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what are managed services

Most people have heard the term “MSP.” While a majority understands that it stands for “Managed Service Provider,” very few have a good grasp of what it really entails. As a result, many customers have ill-informed expectations.

To help clear up any misunderstanding, I spoke with Erik Nordquist, TPx’s Product Manager for MSx Security Services and MSx Datacenters.

Erik, what do TPx customers really get with our Managed Firewalls and Managed SD-WAN solutions?

For Managed Firewalls, our security specialists monitor customers’ firewalls 24/7 in our own SOCs (Security Operations Centers) to make sure the firewalls are up and operating.  In case it’s down, we open a ticket and engage the customer to make sure it isn’t an ISP issue.  If it’s the ISP, then we work internally to make sure there isn’t an issue with our circuit.

When we provision the firewall, we make sure it is provisioned properly and that it adheres to best practices.  We make all the necessary changes but keep the old configurations, with the new configurations being stored off-site in case there is a need for an audit or for disaster recovery.

If any vulnerabilities are discovered (not common, but can happen), then we update the firmware to close off the vulnerability.  If there are bugs, we work to resolve them.  If the hardware has issues, we work to get the hardware replaced.  The customer never needs to notify the vendor – we do that for them.  If any scans or compliance issues come up, we help resolve those with the customer.

If there is an issue on the network, we troubleshoot for the customer to best determine where the problem is.  We also provide reports about what is happening on the customer’s network – for instance, what their web usage looks like.  With the MSx Optimum Firewall service, we maintain customer traffic logs for 4 months.

All of these things can happen at any time – day or night.  If a customer wants to make a change or just has a question, they can open a service ticket, send an email, or call the SOC team to speak with someone.

When we are managing a third-party circuit, since we are an authorized contact, TPx can open tickets if there are problems with the circuit and can work with the provider to troubleshoot the issues. This way the customer only has one company to contact and doesn’t have to lose time by dealing with multiple parties.

Can you share some more benefits of managed services?

We deal with most issues that come up, which frees up the customer to concentrate on other areas.  In general, this is what managed services is all about.  An IT person may have general knowledge in all areas but not really specialize in one single area.  TPx has experts in all areas that we manage, and we have the systems in place to offer enterprise-level services that would otherwise not be available to smaller businesses.  Instead of hiring expensive IT people that are hard to find these days, customers can look to us to do this work.

Why should businesses choose TPx over other Managed Services Providers?

TPx is large enough to get the job done right and agile enough to get it done on time. TPx puts an emphasis on using market-leading technology while providing excellent customer service around the clock. Our services portfolio is designed to be a one-stop-shop for IT and security, so customers can eliminate the complexity and headaches that come with dealing with multiple vendors. Very few providers in the U.S. can offer a product portfolio scope of a nationwide managed services carrier like we do. Our trained and experienced staff watches over our customers 24/7/365 so that if an issue arises, it is resolved quickly and effectively. Our solutions are designed to provide enterprise-level quality and customization without an enterprise price tag.  We offer incredibly flexible cost options for customers, based on their service level needs and service commitment lengths.

 

Thanks for your insights, Erik!

You may feel overwhelmed with all the cybersecurity and IT pressures of today’s digital environment, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Let us give you a hand with your IT and security – schedule a free consultation with our specialists or call 888-407-9594.

 

About the Author

Lucie Hys is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at TPx. She is currently leading the marketing efforts for the company’s MSx suite of managed services. She has been working in marketing for more than 9 years, with the last four focusing on the cybersecurity industry. Lucie graduated with an MBA from Florida Gulf Coast University. In her spare time, she is an avid fitness enthusiast and a passionate traveler. 

 

 

A hacking organization called The Dark Overlord Solutions threatened schools and families in Flathead Valley, Montana, over the past few weeks, sending appalling electronic messages to school administrators and contacting families in the area with extortion demands and death threats.

The cybercriminals infiltrated the valley’s Columbia Falls school district server and stole personal information, as well as addresses and medical records of past and present students, staff and parents. This caused several schools in the district to close for three days before reopening under heightened security.

The Dark Overlord is a notorious hacker responsible for several high-profile breaches including one perpetrated on Netflix last year. The organization infiltrated a Netflix server, stole episodes of a popular show and threatened to release them early unless payments were made via electronic currency. A company associated with Netflix paid, but afterward the group released the episodes anyway.

That the group attacked a relatively small school district is a sign of the times: cybercriminals increasingly are targeting smaller organizations.

The Flathead Valley incident is unique in that the Dark Overlord group usually attacks larger targets with hundreds of thousands or millions of personal records. Security experts believe the organization is responsible for several prominent ransomware attacks in the healthcare sector, stealing millions of hospital records and social security numbers and trying to sell them back to institutions and individuals.

That the group attacked a relatively small school district is a sign of the times: cybercriminals increasingly are targeting smaller organizations. Today some 70 percent of attacks target small businesses, for example. And the threat is growing, particularly with ransomware attacks– a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money – literally, a ransom – is paid. To wit, the 2017 SonicWall Annual Threat Report claims that ransomware attacks exploded from 3.8 million in 2015 to 638 million in 2016.

Hackers increasingly are taking advantage of smaller enterprises without heavy in-house IT departments and sophisticated systems capable of keeping pace with evolving cyber threats including viruses, spyware, worms and service attacks. Quite simply, in small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and organizations, cybercriminals see soft targets and easy money.

SMBs have a remedy in managed security services like those provided by TPx, including managed IT and business continuity services, all backed up by a state-of-the-art security operations center (SOC) staffed by a team of security analysts with deep military and intelligence backgrounds.

TPx also offers a Unified Threat Management solution that consolidates network security –including firewalls with anti-virus and anti-spyware protection, intrusion detection, web filtering and more – as a comprehensive and dynamic threat prevention solution.

TPx’s Managed Firewall service in particular provides a first line of defense against intrusions and other network threats. By using a hardware-based architecture to filter inbound and outbound traffic, a network firewall from TPx blocks malicious traffic before it can consume a company’s network bandwidth or last-mile circuit. It also protects the company’s network against unauthorized users, dangerous protocols, and common network-layer attacks without degrading network or application performance.

We developed these solutions so customers can concentrate on their strategic plans for business success, knowing they are protected by the most powerful security options available. These kinds of TPx solutions are surprisingly affordable for SMBs, which can no longer ignore escalating cybercrime aimed squarely at them. Contact your TPx representative today for details on how we can help you rest easier at night and focus on your core business during the day.

About the Author

Matt Mair is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for ITx Managed Services. His role includes marketing and communications for TPx’s suite of managed IT offerings including Managed SD-WAN, LAN Monitoring, Office 365, Workstation and Servers Management, Colocation and Server Backup solutions. Matt holds an MBA from Michigan State University’s Broad School of Business and resides in Los Angeles.