Technology is the leading force that helps companies streamline their process, improve productivity and keep a competitive edge. But, what happens when you have hiccups or, even worse, a major outage? Your two main options are the break-fix approach and managed services. Understanding what happens when an issue occurs under each scenario will help you determine what is best for you, your team and your customers.
Continue reading “The Advantages of Managed Services vs. Break-Fix”
Organizations of all sizes rely on technology to operate efficiently and effectively, and as the reliance on IT grows, so does the need for extra support. But, your time and energy should be focused on growth and innovation, not worrying about whether your IT systems are working like they should. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the day-to-day responsibilities of managing your IT infrastructure, that’s why many businesses are choosing to work with a managed service provider.
Money—saving it and making it—drives almost every business decision regardless of your organization size. Cutting back on IT makes room in your budget, but ultimately results in more IT issues and subpar performance.
The turn of a new year gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past and find opportunities for improvement. While many New Year’s resolutions are about bettering ourselves, we often forget that there’s also room for improvement at the office.
According to a Nationwide Insurance survey, more than 75 percent of small businesses don’t have a disaster plan simply because it’s not a top priority. However, since January 2013, Nationwide has processed more than $417 million in catastrophe claims related to small businesses. Obviously, something needs to change so businesses don’t go unprotected.
It’s not so scary if you know what steps to take. If you want to backup your data and services and be able to recover them quickly, here are a few key things you need to know:
- Where is your data stored and what services are involved?
- Which data and services absolutely must be online first?
- How long can you go without critical and noncritical data and services?
- How much does downtime really cost you?
Once you have answers to all of these questions, you’ll be able to determine how to protect and restore all your data and services and do so in the most efficient, priority-first order.
One big bonus of going through this process is it gives you the opportunity to dust the cobwebs off idle or underutilized resources, such as servers, and put them to better use. Asking these questions and evaluating things from the perspective of backup and disaster recovery will help you consolidate servers, prioritize and organize data and applications, and ultimately streamline your process and procedures.
If you’re still a bit squeamish when it comes to improving your disaster recovery situation, you don’t have to go it alone. Now through October 31, 2016, get a free, no-obligation disaster recovery assessment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you gain back complete confidence, boost efficiency and ensure business continuity.
Cutting costs is the primary goal for most business owners. They’ll scour their books looking for areas that offer a little wiggle room and decide what’s important and what’s a luxury. The reality is, due to lack of time or expertise, nearly every business has hidden savings within their IT. Here are four major steps you can take to make better technology decisions that improve your bottom line.
#1 – Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Network
Proactively monitoring a network’s device data lets you identify abnormal activity in real time, giving you the ability to act before small hiccups snowball into large problems. Plus, it reduces downtime and investigation time, saving you time and money when problems do occur.
#2 – Look at Downtime Differently
You can spend thousands to protect your company, but no form of technology is completely fool-proof. All businesses experience some form of downtime. The reason companies pay so much for networks isn’t to ensure they’re up 99.9 percent of the time but to make sure the .1 percent they’re not available doesn’t bring your operation to a screeching halt. What does your businesses continuity plan look like? How long can you be down? How will you access your data if your servers crash? Will your business survive? Preventing downtime is important but having an action plan that kicks in when downtime takes place is imperative.
#3 – Prepare for Growth
The biggest costs that often get overlooked are in predicting the pace of business and change. Growth is the reason you’re in business, but it’s tough to anticipate costs when it happens fast. You need scalable, flexible technology solutions. Look to the cloud to meet your currents needs with the ability to scale up or down while also removing the costs of increasing physical hardware and software licensing.
#4 – Ask Questions First
Advice from a professional is the best way to ensure you don’t overspend on IT. Too many businesses jump into making hasty, uniformed decisions about technology investments and network infrastructures and end up paying too much. By talking with a managed service provider like us, you get all the facts and understand the cost associated with each potential decision.
Technology is essential for your success, but you have a lot of balls in the air, so it often takes a backseat or doesn’t get the right focus—leading to costly decisions. Now’s the perfect time to get some expert advice. Through September 30, get a free, no-obligation IT cost reduction assessment. We’ll take a look at your current situation, make recommendations on where you can save and offer affordable options for the future. If we can’t save you money, we’ll give you $100. We’re here to help.
Ransomware has now propagated to Office 365. Over the past couple of weeks, a virus known as Cerber effectively compromised an estimate 57% of Office 365 users. The virus encrypted files on the end user’s workstation using an unbreakable algorithm and then held the decryption key ransom for at least $500. This has been seen frequently recently, but this is the first known time that the infection has compromised such a large percentage of users on such a common platform such as Office 365.
If you want assistance assessing your security profile, contact us immediately.
The Department of Homeland Security recommends using an alternative browser (such as Chrome or Firefox) until a patch is released to combat the recently announced Internet Explorer vulnerability – CVE-2014-1776. The exploit requires that Adobe Flash is installed, so systems without Adobe installed should be safe. The risk of an attack enables remote code execution such as the installation of malware just by visiting malicious websites. The vulnerability gives the exploit the same level of permissions as the currently logged in user. That means if your users are administrators on their machines, the sky is the limit for the impact.
If you want assistance assessing your security profile, contact us immediately.
While it has been coming for quite some time, the world seems to be in denial of the fact that Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft. While that really translates into no technical support for the operating system, the more impactful meaning is security patches for the operating system will no longer be developed and released. Today’s threat landscape is growing larger by the day so keeping up with the latest vulnerabilities is vital. So, what’s the answer? Implement a more robust security platform? Sure, that will help, but really it’s time for an upgrade. Whether you are a Windows 8 lover or a Windows 7 traditionalist, the time has come to upgrade the end point. Ask your GEM relationship manager how we can help you develop a strategy around this upgrade/migration, and do it YESTERDAY!
On another note, one of the scariest vulnerabilities to hit the web (aka Heartbleed) was announced earlier this week. Simply put, this will allow attackers to unencrypt secured traffic which can lead to a litany of compromised data – passwords, credit card numbers, and social security numbers! This one won’t make a heart bleed; it’ll make a HEAD ACHE! If you are concerned about your exposure to attack, ask GEM for assistance in mitigating this risk, and again – DO IT YESTERDAY! (For specific details you can visit www.heartbleed.com)
Security threats have substantially evolved since the inception of the perimeter firewall. Yet, the same approach to filtering out these security threats – stateful inspection – is used today. This legacy approach of allowing or denying traffic based on port based, IP address filtering does not take into consideration the complexities of today’s network traffic.
What if you want to allow Facebook, but not Facebook instant messaging?
What if you want to enable internet email, but prevent documents from being attached?
Wouldn’t you like to prevent users from using bit torrent applications?
Instead of the yes/no approach that firewalls have utilized for many years, Palo Alto Networks firewalls take a more intelligent approach to deciding which traffic should be allowed on your corporate network. Today’s network threats have become increasing intelligent, shouldn’t your firewall be more intelligent too? Call us today to set an appointment for a (limited time) free evaluation and firewall vulnerability report.