How to Overcome Compliance Hurdles

Running a successful business is hard work, and at the end of the day, the last thing you want to be worrying about is noncompliance. But in many industries, executives have no choice but to devote time and energy to meeting federal, and in some cases, even global regulations.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to overcome common compliance obstacles, and whether you’re dealing with HIPPA, SOX, PCI or anything else, educating yourself about these regulations is the first step. Read on to learn about the top five hurdles you should be on the lookout for as you strive to meet current regulations.

Prepare for Compliance Challenges.

Avoid These Five Common Compliance Pitfalls:

  1. Dismissing the Internet of Things: The Internet of things has the ability to both positively and negatively impact your business in unanticipated ways. With the advent of emerging technology and highly interconnected devices, nearly every industry is struggling to keep up with evolving regulations and protect transmitted data. Getting educated and working with a vCIO will ensure you’re prepared to handle all things IoT.
  2. Missing Update Notifications: Even executives “x out” of routine software update alerts, yet we all know how critical these updates and patches can be to the security of our networks and devices. Software alerts are designed to help protect your network from cyberthreats, including data breaches that can result in lapses in compliance. Don’t let something as simple as a missed update throw you off course. Optimize your software settings and train your workforce.
  3. Ignoring the BYOD Reality: Employees are using their own phones, laptops and tablets to get work done every day—and in many instances, that is actually a good thing for today’s innovative employers. But the rise of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture means that businesses must now take additional measures to secure their networks and protect their data. Managing mobile devices with the help of IT professionals is a sure-fire way to limit your exposure in this part of modern office life.
  4. Underfunding Your IT Infrastructure: Investing in technology and IT services should be a top priority. Regardless of whether you’re a small retail shop or a large hospital, if you handle information that must be kept confidential, you need to take every precaution you can to make sure it stays that way. To meet government standards for consumer and patient privacy, you must keep up with regulations that are routinely tweaked to address evolving cyberthreats. Conforming to the latest requirements is easier when you’ve got the right IT infrastructure in place.
  5. Dismissing EDI Threats: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) compliance is simplified when you have access to the right technology. By putting tech to work for you, it is possible to minimize stress, reduce the odds of getting costly fines and protect your good reputation without losing sleep. But it is going to require comprehensive cybersecurity services that can take on contemporary cyberthreats. While the electronic transmission of data presents unique challenges, there are secure IT solutions designed to specifically address your industry-specific concerns.

 

How We Can Help

Don’t lose precious time worrying about compliance on top of everything else on your to-do list. As your trusted MSP partner, we’ll set you up with everything you need to meet government regulations. Stay focused on growing your brand while we clear compliance roadblocks out of your way. Contact us today, and enjoy peace of mind tomorrow.

Keep Everything in Check with Compliance as a Service

“Across all industry segments, at least 60% of respondents reported an increase in the scope of relevant regulatory change in the past three years.” -Gartner

Businesses are required to maintain compliance with regulations that are constantly changing or risk being penalized with costly fines or worse. Not only is your reputation on the line, but you could be putting your customers’ or patients’ sensitive data at risk. These headaches can be forgotten with Compliance as a Service (CaaS), which facilitates the management of private information and keeps everything HIPAA compliant and PCI compliant. If you’re handing personal details about someone’s health or credit cards, you can protect that data and reduce stress with CaaS.

 

Staying compliant isn’t optional—but that doesn’t mean it has to be stressful. Let us help.

 

Why Get Compliance as a Service?

1. To Give Your Customers the Respect They Deserve: When people trust your business with their health records, credit card numbers and more, they’re giving you something more valuable than money: Their private information. Once these details get out, they can be very hard to conceal again. Preventing data breaches should be your chief priority. Partnering with the right partner for CaaS helps you earn and maintain the trust of your customers by improving your chances of staying compliant no matter what comes your way.

2. To Identify Vulnerabilities with Regular Audits: The security of your network is directly connected to your ability to stay compliant with federal regulations, which is why CaaS includes regular audits that can spot weaknesses before they become major threats to cybersecurity. Let IT professionals periodically scan your networks and make necessary changes to protect sensitive data and help you maintain compliance with government-issued regulations.

3. To Improve the Security of Electronic Data Storage: Without a proper risk assessment and compliance services from an established IT provider, it’s impossible to know just how safe your data is and what you could be doing in terms of protecting it and staying compliant. After all, storing data electronically is a big responsibility, and doing so with an eye on security is the only way to reduce digital risk and maintain compliance. With CaaS, you’ll enjoy the benefits of improved cybersecurity right away.

4. Keep Current with Automatic Updates: Everyone is guilty of ignoring an alert about a recommended update from time to time, but neglecting to perform a critical update at the wrong time could put you at risk when it comes to staying HIPAA compliant and PCI compliant. Automatic updates are one of the best features of CaaS because periodic scans and reboots keep systems protected from hackers and thwart their latest attempts to compromise cybersecurity and leave you exposed.

As you can see, Compliance as a Service is a simple way for you to streamline processes and stay on top of the latest changes without all the stress.

We know the ins-and-outs of this important niche field and are on standby to help you comply with regulations across the board. Fortify your systems and protect customers’ and patients’ information with CaaS, an essential line of defense. Contact us today to get started.

4 Steps to Disaster Recovery

In the wake of COVID-19 – an unprecedented situation – businesses have begun to realize the importance of planning for the unpredicted. A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is the best place to start because it ensures you’ll have access to everything you need to continue to conduct business in the event that something happens. But where do you begin, and what do you need to do to get started? We’ve pulled together four necessary steps to disaster recovery. Read on to learn more.

Protecting your business starts with a plan. We’ll help you develop yours – contact us today.

Plan for Any Scenario

Disasters come in many forms – human error, fires, floods, hacking attacks and more. Each one is very different. The impact of a deleted file versus a cybercriminal holding your data for ransom are two totally different outcomes – but you have to be prepared for both. Your disaster recovery plan should cover every possible scenario that could impact your business along with the best way to react and respond to those disasters.

Get the Right People in the Right Place

Who will your employees look to when a disaster happens? Who will jump into action to implement your DRP? Who will communicate with your customers and investors of the situation? These are the people who will ensure your DRP goes off without a hitch and ensure execution of every aspect of the plan. Once you know who these people are, make sure to include them in creating the DRP. This way, they’ll fully understand their role and what’s expected of them during what can be a very hectic time.

Test and Update Your Plan Regularly

Testing your disaster recovery plan doesn’t only give you confidence that it’ll work, but it will also help you find any weaknesses or gaps that could potentially pop up. With this information, you’ll be able to equip your business – and your people – better if a disaster impacts your business. Plus, understanding all possibilities and knowing you have your bases covered for any scenario will give you the ultimate peace of mind.

Keep Your Plan Safe and Available

Your disaster recovery plan isn’t just something your business talks about – it should be formally documented. We highly recommend having a physical copy in case something ever happens to your servers, and you’re unable to access the document. Also, the last thing you would want is having your people search around the business premises for your plan, so make sure you keep a copy in a safe but accessible location.

A thorough disaster recovery plan covers all aspects of your business, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, please know that we’re here to help. We can help you with everything from conception to deployment and monitoring to stepping into action when an unexpected event occurs. Contact us – we’re here for you.

Four Data Backup Strategies to Use During the COVID-19 Crisis

In times like these, you have enough to worry about in the real world—so it’s understandable if you have not been giving much thought to whether your organization has the proper data backup protocols in place. Businesses need to continually refine the ways they store and back up data, and now is the perfect time to do it. With daily operations interrupted in a way we’ve never seen before, you need to know how to keep your organization’s data and devices protected while your workforce goes remote. Even if you think your company has a solid plan, reviewing some simple data backup essentials now can help you avoid losing critical information both during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

Don’t face the task of backing up your data alone. Contact us today.

1. Start Backing Up Everything Now

These days, it can feel like you’ve lost out on a lot of things you usually enjoy, from chatting with colleagues at work to seeing friends on the weekends. When you do have free time, the last thing you want to do is sit around thinking about how to back up critical business files. Yet there’s no worse feeling than realizing—too late, of course—that a backup system you thought you had in place had failed and was not storing and updating your valuable data remotely after all. The only thing more terrible than losing data right now would be losing the time it takes to retrieve it. Restoring your good reputation could be even harder. Why risk it? Back up everything to the cloud now if you haven’t already.

2. Review Your Default Automatic Backup Settings

If we were to have a quick chat about your automatic data backup settings, would you be able to talk specifics without much hesitation—or would you be feeling a little embarrassed that you hadn’t conducted a more thorough investigation and set things up properly? Fortunately, adjusting the default settings for off-site and remote data backups is an easy way to guarantee that your automatic data backups are running in the background as often as they need to be.

3. Protect Sensitive Information

In addition to worrying about the health of your employees and their financial well-being, you’re now tasked with an additional set of concerns when it comes to managing a remote workforce: Keeping data secure even in the event of a loss or theft. With so many people working from home, backing up your data the right way has never been more important. It’s not enough to make sure everything is stored off-site or in the cloud. It’s time to make sure you’re working with state-of-the-art encryption programs that will keep your sensitive information safe from prying eyes.

4. Prevent Data Loss in the Future

Being able to operate virtually is vital during times like these, but when your employees are working from home, they might start using additional devices to get things done. The internet might go down while they are in the middle of a big project—and if it has been long enough since everything was saved, some critical work could be lost, resulting in significant downtime for your business. Anticipate future problems by upgrading your data backup strategies now.

Conducting business during COVID-19 presents unique challenges that you and your colleagues might not have anticipated. If you have doubts about the security and reliability of your current data backup system, it’s time to bring in the experts. As a managed services provider, we can help you back up your data and prevent it from being lost—or even worse—from getting into the wrong hands. Contact us today to learn about our essential data backup solutions.

4 Lessons Learned from COVID-19

COVID-19 has shaken up our normal and has quickly changed the business landscape. While this year has been filled with a lot of feelings of uncertainty, people are learning how to adapt and shift what a “normal” workday looks like. If you’re still struggling with the day-to-day aspects of business, we suggest you read on to learn four lessons companies can take away from the COVID-19 situation.

 

Keep a People-First Mentality

During times like a pandemic, you need to remember that at the end of the day, people matter the most. This not only includes your customers, but also the people who work with you – and for you – every day. Think about what you can do to ensure their safety. In terms of COVID-19, many businesses are transitioning their workforce to working from home. But to do so, you need to make sure your staff has the resources they need to continue to function without leaving security gaps. You need to make sure you have the tools, capacity and security measures in place to support your entire workforce.

 

Decide Who is in Charge of What

A business continuity plan gives you the ability to jump into action immediately. But to do so, you need to have the right people in the right places. You’re essentially building a team of people who has a plan, communicates with the employees and customers, makes sure everyone has what they need, and puts the rest of the staff at ease knowing that everything is under control. It’s essential to have a least one point person with support by senior leadership to help calm any uncertainties and misinformation. Also, keep in mind the necessary need for backup personnel if there are ever any changes.

 

Maintain a Clear Line of Communication

A crisis impacts everyone, and they’re all affected in different ways. You need to get your message in front of your team before they turn to panic. People are comforted by clear communication with consistent updates – this includes communicating with your staff and your customers. Let them know you have everything under control, what you’re doing and what they can expect in the upcoming days and weeks.

 

Identify Key Business Operations

The goal of a business continuity plan is to keep your business going. So you need to identify exactly what “it” is, and make sure “it” is working. By assessing your business process, you’ll be able to pinpoint critical business operations, understand your vulnerabilities and have a full understanding of how long your business can be offline before it drastically impacts your bottom line. A good place to start is to identify your high-value assets, functions and customer relationships.

A bonus lesson we’ve learned from COVID-19 is that you simply can’t do it alone. The silver lining of this pandemic is that we saw people coming together to support each other and lend a helping hand whenever they can. As an expert managed services provider, we’d like to lend our helping hand to you, too. Contact us today to learn about our business continuity services and find peace of mind.

Protect Yourself with Digital Risk Management

We know that you have a lot on your plate. From managing employees to keeping up with the latest trends, worrying about hackers infiltrating your business may be the last thing on your mind. According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is 3.9 million dollars, so although it may not seem like a top priority, having a plan in place can make a difference in the survival of your business.

Stop worrying and start growing.

 

What Is Digital Risk Management?

Digital risk management is the combination of running your organization while having a constant eye on the current and future risks your business might face. Digital risk management is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Working with us means having someone in your corner to help you decide how much you can spend, what risks are relevant to your business and what compliance regulations you should consider. With the right support from your MSP, you’ll guarantee the best protection for your business.

What Are Some Threats You May Face?

Between disgruntled former employees, ransomware threats, cybercriminals and general human error, it can seem like the deck is stacked against you. With the constant evolution of technology, comes the continuous evolution of cyberattacks, but don’t start panicking just yet. By implementing early warning strategies, trained personnel and an attack-ready plan can take the weight off you and your partner’s shoulders.

Is the Protection Worth the Cost?

We understand that making a profit is at the top of your priorities. But how will you bring in a profit if your infrastructure has been infiltrated? How will your partners trust you if all their information has been hacked because your employee opened a phishing email? How much money can you afford to pay in a ransomware attack? Finding a digital risk management plan that doesn’t break the bank is not inconceivable. An MSP will work with you to make sure that your plan fits your unique business, what will work best considering your price point and what each alteration to the plan will mean to your company.

Never Fear, Here’s How We Can Help.

As the owner of a company, running and protecting your business can seem like a daunting task. Let us share your load. By hiring an MSP to tackle your digital risk management, you can worry less about uniformed employees opening spam emails and more on bringing in a profit. There is no time like the present, so contact us today to get started on creating your worry-free plan.

You’re Facing a Cyberattack; Now What?

In today’s digital business world, hackers are after your most precious asset—your data. Companies, especially small businesses, need to stay vigilant to keep their network secure. According to MSNBC, small businesses make up 43 percent of online attack victims, and only 14 percent are prepared to defend themselves from these threats. It’s a big job, but with the help of a business partner—like your technology solutions provider (TSP)—you can ride the waves of a cyberattack and recover faster.

Partnering with a TSP provides someone to guide you during a crisis. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways that you and your TSP can minimize the damage following a cyberattack.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to protect your business.

 

1. Get the Word Out

Ransomware and other cyber threats can spread quickly, so don’t waste any time letting stakeholders know you’ve been attacked. Tell your employees about the attack and share the steps they need to take.

Also, keep in mind that you may need to tell the authorities and customers with compromised data about the attack. Most states and U.S. territories have laws in place that require companies to send data breach notifications to consumers when their personally identifiable information may be compromised. The worst thing you can do is try to sweep your data breach under the rug because this may cause irreparable harm to your company’s reputation.

2. Isolate the Infection

As you’re letting the key stakeholders within your company know about the attack, you should move quickly to stop the spread of the breach. To do this, you need to remove all infected computers from the network as soon the compromised machines are identified. However, before you start unplugging computers, please consult your IT specialist.

3. Determine What Was Stolen

This step is sometimes overlooked in the commotion of the initial news of the attack, but it’s a critical step. Knowing what was stolen will determine the priority of which things need to get fixed first and what steps need to be taken. The process for handling a hack may be different for compromised emails versus compromised bank account numbers.

4. Invest in New Security Solutions

Once the attack has ended and the damage contained, it’s time to start rebuilding. To do this, you’ll need to replace the failed security software and hardware with a new, up-to-date solution. In addition to software, make sure to deploy new protocols and training to strengthen your company’s security.

How We Can Help

Hopefully, you’ll never have to experience an attack that requires you to do the steps listed above. One of the easiest ways to prevent the fallout of an attack is by improving your cybersecurity before an incident occurs. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Let us protect your business. Our team of cybersecurity professionals can run vulnerability audits and fortify any weaknesses in your network before hackers can exploit them.

Protect Your Most Valuable Asset

Partner up with us, and we’ll secure your network from the unknown. Let’s Connect

4 Tips for Protecting Your Business from Ransomware Attacks

In today’s always-online business world, your company’s most precious resource is data. Your internal data and the personal information of your customers are vital components to the prosperity of your business. Unfortunately, cybercriminals also know this.

Today’s criminals aren’t breaking in through the window to steal your data. They’re using malicious software, known as malware, to hack into your network. Once inside, they’ll lock down your data and demand you pay a large sum of money to get it back. This cybercrime is known as ransomware, and it’s on the rise.

According to Malwarebytes, the number of ransomware variations has grown more than 700 percent since 2016. These variations make ransomware a difficult threat to prevent. However, there are ways you can avoid a cyberattack.

Cybersecurity Tips to Do Immediately
There are simple things you can do to make it harder for hackers to break into your network. Below are four ways to keep your IT safe from a digital disaster:

  1. Conduct Regular Vulnerability Scans – By conducting IT risk assessments periodically throughout the year, your business can identify any holes or weaknesses in your security before hackers can breakin.  
  2. Install the Latest Updates – It can be easy to hit the “ignore” button on your computer’s latest software update, but you need to be clicking “download.” Hackers exploit weaknesses in the security of outdated programs, leaving you open to attacks.
  3. Restrict User Access – Ask yourself, does every employee need access to your entire network? If the answer is “no,” then limit how much your employees can access. This practice will help your overall network security.  
  4. Educate Your Staff – All it takes is for an employee to click the wrong link or download a bad attachment for a cybercriminal to gain access to your network. Prevent hackers from getting in by teaching your team the tricks criminals use. 

How We Can Help 

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, it’s easy to put off maintaining your IT when you have so many other things to worry about. However, that kind of thinking is what hackers expect. Don’t leave the digital backdoor open for a data disaster; let us protect your data for you. Our team of technology experts can fortify your security, run vulnerability audits and teach your staff cybersecurity best practices. You don’t have to fight the threat of ransomware alone. Contact us today to find out how we can help protect your business. 

6 Tech Trends to Watch in 2020

There’s only one constant in the world of technology — change.   

Last year, we saw the cloud reign supreme as businesses big and small migrated to it to power their technology needs. So, what can you expect heading into the new year? Stay current by keeping an eye on these six emerging tech trends in 2020.  

  1. Hacking Tactics Will Escalate 

The IT industry has spent a lot of time and resources on improving data security over the last couple of years, but that doesn’t mean progress can stop. Data will continue to be a precious commodity going forward, and hackers will keep upping their game to beat current security standards. Ransomware is a popular tool for cybercriminals. According to Statista, there were 204 million ransomware attacks around the world in 2018. That’s why it’s essential to stay current with the latest security offerings.   

  1. AI as a Service   

Companies are looking for ways to use artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer experience and business functions. One way to bring AI to the everyman is to combine it with the software as a service model. Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other major players already offer machine-learning solutions, so it’s not much of a stretch to expect that AI tasks will be provided on a subscription model soon.   

  1. 5G Data Networks

The race to 5G has popped in and out of the news over the last year, so we will start to see more implementations in 2020. 5G will offer faster internet speeds over cell phone networks, increasing connectivity and support. Plus, this may make it easier to operate drones and autonomous vehicles.   

  1. BYOD Security Improvements

As mobile devices continue offering comparable features to their desktop computer counterparts, the expectation to do everything from one device will rise. That means employees’ smartphones will need to have access to key company functions and have the security to protect business data. Expect to see more robust security features coming to the bring your own device (BYOD) model in 2020.   

  1. XaaS (Everything as a Service)

With the proliferation of the cloud, the tech industry is moving closer and closer to going all-in on the subscription model. Hewett Packard announced it plans to offer its entire portfolio as a service by 2022. Next year may be the start of XaaS (everything as a service) becoming the new normal in the tech industry.   

  1. Sunsetting Popular Windows Products

Some of Microsoft’s older products are about to ride off into the sunset. Word spread throughout the year that the tech giant is planning to end support for many popular products starting in January 2020. Some of the most notable products and services include Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008. If you or someone you know is still using programs approaching end of life, then they’re opening themselves up to threats. These services will no longer receive updates, and hackers can exploit weaknesses. You can find the full list of products that will be phased out in 2020. 

How We Can Help  

As technology trends come and go, one thing is for sure — we’ll be ready for whatever comes. Our experienced staff of IT professionals is up to date on emerging tech so they can find ways to make your business more productive and efficient. Don’t lag behind the times. Contact us today, so your business is ready for the future. 

Give Your Business the Gift of Cybersecurity

Give Your Business the Gift of Cybersecurity 

The holiday season is approaching, so now is the time to start getting your shopping list ready. While it’s important to show your appreciation to your loved ones, it’s also a great time to think about what you can get your business.  

You can always treat your business by upgrading to the latest tech, but maybe you can get something a little more valuable – peace of mindTo do that, you need to think about how you can improve your cybersecurity. 

Why Cybersecurity?  

The world is changing. As more of your core business functions are done with technology, this means cybersecurity should be top of mind when thinking about ways to protect your business. Cyberattacks cost U.S. businesses $654 billion in 2018, according to Tech.Co, and big corporations are not the only ones who need to be concerned. Small businesses are also prime targets for hackers, making up 43 percent of breach victims, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Instigations Report.  

What Threats Are Out There?  

Viruses and malicious software come in many forms, so you must stay vigilant to keep your business safe. In recent years, phishing attacks and ransomware have emerged as prominent tools hackers use against companies. Phishing attacks occur when an unsuspecting victim clicks a link or opens a suspicious attachment containing malware. Once in your system, hackers will install ransomware onto your server, blocking access to your data in exchange for money. According to Small Business Trends, one in 99 emails is a phishing attack. Even if you pay, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back as fewer than a quarter of ransomware victims get their data back, according to the Hartford Courant. 

What Can I Get for My Business?  

Now that you know what you’re up against, what kind of gifts should you get for your businessHere are some ways you can protect yourself from cyber threats:    

Employee Security Training – One of the easiest ways to prevent a phishing attack is to recognize the signs. Invest in employee cybersecurity training so your staff can browse the web and answer emails with confidence.   

Two-Factor Authentication – It’s a lot harder for a hacker to have access to both a business password and your employee’s smartphone. Two-factor authentication sends a security code to the correct employee’s phone when they try entering into a secure program.  

Cloud Technology  Cloud services are gaining popularity with businesses of all sizes because of its flexibility. If a company laptop or smartphone is stolen, you’ll still have access to your data because it’s stored in the cloud.  

How Can We Help 

This holiday season, give yourself the greatest gift of all – protection against the unknown. Don’t go into the new year with fears about the quality of your network security. Contact us today, so our team of cybersecurity experts can run a security assessment and find the best way to protect your business.