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Cyber Threats to Construction Companies BACS IT

Why Cyberthreats to Construction Companies Are On the Rise

By | Business Continuity, Data Protection, managed It services, Productivity, Security, Technology

Cyber-attacks have threatened every industry vertical worldwide, with infrastructure and development companies hit more than most. Construction firms are vulnerable to attack because of the various legacy systems along their supply chains. Older hardware and software exist everywhere in the industry.

Construction may not suggest a likely target with thousands of asset-filled healthcare and financial service businesses available. Construction is hit hard because of its limited employee awareness across various antiquated supply chains.

Ransomware has become highly effective in the industry, with attacks rising considerably in recent years. Assaults are more sophisticated and targeted to every market niche in the sector.

Cyber attackers have focused their attention on construction due to lax security from virtually every firm in the industry. Most firms ask, Why Us? We have limited to nothing worth plundering. As it turns out, the industry has plenty to offer attackers. Statistics associated with the attacks are bearing this out.   

  • 1 in 6 construction companies reported a ransomware attack at some time in the last year
  • Cyber-attacks have a success rate of 74% as compared to 42.5% for all other industries
  • Ransomware payments made by individual companies averaged $220,300 per incident
  • In a typical data breach, construction firms lost 15 operational days per employee

Construction as a Target

Every vertical is under assault by sophisticated hackers.  Why is construction singled out?  Companies throughout the supply chain are cash-rich and regularly under the gun to meet building deadlines.

Building and design firms are vulnerable due to their predictable schedules. Ransomware, phishing, and service denials have an easy time calculating when to attack mobile devices and data systems.

  • Lots of employee information, bank accounts, and SS numbers are available on old computer networks
  • Proprietary and expensive home and commercial construction designs
  • Bid data on all types of projects
  • Profit/loss information on each hacked company plus the supply chain is openly available
  • Banking records of each company, employee, and vendor are readily available

Rapid growth in the overall economy has made cyber attackers look hard at the building industry. Another point made earlier; attacks into one system have a path to countless other networks.

Fast-growing companies have the most to offer or surrender. With growing organizations, cyber security is frequently left in the dust, and firms end up paying for their oversight.

The construction industry as a whole has regularly played catch-up on cyber security. The disparate structure of the industry, with only a few firms having the skill sets or funds to invest in security against cyber attackers.

The largest construction companies should show the same intensity of safeguarding against ransomware attacks as they do minimal employee safety measures. Lax attention to either one is a recipe for disaster.

Some of the best news coming out of the industry;  company leaders from the most prominent building firms are leading cybersecurity discussions. Industry associations are taking point and facilitating the conversation for better defense.

Construction firms must start from the ground up with a cyber security plan of action. These elements should develop into a solid infrastructure for the entire industry.  As more and more companies recognize the importance of cyber issues, the finest third-party vendors will concentrate their resources on the defense of malware, ransomware, and phishing code.

Easy Deception

Scams start as compromise frauds, with a legitimate email addressed to any number of unsuspecting employees.  Or an email blast is disguised as an invoice or some other everyday money transfer communication. Without suspecting deceit, employees deliver the cash into a cyber attacker’s account.  

2019, roughly $1.8 billion was blindly given to cyber attackers’, according to the FBI’s internet crime report.

How Does Ransomware Work on a Construction Firms’ System?

Ransomware gains entry through unsuspecting emails, and code spreads throughout the network, encrypting files as the code spreads through the network and then demanding a ransom to free up the information.

  • Malicious emails containing links to a website or a download link addressed to several employees. If the employee falls for the scam and opens the email, the ransomware is downloaded and executed on the user’s computer system.
  • Another means for ransomware to get into a computer system is by Remote Desktop Protocol or RDP. The attacker has employee credentials by stealing or guessing at the login. Once the system has been breached, the attacker downloads the malware and executes the code.
  • After the malware has gained access, the code starts to encrypt files. Most systems have built-in encryption, so any company files are encrypted with the attacker’s control key. The ransomware picks and singles out the most profitable or sensitive files to encrypt while ensuring the system remains stable.
  • Once the encryption process is finished, the ransomware is prepared to make demands. Different variants have dissimilar methods for ransom demands.  Typically, attackers demand cryptocurrency deposited in offshore accounts in a specific time frame.  If paid, the attackers release the system. If the ransom is not paid, attackers destroy the files or bring down the entire system.

 

Stolen Credentials

Contractors generally have lax standards when dealing with their clients or other contractors. Many times they hold open communication portals for bill pay or construction management projects. These lackadaisical standards constitute a clear channel for aggressive attackers. Easy access to a contractor’s system allows attackers to ransack any sensitive document they choose.

Small to mid-size contractors are frequently oblivious to the hazards they face or how to stop the invasions. Phishing scams, distributed denial of service, and ransomware are experiencing a meteoric rise in every industry operation.

Easy Targets?

In the initial days of the pandemic, development firms migrated their employees to remote protocols almost at once.  These distributed operations left many company’s IT professionals unaware of the cyber gaps they left behind.

The proliferation of mobility within every industry niche contributed to massive oversights. In the turmoil of shifting their employees, IT departments struggled to secure servers and data centers. Unfortunately, there was not adequate security.

In its many designs, building and planning development is unique in that it utilizes various suppliers, sub-contractors, and dealers, with money pouring in from all directions. Construction is also part of government budgets and conglomerate bidding processes involving smaller unknown companies.

The details of a bidding contract are generally kept secret until the winner is announced. Significant and extensive bids include winners, losers, contractors, and specific cash amounts. This entire decades-old framework makes any construction project a profitable target.

Like other industries, construction firms and their supply chains will never completely ward off a cyber-attack: more investment and a substantial awareness of the obstacles the industry faces are needed.  

Implementation

  • Construction firms, no matter their size, must have a Prevention-First mindset.  By the time a piece of malware is discovered on your computer or network,  It’s Too Late! Firms must have robust mechanisms in place to “Protect the Castle” from the interior.  Instead of moats and towers, an organization must use VPNs, anti-virus, and physical disciplines.
  • Most construction companies should start from the ground up to create a stable framework. A Network Security Audit should be one of the initial steps any firm must select. Knowing where the weak link is in the process is vital. An audit can forewarn you of updates that need to be carried out and warn you of possible security issues.
  • Contractor communications are usually unstable and famously unsecure. Building firms rely heavily on sub-contractors for bill payment and sourcing; this component usually opens the gate to attack. Ransomware, phishing, and service denial attacks launched through one system are quickly passed on to numerous other organizations on the network.  To secure a money moving process, the company’s team must establish stable and secure communications with other firms to have the same protection protocols.
  • Development firms and their working systems are generally unreliable and noted for having no cyber security plan.  If you discover your business is in this position, the first action should be to bring everything on the network up to date. Regular patching and updates require adherence to security. Failing to do so can again lead to disaster.

Patching computer systems and networks is crucial. Cyber attackers often seek out the most accessible uncovered sections for assault. Building companies and supply chains must stay updated with the latest and greatest hardware and software components. Potential vulnerabilities will be diminished.

  • Employee education is invariably a part of every cyber security must-do list.  Accidentally clicking a phishing email or ransomware attack is made a lot simpler by the uninformed employee. To combat the growing threats, every firm needs to train its employees in the correct way to manage its system.

Cyber education is explicitly needed for ransomware and malicious code circumstances. Educating employees is always a great idea. However, ensuring they are trained in how attackers get into a company’s computer is critical to success.

  • By now, every business should have a data backup plan. Unfortunately, that is generally not the case. In an assault, backups serve as the sole means of bringing back a system to its original working condition. Make certain you use multiple software approaches to improve results. Snapshots and replication ensure data is quickly brought back. Relying on a quality third-party vendor is an educated choice.

Ransomware

Modern ransomware attacks began in 2017 with the WannaCry code. These large-scale attacks exposed to the world the accessible routes by which attackers could enter a firm’s framework and attack. It demonstrated all too well; how profitable ransomware could become if adequately managed.

As corporations, particularly building and design, pivoted to remote work, ransomware exploded in popularity. Ransomware attacks surged by over 50%

Deadly variants:

  • Ryuk
  • Maze
  • REvil si one of the most well-known and destructive ransomware groups on the net. REvil has evolved to become a devastating ransomware variant.
  • Lockbit
  • DearCry

Protection

The actions above described construction systems without a cyber security policy and ransomware is a different beast entirely.

Bringing network systems up to standard is required in this modern age, and it should be only a part of an overall comprehensive plan of attack. Preparing a system for malicious code is not easy.

Proper preparation can dramatically cut down the occurrences of attack. Utilize the following tips to help reduce vulnerability to malicious code.

  • The use of a robust user identification process is highly effective for any business. Attackers are constantly finding easy entry to a network by stealing user credentials.
  • Ransomware attacks are created, so companies cannot access their data once the attack has started. Real-time data backups are an excellent solution for larger enterprises. Maintaining a regular habit of backing up company information is key to winning a malware attack.

What To Do if Your Systems are Infected

No one wants to see a note on their screen demanding cryptocurrency, or a complete shutdown of the system is next. If the menace is real and ransomware or malware is on your computer, again, it is too late to stop it.

However, here are a few tips to use if you recognize your network is infected:

  • Immediately quarantine the machine or network if feasible.  Malware spreads to alternative systems on the network immediately. Limit the broadcast by eliminating the connection.
  • If your files are encrypted, check with the “No More Ransom” site to determine if any decryptors can run on your files.  Run the decryptor on your machine to see if it works.
  • Do not turn off the computer. Encryption may make the system unstable, turning it off, and it may not turn back on.
  • Format the drive in question and restore the drive from a clean backup or operating system installation.

Let BACS IT Help Protect Your Data – Call Us Today

It is essential that you have the right IT services set up for your company, no matter what type of industry you operate in. For help creating a security plan for your company, turn to the experienced IT consultants of BACS IT. We are here to help keep you and your data safe. 

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Financial Services Companies Face an Ever-Evolving Cyber Landscape

By | Data Protection, IT Support, managed It services, Security

After the initial fascination of the internet had run its course, financial developers turned their attention to laying the groundwork for banking services. In 1995, Wells Fargo became the first company to offer online banking. Since that time, the industry has seen a transformation unlike any other in history.

The cyber scene has evolved to include networks, devices, transit information, and services of every shape and size. Security quickly moved to the fore as the most influential aspect of our online world.

As devices and services explode on the cyber landscape, 96% of Americans state that more should be done to safeguard privacy. 65% of those surveyed are convinced personal data was not being protected. Along with an emerging threat of attack, the regulatory climate has been a distraction for most.

Governments worldwide are coming down hard on industries they feel are not doing enough in managing risk and personal data. As the world embraces digital, the cyber threat landscape has evolved into consumers aware of their lost privacy.  

The Financial Service Industry must do more to convince its clientele their data is secure.

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Cyber Security

Over the previous few decades, there has been an exponential rise in people accessing the internet with every device imaginable. The single biggest challenge for every organization is the threat of cyber-attack. Experts acknowledged that global companies could bear the brunt of a 5.2 trillion dollar loss to cyber-criminals over the next five years.

The concern by Americans and the World; personal data is not being cared for as it should. Financial services have made strides in securing personal information, but so much more can be done.

Infrastructure

Attacks on infrastructure networks are advancing rapidly. In 2020, attacks were up more than 150% from the previous year. According to NPR, the situation is acute; investigation has revealed over seven ransomware attacks occur per hour. These assaults have grown into a national emergency without fanfare.

US Banks are being hit hard by ransomware and other malicious code. July 2021, REvil, a devastating code, attacked a group of Ohio Banks and extorted nearly $70 million. Unless you were an Ohio resident, it is unlikely the story made was heard.  

These raids on our financial infrastructure are multiplying at unprecedented rates.

Industry experts admit Financial institutions must do better with their infrastructure to secure essential data. Preparation, good data backups, and constant vulnerability scanning are part of the prevailing landscape to keep digital assets intact.

Internet of Things

IoT has been recognized by many to be the next revolutionary landscape. As billions of more devices are linked to the internet, the risk is growing exponentially. New security challenges are being identified daily by financial institutions.

IoT devices were not built with security in mind, which leads to significant vulnerabilities throughout the system. A significant flaw for an IoT device, there is no way to install a security procedure, and in some cases, malware is on the device when it is shipped.

Protocols used by many of the devices are proprietary and create havoc with traditional networked systems. Users who do not keep the operating systems on each device continually patched and updated are a serious burden for the industry. 

IoT has given society unique and extraordinary ways to improve our lives. However, with over one million new devices shipped each day, safety considerations are growing.

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The Cloud

Every industry uses The Cloud and its diverse applications to promote its business.

Financial start-ups and seasoned services employ the Cloud to increase scale and lower costs. Data management has become more accurate and easier to manipulate. Borrowing decisions and related costs are now quicker, and decisions are better informed. Credit companies, automobile, and consumer finance businesses use the Cloud extensively, reporting a buyer’s credit worthiness are faster and a lot more accurate.

The Cloud has become a secure landscape for most businesses than their on-premise IT departments. Accessibility over data location is proving to be a vital aspect of a secure environment.  With the Cloud, cyber-attacks are mitigated when data is secure.

Attacks on the Cloud and its applications have surged. McAfee studied the third and fourth quarters of 2020 and found nearly 3.1 million attacks on user accounts. Widespread acceptance of remote working conditions has left the door wide-open for cyber-attack. Remote workers have limited knowledge of corporate platforms that control security and therefore have no fallback plan.

Companies must take stock of their infrastructure vulnerabilities before migration to a remote workforce. IBM reports, something as fundamental as misconfigured Cloud settings, had an average cost to business of roughly $4.41 million per incident.  

Laptops, mobile phones, and tablets are excellent devices for working at McDonald’s. However, without realizing the repercussions or, in some cases, lack of concern, users are clearing the way for cyber-attackers. The Cloud provides an abundance of benefits for companies in 2021 and beyond.  Each financial organization must generate its winning Cloud strategy to be successful in the modern era.

 

Network Security

No component in the financial space is more fundamental to the success of the financial industry than network security. As the internet has grown with millions of new networks from one website to another, attackers find intrusion into your bank account much easier. The sophistication of cookies has made casual surfers’ prey to financial extortion and exploitation.

Financial experts recommended machine learning techniques for the industry, notifying authorities of any unwarranted intrusion into the system. Emerging threats come from everywhere, attacking financial apps, software, websites. Users must seize the initiative to secure their data with two-factor authentication, antivirus programs, and encryption.

 

Cyber Landscape

Technology is continually evolving and growing into a unique phenomenon each day. No one could have foreseen the ravaging effects of a global pandemic and its effects on business and cyber security.

There are fundamental characteristics of a solid financial landscape. The first and possibly the most influential is user privacy in the financial space.  

Privacy

Each new financial application appearing on the iPhone or Android App Marketplaces wants some form of sign-on to access the next best financial application. Without realizing the consequences, users sign up and later wonder why their phone or tablet was hacked.

Each day there seems to be a new high-profile cyber-attack exposing millions of names, addresses, and regrettably, social security numbers.  Concerns from banking and financial experts have skyrocketed with the security of the cyber landscape rapidly turning into the dominant priority.

Regulatory compliance continues to be a significant topic of controversy among banking officials. Data privacy is no longer a single component within a much larger financial application. With increased regulation and millions of identities stolen every year, user privacy will develop into a proprietary platform accessible only to users.  

Data privacy impacts a considerable swath of companies in every industry around the world. Every aspect of a company’s operation is affected.  Strategies to stay in alignment with cyber security trends to HR resources are involved.

The Graham-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 was enacted to remove barriers between financial service firms. Other noteworthy facets of the Act:

  • Financial Privacy Rule-required financial businesses to provide consumers with a privacy notice and explain personal information collected.
  • Safeguard Rule-financial organizations must have a “written information security plan,” to protect client’s non-public information.
  • Pretexting Protection-Pretexting is known as social engineering.  Organizations are encouraged to safeguard against this activity.

Financial businesses must rethink their approach to personal and public privacy going forward or lose ground to changing organizations. Some of the concepts being considered:

  • Data encryption while in transit from bank to bank and consumer to the bank.
  • Network segmentation
  • Access control by role
  • Destruction and document retention

User data protection plays a significant factor in financial organizations. Businesses must develop a solid base and identify the deficiencies in their infrastructure.

BACS IT Financial Services Companies Need IT Services and Data Protection

Securing the Future

Regaining customer trust is a major hurdle for the financial industry. Banking organizations must move beyond tradition and forge a new approach to doing business in the era of mobility.

Consumers are hungry for economic independence, and they see managing and investing their finances as a way to get there.  The cyber landscape is evolving quicker than any individual or business realizes.

Predicting the future is just as obscure now as it was a generation ago. However, there are three areas of technology that hold great promise for the future.

Artificial Intelligence

Financial organizations are utilizing artificial intelligence as a way to enhance the customer experience. Each organizational step in AI requires a vast amount of data to work correctly. Financial organizations have the data. It is only a matter of time before they can integrate adequate AI technologies into the mix.

Artificial intelligence in the financial industry is growing in sophistication. Industries are on the very tip of realizing the true potential of these technologies. Replacing human involvement is the objective of most AI-enabled security schemes.

Facial recognition and analyzing vast quantities of data to establish security risk faster makes financial institutions much safer. These capabilities will be beneficial to large corporations especially. Under-resourced, small, and mid-sized enterprises will see tremendous progress as well.

AI techniques present a quantum leap in threat detection for every enterprise. Unfortunately, cybercriminals have the same opportunity and are taking advantage to automate their networks.

According to Business Insider, by 2023, the potential savings for banks from AI-enabled applications will be a staggering $447 billion. 80% of banks worldwide are aware of the tremendous benefits AI will bring to the industry.

The financial industry will accelerate AI and machine learning technologies with increased user acceptance and shifting regulatory guidelines. Task automation, fraud detection, and advanced technologies are the main drivers of the future in banking.

Machine Learning

Each year the consequences of fraud on the financial services industry cost billions of dollars. Financial firms are keeping their data stored online, and this is another open door to cyber-attack. Machine learning is coming into focus as a significant way to combat fraud in the industry.

A set of rules defined fraud detection in the past, making it extremely easy to bypass these conditions. Machine learning scans millions of data points to find anomalies and unique activities in a user’s account.  The system then sends up a red flag for incidents that require further investigation. Machine learning techniques compare data points such as  IP address and location to compare if the transaction is in line with the account holder’s activity.

Machine learning algorithms analyze vast amounts of datasets to find correlations. Human efforts cannot find the subtle differences in the mounds of data that will lead to fraud detection. Full control machine learning systems will decline a purchase or deposit until there is human intervention.

Machine learning systems are much faster at analyzing the data with less manual work.  Some of the largest financial institutions rely heavily on ultra-modern machine learning techniques.

Mastercard uses several machine learning algorithms in its business to detect fraudulent transactions. With machine learning, the system analyzes the account behavior and the transaction to determine any fraud. It is estimated that merchants lose almost $118 billion a year on false transaction declines.

According to Javelin Strategy and Research, traditional brick and mortar financial institutions take nearly 40 days to detect fraud and react to the intrusion. It takes longer for an offline consumer to detect fraud activity, while cybercriminals are getting better at evading detection.

The Signiant challenges for the financial services industry is real-time fraud detections and assessment to improve accuracy.

Blockchain

No article on the future of financial services is complete without mentioning one of the newest technologies on the block. Experts fully agree Blockchain can revolutionize every area of the financial service industry.

A Blockchain transaction starts by recording a single step in the entire transaction; before moving on to the next step, an encrypted validation key is generated by the previous step. Any future steps in the process must have the validation key from the previous step to move on. For any Blockchain transaction to be valid, every step from the beginning of the process must be accounted for and validated. There is no way around the process.

Most people unfamiliar with Blockchain see the tech used only for bitcoin. Although cryptocurrencies make heavy use of the technology, Blockchain is so much more. The technology can be used for currency exchange, property, goods, or anything that requires an enforceable contract.

Blockchain records each transaction verifies the transaction as valid, secures the transaction with encryption, and enforces the terms. Every primary financial concern in the world is developing, actively using, or taking a hard look at the advantages of Blockchain.

Blockchain technology is entirely uncrackable and safe due to its encrypted validation key. The rush to use Blockchain by every financial institution on earth has just begun.

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Let BACS IT Help Keep Your Bay Area Financial Services Company Safe

Find out how the professional IT consultants here at BACS IT can help keep your financial services company safe. We understand the security steps you must take to maintain compliance, and we also know what IT services will work best for your industry. How we specialize it for your company is what we must discuss next. Call us today and let us figure out the best options to keep you, your employees, and your customers safe from scams, malware, and breaches. 

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3 Reasons Your IT Infrastructure Is Failing Your Business

By | managed It services

Your IT infrastructure is holding your business back. 

Organizations often ignore their IT infrastructure. Some companies do not keep their IT infrastructure up to date as their business grows. Similar to other infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, IT infrastructure requires continuous maintenance and upgrades in order to properly support your business processes and activities. 

Ignoring IT infrastructure can cause a number of issues within your business. Competitors can take advantage of this misstep and leave organizations with aging infrastructure behind. When a business is beginning to expand their IT infrastructure, there are many costly mistakes that can be made. Companies should consult an expert in IT infrastructure, such as BACS, to ensure your infrastructure can keep up with the demands of your business. Still, building up your IT Infrastructure can sound like an expense that your business doesn’t want to take on. However, listen to James, CIO of BACS, discuss how small to medium businesses are leveraging tech that was once only available to enterprise level businesses and how they are able to afford the latest technology that will scale and expand their business:

 

 

How Your IT Infrastructure Is Failing Your Business

Outdated and non-optimized IT infrastructure will prevent your business from growing and can cause significant process and performance issues. Some companies may be tempted to patch problems whenever they come up, but over time your IT infrastructure will eventually fail. There are multiple reasons why your company should continually invest in your IT infrastructure. 

  • Increased Downtime

One of the most obvious signs that your IT infrastructure is failing your business is when you begin to see increases in both the length and number of instances of downtime. IT downtime occurs when your network or applications unexpectedly fail, while your business is operating. There are multiple reasons and factors that can cause your IT infrastructure to crash. 

Depending on your business model, any downtime can cause serious business implications. Employees may not be able to perform their daily tasks. Customers may become frustrated, if they cannot access your applications or services. If your business relies on online revenue, you can quickly lose out on customer orders. 

Some organizations can lose millions of dollars each hour that their IT infrastructure is down. According to Gartner, the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 each minute. Those costs can quickly add up over time. Organizations can avoid IT downtime by ensuring that their infrastructure can handle their daily business operations. 

  • Preventing Full Optimization

IT infrastructures can hold an organization back from reaching its full potential. New technologies and applications may require updated IT infrastructure in order to properly function. Attempting to overload the infrastructure may lead to a host of issues. For example, a company with an outdated IT infrastructure will have to deal with more problems when they move their operations to the cloud. 

Investing in IT infrastructure will allow your organization to create better products and services for your customers. Older IT infrastructure can hamper your team’s ability to keep up with the competition. Employees can be more productive when the proper IT infrastructure is in place. They will be able to access company resources and applications from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.  

Improper IT infrastructure can also lead to more data breaches. About 63% of small and medium sized businesses experienced a data breach in 2019. This number is only going to continue increasing, as cybersecurity attacks are becoming more sophisticated. Investing in IT infrastructure can help prevent data breaches. 

  • Rising Costs

Companies may be unaware of all of the money they are wasting by refusing to upgrade their IT infrastructure. The costs of keeping older IT infrastructure in place can quickly add up. Executives may be hesitant to spend significant capital upfront to upgrade their IT infrastructure, but in the long run most companies will save money. 

The scaling costs of the cloud are evident in startups that attempt to scale rapidly. One startup was in the video encoding and streaming space. Early on in their journey, their team did not properly invest in their IT infrastructure. The company was using Amazon Web Services and spending over $300,000 a month on their cloud infrastructure and services. This model was not sustainable in the long term. 

The startup worked with an IT infrastructure company in order to set up their own infrastructure. Their costs dropped from $300,000 a month to $100,000 a month. Currently, the company spends about $250,000 a month on their IT infrastructure and bandwidth. The Amazon Web Services bill for similar infrastructure and bandwidth would have been over $1,000,000 per month. If the company had properly set up at least some IT infrastructure, they could have avoided their skyrocketing costs altogether.

Most companies do not have the capabilities to reduce their monthly IT infrastructure bill by hundreds of thousands of dollars each month. This is exactly why some companies outsource this task. BACS can help your organization properly address your IT infrastructure issues.

Related: Managed IT Services vs. Traditional IT Support: What’s The Difference? 

 

Update Your IT Infrastructure With BACS

Updating and optimizing your IT infrastructure is not a straightforward, easy task. You may not have the right skill sets and knowledge in your organization to properly update your IT infrastructure. Thankfully, BACS is here to help you develop a customized IT infrastructure solution that meets your unique business needs. Your team can focus on growing your business, instead of spending countless hours attempting to put proper IT infrastructure in place. 

Reach out today to learn more about how BACS can improve your IT infrastructure. Your business can take full advantage of an improved IT infrastructure to take your business to the next level. Our experienced team is more than happy to answer any questions you may have regarding IT infrastructure. 

 

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

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Managed IT Services For Bay Area Businesses That Want To Grow

By | managed It services

Are you aware that the advantages of managed IT services go beyond offloading your IT tasks and saving money?

 

These two benefits are significant when considering managed IT services. However, to succeed in the Bay Area marketplace, businesses like yours must implement an IT strategy that also provides a competitive advantage. Managed IT services can help your business achieve that goal by facilitating business growth. The following are five benefits of managed IT services that contribute to business growth:

Scalable IT Services

A challenge many Bay Area businesses face is scaling up technology systems to support growth. Implementing increasingly advanced tools and infrastructure while managing daily IT tasks requires resources and expertise that is a luxury for most organizations. Partnering with a managed IT services firm should allow you to expand your services as your business grows. When you partner with a managed IT services firm, you should work closely with them to develop a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that can be modified as your organization’s technology needs change. Managed IT services firms usually offer two basic service options: a full-service option and an a la carte option.

Full-Service Option

This comprehensive option allows you to delegate a large percentage of your IT services to a managed IT services firm.  

A comprehensive option will typically include the following services:

If your business doesn’t yet have an IT strategy, the full-service option usually includes consulting that you could use to develop a strategic IT plan.

Related: Why You Need An IT Strategy

 

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

 

A La Carte Option

When your organization requires specific IT services, you can choose to hire a managed IT services team to handle the tasks you assign to them. You can also specify that they only address issues that occur or request a set number of hours for them to provide a set of services you choose.

  • 24-Hour Monitoring Capabilities

Time is critical in business.  Downtime may see like a harmless side effect of doing business in a world that relies on technology to perform just about everything, but it can have a devastating effect on the growth of your business. When your systems aren’t active, that means that communication to and from your business is stifled. Employees may not be able to complete their tasks, which leads to customers not receiving their products and services as expected. 

Minimizing downtime is achieved most often when organizations use a proactive approach that discovers problems before they cause downtime. This is particularly important to businesses that operate in industries that are heavily targeted by cyber criminals. The Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigation Report states that targeted industries such as the financial sector were more successful at discovering data breaches when the task was performed by an external third-party using monitoring tools.

Organizations that provide managed IT services generally offer around-the-clock monitoring with proactive discovery tools. These organizations usually provide dedicated resources to remotely respond quickly to alerts about system problems.

Related: Mitigating Potential Threats with Sound Security Protocols

  • Security and Compliance

According to the Cisco 2021 Security Outcomes Study, security practices such as responding quickly to incidents and accurately detecting threats help businesses keep pace with other businesses.  However, the resources necessary to manage such activities is prohibitive for most businesses. 

Managed IT services firms that offer security and compliance management typically provide the following tasks:

    • Perform an assessment of your organization’s assets and determine a strategic risk mitigation plan.
    • Catalog and monitor all assets within your organization.
    • Continually monitor your organization’s network activity.
    • Make sure your organization is compliant with applicable regulations.
    • Educate employees about their contribution to your organization’s security.

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  • Access to Cutting-Edge Technology

Technology is constantly evolving. In the business domain, adopting the latest technologies enables organizations to extend the benefits of existing solutions and develop innovative ones. Remaining competitive in the marketplace is the bottom line. Organizations realize that accessing the latest technology will help push them further in the marketplace. However, there are costs and testing involved with adopting new technology. Managed IT services firms work with the latest tools and can pass the benefits of using the advanced technology to the Bay Area businesses they serve.  

  • Expert IT Services

Having access to the most advanced technology is useless unless you have an experienced IT team that has the knowledge and skills to effectively deploy and maintain those technologies. Your organization may employ a well-versed IT staff, but are they able to grow with your business? Unfortunately, the answer for most Bay Area businesses is “no”. If an IT team encompasses an array of skills, the organization is likely burdening a heavy financial cost to keep those resources on the payroll. Managed IT services specialize in technology. Since they often offer end-to-end IT services, they must be equipped to manage all areas of a business related to IT.

Related: Building the Framework for a Better IT Experience

BACS as Your Bay Area Growth Partner

The really good news about adding managed IT services to your business strategy is that offers your Bay Area business multiple benefits. You can save money, remain competitive, and experience higher productivity—all of which contribute to business growth.

BACS is a team of IT experts that seeks to establish partnerships with Bay Area businesses to assist them with establishing or maintaining a long-term strategic IT plan for growth.

 

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

Business Continuity

Managed IT Services: Tapping Into The Cost-Saving Value

By | managed It services

In an age where technology is often a core driver of business growth, effective and reliable IT performance is more vital than ever. A structured, planned approach to IT support can help keep your business operating at peak efficiency and optimal performance.

That’s where managed service providers are playing an increasingly critical role by providing the consistent management and optimal balance of resources businesses need to help drive productivity, protect data and assets, and maximize return on investment.

With your IT strategy and support services managed by an outside provider, you benefit from best-in-class expertise and technical capabilities along with an assortment of resource and cost optimization advantages that span across operational and business functions:  

 

1.IT planning and strategy

Today’s IT environments are complex and fast-moving. To meet ongoing efficiency and performance goals, you need an IT strategy that supports and aligns with your core business objectives. Intelligent IT planning starts with a comprehensive assessment of your IT infrastructure and operational environment to pinpoint strengths and weaknesses and help you better understand how to best leverage existing resources and technology. 

With years of experience across multiple technologies and domains, MSPs can leverage their business planning and technology procurement expertise to help you create a roadmap for performance improvement―providing a coordinated framework for managing changes to business priorities. 

Your MSP can help you transition to new technologies and platforms at the most favorable time, while extracting maximum value from your legacy investments. They will evaluate workflows and processes to identify potential areas of improvement and opportunities for cost savings.



Related: Managed IT Services vs. Traditional IT Support: What’s The Difference? 

 

2. Preventative maintenance

Ongoing monitoring of your network infrastructure and IT environment can help minimize downtime, reduce costs, and enhance performance. Rather than waiting for problems to emerge, you can proactively identify areas that are vulnerable and take action before they impact your business.

MSPs are ideally equipped to help ease the burden of day-to-day network management. By using advanced evaluation and reporting tools they can collect information and analyze the performance of your network and IT infrastructure. 

This insight allows you to chart performance over time and identify patterns and trends that could lead to disruption. It also enables better decision making around future investments and areas of improvement to help ensure your network and supporting technology is reliable, efficient, and secure.

 

3. Responsive support

A proactive approach to technology management requires ongoing collaboration and responsive support on behalf of your IT provider. One advantage of an MSP is their ability to access the latest analysis and reporting tools to track your performance and identify critical areas for improvement and investment.  

Recurring checks and ongoing follow up help make sure their recommendations are delivering the results you need and are aligned with your business goals. With responsive and reliable support from a partner you can trust, your in-house team can focus on growth and performance instead of stressing over routine management tasks.


4. Technology management  

Understanding what performance functionality your business needs is essential. One important advantage MSPs bring to the table is their knowledge and expertise around the latest technologies and operational best practices that can help boost performance, increase efficiency, and safeguard critical business assets.  

MSPs are well-versed in the need to create a strategic IT roadmap with an inherent focus on long-term growth and achieving maximum return on investments. These experts understand the complexities of technology integration and work closely with you to make sure your IT decisions align with your business priorities.

The best MPSs have well-established vendor relationships and have deep experience identifying, evaluating, and procuring the best technologies and products across a range of platforms and domains, including:  

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What You Get When Working With BACS IT Consulting Group 

 

Smarter, more intelligent IT  

One of the biggest advantages of working with an outsourced IT provider like BACS IT is the potential for operational efficiencies. With a fixed-cost support model, you benefit from predictable pricing and manageable costs, allowing you to better plan for larger IT investments. And with a proactive IT support strategy, you are better able to anticipate problems before they can disrupt your business.  

With knowledge and expertise needed to keep your infrastructure running at peak performance, your MSP can handle any number of routine or specialized tasks including remote monitoring, IT planning and strategy, and technology evaluation and procurement.  By delegating ongoing IT support tasks to a reliable partner, you can turn your attention to more pressing priorities with confidence that your IT operation will be running efficiently and securely.

Related: Hear About Companies Like Yours That Benefited from Managed IT Services

Enhanced security

We have deep experience in the latest security tools and best practices to safeguard your enterprise business and IT systems against today’s increasingly malicious security threats. Not only can MSPs provide monitoring services, but they have the deep expertise needed to help prevent attacks through a range of proactive measures. With customized backup and recovery and business continuity planning solutions, your service provider can help restore systems and get your operation back online in the event of a disaster―quickly replacing faulty equipment, eliminating  system vulnerabilities, and recovering systems and data with minimal disruption. 

Peace of mind 

Businesses often have little time to focus on the routine functions of infrastructure management, worrying about underlying issues such as dependability, patching and updates, and speed of network connections. By outsourcing IT support tasks to a trusted partner, you can focus more on more strategic priorities with greater peace of mind knowing that your IT operation is running smoothly and efficiently. 

Making IT a strategic priority

Changing business models are driving a shift in the role of IT―from leveraging technology and support of the business, to the higher, more strategic goal of driving business value. Your MSP can help make sure your investments and support strategy is aligned with your core business goals, providing strategic guidance that caters to your business needs. 

Following are some of the core performance and cost savings benefits of working with BACS IT:  

  1. Better insight for more informed investment decisions
  2. Better knowledge to address ongoing performance, security, and compliance issues
  3. Optimized ROI through better researched and well-timed technology updates
  4. More seamless integration of business systems, hardware, and processes
  5. Enhanced security through better identification of IT strengths and weaknesses   
  6. Optimized availability and reliability of resources and applications
  7. Better ability to meet business requirements for uptime, compliance and security
  8. More accurate decisions and actions based on an long track record of experience and success
  9. Increased operational efficiency and better optimization of internal resources  
  10. Increased security and reliability of IT operations

Choosing the right MSP

Determining where and how you might benefit from an MSP starts with a careful evaluation of your current in-house resources, business goals and growth plans. Does your in-house IT team struggle with time to focus on big-picture projects? Is your business looking to move some or all of your data to the cloud? Are your IT costs inconsistent and unpredictable? Does your business currently have a disaster contingency plan for your business? Do you plan to grow or expand your business in the future? Does your business store and manage sensitive data?

Not all providers are created equal and choosing the wrong one could prove costly. As your business needs evolve over time, more effort is needed to help ensure that business goals and priorities are carefully aligned with IT strategy. Selecting a service provider that can deliver the range of capabilities you need is critical.

You can count on BACS to:

  • Gain a deep understanding of your business, your people and your goals
  • Advise you on how to best optimize the value of your technology investments
  • Identify and outline every strategic and business advantage we can find
  • Be your trusted partner for IT strategy and technology decisions

Contact Us for a FREE Security Assessment

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

Managed IT Services vs. Traditional IT Support: What’s The Difference?

By | IT Support, managed It services, Technology

Business technology has come far in just a few decades as many firms now enjoy operating in the cloud. While some companies still hold on to traditional tech support methods, modern enterprises are working closely with more modern Managed IT Services. Here’s a comparison of traditional and 21st century IT support.

 

 [Free  Resource Download]: 7 Tips  To  Create A Password  Policy  For  Your  Organization

 

Traditional Business Network Tech Support

Commercial organizations have embraced the internet as a backbone for connecting with other resources since the seventies. Retailers and suppliers were among the first commercial entities to connect online. Large firms typically hired their own in-house technology departments while small companies often turned to break-fix shops that often were fly-by-night operations seeking fast cash opportunities from widespread adoption of the computer revolution.

Another dimension of traditional tech support firms was the attempt to be all-things-tech without broad diverse knowledge of technology. Any type of computer or networking problem could potentially lead to massive amounts of downtime for hours or even days. Your business was at the mercy of technicians who might not have been familiar with your hardware or software, which took time to learn.

By the nineties it was very common for even small businesses to use computer networks. For maintenance they would often turn to help desks that weren’t interconnected with technicians in real-time like they are now. Consequently, response to technical issues was generally slow for coordination and troubleshooting. Then if the technicians made errors, it led to more costly downtime.

During the traditional IT era managers weren’t well informed about their business technology and simply trusted whatever tech support firm they found to fix bugs. Sometimes it led to long-term expensive contracts that contributed to a company’s financial collapse.

 

Related: The 10 Benefits of Managed IT Services for Businesses Like Yours

 

Today’s Managed IT Services

A Managed Service Provider (MSP), as defined by technology research giant Gartner, is a company that delivers various services and ongoing support to clients on their property, via the MSP’s data center or through a third part cloud provider. MSPs often pool their native services with outsourced resources to maximize serving client needs. High quality MSPs often offer the following IT services:

Cloud computing disrupted the traditional IT profession enormously. The rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) firms such as Salesforce scrambled the IT landscape into a brave new setting that empowered businesses of all sizes to streamline operations. In other words, migrating to the cloud (a private or public intranet) helped business cut all kinds of upfront technology costs.

The cloud allowed businesses to operate more efficiently and independently. MSPs began offering a wider menu of technology solutions that old fashioned break-fix firms simply couldn’t compete with. Traditional help support personnel typically weren’t encouraged by their bosses to keep learning new technology, whereas today’s MSPs need to be experts on cybersecurity and innovations that make businesses more efficient and scalable, such as automation, AI and smart devices.

On top of that, MSPs learned how to talk with business decision makers on a personalized level instead of using the old scheme of shutting down questions or blurring answers with complex and confusing jargon. The new attitude of MSPs is to learn each client’s needs and provide custom solutions.

BACS IT Difference for Businesses Like Yours

The one difference that BACS IT has over other MSPs is our customer service experience. While many traditional help desks have limited capabilities and can be considered less efficient, BACS IT, an experienced MSP, can elevate your business to a more competitive level, allowing you to be more productive and profitable. Schedule a call with us and learn how we can bring your business up to date with the newest advancements in IT. 

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10 Benefits of Managed IT Services for Your Business

By | IT Support, managed It services

Are you considering managed IT services for your business?

If yes, youre in a growing number of organizations. Managing technologies within an organization can be overwhelming to maintain. One approach to lessen the stress is to delegate all or a portion of these tasks to a third party outside the company that specializes in those tasks. An organization that provides IT services for other organizations is referred to as a managed service provider (MSP).

 

Related: MSP 101- What is a Managed Service Provider 

 

Businesses vary widely in their IT administration needs. For example, an organization may have a dedicated IT staff and only require assistance with routine tasks. Another organization may have a single individual that holds multiple jobs within the organization, one of those being responsible for IT tasks, and the organization wants to free up that individual to focus on other tasks. Firms that provide managed IT services offer a wide variety of services.

The following are just a few of the types of services that MSP firms offer:

If you are tasked with justifying the switch to managed services or want to learn more about the offerings, the following are 10 key benefits that should interest you:

1. Lower IT Costs

The services network firm Deloitte surveyed 40 of their clients, from all over the world who held various upper-level positions, and revealed in a report that cost was the primary objective for their outsourcing IT operations. This makes sense. Modifying any aspect of your business is going to require looking at the financial impact. The main costs associated with IT operations include equipment and operation costs, as well as personnel costs (salaries, benefits, and training). According to the Robert Half Salary Calculator, the average salary for a system administrator in Sacramento, California is $92, 340. Thats just one employee. While some organizations delegate a single individual to manage IT operations, the more prudent scenario is to employ several professional individuals with specific roles. When you calculate the salaries, you can easily reach an exceptionally large number. In comparison to hiring an MSP to handle some or all of your IT operations, the average monthly costs vary depending on the level of services provided and the size of your organization, but in the U.S. ranges from $100 to $250 per user/per month. For full managed services for an organization with fewer than 50 users, that works out to about $42,000 to $66,000/year. That amount is considerably less than the salary, benefits, and training you would pay a single employee to manage your IT services. 

2. Scalability

Change is a normal aspect of doing business. As your business goals change, your IT services will also need to change. Managed IT service firms allow you to determine the level of services they provide your organization. As your business goes through changes, you can modify those services. For example, if your organization is a startup operation with limited funds and resources, you may choose to start with a full-service option where all of your IT operations are managed by an MSP. When your business grows, you may want to minimize those services and start allocating resources to an in-house IT team that performs tasks that align with your business goals, and delegate only your routine support tasks to an MSP. 

3. Availability

It might seem strange that a firm outside of your organization would be able to boast availability as a benefit, but its true. The unfortunate reality of many in-house IT departments is there are more tasks than individuals to handle those tasks and the organization suffers because of that reality.  For example, when an employee encounters a problem with their computer that is preventing them from performing their work and your in-house IT staff is not available to render assistance right away, that ultimately impacts your organizations productivity. When you obtain the services of an MSP, one of the first steps is to create a Service Level Agreement (SLA). This is an agreement that outlines the details of the services the MSP will provide to your organization. Availability is an important component of an SLA. This type of agreement or expectation of availability typically does not exist within an in-house IT department. The usual process for an internal IT staff is to prioritize tasks and get to them as time allows.  

 [Free  Resource Download]: 7 Tips  To  Create A Password  Policy  For  Your  Organization

4. Reduced Downtime

Downtime is another aspect of doing business than can have a significant impact on your organization. One of the main methods organizations use to gauge the costs of downtime is the average provided by the research and advisory firm Gartner in 2014, which is $5600/minute. Of course, that average is just estimate. Your organization may vary considerably from that estimate. There are calculators available online that can help you more accurately determine the cost of downtime for your organization. The financial impact of downtime is important, but there are other ways that downtime can have a significant impact on your organization. If your network connection is down,  employees may not be able to perform their duties and your customers and potential customers may be unable to connect to you or your website. Your organizations brand may become tainted because of downtime. This is a potential consequence whether you have a well-established brand or are trying to establish one. Customers and potential customers may view a downtime incident as an indication of how you run your business. 

Managed IT service firms will, depending on the SLA, monitor your network and other systems from a remote location. Since they are focused on managing your operations, they are more able to quickly respond to potential problems and lessen downtime.

5. Constant Monitoring

Are your IT systems being monitored every hour of every day? If the answer is no, your organization may be an ideal prey for data criminals. Abnormal events such as changes to files and performance issues that occur in the late-night hours may be a sign of an intruder accessing your network. Logging is a common practice for detecting abnormal events. However, an issue discovered in a log may be too late to prevent a security issue. If your organization hasnt implemented 24/7 monitoring, you might overlook such critical events. Constant monitoring provides your organization with peace of mind. Constant monitoring tracks any changes or disruptions to the systems that can be investigated and, if necessary, resolved before they develop into data breaches. Constant monitoring enables your organization to take a proactive approach instead of one that is reactive.

6. Improved Security

If your organization has implemented monitoring tools and have reduced your system downtime, how confident are you that those systems are properly managed? If you dont have a lot of confidence, consider the consequences of such neglect. According to a report by IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million. However, the costs of recovering from a security incident can be much higher with long-term effects. An example is the Equifax data breach of 2017. The consumer credit reporting agency used monitoring software, but its security certificate had expired, and the monitoring solution was subsequently rendered inactive. Equifax discovered the suspicious activity only after their security certificate was updated. Two years after the data breach, the company entered a settlement with consumers who were impacted by the incident. Equifax ended up paying nearly one billion dollars, not including legal fees.

The following are a few of the ways that a managed IT service company can improve your organizations security:

  • Assess your organization’s risk and implement security measures that mitigate those risks.
  • Remotely monitor your IT systems 24/7 for vulnerabilities and suspicious activity.
  • Ensure all compliance requirements are met and maintained.
  • Provide training for staff.
  • Inventory and track endpoint activity in the organization .


Related
: A Beginners Guide to Cybersecurity


7. Latest Technology

Its common knowledge that technology is constantly changing at a rapid pace. Managed IT service firms rely on advanced tools to provide the reduced downtime, 24/7 monitoring, and improved security benefits mentioned above. Many organizations are not able to justify the costs necessary to keep up with the pace of software to enjoy the benefits. 

8. Dedicated IT Team

As mentioned previously, the costs associated with hiring IT professionals can be excessive. Developing a team of IT experts that manage all IT operations in-house is not only a costly endeavor that can cripple an organization with limited resources, but one that can limit the value of the organization.  When a large percentage of the organizations resources are allocated to an in-house IT staff, that means that fewer resources are available for other activities such as growing the business.  

9. Higher Productivity

An IT department provides a variety of critical functions for an organization. All of these tasks are important, but some of them are routine and take time away from more critical tasks. Examples of routine tasks include hardware/software installation and configuration, endpoint maintenance (warranties, licenses, etc.) and troubleshooting. By allowing a managed IT services company to perform these tasks, your organizations IT staff can concentrate on tasks that help your organization reach its business goals.

10. Less Stress

The really great news about delegating your organizations IT services to an MSP is that you obtain a  combined effect of the benefits listed above in the form of a reduction of your organizations IT responsibilities. An overburdened IT staff can suffer burn out, make careless mistakes, neglect their duties, and  develop disdain for their job. All these effects can cause your IT operations to enter into a vulnerable state. Delegating just a few of your IT operations can have a positive impact on an existing It staff.

Next Steps with BACS IT Consulting Group

While there are numerous benefits associated with managed IT services, not all businesses that provide managed IT services are equal in the value they offer. Your organization should make sure the MSP that you choose is right for your organization. That means understanding the level of expertise, services offered, industry experience, and personability of the staff. Working with an MSP should be considered a partnership. Ensuring that the organization you work with has these skills will provide the best benefit for your business.

BACS offers expertise in a full spectrum of managed IT services and works with organizations to determine the best strategy to align with their business goals.

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

Security Protocols

Mitigating Potential Threats with Sound Security Protocols

By | Cloud, Data Protection, IT Support, managed It services, Networking, Security
Cloud Migration Free Resource

As cybersecurity becomes increasingly more complex, many organizations lack the resources or knowledge they need to create an effective security strategy. That’s why you need a trusted expert who not only understands the latest security trends but can accurately define your business requirements and implement a plan that aligns with your current and long term needs.  This is especially critical as companies move toward more hybrid cloud environments.  

 

One of the biggest advantages of the cloud―flexible data access―can also be a major weakness if security isn’t effectively factored into the equation. Safeguarding systems and assets against rising threats is crucial, but levels of protection should be carefully balanced against your unique business objectives.  

 

Technology plays a critical role, but equally important is the need to work with an experienced security expert capable of creating and maintaining effective security practices. Bad actors and cybercriminals s are continuously exploring new ways to penetrate your defenses, which underpins your need to develop and implement sound policies based on defined user preferences and your unique business needs.

 

Your managed service provider should be capable of implementing advanced security techniques and practices, including strong access controls, the latest malware protection, and proactive security scanning. You’ll want to make sure the provider you work with can adapt to change and growth and remains on the cutting edge of technology innovation.  

 

Your service provider’s security operations team should be able to clearly demonstrate the practices and processes it uses to safeguard vital business assets. To protect sensitive data, IT policy controls should be automatically enforced through technical elements, such as authorization, authentication, access controls, password complexity, alerting, and system monitoring. 

 

Your security provider should be clear about its procedures for keeping you informed about the ongoing performance and support issues. Your service provider should be able to clearly outline and define its response capabilities. What is the expertise level of support staff? What is the standard response time? What are your protocols for data access? 

 

Most managed security teams operate 24/7, with staff working in shifts to continually track and record activity and mitigate potential threats. Among the core operational protocols and security responsibilities include: 

 

 

Manage access. 

 

Strong application controls like encryption and authentication can help safeguard information across networks and on endpoint devices, helping to thwart attackers from transferring or copying critical business data. Your cloud provider should be able to provide documentation that shows a separation of duties for administrative functions, disclosing the level of access that each user has and how those levels are maintained. 

 

 

Define policies and procedures

 

Usage policies define what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable. You most likely have some protective measures in place to address internal threats. To help bolster this vital layer of defense, your security provider will work with you to define and implement policies and practices based on your usage preferences and requirements or mandates specific to your particular market.

 

Data protection. 

 

Data encryption is critical for organizations operating in a cloud environment, helping to make sure critical data remains protected while in use, at rest, or in transit. 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.  

 

Manage deleted data. 

 

Within a typical cloud environment, sensitive data can easily find its way into uncontrolled and hidden systems and services. When it’s time to delete confidential data, or remove resources storing sensitive data, it’s important to consider the potential spread or replication that often occurs during normal IT operations. Your service provider will analyze your cloud environment to determine where confidential data may have been cached or copied and decide the proper steps to help ensure successful deletion of the data.   

 

Preventative measures

 

To help potential threats, effective security protocols include preventative measures designed to keep team members up to date on the latest cybersecurity trends, recent advances in security techniques, and updates on new emerging threats. This knowledge can help shape your security roadmap and improve disaster recovery planning, helping to guide and prioritize your response in the event of a data breach. Preventative measures and protocols also include actions to mitigate potential, including regular updates to existing systems; modernizing firewall policies; identifying and correcting vulnerabilities.

 

Continuous monitoring

 

Security controls define the methods and protocols used by the operations team to monitor the network to identify anomalies or suspicious activity. Continuous network monitoring helps ensure your security team is immediately informed of potential or impending threats, putting them in the best position to prevent or mitigate impact. Continuous monitoring enables security teams to strike and optimum balance between proactive and reactive measures as any abnormality in activity is immediately detected.  

 

Effective recovery. 

 

In the event of a disaster, security protocols will be executed to recover systems and restore compromised or lost data. Actions may include wiping endpoint devices, reconfiguring and testing security systems, or implementing effective backups to circumvent the attack. Effective recovery execution will return your cloud infrastructure to its original state. Procedures and steps should also be in place to figure out what happened and how it happened. The security team will use event and log data to track the problem and identify the source.

 

Ensure compliance

 

Many cloud security processes are shaped by established protocols and best practices, but some are guided by compliance requirements. Your managed service provider is tasked with regularly auditing of enterprise systems to help ensure consistent regulatory compliance. Following regulatory protocols not only helps safeguard confidential data, it can also protect your organization from legal challenges and reputational damage resulting from a data breach.

 

A strategic approach to cloud security

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

Engineering IT Solutions

Four Costly Misconceptions Many Construction and Engineering Firms Have About IT

By | IT Support, managed It services

Have you started to doubt the value of your IT service provider? Misconceptions about this complex field can arise from a lack of shared knowledge when observations do not present a full picture. If you wonder about your company’s need for information technology (IT) services, your experience as a toughminded decision-maker may contribute to your evaluation. Your depth of knowledge and experience in contracting or engineering may obscure your awareness of IT’s detailed requirements, and misconceptions can form. Some of them may cost more than you imagine.

Misconception #1

My computer network does not need monthly monitoring and maintenance; I only want to pay for repairs or support on an “as-needed” basis.

An erroneous understanding of technical issues creates preconceptions that can make you devalue your IT, and it frequently happens among smaller construction and engineering companies. With the complexity and dynamism of computer technology, the demand for technicians who understand the relationships between software, data, firewall applications, and the total system becomes increasingly important. Computer systems need regular updates and routine maintenance to deter cybercrime invasions and prevent attacks by viruses and hackers.

Here’s a checklist of the necessary IT tasks you can use as a guide to ensure your IT system’s consistent operation.

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Updating Processes:

  • Check Bentley and Autodesk license managers for critical updates, conflicts, functionality, and potential issues.
  • Check Bentley and AutoCAD for updates and schedule updates with clients.
  • Update all Sage CRE, Viewpoint, Deltek, and other accounting applications.
  • Install security patches and updates as a critical factor in maintaining your system and detecting daily cyberattacks.
  • Update and monitor anti-virus software.
  • Update and monitor firewall applications.

Backup Processes:

  • Check backups daily to ensure that occurrences appear every hour.
  • Manage and monitor all computer networks and connected devices to safeguard against cybercrime, data loss, and sluggish system performance.
  • Monitor and maintain email file size to prevent difficulty with transmitting large files.

Maintenance Functions:

  • Install and update spam filter software.
  • Detect and remove spyware.
  • Conduct monitoring of workstations and server disk space.
  • Monitor hardware to detect any potential for failure.
  • Optimize systems to ensure maximum speed.

Recommended Action

You can expect a reliable IT support company to provide a regular schedule to update, backup, and maintain your system. You have a justifiable reason to replace a service that fails to perform these essential functions that protect your system. Regular service and efficient monitoring prevent the loss of valuable files and protect your system from malicious intrusion by hackers who intend to inflict damage.

 

Misconception #2

My nephew’s/neighbor’s kid/brother-in-law/office manager knows this IT stuff and can care for our computers.

Your ability to save money may account for at least some of your business success, and many other business owners share it. However, a decision to economize by eliminating a highly skilled position may produce counterproductive outcomes. The tasks of conducting maintenance, virus prevention, and updating computer systems demand an experienced professional’s full-time attention. Issues that may occur intermittently require time to observe; reliance on knowledge can help an IT technician identify and correct problems. When you remember that your experience helped you resolve difficult issues, you can understand the importance of relying on a qualified professional.

While interim part-timers may not know how to fix problems, you may find that they can create issues easily. Your IT network and the data that it contains may support the core of your business. Access to it by an inexperienced person can cause almost irreparable damage. The cost of restoring lost files or reversing the effect of mistakes can far exceed the price of a professional IT service.

Recommended Action

Stay with a qualified professional.

 

Misconception #3

All IT support companies offer the same service. You can find your best option with the one that offers the lowest price.

Generalizations can perpetuate preconceptions and help enforce false impressions. While assumptions may make you think that a product has low value because of a low price, the truth may lie elsewhere. In a high demand field, IT support technicians can demand competitive wages just as other professions require. Some may set lower prices to get started in the business, but a low rate may indicate a lack of experience. When you place a minimum of five years in business as a criterion for hiring an IT support company, you can expect a high-quality performance. You may find a closer alignment for your firm’s requirements by searching for a company with previous contracting or engineering firms’ experience.

Some IT service providers may offer a low price, but the quality of work may suffer. Outsourcing to overseas companies can allow access to your firm’s data, email, and personal files, providing a potential risk that can require your time, effort, and resources to resolve. Others may offer temporary jobs to college students or new technicians who accept opportunities to learn the work for low wages. The outcomes of these practices can produce consequences that you may not realize for weeks or months.

An unqualified technician’s improper diagnosis can allow work to proceed on a problem that does not exist. Television reporters have tested computer repair shops’ ability to find and fix a disconnected cable, and many failed. While not producing the same dire effects as a failure to note defects in your computer system, the possibility of an unknowledgeable worker accessing your company’s information deserves some consideration. No low price can compensate for damage to your accounting records, bank accounts, browsing history, client data, or your proprietary business concepts.

When you find a company that seems to fit your criteria, you can fine-tune your selection by interviewing its marketing representative. The best IT service providers spend time asking questions to understand how their services match your requirements. Just like your clients check your reputation with others who hired you for contracting or engineering services, any company that deserves your business can provide many satisfied customers’ references to check if you choose.

Recommended Action

Look for experience and knowledgeable questions as qualifications for your IT service provider.

 

Misconception #4

An honest IT support company can provide a telephone quote.

While the apparent convenience of getting a price estimate over the phone may appeal, your experience in the business world advises against it. Professional technicians need to inspect your system before they can tell you a price for their services, and you do yourself a favor by not asking for a guess. Some unscrupulous IT service providers offer a low price on the phone to get a contract with you, but the price may change with unexpected add-ons that add hours to the bill. Firms that you can trust do not use hourly billing. A flat-rate and a fixed fee quote before work begins can ensure you of reliable service.

Recommended Action

Invite an IT service provider to an interview at your site to review your requirements and provide a written quote for services.

Every misconception has at least a grain of truth in it, and each can provide a heads up to take note of vital issues. While they may mislead you on the importance of choosing a professional IT service provider with reliable references and competitive pay requirements, they serve a valuable purpose. By refuting them and getting to the facts, you gain knowledge that benefits your company.

 

Why-you-need-an-IT-strategy

Why You Need An IT Strategy

By | managed It services, Strategy

Planning and strategy are key components of any successful business. The best business leaders in the world are constantly looking into the future and planning for what will come. That rings true in all parts of the business, including information technology. IT strategy is more important than ever heading into the second decade of the 21st century.

Organizations with no IT strategy are not prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. If IT strategy is so important for businesses to compete, why doesn’t every business have a comprehensive strategy? Creating and executing an IT strategy is much more challenging than most businesses believe. There are many obstacles that prevent organizations from accomplishing this task.

Often businesses will start the strategic planning process, but then they become distracted by issues and tasks that they see as more urgent. Even if a business creates an IT strategy, they often fail to execute the vision presented in the strategy. Some teams will put the IT strategy on their shelf and will not refer to the strategy again until it is time to update the document.

 

What Is An IT Strategy?

An IT strategy is more or less an action plan that details how an organization can utilize all of their IT resources to support business objectives. IT strategy can also be referred to as technology strategy. An IT strategy is generally detailed in a comprehensive document that describes all of the factors that affects how an organization invests and uses technology. This document is an important piece to a business’s overall strategy to meet its goals.

Your organization can use this document as a strategic roadmap for using IT to create business value and a return on investment. An IT strategy should be designed to be flexible as technology is rapidly changing. Many organizations have to continually adjust their strategies when the unexpected occurs. For example, companies had to scramble during the COVID-19 pandemic and completely move many processes online in order to enable employees to work from home.

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Why Do I Need An IT Strategy?

An IT strategy will help ensure that everyone in your organization is on the same page when it comes to information technology. Technology is more important than ever in the business world. Many organizations are going through digital transformations where manual processes are moved into the digital world. Companies now rely on various technologies to improve service offerings and better serve their customers. An IT strategy will help ensure that all IT technologies will help add business value.

When your organization goes through the process of creating an IT strategy, your team will have a chance to assess all parts of your business that are affected by information technology. Strengths and weaknesses can be identified throughout the organization and action can take place to address them. An IT strategy can help you identify areas in your IT department that need investment. Your team can justify capital investment in key IT areas by showcasing them in an IT strategy document.

Now that we have an understanding of IT strategy and why it is important, let’s jump into how your business can create an IT strategy.

 

How To Write An IT Strategy or IT Assessment

There are many methods that companies employ to create an IT strategy. The way an organization goes about creating the final document will largely depend on the size of your business, what industry you operate in, and several other factors. The final IT strategy document your business creates will likely look different than any other business’s document. However, there are some commonalities that many IT strategies have, which you can base your IT strategy on.

Most IT strategy documents will contain the following elements:

  • A comprehensive list covering all of the personnel and infrastructure that is currently available to the organization, as well as future needs.
  • A forecasting budget that details an estimate of capital expenditures, infrastructure costs, personnel salaries, and other costs for multiple years.
  • A list of important current and future IT projects that will impact the organization.
  • A list of internal and external forces that will affect IT personnel and resources over the next few years.
  • The cybersecurity outlook of the organization and what needs to be more secure in order to prevent data breaches.
  • The current best practices that the IT department utilizes.

There are many more elements that your IT strategy could contain, but these should help your business get an idea of what should be included in your final IT strategy document.

Whether your business operates with little IT infrastructure or robust IT infrastructure, an IT strategy is key to meeting business goals.

Your team may feel overwhelmed with the idea of taking several weeks or months to develop an IT strategy. There may be no one in your organization that has experience developing this type of strategy. Creating an IT strategy that does not accurately portray and assess the IT situation in your organization could prevent your business from reaching its goals. In that case, your organization may need some help creating and executing an IT strategy. Thankfully, the experts at BACS are here to help.

 

BACS Can Help Your IT Strategy

BACS can help your organization develop a comprehensive IT strategy that meets your unique needs. No matter if your organization has one location or 1,000 locations, our team can help you create an IT strategy that will cover all of your bases. We will ensure that your strategy will help your business meet your end goals

Reach out to BACS today to learn more about how we can help you create and execute an IT strategy. Our team can guide you through the entire process of developing an IT strategy and ensure that you have the resources and dedication necessary to execute the strategy. BACS is more than happy to help, as well as answer any questions you may have regarding IT strategy and why you should invest in one.

 

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