At Upward we support about 55 clients, providing a wide array of services and programs that provide three distinct areas of value for clients: Productivity, Risk Management, and Scalability. The HelpDesk experience provides obvious and tangible value for a customer; something is not working or unstable and we return it to a stable state. But much of what we do happens behind the scenes, going largely unnoticed. If your office has been relatively stable through recent memory, it is likely that these efforts are to thank for that stability! Here are three of the most important things Upward does that you rarely see.
Patching & Updating
On the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft releases security updates, which are reactive and preemptive adjustments to the code behind their operating system that help to prevent malicious attacks from ne’er-do-well bad guys who try to exploit these threats. In many cases, one can just configure automatic updates to run, but for servers, and more integral or sensitive equipment, allowing automatic updates can have unintended consequences. Many times patches and updates will create adverse effects for other software. For instance, by updating and changing the code, suddenly printer drivers stop responding, or QuickBooks stops working. Often this isn’t reported and addressed for several days (or longer). So at Upward, many updates are pushed out very deliberately, following close monitoring of feedback from the release “in the wild.” By making this investment every month, we keep our clients more productive and avoid costly downtime.
Real-time Firewall & Security Updates
Just like servers and computers, firewalls run complex and dense software on them that manages a significant amount of data. In the case of firewalls, this software is updated around the clock to respond to the broad array of threats developed by cyber criminals that appear across the world, which can be thousands a day. For more information on the specific types of threats, a firewall prevents see this article.
Upward receives real-time notifications from SonicWall (our preferred firewall vendor) and manages all firewalls under our purview globally to ensure they are managed and updated to the latest releases to keep your environment safe.
Password Management & Policy
How many passwords do you manage in your life? We keep, on average, about 15 passwords for every client. Some of these passwords are critical to productivity and risk management. But just like passwords in your personal life, they can become vulnerable to malicious threats and can be very dangerous if in the wrong hands. At Upward we store all passwords in a state-of-the-art dual-factor authentication tool called AuthAnvil, this lets us also set retention policies on passwords and forces us to change them periodically. Changing these passwords can often be an involved process, as a new password can break dependencies between your systems and other vendors or software, so we take extreme caution when doing this and often conduct quite a bit of research prior to making the password changes.
Our business model is designed to align the interests of our customers with those of Upward. Clients pay us not to have issues. When clients have had an extended period of stability and productivity in their environment, it is usually not a stroke of luck, but a concerted effort from our team to thank.
If you have any questions about Managed IT services or are interested in connecting with Upward Technology, please reach out to us!