Zenguard on Duty: How Managed Service Keeps Your Analytics Environment Secure and Sustainable
03/17/2022 by Greg Rogers
Working in technology, each day brings more news that emphasizes the value of making a commitment to system security. Last year, a vulnerability found in the software log4j left many businesses scrambling to secure their information.
Called the biggest security breach of the past 100 years, log4j is a widely used logging tool bundled in the infrastructure of the internet. It’s applied in cloud storage, data analytics, and even the gaming title Minecraft. Securing the breach is a complex undertaking, but the FTC warns every company to remediate the issue or risk cyberattacks.
When you rely on an analytics environment made up of SAS Software and many other software components for business intelligence and fraud prevention, a critical security breach like this is a clear call to action. But finding the right level of expertise and budget to hire an in-house team to manage the entire platform is challenging. Too often, businesses rely on inexperienced administrators or email support to protect their environment. Then, as their system slows down or faces another incident like log4j, they’re left looking for answers.
Put another way, you can’t wait until the next 100-year flood begins to start filling sandbags. Your business needs a better solution now. You need a plan like Zenguard.
As well as any enterprise software system may perform today, it demands regular care to remain secure and running smoothly.
Whether your analytics platform uses SAS 9 or SAS Viya (of both), these specialized tools require the right level of expertise to maintain. Many companies, especially small- to mid-size organizations, will parse administrator-level tasks to a sysadmin, a DBA, or even the best SAS or Python programmer familiar with the system. But knowing how to use SAS or Python analytics tools isn’t the same as being able to keep up with the system’s maintenance requirements. It’s simply a different skillset.
For example, think of your analytics environment as a Formula 1 race car. Your end user has the skills to drive the car around the track, but you depend on a crew for repairs as the race goes on. When something goes wrong, you can’t ask your driver to diagnose and repair an issue. You need both drivers and mechanics to run an effective race.
Failing to find room in your budget for full-time administrators for complex software like SAS and the other components of your analytics platform doesn’t just leave your business vulnerable to outages when things break. You’re also placing your entire investment at risk. Poorly maintained systems inevitably degrade, resulting in slow performance, failed job executions, and documented errors.
You need administrators to handle the upkeep for your analytics environment and extend the ROI from your software stack. Or, you can hire a firm of experts to manage these complexities for you.
Hiring full-time staff to manage your entire analytics environment platform requires considerable investment. First, you have to navigate the budget conversations of hiring administrators, versus dedicating resources elsewhere in your business. Then you have to invest in the onboarding, training, and management of the right people, whose specialty remains a moving target. Data security and storage are constantly evolving, and any new hire needs to keep pace to manage your system properly.
Using Zenguard isn’t just more cost-effective than hiring new full-time employees, it also offers greater flexibility. Depending on your needs, you can opt for a short contract of 6 months with the option of renewing, or a contract for many years. The ZenGuard team works with you to determine the time duration and amount of support you need. Each plan includes two specialists dedicated to handling maintenance, troubleshooting, and support for your environment.
The advantage of Zenguard is akin to those gained by switching to a cloud provider from on-prem storage. Rather than worrying about protecting your SAS analytics environment, you leave these details to us. That way, your analysts can remain focused on what they do best.
Along with providing nuts-and-bolts knowledge, a managed service plan with Zencos opens your organization to valuable outside perspectives. As your engagement goes on, you gain trusted advisors who can show you how to get more from your entire analytics platform.
If your business is looking to upgrade to the cloud or add new servers to your system, your Zencos team will provide all you need to know about how to keep the platform running at its best. Along with protecting your system, Zenguard improves your ability to evaluate your needs and plan for the future.
As your team collaborates with ours to optimize your system, they learn new best practices for all your maintenance. If your goals include becoming more self-sufficient, Zenguard can get your team up to speed. When the time is right, your firm will have the tools to manage the system on its own.
Partnering with Zencos opens your organization to a level of expertise that’s not only difficult to find in a few full-time hires. It’s hard to match anywhere else.
Part of what can make an analytics environment so complex is how integrated they become with so many aspects of your business. With SAS in your analytics platform, your administrators need to not only manage your system; they also need to be aware of the many ways it interfaces with third-party providers.
For example, in the log4j breach, IBM issued a security bulletin outlining a vulnerability in their standalone servers used with SAS. Because of your ZenGuard subscription, your administrators will see the bigger picture to recognize that security patches need to come from multiple sources in order to keep your investment safe.
Handling the ongoing upkeep of your analytics environment can often feel a little like auditing the staff at a swimming pool. If you’re lucky, your lifeguard spends 99% of their time just twirling their whistle around their finger. A lifeguard is still watching and doing their part to anticipate potential trouble. But most of the time, it looks like a poor investment.
However, when an emergency comes up like log4j, you’re grateful to have a lifeguard on duty. If the security and sustainability of your business and its data is a priority, we should talk about Zenguard. We can figure out a plan to protect your business now and into the future — even when the waters get rough.