Technology Outlook for 2015

There are many things on our minds as we enter the New Year. For those of you running a business, a question on the forefront of your mind should be: What can we expect from the world of technology in the coming year? Because technology changes so fast these days, it’s important to be ahead of the game and be ready to adapt to changing times. Here is what to expect from the biggest technology trends in 2015: Continued Need for Network Security Mobile applications and mobile search adoption and usage continue to drive the need for network security. Smartphone and tablet shipments are expected to outpace traditional desktops during 2015.  With mobile devices on the rise, businesses need to ensure the security of these devices and prevent business networks from being compromised. Network security, endpoint protection, and other IT Security technologies will be a focus for 2015. The End of Windows Server Support Although Server 2003 currently accounts for about 20% of total Windows Server installations, on July 14, 2015, all Windows Server 2003 extended support will end. Therefore, companies transitioning from Windows 2003 in the coming year must be prepared for the move. Due to the end of Windows Server support, many small to medium sized businesses are migrating to the Cloud, which offers backups, better security, regulatory compliance, and the comfort of knowing that your company is always up to date without having to continually invest more time and money. Server migrations require a lot of planning and ample forethought, so make sure to do your research well before July 14. Cloud Adoption on the Rise...

Do You Fully Understand the Cloud?

In just the past few years, it has become evident that the topic of cloud computing has shifted from a potential game changer to an essential ingredient of modern IT. For those moving down the path of business transformation, the cloud is the primary driver. The International Data Corporation estimates the public cloud market to grow at 23% CAGR through 2018, and they estimate that worldwide spending on hosted private cloud services will exceed $24 billion by 2016. If your organization is not implementing the cloud, you’re already behind. Just the Beginning Even though adoption rates are high, there is still a lot of confusion related to cloud computing. 28% of survey respondents did not know whether their business used a private or public cloud model, which demonstrates the confusion over terminology or lack thereof. Previous eras of IT have lasted for over 20 years; so, after five years, the era of cloud computing is just getting started. CompTIA predicts the next decade will see cloud computing becoming even more accepted as a foundational building block. Cloud Options After these initial five years of cloud computing, the industry is no longer talking generally about the cloud market. Many companies are considering public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud options.  Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service change the way that businesses buy IT goods and services. With many businesses shifting their computing infrastructure to the Cloud, companies continue to take advantage of the flexibility and simpler way of managing their applications and data.  If your organization needs guidance learning more about the cloud,...

Do You Have an Effective BYOD Policy?

According to new IDC data, vendors shipped 327.6 million smartphones in the third quarter, an increase of 25.2%, when compared to the same quarter last year. This means that global smartphone shipments have topped 300 million shipments for the second quarter in a row. Although there have been rumors of a slowing market, the data clearly states otherwise. As technology pushes small to medium sized businesses towards smartphones and other mobile devices in the workplace, it is more important than ever to establish an effective BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. 1.     Decide What Mobile Devices Are Allowed  If your company allows your employees to bring their own devices to work, it can be a nightmare for IT to have to support multiple platforms. Therefore, it is important to decide what devices are allowed to be used for work. Decide whether it is more cost-effective to purchase your own company devices to hand out to employees. 2.     Establish BYOD Security Policies It is important for your company to establish an “acceptable use policy” for their mobile devices. This will curb employee distractions and reduce risks for harmful viruses and malware. Your company should also develop a monitoring system and disciplinary action for employees who disobey the policy. Although this may seem harsh, it may avoid a security breach down the road. 3.     Employee Exit Policy In addition to creating an acceptable use policy, it is equally important to come up with an exit policy for when employees leave the company. Document in your employee exit checklist to ensure you remove the employee from access to information on the network,...

Steps to Follow When Migrating to the Cloud

Many small to medium sized businesses are migrating to the Cloud – backups, better security, regulations, security, and the Cloud ensures that your company is always up to date without having to continually invest more time and money. So, how can your business make the leap? Here are 3 steps to get you started with your migration to the Cloud: Start With Hosted Email An easy first step is to move your company email to a hosted email solution. Cloud email solutions may include a number of additional services for spam protection, antivirus protection, email archive and more.  When you move your email, first consider how many mailboxes are in use? Can you consolidate or eliminate email inboxes? This is a good time to consider how you can reduce costs and improve security and performance. When moving email to the Cloud, consider starting with just the last six months worth of emails, then move older data over time. Move Data and Files to Cloud Storage Moving your files is a logical next step to getting your business to the Cloud. Consider what data you need to migrate to the Cloud. Now is the perfect time to clean up customer data and archive historical information, such as office documents, financial history and email archives. Planning out your migration carefully will save you time and cloud storage costs in the long run. Move Servers that Support Legacy Applications Consider how you will move servers that support line of business and other legacy applications. Unfortunately, not all legacy applications can live in the Cloud. But, many legacy applications can leverage at least...

It’s Time to Take Cloud Security Seriously

While cloud security concerns are top of mind with many business owners, the benefits of the cloud far outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, as companies deploy cloud computing, taking cloud security seriously will ensure a smooth transition to the cloud. Top Cloud Security Concerns If you are moving your business to the cloud it is important to understand and address your security needs. For many companies, the top concerns of cloud security are cloud service provider’s encryption policies, business continuity and disaster recovery capability, data protection and data integrity. There are a number of other critical concerns, such as the physical security, identity and access management, and regulatory compliance. How to Protect your Data in the Cloud Create Strong Passwords An important step you can take to protect your data in the cloud is to create a policy for passwords within your organization. By requiring a string of text combining numbers, letters (both uppercase and lowercase), and special characters your employees will avoid common passwords that are easily hacked. Also, ensure that your company policy requires changes to passwords regularly and asks employees to use unique passwords when accessing the cloud from their desktops. Network Compliance In addition to creating strong passwords, it’s important for your company to keep your network in compliance. Your network is secure as its/ weakest point of access.  Ensure desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones are maintained with the latest operating system patches and are protected by up to date antivirus and antimalware definition updates. End User Training on Security Employees with a clear understanding of security policy and related risks will help keep your data...
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