Webinar: Strengthen Security Ops & Tackle Threats

By now you know that Covid-19 has expanded the attack surface, making businesses across the globe more vulnerable to attacks via remote workforces and security policies built on the fly. You also know that a layered security approach is the solution. 

But what does a complete security strategy entail? How do you know what layers to add? And how do you get there?

In this webinar, Lane Roush, Vice President of Pre-Sales Systems Engineering for Arctic Wolf, utilizes his 20+ years of experience in IT infrastructure, storage, compute, networking and security to layout a more cost effective way of layering your security strategy.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to strengthen your security operations
  • What the NIST Cybersecurity framework is and how to complete it
  • Tackling a hybrid-remote workforce during COVID-19
  • How ISG + Arctic Wolf can help

Who Should Watch?

Business and IT leaders who are responsible for business continuity, disaster recovery and data protection.

The Critical Importance of Regularly Patching Your Network Devices

Maintaining your business security is a vigilant process. With cybercrime threats increasing around the clock, your defenses have to match up. Cyber criminals are constantly developing and improving their technique as they find new methods of targeting businesses and their data.

That’s why many companies choose to work with a managed service provider, which offers technological expertise at a scalable cost. Many businesses don’t realize the scale of the threat they face, and consider it sufficient to enforce minimal security measures by downloading some security software and leaving it at that. But without a regular maintenance program of patching and updating, the software will quickly become ineffective.

Data breaches are a very serious matter; apart from the obvious costs of time and inconvenience for your company, there are substantial regulatory fines for failing to maintain your security systems, not to mention the loss of business and reputation. 

In fact, for some companies the cost of a data breach can be deadly. More than 60% of breaches that occur could have been prevented by scanning for vulnerabilities and patching, but were not used. Shocking statistics like that really emphasize just how important it is to keep the systems you rely on regularly updated.

What Is Patching?

You might have come across those pop-up windows when you start your computer in the morning, telling you that software updates are available to install. These fixes are referred to as “patches.” They work in between version upgrades of the security software on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer to keep you secure against threats which have evolved since your last installation. 

It ensures that your security is working properly, and can update new features that your security software develops. Many people constantly hit “remind me later,” but these patches provide crucial software updates which fix holes in the system and keep your business well protected. They fill any gaps in the updated programming sequence that had been missed in an update. 

Patch Management vs. Server Patching 

When you think of the number of devices the average business deals with on a daily basis, it becomes clearer why this can be a big task. Laptops, smartphones, and desktop—each device is a portal to hackers seeking to gain entry into your systems. 

Patch management is the process by which you make sure all of your devices are patched the same to ensure that there aren’t any gaps across the system. Server patching is a little more complicated; it involves patching systems with a tool to make sure that everything is in place to avoid crashes or failure in your main server. 

Patch management can be carried out on an individual basis but it’s more common to use centralized management software, allowing your IT provision to set policies and rules that automatically apply patches. These can be worked around set business hours so that there is a minimal downtime and loss of productivity.

Aspects of Patch Management

Patch management should be a big priority for any stable business. Unpatched systems are very easily attacked by criminals seeking a way into corporate networks. New vulnerabilities are constantly evolving, and if patches are not applied in a timely manner, it’s the digital equivalent of leaving your back door wide open. 

But patches must also be applied correctly. Good patch management is required in order to make a judgement call on what to install and when. Working with a Managed Service Provider can help you to be advised on what action is most suitable for your configuration, and work out the details of when it’s best to patch your network devices. Compatibility issues may arise, or the patching could use a touch-up.

Taking inventory, standardizing devices, testing systems, deployment, auditing, reporting, and developing policies are all part of constantly ensuring a protected and healthy system that allows a business to focus on its core mission. When your IT security is regularly reinforced with the proper support to keep you on top of any risks, you can have the peace of mind to focus on the other critical operations of your business.

Webinar: Maintaining Security, Adapting To Change

The world has changed. The volume and velocity of digital data is growing exponentially. And maintaining control in a world where every device is storing and computing data makes it more difficult. 

So, how do you deal with the rapid pace of change? How do you maintain security?

In this webinar, James Morrison, former FBI Computer Scientist focused on Cybersecurity and current HPE Distinguished Technologist, utilizes his 20+ years of experience with the FBI to help business and IT leaders grapple with the rapid pace of change they are experiencing. Here’s what you’ll learn:

What You’ll Learn:

  • The reality of the threats you face in a COVID-19 world
  • What a holistic approach to cyber security looks like
  • How to properly invest in your security operation
  • The 7 habits of highly effective security organizations
  • How ISG + HPE can help

Who Should Watch?

Business and IT leaders who are responsible for business continuity, disaster recovery and data protection.

Cyberattacks are on the Rise: How You Can Protect Your Business

The business world has undergone some pretty seismic changes over the past six months. As more and more workers have begun working remotely at home due to quarantine conditions, cyber attacks have risen. Companies are now facing an unprecedented challenge from the likes of malware, phishing and cyber attacks. 

Companies are now beginning to have serious concerns about the security of employees accessing data, and other assets often on devices without the proper protection of security software. 

The global pandemic may have accelerated the work-from-home revolution, but it’s also opened a portal for cyber fraud, and it’s only by putting the correct focus, training, and tools in place, that this risk can be mitigated.

Patch Your Systems and Software Frequently

All it takes is one clicked link to compromise the security of your network. So ensuring that your systems have the latest security patches, and that employees are aware of the importance of updates is essential. The threat of cybercrime is always evolving. 

Criminals are always finding new methods of accessing a system, gaining false trust and overcoming security measures. This is why keeping up to date with security patches is so crucial. 

If an employee’s system is running out of date software, they are leaving your entire network open to threats. By keeping on top of the latest fixes, there is less chance of a vulnerability being exploited by someone with a malicious agenda.

Train Your Employees

Employee training is a huge component in keeping your business safe. Your employees are the front line between your organization and cyber attacks. Ensuring that they know what to look out for, who to report things to, and what suspicious activity they shouldn’t engage in, will filter out a large part of the threat. 

If people have not been properly trained, it’s easy to fall for internet scammers which are deceptively elusive. Threats may look very official, and use names and phrases particular to your business that are very misleading and can cause great damage. 

By training all employees to identify these threats, you not only eliminate the risk of penetration, but as the most active users within your security system, your employees become your greatest asset in the organization. They can alert you to new threats, and improve the cyber threat awareness, to more effectively mitigate the chance of an outside entity breaching your firewall.

You can’t completely neutralize the risk, but investing in the correct, and ongoing training can minimize the risk of a security breach by making sure everyone is aware of signs of threats to look out for. Training can be ongoing, and periodically reviewed to ensure that everybody is up to date. 

Encrypt Everything

One additional layer of digital security is encryption. Ensuring that systems and sometimes hardware have been properly encrypted keeps your business protected from lawsuits, regulatory fines, and damage to your reputation when a data breach occurs. 

Your cloud data security plans should include encryption measures designed to safeguard the volume of data that you handle on a daily basis. IBM estimates that it costs $3.86 million to cover an average data breach. 

That alone is enough to make business owners reconsider their security enforcement. Encryption uses logic based algorithms to act as guard points protecting the data you handle from hackers. 

Work with an MSP

An MSP, or Managed Service Provider, can help you achieve your goals for IT security comprehensively, and economically. When you choose to work with one, you can have peace of mind that your digital landscape is constantly being monitored for potential threats. 

This proactive approach will help to minimize the risk to your business through early detection, and update you on the latest developments in cyber security. Having an MSP as a resource will add expertise and skills that your business needs in a scalable way.

You can undergo a full network assessment to get a clearer picture of your IT needs, which is the first step in making sure your business is as secure as it can be. Maintaining a safe distance from cyber attacks is an ongoing procedure, and one that is best approached with a strategy in mind. 

With an MSP you get dedicated support at a level that may not be possible in-house, access to solid working relationships with large providers, and the opportunity to fix your specific security concerns and flaws without completely interrupting your daily routine. 

But most importantly is evaluating what would work best for your business, and implementing those strategies to avoid becoming yet another statistic.

Webinar: Beating Burnout & Boosting Business Continuity

It’s an unfortunate truth that many IT departments have recently faced cuts. Yet the expectations of keeping systems running and overall business continuity intact have not. In fact, it’s even more important today than ever before.

How do you balance this tug-of-war for time and resources, while spread so thin?

In this webinar, Rick Vanover, Senior Director of Product Strategy from Veeam Software, will leverage his 20+ years in data protection and business continuity to help you navigate this challenge.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The latest business continuity challenges you should be prepared for
  • How to do more with what you already have
  • How to provide extra levels of data protection and disaster recovery with ease
  • 6 best-in-class data protection practices
  • How ISG + Veeam help

Who Should Watch?

Business and IT leaders who are responsible for business continuity, disaster recovery and data protection.

ISG Technology Announces Growth with In-house Promotion

Local technology provider recognized for excellence in technical knowledge

WICHITA, Kan., Aug 13, 2020 – ISG Technology, the Wichita-based Managed IT Services Provider, announced the hiring of Andrew Kon as General Manager of its Wichita and Salina markets.

Kon joined the company in 2013 as a Project Manager and most recently served as the Technical Services Director.

“We are excited for Andrew to continue growing his career with the ISG family,” said Ben Foster, ISG Technology President and CEO. “Ours is a culture that celebrates the truly talented people throughout the organization. What makes ISG special is people like Andrew, who understand what we’re about: a commitment to service and an entrepreneurial spirit that’s unique in our industry.”

Throughout its 70-year history, Twin Valley (ISG Technology’s parent company) has established itself as a pillar of the Wichita Information Technology and Business communities. Now in the fourth generation as a family business, the companies are proud of their Midwest roots, from Wichita to Kansas City and now expanding throughout the region.

As a leading Managed Services Provider throughout the region, ISG Technology offers its clients strategic technology solutions with a local feel and a personal approach to IT. The announcement of Kon’s promotion further demonstrates ISG Technology’s commitment to customer service and community-based solutions.

“Customer service has always been part of my background,” Kon said. “I learned at an early age that customer service is one of the most important skills I could develop. I’m looking forward to continuing to find solutions for our clients.”

Part of what makes ISG Technology stand apart in the industry is its team-based approach to problem solving.

“When you’re an ISG customer, we bring a group of people to the conversation,” Kon added. “We know having different dynamics of an overall solution is critical. Rather than bringing in one IT specialist, we bring in a System Architect and a Network Architect to confirm we’re looking at the whole picture. That level of support makes all the difference for your company and your business.”

Kon said his vision is to work hard to build upon the brand’s well-established customer loyalty.

“If you stand behind what you’re putting out there like we do, it becomes a two-way partnership. We thrive on working together to truly support our customers.”

The company intends to grow outside its current footprint, scaling further into western Kansas and beyond.

“Many customers are paying more than they need to. It’s important for us to be more than just the best bang for the buck. We’re looking to build the best solution and help our customers support it.”

Kon is the latest ISG Technology team member to move through the ranks. The company’s focus on developing talent has resulted in many of its employees being promoted from internships and service positions to field engineer roles and more.

When asked what made this a special opportunity to continue his growth at ISG Technology, Kon focused on the customer:

“There is opportunity here, and our customers know they can get to us and we can get their issues resolved,” Kon said.

Want to know more about how ISG can help you take your business to the next level?  Contact us today.

4 Signs Your Current IT Staff Is Overworked and What You Can Do About It

If you think that your IT staff is overworked, you are probably right. Technology needs have only increased as cyberattacks are becoming more common, businesses are having to work remotely during the global pandemic, and customers still expect round-the-clock service.

But what are the specific symptoms that your staff has too much to handle, and how can you provide your IT specialists with support that will have immediate and lasting benefits?

Here are 4 clear signs that your IT staff is overworked and what you can do to supplement your technology management using outsourced services:

1. Troubleshooting technology is getting in the way of running your business.

Technological firefighting here and there is an integral feature of what IT teams do. However, constant troubleshooting stands in the way of progress and evolution, consequently leaving the business one step behind its competitors. IT disruptions can become especially damaging when your IT staff is forced to delegate tech responsibilities to other, untrained members of your staff, such as your front desk representative.

For businesses who are constantly putting out IT fires, a Managed Service Provider is an excellent solution to minimize downtime and allow you to focus on core operations rather than IT issues.

A Managed Service Provider can offer co-managed IT services to supplement the efforts of your current team, taking away the burden of day-to-day troubleshooting. They allow your IT team to focus on key developments by delivering instant transformations that cover everything from software licensing and updates to identifying system shortcomings and areas of improvement. 

The major benefit to co-managed IT services is that you can choose just how much of your IT management needs to be outsourced. Whether you need project management services or enhanced cybersecurity, an MSP can cater according to your specific needs. IT staff will subsequently be far less stressed, which boosts productivity and morale.

2. Your cybersecurity isn’t being updated.

The palpable shift in the business landscape towards a completely digital environment has put businesses under heightened pressure to master every aspect of cybersecurity, attempting to combat attacks that statistically occur every 39 seconds.

Implementing a strategy that encompasses protection against malware, phishing scams, ransomware, and viruses is one thing. However, achieving advanced cybersecurity—which often includes eliminating siloed data, continuous system monitoring, and Dark Web scanning—is an ongoing process that your current IT team likely won’t have time for amidst solving day-to-day IT issues. 

Additionally, persisting with manual analysis and security management won’t work because new threats surface daily. In addition to implementing the right security systems, your company must pay attention to ongoing developments in cybersecurity. Many in-house teams simply don’t have the time or resources to stay continually educated on increasing threats and ways to combat them.

Inferior cybersecurity results in monetary losses as well as lost trust from clients, employees, and business partners alike. A round-the-clock monitoring system that prevents infiltrations and initiates automated responses to limit damages when cybercriminals strike is therefore critical to protect your business.

Outsourced IT services with 24/7 tracking and alert notifications is a great way to support your current IT team in securing your infrastructure. An outsourced professional has the time to learn about your specific security risks and implement solutions that protect your systems, data, and customers while delivering peace of mind to C-level execs.

They also provide services such as Dark Web scanning and 24/7 system monitoring to free up your in-house IT staff’s time while also staying on top of potential threats at all times. With an MSP, you can maximize your cybersecurity investments and avoid data theft that can prove extremely costly to your business and its reputation.

3. Your network infrastructure is struggling to keep up with business growth.

Every business must find the balance between immediate challenges and long-term ambitions. With regards to IT teams, the two key ingredients are 1) a support staff that can handle the day-to-day IT needs of the business, and 2) a team of professionals who can oversee big-picture technology developments. 

If either of these teams are understaffed, you face a major issue. Either you experience more daily IT disruptions because staff are too focused on big-picture planning, or you experience slow growth and wasted technology investments because staff are too focused on solving immediate problems.

Rather than pay exorbitant amounts of money to add more in-house professionals to your team to combat these problems, an MSP can add value where it’s needed—whether you need consulting or daily support. They also employ analytical tools to help forecast growth and plan appropriate structural changes so you can develop a scalable infrastructure in the process.

4. You don’t have a business-aligned IT strategy implemented.

IT services rely heavily on optimized efficiency and productivity, which can only be achieved when you align advanced modern tools and processes to your company’s technological objectives. 

Developing a comprehensive and robust strategy is essential for propelling your business forward and leveraging the latest tech systems. Crucially, all IT strategies should be fluid, because the digital landscape is continually evolving.

Fostering strategic communications, both internally and externally, should also relate back to the company vision while an action plan powered by in-depth market research and forecasting is established. A comprehensive strategy must focus on monitoring performances and adapting strategies as you add new processes or scale.

Ultimately, if the frameworks of an IT strategy aren’t established, IT teams can only ever produce limited results. Regular review systems ensure that the strategy never becomes obsolete.

For the sake of your company, IT department, and all employees using computer tech, outsourcing certain IT management tasks can be hugely beneficial. Beyond simply saving you money in having to hire more in-house personnel, they act as a right-hand man to your current staff, working in tandem to fully optimize your IT infrastructure.

How Your IT Provider Can Help You Transform Capex into Opex

Wondering how your business can protect its bottom line during these difficult economic times? Here are 4 ways your IT provider can be a great asset in helping you transform capex into opex:

A Brief Review of Capex vs Opex

Capex, or capital expenditure, refers to any major purchases a company makes that the company will use in the foreseeable future. They are physical goods or services that a company uses for over a year. Examples of capex include fixed assets such as equipment, vehicles, and building expansions.

Opex, or operational expenditures, on the other hand, are the company’s day-to-day expenses that are needed for the company to keep business running. These include costs such as rent, salaries, and utilities.

Opex is generally preferred by companies over capex for several reasons. One well-known advantage of opex is that it is fully tax-deductible in the tax year in which it is incurred. Therefore, moving from capex to opex will reduce the income tax of the company, since income tax is levied on the company’s net income. 

1. Outsourced IT (and Cloud Computing) Saves You Money

With a reliable Managed Service Provider, your business can save money in large upfront investments that go towards procuring hardware or servers yourself. 

This is especially the case if you work with a provider who can help you take advantage of server-less solutions such as cloud computing, which saves your business money in hardware and physical equipment (capex items). You can also reduce overall energy costs with cloud solutions. 

With many outsourced IT services, you also don’t have to worry about associated considerations such as storage space, cooling systems, and more. This is a significant money-saving hack that has led several traditional IT departments to switch from capex to opex spending by outsourcing their IT.  

2. You Only Pay for What You Need

Your company will now be free to use a more efficient pay-as-you-go model. This gives your business more flexibility to control costs, especially if your business needs to scale IT infrastructure up or down over time. 

You can also select certain services to outsource, such as project management or network security, allowing you to only pay for the services you need. If you choose to invest in consulting or network assessment services, for example, your IT provider can perform evaluations to determine which of your digital assets is wasting money and help you instead only keep necessary equipment. Remember that equipment will continue to depreciate in value even when it is not being used, so this capex to opex spending strategy can greatly benefit your business. 

Another example might be a retail company that uses its maximum IT infrastructure workload only once a year during the Christmas holiday season, wasting huge amounts of money by buying maximum-output IT infrastructure. Instead, obtaining managed IT services that can ramp up output for the company’s peak season and return output to a lower level for the rest of the year would ensure that the business saves more money.

3. Your Provider Paves the Way for Valuable Company Growth

Your IT provider can also help you transform capex into opex by strategizing for long-term growth. With IT goals that align with your business goals, your company not only runs more efficiently but also finds more unique opportunities to use innovative technology to replace capex spending with opex.

This capex to opex strategy helps you transform your IT infrastructure into a profit center rather than a cost center, freeing up capital that would otherwise have been locked up in a capex investment such as unnecessary equipment. This freed capital can then be used to fund other projects and add value to your business.

Furthermore, a Managed Service Provider monitors your IT infrastructure proactively and round-the-clock. This proactive approach steers your company away from the less efficient break-fix method of IT support and instead allows you to impede inefficiencies or security risks before they cause downtime. This ultimately saves your company valuable time and money, which in turn can be funneled into company growth. 

4. IT Providers Help You Maximize Your Technology Investments

Currently, with information technology advancing rapidly, various companies are finding it more and more difficult to predict their IT infrastructure needs. This is where Managed Service Providers can be particularly valuable. 

Their years of expertise combined with a large network of vendors in hardware procurement, cybersecurity, and software allow your company to be able to afford the most updated versions of technology. Because of their long-standing partnerships, many MSPs are able to provide software and hardware at a much cheaper price than the standard going rate. They also negotiate your licenses to ensure your IT doesn’t get tied up into stringent or undesirable contracts that increase capex spending.

Shifting your IT investments from a capex to an opex model has several advantages that add quantifiable value to your business. Give your business more opportunities to grow and outrun your competition by spending less time on maintaining and fixing IT infrastructure yourself and outsourcing your IT instead. You’ll also reap the benefits of fully optimized IT systems that are tailored to suit your company’s ever-changing IT needs and future-proof your business.

To learn more about ISG Technology’s managed services for businesses and the advantages they can add to your company, contact us today.

ISG Named Veeam Accredited Service Partner

Local technology provider recognized for excellence in technical knowledge

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Aug 7, 2020 – ISG Technology, a Managed IT Services Provider, announced its status as a Veeam® Accredited Service Partner (VASP) – a program that identifies, recognizes and promotes business partners for their excellence in technical knowledge and practical implementation skills. ISG is also among select partners with dual Platinum status as a Veeam Reseller and Veeam Cloud & Services Provider (VCSP) partner. The addition of participation in the VASP program makes ISG one of the deepest technical benches of any Veeam partner.

Veeam Software, the leader in Backup solutions that deliver Cloud Data Management™, uses the VASP program to identify IT consultants who possess the technical skills to deliver value-added and reliable professional services for Veeam product portfolio implementations. The program promotes the expertise and technical competency of these partners at full benefit of their customer base – offering the best of breed in terms of service delivery.

At its core, the program is designed to:

  • Ensure that Veeam customers experience the full value and return on investment of Veeam solutions by working with highly skilled technical partners and professionals.
  • Ensure that Veeam customers receive high-quality professional services in accordance with Veeam’s current technical best practices.
  • Create an exclusive business differentiator for service providers that acknowledges their expertise and technical capabilities related to Veeam solutions.

To qualify for the VASP program, ISG demonstrated significant experience in delivering  professional services around Veeam solutions with an existing professional services department, and dedicated staff and company resources.

“We are honored and excited to become a Veeam Accredited Service Provider,” said ISG President & CEO Ben Foster. “With more companies moving to a remote workforce, and security threats on the rise, data protection has never been more important. Strengthening this partnership allows us to better serve the data availability needs of the market.”

In addition to enhanced marketing and enablement support, ISG as a VASP program member provides numerous benefits to help serve its customers:

  • Dedicated training opportunities
  • Enablement, advisership and delivery support
  • Priority and dedicated access to Veeam subject matter experts
  • Access to exclusive technical tools for implementations
  • Access to senior pre-sales resources for technical advisory
  • Access to the Veeam Technical Library of best practices
  • Veeam Partner Professional Services learning plan
  • Access to an exclusive Veeam consultant hotline during customer implementations

“With their certification in the Veeam VASP program, ISG has one of the most complete portfolios of Veeam products and services in North America,” said Nikki Jennings, Vice President of Americas Channel Engineering at Veeam.  “As a Platinum VCSP, a Platinum Reseller, and now an accredited VASP professional services partner, ISG is fully equipped to deliver all Veeam Could Data Management solutions, with any service necessary, to enable and support unprecedented data management outcomes for our joint customers.”

As a leading Managed Services Provider throughout the region, ISG Technology offers its clients strategic technology solutions with a local feel and a personal approach to IT. Now in the fourth generation as a family business, the companies boast Midwest roots with locations in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri – with clients from all over the nation.

Want to know more about how ISG and Veeam can help you take your business to the next level?  Contact us today.

Be sure to join our upcoming three-part webinar series, for technology visionaries who understand the importance of security and business continuity in the new world.

Webinar: 5 Critical Steps to Strengthen Your Cybersecurity Posture

Turning Disruption Into Opportunity

With the impacts of 2020 weighing heavy on many businesses, the ability to adapt and reset becomes paramount for both long-term success and survival. Whether you’re a single-location operation or a business executive at a large corporation who just wants to mitigate risks in the COVID-19 world we’re living in, you’ll glean something from this insightful security webinar, and presented it at the August 2020 Kcoe Pro Virtual Summit.

What You’ll Learn:

  • The evolving threat landscape, and the emerging security threats that exist
  • The challenges that results from those threats
  • Five critical steps to strengthen your security posture
  • How ISG can help