What are Managed Services and Why Should I Care?

A managed services provider (MSP) takes on the responsibility for a company’s technology and infrastructure by proactively providing a defined set of IT services for a fixed monthly fee. This approach is preferred by businesses over the traditional Break/Fix services delivered on an hourly rate when needed. By emphasizing high availability and reliability, Managed Services align the MSP’s business model with a company’s business objectives. In contrast, the break/fix model addresses problems when they occur. According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global managed‐services market will grow to $193B by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.5%. Information Technology as a Service According to the fifth annual Trends in Managed Service published by CompTIA, “The central tenet to the MSP model is a provider-customer relationship based on a contract backed by a service level agreement.” This approach provides IT services similar to other utility models.  Many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) rely on remote monitoring and management technologies to deliver a range of core IT services in a scalable and proactive manner. This approach streamlines the process for proactively identifying and resolving issues with IT infrastructure.   What to Expect from an MSP CompTIA research indicates it is common for a managed service provider to include desktop and network management, applications management, and remote help desk in their service level agreements (SLA). Security (including firewall management), server management, storage, network monitoring, Business Continuity/DR, Backup as a service (Cloud Backup), Email, and Virtual desktop are often available as managed services. Benefits of Managed Services The managed service approach is favored by business for a variety of reasons. Managed services...

Target Privacy Data Breach: Part 2

Target Retailers were just involved in the second largest credit card data breach in United States history. Today Target announced the data breach that occurred over Thanksgiving weekend now exposes upwards of 70 million credit and debit cards. Target also disclosed the privacy data breach compromised names, addresses, phone numbers or email addresses, in addition to credit card information.  When businesses are victims of a security breach, loss of revenue is often highlighted in the news. What the media often overlooks is the internal costs of remediation, exposure to privacy breach laws and loss of reputation with their customers. Any Business can be the Target of a Privacy Data Breach While large companies make the news, many small business owners believe their company is too small to be targeted by cyber criminals resulting in privacy data breach.  According to Verizon Wireless’s 2012 Data Breach Investigation Study, 71% of data breaches occur in companies with fewer than 100 employees.  A privacy data breach can be devastating to a small business. Malware or software used to interrupt a computer’s processing, is a common way of perpetrating these attacks.  Small businesses are often unprepared when it comes to these attacks. What a Business Owner do to Avoid a Privacy Breach Action can be taken to protect your small business and your customer’s sensitive information.  First, audit your network regularly. Periodically scan your network for unauthorized computers and devices connected to your network directly or via Wi-Fi.  Also, update any antivirus or malware software regularly. Check your firewall and security settings.  Make sure all your defense mechanisms are up to date and working...