By Rich Kukla (IT Manager) and Melvin Montalvo (IT Project Manager), Document Solutions, ASCII Group member since 2014
A common question asked during a job interview is whether or not the employee has an opportunity to work remotely. Not only does it benefit the employee by saving commute time, the employer benefits as there is no additional overhead or potential distraction by other employees in the office. The trend is common and software tools make it easy, but it’s possible there are too many software tools providing such services, thereby raising the level of concern for data security amongst IT professionals.
If the conversation is a critical talking point during the interview process, then why can’t it be one of the topics mentioned during the initial sales call between the MSP and potential client? The topic of endpoint security should definitely be discussed.
Endpoint security is the methodology of securing and protecting the business network while outside devices are trying to access the data or network drives via laptops, tablets or smart phones. Onsite IT professionals at organizations or MSPs can’t handle the number of requests or questions concerning BYOD fast enough. Hardware ownership raises the topic of control of data which is important for companies and the reason they need to have guidelines and a clear understanding of business versus personal use. The guidelines are required because web surfing or email flow from the device can bring in spyware, malware, and other network threats while being connected to the company network. Threats do not discriminate against personal or business use because their goal is to interrupt, alter or steal your data.
The control of customer data being accessible from any device at any time has other potential risks. From the organizational perspective, if new data is added daily to the company database chances are the relationships or sales opportunities are growing and the data becomes more valuable to your competitors or sales force that may leave the company. Be aware multiple copies of your data on other non‐company owned hardware exists.
With increasing demand for remote users and BYOD solutions, managers require the ability to report on important metrics such as what websites are being visited at what times of day, as well as which internal resources are being accessed by which users. These reports are triggers and can give management a better understanding of how the data is being used by their employees.
For many business owners or decision makers at a mid‐size company, the questions from the MSP perspective can be light and general to help bring up the topic of end point security:
These are questions most non-IT managers want to dodge because they feel they will add layers of software and hardware costs to monitor and support this network activity, but these are questions an MSP must be prepared to ask to ensure they are being thorough during their pitch.
For an MSP to remain competitive and current in the industry, an investment must be made to help secure the clients data during the initial agreement. If an MSP is in control of the data, the MSP should have it secured and readily available if a threat occurs. If data is not readily available for your help desk team to support your customers, your customers will in turn question your operation and integrity of their business in your hands. By implementing a proper endpoint security solution, you’ll increase profitability, limit exposure, and boost customer confidence through periodic management reports.
The role of the IT sales professional is critical in setting the tone and pace of the business relationship and demonstrating to the potential client the depth of knowledge, resources, and market experience in the IT field. If you are not discussing endpoint security during your initial conversation, the next MSP will be, and they will gain the sale.