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Frequently Asked Questions

Let us demystify cybersecurity for you

SIEM, SOC, ransomware, managed security services - the complex world of internet security can be overwhelming. Our cybersecurity experts are happy to help! So scroll down for some FAQs to give you clarity.

Why is SIEM important to have?

If there is a breach, SIEM software can help professionals track down what happened.

Security information and event management (SIEM) software is a group of technologies that together help security professionals get an overview of a network's infrastructure. SIEM software can be used for services such as: 

  • Data analysis
  • Event correlation
  • Aggregation and reporting
  • Log management

If there is a breach, SIEM software can help professionals track down what happened. You can use the software to recreate an anatomy of the breach, so you figure out exactly what happened and what type of damage it did. A good SIEM software package also can alert you to security incidents you might otherwise miss.

SIEM software also can help you limit the damage from an attack by doing things such as signaling firewalls to block malicious activity. 

Installing a typical SIEM software system also should help you meet regulatory requirements by proving that you are protecting your most sensitive data. This can help you avoid fines you might face for failing a compliance audit. 

A SIEM system is only as good as you make it. People inside the business have to decide which type of information the software should monitor. 

It's also important to have a plan in place that allows you to respond quickly, especially to events happening in real time. It should go without saying that regularly updating your SEIM software -- and testing it -- can keep you a step ahead of bad actors who are constantly changing the methods they use to attack. 

How do I avoid ransomware?

Secure organizational front lines, ensure comprehensive cloud-based backups and understand how to remove your computer from the network.

First, we must secure the front lines of the organization. Ransomware usually comes through via legitimate-looking emails, and those go to your employees. Thus, we must educate your employees on what to look for in an email before clicking on an attachment, clicking a link, filling out a form, etc. This is most successfully done in a space called Cybersecurity Education. Many companies in America today are solely focused on educating employees of large and small companies on how to spot suspicious emails and report them to their IT teams. These companies also test phish employees to make sure that they remember what they learned during the education portion of the cyber education modules. 

Secondly, we have to make sure our backups are comprehensive and cloud-based. Does this mean that all PCs need to be backed up? Perhaps. If your network administrators are using DFS or folder redirection to backup your local files on the file server, people will not have to have their individual computers backed up. But that requires that computers be on the domain (local network) from time to time. In today's environment of working from home, it is more difficult to secure data that is offsite. Therefore, if you need to keep data secure and are working remotely, remember to back up your sensitive data to your company's cloud-based file share. That information, in turn, should be backed up to another cloud-based file share that is separate and secure from the first one. This is very important: Ransomware actors know that the way to combat ransomware is to have clean backups for everything, so now they are working to encrypt backups, too. You (personally) do not have to worry about backups. That is for your IT folks to handle. But you are responsible for important files that you are working on daily. You do not want your computer to be a single point of failure. Because of that, make sure to save your most sensitive files to a company-approved cloud-based storage area. Ask IT if you have any questions.

If you do get ransomware on your computer for any reason, remove your computer from the network immediately. You do not want your computer to be the reason your company gets sabotaged as a whole. This means you need to remove the network cable from the back of your computer, or you need to remove your computer from your work or home wireless network. This is VERY IMPORTANT. If you don't do this quickly, the hackers could also attack the network you own, including any IoT devices you have at home, like your automatic door locks, your virtual cameras, your home theatre, your virtual thermostat, your security system, etc. It can happen quickly, so be aware of what is happening and act accordingly. 

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system (or server) until a sum of money is paid.

Ultimately, the rate you pay primarily depends on the range of services you require. A managed IT services provider may review your company to help determine your needs and provide you with pricing options appropriate to help meet those needs. 

Some features -- such as firewalls and anti-virus solutions -- that most organizations will require, regardless of the nature of their business.

One way to save money on managed IT services is to handle some of the more basic IT services in-house while letting the managed IT services provider handle more complicated tasks. 

Managed IT services providers often charge a flat monthly rate for their services. Sometimes, services are priced on a per-employee basis that averages between $100 to $150 for each employee who uses IT services, according to one 2020 estimate. If you have more advanced security and consulting needs, you can pay as much as $250 per worker.

Other managed IT service providers may charge you a per device fee that is pegged to each piece of equipment that your business uses. This can range from just a few dollars to $100 per device.

Remember, though, that these are rough ballpark figures. It's possible your business will pay less -- or more -- for managed IT services.

What are managed IT services?

Managed IT services are the option of outsourcing information technology services to a separate company instead of hiring an in-house ITS team.

Many businesses use the managed IT services alternative to save money and streamline operations. 

Some of the services a managed IT services firm might provide to another business include: 

  • Making sure equipment works well and fixing it when it doesn't
  • Implementing and maintaining cybersecurity protection measures
  • Monitoring important applications

By hiring managed IT services, a business is not required to pay expensive full-time employees and offer them benefits. However, keeping such employees on staff can add high costs to a company. For example, according to Robert Half Technology, a Denver-based company can expect to pay a network/cloud administrator between $80,000 and $100,000 in salary. Those figures do not include benefits, bonuses, and other costs.

On the other hand, you typically will pay a flat monthly rate for managed IT services. Because this figure does not change from month to month, organizations can fit it into their budget more easily.

According to one 2020 estimate, you can expect to pay about $100 to $150 for each of your employees per month for managed IT services. However, if you require more advanced security solutions and consulting, rates can jump to $250.

That means a company with 25 employees can expect to pay roughly $2,500 to $6,250 per month to an outside company to manage information technology services. However, these are ballpark figures, so your costs could be lower or considerably higher.

In addition, many managed IT service providers have alternate pricing models, such as charging businesses based on the number of devices the company uses.

Managed IT services can be an excellent option for companies that do not have complicated IT needs or complex technologies to service. On the other hand, managed services may not work for bigger companies that would do better with an in-house ITS department.

What are the key concepts underlying IT services management?

In a world where technology drives most businesses, having the right information technology services management in place is crucial to your venture's success.

When your technology is not working properly -- or worse, when it has been hacked by criminals -- your business can come to a standstill.

A solid IT services management plan helps your business:

  • Maintain your current system, making sure it continues to function effectively
  • Explore new technologies that might improve upon your current approach
  • Implement cutting-edge security to keep your business -- and your customers -- safe from criminals
  • Incorporate new updates that help your business change and grow, such as adding software that facilitates remote work

The right information technology services team will select and maintain the right hardware and software that will help your business achieve its goals. A good ITS team also can help develop applications that will extend your company's reach, and build and maintain a solid infrastructure that includes everything from web servers to firewalls.

In some cases, it makes sense to hire staff and build out your own in-house information services technology team. But doing so can be expensive, and possibly cost-prohibitive for smaller companies with more modest IT services needs.

In such situations, it can pay to outsource this work to a third-party managed IT services provider. These services tend to be less costly and are often the right choice for smaller ventures.

The bottom line is that the right IT services management plan can minimize technology-related business interruptions, keep your business safe and help spur innovations that will maximize your business's odds of succeeding.

How much should managed IT services cost?

Turning to a third-party source for managed IT services should be significantly less expensive than hiring your own in-house information technology services team.

Ultimately, the rate you pay primarily depends on the range of services you require. A managed IT services provider may review your company to help determine your needs and provide you with pricing options appropriate to help meet those needs. 

Some features -- such as firewalls and anti-virus solutions -- that most organizations will require, regardless of the nature of their business.

One way to save money on managed IT services is to handle some of the more basic IT services in-house while letting the managed IT services provider handle more complicated tasks. 

Managed IT services providers often charge a flat monthly rate for their services. Sometimes, services are priced on a per-employee basis that averages between $100 to $150 for each employee who uses IT services, according to one 2020 estimate. If you have more advanced security and consulting needs, you can pay as much as $250 per worker.

Other managed IT service providers may charge you a per device fee that is pegged to each piece of equipment that your business uses. This can range from just a few dollars to $100 per device.

Remember, though, that these are rough ballpark figures. It’s possible your business will pay less -- or more -- for managed IT services.

What are information technology services?

Information technology services focus on using computer hardware, software, and services to assist a company or other organization in managing and delivering information.

Over the past several decades, the role of the computer has become central to many aspects of our lives. Information technology services are crucial to helping organizations: 

  • Support the processing of information
  • Facilitate better decision-making
  • Find new ways to innovate
  • Protect the systems that keep the business moving forward

Typically, those who work in information technology services play a crucial role in planning, managing, and executing technology initiatives. The ITS department's job is to oversee both hardware (all the physical parts of a computer system) and software (the programs and other operating information a computer uses).

The ITS department may work with many other departments in an organization to keep technology services on track. For example, the department might develop and maintain computer systems and servers or manage a company's data network. 

An information technology services department also might help develop customized applications and websites for a business to reach its goals. The ITS department might suggest ways to manage information better and then create the tools to turn that vision into reality. 

Those who work in information technology services include: 

  • Computer support specialists who troubleshoot software problems and hardware issues such as computer crashes.
  • Network systems administrators who focus on the "big picture" of a system and how it performs.
  • Computer systems analysts who look at an organization's computer systems and procedures and work to improve them
  • Information security analysts who are in charge of ensuring the security of an organization's computer networks

A well-functioning information technology services department quietly and efficiently does its job -- behind the scenes and often largely unnoticed -- so workers in the organization can perform the day-to-day tasks that make the venture a success. 

In some cases -- particularly in smaller businesses -- it can be more affordable and efficient to outsource information technology services to a third party.

What do information technology services cost?

The cost of information technology services can be high. Paying ITS professionals can be expensive -- especially after you factor in the price of things like hiring, training, and paying benefits.

For example, according to Robert Half Technology, a Seattle-based company can expect to pay a network/cloud administrator between $100,000 and $170,000 in salary. Those figures do not include benefits, bonuses, and other costs.

And salaries are not the only ITS costs a business faces. For example, the hardware and software used to perform information technology services also can add up to a substantial cost. 

Another hidden cost appears when you have the wrong information technology services. For example, if an ITS department cannot do its job well, you may experience a lot of downtime -- and lose revenue as a result. This hidden cost is easy to overlook, but doing so is a big mistake.

Some businesses try to cut costs by having an outside company manage information technology services. In such situations, the business outsources the work to a third party and is not required to pay full-time employees and offer them benefits.

According to one 2020 estimate, you can expect to pay about $100 to $150 for each of your employees per month for managed IT services. However, if you require more advanced security solutions and consulting, rates can jump to $250.

So, a company with 30 employees can expect to pay roughly $3,000 to $7,500 per month to an outside company to manage your information technology services.

Other managed IT services have different pricing models, such as charging on a per-device -- rather than a per-employee -- basis.

Just keep in mind that while managed services can be an excellent option for many companies, it does not work well for every organization. If your IT needs are sophisticated and the technologies you use are complex, trying to save money by hiring outside services may prove costly.

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