3 Ways to Leverage Your Technology in 2021

Every investment you make for your company should be made with confidence. While it’s hard to be sure which new technologies have staying power over others, one thing remains certain – your employees will always need to communicate and collaborate. Whether your team is working from the office or remotely, it’s vital for their workflow to occur unimpeded. With the right solutions, your business can efficiently operate without breaking the bank.

Scalable communications and collaboration solutions don’t come cheap when you handle them alone. But with a technology partner working by your side, you can get the tech you need for less. Learn about the technologies available and see how a managed services provider (MSP) can help you maximize your investment.

1) Understand the Importance of Modern Tech

Have your employees switched to remote work? Are they back in the office? Even if you plan on operating a hybrid of remote and in-office staff, you need to ensure their workflow remains uninterrupted. But there is a lot to consider when choosing the right tech. Most business leaders can boil their concerns down to three primary questions:

  • How can I best keep my data secure when it’s accessed remotely?
  • Will my staff be able to share files and data seamlessly?
  • What is the best solution to keep my team in contact from all locations?

Unless you spend your day-to-day in the IT communications world, it can be challenging to know what you need. However, there are simple answers to these common questions.

  • For the first question, cybersecurity software, like firewalls, two-step authentication and a VPN can keep your data protected from all access points.
  • For the second question, Microsoft’s 365 suite contains a useful cloud file-sharing and storage application called SharePoint.
  • For the third question, a VoIP solution that enables your team to call via video and voice over your internet connection.

Having the solutions you need to deal with the unexpected gives you more time and resources to grow your business.

2) Use IT Solutions for Different Situations

There are many reasons your staff may need to work from locations outside of your office. But they shouldn’t have to suffer through extensive downtime when they could be working. As long as they have the technology they need, it’s no longer a worry.

The Business Journals conducted a study about the primary causes of downtime. Topping their list were hardware failures, power or internet outages and most importantly, cybersecurity threats. With occurrences like this looming, it’s no wonder the fear of downtime is so persistent. But fortunately, the technologies you invested in for your remote work can help keep your staff working. Suppose your employees are displaced, or an internal system goes down. In that case, your remote technologies can double as backup systems for the day or for as long as you need until you can return your primary systems to their everyday operations as long as you need until you can return your primary systems to their everyday operations.

Don’t allow a cyberattack, natural disaster or other unforeseen situation to stop your company. Leverage your communications and collaboration tech investment to the fullest.

3) Leverage the Power of CaaS

The middle of a network or systems failure or natural disaster is the worst time to consider your technology. But getting a head start and deploying it yourself can be time-consuming as well. Partner with an MSP and see how their Communications as a Service (CaaS) can make a positive difference.

Your MSP partner will take the time to understand your communications and collaboration goals. They will then plan, deploy and maintain your solutions to your communications concerns from the very start so that you can stay focused on your daily tasks.

We’re Your Solution Provider

Once you get the communications and collaboration technology you need, you can stay focused on growing your business. As your technology partner, we want you to have confidence in your ability to communicate and collaborate in any location with reliability, efficiency and security. Our expertise can get you there with the value you need.

Let’s build your solution now.


The Dos and Don’ts of Communications

Do you have staff working remotely for the foreseeable future? It would be nice to ensure your entire team could collaborate efficiently, no matter how far apart they work. Don't you wish there was an easy way to make it work? The secret is excellent communication solutions provided by a technology partner.

With an entire technical team supporting your employees, you will enjoy boosted collaborative efforts and productivity for a fraction of the cost of multiple, ununified solutions. Discover what you need to achieve tremendous success in the modern business world as we discuss the dos and don'ts of communications and collaboration.

1. Examine Your Current Situation

It's very easy for businesses like yours to remain comfortable in maintained business rather than pursuing growth amid the current uncertainty. But if you aren't making an effort to get ahead in your channel, any competitor making those preparations will surely outpace you. This brings us to our first point:

  • Don’t ignore the uncertainty that next year could bring.
  • Do invest in a solution that will improve your company in any circumstance.

You want to be ready to hit the ground running once the market stabilizes. That means ensuring your team has everything they need to work together unimpeded. Give your employees the collaboration tools they need for every part of their workday.

2. Discover What’s Available

The key to a successful collaboration and communication solution is unification. With so many technologies out there, the time and money you could spend making them work together aren’t worth it when you can invest in a unified solution. Our next point:

  • Don’t allow your internal collaboration to fall apart.
  • Do hold it together in a unified solution.

With powerful solutions like Microsoft Office, you can ensure an industry-leading technology backs your employees' success. Microsoft Office's suite of tools allows for communication and collaboration to flow freely between direct messages, video conferences, Word documents stored in the cloud and more.

Don’t ignore your employees’ frustrations caused by remote work hurdles. With the right technologies, you can provide them with the communication solutions they need.

3. Bring It All Together

Moving your organization onto a centralized application like Microsoft Office on your own is a daunting task – especially when you have a business to run. With a trusted technology partner on your side, it’s not a problem. This brings us to our final point:

  • Don’t try and solve all these issues yourself.
  • Do use Communications as a Service (CaaS).

Allow a professional technology team to take on your technology needs, so your day-to-day operations continue seamlessly. This IT ally takes on the data migration and has your organization running on a reliable system with little to no downtime. Let a unified solution be the reason you succeed well into the future.

We’re Your Solution Provider

Once you get the technology you need, any worry that you can’t complete your daily tasks fades away. As your technology partner, we want you to have confidence in your ability to communicate and collaborate in any location with reliability, efficiency and security. Don’t start next year worrying about what may come next. Let us support your efforts with our expertise.

 

Do get in touch with us to get started today.

 


Enhancing Team Collaboration During the Pandemic

COVID-19 has presented us all with a lot of challenges. With public health guidelines suddenly in place in March 2020, most businesses were forced to transition to remote work either on a full-time or part-time basis. In fact, according to Gartner, 88 percent of organizations worldwide moved to remote capabilities after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

Naturally, a drastic change to your work environment can have a domino effect that impacts operational efficiency and company culture. With the 2020 pandemic, businesses have had to adapt quickly to maximize their team collaboration and improve productivity. One of the best ways to get the most out of your remote workforce is to leverage technology. Let’s discuss the most popular collaborative tools of 2020. With the right technologies, businesses can stay closely connected and collaborate from anywhere.

The Power of the Cloud

Although the cloud is widely popular for its convenient storage capabilities, cloud-based technology can enhance collaboration. This technology also provides convenient, secure access to information which allows teams to organize projects quickly in a centralized location. With a shared virtual workspace, teams can easily connect, brainstorm ideas, share information and work simultaneously on projects together.

Productivity Tools in Microsoft 365

Microsoft Office has come a long way since the animated paperclip, Clippy. Office 365 can be coupled with the cloud to allow remote teams to coordinate calendars, conduct video conferences, chat in group messaging forums, and collaborate in real time on projects. This shared workspace enables teams to work smarter and more efficiently on projects than ever before.

Creating Engagement in Zoom

Zoom became a household name overnight in March 2020. The video conference software allows teams to connect through live video chat, conduct instant virtual meetings, screen-share documents, record conferences, instant chat in meeting rooms and engage in personalized conversations as if they were in the same place. Video conference software bolsters collaboration and improves the work culture.

Gaining a Team Communication System

Team communication applications like Slack or Microsoft Teams provide the workforce with a platform to communicate, organize projects and streamline collaborative efforts. Employees can communicate clearly in group chat sessions, share files instantly and discover old resources in a searchable history feature. Team communication applications make it easier to connect and collaborate from anywhere.

With the right technology, your workforce can maximize their productivity because they are working as a cohesive unit in an environment that fosters collaboration and teamwork. If you’re interested in improving your IT infrastructure and establishing an effective system for your remote workforce, we can help.

Get valuable solutions that enhance your remote operations. Contact us today.


Keep Compliance in Check With Tech

Creating a compliance checklist doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it could be one of the most important things you do this week. Get started today with a self-assessment, and then map out a plan. By the end of the week, you can relax knowing you’re set up for success and know how to strengthen your IT infrastructure and prepare you for a compliance audit.

According to Gartner, 64% of “surveyed leaders say managing risks across fragmented jurisdictions and regulations will be important or extremely important in 2020 — yet only 15% feel highly prepared to do so.”

To avoid the steep consequences of noncompliance, small to medium-sized businesses, and enterprises alike, are doing everything they can to be proactive. This involves being honest with yourself about the state of your network’s cybersecurity and the measures you have in place to safeguard your data.

Are you ready to comply with HIPAA, PCI, SOX and other regulations that govern your industry? To protect the privacy of your patients and customers, you need to make sure sensitive data, including health records and financial information, doesn’t fall into the hands of hackers. Thinking through a few key steps can help you close gaps in security, avoid cybercrimes and stay on top of the latest compliance regulations.

Cross compliance off the list. Contact us today.

A Compliance Checklist:

  • Do Your Homework – Ignorance is no excuse. Research what is expected of you and investigate how other businesses use technology to stay on top of government regulations. You may find out that your own IT infrastructure is outdated.
  • Educate Your Workforce – Everyone knows that data breaches are often the result of human error. Smart executives solicit the help of IT professionals for basic and advanced security awareness training to prevent personal identifying information from getting out.
  • Improve Your IT Infrastructure – Cybersecurity is everything, and with countless online data transfers and digital financial transactions happening every day, it’s hard to keep up. Maintaining compliance is easier with protected hardware and updated software.
  • Secure Your Mobile Devices – There’s a reason so many small to medium-sized businesses are investing in mobile device management services. That’s because, in a bring-your-own-device culture, remote access to networks opens up dangerous avenues for hackers.
  • Be Proactive and Alert – Preventing data breaches is always a priority, but when lapses in cybersecurity lead to noncompliance, you’re on the hook for costly fines that could put you out of business. Get compliance in order now to avert a potential crisis later.
  • Undergo a Compliance Evaluation – Once you’ve taken stock of where your organization stands in terms of regulations, it’s time to bring in a team of IT experts for a compliance consultation. Take advantage of a free assessment to start preparing.

This checklist should help get the juices flowing and prompt you to make your own compliance to-do list. With the right IT infrastructure in place, you can give your patients and customers the protection they deserve while enjoying the peace of mind that comes with having done everything you can to comply.

Need Help With Compliance?

Between managing employees, supporting a remote workforce and handling IT concerns, today’s business leaders have a lot on their plates. When your main goal is to make sure everything runs smoothly while generating a profit, the last thing you want to worry about is compliance and technology — let alone the constantly-changing regulations associated with HIPAA, PCI, SOX and other governing boards. The best executives recognize when the time is right to delegate some of the heavy lifting to IT pros who understand your industry and know how to put tech to work for you. Simplify compliance, prevent costly data breaches and more by bringing in a team of experts. Contact us today for a customized compliance IT solution.


Combat Common Compliance Obstacles

For many business owners, everything about compliance can seem intimidating at first. To further complicate things, federal and international regulations are always being altered or added, leaving many organizations left with the task of keeping up. The alternative, however, could leave you facing steep fees and other consequences you shouldn’t have to worry about on top of everything else.

With a little foresight and planning, your business can anticipate potential compliance roadblocks and figure out a way to steer clear of them. By learning about common problems that organizations face regarding HIPPA, PCI, SOX and other regulations, your business will be in a better position to identify and avert them going forward.

Conquer Compliance Concerns for Good.

Consider the Top Five Compliance Challenges:

  1. Protecting Sensitive Data: Patients and customers are counting on you to keep their private information safe from prying eyes and hackers. Federal regulations are designed to keep records where they belong and prevent cybercrimes and data breaches from wreaking havoc on businesses and individuals. The key to staying compliant is thinking about everything that could go wrong beforehand, which is easier to do with a solid IT infrastructure.
  2. Keeping Software Up to Date: It may seem like most software is being automatically updated these days. The truth is that you don’t have to go too many days without restarting your machines to experience gaps in protection. In many cases, once an alert has been issued, it’s up to users to take action and install the patch or update themselves. Educating your workforce about the importance of alerts is another way to ensure your business is adhering to regulations.
  3. Handling Mobile Devices: Since the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) lifestyle is here to stay, it’s clear that maintaining compliance is going to involve more than just securing the technology in your brick-and-mortar buildings and the communication that comes in and out of it. In addition to protecting your work-issued phones, laptops, tablets and other work devices, it is critical that you manage every mobile device that accesses your network remotely. Failing to do so could lead to costly consequences for businesses that are already struggling to maintain compliance.
  4. Managing Electronic Data Interchanges (EDI): As more business is conducted online and more organizations migrate to the cloud, it is becoming necessary for organizations to take action to protect customer information transferred between computers. Whether you’re transmitting healthcare records or sensitive financial data, protecting electronic data is the only way to stay compliant. EDI compliance is best managed by professionals and software that can help you avoid receiving hefty fines, losing valuable customers and even suffering from potential legal action.
  5. New Technology: Because everything is connected through the Internet of things (IoT), your business has to find ways to accommodate — and then secure — new, interconnected technology and the data that is generated along with it. Each technical innovation has the potential to introduce new roadblocks to compliance, so don’t forget about IoT security standards when planning for the future.

While it is nearly impossible to anticipate every compliance obstacle that may come your way, you should be prepared to handle as many of them as possible. Being proactive now means that you’ll enjoy peace of mind later.

Connect with Experts

When you are running a company, staying compliant is always on your mind. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Compliance is easier when you are partnered with a reliable MSP who can shoulder some of your most daunting tasks while you focus on growing your business. Avoid noncompliance by bringing in professionals who know the ins-and-outs of your industry and can deliver the compliance IT services you need. Contact us today to position yourself for stability and success.


The Top Three Reasons You Need Compliance as a Service

Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is an easy way to ensure you’re adhering to the government’s constantly changing regulations without all the fuss of handling things in-house. Staying HIPAA and PCI compliant is one of the most important things you can do to protect your business from violating these non-negotiable rules and suffering the related consequences—but it isn’t easy. It’s going to require more than just an encrypted password and a 2-step authentication to get the job done.

Getting CaaS will relieve you of this burden by providing a managed service that monitors everything to keep things stored safely so you can stay focused on your primary business goals. With a team of IT experts on your side, you won’t have to worry as much about whether your business is maintaining compliance. You’ll know it is.

Contact us to discover how CaaS helps organizations like yours stay compliant without all of the headaches.

“Without the support of a CaaS provider, many businesses spend excessive time researching regulation changes, managing data security and preparing documentation for regulatory bodies. CaaS can help keep this work to a minimum.” -Consolidated Technologies, Inc.

 

What Are the Top Three Reasons to Get Compliance as a Service?

1. Save Valuable Time: Keeping up with the latest regulations can really eat into your day. With CaaS, you are outsourcing not only a lot of time-consuming work, but also all of the in-house headaches that come with staying compliant. Spend less time learning about how regulations are shifting and devote more of your energy to delivering the excellent customer service that your clients and patients have come to expect from your brand.

2. Protect Sensitive Information: Improve cybersecurity and minimize digital risk with CaaS. IT will reduce your legitimate concerns about staying compliant and maintaining data privacy. CaaS allows industry experts to help you avoid data breaches through regular IT audits that identify vulnerabilities and make the appropriate corrections before it’s too late. Plus, careful monitoring means that providers can quickly address any issues that may arise.

3. Enjoy Automatic Updates: Everyone knows that staying current with such a dynamic federal program is one of the trickiest parts of maintaining compliance, which is another reason why CaaS is such a valuable service. With automatic updates, you’ll be able to rest assured that everything is up to date regarding the latest changes to industry-specific regulations.

Now that you understand the importance of Compliance as a Service, it’s time to get down to business and start taking advantage of its benefits. Securing CaaS is one of the best ways to simplify everything related to compliance, and we’re here to help you get started today. Our team of experts is on standby to alleviate compliance-related stress and address any of your concerns about ever-changing regulations. Contact us today to learn more.


Don’t Wait Until After an Attack to Protect Yourself Blog Post

Don’t Wait Until After an Attack to Protect Yourself

From uniformed employees to cybercriminals, your digital business is constantly being threatened. Are you prepared for when that threat becomes an attack? Having a watchful eye on your information and having a plan in place if you are comprised is at the heart of digital risk management.

Prepare today so you can grow tomorrow.

Is Digital Risk Management Right for Me?

Digital risk management is a protection plan made to fit your business. From early risk detection and training employees to an action plan if an attack occurs, your MSP will work with you to make sure you are ready for whatever happens. Hackers are not picky; according to Accenture, 68 percent of business leaders feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing. No matter how unique your business is, you are still at risk. Working with an MSP who can deliver digital risk management solutions is the best defense against evolving threats.

What Threats Should I Be Worried About?

Picture this; you’ve just fired an employee who feels you’ve wronged them in some way. They have the password and username to your most valuable client. Are you prepared for an attack if they were to give that information away? From disgruntled employees to ransomware attacks to skilled hackers, your evolving technology comes with evolving threats. We know how overwhelming this can feel, but there’s no need to panic. By having a digital risk management plan in place to detect threats early or to revive your business after an attack, you can worry less and grow more.

I’m A Small Company. Can I Afford This?

According to Verizon, 43 percent of breaches victims were small businesses. A digital risk management plan may seem like an unnecessary expense, but will you be able to afford to pay a million-dollar ransom for your information? And even if you get your information back, will you have enough money to rebuild? Although your MSP will work with you to build a plan within your budget that offers the best protection they can, know that investing in an excellent digital risk management plan can help you avoid losing money in the long run.

Let Us Help

Running a business means constantly juggling responsibilities. Let us take one off your plate. As your MSP partner, we’ll make sure your efforts stay focused on the continued growth of your business, not rebuilding it. Contact us today to create a plan for a worry-free tomorrow.


6 Steps to Regain Control During a Cyberattack Blog Post

6 Steps to Regain Control During a Cyberattack

When faced with a cyberattack, the worst thing you can do is panic because time is of the essence. Your top priority now is limiting the damage by securing your unaffected data. On your worst day, it helps to have a technology service provider who can help guide you through this tough tech situation. Here are six steps you and your TSP can follow during a cyberattack to minimize damage and speed your recovery time.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Protect your business from cyberattacks.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

Before sounding the alarm, you need to know if this is simply an error or the real thing. Once you know for sure, notify whoever within your organization that can determine what type of attack you’re dealing with and how to stop it

Step 2: Contain the Breach

After determining that this isn’t a glitch, your next step is to protect your unaffected network by containing the breach. First, figure out which servers are compromised, then contain the breach by doing the following:

  • Disconnecting from the internet
  • Changing passwords
  • Disabling remote access
  • Installing any pending security upgrades or patches

It may seem easier to erase everything from an infected server, but containing it will allow you and your tech team to figure out who broke into your network, how they were able to do it and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.

Step 3: Get Your Backups Ready

If you have backup servers and data ready, now is an excellent time to use them. However, before you turn them on, have your IT team check to find out if the backups were also affected by the attack. Backup servers can keep your networking running while you continue trying to stop the breach. 

If you don’t have backup servers, simply turning your main servers off and on again won’t help. Keep your main ones on, so you and your team can analyze the breach and stop it without shutting down your entire network.

Step 4: Notify the Authorities

While it may be tempting to think of a cyberattack as an internal problem, it’s not in your best interest to keep this under wraps. Notify your local police department to inform them that you’ve been hit with a cyberattack. Also, keep in mind that you may need to contact more government agencies or industry organizations, depending on the type of data compromised or the notification processes within your field.

Step 5: Don’t Pay the Ransom

If the hackers are demanding a ransom in exchange for giving back your data, don’t do it. There is no guarantee the hacker will honor his end of the deal after you’ve sent the money. According to CSO from IDG, about 45 percent of organizations pay at least one ransom when hit by ransomware attacks. Paying the ransom will only encourage more hackers to do this kind of attack in the future.

Step 6: Notify Your Clients

This can be one of the most challenging steps following an attack, as many companies can be reluctant to share their bad news. However, you must let your customers who had their information compromised know what happened. That way, they can start to take action to prevent further damage. 

How We Can Help

The best time to prevent a cyberattack is to have a complete security solution in place before a hacker attempts to break in. Don’t wait until it’s too late, have our team of cybersecurity experts run a security audit and create a solution that protects your business from the cybercriminals of tomorrow.

Secure Your Data

Find out how we can keep your network safe from threats. Contact Us Today.


Don’t Fall for These 3 Ransomware Myths Blog Post

Don’t Fall for These 3 Ransomware Myths

As companies continue doing more online, business owners need to be on the lookout for hackers trying to steal your data. Over the last few years, ransomware has emerged as a popular way to extort businesses for money. While many business owners are aware of ransomware as a threat, many myths get mistaken as fact.

Believing these myths can leave your business vulnerable to a ransomware attack, or uncertain of what to do if the worst happens. Below, we broke down three common myths about ransomware to keep you in the know.

Myth 1: Cybercriminals Only Target Large Companies

Fact: While large companies are still prime targets for hackers, small to medium-sized businesses are also at risk of attack. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 43 percent of breaches involved small businesses. Hackers know small businesses don’t have the same levels of security as enterprise corporations, which makes them easier targets.

Myth 2: A Firewall is All You Need to Protect Your Data from Ransomware

Fact: Firewalls are an essential security measure when protecting your infrastructure, but it shouldn’t be your only line of defense. Ransomware can attack your database from a variety of ways, and not all of them can be stopped with a firewall. If a phishing email slips through, or an employee clicks a bad link on an unsecured website, then the wrong people may get access to your precious data.

Myth 3: You Should Pay the Hacker to Get Your Data Back

Fact: Back in 2015, the FBI was caught in the middle of a controversy when one of its agents publicly admitted that the bureau was recommending ransomware victims pay the hackers to get their data back. Today, the FBI and cybersecurity consultants from Microsoft never encourage a ransomware victim to pay any form of ransom demand. They advise against doing so because there’s no guarantee the hacker will return the data after receiving the payment. Even if they do, the decryption key may contain additional viruses.

How We Can Help

The threat of a cybersecurity attack keeps many business owners up at night. Thankfully, you don’t have to protect your network alone. As your managed security provider, we’ll take the lead identifying any weaknesses within your system and make recommendations on how to strengthen your security. That way, you’ll have peace of mind while we protect your data. Give us a call today and let’s talk about how we can help.