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...

Bandwidth Bottleneck Coming to an End?

It is predicted that by 2017, there will be around 268 billion app downloads. The average person already uses 26 different apps per month. This growth is clearly driven by the younger work force, who use their mobile devices and tablets for both work and play. All of these apps use a lot of data, and so there is a problem on the horizon: all of this data use will lead to pervasive network strain, which will in turn result in performance problems in both apps and network-based services. This data overload creates frustration in both users and providers. App users will simply delete apps that do not perform well. This means fewer customers for Telcos and app providers. The Data Challenge for Telcos Therefore, Telcos have a challenge in front of them: invent new ways to improve user experience by making them more data efficient and scalable. The question on a lot of IT experts’ minds is: is it finally time for Telcos and app providers to work together to unclog the bandwidth bottleneck? The answer is still unclear, but intelligent data distribution is one solution everyone can agree on at the moment, i.e. Telcos can optimize their current network assets while app developers work to design more apps that use less data. The Importance of Wide Area Networks Within Telcos In order to stay sustainable, Telcos need to offer more in connectivity. A solid Wide Area Network (WAN) is essential in accelerating applications and keeping traffic separate. It is also critical for day to day business operations; it both reduces operating costs and provides a level of...

Why the Cloud Isn’t Going Away

Cloud Computing is only beginning its growth and progression; more than half of all businesses have already implemented Cloud Computing in some way or another into their day-to-day operations. Whether you need improved security, lowered costs, higher efficiency, a backup plan, or a mixture of these benefits, the Cloud is the answer. There’s no pressure to migrate completely to the Cloud. In fact, if you already use applications like file sharing, website hosting or web based email you already rely on Cloud Computing. Smart IT strategy is researching which parts of the Cloud fit the needs of your business and discussing a flexible solution that can be customized to your organization – that’s why the Cloud already works for so many businesses. If you haven’t yet considered utilizing the Cloud, it’s time to decide if you want to keep up with the latest technology or be left behind. The Cloud is here to stay, and here’s why: Cloud Computing is Reliable The majority of companies trust the Cloud enough to make the migration. With the Cloud, companies have constant access to all the information they need, because they can access it from any computing device and from any location. This flexibility in itself makes the Cloud the most reliable solution. Also, with Cloud solutions, data can be backed up to multiple locations and services, which adds another level of protection. You can always add more levels of protection by choosing to use behavior-based key management servers and encryption management keys. The Cloud is Affordable Cloud computing is known to reduce IT management costs dramatically. Migrating to the Cloud may...
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