Gear up Your Technology in the New Year: Is Your Tech in Check?

Gear up Your Technology in the New Year: Is Your Tech in Check?

This time of year we make our lists and check them twice. Is your technology in check for the new year? Here are some checklists to keep and plans to make to get the most from your technology in the new year. Verify Your Backup Data Backup isn’t enough if you don’t periodically verify your backup to ensure it is available for recovery. If this isn’t part of your routine systems maintenance, add this to your New Year’s resolutions to ensure you can rapidly restore your business systems if you suffer a data loss or breach of privacy data. Certify Your Compliance Many industry regulations including The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) require periodic PCI certification to demonstrate compliance. Updating your policies and procedures related to network security and other best practices is part of demonstrating PCI compliance. If you are considering online commerce in the new year, also plan to including periodic network monitoring to maintain PCI compliance throughout the year. Create a Security Checklist Threat of Cyber attack is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Consider creating a Cyber Security Checklist in the new year. The American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICP) has a 20-point Cyber Security Checklist that is worth a read. Also be sure to review your password. Upgrade Your Network Your network is the backbone of your company’s technology platform. Today’s applications put more demand on your network than ever. Increased traffic from communications and collaborations applications, VoIP, and digital media puts additional strain. Multi-location organizations, and those with remote employees, also need reliable network infrastructure.  Assess your network...
Closing the Door on Cyber Crime

Closing the Door on Cyber Crime

Businesses today are under constant attack from Cyber Criminals. Ransomware,  including the WannaCry Virus , is an example of a top threat to avoid. With the risk of lost data, lost productivity and lost reputation, isn’t it time to close the door on Cyber Crime? Here are a few tips to defend your company from potential cyber attacks. Document Operating System Security Patch Policies and Procedures Take the time to review and update your documented security policies and procedures.  Security and related patch policy should identify who is responsible for application and operation of system patches and system updates. Clearly determine whose responsibility it is to apply the latest operating system and related security patches. Whether this process is manual, or done automatically through a managed service, be sure your employees know which is the case. Also, document your policies to verify all your systems are in compliance. Review your Cybersecurity Framework Avoid data breaches resulting from lack of Cybersecurity defence. Ensure your AntiVirus and Malware detection definitions are up to date. Utilize spam filtering and other Cyber Threat detection to protect your business. Consider penetration testing to identify any weaknesses on your network. Also ensure your employees are periodically trained to identify and avoid malware and phishing schemes. If you have suffered a data loss due to Cyber attack, ensure you have a communications plan to notify all stakeholders and authorities within adequate time frames. Having a solid data protection plan including Cloud Backup can minimize your exposure and increase your recovery time. Study Machine Learning to Combat Cyber Threat Cybercriminals are using automation, artificial intelligence and machine...
Migrating to the Cloud? Ready for Takeoff?

Migrating to the Cloud? Ready for Takeoff?

Companies large and small have migrated to the Cloud Computing model for economic and competitive advantage. As you evaluate your options, here are some questions to ask that will help you get ready. On-Premise vs. Cloud? Do you have mission-critical files and applications on premise? If so, your applications and their data may be at risk. If you are in a flood zone, fire zone or area of extreme weather your systems could be in jeopardy. Cloud computing data centers consolidate infrastructure in areas that are adjacent to reliable power grids, like near hospitals and police stations. Your cloud infrastructure is likely out of harm’s way and/or reliably redundant in multiple locations. Is Your IT Infrastructure Near End of Life? We all try to get the most from our investments. Your Infrastructure may be at the end of a warranty period or perhaps your applications and operating systems are no longer on the current version or are no longer supported.   You may be able to squeeze a little more out of your desktops and laptops if you access your applications and data via a virtual desktop or software-as-a-service solution, provided the operating systems can be upgraded and secured. However, your on-premise servers may put your business at risk if you are relying on older hardware that is subject to failure. What’s more, this may be the weak link in your network security, inviting unauthorized users to access and infect your network. Do your Employees Work Remotely? Cloud computing lets you access your applications and data from anywhere, any time, in a secure manner. Many popular Cloud applications also...
Technology Trends you Will Hear About in 2018

Technology Trends you Will Hear About in 2018

According to technology research firm Gartner Group, technology spending is expected to grow to $3.7 Trillion dollars in 2018. Communications Services ($1.387 billion) and IT Services ($931 billion) make up the majority of spending. In contrast, Enterprise Software and Data Center Systems are the smallest categories of spending expected for next year. Shifts in IT spending from Data Centric to Cloud Computing change the landscape for buyers, vendors and technology solution providers alike. Here are top Technology Trends you will hear about in 2018. Cybersecurity 2017 was a year full of data breaches and ransomware. According to a 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study by the Ponemon institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2017 was $141 per record lost. Consider how many customer, prospect, employee, member or supplier records you may have within your organization. With the risks so high, expect Cybersecurity to be top of the list of Technology Trends for most companies next year. Cloud Computing According to Forbes, 80% of IT budgets will be committed to the Cloud. Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions will help line-of-business managers from Sales, Marketing, HR and Finance become more productive. Communications and Collaboration applications including Email, VoIP and Web conferencing solutions will connect employees across companies and supply chains. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will host a range of solutions including websites, online backup and more. The utility model, or paying for usage, appeals to businesses replacing technology capital expense (CapEx) for subscription-based operating expense. Managed Services As the “everything as a service” model gains in popularity, more companies will adopt fixed- priced managed services contracts....
What’s in Your Technology Budget Next Year?

What’s in Your Technology Budget Next Year?

Many companies start their budget this time of year. As you are thinking about strategic investments, consider how you can leverage technology to improve customer service, make your employees more productive, and possibly save money. Here are a few considerations for next year’s technology budget. Network Upgrade Your network is the backbone of your technology infrastructure. Growing demand for high bandwidth activities including Communications and Collaboration, Call Center and Cloud Backup all require a bullet-proof network. What’s more, a number of advancements in Software Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) could save you a bundle. Consider having a network assessment or Telecom Expense Audit to see if you can save on your communications and networking costs next year. Fixed Priced IT If you haven’t deployed Managed Services to augment your technology infrastructure, you might consider how you could benefit from this model. By proactively monitoring and managing your infrastructure, your systems will work better and your cost of systems updates and support will be fixed. Cloud Computing The economic model of Cloud Computing allows companies to avoid unnecessary capital expense (CapEx) and use operating expense to subscribe to a range of Cloud Services.  Software as a Service (SaaS) provides the latest version of your popular productivity applications, and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offers a consumption model for scalable computing power. Data Protection Cyber threat, privacy data breach, human error and natural disasters can put your business at risk. Having a solid data protection plan helps businesses avoid the unnecessary downtime, fines, legal fees, and loss of reputation associated with data loss. There are many ways to invest in the...

Getting the Most from Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing adoption continues to outpace the growth rate of total IT spending. According to research firm Gartner, the market for public cloud services will continue expanding, with year-over-year revenue growth of 17.3%. Compare this to Gartner Growth expectation of total IT Growth of 1.4% and you can see how the market for Cloud Computing is maturing. Cloud Service Providers offer a wide range of solutions. According to CompTIA Trends in Cloud Computing, Cost reduction is the primary driver for VoIP, cited by 67% of companies with a VoIP implementation. Integration with other applications was cited as the second biggest driver by 36% of VoIP adopters. Here are a few tips to help realize the benefits of savings and integration of popular Cloud Services.   Manage Rogue IT Rogue IT is a term for technology deployed without the aid of a technology advisor. Cloud Computing empowers Line of Business (LOB) owners to rapidly deploy Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and to minimize the involvement of a technology advisor. Financial management, HR management, Call Center and Help Desk services are common SaaS application purchase decisions made by LOB owners. More often than not, LOB owners involve a technology advisor in the purchase decision for final approval and consultation. Cloud integration, security concerns, and the need to centralize technologies are common reasons to include a technology advisor. Without the input from a trusted advisor, the costs of Cloud adoption can increase, and the creation of silos from lack of integration can result. Navigate Cloud Security Concerns Due to the nebulous nature of Cloud Computing, Cloud Security can be a challenge...
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