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December 19, 2014

Managed Security In The Cloud


cloud managed security

Information security is a global challenge, and risk management of resources and data is constantly changing. Protecting your business against vulnerabilities is of utmost importance at both the network and application layer. One solution that managed security services can offer is in providing a cloud backup service for all of your important business information, data and intelligence. With cloud backup, you can always be sure that you will be able to recover all of your system should malware, hacking or other security disaster ever strike.

One the true beauties of utilizing the cloud is in the top grade security that it can offer. Inevitably, this security will be far beyond anything that your business could provide in-house. And with managed security services, this move into the cloud will all be taken care of for you, and that means that you can rest assured that not only is your business benefitting from the protection of some of the finest security in the world, but the management of your data as it moves to and from the cloud is protected with an equal level of professionalism.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the security benefits that cloud security can offer your business.

Cost Effective

Firstly, using managed security in the cloud is extremely cost effective. So much so, in fact, that SMBs and even start-ups no longer need the considerable financial backing that they did only a few short years ago in terms of buying software licenses and hardware. Cloud providers work on a subscription basis – in yesteryears, you would have had to have paid for software upgrades and storage space when moving data to the cloud, but now, within the subscription costs, all of this is now included in one neat little package. Indeed, when subscribing to managed services, all of the management is included also, so you know exactly what you are paying for, what it involves, and exactly what level of security you can expect.

Also, the lack of a fixed contract means that your business has the flexibility should it scale up or down in accordance with your needs. Resources can be readily adjusted so that you only ever pay for exactly what you use. This is great for start-ups in particular. Since your initial investment will be considerably less, the risk involved, should the new company start to encounter difficulties, is considerably reduced.

No Need For An In-house IT Team

If you are utilizing managed services, then one of the biggest savings that you will make is of course in the negation of a need for an IT team. It used to be the case that a dedicated member of staff or a whole team was required to manage a business’ software and network, but once you move to the cloud with managed services, you and your employees can have secure access to any work, information and software from any computer with an internet connection anywhere in the world – ideal for companies who have remote teams.

Storage and Recovery

As mentioned above, the cloud enables secure access to vast amounts of data from any computer. This means that both internal and external staff can get to the information they need anywhere – all that’s needed is a password.

What is more, the fact that all data is stored online means that in the case of a security breach or system failure, which may sometimes mean that all computer-based data is lost, that same information can be quickly and securely recovered from the cloud, and your managed security service will ensure that this is done for you. Backups such as this are even included in your managed cloud security package.

Antivirus Security

Cloud antivirus services nearly all work in the same way – a small client or agent piece of software runs on each in-house device and makes a connection to the central cloud server. Provided you have an internet connection, updates to the virus signatures are always automatic. Since most of the heavy lifting in terms of security happens in the cloud itself, your in-house devices actually need very little memory, for it is on the central server in the cloud where potential infections are tracked, though these can of course be monitored and viewed on any browser.

Key Antivirus Benefits For Managed Security In The Cloud:

  • You never need worry that your users and employees might forget to install latest virus signatures, or that they accidentally turn off protection software.
  • You can instantly see and monitor what is happening on your network, and which devices are protected.
  • There is less software to install.
  • All of the above is managed for you.

When moving to the cloud with managed services, your security and protection is absolutely guaranteed. With your back up and recovery taken care of, your antivirus initiatives all cared for, and all at considerably lower cost than forking out for an in-house IT team, the benefits are exceptional. Contact us to find out what our cloud security packages can do for you.

December 9, 2014

5 Ways to Boost Security with Managed Services


managed security

For a lot of SMBs, improving security will be an utmost priority. But, without the expertise in-house to manage such an initiative, this can actually prove to be one of the hardest challenges in the business plan. The demands of daily business can of course be very draining on time resources, and the more business you do, the more information there is to protect on your IT systems. The result is an accumulation of security problems that a lot of SMBs find that they neither have the time nor the skills to manage effectively themselves.

From weak passwords to cloud backup, and from patch management to antivirus software, there’s an ever-increasing list of IT security measures that need to be dealt with on a daily basis, and when a firm has little or no in-house IT resources that can deal with it, then one of the best solutions is to reach out to a managed services provider who can supply the expertise, and the time needed, for you.

Boosting security with managed services is something that is very simple to organize, and, once it’s all set up, you’ll be able to sit back and relax in the knowledge that some of your most pressing demands are being dealt with professionally and securely. If you’re thinking about using managed services to boost your IT security, then you’ll probably have something very specific in mind that you’ll be needing help with. So below we’ve put together a list of 5 ways that you can boost your security with managed services to help you see what it is that you might not have at the moment, but really can’t do without.

  1. Patch Management

Patch management involves testing, acquiring and installing multiple patches to an administered computer system. Patches are pieces of software that are designed to update a computer program to improve or fix it. This includes mending vulnerabilities in security and other bugs, and generally improving performance and usability. The tasks involved in patch management include: deciding upon which patches are appropriate for which systems; maintaining knowledge and data of existing patches; ensuring that all patches are installed properly; documenting all patch procedures; testing systems after installation.

Popular software in particular needs regular updates as these are naturally the most attacked. Microsoft issue updates every monthly in their regular ‘Patch Tuesday’ to address issues with Windows and Office apps for example and all of the large software companies release regular updates too.

  1. Antivirus Management

Antivirus management will secure your computer system from viruses, Trojans, spyware and any other malicious software (malware) that may become a threat to a network. A robust antivirus system is imperative for any business. Indeed, it is the growing trend that companies are having to put more time and effort into protecting their online assets as hackers are constantly developing ever more powerful tools to break into systems. These tools are becoming harder to defend against, and are causing more and more damage with each new generation. Outsourcing managed services to ensure that your company’s online information is suitably protected is, as a result, becoming increasingly vital for the SMB.

  1. Remote Backup

Sometimes referred to as cloud backup, a remote managed backup service can provide your business with the backup, storage space, and recovery of the important computer files on your system. Typically, the remote backup service will collect, compress, encrypt and transfer all of the required data onto a remote server or other off-site hardware.

One of the beauties of utilizing a remote backup system is in the fact that full assurance and guarantee can be given that whatever is backed up will be recoverable should disaster ever strike the in-house system. What is more, the security available when using cloud or hybrid storage will almost invariably be much higher than what can be physically provided in-house, ensuring that the most critical data to your business will always be protected.

  1. Firewall Management

Implementing, monitoring and managing a firewall needs to be at the top of the list of priorities for safeguarding an organization’s security. As the malware threats of today become increasingly sophisticated, successfully managing a firewall can indeed become a rather complex and timely initiative. By looking to managed services to provide around the clock, customized firewall protection, your company can free up valuable time and resources, safe in the knowledge that you will always be ahead of any threat that comes anywhere near your system.

 

  1. Access And Identity Management

The last thing that any company wants to have to worry about is an unauthorized person gaining access to the internal computer system and all of its important files. Indeed, your customers will expect that basic level of security to be implemented at the very least. But making such a thing secure and free from vulnerability can be a very difficult thing to achieve without the expertise to implement an advanced access and identity management service onto a system. Managed services can take care of that for you, ensuring that you organization’s data, systems and applications are completely safeguarded from unauthorized access.

Managed services also monitor systems 24/7 for issues to catch them before they occur. Whilst it used to be the case that you only ever called IT support when something went wrong, these days support companies offering managed services can preempt problems, saving the supported business money. Downtime costs a business a lot and for the SMB it’s thought that it accounts for around $7,900 in lost revenue per minute.

V&C Solutions offer all of the above IT services and more to boost your online security. Visit our Services Page, or get in touch to find out more.

December 2, 2014

The Small Business Guide to Managed Services


managed IT

As a small business, you might not necessarily have the means to have your own in-house IT team. As such, the decision whether or not to utilize a managed IT service as part your business strategy might be something that you’re facing right now. This is a positive step for SMBs, as it means that their IT is often looked after better than it is in house as service providers tend to offer a more rounded, complete, service.

 

So if you’re considered choosing managed services for the first time, or are thinking about swapping from your current break-fix model, then read on for our guide to managed services for small business.

 

What Are Managed Services?

 

Put simply, managed services are the practices of outsourcing everyday management responsibilities that would otherwise normally be managed in-house. Strategically, this is used as a method for cutting costs in a company and improving operations.

 

If we are to put this in the context of IT, then managed IT services is an arrangement where one company provides IT support and services for another. It’s favored by a lot of small businesses simply because they may not require the employment of a full-time IT person or team, but rather only need such services as and when there’s a problem, or when a specific service is required, and so a third-party provider is a much more cost-effective solution.

 

The Advantages of Managed Services

 

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons SMEs favor managed services is to save money, but there are further advantages to opting for managed services. Let’s take a look at some below.

 

Security

With managed services, your IT security operations are all dealt with for you. Security is of course paramount to any business, and with the rising threat of malware, it is imperative that it’s taken seriously and handled expertly. This indeed may well be something that you simply have to outsource in the absence of an in-house IT team.

 

Storage

Cloud storage and backup offers a lot of advantages and cost savings to SMBs. Without backup, all of your information is inevitably unprotected, and if you experience a security breach then you could potentially lose a lot of business and a lot of money. Cloud services invariably offer guarantees and security that you simply will not be able to match in-house.

 

Analytics

Having a managed services team that handles the analytics requirements of customer data can be of real benefit when it comes to getting the inside business intelligence required to make meaningful predictions about your market. Data science is a very particular skill, and one that is actually still quite hard to come by, so outsourcing here may well be your only option if you find that you’ve got a lot of data to analyze.

Environmental Reasons

Outsourcing IT models can actually offset a company’s carbon emissions, especially if utilizing cloud services. If you can offload your data center’s workload onto the cloud, then you can take advantage of reduced in-house energy requirements, something that you can then go on to advertise when scouting for new business.

 

The Services

The advantages outlined above come part and parcel with a lot of the managed services that you might be looking for. However, you of course will probably be looking for something very specific during your considerations for outsourcing IT services, so below we’ve put together a list of what’s available to you.

 

Email

It is still the case that the majority of most business communications are conducted via email. Your employees’ personal accounts simply won’t do for business purposes, however ­– it’s just not professional. What you need is a business-like, branded email infrastructure, and you may consider looking to cloud services to get what you want. Either way, finding a managed services partner to deal with your email requirements will help you find the best solution to your business’s needs.

 

Network Infrastructure

The setup of your network can make the differences in productivity and efficiency that can mean success or failure for a business. There will be all manner of machines, devices, storage systems and of course people on your business network, and they all need to be linked together efficiently and smoothly. IT services can implement, integrate and maintain all of your network requirements for you.

 

Server Infrastructure

The maintenance of an organization’s server, be it on site or off, is of utmost importance. IT services make sure that servers are backed-up on a regular basis and protected from unexpected power disruptions and redundancy. Outsourcing server infrastructure is something that a lot of SMEs are turning to.

Backup and Recovery

Iit goes without saying that you simply cannot take any risks when it comes to the personal files of clients and other essential business information. All of the data that you collect in a company – from emails to sales receipts – need to be filed and stored away for future analysis and reference. All of your digital assets therefore need to be backed up in the case of a disaster. Indeed, if such a thing does happen, then you need to have the means to get yourself back up and running once more as quickly as possible. IT services can offer you these solutions.

Here at V&C Solutions we offer all of the above IT services and more. We are here to provide SMEs with quality and affordable IT support and technology solutions from San Jose to Santa Rosa. Get in touch to find out more.