(Video) The part time person on staff who knows computers V’s the external Managed Services expert!

When it comes to managed services, there are two components, and two ways that a Managed Service Provider looks after your business.

  • You have an internal person who actually know a bit about IT and they know about computers or they play games.
  • And then we’ve got the external expertise. These are the people who are part of a business whose sole purpose is to look after information technology for other businesses.

When it comes to the internal people, there are a number of problems with having people on staff. One, it costs you a lot of money, especially if you’ve got a dedicated IT person.

A dedicated IT person, jack of all trades, can cost you anywhere from $70-150K. Not many small businesses under 20 people can afford that cost. On top of that, they are going to be doing everything.

They are going to be:

  • fixing computer problems,
  • printer problems,
  • setting up firewalls,
  • setting up servers,
  • setting up policies,
  • putting policies in place,
  • working on business continuity,
  • Doing disaster recovery plans.
  • All of this stuff for one person is one difficult.

Yes, they could be the most competent person in the world. But I can guarantee, if they can do all that, they won’t be working for you very long. They will move into a managed service environment where they can specialize in an area that they are really focused on.

When it comes to external expertise, you don’t have to worry about that, because you know that if you’ve got a backup and restore problem, then an expert in backup and restore will come and have a look at it. Or, you have a problem with your printers. And someone who knows printers will come and have a look at it, or remote in and fix it.

These people are what you really need to make your business go forward, because they are the technical expertise that allows you to use your business to do what it needs to do.

To make sure that you, the driving force behind the business, doesn’t have to worry about your IT. The managed service provider are the experts. They are the CIO, the CDO, the IT manager, any component that you need to ask questions about, they will know what to do.

And a good managed service provider will make sure that the external expertise that you require as a business to go forward are in place and ready.

Business Resilience – are you prepared?

capsuleIn business today, there is no such thing as being over prepared.

An example of business resilience is the case of the Bankstown City Council Fire on 01 July 1997.   The council had no business continuity plan in place at the time and recovery from the fire was expected to take an extended period BUT the council’s response was organised, the staff were highly motivated and services were quickly restored.   A BC plan is not the sole key in the process of recovering from severe business disruption.    To create a resilient business environment requires effective and motivated leadership, devolved decision making, supportive external partners and a highly driven and effective work force.

Business Resilience is not a checklist or plan but it is a way that the business approaches business.   It is found in the businesses culture, in their leadership, in the business attitudes and most of all in the corporate values that flow through the whole business.

Being resilient can provide a business with a competitive advantage.   Following an interruption, a resilient business can:

·        Return to profitable business faster

·        Use the disruption to improve efficiency

·        Protect insurers by reducing insurance premiums

·        Reduce the exposure to uninsured losses

·        Enhance its reputation

·        And increase staff morale.

A decent resilience program can be used as a business development plan.

Resilient is something that comes about though good organisational leadership.    I was in the Navy in the 80’s and I had a supply officer (Brian) who had one of the best leadership profiles I have ever come across.  Brian’s attitude was that there were never any problems but there were challenges to resolve, by leading through example and delegating responsibility he had a group of people that would go to the wall for him but bring him back as well.   This attitude had the whole supply department on HMAS Swan willing and able to do anything to get the job done.

So staff in a resilient organisation will not only pull together to achieve the desired outcomes (one in, all in) but they also have predefined direction and a supportive network that allows for the right attitude.   The team will adapt quickly and with passion but will also try to predict future outcomes.

A resilient business will float to the top in times of adversity and to do that it needs to have a number of things in place prior to that resilience being needed.   The business needs to be

·        Adaptive.

·        The staff and management know what to do.

·        Willing to change and plans to do that.

·        Have a vision of adapting to situations.

·        Think outside the box.

·        Capitalise on adversity.

·        Respond rapidly to change.

So a Resilient business has a Chrystal Ball and it is functioning pretty well.    It is clear what and who is involved in the business and hire only those people who will fit the ethos and attitude of the business.

In a resilient business there are components that go forward to create a holistic approach to that resilience.   Parts of a business that will impact the resilience of the business are Risk management, Business Continuity, Physical and IT security, OH and S and HR   The resilience of a business is a jigsaw and the fitting together of different components enhances the resilience of the business.

The resilience of the business comes from the culture of the business and enables ideas and knowledge to be bought together, combined and acted on.

The challenges to a resilient business are the following:

·        Resistance to change in staff and management

·        The inability to recognise points of failure inside the business and acting on them

·        An understanding of the flow on effects from HR, Management and external forces.

·        The need for champions to change internal attitudes

·        Changing the idea of resilience from strategic to a component part of the business

·        Education at and for the business in the requirements of resilience.

Business resilience comes about through communication, collaboration and coordination within the business.   It is driven both from the top down through management requirements and reporting but also from the bottom up through staff involvement and changes to processes to better the business.   The coalface is still the area that will drive a business and the managerial support of that role will ensure a business is resilient and secure.

Roger Smith is the CEO of R & I ICT Consulting Services, Amazon #1 selling author on Cybercrime, author of the Digital Security Toolbox and author of the SME Digital Security Framework.   He is a Speaker, Author, Teacher and educator on cybercrime and how to protect yourself from the digital world.

Managed Service or outsourcing for the small Business!

It’s about time you put your Sales person back to work!

EngineerMany small and medium business and not for profit Organisations (SME) are too small to have a full time ICT person.   When this happens, these organisations have three choices.

All for one and one for all

Not have anyone do the job and just for everyone to look after themselves.   This may sound stupid but this is what happens when a very small business doesn’t understand the technological requirements of the business.   They are quite happy to use only 5% of their digital expertise and equipment to do their job.

Use someone on staff as the “go to” person who “knows computers”

In a large number of Organisations there is someone who knowns computers and is in turn delegated to the role of IT manager.   The delegated person may be there because they have an aptitude for ICT or they have made their own computer or in most cases they are gamers and that’s because gamers know business.

There are three problems with this:

  • They may know computers, have built them or played with them in their own time but in today’s digital world there is a vast difference between someone who knows computers and someone who is TRAINED in computers and technology.
  • The second one is a soft skills problem.   Small businesses have limited resources, and those limited resources have to be utilised to the best of the Organisations abilities.       In some places you have accounts people – both inbound and outbound, or you have sales and marketing person, they are employed to do that specific job within the organisation.       If they are also the computer guy then the original skills and resources will no longer be utilised to the best of their ability.   I.E. If they are the sales person how many months will you allow them to not meet their sales targets because they were fixing computers.
  • The computer person focussed more and more on the IT of the business and less on their original job requirement.   The more fun they have with fixing computer problems the less they like doing their original work – have you got someone like that in your organisation.

Get a professional to manage your computers.

In most small Organisations the resources are not in the budget to allow for a single person to manage the IT so the business has two options:

  • Hire a part timer, someone who will come in when something is broken and stay until it is fixed.   This can create monumental cash flow problems.   In addition, this solution will not give you the in-depth knowledge that every organisation needs in today’s digital world.       Yes they could fix a computer problem, a printer problem or even a server problem, but will they know how to use the cloud for the business, know what is needed to secure the organisation against the bad guys, know what apps or mobile devices are going to make your business more profitable using today’s technology?
  • The second alternative is to get a service level agreement with a MANGED service provider (MSP).   A MSP will monitor your network 24/7, give you access to a helpdesk system, fix problems remotely or on site, deliver monthly Management reports to you and be a proactive force, catching small things before they have a major impact on your business.   In most cases a MSP is a single monthly cost depending on your organisation size, your requirements and the MSP you are talking to.

Computers and the digital world are the mainstay of business in today’s world.   Get it right and the benefits can be stunning but get it wrong and the detrimental impact can be just as devastating.

 

Taking Back the Digital Streets – Cybercrime now and the future

Woman looking through dirty broken glassIn the 70’s and 80’s, there was a fight in cities worldwide to take back the streets and make it safe for normal people to walk in their neighbourhoods without fear.   Those efforts paid off—murders, muggings and other urban crimes have dropped dramatically since then. The internet badly needs a similar intervention.

The internet may be the last bastion of free speech, but it’s also the most dangerous place on the planet.   You can lose everything—your money, information and identity—before you even realise that you have been attacked.   At least if you get mugged in a dark alley you have the bruises to prove that you have been robbed.   Have you ever tried to convince the bank that you did NOT purchase that top-of-the-line snow mobile, considering you live in the tropics?   It is not a fun conversation.

But the current level of crime isn’t inevitable. I have been reading some articles on how New York City citizens took back control of their streets.   Their efforts involved forming neighbourhood watches, cooperating with police. There were also a huge number of court cases there concerning a citizen’s right to free speech and free movement. All of these solutions started with citizens demanding a safer environment.

The “citizens” of the digital world should do the same. We, the people, are the ones using the internet for practically everything, and we have to take control.   With the help of law enforcement and politicians, we can do, it but it has to start with us.

Of course, there are huge problems to overcome. I like to call them challenges.   Here are a few.

Too Many Criminals

How do we reduce the number of cyber criminals?   Well, in most cases, the neighbourhood solutions that worked were not high-tech stuff.   And the answer wasn’t more arrests— in some cases it was less, but the arrests they did make were those that had the biggest impact.   By removing the people on the lower rungs of the ladder, they left the ones on the higher rungs without their support. The ones higher up had to come down, and they were also caught in the net.

Hacker programing in technology enviroment with cyber icons andThe internet has its own forms of small-time crime.   Web site graffiti, using an exploit kit, ripping movies and music, and creating a phishing email are all at the lowest level of the badness scale.   If the people who were doing this were the targets of law enforcement, starting with an escalating fine system, then these people would quickly drop out of the cybercrime arena.   It would no longer be a cool and easy thing to do; it could get you a criminal record.   Yes, these people can be caught—the problem is that they are so numerous that it will take a concerted effort at all levels.

Look at web site graffiti: It is either done on a dare, or it is done as a political attack.   Let’s look at as a dare: When the perpetrator is caught then he is fined; if he is underage then his parents are fined.

If it is political, then there is another problem.   I can hear the cry from here—what about free speech?   Well, you can still say what you like. You have the right to go down to the street corner and shout your views from a soapbox.   Or upgrade to the digital version—get a domain name and a web site, and you can say and do whatever you like.   But law enforcement has to make clear that the moment you graffiti a website, you are defacing someone else’s property. Just like spray-painting your tag on the front of someone’s office, you are crossing the proverbial line and will get fined or arrested.

Draconian? Maybe.   But the focus of this policy wouldn’t be to ruin lives forever. Instead, it would provide small-time hackers with an incentive to stop before they have the chance to hone their skills.

Broken Windows

The victims of petty crime can also play a role in keeping the internet safe. The owner of a web site that has been defaced has an obligation to remove the graffiti and tighten up security.   In a normal business situation— the front of a building, for instance—the clean-up is usually almost instantaneous.   But I have seen defaced websites that haven’t been fixed in months.

Why does it matter? The New York mayor of the late 90’s, Rudy Guilani, had the right idea.   He called it the “broken windows” theory. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_windows_theory) If there are broken windows in an area, that sends the message that no one values property and no one is in charge. Then more windows will get broken, more crime takes place, and the neighbourhood turns into a scary place. But the moment you start to replace them (or remove other signs of vandalism), everyone in the neighbourhood senses that the rules are being enforced. The whole community starts to get involved in maintaining their space, and normal people start to move back in.

Not Enough Cops

Another deterrent of crime is for law enforcement to have a presence in the area.   In New York today you cannot go two blocks without seeing a cop car or an officer on foot. That’s harder to achieve in the online world. How do we put digital cops on every corner?

Yes, police departments can hire specially trained cyber cops. But they can only see a small fraction of what takes place. To be effective, they will need to interact with normal users.

In south Los Angeles, in innovative inner-city police department devised an effective approach to gang violence: The Community Safety Partnership. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/magazine/what-does-it-take-to-stop-crips-and-bloods-from-killing-each-other.html) The police had a need for streetwise people who understood the neighbourhood. These people are the honest, law-abiding citizens who have close ties to gang members and are a little savvier than the rest of the community.   They inform the police when a high-risk situation is developing—for instance, when the Crips or Bloods are plotting a revenge killing. This inside information helps cops prevent crime before it happens.

It works because streetwise citizens are the best source of information on crime. So let’s create more streetwise digital users.   Let’s increase the awareness of the innocent, the uneducated and the ill-informed so they can recognize cybercrime when they see it.   If users know when a crime or scam is taking place, they can report it to law enforcement, their antivirus software provider, or a criminal’s IP.   This is a win-win situation for everyone.

Stop Hunting for Scapegoats

We have a tendency to assign blame and search for scapegoats. The solution I’m proposing is the opposite of that. We need to shift our focus away from the big crimes that grab headlines.   It’s easy to be angry at Target for letting customer credit card information get leaked, but punishing one company won’t prevent the next attack.

Law enforcement, too, needs to change their mindset, from one of confrontation to one of prevention.   Too often, cops swoop in to bust a big cybercrime ring (like the underground drug marketplace Silk Road) after monitoring it secretly for months. To prevent crime, law enforcement has to be more visible.   Bank robberies would probably be a lot more common if there were no security guards or patrol cars for miles around.

If we get the small problems sorted out, we can then put in check and balances that will allow the digital world to flourish. As with any process, we have to walk before we can run.   We have to start with the small wins and build on them.   From Twitter stalkers to Facebook trolls, from 12-year-old script kiddies to targeted phishing attacks, from malicious insiders to the dedicated hackers, we have to send a message that crime has consequences.

I know that changing the digital world will take a little time.   It took 20 to 30 years to sort out the problems in New York and L.A., and they’re still not perfect. But we have to do something about the dangers of the digital world before it really does become a broken communication device.

If You Think You Need a Computer Tech, You Probably Do

Most small and medium business and not for profit organisations have a similar mindset when it comes to business ICT and cyber crime.  That attitude is the old “everything will be all right” and “it won’t happen to me”. 

To the scores of SME’s who have lost their intellectual property, been hacked or had their client list stolen, I could say “I told you so,” but I won’t.  The problem is that most SME’s who have this attitude do not understand how the cyber criminals attack their business, or any of the other things that can go wrong with today’s technology.

This is where an IT person comes into the equation.  For an SME, ICT is what makes your business run correctly, but to make it run at the highest level you need to get information from an expert.  In most cases, an SME considers Google the expert.  Google, combined with “someone who knows computers,” is all that they need to get the best out of their business’s ICT.  Sorry, but that is completely wrong!

There is one large problem with this attitude:  When consulting Google you have to have the right questions.  In most cases, the answer to your question is out there on the internet, but when it comes to getting the best for your business the beauty is in the question.  The more accurate the question, the better the solution will be.  I don’t profess to know how Google works, but in my line of work, we also use Google.  An answer to a question I type in would deliver far more accurate information than a question from someone who just “knows computers.” 

Recently we were troubleshooting a problem on a site.  The client had an on-site computer person, who had been working on the problem for about a week.  The problem was starting to have monumental repercussions for the business, and they called in a professional.  Going in, we had no idea what was wrong, but after about one hour we had a fair idea.  We then asked doctor Google the right question.  Not only were the results totally different from anything the IT tech had turned up, but the actual answer was the second result.  The solution was a quick change to the registry, removing a number of temp files, and a restart of the problematic systems. 

We were on site for about two hours, and the total cost was $300.00, but there was no more loss of productivity within the business.  Considering they lost about $10,000 in productivity, it’s clear that persisting with a tech person who does not know what they are doing is a total waste of money.

In today’s world, your ICT systems are the lifeblood of your business.  You can’t just set them up and then ignore them.  To keep them running at the right level, you have to ensure that they are secure, productive, stable and resilient.  That is a tall order for someone who just “knows computers.”

So how do you avoid IT disasters, and the costly visits from consultants that come with them? A managed service provider will deliver the necessary level of expertise so that your business can focus on what you do best:  Using your expertise to make money, create revenue and drive profit.  That is why you are in business—not so that you can play with computers.

Managed Service Provider – A better way to support your Business?

How often have you taken your car to a backyard mechanic, got the guy next door to do your tax return or represent you in a court of law?

Most businesses want their technology to just WORK.

  • Why doesn’t it just WORK?
  • Why doesn’t it WORK the way it use to?
  • Why doesn’t it just WORK the way it did in the sales brochure?

All good questions with a myriad of answers.

Most businesses have lousy ICT!    A hotch botch of old legacy systems and cutting edge technology and lots of stuff in between.   In most cases it is held together with string, gaffa tape and chewing gum.   It causes inconvenience and often impacts the businesses bottom line.   More often than not it is unstable, unproductive and a bitch to work with.   Ask your staff!

This jumble of technologies makes it hard to do business.    It creates instability.   Systems no longer work properly, you purchased a new computer and the old software is incompatible with the new operating system, most annoying!   There is no consistent ICT management, there is no consistent budgeting or forecasting and worst of all there are constant problems with things just not working.

The small problems are the most annoying.   They are the time consuming problems that never get fixed.   They cause problems with your staff and management.   Worst of all they impact your business productivity.

Most of these problems are not worth spending money on to get fixed, except for the inconvenience that they cause to your staff.    If you have on site IT support these are the jobs they spend most of their time on.   Your IT department has become the fire department, always putting out the small fires or the raging infernos.   There is no time or resources to innovate, to make your business more stable, more resilient more productive.  There is never a chance to stand back and put new technology on a business path, to discuss where technology will fit into the business strategy.

To understand the relations between good business technology and your business takes an expert.   Someone who understands your business and can implement the right systems to make your business hum.   Make it better, make it more stable, make it just WORK.

Today’s operating systems are complicated, they seem to be easy and for some of the tasks they are, but it takes an expert to understand them and to get the most out of them.   But if you think the operating systems are complicated then applications take it to another level.   Applications that have been written by outside programmers can be even more problematic to say the least.

How often have you taken your car to a backyard mechanic, got the guy next door to do your tax return or represent you in a court of law?   I would say never, but for some reason businesses go to the unqualified staff member to fix their ICT.   Invariably in business it is the guy who “knows computers” who gets the gig as IT manager.

Why do business owners and managers do that?

They get the best accountant and lawyer their business can afford and then scrimp on something everyone in the business uses to generate revenue and profit.   Computers are tools, expensive yes, but tools never the less.   They are used to do your job, just like a tradie who uses a hammer, most or all of your staff use a computer.   Email, documents, client management, sales and marketing are all done on a tool.   That tool can be a computer, phone, tablet, server, cloud based environment or a combination of all of them.   Why not get the best available to support the tools that are absolutely critical to your business viability.

The combination of understanding the technology, understanding your business and combining your business capabilities in a stable and productive environment is something that managed service providers (MSP) are very good at.   That is only the start of it, they can also do so much more.

Need to know what technology will help your business grow, ask a Managed Service Provider.

Want to keep track of what is happening within your business at a technical level, ask a Managed Service Provider.

Want to know how to secure your business, ask a Managed Service Provider.

What is this cloud stuff, ask a Managed Service Provider.

Need help writing an internet policy, ask a Managed Service Provider.

To most business the additional cost of having their own on call technical expert is worth it, normally at a factor of 10 times.   In addition to this a single monthly cost and technical support on call or regularly visiting.   What could be better for your business.

In addition they will finally sort out those little nagging problems that cause so much grief within your business.   Look after the little problems.   Someone to discuss the next upgrade with.

All achieved with R & I ICT Consulting Services platinum service.

We have specific packages for all types of business.  We are experts with not for profit Organisations.   We understand small business.   We know that money is tight, we know when to push to spend money and when to work with what is available.   We know when less is better.   We know where you will get that cheap software, a computer for that new role (you may not even need one) or that new application that will improve your business.

We know how to improve your business.   And we will guarantee it!   If you employ us as your MSP,we will give you a three month money back guarantee that we will stabilise your business environment, make it more profitable, manage it as well as report monthly on the condition it is in.

Businesses use the Internet, they use computers, servers, laptops, smart phones and tablets to do business.   It is the driving force for business.   It is the be all and end all of business requirements.  You invest large amounts of capital in your technology so get someone to help you manage it properly.

Call now!!!!!

Business continuity is not just backup and redundancy

Contingency Planning mind mapIn all SME’s there is always the fight over business continuity, disaster recovery and business resilience.   The usual arguments are based around cost and what you actually get for your money.

One of the areas that is seldom though about is historical data.   If something happens how can you roll back that database, get a copy of that old deleted email or a copy of a very important spread sheet from 6 weeks ago or more difficultly 6 months ago.

Some disaster recovery systems are only based on duplicating the data to an off site location, it is normally a regular process of writing over the old just so that the organisation has an up to date copy of the data.   Copying data to a USB drive or an external Hard drive is great if all you are interested in is the ability to recover if the building burns down.

This fails when someone has been using the test database to input real data, where the financial information has been compromised and you need to go back and dissect the information from old backups or you have been infected with a virus and do not know when it started.   When that happens, that off site DR copy is not going to help.

Not every SME does this but there is a high proportion that do not have a way to look at old information or have the capability to bring it back into the business.   Without this capability your business could suffer substantially.   A busy office, doing 200 transactions a day, rebuilding the accounting information could take days to resolve, not the type of problem that a business would like to face.

That is when you need a proper back up system, one that takes regular snap shots of your data and keeps that information in a different back up stream.

There are a number of product in the market that does this but all of them have a cost.   Just get one that suits your business,

Can we help you and your business to a more stable and profitable business environment – A MSP can!

Most Businesses have an ICT investment of about 7% GDP  this can equate to a significant investment for any business.   Reducing that by just 1% can greatly increase your bottom line.   Most small and medium businesses and not for profit organisation need to find ways to increase profitability, reduce costs and use innovation to benefit the bottom line.  To do that the organisation needs to look at a number of available services and capabilities especially those supplied by external contractors.

The business drivers for reducing cost in all available areas of a business can be daunting so the use of a managed service provider could be beneficial to your business.

The managed services provider (MSP) should be able to do the following for a SME or not for profit organisation.

Reduce waste

By making sure that a business does not have duplicated systems, using virtualisation and increasing the capability and requirements of the in place infrastructure.   An MSP should bring considerable waste reduction to a enterprise with recommendation for better ICT infrastructure and the ability to change capital expenditure to operation expenses.

This alone will improve the organisations bottom line because the business is only paying for systems it is utilising to do business while not paying for large capital investments that put sever strain on the businesses cash flow.

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Increase productivity

Just like the old days where the just in time principle applied to mechanical spares, today’s business can leverage a similar capability.   The just in time principle relied on having spares in store when they were required and not eating money and storage on items that may not be used or may never be used.

When this principle is applied to today’s business it allows a enterprise to have the flexibility to add and remove storage, CPU cycles, RAM and business capability as required.   This comes from utilising cloud based systems, virtualisation of servers and desktops and the integration of BYOD into the business environment.

Increase business

Today’s business world needs to have the ability and agility to add and remove capability when required.   The ability can then be translated into your business requirements.   This allows your ICT infrastructure to be project based and deliver on those projects.   The creation and addition of required systems that can be shut down and removed on the completion of a project makes for a more flexible business environment.

It allows management and business to increase profits based on the business ideas.   No longer does a business have to expend capital to increase the capability of the business.   The use of a MSP allows for further savings for a business.   They will have the required expertise and capability on staff to allow the business to utilise them without have to increase the business spend on hardware, software, staff and training.

Enhance business agility

A good managed service provider will allow your business to be more agile in the work place.   This agility comes from the ability for the business to see opportunities and to leverage the ICT requirements to face and conquer that opportunity.

This allows the business to go off in tangents, creating better and more agile business processes and to work into newer and more versatile business environments.   An agile business can change its business direction, make profit, see further opportunities in the change and continue to change and morph to suit the business available.   This can be done with minimal changes to the ICT requirements.   Not having to put on more technical staff, more equipment or more resources makes the business more agile but by increasing your monthly cost makes for a better way to see the cost associated with your business requirements.

Enhance cyber resilience

The catch phrase of the new business world is to enforce security for all components of the business.   From the introduction of RFID to using SSL and TLS to secure information at rest as well as in transit.

Once again the MSP world can help you by knowing what your business requires to protect that critical business information.   From front facing firewalls to security access and business auditing the MSP can help secure your business data with a limited increase in the basic cost of doing business.

A Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) can be an additional business resource with  a huge impact on the capability of the business with additional business processes and policies to enforce your business stability.

Its about the support

Most MSP’s are in the business of business support.   Yes, they are in the business to make money but most of them are looking to support small and medium business and not for profit organisations properly.   By  making sure that there is a flat fee for the technical support helps both the supported business as well as the supporting business.

The supported business knows exactly what they are going to get and how much it will cost per month.  The supporting company knows exactly how much they are going to receive and can budget and allocate resources based on their clients.   The supporting company can also allow its staff to meet stringent training and qualification requirements so that the support is always of the highest caliber.

Unlike the large support companies, IBM, Dell or IDS, most MSP’s are looking to make a profit but not at the detrimental of a really good business relationship based on mutual growth and respect.   This drives the requirements of both businesses.

To gain that respect they will often give more that they take.   From the technical support requirements to training staff in password etiquette, from disaster recovery to cloud computing advice a MSSP or MSP will make your business hum.

If you want someone to help make your business hum then contact us on this form.

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Why do big ICT companies have no idea of the requirements of not for profit organisations?

One of my clients recently received a proposal from a large ICT company based in Canberra that I found very interesting.

We manage a large number of not for profit organisations in the canberra and ACT area of Australia.   Our clients range from 3 users up to 50 users and 80% of them are not for profit organisations.   We are no means the cheapest managed services provider in the ACT but, I believe, we are one of the best and we deliver exceptional value for money with our blended managed service solutions.

I am not saying that to brag but our repour with our clients and our capability to deliver high level business and ICT support have given us glowing testimonials and references.   Why I am saying that is we deliver great value for money to those not for profit organisations based in Canberra.

One of our best features is that we go out of our way to deliver the best solution for businesses with little money to invest In their IT infrastructure.   We do not deliver sub standard and we always deliver over what we have promised, furthermore if we quote a price that is how much they pay.   We have NEVER gone back to a client and said it is going to cost more than we quoted so they have to pay more.

So to get to the crux of this article.   We were recently privy to a proposal from a large ICT company.    Our client is a large national charity that is separated into sub groups, individual locations and they all have separate budgets.   Like all not for profit organisations all of the money that they raise goes back into their cause.   They do not spend money outside their cause without some serious consideration.   Everything they do is for their cause

This group has a database system that creates reports that are used to justify government spending, the system tracks their business processes and is used to manage their staff and clients.   This system was purchased and installed  across the whole of the organisation for under $10,000.00.   One of the idiosyncrasies with the organisation is that although they are the same organisation they like to keep everything they do as separate and separated as possible.

Each of the areas of this national not for profit are so protective of their own little piece of Australia that they have their own boards and management structure, their own ICT support and their own way of delivering their benefits to the local community.   The only standard is the way they report to the government.   The ICT support for individual areas is delivered either internally or as a managed service, in most cases as a donation or at seriously reduced costs.

If you had this understanding of the not for profit organisation you would know that to approach them with a $150,000.00 initial cost and $17,000 per month proposal would be totally ludicrous.  Furthermore it shows that you have no understanding of the systems and politics of the organisation as well as showing a lack respect for their cause.   Maybe it was the sales team just putting the proposal out there, but a lot of work went into it.

So at a sales level it is a total fail, but at a technology level it is also a total fail. Not for profit organisations are looking to improve their technology but not at a cost and detriment to their cause.   In most cases they will invest in a solution as long as it fits certain criteria.   Like any organisation they are not looking for cheap, but they are looking for value for money, improved functionality and better ways of doing business so that the savings can be reinvested in the cause.   This proposal fails at both of these levels.

Yes it’s out there, a new virus for Mac, what do you do now?

Once upon a time there was only Microsoft, with up to 95% of the operating and application market share they were the target, the great beast, the company to topple.   The reason they were so successful is not the reason for the post, just to say that  it happened and it was.   After a couple of years there was a change, this saw other software suppliers make inroads into the market.

So enter the malicious code industry, the target was the Microsoft platform, and everyone was the target because you were using the product.    The reason that most of the viruses, Trojans and worms were written for Microsoft is because they were the biggest and for years this has been the standard.   There was no reason to write a decent virus or worm for the Mac when there was only 1% utilisation, and this is one of the fundemental reasons why it wasn’t done.

Business and people change.    Apple has made some serious inroads into the way businesses use the Mac.   With Apple gaining more and more market share and populatrity we are now seeing the proliferation of Mac viruses and we are starting to see them in the wild – running lose on the Internet.

This is a big change, lucky for Mac users the experience that has been gained from fighting the normal Internet malicious code that targeted Microsoft is helping the AV companies produce products for the Mac.

In addition,  there are is now malicious  code for android and IOS, for most web browsers and in some cases you can download an infected application direct from the android store.    With the increase in the use of mobile devices and mobile banking this targeting is going to get worse.   All of the things that we, the IT security community, advise Microsoft users to do is what all users need to do to protect their hand held devices, their tablets and their Macs.

Update regularly, be vigilant, backup regularly and get a good AV.

Most of all use common sense when surfing the Internet.

It is now more important for all operating system to be updated regularly.   What do you think?