Managed IT Services Blog

Insights from GDS About Managed IT, Connectivity, Cyber Security & More

Customer Expectations: Budget, Time & Scope

Managing Customer Expectations: Budget, Time, and Scope

The customer often does not understand the interrelationship between a project’s budget, time, and scope. Early in the life of a project, a good project manager should discuss this relationship with the customer, and ensure that everyone understands how attempts to adjust one or two of these automatically adjusts the third.

Internet of Things

Why IoT Needs Cost-Efficient, Fully Managed LTE Cellular Connectivity

The healthcare industry is rapidly expanding its deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) applications. According to a new report from MarketsandMarkets, healthcare organizations are using the IoT to streamline clinical operations, manage workflows and enhance patient care. Major IoT applications in connected healthcare include remote patient monitoring, medication management and medical asset tracking.

Layered Security Approach

A Layered Security Approach Is Essential in Today’s Threat Climate

Ransomware, phishing scams, malicious email attachments, hacker attacks — the list of potential cybersecurity threats just continues to grow. Most experts agree that it’s a matter of when, not if, an organization will be the target of a cyberattack.

Outsource IT Support

7 Reasons Why You Should Outsource IT Support

Given the strategic importance of IT in business operations, you’d think that organizations would focus their IT budgets on initiatives to increase productivity, enhance customer service or gain competitive advantages. However, the latest research from SMB Group finds that support is the No. 1 reason why midsize organizations hire IT staff. Despite the difficulty finding skilled technical personnel, 55 percent of midsize organizations dedicate their in-house IT staff to support roles.

Phishing & Email Attacks

The Top 3 Types of Email Attacks and How to Stop Them

Email attacks remain one of the most significant security threats organizations face today. With hundreds of billions of emails sent and received daily, hackers have a massive attack surface to exploit. Organizations must take steps to secure access to email systems and to prevent the spread of malicious content and attachments.

Fragmented Cybersecurity

A Fragmented Approach to Cybersecurity Creates Risks and Management Challenges

Most IT teams have their hands full responding to user support requests, making sure backups run, patching servers, and handling a host of other operational tasks. It’s difficult to find the time to sit down and develop an overarching cybersecurity strategy.

B2B Customer Experience

Why the Customer Experience Matters in B2B Sales and How to Optimize It

Businesses that sell to consumers are rightfully concerned about delivering a high-quality customer experience (CX). In a recent survey of 2,000 consumers conducted by 3Gem Research and Insights, almost 90 percent of respondents said they would remain loyal to a company following a positive customer experience, while almost 75 percent said they would take their business elsewhere after a single negative experience.

Pandemic Puts the Spotlight on Challenges Facing Healthcare IT

As our healthcare heroes work around the clock during the COVID-19 pandemic, the IT systems that support them are also being put to the test. Healthcare organizations are expanding their networks to support additional clinics, labs and testing facilities. More medical devices are connecting to the network, as well as the smartphones, tablets and wearables of clinicians, staff and patients. Employees who can work from home are connecting to systems remotely.

24x7 Security Monitoring and Incident Response Are Needed to Combat 24x7 Threats

Only the very largest organizations have a fully staffed, around-the-clock security operations center. In most firms, the IT team works during business hours, with an on-call rotation to handle after-hours support requests. If there are IT personnel working nights and weekends, they’re likely short-handed. If a cyberattack occurs, they’re going to have a hard time responding quickly to mitigate the threat.

Managing Customer Expectations: Myths

Problems or issues with projects often result when the customer and the project manager are not on the same page regarding how the project will work. The longer this misunderstanding exists, the higher the risk of project failure. A good project manager should address these issues very early in the life of the project, putting the project manager and the customer on the same page from the beginning.

Why Real-Time, End-to-End Monitoring of the SD-WAN Is Critical

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology has revolutionized connectivity for branch offices. In the past, interconnecting remote locations meant provisioning telco circuits and implementing and managing networking gear and security appliances. Organizations had to weigh whether it was worth all that cost and complexity to provide secure connectivity for a relatively small number of employees.

When We Reach the End of the Pandemic, How Do We Get Back to Work?

Like young children a few minutes into a car trip, many of us are already wondering, “Are we there yet?” We’re not, of course. Experts say it will be weeks before businesses can start allowing employees back into the office. Even after being given the “all clear” by state and local authorities, some employees will want to continue to work from home.

Your Stay-at-Home Workers Need Responsive IT Support

Working from home can be challenging for employees who are accustomed to going to an office every day. It’s not just a matter of loneliness and work-life balance. Many employees are likely struggling to make their home technology work as well as what they’re used to in the office.

The Right Technologies Enable High-Quality Customer Service during Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, state and local governments are implementing measures to ensure social distancing. That’s forcing organizations in virtually every industry to modify their operations in order to stay in business. Many are implementing pickup and delivery services and remote consultations to continue to serve customers.

Security Controls to Reduce Cyber Risk in Operational Technology Networks

In our last post, we discussed a ransomware attack that forced a natural gas compression plant to shut down operations. The attacker compromised Windows 10 systems on the company’s IT network, then was able to access the operational technology (OT) network due to a lack of network segmentation. Luckily, the plant never lost control of its operations, but the incident highlights the need for stronger OT security controls.

Tips for Securing Your Business as Employees Work from Home

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of enterprise-class conferencing and collaboration tools in any work-from-home strategy. As states shut down nonessential businesses and employees seek to maintain social distancing, collaboration tools help keep your company running by enabling staff to work remotely. The GDS nCONTACT Unified Communications-as-a-Service solution gives employees the tools they need to maintain productivity while they do remote work.

How's Your Cybersecurity Hygiene?

When thinking about the best way to articulate defense tactics against the cyber bad guys, I was struggling with an analogy that would really resonate. The thought came to me as I was brushing my teeth the other day, hygiene! Having a strong security posture is basically like having a good hygiene routine.

Secure Access Service Edge: How the Latest Buzzword Aligns with the GDS Approach

In a recent report, Gartner introduced a new term called “secure access service edge” (SASE). The research firm believes that networking and security functions will merge to address the challenges created by growing numbers of users accessing the network from outside the secure perimeter. GDS agrees — in fact, we have already incorporated SASE principles into our managed, secure SD-WAN solution.

Why Managed Services Should Be Part of Your Business Continuity Plan

A disaster is, by definition, an unexpected event. Even with some advance notice of an impending calamity, organizations can suffer serious losses. That’s why it’s critically important to have an up-to-date and tested business continuity plan. Personnel need to know what to do in the face of disaster to maintain critical operations and minimize disruption.

GDS Conferencing and Collaboration Tools Help You Respond to Pandemic Crisis

As organizations worldwide prepare for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are temporarily closing offices and encouraging employees to work from home. This enables the “social distancing” that health officials say will help slow the spread of the virus.

Layered Telemedicine Security Helps Keep Healthcare Data Safe

Once upon a time, doctors commonly visited sick patients in their homes. Although the practice has long since fallen out of favor, telemedicine creates a high-tech version of the house call by enabling real-time, two-way interactive video consultations between physicians and remote patients.

Ransomware Attack Shuts Down Natural Gas Compression Plant

A natural gas compression plant was hit by a ransomware attack that forced it to shut down for two days, according to a Feb. 18, 2020, alert from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The attacker was able to access the plant’s IT network, and then move to its operational technology (OT) network. DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said a lack of network segmentation allowed the attacker to cross the IT / OT boundary.

Energy Industry Must Address Increasing Cybersecurity Threats

The increased use of digital technologies, cloud services and connected infrastructure has allowed oil and gas companies to increase efficiency and uptime, improve safety and reduce costs. However, it has also exposed the industry to heightened risk of cyberattacks.

Managing Customer Expectations: Customer Fears

Many of us have been the customer for a large project before. Perhaps for a home renovation. Perhaps for implementing a new system or installing new equipment at work. If these projects went well for you, you can probably recognize that the project manager made a significant effort to identify and manage your expectations. This led you to believe, throughout the life of the project, that things were under control. This eased your fears about the ultimate success of the project.

A Cyberattack Could Shut Down Your Business Tomorrow. Here’s How to Minimize the Risk

Every year, the Ponemon Institute puts out its Cost of a Data Breach Report. The latest edition shows that the cost of a breach has risen 12 percent over the past five years and now totals $3.92 million on average.

Why Comprehensive Managed Firewall Services Are Essential to Effective Cybersecurity

Firewalls are among the most important elements of network security, filtering traffic to allow the free flow of legitimate communications while preventing unauthorized access. However, rising management complexity is actually making firewalls a source of exposure.

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