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....

Proactive Networking Monitoring: What & Why

Your business relies more and more on healthy network infrastructure. Migration to Cloud, Compliance and IT Security all fuel the case to proactively monitor your network health. By proactively scanning your network, you can identify bottlenecks and other irregularities that could impact your network performance and network security. Identifying network compromise in advance will save your business time and money in the long run. Here are some considerations of what to proactively monitor on your network and why: Monitor Your Network Performance Network performance monitoring may identify a number of issues impacting your employee productivity. In some cases it may be a hardware failure (network switch or router) that is causing intermittent outage. Data-intensive applications (e.g. remote backup, call center or VoIP) may need optimization to improve overall network performance. Regular proactive network monitoring will identify these issues that can easily be remediated to avoid any unnecessary downtime, loss of employee productivity, or other failures such as dropped calls and failed backups. Monitor Your Network Access A periodic scan of devices attached to your network will identify any unauthorized access to your network. You may identify devices including desktop, laptop and mobile access from terminated employees, unauthorized access on your wireless network, and other potential compromises to your network. A regular scan of your network helps you stay in compliance and avoid any security compromise. Monitor Your Network Utilization By monitoring your network utilization, you may identify usage patterns impacting your overall network performance. Social media and streaming technologies can chew up your company bandwidth. By monitoring your utilization you may need to implement internal policies on use of...

What’s Driving Digital Transformation of Business: Hello – Cloud Contact Center

Digital Transformation of Business is a critical component of maintaining competitive advantage in many industries. Rapid response to customer inquires, automated responses to self-service inquires, and ability to communicate across digital channels accelerate the buyer journey, solidifies customer loyalty and can take cost out of operations. According to a recent report by Frost and Sullivan on Contact Center Modernization, the Cloud Contact Center market is expected to grow to over $3 billion by 2017. Given the rapid growth of the Cloud Contact Center Solutions, it is no surprise businesses of all sizes are adopting this technology to accelerate Digital Transformation. Your network and IT infrastructure is critical to the success of a Cloud Contact Center deployment. Here are three considerations to ensure you get the most from your Cloud Contact Center: Using Cloud Contact Center for Competitive Advantage By shifting the workloads of your Contact Center to the Cloud, you are leveraging the reliability and availability of the infrastructure to your Cloud Contact Center supplier. This supplier can take on the responsibility of repairing hardware failures, software glitches and other configuration errors. This allows your operations staff to focus on process improvement, call center efficiency, compliance and more. You should expect improved margins, while improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Bullet-Proof Network Infrastructure and Your Cloud Contact Center It is critical to your success to have your network optimized to handle voice traffic. Using affordable technologies, including Software Defined Networks, you can prioritize Voice Traffic over other activities. Setting network policy for priority and usage of Voice over streaming video and other bandwidth-consuming activities will help ensure your calls are...

Business Continuity Essentials

Business owners know there are a number of threats to business continuity. Next to employees, your IT systems and their data may be your most valuable assets. Your business may fall prey to Cyber attack or Data breach. Other factors, including adverse weather, fire, or interruption to utility supply, may also cause business disruption. Can your company recover from a catastrophic data loss? Use this Business Continuity Essentials guide to reduce the risk of downtime: Business Continuity: Understanding Cost of Downtime How much data do you need to recover to bring your business back from a disaster? Not all data may be essential immediately. However, some systems–including email–support other mission-critical systems and processes within your company. It is also important to know how long it will take to recover your data. Factor in your employees’ wages, plus overhead and potential loss of revenue, to get a sense of the overall risk of not having a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan. Having a Business Continuity Plan May Avoid Violation of Industry Regulations Depending on your industry, backup and disaster recovery might be the law. Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) makes business continuity and disaster recovery an imperative. Failure to comply could mean fines and even jail time. Other industries, including health services, must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires backing up data and making sure it is consistently available, even in a disaster. Understand regulatory requirements placed on your business, to avoid unnecessary consequences of a business interruption and data loss. Data Protection with Belts and Suspenders Relying on a local backup is not enough. The...

Cloud Computing Defined

The demand for Cloud Services continues to climb. Recent forecasts from International Data Corporation (IDC) predict worldwide spending on public Cloud services will grow at a 19.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) – from nearly $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019. This report cited Software as a Service (SaaS) as the leading consumption model for Cloud Services. In addition, Telecommunications is expected to be the fastest-growing vertical industry with a worldwide CAGR of 22.2% over the forecast period of 2014-2019. To avoid the hype associated with fast-growing technologies, it is important to gain a fundamental understanding of what defines Cloud Computing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides guidance to help understand Cloud Computing. According to NIST, there are five characteristics for an offering to be considered a Cloud service: Cloud Services are Rapid Elastic A Cloud Service should automatically scale resources as needed. This provides businesses agility by growing as the need for additional capacity arises. This elasticity avoids the need for a business to build in excess capacity for unpredictable workloads, a capacity that may go unused at off-peak times. On-Demand Self-Service In addition to rapid elasticity access, Cloud Services should be simple so any user can quickly provision additional resources when needed. Removing the friction to ordering, provisioning, and configuring Cloud Services when needed empowers the workforce and avoids unnecessary downtime, while improving employee productivity. Broad Network Access Business Class Broadband networks provide affordable access to Cloud Services. Access across the Public Internet allows a common interface for multiple devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones. This provides employees the...

Achieving Network Peace of Mind

By proactively monitoring and managing your Network infrastructure, you can avoid the hassles of downtime due to bottlenecks, security intrusions and more. By having the latest data at your fingertips, you can make the best decisions based on the current status of all the devices connected to your network. Proactively managed devices including desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, routers, switches and firewalls all contribute to the overall health of your network. By monitoring your network for performance and auditing your devices for compliance, you can keep things running smoothly. Moving to Managed Services Managed services offers a fixed-price model to manage your network and IT infrastructure. A managed service provider will proactively audit the assets on your network, monitor performance, and remediate or escalate issues as part of a fixed-price service agreement.  Because the cost of service delivery is fixed versus billable hours, the managed service provider has incentives to keep things running with minimal interruption. A managed service agreement often includes onsite and remote support options in addition to remote monitoring and management. As a result, you have a trusted source to call when problems arise. Is Your Network Worry Free? By having a consolidated asset inventory of your entire network, your managed service provider can isolate issues that cause your network performance to degrade. This helps avoid jitter, packet loss, and data delay for networking infrastructure. Desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets can be checked to ensure they are in compliance and free of malware, viruses and other sources of network intrusion.   Benefits of Managed Services   The managed service model provides a predictable cost to the business...
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