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Internetwork Engineering

Want to learn more about network consulting and all things Information Technology? Follow our blog for up-to-date insights and information.

Blog Feature

Network Access Control | Cybersecurity

By: Jason Smith
November 16th, 2021

If you’re concerned about Zero Trust Architecture adoption, you’re not alone. It’s slowly becoming a necessity as cyber threats advance, and more companies do their business online. Zero Trust isn't a new concept. The term “Zero Trust” was initially published as part of a Forrester Research paper, “No More Chewy Centers: Introducing the Zero Trust Model of Information Security” in 2010. [1] 

Blog Feature

Managed IT Services

By: Tim VanBlon
November 2nd, 2021

Let’s face it, everyone needs a little support at some point. COVID-19 opened the door to problems many businesses never thought they’d have to face, or at the very least prepare for. One major revelation was the demand for tech professionals with experience often outside the company’s wheelhouse. As the need for additional skill sets and manpower grew, companies were searching for Managed IT Service Providers (MSPs) to supplement their internal IT teams. Not all MSPs are created equal, however, and finding an MSP who offers the level of support and skillset you need can either make or break your business and security goals.   So, if you’re asking, “What should I look for in an MSP?” Fret not, we’ve broken it down for you.   Find an MSP who Gives you Service Options  Depending on the extent of work you need, finding an MSP who offers you different levels of service is an important requirement. Maybe you just need 24x7 help desk support. Or perhaps you need something more extensive like onshore support, or someone that can physically address issues within your business (a server goes down, etc.). A good blend of options would cover reactive IT Support, and proactive support (think strategy and planning).   Do You Need Reactive Support?  Reactive support is an option that might look like 8X5 access to engineers. You can still submit support requests 24X7 and expect a response time based on request priority.  If you think you need this option, make sure you find an MSP that has a robust selection of specialties and skill sets to choose from. These engineers should be able to deliver specialized IT services at levels beyond what can commonly be accomplished with individual onsite resources.  Pro-tip! If you need specialized backup from time to time, this option may be a better fit for you.   Do You Need Proactive Support and Strategizing?  IT services that follow a proactive model would ideally pair monitoring and management systems with customized alert delivery and dashboards. Flexible entry options that are tailored to suit the needs of your environment would be ideal. This approach would allow you to stay focused on your core business while your MSP handles your IT complexities. Again, not all MSPs provide this, so consider if it is a deal breaker and do your research!  A proactive and strategy-based service level from an MSP would ideally include:  Access to engineering specialists with varying skillsets that can deliver specialized IT services at levels beyond what can commonly be accomplished with individual onsite resources.   Proven processes and procedures to stabilize the environment and increase customer satisfaction. You should never have to spend precious time figuring out how an MSP got something done. Is consistency their specialty.  100% onshore support with a strong, local presence and international support if you require it.  Focus on strengthening the alignment between IT and business  Reduced costs through improved use of resources  Greater visibility of IT costs and assets  Better management of business risks and service disruptions  Mature automation capabilities  Now that you understand different service levels, the next preference you must consider is how you want your IT operations managed? Will you hand off the reins, co-manage, or maintain full management?  IT Management Style Options  Many IT departments still maintain their own environments using staff and systems under a direct ownership model. While this approach works for many departments, it is not the only option you have when looking for an MSP.   Flexible support tiers are a great thing to look for in your MSP as they better align with your unique requirements.   Fully Managed Service Model  Fully managed IT solutions often take over complete ownership of network equipment, allowing businesses to achieve a single monthly cost that is consistent and predictable. This can, however, limit customer access to their own devices. It is important to understand access limitations when entering a managed versus a co-managed agreement.  The co-managed option would give your IT staff the ability to escalate requests outside of their skill level to a team of qualified specialists who can assume ownership and steering the engagement from diagnostics, through root cause analysis, to resolution.  Co-managed Service Model  Using this model, the MSP would become an extension of your IT staff. End users may submit requests to the IT Support Desk. Once the submission is in queue, the IT support desk can then escalate requests that require specialized skillsets to the MSP. This approach uses a shared model where the customer, IT staff, and the MSP share responsibilities based on available resources.  MSP engineers supplement existing IT management teams and can provide a valuable resource for your team. With this service model, you can reduce your efforts by having the ability to escalate or hand off incidents and requests that exceed the available cycles or skills of the in-house IT team members.   Customer Managed Service Model  This approach is often used by companies who require ITSM tools, but not skilled engineers. The MSP deploys monitoring systems and routes alerts to the customer IT staff, who respond and directly diagnose themselves. The MSP may call for urgent alerts to ensure the customer staff is engaged in impacting outages.  This is useful for customers that aren’t seeking to make initial capital investments in monitoring tools, along with labor and efforts to keep up with those tools. Organizations can also benefit from the MSP’s mature processes without having to pay for engineering support.  As you can see, there are benefits to all service model options. Keep an ear to the ground for this flexibility as you continue your search for an MSP.  Why You Should Consider IE’s OnDemand Solutions  In a post COVID ecosphere, where many employees reside in remote and home locations, IT teams can benefit from MSPs like IE who bring experience with remote workforce management. For your reference, we’ve highlighted some of the core OnDemand benefits that our customers have experienced.   High OnDemand SLA Achievement Rates  IE’s managed solutions maintain premium service levels with regards to SLA and customer satisfaction. OnDemand SLA achievement rates consistently fall within the 97-99% range.  CSAT levels average a positive feedback response averaging 96% across help desk, network, voice, and cloud teams within the OnDemand umbrella.  Global Capabilities  Since 1996 IE has deployed and maintained solutions across 6 continents. OnDemand services include a global network of resources across multiple regions offering multi-lingual capabilities. Services are available from the US, to China, Australia, South Africa, South America, to Europe.  Vast Tech Vendor Network  Most networks today contain components from dozens, if not hundreds, of vendors. OnDemand has resources with skill sets for many major hardware and software vendors. Even lesser-known providers can be supported by IE’s coordinated vendor support model. Below are some of the major vendors common across IE supported environments.

Blog Feature

Company News

By: Chuck Steiner
October 8th, 2021

It’s hard to believe that Internetwork Engineering (IE) is celebrating 25 years of being in business this month. I've been fortunate enough to be part of the IE family for most of those years having been the first employee that our founder, Greg Rivers, hired back in early 1998. 25 years seems like yesterday and forever when you view it through the lens of a rapidly changing information technology industry.

Blog Feature

Data Protection | Cybersecurity

By: Desirée M. Ericksen, CISSP
September 2nd, 2021

Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of a former client, I have changed key details of this story, however the main sentiment and methods remain the same.    A few years ago, I orchestrated a jewel heist.   Yes, you read that correctly. While claiming a mysterious former life of crime is always intriguing, the truth is it was all in the name of compliance and I had explicit (albeit less interesting) permission from the jeweler's CEO. Don’t get me wrong, I was no Box Man in this scenario. I didn’t need to be, especially since I’d been privy to the common security inconsistencies of the jeweler in question.  My job was to create, deploy, and enforce security procedures. When I’d noticed that the employees had not been following these procedures as strictly as I’d recommended...I had to try a different tactic.  I made my point the day I smuggled $20,000 in inventory from the main vault. The loss was enough to constitute a termination, and somehow this made them keener to heed my security warnings. They’d made a major procedural mistake by leaving the keys and safe combo in the same location. They’d served me the keys to the kingdom on a silver platter.   It was the easiest $20,000 I’d ever made and my oh my did they learn their lesson!  For the record, I returned the assets, but taking them had been too easy and it troubled me.   In my experience as a compliance expert, I’ve seen lax attitudes and confusion surrounding information security programs. More specifically: the policies, standards, procedures, and guidelines that make up the program. While these components are often (wrongly) used interchangeably, there are very distinct differences between them, and each one should be taken seriously to maintain security protocols and protect your organization. Clearly defining the roles of each of these components and enforcing them within your workplace are essential for upholding a strong security posture.  Before we dive into differentiating these four components, we need to first understand what an information security program is and why it is critical for your overall business operations.  

Blog Feature

Company News | Awards

By: Internetwork Engineering
August 19th, 2021

CRN® Recognizes the Top IT Channel Providers for Exceptional Performance and Growth