Welcome to our weekly Q&A blog series where we answer questions from our followers! Whether industry-related or specific to our services, we’ll round up a handful of questions that you’ve submitted and our experts will answer. Submit your questions here, or follow us on Twitter and ask us there.
This week’s theme: The Basics.
“I hear you guys talk about “managed services” – what are they?” asked Justin on Twitter.
A managed service is a type of ongoing, contracted IT management or support that your company receives from another organization. These Managed Service Providers (MSPs) act as an extension of an organization’s IT department, providing proactive management and support for their users, which allows the organization’s internal IT staff to focus on strategic initiatives. IT can be a profitable, revenue-driving part of a business, but its staff is often loaded down with so many password reset requests and simple support tickets that they don’t have time to work on complex projects that move the business forward. Not only does an MSP offload the burden of basic support and management from an organization, but the contract inherently provides accountability since SLAs are a standard component.
“I’m in Finance, but I work closely with our IT department since technology spend is such a large cost in each of our lines of business. They talk about the cloud – but what is it?” asked Mark from Dallas.
“The cloud” is a common term used to describe web-based computing services that are hosted outside of your organization. When you use cloud-based services, your IT infrastructure resides off your property (off-premises), and is maintained by a third party (hosted), instead of residing on a server at your home or business (on-premises) that you maintain. With Office 365, for example, information storage, computation, and software are located and managed remotely on servers owned by Microsoft. Many services you use every day are a part of the cloud — everything from web-based email to mobile banking and online photo storage. Because this infrastructure is located online or “in the cloud,” you can access it virtually anywhere, from a PC, tablet, smartphone, or other device with an Internet connection.
“What are some preventative measures I can take to ensure my organization is prepared for a cyber attack?” asked Nick from London.
First of all, each cyber attack is different so we understand why it’s difficult to stay ahead of these disasters. There are some simple steps you can take to increase your level of protection:
- Make sure that each system has an updated security profile that is constantly reviewed
- Patch all systems to the latest security levels
- Backups, backups and backups. Most importantly: Test your backups!
- Use virtualization for fast system recovery
- Ensure awareness training within your business. You are only as good as your weakest link. Every user is a weak link.