Managed Solution Becomes a HubSpot Solutions Partner
San Diego, CA: Managed Solution announced that it has joined HubSpot’s Solutions Partner Program. HubSpot, a leading CRM platform for scaling companies, works hand-in-hand with partner experts to grow their businesses through inbound software, services, and support.
The Solutions Partner Program is an ecosystem of experts that offer marketing, sales, customer service, web design, CRM, and IT services. It’s a global community that believes putting customers first is the key to growth and enables its members to offer a wide breadth of more sophisticated solutions across the entire customer experience.
Managed Solution, a premier Microsoft Partner, has experienced significant business growth over the past year through the successful implementation of inbound strategies aimed at attracting, engaging, and delighting customers. As a dedicated technology partner, Managed Solution offers 24/7 IT support and a diverse range of top-quality products and services through strategic partnerships.
The company is proud to be part of HubSpot's Solutions Partner Program, enabling them to assist clients seamlessly integrating HubSpot into their businesses, complemented by the seamless Microsoft Dynamics 365 Integration. Emphasizing a customer-centric commitment, Managed Solution's united team, along with their strategic partners, is committed to empowering businesses at every step of their journey.
Managed Solution is an award-winning direct Tier1 Microsoft Cloud Provider and Gold Partner specializing in cloud services, managed IT help desk services, and professional services. Managed Solution supports companies with IT discovery, architecture design, best practices, implementation, and support, as well as training. For more information, visit managedsolution.com or call us at 858-429-3067.
The Top Business Benefits for Using IT Help Desk Support [Updated for 2020]
What is an IT help desk? An IT Help Desk is a resource center designed for users to contact when they are having problems with their IT services, software, applications, and more. An IT Help Desk, which can also be referred to as a Managed Operations Center or Network Operations Center, creates a multi-tiered troubleshooting approach by having personnel with extensive technical knowledge available at all times. An IT Help Desk provides your business with a team of experienced, certified engineers ready to assist your users with their technical issues.
In this article, we'll cover the various benefits of using IT help desk support and why it might be a viable option for your business.
Learn about the top 6 benefits in this video:
Business Benefits of Using IT Help Desk Support
24/7 technical support improves operational efficiencies by reducing time users spend to fix incidents or problems. This is especially beneficial if you have a fully or partially remote workforce or operate a 24/7 business yourself. With those employees working around the clock, 7 days a week, it's imperative to have someone there that can support them when software or hardware goes down or stops working.
Speaking with a certified technical support specialist makes resolving IT issues quick and easy, which can reduce crankiness in the workplace. We all know how frustrating technology can be, whether it's your fancy new TV or a software update on one of your devices. By providing employees with an IT help desk, you're giving them the support they need when challenges arise, leading to less frustration and more productivity. As a result, happier employees.
A local IT Help Desk provides immediate response time to support tickets and communication with an actual person (not a recording) the same day. Additionally, if they are local to you, then they can provide on-site support if necessary. Sometimes hardware needs troubleshooting that can't be done via phone, video conference, or remote sign in.
Having an IT support system in place provides a smooth and easy mechanism for users to receive service while eliminating internal technical service requests, which can reduce downtime for multiple employees. Your technical employees on staff should be focusing on bigger, more strategic tasks and projects rather than the mundane, daily tasks of software and hardware issues.
With diverse credentials, training and experience, technical support specialists have resources to fix a wide variety of system errors - not just basic speed bumps. Additionally, by having an outsourced IT team support you, rather than one or two internal IT employees, it widens the skillsets available to you.
Having a strong technology infrastructure can boost efficiency leading to increased ROI and allows those organizations to get ahead of their competition. If your employees' technology works, they're working and ultimately, are more productive.
IT Help Desk engineers practice incident management to help spot problems before they occur, identifying the root cause of frequent recurring incidents. This allows you to protect yourself from external threats, eliminate repetitive issues and complaints, and prevent issues from becoming a larger problem.
IT support specialists have experience working with many different industries and likely organizations similar to your business. This can provide a strategic advantage.
IT specialists not only support your employees, but they can recommend tools that make it easier to communicate and collaborate on tasks. Additionally, they can help justify or eliminate IT spend where necessary to optimize your investment.
Additional support for your IT staff. Mid-size and large businesses partner with IT companies that offer Help Desk support to provide an additional resource for their internal IT staff.
When you apply the cost per call for the various call flow models for IT Help Desk services, you can see financial impact.
IT Help Desk support services can give your business a new way to generate revenue, attract and retain clients and compete in a quickly changing IT environment.
Interested in learning more about our help desk? Click here.
IT security remains a key issue as companies continue to evolve their electronic healthcare systems in order to comply with the HITECH Act of 2009. In fact, if a data breach occurs and more than 500 patients are affected as a result, the provider must notify the Department of Health and Human Services and become subject to fines up to $1.5 million. Below are 10 tips to preventing a healthcare data breach.
1. Conduct a Risk Assessment
Stage One of the CMS meaningful use incentive program requires all providers to conduct a risk assessment of their IT systems. This is in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules that govern the transmission of all electronic patient information. The risk assessment forces providers to review security policies, identify threats and uncover vulnerabilities within the system. This is something healthcare companies should already be doing, but surprisingly many do not. With compliance and security a huge concern in today's business world, this should be a priority.
2. Provide Continued HIPAA Education to Employees
Educate and re-educate employees on current HIPAA rules and regulations. Furthermore, review and share state regulations involving the privacy of patient information. If employees are in the know and reminded of the implications of data breaches, the risk of violation can be drastically reduced. Plus, with the amount of spyware and viruses being created, there is always something new to learn.
3. Monitor Devices and Records
Remind employees to be watchful of electronic devices and/or paper records left unattended. More often than not data breaches occur due to theft of these items from a home, office or vehicle. While it is IT’s job to safeguard patient information, employees should be reminded to do their part in keeping data safe as well. Make sure to always lock your device whether it's a laptop, desktop, or phone and password protect it. You should also enable Multi-Factor Authentication whenever possible.
4. Encrypt Data & Hardware
Encryption technology is key in avoiding data breaches. While HIPAA doesn’t require data to be encrypted, it also does not consider loss of encrypted data a breach. It is certainly advised and therefore, you should encrypt patient information both at rest and in motion to avoid potential penalties. Furthermore, protect hardware such as servers, network endpoints, mobile and medical devices as these items are also vulnerable.
5. Subnet Wireless Networks
Ensure that networks made available for public use do not expose private patient information. One way of achieving this is to create sub-networks dedicated to guest activity and separate more secure networks for medical devices and applications that transmit and carry sensitive patient information.
6. Manage Identity and Access Stringently
With so many members of the healthcare system frequently accessing patient information - for a multitude of different reasons - it is important to carefully manage the identity of users. For instance, make sure users at each level are only granted access to information pertinent to their position and that log on/off procedures are easy on shared machines. Automation of this system helps create a “paper trail” and ensures efficiency and safety for all involved.
7. Develop a Strict BYOD Policy
BYOD or Bring Your Own Device policies should be airtight and follow the same security guidelines outlined above. By enabling measures such as enterprise mobility suite and security, you can ensure each device is safe.
8. Examine Service-Level Agreements Carefully
If you are considering moving patient information and data to the cloud make sure you understand the Service-Level Agreement (SLA) with your potential Cloud Service Provider (CSP). Specifically, ensure that you, not the CSP own the data and that it can be accessed reliably, securely and more importantly timely (in the event of a crash). Also, verify that the SLA complies with HIPAA and state privacy laws.
9. Hold Business Associates Accountable for IT Security Policies
It is imperative to update business associate agreements to reflect evolving federal and state privacy regulations. Healthcare organization often have hundreds or even thousands of vendors with access to patient data. In the event of a breach, the healthcare provider is ultimately responsible. Therefore, hold BAs accountable for providing security and risk assessments and develop processes for reporting breaches.
10. Establish a Good Legal Counsel
In the event of a data breach, your organization will be investigated and most likely fined by the Office for Civil Rights. Lawsuits from patients will also ensue so be sure to be prepared from a legal standpoint. Compliance is key, so don’t be advised to withhold known information about the breach.
To learn how Managed Solution can help you prevent a data breach and improve your overall IT security, contact us today.
CIO Strategy: Who Benefits From An IT Roadmap In 2018?
A technology roadmap can help the CIO act more in line with the strategy of the organization. It benefits both technology leaders and functional leaders and encourages collaboration that results in true executive alignment on existing and new investments.
What is a technology roadmap?
A roadmap is the governing document that dictates specifically how technology will support the business strategy and help drive businesses priorities over the next 3-5 years. From what I have seen, the best roadmaps contain the following:
A strategy statement with the list of the strategic priorities for the business (not IT-specific).
A timeline of the initiatives and projects that will occur over the next several years with approximate start and end dates, durations, and sizes.
A prioritized list of improvement opportunities. This is generated jointly by the business and IT and should be refreshed periodically.
High-level justifications for each project. These should be robust for projects over the next 12 months and simpler statements for projects past the 12 month horizon.
The estimated cost and duration for each project. This is specific and reasonably accurate for projects occurring over the next 12 months and can be vaguer for projects that go out farther than that.
An owner for each project. This is the sponsoring executive or delegate directly overseeing the project. For projects in the next 12 months it should be the specific person and for projects beyond that it can be the owning executive.
To support the roadmap (but keep separately), I recommend technology departments keep up-to-date versions of:
Systems architecture diagrams of the whole enterprise including interfaces, manual data movements, and platforms (this is not an infrastructure diagram – this is just systems specific).
A systems inventory that is periodically updated and contains at least end-of-life dates, basic statement on usage, number of users, and system owner.
A running list of emerging problems the IT support staff is seeing. Good help desk software should be able to track this for you
How will you use it?
The roadmap has three primary functions:
The IT leader will use it to facilitate investment discussions with the rest of leadership. The IT leader will use the roadmap as a baseline when discussing new projects or priorities with functional executives. It will help leadership understand how to balance investment and project priorities and provide a way to visualize tradeoffs.
The IT department will use it to improve planning for projects and resources. The roadmap will help them anticipate resourcing needs, plan assignments, software and vendor selection, and costs ahead of time, and make it possible to start visioning and planning with the functional owners well in advance.
Functional leaders will use it to understand what is required of and will be delivered to their departments. It helps them clearly understand how they should balance existing roadmap initiatives with new requests. The roadmap will keep functional leaders aligned on strategic technology priorities across the enterprise. Active management of the roadmap will result in much better executive alignment and stakeholder buy-in before projects even begin.
Who benefits from it?
The roadmap is designed to structure the communication between the technology department and the functional executives in a manner that allows the IT department to:
Act strategically when making investment decisions and managing projects.
Make securing buy-in from business leadership a more structured processes which, in turn, makes it easier to earn buy-in from business users.
Negotiate more effectively with leaders or staff who request new projects or initiatives that require significant, non-operating effort.
The roadmap allows functional executives to be strategic when they request new or improved technology. They can use their functional strategies to begin working with IT leadership to determine which types of technology projects will be required to achieve their goals.
The roadmap provides transparent resourcing needs for when business staff will need to be assigned to IT projects, clear traceability to costs, and the detail for why those resources and dollars are required.
Most importantly, it provides a strategic, structured manner of governing changes to business needs as they arise. It makes sure there is a technology voice at the table when decisions are made that require IT support, and it encourages balancing priorities across the business, diffusing conflict before it arises.
Staff and Project Teams
The roadmap clearly spells out why the projects they are working on are important and, as things on the roadmap move or are re-prioritized, it forces the leaders to explain why and how those priorities are shifting. The roadmap encourages a clear and regular line of communication between leadership and staff.
The Bottom Line
The business needs to fully participate in the development process. In fact, if the CIO reports to anyone other than the CEO, I recommend the sponsoring executive sit outside of IT. Because of the strategic nature of the document and how critical leadership buy-in will be, it will need support at the highest levels of the enterprise.
If you are a technology leader: you need to push the executives to support the development of an IT roadmap to help you invest strategically and have structured conversations around investment with the other executives.
If you are not a technology executive: you should be pushing your organization to develop a roadmap so you can act more strategically in your area and benefit the business holistically with new investments.
Contact Managed Solution to schedule a Network & System Assessment to build the most strategic architecture around your systems and networks. 858-429-3084
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Meltdown And Spectre: What, When, Who, How.. What Is Managed Solution Doing To Support Our Clients?
By Rob Meyers, Director Of Systems Architecture, MCITP, MBSP, MCSE
By now you've probably seen the news. There are exploits due to some flaws in CPU or processor design. They're called Meltdown and Spectre. The number one issue that the industry is seeing with these exploits is very simple: they are based on a fundamental design used in most microprocessors.
Please note that all the major manufacturers are rapidly working on solutions to solving this exploit, from a software perspective. This does not mean it will be 100% fixed immediately.
What is it?
A new technique was found to inject or remove data from RAM. This is done by utilizing a flaw in microprocessors. This flaw is based on the concept that a microprocessor utilizes speculation to accelerate its performance. It splits the instructions between the cache on the CPU and RAM. As time goes on it trades out pieces from RAM into the cache and then clears out the cache. This is done speculatively in order to speed things up. Yes, your CPU guesses what it needs to do next. If it is correct, the CPU moves on to the next instruction, and if not it guesses again. This is the source of the vulnerability. This export allows things to either be retrieved from the cache, injected into the cache, or read directly from memory. Oddly enough with two names, Meltdown and Spectre, there are actually three exploits.
When did this occur?
These exploits were documented in June and July 2017. They were not made public until this week.
Who is using the exploits?
When export is used for malicious intent, it is referred to as being used in the wild or found in the wild. As of yet this is not being found in the wild. However, the techniques and technology required behind it and example code has been found on public websites. The reason for this is that after six months people felt that something should be able to be done about it. However, not everything is ready to go at this point.
How does this affect me?
This is one of the most extreme vulnerabilities ever found on a computer. This affects most computers built from 1995 to today. If you have a current operating system on your computer, you should be able to be patched to protect yourself against this. However, if your system is not up-to-date, not under support, or cannot get patches, you need to upgrade and patch. As of right now, it would be normal to consider defending yourself against this patch. We do not know when this will hit the wild, or if it already has.
The impact is going to be felt on most computers made since 1995 in addition to most modern cell phones (e.g. iPhone and Android), tablets and even smart watches. Currently there is disagreement as to whether the Apple Watch is impacted, though the more technical responses seem to believe it is.
Will there really be a performance impact?
Intel, Microsoft, Google, Apple, AMD, and a huge plethora of coders throughout the world are currently working on solutions for this. The current solutions can have drastic impact on performance. For a workstation it is normal to see 2% to 3% degradation, although more has been experienced. Servers can expect to see a performance hit that is significantly higher. The average consensus seems to be about 30% impact on traditional servers, however the range has been noted between 17% and 50%.
In our testing, the impact on a computer running Windows 10 (1709) was noticeably impacted. It did not however render the computer inoperable, simply slower with a little more lag.
What should I do?
You will see some websites simply recommend throwing away your microprocessor. Obviously, this is not realistic. In general, you should consider two things. The first is patch and accept that there will be a performance impact. The second is to work on regularly changing your password (at least once a month, if not more often). When large exploits are public, it is better to usE throwaway passwords then expect to be protected when you may not be.
What is Managed Solution doing?
For all of our Managed Service clients
1. Monitor released patches (Meltdown is the current focus with Spectre more patches will be expected over a course of time)
2. Test released patches
3. Patch or work with clients to patch systems
4. Recommend that all users change their passwords at least once per month
Do you have any news links or anything in the public for this?
About the Author:
Robert Meyers is the Director of Systems Architecture at Managed Solution in San Diego, California. He has well over a dozen current certifications from on various products from Windows Server 2008 to Private Cloud. Robert has had a diverse career, beginning in 1991, and included owning an internet service provider and a managed services provider in the past.
Since joining Managed Solution, he has been Published as “Industry Ally”, Top Tech Exec Awards 2011 by San Diego Magazine in addition to being staff nominated twice, and was a regular at the Microsoft Management Summit. Today he is an avowed technical evangelist, blogger and systems architect.
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