As a Small Business you are often faced with difficult decisions about how to manage the technology that is the life blood of your organization. However most small businesses don’t have a full time IT staff or even a friend or neighborhood IT shop that they can call to ask simple questions to help with the day to day technology tasks. You often don’t have a process set up for things like managing Operating System updates and upgrades. You typically even worse when it comes to keeping the software installed on your computers updated. Think about it, when was the last time you downloaded the latest software patches for Microsoft Office or Adobe Reader? I’d be willing to bet you a beer that it has probably been quite a while.
As Operating System Vendors such as Microsoft and Apple have gotten better at hardening the security of their products in an effort to make them harder to compromise by attackers, hackers have turned to using the very software that you install on your computers to do your job. It’s a trend that has been increasing over the last few years. Hackers are sending emails to users with specially crafted files such as PDFs or links to websites that are specifically designed to take advantage of software bugs. These attacks will leverage security flaws that will trigger otherwise innocuous programs like Adobe Reader to execute special code on your computer that have a variety of functions, such as changing your default search engine in your browser that they then use to generate income from ad impressions. This type of attack is more of an annoyance than a serious security threat, however this type of attack can be used to do far more nefarious things such as download and install another program in the background without your knowledge and often without the need for user interaction to do things such as mine crypto currency or worse to encrypt your precious data, holding your data ransom unless you pay their requested fee.
The truth is most small companies treat their business computers the way they treat their home computers. Windows updates on it’s own whenever the computer is scheduled to do the update and you put off rebooting for a long as possible. What do you do when the latest patch from Microsoft breaks something? In the relatively recent past Microsoft has twice released updates that has deleted files from computers. Would you know what to do in such a situation ? Do you have backups that you can restore from?
This is where having a Manage Service Provider (MSP) can save you time and stress. MSPs are companies , often another small business, that specializes in handling the technology needs of businesses such as yours. It’s like having a full-time IT staff except you pay a monthly fee based on your needs. In the example above, an MSP would manage the patching of all your computers. A good MSP will only deploy patches to your computers that have been thoroughly tested to reduce the risk of a bad update being installed on your computers. The MSP would also take steps to ensure that popular software like Microsoft Office and Adobe Reader are also patched with the latest security fixes. The MSP would also likely offer backup solutions, ranging from full disk backups to document and picture backups.
If you run a small business and you need the type of service an MSP provides please reach out to us for a customized solution and quote that addresses all your business needs.