New Zealand small business has an enduring love for Pay-As-You-Go IT support. When it breaks, I call you. Easy. The costs are low, and you feel like you have some control. If I don't have a need for you, or I can work it out myself, then there are no costs to me. But pay-as-you-go support is bad for business, so we are moving away from it.
How We Got Here
In the last 20 years, technology has changed exponentially. In the year 2000, we were mostly concerned with Y2K. Would our computers make it through the change of the century. Companies feverishly bought Y2K compatible machines to ensure their business wouldn't suffer any ill-effects from the year-2000-bug. Nokia released one of their first mobile phones. Windows 2000 was released (but we were all still on Windows 95 & Windows NT). Networks as we know them were in their infancy. The Internet was just coming into its own. Most companies didn't yet have a website. Computer viruses were just starting to take off. IT service companies were starting to come into their own. If you ran an organisation of just about any size, you better be able to pick up the phone and get an IT guy to come and fix your broken PC when you need them. Your PC breaks, the IT guy fixes it. Simple.
And it was simple. It was a system that made sense for all involved. Once a fix was applied, or an upgrade was installed, there was very little need for the IT guy in between times, unless you were a large organisation that had these queries all the time, where it made sense to hire someone onto your staff to take care of these things full time.
Technology Has Moved On
Security Has Moved On
Or rather, those with malicious intent have become increasingly sophisticated. They are constantly on the lookout for networks that have security flaws, trying to find an easy source of income. We make their job easy, by not paying attention to the maintenance of our network. Maintaining your network is also no longer a straightforward task.
In the past, basic maintenance of a network meant making sure servers were patched, and the antivirus was checked. Now that devices, software and cloud services are so interconnected, maintenance now looks like patching, upgrading, remediation, skill building, research, documentation, monitoring and auditing. All of these tasks are vital, and if one is not completed, then security flaws start to appear in a network.
Security and Maintenance are now the same thing. One does not happen without the other.
Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance
You Need to Move with the Technology too
In a Pay-As-You-Go support arrangement, the maintenance of a network is left up to you. If you are in this arrangement, and you are not performing the maintenance tasks yourself, then your network is not secure. In this case, you have either already been attacked, or will be in the future. Its a case of when, not if. If you are in this arrangement you are a the highest level of security risk you can be. Change this now. Don't wait.
In a partial Pay-As-You-Go arrangement which includes server maintenance, you are in a better position, but its still not great. Your network is more than just your server, and if you are not maintaining your other devices, then you are still very, very, vulnerable.
In a network with a Fully-Covered server, with everything else on pay-as-you-go, then your situation is also better, but you are still vulnerable, as you have closed one door, but left many others open.
It can not be expressed more strongly, if digital security is something vaguely important, (and it should be your top business priority) network maintenance is your only option.
Don't Get Caught
Don't get caught with old technology, and old ideas about what the technology can do for your business. Technology is considered an asset in most organisations. It provides us with a wonderful array of functions, that most of us would not do without anymore. Don't allow your technology to be a detriment to your business. Get your network maintained and get it secured.
What Is The Answer?
Our solution to this problem is Universal Support. Monitoring, Maintenance, Security & Support are all rolled into one service.
It is rolled into a single service, because separating the services is no longer a good choice.
It is rolled into a single service because separating the services is no longer possible, as each service crosses paths with other services.
It is rolled into a single service so knowledge about the network and how it serves the organisation can be built up over time.
It is rolled into a single service so skills specific to the network can be built up over time.
It is rolled into a single service because everything works better when a network is approached as a single entity.