As the owner of a business that already has an in-house IT team, you may consider the role of a Managed Service Provider (MSP) in managing day-to-day affairs. One of the main concerns that come to mind is how an MSP and your IT staff can work together. You may also think that because an IT team is in already place, you don’t need an MSP. This, however, is far from the truth.
Because we are experienced providers of managed IT services in San Francisco Bay Area, we know that an organization’s IT department and an MSP can co-exist peacefully in the same space. In fact, an MSP can work as an extension of the in-house IT team and support it in every possible way. Working with an MSP can help in-house IT teams better focus their time and resources, making them more effective and strategically-sound.
MSPs offer different levels of services that solve all sorts of business problems. Let’s find out how a partnership between your IT department and an MSP can help your business thrive.
1. Divide and Fulfil All Responsibilities
If you’re a growing business, you’re probably thinking of expanding your teams, including the IT department, to shoulder the increasing workload and responsibilities. But do you really need to hire new IT staff to fulfil IT responsibilities?
Before making any hiring decisions, take a moment and review your IT needs. Start by breaking down routine maintenance tasks such as network monitoring, backing-up systems, updating software, and so on. At the same time, review strategic duties such as installing a new network or testing servers.
Once you know your IT requirements, you will be able to determine which services should be managed by your in-house IT team and what should be outsourced (more in the upcoming point). This way you can optimally divide responsibilities and ensure all tasks receive adequate attention and are completed on time.
2. Outsource Repetitive Tasks
All businesses want the maximum ROI for every buck they spend. Considering the average cost of paying salaries to internal IT staff, you want to be able to justify your spending. After all, you can’t be paying high salaries to people to run system backups. This is where an MSP comes in. It is more cost-effective to have your MSP manage daily, repetitive tasks such as data back-up, software upgrade, and network monitoring.
As your business expands, your IT team will probably be on their toes all the time with their focus on strategic tasks. You don’t want to overwhelm them with time-consuming, maintenance-related repetitive tasks. This can be easily avoided with an IT Company in San Francisco Bay Area in your corner. While they perform all the daily tasks, your team can concentrate on productive tasks like system improvements and strategic planning.
3. Leverage Expertise
That being said, you should know that an MSP is capable of handling more than just repetitive, time-consuming tasks. In fact, they can prove to be valuable resources in strategic environments. That’s because they’re experts in the IT field who keep track of the latest technology. They also maintain healthy working relationships with technology vendors.
Involving your MSP in strategic planning can mean well-supported company growth. From brokering services to providing guidance for budgeting and time to deployment, collaborating with an MSP will help you gain a holistic view of your needs and options. A skilled MSP can be your strongest ally.
4. Prevent and Mitigate Disasters
This is where your MSP can shine and prove themselves to be the hero that saves the day. A managed IT service in San Francisco Bay Area can help your IT team formulate a disaster recovery plan that includes standard procedures for getting to the root of issues, securing the network, and restoring backed-up data to normalize operations as fast as possible.
You never know what will go wrong with your IT systems and when. So if and when disaster does strike, you can count on your MSP to lead from the front and skillfully navigate your business out of the mess. They will rectify the issues and get started on restoring back-ups immediately, minimizing the impact of the disaster.
5. Get State-of-the-Art Infrastructure
Hosting your own IT infrastructure can prove to be costly. With an MSP, however, this is one aspect that you need not worry about.
Your MSP can host some or all of your systems. If you think that means giving up control of them, think again. Your in-house IT staff will be able to administer the systems, without the added duties of hosting and maintaining them. These responsibilities will be taken over by your MSP, which means your IT team can focus on other more important business issues.
6. Avail Dependable Support Round the Clock
Emergencies can strike at any time. If something goes wrong with one of your systems in the middle of the night, your internal IT staff may not be able to get to the site to fix the issue. An MSP, on the other hand, offers round-the-clock support. This means the issue will be fixed without any hassle, regardless of the time and place.
Ask any IT company in San Francisco Bay Area and they will tell you that an MSP will equip you with an offsite team that can swoop in and attend to issues whenever your IT team is unable to. This can be especially helpful if you have a small team. You never have to worry about problems going undetected and/or unaddressed.
7. Harness the Latest and the Safest Technology
While your internal IT team may also consist of experts, it is nearly impossible for them to be familiar with every aspect of current technology. Reliable MSPs dedicate skilled team members to every type of available technology, along with the necessary certifications.
MSPs can also provide your business with access to the latest and legitimate IT tools and technology at no extra cost. This will ensure that your business operations run smoothly and staff becomes more productive.
All said and done, it is beneficial for businesses to consider their managed IT service provider as a strategic partner. An MSP fully understands the vast IT realm, so they know exactly how to fulfil your business needs. You get the infrastructure and the team that helps you reach your goals faster. The best part is that you can scale your IT capabilities as needed. In fact, it is a good idea to closely integrate your MSP into your business operations to make the most of this partnership. Let your MSP function as an enabler in your business, and you will see your investment will pay off most beneficially.
Insider threats refer to malicious risks to a business that come from people within the organization. These people include employees, former workers, contractors, and business associates, who have authorized access to the organization’s sensitive information.
For example, a malicious insider can be a disgruntled employee who was laid off. It can also be a person who intends to make a quick buck by selling your trade secrets to interested parties, or even someone who unintentionally opens your system/data to potential harm.
A 2020 study found that data exfiltration was the most common type of insider threat, followed by privilege misuse. Data exfiltration accounted for 62 percent of insider threats caused by employees and contractors.
Insider threats can eventually lead to fraud, data theft, stealing of intellectual property, and sabotage of computer systems. Steps towards detecting insider threats and blocking them are crucial to your business’s productivity and reputation.
Managed Services Providers (MSP) can help you mitigate insider threats by implementing preventive cybersecurity measures within your business network.
How MSPs Reduce the Risk of Insider Threats
Here's a list of services that MSPs provide to mitigate the risks resulting from insider threats.
1. Security Awareness Training
MSPs implement effective cybersecurity awareness training programs to educate employees on proactively detecting warning signs to minimize damage from insider threats. Let’s see what this entails.
2. Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)
Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) is an approach to restricting system access to authorized users only. It protects your business’s sensitive data by providing access to employees based on their duties. In other words, employees are allowed to access only the information necessary to perform their work, thereby preventing misuse of confidential business data from malicious insiders.
Access is given based on various factors such as authority, responsibility, and job competency. Further, access to system resources is limited to specific tasks such as viewing, creating, or modifying a file.
MSPs can also leverage RBAC to meet regulatory compliances such as PCI-DSS, GDPR, and HIPAA. You can take the help of local IT specialists to manage access to your sensitive data through RBAC and meet state-specific compliance. For instance, businesses in San Francisco can work with providers of IT Support and keep their systems updated with local regulatory compliances.
3. Advanced Data Encryption
MSPs use encryption algorithms such as Advanced Encryption Standard and Triple Data Encryption Standard for protecting sensitive business data and ensuring no breaches occur. They also deploy Zero-Knowledge privacy standards to encrypt an employee’s file on their system before uploading it. This ensures that only the authorized employee has access to unencrypted files. It will not allow any other employee of your company to access or tamper with the files.
4. Identification of Anomalous Behavior
User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) helps MSPs identify employees’ suspicious activities such as attempts to access restricted files or intellectual property. UEBA is a type of cybersecurity process that considers the regular conduct of employees to detect deviations from their usual behavior. For instance, if a particular employee usually downloads 10MB of data every day, but suddenly starts downloading gigabytes of files, the system will detect this anomaly and alert you immediately.
Machine learning and statistical analysis are leveraged by UEBA to detect anomalies that can transform into a potential threat. All in all, MSPs use UEBA to track all the employees and entities in your business system, and mitigate attempts to carry out targeted attacks and fraud.
5. Comprehensive Visibility and Monitoring
MSPs constantly monitor your business’s IT infrastructure through a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) platform. They can detect internal threats in real-time. Further, log monitoring and alerting enables employees to carry on their work seamlessly with minimal intrusions and privacy concerns.
6. Zero-Trust Identity Policy
The Zero-Trust identity policy grants access to employees only when they meet certain security criteria. Also, access is granted to specific systems or resources for a limited period of time.
For instance, if an employee requires access to your business’s accounting database, your MSP can use the Zero-Trust identity policy to analyze if the employee actually belongs to the accounting department. They will also check if the employee is using a known computer and accessing it from a safe location. If any of these criteria are not fulfilled, your MSP will prompt your system to ask for more information from the employee, such as a secret code sent through a text or an email.
From rogue employees and financially-motivated insiders to involuntary employee blunders, insider threats occur because of a variety of reasons. Businesses need to prioritize insider threat protection to balance security and privacy, while preventing, detecting, and responding to malicious insiders.
You can hire an MSP and implement robust security measures to mitigate insider threats. Their cybersecurity services include constant monitoring to identify abnormal behavior, instant investigation of suspicious user activity, end-user security awareness education, and more.
In a nutshell, MSPs can help you implement measures for insider threat management and protect your organization's critical data from malicious insider activities.
IT operations play a critical role in the growth and smooth running of businesses, regardless of their size. It is, therefore, important that the IT infrastructure is managed optimally. This is where IT Consulting Companies or Managed Services Providers (MSPs) come into the picture.
The global managed services market is expected to exceed 200 billion U.S. dollars in size this year. Over the next few years, revenue from the managed services market is set to grow to more than 300 billion U.S. dollars.
A lot of businesses are seeing the worth of hiring skilled and trained IT specialists in the form of MSPs. They act as an outsourced IT department and offer a plethora of solutions for issues related to information technology, network security, data management, and more.
Reasons for Hiring a Managed Services Provider
Hiring a reliable MSP is less costly than expanding your business's in-house IT team. Here are a few more pressing reasons why your business should partner with an MSP.
1. Proactive Security Monitoring and Constant IT Support
MSPs constantly monitor your network to detect and mitigate risks such as phishing attacks, malware attacks, ransomware, weak passwords, and insider threats.
Keeping up with the latest security measures is a full-time job. MSPs specialize in cybersecurity techniques, and provide innovative services to protect your business. These include data backup, network security assessment, end-user awareness, and endpoint protection. MSPs can also give you access to the latest anti-virus software, automatic patching, and updated firewalls.
Strategic planning is key to providing consistent IT support to businesses. MSPs have a dedicated service desk to provide IT support to companies. The service desk offers a full suite of skills that include Tier 1 to Tier 3 support. Let us look at how these support teams function.
● Tier 1
Tier 1 team captures the service requests and performs the initial triage.
● Tier 2
Tier 2 team works on the majority of end-user and desktop support needed by the businesses.
● Tier 3
Tier 3 team handles escalations and network-related service requests.
If the MSPs are unable to resolve an issue remotely, they schedule a support desk technician to go onsite.
2. Technology Management
MSPs stay abreast of the latest technological innovations. They keep your system updated and provide timely software and hardware maintenance.
The type of technologies they implement include desktops, servers, applications, and networking upgrades. They also provide support for:
3. Minimal Downtime and Increased Productivity
Downtime brings your business operations to a standstill and leaves your employees with idle time, thereby reducing productivity and efficiency. MSPs work towards minimizing downtime and increasing efficiency in the below-mentioned ways.
Minimizing downtime increases workplace productivity. With a secure, stable network and fewer help desk tickets, your employees will have more time to focus on core competencies such as quality and innovation. It will also improve your customer relationships and increase sales.
4. Predictable Cost Structure
The cost of technology changes drastically from month to month. This can make budgeting difficult for businesses.
MSPs have an easy-to-understand and predictable cost structure. They help businesses create a precise budget and deliver accurate financial forecasts. They usually charge a monthly fee for their services.
5.Adherence to Compliance Regulations
A reliable MSP can help your business meet relevant compliance regulations such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI-DSS.
Regulatory compliance requires you to ensure that only authorized and authenticated users can access sensitive data. You must protect customer data against loss and accidental or intentional disclosure.
MSPs can implement strong security measures and keep your business in line with data privacy regulations. Here is how they do it.
● Protection from Cyber Attacks
Cyber criminals can steal your sensitive business data and put you in violation of data privacy laws.
MSPs can prevent cyber threats from entering your network by making use of anti-malware, anti-ransomware, firewalls, and phishing mitigation software.
● VCIO Consultations
Virtual Chief Information Officers (VCIOs) strategically plan and manage a company's cybersecurity plan.
They can audit your network for weak spots and make recommendations based on important developments in data privacy regulations.
● Centralized Security Management
Unauthorized third-party data access can violate data privacy laws. MSPs centralize the management of your network's security and minimize the amount of data that can be accessed by third-parties.
● Implementation of Real-Time Alerts
Data privacy regulations such as GDPR require you to inform your customers about a data breach within a certain timeframe. Failing to notify a breach when required to do so can result in heavy fines of up to 10 million Euros or 2 percent of your global turnover.
MSPs enable real-time data breach alerts across your business network and protect your business from penalties while neutralizing cyber threats.
You can take the help of local MSPs to understand your state’s specific compliance laws. For instance, businesses in San Francisco can hire managed IT services in San Francisco Bay area to meet their local compliance requirements, thereby avoiding heavy penalties.
When you work with an MSP, skilled IT professionals act as your business’s IT department MSPs also provide technologies that range from backup recovery to technology roadmaps and enable you to gain an edge over competitors.
In a nutshell, MSPs are involved in every facet of enabling all-round digital transformation in an organization. From cutting costs and mitigating cybersecurity risks to enabling cloud management and ensuring data protection, an MSP can do it all competently.
Precision IT Consulting Help Desk is a team of experienced and certified professionals that provides daily strategic support for businesses.