Category Archives: Manage Service

Stress Management

Business owner managing his own IT infrastructures while running a business

We are not exactly doctors, but we can relieve a lot of stress and worry when it comes to your network infrastructure

Those who own or manage businesses will have a stark advantage in using managed service providers over those who don’t. Generally, those who attempt to manage their own IT infrastructures while running businesses will have a much higher level of stress in their lives. The purpose of owning a business is generally for occupational freedom — that is, the freedom from depending on an employer to earn a living. Attempting to manage an IT infrastructure without the help of qualified and experienced professionals can and usually does usurp the joy and satisfaction that comes from owning a business.

Maintenance

Certain facets of computers and network technology can be maintained relatively easy by laymen, but this doesn’t come without risks implying that more problems can be introduced into the system than solved. Computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh are frequently updated which introduces complexity — the layman will have to spend time understanding the changes in order to ensure continuity within the computer network. Not only are operating systems updated, but software such as Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari are updated frequently. As said, attempting to make changes or do maintenance without understanding the technicalities of the updated software can cause problems. One might think that by attempting maintenance without the aid of experienced professionals can save money, but when computer calamities come as a result, the stress can be overwhelming and even cost more to repair than if a managed service provider had consistent control over it.

Data Preservation

For the most part, it’s common knowledge that computer data related to businesses and their customers is an asset and must be protected. Data preservation is not an exact science, but again, there are dangers in inherent in attempting to restore computer data after a catastrophic event — breakdowns, theft, fire, earthquakes, vandalism, and even damage inflicted by disgruntled employees are all examples. Data storage devices can break down — under ideal conditions, one would not expect something like this to happen, but imagine going to restore data and files after a catastrophic event only to find out the device storing backed up data is non-operational with data therein unrecoverable — a stress factor easily mitigated with the help of professionals.

Security

Most people who install software security suites onto their computers don’t give it much thought afterword. For some types of users that works fine, but for the business owner that’s not a recommended approach. While this type of software has advantages, attempting to understand and manage it can be daunting. Furthermore, there tend to be unrealistic expectations with security software — it’s not a magic bullet that will prevent hackers and viruses from infiltrating and compromising computer systems. Obtaining the counsel and support of professionals will mitigate the stress associated with managing and understanding security software. For example, depending on what circumstances the software is configured to push alerts, the alerts need to be properly interpreted and without procrastination — frankly, security software alerts can be cryptic and therefore time-consuming to understand without help.

Help Desk

Sometimes, even if one is capable of resolving a problem without professional consulting, spending time to find the solution can be counterproductive. Ask yourself whether taking hours or days away from business and personal life is worth a solution to the intermittent freeze or speed problems exhibiting themselves on a computer or smartphone. Let’s not forget about that good old express service where expert help is a click of a mouse or short phone call away.

SystemsNet specializes in a broad array of services and with years of experience. Please contact us for information on highly competitive service plans.

What to Incorporate in Your IT Management Reports Each Month

Business man pointing to a graph on the IT management reports on a clipboard

Our customers have access to monthly executive reports and can review ticketing reports real time when needed

An emerging shift in the IT industry is apparent with the ever-rising number of initiatives that introduce new digital technologies. It has transformed the role of a CIO, which was formerly about operating back-end technology to ensure machines ran at peak performance. A CIO is now expected to be leading the change behind IT business strategies, by directing their attention to cost-effective measures for delivering software solutions.

This means CIOs and other IT co-developers are participating more in responsibilities delegated to management boards. IT departments are gaining traction as value generators for the organization by preventing server shutdowns, power outages, HR databases, SaaS applications, and other technical difficulties a company will face at some point. IT monitors all the shared cloud drives that support devices from laptops to smartphones.

Why IT Leaders are Struggling During Performance Reports about Invested Technology

But when it comes to reporting, many IT leaders had trouble explaining their team’s contributions to the CEO and board of executives. The problem stems from a pervasive mindset that IT budgets should be restricted to only maintaining company infrastructure rather than investing in upgrades for speeding up internal communication networks. IT leaders must prove their worth by addressing why IT is one of the main components of executing a successful business model.

Here are the main criterion used in IT reporting as per business impact:

1. The frequency of power outages in a period-These could compromise security measures, enterprise programs, or CRM systems. IT must fix them before a loss in revenue occurs.

2. Percentage of incidents resolved by an in-house IT team-This includes quantified data about technical issues and their potential costs. Speed and accuracy are the main benchmarks.

3. The integrity of IT transactions-An organization relies on platforms that manage multiple applications, namely HR, order-entry, and ERP systems, making sure transactions run smoothly on any device.

4. The number of permanently fixed problems-The IT staff is assigned damage control whenever an organization encounters recurring incidents. Long-lasting, automated solutions will raise its workforce productivity.

5. A follow-up change management summary-After documenting changed processes, IT leaders must submit a detailed overview of their impact analysis and write up a rollout plan in response.

6. Service levels and their availability-IT leaders will also keep tabs on their help desk services. They’re expected to record service level achievements while regularly updating all of their operating systems in favor of business objectives.

Outlining a Template Suitable for IT Monthly Management Reports

An IT management report informs organizations about recent trends in cloud computing, internet of things, and big data analytics. In addition, this report provides them with oversight into different areas of operation, and through proper guidelines, the key points, elements, or features essential to IT functions. After all, you need to know the objective of a workplace investigation before you can begin.

Furthermore, be specific with the terms used in the IT report so that people who review it can understand what kind of open database standards were applied. Every piece of information should be credible and updated on systems with administrative access. Only appoint people with the right skills and expertise to create an IT management report. Another suggestion is to present visual infographics and factual statistics or figures in an easy-to-read format.

IT Management Reporting-A Monthly Inspection of Company Databases

Being prepared with all the equipment and resources is vital in order to present a credible report. Moreover, you’re required to install automated feedback generating IT systems which prioritize research and troubleshooting activities. You may have to deal with elements like hardware for assessment functions and develop a corrective action report based on the measures taken to meet business expectations.

An IT management report must generate value by supplying data management could rely on for better decision-making. If changes must be implemented in IT, then management must check that they are contributing to the company instead of piling on excess expenditures. Always be well-organized when putting together the contents to elicit meaningful discussions about the company’s IT infrastructure.

Contact us at SystemsNet to browse our managed IT services including remote repairs. We will monitor your existing hardware and write up a monthly report on your network capabilities.

The Secret Capabilities of Managed Network Monitoring – Pt 2

Speedcurve Performance Analytics Network Monitoring

Monitoring provides so much detail that it truly is the first step in network security

Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on managed network monitoring. Last time, we talked about how network monitoring is one of the best-kept secrets in the cybersecurity along with how it can detect unauthorized access to your network and authorized connection with stolen login credentials. Join us again today as we pick up where we left off.

Signs of Employee Misconduct or Insider Espionage

Interestingly, network monitoring can use the same methods to catch the rare instance of an insider hacking job. This happens more frequently than you might think, but is more often disgruntled data vandalism or simple misconduct than organized movie-worthy corporate espionage. The trouble is that when the job is done from the inside, there is an authorized login with all the protections of a normal employee as the cause of a potential security breach.

However, to do anything shady, most disloyal employees will have to use their accounts to do their dirty work. The thing is, the normal behaviors for a job can also be recorded like a pattern. You don’t have to tightly watch an employee’s account (something that might run afoul of regulations) in order to flag when an account might be up to something.

Simply flag when an employee account accesses a file it has never or rarely accessed before. Or initiates a download in a restricted folder. You can even watch for the use of Print Screen when sensitive data is open on a computer. All without actually directly tracking a single account’s activity. Just the network itself.

Flagging Compromised Business Software

Recently, hackers have been getting better at finding and exploiting loopholes inside the software businesses are already using. This is done sometimes to slip through firewalls and anti-virus software. But it can also be used to turn your data-accessing programs against you. Your CRM program, for example, has firewall permission to access your database of sensitive client information.

It is then possible that a hacker could build a very sneaky piece of malware that was specially designed to slip onto your server and write a new routine that uses the CRM’s permissions to access and steal client information. You may, by now, see where we’re going here.

Network monitoring can be designed to recognize the exact way that your business software usually accesses protected data. With all the right authorization handshakes and keys swapped back and forth for security. So if a new routine in the same software initiates that skips the authorization handshakes but would have slipped past your CRM’s defenses, Network monitoring will raise the alarm.

In fact, that’s also why it’s great for patching detected vulnerabilities if a source patch is not available.

Detecting Hidden Malware

Finally, network monitoring does something that can save you from the fear of malware and ransomware lurking in your network. It can detect the illicit use of computer resources. You see, when a malware program slips onto your network through, say, a phishing email, it has to use a few computer resources. Even a very sneaky piece of malware needs little scraps of RAM and CPU to get anything done.

To watch your files, to wait for a network signal from its hacker, or to spread through your network in stealth-mode, it will need to use resources. And network monitoring can see that. Network monitoring can look at exactly what your computer is doing, behind the OS and all the things malware can use to hide itself from humans. And if there is a program running that wasn’t there before, if resources are being used in a pattern-defying way, or if one endpoint in a dozen supposedly-identical computers is using more resources, this is a sign of a hidden and lurking malware program.

Network monitoring is also effective at catching malware when it tries to engage in any network activity at all. If it tries to send collected data back to its hacker or to get a signal from the hacker, then network monitoring may spot activity leading to an unknown and unidentified program.

And if it tries to spread itself out onto your other devices throughout the business network, then network monitoring can notice an unusual and suspicious pattern of downloads and installations and trigger an alert state.

These are still only a few of the practical applications for network monitoring, and focuses only on cybersecurity. As you may be starting to see, network monitoring is one of the best-kept secrets in all of IT. It slices, it dices, and it can show you patterns — and breaks in patterns — for almost every detail of your business’s technical existence. And it the ideal way to catch a hacker at every single point of their attack. For more managed network insights or to set up managed network monitoring for your business, contact us today!

The Secret Capabilities of Managed Network Monitoring – Pt 1

IT Engineer Using Laptopf for Network Monitoring and Analysis of Network Servers in Server Room

Network Monitoring is your first line of defense in securing the network

In the ongoing battle to maintain business information security, the tools we use are our most important defenses. Firewalls, anti-virus, encryption. But the best tool we have to defend against hackers is something you may have barely even heard of, Network Monitoring.

Network Monitoring is Cybersecurity’s Secret Weapon

Network monitoring, summarized, is keeping track of every single detail of your physical computers and devices, digital files and servers, and your internal network activity. But the reason it’s so obscure is that explaining network monitoring is incredibly technical. It triggers most people’s ‘Techno-Babel’ filters. Network monitoring is cybersecurity’s secret weapon is because it gathers -all- the data.

Network monitoring allows you to build a fortress with data. Not the precious personal and financial data the hackers want to steal. Just cold hard facts about your computers. You can zoom in as tight as the motherboard temperature or as wide as watching data flow through your network. And network monitoring can create a record of data over time, no matter what you are tracking, which allows patterns to be spotted and, therefore, deviations from normal patterns to raise alarms.

But to put it simply, it’s like placing security cameras on the data itself. Right inside the server, looking at the files you’re protecting and the network hackers are -required- to come through to access your internally stored data. Now let’s take a look at some of the highly useful practical applications for network-monitored defenses.

Unauthorized Network or Data Access

The problem with hackers is that they access your data without permission, or slip onto your internal network and start infecting endpoint devices. But to do this, they need a way in. They will need to, at some point, access your network through a stolen or unauthorized channel. Or they will try to access your data with a malware program instead of using the secured software access built for employees. In fact, hackers like to break the rules. They enjoy slipping around your normal protocols to steal your data or ruin your network.

But here’s the thing: Your ‘normal protocols’ create a certain pattern of data. Like watching waves on a shore, network monitoring set to watch specific files or network access knows what an authorized employee access looks like. And if anything else happens to those files or enters your network without following known employee protocols, network monitoring can trigger its hacker alarm and start messaging admins.

Signs of Stolen Login Credentials

You might be thinking “What if a hacker steals an employee’s password”. Stolen credentials are a very serious concern in business security because there are so few real solutions to the problem. Employees need to be able to log in from anywhere and to use their logins to do their normal work tasks. But what you can do is set up network monitoring to alert for suspicious authorized login behavior.

When an employee logs in from a mobile device or home computer, it is possible to record the IP address and get the general location of the login. There is also usually a date, timestamp, and sometimes the name of the device used. Your employees are going to have a normal set of devices and locations they log in from. Each login can then be pattern-matched to a certain set of devices and a geographical region that network monitoring can learn to recognize.

This means that network monitoring will also notice if that login is suddenly used on a new device in an unusual location, or suddenly in a new state or halfway across the world. Or at a time in which that login has never logged in before.

Checking in when patterns change is also the best and only way to consistently catch hackers who steal authorized logins. And if it’s something normal like a business trip or device upgrade, then no harm was done simply by touching base with the person who’s login was flagged.

Managed network monitoring is an incredibly powerful tool and these capabilities are only the beginning. Join us next time for the second half of this article where we’ll talk about misconduct, corporate espionage, compromised software, and detecting hidden malware programs. Contact us today for more information about network security, managed network service, or to set up managed network monitoring for your business needs.

See you next time!