If we asked you to imagine a world where your IT never suffered from technical issues related to your business’ technology, would it feel too good to be true? Unfortunately, it’s impossible for your organization to prevent every problem related to your IT. What is possible is for your business to encounter higher productivity and less downtime with the help of a dedicated help desk solution.
Some businesses struggle with finding the right technology management support. There are several factors that come into play, including physical location of the service provider, distance to and from the worksite, and ease of support. In fact, managed IT services are one way you can sidestep the difficulty of finding access to affordable technology support entirely through the use of remote monitoring, maintenance, and management.
The protection of your business’ computing assets is a bigger deal today than ever before. This is because there are dozens of ways that things could go wrong. One tool that many IT administrators like to use is called Active Directory, a feature found on most Microsoft Server operating systems that allow administrators to control users. This month, we take a look at Active Directory.
Your business’ data is precious, and it goes without saying that there are plenty of entities out there that want to get their grubby little fingers all over it. This is especially the case these days, when credentials and remote access tools can be purchased on the black market and leveraged against organizations of all sizes. If you don’t take action to keep your data secure from unauthorized access, you could face steep fines from compliance issues, not to mention the embarrassment of not being able to protect your organization’s data.
Traditional telephone systems used to be necessary to getting work done in the office and communicating with clients, but in today’s business world, with access to plentiful cloud-based options and the world’s resources at your fingertips, you have other potential assets to pull from. By utilizing a Voice over IP phone system, you too can free yourself from the clutches of telephone companies and move your organization in the right direction.
Businesses need to be extremely careful about how they protect their interests, but just in case something unfortunate happens, you want to have measures in place to guarantee that your future is secure. To this end, data backup and disaster recovery is critical. We’ll walk you through what you need to know about implementing data backup and disaster recovery, including the best way to make it happen.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bell telephone companies were making a mint off of offering the ability to call your friends and family that lived outside your predefined region, charging up to $2 per minute (during peak hours) for long distance calls. The problem for many people was that these regions kept shrinking. Some people decided to combat this costly system by reverse engineering the system of tones used to route long-distance calls, thus routing their own calls without the massive per-minute charges demanded by long-distance providers. These people were called Phreakers, and they were, in effect, the first hackers.
All good things must eventually come to an end, and that includes your business’ technology solutions. The end of a Windows operating system’s reign on the market is always an eventful time, as you have businesses that take proactive measures to ensure they don’t fall behind the times before the end of support date, and you have those who wait until the last minute and put their organizations at risk because of it.
Cloud-based databases are valuable for businesses on plenty of levels, but when you consider how much risk you expose your organization to by using a public cloud over a private solution, you suddenly start to realize that the ramifications could be far beyond repair. Compared to the public cloud, a private solution presents a greater opportunity for security, flexibility, and customization.
If you were to poll all the business owners in your general area, one point of contention they would all have is that their workforce investments stay static, while their returns are seemingly variable. A lot of the variance is tied to the fluctuations of staff productivity. Anyone who has paid someone else to do work understands that even if the jobs are all the same, people bring a fairly wide range of issues to work with them, and they can have troubling effects on the ability of a business to move forward. Today, we will take a look at the modern worker, their motivations, and how the right IT can work to leverage more consistency for your business.
The modern perspective of productivity would not be possible without the use of collaboration tools. Some of them are so game changing that they can completely revolutionize the way you hold meetings, deal with clients, and manage in-house processes. We’ll discuss how you can implement collaboration tools that work for your business, as well as use them to overcome the many challenges you might face in a business environment.
Downtime is the enemy of the modern business, and it’s easy to see why. However, not all organizations have the foresight to imagine a scenario when their operations are impacted so badly that they simply cannot function. We’re here to share our knowledge of downtime, its effects, and what you can do to keep it from affecting your organization.
Email is one of modern society’s best ways of staying in contact on both a business and personal level, but only if you’re effectively utilizing it. We’ll help you implement best practices and other methods to get the maximum benefit of your chosen email solution.
All that stands between hackers and your accounts’ data, be it personal information or sensitive business info, is a measly string of characters that may (or may not) be complex enough to thwart their attacks. We’re talking about your passwords, and for many businesses, they are the only thing protecting important data. We’ll walk you through how to make sure your passwords are as complex as possible, as well as instruct you on how to implement additional security features to keep your data locked down.
All businesses need help with their technology, whether they realize it or not. The question is how they receive that support. Some organizations have access to an in-house IT department that can act as an IT resource to on-premise employees, but others might not have employees dedicated to this role.
Inefficiency is not something that you plan for. It just happens. It happens when processes get too big, have too many moving parts, or are bogged down by excessive oversight. It happens when purposes for certain tasks change or are abandoned altogether. Other times efficiency has a different look to it and makes your optimistic projections look foolish. Whatever the reason, inefficiency is more the rule than the exception, and it’s costing your business plenty. This month, we take a look at what efficiency actually looks like and how to do your best to achieve it.
Technology management has always been a problem for small businesses. Whether it’s a matter of affording proper technology maintenance or not having enough time in the workday to get around to maintenance, it’s likely that your small business has to manage limited resources that make it difficult at best to make preventative maintenance occur. We’re here to tell you that there’s a better way to get the IT help you need.
Password security is a tricky part of running a business. After all, it’s not just dealing with your own password, but those of the many employees all throughout your organization. In times like this, it’s helpful to provide them with a list of how to make the best passwords possible. Here are a couple of examples for what to do, as well as what you shouldn’t do, when building a proper password.
Maintaining a proper data backup system is one of the most important parts of business continuity, even if it’s something you’d rather not think about. If you don’t take data backup seriously, your organization is at considerably greater risk compared to what it would be like if you had it. We’ll walk you through the proper steps toward making your organization’s future more secure through data backup.
Technology is a complete necessity these days. It’s been proven that, by integrating some technology strategically, businesses can solve major operational problems that many smaller businesses and start-ups can’t. Today, we will ask three questions about business tech that any technology-savvy individual should know, and explain why you should know them.
There are certain processes within an organization that take a considerable amount of time to do. These include applying patches, monitoring network traffic, and updating software as needed. While it might seem like something your business can handle on its own, some small organizations struggle to accomplish everything they set out to do--especially with a limited budget or workforce. Our staff’s powerful monitoring and management tool can aid in this initiative.
Let’s face it; nobody wants to talk about disaster recovery, as even invoking these words makes the possibility a reality. Unfortunately, this is something that has to be discussed, as your business depends on it. This might seem like hyperbole, but if you knew what is at stake, you’d likely agree with us.
Technology innovation in the workplace is something that is constantly shifting and changing, depending on what’s hot at any specific time. These days, it might seem like office technology innovation is stagnating, but we assure you that it’s still constantly improving. We’ll walk you through some of our favorites to improve data accessibility and workplace productivity as a whole.
The way that an organization handles risk is a big deal. Despite being born out of opportunity, opening a business itself can be looked on by many a major risk. As a result, every business should be looking to manage their risk. Today, we take a look at the role risk plays in business, and how IT, for all its benefits, carries with it some risk.
Businesses deal with compromises every day, whether it’s leaving late to let someone else get an early out or coming in on your day off to get a critical project finished on time. One of the compromises you absolutely don’t want to leave out is your business’ future. It’s up to you to acquire a solution that minimizes downtime without costing your organization an arm and a leg, but this is much easier said than done.
When it comes to innovation, you’d be surprised at what you might be capable of with the right solution. Collaboration in particular opens the floodgates to productivity, and with the right kind of collaborative and innovative technology, you’ll be able to unlock a whole new level of progress for your business. We’ll discuss some of the most important aspects of innovative collaboration and how your business can start taking advantage of it.
Nothing lasts forever; this phrase is true regardless of which industry you’re in or business you run. We all use technology in the office to a certain extent, and the ugly truth is that someday that technology will fail. It’s critical that you monitor technology for warning signs prior to its failure so as to avoid costly repair bills and rushed replacements. You might be surprised by how much you save as a result.
People have come a long way in a very short amount of time. The development of tools designed to make tasks easier have pushed people from hunter/gatherers across the known solar system in the matter of only a few thousand years. One way humans are able to do so much with seemingly so little is though ingenuity, but another is through consolidating management.
When looking to cut costs in the workplace, one of the best places to start looking is at your printing costs. While paper documents were once incredibly important for businesses (they still serve a function), no one can deny that they take up a considerable amount of space in the workplace, as well as take up precious assets that could be better spent elsewhere. What’s the best way to minimize the resources you spend on printing?
The cloud is the perfect outlet for businesses to improve productivity, but the degree to which this statement is true depends on the business and how much it leverages the cloud. If you’re not sure if your business can be utilizing the cloud in a more efficient way, perhaps we can help you make this determination and improve the way you take advantage of this technology.
An engaged employee will be invested in the future of your company, as well as their own future that they can see within your business. Unfortunately, research showcases that the numbers don’t look so bright for employee engagement in the workplace. According to a 2015 poll from Gallup, only about 30% of employees find themselves engaged in the workplace, while about 50% say they aren’t engaged with their work, and 20% claim to be actively disengaged by their workplace.
The funny thing about entrepreneurs is that they have to be very detail-oriented in order to find any modicum of success. This often leads them to inevitably becoming controlling people overall. For years the technology has been present to utilize remote workers, but only recently has the practice become commonplace. This is largely because businesses have begun to seriously consider reducing costs as a strategy to gain profits.
Few technological assets are as important in today’s business world as a working telephone solution of some sort. While its form has changed considerably over the years from a traditional handset terminal to a desktop application or mobile device, its functionality remains largely the same. In some ways, it’s even better and more improved, offering unprecedented opportunities for businesses to revamp their entire communications infrastructure.
The cloud has helped many businesses push beyond their limits, but is your organization taking advantage of it? Depending on the needs of your specific business, the cloud can benefit your organization in ways you could never dream of just 20 years ago. We’ll go through some of the best ways the cloud can help your organization.
Were you among the 55.3 percent of employees who took their work devices on the road during this past holiday season? Chances are that if you have employees who find it difficult to complete their duties in the office, they’ll take it home with them over the holidays to make sure they don’t fall behind. Yet, they could potentially be exposing important data to risk, even if it means getting a little bit of work done here and there in the meantime.
If your business uses technology to be more productive and efficient, you know that as soon as you buy a piece of new technology, there is another one right behind it that has more power, or better features. This is true for consumers as well. This constant innovation is what has made technology a viable option for many small businesses. After all, if computers hadn’t been innovated on constantly, they’d still be the size of a room (or wouldn’t exist at all).
Nowadays, businesses take advantage of so many solutions that it can be challenging just to keep them all in line, let alone managing and maintaining them all. Of course, the most difficult part of using so much technology is affording it. While you could certainly invest in software licenses for each and every one of you users’ systems, there is an alternative that you should certainly consider.
Now that the holidays have come and gone, you might have a couple of new gadgets in your home or office that connect to the Internet. Depending on what these gadgets are, you might have a serious security issue sitting right in front of you without realizing it. Some devices that don’t normally connect to the Internet--also known as Internet of Things devices (IoT)--aren’t as secure as you’d like them to be, particularly in a business environment.
Your business’ technology infrastructure is built from hardware, and this hardware needs to be properly managed if you want to succeed. The first step to this is to acquire the proper hardware, but for businesses that don’t have dedicated in-house IT departments, even this is challenging. Outsourced hardware procurement is a solution to this dilemma, and we’ll explain how it works.
While modern security solutions have made great strides to protect businesses, there are still a lot of threats out there that can create problems for your organization. If you don’t take a proactive stance on security, you could potentially expose your network to incoming threats of all kinds. We’ll help your business understand what threats are out there, why they are dangerous, and what you can do to keep your organization secure.
There is a lot on the line for any business when disaster strikes. Is your business ready for a data loss incident? Every year people from all over the world make resolutions as the new year commences; and, this year will be no different. For the business owner hoping to mitigate their exposure to downtime and client backlash in the face of an event like this, having a plan in place is essential to seeing a positive resolution to a bad situation. We’ll go through what constitutes a good backup solution, and what goals you need to prioritize to get your business in a position to succeed if it is put in a tight spot.
When people find new reasons to collaborate, it typically results in something positive. There is some new software that is now making collaboration easier, while still providing people the tools they need to stay productive. These collaboration tools are changing the face of business. Today, we take a look at them and how your organization can use these new collaboration tools to move business ahead faster.
For those who don’t know, the term information technology is an encompassment of the technology used in the facilitation of rendering, sharing, and storing data. Any piece of technology that is used to process, keep, send, and secure digital information, is considered IT. Today, we will look at some of the emerging technologies presenting solutions for businesses and individuals, alike, heading into 2019.
These days, many businesses turn to hosted solutions to take advantage of services that they haven’t been able to use in the past. Whether it’s because they don’t have the staff to properly look after the services or they don’t have the in-house infrastructure for it, organizations continue to take advantage of hosted solutions to varying degrees. We’ll walk you through your options for whether you should build, rent, or buy your hosted solutions to best fit your business’ needs.
Any project manager will tell you that there are countless issues that can get in the way of a successful implementation. To nobody’s surprise, business technology can aid project management by streamlining operations and making the entire process much easier for everyone involved. We’ll dig into the details about how project management software and value-based managed IT services can help you complete projects on-time and on-budget.
The cloud helps many organizations expand their territories beyond simply the physical workplace. Employees can now access data and applications on any connected device. Your office can benefit considerably from cloud-based resources, with email in particular being a standout solution for the cloud.
Many small and midsize companies are forced into spreading their resources out in order to compete with larger organizations. For those that are searching for a way to manage all the moving parts of business, having the means to communicate has to be at the top of the list. What makes it more difficult are that many organizations have a reliance on workers that work remotely. For times like this, a comprehensive conferencing strategy is important. We’ll take a look at what makes up today’s powerful conferencing solutions, and how you can use them to find more success.
Information technology has always been a hotbed for future predictions. Whether it was Marconi’s grand plans for wireless communications or the bold prediction that every person would be carrying around a computer that fits in the palm of their hand, the future always looks bright when new technologies are considered. But, what does the immediate future of information technology hold?
Disasters are a very real possibility that businesses have to deal with, but not all disasters come in the form of a flood or fire. You can predict weather effects that can create problems for your business, like thunderstorms and ice storms that bring down power lines, but you can’t possibly predict when and how your organization will suffer from a data loss incident. We’ll discuss in-depth how your business can save itself the trouble of dealing with cyberattacks and user error--particularly in regard to data backup and disaster recovery.
Each year there are changes that need to be made in the way that organizations manage their IT security. In 2017, ransomware burst on the scene in full force, and cyber security strategies reacted, coming up with fully managed security platform that remediate issues better, and cost organizations far more than they would have spent on IT security just a short time ago. In 2018, the same problems persist, while other developing technologies threaten the natural order of things. Today, we will look at how cybersecurity is being approached in 2018.
Spam is a major hindrance when running a business that relies on email, but it’s easy to protect your employee’s time from the average spam messages with the right technological support. Unfortunately, hackers have adapted to this change and made it more difficult to identify scam emails. More specifically, they have turned to customizing their spam messages to hit specific individuals within organizations.
The business landscape can be unforgiving. It can be filled with landmines that slow progress to a crawl and blitzes that send your head spinning. If you were to compare the business world to history's great battles, technology solutions are a business’ weapons. They are the tools used to make the everyday grind possible. The more advanced an army’s technology, the bigger the edge they have over outfits that don’t have that technology...as long as it works as intended.
Every business has some sort of management tasks that requires foresight, and staying up on them can keep headache-inducing situations from constantly causing downtime and costing you time; and, make no mistake, time is money. Being more proactive not only provides sound strategies, it can really mitigate the amount of problems you have to deal with. As we describe what it means to be proactive, and how that strategy will almost always help you save money, consider how you are implementing a proactive approach to your business.
Did you know that prior to this past January, the last big update to Wi-Fi occurred in 2004, when WPA2 was released? The Wi-Fi alliance has introduced a new type of wireless connection called WPA3--one that can dramatically improve security. In reality, it was created with the intention of shoring up weaknesses found as a result of the KRACK vulnerability, which exposed serious issues with WPA2 that needed to be addressed.
The price of fuel per gallon is one of the many ways individuals are affected by the constantly shifting industry costs, and for those who commute to the office, it can become a considerable expense. For distributors, the changes in gas prices can be the difference between sitting on a gold mine or losing valuable resources. For the small distributor, changes in gas prices can make all the difference in determining how much it costs to truck goods across the area. How can smaller businesses take advantage of IT solutions to keep costs down while gas prices increase?
Network security for small businesses is far from simple. There are countless threats out there that want to see your business fall, and it only takes one to see this come to fruition. Unless you take action now to protect your organization, you risk the future of your business. But what is it that businesses need to protect from, and what measures are out there that can accomplish this feat?
The Internet of Things means a lot more than just enhanced connectivity. In particular, you’ll have a considerable security risk associated with the Internet of Things. It’s clear that the more devices accessing a network, the more risk will be associated with that network, which is where the inherent risk of the Internet of Things comes into play. How can you control the number of devices accessing your network, and thus secure your business from the Internet of Things?
Data backup. Nobody wants to think about it until it’s too late to do anything about it. While no business ever hopes that they will be struck by a data loss incident, no business will ever regret implementing a backup on the off-chance that they ever suffer from a worst-case scenario. What are some of the most important parts of a data backup and business continuity system? We’ll start with Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective.
The traditional computing structure has been under siege by cloud computing for the past several years. More businesses than ever are seeing the value in cloud-hosted applications and infrastructure, and while that may not be a huge surprise, the perceptions that the cloud can solve any of your organizational computing problems depend largely on the needs of that endeavor. Today, we will take a look at successful small business cloud strategies and tell you why they find success.
With so many new technologies being introduced and innovation at the highest levels in human history, you’d think that ubiquitous access to bandwidth Internet would be high on the list of the priorities of ISPs and for residents of every jurisdiction. This doesn’t seem to be the case. With the disparity between urban and rural bandwidth Internet offerings growing by the day, we look at the causes of the gap and how companies plan on getting Internet access to people in areas where the population may be low.
People spend a lot of money on the Internet. From an individual standpoint, the amount the average person spends on Internet-based services is their largest expense outside of the money they spend on their residence, and perhaps their transportation costs. In order to understand the landscape of what is effectively a battle for Internet supremacy, you first have to take a look at the battlefield itself.
There’s no doubting that data backup is a critical component of any small and medium-sized business’s infrastructure. Backup and disaster recovery is important in the event that your organization experiences a death-blow in the form of a data loss disaster. Yet, there’s some debate as to whether an on-site data backup solution can be as effective as the cloud. The verdict: both are essential.
One of the biggest concerns that business owners have with remote workers is being able to control and centralize communication. A worker in the office can be plugged right into the company phone system, but how does this translate to those who work from home some or all of the time?
To accommodate these concerns, there is an option to consider. When trying to equip a remote worker with the tools they will need to remain productive and collaborate with the rest of the team, try a softphone solution on a VoIP system.
To translate this tech jargon, a softphone is a phone that functions through software on a computer, using either the conventional phone line or Voice over Internet Protocol to transmit the conversation between the involved parties. Softphones, unlike many exclusively VoIP-based phones, do not require a physical device, and instead reside on any computing solution with an Internet connection. They often include a digitally-based number pad as a part of the program.
Therefore, it makes more sense to utilize softphones when equipping your remote worker to remain connected.
After all, as an economic business owner, financing new equipment is always a major consideration before implementing any decision, especially one that revolves around technology solutions. With a good VoIP solution, you can use traditional handsets like you have been used to, but you can also send and receive calls from any smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.
Ransomware is an online threat that continues to develop and evolve to accommodate the motives of cyber criminals around the world. Ransomware locks down your business’s files and demands a decryption key for their safe return, which makes it difficult (or impossible) to move forward with operations. How can you prevent ransomware from destroying your business’s chances of survival?
Have you ever taken a broken-down workstation or server unit to a break-fix IT technician, only to have them resolve the problem and demolish your IT budget with absurd costs? For small businesses that can’t afford to hire an on-site IT department, this is a common occurrence. Thankfully, the SMB now has more options than ever before for how they want their IT to be managed, and it all starts with managed IT services.
USB technology is widely-used and you’d be hard-pressed to find an organization that doesn’t utilize USB devices in some way, shape, or form. However, these devices often harbor unexpected threats that could put the security of your entire infrastructure in jeopardy. All it takes is one infected device to compromise your network. Do you know where your USB devices have been?
Since USBs are prized for their portability, they can be used for a myriad of purposes. USB flash drives or hard disk drives can be used to transport files, both compactly or in bulk. Many keyboards and computer mouses operate with USB technology these days. That’s not even mentioning the plethora of USB dongles that are used to connect other devices to your computer.
Now, imagine this scenario. An employee finds a USB drive on the ground and, curious to find out what’s on it, plugs it into their company-issued workstation. They might do this to make sure that good technology isn’t just left lying around, or maybe their curiosity just got the best of them. Either way, the files on the device could contain executable malware that can threaten your business. In many cases, the user might not even be aware that malware has been installed on the computer, and it can spread viruses, or install trojans that allow for remote access at a later date.
In fact, there’s been a recent report from May 2016 of a $10 USB device that’s capable of logging keystrokes on wireless Microsoft keyboards and transmitting the signals over a wireless frequency. Whitehat hacker Samy Kamkar built it out of a USB phone charger, which is so commonplace these days that nobody would think twice about seeing it plugged into the wall of your office. The threat of these types of devices is so significant that the FBI saw fit to issue a statement warning professionals of their dangers. While no attacks have been found in the wild, it’s still best to take the warning to heart and apply it to your own cyber security practices.
The root of the problem--the theft of data before it reaches its destination--extends well beyond Microsoft wireless keyboards, too. Any wireless device that sends signals that aren’t encrypted could potentially be intercepted by hackers using similar techniques. This method can be used to harvest data that could lead to the theft of personally identifiable information, login credentials, or financial credentials. It’s not unlike a hacker intercepting data over an unsecured wireless Internet connection.
Technology can be a constant pain point for businesses of all kinds. Due to the ever-evolving nature of technology solutions, it’s tempting to cave in and purchase the latest and greatest innovations in the industry. Yet, does your business have the time to do so, let alone the budget? Progress can be stymied by a lack of funds and personnel, but it doesn’t have to be.
More often than not, businesses are stuck in two situations. Depending on the state of your IT environment, you either have plenty of time to implement new and innovative solutions, or you have, quite literally, no time to even consider new technology. Both situations come with side-effects that could negatively affect your organization’s operations. For example, you might have time to implement new technology, but are you ignoring the day-to-day maintenance of your internal systems?
The latter can also be a major problem. If you’re spending all of your time responding to emergencies, when can you implement new technologies that can potentially improve the functionality of your business? When you can’t even handle the solutions you already have, what’s the point in implementing new technologies? Unless you can find a way to strike a balance between the two, any efforts will be both fruitless and wasteful.
One of the best ways that your business can innovate without sacrificing functionality is by taking advantage of outsourced IT solutions from Directive. Whether you’re in desperate need of a new workstation or server, or need to implement a solution on a large scale, like cloud computing or virtualization, our trusted technicians can help. If your team can’t keep up with maintenance, we can take over this responsibility while they innovate and create new solutions for your organization.
Better yet, you can rest assured knowing that you’re getting top-of-the-line technology assistance for your organization’s systems. More often than not, businesses have to cut corners in order to make ends meet with their technology maintenance, which could include allowing end-users to service their own workstations. This is a hazardous practice, as having inexperienced users performing in-depth maintenance could be both time-consuming and risky.
Often times, people can get distracted by flashy new features, and with technology, this happens more than anywhere else. Since IT grows at such an abnormally fast rate, end-users can be left in the dust if you’re not intentionally trying to keep them in the loop. In fact, it’s highly recommended that you implement IT solutions for your business that are not just effective, but also user-friendly.
Have you ever been forced to use a slow computer out of necessity? This is a practice that tries more than just your patience; it can also put a drain on productivity, and in turn, your business’s profits. Therefore, we’d like to ask you a very important question: can your business really afford to deal with technology that isn’t performing as intended?
On Sunday the 18th of September, we hosted a picnic for our clients, employees, and their families. This year, we chose to send the summer out in style with a carnival celebration under the ‘big top’. Despite the threat of rain, everyone enjoyed an afternoon of games, face painting, prize giveaways, and great photobooth - including props!
Does your SMB have an internal IT department? Chances are that it is a major pain point for your organization, and even if you do have one, it might be bogged down with so much work that mistakes can happen and threats can slip through the cracks. Sometimes the best way to protect your network is to know where and how threats manage to get there in the first place.
Let’s say that your team is deep within the throes of productivity on a major project, and even the slightest hiccup will knock off their momentum and derail all progress. What would happen if the software they need to do their job suddenly became unusable, or settings on their workstation get changed without their knowledge? Without a reliable IT department, you might be out of luck.
You may have heard about the Internet of Things in passing, but do you truly understand the nature of these connected devices, and how they will affect your business in the coming years? The Internet of Things is a major trend that needs to be addressed if your business plans on succeeding in the near future.
Every business has to deal with a certain amount of risk from various factors, from hackers, natural disasters, or user error. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your organization can bounce back from a potentially dangerous situation with minimal casualties. We’re here to help you understand the importance of a risk assessment, and what you need to look out for.
So you’ve gotten yourself some new hardware. That’s great, but what are you going to do with your old equipment? You need to make sure that you’re handling your old technology properly, and there may be ways for your old hardware to find a second life. Before chucking it in the trash, first consider your options.
Businesses today want to save money and cut costs whenever possible, and technology has made it much easier to do so. Now, organizations can eliminate unnecessary hardware, clear the office space of file storage systems, and even eliminate clutter associated with paper documents.
You likely use several wireless devices and enjoy their many advantages, like not having to be wired to your desk. Yet, it’s unlikely that you’ve transitioned your entire office to wireless technology. Thanks to the advancements and affordability of wireless technology, having an office that’s completely wireless may be entirely within the realm of possibility.
It doesn’t take much to derail a business. Even the slightest disruption in power can lead to an unexpected power-down, and something as simple as a severe rainstorm could lead to floods that wash away your data. The point stands that you have everything to lose, and without data backup and disaster recovery, your business practices could be in danger.
Why You Need Backup and Disaster Recovery
Every organization should have a sound plan to recover any data that’s lost due to unexpected disasters. It’s been proven that organizations that fail to recover lost data within 7 days of the incident, typically go out of business within one year. There are many reasons why data backup and disaster recovery solutions need to be implemented. Here are just a few of the threats that could uproot your business and disrupt operations.
- Natural disasters: Floods, fires, electric storms, tornadoes, hailstorms, and so on, all have the potential to not only destroy your physical infrastructure, but also your business’s data. Therefore, if you’re in a region that’s prone to extreme weather conditions, you need to consider backup and disaster recovery.
- Cyber attacks: Data breaches are well-known culprits of data loss. It’s not easy to predict what a virus or malware will do, but most often, they’re designed to steal your data, delete it, or lock it away until a ransom is paid. In all of these cases, it’s best to have your data backed up so it can be safely restored.
- User error: The biggest threats often come from those who are supposed to have access to your data, not just those who don’t. If an end-user accidentally deletes a file, moves it somewhere it doesn’t belong, or hands over credentials to a hacker on accident, your data is put at risk.
- Hardware failure: The inevitable part of working with technology is the fact that it will eventually fail and be rendered obsolete. This can happen when you least expect it, and the costly downtime can be a major setback for your business - not to mention the data that could be lost if a server were to go down.
What You Should Look For
Not all backup and disaster recovery services will be the same, nor should they be. You need a solution that’s customized to meet the specific needs of your business. Here are some of the best features to look for in a BDR solution, and why they’re critical for the continued functionality of your business.
- Cloud and off-site backup: You don’t want to store your data backups on in-house tapes. Rather, you want them secure in an off-site location, like the cloud or a data center. This way, you can know that your data is stored in a compliant location that can’t be damaged by natural disasters.
- Quick recovery time: You want to be able to rapidly deploy your business’s data to your infrastructure in order to minimize downtime. Tape backup can make this part of the recovery process long-winded and wasteful, but BDR can automatically deploy your data through the cloud, making recovery practically instantaneous.
- Comprehensive backup: Furthermore, you want to make sure that your data is as recent as possible. Tape backup is inefficient for this purpose, while BDR can take backups of your data as often as every fifteen minutes - maybe even more often.
For more information about BDR and business continuity, contact Directive at 607.433.2200.
Businesses have always relied on telephone communication systems to stay in touch with external and internal contacts. However, the traditional method of telecommunication has fallen behind the times, giving way to more flexible solutions that are designed to save businesses money and improve efficiency. In particular, Voice over Internet Protocol can be a valuable asset for small businesses that are experiencing growth.
Rather than using telephone lines to transfer and receive calls, VoIP uses the Internet to send your voice to the recipient. Considering how most businesses need an Internet connection in the first place, using VoIP is simply utilizing a technology that’s necessary in order to eliminate an unnecessary expense.
Differences Between VoIP and Traditional Phone Systems
Does your business utilize VoIP? If not, you should consider doing so as soon as possible. It’s a great way to cut down on your operational costs and improve workflow. Here are some of the main differences and advantages that your organization can experience from using VoIP as a part of your communications infrastructure.
- Additional features: While your traditional phone system might support services like caller ID, user blocking, call forwarding, conference calling, etc, VoIP offers all of these services, plus some. Unlike the traditional phone system, which you need to be close to the receiver to use, VoIP works right from your desktop PC, laptop, or smartphone. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can use your work number from anywhere, allowing for flexibility that the traditional phone system envies. Plus, VoIP offers several other features, including video conferencing, which can be very helpful for bridging the gap between employees while working remotely.
- Decreased costs: If you’re paying for both a landline and an Internet connection for your office, you’re essentially paying for one too many services. Considering that landlines are often bundled with other services that you may not necessarily want, it’s more affordable and efficient to simply use VoIP as your preferred communications solution. Add in the fact that you can say goodbye to long distance, and you have a convenient and cost-effective package.
- Flexibility: Traditional phone systems require an immense amount of work to add new lines to an infrastructure. Depending on your office’s setup, new phone lines need to be installed, and you might even need to remodel your office. Both can be expensive, but with VoIP, you don’t need to waste time or money on improving your infrastructure. As long as your Internet connection and internal network can sustain the traffic and strain, VoIP will work as intended.
If your organization is ready to implement a solid new communications infrastructure, a VoIP solution can go a long way towards improving operations. To learn more, give us a call at 607.433.2200.
Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, has grown significantly in the business environment. You might even have a couple practitioners of BYOD in your own office; people who use their personally-owned devices for work purposes. However, just like any potential benefit, it also has drawbacks that need to be considered. How can you implement BYOD without experiencing too many of its drawbacks?
The average business owner may already be aware of what are called phishing attacks - scams that attempt to deceive and trick users into handing over sensitive credentials. However, not all phishing attacks are of the same severity, and some are only interested in hauling in the big catch. These types of attacks are called “whaling,” and are often executed in the business environment under the guise of executive authority.
Business owners expect a lot out of their IT network, and rightfully so. However, technology isn’t perfect and can sometimes get in the way of these expectations. To overcome these technology shortcomings, IT administrators and business owners can benefit by outsourcing these expectations, especially when it comes to these three crucial aspects of IT.
Your network is arguably your business’s most valuable asset. It keeps your team connected to critical information and applications that are imperative to the continued success of your company. With complex cabling, however, your workstation and network infrastructure can quickly grow uncontrollable. Isn’t there an easier way to manage your network components that can help your business grow, unhindered by physical infrastructure?
Technology is invading all practices, including those of medical offices and other health-related institutions like hospitals and dental offices. With the advent of electronic medical records (EMR) and their management systems, medical institutions are capable of eliminating the physical space required to store paper documents, and can instead easily store them in a digital environment. Unfortunately, this also brings its fair share of problems, such as regulatory compliance.
Technology is supposed to make things easier, yet it’s a common source of frustration when it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. As an IT company, we experience technology frustrations all the time, and we wish that many of these frustrations could just be eliminated altogether. In our opinion, here are four technology frustrations that need to go.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way that businesses approach technology solutions, but its biggest impact might be in the consumer environment. With so many new devices connecting to the Internet and communicating with each other, it can be difficult to slap a label on the Internet of Things and associate it with the countless devices being created every day.
Technology’s incredible growth has brought about a need for technicians who are skilled enough to handle everyday maintenance. As time passes, technology grows more complex, and as such it requires more comprehensive maintenance. Eventually, innovators in the IT industry discovered that their services could be improved by preventing technology problems from happening in the first place. Enter: managed IT services.
The cloud is revolutionizing the way that businesses store and manage data, applications, and even abstracted hardware like servers and desktops. However, some businesses are still reluctant to adopt the cloud, despite its overwhelming advantages for small and medium-sized organizations. Therefore, we’re taking it upon ourselves to “demystify” the cloud, so you can see just how great of an innovation it is.
Downtime is a critical problem with many businesses that have limited IT budgets. Organizations need to ensure that their bottom line is as high as possible, but if you’re constantly plagued by persistent downtime, your business is losing money when it doesn’t need to. We’re here to inform you about downtime, and what it can cost your business if it’s not addressed promptly.
For small and medium-sized businesses, technology management can be a tricky situation. You want to ensure that your IT doesn't break your budget, but you also want to make using your technology as easy as possible for your end users. Unfortunately, for many employees, your business’s technology conduct and practices could be driving them insane.
The break-fix IT model can be exhausting and unpredictable. When your technology unexpectedly breaks down, you shouldn’t have to grasp at straws just to keep operations running. Thanks to the proactive approach of managed IT services, the break-fix model is on borrowed time. Will your business move on from this antiquated method of managing technology, or will it remain stuck in the past, unable to move forward?
Most of your business’ technology is a direct result of your need to quickly and securely disseminate information. While there are solutions meant to improve efficiency peppered in there, the vast majority of IT solutions are designed to create, share, or protect information. On today’s Internet there are many threats looking to corrupt or intercept that information. One way your organization can share information more securely is through the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Traditional phone systems were once the only mode of communication for businesses and their clients. In-house workers would make outbound calls on a limited number of lines. The Internet changed this part of doing business for the better. Now, by taking advantage of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems, your team can eliminate the cost of traditional phone systems, while investing in flexible solutions designed to improve productivity and communications.
Data Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) isn’t your average data backup solution. In fact, it’s far from any traditional backup tool that you might have used in recent years. Here’s how BDR is changing the way that organizations approach business continuity and ensuring their continued success and sustainability.
There are many types of malware out there, but few are as scary as ransomware. Imagine being struck by a threat that instantaneously locks down your files and keeps you from accessing them until you pay a certain amount of money. If your business is targeted by ransomware, would you be able to protect it from dragging your operations into a bitter pit of despair?
You started your business because you have a particular skill set. This is what allows you to continue doing business as usual. However, this also means that there are some topics that you might not understand completely. This is why you hire employees from diverse backgrounds, and it’s one reason that you should consider outsourcing what you can to professionals in specific fields.
Data backup, regardless of its form, is a critical component of any modern IT infrastructure. If you’re not using data backup or disaster recovery, your business could be risking crippling data loss. Even if your infrastructure is protected from typical threats like viruses and malware, these security solutions aren’t going to prevent a devastating hardware failure.
When it comes to technology, it’s often difficult to understand how every bit of it fits into a complete IT infrastructure. In fact, if you were to ask your staff to communicate with your technology vendors, would they know how to do so? Understanding where your technology comes from, namely your vendors, is an important part of streamlining your business’s operations.
Businesses today are responsible for keeping the data in their care safe from hackers. There are two kinds of data that a business must protect: the information of their customers, and their own data (eg. company policies and employee information). Which of the two do you think the average business does a better job of protecting?