0800 955 8041 - info@jamcrackers.co.uk

What is a Managed IT Service Provider?

 By Robert Latimer copywritescopy.com

 

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The words Managed IT Service Provider shouldn’t need much explaining, but, if you’re about to outsource your IT department, you’re going to need a bit more detail.

In this short blog, you’ll find out:

 

  • What a managed IT service provider (MSP) is.
  • What they manage.
  • Who's cheaper - inhouse IT or MSP?
  • How MSP’s work out costs and much more.

 

Introduction.

IT in the workplace today is more important and more varied than ever before. The market forever has a new device, or a faster, simpler, cheaper technological way for businesses to perform day to day tasks.

But, with these technological advances comes the hassle of maintenance and monitoring and the need for extra cybersecurity, all of which cost businesses time and money.

This is where an MSP such as JamCrackers, comes into its own.

 

What is an MSP?

An MSP is a third party company that manages your IT infrastructure and charges a contractually agreed set monthly fee.

 

What exactly do MSP’s manage?

Generally speaking, an MSP is hired to manage your business’s IT network by ensuring it’s safe from cyber-attacks and functions as it should on a day to day basis, with very little or no downtime.

Management tasks can include,

  • Network support
  • Antivirus and antimalware setup
  • Server monitoring
  • Disaster recovery and much more.

 

Does that mean they take over the entire IT department?

Yes and no. Some businesses, who already have inhouse IT support, hire MSP’s for specific services requiring a more professional and knowledgeable engineer.

But, understandably, this two-tier approach can create conflict, and for SME’s it’s often less cost-efficient than hiring an MSP for all your IT services.

Having one provider also means your entire network is tightly controlled at every point, and that you have direct access to highly skilled engineers and the latest services whenever they’re required, for ‘all’ aspects of your IT network.

It also means that should there be a problem, all the information regarding your network is available in one place, rather than with various individuals who may not have communicated or don’t have the skills or knowledge to deal with ongoing issues.

 

Which is better – an MSP or Inhouse IT support

 It depends.

 If you’re a large company that can pay the high salaries of in- demand IT professionals and all the associated costs of long -term employment, it would be handy to have the inhouse support when you need it.

But, for the small to medium business with a limited IT budget and not much to spare should a disaster occur, an MSP is definitely the answer.

 

How do MSP’s work out cost?

Costing of managed IT services can vary for many different reasons, but here are 3 ways most MSP’s work out how much to charge.

- The number of users: Typically, ‘users’ are those in your company whose devices benefit from the services provided by the MSP, such as shared software, cloud services and cybersecurity etc.

- The number of devices: Some MSP’s will charge per device, including laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile devices rather than by individual users.

- The level of service required: Costing will often be based on the tier of service you need. If you only need a basic level of support with basic monitoring, the cost will be relatively low, but because it won’t include major upgrades or disaster recovery etc., you could find yourself having to pay an unexpected cost further down the line.

Whereas, if you opt for a higher tier of service, you’ll benefit from a much more comprehensive package with services such as:

  • Telephone support.
  • Management of endpoint antivirus software.
  • Cloud backup.
  • Onsite or remote support.
  • Implementation of remote-working software, such as Microsoft 365.

 

Are MSP’s cheaper than inhouse IT support?

Most of the time, but the cost of hiring an MSP really does come down to the services required and how complex your business IT needs are.

Gone are the days when businesses would have a simple network with a single server and a few identical desktops.

Nowadays, MSP’s have to factor in and connect a number of different devices, from desktops to laptops, to tablets and smartphone devices. All this extra tech increases workloads and the time spent dealing with individual clients.

 

And finally…some economics to consider.

According to Indeed, a skilled IT technician can expect a salary of £44,000 and upwards, and that salary has to be paid all year round whether you’ve used the services or not.

In a medium sized company, even if you just employed two of these skilled technicians, you’re looking at a hefty chunk of the budget and an expense that has the potential to prevent your business expanding.

With an MSP, you only pay for the services you use, you can scale up or down depending on your requirements and, there are none of the extra costs associated with permanent employment.

If you’d like to know how much your business could save by switching to an MSP, visit jamcrackers.co.uk for a no obligation quote or give us call on 0800 955 8041

5 Cracking Ways to Create a Password

By Robert Latimer copywritescopy.com

 

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Change it now!!

 

If your password for anything is in the list below, change it now!

  • 1234567
  • qwertyuiop
  • abcdefg
  • iloveyou
  • password
  • blink182
  • manutd
  • batman
  • tigger
  • slipknot

Unbelievable as it might sound, according to the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre), these are still some of the most common passwords used today.

And these aren’t just the passwords used to sign into the local newsletter or a magazine subscription – we’re talking business email accounts, social media accounts and even bank accounts.

 

We’re all a bit lazy.

 

Part of the problem is laziness.

It’s so easy to swipe 123456 across the keyboard, or just go with our ‘usual’ pet’s name or football team, rather than create a set of cleverly thought out numbers, letters and symbols.

As IT professionals, we’re regularly contacted to deal with cyber security breaches that have happened as a direct result of users’ weak passwords.

So, we thought we’d give you a bit of help in password creation, and hopefully save you a lot of future heartache and possibly money too.

So, let’s get cracking.

 

1- The Double Up method.

 

Suppose your password is your first car registration. Not a bad choice, but not as strong as you might think. So, how about doubling it up and going lowercase.

Instead of JKD321Y, try JKD321Yjkd321Y or space it out with a # or any other symbol you can easily remember.

 

2- The ‘atmpimfsac£299o7”v’ method.

 

For this method, simply think of a song or a favourite lyric (not too obvious). Put it into a sentence such as: ‘all things must pass is my favourite song and cost £2.99 on 7”vynl’ and then use just the first letter of each word and include the numbers and symbols to come up with - atmpimfsac£299o7”v

The great thing about this method is that although it looks totally random, it’s easy to recall and interchange, like this - icgnsimfsic£199o7”v.

Work that one out Stones’ fans.

 

3- The monkeyvolvohungryrabbit-

nakedhurricane method.

 

At first glance, this seems too simple, but it is a method many cybercrime experts recommend. Just think of six random words. Not words that naturally pair like woodtree or fishwater, go completely random like the example above.

And to tighten it up further, try taking the vowels out – mnkvlvhngrbbtnkdhrrcn

  

4. The One Row Down method.

 

Suppose your favourite novel was Catch 22. Use it in a sentence like ‘I love Catch22’, but type it on the next row down on the keyboard, so it becomes ‘k,l_s_\g\bqq. This one does take a bit of thought, and you might have to use underscore instead of a space, but look at the strength of that password.

 

5- The Avoidance method.

 

This isn’t really a method, just things to avoid, like:

  • Being obvious: Don’t use birthdays, kids names, pets names or obvious dictionary words or couplings.
  • Using common substitutions: 0’s with o’s, q’s with 9’s or l’s with 1’s etc.
  • Using too few characters: It’s the lazy thing again – we like to keep things short and memorable, but wherever possible, use 12 characters or more.

 

Conclusion.

There are many other ‘cracking’ ways to create passwords, such as using online password generators or smashing out random collections of letters, numbers and symbols across the keyboard (not a great idea if you need to remember the password later).

But, whichever method you use, remember having a strong password (and reviewing it regularly) is one of the best forms of defence in the fight against cybercrime.

If you’d like to know more about all the other ways to protect yourself, your business and reputation from cybercriminals, get in touch with JamCrackers at jamcrackers.co.uk or give us a call on 0800 955 8041