Archives November 2020

How to Tell If You’re Getting Value for Money with Your IT Support

When we talk about “value for money,” the belief is “we get what we pay for.” To some extent, this is true as often the quality of the product or service you receive depends upon the price you pay for it.

But is it the same for IT support? The short answer is, “it depends.”

When you consider the skills and equipment needed to provide robust and reliable tech support, you can say that it is. But this isn’t always true.

Some managed IT services providers offer Helpdesk services, network support, systems administration, and more cost-effectively. But this doesn’t mean that you should outsource your tech support to the lowest bidder.

In this scenario, a cheap quote doesn’t guarantee affordable service in the long-term, and the size of the managed services provider doesn’t assure better service.

So how do you know if you’re getting real value for money? It all comes down to doing your homework before committing.

Business IT support services providers are fiercely competitive, and the price of their offerings vary greatly. However, for the most part, IT support takes one of two forms; pay-as-you-go (or ad-hoc) or fully managed services for a fixed monthly fee.

Pay-As-You-Go IT Support Services

As the name suggests, you pay for what you use. This approach is typically suited for startups and small businesses. When you have to contend with budgetary constraints and simple enterprise infrastructure, it doesn’t make sense to pay for more.

This IT support model is essentially set at an hourly cost for reactive support. Some Helpdesk services providers also offer this pricing model by selling blocks of hours known as Time Banking. The final price is determined by the number of hours purchased by your organisation.

If you decide to go with the latter, to get the most bang for your buck, make sure that the Time Bank doesn’t come with an expiration date. Furthermore, suppose your ad-hoc tech support requires a small monthly retainer, it’s crucial to clarify what you get for it (whether it’s maintenance, network monitoring, or any other related service).

If your startup or small business is hoping to scale rapidly, it’s best to avoid the ad-hoc support model. This is because it won’t be cost-effective—when your business grows, you’ll need a significant number of support hours to accommodate it.

Managed IT Support Services

Fully managed Business IT support often comes with a number of other services like computer and device maintenance. But it all depends on the service provider’s pricing model. For example, some companies charge by the number of end-users while others charge by the number of support calls made, and so on.

Whether via chat, email, telephone, or on-premise support, an established managed services provider won’t limit your support. More often than not, tech support services take a tiered pricing approach where the support provided depends on the tier you chose.

This makes it vital to know precisely what you’re getting before committing. If your company uses bespoke software, make sure to make allocations to ensure that the developer provides adequate guidance to the support services provider.

Finally, your Service Level Agreements (SLA) are crucial to ensure quality and cost-effective support. It has a direct impact on support and response times that affect your bottom line. So sign up with a HelpDesk services provider who is completely transparent in SLAs about how they prioritise issues and response times in each tier.

If you engage in thorough research during the planning phase, you can tell if you’re going to get value for money with your IT support. By paying attention to what’s offered in each support and pricing model, you’ll be better placed to make an educated guess before committing.

To learn more about business IT support, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Is EDR (Endpoint Detection and Response) better than Anti-Virus Software?

Traditional anti-virus programs are often enough to protect a small business’ endpoints. However, EDR takes it to a whole new level by responding to the current threat landscape effectively.  

At a distance, both anti-virus software and EDR can appear almost indistinguishable. However, upon closer examination, the two security protocols prove to be substantially different.  

Understanding these differences is key to achieving robust enterprise security. 

  1. What’s anti-virus Software? 

According to leading cybersecurity provider Norton, anti-virus software is more like a decentralised security system that helps protect your computer from cyberattacks (including malware and spyware attacks).  

In this scenario, anti-virus software monitors the data traveling through the network to your devices. This information is then compared to known threats while examining the behaviour of all programs on the system.  

Whenever suspicious behaviour is identified, the anti-virus program will attempt to block or remove the infection.  

Anti-virus programs do the following to protect against different types of security threats: 

  • Confirm the safety and security of your device 
  • Delete malicious codes and software 
  • Pinpoint particular files for the detection of malicious code 
  • Scan either a single file or your entire computer at your discretion 
  • Schedule automatic scans 

With ever-evolving cyberthreats, anti-virus is vital to protecting enterprise devices. However, having anti-virus software alone isn’t enough. Instead, anti-virus software should be a component of your overall cyber defence strategy. 

  1. What’s EDR? 

According to the global security software provider McAfee, EDR (also know as ETDR or endpoint threat detection and response) is a unified security solution. It combines a collection of endpoint data with a rules-based automated response, continuous real-time monitoring, and analysis capabilities. 

EDR solutions and tools are designed to detect and investigate suspicious activities across all endpoints in your enterprise infrastructure. Compared to traditional anti-virus software, EDR helps better secure enterprise networks. 

EDR tools do the following to protect against different types of security threats: 

  • Analyse data to identify threat patterns 
  • Automatically respond to recognised threats by removing or containing them  
  • Forensics and analysis tools to research known risks and compare them with internal activity to search for suspicious behaviour 
  • Monitor and collect activity data in real-time from endpoints to pinpoint potential threats 
  1. Anti-virus vs. EDR 

In general, EDR tools don’t replace traditional anti-virus software and firewalls. Instead, they work together to help companies enhance their security protocols and fortify their IT infrastructure. 

However, as threat actors relentlessly try to find innovative ways to breach enterprise systems, EDR is better placed to secure networks. For example, the different analytical tools offered by EDR solutions provide advanced monitoring and reporting capabilities not found in traditional anti-virus programs.  

Traditional anti-virus solutions are simplistic in nature and limited in scope when compared to EDR. When organisations build a robust EDR system, they can make anti-virus software a part of their overall threat detection protocols. 

Modern EDR systems incorporate anti-virus, firewalls, monitoring tools, whitelisting tools, and more. It’s essentially a comprehensive approach that runs on a client-server to better secure your digital perimeter.   

Some key differences that help EDR stand out are as follows: 

  • Its ability to identify endpoint threats quickly 
  • Real-time response when threats are identified 
  • Robust data loss prevention protocols 
  • Protects large scale enterprise architecture efficiently 
  • Provides more holistic protection of enterprise networks  
  • Sandboxing 

Today,  Managed IT services providers also offer EDR solutions powered by artificial intelligence that stop attacks before they cause any real harm. This approach helps derail advanced threats at the most vulnerable endpoint.  

Anti-virus software, on the other hand, allows attacks to take place and then responds to it. This makes EDR solutions and tools the best option for business.  

From now on, companies can’t afford to make security an afterthought. Furthermore, your familiarity with anti-virus software shouldn’t trump the capabilities of EDR.  

To learn more about endpoint detection and response, and how it can help your business maintain robust security and compliance, schedule a commitment-free consultation