What does an MSP do, anyway?
Note: The following article is provided by DTC, which helps in all aspects of technology, from system planning to fully managed services. It is reprinted here with permission.
It seems impossible to prepare for everything, foolish even. As Greg Conderacci is fond of saying. “You can’t prepare for everything, but you can instead prepare for anything.” What he means is once a problem is identified there is always a way to fix it. Information technology and computer networks are complicated systems interacting with a complex world. Inevitably issues are going to arise.
Think about it, what if your system goes down due to a power outage? What if you can’t access certain files, and daily operations comes to a complete halt? How long will it take for your business to be up and running again? In any business, especially CPA firms, it is imperative that you have a plan in place and have literally prepared for anything.
That is where a Managed Service Provider, or MSP, comes into play.
As an elite MSP, we provide a wide range of services to professional businesses, health care, and other essential industries. We enable financial professionals to do what they do best without having to remain as keenly attuned to the changing nuances of computer networks. Like those in the tax and finance space, in the MSP space, we hear a lot of questions around, “What does that mean?”
Here are a list of the common questions/terms we are asked to address (and what they mean):
- Cyber liability / E&O insurance: Insurance protection against cyber threats is harder to obtain (as you likely know) because standards are rapidly changing. Having a trusted MSP (although not required), who prioritizes and understands cybersecurity, provides a level of assurance to the insurance industry. Be aware, cyber criminals try to locate insurance coverage information on computer networks as leverage in negotiating ransom payments.
- What is patch management (and remediation)? Many organizations have unpatched software for known vulnerabilities. This is also known (and actively exploited) by our adversaries. Patch management is the process of identifying and deploying software updates, or “patches,” to a variety of endpoints to fix those vulnerabilities or “bugs." The patch management process can be implemented by an IT team, an automated patch management tool, or a combination of both.
- How does remote help desk support work? When your computers/network goes down, you need help fast because down time is lost revenue. An MSP has a trained set of specialists to respond immediately.
- What about onsite support? In instances when remote help desk cannot fix the problem, how long until a tech comes onsite, do they have knowledge of your system / software, etc.? As an MSP, our goal is to get you back to business as quick as possible. We also manage your network, devices, and software for you. This means we have documented knowledge of how your systems work.
- Backup and disaster recovery are not the same thing. All MSPs should offer backup services. Not all will offer local and cloud backup storage (and even fewer will offer disaster recovery). Backups are optimal for restoring corrupted data. A disaster recovery plan is a policy to ensure your systems and data are both back up and running without losing critical data. All backups should be encrypted and ideally you are looking for a partner who will get you back up and fully functional in an hour or two max.
- Why does the MSP tout their security stack? This is a topic that has a variety of opinions and is constantly evolving. Just a few years ago having a business grade firewall and anti-virus was sufficient. With the threat landscape constantly changing, the security protection must evolve as well. Today, solutions like Huntress and ThirdWall perform managed detection / response and notify of an intrusion then will shut down systems to stop the spread of threats. Multi factor authentication (MFA) – also referred to as 2FA (two-factor authentication) – and products like DNSFilter (that perform application-based DNS and web content filtering) are all vital parts of a modern security stack in addition to the beloved firewall with intrusion prevention and anti-virus. DNS is the “domain name system,” it translates internet numeric addresses into human readable names.
- Do you have a dedicated customer success team? Just as you are the most trusted business advisor for your clients/organization’s financial health, your MSP is your trusted IT / Network business advisor. Regular business reviews keep you abreast of changes and suggestions offered that assist your business in its growth and development.
We understand that finding an MSP that suits your business needs may seem a bit daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! Managed Service Providers will do all the heavy lifting for you – finding holes within your IT infrastructure, improving processes until they become and remain efficient, maximizing resources while reducing costs, and so much more.
For more information (and to experience the DTC difference), visit our website or call us at (410) 877-3625.