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What are managed services and what can they do for your business?

Daniel O’Neil, Head of Managed Service Provision, Paradyn, explains what managed services are and how managed IT services can benefit companies across a range of business areas.

The fast-moving world of IT has become incredibly complex. Be it new methods of cyber-attacks or evolving cloud technologies, it can be hard for organisations to keep up with the latest technology trends. Managed services have emerged as the most viable solution for the majority of organisations looking to keep their IT environment up-to-date with prevailing best-practices.

Managed services allow you to delegate IT operations to a third-party provider with a specialised IT skillset. The level of support from these managed service providers (MSPs) can vary and is usually agreed upon in a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the customer paying a monthly fee for receipt of these services.

When effectively executed, a managed service provides you with all the capability of a well-resourced IT department to ensure the smooth functioning of your daily IT operations. This enables you and your internal IT team to focus on strategic projects that can add value to your business and help achieve growth and long-term success.

As more and more business functions become reliant on technology, the pressure grows on IT managers to meet performance, reliability, user-experience and security requirements. Today, more people than ever are working from home or remotely, further adding to the IT teams workload. It’s wise to take stock of your IT assets and network, and critically assess what areas of your environment are underperforming or are at risk. Having assessed your needs, it may be worth exploring how an MSP could help you to resolve issues, address weaknesses or free up time for your IT team.

Here are three key pillars of IT operations that an MSP can assist with:

1. Infrastructure
A well-functioning IT system is built on solid infrastructure. Depending on size, location, customers, industry and objectives, a business’s IT infrastructure needs can vary greatly. The cloud holds many advantages for businesses; building the required infrastructure and managing a customer’s migration to cloud is becoming a common task for MSPs. Likewise, an MSP can help to optimise your on-site servers or build a hybrid environment.
Working with an MSP can help you to decide the best set-up for your needs while mapping out a roadmap to change; helping to get the most out of your existing systems while managing risk and assessing new technologies.

2. Connectivity
Data is the lifeblood of organisations today and it’s vital that businesses get the most out of their internet connection. In order to stay productive, employees require reliable, fast and scalable internet access. This can become especially complex for organisations with multiple office locations and many turn to an MSP’s specialist knowledge in this area for support. Managed wide area networks (WAN) and Software-Defined WANs enable your business to improve bandwidth use and performance for critical applications across multiple sites. Businesses can leverage an MSPs specialist knowledge in areas like this to gain access to a high capacity, secure and cost-effective connectivity solution.

3. Security
It can be difficult to stay abreast of the latest cybersecurity trends with cybercriminals continuing to develop new methods of attack and refine their ways of targeting and exploiting weaknesses. But it has never been more important to ensure you have a holistic view of your business environment with users, customers, devices and data all adequately protected. Apart from the financial damage, security breaches can have a huge impact of your organisation’s reputation.

While there are a huge number of security functions that can be delegated to an MSP, some key areas include managed firewall deployment and services, integrated network security, cloud security, compliance assistance and device management. The world of IT security is constantly changing and given the importance of staying protected, this is a very commonly outsourced function to a specialist cybersecurity services provider.

Tailored managed service
No two companies have the same IT requirements and the first step to engaging with an MSP should always be an in-depth consultation so they can evaluate your environment before determining how they can assist and present you with a proposed agreement tailored for your unique needs.
Paradyn is Ireland’s only end-to-end IT and communications service provider and offers one unified solution to all of your IT needs. Speak with a member of our team today to learn more about our high quality IT service offering and to discuss what we could do for you!

Daniel O’Neill
Head of MSP, Paradyn
Daniel provides the expertise in the development and management of LANs, WANs, corporate storage, Operating Systems, public/private cloud and security systems. Skilled in designing infrastructure and implementing technology to support businesses in core and edge site topography. Adept at translating business needs into technology requirements to enable the achievement of business objectives and in managing all phases of technical & business projects. Cluster and Storage expertise across numerous designs/technologies to enable business productivity achieving high grade SLA’s.

Click here to contact us today to to discuss Managed Services from Paradyn

How to unlock the full power of Microsoft Teams for business

How to unlock the full power of Microsoft Teams for business

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the popularity of Microsoft Teams has skyrocketed. With north of 115 million daily active users, the collaboration platform has emerged as an essential tool for organisations seeking business continuity as their employees work from home. In the absence of face-to-face meetings, Teams allows an employee to make a voice over IP (VoIP) call to any other team member using a PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android powered device.

However, through the free version of Microsoft Teams these VoIP calls are essentially limited to internal communications as the app is not connected to the public switched telephone network. Without an assigned phone number, no one from outside an organisation can directly contact a Microsoft Teams user. This has created a challenge for organisations who can’t easily connect their existing telephone system without additional licencing from Microsoft.

For those organisations that find themselves with both a legacy telephone system which is difficult to access by remote users, and Microsoft Teams used by staff to collaborate internally, a solution that combines these systems is of huge value. We recommend that companies in this position integrate their existing telephone system into Microsoft Teams, to create a single fully featured telephone and collaboration platform.

Benefits of bringing together Microsoft Teams and business telephony system

By integrating your existing telephony system with the Teams app, your users can avail of team collaboration, video conferencing and meetings, unlimited phone calls and anywhere access all through an easy to use interface which they are familiar and comfortable with.

The benefits of this set-up include:

Empower remote working with integrated collaboration and communication from one interface
Keep your phone numbers and calling plans
Quick and easy deployment and setup
No hardware required – Per user subscription
Seamless number porting
Managed Service – deployment, porting, securing your numbers, managing your numbers
Flexible call packages and/or rate cards tailored to your business needs (domestic/international and landline/mobile blends)

Businesses who integrate their existing telephone system with Teams, will maintain all of the call features they are accustomed to, but now can enjoy them through the Microsoft Teams Phone platform. These features include: call forwarding; call hold; call screening; voicemail to email; group call pickup; conference calls up to 250 participants and much more.

Paradyn has researched and developed the very best value options for unlocking the true value of Microsoft Teams for businesses by seamlessly integrating the platform with company telephone systems.

Click here to contact us for your Microsoft Teams requirements.

How Do You Get The Most Benefits Out of Office 365 For Business?

Daniel O’Neill, Head of Managed Service at Paradyn, provides five tips for businesses to maximise the value of their Microsoft Office 365 licence.

According to Microsoft’s latest results, Office 365 now has 200 million monthly active users. The suite of business products is the most used business process app in the world and its continual growth is thanks to the diverse range of tools it offers commercial users. However, not every business is utilising Office 365 to its full potential. There are many more features outside of just sending emails and creating documents that are readily available to users.

Here are 5 top tips to get maximum benefits out of your Office 365 subscription

1. Take advantage of anywhere, anytime access

With remote working more common place than ever before, Microsoft’s cloud-based products have become more increasingly helpful. Office 365 online is perfect for all business scenarios – whether working from home, in the office, or on the move – employees can seamlessly access the full suite of Office apps and services. By simply signing into Office 365 online from any device, users can access all features including opening, using and sharing company files, data and emails.

2. Collaborate easily with colleagues

The ability to efficiently collaborate with colleagues – no matter where they are located – is especially important during these times. Businesses should ensure they are utilising all of the features and tools that Office 365 makes available for them. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, daily users of Microsoft Teams are up by 70% and it’s easy to see why. Create groups and conversations, schedule meetings, share files seamlessly and work effectively on group projects – all within a structured hub. By using other apps like OneDrive and SharePoint, you can avoid confusion and multiple versions of documents in circulation by making use of co-authorship features with colleagues to ensure changes are tracked in a productive and easily managed way. These advantages of Office 365 have a daily impact on productivity making it a winning business process app.

3. Securely store sensitive data

While providing emerging tools and technology to aid employee collaboration and productivity is important, it’s also imperative that your organisation’s security isn’t compromised. Microsoft weaves in security measures across its product suite to help safeguard data, devices, apps and users. As the platform is cloud based, many of these features will be updated automatically. However, it’s important to take time to review your security settings and enable features such as multi-factor authentication, identity and access management, and endpoint protection to improve security on remote devices.

4.Analyse business performance

Across our personal and professional lives, we are producing more data than ever before. With the right tools and capability to analyse large volumes of data, businesses can make far more informed decisions. Microsoft Power BI and Workplace Analytics are examples of powerful analytic tools available to Office 365 users. These applications allow for a data-driven culture that enable businesses to see the bigger picture, monitor and track performance over time, and have more confidence in their decision making. Not only does this benefit end users as well as stakeholders it can actually save businesses and organisations money.

5. Create a home for everything important

One of the biggest benefits of Office 365 is its ability to help improve productivity through clever and efficient applications. OneNote is an excellent organisational tool that helps you to keep pace in a world of information overload. Employees can take notes, build lists, access content from anywhere at any time, seamlessly integrate notes with other application and share information easily with co-workers. 74% of Companies Plan to Permanently Shift to More Remote Work Post COVID-19, so the features and advantages of Office 365 as an organisational and project management tool are essential.

From collaboration to security to analytics and organisation, Office 365 allows you to do more, from anywhere securely, in less time. We’ve only touched on some of the hidden and less well-known features which all add up to significant gains in user experience, productivity and performance. A dedicated technology partner can help implement these tools, onboard employees and manage continued software innovations to help you to maximise the value of your Microsoft 365 licence. Contact Paradyn today to learn more about what we can do to help.

Daniel O’Neill
Head of MSP, Paradyn
Daniel provides the expertise in the development and management of LANs, WANs, corporate storage, Operating Systems, public/private cloud and security systems. Skilled in designing infrastructure and implementing technology to support businesses in core and edge site topography. Adept at translating business needs into technology requirements to enable the achievement of business objectives and in managing all phases of technical & business projects. Cluster and Storage expertise across numerous designs/technologies to enable business productivity achieving high grade SLA’s.

How to choose a top cybersecurity company

Paradyn Cyber Security

Rob Norton, CTO at Paradyn, outlines 6 things to look out for when choosing a top cybersecurity company.

Cybersecurity issues are becoming a day-to-day struggle for businesses. Unfortunately, cybercrime shows no signs of slowing down either, with the volume of phishing emails and attacks targeting remote workers growing significantly this year. Given the scale of damage a cyber breach can cause to your company’s finances and reputation, it’s essential that businesses have an effective security and risk management solution in place. Turning to a top cybersecurity company is the answer for many.

Sourcing and retaining the IT talent needed to implement and maintain a comprehensive security solution isn’t feasible for most organisations. Rather than employing in-house cybersecurity staff, the norm is now to outsource this function to a specialist cybersecurity provider – a far more cost-effective option for the majority of organisations.

While a cybersecurity partner can help to keep your business’s (and your customers’) data protected against cyber-attacks, the sheer number of providers out there can make choosing a specific provider difficult. Here are six things to look out for to ensure that you choose a top cybersecurity company:

1. What are your cybersecurity needs?

Before scouring the websites of every cybersecurity company out there, first focus on defining your organisation’s exact security needs. Almost every organisation will require basic security features like a firewall, anti-virus protection and back-up solution, while more advanced technology solutions can take your protection to the next level.

Top cybersecurity companies will first conduct an IT security assessment or audit to determine what are your core risks and greatest areas of weakness. From the results, you can determine exactly what data needs to be protected, where it should be stored and who has access to it. This stage should always come before implementing security solutions so you know you are only paying for the level of security your company actually requires.

2. What range of cybersecurity services are on offer?

Today’s cybercriminals will attempt a range of attack methods to bypass your company’s security measures. Cybercriminals don’t limit their focus to one vector of attack, so neither should your cybersecurity provider. It’s crucial that your cybersecurity company offers a range of services and can provide a multifaceted security solution, including services like network security, cloud security, compliance, device management and data security.

3. What partnerships and certifications does a top cybersecurity company have?

When researching the various technologies a cybersecurity company offers, also take the time to review the partnerships they have, ideally with leading global technology vendors. This can help to ensure that you will gain access to the most cutting-edge cybersecurity technology solutions. It’s also worth examining what levels of affiliation and accreditation the company has with these vendors. Certified partners will be able to demonstrate a proven track record of successfully implementing these technologies, distinguishing them from those without certifications.

4. What level of availability can you expect?

Cyber attacks often occur during out-of-office hours, when it’s unlikely the IT team will be around to quickly investigate issues. Cybersecurity companies with a dedicated network and security operations centre can provide 24/7 network monitoring so your business remains protected at all times.

Likewise, communication with your security provider is key to success, so prioritise those who have high-levels of support availability. As well as being on hand to help with any technical issues, support teams who are readily contactable will improve your relationship with your cybersecurity partner. This will help them to better understand your needs so they can make tweaks over time to get the very best out of your cybersecurity setup.

5. Are the cybersecurity solutions scalable?

Another factor worth considering is the scalability of the services and solutions offered by the cybersecurity company. Every business is on a journey, and your exact cyber needs will evolve and change over time. For example, if you are planning to open new locations or expand to new markets, question cybersecurity providers in advance to determine whether the proposed security model is capable of scaling in line with your own business growth plans, without causing major disruption.

6. What experience does the cybersecurity firm have?

Finally, when doing your due diligence on a cybersecurity firm, take a look at the experience of both the company itself and its team. Top cybersecurity companies with experience in your industry could be a great fit. If possible, check to see if they have had customers in a similar field to you. As well as reviewing the legacy of the company, review and ask its senior management team about their experience and examples of relevant work they have done which provides insight into their capabilities.

Paradyn is one of Ireland’s top cybersecurity companies and we continually strive to enhance our cybersecurity offering for customers. We recently announced the launch of our dedicated network and security operations centre, the Paradyn TotalView Operations Centre, to grant customers a complete overview of their infrastructure and the cyber threat landscape. If you’d like to know more about the breadth of our cybersecurity offerings, please contact us today to speak with a member of our team.

Rob Norton
Chief Technical Officer, Paradyn
Rob has been in the Technology industry for over 20 years and brings technical experience in Networking, Systems & Software Development to Exigent. As Paradyn’s Chief Technical Officer, he has responsibility for the Technical solutions developed by the business. Rob is one of the founding members of Exigent Networks and has achieved extensive ICT certifications from leading global vendors like Cisco, Citrix, F5 and fixed wireless manufacturers Ceragon and SAF. Rob has deep technical roots in B2B infrastructure, SaaS technologies and Hybrid IT solutions covering all aspects of Paradyns business.
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How to develop a strong cybersecurity strategy

Paul Casey, Chief Operations Officer at Paradyn, shares five tips for businesses to create an effective IT security roadmap and develop a strong cybersecurity strategy.

With many businesses now forced to rely on remote working solutions and as technology becomes increasingly ingrained in the daily functions of organisations, IT decision makers are best advised to take a long-term approach to developing a strong cybersecurity strategy to prepare for future threats. Public or private sector, international or indigenous, enterprise, SME or start-up, virtually all businesses are handling sensitive data on a daily basis. Your IT security roadmap must account for customer, client and employee personal data, as well as financial and company information. Building a cybersecurity strategy framework to protect and secure this data is now essential.

But how can organisations develop, refine and implement a cybersecurity strategy that protects this data both now and continuously over time? Here are five tips for businesses seeking to establish an effective cybersecurity strategy:

1. Be proactive and prepare an IT security roadmap for the future

Cybersecurity measures are often only implemented on a reactionary basis as a result of a data breach or cyber-attack. However, by taking proactive preventative measures, organisations can pre-empt attacks and avoid or mitigate against the resultant long-term reputation damage and hampering of employee productivity.

Consider what your organisation will look like in the future and build a strong cybersecurity strategy that can support your growth objectives. In doing so, you can help extend the longevity of your IT security system and minimise disruption to your employees by avoiding the need to constantly update outdated systems.

With scalable and proactive cybersecurity and monitoring measures in place, your IT systems and the data that is stored on them can remain protected while the IT team is freed up to concentrate on solutions to enable business growth.

2. Understand the cybersecurity risks pertaining to your business

Every business has unique challenges and obstacles to overcome on a daily basis and your organisation’s cybersecurity strategy is no different. Whether you’re a multinational that deals with overseas clients and conflicting time zones or you’re a rapidly scaling SME, you will have individual cybersecurity needs and concerns that require customised solutions.

For example, if you are a business that now facilitates or relies on remote working for your employees, you’ll need to ensure that they have seamless access to work files and that their work devices and data they access are kept secure and safeguarded from a cyber-attack.

By outlining your day-to-day activities and understanding the potential risk factors associated with your unique business, you can better design a cybersecurity strategy that aligns with your work and is effective in the long-term.

3. Utilise a security framework for putting together a roadmap for securing your organisation. 

For businesses, leveraging a security framework ensures that your company and customer data stay safe. You want to use trusted security and privacy frameworks for your business and we think the controls in the CIS framework are an excellent fit for many businesses and startups.

Among the many benefits that our customers get from implementing the CIS Controls, prioritisation of what you need to do is an immediate win and is something that most organisations struggle with. They were designed to help organizations rapidly define the starting point for their defenses, direct their scarce resources on actions with immediate and high-value payoff, and then focus their attention and resources on additional risk issues that are unique to their business or mission.

4. Align your cybersecurity strategy with all business functions

The integration of a strong cybersecurity strategy should incorporate all functions of your business. From marketing to sales to logistics, you need to ask yourself whether your cybersecurity measures adequately address all aspects of your business.
Often, human error can be the reason why data is exposed to threats, so integrating a new security system without employee training can leave your business vulnerable. If your employees are unaware of how to handle data according to best practice, it can undermine your overall cybersecurity strategy and any preventative measures.

Seeking guidance from an IT specialist on how to manage your systems and synchronise them with all functions of your business can mitigate risk and exposure down the road.

5. Choose an experienced Managed Service Provider to help with your IT security roadmap

Developing an IT security roadmap can be a complex task, but given the consequences of a security breach or failure, it may even be a critical step in ensuring the survival and growth of any business. An IT security roadmap can alleviate pressure on IT managers who are often occupied by managing daily IT challenges and firefighting user issues, distracting them from growth oriented innovation.

Partnering with a Managed Service Provider to put in place solutions and support for the day-to-day maintenance and upkeep of a security system, ensures that your business remains secure and compliant, while improving employee productivity.

Organisations of every size and service offering need to be mindful of their IT security. From scalable solutions to ensuring all of your team knows the best practices to adopt, a cybersecurity strategy should be proactive, preventative and specific to your business.

If you’re interested in speaking to a managed service provider who can complete a full security audit and develop a comprehensive and bespoke cybersecurity strategy, contact the Paradyn team today to find out more.

Paul Casey
Chief Operations Officer, Paradyn
Paul has been in the Technology industry for over 20 years and brings vast senior leadership experience to Paradyn’s technical and operational teams. As Operations Director, Paul is committed to customer service and has specific responsibility for Operations and Human Resources departments. Paul was one of the founding members of Exigent Networks and has previously held a number of roles in the Technology sector, both in Ireland and Internationally.