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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

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How Recent Vulnerabilities and Security Issues Reinforce the Need for Proactive IT Management

Posted July 10, 2014by Cindy Phillips

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The IT world has been rocked by a number of recent vulnerabilities and security lapses. The Heartbleed bug, discovered in April in OpenSSL code. The sudden demise of TrueCrypt, an open-source encryption solution. A serious flaw in the widely used Internet Explorer browser, which caused the Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Readiness Team to release an unusual imperative, and Microsoft to issue an out-of-cycle security update. Each incident reinforces the need for more vigilant protection of computers, networks, and systems. The solution is simple: we need proactive IT maintenance and monitoring.

Case in Point: Internet Explorer 

The recent Internet Explorer bug interested CMIT Solutions greatly. Not only were its consequences broadly reaching, but the vulnerability emphasized the importance of proactive IT management. After several days of delay and inaction, Microsoft finally issued the aforementioned out-of-cycle security update, which fixed the remote code execution vulnerability that was luring IE users to click on malicious links. Hackers could have then potentially been granted full control of individual PCs had Microsoft not responded. 

Microsoft reported that only a limited number of targeted attacks had been identified, but still urged users of Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 to immediately install the patch. They even showed a little mercy for Windows XP users by pushing the update to the outdated OS as well. “When we saw the first reports about this vulnerability, we decided to fix it, fix it fast, and fix it for all of our customers,” said Adrienne Hall, general manger of Microsoft’s security unit. 


Related: 
6 Important Steps to Harden Your Clients’ Operating Systems

 

 So how was this fix implemented?

Microsoft instructed customers with enabled automatic updates that the Internet Explorer security patch would install automatically. Unfortunately, many computer users are wary of such programmed updates — and many don’t know how to verify that they’re turned on. This is where proactive IT maintenance and monitoring comes in! Round-the-clock services, like those provided by Continuum and CMIT Solutions, began deploying the Internet Explorer patch less than 12 hours after Microsoft issued it. For many clients, it was installed on their machines when they showed up to work the next morning. That’s the goal of proactive IT maintenance and monitoring: to fix problems before they happen, and without computer users stressing over whether to click “Yes” when prompted for an unfamiliar update or waiting for an internal IT resource to come by their desk and manually install it.


How Else Does Proactive IT Management Help SMBs?

Beyond keeping our clients’ computers safe from the hackers behind this recent Internet Explorer bug, proactive IT services benefit small to medium-sized businesses in many other ways, ensuring that:

  1. employees are productive and efficient, saving business owners money
  2. data and networks are secure, giving business owners peace of mind
  3. systems are running 24/7, allowing business owners to better serve their customers
  4. IT goals are in focus, helping business owners strategize for the future
  5. high-level consultants, help desk technicians, and on-site support constantly evaluate and manage technology in place, providing a valuable competitive edge in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace  


Quick Tips to Remember


In light of recent IT security lapses and flaws, CMIT Solutions urges its clients to follow these simples rules of the road for smart, secure Internet usage: 

  • DO NOT click ANY embedded links in email messages or on public web pages unless you know the sender or source
  • DO NOT browse public web pages from PCs that access confidential data like credit card, protected health, or personally identifiable information
  • Call a trusted IT provider BEFORE clicking on anything that appears suspicious, or if you think your computer has been affected 


Related: 
Phishing Scams: What You Need to Know to Avoid Them

 

Want to stop worrying about the security of your systems? Fed up with wasting hours trying to fix issues yourself? Interested in providing your clients with the same level of intimate local service backed by a nationwide system of resources? Contact CMIT Solutions today to find out how we combine superior customer service with complete, proactive IT support. 

 

Cindy serves as the Director of Product Development for CMIT Solutions. She is responsible for the product and services roadmap and performs market research to assure that CMIT Solutions' offerings meet the dynamic and changing demands of the small to medium-sized business community. Cindy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Missouri at Columbia, an MBA from Maryville University, and is a graduate of the Institute for Managerial Leadership at the University of Texas at Austin and Leadership Austin. Ask Cindy about her mystery novels.

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