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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Protecting mobile devices here are four ideas!

The proliferation of the BYOD and business supplied devices makes it very easy to loose any of them.   Whether they are lost or stolen the final outcome is the same.   To make sure that your business is protected you need to make sure that they are protected at all times.

Keep it safe

This in the physical protection of your device.   Most mobile devices are accidentally lost or stolen at places where you have to relinquish normal levels of control over the device.   Most user will keep them safe but there are times when that personal protection is overcome by a lapse in thought.

To make sure that the device is safe then you need to make sure that you manage your level of oversight.   In places where you have to go though security, where you think it would be safe to not be watching your device is invariably where it will happen.   Keep your eyes on your device at all times when going through a security check.   Do not leave your device at a table when you go to get another cup of coffee.   Always keep it close to your person in crowded areas.

Keep it encrypted

The critical business information if it is on your tablet, phone or laptop should be encrypted.   This ensures that the loss of the device will not endanger your business.

Most businesses do not encrypt data because it is an extra level of inconvenience for the users, but the loss of this critical information will have a detrimental effect on your business if lost or stolen.

Keep it separated

In the world of BYOD you are often in the situation where the line between business and home blur.   If possible keep the two separated.   That can be done in a number of ways, different accounts and passwords for mail, separate business by using RDP or VDI so there is a definitive separation between work and home.

Keep people informed

This is critical, if your device is lost or stolen then you need to inform the authorities as soon as possible.   If the item was insured you will need to complete a police report.   If there was business information on the device then you need to ensure that that critical information is reported to the owner.

There are a number of systems available that will allow you to track your lost piece of kit and will also allow you to wipe it remotely if lost or stolen.   Do not hesitate to do this if you know it is stolen, the faster this system is activated the better will be the chance that business information has not been compromised.

So by keeping the device safe, keeping the information encrypted, keeping business and home information separated and keeping everyone informed you will have a better understanding of your business protections and how they apply to your mobile devices.

Starbucks, free wifi and the bigger security picture!

Recently I had a holiday in Malaysia, the holiday was great but I realised that there is a severe problem with security and the attitude of people in regards to security when we were sitting down for coffee in Starbucks.

Like the rest of the world the Starbuck franchise in Malasia has free wifi, free in such a way that you do not even need to know a username or password to use it.   Now for most people this is great and don’t get me wrong I sometimes use it with a lot of restriction on myself because I know the dangers that can come from it.

While we were having coffee and I was thinking about the problems associated with this level of access these 2 characters walked in and sat down.   I was only taking limited notice of them, but my focused changed when they started to pull out some interesting equipment.   Apart from the laptops, high end HP systems, something that would set me back $4 or 5 K, they also added a couple of USB devices and started to run them up.

I ignored them for about 20 minutes as we were in a family discussion about what and where to eat (very important in our family for some reason) but I glanced over at the screen and all I saw was a graph that looked very similar to wire shark, not only that but it was also logging everything that was going through the WiFi.   I normally use wire shark to track rouge access points within client networks and what I was looking at was similar.

This bought this idea to me

One of the easiest ways for someone to steal all of your corporate information, personal information and client information is for you not to be thinking clearly in this type of environment.   Those two characters would have picked up any information that was transmitted to any website, share-point environment, mail server or CRM that was not SSL protected.   That information is in plain text.  Easy to track and even easier to use.

All information concerning Facebook, LinkedIn, even twitter would have been captured, that included the username and password to get onto the sites.   That information although may not seem important could be used very efficiently as a social engineering play to gain more information and create an in depth profile of you.

Yes free WiFi is great but if you do not have one that is locked down with a pass code then be very carefully with where you are going on your device.