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Posts Tagged ‘digital security’


Unique IT Challenges Financial Services Providers Face Today

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

Financial services providers find their IT challenges list is always growing because of security issues, employee needs, customer protection, regulatory laws and business requirements. Keeping up with IT concerns is important not just because failing to do so means lost business opportunities — but also, the financial services industry can incur substantial penalties over failure.

Performance Challenges

The large amount of data and secure nature of that data create a heap of unique challenges for the financial services industry. While the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy is a best practice, relying on it for too long creates situations in which older hardware and software can’t perform fast enough or are incompatible with newer platforms. Aging infrastructure can cause performance and compatibility issues.

Financial services providers often rely on high-capacity internet and network infrastructure to move large amounts of data quickly and securely. When that infrastructure no longer performs it’s time to migrate to something that does. IT services can be an invaluable asset when migrating, implementing and performance-tuning new hardware and software.

Compliance Challenges

IT in the financial services industry faces unique challenges from regulation and technology; the challenges are so great that a substantial share of the IT budget can go toward meeting government mandates.

On the technology side, many businesses rely on legacy systems that either need to be better protected because of known vulnerabilities or migrated to newer and more secure platforms.

Businesses often learn about issues and challenges from a Securities and Exchange Commission audit. It is crucial to comply with making changes in order to address identified concerns from the audit. IT addresses much of the regulatory compliance challenges through technology. An IT services provider can help a financial services provider address compliance issues, with solutions for everything from backup practices to email security.

Security Challenges

The financial services industry works with both confidential information and finances, which offers a very desirable target for hackers. Security challenges are the biggest and most important issue facing financial services providers in the IT realm. In particular, the financial industry is the top target for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which aim to disable online services for customers and staff alike. Businesses need to implement defensive technology that mitigates these attacks when they happen (as opposed to if they happen).

Additionally, the industry needs to protect customer data and avoid breaches, as there are always new security concerns to address. That means IT staff must keep up with software patches on all levels while also avoiding breaking features from updates with the goal of preventing attacks. Aging infrastructure is often the root of cyber-attack vulnerabilities and may need to be replaced for data protection.

Financial providers need to watch out for phishing and ransomware attacks on employees. The financial industry is on the receiving end of 8.5 percent of all phishing attacks, so IT staff must address these concerns on the technical and personal levels to avoid allowing impersonators to access private information. Ransomware is also a major concern in the industry. This increases the emphasis on keeping software patched to avoid attacks and maintaining reliable backups to minimize data loss if any attacks succeed.

If your Bay-area financial services provider business is looking to streamline its integrations with expert help, MPA Networks is here to help put years of professional expertise to use. Contact us today to learn more.

What Nonprofits Should Seek in an IT Provider

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

While many of the technical needs at nonprofit and for-profit businesses overlap, there are still several key considerations for nonprofits looking for the right IT services provider. Nonprofits’ motivations may be driven less by the concept of “spending money to making money” and more toward avoiding unnecessary costs so that the organization can focus more of its time and money on its message.

For nonprofits, working with an IT managed services provider can offer the following advantages:

IT Providers Help Streamline Technology Growth Alongside Nonprofit Growth

In many cases, growing nonprofit organizations struggle with keeping their infrastructure up to capacity to handle increased staff and workloads. Some nonprofits may find it easy to use in-house staff to set up and prepare new devices for new employees, whereas others may find an IT provider’s assistance invaluable. Other businesses may find it very difficult to keep their network infrastructure providing reliable performance while the number of employee computers and mobile devices continues to grow. Infrastructure can become overwhelmed as your business introduces more devices. IT service providers can help keep a watchful eye on desktop and network management.

Protecting Nonprofits From Technology Threats

Nonprofits and for-profits alike need to make IT security a priority: Overconfidence in your organization’s ability to protect itself and recover from cyber-attacks can be a major security threat in itself.

Though similar to for-profit businesses, nonprofits place a little less emphasis on targeted attacks because nonprofits aren’t as likely to be working with the same level of financial assets or confidential information. However, desktop management, which involves keeping security software running and all applications patched, can easily fall behind if on-site staff doesn’t actively monitor it.

IT services can ensure a nonprofit’s computers are strongly protected from threats.

Additionally, hiring an IT services provider for help with disaster recovery and backup can help your business avoid otherwise catastrophic situations. Proper backup practices require continuous diligent work to minimize loss from events such as hardware failure and ransomware attacks. For nonprofits, it can be invaluable knowing backups are completed correctly without having to worry about it. Losing an hour’s work by restoring data from a backup is a much more desirable prospect than losing entire projects.

Budgeting and Cost-Saving Help for Nonprofits

IT providers can also help nonprofits both stabilize and lower their budgets for IT expenses. Additionally, IT providers can work with nonprofits to only provide needed services and keep as many services in-house as the nonprofit desires. Nonprofits may pay extra attention to keeping overhead costs down, so outsourcing expensive, infrequently used services can bring in huge savings. Additionally, IT providers can offer a flat-fee subscription-based agreement so a nonprofit won’t have to deal with as many possible “surprises” when determining its IT budget for labor and capital expenses. For example, a business might look to IT services to cover IT management, implementation, equipment, software, and maintenance while maintaining control of its own in-house help desk and customer service.

The IT providers at MPA Networks can help your Bay Area nonprofit by fulfilling your IT needs at a lower cost. Contact us today to learn more.

3 Subtle Ways IT Management Makes Day-to-Day Operations More Manageable

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

For many businesses, it is difficult to gauge how helpful IT management can be in the workplace on a day-to-day basis — mainly because when things are going well, there’s little to notice. Some of the most important benefits of an IT managed services provider show themselves subtly in what doesn’t happen rather than what does.

A well-managed IT environment means your staff spends less time worrying about issues such as technology security and network capabilities and more on getting work done.

IT management makes day-to-day operations more manageable in a number of ways. Here are just a few.

1. Fewer Outages and Faster Service Thanks to a Stable Office Network Infrastructure

People don’t say much about network service that works at an acceptable speed, but they’ll be more than happy to give a mouthful when things are running slowly. IT management handles the background work in installing and maintaining workplace networks to provide the rest of the workforce with smooth, secure internet and network access. IT management will examine network traffic to determine necessary infrastructure upgrades concerning both performance and security. This work helps prevent service outages and keeps staff happy with performance speed. If all goes well, employees will only hear about the subject when IT management staff communicate with them to ensure their needs are being met.

2. Staff Can Focus on the Human Element of Digital Security Rather Than the Technical

IT management makes technical security a priority. Your staff may still spend time deciding whether an email requesting confidential information is legitimate, but they can spend less time worrying about infecting their computers with malware when browsing the web. Managed services puts in the effort to ensure all computers are running updated software, including making sure operating system patches get installed and antivirus programs are up-to-date. They also ensure network infrastructure elements such as routers and modems are using security best practices and updated firmware. IT management takes care of security holes that most employees wouldn’t ever consider as potential threats until there’s a breach. And if that breach never happens, staff will remain unaware the threats even existed.

3. Managed Services Providers Free Money for Other Uses

Managed services providers (MSPs) save your business financially in three ways: They help boost productivity with faster infrastructure, avoid lost business from outages with a more stable work environment and cost less to operate than traditional on-site IT staff. MSPs help lower the cost of IT overhead, which means your business can budget that extra money elsewhere as needed. Managers and employees alike may find it difficult to see the value in paying for IT management that ensures smooth operations, but they will certainly notice problems that show up from inadequate IT.

IT managed services sells itself on the concept of helping clients avoid the high cost of downtime, but it also makes daily work easier in subtle ways. MPA Networks can provide your business with a customized IT management plan that addresses the unique needs of your business. Contact us today to get started.