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DHS Gives The Latest Mandatory Policy on Medical Data Management in Australia for 2020

DHS Gives The Latest Mandatory Policy on Medical Data Management in Australia for 2020 1920 1280 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne
DHS Gives Mandatory policy on medical data management in Australia

The medical data management system in Australia is not where it should be. According to Dr. Bernard Robertson-Dunn, who chairs the health committee of the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF), says that rather than focusing on improving patient health, or reducing the cost of healthcare, all the government is doing is putting patients data at risk.

According to the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme (NBDS) report from April 2018 to March 2019, there has been a 712% percent increase in data breach notifications alone.

60 percent of those data breaches were recognized as malicious attacks with 28 percent off the attacks coming from unknown sources.

55 percent of the attacks and notifications were attributed to human error in the health sector and 41 percent in the financial sector.

Across all industries, 35 percent of those data breach notifications were set off by human error which can be attributed to the loss of a storage data device or the unintended disclosure of personal information. We wrote about more of these Cybersecurity Statistics here.

All in all, it’s safe to say that between the data storage systems and infrastructure as well as the medical community have failed their patients in terms of information privacy and the management of their security. That is why stronger rules have been put in place to patient’s worries on privacy at ease.

Mandatory DHS Rules, Requirements and Consequences

The Department of Health Services (DHS) plays the role of ensuring that health providers comply with the requirements of the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and other programs, including incentive payment programs.

To help maintain the privacy of patients’ personal information, the DHS has adopted new requirements for third-party software providers. It’s a part of their campaign for the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Secure Cloud Strategy. Under the Secure Cloud Strategy, the DHA requires that all applicable Australian software companies undergo a process of accreditation and compliance of their data management practices.

The new policy applies to any party using cloud-hosted services that connect with the DHS to provide services such as Medicare, PBS, NDIS, DVA, MyHealthRecord, Child Care, and Aged Care.

The accreditation process involves earning the Australian Signals Directorate Certified Cloud Services List (CCSL) certification and can maintain assurance that all data will remain within the Australian jurisdiction. Additionally, the policy encourages the physical separation of the infrastructure as well as limiting access to patients’ private data to those with Negative Vetting 1 (NV1) security clearance. 

Failure to comply with the DHS’s rules and policy under the Secure Cloud Strategy by the deadline on April can result in major consequences. Those consequences could mean fines, suspended licenses, and ultimately the loss of your practice.

Managing DHS Requirements and Running Your Practice

Under the DHS’s policy, all practices are required to utilize a DHA certified infrastructure to ensure the privacy of their patients. So, how do you manage that and still do work for your practice? —Managed Cloud Services, i.e., medical hosting.

What is Medical Cloud Hosting?

Medical cloud hosting is private hosting (or, more specifically, private cloud hosting). When we talk about cloud hosting, we’re referring to hundreds of individual servers that work together as one. With cloud hosting, there’s no need for an on-premise infrastructure that costs money, space, and time in maintenance. With cloud hosting, everything is managed and stored for you via a cloud service provider.

In general, you have the option of public and private cloud hosting. Of course, medical hosting is private, but for your information, here’s the difference:

Public cloud hosting involves a standard cloud computing framework consisting of files, storage, applications, and services that are available on a public network. (Think Gmail).

Private cloud hosting is comprised of the same things—only all of those things are protected by a corporate firewall controlled by the corporate IT department. (Think Microsoft Exchange, as it requires authorized users and a secure VPN connection).

In other words, private medical cloud hosting equals privacy and protection. If you’ll recall, the DHS policy applies to all third parties using cloud services that connect with the department to deliver services such as Medicare, PBS, DVA, NDIS, and so on. This could only mean that private hosting is viable.

It’s also a necessity considering the fact that it’s DHS Compliant, ISO Certified, and handled offsite via your service provider but remains within the Australian jurisdiction.

How much Should I budget for Cloud Hosting?

Cloud computing and data management within a compliant industry isn’t going to be cheap—but it will become cost-effective in the long run. Ultimately, your budget will come down to your industry and the data capacity that you need, managed services, private vs public cloud hosting, and so on.

Of course, sticking with your outdated, on premise hardware, you’re looking at heaps of unnecessary spending in system maintenance, upgrades, equipment—not to mention paying an IT team to take care of it all for you.

Is you current provider DHS compliant?

If you’re a medical practitioner responsible for running a practice and wondering where to turn for your medical cloud hosting, Greenlight ITC is here to help.

We have one of the few providers of DHA certified cloud infrastructure for medical hosting. We are your ultimate technology solutions partner. Our medical cloud hosting capabilities can make your staff more efficient, and ultimately, your businesses more profitable under its data management practices. Not to mention, we’ll keep you safe from phishing scams and serious data breaches so that your patients can rest easy knowing that their private information is safe while they’re getting the care they need.

Greenlight is also a Tier-1 Microsoft Azure Partner and 2017 Watchguard ANZ Partner of the Year.

If you want to know more about how much switching to private medical hosting is going to cost you and your practice, your best bet is to call Greenlight ITC at 02 8412 000 to get a custom quote today. You’ll get to speak directly with one of our IT experts (aka, Data Doctors) who will walk you through the entire process.

Is Healthcare Compliance Enough?

Is Healthcare Compliance Enough? 600 328 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

The healthcare industry is a top target for cybercriminals. Healthcare providers hold patients’ personal and financial data. Plus, they offer a critical service and could be more likely to pay ransom to get systems back up and running. Recognizing the threat, industry regulators have instituted cybersecurity standards. Noncompliance is costly, but the real question is whether meeting the standards is enough.

With growing threats to the healthcare industry, meeting compliance standards is important. Achieving compliance with industry standards indicates a healthcare provider has met the minimum, but this still may not be enough.

Compliant, after all, does not mean cybersecure, not as rigorously as required to protect patient data and electronic health records, or to avoid the damage of a ransomware attack or system downtime caused by another type of virus.

Consider who is making the rules about compliance. How agile can they be? Industry-wide standards are not established quickly. That means medical compliance will never be able to keep up with the pace of change in cyberthreats.

Healthcare Compliance Focal Points

Healthcare compliance focuses on specific components of cybersecurity and patient privacy. There are rules about:

  • who can access patient data;
  • controlling and tracking access;
  • using and disclosing patient data;
  • how to safely store and or discard personal and financial data;
  • steps to take if a breach is detected;
  • training staff with access to protected data.

Nevertheless, thousands of compliant healthcare organizations still get breached every year.

Why You Need More than Compliance

It is important to note that compliance protects the healthcare user first. Securing the healthcare provider’s environment means authenticating users, encrypting data, and more.

Reacting to the latest compliance policy statement from the industry regulator isn’t enough. Protecting against new threats also means keeping up to date on the latest.

If that sounds like a lot of work, it is.

Healthcare providers want to keep patients healthy and protect their health. Who has time to learn about new cyber exploits, inventory technology, or audit systems?

Working with a managed service provider (MSP), healthcare providers gain a valuable partner. An MSP can do a risk assessment. These IT experts can also recommend the best data backup, plus, assist with business continuity planning. They can watch all access points in the healthcare environment. Beyond desktops this can also mean:

  • mobile devices such as tablets or cell phones;
  • Internet of Medical Things devices, including digital stethoscopes;
  • third-party system integration.

Partner with an MSP that understands healthcare cybersecurity – that’s both compliance and technical, physical, and administrative safeguards needed. Doctors want their patients to be proactive in disease prevention. An MSP takes action in advance to avoid cyber viruses and keep data secure. 

Dial up Telehealth Security

Dial up Telehealth Security 600 328 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

The use of telehealth has been growing rapidly over the past decade. Then, the coronavirus pandemic prompted another jump in telehealth offerings. There are many advantages to digital healthcare, but securing this access to physicians and specialists is more challenging.

Telehealth services offered through videoconferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults, and wireless communications:

  • increase connectivity between patients and practitioners;
  • expand healthcare reach to rural facilities;
  • help ensure patients receive care in a timely fashion;
  • reduce low-acuity visits to emergency rooms;
  • improve workflow for healthcare professionals;
  • support consistent management of chronic care patients.

According to a Center for Connected Medicine study, nine out of ten organizations moved telehealth from future priority to a must-have in 2020.

Providers are seeing 50 to 175 times more telemedicine patients than before, according to McKinsey. And consumers liked the change: only 11 percent of the survey respondents had used telehealth in 2019, yet 76% said they were highly or moderately likely to use telehealth going forward.

The problem is that quick implementation leaves room for improvement. Telemedicine can mean many online tools. Add cloud storage and VPNs to those listed above. All that creates a vast attack surface, and cybercriminals can target both the medical staff side and the patient side.

Usable and Secure Telehealth

The healthcare industry is already juggling regulatory and reimbursement policies. With expanding telehealth services they must also offer secure, convenient access to patients.

A first priority is offering services on a platform that is regulation compliant. Protecting patient health information remains a priority, yet remote services make this more complicated. Data transferred online runs the risk of interception. Use the following best practices to support usable and secure telehealth offerings.

1. Authenticate identity

Ensure only authorized individuals have access to telemedicine data. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the most common approach. Any time you log into a website and then have to add a code sent to your phone, you’re using two-factor authentication. The idea is that the hacker might have your access credentials but wouldn’t also have your personal smartphone.

MFA has proven effective in blocking 99.9 percent of all automated cyberattacks.

2. Encrypt data

Encrypt any patient health information (PHI) or financial data on the telehealth platform or related devices. This makes it more challenging for the bad actor to leverage the data if they do gain access.

3. Educate patients

Cybersecurity is only as strong as the weakest link. In this case, that can be the patient. The healthcare provider may have security in place, but the patient connection could be a dangerous one.

It’s a good idea to educate patients about the threats. Help them improve their online interactions by informing them of the need to:

  • use a virtual private network to secure connections;
  • enable anti-malware and virus scanning;
  • update apps and software;
  • recognize social engineering attempts;
  • restrict app permissions to functionality only.

Conclusion

Telehealth has many benefits, but it requires healthcare providers to share sensitive data through a possibly insecure network with multiple users. A managed service provider can help secure the telemedicine platform. We can set up secure virtual private networks and inventory technology access points. Ensure your telehealth is as safe as it can be with the help of our IT experts.

The Real Advantages of a Virtual LAN (VLAN)

The Real Advantages of a Virtual LAN (VLAN) 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

There are many acronyms to keep track of in the IT realm. One that’s been around for over 30 years now is VLAN – virtual local area network. A VLAN offers flexibility that more and more businesses find appealing.

But what exactly is a VLAN? A VLAN allows you to segment a network without needing separate hardware. So, you can have a single physical switch, but multiple different networks connected.

You can group computers, servers, or other resources into a network based on department or user type. It doesn’t have to be based entirely on physical location. The computers might be on various floors of a building or spread out over different locations, but everyone in the network segment shares the same network resources and bandwidth.

You could think about it like a neighborhood of homes connected to the same city water main. Everyone is getting their water from the same line. But imagine there are people who want fluoride in their water and others who don’t. So, the water company needs to group the fluoride-loving homeowners in one network, whereas homes 802, 907, and 1106 are grouped together to get their own water supply.

In business, containing a department’s traffic to a single VLAN can:

  • help with network efficiency by reducing extraneous traffic;
  • enhance security by creating a virtual boundary around that business unit;
  • improve bandwidth performance by limiting node-to-node and broadcast traffic;
  • save workplace disruption, as there is no need to physically match up ports and switches on a network.

Other Reasons for VLAN Popularity

VLANs can also prioritize data, separate private and public networks, or secure specific devices.

What do we mean by VLAN priority? You might think about a highway with a concrete barrier dividing traffic. Administrators can keep data from merging over into the voice traffic lane. Prioritizing using VLANs helps maintain the quality of service users expect.

Another common use of VLANs is separating private and public networks. When you log onto a hotel’s public Wi-Fi, you can’t access their internal business resources. That’s because the backup servers and other resources have been segmented. The back-of-house computers are all connected on the private network. The VLAN keeps you from accessing them on the public network.

VLANs have also gained in popularity with the growth of the Internet of Things. Smart devices offer many advantages, but they also represent new security vulnerabilities. Each of those sensors, wearables, and IoT devices could be an entry-point to your network. That’s no good if they’re connected to a network with sensitive and proprietary business data. With a VLAN, you can separate IoT devices to prevent them from accessing more than they need to.

The same is true of security cameras. You can’t trust they are safe. For example, many government sites have banned the world’s leading brand of camera. There are concerns a foreign power could exploit the connected cameras. With a VLAN in place, though, the security camera can be prevented from accessing the internet so it can’t “phone home.”

Looking to set up or secure VLANs for your business? Our experts can determine the logical connection for your networked devices. Enjoy increased performance, added flexibility, and easy scalability by selecting a VLAN solution. Call us today!

Pros and Cons of All-In-One Computers

Pros and Cons of All-In-One Computers 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Today, business is all about streamlining and finding efficiencies. And that even extends to embracing all-in-one computers. Users get a desktop computer that integrates monitor, processing, and ports in one. Still, there are pros and cons to consider.

Apple iMacs were the first all-in-one computers to gain popularity, but you can now find many different brands of all-in-one desktop. Promising all the computing power you need built into the monitor, these are easy to set up and get running. Their sleek design can also include webcams and speakers as part of the desktop. The user needs only to add a mouse and keyboard.

Furthermore, buying a computer with all its components included can be more cost effective, whereas buying each part separately adds up.

The all-in-one computer is great for an office environment that is low on space. These compact computers with fewer wires and less stuff to connect can look great in open-plan offices. All-in-one computers are also easier to move around flexible, collaborative work areas.

Upgrading all-in-one computers

There are some challenges with all-in-one computers, however. For instance, upgrading may be more difficult. You may be able to upgrade the random access memory (RAM), and replace and repair hard disk drives (HDDs), but otherwise, when you outgrow the computer, you’ll need to replace the entire machine.

You also get what you pay for with an all-in-one computer. If you go with a low- to mid-priced device, you basically get a laptop on a stick. The components used to build that desktop are often the same as you would find in a laptop. So, depending on what your computer needs are, you may want to invest in a higher-priced all-in-one or consider the component parts alternative.

Still, all-in-one computers are a good option for offices that want more flexibility. Of course, laptops are best when you want to be able to move easily between locations, but for agility within the office environment, an all-in-one is a convenient choice.

Buying all-in-one computers also allows users to enjoy business-wide consistency. Users keep traditional functionality but in a neat machine that makes a smaller footprint in their workspaces.

Considering your options for business computers? A managed service provider can help you select the best solution. Our experts learn your needs and recommend a fit for your business budget and processes.

We can also set up the new computers and ensure your system network is secure. Let us focus on IT while you focus on growing your business. Call us today!

Keep Your Business Continuity Plans Current

Keep Your Business Continuity Plans Current 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Is there one thing we can count on now with COVID-19? The situation can change in an instant. You may have been confident in your business continuity plans in the past, but the pandemic has shaken us all up. It’s a solid reminder to review our plans to get back to business quickly and seamlessly.

A good business continuity plan ensures maintained operations before and during unexpected disruptions. Generally, decision-makers strategize in advance to ride out:

  • natural disasters
  • man-made disasters
  • national emergencies
  • utility failures
  • sabotage
  • data breaches or cybersecurity attack
  • theft

These could impact a system or network or prevent you accessing your location to get to your computers and important data.

Now, we also know that we should prepare for the effects of an international health pandemic!

Such business-centric planning considers all necessary elements of staying on track. You’ll look at physical premises and staffing, and hardware and software requirements.

Preparing for the Unexpected

A business continuity plan tries to anticipate the worst that could happen. The problem is that we can never know what the next bad thing might be.

You may not ever need to use your plan, but taking a “these things happen to other businesses” point of view could leave you in a serious lurch.

The COVID-19 crisis has also made things real for many businesses. Governments required organizations across industries, regardless of size, to migrate to remote work. Companies with business continuity plans in place responded with greater agility, whereas others were left scrambling.

Now, many countries are beginning to slowly reopen for business. Sure, there are constraints, but the idea is to get the global economy up and running. While you’re adapting, take some time to revise your business continuity plan.

It’s better to get your decision-makers around a table (or in a virtual meeting) now, while things are calmer. Most people think more clearly when not in the midst of a crisis. So, be proactive. Plan now for the worst. You can weigh up options at leisure, pursuing many different what ifs to determine the best plan of attack.

Look back at what worked and what didn’t during the COVID-19-related disruptions. This review can provide real insight into opportunities, and you’ll be even better prepared in the future.

Planning with an MSP Partner

Business continuity plans lay out how the business will move forward amidst disruption. Work with a managed services provider (MSP) to ensure your planning is comprehensive. Our IT experts can help enable remote work, set up data protection, and develop a backup setup.

Give us a call. Put a business continuity plan in place, and be more confident you’re ready for whatever happens next.

3 Cyberattackers Putting Business at Risk

3 Cyberattackers Putting Business at Risk 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Cyberattacks and data breaches happen worldwide, and no one is immune. Your business needs to protect its networks and systems, and secure sensitive data. But how much do you know about the types of cybercriminal out there. This roundup discusses the biggest threats and what they’re after.

Cybercrime Gangs

Online crime is a lucrative industry. Cybergangs go online to offer “crime as a service.” Their targets vary and can be spread out globally. In 2019, one international crime gang stole $100 million from more than 40,000 victims. Culprits were found in the US, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Victims included small businesses, law firms, international corporations, and nonprofits.

Many of these bad guys may have started out in the digital environment, but well-established street gangs are turning their attention to cybercrime too.

Typically well-funded and organized, cybergangs work long-term to mount large-scale attacks. They target banks, law firms, healthcare networks, and other big businesses.

Still, small businesses can be targeted by cybercrime gangs. You could be the first domino to compromise a larger, more lucrative target in your supply chain.

State-based Actors

One nation pays an individual or group to target another country. On the digital battlefield this could mean:

  • tampering with an election;
  • infiltrating another country’s banking system;
  • compromising critical infrastructure;
  • accessing intelligence;
  • creating incidents of international significance;
  • engaging in propaganda, disinformation campaigns;
  • espionage.

In July last year our prime minister announced a “sophisticated state-based cyberattack” on political and private-sector organizations.

State actors also used cyber techniques to damage Iran’s nuclear program. They left an infected thumb drive in the parking lot. A well-meaning staffer found the USB and plugged it into the facility computers. The virus caused Iran’s fast-spinning centrifuges to go into overdrive.

These attackers are often motivated by nationalism, but this doesn’t mean businesses are safe. A politically motivated cyber actor might target a hotel hosting an international convention or gain access to a government vendor to send false communications.

Lone Wolf

Also known as disorganized crime, this is the online equivalent of a petty thief. Many make their income stealing money from low-hanging targets.

Some Lone Wolves are only interested in proof-of-concept: hacking into businesses and governments to see if it’s possible, without doing any damage once they are inside. 

Now that you better understand why your business might be targeted, it’s time to take the necessary steps. We can help solidify your cybersecurity stance. Partner with a managed service provider. Our experts can set up email security, remote access management, anti-malware scanning, and more. Contact us today!

The Importance of Testing Your Backups

The Importance of Testing Your Backups 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Most businesses are aware of the need for data backup. Without it they risk losing important files in the event of a hard drive failure or cyberattack. Yet having a backup in place isn’t enough: it’s important to also regularly test that backup. You need to be able to restore that essential data when you need it.

The many reasons to establish data backups include:

  • protecting against natural or man-made disasters (including hacker or insider attack);
  • ensuring compliance with tax, financial, and other industry standards;
  • preserving relationships with clients;
  • reducing downtime;
  • improving productivity;
  • establishing credibility with customers, investors, and employees.

We recommend backing up in three places. You might have one on a local, on-site computer. You’d also have a backup on a remote device and another in the cloud. The cloud option gives you the most flexibility. It can be accessed from anywhere, regardless of conditions in your particular environment.

Yet while many people know they need backups, too few do recovery tests. The worst time to find out there’s a problem with your backup solution is when you need it the most.

Testing Data Backups

Regular data backups can offer peace of mind, but you’ll really know you are ready to go if you regularly test your ability to recover your system from a backup.

Testing your backup lets you verify the necessary data is available for recovery. Plus, testing helps you learn how to actually implement recovery following a data loss. If a backup test fails, you can take the steps needed to ensure you don’t actually lose valuable information. Otherwise, you’re throwing money at storage space and backup services that are no help, and you’ll find out too late.

Regular monitoring helps you keep track of any software or hardware changes that may have an impact on data backups. Via testing, you might also learn some staff members are storing data somewhere that isn’t being backed up, and you can now intervene with those employees or extend your backup protocols to prevent that data getting lost.

Scheduling data backup tests can also help you to identify a misconfiguration in the backup software or ways in which you’re not adequately addressing your backup needs. For instance, you might not have set up a complete backup in the first place. This might mean you’re backing up the data but not the settings. Most backup software will send error messages if there was an issue backing up. Still, they’re easy for an overworked IT team to miss.

Actively testing backups allows the business to confirm fallback data accuracy and effectiveness. Additionally, you’ll be able to gauge:

  • how long it takes to perform the backup;
  • any issues that arise during recovery;
  • what steps need to be taken to address those problems.

All of this is something you want to consider proactively. Some people say they work best under pressure, but most of us think more clearly and perform better if not in the midst of a data catastrophe.

A managed service provider can help your business with data backup and recovery testing. Our IT experts can monitor for failures and make any changes needed to get the backup running properly again. You’ll be glad you did recovery testing in advance when things run smoother and quicker in the midst of your disaster recovery.

Give us a call to correct your backups, make sure they are working the way you want to, and set up regular backup restore tests.

Invest Now in Your Top Tech Priorities

Invest Now in Your Top Tech Priorities 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

As 2020 comes to an end, and the global economy is in a slump. But believe it or not, now could be a good time to invest in technology priorities. The Christmas break may be the perfect time to get those IT projects done.

You may already have streamlined processes. You had certain technology tools and systems in place to get things done. It all was working fine. Yet 2020 brought many challenges to the way business functions. The technology you relied on in the past may not be the best answer to your current business needs.

You might have been putting off cloud migration, as most work was onsite, or you resisted remote working out of concern that employee productivity would suffer. Perhaps your business didn’t want to secure a “Bring Your Own Device” workplace.

Now, you need to rethink how your employees report for work. You could be facing any familiar challenges such as:

  • a server that could support your teams overburdened by remote workers;
  • a reliance on email document exchange causing difficulties with version control and accountability;
  • not having enough software licenses to accommodate employees working from home;
  • employees lacking the technology to get work done offsite.

Businesses need to act now to address their new technology needs. Keep in mind that many vendors are offering discounted services, plus, you may find it easier to access business loans for tech investments.

Stepping Up Your Tech Game

Some businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. Others are waiting out the current situation to see how things shake out. Then there are those that are rolling the dice and betting on a rebound. Improving the IT environment can be a foundation for future business success.

Plans may have already been in place to invest in a systems or hardware upgrade or migrate to the cloud. Continuing the digital transformation journey, when everyone is adapting already, could make sense. Reduce negative impacts by making the change while employees are working remotely. Downtime may not be as big of a challenge.

Your business may also invest in data backups and disaster recovery solutions. Didn’t have business continuity plans in place? You’ve likely realized their importance now. These plans prepare your business for data breaches, ransomware attacks, power outages, or natural disasters. Contracting for cloud data backup pays off when you can recover quickly and cut damage done.

Starting a partnership with a managed service provider (MSP) is also helpful. An MSP gets to know your business and its systems and needs. They can help find cost savings and identify opportunities for greater efficiencies. They can also offer expert IT advice, manage and track your data backups and cybersecurity, or take on day-to-day tasks, freeing up your IT team for revenue-generating innovation.

If you’re thinking of making a tech investment, contact us today. We’re available to consult on the best solutions for your business needs.

Our experts can put your plans into practice while you focus on your business recovery. Contact us today!

4 Advantages of Consolidating Your Tech

4 Advantages of Consolidating Your Tech 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Technology is the lifeblood of business today, and you likely have a lot of it. But you may have accumulated software and hardware as you grew. Now, you have a hodgepodge of technologies never designed to work together. Consolidation can help.

Large corporations can afford an in-house IT team to keep track of all the hardware and software, but small- to medium-sized businesses often need help. Managing computers and mobile devices, and telephony print and fax systems can be overwhelming. Then, there’s all the software you need to secure, not to mention setting up data recovery in case of a disaster or emergency.

Consolidating your technology offers several benefits to companies of all sizes. A managed service provider can help.

#1 Increased Efficiency

If there’s a problem with your printers, phones, or Internet connection, you call your provider. When many vendors offer each of these services, you make several calls, which means waiting on the phone with a printer tech, phone company, or internet service provider (ISP).

When you connect with customer support, they can address only issues in one area of concern. The ISP isn’t going to know anything about your phone service, and the phone company knows zilch about printers. This disjointedness can waste a lot of time.

With an MSP, you need to make one call only. The support person will know and understand your entire system. They offer input based on how different technology interacts.

#2 Cost Savings

Lacking a holistic view of your technology and its interactions, you can end up wasting money. You might invest in a new feature for voice over IP, duplicating a capability you already have online.

Consolidating your technology with a single provider can also streamline costs. The first thing an MSP will do is to map out how your technology works together. Armed with an understanding of business needs and goals, they’ll make recommendations. You may be able to cut back on services in one area with a simple upgrade in another. Perhaps you’re paying for software licenses you no longer need. Plus, the MSP identifies opportunities for cost savings gained from bundling services.

The MSP typically charges a monthly, consolidated fee. Instead of managing several bills for every technology, you pay a single, consistent fee, which also makes budgeting much easier.

#3 Business Agility

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that business needs to be nimble. Yet your ability to react can be slower working with many different vendors. Simplifying your processes can streamline your response times.

An MSP will take a proactive approach to overseeing your technology needs. They want you to avoid disruptions in the first place. Partner with an MSP to keep technology current, security up to date, and systems upgraded. This frees up what IT staff you have on-site to do more business- and revenue-generating work.

#4 Supportive Partner

Individual vendors focus on selling you their particular services or systems. The overall interplay of your technology isn’t their primary concern. Yet ensuring all your technology interacts effectively and efficiently is what the MSP does best.

Working with an MSP you gain a business partner that cares about your success. The MSP’s job is to determine whether:

  • your business could be performing better;
  • your team could be collaborating more;
  • your processes could be more efficient;
  • you have the right answers to cybersecurity risks and issues;
  • your business has the best technological tools to meet its needs.

An MSP offers a single point of contact. That contact will understand your entire setup and how it works together. The MSP will help you make better purchasing decisions. Plus, as a true business partner, an MSP supports your agility and success. Find out more about what we can do for you today!

Hey You, Get Off the Public Cloud

Hey You, Get Off the Public Cloud 600 329 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

The Rolling Stones sang, “Hey you, get off my cloud,” yet businesses might want to think instead about leaving the public cloud. Weigh these possible public cloud concerns against the advantages of alternate cloud solutions.

When most people think of the cloud, they are thinking of the public cloud. Apple users are on its iCloud. Others may be storing files on Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Cloud, or other services. These all typically have a free level of service. You can pay a monthly fee to upgrade based on the resources you use. [Also please remember that if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product!]

Cloud data is easy to store and access. This can enhance business productivity and efficiency. Added advantages of hosted cloud services – public or private – include the following:

  • Speed. Hosted cloud services come on demand or self-service. It’s possible to have cloud resources up and running in a matter of minutes.
  • Performance. Cloud providers focus on running secure data centers with the latest infrastructure. It’s their job to worry about hardware setup, software patching, and network reliability.
  • Scalability. Add cloud capacity without buying equipment or software, or training employees.
  • Mobility. Employees can access the cloud from anywhere, on any device.
  • Disaster recovery. Providers build in redundancies to ensure uninterrupted service.
  • Responsibility. You don’t need to invest in on-site equipment, maintenance, and management.

Yet there are some drawbacks to the public cloud. The public cloud is affordable because businesses share resources. The cloud service provider relies on economies of scale. They bring many businesses together for the same services, and it all adds up. But if you’re in an industry with high compliance requirements, the public cloud is a risk.

Advantages of the Private Cloud

The private cloud offers the same benefits as the public cloud – and more.

A private cloud solution is dedicated to your business: yours is the only data on the server. This is a more secure solution offering greater visibility and infrastructure control.

A private cloud can be on- or off-premises. On-premise, your IT team sets up, manages, and maintains the cloud infrastructure. Off-premises, a cloud services provider customizes a dedicated and secure cloud.

The private cloud is appealing to regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services, or those needing strong controls. Costs will vary depending on your requirements but allows businesses to easily access data, applications, and backups, and with reduced security risks and the ability to meet those compliance requirements.

Cloud Flexibility with a Hybrid Option

A third alternative is the hybrid cloud. The business takes advantage of both public and private cloud solutions. You decide which apps and data workloads need more security. Meanwhile, the public cloud is available to offer cost savings and efficiency, plus, it can be a backup for sporadic traffic spikes.

The hybrid option, though, requires strong integration between private and public cloud deployments. Managing the mix of architectures can prove challenging.

Understanding the difference between these cloud offerings can help you choose the best for your business.

Need help migrating to the cloud or changing your cloud solution? Our IT experts can help you weigh the trade-offs and determine the best one for your needs. Contact us today to talk about your cloud options.