Rear view of a cybersecurity professional at a high-tech workstation with multiple screens displaying code, network data, and a computers.

Why Continuous 24/7 Monitoring and Maintenance is Critical to IT Support

The recent cyberattack on the American company Change Healthcare shows that when cybercriminals successfully breach an organization’s systems, it can have devastating consequences. In this case, it impacted the ability of thousands to access vital services at several hospitals, insurers, and pharmacies nationwide. 

Your company can avoid similar costly disruptions by undergoing an IT infrastructure refresh that prioritizes 24/7 monitoring and maintenance. This critical IT support tactic will play a pivotal role in helping you prevent major security issues, while also ensuring your operational continuity by helping you identify any inefficiencies, wasted resources and other performance problems. 

In this article, you’ll learn more about the benefits of implementing a continuous surveillance strategy and the risks of neglecting to do so. We’ll also provide insights into how your corporation can establish or enhance your strategy to safeguard your technology effectively. 

A brief overview of continuous monitoring  

Continuous observation involves observing and assessing the various aspects of an organization’s hardware and software technology. The goal is to gather the appropriate operational information for understanding your IT health. This assessment may involve analyzing your network traffic, evaluating system and application performance, or scanning for vulnerabilities to look at metrics such as uptime, availability, utilization, error rates, alarms, latency, response times, and more.  

In the past, similar data points were monitored intermittently to capture periodic snapshots of system performance at predefined intervals. Although this approach provided valuable insights, it also meant that unusual activity could go undetected for extended periods, increasing the risk of overlooking critical incidents that could wreak havoc on the systems. 

In contrast, real-time continuous observation proactively addresses performance and security. Innovations like cloud computing and artificial intelligence make this newer approach possible, offering corporations automated solutions for streamlining the process and using centralization to streamline the administration of even the most complex IT ecosystems. 

The benefits of continuous monitoring for your organization  

Navigating modern technology can be daunting for businesses. Implementing continuous monitoring practices can help you achieve your strategic objectives with confidence, by enabling:  

  • Immediate threat detection 

The capability to identify security threats and vulnerabilities as they happen allows for a rapid response to minimize potential harm. This includes noticing unauthorized access attempts, malware infections, or unusual activity patterns. Utilizing advanced analytics, essential information is obtained to inform actions such as isolating compromised systems, blocking suspicious traffic, or deploying security patches. The benefits of such proactive measures are notable. For instance, IBM discovered that while data breaches globally cost companies an average of USD 4.45 million and those employing automated security tools saved USD 1.76 million 

  • Operational continuity 

Real-time observation also helps you proactively address technical issues before they escalate. Detecting software glitches, hardware failures, or performance bottlenecks right away allows your IT support team to swiftly act, performing necessary replacements, updates, or adjustments to ensure stable performance and continuous critical business operations. As a result, downtime is minimized, enabling staff to fulfill their responsibilities and ensuring that customers experience reliable service. 

  • Enhanced compliance and governance 

Complying with industry regulations around data handling should be a major priority, considering the potential for massive monetary loss. For example, in 2023, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) fined Facebook’s parent company Meta €1.2 billion for failing to comply with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Continuous monitoring simplifies the work involved in auditing your systems and processes to ensure they consistently adhere to data privacy standards. You have the infrastructure to regularly evaluate components such as data encryption, access controls, and other security protocols so they don’t deviate from the requirements, and you avoid any penalties from inadvertent violations. It will also be easier to document and communicate your progress to the appropriate authorities by having detailed and up-to-date information easily accessible. 

  • Optimized performance 

The level of your workplace technology’s user-friendliness can make or break your organization’s productivity. When you provide robust tools with good user experience, your employees can better manage their time, maintain their focus, execute their tasks faster and communicate more effectively – especially with frictionless access to internal resources.   

Continuously analyzing your performance data is vital for identifying areas for improvement that may contribute to performance degradation. Armed with those valuable insights, you can then optimize your systems and applications accordingly. This iterative process will help you develop a scalable IT system that constantly reflects evolving user needs and technological advancements. 

The components of a successful continuous monitoring strategy  

For organizations to successfully reap the benefits of a successful continuous observation strategy, you need to understand the various components that ensure comprehensive coverage and actionable insights, such as: 

  • Technology and tools 

In your company’s toolkit of cybersecurity solutions, you should procure technologies that enable ongoing surveillance for result-driven security management. These tools may include network monitoring software, intrusion detection systems, and performance trackers. There are an extensive number of available tools from various vendors for meeting your criteria – whether that’s interoperability, extensibility, visualization, or other capabilities. An expert third-party IT support team can be useful in selecting the most comprehensive mix. 

  • Processes and policies 

By providing guidance on critical action steps, roles and responsibilities, employees will be able to communicate and collaborate through any incident. These policies should include a robust framework for prioritizing and escalating issues, as well as detailed documentation of your organization’s specific pre-determined response triggers, incident reporting thresholds, and escalation paths.  

  • Skilled Personnel 

Partnering with skilled IT support professionals means you can translate those policies and processes into action more effectively. They can apply their deep expertise in IT systems, networks, and security principles to generate more helpful insights from your data into operational trends around system performance and security, contextualized to your goals, risk tolerance, and regulatory requirements. 

How to implement continuous monitoring in your organization  

Now that you know the critical elements of an ongoing surveillance strategy, it’s time to combine them into the right framework, by following these best-practice steps: 

  • Identify your critical assets, prioritized based on their centrality to core business processes and corresponding risk level. 
  • Assess your current infrastructure. Which tools, processes, and skillsets do you already have? Where are the gaps in data collection, coverage, and response capabilities? 
  • Define your objectives using the insights gleaned from your assessments, and then the metrics and key performance indicators you will use to measure your efforts. 
  • Establish your policies and processes, including your monitoring scope, assigned roles, acceptable risk levels, and incident response procedures – including creating reporting mechanisms and setting internal thresholds for triggering alerts. 
  • Select your tools and integrate them into your existing systems and processes. This should include ensuring proper access controls and permissions, automating where possible, and regularly reviewing data. 
  • Training employees in the skills they need to contribute to the endeavors. 
  • Monitor your framework’s performance and make tweaks to optimize and address deficiencies. 

Work with PC Corp for our robust IT support 

Continuous monitoring offers real-time insights into a business’s IT infrastructure, allowing for the proactive identification and resolution of potential issues before they escalate. However, it’s important to remember that it’s an ongoing process. Regularly refining your strategy to align with changing organizational needs and emerging threats will maximize its effectiveness. 

Partnering with PC Corp managed IT services, means gaining the support of our experts. Our Managed Services programs include 24/7 continuous monitoring of your network, including network performance, security alerts, and systems anomalies. Working together we can protect and keep your business systems running optimally.  

Contact PC Corp today to bolster your cybersecurity defenses for better peace of mind about your digital future. 

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