Category

IT Support

virtualization - it consulting - cloud support

Gaining an Edge with Effective Virtualization Management  

By | Cloud, IT Support

Virtualization offers businesses a supremely agile infrastructure framework that allows services and applications to be deployed quickly and efficiently for greater competitive advantage. Not surprisingly, virtualization continues to grow in popularity due to its ease of scalability and its ability to reduce the need for dedicated infrastructure.

 

As businesses move toward more on-demand services, many are recognizing ―and capitalizing―on the benefits of virtualized infrastructure. Built-in abstraction capabilities inherent with virtualization allow you to manage servers, storage and other computing resources in pools no matter where they are physically located. The result: lower operating costs, increased application flexibility, and better resource optimization.

 

Although organizations can gain quick value by upgrading a single component or area of infrastructure, more substantial benefits can be gained by implementing a more comprehensive approach across an array of applications, devices and systems.  But like any technology deployment, the convenience enabled by virtualization doesn’t negate the need to effectively manage the underlying infrastructure.

 

While many businesses are leveraging the advantages of virtualization, some are not fully capitalizing on its potential. One challenge is the accelerated rate of technology advancements. An additional obstacle is a lack of planning and along with poor management practices.   

 

Businesses often launch virtualization projects in a disorganized, haphazard fashion. Over time, virtual servers begin to propagate throughout the infrastructure while IT struggles to manage two distinct environments―the virtual and the physical.  

 

Effective Planning

Every virtualization project has its own set of advantages and limitations. While resource optimization is important, transitioning to virtualized infrastructure is about choosing what is best for the enterprise―not entirely about reducing costs. Creating a purpose-focused strategy should be a chief priority. 

You can implement the optimum plan for your present needs, but your results will fall short of expectations if you don’t integrate flexibility and agility into your approach. Virtualized and cloud environments are evolving rapidly, therefore, it’s important to design and build virtual environments that can scale and adapt  to meet changing priorities and evolving business needs.   

 

At the core of an effective virtualization plan is gaining a clear understanding of the requirements and capabilities of your existing infrastructure. This requires evaluating your workloads and applications, where hardware and software components are installed, the amount of resources they require, and their role and function in supporting your business objectives. 

 

Inventory Tracking

Gaining clear insight into your current infrastructure and how it’s configured and used will provide a framework for determining the optimum approach forward. One you’ve transitioned to a virtual environment, you’ll also want to conduct a thorough inventory your virtual infrastructure, as well as a running inventory, which requires updating and recording changes in every instance. It’s difficult to effectively monitor performance and execute troubleshooting without a clear inventory of the infrastructure you currently have in place.  

 

Technology planning should take into account the present, along with the future, so it’s important to build hybrid scenarios into your virtualized deployments. Your virtualized infrastructure should be able to scale up and down as necessary, reduce administrative costs, and eliminate vendor lock-in.  

 

In planning your virtualized approach, it’s important to look beyond the potential cost savings and make decisions in the context of an actual business case. That means carefully considering your goals, computing needs, resources, and many other factors. It’s complicated, and often involves trade-offs with significant strategic impact.  

 

Management Tools

While virtualization can help boost business performance, navigating and implementing the right management approach isn’t always easy. Virtualization adds complexity at multiple points in your IT infrastructure, which can complicate troubleshooting compared to physical environments.

Consolidating resources and applications across a virtualized environment requires the migration and movement of workloads. This is where automated software tools can play a vital role, helping to balance capacity demands, avoid bottlenecks, and optimize performance.  In addition to easing the burden of your IT staff by eliminating a multitude of manual tasks, virtualization management software helps simplify a number of processes such as conducting inventory checks and analyzing virtual server correlations. 

 

Customizable, interactive dashboards display performance metric and reveal how virtual machines are mapped to their associated storage, host, and related components, which allows you to quickly identify and resolve any underlying cause of performance issues. You can also review and track storage performance, including parameters related to hardware condition, historical operating data, and configuration updates.

 

The right virtualization management tool can help simplify resource administration, enhance data analyses, and optimize capacity. Capacity planning entails looking at the baseline performance and needs of your system to determine where you might experience spikes in need, and where you might need more (or fewer) virtual servers or VMs. 

 

With effective capacity planning and testing, you can shore up your system against bottlenecks and other performance problems. When issues occur, you will be equipped to troubleshoot the problem and identify the root cause.  

 

Each management tool is different, but most will allow you to effectively monitor virtual infrastructure, compile reports, assign resources, and automatically enforce rules. Some systems are even compatible across different software and hardware brands—allowing you to select the management tool that is best suited for your environment.

 

Security safeguards

Data protection and security are chief considerations in virtualized deployments, particularly in regulated environments. Safeguarding systems and processes needs to be carefully balanced against long-term business goals and objectives.  

Leveraging virtualization’s full potential requires a careful, balanced approach, taking into consideration cost savings advantages, performance requirements, and potential risk factors. Although virtual machines can offer users a practical, more convenient experience, it’s critical to carefully control user access to applications and data. 

 

The more access points and connections there are to a single device, the greater the potential for data to be compromised, lost or stolen. The challenge is creating policies that provide an optimum balance between flexibility and security. Ultimately you want to provide users with a certain level of infrastructure control while making sure virtualized benefits do not compromise defined security controls.

Although virtualization can help improve and strengthen data protection efforts, an IT security disaster can hit at any time. That’s why it’s critical to have a disaster recovery plan in place to help make sure your business can continue to operate, meet compliance mandates, and minimize business disruption and downtime.  

One advantage of virtualization is its ability to help streamline data backup and recovery. For optimum results, consider working with an expert consultant who can help you develop a disaster recovery and business continuity strategy that protects assets and defends against ongoing threats. The consultant will assess your security needs and determine an optimum balance of storing your most sensitive data on more secure infrastructure, providing an extra layer of protection.

 

 

Building a Solid Virtualization Framework

Virtualization offers substantial business advantages. By abstracting and encapsulating applications from physical hardware, you create virtual machines that are simpler to manage, easier to move and scale, and can be quickly implemented on physical hardware. Nevertheless, with virtualized technology, you still have a new set of infrastructure management challenges, including hardware configuration and server proliferation.

 

Making the right decisions about how to best leverage virtualized infrastructure can be confusing. It often involves tradeoffs with significant strategic impact. Your best bet: Don’t go it alone. Work with an experienced virtualization expert whose core focus is on improving your technology and optimizing your return on investment. By outsourcing ongoing support tasks to a trusted partner, you can focus on more strategic activities with greater peace of mind knowing that your virtualized systems and processes are running smoothly and efficiently.

data protection - IT security services

Reaping the Benefits of Proactive Data Protection

By | Data Protection, IT Support, Security

The rapid proliferation of digital technologies offers businesses vast potential for expansion and innovation, but it also creates a host of new security risks. As the growth in the number of connected devices continues to accelerate, one major challenge is determining the optimum level of security for certain types of data. Some assets require minimal protection while others may need more robust security measures.

Data breaches represent the most immediate need for effective enterprise data protection. Better protection means better compliance and reduced monetary losses and less risk of reputational damage. Improved security processes are also critical for emerging business priorities, including digital transformation, regulatory compliance, and privacy and reporting requirements.

While building an effective data protection strategy can be challenging, the effort can deliver immense business value on multiple levels. A robust data protection and privacy plan can help build and maintain stronger customer relationships, enhance brand value, and reduce the potential for non-compliance and its associated penalties. Whether through a targeted attack or an internal security lapse, businesses are at risk for potentially crippling loss of revenue through a single data breach.

Building a strong security foundation requires advanced tools and technology and an organizational culture that not only protects data and minimizes risk, but helps improve business agility, responsiveness, and transparency. It starts with a detailed assessment of your IT infrastructure and overall security requirements.

 

  • Assessment: First, it’s essential that you build a solid understanding of your data, including how it is stored, how it is accessed, how critical it is to your business, and the potential risks if were lost or stolen. What types of data are most vital to your business? What is the level of confidentiality of the data you manage? What are your current methods of storage and will this change in the future? What are the protocols for data access? This insight will provide the framework for defining your security requirements and shaping a solution that strikes an optimum balance between data control, protection and access flexibility.
  • Controls: The next step is to implement higher-level controls. These are enterprise data protection and security tools that will help protect data when it’s being accessed or used. Strong access control and user authentication methods help ensure only approved users can obtain access to your networks and data. Encryption is also critical to safeguard data and provide additional reinforcement barriers to network-based attacks.
  • Monitoring: At the center of a proactive strategy is the ability to record events and execute actions based on those activities. This is where ongoing monitoring can help, providing important insights that can help safeguards against gaps in application and perimeter defenses by notifying you of issues before any serious damage occurs. Automated monitoring tools track data access and usage details and provide important insight into areas of risk and vulnerability, helping to improve the likelihood that a potential intrusion will be quickly identified.

 

Implementing the right technology is critical, but it’s not the whole solution. The users who interface with IT systems must also be educated and instructed in how to perform their tasks. And, the policies and procedures that define the actions must be properly designed and consistently enforced.

While there is no silver bullet to protect against all threats, new techniques and innovative approaches to blocking malware and securing endpoints can help safeguard your digital assets without hampering productivity or mobility.  Following some proven best practice measures can help protect against a barrage of new and emerging threats.

 

  • Strengthen access controls: Once an access point is compromised, attackers will often reuse the password to gain access to other systems. Authentication will help obstruct these attempts no matter how the hacker gains access to the password.
  • Utilize encryption: Encryption helps safeguards information in transit and on the endpoint devices, preventing attackers from copying or transferring that data. For even greater protection, consider full-disk encryption, which it encrypts the complete hard drive, safeguarding the data as well as the applications and operating system.
  • Tighten controls: Application controls can help prevent prohibited users from launching or downloading applications on endpoint devices. They also help shield the network from possible security threats with their ability to block departing employees from access to critical business systems and applications.
  • Use proactive scanning. Vulnerability scans provide reports on detected gaps in security and recommendations for security patches or vendor solutions. These reports describe the types of risks found and a potential cause for each area of vulnerability.
  • Ensure business continuity. In the event of a disaster or security breach, you need to be able to recover quickly. Work with a qualified security expert to assess your current environment and develop a disaster recovery plan that safeguards infrastructure and data and protects against ongoing threats
  • Monitor lifecycles. Network monitoring tools can help confirm the health of software and firmware throughout system startup, operation and during sensitive upgrade periods. Software updates and security patches should be delivered automatically by default.
  • Implement advanced threat detection. Advanced detection techniques, including machine learning and analytical tools, can help identify irregularities and weaknesses in ways that aren’t possible with traditional network security These tools analyze that data in real time to correlate events and spot individual anomalies or patterns of behavior that may indicate a security breach.
  • Define policies and procedures. Usage policies define what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable. Work with your internal team to define and implement policies and practices based on your usage preferences and requirements or mandates specific to your particular market.

As cybersecurity becomes more complex, many organizations lack the resources or knowledge they need to mount an effective defense. That’s where working with an experienced security expert can play a vital role, helping you define your business requirements, identify data priorities, and implement a security framework that aligns with your business goals.

The good news is that with the right mix of defensive measures, smart policies and sound technology planning, achieving a secure IT environment is possible. Establishing a secure and well-protected IT environment in today’s world requires a proactive approach—assessing vulnerabilities, updating technology and security defenses, and monitoring for vulnerabilities.

This is where additional proactive measures can prove critical, providing reinforcing layers of defense as part of a comprehensive security strategy.

 

  • Create a culture in which people talk about security, and make security a clear priority. Teach users about secure online practices such as how to recognize potential threats and phishing attempt. Check their security awareness with in-house hacking attempts and interactive security activities.
  • Simplify and streamline security with solutions that consolidate authentication, encryption and advanced threat protection into a single security suite. Compared with point tools, these integrated systems require a fraction of the IT resources required to maintain effective threat protection.
  • Deploy updated anti-malware to help prevent malicious software such as ransomware and viruses from sneaking into your network, and make sure your anti-malware software is consistently updated with the latest definitions.
  • Keeping patches current―make sure your practices include automated patching to help enforce policies and keep systems up to date and enforced with the latest software patching.

 

  • Make backups of all your data and software on a storage device that is not attached to your network or computer. Confirm that all your backups are operating properly and test them on a regular basis to make sure they will perform when you need them.

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to break through your defenses, which reinforces the need to create a strong culture of security knowledge, awareness and responsiveness.

Every IT environment is different, and hackers are constantly refining their techniques. Therefore, it’s imperative that you stay up to date on the latest techniques and remain diligent in your effort to shield your business and safeguard your infrastructure from today’s relentless barrage of cyberattacks.

A comprehensive data protection and regulatory compliance strategy is no longer a flexible option, but rather a must-have plan for businesses of all sizes. Although building an effective IT security framework is a long-term process, businesses cannot afford to wait. Plans are being developed today, and proactive organizations are already taking action now to help ensure their IT environment is ready to safely and securely support the rapid proliferation of connected infrastructure and devices.

Data-Backup-and-Recovery-Reaping-the-Benefits-of-the-Cloud

Data Backup and Recovery: Reaping the Benefits of the Cloud

By | Business Continuity, Cloud, IT Support

While some data loss is inevitable, how you respond to a data breach or business disruption can have a significant impact on your bottom line, or even your survival. With security threats coming from all directions―from malicious code and hackers to natural disasters―data loss is not a matter of if, but when.

Although most companies and their IT departments are aware of the risks, few make an effort to implement disaster recovery until it’s too late. With cyberattacks and internal security failures becoming more commonplace, companies are increasingly turning to disaster recovery in the cloud.

Data protection and recovery capabilities weigh heavily in cloud planning decisions, particularly in regulated environments. While it’s important to safeguard systems and infrastructure against unauthorized access or malicious threats, at the same time, it’s essential to balance these risks with the unique goals and long term objectives of your business.

The fundamental goal of disaster recovery is to reduce the impact of data loss or security breach on business performance. Cloud-based disaster recovery offers an effective way to do just that. In case of a data breach or loss, vital workloads can be failed over to a recovery site to enable business operations to resume. As soon as data is restored, you can fall back from the cloud and re-establish your applications and infrastructure to their original condition ―reducing downtime and minimizing disruption.

Disaster recovery in the cloud offers a particularly attractive option for small and mid-sized businesses that often lack sufficient budget or resources to build and maintain their own disaster recovery site.

 

Gaining a performance advantage

Compared to traditional methods, cloud computing disaster recovery is relatively straightforward to configure and manage. It can eliminate many hours of time moving backup data from tape drives or on-premises servers to recover following a disaster. Automated cloud processes help ensure rapid and trouble-free data recovery.

With the right configuration and a reliable provider, cloud-based disaster recovery can deliver a number of important benefits:

• Fast recovery

Thanks to its virtualization capabilities, cloud computing takes a wholly different approach to disaster recovery. With infrastructure encapsulated into a single software or virtual server bundle, when a disaster occurs, the virtual server can be easily duplicated or backed up to a separate data center and quickly loaded onto a virtual host. This can substantially cut recovery time compared to traditional (physical hardware) methods where servers are loaded with the application software and operating system and updated to the last configuration before restoring the data. For many businesses, cloud-based disaster recovery offers the only viable solution for helping to ensure business continuity and long-term survival.

• Cost savings

One of the biggest advantages of cloud-based data recovery over standard techniques is its lower cost. Traditional data backup requires deploying physical servers at a separate location, which can be expensive. Cloud configurations, however, enable you to outsource the amount of hardware and software you need while paying only for the resources you use. Without capital costs to worry about, the “pay-as-you-need” model helps keep your total cost of ownership low. You can also eliminate the need to store volumes of backup tapes that could be cumbersome and time consuming to access during an emergency. Smaller business can select a service plan that suits their budget. Managing the data doesn’t require hiring extra IT staff. Your service provider manages the technical details and tasks, allowing your team to focus on other priorities.

 

• Scalability

Relying on the cloud for your disaster recovery provides substantial operational flexibility advantages, allowing you to easily scale your capacity as workloads shift and business needs change. Instead of locking yourself into a certain amount of storage for a specific timeframe and stressing about whether you are exceeding those limits, you can scale your capacity as needed, with assurance that your recovery processes will meet your requirements. Cloud backup provides a high level of scalability, with the ability to easily add whatever capacity you need. As your business grows, your backup systems can scale along with them. You simply adjust your service plan from your provider and request additional resources as your needs shift.

 

• Security.

Despite the security concerns of cloud infrastructure, implementing a cloud-based disaster recovery plan is quite safe and reliable with the right service provider. Most providers offer comparable, if not better security protection than many on-premises environments. Still, in the area of disaster recovery and business continuity, there is little room for error. Be sure to perform your due diligence and ask the difficult questions when evaluating the provider who will be backing up your critical business data.

 

• 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.

• Reliability.

In terms of vital business data, cloud-based data recovery offers a highly reliable failback and business continuity solution. In the event of a business disruption, workloads are shifted automatically to a separate location and resumed from there. The failover process helps ensure maximum data availability. After the problems at the initial site are solved, the applications and workloads can be transferred back to original location. It also enables faster backup restoration than traditional disaster recovery methods. Workload transfer and failover require only a few minutes. Conventional recovery techniques typically take longer as the migration uses physical servers deployed in a separate location. You might also decide to migrate your data in a phase approach, depending on the volume of data you are backing. While backup and failover processes are often automated in cloud-based systems, you still want to regularly test the operation on specific network sites to ensure critical production data is not impacted or corrupted in any way.

 

Building an effective backup and recovery strategy

Most businesses today are benefitting from the inherent efficiency advantages of cloud infrastructure of and its ability to help scale resources, and optimize assets and improve backup and recovery performance. As market demands fluctuate and businesses seek greater agility, cloud-based recovery is expected to continue to expand across industry sectors.

While there is no magic blueprint for the perfect back up and recovery configuration, a good first step is making sure you have implemented failover measures for all your connected devices. A common point of entry of many attacks is through outdated firmware on connected devices. Therefore, you’ll want to make you’re your devices and networks are hardened effectively equipped to protect against cyberattacks.

At the heart of any good disaster recovery plan is a guiding document that defines specific procedures and processes to be carried out in event of a disaster. This detailed action plan factors in multiple scenarios with defined steps to mitigate the impact of an event and enables critical business systems and processes to be recovered and restored quickly and efficiently.

After identifying and prioritizing the data and applications and you’ve defined your recovery time objectives, your business can establish a solid foundation for a cloud-based disaster recovery solution.

Depending on the extent of your need and availability of resources, closing the gaps between business needs and disaster recovery capabilities can be an extended, protracted process. No matter how long it takes, the effort to create a solid, well-crafted plan will pay dividends far beyond the initial investment.

Managed IT services - IT security services

Managed Security Service Providers – Choosing The Right IT Security Vendor

By | IT Support, Security

As more and more employees are working from home in today’s environment, creating a secure network for a multitude of vulnerable devices is more vital than ever. Many businesses are turning to managed security service providers in order to handle all of their cybersecurity operations. There are thousands of managed security service providers on the market who promise the world. 

 

How can you know who is for real and who is fake?

Business owners may believe that every managed security provider more or less provides the same service. That statement could not be further from the truth. IT security vendors offer different packages, products, and services. Those without a background in IT will have difficulty discerning one managed security provider from another. They will not be able to properly vet their offerings and may end up choosing a vendor who is not the right fit. 

Thankfully, we are here to show you exactly what you should be looking for when choosing the right IT security vendor. These are some of the most basic criteria and questions to ask when reaching out to managed service security providers. 

 

Experience in Your Industry

There are vastly different cybersecurity regulations and considerations depending on the industry. For example, the healthcare industry has to deal with complex HIPPA laws. Your company does not want an MSSP that specializes in the banking industry if you have to deal with confidential patient information. Finding an MSSP with vast experience in your industry will give you confidence that they can meet your needs. But, some IT security vendors may be tempted to lie about their experience to get your business. 

 

Get references from other companies in your industry.

The vendor that you should be considering should be able to provide plenty of references to other companies that they have worked with. Testimonials are great, but speaking directly to another company will give you peace of mind. If they are doing a great job with another company in your industry, you will have the confidence to choose them as your MSSP. 

Additionally, your company needs a managed security provider that will be able to cater to your individual needs. 

 

A Customized Solution for Your Needs

A one-size-fits-all solution is not going to cut it in today’s world. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated by the day and are working to break down today’s cybersecurity solutions. Your security needs are different from nearly every other company’s. A big red flag would be a pitch about a generic solution. Their team likely does not understand your needs and are attempting to put a bandaid on a bullet wound. 

 

What are they going to do for your company? 

Good, honest communication will go a long way in creating a relationship that works for both you and your vendor. The right IT security vendor will be honest with you and your company. They should be able to showcase how they are going to add value to your company and outline the steps they are going to take. This will be a customized solution that will cater to your specific needs. 

What is their Plan When Something Goes Wrong?

We all want to believe that a managed security service provider will be able to defend against 100% of all cybersecurity attacks. But in reality, there will likely be a time when your company has been compromised by hackers. When that happens, your managed security service provider should have a customized plan of attack for your company. 

Here are a few questions you should ask when reaching out to potential vendors:

  • What is their plan and how detailed is it?
  • Are they transparent? 
  • Do they have a team dedicated to dealing with breaches? 
  • How do we prevent the issue from happening again going forward?

Mistakes are bound to happen. Learning from them and taking actionable steps to prevent them from happening again separates good MSSPs from great MSSPs. 

 

A Long-Term Relationship

Your company needs a long-term relationship with a managed service security provider. The worst thing that could happen is you choose an IT security vendor and they end up going out of business within a few months. This would lead to a massive headache for your company. You will have to start the vendor vetting process all over again and it will make the transition to the next MSSP even more difficult. Do not be afraid to ask for assurances that your vendor will be around for years to come. 

 

This is a partnership

You are partnering with an IT security vendor, this is more than just purchasing a tool from a company. Your MSSP is responsible for protecting your data, network, customers, and your staff. This needs to be clear to all parties involved. You and your MSSP need to work together in order to achieve the goals of your business. Your MSSP will be right by your side as your business continues to grow and your needs change. 

 

BACS is the Right IT Security Vendor

We create a tailored solution for your organization that will meet all of your specific needs.  We will gladly provide references to our happy customers who we have worked with for years. Our team will handle any cybersecurity crisis in a timely manner, so you can get back to running your business. If we are not the best fit for your company, we will happily recommend another MSSP who will be able to better service your business. 

 

Reach out to BACS today to learn more about how we can keep you and your business safe. Our team is dedicated to adhering to the highest cybersecurity standards and providing your team with the tools to keep your data safe and secure. 

Contact Us for a FREE Security Assessment

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.

 

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.

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.

 

Cybersecurity Strategy

Does Your Cybersecurity Strategy Pass the Test? 5 Improvements You Can Make Today

By | IT Support, Security

Is your cybersecurity strategy capable of protecting your organization’s assets from cyber threats? If you haven’t performed any tests to confirm or deny that inquiry, consider a staggering statistic in a report about cybersecurity published by the ESI ThoughtLab economic consultant firm. From their 2018 survey of several hundred individuals of organizations in 17 countries, the average loss for the surveyed organizations was close to $5 million. As the technical expert on the cybersecurity team, your manager and the decisionmakers in the organization will look to you to ensure that the organization doesn’t contribute to that statistic.

You can easily determine the effectiveness of your organization’s cybersecurity strategy by performing real-life scenarios of your security solutions, response and recovery, and employee awareness. If you determine that improvements are needed, strengthening your cybersecurity plan should be as comprehensive as your financial resources and schedule allow. If you need to make improvements quickly, such as to meet compliance or decisionmaker requirements, make sure you focus on the areas of that are the most vulnerable to a cyberattack.

The following are five ways you can make improvements to your cybersecurity strategy and address key concerns:

1: Apply Basic Cybersecurity Hygiene

2: Fortify Endpoint Protection

3: Implement Remote Access Management Policy and Procedures

4: Enhance Your Skills and Knowledge

5: Increase Employee Awareness

1: Apply Basic Cybersecurity Hygiene

One of the best actions you can make immediately is to confirm that your organization’s cybersecurity plan addresses the basics of protection:

  • Backing up your organization’s data may seem like common knowledge, but it’s a task that companies often overlook. Having a backup is one of the best defenses against a ransomware attack. That is, if you have wisely stored your backup on a different system.
  • Incorporating automation for updates and other common tasks is in line with backups. This task will minimize human intervention that has the potential for error. Consider the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that infiltrated computer systems running Microsoft Windows operating system. Once executed, the network worm encrypted the data on the computer and presented a message demanding a ransom. Since Microsoft was aware of the issue and had provided an update to address the attack, it could have been avoided if the update had been applied on the affected systems.
  • Implementing an authentication method that is secondary to passwords will lessen security issues related to employee errors. These will serve as a protective armor for your computer systems. According to a report by Ponemon Institute, weak employee passwords were the source of an attack for 40% of their respondents with an average cost of close to half a billion dollars.
  • Using tools to monitor for and detect cyber threats will enable you to quickly review and, if necessary, respond to any suspicious issues. There are plenty of these tools available on the market. It’s a good idea to evaluate your organization’s needs before making an investment in a tool.

2: Fortify Endpoint Protection

An extension of applying basic cybersecurity hygiene is endpoint protection. According to the 2018-2019 State of Data Security and Privacy published by Forrester Researcher, endpoints account for 70% of data breaches. Endpoint protection refers to methods by which you manage security on the systems that are connected to your organization’s network. Anti-virus software and firewalls (network-based and hosted) are basic methods of protection that are ideal in traditional office settings with only desktop systems. If employees can use personal devices such as laptops and mobile cell phones to connect to the network (inside or outside the organization), you should consider implementing additional protection measures.

The following are three types of advanced endpoint protection tools for you to consider:

  • Next-Generation Antivirus (NGAV) solutions that are event-driven instead of based on files that are stored on an endpoint (traditional virus signature definitions).
  • Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) tools that are designed to monitor endpoints for suspicious activity and when necessary, automate an action to secure the system.
  • Cyber threat intelligence, which is the result of a multi-step process of collecting, processing, and analyzing raw security data.

3: Implement Remote Access Management Policy and Procedures

Before endpoints in your organization move to locations outside the corporate office, make sure you add policy and procedures. This information, typically provided in document form, is basically a detailed training and informational guide about your expectations of employees when they work in remote locations. The document should also provide the consequences of not following the documented instructions.

Even with remote access management policy and procedures in place, mistakes are still possible (and likely). The following are two important additional steps you can take to enhance remote security:

  1. Implement a multifactor authentication (MFA) to add an additional method of authenticating a user for VPN access. According to a blog post by Lastpass, a provider of login management systems, passwords account for a large percentage of data breaches.
  2. Build and implement a whitelist that includes all the approved applications and contact email addresses that employees can access. Update the list as you deem necessary.

4: Enhance Your Skills and Knowledge

Once you have all the technical aspects of your cybersecurity in place, consider opportunities of advancing your knowledge and skills. As an IT cybersecurity professional, you probably know that your technical skills must continue to evolve to combat the latest cyberattacks. What are those technical skills? According to Infosec, a provider of training for IT professional, the following eight skills are considered the basics for cybersecurity professionals:

  • Intrusion detection
  • Software reverse engineering
  • Analytical skills
  • Risk mitigation
  • Cloud security
  • Incident response
  • Encryption technologies
  • Penetration tasks

Cybersecurity is an important topic to all organizations, so there are numerous courses available online and in person. Many of these courses are fee-based. However, the SANS Institute offers free online cybersecurity courses.  You can also gain knowledge by staying informed. Joining and participating in online security-related communities and signing up for online news is also a good idea.

5: Increase Employee Awareness

Security training is not just for you and the other individuals in the IT department. All employees in the organization should know their responsibility regarding security and understand the potential consequences if they are careless. Unfortunately, there are many examples of how an employee’s negligence resulted in a costly security breach. Most recently, is the cyberattack on Grays Harbor Community Hospital. In that incident, an employee clicked a malicious link to ransomware that spread to computer systems throughout several of the organization’s medical facilities. In addition to the costs associated with the IT department tackling the damage, the organization’s systems were down for an extended period of time, which meant they lost money.

As an IT professional, your manager may task you with creating and implementing an employee cybersecurity training program.

Here are steps to help you create a training program:

  1. Determine who needs the training. At a minimum, security training should include everyone who uses a computer system or device to connect to the corporate network.
  2. Define the scope of the program. Phishing emails, password policies, and personal device protection are the basic topics to cover with employees. You should also consider the types of security attacks that are common for your organization’s industry.
  3. Outline the structure of the training. Developing a program that includes both instructional information and practical experience is a good idea. Cloud-based email management company Mimecast creates entertaining and focused training for their employees.
  4. Establish a timeline for the training. In the beginning, you’ll start with existing employees. You should then work with the Human Resources department to add training to the onboarding process for new employees.
  5. Update the training. The tactics of cybercriminals continue to advance, and so should your training program. Keep an eye out for any security news items that you can alert employees to immediately via email and later add to the training. Also, as you learn more about issues that are specific to your employees, you should add these to the training program.

Getting Started with Your Plan

The tips mentioned above are a good start to making sure that you address the basics of cybersecurity. Note that improving the cybersecurity strategy for your organization will be an ongoing task. Cyber threats will continue to advance, so you must make sure your strategy also advances. It’s likely that you won’t be able to prevent every potential attack that pops up, but at the very minimum, you will be prepared to respond to them and divert any significant damage.

At BACS, our goal is to partner with our customers to develop a cybersecurity infrastructure that is built from a solid foundation according to the organization’s specific needs.  Our team of cybersecurity experts help organizations make the “right” decisions to build an IT security framework that encompasses the full spectrum of an effective cybersecurity strategy: planning, developing, implementing, reviewing, and revising.

 

Your Cloud Migration with the Right IT partner

Easing Your Cloud Migration with the Right IT partner

By | Cloud, IT Support

As cloud trends continue to evolve, IT as a Service model (ITaaS) has emerged as an attractive model for helping to help keep IT and cloud infrastructure running efficiently, reliably, and securely. According to one report, 65 percent of IT decision-makers plan to outsource the management of their cloud operations to an outside managed services provider (MSP).

 

With an established track record of success across a range of environments, it’s difficult to deny the value of working with an outside IT expert. By assuming responsibility for daily maintenance and support tasks, MSPs can help keep your systems and processes operating at peak performance while freeing up IT resources to focus on more pressing business initiatives.

 

With the ITaaS model, businesses can connect to the entirety of the service provider’s knowledge, working with specialists who have decades of experience across industry and technology domains. These outside experts understand the complexities of technology support and work to ensure your cloud environment is aligned with business priorities and will scale appropriately.

 

Keeping IT efficient and agile 

The IT outsourcing model is not a technology shift, but rather a transformative change where IT services transition from a generalist offering to more specialized services tailored to specific needs and use cases. The service provider manages and orchestrates the IT service lifecycle―from identifying user requirements to supporting the final outcome of an effectively delivered service.

 

The advantages of IT outsourcing are simple. With a cloud-based delivery model, businesses can easily scale services to accommodate shifting business needs. The cost structure for each level of service is clearly defined, enabling accurate decision-making. Meanwhile, the flexible pricing model allows a business to preserve large capital expenses for more strategic initiatives, rather than for simply keeping IT systems up and running.

 

Every cloud environment has its own unique challenges and opportunities. Although cost savings is important, moving to the cloud is more about determining what’s best for the organization―not solely about reducing costs. Creating a purpose-focused, business-aligned cloud approach should be your top priority. That’s where working with the right MSP can deliver immense value.

 

In today’s era of rapid change, short-sighted decisions can result in costly, inefficient investments and technology complexity. That’s why it’s important to carefully evaluate the depth of knowledge and technical expertise of your prospective IT provider before making any final decision. What best practice processes do they employ to solve critical issues? Are they skilled technology planners? Can they effectively support your long-term vision and goals?

 

Finding the best match for your unique requirements can pay long-term dividends. The following are some key attributes and capabilities to keep in mind in your MSP evaluation.

 

  • Optimum efficiency. Flexible, subscription-based pricing is one of the core advantages of the IT outsourcing model. Look for a provider that offers monthly billing based on the range of services you need, allowing you to better plan and budget for IT expenses. Your in-house IT staff can focus on more pressing business priorities with a team of outside support specialists filling in the gaps and providing routine and specialized services where they are needed most. As your business scales, your subscription service can be expanded or downsized to match your needs.

 

  • Fast response. With a growing focus on remote working and global operations, around-the-clock support is more critical than ever. Not only should your provider be available 24/7, but they also need to be able to respond quickly to critical issues. Your service provider should have clearly defined response capabilities and levels of expertise. How does the Help desk operate? Where is it based? What are the core hours of operation? What is the standard response time? Will you get immediate help from an expert or will someone call you back?

 

  • Remote monitoring. Proactive performance monitoring of IT systems and cloud infrastructure can help reduce downtime and improve data security. When an issue arises, remote monitoring tools can generate alarms to inform IT staff of pending or active breakdowns, capacity issues and other IT systems or network-related events. Your MSP should have the ability to automate the monitoring and management of your IT infrastructure, including servers, workstations, firewalls, routers, network devices, and switches across your environment. When action is required, alerts can trigger your IT team or your service provider’s Help desk to initiate the appropriate response.

 

  • Clear expectations. MSPs typically provide a standard agreement that addresses most scenarios, but if something slips through, it’s vital to know what the next step is. Your MSP should provide a clearly-defined service-level agreement (SLA) that outlines in detail the specific scope of services provided. It should define the core areas of responsibility, performance expectations, and methods of resolution concerning disagreements and outcomes should an issue arise. Your SLA should include core elements such as speed of response, prioritization policies, and the time required to solve issues. The SLA scope is usually aligned with the expectations of IT and individual business units, which can benefit both parties.

 

  • Technology planning: An important advantage of the managed services model is its proactive approach, which focuses on identifying and addressing issues before they can impact business performance. Effective planning requires a holistic approach that effectively blends proven techniques and practices with advanced technologies. A good IT provider will develop a clear picture of your IT capabilities and prepare a defined action plan to help ensure the best approach to migrating platforms and applications for optimum performance and efficiency. You should be able to rely on the expertise of your provider to assist you with ongoing planning and strategy―using their depth of experience to continuously look for ways to save money, improve performance and leverage technology to support your company’s long-term growth.

 

  • Manage complexity: Cloud environments can add complexity to your IT infrastructure, making it difficult to monitor and troubleshoot issues compared to traditional environments. That’s why it’s critical that your IT provider be up to speed on the latest cloud deployment and application management techniques. Working as an extension of your IT team, you should be able to connect to the entirety of the MSP’s knowledge, working with specialists who have decades of experience across industry and technology domains. MSP experts understand the complexities of technology support and work to ensure IT systems and processes are aligned with business priorities and will scale appropriately.
  • Safeguard assets: Data security should be a top consideration in any cloud support decision. Your IT provider should have deep experience in cybersecurity and disaster recovery planning and be capable of effectively guiding you on new and emerging compliance requirements. They should be well-versed in the ability to define your business requirements and implement a security plan that aligns with your current and long-term needs. With today’s flexible managed services offering, look for a provider who can integrate the entire process of backup and recovery into a single service. Storage, design, testing, and around-the-clock proactive backup monitoring allow you to keep an eye on performance without having to manage the task yourself.
  • Scale efficiently: Your MSP should be skilled at managing the complexities of cloud deployments and willing to work with you to make sure you optimize your existing infrastructure and resources. The provider should be able to accurately assess the level of integration you require in your cloud infrastructure, taking into account your available resources, security requirements, and compliance demands. Ultimately, your cloud infrastructure should be able to effectively scale to meet shifting workload demands, improve operational efficiency, and avoid vendor lock-in.

 

Gaining a performance edge

Most IT organizations are stuck in reactive mode, continuously putting out fires and rushing to resolve the latest crisis. Reactive measures can’t be completed avoided, but you can improve your approach. By outsourcing ongoing cloud management and support tasks to a trusted partner, you can focus on more strategic priorities and enjoy greater peace of mind knowing that your IT operation is running smoothly and efficiently. Given the enormous upside potential, the sooner you engage with an expert IT partner, the better.

 

 

Eargo Case Study

Rapid Wireless Deployment Helps Pave the Way for Business Expansion

By | Case Studies, IT Support

SUMMARY

After relocating into a new, more expansive office building, one of the first priorities for Eargo, a West-coast-based hearing device manufacturer, was quickly establishing reliable wireless connectivity. Working with BACS, the company was able to install the required infrastructure and activate a new wireless network in a matter of days. The rapid installation helped ensure the continuity of its business operations while creating an IT foundation that would help drive business growth in the years to come.      

 

INTRODUCTION

Growing a business from a small startup operation into a large-scale manufacturing enterprise doesn’t happen without a few obstacles along the way. A frequent challenge for many companies is navigating the complexities of technology deployment and scaling up IT infrastructure quickly and efficiently. That was the scenario facing Eargo, a Silicon Valley-based designer and developer of small and virtually invisible direct-to-consumer hearing aids. 

 

While this was not the first challenge of this type for Eargo, the degree of urgency, in this case, was more intense and the scope of new infrastructure required for this expansion was on a much larger scale. Having quickly outgrown its previous office, the new facility would provide the company with more than 30,000 square feet of new office and manufacturing space. 

 

With only minimal IT infrastructure in place, Eargo’s first order of business was establishing wireless access to the building as quickly as possible. To help them find a solution quickly, they turned to BACS―the same IT provider who had helped them overcome previous expansion hurdles and one they knew they could trust.

 

CHALLENGE


After signing the lease on its new building, Eargo’s first task for BACS focused on how quickly they could get a wireless network installed. The infrastructure not only needed to be ramped up quickly but also needed to be carefully planned to allow easy scalability as the company began to add new staff and scale-out its manufacturing operation. 

 

To define exactly what Eargo meant by “quickly” and provide more precision to the timeframe they had in mind, company executives posed to BACS a simple and pointed question: “Would it be possible to install a wireless network and get it up and running within a week?”

 

For a company like BACS that prides itself on ingenuity and thinking outside the box, the question instantly became a challenge. Initially, the BACS team wasn’t sure if the goal was feasible. But as they weighed their options, the idea of a phased approach emerged as a potential option. 

 

“The plan that emerged was that we would install a temporary wireless network first, giving them the quick connectivity they needed as they continued to relocate staff, install equipment, and prepare the facility for full-scale production,” said James Burger, CIO, BACS. “At the same time, this staged approach would give us the extended runway we needed to lay the groundwork for a more robust, permanent wireless solution.” 

 

Strategic Network Management

SOLUTION


With the scope of the challenge more clearly defined, BACS began to work on the solution. That same day, BACS ordered the core infrastructure it would need for the initial deployment. The following day technicians ran the cabling. Two days later they installed the firewall, access points, along with a 4G wireless access card. Within five days, BACS had the infrastructure fully installed and the wireless service activated, providing Eargo with fast the connectivity it needed along with sufficient speed and bandwidth to meet its immediate needs.  

 

“We used a 4G access card we had on hand and were able to negotiate a 60-day temporary wireless connection at a substantial discount with one of our preferred vendors,” said James Burger, BACS. “This allowed us to get the company up and running quickly as we continued to plan and configure the supporting infrastructure they would need to support a high-speed fiber connection.”

 

While establishing the wireless connectivity was at the top of Eargo’s priority list, other needs quickly rose to the surface. One of those was installing a new business telephone system, as well as adding a cloud-based server to support the company’s rapidly growing volumes of data. 

 

RESULTS

Before the temporary 60-day wireless plan had expired, BACS was able to install a new 100 Mbps fiber-optic network and remove the temporary 4G connection. Thanks to smart planning and diligent effort on the part of BACS, Eargo now enjoys optimized and seamless wireless connectivity through its facility. 

 

The phased approach helped provide Eargo with a smooth transition into its new space, allowing it to scale out of its office and manufacturing environment at a controlled pace with minimal business disruption. 

 

As the company began to ramp-up its engineering operation, Eargo relied on BACS to help it build out its IT infrastructure, including installing a new cloud-based server that could run its various engineering tools. Thanks to BACS’s extensive experience working with SOLIDWORKS, Mathcad, and other engineering tools, BACS was able to help Eargo install these applications at substantial cost savings compared to specialized third-party integrators.

 

BACS’s deep technical expertise also proved instrumental in helping Eargo select and implement a new business phone system, deploy new call center infrastructure, as well as implement the cabling to conference rooms to run flat-screen monitors for online meetings and video conferencing. The new business phone system and call center infrastructure are designed to meet Eargo’s current needs while allowing room for expansion. 

 

From its initial site analysis and needs assessment to planning and implementation, BACS was able to provide a fast and efficient infrastructure deployment, integrating complex technologies in multiple phases that all work seamlessly together. The rapid wireless installation and carefully planned infrastructure build-out have had a profound impact on helping Eargo drive business growth, boost productivity, and strengthen its network and IT security.

 

Like with many expansion projects, IT and infrastructure needs can be easily overlooked until the last minute. One advantage BACS brought to the project was its deep business planning expertise and its insistence on scheduling quarterly meetings, which were vital in helping to gain a clear insight on upcoming priorities, potential roadblocks, and what the team needed to be preparing for next.  

 

“Our quarterly meetings proved instrumental in helping to eliminate many of the last-minute surprises that often arise in rapidly-evolving IT projects,” said James Burger, BACS. “Another advantage was our early involvement with the client from their small start-up stage. Our scope and depth of engagement with Eargo factored heavily in terms of our ability to clearly understand their goals, their timelines, and what they wanted to accomplish.”

 

Like many growing companies, Eargo is well-aware of the complexities, delays, and obstacles that are all-too-common in the world of technology deployment. But in this case, the company also discovered that with the right support, some creative thinking, and diligent effort, it is possible (though indeed rare) for events, timelines, and tasks to fall into place precisely as planned.  

 

Free IT Consultation