When infrequent power outages occur, the usual response is to check the street lights, contact your neighbor, or make a visual inspection of the power line on the street. Unless the outage originates inside your home or office, the next call is to the electric utility that owns the problem.
Ownership of network or internet connections is not as clear cut but equally critical in today’s connected world. So, who do you call? Increasingly, Managed Service Providers (MSP) like Digital BackOffice are answering the call and taking ownership of the local and wide area networks as well as securing the perimeter internet connection and the endpoints. For K-12 schools MSP’s also offer multiple avenues for leveraging Universal Service Funding, also known as E-Rate, and ensuring regulatory compliance.
Trouble-shooting data network or internet related problems is similar to an electric outage. Is the failure or problem limited to your device or to a specific application? Does the outage affect parts of your home or office or the entire company or school district? An entire state or region? Unlike electrical grid failures, ownership of data network problems or outages is not as obvious. Internal IT departments, internet service providers, application providers, vendor help desks, and in Connecticut schools, the CEN, may all be engaged to identify network problems and restore service.
Electricity is generated and delivered by a complex infrastructure but locating an electrical outlet is the only technical challenge for most of us and electricity, unlike data networks, is generally on or off.
Internal data network infrastructure and the Internet connect our schools, businesses and society but those same connections are also two way conduits to the world for misbehavior, larceny, fraud and terrorism. Prevention is the key to cybersecurity and effective prevention requires experience, training, and a 24/7 presence prepared to take ownership of a problem!
Data network infrastructure is baffling to most of us, but we know when it doesn’t work! Loss of access to the internet, email, shared drives, social media, or business applications stops everything! Who owns the problem when the network is slow or compromised? Who is expected to know if the data network has been compromised and what should they do about it?
If you’re fortunate enough to have a crack IT department or a responsive IT provider, outages should be infrequent and brief. Knowing who owns the problem and establishing service levels is critical to business continuity, education and government auditors. Management should expect infrequent service interruptions, because IT infrastructure is dynamic, complex, susceptible to power outages, and human error. Managed Service Providers offer a single point of contact, a single throat to choke, and increasingly expertise in securing the network perimeter and the endpoints from cyber-attacks, hacking and ransomware.
Dale Bruckhart, V.P. Public Sector Marketing, Digital BackOffice
203-874-5545 Ext. 118
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