IT Solutions

12 Common Myths about Cyber Security

With all the focus on cyber security for businesses in the past few years, there’s a lot of good information about how to protect yourself and your company from the risk of a security breach. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of bad information circulating, and it can sometimes drown out the facts. Here are 12 common myths to avoid:

The right software will solve your problems. A good suite of software is an essential part of your cyber security strategy, but that’s all it is – a part. Cyber security is not a set it and forget it process. You need experts to be able to monitor, analyze, react, and adapt to threats in your system, and while machine learning is getting better all the time, software alone can’t cover every aspect of your needs.
Cyber security is IT’s job. Speaking of needing experts, there’s more: even if you managed to hire cyber security specialists (people in this field are in short supply,) a solid IT team is not enough to protect your organization against a security breach. Today, proactive defense is much more effective than reactive, as malware takes moments to do serious damage rather than hours or days. That means educating end users and consistently enforcing a security policy in all aspects of your business’s operations.
Attackers don’t go after SMBs. Data breaches in giant organizations like Yahoo! and Deloitte make the headlines; a local boutique shop or a regional manufacturing company don’t. But …

How to Get Started with Data Security

You probably know that your company should be doing more with data security, but where do you start? Getting your business to the security systems it should have can be a long process, but even small steps will help you mitigate the risk of a data breach for the long term. Here are some quick actions you can take as well as some planning steps to get you started with data security.
Quick-Start Steps

Encrypt your emails. One of the easiest ways for people to gain unauthorized access to company data is intercepting emails and email attachments. Secure your email communications by encrypting messages and setting timers for message expiration – once the intended party has received the information, do they really need it forever?

Protect your network. All company networks should be password protected and, ideally, hidden from discovery by non-employees. By ensuring that only company employees have access to the office internet and file sharing servers, you decrease the chance of data breach by unauthorized users.

Enforce a strong password policy. Even though the technology used to attack and secure data has evolved dramatically since the initial spread of internet usage, your best first-line defender is still a strong password. Most websites and applications suggest a password that is a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. And contrary to popular belief, mandating frequent password changes may be doing more harm than good, as employees can get frustrated and use weaker, easier to …

3 Business Cyber Security Solutions for 2018

Every year has seen changes and evolutions in cyber crime and security, and 2018 is no exception. As trends change, businesses need to be constantly educating themselves on cyber security solutions to mitigate risk and protect against cyber attacks. Here are three types of platforms that every company should include in their security operations, as well as the 2018 trends that are driving innovation and change.
System Security
It’s always a good bet to start with the basics, which means that many businesses already have at least some semblance of a general security system in place. However, if you don’t, or if you haven’t reviewed your system security solution in a while, it’s worth taking a second look at the building blocks of your business’s cyber security this year.

System security covers a number of categories, including network, data, application, mobile data, and web security, with a focus on protecting end users from dangerous activity and web content. Anti-malware, email encryption tools, and firewalls all fall into system security, and each area should be covered by one or more security solutions.

2018 Trend: IoT Security

A vast network of connected devices, called the Internet of Things or IoT, has changed how society thinks about connectivity. Prior to the widespread adoption of connected devices, connectivity meant screen time: how much time consumers spent on their phones, tablets, or computers. Now, virtual assistants, smart TVs, networked security cameras, vehicle fleets, and even business telephone systems are connected, and just …

Is Your Business’s Data Secure?

Data security is a priority for IT professionals in the business world. For others? Not so much. A study by the Ponemon Institute reported that only about 38 percent of non-IT employees with access to company devices viewed data security as a high priority. But after 2017 showed us that data breaches can do a lot of damage to a company, can you afford to let it slide?
What is a data breach?
Simply put, a data security breach is a confirmed incident in which private, sensitive, confidential, or other protected data is accessed or released in an unauthorized way. For example, you’ll probably recall a number of high-profile security breaches that occurred in 2017, such as Equifax and Yahoo.

Despite widely-held perceptions, largely due to pop culture, many data breaches are not a result of hacking — at least, not by the stereotypical cyber criminal tapping furiously at his keyboard. In fact, some of the most notorious data breaches happened because an authorized user took an unauthorized action. Target’s 2014 breach, for instance, occurred because of a successful phishing attempt on a third-party vendor, giving the attackers the login information to Target’s systems. Because at least one employee opened a fraudulent email, the payment and contact information of over 70 million Target customers was compromised.

If it sounds scary, that’s because it is. IBM’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study reported that in 2017, the average cost of a data breach for a company was $3.62 million, and 1 out of …

Should You Use an MSP For Your IT Solutions?

The managed services business model is booming as more and more businesses partner with providers for their IT solutions. The MSP market is forecasted to grow from $152.45 billion in 2017 to $257.85 billion by 2022, and is expected to continue to grow steadily beyond that point. But while widespread adoption is a nice endorsement, the fact that everyone’s doing it isn’t exactly the best basis for making a business decision.

We’ve written about the benefits your business can reap from using managed IT services before — with talking points like predictable monthly costs, better security practices, and faster responses for improved technology uptimes, it’s hard for us to not get carried away. But what makes MSPs really stand out? Why should you take the leap and use managed IT services?

More Business Partner than Tech Desk
While managed services providers can certainly fix your computer when it breaks, their capabilities are above and beyond the purview of technical support services. A good MSP works with you and your business to understand your practices and goals, then strategizes to ensure that everything they do helps to achieve those goals. All at once, they are technicians, data security specialists, technology advisors, industry experts, troubleshooters, hardware installers, and more. The break/fix model of IT is obsolete, replaced by the holistic approach of MSPs.

Expertise for Any Level of Service
Shifting the responsibility for commodity IT services – that is, services like email, web, and file serving which work more or …

Is BYOD Right for Your Business?

We’re calling it: flexibility is going to be the business buzzword of 2018. With more companies allowing their employees to work remotely, office workspaces are becoming less critical to operations. BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, policies have caught on in the push for flexibility, but should you implement them for your company? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Employee Satisfaction: For many people, their personal devices have pretty much become a part of their being. With a BYOD policy, employees get to use the devices that they’re most comfortable with rather than working on a company platform. By using systems that they are already used to, they can jump right into work without any training or points of confusion that could come from using a work-provided device. And while distraction may be a concern, that street runs two ways: employees who receive work-related emails, calls, and messages to their personal device will likely spend more of their own time being productive.

Reduced Costs: There are several areas in which a BYOD policy can help reduce company spending. First, and perhaps most obvious, having employees work from their personal devices means less spending on company-provided hardware like computers and phones. Rather than providing a whole new workspace for a new employee, all you need to provide is any necessary software licenses or ancillary tech they need for their position. Another area for savings with a BYOD policy is IT costs. Part of being more comfortable with …

5 Ways Better Internet Service can Boost Your Bottom Line

We’ve all felt the frustration of a poor internet connection: web pages not loading, important files refusing to upload, emails and messages not sending. For businesses, these problems are more than frustrating; they cost time and money. While you may think that putting up with internet service that slows you down helps to save money, a better network and faster connection not only improves productivity, but can actually open the door to money-making solutions.
1. Leverage the Cloud for your Business
In their annual State of the Cloud survey, RightScale found in 2017 that over 95% of their respondents were already using the cloud for their business processes. And while the cloud offers businesses benefits such as reduced hardware maintenance, reduced IT spending, and more agile applications and processes, effective use of the cloud requires a reliable and fast internet connection. Migrating to the cloud has become easier and cheaper in the past year, and with its potential for increased savings and security, it makes more sense than ever to incorporate a cloud strategy into your business.
2. Go Further with VoIP
Making communication easier, faster, and cheaper is a surefire way to boost productivity and revenue. Switching your phone system to VoIP does all that and more: with lower trunking and long-distance costs and better scalability, VoIP systems cost less than traditional landline phones. In addition, VoIP systems offer a whole host of features that improve workers’ quality of life, such as mobility, conferencing, and integration with other communication tools as well …

5 Benefits of Managed IT Services

With technology pervading every aspect of most industries, it’s more critical than ever to keep everything working the way it should. But sometimes the staff, resources, knowledge, and time you have just isn’t enough to keep up with the IT demands of a tech-driven workplace. IT solutions by managed service providers (MSPs) are an increasingly popular option for businesses of all sizes. Here are some reasons why:
1. Cost
One of the most visible benefits of a managed IT service is the cost. Most managed service providers operate on a monthly subscription, giving businesses a reliable expenditure and an easily measurable return on investment. This regular cost comes with many benefits that would be prohibitively expensive with an in-house IT specialist or department, such as 24-hour monitoring and fast response times, and because MSPs provide IT solutions to a number of different clients, they have the resources to hire more technicians and specialists than a single company does. Because of this, businesses that utilize managed IT services get more for their spend.
2. Knowledge
In addition to more people responding to work orders and doing installations, having access to more technicians means that businesses have a gigantic body of knowledge about the world of information technology. IT departments can get bogged down by the day-to-day, such as fixing broken devices, troubleshooting software issues, and doing basic maintenance, causing strategic technology goals and learning to fall by the wayside. Technicians at MSPs are out in the …

Why IT Productivity is Important

IT departments work hard to make sure their company’s equipment is functioning properly, but what happens when everything is working the way it should? Although solving computer problems and other technological issues is no small task, an IT department that only focuses on putting out fires is not living up to its full potential. IT department productivity requires that teams have the time and flexibility to focus on strategic business goals, not just responding to requests.

Outside of the department, IT teams are perfectly poised to solve problems within their companies and drive forward company innovation. With an intimate knowledge of the company’s technological systems, IT specialists have insights that are valuable to any number of company issues or initiatives. Their involvement could lead to forward-thinking solutions with technology seamlessly integrated, saving them the future work of trying to incorporate company systems into a policy, service, or product that wasn’t designed with technology in mind.

By encouraging IT specialists to do work in other departments, they also have the opportunity to see the way other employees use company technology. This could lead to better practices and the streamlining of processes, saving both time and frustration among employees. When IT department employees are in problem solving and task groups, the company gains new perspectives that could lead to better solutions.

Within the IT department, teams should be collaborating to set expectations and business goals. Teams should know exactly what their job entails, including all duties. …

What a Local VoIP Vendor Can Offer

VoIP (Voice Over IP) can offer huge advantages to modern businesses. However, buying a VoIP phone system for your organization can prove to be a challenge. In addition to choosing between an on-premise and cloud-based VoIP solution, you also have to find the right vendor for the job.

Regardless of which VoIP service provider you decide to hire, having local support from them can make a big difference. It’s always a better idea to hire a local VoIP Michigan provider because of the following reasons:
1. On-site support from qualified technicians
When you buy VoIP services from a local vendor, you can count on getting the assistance of trained professionals on the spot. They will not only answer all your queries regarding system implementation but also suggest which solution (on-premise or cloud-hosted) would be better for your needs.

Great technicians will be able to guide you every step of the way so that you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
2. Work alongside your IT department
Working with a local VoIP means no more going back and forth questioning who is doing what to your systems. The skilled members of the VoIP team will work closely with your IT department so that everything goes smoothly.

The team will do their best to ensure that no outages or downtimes occur, and every part of your communication technology functions exactly as it should. Good things happen when the expertise of a local vendor and the experience of IT …