If there is one thing the Information Technology (IT) field loves – it’s acronyms and initialisms. It can be hard for organizations like ours to remember all the acronyms. We can only imagine the nightmare it must be for non-IT professionals to keep track of all the terms, compliance standards, laws, and requirements expected of their organization’s IT department.
With this post, we are hoping to clear up some of the confusion around the IT world. As a managed services provider (MSP), our organization is focused on enabling an organization’s IT division to provide true value to their firm. It is imperative that IT firms like ours ensure that clients can “talk the talk”, getting the necessary exposure to industry terms.
This post will cover some of the most common questions we received, terms we run into, and other vital information that our clients have shown interest in.
What is a Managed IT Services Provider (MSP)?
An MSP, or managed services provider, is a firm dedicated to assisting clients with their IT needs. MSPs perform a wide range of services including cloud migration, held-desk support, SaaS management, IT governance and strategy, or even complete IT services.
The growth in the MSP market is primarily due to the overwhelming need for experienced IT professionals and the inherent limitation with hiring IT professionals. By managing a wide range of clients, MSPs generally get exposure to a wide range of issues and have the resources prepared to deal with most issues.
What does the phrase “Co-Managed IT Services” mean?
Co-managed IT services are a form of outsourced IT in which the service provider works alongside an existing IT team to augment their capabilities. This type of IT support can be for specific project work or for ongoing helpdesk services.
A popular choice for mid-sized enterprises is to include a contract for co-managed IT with a local or specialized MSP in order to get the appropriate consultation and support for affordable pricing.
What is the main reason an organization would outsource their IT?
Money, effort, and effectiveness are all reasons an organization would outsource all or portions of their IT. When properly executed, outsourced IT can provide the most effective use of budget for IT needs. It also is a lower administrative effort since there is no need to hire personnel.
On top of all this, MSPs have dozens to hundreds of clients and know what to expect when it comes to IT challenges.
Is there a list of the most common acronyms in IT and Cybersecurity?
There are far too many acronyms to list here, but we will take a shot at the most common in the industry.
MSP/MSSP – Managed Services Provider/Managed Security Services Provider. Essentially outsourced IT or Cybersecurity.
vCIO and vCISO – Virtual Chief Information Technology Officer and Virtual Chief Information Security Officer. Outsourced consulting roles which drive IT and cybersecurity strategy and governance.
O365/M365 – Office 365 and Microsoft 365. Microsoft’s platform for cloud storage, remote teamwork solutions, security features, web and mobile versions of Office, and cloud-hosted email.
DRBC – Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity. An organization’s plan should a total IT disaster occur.
IR – Incident Response. The formal process for investigating a cybercrime incident.
BYOD – Bring your own device. A system in which an organization allows privately-owned devices to function on the corporate network.
CSP – Cloud Services Provider – An outsourced cloud hosting provider.
MDR – Managed Detection and Response. A security service where a team prevents, detects, and responds to cyber threats.
What are the biggest trends in outsourced IT?
Migration to cloud services and enhancing security efforts are the two biggest trends we have observed since the pandemic. Cloud services and Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Microsoft 365 provide an organization with a pre-established framework to succeed, especially when supported by an experienced MSP.
Cyber liability insurance has driven a sharp rise in requirements for clients to maintain coverage. These new standards have forced organizations of all sized to adapt to a changing threat landscape and increase security across the board.
What are the top five tips to stay safe?
- Account Security - Multi-Factor Authentication and Single-Sign-On (MFA + SSO)
- MFA and SSO are the new standards of account security. All users flow through a seamless login experience and have tokens to validate their identity.
- Centrally Monitored, Managed Devices with Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)
- An RMM provides the capability remotely monitor and patch devices, ensuring your assets are protected and managed.
- Compliance-oriented Virtual Private Network (VPN)
- Secure VPNs into the network provide a protected tunnel for remote workers to access the environment.
- Controlling User Activity with Application Whitelisting and Content Control
- Content Control, DNS Security, and Application Whitelisting all serve to limit what users can do on workstations and servers.
- Managed Detection and Response Services (MDR)
- MDR services are the evolution of protecting devices. By prevention, detection, and response these teams serve as the first and last line of defense.