Contrasting IT Services and Managed IT Services: A Comprehensive Guide

Contrasting IT Services and Managed IT Services


In this era of rapid technological advancement, the triumph of enterprises largely hinges on their adoption and optimization of modern IT solutions. These IT solutions, regardless of the scale of the business, provide significant advantages in their operations. This article comprehensively explores “What is the difference between IT services and managed IT services?”, a question that is increasingly becoming pivotal in the world of business technology.

The Significance of IT Solutions

IT solutions have become a critical success factor for corporations, as supported by a study conducted by Deloitte on small-scale business owners. These innovative solutions become crucial for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which often lack the financial strength and the necessary proficiency to stay abreast with technological progress. The high costs associated with the acquisition and maintenance of new technologies can be restrictive for these enterprises.

SMEs commonly lack the essential expertise and experience to purchase, maintain, and operate new technologies. Therefore, to thrive in this technology-driven landscape, they need to consider IT sourcing. IT sourcing, according to Gurung and Edmund, involves obtaining IT-enabled business processes, infrastructure solutions, and application services from external service providers. This strategy has become popular due to the multitude of benefits it offers enterprises, including reduced costs, minimized labor expenses, increased business availability, and an improved focus on core activities.

Managed IT Services: An Overview

Managed IT services, as described in “Innovating Managed Services Business Models,” involves relying on third parties to assist a business in its daily activities. This strategy ensures that the needed IT solutions are effectively operational. The typical characteristics of managed services include day-to-day maintenance, routine troubleshooting, regular data backups, administration, and IT security provision.

Managed services encompass a wide range of IT services and solutions. Therefore, it is up to businesses to decide the specific type of managed service they need to outsource. Examples of managed services include 24/7 IT support, Desktop as a Service (DaaS), and managed security. Each of these services plays a crucial role in today’s businesses. For instance, 24/7 IT support ensures that customers and employees can report issues at any time and receive an immediate response. DaaS has gained significance due to the rising trend of remote work, offering a fully-featured desktop that users can access from any location. On the other hand, managed security ensures that an organization’s IT infrastructure is adequately safeguarded against cyber-threats.

Professional IT Services: A Closer Look

Professional IT services, as explained by Work Sighted, aid organizations in overcoming specific challenges through dedicated projects such as migrating to the cloud or deploying new technology. Unlike managed services, professional IT services usually entail a one-time project. However, they are highly comprehensive and can take different phases, such as planning, strategy, design, system implementation, user training, and future technical support and maintenance.

Professional services necessitate businesses to first identify their specific IT requirements before outsourcing the services. They also ensure that the IT solution aligns with the goals and objectives of the firm. The service providers fulfill the goals and objectives by conducting a detailed assessment of the company to identify all IT opportunities and risks.

Managed vs. Professional IT Services: Making the Choice

Both managed and professional IT services play a crucial role in today’s businesses. Managed IT services involve round-the-clock running and maintenance of IT solutions, while professional IT services entail a one-time project. The selection between the two vastly depends on the specific requirements and needs of the business. When considering managed IT services, businesses need to scrutinize the type of data they are willing to share with third parties, as suggested by Wang in “Enabling Cyber Security Data Sharing for Large-Scale Enterprises Using Managed Security Services”. This scrutiny ensures that the organizations avoid unnecessary exposure to third parties and the potential disclosure of their trade secrets.


In conclusion, understanding “What is the difference between IT services and managed IT services?” is fundamental for businesses looking to optimize their operations in the current technological landscape. Both managed and professional IT services offer unique advantages, and the choice between the two depends largely on the specific needs and resources of a business. It is advisable for businesses to thoroughly analyze their IT needs, consider the level of data they are willing to share, and seek professional advice to make the most informed decision.

A Comprehensive Guide to IT Risk Management Strategies for Businesses

A Comprehensive Guide to IT Risk Management Strategies for Businesses

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, IT risk management has taken center stage in the operational strategies of businesses across the globe. From safeguarding against cyber threats to maintaining business continuity during unforeseen events, these risk management strategies are vital for the survival and growth of organizations. This comprehensive guide delves into the key strategies in IT risk management for businesses, offering a detailed roadmap to safeguard your organization’s digital assets.

Understanding IT Risk Management Strategy

An IT risk management strategy is a systematic plan designed to prevent, identify, and handle potential risks associated with information technology. A sound IT risk management strategy is not a linear path but an ongoing cycle that involves constant identification, evaluation, response, and monitoring of risks. This continual adjustment and improvement of the strategy is crucial to adapt to the dynamic nature of IT risks.

Identifying IT Risks

The first step in managing IT risks involves discovering potential vulnerabilities that can compromise your organization’s data and systems. This could be anything from potential security breaches to software malfunctions. A proactive approach towards risk identification helps in reducing the impact of these vulnerabilities. Organizations should regularly conduct internal and external risk assessments to uncover hidden risk factors. This information should be meticulously documented and updated in a risk register for future reference.

Evaluating IT Risks

Once you’ve identified potential risks, it’s important to evaluate their potential impact and probability of occurrence. This assessment helps in prioritizing risks based on their potential damage to the organization. An annual review of your risk assessments is recommended, but the frequency may vary depending on the size and complexity of your organization. A systematic risk assessment should be part of your strategy.

Responding to IT Risks

After the evaluation process, the next step is developing an appropriate response to each identified risk. The response could range from avoiding the risk entirely to accepting it depending on its potential impact. Risk mitigation is a common response that involves designing and implementing new control processes to minimize the risk. It’s crucial to involve all stakeholders in the decision-making process for effective risk management.

Monitoring IT Risks

The final part of the risk management cycle involves continuously monitoring and managing risks. This helps in taking prompt action if a risk exceeds the acceptable levels. Regular monitoring of risks helps the organization stay prepared for potential risk events ranging from financial risks to operational risks.

The Significance of an IT Risk Management Strategy

An effective IT risk management strategy has several benefits for an organization. It not only guards your business against potential threats but also identifies opportunities for growth. Efficiently managing IT risks can lead to improvements in various aspects of your business.

1. Operational Efficiency and Business Continuity

IT risks can disrupt your business operations at any time. For instance, a cyber attack could halt your operations or a supplier’s failure could disrupt your supply chain. An IT risk management strategy helps in maintaining business continuity by putting in place necessary safeguards.

2. Safeguarding Organizational Assets

Your organization’s digital assets, such as data and IT infrastructure, are crucial for its functioning. A robust IT risk management strategy helps in protecting these assets from potential threats. For instance, a recent IBM report showed that data breaches cost companies millions of dollars every year. An effective IT risk management strategy can save your organization from such costly incidents.

3. Enhancing Customer Trust and Loyalty

A secure IT environment builds trust among your customers. Your risk management strategy helps in safeguarding your brand and reputation, which in turn enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty. It also assures your customers of your ability to deliver the promised products and services.

4. Realizing Organizational Goals

Successful risk management is key to achieving your organization’s objectives. It helps in identifying and removing non-productive activities, thereby increasing the chances of meeting your business goals.

5. Boosting Profitability

Managing IT risks effectively can have a positive impact on your organization’s bottom line. It saves your organization from costly incidents like data breaches and ensures the smooth functioning of your operations, thereby boosting profitability.

Typical IT Risk Responses

There are typically four ways to respond to IT risks: Avoid, Transfer, Mitigate, and Accept. Each risk may require a different response based on its potential impact and probability of occurrence.

1. Avoiding IT Risks

Avoidance involves eliminating the risk altogether. For instance, if a particular software is known to have security vulnerabilities, your organization could opt not to use it. However, avoidance may not be a sustainable response for all risks and should be revisited periodically.

2. Accepting IT Risks

In certain cases, accepting the risk might be the best response. For example, if a risk has a low likelihood of occurrence or a minimal impact, it could be accepted. However, such risks should be periodically re-evaluated as their impact could change over time.

3. Mitigating IT Risks

Mitigation is a commonly used response that involves reducing the potential impact of the risk. This could involve implementing new control processes or taking corrective action. Mitigation is generally used for risks that have a high potential impact.

4. Transferring IT Risks

In some cases, the risk might be transferred to another party. For instance, certain risks could be covered by an insurance policy, which would compensate the organization in case of a risk event.

The Responsibility of Creating an IT Risk Management Strategy

The responsibility of developing an IT risk management strategy could lie with different individuals or teams based on the size and structure of the organization. It could be an IT manager, a risk analyst, or an external consultant. Factors such as the nature of the risk, available resources, and team capabilities should be considered while deciding the responsibility.

10 Effective IT Risk Management Strategies

There are various IT risk management strategies that your organization can adopt. Here are ten strategies that can help in managing your IT risks effectively.

Strategy 1: Business Experiments

Conducting business experiments can help in understanding the potential outcomes of a risk. These ‘what-if’ scenarios can provide valuable insights into managing risks.

Strategy 2: Theory Validation

Validation strategies involve collecting feedback from users to understand potential risks. This can help in managing design flaws and other challenges.

Strategy 3: Minimum Viable Product Development

Developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with just the essential features can help in minimizing risks. It can also help in launching the product faster and within budget.

Strategy 4: Isolating Identified Risks

Identifying and isolating risks can help in proactively managing them. This can prevent potential incidents like security breaches and save your organization from costly incidents.

Strategy 5: Building in Buffers

Adding buffers to your projects can help in managing risks effectively. These could be financial, time, or resource buffers that help in keeping the project within scope.

Strategy 6: Data Analysis

Data analysis can help in identifying and managing risks. Techniques such as qualitative risk analysis can help in prioritizing risks and developing appropriate responses.

Strategy 7: Risk-Reward Analysis

Conducting a risk-reward analysis can help in understanding the potential benefits and drawbacks of a project. This can provide valuable insights into the cost of lost opportunities.

Strategy 8: Lessons Learned

Documenting and discussing the lessons from previous projects can help in reducing risks in future projects. This can provide valuable insights into improving your risk management strategies.

Strategy 9: Contingency Planning

Having multiple plans based on different scenarios can help in managing unforeseen risks. Contingency planning involves developing alternate solutions for potential risks.

Strategy 10: Leveraging Best Practices

Adopting best practices in risk management can reduce risks effectively. These are tried and tested methods that can save your organization from reinventing the wheel.

Effective IT risk management is crucial for the success of any organization. It helps in identifying and managing risks, thereby saving valuable resources and time. An important part of your risk management strategy should involve using integrated risk management software that increases the effectiveness of your risk management programs.

Frequently Asked Questions About IT Risk Management Strategies:

What are the elements of an IT risk management strategy?

A comprehensive IT risk management strategy involves identifying, evaluating, responding to, and monitoring risks.

Why is an IT risk management strategy important?

An effective IT risk management strategy helps in improving operational efficiency, protecting organizational assets, enhancing customer trust, achieving organizational goals, and boosting profitability.

What are the common responses to IT risks?

The common responses to IT risks are Avoid, Transfer, Mitigate, and Accept.

What are the effective IT risk management strategies?

The ten effective IT risk management strategies are business experiments, theory validation, minimum viable product development, isolating identified risks, building in buffers, data analysis, risk-reward analysis, lessons learned, contingency planning, and leveraging best practices.

Essential Network Security Measures: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Business

Essential Network Security Measures A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Business

‍In an increasingly digital world, businesses of all sizes must prioritize network security. With small businesses being three times more likely to fall victim to cyber threats than larger corporations, it’s clear that a robust network security strategy is not just an option, but a necessity. This comprehensive guide will explore the importance of network security, common threats, and essential measures to protect your business.

Understanding Network Security

Network security serves as your business’s digital armor, shielding your critical operations, applications, and data from potential threats. It comprises a mix of policies, procedures, and technologies designed to enhance network safety and shield your company’s systems, computers, and data from cyberattacks.

Key Elements of Network Security

There are several key elements that form the backbone of an effective network security system:

  • Antivirus Programs: These software applications are designed to detect and neutralize threats like viruses, malware, and ransomware.
  • Firewalls: Firewalls act as a barrier between trusted internal networks and untrusted external networks, monitoring and controlling inbound and outbound network traffic based on predetermined security rules.
  • Encryption: This involves converting data into a code to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Password Protection: The use of strong, unique passwords is a basic but crucial element of network security.
  • Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems: These systems monitor network traffic to identify and prevent potential threats.
  • Email Security: This involves protecting email accounts and content from malicious entities, often through the use of filters and encryption.
  • Data Loss Prevention: These programs ensure that end-users do not send sensitive or critical information outside the corporate network.

The Importance of Network Security

Safeguarding Data

Data is the lifeblood of any business, and protecting it is of paramount importance. Network security measures like firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption tools secure your network system, identify the source of threats, control network traffic, and highlight your network’s vulnerabilities.

Building Customer Trust

In an era of increasing cyber threats, businesses must prioritize the protection of customer information. Implementing measures like encryption tools, two-factor authentication, and regular security audits can go a long way in maintaining consumer trust and loyalty.

Financial Savings

Implementing a robust network security plan can save your business from financial losses associated with data breaches and cyber attacks. It’s an investment that offers significant returns in terms of cost savings and risk reduction.

Controlling Accessibility

Network security software allows you to implement various levels of access to different users, further safeguarding your network. Authentication procedures can determine whether a user has the authorization to access a particular resource.

Common Network Security Threats

Understanding the common threats to network security can help in formulating an effective defense strategy. Some of the most prevalent threats include malware, ransomware, phishing attacks, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, viruses, and internal security threats.

Implementing Network Security Measures

Use of Hacker-Proof Passwords

Creating strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts is a simple and effective security measure. Password managers can generate and store these passwords for you, adding an extra layer of security.

Utilization of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

VPNs can provide an added layer of security, especially with the rise of remote work. They encrypt your data, making it difficult for cybercriminals to access your information.

Adoption of Spam Filters and Antivirus Software

Spam filters and antivirus software can help prevent cyber attacks by blocking malicious traffic and deleting malicious files.

Implementation of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA requires users to provide two or more pieces of evidence to authenticate their identity, enhancing the security of user logins.

Practice of Mobile Device Management (MDM)

MDM refers to the administration of mobile devices in the workplace. It involves managing diverse devices, securing mobile data, and optimizing the functionality and security of mobile devices.

Regular Software Updates

Keeping your software updated is an easy but vital step in maintaining network security. Regularly updating your software ensures you have the latest security patches to protect against new threats.

Employee Training

Regular training sessions can keep your employees informed about the latest cyber threats and best practices to counter them. This could include identifying phishing scams, using work email for work communications only, and understanding how to respond to ransomware attacks and computer viruses.

Regular Backups and Recovery Plans

Regularly backing up your data can save your business in case of a data breach or hardware failure. Having a recovery plan in place can also ensure that your business can quickly bounce back in the event of a disaster.

Final Thoughts

Network security is a complex field that requires constant vigilance and regular updates to keep up with evolving threats. Investing in a robust network security strategy can protect your business from potential cyber threats, saving you money, building customer trust, and safeguarding your business’s reputation.

It’s also worth considering the services of a managed service provider (MSP) to help implement and manage your network security strategy. They can educate your team on the importance of network security, install necessary security programs, test your security measures, and ensure your system is physically secure.

Remember, network security isn’t just about installing the right software. It’s about creating a culture of security within your organization, where everyone understands the risks and their role in protecting the business.

Dynamics 365 Business Central 2022 Wave 2 Release Highlights

In the 2022 Wave 2 release, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central will now make it possible for you to manage operations in more than 100 countries and regions, which has been achieved through partner-led localization. If you’re not already using the solution, you will find it’s simpler to onboard your users with easier access to the right apps to get them started.

And for those already using Business Central, Microsoft is improving the tool tips and the usability by making it easier to navigate menus.

Here’s a quick rundown of new features and improvements:

Enhanced Software Development

Microsoft has moved Business Central entirely to Visual Studio, which will lower the cost of any developers you work with by increasing their productivity. Microsoft is also adding visual abstractions on top of the Visual Studio code. This will enable more efficient management of code objects across projects and workspaces and more efficient responses to requests from productivity partners. Microsoft is also building new constructs for writing more performant code as well as defining a more flexible and more consistent action pane structure in client device software.

Easier Power Platform Integrations

Microsoft continues to improve the way Business Central integrates with the Power Platform: Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps, Logic Apps, Power Virtual Agents, and Dataverse. This bridges Business Central with a modern toolset that empowers both your technical and your “citizen” developers to easily connect Business Central to other systems. As an example, to increase automation, the Power Automate feature lets users set up workflows in Business Central to streamline specific business processes.

Streamlined Financial Processes

Business Central continues to improve bank reconciliation—including an enhanced test report and the addition of a statement report with two sections for outstanding reconciliations. You can also automate the process to check ledger entries, and you can reverse entries from posted payment reconciliation journals if you need to recover the books from mistakes. If you use check payments, you can now set up multiple remit addresses for vendors. And to make financial reporting more transparent, Microsoft is renaming account schedules to financial reporting and creating a better overview of available reports.

More Flexible Reporting

When your users run reports in Business Central with an Excel layout, they can now choose the layout in the report’s request page. For example, if a report has several layouts, users can choose the one they want when they run the report. There’s also an API for the finance area that can be consumed in both Excel and Power BI. This lets users create more detailed analysis of data from the general ledger and budgets.

New Governance and Administration Capabilities

Business Central will provide a new set of admin and governance capabilities to help you set up, secure, manage, govern, and monitor your environment. It will also be easier to keep up with service notifications and to automate operational management across multiple business entities. You can also more easily recover any environments that were recently deleted to keep your data safe.

Benefits for Users and Administrators

Whether your Business Central users connect from a desktop app, browser, or mobile device, they will see improved accessibility, performance, and stability in the fall release. And your system administrators will appreciate the improved communication about the health of your Business Central IT environment.

From an e-Commerce standpoint, improved Shopify integrations with finance and supply chain workflows will enable you to more efficiently fulfill customer orders. Microsoft has also improved the efficiency of collaborative business processes in Teams so Business Central users can pin cards inside Teams and the Excel add-in.

To learn more about the 2022 Wave 2 Release, check out Microsoft’s overview of Dynamics 365 Business Central in 2022 Release Wave 2.

Not on Business Central yet?

If you’re currently on a legacy on-prem ERP, have outgrown your accounting software, or are looking to consolidate your systems, Dynamics 365 Business Central is the leading business management solution for SMBs and provides a single unified solution to connect your systems and enhance financial visibility, forecast accuracy, and security. Let us show you how we can quickly move you to Business Central in less than a month for a fixed price.

Reach out for a migration assessment or to learn about our Dynamics 365 services and offerings.

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