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Why Outsource Information System Management?

Why Outsource Information System Management?

Technology is critical to any business’s success. Especially in today’s fast-moving, constantly evolving economy, sometimes having access to the latest technology can mean the difference between thriving and merely surviving.

Organizations that wish to remain competitive in these conditions are increasingly looking to specialized service providers who can keep them on top of the latest developments in their fields. This approach has already proven itself in the world of imaging services, and it continues to become increasingly relevant for information system management.

When small businesses and enterprises outsource their management information systems to a third party, they usually do so through a managed network services agreement. This agreement ensures that the organization enjoys access to all the types of network services it needs under a customized service-level agreement.

This approach generates a number of benefits that organizations would be unable to enjoy purely by leveraging their own in-house IT talent. There are limits to what achievements are economically viable for in-house IT teams. This is why experts predict that the market for information system management services will continue to grow on a global scale into 2023.

What Benefits Does Third-Party Information System Management Offer?

Choosing a reputable provider of managed network services can transform the way an organization does business. It provides a scalable infrastructure solution that can serve the needs of growing businesses as well as help make extended growth a sustainable enterprise.

  • Guaranteed Access to the Latest Technologies. Organizations need to adopt the most advanced network solutions available to keep up with their competitors. Keeping up requires dedicating time, talent, and resources to the ongoing process of improving IT infrastructure. Managed network services allow organizations to offset those costs by outsourcing them to a reputable vendor.
  • Reduced Technology Costs. The initial outlay of third-party information system management is far lower than the cost of implementing an in-house IT system. The operating costs associated with using the equipment is also considerably lower when the team responsible is part of a managed network service provider. Organizations need only pay a fixed monthly rate that corresponds to the services they use.
  • Centralized Efficiency. When organizations choose to deploy in-house IT systems, they inevitably make compromises on speed and efficiency when choosing where to deploy the system in question. Managed network service providers use virtualization and cutting-edge SD-WAN technology to optimize business efficiency regardless of location and other constraints.
  • On-Demand Expertise. In-house IT teams are often ill-equipped to handle growing IT infrastructures on their own. They need help, and that help usually comes in the form of new hires. However, hiring new employees is both expensive and risky. In some fields, these businesses are lucky if they can find qualified candidates at all – cybersecurity, for example.
  • Guaranteed Uptime. One of the major issues enterprises face with in-house networking is that they get locked into using them without updating them or replacing critical components. This creates a situation where companies don’t fix problems proactively – they wait until the last minute when a small issue becomes an enormous problem. Managed service vendors cannot afford to let issues wait.
  • Excellent Disaster Recovery. Businesses with robust managed service contracts in place can recover faster and more completely from large-scale disasters that would cripple an in-house IT team. Off-site decentralization and redundant cloud backups put the vast majority of a business’s infrastructure out of harm’s way – whatever form that harm may take.
  • Better Risk Management. Every enterprise carries risk. Whether in the form of government regulations, changing economic conditions, or disruptive technologies, organizations need to find reliable ways to manage their financial outlays and weather potential storms. Managed services accomplish this by turning infrastructure into a predictable, scalable monthly service
  • On-Demand Compliance. Today’s organizations need to comply with a dizzying array of data regulations. This is even more true for businesses that operate in highly regulated fields. HIPAA regulation for the healthcare industry is a perfect example. More than ever, businesses need to find ways to entrust their systems to professional service providers who can guarantee compliance.

Have Smile Manage Your Network Infrastructure

When an organization entrusts its network to a reputable provider like Smile, it frees up its own in-house IT resources to focus on strategic initiatives. Without these service agreements in place, enterprise IT teams have to spend the majority of their time fixing printers, diagnosing network problems, and performing other low-impact, high-volume tasks.

Managed services allow organizations to put their talent to work in a more effective way. Information system management is just one step towards building an affordable, scalable infrastructure that permits sustainable growth in a variety of circumstances while protecting company investments against market risks and security vulnerabilities.

Is it time for your business to dedicate its all-important IT resources towards strategic, customer-oriented solutions? Let our team handle network management for you starting today!

What Can Managed Network Services Do for You?

Global demand for managed network services is growing. It offers security and scalability at prices that in-house infrastructure simply cannot match.

For all but the very largest of organizations, the cost of building in-house network infrastructure far outweighs the potential benefits over leasing the network as a service. This is especially true for organizations that can’t rely on always having predictable network traffic needs.

Scalability is an important feature of the managed network services platform. Not only does it enable enterprises networks to respond to differing traffic needs, but it also makes upgrading to new network technologies much easier.

Without a managed network services provider performing the work, an enterprise would have to rip and replace its entire network infrastructure on a regular basis to keep up with new developments. This is unfeasible, so many in-house networks remain in use far beyond their useful life.

Network service is an area where contracting an IT managed services vendor can provide enormous value over time. Unlike in-house networking, an enterprise-level organization can consistently access the latest technologies on the market.

Preparing for the Future with Managed Network Services

Enterprises that rely on managed service vendors for network services can implement more sophisticated technologies than similarly sized competitors. They are also able to upgrade their infrastructure more frequently and more safely than their large size would otherwise indicate.

This is incredibly important in the world of networking technology, as new frameworks and solutions enter the market at a quickening pace. With modern approaches like software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) making increasing headway in the world of enterprise business, the need to avoid obsolescence is more crucial than ever.

This is especially true for large organizations that often need to combine multiple types of network connection types into a single, manageable framework. SD-WAN is one of the most promising approaches to treating a long list of network services like a single, unified network.

What Is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN extends software-defined network architecture to cover wide areas. Software-defined networks are already popular in data centers, university campuses, or corporate headquarters – SD-WAN offers the same functionality on a scale measured in hundreds of miles.

Whereas software-defined networking is an architecture, SD-WAN is a combined service that you can buy or lease from the appropriate vendor. It provides a clear example of why it’s so important for enterprises to entrust their networks to expert technology providers.

Consider an enterprise with multiple regional offices located in different cities or states. Some of these offices are connected through the latest, highest-performance networking technology on the market. Others only have access to commercial-grade Internet connections.

SD-WAN technology allows a managed network provider to bundle multiple commercial-grade Internet connections into a single high-bandwidth connection that performs at a speed similar to the most advanced technologies available today. It allows the system administrator to manage the entire network through a single interface.

Why Is Managed Network Services Critical to Implementing SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is a new technology. As of 2017, it enjoyed a market penetration of only 5%, but Gartner expects it become a $1 billion market by 2020.

Implementing SD-WAN requires specialized skill and expertise. The technologies involved are unlike traditional networking technologies that most in-house IT teams are likely to be familiar with. Even for those that are, managing the infrastructure effectively is a costly and time-consuming project.

However, once the network is in place, generating new software-defined rules for it is not complicated. This means that companies who specialize in SD-WAN solutions can leverage economies of scale to reduce the operating cost of maintaining their networks.

This allows managed network service vendors to install and maintain SD-WAN solutions in a more cost-effective manner than any single organization could using in-house resources. It demonstrates that IT managed services are far more efficient when applied at scale and then partitioned out to partner organizations.

Even then, SD-WAN comes with far lower costs than traditional wide-area networking. Whether implemented through commodity infrastructures or hybrid hardware/software solutions, overall costs can be less than half what a traditional wide-area network would require.

Put Managed Network Technologies to Work for Your Company

The problem with in-house infrastructure is that it locks funds and resources into illiquid assets that fail to drive value when it not in use. Managed network services allow enterprises to pay for the network infrastructure they use, and to avoid paying for equipment they don’t need.

The ability to quickly scale networking needs up or down makes it unnecessary for enterprises to maintain their own networks. Managed services offer time and capital savings far in excess of their costs.

Find out just how much time and money managed network services can really save your office. Talk to one of our Solutions Specialist today!

How Businesses Can Get Ahead with the Top Managed Network Trends of 2019

Getting close to the end of the year often leads to looking ahead. Some people will look for the latest styles in fashion while others try to predict up-and-coming music stars that will break onto the charts.

Information technology security has become a hot topic of discussion as people outside of the IT world become more and more aware of the potential problems and challenges facing businesses in today’s modern world. IT professionals and providers of managed IT services need to stay ahead of the latest trends to ensure that the people and businesses they support do not get left behind in 2019. With these trends in mind, businesses will be able to be better prepared for whatever the new year may hold.

The Data Discussion is Just Getting Started

This year, the spotlight was put on data and how data is managed. Some serious data breaches made international news, Europe enacted wide sweeping data regulations, referred to as GDPR, and businesses experienced substantial losses due to malware like ransomware. While some of these situations are certainly not positive, the silver lining is that data protection and security have become top-of-mind as consumers and executives alike begin to take data more seriously.

For businesses, managing and storing data will be a big emphasis for 2019. In this modern, connected world, businesses take in, handle, and store more data than ever before. New regulations may affect how that data is to be handled and new threats to data security should spur businesses into reviewing policies and making changes if needed.

Get Ready to Embrace the Cloud

The cloud, as far as major technology advances go, is not exactly something new and shiny for most people. Users with smartphones use the cloud every day to save photos and app data, for example. However, cloud-based storage and technology is just beginning to realize their potential as more and more services become available on the cloud for businesses to use. Of course, with new services come a whole host of concerns including compliance, security, and integration.

In 2019, everything from data storage to customer relationship management to malware protection will be done from the cloud. Of course, the job for managed network services providers will be to ensure that all of this technology meets the needs of the business, complies with security best practices, and integrates into the businesses’ workflow.

This isn’t to make cloud-based services sound scary. In fact, they should be embraced. Cloud technology enables users to be more efficient, reduce waste, and gain mobility as they use modern tools to get their work done. However, cloud services need to be implemented thoughtfully and with data protection always top-of-mind.

New Devices Means New Vulnerabilities

The internet of things is very exciting for the future of business, but it can also be a point of vulnerability. As smart lights, smart thermostats, and other smart devices are added to offices, hackers will see new potential points to exploit and attack. One of the most pressing matters for IT security professionals will be how to enable these devices while maintaining network security.

Of course, one of the most basic methods of preventing cyber attacks is to simply update software and firmware as it is released. However, with potentially hundreds of connected devices within the walls of a typical office, managing those devices will become a much more intensive task. Taking stock of connected devices and staying aware of security updates will be incredibly important throughout 2019 and beyond.

Stay Ahead of the Managed Network Trends in 2019

Technology is moving fast and business networks are going to be relied on more than ever. Staying ahead of trends in the technology and business worlds is not an easy task, but IT security should be a top priority for every business of every size this coming year.

The team at Smile Business Products has years of experience providing professional managed network services. Their experienced team can help businesses embrace the future while also protecting themselves from the challenges that may come with new technologies and trends.

To learn more about managed network services and other managed network trends for 2019, contact Smile Business Products today.

What is Betabot and Why Does Your Company Need to Be Protected From It?

What is Betabot & Why Does Your Company Need to Be Protected from It?

It can be hard to keep up with the latest cybersecurity threats that plague our online interactions every single day. With 1 million new types of malware being released every day, simply keeping tabs on it all is a full time job. The importance of managing malware threats becomes magnified if you own or operate a business.

There is one type of malware, known as Betabot, that has been catching the attention of cybersecurity professionals for some time. The Betabot malware is an interesting case study for several reasons and highlights the importance of staying vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity.

In this article, we will break down what the Betabot malware actually is, why it is garnering so much attention, and which malware protection strategies can protect companies from experiencing significant loss or disruption.

What is the Betabot Malware?

The Betabot malware is, like many other forms of malware, a data stealing Trojan at its core. However, there are some unique traits of Betabot that make it unlike other types of malware. You see, Betabot was originally used to target banking information. It would hide behind the scenes on affected devices and collect banking information such as passwords.

While this is scary for people and businesses that are affected, it is not unique in the malware world. Many of the latest malware threats target banking information. So why is Betabot unique from other types of malware?

What has many cybersecurity experts watching Betabot is its changing nature. As mentioned, it originally went after banking information. However, over time, Betabot has changed so that hackers using the malware can shut down anti malware programs, install new types of malware, and even take over certain functions of the infected device. This changing and updating nature of Betabot makes it an even greater threat because there is no telling what new tricks are up its sleeve.

Another interesting piece of information about the Betabot malware is that it appears to be infecting more and more devices over recent weeks. Once Betabot has infected a device and makes connection with its operator, there is no telling what other forms of malware Betabot will install.

How Do Users Become Infected With Betabot Malware?

Obviously, when faced with a serious threat like Betabot, malware prevention becomes a major focus for many individuals and business users. Understanding how Betabot infects victim’s devices makes prevention much easier.

Like many other types of malware, Betabot uses phishing attacks to convince users to download a Microsoft Word document. Once a user opens the document, it runs an installer that uses an exploit in older versions of Microsoft Word.

Once the install has been completed, the hackers controlling Betabot can freely send new commands and forms of malware to the infected device. That’s right – your trusty Microsoft Word is the gateway for Betabot to take hold within your computer.

However, before you go ahead and uninstall Microsoft Word, it’s important to understand that Betabot can only take advantage of an old exploit that watched patched out by Microsoft back in 2017. This means that simply performing regular updates on the programs you use is enough to stop Betabot in its tracks. So if Betabot requires an old, patched exploit to be effective, why is it still infecting devices?

The Complexities of Malware Prevention

Downloading and installing regular security patches are one of the most basic forms of malware prevention. Many people do this regularly with their own personal devices. However, in a business environment, managing updates and verifying they have been installed on all devices can be much more difficult. One weak link can provide an entry point for devastating forms of malware.

With the large number of programs that businesses use today, ensuring prompt updates are done can be difficult. This is why managed network services have become popular with many businesses. They help create a unified network security strategy from deployment of devices, regular updates, and malware monitoring. Best of all, much of this work can be done remotely from a centralized location so there is no need to pay for on-site IT professionals at all hours of the work day.

Trust Network Security to an Experienced Partner

At Smile Business Products, we offer industry leading managed network services for businesses that want to ensure total security within their operation. This service includes regular patch updates on all devices to protect against vulnerabilities that enable devastating malware like Betabot and many of the other latest malware threats.

If you would like to learn more about managed network services for your business, contact us at Smile Business Products today.

How Can Managed Network Services Protect My Company from Malware Attacks?

The cybercriminal’s arsenal has grown drastically in the past decade. They have released more malicious programs than ever and continue to create new ones at an alarming rate.

According to AV-Test, there are an estimated 796 million malware variants present today, which is an increase of 274% from 2009. That means today’s hackers have 796 million different ways to target organizations globally.

For businesses and institutions around the world, the pressure is on. Taking the right protective measures is important to ensure you do not become a victim of the next big cyberattack.

Managed security service is one of the most effective ways to prevent both known and unknown cybersecurity threats. In order to understand how managed security solutions work, it’s important to establish an understanding of the different types of malicious programs out there.

What Is Malware and How Does It Work?

Malware is a combination of two words, malicious and software. The term refers to software created with the intention to harm devices, data, and users.

Different types of malware work in different ways. Some may target individual devices while others target a whole network of devices. For the most part, the main goal is to either corrupt the device or data or gain access to it. Cybersecurity professionals use the term “malware” to describe all of the following types of unauthorized applications:

  • Trojans. Like the Trojan horse of myth, trojans use a disguise to deceive. They act like legitimate software and create backdoors into your network, creating security threats that can go undetected for years.
  • Viruses. A virus is an infection that attaches itself to files. They cause damage to these files by either corrupting or deleting them. Viruses typically appear as an executable file, which means unsuspecting users have to open them for them to start working.
  • Spyware. Computers infected with spyware allow hackers to spy and exfiltrate any data they want from the device – from surfing habits and passwords to credit card numbers. Skygofree is a recently discovered trojan/spyware variant that targets Android devices. It allows hackers to steal audio, photos, videos, WhatsApp messages, and any other data on the device’s hard drive.
  • Worms. Worms target the overall network. Once a device on a network is infected with worms, they make their way through the network infecting all devices. To do this, they must first compromise the network’s digital certificates, which leaves devices on the network vulnerable to other malicious attacks.
  • Botnets. Botnets are a complex network of computers that work like “zombies” under the control of a master user. They are typically used for spamming and tricking people into providing personal information for scammers to use.

The above list is not exhaustive and only includes the most common malicious software. Hackers have become very innovative in how they conduct malware attacks, thanks to the flourishing profits that cybercrime pays.

Since malicious software is continually evolving, new strains feature zero-day vulnerability. A zero-day vulnerability is a threat no patch or security fix can repair – it’s brand-new.

For zero-day attacks, cybersecurity professionals must develop a patch after the attack has already occurred. This puts them on the defense, forcing them to spend valuable time and resources on damage control while trying to prevent new users from being infected.

How Managed Network Services Can Help Fight Malware Attacks

Detecting and fighting malware requires more than just installing an antivirus on your workstations. While that is part of the solution, making sure all aspects of the network and its devices are consistently protected from attacks is vital. Managed security services offer organizations a stronger contingency plan against any form of attack – zero-day or otherwise.

Hiring a team of experts and allowing them to take care of your company’s network security leaves little room for accidental error. Managed service providers lay down a proper foundation and infrastructure to fight off malware attack and offer reduced reaction times when attacks occur.

Our team at Smile provides a stable foundation for network security. Some attacks cannot be prevented, but they can be quarantined and controlled before causing serious damage. Activating layers of security and reducing the level of automatic trust that your systems and departments place in one another is a key strategy for mounting a powerful defense.

Active threat detection is an important part of any comprehensive plan for mitigating malware attacks. By constantly scanning network systems for known threats and suspicious behaviors, cybersecurity professionals can deal with them as soon as they appear. This ensures business continuity with minimal downtime.

Is your business ready to implement a top-shelf security solution to protect sensitive data from cyberattackers? Talk to our security experts to learn more.

How Can I Protect My Business From Crypto Miner Malware Attacks?

How Can I Protect My Business From Crypto Miner Malware Attacks?

Keeping up with the latest threats from hackers can seem overwhelming. Some estimates suggest there are over 1 million new malware threats released every single day. It can be overwhelming if you are not sure of what to look out for.

Recently, with the rise in popularity and value of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin mining malware and other crypto currency mining malware programs have exploded in popularity. These forms of malware attacks can be less obvious than other attacks like ransomware. As a result, businesses may be unaware of their effects until much later after the initial infection.

In this article we will break down crypto mining malware attacks, how you can prevent them, and how managed IT services may be a part of the solution.

What is Crypto Mining Malware?

When most people hear about cryptocurrency mining they have a hard time wrapping their head around the concept. How does crypto mining work and how does it affect your network devices?

Simply put, crypto mining uses computer processing power to verify blocks of transactions. The processing power of computer hardware is used to solve increasingly difficult mathematical equations in order to verify transactions with the rest of the distributed computers.

In return for doing this work, the users who “donate” their processing power are given a reward in the form of a small amount of cryptocurrency.

So, what is crypto mining malware? Instead of people using their own computer hardware for legitimate mining purposes, they use the hardware of unsuspecting users.

Bitcoin mining malware and other forms of crypto mining malware attacks tap into the power of your computer to verify transactions while the rewards go to the hackers who developed the malware.

Essentially, you are putting up the processing power and energy to help someone else earn cryptocurrency.

Why Should You Be Worried?

Now the question shifts from, “What is crypto mining malware,” to, “How does it affect me?”

Unlike more obvious forms of malware that seek to hold your data hostage in return for payment, Bitcoin mining malware is comparatively inconspicuous. Many people could be infected without ever knowing it. So what’s the problem?

As Bitcoin mining malware spreads, it begins to consume more and more processing power and energy.

Cryptocurrency mining is very energy intensive and Bitcoin mining alone is estimated to account for 0.5% of the world’s total power usage this year. In a home setting, a single computer using extra power may not be noticed. In a business setting, an entire network of devices tapping into additional power could be very costly.

In addition, this constant use of processing power could wear down computer hardware faster than normal use. If your graphics processing unit is operating 24/7 then it is likely the cooling fans will fail much earlier than what could be attributed to regular usage. Over time, these costs can add up as expensive hardware is replaced.

Finally, your computer simply cannot operate at peak efficiency if a portion of its processing power is being used for cryptocurrency mining without your knowledge. This would be like buying a high powered sports car only to find that the dealership swapped in a lawnmower engine before handing over the keys. The efficiency of your business is harmed because of Bitcoin mining malware.

How to Prevent Crypto Miner Malware Attacks

Many of the standard computer security tips apply when preventing crypto miner malware attacks.

Users should avoid visiting websites they do not trust or opening email attachments from people they do not know. While Bitcoin mining malware may be a new twist of the standard malware infection, it is still distributed the same way as other forms of malware.

Managed IT services and managed network services can also go a long way in helping preventing the infection and spread of efficiency sapping malware. In a secure network environment, it can be more difficult for Bitcoin mining malware to gain a foothold and spread to other devices.

Using managed IT services, businesses can filter malicious emails as they enter the network and prevent infected files from reaching unsuspecting users.

There is no single way to prevent malware infection. A comprehensive strategy including managed network services is the only way to ensure your business security is ready for the latest digital threats.

Get Top Quality Business Network Services

At Smile Business Products, our business network services protect your company’s data and hardware by using the best technology available today.

We invite you to visit our facility, meet our team, and learn more about how we can protect you from crypto mining malware as well as the countless other threats to your business. Contact us today to learn more.