New Year’s Resolutions for Your IT Systems

Are your IT Systems on the naughty or nice list? Do you proactively monitor your networks for compliance, cyberthreat and performance? Are your data back ups up to date? Have you begun your migration to the Cloud? Are you getting the most from your broadband network? Have you trained your employees on the risks of cybersecurity attacks and do they change their passwords regularly? Here is a list of things to add to your list of New Year’s resolutions for 2016. Proactive Network Monitoring Your networks should be periodically monitored to ensure application and operating system (O/S) patches are up to date. In addition, you should maintain your anit-virus definitions and keep your malware threat detection up to date. By doing so, you could prevent an unwanted cybersecurity breach and data loss. Worse, loss of reputation resulting from data leaks or loss. Beyond Backup There are a variety of remote back up and data protection solutions to ensure you can recover your systems to keep your business running. It is a good idea to test those backups periodically to ensure you can restore your data quickly. Many older tape backup solutions can be slow and unreliable. What’s more, there are many new file sync and sharing solutions allowing your employees to securely access information anywhere. We put more and more reliance on our applications to run our daily operations, so make sure your data is protected in 2016. Lift Your Business to the Cloud Cloud Solutions offer many advantages over premise based systems. Using subscription based services help ensure you are always on the latest version. What’s more, you...

Business Continuity Planning: How Much Downtime Can You Afford?

Having a Business Continuity Plan is an important way to ensure your company can operate during and after a disaster. By assessing your business risk, you are able to protect your company and minimize downtime that may occur from unplanned business interruptions. Natural disasters including fire, earthquake, flooding and snowstorms can slow or halt operations. In addition, other threats including cyber attacks and data leaks can cause unplanned disruptions to your business. The impact of prolonged unplanned downtime can be reduced and or eliminated, but at what cost? Here are three things to consider when developing your Business Continuity Plan. What is Your Cost of Downtime? To develop a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan it is imperative to evaluate your risk of loss from downtime and business interruption. There are many factors to consider when calculating the risk of loss due to downtime. How much revenue would you lose per hour, day or week if your business was off line and you were unable to process orders? Could your inventory lose value if your factory, warehouse or retail operation were shut down? If you suffered a privacy breach what would be the impact to your company’s reputation? The risks and costs are different for each company based on industry, size and other factors. Start by assessing the risk to determine how quickly you need to react during and after a disruption. How Fast do You Need to Recover (RTO vs RPO)? The cost of downtime to your business is expensive. It is important to evaluate which applications and data are critical to your operations. During or after a...

Technology Outlook for 2016

What drivers will shape 2016 technology trends? Businesses using customer facing technology for competitive advantage will fuel demand for Cloud Computing, in particular, Software as a Service.  The Internet of Everything will amplify the number of connected devices in our world leading to additional needs for data protection and CyberSecurity defense. Mobile computing and Cloud Computing adoption will increase the adoption of fast, affordable and secure broadband networking. Here is the short list of what to expect from the biggest trends in technology for 2016. Cloud Computing Adoption Remains Strong Cloud Computing adoption is expected to continue throughout 2016. Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are expected to lead the way. Migration to Cloud based email, sales and customer management applications and other SaaS solutions will drive Cloud growth in 2016. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will continue to grow, however demand will be driven by backup and disaster recovery, single sign on, file sync and sharing, application hosting and other core IT services.  With this increased demand for Cloud Solutions, migration and integration services are expected to also be in high demand. Greater Need for Fast, Affordable and Secure Broadband Mobile Computing and Cloud Computing will put additional demands on network infrastructure. With the additional need for SaaS applications, remote backup and file sync and sharing applications, companies will upgrade business Internet technology for fast and affordable broadband options. Companies will pay particular consideration to available, reliability and security as they adopt broadband network technologies. Internet of Things (IoT):  More Devices, More Security Tablets, Laptops, desktops and smartphones are expected to continue to grow. Now Smart Devices or...

Is Your Business PCI Compliant?

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a common sense standard based on good IT Security policy. The objective is to protect customer credit card information from compromise. With the holiday season upon us, eCommerce and credit card processing activities will ramp through the end of the year. Trillions of dollars are transacted via credit card every year. So what can you do to ensure your business is PCI compliant? PCI Compliance Assessment Determine if your company policies and procedures ensure PCI compliance. In addition to technology considerations, your employees should be trained on how to protect credit card information. If credit cards are taken over the phone, never write down card numbers. If employees are entering credit card information into an order processing system or payment authorization gateway, ensure the data is encrypted when stored. If your business uses a Cloud Based service, check to ensure they are PCI compliant too. PCI Compliance and Network Security Another consideration for PCI Compliance is your network security. In addition to a firewall, you should lock down any unsecure WiFi access. Unauthorized access to your network could leave your business open to exposure of malware, virus and man in the middle threats in which credit card information can be accessed without your knowledge. Network Monitoring for PCI Compliance PCI Compliance is not a one time effort. To stay compliant you should periodically review your policies and monitor your systems. Periodic network monitoring can detect any unauthorized access, network security violations and any other deficiencies that require immediate remediation. Maintaining PCI compliance for your business helps you avoid costly security...

Mobile Hotspots – Is Your Business At Risk?

With almost one billion mobile connections in place, it is easy to understand why these devices are targeted by hackers. Employees connecting at Starbucks, in airports, on planes and in hotels open themselves up to additional security breach risk by accessing information through mobile hotspots. Mobile hotspots can be easy targets for hackers by setting up spoofs to get your employees to unknowingly log into unsecure networks, making them vulnerable to Man in the Middle (MitM) exploits. As an employer, it may be impossible to prevent employees from using hotspots, so it is very important to take steps to protect your business. Below is an example of how hotspot hacking works and how businesses with mobile users can protect themselves. Is Your Mobile Device Hackable? According to research by Gartner, almost half of us will first turn to a mobile device for online tasks. Business users in particular rely on mobile connectivity to be productive. Using a open Wi-Fi hotspot may put you and your business at risk of hacking. Most people are aware of the risks, however it comes down to convenience. Hackers can use software that makes a mobile device appear to be connected to a familiar Wi-Fi network, but in reality, all traffic is routed through an imposter that captures your data (MitM). Many mobile applications attempt to stop this type of proxy attack by ensuring a secure, end-to-end SSL connection refusing to make an unencrypted login. However, mobile applications may not always verify the secure SSL connection is actually secure. Does Your Business Needs a VPN to Protect Mobile Users? A Virtual Private Network  (VPN)...

Does Your Business Need Network Monitoring?

According to a recent Trends in Information Security report by CompTIA, malware, hacking, privacy and data loss/leakage top the list of serious concerns over security threats. Companies large and small have been victims of these security threats. While large corporate security breaches makes the news, smaller companies may not have the vigilance to detect, and the resilience to survive a network security breach. Hackers have evolved and are now more sophisticated than ever. Network Monitoring can identify security exploits before it is too late.   Network Monitoring is Proactive Just like getting your vital signs checked at the doctor’s office, network monitoring is a proactive way to detect a network security threat. Network Monitoring scans for viruses, malware, patch compliance and any unauthorized access to help determine network health and compliance. By using intrusion detection when a system has been breached, you are immediately notified. It’s important to proactively monitored your network and act swiftly. Network Monitoring Saves You Time and Money By remotely monitoring and managing your network and related IT assets, your IT Service Provider may be able to detect and remediate security issues without ever coming to your office. This will result in an overall reduction of IT costs. Routine IT tasks, including Patch Management will ensure that all Application and Operating System (O/S) patches are up to date thus protecting your business against vulnerabilities. In addition, keeping software up to date may give you productivity features and benefits. Avoiding Downtime and Increasing Security Secure remote support is an important element for delivering an IT Managed Service. In addition to remote support, many IT Service Providers...
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