When law offices are trying to save money, they may put off making technology purchases, thinking “Let’s try to get another year out of this computer” or “We can upgrade that software process later.” [Read more…]
Today’s offices generate new data at a dizzying pace, especially when it comes to law offices that need to keep track of reams of official documents, plus eDiscovery, and various legal due diligence files. [Read more…]
Whether you’re working with a marketing firm, an HVAC company, or a managed services provider (MSP), you want to make sure they know what they’re doing, and that your assets are in good hands. [Read more…]
Every business needs to have a business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place, or else risk losing everything in the event of an unexpected crisis. [Read more…]
Business communications have completely evolved over the last decade or so. Landlines are now becoming obsolete and communicating has gone beyond just phone and email. [Read more…]
Technology is the lifeblood of business today, and you likely have a lot of it. But you may have accumulated software and hardware as you grew. Now, you have a hodgepodge of technologies never designed to work together. Consolidation can help.
Large corporations can afford an in-house IT team to keep track of all the hardware and software, but small- to medium-sized businesses often need help. Managing computers and mobile devices, and telephony print and fax systems can be overwhelming. Then, there’s all the software you need to secure, not to mention setting up data recovery in case of a disaster or emergency.
Consolidating your technology offers several benefits to companies of all sizes. A managed service provider can help.
#1 Increased Efficiency
If there’s a problem with your printers, phones, or Internet connection, you call your provider. When many vendors offer each of these services, you make several calls, which means waiting on the phone with a printer tech, phone company, or internet service provider (ISP).
When you connect with customer support, they can address only issues in one area of concern. The ISP isn’t going to know anything about your phone service, and the phone company knows zilch about printers. This disjointedness can waste a lot of time.
With an MSP, you need to make one call only. The support person will know and understand your entire system. They offer input based on how different technology interacts.
#2 Cost Savings
Lacking a holistic view of your technology and its interactions, you can end up wasting money. You might invest in a new feature for voice over IP, duplicating a capability you already have online.
Consolidating your technology with a single provider can also streamline costs. The first thing an MSP will do is to map out how your technology works together. Armed with an understanding of business needs and goals, they’ll make recommendations. You may be able to cut back on services in one area with a simple upgrade in another. Perhaps you’re paying for software licenses you no longer need. Plus, the MSP identifies opportunities for cost savings gained from bundling services.
The MSP typically charges a monthly, consolidated fee. Instead of managing several bills for every technology, you pay a single, consistent fee, which also makes budgeting much easier.
#3 Business Agility
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that business needs to be nimble. Yet your ability to react can be slower working with many different vendors. Simplifying your processes can streamline your response times.
An MSP will take a proactive approach to oversee your technology needs. They want you to avoid disruptions in the first place. Partner with an MSP to keep technology current, security up to date, and systems upgraded. This frees up what IT staff you have on-site to do more business- and revenue-generating work.
#4 Supportive Partner
Individual vendors focus on selling you their particular services or systems. The overall interplay of your technology isn’t their primary concern. Yet ensuring all your technology interacts effectively and efficiently is what the MSP does best.
Working with an MSP you gain a business partner that cares about your success. The MSP’s job is to determine whether:
- your business could be performing better;
- your team could be collaborating more;
- your processes could be more efficient;
- you have the right answers to cybersecurity risks and issues;
- your business has the best technological tools to meet its needs.
An MSP offers a single point of contact. That contact will understand your entire setup and how it works together. The MSP will help you make better purchasing decisions. Plus, as a true business partner, an MSP supports your agility and success. Find out more about what we can do for you today!
Cyberattacks and data breaches happen worldwide, and no one is immune. Your business needs to protect its networks and systems, and secure sensitive data. But how much do you know about the types of cybercriminal out there? This roundup discusses the biggest threats and what they’re after.
Online crime is a lucrative industry. Cybergangs go online to offer “crime as a service.” Their targets vary and can be spread out globally. In 2019, one international crime gang stole $100 million from more than 40,000 victims. Culprits were found in the US, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Victims included small businesses, law firms, international corporations, and nonprofits.
Many of these bad guys may have started out in the digital environment, but well-established street gangs are turning their attention to cybercrime too.
Typically well-funded and organized, cybergangs work long-term to mount large-scale attacks. They target banks, law firms, healthcare networks, and other big businesses.
Still, small businesses can be targeted by cybercrime gangs. You could be the first domino to compromise a larger, more lucrative target in your supply chain.
One nation pays an individual or group to target another country. On the digital battlefield this could mean:
- tampering with an election;
- infiltrating another country’s banking system;
- compromising critical infrastructure;
- accessing intelligence;
- creating incidents of international significance;
- engaging in propaganda, disinformation campaigns;
Australia recently announced a “sophisticated state-based cyberattack” on political and private-sector organizations.
State actors also used cyber techniques to damage Iran’s nuclear program. They left an infected thumb drive in the parking lot. A well-meaning staffer found the USB and plugged it into the facility computers. The virus caused Iran’s fast-spinning centrifuges to go into overdrive.
These attackers are often motivated by nationalism, but this doesn’t mean businesses are safe. A politically motivated cyber actor might target a hotel hosting an international convention or gain access to a government vendor to send false communications.
Also known as disorganized crime, this is the online equivalent of a petty thief. Many make their income stealing money from low-hanging targets.
Some Lone Wolves are only interested in proof-of-concept: hacking into businesses and governments to see if it’s possible, without doing any damage once they are inside.
Now that you better understand why your business might be targeted, it’s time to take the necessary steps. We can help solidify your cybersecurity stance. Partner with a managed service provider. Our experts can set up email security, remote access management, anti-malware scanning, and more. Contact us today at 312-600-8357!
Today, businesses are embracing digital technology to enable productivity anywhere, at any time. Yet ensuring accountability is a stumbling block to widespread acceptance of remote work.
Recently, COVID-19 has forced many businesses to transition quickly to working from home. Even bosses concerned about lack of control over absent employees had to make the change. Former opponents to remote work may have discovered the benefits of this approach. Employees certainly may have enjoyed the opportunity and want to keep doing it.
The good news is that technology and products are even better today for managing remote teams.
Top Tools for Remote Work Accountability
Overall, employers need to trust their people. This is true whether they’re working on-site or from home. Still, for some supervisors, trust is easier with remote monitoring abilities.
Joint calendars are a common starting point. Microsoft 365, Google’s G Suite, and other tools allow staff to share calendars. People can still schedule personal appointments and keep those private, but the joint professional calendar lets everyone on a team stay in the know. Managers can go online to track sales meetings, client presentations, or team sessions.
Project management software is another way to see what co-workers are doing. Teamwork, Basecamp, and Trello offer a central location to see a project come together. Employees can access secure software from any location to share files and interact. Individuals can set deadlines and create tasks to improve accountability and responsibility-sharing.
Business-based internal messaging software also keeps everyone on the same page. These communication tools typically provide one-on-one messaging and group chat. It’s easy to send a quick note asking someone for a status update, or just check-in. Some tools also allow individual and team audio calls as well as video conferencing. Top contenders are Slack, WhatsApp, Skype for Business, or the Facebook and Google Hangout work chat apps.
Go big enabling collaboration among employees with cloud-based office software. Microsoft 365 and G Suite enable many users to go online and work on the same things at the same time. This solution also lets managers easily view shared documents and verify progress. It’s even possible to invite clients or other external partners to view folders. For security reasons, you may want to limit their access to “view only.”
Securing Remote Work
Security is another point of friction for businesses allowing remote work, but the technology is keeping pace there also. Even so, you’ll want to educate employees about cybersecurity best practices. Requiring antivirus and malware upgrades, limiting external sharing and enabling multifactor access will help make remote work viable, reliable, safe, and secure.
Need help installing or implementing remote work tools? A managed service provider can help. Or, our IT experts can put in place the administrative controls you need to help secure work from home. Let us provide the IT help you need. Contact us today at 312-600-8357!
Your business has the OK to go ahead and get back to work on-site. You want to return to your office, but you don’t want to risk people’s health by doing so. After all, some say it’s too soon to go back. Plus, others predict a second wave of COVID-19 is likely. These suggestions can help you return to work while prioritizing safety.
Not everyone will welcome the call back to the corporate environment. Some employees may still be in a population vulnerable to the virus. They may want to take leave instead of returning to the work environment. Others may simply not show up.
Have your HR team send out a written notice informing employees of the timeline for returning to the office. Educate them about precautions you’re taking to provide a safe work environment. Ask for a written response of people’s intentions. Then, IT can start establishing procedures for getting everyone back to work.
You may have had great success with remote working during the quarantine. This could position you to allow workers to stay home if they are at risk or oppose the idea of returning “too soon.”
For those coming back, support social distancing by phasing in people’s return. Your business could also use a hybrid IT solution to allow people to come in just three days a week, and they could continue to work two days at home. This allows staggered re-entry and reduces the number of people on-site at the same time.
You may be thinking you already have all the tech you need to go back to the office. C’mon, you were already working from there before this whole thing started. Plus, now you have all the new tools you added to support remote-employee productivity.
Still, you may not have invested in a long-term remote-work solution that will now support a hybrid model. Or perhaps the on-site tech you’ve long relied on isn’t meant to handle remote working for the long haul.
To achieve a flexible hybrid model, go with cloud solutions, or expand on-site IT. Do you need to add infrastructure to handle remote employees using virtual private networks (VPNs)? Both on-site staff and off-site workers might need to securely access systems at the same time.
Adopting cloud collaboration software allows co-workers to access network resources simultaneously, regardless of location. Or with virtual desktops, employees can access the same files and business applications on their work machines or on a personal device.
Bringing people back to the office, you’ll want to rethink the physical setup. Support social distancing by spreading employees’ seating arrangements out more. This will require moving around computer hardware, too.
If you were previously sharing technology, you’ll also need to add more desktops. Or you might invest instead in more laptops or portable devices. This could mean securing more software, too.
Added IT Precautions
Finally, cybercriminals are opportunistic. They’re already exploiting people with malware promising vaccines or cheap masks. These bad actors are also looking to exploit the tech demands on businesses. Many businesses adapted to a new way of doing things: they moved files to the cloud, and they allowed employee access from personal devices, but they did so quickly.
Explore any new vulnerabilities from your transitions. This is a good time to double-check permissions. Ensure that accountant Jane can access staff wage data but that receptionist Jenny can’t. Also, confirm that all virus protection and security patches are current.
Active planning is the answer to a smooth return to work. While offering protective coverings and ramping up cleaning in the office is important, make sure that you don’t overlook your technology needs.
Our IT experts can help you adapt nimbly. Contact us today at 312-600-8357 or email@example.com!