Q&A With Matt Kingswood, Head Of IT Specialists (ITS) UK

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Jan 23, 2017 01:00 pm PST

What security solutions are offered as part of ITS’ managed security services?

“We launched BlackVault Guardian, a managed firewall service that is offered as part of the BlackVault Managed Recovery Platform solution, due to the increase in customers using MSPs to supplement in-house IT teams’ management of specific technologies and company networks. The managed element is based on the ITS private cloud platform, or on an appliance stored on-site at the customer’s location and, as it is a managed service, BlackVault Guardian allows IT staff to reduce the amount of time they spend managing equipment and system settings.”

Why did ITS launch this Managed Recovery Platform solution?

“Our history in working with small to medium enterprises meant that we spotted the gap in the market for managed service providers to support and complement in-house IT teams fairly quickly. One of the immediate gaps we noticed is that businesses have a firewall in place, but it is inadequate as it is not serviced or up to date, and often under powered. While the IT department is aware of it, they may not be aware of how to keep on top of it and that is where businesses need to have conversations to decide whether to flip from in-house to outsourced IT services support. The market however is moving to outsource as IT departments have more buy-in at senior level now that more of them are concerned about cyber-threats.”

Is the firewall dead?

“The failure to manage comes down to overstretched IT and so, more often than not, the remedial solution of a legacy firewall ticks all of the required boxes up until there is an actual attack. We all agree that the best thing is multiple layers of protection and not to protect everything in one place, but with BlackVault Guardian there are two tasks – managing the perimeter and acting as an independent sentinel within the network and gateway. We watch what is coming in and out of the gateway and also what is compromised inside the network.”

What’s the most common problem with customer firewalls?

“That there has not been any work carried out on it for a long time. Being in business, and administering six data centres, the importance is placed on what they are doing and who is trying to compromise their firewall, while letting their customers know what is available and what they are doing. So, we bring tools in and put them in place so that they have the required resources in place to ensure security for themselves and their customers.

With BlackVault Guardian we put the firewall in place and it does not just sit and run. Instead, it gives weekly or daily reports and suggests any security changes to make it better, so we provide information to the customer. From the employee side, we realised customers were concerned about associates, so we work with them to provide robust filtering and access.”

Is managed service support lacking for firewalls, and why?

“The firewall sits on a customer’s network as a perimeter/edge device, pre-configured so that after the initial set-up, agreements are made on reports and the level of attention that the user wants. However, as security is not always just a 9 to 5 job, too often users find that managed service support outside of working hours is sorely lacking for firewalls.

Customers have not thought about how to bring themselves back online or put in place remote access for users, but that is massively important in a disaster recovery situation as everyone logs in remotely and we focus on the basics. We have it set up for you and it is important as, within disaster recovery, everyone wants to access systems remotely.”

How can this be resolved?

“The world has changed for the firewall and often compliance and audit routines are further down the list, which our offering can help solve. Features offered as part of our managed IT service includes intrusion detection and prevention; deep packet inspection; port scanning and protocol inspection, plus perimeter anti-virus and malware blocking.

While managed services offer something that the typical product does not, we went with continuing support for the firewall with our BlackVault Guardian, as it’s a mainstay of layered network security.”

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