Monthly Archives

August 2020

Virtual-Network-for-Employees-to-Work-Remotely

Ten Critical Facts Business Owners Must Know When Installing a Virtual Network for Employees to Work Remotely

By | IT Support, Work Remotely

Since working from home and virtual workplaces is becoming increasingly common, employees are doing what needs to be done from pretty much every corner of the world. Virtualization permits organizations to simulate different conventional equipment bits, such as servers, storage gadgets, or networks.

Here are the crucial facts business owners should be aware of when looking for an IT consultant to set up a virtual network for workers to work remotely.

 

1. Find an expert with prior experience and excellent client references setting up remote access networks

The cost to solve problems made by beginners is a lot higher than the initial expense to get it right the first time with an expert. It’s almost always a better decision to pay some extra initial costs to take care of business the right way.

 

 

2. Ensure who you hire performs a thorough assessment in advance

If your advisor doesn’t demand an intensive assessment before giving you a proposal, do not recruit that vendor! If they don’t have a clear and thorough understanding of your needs and your current setup, they could sell you an inappropriate solution.

 

 

3. Make sure the work includes training for you and your employees

Numerous IT consultants are incredible at installing the technology yet miss the mark when training you and your employees on utilizing the technology you recently purchased.

The significance of training employees is essential. Training doesn’t only show that your organization needs everybody to be on the same wavelength; it also demonstrates your responsibility to help your employees succeed. Carrying out training the correct way can help you meet business objectives and enhance staff satisfaction while saving time and money.

 

 

 

4. Demand a guarantee of help desk support

Dealing with the growing technology demands of remote employees isn’t simple for any business, and it very well may be particularly challenging for small companies.

One of the main attractions of working off-site is the ability to work on weekends or for late hours. That reality implies you need somebody to be available to be on-call during those hours if your staff has technical issues signing in or getting into the system.

 

 

 

5. Ensure who you hire is responsible for maintaining the system

Virtual office systems need to be well taken care of to ensure they work appropriately and remain secure. It is crucial to hire someone ready to carry out routine checkups and updates of your system, typically under a maintenance service plan.

Consistent monitoring makes problems all the more effectively preventable, and the appropriate design of warnings can ensure that significant issues be distinguished and settled even before they intrude on daily business tasks.

 

 

6. Find a professional who can manage both the telephone and the virtual network system

If you need your telecommuting staff to have the option to make and get calls as if they are in the workplace to the caller, search for somebody who can configure your telephone framework to work with your remote worker’s home telephone or mobile phone.

 

 

 

7. Ensure your advisor is willing and ready to be a seller connection for your particular business applications or various exclusive applications

It’s stunning how many fundamental applications work fine inside the workplace setting, yet jam or shutdown when connected to a remote area. It’s imperative to guarantee your IT specialist to be capable and ready to confirm your applications will work proficiently remotely, implying they may need to call the help desk of at least one of your product vendors. A few consultants don’t provide this level of administration or charge additionally for it.

 

 

8. Find a consultant who can establish a worker monitoring and content filtering system

If your group is new to telecommuting, there’s probably going to be a transition period. When monitoring software is effective, it helps keep up productivity, maintains security, and is a useful instrument for telling supervisors which employees need additional help in acclimating to new work strategies.

Consider the size of your business when choosing a content filtering program. Have it be consistent and straightforward, and communicate its function and purpose to your staff.

 

 

9. Consider setting up a VPN connection

Some free, open Wi-Fi systems are not safe. That implies a hacker could, without much effort, intercept the data you send over an open network, together with your passwords and banking data. Using a VPN makes it possible to connect to the system safely whenever you are working remotely. A VPN and keeps your staff from open systems and diminishes the chances of hackers targeting your organization. Setting up a VPN for employees to use when working off-site can be a quick, simple, and successful security framework. Make sure you teach every employee how to use the VPN when connecting to the system.

 

 

10. Educate employees on the best security practices to avoid cyber-attacks.

Mistakes made by the end-user are regularly the greatest danger to the security of your system. Regardless of whether somebody installs a malware, unintentionally erases a key folder or document, visits obscure sites, or offers classified data, end-clients are ordinarily at the foundation of each PC issue.

Much of the time, these activities are not purposeful, yet the impact of viruses is the same regardless of whether the download was intentional or unintentional.

Spam is a peril every business faces. Despite killing office effectiveness and presenting viruses and Trojan attacks, spam can occupy enough capacity to crash your system. Luckily, a decent email filter might be all you need.

Regular training on appropriate email, device, and Internet usage, together with routine support and monitoring of your essential information and system, are the best way to prevent cyber-attacks.

 

Benefits-of-cloud-computing

Reaping the Benefits of Cloud Computing

By | Cloud

Businesses seeking greater operational flexibility are finding the cloud to be an increasingly attractive solution due to its flexible deployment options and its ability to help reduce the need for costly dedicated infrastructure. That is especially true for small and mid-size businesses, which often require reliable, high-performance computing infrastructure but are hampered by limited IT budgets that prohibit a large in-house data center.

Not surprisingly, cloud adoption is on the rise. According to Gartner, by 2021, over 75 percent of midsize and large organizations will have adopted a multi-cloud and/or hybrid IT strategy.

Like with any technology investment, there are certain risks that come along with the benefits of cloud computing. Mitigating those risks requires a careful, pragmatic approach, factoring in core business needs, risk elements, performance requirements, and budget constraints.

Essential to developing a smart cloud strategy is understanding the capabilities and requirements of your current IT environment. This means identifying the types of workloads your run and anticipated shifts in capacity demands and resources.

With diligent planning and the right approach, you can reap a number of performance and efficiency benefits from the cloud, including:

 

  • Cost efficiency. One attractive benefit of the cloud is its potential to reduce costs over the long term. By relying on cloud infrastructure, you reduce capital costs associated with purchasing hardware, equipment, and building space. You simply choose the amount of capacity you need and pay on a month-to-month basis. With responsibility for operating, maintaining, and updating the infrastructure delegated to an outside provider, overhead costs are kept to a minimum. Meanwhile, your business can preserve its in-house talent and resources for more strategic business priorities.
  • Rapid scalability. Changes in local IT networks and infrastructure can require substantial in-house development and testing, adding to your cost every time your needs change―even if it’s only temporary. With cloud-based solutions, your business can scale capacity up or down quickly to meet shifting demands. Flexible deployment models help accelerate time to market, providing greater workload elasticity to match available resources while minimizing cost. One appealing attribute of the cloud is its ease of scaling, allowing you to meet changing workload requirements and only paying for the capacity you use. Automated load balancing can help achieve scalability on-demand while workflow management tools can monitor application performance to help prevent disruptions that could impact users.

 

  • Disaster recovery. Cloud-based infrastructure is flexibly configured to enable rapid data recovery in the event of a natural disaster or malicious attack―from power outages to a security breach. To help ensure reliable data access and recovery, cloud providers frequently distribute their backups among multiple data center sites in different locations. This multi-site data redundancy allows cloud providers to deliver a highly reliable recovery solution. The ability to access your data and recover your operations quickly can minimize downtime and help ensure ongoing business continuity.

Cloud Services

  • Efficient collaboration. Cloud environments help support collaboration by allowing multiple teams in disparate locations to share files in real-time and work together more efficiently from anywhere in the world. You can give contractors, employees and third parties working on a project access to the same files while maintaining control over which documents can be edited, viewed and shared. With cloud’s flexible computing models you can easily share records with your accountants or other business advisers. More flexible collaboration and work practices also allow you to more easily transition your hiring to offer remote positions, helping to reduce office size and expand the reach of your potential applicant pool.

 

  • Reliable performance. While cloud infrastructure has a lot of moving parts to manage and maintain, it actually has a solid track record for reliable performance. Because their livelihood depends on providing reliable, trouble-free infrastructure, cloud providers are diligent in the effort to make their services efficient and bug-free. In many cases, their data centers are more reliable than your on-premises infrastructure. In fact, whenever an issue arises, your cloud provider is likely already working on a solution. If this were your on-premises equipment, you would have to alert your IT team and schedule a repair. Cloud infrastructure can also help with loss prevention. With your data stored in the cloud, that data remains accessible and available. Even if something happens to your end device, such as a lost or stolen notebook or PC, your data remains accessible from any computer with an internet connection.

 

  • Document control. Cloud provides superb visibility and control over your data. With document control capabilities, you can determine which users have access to your data and the level they are granted. You retain control but also are able to streamline work flow since team members can readily see what documents are authorized to them. Since one version of the document can be worked on by different people, and there’s no need to have copies of the same document in circulation. Cloud computing also allows you to easily pick out which documents can be edited, viewed and shared by which users.

 

  • Enhanced security. A data breach or ransomware attack can prove devastating to your company’s finances and reputation. Cloud offers a number of advanced security features that can help safeguard against data loss. Cloud providers implement a number of baseline protections such as authentication, access control, and encryption that help prevent attackers from gaining access to critical business applications and data. Cloud providers are also more diligent about conducting regular security audits than most on-premises infrastructure environments. Safeguarding systems and assets against rising threats is crucial, but levels of protection should be carefully balanced against your unique business objectives.

 

  • Improved productivity. One major advantage of cloud computing is the potential for improved productivity and efficiency. On-premises IT teams are often short-staffed and resource-limited, which can hamper their ability to respond to employee demands and IT issues in a timely manner. Cloud computing can give your employees immediate access to advanced tools and resources to perform their best work without the drag of outdated technology. Employees can quickly access the latest productivity tools like file sharing, instant messaging, web conferencing, and live streaming in the office or remotely, helping to accelerate performance on a more consistent basis. Cloud resources can be easily stored, accessed, and recovered with just a few clicks. In addition, all system updates and upgrades are performed automatically, off-site by the cloud provider, saving time and effort, and reducing the workload demand on your internal IT team.

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Gaining a performance advantage

Cloud strategies can vary greatly from one business to the next, depending on workload demands, security and compliance needs, and existing IT capabilities and resources. For optimum results, begin with the long-term vision. Consider the level of performance and functionality you need your cloud environment to have; your internal resources and budget constraints; and the existing infrastructure you have in place and how you plan to manage it.

As businesses move toward more on-demand resources, many are capitalizing on flexible cloud infrastructures that can adapt and scale to meet shifting market demands and fast-changing business needs. Whether you’re looking to make an initial move to the cloud or planning a major shift in strategy, the cloud provides a solid technology framework that enables you to launch applications quickly, efficiently, and securely.

A cloud environment provides computing resources where you need them with minimal business disruption―keeping your operation running around the clock. While designing and implementing an efficient, high-performance cloud environment can be time-intensive, when deployed correctly, the effort will pay dividends far beyond the initial investment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Premise vs Cloud

Choosing the Best IT Approach: On-Premises vs. Cloud

By | Cloud

As organizations upgrade and expand their IT infrastructure, one key decision they must make is whether to keep their data infrastructure on-premises or move it to the cloud. It’s a decision that can have lasting implications in their ongoing effort to balance operational flexibility and efficiency with the need for greater data control and security.

Determining the right IT approach can be confusing and often involves tradeoffs and balancing competing priorities to deliver the business impact you desire. Whether you choose to move your applications to a cloud environment or decide to keep them on-premises, data protection and security will always be a top priority.

Along with the security component, a number of other critical issues factor into the equation. Some advantages may outweigh the disadvantages. Some shortcomings may be too significant to ignore. The future-readiness of your business and making sure your decisions align with your core business goals are what matter most. With that in mind, here’s a review of some of the pros and cons of on-premises versus cloud solutions.

On-Premises―Key Advantages

• Tighter control. Keeping your servers, software and other dedicated equipment on-site gives you tighter control of your data and how it can be accessed. You also have more flexibility to upgrade or customize infrastructure and applications to meet shifting business needs―without relying on the responsiveness or competence of a third-party provider. With your servers and storage on-site, you know where your data is and can set your maintenance schedules according to workflow demands. With a deep knowledge of your IT environment, your internal team can work closely with users to deliver personalized support and are better equipped to identify and solve issues quickly and efficiently.

• Enhanced security. Unlike cloud storage, access to an on-premises system is restricted to authorized personnel. For businesses that operate in regulated industries, like financial services, it is vital that they stay compliant with regulatory mandates and know who has access to their data and where it is at any given time. Banks, government agencies and other private institutions whose primary concern is data security and consumer privacy often need the enhanced protection and control that an on-premises environment enables.

• Reliable access. One important upside of on-premises infrastructure is its use of an internal network that enables anytime access, which eliminates the need for users to have an internet connection to access data. Internet speed also becomes a non-issue since on-premises systems can operate without it. In a properly configured on-premises environment, access to applications and resources is quick and inherently reliable.

On-Premises―Key Disadvantages

• Cost. Installing on-premises infrastructure requires a substantial capital investment in storage, servers and other hardware to get the operation running. For businesses just starting out, this amount of capital expense can often be a deal-breaker. Along with the upfront costs, you’ll need to ensure the infrastructure is properly installed and maintained. Since you are relying on your internal resources to troubleshoot and solve problems, you may need a larger IT team. This would require hiring additional staff or reallocating existing IT resources to infrastructure maintenance and support. This extra support can increase your long-term costs and reduce overall IT efficiency.
• Potential for data loss. Having your data in one place is convenient, but if disaster strikes, you can lose it―which could be crippling to your business and its reputation. With on-premises infrastructure, a breach or compromise of your system through a malicious attack like ransomware could result in permanent data loss. While backup capabilities are common in cloud-based systems, on-premises environments typically rely on an on-site server to store all data, significantly elevating your level of risk. One way to mitigate this risk is to implement a backup service offsite that reproduces your data to different media or another site.

• Limited scalability. When purchasing storage and server infrastructure, you get exactly what you purchase. If you don’t use all of it, it’s a sunk cost. If your business experiences dramatic shifts in workload demands, it becomes more challenging to quickly scale on-premises infrastructure. Unlike cloud deployments where you can simply opt for a larger capacity plan, on-premises solutions require more hardware and more manpower to install and maintain the new infrastructure. Plus, on-site hardware and equipment consume physical space, so you’ll need to make sure you have sufficient real estate to grow and add more equipment if needed.

Cloud―Key Advantages

• Cost Efficiency. Without the need to purchase, install, and maintain equipment on-site, moving to the cloud can help eliminate capital expenses. This allows you to pay on an as-needed basis, typically on a monthly subscription. Since your cloud storage is hosted by an outside provider, your IT staff is relieved of the routine tasks of installing new software patches and other updates, freeing them to focus on more strategic priorities. The server and storage features can be adjusted to meet your budget demands. You only pay for the resources you use, without the maintenance and upkeep costs.

• Scalability. Cloud-based infrastructure is designed to scale, making it easy to add new server and storage capacity on-demand. Need more processing power or extra storage space? Simply update your plan with the capacity you need. Unlike on-site servers that require the installation of additional hardware, cloud-based servers allow you to scale up your computing power as needed without having to purchase more equipment. This puts you in a better position to accommodate temporary spikes in traffic or build-out capacity for permanent increases in workloads.

• Redundant capabilities. A cloud environment can provide a level of redundancy that would be cost-prohibitive to create with on-premises infrastructure. This redundancy is achieved through additional hardware and data center infrastructure equipped with multiple fail-safe measures. By capitalizing on specialized services and economies of scale, cloud solutions can provide much simpler and cost-efficient backup capabilities than on-premises systems. Redundancy helps ensure you can recover critical information at any given time, regardless of type of event or how the data was lost. This redundancy extends to other cloud components from power to connectivity to hosts and storage.

Cloud―Key Disadvantages

• Control. Cloud operation and management functions are mostly outside your control, which can be a positive if you lack the necessary in-house capabilities. But when issues arise, your only choice is to work with your cloud provider’s support team. In the event of a security breach, the onus is on the service provider to resolve the issue, but the potential impact and consequences rest with you. While you retain control over your applications, data and services, you don’t have the same level of control over the backend infrastructure. The scope of service and the degree of responsiveness you receive from your cloud provider depends on what you agreed to in your SLA. Therefore, make sure you understand the details of your service agreement; particularly concerning the infrastructure and services you’re going to use and how that will impact your business reliability and performance.

• Security. Storing critical business data and files with an external provider always presents certain risks. While cloud providers are expected to implement the best security standards and comply with industry certifications, it’s your responsibility to carefully weigh all the risk scenarios. You’ll want to inquire about security procedures and data encryption practices. While your cloud provider may take extra precautions, you many need additional security measures such as firewalls and access controls, to further protect your data.

• Access. Potential downtime and unreliable access to your data is a major concern when considering a move to the cloud. Since cloud systems are internet-based, a reliable, high-speed internet connection is crucial. If your connection is slow or unreliable, accessing or downloading files can be a frustrating experience. Though internet reliability has improved in recent years, you’ll want to ensure you have complete confidence in your connection before moving files to the cloud. For critical workloads, you might want to consider implementing a redundant internet. Service outages are always a possibility and can occur at any time. If your organization has a low tolerance for downtime, you may want to consider multi-availability zones with your infrastructure, or even multi-region deployments with automated failover to help ensure optimum business continuity.

Align Your Strategy with Your Business Goals

Every cloud deployment has its own unique capabilities and limitations. Although agility and cost savings are vital, moving to the cloud is more about deciding what is best for the organization―not exclusively about reducing costs. Creating a purposed-focused, business-aligned cloud approach should be your top priority.

While the cloud offers a multitude of potential advantages, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea to move all your workloads completely to a cloud environment. In fact, one of cloud’s most appealing attributes is that it doesn’t require a complete all-or-nothing decision.

Cloud strategies continue to evolve, and many cloud deployments are already shifting to a hybrid approach. As that proportion continues to shift, organizations must design and build infrastructures that can easily scale and adapt to shifting business needs and application demands.

signs your computer may have malware or a virus

Surefire Signs You’re Infected With Spyware, Malware, and Viruses

By | Business Continuity, IT Support, Security, Technology

On average, there is a hacker attack every 39 seconds. Unfortunately, hackers hide malicious programs, and there are no visible signs that your device is infected. Once your device is compromised, you need to take action right away to prevent additional harm.

Signs Your Computer Is Infected

Does it seem like your computer has slowed down? Does it crash frequently? If your computer has been acting differently, there may be a reason why. After malware infects a device, you may notice pop-up ads or speed issues.

The most common signs of infection are:

  • You get pop-up ads all of the time for no apparent reason.
  • Your home page has switched on its own, and you are unable to change its settings.
  • You may also have new toolbars that you never created.
  • Unexplained files appeared on your computer.
  • You noticed that your email account sent emails, but you did not send them.
  • Your desktop files have been deleted or moved.
  • The icons on your toolbars or desktop have disappeared.
  • A second or third browser opened up behind your primary browser window, but you did not open them.
  • You get runtime errors when you use Outlook Express or MS Outlook.
  • Your computer crashes frequently or is unstable. It may be sluggish if it is infected.

The previous signs are indications that there is a problem with your computer. You will need a professional technician to help you remove it and to be aware of the common misconceptions about hackers and malicious programs.

The Four Most Common Misconceptions

1. You Can Easily Remove Malicious Programs

Unfortunately, spyware and viruses can be difficult to remove. On very few occasions, you might be able to remove malicious programs using a free download. Still, in many cases, malicious programs cannot be detected or eliminated using these software programs since hackers embed them deeply in the operating system. When this happens, you need the help of an experienced professional to detect and remove the program.

In extreme instances, the only solution is to wipe the hard disk completely. To do this, the technician must delete every file before installing the operating system all over again. Eliminating all of your data is never the first option, but it may be your only choice. Some malicious programs are so crafty and complex that the only way to get rid of them is by deleting everything.

2. My Computer Is the Problem

When someone suffers from viruses, they often blame their computer. They think that the computer would not have a problem if it were more expensive or better made. In reality, most malicious programs happen because of human error, getting onto a device because of the user.

You or one of your employees could have unknowingly clicked on the wrong link or downloaded a malicious file. Do not blame yourself too much, though. Cybercriminals are talented at making malicious programs look like innocent files. They make their malicious programs seem like ordinary activities you do all the time, which is why you feel comfortable clicking on them.

Some downloads may look innocent, but they could have spyware. For instance, your employee may download a software program that ages their pictures or gives them new emoticons. While these programs seem innocent, they could include malicious code. As soon as your employee downloads one of these programs, the malicious program can infect your entire network.

Avoid downloading any free program you find online. Avoid screen savers and enhanced browsers, and carefully read through the terms and conditions before you download an application. Often, the terms and conditions will specifically include clauses that allow the software vendor to install malicious programs on your device. It would help if you also stop your employees from downloading any online applications.

Unfortunately, your computer can be infected through other techniques as well. For example, you should regularly update your current programs. Each program has security patches that prevent hackers from accessing your computer. If you do not get these patches, then hackers may be able to access your device when you accidentally click on a banner ad or email attachment.

Security patches are incredibly important because hackers are always creating new ways to access devices. For example, some hackers discovered how to install malicious programs using Internet Explorer without requiring any clicks or downloads. The malicious program would install on your computer, even if you didn’t click on anything. Making sure your computer has all of Microsoft’s latest updates and patches to prevent this kind of attack.

If you want to protect your personal information and device, you should avoid peer-to-peer file sharing. Hackers and cybercriminals love these sites, so they are full of malicious programs. In many cases, the source of a company’s malicious attack is a peer-to-peer site.

3. Maintenance Is Unnecessary—My Computer Works Fine.

Even if your computer seems to be working fine right now, it still needs to be appropriately maintained. Think of a computer like a car. You have to change the oil and replace the brakes regularly if you want to avoid spending more money and time on repair costs later.

With a computer, there are maintenance checks you need to do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. For example, spam filtering and virus updates should occur daily. A spyware sweep and system backups should take place every week. Meanwhile, defragmenting your disk and updating your security patches should be done every month or quarter.

A good technician will tell you about the regular maintenance you need to do to your computer. Your technician should offer to do things like configuring automatic system backups, spam filtering, and virus definition updates. To be protected, these system backups must be stored away from your company so that your backups are safe from natural disasters.

If the technician you’re working with does not offer to do regular maintenance, find someone else. Routine maintenance prevents significant repair costs later on, and the lack of it is one of the top reasons why people have high repair bills and lose important files.

There are only two reasons why a technician will not perform routine maintenance. In some cases, the technician is inexperienced and does not know what they are doing. Some technicians do not want to do maintenance work because they know that they will make more money from repairing problems. Both of these reasons are signs that you should find a different vendor.

4. Microsoft’s Operating System Offers All of the Protection I Need

It seems intuitive that a computer would sell with everything you need to use it. Sadly, this is not the case. Microsoft does not equip its devices with all of the security features they need. If you do not protect your computer, you will be vulnerable to viruses, data loss, and cybercriminals.

Protecting your device requires a multi-faceted approach. No one vendor is capable of providing every single security feature you need. It is crucial to find an experienced technician you trust to get the protection you need.

cloud architecture - cloud services - san jose ca

Choosing the Right Cloud Architecture

By | Cloud

Migrating to the cloud offers numerous advantages, but for many organizations, making the right decisions about how to best leverage cloud technology can be confusing. What is the right delivery model? Is public cloud the best option or is private cloud better? How do you select the right approach for your long-term business needs?

Like with any technology, there is no one size fits all approach to cloud computing. Every business has unique application and service requirements. While cost efficiency is essential, migrating to the cloud is more about identifying what is best for the organization―not only about reducing costs. 

Cloud strategies can vary greatly from one business to the next, depending on workload demands, security needs, and existing IT capabilities and resources. For optimum results, begin with a long-term vision. Consider the level of performance and functionality you need your cloud environment to have; your internal resources and budget constraints; and the existing infrastructure you have in place and how you plan to manage it.   

Cloud deployment defines the way in which a cloud platform is configured and implemented, the hosting arrangement, and who can access it. All cloud deployments function in essentially the same way by virtualizing server processing power into separate, software-driven applications. When looking at today’s various cloud configurations and use cases, we can distinguish four different types of clouds:

 

  • Private cloud: Cloud infrastructure is assigned for exclusive use by a single business encompassing multiple users or business units. The infrastructure may be owned, operated and managed by the enterprise, a third party provider, or a combination, and it may be deployed on or off-premises. 
  • Public cloud: Infrastructure and services are outsourced and provisioned through a third-party cloud provider for open use by the public. The infrastructure resides on the premises of the cloud provider. 
  • Hybrid cloud: Integrates private and public cloud environments that remain distinct entities but are linked by standard or proprietary technology that supports application and data portability for optimum load balancing between clouds.  
  • Multi-cloud: Services are delivered from multiple cloud vendors, including private, public, and hybrid cloud providers. Interoperability advantages and best-of-breed capabilities offer greater flexibility in pricing, capabilities, service offerings, and geographic locations. 

Establishing a clear picture of your current infrastructure, along with insight into the ideal use cases, will help identify the best approach for your needs―whether it’s private cloud, public cloud or a hybrid model.  

Private Cloud

Suitable for sensitive data storage, private clouds typically operate behind the protection of a firewall and serve a single user. On-premises private clouds work well for organizations with changing business models or those that must comply with strict regulatory requirements. Unlike the public cloud, access and utilization of computing resources is reserved for use only by authorized users. While private cloud offers both control and security, these advantages come with a cost. 

The private cloud owner is responsible for software and infrastructure management, making this model less economical than a public cloud. On the flip side, because a private cloud environment is not managed by an outside vendor, there’s little risk that sudden changes could disrupt your entire infrastructure. Scaling operations are inherently more difficult with a private cloud since the only way to expand is to add more physical computing and storage capacity. 

 

Public Cloud

Public cloud vendors provide both infrastructure and services, which are shared among all customers. Scalability is substantially easier since public clouds generally have vast amounts of available capacity. The public cloud environment is ideal for collaborative projects like software development as applications can be tested in a public cloud and moved to a private cloud for final production. Because they use a shared infrastructure and serve multiple customers, public clouds are better suited for storing non-sensitive data. 

One important advantage of a public cloud is its flexible cost structure, which allows businesses to provision more capacity on demand and only pay for what they use. A disadvantage is that the core infrastructure and public cloud operating system remain under control of the cloud vendor. In the event that the cloud provider decides to close shop and make substantial platform changes, the customer could be pushed to make major infrastructure changes in short order.

 

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud combines the best features of public and private clouds, allowing the two environments to interact seamlessly, with applications and data efficiently moving from one platform to another. With a hybrid configuration you can easily scale on-premises infrastructure to off-premises resources, improving your ability to respond to shifting workload demands and changing business dynamics.  Since hybrid clouds only involve integration between two environments, set up and scaling is much easier. By reserving the private cloud for more sensitive data, businesses can minimize their potential exposure to security threats and maintain closer supervision over activity within their cloud environment. 

Information can be securely stored behind the firewall and protected through the private cloud’s encryption protocols, then safely moved into a public cloud when needed. This capability is particularly helpful in the era of big data, where organizations in regulated markets must comply with strict consumer privacy requirements while relying on advanced analytical tools to drive insights from volumes of unstructured data. Thanks to the public cloud’s inherent “pay as you use” feature, a hybrid cloud can help reduce overall IT costs while still enabling fast and easy processing power scalability when needed.

Multi-Cloud  

In cases where a single public cloud isn’t sufficient to meet a company’s computing needs, multi-clouds offer an attractive solution. While similar to a hybrid cloud, a multi-cloud model is more complex, combining a private cloud with multiple public cloud services. While IT infrastructure includes several public clouds from multiple vendors, organizations can access those clouds using a single software-defined network. Private clouds can be part of a multi-cloud environment, but typically are more isolated from their associated public cloud counterparts.

Multi-cloud offers an ideal solution for organizations seeking to accommodate conflicting infrastructure demands among internal departments. Rather than attempting to force all users onto a single platform, companies can choose the optimum match from existing public cloud providers, providing each department with a solution that caters to their unique needs. Since the business isn’t relying on a single cloud vendor, it can benefit from greater flexibility and lower costs, while avoiding vendor lock-in. When combined with the performance attributes of a private cloud, multi-cloud environments deliver the ultimate in use case versatility―allowing organizations to solve multiple needs at one time without having to drastically reconfigure or expand their existing infrastructure. 

 

Building a Framework for the Future

Central to developing a sound cloud strategy is understanding the capabilities and requirements of your current IT environment. This means identifying the types of applications you run and anticipated shifts in capacity demands and resources.  With better insight into how applications and services are being created, accessed, and altered, you can better determine the optimum configuration for your business needs.

Choosing the right hybrid configuration also requires carefully considering what you want to accomplish with your system, your unique data security and compliance requirements, and the existing infrastructure you have in place. One major challenge is figuring out which systems should remain locked-down and controlled in a private cloud and which ones might benefit from a more accessible public cloud environment.  

As cloud strategies continue to evolve, many organizations are already shifting to hybrid multi-cloud configurations. As that proportion continues to shift, organizations must design, configure and maintain cloud environments that can scale and grow to meet fast-changing market needs and unpredictable business demands.

 

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Essential Security Measures Every Business - Mobile Computing

Essential Security Measures Every Business Must Put In Place With Mobile Computing

By | Security

Prevention is always better than cure. This statement might sound like a cliché, but preventing a disaster is much better than dealing with the repercussions. Mobile Computing is no different. It is essential to put stringent security measures to avoid a disaster of your computer systems.

Mobile Computing, also known as wireless computing, is an impressive technology that permits computer transmission of data wirelessly or via the internet. It has revolutionized how we do business today. It has also improved access and efficiency, reduced costs, and made business operations very convenient. All these benefits can turn sour if you do not have a robust security system against data breach, data loss, or hacking.

Modern technology is advancing at a rocket pace. Similarly, thieves, cyber-terrorist, and hackers are also improving their game to grab any chance they get. If you are sloppy with mobile devices, you might encounter the wrath of these cybercriminals.

If you have a large team of employees using wireless computing, it becomes even riskier to your entire system. The chances are that employees might misplace their mobile gadgets or download the hacking Trojans that will invade your system.

I am sure you have heard instances where individuals have lost huge chunks of wealth through hacking. In numerous cases, news of the data breach has made the headlines in our newspapers and mass media. To avoid such incidents in your firm, you need to adopt the following essential security measures.

 

Instigate A Mobile Device Policy

One of the first steps you should undertake if you are considering the use of wireless computing in your business is implementing a mobile gadget policy. This preventative measure is essential if you and your employees are accessing emails, company information, and financial records using personal mobile gadgets. Family members, friends, or acquaintances of your employees can easily access their devices. You should, therefore, develop a policy that offers guidelines on how the employees can use their mobile gadgets when they are working remotely.

In case employees leave, the company should have measures that ensure that the company’s information will be secured. They should also ensure that information can easily be erased and cleaned up from devices for protection or theft. The client or critical data like credit details should always be secured, and out of reach since the consequences or misuse are significant and expensive. There should be a policy that restricts the employees from using the company’s devices for personal usage, rooting, or tampering.

 

Encrypt your Mobile Gadgets

It would significantly help if you encrypted the mobile gadgets with a password for data security. Encryption ensures that unauthorized persons cannot access data without a unique encryption key. Even when you lose a mobile device, you would not worry about a data breach.

Always Update Your Security Software

The rocket pace of technology comes with the accelerated emergence of threats. Thousands of new threats can emerge almost daily. If your software is outdated, it might not be able to fight against the surge of these new threats. Your mobile gadgets security setting should be updated as frequently as possible. Having an automatic update protocol for your employees will assist in ensuring devices remains up to date throughout.

Prohibit Your Staff from Downloading Unauthorized Files and Software

Cybercriminals are known to invade systems by introducing Trojan files and software. Barring employees from downloading software and data from unknown sources will prevent employees from unknowingly being duped into downloading malicious applications or files that can invade your systems.

 

Have A Backup System For Mobile Devices

I am sure you have, in one instance, lost an important contact or a file and lost it for good. Having backup systems saves you the pain of losing valuable information. Mobile gadgets can be lost or damaged when they have critical business information. Backup systems will come in handy to restore all that information. Cloud backup is becoming popular, and most businesses are backing up their data in the online cloud. It would help if you also considered sourcing for professional cloud systems for your business.

Implement A Remote Wiping Protocol

Remote wiping is an excellent way of protecting your company from data breaches in case of lost or stolen mobile devices. The remote wiping protocol prevents the retrieval of essential information regarding your business from the lost or stolen device. This security measure ensures that sensitive data cannot be accessed.

 

Implement Strong Password and Passcodes Protocol

Strong passwords are necessary for protecting unauthorized access to information. Employees should have passwords that cannot be easily memorized or guessed. An excellent password should contain numbers, capital letters, lowercase letters, and special characters. The length of the password should at least be eight characters as longer passwords provide more security to your device.

Educate your Employees on Cloud Computing Security

The saying ‘an informed person is a powerful person’ shows the need to be informed. If your employees are informed about cloud computing and the risks and threats involved, they will surely exercise caution when using mobile gadgets. You should conduct regular training and sensitization that keeps your staff informed and up to date with computing threats.

Are you using the above essential measures to secure your business? If you have not implemented these measures yet and you are using wireless computing, know you might be holding a ticking bomb that can explode at any time.

You don’t need to worry if you don’t know how to implement all of these measures. Our process involves documenting all mobile devices accessing your company, detailing your cloud software system, and formulating a backup protocol that protects data stored in third-party software. This thorough process will help you avert cloud-computing threats by securing the mobile devices of your employees.

Choosing the Right Cloud Delivery Model

Choosing the Right Cloud Delivery Model

By | Cloud

As businesses move toward more on-demand services, many are taking advantage of the scalability benefits of cloud computing. Although workload flexibility is important, your top priority should be creating a purpose-fit, business-aligned cloud approach. This is especially true when it comes to selecting the right cloud delivery model.

Central to developing an intelligent cloud strategy is understanding your core business needs and what you want to accomplish by moving to the cloud. This requires identifying the specific level of performance and functionality your workloads require; your data security and compliance requirements; and the existing infrastructure you have in place and how you plan to manage it.

While cloud deployment options vary widely, there are three main types of cloud service delivery options.

Each model has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. By gaining deeper insight into the pros and cons of each model and the ideal use cases, you can determine which configuration will best meet your application demands.

  • Saas―As one of the most widely used cloud service models, SaaS uses the cloud to deliver software to users, which is then accessed through a Web browser. Unlike on-premise software, SaaS does not require you to install or download anything into your computing infrastructure. A key advantage of SaaS is the ability to scale your level of services as your business grows. It is also highly affordable since it eliminates the expenses involved in the purchase, installation, maintenance, and upgrades of computing hardware.

Most SaaS vendors allow you to add new features with just a few clicks, enabling efficient software updates and continuous improvement to the user interface. SaaS delivery models range from subscription-based software to full business process outsourcing. Like with any technology deployment, security is critical. Therefore extensive, up-front due diligence is recommended when evaluating any SaaS provider.

Pros:

  • Cost-efficient. SaaS solutions are hosted on the provider’s servers, which means the provider is responsible for software maintenance and updates. SaaS is an attractive option for small businesses that might not have the necessary budget and resources to deploy on-premise hardware.
  • Easy access. Unlike on-premise software, SaaS has few access limitations. With service available through the Internet, you can easily access software from anywhere you have connectivity.
  • Fast start-up. You can launch SaaS services and take advantage of software functional quickly. In most cases, you can simply register for the service and gain fast access to the software application and resources.

Cons:

  • Lack of control. The inherent nature of a SaaS-based application leaves users with minimal or no control over service delivery functions and reliability. The vendor controls and owns the SaaS software and hardware.
  • Connectivity issues. While the vendor may give you an up-time guarantee, poor network connectivity and slow speed can also affect the performance of your SaaS application.
  • SaaS requires you to share sensitive business information with an outside vendor, creating a few security concerns. You can, however, use specific access management tools to make your application more secure.
  • IaaS― IaaS provides on-demand access to ready-to-use computing infrastructures such as storage, servers, and networking resources. For businesses looking to virtualize their system via the cloud, IaaS offers a logical starting place, since it allows you to move existing support systems to the cloud with other solutions migrated or introduced as needed.

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Businesses are increasingly turning to IaaS for specific, highly variable or fast-growing computing needs. Infrastructure can be scaled or reconfigured on-demand to meet shifting business needs. Since you only pay for what you use, this model frees you from the cost and responsibility of managing the infrastructure and operating environment.

Pros:

  • Affordable. IaaS provides a cost-effective way to scale rapidly and accommodate growth without significantly increasing overall IT costs. Businesses benefit from affordable access to enterprise-class solutions, while the pay-as-you-go IaaS model allows you to pay only for what you use.
  • Quick deployment. IaaS allows you to quickly deploy servers, processing, and storage resources and get them online and operational rapidly without having to invest in each one individually.
  • Scalability –IaaS is suited for fast-growing small and mid-sized businesses as it is considerably scalable. The ability to quickly add new products or features to your IaaS can help accelerate your time to market.

Cons:

  • The IaaS-based model may have data security concerns due to its multitenant architecture. The security risk can be minimized in some cases if the vendor adheres to specific industry standards.
  • Upgrades and maintenance. You are typically responsible for maintaining and updating the hardware, software, and databases you‘ve developed. The vendor will maintain and upgrade only its designated infrastructure.
  • You control the infrastructure and applications you have developed. However, you do not have control over the vendor-owned infrastructure or data center.
  • PaaS―With PaaS, the vendor provides you with the cloud infrastructure you need to build, test, and deploy business applications. You get access to the combined cloud infrastructure without the underlying complexity of managing it. Developers can concentrate on creating new applications without stressing about time-intensive infrastructure tasks like configuring storage, servers or backup.


PaaS typically comes with operating servers, database servers, and programming languages for developing cloud-based applications from scratch. Accessed through a web browser, the subscription-based model gives you flexible pricing options based on your business requirements. With its ability to ease IT management burdens and reduce costs, the scale-on-demand capabilities of PaaS can help remove the barriers to innovation and growth.

Although PaaS originated as a platform, it has since expanded to represent a range of different technology types. This means specific offerings target distinct roles and users. As companies continue to move to the PaaS option for strategic and challenging innovation projects, the industry continues to mature and evolve.

Pros:

  • Streamline development. PaaS can help accelerate application development since all computing resources are provided by the vendor, minimizing distractions and streamlining processes for the development team.
  • Programming support. PaaS generally supports multiple programming languages, helping businesses ease application development for a wide range of projects.
  • Automated updates. With most PaaS vendors providing automated updates, users don’t have to worry about updating infrastructure with the latest security patches.

Cons:

  • Single vendor–Platform architecture, programming language, and resource configuration is unique to each vendor. As such, moving from one vendor to can be cumbersome. Switching vendors will require you to essentially rebuild the entire application from scratch.
  • Escalating Costs –In most, the cost of running a PaaS application is directly proportional to its size, which means running large applications can result in increasingly higher costs.
  • Security –PaaS vendors typical use a public or multi-tenant environment for database and application storage and other resources. Therefore, running PaaS apps containing confidential information or under strict compliance mandates not be the best approach.

 

Maintaining a value-centered focus  

While the cloud has the potential to deliver substantial business benefits, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best option for every workload. While agility and efficiency are important, moving to the cloud is more about deciding what is best for the business.

As with any IT investment, certain risks come with the territory. Minimizing those risks and capitalizing on the full potential of cloud requires a strategic, pragmatic approach, evaluating essential infrastructure requirements, risk factors, performance needs, and cost considerations.

When evaluating potential workloads and their viability for cloud adoption, initial questions revolve around business value. What is the real cost-benefit of moving those workloads to the cloud? From there, you will need to evaluate the technical characteristics of the application. Is it technically feasible to move the workload to the cloud? How will that migration impact the overall IT environment? What is the potential risk exposure?

While the cloud can offer a wide variety of business benefits, choosing the right delivery model can be tricky. For best results, work with an experienced IT consultant who can help tailor a solution that best accomplishes your business and technical objectives and optimizes your return on investment

 

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spending too much on IT services and support

Is Money Unintentionally Exiting Your Business Through What You Spend on IT Services and Support?

By | IT Support

Imagine an employee knocks on your office door to talk about a theft they uncovered. In a grave voice, they tell you that tens of thousands of dollars had been siphoned away from your firm without anyone realizing it. What would your reaction be?

Unfortunately, this situation is already occurring in companies around the world. The inadequate handling of IT services and support unintentionally removes tens of thousands of dollars from companies without anyone knowing about it. In addition to losing money in the short term, these companies expose themselves to losses that could add to seven figures.

As a business owner, you naturally want to minimize losses and run a profitable business. You must protect your company from potential issues. A tremendous potential problem is IT. If your IT department is not doing its job, you could be unknowingly exposing your business to cybersecurity risks and the losses they incur.

How Your Company Is Losing Money

If you are losing money, you need to know about it. More importantly, you have to find a way to stop these losses from occurring. Through data compliance and similar measures, you can protect your business.

 

Maverick Spending and Poor Planning Could Be Costing You Money

In audits, there is one loss that stands out across different industries and companies. Inefficiencies from poor planning mean that IT systems are full of redundant resources. Often, different IT approaches do not mesh perfectly together. Because of this, companies have to deal with reduced productivity if they are using a patchwork of IT systems.

Maverick spending happens when employees make purchases outside of the standard chain of command. These types of expenditures create redundancies and cost the company more money. Maverick spending is about more than just the initial cost. Different technologies implemented haphazardly tend to overlap poorly. In addition to duplications, the overall system also has gaps.

Worse still, your entire IT system is unprotected. If an employee buys a random program on their own, only the employee is aware of it. Regular updates do not happen, which places your entire network at risk. Preventing this kind of problem from happening involves putting controls in place and making every employee use an e-procurement platform. By streamlining your procurement process, you get more oversight over what employees are buying and using.

2. You Need Better Data and Computer Security

If a hacker breaks into your network, the devastation can be tremendous. Immediately after the attack, your company suffers from productivity losses. You may have to shut down temporarily and delay some of your transactions. Also, you may need to divert your resources to stop the attack.

Over time, you could lose customers because of the attack. If your clients do not feel confident about the security of their financial information, they may go to a different company. As a result, you can quickly lose millions of dollars because of an attack. Once these accounts are gone, you may never get them back.

After a disaster, you have to deal with the damage to your reputation and the loss of essential data. You might have to deal with lawsuits if your company was negligent. Besides, you may have to pay government fines. All of these issues will distract from your company’s primary operations. Until you have resolved all of these problems, your company’s growth will be side-tracked.

Unfortunately, many companies are setting themselves up for failure. Because they do not have good cybersecurity, they could be the subject of a ransomware attack. Many executives think that they are protected because they spend significant amounts of money on their IT departments and technological resources. In reality, these expenditures can be a complete waste if the company does not use the right data compliance measures.

 

3. Companies Need to Update Their IT Budgets

Before you reuse last year’s budget, you need to conduct an audit of it. Many companies err by using the same budget each year. Most IT departments go through different cycles of spending from one year to the next. Even if you primarily use cloud computing, you will still need to make periodic investments in your infrastructure. Otherwise, you could run out of capacity.

To avoid budgeting issues, you need to create an IT roadmap that includes your capital investments. Talk to your IT department and vendors about your expected expenses for the upcoming year. Then, you can update your budget with accuracy.

4. Chronic Downtime Can Cost Your Company

Your IT problems are probably costing your company money. Distracted workers directly impact your organization’s profitability and labor costs. They can also lead to even higher expenditures by making mistakes and performing subpar work. As a result, distracted workers can make your company miss deadlines. Fellow team members end up having low morale because they have to deal with missed deadlines and mistakes because of tech-related problems.

Unfortunately, many executives are unaware of how big this issue is. While workers cause some employee-related problems, distractions can also happen because of IT mishaps. These IT failures occur regularly in many workplaces, leading to chronic issues.

IT failures distract workers from helping clients and doing their job. Each time an IT problem occurs, the worker has to stop what they are doing, call the IT department, and wait for the technician to fix the problem. Over a year, you can lose hundreds of labor hours. If you have a lot of employees, these costs can quickly add up.

 

Smart Companies Make a Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan

A range of disasters could harm your company. Viruses, malware attacks, accidental data loss, system failures, and natural disasters could lead to thousands or millions of dollars in damage. If you do not have a Disaster Recovery plan, a disaster and its aftermath could completely cripple your business.

Small business or a global conglomerate, your company needs a contingency plan and backup systems. Techniques like remote services and the cloud can help you achieve business continuity after a disaster. With scalable solutions, your Disaster Recovery plan can help you move forward without interruptions after a disaster occurs.

An IT Assessment Can Solve Your Problems

With an IT assessment, you can review your cybersecurity risks and make your IT department more efficient. This assessment can occur remotely with or without the knowledge of your IT department. Afterward, you can learn more about whether your IT department is doing its job.

You can discover some of the following information through an assessment.

  • You can analyze if you’re protecting your data and systems from ransomware, viruses, and hackers.
  • You can discover whether you have the right data compliance measures in place.
  • You can make sure your company is meeting federal, state, and industry regulations regarding data protection.
  • You can find out if you’re backing up your data in a safe manner so you can recover quickly after a ransomware attack or a natural disaster.
  • You can learn about ways you can boost your productivity, increase your security, and boost your company’s communication.
  • Additionally, you can find new ways to reduce your IT costs.

By getting an IT assessment, you can gain fresh insight into your organization. You can see if your company is using your IT department and resources efficiently. Through a comprehensive evaluation, your company could save thousands of dollars each year on IT costs.