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As we look back on 2023, the surge in cyber attacks has emerged as a formidable challenge, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). With limited resources and often less sophisticated security measures, SMBs have become attractive targets for cybercriminals. Recent statistics reveal a concerning trend: as of 2021, a staggering 61% of SMBs have been the target of a cyberattack, and alarmingly, 46% of all cyber breaches have impacted businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees. This underscores a critical need for SMBs to recognize and respond to the heightened risks they face. 

On average, these incidents cost SMBs an alarming $25,000, a significant financial strain that can jeopardize their survival. The rise in cybercrime is not just a statistic; it’s a call for SMBs to fortify their digital defenses.


Understanding the Current Cybersecurity Landscape 

Common Types of Cyber Attacks: Among the myriad of cyber threats, certain types are more prevalent in targeting SMBs. Malware, especially, stands out, with 18% of attacks on small businesses being malware-related. This category includes ransomware, a particularly destructive type of malware that has seen a 93% year-over-year increase in attacks. These attacks not only disrupt operations but also come with hefty recovery costs and ransom demands. 

The Financial Burden: The financial implications of these attacks are substantial. The average cost of a data breach for SMBs has escalated to $4.35 million, the highest on record, and the recovery from a ransomware attack can cost nearly $2 million. For SMBs, these figures represent not just a financial setback but a potential threat to their very existence. 

The Prolonged Response Time: Another critical aspect of the current landscape is the time it takes to identify and contain a breach. On average, it took about 277 days, approximately nine months, to identify and contain a breach in 2022. This prolonged response time can exacerbate the damage caused by a breach, both financially and in terms of customer trust. 

The Role of Human Error: It’s important to note that human error plays a significant role in the vulnerability of SMBs to cyber attacks. A significant portion of breaches, 43%, involve insider threats, either intentional or unintentional. Additionally, the fact that 94% of malware is delivered via email highlights the need for continuous employee education and vigilant email security practices . 

The Impact of Remote Work: The shift to remote work has introduced additional complexities. Remote work not only increases the attack surface for cybercriminals but also leads to higher costs per breach. Distractions at home contribute to employees falling prey to phishing scams, and breaches in remote work settings take longer to contain. 

The cybersecurity landscape for SMBs is characterized by a high frequency of targeted attacks, significant financial implications, and extended breach identification times. These challenges are compounded by factors such as human error and the increasing prevalence of remote work. Understanding these dynamics is the first step for SMBs in developing a strong cybersecurity strategy that can withstand the rising tide of cyber threats.

The Impact of Cyber Attacks on SMBs 

Cyber attacks on small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have wide-ranging and serious consequences, extending beyond immediate financial losses: 

  • Financial Strain: The average cost of a data breach for SMBs is around $4.35 million, and recovering from a ransomware attack can cost nearly $2 million. These costs can significantly strain an SMB’s finances, sometimes leading to bankruptcy. 
  • Operational Disruptions: Cyber attacks can cause extended operational downtimes due to the average breach detection and containment time of 277 days. This downtime disrupts business continuity, affects productivity, and can result in the loss of clients. 
  • Reputational Damage: A security breach can severely damage an SMB’s reputation, leading to a loss of customer trust and potentially long-term business relationships. 
  • Legal and Regulatory Consequences: Breaches can lead to legal and regulatory issues, especially if sensitive customer data is compromised, attracting fines and legal actions. 
  • Psychological Impact: The stress and anxiety associated with a cyber attack affect both business owners and employees, impacting morale and job security. 
  • Strategic Setbacks: Resources diverted to manage and recover from an attack can delay or cancel business growth or innovation initiatives. 
  • Increased Cybersecurity Costs: Post-attack, businesses often face increased spending on cybersecurity measures, adding to financial burdens. 

The multifaceted impact of cyber attacks underscores the necessity for SMBs to prioritize robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard their operations, finances, and reputation. 

Key Vulnerabilities in SMBs 

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face several cybersecurity vulnerabilities: 

  • Limited Resources: Often lack sufficient financial and human resources for comprehensive cybersecurity. 
  • Employee Training Gaps: Insufficient cybersecurity training for employees, leading to vulnerabilities, especially with email-based malware threats . 
  • Outdated Technology: Use of outdated hardware and software, increasing susceptibility to breaches. 
  • Inadequate Access Control: Often lack effective access management, heightening the risk of insider threats . 
  • No Incident Response Plan: Many SMBs lack a defined plan for responding to security incidents, leading to exacerbated damages. 
  • Underestimation of Threats: A tendency to underestimate the cyber threat landscape, resulting in a reactive approach. 
  • Remote Work Challenges: Increased remote work expands the attack surface and complicates breach containment. 

Addressing these vulnerabilities is essential for SMBs to strengthen their cybersecurity defenses against evolving threats. 

Strategies for Enhanced Cybersecurity 

  1. Regular Updates and Patch Management: Ensure devices are configured for automatic updates and regularly check for installed updates. 
  2. Strong Password Policies: Implement policies for complex, unique passwords, and encourage using password managers. 
  3. Access Control & Multi-Factor Authentication: Employ strong access control and multi-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access. 
  4. Data Backup and Recovery: Maintain reliable data backups and test backup procedures regularly, especially against ransomware threats. 
  5. Firewall and Endpoint Detection: Implement firewall security and endpoint detection systems to block suspicious traffic and identify unusual activities. 
  6. Data Encryption: Encrypt sensitive data both at rest and in transit. 
  7. Regular Security Audits: Conduct audits to evaluate cybersecurity controls and address vulnerabilities. 
  8. Incident Response Plan: Develop and regularly rehearse a detailed incident response plan. 
  9. Employee Education and Awareness: Train employees on cybersecurity best practices, including recognizing phishing attempts. 

Professional Cybersecurity Solutions 

Consider solutions like CoreArmor and CoreComply, which provide advanced threat detection, managed security services, and strategic planning tailored to SMB needs. CoreArmor, for example, bundles essential cybersecurity services into a comprehensive package, covering real-time monitoring, incident response, penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and user awareness training. While CoreComply, strengthens compliance operations, aligning them with business processes and helping to identify and close gaps in current practices. 

Implementing these strategies and leveraging professional solutions like CoreArmor and CoreComply can significantly enhance an SMB’s cybersecurity posture, protecting against a broad spectrum of cyber threats and vulnerabilities. 

What You Can Do

In the face of evolving cyber threats, small and medium-sized businesses must prioritize robust cybersecurity. Coretelligent offers tailored solutions like CoreArmor and CoreComply, blending advanced threat detection, strategic planning, and compliance management. Protect your business with our comprehensive cybersecurity services. 

If you’re interested in learning what you can do to fortify your business’s defenses, watch our recent webinar, where we bring together a panel of experts, including an FBI special agent that that works on cybercrime cases, a cyber insurance specialist, and our very own team as they dive into trends, tips, and valuable insights you can use to understand the various threats at play.  

 

AI-driven cyber threats are not just a fact; they are an ever-evolving issue for many industries. In the span of three years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has evolved from a budding concept to a monumental force, revolutionizing industries and paving new pathways for innovation. However, with every digital stride we take, the underbelly of the cybersecurity world reveals more complexities. The same AI, which stands as a beacon of progress, is now being weaponized by nefarious minds, leading to the creation of threats more sophisticated than ever before.


ai-driven threats

 

The AI Threat Landscape:

The digital underworld is abuzz with cybercriminals harnessing the power of AI, amplifying their hacking prowess. Whether it’s the automation of cunning phishing schemes or the deployment of machine learning for relentless password attacks, the malicious use of AI is not just a concern—it’s an alarming reality. These AI-infused threats are not just multiplying; they evolve, learn, and outpace traditional defense mechanisms.

For a deeper understanding of defense against AI-driven threats and to equip your organization with the right tools and knowledge, explore this free Risk Assessment.

The Ripple Effect on Key Industries:

While the digital age offers boundless opportunities, it also brings unprecedented challenges, especially with AI-driven cyber threats. With its treasure troves of sensitive data, the Financial Services sector finds itself in the eye of the storm. The surge of AI in cyber warfare means these institutions are grappling with new threats daily.

Life Sciences entities, guardians of invaluable intellectual property, aren’t spared either. They, too, are prime targets for AI adversaries. Any entity handling confidential data, especially those with deep pockets, is in the line of fire. Life Sciences entities, guardians of invaluable intellectual property, aren’t spared either. They too are prime targets for AI adversaries. Simply, any entity handling confidential data, especially those with deep pockets, is in the line of fire.

For a nuanced exploration of the compliance intricacies faced by the Financial Services sector in 2023, we invite you to delve into our comprehensive piece: “Financial Services Compliance: What to Know in 2023”.

Proactive Defense Strategies:

Over the past several years, the world has seen numerous case studies on how these AI-driven cyber threats can impact a business, even Fortune 500 companies. In the face of these threats, businesses must adopt a comprehensive and proactive defense strategy. Here are a few of the most recommended strategies and how companies could have better utilized them.

Continuous Monitoring and Real-time Threat Detection:

Implementing systems that continuously monitor network traffic and user behavior can help in early detection of any anomalies. Real-time threat detection can alert IT teams immediately, allowing them to act before significant damage occurs.

For example, T-Mobile experienced data breaches in May and January 2023. Had a more robust real-time threat detection system existed, the breaches might have been detected and mitigated sooner.

Advanced AI Defense Strategies:

Utilizing AI to counteract AI-driven threats can be an effective strategy, but too few companies are taking the time to implement these tools proactively. AI can predict potential attack vectors and strategies that hackers might use, preparing businesses for the next big attack.

In another case, Latitude Financial experienced a massive breach in March of 2023, compromising over 14 million records. Advanced AI defense strategies could have predicted the attack vectors used against the company.

Employee Training and Awareness:

Regularly training employees to recognize potential AI-driven cyber threats like phishing emails or suspicious links can prevent the most sensitive area of cybersecurity, the human element. While typos and grammatical mistakes were once a clear indicator of phishing, AI can quickly fix these issues and even make the phrasing more compelling to act. That’s why informed and vigilant employees are often the first line of defense.

Case in point: MailChimp faced a data breach in 2023. Hackers obtained employee credentials, allowing them access to Mailchimp’s support and admin platforms. Such breaches often start with a single employee clicking on a malicious link. However, social engineering tactics can be much more effective. Regular training could reduce such risks.

There are two other examples: MGM and Ceasar’s, who faced a similar breach that occurred earlier this year, both of which started with a simple phone call to the support desk.

State-of-the-art Cybersecurity Tools:

Employing the latest cybersecurity tools that offer multi-layered protection, including firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encrypted/blockchain communication, can form a robust defense against some of the more common threats.

A lesson Verizon learned after having records of over 7 million users posted on a hacker forum in March 2023. Using state-of-the-art tools could have prevented unauthorized access since, according to their year’s report, 74% of breaches began through human error, social engineering or misuse.”

Incident Response Plan:

A well-documented and practiced incident response plan ensures that when a breach occurs, the organization can swiftly mitigate damage, communicate with stakeholders, and recover data.

Likewise, MOVEit, a File Transfer and Automation Software company faced a significant data breach in June of 2023. The breach impacted over 200 companies that utilized the platform, including the Department of Energy and schools across the US. The result is a security vulnerability in their software. These vulnerabilities can be impossible to predict. However, an effective incident response plan could have minimized the impact and duration of the breach.

Conclusion:

The integration of AI in cybersecurity is a double-edged sword. While it offers enhanced protection mechanisms, it also presents new challenges as cybercriminals harness its power for malicious intent. As we navigate this new frontier, the importance of continuous learning, adaptation, and proactive defense cannot be overstated.

Concerned about AI-driven cyber threats? Contact Coretelligent today and fortify your defenses.

Outsourced IT

Technology is the backbone of virtually every business operation, IT challenges can significantly hinder growth and productivity. From frequent downtime to cybersecurity threats, these issues pose serious risks that can impact a company’s bottom line.

However, these problems are not insurmountable. With outsourced IT and the right managed service provider (MSP), businesses can navigate these hurdles effectively and efficiently.

Here are 23 of the most common IT pain points companies face that can be solved with outsourced IT and managed IT services.

Outsourced IT

Whether you’re considering an MSP to supplement your internal team or to provide comprehensive IT support, outsourcing your IT needs can offer flexible, efficient, and powerful solutions that directly address your IT pain points. This change not only lowers your total cost of ownership (TCO) but also brings about a significant return on investment (ROI), reduces risk, drives revenue, and adds value for your clients and stakeholders.

Reasons to Choose Outsourced Managed IT Support Services

  1. Frequent Downtime: Frequent IT issues and downtime can lead to significant productivity losses. It disrupts business operations, causing delays in service delivery and negatively impacting customer satisfaction.
  2. Cybersecurity Threats: Inadequate cybersecurity measures increase vulnerabilities to security threats and data breaches. Inadequate cybersecurity can result in substantial financial losses, damage to brand reputation, and potential legal implications.
  3. 24/7 Support Needs: Managing complex systems requires round-the-clock support and maintenance. Without it, businesses can face prolonged downtime, leading to customer dissatisfaction and revenue loss.
  4. Technology Upgrades: Keeping up with the latest technological advancements and industry trends is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. However, it can be challenging without the necessary expertise and resources.
  5. Skill Gaps and Labor Shortages: Companies often struggle to fill highly specialized technology roles with the right skill sets. This results in increased labor costs and prolonged project timelines.
  6. Scalability Issues: As businesses grow, their IT infrastructure and resources must scale accordingly. Difficulty in achieving this can hinder growth, impact service delivery, and result in operational inefficiencies.
  7. Compliance Challenges: Compliance with regulations related to sensitive data confidentiality, retention, and standards is mandatory. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines, legal issues, damage to business reputation, business dissolution, and personal liability.
  8. Outdated Systems: Inefficient and outdated software systems can cause operational bottlenecks. They can slow down processes, decrease productivity, and impact service delivery.
  9. Network Performance: Inconsistent network performance and latency issues can disrupt business operations, reduce employee productivity, and lead to customer dissatisfaction.
  10. Disaster Recovery Planning: A robust backup and disaster recovery plan is essential to safeguard critical data. Without it, businesses risk losing valuable data, which can have severe consequences.
  11. Systems Integration: Issues with integrating various systems can lead to data silos, making it difficult to gain a holistic view of business operations and hindering decision-making and strategic planning.
  12. Standardization: Lack of standardized IT processes and procedures can lead to inefficiencies, mistakes, and inconsistency in service delivery.
  13. Emerging Technologies: Implementing and leveraging emerging technologies can be challenging but is vital for staying competitive. Failure to do so can result in missed opportunities for improvement and innovation.
  14. Vendor Management: Managing multiple vendor relationships and varying service level agreements can be complex and time-consuming and expose a business to risk if not managed properly.
  15. Software Updates: Regular updates and patches are crucial for system security and performance. Difficulty in managing these can lead to vulnerabilities and system inefficiencies.
  16. Network Monitoring: Inadequate network monitoring can delay issue detection and resolution, leading to prolonged downtime and potential data loss.
  17. IT Expenses: Unpredictable or difficult-to-manage IT expenses can create budgeting challenges, affecting financial planning and resource allocation.
  18. Remote Work Challenges: Managing remote teams and ensuring secure access to company systems in a distributed work environment is crucial in today’s digital age. Failure to do so can lead to communication gaps, decreased productivity, and security risks.
  19. IT Strategy: The absence of a clearly defined IT strategy can hinder strategic decision-making, leading to missed opportunities and inefficient resource utilization.
  20. IT Support Costs: Rising IT support costs and inadequate support during off-hours can strain budgets and lead to unresolved IT issues affecting business operations.
  21. Device Management: With the rise in personal devices and smartphones accessing business systems, managing these devices becomes crucial to ensure security and system performance.
  22. IT Performance Visibility: Limited insight into IT performance due to inefficient monitoring and tracking can hinder decision-making and proactive issue resolution.
  23. Data Accessibility: Difficulty accessing or exporting data across multiple systems and applications can hinder data analysis, decision-making, and process efficiency.

By addressing these pain points with outsourced IT, businesses can enhance their efficiency, improve their security posture, and gain a competitive edge in today’s digital landscape.


Due Diligence Guide


In short, technology fuels business growth. Solve your technology roadblocks and build growth with the right IT partner. An experienced MSP brings the expertise, resources, and technological solutions needed to address these and other pain points—from boosting cybersecurity measures and enhancing network performance to ensuring compliance and facilitating technology upgrades.

By outsourcing IT to a trusted partner, you can focus on what matters most—growing your business. Embrace the benefits of outsourced IT and solve these challenges and build success.

Benefits of Managed IT Services

In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations face countless challenges when managing their IT infrastructure. As technology evolves and companies scale, businesses need flexible, secure, and efficient IT to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge. It is in this space that a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can resolve a multitude of challenges for businesses of all sizes.

We’ll explore some of the top reasons businesses turn to MSPs for their IT needs, emphasizing the triggers that organizations face and sharing specific use cases highlighting the benefits of managed IT services.

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Benefits of Managed IT Services

Why Use a Managed Service Provider: Making the Case for Outsourced IT

 

Problem: Loss of Productivity From Downtime

Downtime can be detrimental to a business’s bottom line. Frequent IT issues and downtime lead to productivity losses and hinder overall business efficiency.

The average cost of network downtime is $5,600 per minute.

Solution: An MSP partner can help minimize downtime by providing proactive monitoring, regular patching and maintenance, and rapid response to IT issues. They ensure your IT infrastructure runs smoothly, allowing employees to focus on core business tasks.

Customer Success Story:

A biotech company’s internal team was unable to keep up with the growth and management of the network as the company scaled. After an incident highlighted that its network infrastructure did not have the resiliency and redundancy needed, the firm decided to outsource some IT functions. As a result of partnering with Coretelligent, which was able to evaluate, build, monitor, and support its network infrastructure, the company nearly doubled in size.

 

Benefits of MSPs

Problem: Increased Security Threats and Data Breaches

Cybersecurity is a significant concern for businesses today. Lacking security measures can expose an organization to increased security threats, data breaches, and potential financial losses.

90% of corporate security breaches are the result of email phishing attacks.

Solution: Some MSPs include comprehensive security solutions to protect against threats and ensure data confidentiality as part of their offerings. By implementing robust cybersecurity measures, businesses can safeguard their sensitive information and prevent costly security incidents.

Customer Success Story:

A private equity firm recently fell victim to an email phishing incident. As a result, it needed to strengthen its cyber posture to include end-user training and better email filtering. The firm partnered with Coretelligent to implement an enterprise email protection solution and end-user training, including interactive education on identifying phishing attempts. As a result, the firm was better able to safeguard its sensitive data and reduce the likelihood of employees falling for phishing attacks.

 

Benefits of Managed IT Services

Problem: Industry-Specific Needs Unmet

Many businesses have industry-specific IT needs, such as data security protocols or regulatory compliance requirements, that can be difficult to manage with existing IT solutions.

Financial services and life sciences are among the most regulated industries.

Solution: MSPs offer customized managed services and tailor their solutions to meet the specific needs of each organization. By partnering with an MSP, businesses can ensure that their IT infrastructure meets all industry standards and regulations.

Customer Success Story:

A broker-dealer firm was working with a non-U.S.-based company for some technical support, but a recent FINRA audit highlighted the need for a technology partner with more robust offerings, including compliance, cybersecurity, and IT planning and strategy. The company implemented robust security measures, which ensured regulatory compliance, and benefitted from 24/7 support for the organization’s complex IT.

 

Data integration and MSPs

Problem: Lack of Integrated and Actionable Data

A lack of integrated and usable business data often causes ineffective operations and decision-making.

Data-driven companies outperform their competitors by 20%.

Solution: Some MSPs include the capabilities to help businesses to collect, process, and analyze data from disparate sources to provide actionable insights. By leveraging the power of analytics, organizations can make informed decisions that improve overall efficiency and drive business growth.

Customer Success Story:

An equipment leasing and finance company was using a broker portal with limited data integrations, which impacted the length and quality of deals. Through an overhaul of the portal, including better synthesis between the front and back-end systems and strengthened integrations of internal and external data sources, the company was able to shorten the deal lifecycle and improve the quality of deals.

 

Benefits of an IT partner

Problem: Critical IT Skill Gaps and Labor Shortages

Organizations with limited IT resources can find it difficult to manage their IT systems and provide adequate support. These challenges lead to inefficiency, higher costs, and gaps in coverage.

57% of IT executives worried about filling critical roles.

Solution: MSPs can help fill critical IT skill gaps by providing the expert personnel needed to address the specific needs of a business. By utilizing the knowledge and skills of seasoned IT experts, companies can guarantee the prompt and effective fulfillment of their IT requirements. MSPs can also provide cost-effective labor solutions to address workforce shortages, enabling companies to stay ahead of their competitors.

Customer Success Story:

The CIO of a large retail organization recognized that the company was facing some critical skill gaps as well as challenges in finding the top talent that their organization needed to meet their IT needs. By partnering with Coretelligent, the company expanded its knowledge base, eliminated hiring challenges, and gained 24/7/365 support, which freed up its internal team to focus on initiatives to help grow the company.

Benefits of Managed IT Services

Ultimately, MSPs are vital in helping organizations overcome their IT challenges and achieve their desired business outcomes. By offering comprehensive services such as proactive monitoring, multilayered cybersecurity, 24/7 support, cloud services, ongoing maintenance, and digital transformation services, MSPs provide businesses with the tools they need to stay ahead of competitors in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.

By leveraging the expertise of an MSP like Coretelligent, businesses can overcome their IT challenges and unlock the full potential of their technology investments and focus on achieving their business goals.


Due Diligence Guide


What to Look for in an IT Partnership

Consider the following merits when contemplating adding or changing an MSP partner.

  • Experienced with servicing companies in your industry
  • Utilizes a collaborative and consultative approach
  • Delivers superior support and service
  • Provides 24/7/365 support and real-time monitoring
  • Has a comprehensive suite of solutions to address your company’s needs
  • Delivers IT strategy and planning to help minimize your investment
  • Offers scalable solutions that can scale as you grow
  • Demonstrates engineering excellence and cutting-edge solutions
Co-Managed IT Service Model

Outsourced and co-managed IT models have become the strategic go-to for SMBs who want to focus their efforts on business growth rather than the rigors of daily IT support.

How do you know if your organization should consider co-managed IT services and for what IT functions you should outsource?


co-managed ITThe growing importance, complexity, and scope of IT, as a whole, has driven many companies to favor co-managed IT services.

In a co-managed IT model, an organization’s internal IT team collaborates with their managed service providers to divide IT responsibilities based on skill gaps and time, among other considerations.

Companies benefit from this model by gaining access to experience and expertise it may not possess internally while maintaining visibility and alignment with business/technology objectives.

When to Consider Co-Managed IT?

When your business experiences accelerated growth, the technology workload can quickly increase to the point where you find the internal IT team overwhelmed, which quickly leads to drops in production across the business. With over 25% of business being conducted online in 2022, these slowdowns and drops in production can have serious consequences.

Strategic initiatives and alignment such as digital transformation initiatives, effective and timely project management, access to enterprise-class tools, and security become major concerns as the IT team falls further behind, struggling to keep up with the day-to-day leaving no time for strategic planning or adoption of newer technologies.

Co-management takes the burden off of your IT department so that they are able to focus on the tasks and projects they are highly skilled in.

IT Functions to Consider for Co-managed IT Services

What are some of the critical table stakes for co-managed IT services for growing companies?

Project Management

Smaller businesses may have one or two IT staff on hand who are great at what they do, but lack experience in project planning and management. When partnered with the right Managed Service Provider (MSP), your IT staff benefits from a lighter workload that allows them to focus on projects that enable business growth.

Outsourced IT project management gives your business access to experts who know how to plan and manage projects of all sizes.

Digital Transformation / IT Roadmapping

The creation of an IT strategy for a Mid-Market organization can be a huge challenge. Aligning agile short-term and long-term goals with the technologies needed to actualize them can be more than a small IT staff can handle.

Working together with your MSP for IT roadmapping provides access to a team of experts that will immediately boost the productivity of your IT staff and pass the benefits of increased efficiency to faster business growth.

Enterprise Tools

When you work with the right MSP, you gain access to enterprise-class tools that provide your business with the same level of insight and service that large companies can provide for themselves.

The best part is that you don’t have to make huge investments in developing a sophisticated IT team or software to do this. When you outsource, you gain immediate access to the same kinds of tools and services your business could not afford otherwise.

IT Security

One of the critical areas of business operations is the security of its IT infrastructure and digital assets. SMBs and Mid-Market organizations often lack the resources and skill set necessary for implementing and maintaining an effective security strategy.

Outsourcing your security needs to a reputable MSP/security services provider makes robust security much more than a pipe dream.

With the right security partner, your business gains access to state-of-the-art technology and security experts who know how to keep your IT infrastructure and digital assets safe.

Outsourcing is about much more than just handing off a bunch of work to another business. It’s also about forming mutually beneficial partnerships that help both businesses grow.

 

Most Common Co-Managed IT Service Models

Model #1: Outsource Helpdesk, Insource Escalation Resources

In this scenario, a business partners with an MSP to provide everyday tech support while keeping escalation in-house.

This allows your tech support experts to focus on resolving the toughest issues while your co-manage partner takes on the mundane helpdesk calls.

This is a particularly effective model for companies that are spread out across multiple locations and time zones.

One of the greatest advantages of co-managed helpdesk services is the standardization of service across all of your company’s locations.

Your business also gains the ability to reliably provide support services outside of normal business hours.

When you have a professional, co-managed helpdesk strategy in place, you eliminate the need for one or more IT personnel working the graveyard shift waiting for someone to call.

Model #2: Outsource Infrastructure Management, Insource Tier 1 Helpdesk

This option is a great fit for a business that:

  • Have over half of its employees at one location
  • A handful of remote workers or offices that connect into HQ resources
  • Remote work schedule that’s aligned with HQ time zone

In this model, your business outsources all of its IT infrastructure management while keeping first-line technical support in-house.

You may have an IT staff that lacks the time and advanced skills necessary to provide advanced infrastructure support or the resources to plan and manage projects.

Your business may also lack dedicated security resources to protect IT infrastructure and digital assets.

You may have a company culture where employees expect to be able to just walk down the hall to IT rather than calling over the phone.

Outsourced IT infrastructure management is ideal for an organization that needs expert IT skills and experience to manage and secure IT infrastructure.

This removes the burden of infrastructure management from your IT staff, freeing them up to provide first-rate, personalized help desk support to everyone throughout your organization.

Is Co-managed IT Support Right for You?

Co-managed IT support offers flexible solutions that meet your internal IT team where they are. Need a partner to focus on the day-to-day rigors of IT support? Or are you looking for a partner to focus on long-term planning for new technology initiatives and growth while your internal IT team focuses on the day-to-day? Maybe you’re just trying to fill a skills gap to complement your existing IT team. If any of these situations sound like your business, co-managed IT services could be right for you. If you’re a mid-market organization with a need for co-managed support or managed services, reach out to learn more about our solutions today!

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For a growing number of businesses are turning to outsourced IT support as the ideal solution. But, what is exactly does outsourced IT entail?
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Outsourced IT

A Look at Outsourced IT

It’s no secret that small businesses are lean and scrappy. As a result, many do not have an internal IT department—in fact, many startup companies initially don’t have a contracted person to turn for IT problems other than perhaps calling the hardware or software manufacturers.

However, you quickly realize just how important IT functions are to your business and hire a dedicated IT professional. Providing day-to-day support to users, maintaining and securing IT assets, handling telecommunication contracts, vendor/manufacturer relationships, and sourcing software and equipment can quickly overwhelm a one person team. And while trying to balance all that, there is little to no time left to focus on the business’ holistic IT strategy.

As a business, you can add additional personnel or choose outsourced IT support to address your growing IT needs. But a quick search online yields dozens of IT companies in your area, each describing their services with unfamiliar jargon.

So how do you know if a provider has the services you need? First, let’s look at the basic terms you might encounter when searching for an IT service provider.

Breaking Down the Managed Service Provider (MSP) Space

For people who don’t regularly navigate the waters of IT service providers, the language can be confusing.

Furthermore, there is often a lot of overlap in the definitions of distinct terms. For example, take a look at these general terms from Gartner:

Managed Service Provider (MSP) delivers network, application, system, and e-management services across a network to multiple enterprises using a “pay as you go” pricing model. A “pure play” MSP focuses on management services as its core offering.

IT Outsourcing (as a part of an outsourcing definition) is using external service providers to effectively deliver IT-enabled business process, application services, and infrastructure solutions for business outcomes.

Co-managed IT — A managed service that partners with you to provide only the IT services your business requires.

Clearing up the confusion around these common terms makes it a lot easier to find your way from the ocean of options into the harbor of the right IT solutions provider for you.

Now that you have a clearer understanding of these terms let’s take a look at outsourced IT support.

Outsourced IT Support: A Closer Look

When you outsource your IT support, you trust an MSP to manage your IT support.

The MSP takes over day-to-day IT operations and support and develops an IT roadmap for the future to meet your business and technology objectives.

Outsourced IT support is ideal for SMBs with no formal IT department who need IT systems to operate smoothly and reliably (not all SMBs rely on technology enough to invest in outsourced IT support).

What are the benefits of outsourced IT Support?

Outsourced IT provides multiple benefits to SMBs by managing all IT operations and alleviating the burden of day-to-day support concerns and long-term growth planning.

You gain access to IT professionals with skills and expertise similar to those employed by large corporations at a fraction of the cost.

They are able to jump right in, learn your IT environment, and begin providing the IT support you need.

A Proactive Approach to Help Desk Support

Another benefit of outsourced IT is that it should include a “managed” component.

Managed Services essentially amount to preventative IT maintenance.

What this means for your business is that small IT problems are nipped in the bud as soon as they bubble up, and before they have a chance to compound into much bigger, more costly ones—something that most small businesses cannot do on their own.

Outsourced IT Support Staff Come to Your Office When You Need Them

While remote IT support is often adequate, you may need a more personalized approach.

On-site IT support staff get to know your employees the same as if they worked there.

You can’t beat the quality of service delivered by on-site IT support professionals who know your employees by name.

Cost Becomes a Scalable Expense

Outsourced IT allows an organization the freedom to scale IT service up or down to meet business needs and available budget.

This flexibility makes outsourced IT support a great value for your company while allowing you to customize your service to your needs.


Related Content – 5 Ways Outsourced IT Can Boost Revenue & Productivity


Co-Managed IT Support: An Overview

When you opt for a co-managed solution, the IT provider partners with you to learn what your specific IT needs are.

A strategy is developed that seamlessly integrates the MSP’s IT professionals with your IT team to deliver the service you need holistically and efficiently.

For example, most companies choose to delegate first-level help desk to a managed service provider, freeing up internal IT resources for strategic tasks and initiatives.

Benefits of Co-managed IT Support

Co-managed IT has all of the benefits of outsourced IT support, plus added flexibility that allows your organization to divide up IT responsibilities.

With a co-managed IT partnership, you gain the value of IT services that is tailored to your specific needs and works in cooperation with your internal IT staff.

What’s Best for Your Organization—Outsourced IT Support or Co-managed?

At this point, you have a much clearer picture of the options available to you. But which one is best for your organization—outsourced or co-managed IT support?

How to Decide Which Option Is Best for You

To decide which solution is the right fit for your business, consider the size and scope of your IT needs. Typically, if you have 50 or fewer IT users in your organization, a fully outsourced IT solution may be best for you. Your managed service provider will cover both day-to-day IT support tasks as well as help design an IT roadmap to guide you through future growth and initiatives.

But what if you have more than 50 employees and at least one IT person?

Co-managing is almost always the right fit for businesses with 50 or more employees—especially if there’s at least one IT person. The co-managing partnership gives you the best of both worlds: delegate routine system monitoring, maintenance, and help desk while in-house IT focuses on strategic initiatives such as future upgrades/planning, new locations, and executive needs.

IT Solutions Tailored to Your Needs

Sometimes, small to mid-sized companies need specialized IT support but don’t want to outsource all of IT. When you need a custom IT support solution, talk with us. Whether a fully outsourced IT support model or a co-managed model aligns best with your needs, Coretelligent has the solution. So how can we help you?

 

Year-End IT Planning

Year-End IT PlanningAs we move into the last quarter of the year, it’s time for the annual review and realignment of your IT planning and strategy. Of course, you have actively been implementing your IT roadmap throughout the year, but a year-end IT planning and review is an opportunity to evaluate its effectiveness and update it for the upcoming year. Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan for the end of the year.

Year-End IT Planning and the IT Road Map

An IT roadmap is a strategic plan that outlines how your business will use technology to achieve its goals. A well-planned roadmap can help your business scale, improve ROI, reduce risk, and increase productivity.

Utilizing an IT roadmap ensures that your IT investments drive value and growth. In addition, a comprehensive plan can help identify areas of your organization’s IT infrastructure that need improvement and prioritize addressing them.

As with any plan, a strategic IT roadmap is only effective if you use it. A high-level annual review offers an opportunity to evaluate successful goal completion, realign with business goals, re-examine key initiatives, acknowledge and implement a plan for gaps, and provide valuable data for setting future KPIs.

What Should a Year-End Review Encompass?

As with other company activities, the year-end technology review reflects what you put into it. So don’t regard it as a meaningless exercise; instead, see it as an opportunity to get valuable information about your company. While results vary from firm to firm, there are certain aspects that all year-end reviews have in common.

1. Review the Current Technology Roadmap

Appraise the initiatives, tactics, and timelines of the current IT strategic plan to evaluate successful completion and future updates.

Reassess the technology of the organization, including:

  • Cybersecurity practices and policies
  • Technology infrastructure
  • Cloud storage and applications
  • Processes and data governance
  • Due diligence, compliance requirements, and risk management

2. Review Business Goals

The review process should also start with refreshing yourself with your company’s mission, vision, and values. Then, this is an opportunity to assess business functions and realign with these foundational pillars.

Of course, a review would not be complete without the inclusion of the business goals for the year you are looking back over. These business objectives can help you formulate a list of questions that can be answered through your review.

Review current business objectives, initiatives, and IT needs across the organization to determine IT initiatives. SWOT analysis can help identify gaps in IT needs across the organization. Key elements to include in the plan include proactive cybersecurity, compliance requirements, business drivers, expected growth, risk management, and identifying opportunities.

3. Assess Key Performance Indicators and Results

Determining success by reviewing metrics is key to establishing the effectiveness of any plan, and an IT roadmap is no exception. Beyond assessing whether goals were completed, there’s also plenty of insight to be gleaned from evaluating the objectives you did not reach. Undergoing this exercise is where the work of developing next year’s IT roadmap through identifying gaps and deficiencies, goals out of alignment, and new technology needs begins.

4. Putting IT All Together for Next Year

The outcome of this exercise is to use these findings from this strategic year-end IT planning process to set initiatives and develop strategic goals for your organization for the upcoming year.

Additionally, business leaders should look externally and evaluate business drivers and market forces, apply competitive research, and assess technology disruptors when determining upcoming IT priorities and business goals to include in next year’s plan.


Download our e-book Paving the Road to Success with Strategic IT Planning to learn more about how developing and implementing an IT roadmap can steer your firm towards success.


Chris Messer, Chief Technology Officer at Coretelligent, HeadshotAbout Chris

As Chief Technology Officer at Coretelligent, Chris Messer is a transformational and strategic IT leader who establishes and leads Coretelligent’s technical vision and technological development. Click here to learn more about Chris.

Life Sciences Industry Innovation is Where Business & Technology Intersect

Life Sciences Industry Innovation is Where Business & Technology IntersectThe life sciences industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth. Not only does the sector produce life-saving and life-enhancing treatments, but it is fueling investment across the globe. For example, 78 startups went public in 2020 in the biotech sphere, representing a 77% increase from the previous year. Additionally, the first half of 2021 saw already seen 62 biopharma companies progress to IPO status. With the increased demand for innovative drugs, medical devices, and other therapies in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine development, various trends within the industry (like changes to clinical trials), and increased levels of investment, 2022 is shaping up to be a big year for the sector.

Innovation is the driver of the current expansion within the life sciences market. However, the key to maximizing this ROI, or Return on Innovation, requires that business and technology synchronize. This imperative calls for a carefully planned IT roadmap that enables companies to achieve a competitive advantage and improve business outcomes throughout the development, startup, growth, and expansion stages.

To help executives better understand the timeline, Coretelligent has developed a chart outlining the technology and business needs of the life sciences ecosystem throughout their life cycle. Download our datasheet Innovation is Where Business & Technology Intersect outlining how to plan your company’s IT strategy as you move through funding phases.


To dive deeper, download our data sheet → Innovation is Where Business & Technology Intersect.


In an earlier post, we shared some of the IT challenges faced by early-stage life sciences organizations. With this post, let’s take a deeper look at later-stage companies and what their IT strategy should be focused on as they scale.

What are the main IT priorities of life science firms as they move into their growth and expansion stages?

 

→ Employ technology for data management

As biotech, biopharma, and other life science enterprises grow, managing data increases in scale and complexity. As a result, cloud-based solutions and SaaS applications must align to ensure that enterprise data is available, usable, consistent, reliable, and secure. Employing the right technology solutions, including cloud-based services, backup and recovery, and others that store, manage, and protect data are critical at this stage.

→ Leverage technology to drive innovation

Not only has innovation come to the life sciences space, but it’s also bringing emerging technological trends with it. Advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RBA), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud/Big Data, and other developing technologies are evolving as disrupters to the sector. Successful life science companies will envision how to capitalize on these tools.

→ Optimize technology to grow operations

Even as innovative technology trends shift the landscape, IT becomes more integral to the core business operations as companies scale. While some may be using a managed IT model, most companies likely employ co-managed solutions during the later stages. A co-managed service provider empowers internal IT staff to drive technology delivery at scale and focus on strategic priorities. A technology partner can lighten the load by fulfilling tech support, plug critical skill gaps, and complement in-house capabilities with specialized technology services.

→ Utilize technology to ensure security and compliance

As a life science firm grows, compliance requirements increase in size and scope. At the same time, these companies have become more attractive targets for cybercriminals. As a result, life science firms must prioritize implementing robust cybersecurity tools and compliance processes to keep pace with evolving regulations while protecting sensitive data from bad actors.


Related Content → GxP and FDA 21 CFR Part 11 Compliance with Egnyte for Life Sciences.


Developing IT Growth Strategy for the Life Sciences Industry

The life sciences industry is booming, and the future looks even brighter. But the key to success involves more than just innovation—effective growth also depends on how well your life sciences company can leverage IT capabilities throughout your life cycle. In building out an effective IT strategy for startups, begin by understanding where your organization stands today, followed by preparing for those IT areas that will require digital transformation. Furthermore, leveraging new technologies like AI, RPA, ML, and Big Data, can help accelerate your progress and open up new opportunities in the journey towards achieving your goals.

To sum up, you need to understand what’s possible before embarking on any journey. By taking stock of current practices, planning ahead, prioritizing initiatives based on pain points, incorporating new technologies, and teaming up with a technology partner, you’ll be well-positioned to meet future growth. Coretelligent is an industry leader with extensive experience in the life sciences sector. To learn more about how Coretelligent can help your company successfully scale so that growth doesn’t stifle innovation, talk to one of our technology experts today.

Proactive cybersecurity support

Proactive cybersecurity solutionsImproving the operation of your business often starts with consolidation: creating a more cohesive structure that eliminates redundancy and slashes inefficiencies throughout the organization. Business leaders have been focused in this direction for generations, often looking for the smallest advantages that will allow them to outpace the competition. With the renewed focus on cybersecurity, it’s not unusual for businesses to focus more on protecting the security of their organization than attempting to improve operational excellence. What you may not realize is that some of the same initiatives that will help smooth operational hurdles can also provide added levels of cybersecurity. What can be difficult is finding the spaces where you can bring these goals into alignment and create a comprehensive strategy that addresses the holistic needs of the organization and provide proactive cybersecurity support.

Shifting Cybersecurity From a Defensive Strategy

As hackers continue to expand their reach throughout the business community, technology leaders often double-down on the defensive postures that can help guard against the immediate threats of ransomware, phishing emails and direct data breaches. While these are important steps, it’s also important that you create a more active role for cybersecurity within the organization. Consider the cybersecurity and data security compliance requirements as enablers of innovation that will help the business move forward, instead of restrictive policies that are being forced upon the organization. This mental shift offers a broader scope that can become a platform for evolutionary change within the business.

Proactive Cybersecurity Support as a Competitive Advantage

The same work that you’re doing to build your cybersecurity posture and disaster recovery strategies provides your business with an opportunity to review business processes that have been part of institutional knowledge for years and challenge the status quo. Businesses often find that there are high-level items that can quickly be resolved, as well as finding deeper growth options that will reduce work blockages and help you maintain a greater velocity for your business. Business leaders may find that situations that have been causing inefficiencies can be overcome if the changes are in alignment with best practices for cybersecurity and business continuity. In this way, focusing on cybersecurity actually becomes a competitive advantage for your business, tightening operations and removing inconsistencies. While it is easy to see how these strategies could enhance the operations of the organization, getting started or even scoping the breadth of the necessary changes can be overwhelming. This is one of the reasons that businesses are shifting to a co-managed IT services model that allows internal teams to focus on the future while the day-to-day operations and Help Desk support are managed through a network of trusted providers.

Protect your business from operational slowdowns when you explore the Co-Managed IT Services from Coretelligent. This approach allows us to empower your internal technology teams to drive innovation at scale while relying on Coretelligent to provide the best-in-class cybersecurity and infrastructure solutions that your business needs. Our team has expertise providing trusted technical support, in-depth strategies, planning and more to a range of businesses from life sciences and financial services to manufacturers.

White Glove IT Support

The term White Glove support gets thrown around in the managed service space, but what does it really mean? For Coretelligent, White Glove IT support is a foundational philosophy, a badge of honor, what drives us, and is one of the attributes that makes us stand out in the market space.

White Glove IT SupportCoretelligent delivers White Glove service centered around the specific needs of clients. We understand that a one-size-fits-all IT model does not fit most businesses. So instead, we collaborate with our clients to offer customized IT solutions and an exceptional level of support to help our clients meet their business objectives.

While other MSPs may claim to offer White Glove service, the difference is entirely in the details.

What Does White Glove Mean to Coretelligent?


Around-the-clock Support and Access to Experts

Our U.S.-based service desks are staffed 24x7x365 by our own engineers. We do not use an answering or dispatch service, so there are no gatekeepers or time delays in resolving any issues you may experience.

An Extension of Your Team

We organize our service desk into “Service Pods” which means that clients interact with the same core group of engineers familiar with their environment and people. We aim to build strong relationships for a successful long-term partnership and provide your firm with a deep bench of technical experts.

Communication and Partnership

With our service delivery model, each client is assigned a Customer Success Manager (CSM) responsible for managing the business relationship. Your CSM is focused on optimizing our service delivery and ensuring the satisfaction of your workforce. They are your primary contact for any account concerns or questions.

Proactive Strategic Vision

Other managed service providers (MSP) operate using a reactive model—meaning you interact with them when something breaks. The Coretelligent approach is more thoughtful and preemptive. We offer strategic guidance and proactive ownership of your IT operations. We meet with our clients to help them develop and navigate an IT roadmap designed to ensure the best technology solutions are in place for achieving business goals.

IT SupportIndustry-specific Knowledge

Our deep expertise in key industries leads to managed IT services that meet your critical business needs today while positioning your organization for future opportunities.

Having an industry-knowledgeable partner is critical for companies in highly regulated sectors. For example, Coretelligent is SOC2® certified, which is crucial for verifying proper security controls for certain industries like life sciences and financial services. Additionally, our SOC2® certification represents our commitment to offering top-notch security and IT best practices to our clients.

The VIP Experience

We offer concierge-like support for clients and users looking for that extra level of detailed support, including interacting with VIP users. As part of the onboarding process, we work with clients to understand the expectations of VIP users, how they like to receive support, and their communication preferences.

Full IT Lifecycle

Coretelligent offers a full suite of solutions and has extensive experience supporting growing companies. Not all MSPs can scale, but we can. Choosing a full IT lifecycle partner guarantees continuity as your business expands or shifts in response to the marketplace. Coretelligent is prepared to provide everything from 24x7x365 technical support and cloud computing services to strategic road mapping and comprehensive compliance and cybersecurity solutions.

Holistic and Flexible

Our philosophy is to provide the service offerings that our clients need. We don’t attempt to fit you into our box but rather design the level of service you require around your vision. Whether you require fully outsourced IT or a co-managed solution, we will work with you to meet your needs. Additionally, whether you work in an AWS or Azure environment, we will meet you where you are and not push changes that suit only us.

The opportunities are endless with Coretelligent’s white-glove approach to designing, implementing, protecting, and supporting your IT operations. Our world-class experts, specialized know-how, and the industry’s best customer service will help drive your company’s innovation, performance, profit, and growth. Reach out to learn more about Coretelligent and how our solutions can work for you.