When looking at how best to manage a company’s IT needs, more and more firms make the decision to use an outsourced IT service provider. This is a big change from a decade ago when typically companies tended to outsource if in-house resources became stretched. The delegation of network functions to a managed service provider was often done on an as-needed basis.
Nowadays, businesses have become proactive about using an IT managed service provider to help improve the bottom line. Some of the key reasons are that an outsourced provided tend to have a broader scope of expertise and can bring them to bear on given issues.
Another key reason is the cost. More often than not, outsourcing of a firms IT function can be done more economically than providing that function in-house. However, before making the choice to select an IT service provider, a business should focus on choosing a managed service provider that has the specialisation, experience, and reputation to properly handle the functions it needs to outsource.
The world of information technology is one of compartmentalisation. Although a computer network is the sum of its parts, most companies don’t possess expertise in each discipline of information technology. Some specialise in virtualisation and web-based applications, others emphasise network monitoring and security systems, and the list could go on.
For customers, the key is to choose an entity that specialises in the function(s) they need to outsource. Because many IT companies offer more than one type of assistance, it helps to evaluate their specialisation by determining where their core competencies lie.
Asking a company where its competencies lie may not yield a straightforward answer. After all, no business wants to seem as if some of its offerings are more desirable than others. If you are unsure of where a company’s specialties lie, ask it which services it has offered the longest.
Most businesses specialize in disciplines in which they have the most experience, as experience naturally leads to specialization. While a managed service provider needn’t have years of experience in a discipline to practice it well, a wealth of experience demonstrates something important: for years, customers have found that the company practice the discipline proficiently.
Companies are poor judges of their own reputation, that’s why you should evaluate an IT managed service provider based on what its references and record indicate. However, even the worst businesses can have a few good references, so you should request to speak with more references than a company originally offers – preferably more than four if at all possible.
Examining the record of a company will give you an insight into how it treats customers. There are online resources where you can find out what the company’s track record is like. From a look at their social media channels to industry forums and even simple company name searches on Google, you can uncover information that will either give you confidence in the company’s ability or may just leave you cold. If an entity has unresolved complaints on its record, this means that some its customers feel they were mistreated, and have never had the problem rectified.
Before you outsource to an IT managed service provider, determine whether the business has the specialisation, experience, and reputation to handle the job. This can be done by speaking with the entity directly, consulting its references, and evaluating as best you can its track record.
Why not choose us? Spector Information Security Ltd is a multifaceted IT managed service provider focused on delivering comprehensive technology services and solutions. We specialise in outsourced solutions for companies with 10 or more users and free our clients of the challenges that come along with building and managing an in-house IT team. Get in contact today for a chat with one of our experts about your IT pain points.
Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes Disaster Recovery is a vital part of a Business Continuity Plan. It’s one of those things that business owners don’t ever want to need, but are glad they had it sorted when the time comes.
In the realm of technology, Disaster Recovery is commonly associated with backups. There is much talk about both, and they are critical elements for any business to have in place. However, we find that not all SMEs understand the differences between them.
Furthermore, many SMEs do not know whether their chosen solution is tested and effective in addressing their recovery needs until it is too late. In this short article, we’ll explore the differences between them:
Backup is the process of copying data and storing it in a secure location – ideally away from business premises. The technology in this area is continually evolving, and traditional methods such as backup tapes are now rarely used as they are inadequate for the recovery needs of most companies.
Most IT firms now offer more secure backup to the cloud, which is faster and causes little interruption to employees. There is a range of options available for the type of backup, the frequency of backup and the storage of data depending on business needs.
Nowadays, technology risk has the potential to cause tremendous damage to most businesses, whether it’s from failed hardware, human error or a cyberattack. The majority of these incidents can be avoided with a trustworthy backup solution and a robust Disaster Recovery strategy in place.
Backup is an element of Disaster Recovery, as it is broader in scope. Disaster Recovery involves a set of policies and procedures to enable the recovery of vital technology infrastructure and business systems following a disaster (natural or human-made).
An effective DR strategy will ensure operations persist or resume with minimal disruption to employees. Backup comes in as a company’s data will need to be retrieved in the event of system damage or failure.
Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective
Some of the most important things to consider when developing your Disaster Recovery strategy are your businesses Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). These are terms commonly used when defining standards for Disaster Recovery.
RTO is the acceptable amount of time to the organisation for recovering its data and systems after a disaster. In short, it defines how long it would take for the business to be back in action without suffering substantial financial or operational damage.
This interval could range from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the type of business and its dependence on technology to operate.
RPO, on the other hand, is related to the amount of data the organisation is willing to lose when performing a restore, and it depends on the frequency that the backups are made. It will define if your backups are performed, say, every 15 minutes or every hour, and how much data would be reasonable to lose in a restoration.
Some organisations will recover fine if they can access a backup from the previous day, while others will need to obtain their most recent data to recover successfully.
These aspects must be agreed with the client according to the business needs so that the price range is fair, and there are always enough resources available at the right time.
Take Disaster Recovery Seriously Before a Disaster Strikes
Both Backup and Disaster Recovery are necessary for businesses, regardless of their sizes, to survive technological disruption. They need a solution which is regularly tested to ensure it performs as expected in the event of an outage.
Disaster Recovery is all about recovery times and objectives, but in many small businesses, it is only taken seriously after a disaster strikes. New developments and products which combine both elements are now more affordable and, therefore, accessible to any size of business.
If you would like to discuss your Backup and Disaster Recovery requirements with Spector, we would be happy to help. We have always been at the forefront of this technology in Ireland and have proven tested solutions which we tailor for clients to meet their recovery objectives.
For months, your company has tried to overcome its technology challenges, but it’s becoming obvious that your current IT providers cannot fix the problems. As the manager with overall responsibility for IT, you’re stuck in the middle between employees with tech problems and your IT provider, whether in-house or an outsourced contractor. You know it’s time to make the change but how do you choose from so many different Managed Service Providers (MSP)?
To help you select the best Managed IT Services Provider for your company’s needs, we’ve compiled the top seven questions you should ask each IT provider.
7 questions you should ask a managed IT services provider
1. How long has your company been in business?
You want to know you will be in safe hands. You want a reputable business with a good track record so that they will have the time, resources and experienced staff to handle your company’s needs.
2. Has your company worked with other businesses in my industry?
Your Managed IT Service Provider does not need to understand every single aspect of your company’s industry, but they do need to understand how you use technology in your business and your customers’ needs and expectations. The better they understand your specific industry or challenges, the more relevant their technology recommendations will be.
3. What is your communication process?
A good MSP will have a well-established communications process for corresponding with you and your team. The best ones will provide you with an account manager who is responsible for helping you with any questions or concerns and regularly reviewing your progress against the agreed technology plan for your business. When it comes to managed services, transparency is key to success.
4. What is your support request process?
Does the company offer 24/7 support? If not, what is their protocol for out-of-hours support requests? How quickly can you expect someone to respond during and after working hours? How will you know when a ticket has been addressed or completed? Furthermore, what is the experience or certification level of the team handling your company’s requests? Ask your prospective providers to be as detailed as possible because tech support is one of the most important aspects of a MSP.
5. How do you handle disasters?
The only thing more important than the support request process is an MSP’s disaster procedure. Ask the company to share a time when one of its clients faced a catastrophe and what they did beforehand to mitigate file loss and minimise the risk of network failure. In addition to proactive measures, ask what the MSP does in the event of a disastrous event to help clients recover as quickly as possible.
6. What services and solutions do you provide?
When you assess vendors, the first question you’re likely to ask is “What does it cost?” Of course, this is important, but cost alone is not the best way to assess a company’s worthiness. Managed Service Providers are not created equal. If a provider charges more than the average, find out why. You may discover that although it comes at a higher price point, the additional services and benefits will yield a higher ROI. Be sure to obtain a full list of the MSP’s offerings and ask whether the company offers customised options, as well.
7. Can I talk to previous customers?
The best way to discover whether a provider is best for your company is to find out what other customers have to say. While online reviews can shed light on how a company treats its clients, don’t be afraid to ask for references. Sometimes a one-on-one conversation with a current or previous client can offer you the greatest amount of insight.
Overall, remember not to choose too quickly. As the manager with IT responsibility, you’ll likely be one of the primary points of contact with the MSP, so it’s in your best interest to choose wisely. Select a company with a communication and management style that makes you feel comfortable. By taking the time to be thorough in your questioning, you’ll ensure a simpler decision process.
Ready to interrogate your potential managed IT service provider? Great! Why not start with us? As a trusted managed IT service provider for SMEs in Ireland and an ISO 27001 certificate under our belt, we are confident we can ease your IT pain points. Get in contact with us today.
Most of our customers have previously been working with outsourced IT for a while, and thus are already convinced of the benefits. However, now and then we sit in front of a potential client, who is weighing up the benefits of outsourcing their IT managementversus managing their own with an internal resource.
If you already work with a provider and is considering making a switch, we have an article explaining how to facilitate that transition and explain why Switching is Easy.
For an SME, this question is even more trivial, as every resource must bring maximum value for customers and stakeholders. Our experience from working with clients in many different models suggests that outsourcing technology support works well, and this post will bring some of the main benefits it has against an in-house department for Small and Medium Businesses.
Outsourced IT Versus In-House
The question is not a simple one to answer, as there are many ways in which IT can be managed or co-managed. Some companies will need to hire a dedicated expert to think strategically about technology, while others will rather have that expertise in the form of a close partner.
Same goes with staffing, as some businesses may prefer to have one person in full time, while others will be happy with remote support staff or people coming a few days per week.
4 reasons why outsourcing technology works
1. IT hiring is unfocused
“Just hire an IT guy, and everything will be sunny!”. This phrase could not be further from the truth, and it often leads to a mismatch between expectation and requirement. To even understand your IT Needs, you need at least some level of knowledge over the field, but gaining the technical know-how to understand it inside out takes years.
Managed IT services act as your on-demand team, so you don’t have to go through the hiring process for IT professionals. Plus, it brings specialised IT knowledge to the table at a fraction of the cost of an employee.
2. Making the Best Use of your Resources
Companies generally have no means of measuring their tech staff’s productivity. We rarely see proper issues/problem reporting and time management. Without these tools, no-one knows if the resource is bringing value to the table.
Full-time employees get paid whether they’re working on projects or not. How much downtime would your IT staff have at your small business? You only pay for the support you need with managed IT services, rather than breaking the bank on an idle worker.
3. Training and Career Progression
If left in place an untrained IT resource can do more damage than good and get in the way of progress. It is common for an IT manager to slip into a status quo arrangement where years can pass by without any relevant education. Technology moves fast, and your IT staff need to keep up to date, or your business may fall behind.
Apart from that, no formal training in place to develop the technical resource’s career may lead to staff turnover or worse – disenchanted staff members.
4. Strategic IT at the Board Level
Lower end IT resources are not strategically minded and find it challenging to present their ideas at the management level. This is a common issue and can have a severe negative competitive impact on a business. Staff tends to spend their time focused on issue-solving and may not dedicate enough efforts on upgrading your infrastructure.
You have your eyes on the future, and you don’t want to run into a situation where you outgrow your technical support. Managed IT service providers grow with you, allocating the right resources to your business at each stage of your journey.
In general, hiring and managing an internal department brings an extra onus on employers of technical staff to lead that resource to its full potential. That means time management, productivity reviews, strategic company alignment, keeping their skills sharp through relevant training and a say at the boardroom table.
Your company has IT needs, but you don’t need someone around all the time. If you didn’t have to worry about bringing on a full-time person to take care of your systems, you could make investments elsewhere in your business.
If you do have employees on hand to manage your technology, managed IT services can take the burden off them. You don’t have to stretch your resources thin and compromise your growth plan to afford an in-house IT department. Use managed IT services to supplement your expertise gaps, and get reliable technical support and advice on-demand.
Our team supply Irish SMEs with the IT support and services that they need every day. If you want to learn more about the way we work and the practical benefits, check our links below: The Benefits of Proactive Monitoring of IT Services – the primary daily function of an IT Managed Services Provider. How to Choose your IT Provider – a Checklist with everything you should ask and consider when choosing your IT Partner.
Feel free to get in contactwith us for a quick chat about your IT pain points. We will be happy to provide advice on your needs.
A cyberattack could not happen to me, you or anyone else I know!
This is the age-old problem and one borne of ignorance. In the past 30 days, we have been contacted either directly or through friends by three individuals and 2 companies with detailed cybersecurity incidents. These are only the ones that we know about. One story, in particular, involved a detailed phishing scam that unfolded like this:
So what happened?
An individual, Mr X, was travelling in Italy and dropped their phone. They dropped into in for repair and received the phone back within a few hours.
1. One week later Mister X receives an email from a work colleague to review a contract document, opens it and thinks nothing more of this. That is until the following sequence of events occurs.
2. Mister X is contacted by a client to say that they are receiving emails for changes to their money transfer routines.
3. Mister X’s phone ceases to work.
4. Money is transferred directly from Mister X’s business account to an unknown recipient.
5. In effect, Mister X’s identity had been compromised, stolen and used against him. His phone lay at the centre of the attack.
Using the phone the cybercriminals were able to impersonate Mister X, change the SIM card on his phone, make direct contact with the bank to download and alter his banking details and certs and make what looked like a legitimate payment.
If Mister X had not lost access to his phone this would have gone unnoticed. A complicated and in-depth attack.
So many things wrong
There are so many issues at work here:
Starting with using a passphrase and encrypting your mobile devices. This would not have allowed the cybercriminals to scrape detailed personal information from your phone.
Limiting use of mobile banking applications to known secure wireless networks or preferably not at all. While mobile banking is convenient, the ability to impersonate based on simple security questions should really mean limiting its use to locked down devices within your own network.
Installing proper email and endpoint security to prevent malware taking control of your PC. This would have addressed the trojan transferred by the hoax email sent by a colleague and opening the PC to remote control by the cybercriminals.
Using multifactor authentication for banking apps and an additional layer of security that defies keyloggers.
Reviewing of policies and raising the general levels of awareness in terms of personal and business security and cybercrime. Most important of all is to provide education on the dos and donts of user behaviour. In over 90% of cases social engineering and user error cause these incidents. Knowledge is power.
We find that attacks like this really wobble the people it affects, but they feel unable to deal with something as complex as IT security. In our minds education is key. There is no single security product that offers a 100% complete guarantee for protecting users and your technology investment. One of our security supplier companies, Heimdal Security, in conjunction with the London Digital Security Centre released a really good drip fed guide for individuals and businesses – Cyber Security. It is delivered over 30 days, but it is well worth the effort in signing up for if you sit at the board or C level of a company that takes cybersecurity seriously. If you have an interest we encourage you to sign up here.
When it comes to company protection data breaches can be a devastating event, and data breaches are more common than most businesses like to think they are. If you think about it data breaches can often make the headlines of the news. The impact to a company from a data breach can be such that many companies will end up having to shut down there operations within months of a data breach, depending on the nature of the business and what information was compromised. Once a data breach occurs, that damage is done and you can’t go back and stop it. However, you can take some preventive measures to ensure one doesn’t happen again.
Having a proactive IT management strategy will go a long way in preventing a data breach from ever occurring. If your company has been fortunate enough to avoid a serious breach, it may be time to revisit some of the preventive actions to ensure all bases are covered and your information is protected as well as it can be.
Encrypt and Back up Information
Encrypting your data is one of the best ways to prevent it from being compromised. When a hacker has to decrypt information in order to access it, there’s a much smaller chance they will be persistent in trying to break in. Storing information on another server or in a cloud to back it up is also valuable. Using managed IT services are becoming more popular in today’s business world, making it important to look into it as an option.
Set and Reinforce Company Policies
The business world is more mobile than it’s ever been. Whether you work from your mobile device or from your home, policies need to be set and audited to ensure compliance. Even things as simple as setting stronger passwords and logging out of each application after use are things that get overlooked by many employees. If you stress the importance and potential risks involved with taking security measures, your employees will likely take them more seriously and be more aware of their actions when accessing information online.
Test and Update Your IT Protection
Many IT security services will suggest you run regular tests to ensure all services and equipment are up-to-date and working correctly. It can be easy to forget about your IT protection once you have it set up, but it’s extremely important to ensure it is functioning properly. Even one small issue could lead to a major data breach so keeping all of your equipment up-to-date is a good preventive measure to prevent a potential catastrophe.
Preventing data breaches from happening can be overwhelming since there are so many bases to cover. Spector IT services are industry experts in helping to ensure your organisation is fully protected from security breaches. So if you feel your business might be at risk call us today and we will outline the preventive measures you can take so you will have peace of mind when it comes to your company’s data security.
Many business owners and directors are unaware of the tremendous benefits that an information security companies can bring to their organisation. Even fairly small firms could find that engaging the services of an IT security company will add tremendous value both to their overall security posture and also to their specific computer risk profile.
Knowledge is power in the era of cyberattacks
Information security companies are operators in a highly specialist niche. The amount of knowledge and expertise required in this field is enormous. Given the ongoing fight against cyberattacks of ever-increasing sophistication professionals working in this space must constantly keep their skills updated. These factors no doubt contribute to the current situation where the demand for the services of cybersecurity companies is stronger than the available supply. The result is that many businesses, and especially smaller firms, simply avoid using the services of information security companies completely.
However, such a choice is ultimately detrimental to the health of the business. Although security threats may not materialise in any given instance, this is no guarantee that a company will remain secure from cyberattacks. Today, the level of threat is rising more than ever before, and in the long term, a firm that chooses not to make use of computer security firms may find that they are damaging their own interests.
Information security companies can provide a wide range of services. The best understood services are penetration testing and vulnerability assessment, which are mandatory for organisations in some industries. In addition, an IT security company can assess the security of a firm’s Active Directory configuration or can review software code for security flaws.
In terms of consultancy services, a computer security firm can also assist with gap analysis according to ISO 27001, comparing an organisation’s Information Security policies and procedures against those required by the international standard, and delivering a report on areas where improvements are needed. Finally, the Information Security company can provide a temporary information security manager, for short or long periods.
Proactive IT security
It is not only in the case of one-off assignments that information security companies can make a real difference to a business. A reputable IT security company will seek to partner with their clients, assisting them in maintaining a solid and proactive security posture. This kind of work, when done properly, is not easily reduced to one-off projects. That makes it all the more important to partner with a reliable information security firm, one that will work with you in the long term to help your organisation achieve recognised standards of good practice in IT security.
For more information on how Spector can help your firm protect itself from cyberattacks and network security breaches click here to discover more about our IT Business Protection services.
The need clearly, is to find a strategic partner, who can drive business growth and transformation, rather than remain a mere supplier of IT capacity. They are looking for a highly flexible, broadly capable partner who takes a more proactive approach to IT management, to help them simplify, optimise and advance their technological investments.
Today’s IT Leaders have to meet the challenge of increasing business demands while controlling IT costs and alleviating management headaches. CIOs are continuously looking for a provider to improve the performance of their IT Infrastructure, as technology is becoming more and more complex.
A transformation from traditional models
More and more the approach is towards more of a managed infrastructure services framework and CIOs will want to adopt and engage with a flexible managed services model to have the convenience of using best of breed technology and services without losing control of IT.
A lot has changed and the market has gradually transformed from body shopping contracts or facility management services to a strategic process-oriented & flexible delivery model. We will see more of a hybrid of offsite services delivery either through Remote Infrastructure Management (RIM) or a combination of offsite remote management and onsite delivery.
Initially, managed services were mostly adopted by large enterprises but now small to medium enterprises are using them because of competitive pressures and operational concerns. Today, organisations from different verticals are very keen on using workplace management services, managed data centre and network and security support services rather than traditional outsourcing models.
The managed services providers need to focus on service excellence and offer bespoke services to different customers. They must expand their local delivery capabilities by having a truly global model with the required knowledge, customer-facing partners and distributors worldwide.
New flexible delivery model
Growing companies need to be one step ahead of the game. They can do this by adopting a flexible managed service provider who can manage the peaks and troughs of their business demand to meet future IT infrastructure requirements.
In this collaborative approach, both parties (organisation & IT managed services provider) share risks and responsibilities for better output. This model helps in rationalising headcount, whilst focusing on cost efficiency within the organizations existing ways of working.
Through a partnership approach to their managed services program, organisations can focus on their core competencies; lower the cost of managing IT infrastructure through improved productivity and operational efficiency with access to a dedicated team of highly qualified and talented professionals from their service provider.
It is an investment that gives organisations the most advanced IT capabilities while allowing them to maintain as much or as little control over their IT operations and infrastructure as they wish.
IT Managed Services consists of various service level offerings that provide proactive IT management and support. Companies can opt for a range of managed services designed to optimise the technology investment and maximise the productivity of their people and business.
IT Managed Services offerings cover the entire array of IT outsourcing services including:
Data Centre & Network Management
Desktop & Server Management
Cloud Computing services
Infrastructure Management Services gives organisations access to highly qualified support professionals to resolve issues related to desktop & laptop support, routers, switches, firewalls and wireless access points. Acting as a single point of contact for all IT-based inquiries, the service logs all issues as incidents in a service management tool.
This model will provide an effective and proven Infrastructure Management Services for organisations to reduce costs and improve on service delivery efficiency. The other business benefits are:
Reduce total cost of ownership
Pay less for a higher quality of service
Better control and efficiency of scale
Gain access to best of breed tools & best practices
Speedy knowledge transition and reduce dependency on individuals
Shared service delivery platform within business units and industry
99% -100% of SLA maintenance
Peace of mind
Spector’s IT Managed Services are designed to protect clients existing investments and intellectual capital by working with multiple platforms, delivery partners and their own teams. We base our solutions on very best practices and proven methodologies.You can read more about our proactive approach to managed IT services by clicking here.
Disconnected thinking – does it have to be this way?
There is a modern epidemic… In fact perhaps not modern at all, perhaps just typical and more connected to the way that we now operate. Immediacy trumps planning, busyness trumps logic and sequence. The time trap. We are all prone to rash in the moment decisions. But a bad decision is better than no decision – right? Perhaps not. It comes at too high a cost when choosing a business system to fit your business.
Poor planning – a live example!
What is bad is poorly planned and executed decision making without connecting simple dots. The current Light Rail (Luas) building works running in the centre of Dublin is the product of epically poor planning and disconnected thinking. Two light rail systems built at the same time running on different track gauges. A great project torpedoed by a lack of connected thinking.
We met with a rapidly growing professional services company only last month who had bought in three layers of software (and recommended hardware) to better manage their practice only to find out that the solutions could not successfully talk to each other – the whole purpose to start with. Wasted time, money and effort for a company under time pressure already. A lack of time, fast growth and committed resources was to blame for the poor decision.
When referred by another client to assist we were happy to help. Lots of great work and thinking had been done but the list of features had grown as they went. The end solution lay in a completely different product suite with low entry costs and no explicit hardware requirements. A real Win Win.
At Spector we practice and preach two things:
Always look for what fits and what you can actually deliver. Consumers of business solutions often have bigger eyes than stomachs or abilities. Start simple and then develop into the more complex solutions as your staffing and operational ability allows. We have learned that the hard way ourselves.
Get a guarantee
Don’t push the BUY button unless you can have firm guarantees and there is light at the end of the tunnel. False promises are rife in the software world. Look for structured education programmes, references and localisation partners at the very minimum.
This is not rocket science, but if your company is on this journey of change and are time tied we may be able to help. Regardless of your flavour of professional services (architecture, engineering, management or business consultancy or creative agency), we may be able to assist. A quick chat costs nothing and may save a lot of time and disappointment.
We attended an interesting and useful cybersecurity seminar hosted by our local ISP Magnet, PwC and Palo Alto yesterday. A lot of good topics and good advice was dispatched, but the piece that resonated most with us was the topic of education. Pat Moran, Head of Cybercrime & IT Forensics at PWC said that for every €100 spent on security he would spend €95 of that on end-user training. Our experience leads us to concur with that.
Security at its core is always as weak as its weakest link. As a managed IT service provider, we have had to deal with malware incidents even with the layers of security including email filtering, Unified Threat Management (Firewalls from leading providers) and up-to-date anti-virus and malware protection. The tools and platforms are simply not enough. I like the approach that some vendors such as Sophos and Palo Alto are taking with regards to end-to-end security and threat visibility across the entire organisation. This connected thinking allows security solution providers to see, manage and remediate all risks through a single pane of glass.
But the USER is still the burning issue and the weakest link. Ransomware threats require human interaction to spread. Social engineering hacks are propagated through lax user awareness and poor policy design. Lost mobile devices and poor password management (i.e. the exact same weak password across social media systems) all contribute to the user as the weakest link.
What is required is a Security Policy and Awareness Programme that keeps your end-users of all types vigilant of the threats to cybersecurity. A security policy will also assist in designing out how the security solutions and platforms will be rolled out and policies designed. Without policy and awareness, there are no standards and no destination.
Thinking about outsourcing your IT security? We are a managed IT service provider and one of the few IT companies in Ireland to have earned an ISO 27001 certificate. Whether you just need some support or are outsourcing a complete IT function, get in contact today and we can discuss your options.
There are a lot of components to business technology, but it is a lot simpler when viewed through a lens that prioritises goals and actions as they need to be addressed. The Spector Ascend is our continuous improvement programme that provides two clear goals:
Set out best practices and KPIs, and make sure that the IT is performing as it should.
Provide a regular meeting rhythm where goals are prioritised, set and reviewed. Making sure that technology delivers exactly what is required to assist business growth.
We guide our clients through this process and manage all of the outcomes and deliverables in the areas listed below. Make sure to get in contact with us if your business is going through significant changes and technology is central to that change. We can save you a lot of time and effort by taking an ever-evolving approach to your IT investment.
Make sure to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 353 1 6644190. We would love to hear your story and see how Ascend can help.
You might not need to remember those complicated e-mail and bank account passwords for much longer. According to a new study by Binghamton University researchers, the way your brain responds to certain words could be used to replace passwords. Could this be the future of security?
In “Brainprint,” a newly published study in academic journal Neurocomputing, researchers from the university observed the brain signals of 45 volunteers as they read a list of 75 acronyms, such as FBI and DVD. They recorded the brain’s reaction to each group of letters, focusing on the part of the brain associated with reading and recognising words, and found that participants’ brains reacted differently to each acronym, enough that a computer system was able to identify each volunteer with 94 percent accuracy. The results suggest that brainwaves could be used by security systems to verify a person’s identity.
According to Sarah Laszlo, assistant professor of psychology and linguistics and co-author of “Brainprint,” brain biometrics are appealing because they are cancellable and cannot be stolen by malicious means the way a finger or retina can.
“If someone’s fingerprint is stolen, that person can’t just grow a new finger to replace the compromised fingerprint — the fingerprint for that person is compromised forever. Fingerprints are ‘non-cancellable.’ Brainprints, on the other hand, are potentially cancellable. So, in the unlikely event that attackers were actually able to steal a brainprint from an authorised user, the authorised user could then ‘reset’ their brainprint,” Laszlo said.
Zhanpeng Jin, assistant professor in the departments of electrical and computer engineering, and biomedical engineering, doesn’t see brainprint as the kind of system that would be mass-produced for low-security applications (at least in the near future), but it could have important security applications.
“We tend to see the applications of this system as being more along the lines of high-security physical locations, like the Pentagon or Air Force Labs, where there aren’t that many users that are authorised to enter, and those users don’t need to constantly be authorising the way that a consumer might need to authorise into their phone or computer,” Jin said.
The project is funded by the National Science Foundation and the University’s Interdisciplinary Collaboration Grants (ICG) Program.
Since none of us are immune to cybersecurity threats now is a good time to take a look at your own online security strategy to see that it is up to date and effective.
Protect yourself from social engineering and phishing attacks. Use your judgement and do not open suspicious emails, even if you know the sender.
Set up an intrusion-prevention system and security software on all computers. We recommend a combination of antivirus software, malware, firewalls and spam filters.
If travelling, take extra precautions to protect devices you take on the road. This includes backing up all files, removing sensitive documents and information from devices, ensuring passwords are in use and that antivirus software is updated.
Ensure you keep your operating systems up to date to minimise threats and backup regularly using multiple versions to increase the chance of restoring clean data in the event of an attack.
Put a password policy in place for all devices used to access company data and manage these passwords so that reuse is not allowed and passwords are regularly changed.
Ensure that the guest Wi-Fi and corporate Wi-Fi are on separate systems so that any threat entering the public system will not cross over to the business system. We also recommend securing, encrypting and hiding the visibility of your corporate Wi-Fi network.
Review your permissions policy, data retention policy and encryption policy to limit access to your company data.
Finally, ensure you have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place should something go wrong.
As an IT Service Provider, Spector is often asked to pick up the pieces after a cybersecurity attack. At this point, it can be a costly exercise to recover from. Our advice is prevention is the best cure and so we offer our clients integrated Business Protection solutions to minimise the risks of such attacks. We are happy to talk with companies and assist them in reviewing their security practices so that their businesses are protected. If you have any concerns in regard to the above points why not give us a call on 01-6644190.
Data is vital for any business, so it is critical to keep your data secure from all external and internal risks. Due to the increased mobility of workforces, many employees regularly access company data from multiple devices both corporate and personal.
You need to ensure your business is not at risk in the event of a lost device or a security breach. Take these five simple steps to mitigate the risks
Encrypt data to hide it from prying eyes – there are many encryption options, but make sure data is encrypted when it is in-use, stored on a device or in transit between devices.
Educate users on virus and malware prevention best practices – ensure your staff do not download attachments or open links from unknown senders. Also that they never share passwords or sensitive information via the internet.
Create BYOD security policies and protect mobile devices – personal devices invariably find their way into your organisation, so you need a workable security policy and a Mobile Device Management tool to protect your data.
Implement a strong user access control framework – this will ensure that users have access only to what they need to do their jobs and thus mitigate the level of intrusion in the event of an attack.
Use off-site cloud backup for business recovery – this helps minimise data loss risk and offers scalable and flexible options
Spector can advise you on the range of data security options available and provide you with a tailor-made solution. Please feel free to contact us on 01-6644190 for more information on our Business Protection Services.
VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol is simply a system that lets people make telephone calls through the internet rather than via a traditional analogue phone system. VoIP converts the voice signal from an ordinary telephone into a digital signal, which travels over the internet, and then converts it back. With a VoIP service customers can make and receive calls anywhere in the world through the internet and the cost savings are very attractive to many companies.
The benefits of VoIP
Reduced local, long-distance and roaming mobile call charges for employees
A single network to manage both voice and data, instead of two thereby reducing maintenance costs
Improved communication and collaboration with the integration of online conferencing, video calls and other collaboration tools
Easy to make additions, moves and changes to the system as required
Employees have more flexibility as all of your phone system’s features can be used at home, at the office or on the road
Before considering, you need to understand whether your current infrastructure can handle and sustain the extra traffic generated by VoIP. If your internet bandwidth it is not good enough you could experience connectivity issues and poor call quality. You should also consider the implications of internet or power outages which would mean that you have no phone connectivity. To get around this problem many companies retain at least one traditional phone line so that they can make critical calls.
If you would like to discuss the VoIP options available to your company please contact Spector on 01 6644190
As a CEO or business owner, you know you cannot manage everything yourself. To ensure your company’s success, and offer the best possible environment for your employees, you have to delegate. Your IT needs are no different. Here are a few signs that indicate it’s time to seek out a better solution. If you’re experiencing any of the following five concerns, a managed IT service provider (MSP) may be the solution you’re missing…
5 signs your company needs a managed IT service provider
You do not have an in-house IT support team
Despite the growing importance of technology in business many small to medium-sized businesses still do not have a department dedicated to IT support. Instead, many businesses rely on an outside contractor. Also, in an effort to save on IT costs, many support needs fall on the shoulders of the most tech-savvy employees – even though their efforts are needed elsewhere. These options present two major issues.
Firstly, many contractors only offer break-fix support. At best, they’re helping your business meet current demands, but not helping you plan for the future. Secondly, when you expect non-IT employees to handle your IT issues, you’re taking them away from other duties and threatening their efficiency.
Your in-house IT professionals are overtasked
Let’s say you have 50 employees. Each employee has a desktop computer or laptop, and some have both. Many employees also have a work-issued smartphone, and several also use tablets. Everyone uses multiple programs, and all employees require internet access to do their jobs.
Even if you have more than one in-house IT professional, chances are they’re barely keeping up. The more technology your employees use, the more opportunities there are for issues to arise. When your IT specialists are allocating this much of their resources to fixing problems, it’s unlikely they have much time left over for more proactive or strategic efforts.
You’re always facing technology challenges
From network overloads and hardware crashes to software updates and user errors, it seems there is always something keeping you and your employees from reaching your full potential. Even if these issues do not seem detrimental to your success, even small challenges can be frustrating and disruptive. Not only does this affect productivity, it can also impact employee satisfaction.
You’re experiencing rapid growth
Every CEO seeks to accomplish two things: increase growth and minimise risk. As your company expands, so do your technology needs. You need to take a moment to consider the following questions:
How do you plan to support this growth?
Who is responsible for helping you choose the most future-proof technology and rolling out company-wide updates?
What additional security measures have you put in place to eliminate threats to your continued success?
Your IT needs should never be an after-thought. To ensure your growth continues, you’ll need reliable, always-available technology support.
You are unsure which technology to invest In
From building company culture and directing your senior management team to meeting with investors and executing your business plan, you have a lot on your plate. You don’t have time to keep up with the latest and greatest technologies. However, not staying current can pose a challenge when it comes to investing in your IT needs. How do you know which solutions are a good fit for your company? How can you determine the best way to spend your technology budget? You need a trustworthy technology partner who can help you navigate toward the right solutions.
A managed services provider will help solve all the above issues, and more. In addition to helping solve current technology challenges, these professionals can help you plan for the future and mitigate security risks. The team will help you work within your budget to make the right choices and offer 24/7 support for all employees. Even better, having your technology needs handled by a reliable Managed IT service. Provider frees you and your team up to do what you do best—run a successful business. Call Spector on 01-6644190 to see how we can help you.