The last installment of a four-part series looks at solutions to protect customers more deeply whilealso enhancing your MRR.By Joshua Liberman
One thing that nearly every IT professional will have to learn to master is remote support, whether “silently” (by means of RMM or web-based access), or by telephone. And learning to hone these remote troubleshooting skills should be at the top of your list. Let’s look at three aspects of remote service delivery you’ll need to master to get there.
An attacker this week simultaneously encrypted endpoint systems and servers belonging to all customers of a US-based managed service provider by exploiting a vulnerable plugin for a remote monitoring and management tool used by the MSP.
TO PARAPHRASE THAT WINNING EXPRESSION from the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign, “It’s the data, stupid.” Both the sophistication and the breadth of cyberattacks are growing at a dizzying pace today. From hardware design flaws to ever more sophisticated exploits, clients and their data are in great peril, with their firewall standing sentry. Here’s how to configure that firewall for maximum effectiveness.
SECURING NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE is an asymmetric challenge. You must be nearly perfect. Bad actors need to find just one weakness. Since the most secure networks are those with security baked in, let’s start with the basic recipe for that.
ENDPOINT SECURITY RISK is on the rise, with the average cost of a successful attack about $300 per employee, according to a 2017 Ponemon Institute study. You can help save your clients from taking such a financial hit by shoring up their endpoint security. Here we walk through the fundamentals of patching and anti-malware, mobile device management (MDM), remote access hardening, device encryption, device discovery, internal scans, and voice over IP (VoIP) phones. For “extra credit” we include data loss prevention (DLP).
From the general interest shows that ASCII Group, ChannelPro, and SMB TechFest offer to the mega shows like DattoCon, IT Nation, and Robin Robins, it pays to plan, execute, and follow up in order to optimize your event experience. Let’s take a look at those steps in more depth.
Firewall management is one of the most important duties of any effective MSP. And that process starts with an effective pre-deployment client interview, during which we gather information such as where their clients and business associates are geographically, how to handle wireless access, who needs remote access to what and from where, and more. This interview process is for our benefit, but it also benefits the client by helping with necessary information gathering and providing them insight into the complexities of securing their business. In addition, it really starts the relationship off on the right foot.
During a recent meeting with a prospective client we found many problems, including a server running an unsupported operating system, no patching or antivirus, and a firewall with services disabled (that is, not a firewall at all). But the most interesting thing was the question she asked once we got to ongoing maintenance: “Why can’t I just do this myself?”
Who loves meetings? How about a quick show of virtual hands — who loves meetings? Immortalized in countless movies, poorly run meetings are the bane of anyone’s work day. Many meetings — even in small business — are boring, ineffective, and wasteful. The good news is we can fix this, together.
As exciting as "going cloud" can be for SMBs, for some, only on-premises infrastructure and applications will do, whether that's because of bandwidth, data set, regulations, or simply customer choice. We have devised an alternative known as the "premises cloud," based on a fast, flexible, and scalable network design that is hosted on premises at a cost that is within the reach of larger SMBs. The guiding principle here, as Einstein famously said, is: "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
Every small business is different, but every IT provider sees common problems at customer after customer. One customer may be great about security, but terrible at backup. Another may perform backups constantly, but run 10-year-old computers that turn worker productivity into a pipe dream. Resellers from all over the country provide some horror stories, and what they have done to convince customers to patch the glaring holes in their IT infrastructure. But sometimes, clients refuse the best advice, then crash and burn. Use the bad examples as teaching tools in your next customer or prospect meeting.
If cloud services or the connectivity to them are down, then so are your users. And since either a service or broadband failure alone can bring productivity to a halt, the perceived availability rate even for well-managed cloud offerings can effectively be 99 percent or less. That translates to days of downtime a year. "That will improve. It's already dramatically better. But it's not a utility. It's not anywhere near that reliable," says Liberman, president of system builder and network integrator Net Sciences Inc., based in Albuquerque, N.M. Even if a public cloud computing solution delivers the 99.9 percent, or "three nines," availability it promises in its service-level agreement, a typical user can expect 8.76 hours of downtime a year. Murphy's Law ensures that outage will occur precisely when a deadline looms.
Over the past few years, cloud computing has emerged as a viable way to confront a wide array of IT challenges, ranging from managing infrastructure and resources to managing data within enterprise applications. However, the technology is also radically altering the landscape for channel firms. It's no secret that a growing number of vendors-including the likes of Microsoft, IBM, HP, Oracle, Dell, Salesforce.com, and Symantec-are taking the direct route to businesses and consumers by offering their products and solutions through the cloud.
The first thing every business with BYOD devices needs is a policy to cover their use, loss, and/or theft. That can easily be tied into an acceptable usage policy that defines: