What Are Strategic Technology Solutions?
The most important purpose of a Managed Technology Partner is to provide strategic technology solutions that guide IT initiatives.
OSIbeyond’s Managed Strategy services take into consideration all aspects of an organization’s technology operations.
The process starts with conducting an in-depth Technology Assessment within the first 90 days of onboarding a new client.
The assessment is intended to establish a benchmark of the current state of technology within the organization and to develop a three-year strategic technology plan.
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The assessment is then refreshed every two years to account for new technology solutions as well as an adjustment for change within the organization.
Quarterly strategic calls are conducted to review support metrics, day to day operations, and progress on implementation of recommendations from the Technology Assessment.
In addition to technical recommendations, the Technology Assessment focuses on establishing operational documentation such as IT policies and procedures.
A well documented IT operation is as important as the technology solutions themselves.
For organizations with a higher security sensitivity or regulatory compliance requirements, OSIbeyond can conduct an optional in-depth Security Assessment.
The security assessment focuses on how systems and data are accessed and provides recommendations and best practices to secure information.
Technology is constantly changing, and therefore organizations require a partner that can consistently keep up with advancement in technology.
As a Managed Technology Partner, OSIbeyond is continuously researching and developing new solutions, this innovation is then passed on to clients in the form of strategic technology guidance.
What Should A Technology Assessment Cover?
OSIbeyond conducts biennial technology assessments as part of a proactive IT management model.
The purpose of the technology assessment is to provide organizations with the current state of technology, recommendations for the future, and budget forecasting.
When performed routinely this practice results in a decrease in unexpected technology expenditures as well as overall enhancement of an organization’s technology solutions.
The technology assessment is a comprehensive report that addresses the following key areas:
- Network Infrastructure
- Internet Connectivity
- Network Security
- Firewall & IDS/IPS
- Email Filtering
- Data Encryption
- Moble Device Management
- Multifactor Authentication
- Cybersecurity Awareness
- Server Systems
- Desktops & Laptops
- Telephony & Communications
- Document Management & Collaboration
- Web Hosting & Management
- Staffing & Support
- Support Levels
- Support Procedures
- Costs & Budgeting
- Inventory & Documentation
The objective of the technology assessment is to provide your organization with a strategic technology plan.
The report is intended to be an easy to understand (non-technical) report to ensure that your organization is well informed on the various aspects of technologies used within your organization.
In addition, it is intended to ensure that your organization has clear guidance on future technology initiatives, and is financially prepared for technology investments over a three-year outlook.
IT Policy & SOP Development
No matter how cutting edge the technology an organization implements, the lack of proper IT policies negates any benefits that might have been gained by the technology.
This is a common shortfall in the nonprofit & association industry.
Often times the status quo and organizational politics get in the way of implementing IT policies that will ultimately benefit the organization.
In other cases, the lack of internal expertise or resources to develop and implement such policies are reasons for an organization not having strongly defined IT processes.
As your organization’s technology partner, OSIbeyond provides technical and management expertise by identifying areas that lack adequate structure and developing policies that balance the need for governance while embracing the organization’s culture.
Based on these factors, OSIbeyond will implement policies in collaboration with your organization’s IT, HR, and management team.
Key IT policies include:
- Acceptable Use
- Remote Access
- Vendor Access Management
- Backup and Disaster Recovery
- Permission Change management
- Mobile Device Management
- Compliance and Regulatory Requirements
- Auditing and Logging
- Incident Response
- Patch Management
- Physical Security
- Network Security Change Management
In addition to the development of the above policies, OSIbeyond will work with your organization’s IT, HR, and management team to develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
The purpose of IT SOPs is to ensure technology functions are properly executed to adhere to the aforementioned organizational IT polices.
Key IT SOPs include:
- New Employee Onboarding
- Employee Termination
- New Contractor Onboarding
- Contractor Termination
- Incident Response
- New Desktop Build
- Hardware/Software Procurement
- Business Continuity
The combination of formal policies and standard operating procedures ensures your organization’s technology operations are adequately governed.
IT Security Vulnerability Assessments
As technology advances so do the threats facing nonprofits and associations.
While external security threats are always a concern, it is as important to thoroughly consider internal threats within an organization.
OSIbeyond conducts holistic security assessments to identify potential vulnerabilities, whether it is preventing malicious external attacks, or ensuring proper practices and staff training is implemented.
An IT security assessment consists of the following key areas, and may be further customized for your organization.
This section consists of key areas which make up the overall network infrastructure within an organization.
OSIbeyond provides recommendations after taking into consideration factors such as industry best practices, comparison to other organizations, and unique organizational requirements.
- Firewall (perimeter, ingress, etc.)
- WiFi (internal, guest, etc.)
- Physical Access (office/server room)
- Anti-virus/Anti-spam Protection
- Intrusion Prevention System/Intrusion Detection System
Applications and Systems
As an industry best practice, it is important for an organization to maintain a full inventory of licenses for all applications used within the organization including:
- Active Directory Configuration
- Email Access
- Remote Access
- File/Document Access
- Business Applications (finance, HR, CMS/AMS etc.)
This inventory should also be periodically analyzed to ensure that the organization is within compliance of the software vendors licensing terms.
In addition, licensing subscriptions, renewals, and support should be maintained to ensure that updates and new releases are available to the organization.
This will in turn allow the organization to stay current with software technology and not be left with outdated or obsolete tools.
As an industry best practice, all laptops and desktops should be deployed with whole disk encryption to ensure security of intellectual property if a device is lost or stolen.
- Internal Access Controls
- Drive/File Permissions
- Internal Application Access
- External Systems
- Shadow IT Practices (personal Dropbox, Google Docs, etc.)
- External Application Access
OSIbeyond’s security assessments may be completed in conjunction with a traditional security audit or as a stand-alone project.
The evaluation focuses on business policy and procedure concerns from a high level, presented in a format that can be used by HR or management to improve an organization’s security posture.
Strategic Technology Solutions That Benefit Associations
With over a decade of association technology experience across hundreds of organizations, we've come to realize the challenges confronting staff who are responsible for IT.
In the case of the National community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), finding a partner who is capable of coming up with technology solutions that are not only efficent, but also cost effective, has become a critical component of their IT operations.
For others, like the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), lack of proper documentation, reiability, and inadequate security of an aging IT infrastructure limited their staff's ability to be productive.
After conducting a technology assessment, a custom cloud solution was designed that:
- Consolidated 30 legacy on premise systems
- Provided a more reliable backup solution
- Updated their network firewall security
As a result, this technology solution completely eliminated many environmental factors associated when hosting systems on premise, which include vulnerability to power outages and viruses.
With a more reliable system in place, staff at NASSP are now able to divert attention to projects that could more directly benefit the organization.