Monitoring

3 Keys to University Network Policies

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Tightening the reigns on your app and internet policies doesn’t mean restricting freedom. It's the only way to protect your institution's valuable research data and to preserve the privacy of staff and students.

Network security isn't only a concern for businesses and government. Recent US research from BitSight revealed that the education sector is a prime target for hackers, with nearly four times as much ransomware in its systems as the healthcare sector, and nearly nine times as much as the financial sector.

Universities and colleges make tempting targets not only because of the unique data they keep, but because misguided concerns over academic openness mean that so many still leave their gates wide open.

It’s time to take control

In a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) environment, you can’t control every potentially infected laptop and device being used around your campus. But you can, and should, control what they access through your servers.

In an academic environment, internet technology decision-makers (ITDMs) can find themselves facing resistance but it’s your responsibility to convince academics and administrators alike that beefing up security won’t compromise their ideals.

From financial information to research data, a university has many of the same assets as a business. So when it comes to security, you need to treat it like one. It’s also your responsibility to protect the personal information and intellectual property of staff and students, who will all be at risk if you don’t have the appropriate safeguards in place.

How to justify these restrictions

Website blocking is routinely justified in the US, Australia and many other countries to prevent malware, investment fraud, copyright infringement, terrorism and other malicious activity, so there’s plenty of precedent.

If you do find yourself needing to justify controlling access to suspicious websites, app downloads or file sharing through torrents or cloud lockers, the risk of malware should be reason enough.

Blocking or limiting the bandwidth available for file sharing will also reduce the illegal consumption of copyrighted materials on campus, which shows that your university respects the creators’ intellectual property.

Then there’s the practicality of preserving bandwidth. Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing consumes a lot of network resources, which slows things down for legitimate users. The same applies to streaming services and that other controversial culprit – pornography.

While universities don’t have the same excuse as high schools and public network – that they’re protecting children from seeing inappropriate content – the risk of illegal materials and viruses appearing on these sites is another justification for blocking access altogether.

How to block undesired websites

When choosing the method for restricting access to websites, you need to consider your department’s resources and budget.

Internet Protocol (IP) address blocking – the cheapest method, but also the least effective as IP addresses can be quickly changed.

Domain Name Server (DNS) blocking – permanently blocks access to undesired sites at only slightly more expense, though easily circumvented.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL) blocking – more precise, but requires the greatest investment of time and money to configure correctly.

When you’re surrounded by the best and brightest, there are always going to be people who can circumvent the restrictions you put in place by using a virtual private network (VPN) or more advanced techniques. The important thing is that you’re significantly reducing the risks and encouraging students to break bad habits.

With quality filters in place, you can make sure that legitimate websites and apps won’t be blocked by mistake, while protecting students, faculties and your institution alike.

Need help securing your network?

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Worried About Defending Your Data From Hackers?

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Why the Best Defense Against Viruses Might be Off Site


If you’ve handed over responsibility for your IT to a managed service provider (MSP), the decision probably included the following considerations.

  • They’re experts.
  • It’s cheaper.
  • You don’t need to have as many (or any) IT employees in your office.

It can feel like a huge weight is off your shoulders, but for your MSP to make those things true, it needs tools. One of them is remote monitoring and management (RMM) software. Being able to access and service your systems from their office, not yours, is part of what makes managed service providers so cost effective and it saves everybody time.

What is RMM?

You might have heard of RMM as “network management” or “remote service software.” Whatever you call it, it’s software that lets MSPs remotely monitor client endpoints, networks, and computers.

RMM is particularly important when it comes to your security. With malicious code becoming a faster-moving problem every year, you want every device patched and secured without waiting for a technician to make the rounds.

Enter the Agent

RMM works through a piece of software—called an agent—that is installed by your MSP on workstations, servers, mobile devices, and other endpoints. These bits of software feed information back to the MSP about the machine’s health and status.

With this information, the MSP can see what’s going on in your network. It can target endpoints that need maintenance or updating. It can see where issues are about to happen and act on them without needing to go to your office. That’s less inconvenient for you, and it keeps down the MSP’s costs, which it can pass on to you.

The ability to keep your security up to date is especially beneficial to both parties. When an MSP contract includes support through a security breach, the costs to both the client and the MSP can mount quickly. Both parties have a vested interest in keeping anti-virus software up to date and patching holes before there’s a problem.

Raising Alarms

Your MSP doesn’t need to have someone sitting in front of a screen to keep an eye on your system 24/7. That’s what the agent is for.

When an agent finds a problem, like a virus or other malicious code it creates an alert or opens a ticket that is sent to the MSP so it can take the action that’s needed.

First and Fast

In short, RMM is essential if your MSP is to keep your network secure. It’s going to alert the MSP to issues before they arise, and if something does slip through the net, the MSP will get an early warning to fix it.

Why the Best Off Site Defense Solution is Current Technologies

Current Technologies has been providing businesses in the Chicago land area and beyond with superior IT services for 20 years. Offering companies a hybrid solution of regularly scheduled onsite maintenance visits with a specifically assigned consultant, along with 24/7 remote monitoring and support we can deliver an IT Service framework that is among the best in the industry. Current Technologies uses top of the line Auvik monitoring software to ensure your data is safe as can be. With this level of protection you will be able to rest easy at night knowing your information is secure.

Check out our infrastructure management overview PDF below to see all of the ways Current Technologies can help your business run safer and smoother.

Get Protected Before it's too Late

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We pride ourselves on having the capabilities of a large firm while still providing the personal attention of a small firm
— Phil Hanson, Project & Service Manager- Current Technologies Corporation

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Choosing The Right MSP

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What you Should Look for in a Managed Service Provider


IT departments are under pressure to meet user demands, minimize risk, and keep costs under budget. There is also pressure to incorporate new technological innovations, which often require expertise and in-depth knowledge. It isn’t surprising that 70 percent of CIOs partnered with outside experts to plan manageable growth in 2017.

The attraction of taking on a managed services provider (MSP) in IT is evident, but the costs of taking on the wrong partner could be high. So how do you choose the right MSP?

1. What are they Asking you?

This is not a one-way street. The MSP you want to work with is the one asking how they can improve your business. It shows they care. It shows you are a company they want to work with. Most importantly, if they do not ask the right questions, how are they going to get your IT right?

2. How Closely will they be Watching you?

You can have an MSP monitoring your systems remotely 24/7 all year round. So why would you choose anything less? You want to know about problems when and where they happen, not just in business hours and after the weekend.

3. Your Place or Theirs?

You want an MSP that can support you remotely when that works, but that will come to you when it does not. Current Technologies offers remote service within one hour of network emergencies and can also be onsite within four hours to remedy the most severe IT emergency.

4. Support all day Every day

Chances are 9-to-5 is not even a memory for much of your workforce. Your employees need IT support when they need it whether it is during normal business hours or not.

5. Tracking

A good MSP will be able to report on the health of your assets and whether they are being used compliantly. Current Technologies leverages Auvik Network Monitoring to ensure all critical endpoints on your network are being closely monitored. For more information on how Auvik monitoring software can help your business, check out the PDF at the bottom of the article.

6. Thinking Business

Leading MSPs offer a virtual CIO to help with budgeting, analysis of potential business impacts, and reporting on technology performance. Again, why would you not want that if it is available? Current Technologies offers complementary CIO consulting as an added service to all customers.

7. Track Record

This one speaks for itself. Either your MSP has a track record you can check, or they do not. Go with what you can prove. 

8. Deeper and Deeper

You want more than operating system maintenance and availability management. Ask about skills in managing change, cloud, cross-platform integration, mobility, security and anything else that might be on your radar in the next three years.

9. Industry Understanding

Understanding IT is bread and butter to an MSP. The MSP you want is one that understands your industry as well. A great MSP is a partner, and a great partner makes suggestions beyond the scope of day-to-day operations. The best recommendations will come from an MSP that knows your business.

The Current Technologies Advantage

Current Technologies can offer you all of the features listed above and more. For 20 years now our team has been providing regularly scheduled onsite maintenance along with remote monitoring and support for 24/7 coverage of your specific IT needs. Current Technologies will provide your business with a specifically assigned consultant to your account as well as unlimited remote proactive monitoring management services and regularly scheduled technology review, planning, and strategy meetings.

For more information, check out our infrastructure management PDF below

 

The Choice is clear, Contact us now to get Started

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We pride ourselves on having the capabilities of a large firm while still providing the personal attention of a small firm
— Phil Hanson, Project & Service Manager - Current Technologies Corporation

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