- July 14, 2022
- Catagory remote work
How SMBs can begin to implement zero trust
We’ve already talked a lot about the benefits of zero trust for securing your organization, but if you’re a small or medium-sized business looking at how to implement zero trust, it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
Your managed service provider (MSP) can be a great resource for implementing zero trust, and all things security, too. And while zero trust can greatly improve your security posture, it’s not the only thing you should be doing.
Implementing zero trust requires technical expertise and dedicated IT staff, and you’ll increase your odds of success if your break down your implementation in smaller, more manageable tasks. Different security vendors offer different frameworks, but regardless of the cybersecurity tools you deploy, implementing zero trust can be broken down into four elements:
- A system for tracking everyone on your network, their location and what applications and data they are accessing
- Selecting security tools, including next-generation firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and identity access management
- Comprehensive guidelines that outline who can access your network and resources, when and from where
- Network monitoring capabilities that track and log all traffic, both external and internal, that can establish a baseline to make it easy to spot suspicious activity and remediate it
A zero-trust model will greatly reduce your overall risk by limiting the impact and severity of a cyberattack. Even if you fall prey to an attack, implementing zero trust will reduce the cost to your business, including penalties related to regulatory compliance. Zero trust also increases visibility for your IT staff because it enables them to see who is on the network and granularly segment access – even employees are strictly managed to only access resources that are related to their responsibilities. In addition, what they are allowed to access requires multifactor authentication.
Implementing zero trust shouldn’t be your only strategy for securing your organization, but it has a high success rate of mitigating the damage caused by threat actors, especially social engineering attacks. A managed service provider can help you get started with the four key elements of zero trust as well as determine what other tools and polices can improve your security posture.
- April 28, 2022
- Catagory Managed IT Services
How an MSP can help secure your business
Many businesses turn to a managed service provider (MSP) to solve a specific problem but may not always be aware of the breadth of capabilities their MSP has to offer, including security.
The cloud is a great enabler of many of these services, and it allows you to scale up your security protections as needed without a great deal of capital investment or dedicated IT staff. Because your MSP is helping multiple businesses with their security needs, they benefit from economies of scale and so do you. They are also able to keep pace with trends in IT security, whether it’s available tools, best practices, or new threats, and apply them to the security services they offer you.
If you’ve not fully explored what your MSP has to offer, you should consider evaluating your security posture and looking additional capabilities they have to offer.
Cloud backup and disaster recovery
Whether you’re the victim of a cybersecurity attack, data breach or natural disaster that disrupts your primary systems, having a disaster recovery and backup strategy protects your assets, saves your critical and confidential data, and keeps your business running even after your network is compromised. Backup was one of the first services to move to the cloud, and if there’s one service you should outsource to an MSP, it should be cloud backup and recovery – your MSP can step in quickly if you need to restore your primary system so you can keep your employees productive and your customers happy.
Your network is comprised of servers, computers and other hardware, and software applications, and your company’s data flows through all of them. Without it, your employees can’t share information or communicate. Not only will a data breach or cyber attack impair your ability to operate, but they could lead to revenue loss, regulatory consequences, and damage to your reputation. Your MSP can help defend your network endpoints, including desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, and provide high-quality help-desk service.
A penetration test (“pen test”) evaluates the security of your IT infrastructure by safely looking for vulnerabilities. Your MSP will try to systemically compromise servers, network devices and other potential points of exposure, and then report back with their findings and recommendations. A pen test can act as an audition for MSP to demonstrate they can find problems, help you remediate any issues, and implement ongoing security services they can manage for you.
Proactive 24/7 monitoring services
Even without a cyberattack, network infrastructure can falter. Your MSP can provide real-time monitoring of organization’s network infrastructure and act immediately any issue that arises with instant troubleshooting to avoid disruptions to workflows and business operations. Around-the-clock monitoring maximizes business uptime, prevents performance or service interruptions, and provides peace of mind that your network is safe and sound.
If you’re concerned about your security posture but don’t know where to begin, your MSP should be your first call. And if you don’t have one, selecting one should heavily depend on their ability to show how well they evaluate your infrastructure, their recommendations to secure it, and references from other customers who’ve enjoyed uninterrupted operations as one of their customers.
- November 7, 2019
- Catagory Managed IT Services
IT strategies for SMBs should include a managed services provider
IT strategies for SMBs are essential for organizations looking to scale and up grow their bottom line, but many face the same challenges as large enterprises without the resources.
There are ways to do what the bigger players are doing so you can grow your organization and your profits, but IT strategies for SMBs must have a vision, an understanding of the cloud solutions available to them, and consider how a managed services provider can get them were they need to be within their budget.
IT strategies for SMBs start with an audit
Not all businesses are the same, so IT strategies for SMBs will vary by industry and inherent regulatory frameworks, business models and overall digital maturity. Regardless, there will be low hanging fruit that can advance the organization quickly and affordably, while other initiatives will be multi-year projects that must to be broken down into achievable milestones.
Common goals within many IT strategies for SMBs are tapping into needed talent, which could involve recruitment and retention of employees or selective outsourcing to access skills on demand, improving agility by automating tasks or handing them over to a business process services organization. Given the ramifications of data breaches, bolstering security should also be a priority and embedded within all growth activities. It also might be achieved with automation—even artificial intelligence—or turning to a managed services provider for help. Most organizations are looking at how they can improve overall productivity.
IT strategies for SMBs should identify priorities based on a comprehensive audit of your environment, whether it’s your own on-premise infrastructure or cloud deployments, including use of the public providers. You can’t have a vision of the future without knowing for sure where you are today. This assessment is also something that can be done in collaboration with a managed services provider and can clarify your current security and compliance posture.
There are solutions in the cloud
Your IT audit can help you easily identify what you can do by yourself and what elements of your strategy are better executed with the help of an experienced technology partner.
There are number of solutions available with IT strategies for SMBs in mind. You might begin by implementing organization-wide, online collaboration with Microsoft Office 365 and Teams, or alternatively, go the Google route with Gmail for business and Docs. You’ll want to think about the value of consolidating solution providers as simplicity for SMBs can keep costs under control and ease user adoption. Even if you go best-of-breed, most cloud-based SMB solutions are pay-as-go so you can budget expenditures as you grow.
No matter what solutions you adopt, remember they’re only as good as the workflows and processes you foster and the underlying infrastructure that supports them. In case of the latter, it’s one of the first things you should consider handing off.
Leverage the investments of a managed services provider
As much as any SMB requires technology to operate and is just as driven by data as its larger counterparts, they’re not in the IT business. And just as cloud-based SMB solutions are pay as you go, managed IT services providers offer similar pricing flexibility and can scale up and down in alignment with the ebbs and flows of your business.
Once you’ve done an audit to understand where you are and where you’re going, you can figure which problems are best solved by a managed services provider, even if it’s only one business process, but one of the biggest benefits is you no longer need worry about maintaining aging infrastructure with the limited IT staff and resources you have. A managed services provider has made the investments and is committed to maintaining their infrastructure to support your applications and store your data with a high level of security.
This investment isn’t limited to hardware and software. Often, an SMB can’t justify bringing on talent full-time, such as a DBA, but a managed services provider can provide people on demand as needed so you don’t have to worry about recruitment and retention but still enjoy necessary expertise when you need it.
IT strategies for SMBs are all about a better bottom line
Embracing cloud solutions and entrusting data and business processes to a managed services provider are key elements of IT strategies for SMBs, even if it’s only for a small segment of daily operations. The right combination can improve productivity and the speed of your service delivery at a lower cost, and most of all, lead to a better bottom line.
Sanjeev Spolia is CEO of Supra ITS.