Managed Services Need to Know

When managing the information systems infrastructure for any organization, there are a few keys to think about as you perform monitoring and maintenance. The first and most important thing to consider is how your actions will affect end users. An example situation is the case for upgrading the firmware/OS on a firewall. This is an important maintenance task that should be performed on a regular basis to keep a network secure, but it can adversely affect users if they are using VPN client software that is not compatible with the new firmware. The correct resolution for managed services is to first ensure that all client applications will be compatible with the changed infrastructure and, if not, perform upgrades of those client applications before proceeding with the firewall updates.

Another task to be performed when handling managed services is maintaining customer networks, is monitoring all hardware and application licenses so that they are current with the correct number of users and ensuring that they are not in danger of expiring. This is where correct and current documentation of all client infrastructure is critical. Keeping this information up to date and handy also helps customers when it comes time for annual budget meetings to prevent unexpected (and urgent) expenses from arising.

In a similar vein, keeping SSL certificates current is also a critical function for a managed service provider. VPNs can stop allowing connections and email can stop flowing if an SSL certificate expires. Additionally, customer facing websites will display an ugly “Not Secure” message if the website’s SSL certificate is not current. Keeping expiration dates for these certificates documented and implementing systems that generate alerts BEFORE certificates expire will keep everything up and running and keep customers happy.

Article by Ken M., Senior Engineer

Here are some further considerations and task to enhance the managed services:

  1. Regular Backup and Disaster Recovery Planning: Implementing a robust backup strategy ensures that business operations can resume swiftly. Regularly scheduled backups, off-site storage, and periodic testing of recovery procedures are essential components of an effective disaster recovery plan.
  2. Patch Management and Vulnerability Assessment: Software updates, patches, and security vulnerabilities is crucial for maintaining a secure IT environment. Automated patch management systems can streamline the process of deploying updates while vulnerability assessments help identify potential weaknesses that could be exploited by cyber threats.
  3. Network Performance Monitoring: Monitoring network performance metrics enables IT teams to proactively identify and address issues before they impact end-users. This includes monitoring network traffic patterns to detect anomalies indicative of security breaches or unauthorized access attempts.
  4. User Access Management: Ensuring that users have appropriate access privileges aligned with their roles and responsibilities protects from sensitive data and preventing insider threats. Reviewing user access rights, implementing strong authentication mechanisms, and promptly revoking access for terminated employees or inactive accounts help mitigate security risks.
  5. Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Staying compliant with industry regulations and data protection laws is essential for avoiding legal penalties and safeguarding customer trust. Regular audits, documentation of compliance efforts, and proactive measures to address regulatory changes ensure that the organization remains in good standing with relevant authorities.
  6. Employee Training and Awareness: Educating employees about cybersecurity best practices, social engineering tactics, and data handling procedures empowers them to become proactive defenders against cyber threats. Regular training sessions, simulated phishing exercises, and awareness campaigns foster a culture of security consciousness within the organization.
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