Can You Afford a Data Loss?

According to the technology industry research firm Gartner Group, ninety percent of companies that experience data loss go out of business within two years. Countless studies indicate the longer the downtime, the greater the risk. More and more businesses are turning to Cloud Backup and collation to ensure their critical data is protected. But how long will it take to restore that data when a disaster strikes? Here are some points to consider to minimize the risk of downtime. Identify Critical Data If you are an online business or rely on retail systems to keep your registers ringing, you could easily calculate the hourly loss due to system downtime. Similarly, manufacturers, distributors, healthcare organizations, and financial services firms all rely on mission-critical systems to keep employees productive and customers happy. How long could your business survive without email? More than likely, not very long. While more difficult to quantify, communications and collaborations are mainstays to employee productivity and interactivity. In addition to direct financial impact, consider the public relations consequence related to data loss. Other files and productivity applications are also important to ongoing operations. However, there is a cost to rapid recovery. Understanding the tradeoffs between costs and how much time it takes to recover will help you balance the risks with the financial constraints. Bullet Proof Your Network Your network is a critical component for data backup and recovery. Some systems may have a backup window of several hours. A high-performance network can reduce the time it takes for backup and recovery. What’s more, an optimized network has less chance of downtime and connection loss. A flaky...

What is Distributed Denial of Service, and What Does it Mean to You?

We all know, not being able to get on the WiFi is annoying. But worse still, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks can impact  your business and even interfere with vital infrastructure such as electrical grids. According to Forbes’s Michael Krancer, an attack in 2015 knocked 80,000 electrical customers offline for three hours. Other recent attacks put several eCommerce and Internet Server Providers out for hours. In a world where people are always connected to computers, such an attack is becoming all the more common. What is Distributed Denial of Service? A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack occurs when devices connected to the Internet are used to flood a business’s server with data, and make it unavailable to customers (and potential customers). Unlike a simple Denial of Service, a Distributed Denial of Service is an attack on a large, perhaps global, scale. Botnets, networks of devices controlled remotely, are used by malware authors to send huge amounts of junk data to servers. Devices can include cameras, smartphones, or PCs—any device connected to the Internet. Internet of Things (IoT) and other IT trends will fuel the expansion of connected devices. The effect is to exhaust server resources with fake or incomplete information requests, and render the business’s website unavailable to legitimate customers. Attacks can happen on the bandwidth or application layer, or from sheer volume. What Does a Distributed Denial of Service Mean to You and Your Business? First, it means loss of legitimate traffic. Your customers can’t access your website, and of course can’t buy products and services from you, costing your company revenue. According to a report...

Tips for Reducing Telecom Expense

Businesses today rely on resilient network connectivity to ensure employee communications, collaboration, and productivity. Applications including Voice over IP (VoIP), Hosted Contact Center, Cloud Backup, and more, need a bulletproof telecom network. What’s more, for companies with Remote Offices/Branch Offices ROBO), telecom expense can quickly add up. Here are some tips to keep your telecom expense in check: Audit Your Telecom Expense By periodically performing a telecom expense audit, you can compare your telecom bills to the contracts for your voice and data network solution. Billing errors can add up, and the savings from catching these errors can be significant. Having an independent expert review your telecom expense can save you a lot of money. Revisit Your Carrier Network at Renewal Time When your telecom network contracts are up for renewal, you may be able to get better service for less. You may also find cost-effective alternatives when you add a new Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO).The market for carrier services is competitive, with new technologies introduced all the time. Consider Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) SD-WAN is an emerging wide area network approach allowing you to use multiple business- class Internet providers to get the same reliability as MPLS or other networking alternatives. By using multiple carriers to connect your Remote Offices/Branch Offices with each other, the savings can quickly add up. Proactively Monitor Your Network By proactively monitoring your network you can avoid downtime and ensure better network performance. Many of these issues can be rapidly resolved using remote management. This proactive managed service approach will reduce network failure while saving IT expense. In many cases you...

Considering Cloud? Tips to Ease Migration to the Cloud

According to IDC, the combined public/private Cloud security market will more than double over the next few years. Cloud adoption is changing the way enterprises use applications. Increased adoption of hosted email, Unified Communications (UC), and Voice over IP (VoIP) may increase bandwidth and change the way employees access the Internet. Many companies are moving away from routing network traffic to a centralized data center for the Remote Office/Branch Office (ROBO) locations, in favor of increasing traffic directly to the Internet and bypassing the data center altogether. With all of these changes, the traditional Wide area network (WAN) relying on carrier MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) network capacity may prove costly and inefficient to keep up with today’s demands. Here are some tips to consider to ease your migration to the Cloud: Where to Begin Your Migration to the Cloud If you haven’t already begun your migration, consider starting with Email, File Sharing and collaboration. These popular Cloud Services offer enhanced or new functionality to your business with immediate productivity benefits. Voice and Call center services can offer savings with reduced operation costs. There are also many benefits from Cloud Backup and disaster recovery services. In some cases, these services may be available with turnkey bundles supporting a range of applications. Many companies also benefit by migrating other enterprise applications including CRM, ERP, and other mission-critical applications to the Cloud. Network considerations include device consolidation, multi-path optimization, and network performance monitoring for better awareness and control. Taking these steps can save you money, and avoid costly delays from loss of employee productivity due to insufficient network bandwidth reliability and availability....

Having Trouble Managing Cyber Attacks? You’re Not Alone!

We all read about Cyber attacks in the news. There is no denying the loss of productivity from a virus-infected laptop or the embarrassment of hacked email. With threats from Ransomware on the rise, it is no surprise leading market analysts Juniper Research, predict the cost of data breaches to $2.1 trillion globally by 2019, an increase of nearly four times the cost of breaches in 2015. Why Cyber Attacks are on the Rise Now here is the surprise: according to a recent report by the Ponemon institute, 79% of IT and IT security professionals report they lack the proper infrastructure to identify and defend against cyber attacks. Lack of tools and resources was cited as a reason why they felt their Cyber defense systems were nonexistent, partially deployed, or inconsistently deployed. Check your Network For Cyber Vulnerability Due to the risk and exposure of Cyber Attack, there are a number of tools and techniques you can deploy to identify vulnerabilities. Here is a short list to check your network health: Check firewall security settings. Ensure your company is protected from malware attacks, hackers, and viruses. Scan for spyware. Malware and other unauthorized access can silently steal your company’s bandwidth, which can slow your computer systems while stealing confidential information about you, your employees, and your business. Verify your network’s backup system to ensure it is working properly, and is consistently backing up all of the critical files and information. Ensure you have the up-to-date operating system and security patches on your network. Diagnose slow and unstable PCs that may be vulnerable. Taking these important steps may save you...

What is Ransomware and How to Protect Against It

Ransomware is a type of malware designed to block access to your computer until a sum of money is paid. Ransomware issues have impacted many individuals with home computers; however, it is only a matter of time before this malicious software attacks business. Starting with Cryptolocker in 2013, Ransomware exploits have become increasing sophisticated and have cost individual companies thousands of dollars in ransom. Here are some tips to take to help your business avoid being held captive by Ransomware. Backup to the Cloud to Recover from a Ransomware Attack. An inadequate backup strategy without real-time backups or offsite backup could hamper your ability to recover from a Ransomware attack. Being able to recover data from your Cloud Backup could get your systems up and running in a hurry, avoiding the need to pay ransom. Keep Your IT Assets Up to Date and in Compliance If your systems get behind in operating system and applications patches and updates, you may create a security hole that can be compromised by Ransomware. Many managed security and managed service offerings include proactive management and delivery of these important updates so your network will not be held hostage by ransomware. Training Your Employees to Detect and Report Ransomware Your employees are your front line of defense when it comes to your systems security. Make sure your employees know how to identify a phishing email and understand the risks of opening documents and attachments (including unfamiliar file extensions or .exe file formats) from unauthorized sources. Ensure your employees understand what Ransomware is and how it can impact your company’s productivity and drain financial resources....
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