Electing the best government means we are reassured that the roads, sewage, gas supply, and electricity will be working as intended and not fall into disrepair. These critical components make up the infrastructure of a country, and your business has something similar.
Infrastructure Management Services (IMS) help your organization avoid the headaches of interruptions to day-to-day work by ensuring that your organization’s critical components are ready to go, every day.
Read on to learn which IMS will work best for your business, what to expect, and how to find the best-managed security service provider to maximize your IMS performance.
Infrastructure Management Services and MSSP
IMS makes up part of the package of a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP). The governing responsibilities of your MSSP will take care of the day to day security needs and activities of your organization.
IMS is the broad scope project of your MSSP. Within the discipline of infrastructure management, there are sub-disciplines in which your chosen MSSP will be specialized. Generally speaking, you will not need to outsource every aspect of the IMS; it’s usually best value and more efficient for one MSSP partner to take care of your IT infrastructure.
In brief, infrastructure management consists of taking responsibility for the data, information flows, and processes within the organization’s IT infrastructure.
Suppose you imagine your business to be a music festival’s main attraction on the central stage. Your IMS MSSP is analogous to the sound and lights guys backstage that make everything run smoothly, allowing you to put on the best show possible.
What Makes Up Your Business Infrastructure
Today’s IT infrastructure is increasingly complex and ever-evolving, making it a difficult area to manage while juggling all your other and equally critical organizational responsibilities.
All physical and non-physical assets that facilitate the business operation are the building blocks of the business infrastructure. These assets include all people, processes, and things. Your customers will rarely see much of the back-end operation that helps provide them with the services and products you offer. Unless, of course, there’s a problem with the smooth and stable functioning of those very backend operations.
The IT infrastructure, also sometimes called the organization’s information system, refers to all the cogs related to the IT machine’s functioning. The elements that make up the information system requiring ongoing management and protection are:
- Operating systems – Desktops and workstations will have operating systems (such as Windows) that allow other apps and programs to be executed and used.
- Hardware Assets – These assets are all the physical workstations and desktops themselves; things like USBs, physical servers, data centers, hard drives, printers, etc.
- Software Assets – These assets will include all the programs that run on your operating system: apps, accounting programs, email solutions, etc.
- Internet – This one is self-explanatory; however, here, it will be the network connectivity infrastructure of the business that is public-facing that is of importance to the efficient functioning of the business. A few examples are the company website, business-hosted forums, and social media groups.
- IoT devices – A more recent addition to the IT infrastructure, IoT devices are growing in popularity for business use. IoT wireless devices pose a serious security threat to IT infrastructure and must be appropriately secured.
- Cloud Infrastructure – Another increasingly popular asset for business is cloud storage, cloud computing, and cloud anything. Even today, it has become a significant asset for many enterprises’ IT infrastructure. Yet, companies often overlook that storage security in the assumption that the provider has optimized the protection.
- Network and Telecommunication Connectivity – The physical assets that allow internet connectivity like phone lines, fiber optic cabling, routers, etc. These devices will make up the telecommunication part of the IT infrastructure.
- Enterprise Systems – Enterprise systems nowadays are offered as software-as-a-service with cloud-based providers. However, many companies still use in-house developed methods to facilitate everyday business processes, like keycard systems, which will build part of their infrastructure.
These are a few of the major components that form the building blocks of your organizational IT infrastructure. Their components will be the primary focus of your MSSP, and your provider, dedicated to ensuring that these components run correctly and securely.
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Infrastructure Management Team Responsibilities
What can you expect from your MSSP in regards to infrastructure management?
In this section, we will explore the responsibilities of the infrastructure management team.
The responsibilities will vary depending on a few factors such as;
- The type and kind of tasks you are looking to outsource; could you save time by outsourcing specific business operation responsibilities?
- Are there any regulatory requirements for your industry, and can an MSSP help you with that?
- Is there a security specialty that you are trying to target and that your organization does not have the trained personnel or resources to cover?
- Are there general legal requirements for your organization? For example, one form of legally required MSSP comes from the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the form of a Data Protection Officer (DPO).
Once you have a clearer picture of what you need from an IMS, you can begin talks with a potential partner to discover the best strategy.
Overall, your MSSP will carry out some critical responsibilities in tandem with those specific requirements tailored to your business’s needs. These break down into the following three categories;
- Network Infrastructure Management
- Systems Infrastructure Management
- Storage Infrastructure Management
In the following sections, we will explore each category of infrastructure management in more detail.
Network Infrastructure Management
Network infrastructure management will consist of all infrastructure assets that fall under networks, both internal and external. Also, all hardware and software assets that facilitate network connectivity.
Internal networks apply to all areas of connectivity within the organization, such as Local Area Networks (LAN). When bad actors hook up to the company’s internet connection, they have greater control over, and access other devices and systems connected to that same network. This network is what we refer to as LAN. Printers also comprise the internal network infrastructure of an organization and are often the target of cyberattacks because of their weak security configurations. From here, the hackers have an easier time gaining access to specific organizational systems than they would if trying to gain access over the world wide web.
The network management will also include protecting incoming traffic from the internet. Things like DDoS protection, and stopping packet overflow, will be some of the responsibilities you can expect from your MSSP.
Some IT elements that would fall under the network infrastructure management are:
- Email server security
- eCommerce solutions management and security
- Web platform and website management and security
- Internet-facing risk management, like firewall management and security configuration
- Routers, wifi enabled printers, copiers, and fax machines
The security aspect of the network infrastructure is the responsibility of an MSSP. Some of the standard tools you will see an MSSP use in network security are
- Intrusion Detection Systems
- SIEM software
- Anti-virus and Anti-malware
They will also employ network security processes such as segmenting organizational networks into different privilege levels, limiting data packet delivery, or limiting lateral communication channels within the corporate network.
Systems Infrastructure Management
The systems management facet of an IT infrastructure can be the most involved and complex infrastructure management aspect.
An organization’s IT or information system will typically include all third-party services and application integration within the information system (APIs, SaaS, Cloud Providers).
The standalone system will also comprise all the existing processes and operations that carry out its day-to-day operations. Finally, the system infrastructure will also include the most vital aspect of any organization, its people.
With the right MSSP and infrastructure management strategy, your organization can take control of its systems infrastructure with ease.
Traditionally speaking, within the broader context of cybersecurity and information technology, information systems will include everything contributing to the organization’s daily activities. Including but not limited to:
But within the framework of infrastructure management, we distinguish the systems as being only people and processes. However, there will be a bit of overlap with network management as they are intricately linked.
What to expect from an MSSP in providing systems infrastructure management:
- Intrusion detection and prevention – differs from network management in that it only involves system intrusions—for example, social engineering attacks against staff to gain access to internal systems.
- People systems management – security awareness training, social engineering proofing
- SIEM system analysis.
- Log management and audit – Involves the logging and auditing of all systems operations. The auditing will analyze any anomalies and vulnerabilities in people or processes.
- Cloud-based operations – organizational cloud environments will fall under systems as they might not be publicly hosted and involve internal system administrations.
In choosing an MSSP, ensure they offer standalone services that address systems issues, like staff awareness training, incident response management, or managed detection. This experience will guarantee they can take a holistic approach to infrastructure management.
The final infrastructure management category is the management of information and data storage. Today’s business environment requires organizations to put substantial resources to protect and correctly manage their data.
This management includes business-critical data and personally identifiable information (PII), which forms many B2C businesses’ backbone.
Storage management in the IMS context would involve the security of PII and business-critical information and regulatory compliance.
Storage can come in many forms, but some of the traditional institutional measures of data storage are:
- Data Center Storage
- Physical servers
- Documentation and paper forms
- Cloud-based storage solutions
- Personal Hardware storage
- USB drives
- Hard drives
The active governance and oversight of storage will require your MSSP to ensure the data’s storage security. The management, however, is not only limited to this aspect. You can also expect MSSP to manage the processing of data actively.
These processes can include the compression (along with the secure storage) of the data. This step should help in reducing the overheads in storing the data and reduce the operating time.
You can also expect data backup, replication, and monitoring. This process will protect your organization against lost or stolen data.
Benefits To Infrastructure Management Services
The data-driven business environment has businesses seeped into a rapidly changing and disruptive environment. Innovations in new technologies will have some companies playing catch-up, which can be devastating in the long-run, if not developed with security in mind.
Companies should not ignore these rapidly developing challenges; whether you are a start-up or established business, having someone there to help you manage your infrastructure can save you in times of crisis, all of us can always use a helping hand.
Partnering with an MSSP can benefit your organization in more ways than one.
- Automate defensive processes that will protect your data and critical business process
- Streamline day-to-day business activities and save your organization time and money
- Reduce downtime to your business when an emergency hits, like a data breach
- Lift the daily responsibilities from your c-suite so they can focus on business strategy.
- Specialist expertise that creates an environment of proactive security management rather than reactive
- Remaining one-step-ahead of both competitors and bad actors, with alleviated responsibilities
Manage Your Infrastructure Better With RSI Security
Your IT and business infrastructure is the lifeblood of your organization, don’t let its maintenance and everyday responsibilities bog down your vision and long-term strategy.
RSI Security is the nation’s premier cybersecurity provider. We have a long track-record of providing top-end managed security services, including infrastructure management services.
Partner with RSI Security today and let us lift the burden of responsibilities from your shoulders, so you can focus on realizing your organizations’ vision.
Get in contact and schedule a consultation here.