Monthly Archives

October 2021

BACS IT On-Site IT and Its Considerable Advantages to Business

On-Site IT and Its Considerable Advantages to Business

By | Business Continuity, Cloud, Data Protection, IT Support, managed It services, Networking, Productivity, Security, Strategy, Technology, Work Remotely

Business goals achieved through digital initiatives and technologies have transformed modern enterprises. Strategies focused on reimagining processes, products, and services create a competitive advantage.

Blueprints with the correct digital strategy can reshape an organization, regardless of size. Every aspect is transformed from high-level policies, innovation, investment, and long-term goals.

For success, the modern enterprise must prioritize the integration of technology.

Pro-Active On-Site IT

No company in the 21st century can reach its full potential without technology. Fast-growing organizations simply cannot afford setbacks caused by their IT department. The loss of sensitive data, a dead server, or a down network opens the door to cyber-attack groups looking for an easy target.

Elite technology groups catering to small and mid-size clients continue to offer superior services their clients expect. Businesses no longer need to decide whether to employ an on-site team or remote services for their information technology needs. BACS IT in Santa Clara, CA., is an excellent example of an elite team offering value-added offerings such as On-site IT.

On-Site IT Support and its Benefits

Digital ecosystems are growing at an accelerated rate, so are the capabilities to support that growth. IT groups tasked with maintaining the countless technological frameworks, mechanisms, and processes continue to flourish.

Every fast-growing company needs a robust, efficient IT support system. Intellectually focused IT Agencies offer both on and off-site support, with highly skilled staff and a full complement of cloud and managed services.

Technology is transforming the way businesses function and handle their day-to-day IT operations. Whether the company supports remote offices around the city or branch locations throughout the state, the benefits of an on-site technician can be invaluable.

Companies have a few ways to remedy the ongoing challenge of specific IT needs; however, the most efficient means is outsourcing. Hire a quality firm and use only the services needed.

 

Strategic Network Management

 

What is On-site IT Support?

IT service providers with an extensive network of skilled, highly trained field technicians support localized challenges. Technicians manage diverse areas and organizational solutions around company headquarters for short-term work assignments.

Solutions:

  • Break/fix support for networking and computer systems
  • IT project assistance
  • On-site training in cyber-security, network management, and Cloud support
  • Physical installation of hardware and software platforms
  • Microsoft Teams, Dynamics 365, and Office 365 support

Benefits:

  • Increased Productivity and Efficiency: On-site It gives company managers the luxury of picking and choosing the services they need and when they are needed. For example, a company is setting up several new office locations around town, and the in-house IT staff are overwhelmed. Use your dispatched resource to call for a technician to install servers, workstations, or network equipment to alleviate the burden.
  • Cost Control: One of the most significant advantages of On-Site is the considerable cost savings. Using a managed service provider with extensive resources can absorb the overhead and travel expenses from the contract company. In some cases, over 50% cost savings are realized because the contract company is not sending its core staff to remote locations.
  • Quick IT Resolution: When a company is experiencing technical difficulties, they must be handled as quickly as possible. In most instances, efficient IT agencies can have help on the way within hours.
  • Consistent Day To Day Control: Choose an IT partner with proven methodologies and processes that are documented to their strengths in the field. Solid IT Agencies streamline an organization’s processes while improving productivity.

On-Site IT Strategies

Practical strategies for On-site information technology services; create a comprehensive plan that details how each business area can benefit. This blueprint should outline how technology creates a specific competitive advantage for every area of the company.

Ideally, any plan affecting so much of a company’s operation should help support and shape specific strategies. Departments need to work closely with leadership to execute an effective IT strategy. Newer organizations need flexible options designed for agility to shape business objectives.

Benefits:

  • Mid-size businesses and young enterprises need to use on-site consultation services for foundational support. Every business in the modern era needs to prepare itself with a robust cyber-security foundation. Skilled on-site technicians can identify the weaknesses in computer systems, networks, and off-site devices that may harm the company.
  • Analytics and reporting capabilities have been a boon to businesses of all sizes. IT services can help organizations shape a culture of improvement and shared values. Decision-making for the company is energized through visualization and support.
  • Architectural Strategies are formed to help create and achieve a business goal. Creating strategic architectural initiatives helps to ensure a deep understanding of the work involved and empowering all employees. These types of strategies engage team members directly to garner maximum value for the business.
  • Decision support and automation are enhanced throughout the organization with situational awareness strategies that match business goals. SA in the enterprise helps IT Agencies provide the ability to track and detect emerging cyber threats.

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Benchmarking On-Site IT

Vital insight into the business is gained when leadership benchmarks On-site IT efforts. Make informed decisions from a better frame of reference.

Benchmarking is a way of comparing your organization’s processes and practices with other companies in the same industry. Benchmarking is a data-driven metric to see if the company is above or below average. Leaders can find processes and performance gaps in continuing performance standardization.

Benefits:

  • Once a baseline has been established for expenditures, the company knows where dollars are being spent, either over or under target.
  • Benchmarking provides a better sense of market forces affecting the company. The practice offers the enterprise substance, rather than conjecture, in technology decision-making.
  • Benchmarking provides a proper foundation when the company needs to decide on technology-related expenditures.
  • Activities that contribute to efficiency or productivity are better understood.

Information technology in operations touches every area of the enterprise:

1) Infrastructure
2) Onboarding and Training
3) Security and Maintenance
4) Software configuration and patching

Competitive and Industry Benchmarking

Understanding how an IT department stacks up against its industry is valuable insight when establishing performance metrics. Companies can find industry benchmarks from the following resources.

Organizations are increasingly turning to benchmark tools such as the Autonomous Digital Enterprise Index. ADE is a customer-centric data-driven index that continuously analyzes its customers and their relationships.

Industries & On-Site IT Solutions

Each industry and every company within that group has specific needs for technology and how to create a positive synergy. Industries such as healthcare and financial services have the added pressures of massive regulation.

 

BACS IT Healthcare IT Consulting

IT for Bio-Tech and Lifesciences

Top-tier Biotech IT support teams have a deep knowledge of the special needs this industry requires. Biotech firms must outsource their IT to a company that stays up to date with the regulations from local state and federal regulators. IT firms must know precisely how to keep a health organization compliant.

HIPAA violations are costly in reputation and dollars. Bio-tech needs a firm that knows the business, not just reading the manuals. IT support must know how to maintain the varied pieces of equipment and software under its control.

Cloud computing is used extensively in healthcare, and on-site IT support services must maintain these collaborative services. The IT Agency must provide a pro-active security scheme, protecting every facet of the facility and its systems.

IT for Small to Mid-Size Businesses

Smaller businesses have a world of opportunity ahead of them. Choosing the right SMB IT support options is vital, either on-site, off-site, or a hybrid solution. Smaller businesses must seek out the best services from their IT support.

  • Maintenance and repairs for hardware and networking equipment
  • Software upgrades and patching

On-site IT support needs to diagnose and solve issues quickly, with In-person expertise extending to digital infrastructure and Cloud applications.

 

BACS IT On Site Construction IT Consulting

IT for Construction Companies

Technology has reshaped every facet of the construction industry, from residential to high-rise. The value of on-site IT personnel is immeasurable to a company’s efficiency. Construction Industry Institute defines technology as innovative tools, software used during the building phase. Pre-construction includes online boards and bid management.

Billions are being invested in new technology start-ups worldwide, concentrating on a variety of industry touchpoints. 1) AI & Machine Learning 2) Safety and Training 3) Productivity 4) Software and Mobile Apps.

Turn to BACS IT for On-Site IT Services

Elite IT Agencies across America have expanded and refined their services to match the needs of every business type from small to mid-size and beyond. On-site IT is one of those unique services that can reshape a business or handle an unexpected hardware problem.

Businesses no longer have to hire full-time staff to replace an email server or network router. Agencies and their well-trained staff can handle an overwhelmed department temporarily. Costs are controlled, and crisis is adverted. To find out how on-site IT services can help your business, reach out to us here at BACS IT today!

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

BACS IT Is Your IT Company Growing with You? Hero

Is Your IT Company Growing with You?

By | managed It services, Networking, Security, Strategy, Technology

American enterprise has been on a rapid growth trajectory over the last few decades. Robust consumer spending and business investment continue with unremitting intensity. Deregulation in the 80s and 90s as well as changes to the tax code have laid a potent foundation for continued prosperity.

Despite individual industry’s economic ebb and flow, business success is achievable with vision, the right team, and sheer doggedness. Determined people work 25 hour days in a garage, knowing their efforts will turn into the next Microsoft or Amazon. At the same time, others are content with a more modest operation.

In the current world economy, information technology is a  part of the competitive advantage for nearly every start-up. Each growth stage cannot be completed without a firm grasp of IT resources.

  • The start-up phase is a complex terrain of brainstorming new ideas, deciding on the ideal customer, and market forces affecting the company’s growth.
  • Entering the growth phase, companies in the biotech and life sciences require detailed roadmaps for research and development, along with other core technologies.
  • A mature and renewal stage is defined as year-over-year growth in every area of the enterprise. The financial and construction industries have a solid core of employees and matured information technology resources.

Plan Out Strategy and Growth

Information technology plays a profound responsibility when delivering value to the enterprise. A 21st-century organization aims to align its business strategy with Information technology resources to become more competitive.

Superior, highly skilled IT agencies with goals that closely match the enterprise’s goals provide a strong communication pipeline. The competitive advantage for the organization is a strategic focus, few companies possess.

Strategies for competitive advantage require IT personnel to be closely in tune with the enterprise. 

1) Cost Leadership is achieved by exploiting economies of scale.
2) Differentiation is achieved by delivering innovative products and services.
3) Focus is a strategy that is closely linked to the success of its customers.

BACS IT Is Your IT Company Growing with You?

Transforming Business

No other component of the organization offers the continuing benefit of a good IT experience from start to finish. In the start-up and growth phases of a smaller company, good relationships with its vendors are vital to success. The larger a company becomes, the more disconnect there is between leadership and its workforce.

Small to medium-sized businesses are the biggest beneficiaries of a great relationship with their IT agency.

Examples:

  • Small businesses can make strategic changes to its business model quicker with the help of IT. New markets can be reached at lower costs.
  • Analyzing data is right up the alley of a good IT agency. Greater perspectives into customer wants and needs provide a strategic advantage.
  • Responsiveness to new technologies, cloud infrastructure, and innovation is greatly enhanced. A majority of mid-sized businesses thrive on innovative thinking. Good IT agencies provide the resources to make advancements happen quickly and efficiently.

You Need the Right Size IT Agency

In the specific world we live in; there is no one size fits all!

Businesses reaching for the stars have zero time to lose. The current winner takes all environment has the same ratio that has existed for decades. 20% of global companies earn 80% of the profits.

Finding the right agency for information technology is more crucial than ever.

Here are five ideas to get started:

  1. Know your goals and the outcomes expected
  2. Experience and specialized team members within the agency make sure they have the right people.
  3. A strong industry reputation with social media proof should be a requirement.
  4. Similar core values to your organization.
  5. A well-designed website with a good client portal for escalating issues.

Countless IT agencies promise everything. The right IT agency for the mid-size company should be a firm with specialties in the areas you require.

Now that we have an idea of what types of agencies and people to look for, the hard part starts. Defining the exact qualifications for the right or near right IT agency takes as much gut feeling (see beer test) as it does research.

Which Qualifications Does Your Company Need Most?

Some companies use personality testing to define skills and compatibility, while others use the incomparable Wonderlic test. Granted, the more information an enterprise has to evaluate a person or agency, the better a decision feels. However, information technology is different; it is what you know that counts. Geeks are welcome.

Look for Great Chemistry!

Decades ago, adults could get a low-skilled job that promised on-the-job training. If you have been looking for a job lately, have you seen any on-the-job training ads?  NO. Every position in the new economy requires some familiarity with at least one or two of the job requirements.

A dramatic increase in information technology positions has many would-be technicians applying for every available position. In a lot of cases, the candidate’s experience and job skills have been wholly overstated.

When it is time for your company to look for the ideal IT agency, background references should be demanded. A position in technology requires skill and rock-solid experience. As a client with a potential shutdown event, you do not want to be calling into a party line.

Personality assessments and gut feelings tell you a lot of what to expect. If there is instant rapport, move to the next level immediately. Good people are hard to find.

The right personality is everything and a great predictor of job performance. A Good IT agency will be interacting with each member of your team, and the cost of making a wrong hire decision is steep.

BACS IT Growing Businesses Need a Trusted IT Company

Where To Look

Right now, in the US, there are over a half-million open positions in the tech industry with no change in site. There is intense competition to find talent. Even the IT Staffing companies are booming.

Finding the right talent at staffing agencies, classifieds, or your competition may or may not work.

Unconventional ways to search for talent:

  • Networking; some of the best agencies never advertise.
  • Referrals, 64% of jobs are found through referrals. Discuss the proposition with your current employees.
  • Career websites, yeah, I know, but it is a start.
  •  LinkedIn, 740 million members and is one of the best job referral services.

Companies must fight to find good talent in the new digital order, and a great or even mediocre IT agency does not walk through your door.

Transparency and Scale

Great chemistry with your IT consultant is only the starting point to a successful long-term relationship. Performance metrics must be established early to avert any confusion. When the right IT company can step in and help your business, so you know what to expect from the start.

This is the point where you find out if an IT Agency can scale rapidly with your business. Every business relationship should establish a series of agreed-upon key performance indicators. The benefits of key measurements go far beyond reducing costs and improving performance.

Strong IT consultants pull everything together for a business. Computer systems run smoother, work platforms are patched and up to date, and the small things like email run as they should.

Agency and vendor performance is most often characterized by time, cost, quality, or by opinion. Having that gut feeling about someone is reinforced with good quantifiable results.

Measurement should go far beyond cost; it should include an overall success metric.

  • Adherence to Terms: A pitfall in performance measurement; choosing too many metrics. The goal is not purely measurement but motivation.
  • Establish KPI’s relevant to your business and industry niche, including an overall success metric.
  • Track Performance: Several quality platforms exist to track stage performances. Any platform should be able to identify areas of needed improvement.

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Set Goals and Make Sure Everyone Understand What They Are

No discussion on performance and qualifications is complete without a good understanding of goals for the agency and its company.  Collaborative goal setting lays the foundation for a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.

It is essential not to have too big of a goal, “establish world peace” is a grand goal, but a bit too big. In addition, goals should not be so vague as to never being reachable. Even though we have all heard them before, here are the criteria for good goal setting and tracking.

  • Start slow and small: Goals that work are always better between formed relationships rather than strangers. Success is likely when there are no surprises.
  • Be Specific: Know where, why, and when for goal setting. Identify the necessary steps to reach each goal, and the time it will take to get there.
  • Measurable: Find common ground on how many, what time, how often, and so on. Either measure the overall completion of the milestone or each step in the progression.
  • Achievable and Relevant: Again, world peace is great but right now, maybe not. For a tech agency, track handling complaints and escalation issues. A relevant goal needs to be meaningful for both parties.
  • Time-Bound: Deadlines motivate.

Beer Test

So, what is a Beer Test? No, it is not about tasting beer. In essence, a hiring manager plans a few beers with his team and a potential candidate. If all goes well, shake hands, and seal the deal. Recruitment firms and the like want to read into a beer test more than it is; false positives, discrimination against non-drinkers, diversity killer.

The purpose of a beer test or similar, make sure all involved team members are on the same page and enjoy each other’s company. That’s it. The importance of cultivating positive relationships outside work is vital to the success of the entire team.

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When to Cut Bait

The idiom “Cut Bait,” in this case, refers to overthinking or over-analyzing a wrong prior decision. Everyone hates to admit they made a mistake, especially one that affects so many. Making the right hiring decision takes a tremendous amount of time and research.

On occasion, even the most experienced hiring manager overlooks a report, misses a file, or forgets to follow up on a crucial piece of information that may have changed the outcome. It happens; the wrong decision is to wait and see if the situation corrects itself, which it usually does not.

Cut bait and move on. Do not procrastinate the decision. Harvard Business Review states the case perfectly:

“You simply can’t tolerate underperformance. Budgets are too tight, margins are too close, and the need for growth is too overwhelming for even the largest organizations to be carrying any dead weight.”

Turn to BACS IT to Grow With Your Company

Information technology is one of the best industries in the world to be a member. There is always a challenge and substantial rewards for those who study hard and apply their craft.

The IT industry is booming! In the United States alone, 20 technology firms are founded each year, with revenues exceeding $100 million. Tech start-ups also have a 63% failure rate because anyone that can pay for a work-from-home study course is getting into the industry. That is why you want to find an IT company with certifications you can see, and references you can check.

As the tech industry grows and matures, the ranks of quality agencies continue to thin out for those businesses in search of a quality tech agency. In the end, you will face one result when it comes to trusted IT consultants. 

Turn to BACS IT, a company with highly skilled personnel and IT consultants you can trust.

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Dangers of Piecemealing IT Solutions

By | Cloud, Data Protection, IT Support, managed It services, Productivity, Security, Strategy, Technology

A piecemeal approach to anything is characterized by small, haphazard measures of uncertainty over a longer period of time. Aside from the extended time to resolve an issue, piecemeal solutions are usually misguided alternatives to the correct answer.

Piecemealed IT Solutions

Piecemeal solutions to IT issues are defined as unsystematic decision-making, and this approach is where trouble starts. Quality IT Solutions are getting faster and cheaper; IT spending has bounced back from a  deep plunge in the earlier 2000s.

Just Products

Every customer type looks to a large company that offers solutions, not just a product. The larger a business becomes, the harder it is to keep track of a piecemeal solution. Companies not only produce identical products and services; opportunities are missed.

Piecemealing can lead to confusion for company personnel, supply chains, and the client.

A goal of every company, large or small, should have an “ease of doing business.” Every product or service should be integrated around a central base of knowledge. Disparate tools and piecemealed solutions, “do not integrate well.”

The piecemealed approach inevitably leads to duplicate technology of reporting, analytics, dashboards, and workflow. These added work processes must be managed, and more times than not, revenue is sacrificed.

Blessing or Burden

A recent report from Deloitte says organizations are spending two-thirds of their IT budgets, keeping the lights on instead of innovating. Businesses can flourish with technology, or they can become bogged down under the pressure.

 

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Is Information Technology a Burden or Blessing?

Work environments have dramatically changed in recent years, whether a business has ten employees or thousands, technology impacts the company somehow. 

Without a healthy collaboration and unified approach to IT, employees wilt and cost the company money. Miscommunication in organizations of more than 100 employees costs the company, on average, $420,000 per year. Bump that up to 100,000 employees, and the number rises dramatically to  $62.4 million.

Technology brings a lot to the table. The enterprise must know how and when it should be used and how to implement those choices properly. Having the right technology can give a business huge advantages. However, constantly trying to keep up can quickly become a burden.

Businesses also find themselves exposed to heightened security risks with a non-traditional approach to information technology. Challenges are massive for IT personnel to keep up with coordinated hacker teams. Businesses face losing their corporate image or paying a ransom to get data back.

Technology should give the enterprise opportunities to create new services and products while improving efficiency. If the piecemealed approach to IT has become a burden, businesses need to step back and analyze vital information. Discover what drives the organization, with Vital IT Resources!

Maintaining a competitive advantage is a vital part of a company’s foundation. Companies must find different organization skill sets to help with the varied information technology processes and consider asking a third party to review. A step back would give the in-house IT team time to focus on innovation and adding value.

Lack of Continuous Improvement:

Successful companies need to be innovative and agile. The business needs to have efficient processes guiding everyday life in the office or manufacturing floor. Operations must be effective, making certain customer needs are being met.

What worked in yesterday’s market may not be the best approach today.

Information technology is an indispensable part of a business. Take away email, cellphones, desktop applications, the internet, and nearly every business would collapse overnight. If the internal IT department is not getting the job done with piecemealing everything, companies can get the answers elsewhere. There are now more information technology choices for the enterprise than ever before.

A poor IT culture creates barriers for the enterprise, resulting in a continuous lack of improvement. Some leaders have a limited understanding of the tools at their disposal and struggle to create uninterrupted advancement.

Barriers to Growth:

Each of the following barriers is impacted by a piecemeal approach to IT. Adapting to industry change can cause your business to be a leader or an also-ran.

  • Static Methods, Organizations must continually update processes and procedures to remain relevant. “Business as Usual” is a mistake.
  • Non-Compliance, The impact of disregarding the rules and regulations every business must endure can be devastating.
  • Opportunities Lost, Every business must stay current with their information technology resources, or the competition wins.
  • Apathetic Leadership, Executive management must innovate and create a culture of empowerment within the company. Uncommitted leadership stalls continuous improvement.
  • Underutilization of Resources, Without using every tool at their disposal, the bottom line is wasted.  

 

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Benefits of IT Outsourcing

There comes a time in the lifespan of every company when leadership must decide to go for broke or stay in the industry background. Innovative and efficient IT departments are critical to the success of all businesses in the modern era.

Outsourcing services continues to grow in acceptance. Companies receive significant cost savings and access to a global talent pool. The ability to gear up for new contracts without the inevitable increase in IT spending is a significant advantage.

Technology-driven innovation continues to improve every area of modern enterprise. Companies are finding new ways to interact with their customers, vendors, and employees. Outsourcing has become a vital segment of the global business model.

Companies are capturing immense value and building an innovation advantage by outsourcing to dynamic IT agencies.

Why do companies outsource their IT services?  Outsourcing saves money on staff; reducing costs is the number one reason a business outsources its information technology.

Another reason for outsourcing is using high technology services with trained professionals, allows a company to stick with smaller budgets.

Handing off business tasks to outside personnel, Using outsourced personnel to counteract capacity problems is a mistake. Outsourcing is not a way to get a quick pair of extra hands; it is how those hands are used.  

Dangers of Solving IT Problems With A Search Engine

Search engines are great tools when used appropriately; search engines offer an endless supply of information on every topic imaginable. Search resources are the perfect answer for those long hours of nothing to do.

Search engine tools are young. (ARCHIE, 1990) Information technology personnel rely too much on a search engine for complicated answers.

As computers, networks, and IoT devices become more complex and convoluted, IT personnel are tasked with a growing number of decisions. Risks associated with using a search engine to solve IT problems are plentiful.

Issues using a Search Engine:

  • Privacy is an obvious problem when diagnosing IT difficulties with a search engine.
  • Lack of a comprehensive solution, search engines provide only specific pieces of information, not a total approach to the problem
  • Malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks are given an open door if the employee is using a business computer to access a search engine.

Retrieval Precision

Billions of web pages exist on the internet, with more added by the hour. Type a specific question into one of the search engines, and they return millions of diverse and diametric answers. The problem then becomes choosing the correct answer.

Measuring the effectiveness of information retrieval can be as time-consuming as fixing the initial problem.

Solving an Information Technology Problem: (in simple terms)

  • Define the problem and differentiate fact from opinion.
  • Find all the alternate solutions available. Brainstorm with every person involved with the answer.
  • Take the time to evaluate each solution and include alternatives without bias. Make sure the solution aligns with stated company goals.
  • Plan and implement the chosen solution. Follow-up with interested personnel and make sure long-term goals are met.

Finding an IT solution provider with a search engine; only precise phrasing works. Questions should include manufacturing and model numbers, builds, installed software or firmware, legacy issues, and so on.

Information Overload

Type a phrase asking for solutions to “financial compliance network issues,” and 254 million results are returned. There is no practical way to get precise results with the sizable amount of information available to search engines.

To give readers an idea of the massive amount of information that is being pumped into the internet. Digital facts and figures increase by the second, with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data collected every day.

Information overload numbers:

  • Five billion videos are watched on YouTube EVERY DAY!
  • Nearly 1 in 4 adults own a smart speaker
  • By 2025 there will be 75 billion IoT devices, and 90% of the population older than six will be connected.

Why Outsource Information Technology Solutions?

In a little over two years since the start of the global pandemic, the business workforce has been upended and maybe revolutionized forever. According to Harvard Business Review, disconnects are growing. Disparate remote workforce solutions and the disconnect between executives who create a cyber strategy and the employees required to implement the plan.

Outsourcing Information Technology

Growth trends for the information technology sector and its sub-industries will thrive in the next ten years. The growing dominance of the sector is powered in large part by the vibrant hiring expectations.

Global business is expected to increase its purchasing of new computer hardware and software technologies, along with secure network gear. Sub-industries across the IT Sector, supply chains, and personnel play a significant role in procurement.

Throughout the next few decades, a flourishing enterprise will come to rely more on outsourcing information technology and other services. The enterprise need for the latest and greatest in IT will grow at accelerated rates.

Saving Time and Money

Every company wants to have a healthy bottom line, so growth continues, or a satisfied corporate board.  The advantage of any size company using available information technologies resources is unlike any time in history.

Technology Streamlines Business:

  • Going paperless makes document and employee record searches much easier.
  • The flexibility of working from a remote location is enhanced. Communication and network management has improved exponentially.
  • Improved business banking has laid a solid foundation, and the enterprise is just starting to reap the rewards.
  • Online advertising
  • Inventory control
  • Corporate Board meetings save time and travel expenses. (Oh Boy!)

 

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The Cloud

No other innovation has been as significant as The Cloud and its developing services. Maybe the wheel or an automatic transmission, but that is another story.

Aligning a winning  Cloud strategy to Business frameworks has become an all-important requirement to accelerate profitability. Cloud Computing allows the enterprise to scale rapidly up or down, efficiently handle bigger workloads and offer a higher level of security across thousands of devices.

There is an enormous upside when a company effectively implements a Cloud strategy. From corporate boardrooms to start-ups, embracing the Cloud can reduce a carbon footprint or protect sensitive information.

Cloud-based solutions far outweigh any piecemeal approach to solving an IT problem. Engage with the varied quality resources from the Cloud, and hundreds of solutions are offered with speed and security. No piecemeal solutions and without the torturous downloads.

 

Final Word

Digital transformation is having a profound influence on the world’s trajectory. New technologies coming into focus,  such as IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and 5G, are revolutionizing the enterprise.

The trajectory for growth of information technology personnel and departments will continue to skyrocket. Businesses that strive for success must map out a solid offensive blueprint, taking advantage of all on-premise and Cloud resources.

Using a search engine to piecemeal business information technology solutions is a mistake!  The piecemeal approach may work on legacy systems such as a floppy disk, but not in this ultra-modern era of digital expansion. Find out how we can help keep your company safe and manage all of your IT solutions in one place. Call us here at BACS IT today to find out more!

 

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BACS IT Vulnerability and Penetration Testing Differences

Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing: What Are the Differences?

By | Data Protection, Security, Security Architect, Strategy

Complexities of software coding have risen exponentially over recent years, without signs of slowing down. As an example, Microsoft 95, released 25 years ago, consisted of 15 million lines of code. With the arrival of cloud-connected structures, software in a connected automobile uses approximately 100 million lines of code. Google services account for a whopping 2 billion lines of code.

Coding languages have witnessed a dramatic rise in complexity. In the 90s, COBOL and PYTHON were the only coding languages. There are now over 700 viable languages, with some suggesting that figure is more like 9000.

 

BACS IT Vulnerability Testing

 

Coding Vulnerabilities

Flaws in software can appear on any line of code, with vulnerabilities impacting performance and security. Software coders need to recognize the various languages and understand how to enforce the latest security procedures.

Code vulnerabilities create security gaps, which astute hackers look for in every app and software offered to the public.

The Open Web Application Security Project is an open-source, non-profit organization working to upgrade software security. The OWASP Top 10 is an awareness document highlighting critical security risks to software, mobile applications, and web programs. It is helpful for every developer and web application engineer to be acquainted with this list.

  1.     Injection flaws are rampant everywhere and especially in legacy code.
  2.     Broken authentication methods are implemented incorrectly, leaving the door open for attackers.
  3.     Exposing Sensitive Data in web applications and APIs do not sufficiently protect sensitive data.
  4.     XML External Entities are attackers exploiting vulnerable, legacy XML processors.
  5.     Broken Access Control is poorly written code on what authenticated users are authorized to do within the system.
  6.     Security Misconfiguration is a common issue that results in ad-hoc configurations and vulnerable HTTP headers.
  7.     Cross-Site Scripting XSS is untrusted data released in the code due to improper validation or escaping.
  8.     Insecure Deserialization are flaws in the code that can contribute to remote execution.
  9.     Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities are flawed libraries, frameworks, and software modules.
  10.     Insufficient Logging and Monitoring is inadequate integration that allows attackers entry into full system capabilities.  

Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Tests

VAPT are two types of code analysis that may be applied individually but are powerful when combined. The tests provide two distinct results in the same area of focus. Vulnerability scanning alerts a developer to preexisting defects in the code, exploiting vulnerabilities in the system.

Penetration tests and Vulnerability scans are never in competition with one another. Instead, the two processes complement each other to expose potential security defects.

Software Testing Methodologies

Just as code has become complex, so have the mechanisms to analyze each line for verification and security. The principal testing methodologies are The Agile Model, Waterfall Method, V-Model, the Incremental Model, and X3.

Models and methodologies above are responsible for a product’s conformity with enterprise requirements. From the viewpoint of testing objectives, there are two types of software validation, Functional Testing and Non-functional. These are for another post.

Vulnerability Assessment

Writing secure code is now a requirement for every developer. While learning a specific language, the developer must provide a code format that stands up to several security testing strategies. A survey from DevOps found that 70% of programmers are expected to write secure code. However, only 25% of those coders feel their companies are secure and provide the means needed to create good code.

Secure coding is taking place in every industry, from biotech to finance and construction. The tools needed to analyze the code are growing more intricate by the day.

Vulnerability Assessments are an investigation that involves locating and verifying the magnitude of code flaws. Each vulnerability scan prioritizes the weaknesses in a cyber security system. A vulnerability assessment takes stock of the current cyber-policies, structures, and code. The tool then determines a severity level and makes specific proposals or immediately mitigates the threat to correct the code.

Vulnerability scanning looks for backdoors in the software, malicious code, and web vulnerabilities. Scanning tools search for the ten security threats highlighted above.

A single scanning tool involves a substantial investment and upgrade schedule to keep your business and software secure. In addition, a separate vulnerability scanner looks solely at the base code of an application, not the binary code.

Vulnerability Scanning Tools:

One of the most complete Vulnerability Scanning and Penetration Testing applications comes from Veracode.   The platform is a holistic cloud-based method for application security.

Veracode is an on-demand vulnerability scanning application with a wealth of advanced components.

After a scan, results are prioritized by a Fix-First Analyzer:

  • Business objectives
  • Risk tolerance
  • Level of risk each vulnerability represents
  • Flaws that can be fixed the quickest

A powerful feature of Veracode is that it will scan binary code in addition to an application’s source code. This binary code advancement allows an enterprise to examine 100% of an application, delivering a more robust evaluation.

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Netsparker is an automated Vulnerability Scanning tool that provides administrators plenty of advanced tools to protect their code. The automated tests can save an IT staff 100s of hours by simply setting the scan tool and letting it run.

Netsparker uses a dynamic and interactive scanning technique that is exclusive to the industry. Independent researchers have identified that Netsparker finds more code vulnerabilities than most other scanning tools.

Another huge advantage to Netsparker,  as the tool is scanning a piece of software, it teaches developers how to code better.

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SolarWinds is another solution for code mitigation. The SolarWinds tool scans devices and their firmware to keep the network compliant. The tool prevents unauthorized intrusion into routers and IoT devices while monitoring if any unusual changes are made.

With some companies having thousands of network appliances, SolarWinds can target each mechanism to keep firmware current. Complex network changes are more workable with SolarWinds.

 

 

BACS IT Penetration Testing

Penetration Testing

Identifying weaknesses in a code’s architecture, including unauthorized access vulnerabilities, is called a Penetration Test. These assessments are also called pen tests and ethical hacking. A Pen Test attempts to break the shield of an enterprise’s cyber-defense system.

Ethical hacking describes the deliberate launch of a cyber-attack by white-hat testers. These penetration testers use numerous weapons to exploit computer systems, websites, networks, and other digital mediums.

The principal objective of penetration testing is to identify exploitable holes in the code for attack entry. Along with finding security issues, coding professionals can apply the information to test the strength, stability, and administrative compliance.

Five Penetration Testing Strategies:

  • External testing involves attacks on an organization’s network from outside the company’s system and extranet.
  • Internal testing looks at what damage an authorized user could do if they penetrated specific company resources within the company network.  
  • Blind testing is a test simulating the actions of a real hacker. The target would have no prior information on the attack, relying exclusively on public information sources.
  • Double-Blind happens when only a few in the organization are aware of the attack. The double-blind is meant to monitor escalation and defense strategies.
  • Targeted testing is a fully aware testing strategy. Management and IT staff are aware of the attack, and the target is known to all teams. Targeted tests are generally used for time response.

Top Penetration Testing Tools:

Synopsys is a complete platform for enterprise security. Synopsys is technically advanced that allows the enterprise to target code from any software or application product. Defect detection is a dynamic feature of the platform with very low false positives.

The Synopsys platform ensures security is built into the fundamental code with advanced development tools spanning all process stages.

 

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Pentera is a fully automated Penetration testing tool that has all the characteristics of a real hacker. The tool can be set to test code and systems for any future attacks on a continuous loop. Pentera is an advanced Penetration tester for the most deadly cyber-attacks and breachable vulnerabilities.

The Penetration tool scans and emulates an attacker by going after each coding layer. The results will arm the enterprise with a risk-based remediation roadmap. In some instances, using Penetra, enterprises saw over a 500%  increase in remediation efficiency.  

Working Together

Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing tools are excellent as a stand-alone operation. However, combine the two, and IT professionals have the ideal combination to detect and mitigate flaws in every layer of code.

Scans using a vulnerability tool is a high-level first-stage test that searches for possible deficiencies in the code. Penetration tests take the examination a step further by replicating an actual cyber-attack, exploiting specific vulnerabilities in the system.

Used together, the two tests are meant to give an expert IT staff a detailed picture of risks and flaws in base and binary code. Each test has its specific strengths and proficiencies. Combined, the tests paint a complete vulnerability picture, and results enable organizations to upgrade their software before it hits the market.

Even though the two processes are related, they are not interchangeable. Once an organization runs a vulnerability scan, the company is in a better position to rectify weaker areas of a system. The vulnerability scan offers up an extensive list of failings found within the various company systems.   

 A vulnerability scan is a quick and affordable option, allowing administrators to perform the scan regularly. The issue with this type of scan is, it does not confirm whether weaknesses are exploitable. Vulnerability scanning software will fix some issues; however, it is not tailored to a specific organization.

Unlike a vulnerability scan, penetration tests are incredibly detailed. Pen tests will pinpoint specific risks associated with a blatant weakness. Pen tests are time-consuming and labor-intensive. Organizations should use a live, manual Pen test to get a far more accurate and thorough result.

A tester’s skill set should not be underestimated. The ability to identify weaknesses and understand how weaknesses can be manipulated is a skill unto itself.

Acunetix Web Vulnerability Scanner

Acunetix combines a host of high-level technologies to create a continuous automated threat detection system. Scans can be set to look through HTML, JavaScript, and Restful APIs to find security holes. Acunetix can also scan for code outside the main application, such as content management and delivery sub-systems.

Included in the Penetration tests are SQL injection and cross-site scripting. Reporting documents are compliant with several agencies such as HIPPA and PCI-DSS.

Scans by the Acunetix are made more accurate by sensors placed within the code. Organizations such as the US Air Force and AVG are impressed by Acunetix advanced technologies.

 

BACS IT Offers Email Threat Protection

 

Final Word

Change is inevitable and especially within the industry of code development. Organizations will inevitably have a range of weaknesses in their code due to constant flux and technological advancements.  Unmonitored changes such as firewalls having ports left open for email and other communication preferences cause havoc if not appropriately covered.

The modern organization needs to take proactive steps to secure their enterprise. The brightest minds in the world are continually working on the threats posed by cyber-attackers. Vulnerability Scans and Penetration Testing are excellent tools for mitigating a majority of faulty and dangerous code before it hits the shelves.  

Want to find out what vulnerabilities your business has? Then contact us here at BACS IT. We can provide an assessment of your business and show you what we would recommend to ensure the safety of you, your employees, your clients, and your data. Contact us today!

 

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