telanova Blog

telanova: the outsourced IT team that feels like your own

Providing advice, consultancy, helpdesk, monitoring and maintenance, updates, upgrades, security: all the things your in-house team would do, but better and at a fraction of the cost and hassle.

Software As A Service (SaaS)

Software as a service (SaaS) has been around for a while but what is it and what are the advantages to using it?

SaaS is software that is hosted remotely by the vendor and you access it over the internet. Instead of purchasing it outright, you pay a subscription fee to use it.

Pros:

  • Reliability. SaaS is more reliable, as long as you choose your provider with care, and check the service level agreements. It is not unknown for even the largest providers with the best-known brands to have outages and their terms and conditions may preclude any compensation for downtime.
  • Lower total cost of ownership. No capital expenditure for on-premises infrastructure or licencing, which can be just the tip of the iceberg. Maintaining on-premise infrastructure is where the true costs add up.
  • Scalability. It is easy to add subscriptions as the business expands.
  • Flexibility. Use the service from any device with a web browser
  • Saves you time. As there is nothing to install, once you have purchased the subscriptions and been sent the login details you can start using it immediately, you don’t have to wait on your IT Team to come around and install the software. If your PC breaks down you can just grab a spare one and log back into the software and carry on working with minimal downtime.
  • Compatibility? No worries. Because it is hosted remotely, you don’t have to worry about making sure everyone on your team is upgraded to the latest version.

Cons:

  • Lack of control over updates. Updates and feature changes get deployed regardless of whether you want or need them. Users can be disorientated by the sudden appearance or change of location of features within the product.
  • Scalability is usually one way, it can be hard to scale down if you no longer need licenses because you may have had to commit to a minimum contract term.
  • Reliant on your internet connection. If you have a flaky connection then you should not consider SaaS.
  • Danger of service termination if the provider goes out of business
  • You have less control over your data. To be compliant with GDPR you must choose a supplier who is also compliant with GDPR legislation

Choosing the right solution for your business can be confusing. There are some offerings that look like SaaS but aren’t. These are offerings where you remote desktop to a server running conventional software. A good question to ask a vendor is - does this run in any web browser or do you have to use remote desktop? If it doesn’t run in a web browser then it isn't really SaaS.

Talk to the experienced team at telanova, and we can help you to the right solution for your business

Keeping devices up to date while WFH

Our monitoring system recently alerted us: some of our customers’ computers weren’t updating each night, putting the business at risk. Digging into the logs revealed that the end-users’ behaviour had changed with the shift to working from home. Previously most would leave their devices on overnight so that all the various maintenance tasks could run - Windows updates, antivirus scans, application updates etc. Working from home everyone was doing something different with their computer: sometimes they left it on, put it to sleep, or switched it off.

One of the advantages of business class devices e.g. Dell OptiPlex PCs, Latitude laptops, is that Dell provides a utility that can set various system settings. We deployed this utility through our monitoring system to set the devices to automatically switch on at 2am. We also set a scheduled task to wake the computer if it was asleep. Our patch management system would then kick in as usual and install any missing Windows and application updates. Finally the device will go back to sleep. All set remotely in the background without disturbing our customers. Problem solved!

Do you want to ensure your organization’s devices are kept up to date? Engage telanova as your IT team!

Your IT is only as secure as your weakest link

Your IT is only as secure as your weakest link. But what are the links? And how do you strengthen them?

Accounts

  • Each person should have a unique strong password for each account, application and website
  • Enable two factor authentication for every account that supports it
  • Use a password manager. LastPass Enterprise will “score” each person so you can see who is not following best practices

Devices

  • Ensure all devices are protected at all times by a firewall, next-gen antivirus, web filtering and email filtering
  • Ensure security patches are installed as soon as possible. Not just Windows updates, but your applications too e.g. Chrome, Adobe Reader etc
  • Don’t take it on trust that everything is doing its job, actively monitor each device

Data

  • Regularly backup all business critical data off-site, and retain for an appropriate length of time. Make sure your colleagues aren’t storing data anywhere that isn't backed up. Test your backups actually work by carrying out a full disaster recovery test.
  • Protect your data from physical theft. Encrypt devices at risk of being lost or stolen such as PCs in public areas, laptops, mobiles etc
  • Limit the damage that can be done from a single compromise by making sure each person only has access to the data they need to do their job.

Policies

  • Document your IT policies - Acceptable use, BYOD, Security etc
  • Make sure they are simple and easy to follow e.g. don’t just say “Use a strong password”, spell it out “10+ characters, 1 upper, lower, digit, symbol, isn’t easy to guess”
  • Enforce them by technical means where possible e.g. setting minimum password length and complexity.

Procedures

  • Document your IT procedures and ensure they are not vulnerable to social engineering
  • Instil a culture of insisting procedures are followed, and always insist they are followed yourself

People

  • Train your staff how to spot threats, what they should do if they think they might have been compromised, and who they should report incidents to
  • Carry out simulated phishing attacks and provide additional training to anyone that falls for them

Working from home?

Every single point applies just as equally to home workers and their home working setup, even if working from a personal device. If you make exceptions for home working then that becomes your weakest link!

Do you have any weak links you would like to improve? Or is your current IT provider letting you down? Engage telanova as your IT team!

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