Cybersecurity is Everybody’s Business

It is no surprise, technology flattens the world for many businesses. What’s more, nearly every business sector finds it necessary to collect, maintain, analyze, and monetize user data. Many think Cybersecurity risks only apply to highly regulated industries, such as legal, healthcare and financial services. Cybersecurity Risks Go Beyond Borders Factors outside industry, including geographic considerations and sensitive consumer data, can create cybersecurity risks that need to be managed. These factors run the gamut of domestic and international laws, regulatory bodies, and private-party business agreements. Cybersecurity compliance can touch every business to some degree. Internet of Things (IoT) and Cybersecurity Adding to the list of concerns are non-traditional technologies entering your businesses network. IP-enabled technology called Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly being adopted in the workplace.  The Cybersecurity threat is moving beyond desktops, laptops and services. A new generation of mobile devices–Point of Sale (POS), IP video surveillance, embedded sensors, VoIP, and others–is just the first wave of emerging technologies that need to be secured. How to Minimize Cybersecurity Risks There are many things a business can do to reduce Cybersecurity threats. According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), the following elements are the building blocks for a cybersecurity program: Documented policies, procedures & standards Asset management Identity & access controls Risk management Vendor management Physical & environmental security Compliance Privacy Remote access Data backups Data destruction Cybersecurity threats are a reality of today’s world. The risks of data compromise and/or loss can cost more than dollars; such risks can cost your reputation. Your business is only as secure as your Network. If you have questions about...

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...

Technology Trends for 2017

It’s that time of year when many businesses are setting goals and budgets for next year. This is a good time to reflect on the impact technology can have on your business. While Cloud Computing adoption remains strong, companies will increase migration from Public to Private Cloud and even migrate back “on premise.” Cloud adoption, digital transformation and streaming media will increase the demand for bulletproof networking. New technologies including SD-WAN will hit mainstream in 2017 to improve network performance in support of business requirements. Cyber threats will continue to keep business owners up at night with increased intrusions from ransomware and unplanned downtime from DDoS attacks. Here are a few takeaways to consider for your 2017 plan. More Choices for Cloud Computing In a recent study by the Computing Technology Industry Association’s (CompTIA), 43% of those using Public Cloud are expected to migrate to another Public Cloud Provider. For example, companies using Hosted Exchange may find themselves adopting Office 365 or Google for Work to keep current on the latest version of these communications and collaborations applications. The CompTIA “Trends in Cloud Computing” research also revealed 21% of Cloud usage will move from Public Cloud to Private Clouds. This scenario is driven by the need for compliance with industry regulations, including HIPAA regulations for health care and SOX compliance for Financial Services, among other business requirements. Digital Transformation Will Emerge as Competitive Advantage for Business of All Sizes Businesses will adopt new strategies for reaching new customers and servicing existing customers in 2017. These new strategies will fuel the need for digital transformation. Reaching new buyers through digital...

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....
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