your business and safeguard your infrastructure from today’s relentless barrage of cyberattacks.

A comprehensive data protection and regulatory compliance strategy is no longer a flexible option, but rather a must-have plan for businesses of all sizes. Although building an effective IT security framework is a long-term process, businesses cannot afford to wait. Plans are being developed today, and proactive organizations are already taking action now to help ensure their IT environment is ready to safely and securely support the rapid proliferation of connected infrastructure and devices.

 

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Data Backup and Recovery: Reaping the Benefits of the Cloud

By | Business Continuity, Cloud, IT Support

While some data loss is inevitable, how you respond to a data breach or business disruption can have a significant impact on your bottom line, or even your survival. With security threats coming from all directions―from malicious code and hackers to natural disasters―data loss is not a matter of if, but when.

Although most companies and their IT departments are aware of the risks, few make an effort to implement disaster recovery until it’s too late. With cyberattacks and internal security failures becoming more commonplace, companies are increasingly turning to disaster recovery in the cloud.

Data protection and recovery capabilities weigh heavily in cloud planning decisions, particularly in regulated environments. While it’s important to safeguard systems and infrastructure against unauthorized access or malicious threats, at the same time, it’s essential to balance these risks with the unique goals and long term objectives of your business.

The fundamental goal of disaster recovery is to reduce the impact of data loss or security breach on business performance. Cloud-based disaster recovery offers an effective way to do just that. In case of a data breach or loss, vital workloads can be failed over to a recovery site to enable business operations to resume. As soon as data is restored, you can fall back from the cloud and re-establish your applications and infrastructure to their original condition ―reducing downtime and minimizing disruption.

Disaster recovery in the cloud offers a particularly attractive option for small and mid-sized businesses that often lack sufficient budget or resources to build and maintain their own disaster recovery site.

 

Gaining a performance advantage

Compared to traditional methods, cloud computing disaster recovery is relatively straightforward to configure and manage. It can eliminate many hours of time moving backup data from tape drives or on-premises servers to recover following a disaster. Automated cloud processes help ensure rapid and trouble-free data recovery.

With the right configuration and a reliable provider, cloud-based disaster recovery can deliver a number of important benefits:

• Fast recovery

Thanks to its virtualization capabilities, cloud computing takes a wholly different approach to disaster recovery. With infrastructure encapsulated into a single software or virtual server bundle, when a disaster occurs, the virtual server can be easily duplicated or backed up to a separate data center and quickly loaded onto a virtual host. This can substantially cut recovery time compared to traditional (physical hardware) methods where servers are loaded with the application software and operating system and updated to the last configuration before restoring the data. For many businesses, cloud-based disaster recovery offers the only viable solution for helping to ensure business continuity and long-term survival.

• Cost savings

One of the biggest advantages of cloud-based data recovery over standard techniques is its lower cost. Traditional data backup requires deploying physical servers at a separate location, which can be expensive. Cloud configurations, however, enable you to outsource the amount of hardware and software you need while paying only for the resources you use. Without capital costs to worry about, the “pay-as-you-need” model helps keep your total cost of ownership low. You can also eliminate the need to store volumes of backup tapes that could be cumbersome and time consuming to access during an emergency. Smaller business can select a service plan that suits their budget. Managing the data doesn’t require hiring extra IT staff. Your service provider manages the technical details and tasks, allowing your team to focus on other priorities.

 

• Scalability

Relying on the cloud for your disaster recovery provides substantial operational flexibility advantages, allowing you to easily scale your capacity as workloads shift and business needs change. Instead of locking yourself into a certain amount of storage for a specific timeframe and stressing about whether you are exceeding those limits, you can scale your capacity as needed, with assurance that your recovery processes will meet your requirements. Cloud backup provides a high level of scalability, with the ability to easily add whatever capacity you need. As your business grows, your backup systems can scale along with them. You simply adjust your service plan from your provider and request additional resources as your needs shift.

 

• Security.

Despite the security concerns of cloud infrastructure, implementing a cloud-based disaster recovery plan is quite safe and reliable with the right service provider. Most providers offer comparable, if not better security protection than many on-premises environments. Still, in the area of disaster recovery and business continuity, there is little room for error. Be sure to perform your due diligence and ask the difficult questions when evaluating the provider who will be backing up your critical business data.

 

• Redundant capabilities.

A cloud environment can provide a level of redundancy that would be cost prohibitive to create with on-premises infrastructure. This redundancy is achieved through additional hardware and data center infrastructure equipped with multiple fail-safe measures. By capitalizing on specialized services and economies of scale, cloud solutions can provide much simpler and cost efficient backup capabilities than on-premises systems. Redundancy helps ensure you can recover critical information at any given time, regardless of type of event or how the data was lost. This redundancy extends to other cloud components from power to connectivity to hosts and storage.

• Reliability.

In terms of vital business data, cloud-based data recovery offers a highly reliable failback and business continuity solution. In the event of a business disruption, workloads are shifted automatically to a separate location and resumed from there. The failover process helps ensure maximum data availability. After the problems at the initial site are solved, the applications and workloads can be transferred back to original location. It also enables faster backup restoration than traditional disaster recovery methods. Workload transfer and failover require only a few minutes. Conventional recovery techniques typically take longer as the migration uses physical servers deployed in a separate location. You might also decide to migrate your data in a phase approach, depending on the volume of data you are backing. While backup and failover processes are often automated in cloud-based systems, you still want to regularly test the operation on specific network sites to ensure critical production data is not impacted or corrupted in any way.

 

Building an effective backup and recovery strategy

Most businesses today are benefitting from the inherent efficiency advantages of cloud infrastructure of and its ability to help scale resources, and optimize assets and improve backup and recovery performance. As market demands fluctuate and businesses seek greater agility, cloud-based recovery is expected to continue to expand across industry sectors.

While there is no magic blueprint for the perfect back up and recovery configuration, a good first step is making sure you have implemented failover measures for all your connected devices. A common point of entry of many attacks is through outdated firmware on connected devices. Therefore, you’ll want to make you’re your devices and networks are hardened effectively equipped to protect against cyberattacks.

At the heart of any good disaster recovery plan is a guiding document that defines specific procedures and processes to be carried out in event of a disaster. This detailed action plan factors in multiple scenarios with defined steps to mitigate the impact of an event and enables critical business systems and processes to be recovered and restored quickly and efficiently.

After identifying and prioritizing the data and applications and you’ve defined your recovery time objectives, your business can establish a solid foundation for a cloud-based disaster recovery solution.

Depending on the extent of your need and availability of resources, closing the gaps between business needs and disaster recovery capabilities can be an extended, protracted process. No matter how long it takes, the effort to create a solid, well-crafted plan will pay dividends far beyond the initial investment.

Managed IT services - IT security services

Managed Security Service Providers – Choosing The Right IT Security Vendor

By | IT Support, Security

As more and more employees are working from home in today’s environment, creating a secure network for a multitude of vulnerable devices is more vital than ever. Many businesses are turning to managed security service providers in order to handle all of their cybersecurity operations. There are thousands of managed security service providers on the market who promise the world. 

 

How can you know who is for real and who is fake?

Business owners may believe that every managed security provider more or less provides the same service. That statement could not be further from the truth. IT security vendors offer different packages, products, and services. Those without a background in IT will have difficulty discerning one managed security provider from another. They will not be able to properly vet their offerings and may end up choosing a vendor who is not the right fit. 

Thankfully, we are here to show you exactly what you should be looking for when choosing the right IT security vendor. These are some of the most basic criteria and questions to ask when reaching out to managed service security providers. 

 

Experience in Your Industry

There are vastly different cybersecurity regulations and considerations depending on the industry. For example, the healthcare industry has to deal with complex HIPPA laws. Your company does not want an MSSP that specializes in the banking industry if you have to deal with confidential patient information. Finding an MSSP with vast experience in your industry will give you confidence that they can meet your needs. But, some IT security vendors may be tempted to lie about their experience to get your business. 

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Get references from other companies in your industry.

The vendor that you should be considering should be able to provide plenty of references to other companies that they have worked with. Testimonials are great, but speaking directly to another company will give you peace of mind. If they are doing a great job with another company in your industry, you will have the confidence to choose them as your MSSP. 

Additionally, your company needs a managed security provider that will be able to cater to your individual needs. 

 

A Customized Solution for Your Needs

A one-size-fits-all solution is not going to cut it in today’s world. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated by the day and are working to break down today’s cybersecurity solutions. Your security needs are different from nearly every other company’s. A big red flag would be a pitch about a generic solution. Their team likely does not understand your needs and are attempting to put a bandaid on a bullet wound. 

 

What are they going to do for your company? 

Good, honest communication will go a long way in creating a relationship that works for both you and your vendor. The right IT security vendor will be honest with you and your company. They should be able to showcase how they are going to add value to your company and outline the steps they are going to take. This will be a customized solution that will cater to your specific needs. 

What is their Plan When Something Goes Wrong?

We all want to believe that a managed security service provider will be able to defend against 100% of all cybersecurity attacks. But in reality, there will likely be a time when your company has been compromised by hackers. When that happens, your managed security service provider should have a customized plan of attack for your company. 

Here are a few questions you should ask when reaching out to potential vendors:

  • What is their plan and how detailed is it?
  • Are they transparent? 
  • Do they have a team dedicated to dealing with breaches? 
  • How do we prevent the issue from happening again going forward?

Mistakes are bound to happen. Learning from them and taking actionable steps to prevent them from happening again separates good MSSPs from great MSSPs. 

 

A Long-Term Relationship

Your company needs a long-term relationship with a managed service security provider. The worst thing that could happen is you choose an IT security vendor and they end up going out of business within a few months. This would lead to a massive headache for your company. You will have to start the vendor vetting process all over again and it will make the transition to the next MSSP even more difficult. Do not be afraid to ask for assurances that your vendor will be around for years to come. 

 

This is a partnership

You are partnering with an IT security vendor, this is more than just purchasing a tool from a company. Your MSSP is responsible for protecting your data, network, customers, and your staff. This needs to be clear to all parties involved. You and your MSSP need to work together in order to achieve the goals of your business. Your MSSP will be right by your side as your business continues to grow and your needs change. 

 

BACS is the Right IT Security Vendor

We create a tailored solution for your organization that will meet all of your specific needs.  We will gladly provide references to our happy customers who we have worked with for years. Our team will handle any cybersecurity crisis in a timely manner, so you can get back to running your business. If we are not the best fit for your company, we will happily recommend another MSSP who will be able to better service your business. 

 

Reach out to BACS today to learn more about how we can keep you and your business safe. Our team is dedicated to adhering to the highest cybersecurity standards and providing your team with the tools to keep your data safe and secure. 

Contact Us for a FREE Security Assessment