Managing IT can be a daunting task, especially for businesses that lack dedicated IT personnel or the expertise to handle today’s complex technology. In recent years, more and more organizations have recognized the benefits of outsourcing their IT management to Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
What is an MSP?
A Managed Service Provider, or MSP, is a company that offers a range of IT services to businesses. These services can include network monitoring, infrastructure management, data backup, cybersecurity, and more. By partnering with an MSP, businesses can offload their IT responsibilities to professionals with deep expertise and industry-best practices.
The Challenges of Self-Managed IT
Self-managing your IT can be a significant challenge. Here are some of the common pain points that organizations face:
Lack of Expertise: IT is a complex and ever-evolving field. Keeping up with the latest technologies, security threats, and best practices can be overwhelming, especially for businesses without dedicated IT staff.
Resource Constraints: Managing IT requires time, manpower, and financial resources. Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to allocate these resources effectively, leading to inefficiencies, downtime, and security vulnerabilities.
Limited Scalability: Growing businesses often find it difficult to scale their IT infrastructure to meet increased demand. Self-managing your IT environment may require significant investments in hardware, software, and additional staff, which can strain budgets and hinder growth.
Cybersecurity Risks: Data breaches and cyber-attacks are on the rise. Without proper security measures in place, businesses face significant financial and reputational risks. Implementing and maintaining robust cybersecurity protocols can be challenging for organizations without the necessary expertise.
The Benefits of MSP-Managed IT
Switching to an MSP-managed IT environment offers several benefits:
Expertise and Support: MSPs have a team of experienced professionals who specialize in different aspects of IT management. They stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and best practices, providing businesses with access to a breadth of knowledge and expertise.
Proactive Monitoring and Maintenance: MSPs utilize advanced tools and technologies to monitor your IT infrastructure 24/7. They identify potential issues before they become critical, minimizing downtime and ensuring smooth operations.
Scalability and Flexibility: MSPs provide scalable solutions tailored to your business needs. Whether you’re experiencing rapid growth or need to downsize, an MSP can quickly adapt your IT infrastructure to meet changing requirements without additional investments or resources.
Enhanced Security: MSPs employ robust security measures to protect your systems, networks, and data from cyber threats. They implement industry-standard security practices, conduct regular security audits, and ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
Cost Savings: By outsourcing IT management to an MSP, businesses can reduce the overhead costs associated with maintaining an in-house IT department. MSPs work on a subscription-based model, allowing organizations to pay for the services they need, when they need them.
Strategic Planning: MSPs can act as your virtual chief information officer providing project planning services that keep IT spend spread across the years to make the IT budget easier to manage.
Consider making the switch to an MSP today and unlock the benefits of professional IT management, contact us to get started.
In the ever-evolving world of IT support, two strategic approaches have emerged to address the needs of businesses – vCIO (Virtual Chief Information Officer) services and break-fix services. Each of these approaches has its own merits and drawbacks, making it crucial for businesses to carefully consider which option best aligns with their goals and IT requirements. So, let’s dive into the comparison between vCIO services and break-fix services and find out which one takes the crown!
vCIO Services: Unleashing the Power of Proactive IT Management
The vCIO model offers businesses a cost-effective and strategic solution to IT management, delivering benefits far beyond simple problem-solving. Here’s a breakdown of what vCIO services bring to the table:
Strategic Technology Planning: A vCIO provides a long-term roadmap for your IT infrastructure, aligning it with your business objectives. They assess your current technology landscape, analyze potential risks, and develop a comprehensive IT strategy to ensure your technology infrastructure drives success.
Proactive IT Monitoring and Management: By constantly monitoring your systems, a vCIO can detect and address issues before they turn into full-blown disasters. They implement proactive measures, such as 24/7 system monitoring, patch management, and security audits to keep your IT environment optimized and secure.
IT Budgeting and Procurement: A vCIO helps you streamline your IT budget by aligning your investment with your business goals. They provide insights into cost-effective technology solutions, negotiate contracts with vendors, and manage IT procurement to help you make informed decisions while optimizing your spending.
Technology Vendor Management: Collaborating with multiple technology vendors can be time-consuming and complex. A vCIO acts as a single point of contact for all your technology vendors, managing relationships and ensuring smooth coordination between various stakeholders.
Break-Fix Services: The Traditional Firefighter Approach
Break-fix services have long been the go-to approach for businesses seeking IT support on an as-needed basis. Here’s a closer look at what break-fix services bring to the table:
Issue-Specific Support: Break-fix services are designed to address specific IT issues as and when they arise. This approach involves fixing problems after they occur, reacting to incidents rather than proactively managing your systems.
Limited Scope of Support: Break-fix services typically focus solely on resolving immediate technical issues. While they can provide quick fixes, they do not offer strategic planning or ongoing support to help prevent future issues or optimize your IT infrastructure.
Variable Costs: Break-fix service costs can be unpredictable, as you are billed per incident or hourly basis. This makes budgeting and financial planning more challenging, especially if you encounter frequent or recurring IT issues.
Less Focus on Prevention: With break-fix services, the emphasis is on remedying existing problems, leaving behind the potential for other underlying issues to remain undetected, ultimately leading to more costly and time-consuming problems down the line.
The Verdict: vCIO Takes the Throne!
While break-fix services may have their place in certain scenarios, vCIO services offer a more comprehensive approach to IT management, aligning your technology with your business goals and providing ongoing support. The proactive nature, strategic planning, and cost optimization provided by vCIO services make it the winning solution for businesses looking to stay ahead of the ever-changing technology landscape. So, without a doubt, the crown firmly sits on the head of vCIO services!
If your company is tired of just calling your IT service company when things are broken, then contact us for vCIO services.
“Companies that use MSPs for strategic advantage are 1.6 times and 2.4 times more likely to be faster to market as well as more innovative than those focused solely on cost savings, according to the report.”
“Organizations utilizing managed services at a mature level use them to respond more adroitly to changing conditions and potential threats.”
“Most business and IT leaders recognize the pace of innovation is occurring faster than their internal IT teams can absorb. There is always going to be some type of skills shortage. Those skill shortages are ones that MSPs are in the best position to fill.”
If your company is looking to outperform in the marketplace, then contact us to start a partnership.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face numerous challenges when it comes to managing their IT. Limited resources (both human and money), lack of expertise, and the need to focus on core business operations often make it difficult for SMBs to understand and manage technology needs. This is where Managed Service Providers (MSPs) come in. In this blog article, we will explore the reasons why SMBs should consider partnering with MSPs to enhance their IT capabilities and drive business growth.
Cost-Effective IT Solutions:
One of the primary reasons why SMBs need MSPs is the cost-effectiveness they offer. By outsourcing their IT needs to MSPs, SMBs can avoid the high costs associated with hiring and training an in-house IT team. MSPs provide a range of services, including network monitoring, data backup and recovery, cybersecurity, and software updates, all at a predictable monthly cost. This allows SMBs to allocate their resources more efficiently and focus on their core business.
Access to Expertise and Advanced Technology:
MSPs are experts in providing IT services and have a team of highly skilled professionals with expertise in variety of technology. By partnering with MSPs, SMBs gain access to the depth of knowledge and experience from IT experts who can handle complex tasks and provide strategic guidance. Additionally, MSPs stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends and can recommend and implement solutions that can help SMBs stay competitive in the market and safe from hackers.
Proactive IT Support and Maintenance:
MSPs offer proactive IT support and maintenance, which is crucial for SMBs. They monitor networks, identify potential issues, and take preventive measures to avoid downtime and disruptions. MSPs also provide regular software updates, security patches, and system maintenance, ensuring that SMBs’ IT remains secure and up-to-date. This proactive approach helps SMBs minimize the risk of costly IT failures and ensures smooth business operations.
Enhanced Data Security:
Data breaches and cyberattacks pose a significant threat to SMBs. MSPs play a vital role in safeguarding SMBs’ sensitive data and protecting them from potential security breaches. They implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption, to ensure data confidentiality and integrity. MSPs can also conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments to identify and address any potential weaknesses in the IT infrastructure.
Scalability and Flexibility:
As SMBs grow, their IT needs evolve. MSPs offer scalable solutions that can adapt to changing business requirements. Whether it’s adding new users, expanding storage capacity, or integrating new software, MSPs can quickly and efficiently accommodate these changes. This scalability and flexibility allow SMBs to focus on their growth without worrying about the limitations of their IT infrastructure.
If your company could use the cost-effective solutions, access to expertise, proactive support, enhanced data security, and scalability that come from using a MSP, then contact us for assistance.
Compliance is and always has been a complicated matter. Here are the quotes from the three types of compliance – CMMC, HIPAA, and PCI:
“CMMC – Risk AssessmentL2-3.11.2 – VULNERABILITY SCAN: Scan for vulnerabilities in organizational systems and applications periodically and when new vulnerabilities affecting those systems and applications are identified.”
“HIPAA – § 164.308 Administrative safeguards. (a)(1)(ii)(A) –Risk analysis (Required). Conduct an accurate and thorough assessment of the potential risks and vulnerabilities to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of electronic protected health information held by the covered entity or business associate.”
“PCI – 11.3: External and internal vulnerabilities are regularly identified, prioritized, and addressed”
To summarize what this all mean – compliance requires penetration testing and vulnerability scanning. Networks have to be tested regularly to make sure that there has been nothing missed which would allow a hacker to breach the network and steal the treasure of information. Our recommendation is to scan at least quarterly, if not monthly, to find these vulnerabilities and address them before the hackers find them.
If your company has compliance requirements that you need consulting for, then contact us for assistance.
Recently had an issue with a backup software that would get stuck in START_PENDING status at every startup. This caused it to be unable to be uninstalled, repaired, or forcefully removed and re-installed. Here is how we fixed it:
1. Find out the Service Name of the service by looking for it in the Services control panel:
2. Open command prompt as administrator
3. To get the PID type in – sc queryex [Service Name]
4. To kill the errant process type in – taskkill /f /pid [PID]
5. To remove the process type in – sc delete [Service Name]
One I had removed the process I restarted the server just to make sure then re-installed the software.
If your company needs help troubleshooting software issues, then contact us for assistance.
As our business continues to focus on providing white labeled Tier 3 IT support services, RMM as a service, and co-managed IT services this blog will be highlighting tips for Synology resource monitoring. We have developed best practices for alerting on a Synology device for resources like CPU, Memory, and Disk Usage. When these Synology resource monitoring alerts are consistently triggered it show that the device is over utilized or if they remain triggered for long periods of time then it shows there is an issue on the device itself. We also setup weekly Storage Reports to get an accurate view of the changes and growth going on with client storage.
Make sure that Notifications are setup on the Synology first
Open Control Panel
Click on Notifications
Check enable email notifications
Choose Service Provider
Login to Gmail or use Custom SMTP server for Office 365 as the sender
Change Subject to indicate name of device
Add recipient email (Best to use one that ties into a PSA or RMM)
Send a Test Email
Setup Synology Resource Monitoring
Open Resource Monitor app
Click on Performance Alarm to the left
Click on Rules tab
Create the following Rules one by one
Select which volume [create multiple rules if more than one volume]
Select Disk I/O utilization
Greater than 90%
Select which volume [create multiple rules if more than one volume]
Select Disk I/O utilization
Greater than 75%
System Memory Critical
Greater than 90%
System Memory Warning
Greater than 75%
System CPU Critical
Greater than 90%
System CPU Warning
Greater than 75%
Click Settings and check box to Enable usage history then click Save
Setup Storage Reports
Open Storage Analyzer
Select new location
Create new shared folder named Log Files – hide from network
Go back to Storage Analyzer and select new folder
Set volume usage data to be collected Daily at 2am
Create report task
Send to email (Best to use one that ties into a PSA)
Generate reports at Monday 4am
Keep 60 reports then click Next
Select report items
Potential Duplicate Files
Least Recently Modified Files then click Next
Analyze all folders then click Next
Leave duplicate file defaults then click Next
Once this is setup you will start getting email alerts sent to you or better yet your PSA / RMM for ticket creation and review.
If your company is a MSP or wants to become one and automation just seems out of reach, then contact us to run your RMM for you.
This is the eighth in a series about the concept of Zero Trust, which means in the IT sense that you trust nothing and always verify everything surrounding and connected to your network. Today’s discussion will be on Application Whitelisting.
Application Whitelisting is a process of determining which software programs the company absolutely needs to do business, marking them as safe, and blocking any other program that tries to run on company computers. This methodology has the distinct advantage of blocking almost all forms of malware on computers. Pairing this with a good next-gen antivirus creates an impenetrable wall against malware threats. It also prevents users from accidentally or intentionally running something that should not be on company computers. Here are some questions to ask:
Do you know all software on your computers?
Do your users spend time on company computers listening to music?
Have any of your users ever downloaded software without asking?
Do you have a computer use policy? How is that enforced?
If your company is wanting to lock down what is running on company computers, then contact us for assistance.
Security researchers performed penetration testing on the networks of 45 various mid-sized companies and found that in real life scenarios 93% of those networks were able to be compromised to the point of business disruption. Here are the details:
The 45 companies were polled to determine what would be an unacceptable business interruption. They decided that the following met that criteria:
Disruption of production processes
Disruption of service delivery processes
Compromise of the digital identity of top management
Theft of funds
Theft of sensitive information
Fraud against users
These became the target for the penetration testers.
In order for the penetration tester to achieve their target, they followed the following process:
Breach the network perimeter – This was done by the use of compromised passwords found on the Dark Web and know vulnerabilities on devices that were directly connected to the internet
Obtain maximum privileges – In 100% of the networks, once an attacker was inside the network
Gaining access to key systems – With maximum privileges, the testers are able to gain access to other areas of the network including databases, executives computers, and production servers
Develop attacks on target systems – Once key systems are compromised the testers then figured out how to create the unacceptable business interruption. Although they could have created these interruptions, they only gathered proof that they could to present the data to the companies.
How to Defend
There are a couple main ways to defend against these kinds of attacks:
Security Controls / Segmentation – Creating least privileged access to key systems and segmenting the network will keep hackers from traversing the network once inside
Enhanced Network Monitoring – Modern cyber security tools watch activity and traffic on the network to find indicators of compromise. They pool this information into an attack history that can be used to remediate and further protect.
Your company is not as safe as you think, so contact us for free initial cybersecurity evaluation and risk report. .
There has been a recent trend for companies to “negotiate” with the criminal terrorists behind wave of ransomware attacks across the world by paying the ransom. In a recent study some alarming statistics have been released:
Current Ransomware Stats
If Ransom is Paid: The global findings also show that only 8% of organizations manage to get back all of their data after paying a ransom, with 29% getting back no more than half of their data.
Cost of Ransom: The average ransom paid was $170,404. While $3.2 million was the highest payment out of those surveyed, the most common payment was $10,000. Ten organizations paid ransoms of $1 million or more.
Who is Paying the Ransom: The number of organizations that paid the ransom increased from 26% in 2020 to 32% in 2021.
The Brighter Side: While the number of organizations that experienced a ransomware attack fell from 51% of respondents surveyed in 2020 to 37% in 2021, and fewer organizations suffered data encryption as the result of a significant attack (54% in 2021 compared to 73% in 2020).
What is Being Done
There are now organizations trying to create a common framework to address this threat. The Institute for Security and Technology has created a Ransomware Task Force. This task force has been working to develop this framework and has published some guidance. Even though this is just the foundation work, it is good to see that efforts are being made.
If your company is worried about the threat of ransomware, then contact us for assistance setting up a multiple layer approach to security.
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. - 2 Corinthians 9:8-10