• 16 July 2024, 20:57 PM

Author Archives: DSM Group

Managed Services

6 Benefits Of Using Managed IT Services

“By giving IT staff more time to focus on progression and increasing productivity, a managed IT supplier offers businesses the support and room they need to grow.”

While new technologies present powerful opportunities for enterprises, they also introduce challenges. The pace of change in IT is unprecedented. IT departments can no longer survive on one or two computer models, a single operating system, and a short list of approved applications. The mobile devices and cloud-based technologies that have brought so much possibility have also introduced a multitude of devices, platforms and apps for IT departments to manage and secure.

For many organisations those challenges add up to significant expense: the cost of hiring and training qualified workers, purchasing the infrastructure to support emerging technologies, and keeping systems up to date. Rather than struggle to keep pace with technology, many organisations turn to managed IT providers for help. By trusting a third party such as DSM to handle cloud deployments, data center solutions, mobile initiatives, collaboration tools and security, organisations can focus their time and resources on their core business objectives.

IT service providers take a pragmatic approach to IT solutions resulting in a higher standard than many organisations are able to achieve in-house. Top service providers also offer ongoing management and maintenance of the underlying infrastructure, along with end-user support and service guarantees.

The benefits of managed IT services are clear: In 2014, only 30 percent of organisations used managed services, but within a year, that figure had nearly doubled. Managed services can cut IT costs by as much as 40 percent while doubling operational efficiency.

Turning to a trusted IT partner offers several advantages, including:

1. Freeing up IT staff

Most internal IT departments are at capacity. Outsourcing back-end functions or complex, rapidly changing technologies to a managed service provider, organisations can dedicate their in-house technology experts to projects that will further their core objectives and promote innovation.

2. Keeping pace with the demands for IT expertise

Organisations around the UK are struggling to fill IT positions, particularly in cybersecurity and cloud solutions. Outsourcing these functions to a partner with technically skilled and specialized engineers in new and emerging technologies alleviates these pressures.

3. Greater scalability

IT organisations spend weeks, even months, deploying massive systems. Many organisations are finding it more effective to start small, move fast and expand as needed. DSM’s modular approach to managed services makes it easy for enterprises to scale up or down depending on demand, such as a retailer increasing capacity around peak periods or a startup experiencing sudden growth.

4. 24/7 availability

The 9-to-5 workday is as outdated today as the phone booth. When users work around the clock, so must the network. With a managed IT provider, help is always available — days, nights, weekends or holidays — to support users.

5. Shifting the burden of compliance

In addition to regular audits, many organisations are obligated to meet standards and requirements with their IT initiatives. Reporting and security are imperative in the healthcare, education, financial services and retail industries. DSM understands the regulations that organisations are bound by and can provide the systems, processes and reports to guarantee that organisations meet their requirements — without placing that burden on in-house staff.

6. Predictable monthly costs

Every IT investment comes with peripheral costs. Organisations need adequate networks, storage, and security. They must train staff, deploy systems and manage equipment. Unexpected costs arise at any time. By outsourcing initiatives to a managed IT provider, organisations can break down their costs into fixed monthly payments. Instead of the large capital expenditures that come with managing systems in-house.

To discuss your requirement or book a free IT review please contact us @ support@dsmgroup.co.uk or call 03333 22 11 00

 

data backup

Four key reasons why you should backup your data

Today’s world revolves around electronic data; Business simply cannot operate without it.  No data = no business.

Data is one of the life bloods of a business; With the ever increasing risks (viruses, hackers, natural disasters, hardware failures etc.) it’s almost inevitable something will, eventually, go wrong;  It’s not an ‘if’ but more like a ‘when’. The scale of loss could be anything from a hard drive failure to a ransomware attack.

We have created a list of the four main reasons why you should ensure your data is correctly and securely backed up.

Hacking and ransomware

It is estimated around half of UK businesses faced some form of cyber-security breach in 2019/20. Most of the time the firewall and/or anti-virus software will trap the attempted infiltration however…. just like some human viruses, there’s an occasional one that gets through and causes havoc.

In extreme cases, hackers can encrypt and hold your data to ransom. If you don’t have your data backed up (effectively), the only way to recover it might be to pay them.  There is, of course, no guarantee that your data will be returned.

Ransomware or a virus may not be specifically targeted to you – they are designed to be smart and will automatically seek the weakness in IT systems then spread further and embed themselves until the circumstances are right for maximum damage.

The best way to negate a ransomware attack is to ensure your systems are correctly patched, firewalled and an effective data backup is in place.

Not all data loss is malicious

While it’s easy to think of data loss as being a purposeful act, UK government stats, indicate that the vast majority of data losses and breaches are the result of human error.

Staff within your business have to handle your data as part of their job, so there’s always a chance of data being deleted by accident. If you don’t want your company to be detrimentally impacted by a business critical file or email that’s accidentally been deleted (or maybe purposeful by a disgruntled employee), you need an effective backup solution.

Disasters happen

When protecting against data loss, businesses also need to think about the safety of the hardware that stores their data. It is often more fragile than you might think.

Disaster is often thought of as being a grand scale event eg: Fire, Flood, Explosion but, in fact, it’s often more mundane actions that cause the issues: Poor-quality electrics, leaking roof or pipe, failed air conditioning unit etc

Without an effective backup, you can seriously risk the future of your business.

Critical data loss destroys businesses

Approximately 9 out of 10 companies that lose their data for more than 10 days end up filing for bankruptcy within a year. In fact, many of those businesses file for bankruptcy immediately.

Why? The loss of data can cause significant business interruption. Most businesses simply cannot afford such downtime. Depending on the scale of the breach, a business may also be subject to regulatory fines (as a result of GDPR for example).

Data loss can also prove catastrophically damaging to reputation. Companies can find that the cost of losing (and subsequently trying to win back) customer confidence, following data loss or theft, far outweighs the actual cost of the data loss itself.

The faster you can get up and running again, the more likely you are to retain customer confidence. This is why an effective data backup is imperative.

Protecting your data

There’s a number of ways you can backup your business data however, the most recognised and effective solution is an offsite, cloud backup.  ‘Cloud’ is not a  mythical place but a purpose designed building with specialist technical staff and systems.

By working with such a specialist provider, you can ensure that your critical data is automatically backed-up  – effectively and securely and perhaps, more importantly, capable of being recovered – easily.

Don’t know where to start? We are here to work with you to create a custom backup solution for your business data.

 

home working

Covid-19 – Home Working v Workplace Recovery

The covid-19 pandemic was/is not a ‘normal’ disaster; a normal disaster generally affects a single company whereby it is left unable to trade (normally) and amongst other things, faces loss to its competitors.   Covid-19 affected the majority of businesses and thus competitors were also closed or subject to equally disruptive service offerings. There was hence no benefit to look for alternatives – none were available.

Home working whilst popular is beginning to show its foibles.  De-centralised working in terms of technology alone is hugely problematic and requires significant and continued investment and management;  The social aspect is the subject matter of many professional scholars with numerous articles circulating; Those relating to BC focus on the cost comparison of the increased HR + IT requirement against  that of an out-sourced BC contract;  a quote taken from a recent media posting provides a view:  “Each home has its differences, each person has their differences. Combine the two and multiply by the additional tasks needed per ‘home-working-employee’ and there you have an immense management requirement which continues almost infinitum. Each house move, each home improvement, each new employee, necessitates some employer involvement.  Even in times of economic calm, the involvement is likely to cause constant grief for the employer, throw in an unforeseen event, when it is critical that differences make no difference, and the potential for business damaging mayhem is all too apparent”

Other studies have focused on well-being and in particular mental health issues brought about by isolation which is widely publicised as being on the increase.  Managing such issues in a centralised office is demanding enough but doing so on a widespread campus of decentralised home workers is fraught with complexities for which the employer is responsible and liable. Again, the problems of management become magnified when dealing with a company-wide crisis brought about by an unforeseen event.

Lockdown closed/disrupted 99% of businesses.  Everyone became frustratingly patient – but this was because they had no choice;  In a ‘normal’ crisis – where only one or a few businesses are affected – the ‘frustratingly patient’ person no longer remains ‘as patient’ – why? Because there is choice; The businesses that are closed, risk losing business to those that are open.  This is evident when seeking to buy something as simple as a sandwich; if your normal sandwich shop is closed, you’ll go elsewhere – you won’t wait.

In a ‘normal’ crisis the first few days, leading up to the first few weeks are critical.  Decentralise people with decentralised systems and there lays a good recipe for disaster. Essentially decentralising anything creates additional tasks; and no matter how much automation or planning is engaged, it is extremely unlikely the overall tasks will ever be less or even close to those of a centralised version or error free.  Keeping tasks to a minimum (and simple) in a crisis is paramount to success. Ideally the task is singular – invoke contract and carry on with business (as normal).   Centralising as much as possible is absolutely key to a smooth transition from normal-to-crisis-to-normal.

DSM’s view:  Home working is an essential BC tool – it’s one spanner of a set – however, it isn’t a spanner that fits all. Try to make it fit all and serious damage may result.

Please note: All DSM’s positions are in-line with current UK government & WHO guidelines on Social Distancing.
CyberTerrorism 1

Cyberterrorism – The Silent Threat?

The business benefits of cloud computing are widely recognised but, for many organisations who have to comply with regulatory requirements, there is a need for evidence of enhanced security from their Data Centre partner.  Stolen or corrupt data can lead to loss of customers, high recovery costs and – most of all – a damaged reputation.  If an organisation is using a cloud solution they must rely on their supplier to provide the necessary level of security technology and processes.  In the Data Centre environment both physical and virtual security requirements must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of their customers.

The physical security of a data centre plays a significant role in ensuring information is kept safe.  Access to the site should be restricted to authorised people only and have round the clock surveillance.  Electronic access control systems as well as interior and exterior high resolution CCTV is a must and Data Centre managers must ensure that security is not compromised by failure of resources such as electricity.

Not only must the site be physically secure, the network infrastructure must also be safe from unauthorised penetration.  The scope of system security in the Data Centre should include security policies and practices, firewall protection, anti-virus software and continuous monitoring for incidents.  Automated solutions can be used to detect security breaches and to replicate data for regulatory compliance requirements.

“Data Centre security is of vital importance.  It’s up to the owner to ensure that the infrastructure is safe and all security procedures are fully documented and rigorously followed.   This allows our clients to focus on their core business without having any concerns over the safety of their data,” said John Morton, Sales Director, DSM.

New solutions are being introduced constantly to counter threats and meet compliance requirements in web application security and data security.  There is a wide range of security ‘add-ons’ including alerts to network events and real-time visibility into routing and traffic anomalies.  Many Data Centres are now using smart monitoring features such as Intrusion Detection which quickly identifies and alerts if human attackers, network worms or bots are attempting to compromise the system.

Only by ensuring their Data Centre partners are well protected and incorporating the latest security technologies can organisations be confident that their data remains safe.

colocation-hosting

Benefits of Colocation

Why Colocation?

Over the last few years you will certainly have noticed the rise of technology – how it is becoming increasingly part of our daily lifestyle, oh, and this thing called the Internet.  Well, as this has all been growing around us, protecting our data and access to our applications has become an even more vital part of business operations.  The Internet has led to the introduction of Cloud computing which is one of the most popular ways of managing data and business processes. However, many organisations have recognised that Cloud solutions may not be secure or reliable enough for their needs, especially if they operate in a regulated industry.

This is why Colocation is still a highly popular and effective solution as you can partner with a company who specialises in hosting your equipment in a secure and robust environment with full accountability for ensuring your data is not lost or compromised.  As a company that offers colocation, we would like to suggest a few reasons why it may be the best solution for your business:

Stability
First of all, stability is really the main reason people use Colocation. If your premises are hit by a disaster such as flood or a fire (though unlikely, it is possible and something you should plan for) then your data can still be accessed and recovered. Data centres used for colocation should have full resilience for power to eliminate downtime.

Security
Not only is your data not vulnerable to events in your premises, it is safe. Typically, companies that offer colocation services operate to high levels of security to ensure only authorised personnel can access your information.

Connectivity
Providers of colocation services ensure that your equipment is hosted in a controlled environment with high bandwidth speed so your equipment will run smoothly and efficiently. It is far more cost effective to use a colocation provider than to create such conditions in your own premises.

Money
Though there is no guarantee that using a colocation solution will increase your revenue, it will definitely save you money.  This saving could be re-invested in your business to grow income and profits, so there’s really no down side to this as you’re saving money either way.

So if you are not already using a colocation solution, why not consider it? DSM is a specialist company based just outside Peterborough offering a range of services such as colocation, managed hosting, system recovery and IT support to companies across the UK.

For more information on how we can help your business, please feel free to check out our Twitter pages or contact us on 03333 221100.