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BACS IT Business Continuity Consultants

Getting Business Continuity Consulting for Your Bay Area Business

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

We have learned a profound lesson in the last few pandemic-filled years. Global enterprise must have contingency plans for every circumstance, natural or artificial. Technological, cyber, social, and other factors impact day-to-day operations for a variety of industries.

Now that turmoil seems to be part of everyday life, businesses of all sizes have turned to continuity firms offering plans and tactics after disruptive events. A business continuity plan details how the enterprise maintains operations after any type of disruptive event.

IT consulting firms in the San Francisco Bay Area have developed an extensive portfolio of services every enterprise in the region can tap into. The region, which includes Silicon Valley, continues to be the world’s hub for tech innovation and start-ups.

Corporate Disruption

Disaster can hit the well-oiled machine at any time and without warning. The Bay Area has experienced its share of lockdowns and natural disasters. The calamities have brought businesses of every size to the brink of collapse.

Disruptive events to a corporate structure can be long-term pandemic chaos or a one-time, temporary upheaval.

Too many businesses have the “it can never happen to me mentality.” Without proper planning, disruptions can cause serious harm to the enterprise. Bay Area IT Consulting firms continue to plan for the worst while offering excellent blueprints for future recovery. So what are some of these disruptions that can dramatically impact a business?

 

BACS IT Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Forces of Nature

  • Severe storms and flooding make the news only when it impacts our lives. Significant weather events are now popping up regularly.
  • Extreme heat has placed monumental stress on power grids around the country. California continues to under-count the death toll and the growing threat.
  • Earthquakes and tsunamis have either an immediate impact or long-term consequences. The hidden and unreported repercussions can take a profound emotional toll on employees.

Man-made

  • Telecommunication outages and internet disruptions cause significant harm to the enterprise. Loss of communications, email, and relevant news means a loss of clients and business.
  • Transport and supply chain disruptions are now impacting every business, from global conglomerates to mom and pop shops. Supply chain issues have escalated quickly, with transport ships stuck at the port and no one to off-load merchandise.
  • Loss of talent or the death of a crucial executive can render an enterprise helpless. Companies never want to think about losing someone, but they must plan for the event nonetheless .

Short-Term Solutions to Long-Term Challenges

After a significant disaster, enterprise leadership must act quickly to get their business and personnel on track. Rapid recovery does not lead to an overabundance of the Why, When, and Who analysis.

Enterprise leadership may not have the capacity or time to balance short- and long-term needs. Without attention and planning to the problems that caused the disaster, future vulnerability to the enterprise will only increase.

 

Operational Resilience

Unforeseen disasters, combined with unpredictable human nature, have added to the modern enterprise’s operating complexities.

Gartner has defined Operational Resilience as: 

initiatives that expand business continuity management programs to focus on the impacts, connected risk appetite, and tolerance levels for disruption of product or service delivery to internal and external stakeholders (such as employees, customers, citizens, and partners).

Without an operational recovery plan in place, some businesses will not rebound.

The ability of an enterprise to adapt quickly to unforeseen changes may be the difference between success and failure. Destabilizing cyber-attacks and how fast they materialize is an example of the tragic events that have ravaged numerous enterprises.

Why Is Operational Resilience So Important?

Developing end-to-end strategies that adapt to the ever-changing environment of threats helps the organization to perform at a high efficiency when disaster strikes. For larger companies, the challenge comes from gathering and merging the myriad of information and divisions necessary to keep a business running efficiently.

Maintaining an active disaster situational plan is not only a wise corporate decision, but in many cases, a necessary one. In specific industries such as finance, FNRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) requires companies to create and maintain a Business Continuity Plan.

Regardless of the source, Organizational Resilience provides the overall processes and behaviors to continue operations. Business Continuity Plans offer a more precise, step-laden process to address specific scenarios. Elite IT Consulting Firms in the Bay Area have developed Business Continuity Alternatives that benefit companies of every size by addressing the various needs that need to be maintained regardless of the situation.   

Differences Between Operational Resilience and Business Continuity Planning

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to responding to a disruptive event. Climate disasters, supply chain disruptions, cyber-attacks are just a few of the threats that can impact routine operations of any company. Unfortunately, these threats seem to increase daily.

Operational resilience encompasses the entire organization from cyber-security, to operations and finances. Continuity planning develops the set of procedures and instructions the organization uses during and after a significant disruption.

Both BCPs and Operational Resilience help the enterprise mitigate risk and avoid unintended consequences. Combining both plans into a cohesive platform gives the enterprise the flexibility it needs to successfully weather the storm.  

 

Business Continuity Planning

Resilience is the ability of an enterprise to adapt and recover from known and unknown circumstances quickly. The goal of a resilient organization is to continue its operations through any disruptive event.

Effective continuity planning applies to the business itself and its ability to continue critical functions during and after an emergency event. Several types of continuity plans exist that can be tailored to the enterprise and its circumstances.

Continuity and Contingency Plans:

Each of the following plans is interrelated and implemented according to their disaster implication.

  • Occupant Emergency outlines procedures for minimizing loss of life or injury.
  • Continuity of Operations provides procedures to sustain an organization’s MEFs (Mission Essential Functions)
  • Information System Contingency provides capabilities for recovering information systems.
  • Crisis Communications Plan is a means to provide system-critical information and rumor control. It also reduces or eliminates the release of misinformation to employees or the media.
  • Disaster Recovery provides procedures for relocating mission-critical information to a secure facility.
  • Cyber Incident Response Plan are procedures that mitigate a cyber-attack.
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection Plan is a policy created to protect critical infrastructure components.

COVID and The Enterprise

Business continues to grapple with the pandemic, which has created a crisis of untold proportions. Fallout from the pandemic has been unprecedented. A Pew Research report found that 43% of small businesses in America have closed, or at least temporarily shut down, due to the pandemic.  

It has become critical for the enterprise to implement continuity plans in the event of a health related disaster, no matter its size. During the pandemic, there should be mechanisms in place to protect the enterprise and its employees. Use guidelines from the CDC to prepare the organization for current health crises such as Covid-19, as well as any potential future health crises the world may face.

Here are some ideas for a BCP:

  • Focus on resilience
  • Know the Risks
  • Increase Pandemic Preparedness
  • Know the Assistance Programs
  • Maintain Compliance

Business Continuity

A Closer Look at Business Continuity Planning

When disaster strikes, the enterprise must have a defined set of step-by-step instructions to keep the business on track or bring it back up to operational speed.

Business continuity planning must include some of the following elements. Again, depending on the organization’s size, there needs to be a governing committee or document that formalizes the specifics of a disaster recovery plan.

Business Impact Analysis (BIA) serves as the foundation for continuity planning. This risk assessment phase enables an organization to measure the potential impact of a disruption. A disruption can be anything from a piece of equipment going down or a complete stoppage of the business for an extended period.

A risk assessment identifies the potential threats to the enterprise and any failure scenarios. This phase of continuity planning helps leadership understand where they are most vulnerable. Also referred to as continuity risk assessment, this should include scenarios that pose a direct operational threat.

 IT Consultants in the Bay Area can be of immeasurable value during any of these continuity planning stages.

The recovery stage of any continuity planning is one of the most crucial. Recovering from any catastrophic event can be time-consuming if not well planned. Enterprise leadership must make decisions such as selecting backup facilities and key personnel who can access sensitive data if the need arises.

Once a complete plan is firmly in place, organizations should conduct a test run to find the vulnerabilities and weaknesses. The plan must identify every potential issue.

Any Business Continuity Plan should be robust and as detailed possible to ensure the company can restart operations as quickly as possible.  

BACS IT Is Here to Help with Business Continuity for Your Bay Area Business

Our world has become complex, dangerous, and convoluted. Every well-heeled company that cares for its employees and customers must have plans in place to combat the dangers of unforeseen calamities.

Bringing a company back to full operations should not be just about executive compensation and golden parachutes. Millions of employees pour their hearts and souls into organizations they deeply believe in. Leadership needs to have the best interests of their customers and people in mind. For Bay Area business continuity needs, talk to the experts here at BACS IT. We understand the importance of keeping your business running, not just for the sake of your bottom line, but for your employees and their families as well.

Contact Us for a Business Continuity IT Assessment

BACS IT Bay Area IT Consultants

Your Bay Area Business Needs IT Consulting

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

To say technology has “transformed the lives of every Bay Area resident” is a wildly underestimated statement. As one of the world’s central linchpins of technology, the San Francisco Bay Area has become the largest concentration of high-tech jobs in the United States.

Achieving enterprise goals in the modern landscape requires a sense of urgency and precision. One of the ways that this can be done is through a partnership with a professional IT consulting company. Information technology consulting in the Bay Area helps organizations become more efficient by streamlining processes to boost performance.

Forrester Consulting, through Dell Technologies, released a study in May 2021, showing the value and needs of outsourcing specialized IT expertise.

  • 74% of IT decision-makers agree that their internal technology resources DO NOT meet demand
  • 71% agree that efficient IT organizations reduce Risk in deployed new technologies
  • 54% of companies currently work with outsourced talent to enhance strategic-level planning
  • 45% of the decision-makers are looking for solution providers via as-a-service models

The success of any business is going to be dependent on the proper use and implementation of information technology services and systems. Today’s landscape requires businesses to remain agile not only in how they do business, but how they adapt to this rapidly changing environment. This means rolling out new technology systems that can reduce inefficiencies, while at the same time increasing security and system stability. While this can be done in-house in many instances, the time it takes to do so is generally significantly increased when compared to working with an outsourced IT professional. But why is that?

The standard in-house IT staff at any particular company isn’t always going to be up-to-date on every new piece of software or hardware that becomes available. While they may know about the systems or software that are being released, they do not have the hands-on experience to implement the changes as quickly as an outsourced IT company who has performed numerous rollouts of the same software or hardware additions in question. This leads to faster, more effective implementation, with little to zero risk of launch failure. This can translate into thousands of dollars, if not more, in terms of savings and could mean the difference between a secure system and one riddled with vulnerabilities.

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MSPs and MSSPs

As the enterprise continues its drive to complexity, so do the companies that maintain and innovate technology and infrastructure. It is these types of companies that are setting the tone for faster, more efficient and cost-effective solutions that give businesses, like yours, the ability to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Managed Service Providers

San Francisco and the Bay Area remain a centerpiece for some of the most advanced technology companies in the world. The region boasts sophisticated cloud computing centers and millions of networks with hardware and software of every type imaginable. Maintaining these vast systems requires elite teams of outsourced information technology consultants to help ensure maximum efficiency while also maintaining a robust infrastructure.

The finest high-tech firms in the Bay Area outsource a significant portion of their cloud infrastructure and applied engineering work to elite IT Consultants. The history of information technology consulting is relatively short and tied to the growth of the enterprise.

Over the last few years, Bay Area IT consulting firms have fragmented their services into complete enterprise solutions. With demand skyrocketing, consulting firms in San Francisco and the surrounding regions parallel the strategic growth of these high-tech industries.

24/7 security has become an essential part of every business in the modern era. Managed Security Service Providers offer the enterprise outsourced monitoring and management services to give these businesses the safety-net they need to do business in today’s technologically driven world.

Schedule A Free Cloud Migration Consultation 

MSSP

MSSPs are specialized consultants delivering managed firewalls, intrusion detection, VPN management, antiviral services, and vulnerability scanning. MSSP firms reduce the number of security personnel the enterprise must hire and train, without compromising on the stability and security of their networks and systems.

MSSP Services:

  • Continuous Security Monitoring provides real-time visibility into the IT functions of an enterprise. Ultimately, CSM refines an organization’s threat detection initiatives.
  • Vulnerability Analysis defines and classifies the various threats an enterprise may experience. VA is a real-time assessment that works in conjunction with other tools to identify vulnerabilities and help eliminate them before they become a point of concern.
  • Threat Intelligence is evidence-based knowledge about existing or emerging hazards to enterprise assets. This helps to provide a bird’s-eye view on current and future threat vectors and allows the company to take steps to prevent common issues such as data loss, theft, or corruption.

Only the finest IT consultancy firms offer the best of both worlds. MSSP’s are efficient, cost-effective ways to protect data and networks.

MSP vs. MSSP – What is The Difference?

The MSP ensures your company and technology infrastructure runs smoothly, and its work affects everyone inside and outside the company. A firm’s MSP makes sure data is always available while remaining secure to the company and customer.

The primary focus of a Managed Service Provider is in the area of total technology administration. An effective MSP provides infrastructure, application, and network support.

Managed Security Service Providers began life in the 1990s offering basic firewall and network support. In the modern era, MSSP offers companies a complete security platform, from data protection to cyber-security monitoring. As cyber-attack vectors expand, so do the offerings of an effective MSSP.

Complexities of the enterprise have varying access levels; MSSPs make these customizations, so the business is secure, allowing access to sensitive information to those who need it. While an MSP is focused on performance and usability, MSSPs are concerned solely with security.

BACS IT Trusted Bay Area IT Consultants

Are Technology Services Essential to a Successful Enterprise?

How robust is your company’s cloud infrastructure, or how often does the IT department scan for vulnerabilities? The previous questions are just a few of the queries needed in a successful enterprise. The modern organization requires an efficient infrastructure with focused performance metrics that need to be tracked and analyzed on a routine basis.

Scott Devens, CEO at Untangle says, “With a changing workplace landscape, and a continued rise in cyberattacks, SMBs have shifted their mindset from ‘it can’t happen to me,” to taking security threats seriously, To that end, they have increased their focus on IT Security, they have stronger networks than a year ago and have plans for further attack-prevention for the future. There’s a definite trend towards putting more IT in the cloud and following a multi-layered security approach.”         

 MSP Services:

Here are some of the proprietary services offered by MSPs in the Bay Area and around the globe.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) is a business model that delivers licensed software over the internet to the enterprise. Rather than downloading and maintaining software, these packages are outsourced to professional firms.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offers companies cloud-computing services that provide APIs, servers, and operating systems. Healthcare is a prime example of an industry that uses IaaS.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud-computing on-demand environment for managing, testing, and delivering software applications. PaaS is a developer-friendly application to create web programs, without worrying about set-up services.

Information technology service providers can fully administer or co-manage a business’s security and digital infrastructure requirements. Performance-oriented IT Consultants are designed to help organizations secure critical assets while saving money. The best information technology firms free up resources, leaving valuable time for leadership to focus on other tasks the business may require.

Bay Area Businesses Achieve Their Goals

San Francisco and Bay Area technology hotspots are uniquely positioned to push the technology envelope. Small IT Consulting enterprises with the right technology disciplines compete handily against the major tech firms.

Challenges to Large Firms, Opportunities for Small Business:

  • Every day validity has become a significant headwind to large tech firms. Devastating cyber-attacks are causing headaches for companies and their security firms. 49% of consulting firms in every industry report that market unpredictability has become a significant challenge.
  • Changes in how companies buy technology services are constantly in flux. High-tech companies in the Bay Area look for their exact technology needs, talent, and solutions. Cutting-edge science, engineering, and health organizations seek complementing services, not competing.

Information technology plays a significant role in any size business with an elite Managed IT Service Provider. High-tech firms have learned to leverage their valuable data, making each enterprise more efficient. Sometimes these efficiencies are the difference between success and failure.

Top MSP and MSSP Companies

Choosing an IT Consultant that fits the needs of a company can be challenging. However, the enterprise needs to know precisely what qualities to look for in a consultant. Without knowing the precise requirements, there could be plenty of prospects misaligned to meet your needs.

The companies below are not endorsements. 

The brief reviews only set examples of the specific services offered by the discipline.   

Firms Offering Everything:

Ernst & Young, Building a Better Working Future – EY is a massive enterprise with over 700 offices located worldwide. EY boasts several divisions that serve the complete enterprise.

Ernest & Young features four distinct product lines, Assurance, Consulting, Strategy and Transactions, and Tax. Separate divisions are available within each discipline.  There would be no better organization to pattern services after than EY.

MSSP Enterprise in the Bay Area:

SolCyber offers its services to a specific market segment, Mid-market companies, which is a strong point to look for in an MSSP. SolCyber offers a fully managed, 24/7 threat detection cyber ecosystem. Some of the services they offer, many enterprises consider necessary, including:

  • Ransomware Assessment
  • Email Protection
  • Endpoint Security

Here is an example of what you should expect from your IT consultants in the Bay Area – you want regular resources to help you know ways of keeping your business safe!

Signs of Email Threats You Need to Know BACS IT

Top MSP

BACS IT, which offers Bay Area IT consulting, is a company that offers everything, including personalized services for every type of business. The company offers its proprietary services to the most vulnerable sectors, including Healthcare, Construction, Financial, and Business.

BACS has highly experienced and passionate team members that pay attention to the minute details that could signal success or failure.

Get Your Bay Area IT Consulting from BACS IT

Technology has a rich and proficient history. With so many disciplines and the advancement of as-a-service models, only a few IT Consultants have the expertise to help your business run flawlessly from an information technology standpoint.

Technology in all its iterations is a fascinating branch of knowledge to write for, work in and develop. The Bay Area and surrounding regions are known globally as one of the most vital technology hubs. Work with a company right in the middle of it all. Schedule a call with the experienced Bay Area IT Consults of BACS IT.

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

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

On-Site IT and Its Considerable Advantages to Business

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

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

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

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

Pro-Active On-Site IT

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

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

On-Site IT Support and its Benefits

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

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

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

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

 

Strategic Network Management

 

What is On-site IT Support?

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

Solutions:

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

Benefits:

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

On-Site IT Strategies

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

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

Benefits:

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

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Benchmarking On-Site IT

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

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

Benefits:

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

Information technology in operations touches every area of the enterprise:

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

Competitive and Industry Benchmarking

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

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

Industries & On-Site IT Solutions

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

 

BACS IT Healthcare IT Consulting

IT for Bio-Tech and Lifesciences

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

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

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

IT for Small to Mid-Size Businesses

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

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

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

 

BACS IT On Site Construction IT Consulting

IT for Construction Companies

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

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

Turn to BACS IT for On-Site IT Services

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

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

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

BACS IT Is Your IT Company Growing with You? Hero

Is Your IT Company Growing with You?

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

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

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

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

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

Plan Out Strategy and Growth

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

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

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

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

BACS IT Is Your IT Company Growing with You?

Transforming Business

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

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

Examples:

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

You Need the Right Size IT Agency

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

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

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

Here are five ideas to get started:

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

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

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

Which Qualifications Does Your Company Need Most?

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

Look for Great Chemistry!

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

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

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

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

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

BACS IT Growing Businesses Need a Trusted IT Company

Where To Look

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

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

Unconventional ways to search for talent:

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

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

Transparency and Scale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Set Goals and Make Sure Everyone Understand What They Are

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

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

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

Beer Test

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

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

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When to Cut Bait

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

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

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

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

Turn to BACS IT to Grow With Your Company

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

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

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

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

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Dangers of Piecemealing IT Solutions

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

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

Piecemealed IT Solutions

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

Just Products

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

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

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

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

Blessing or Burden

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

 

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Is Information Technology a Burden or Blessing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lack of Continuous Improvement:

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

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

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

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

Barriers to Growth:

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

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

 

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Benefits of IT Outsourcing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dangers of Solving IT Problems With A Search Engine

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

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

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

Issues using a Search Engine:

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

Retrieval Precision

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

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

Solving an Information Technology Problem: (in simple terms)

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

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

Information Overload

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

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

Information overload numbers:

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

Why Outsource Information Technology Solutions?

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

Outsourcing Information Technology

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

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

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

Saving Time and Money

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

Technology Streamlines Business:

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

 

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The Cloud

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

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

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

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

 

Final Word

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

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

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

 

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BACS IT Remote Workforce Safety Hero

Creating a Secure Remote Workforce

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

In a few brief years, organizations of all sizes have been driven to redeploy their workforce from office to home or some hybrid solution. To suggest this was a deliberate move from corporate leaders would be false. Instead, the harried move has been in response to an unexpected world pandemic.

No one is sure if the remote workforce may grow into a stable fixture, a shift back to the office, or a home/office combination. No matter the case, a solid security solution must invariably be maintained as a central priority. 

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Technologies Protecting the Home Worker

Even though the pandemic rages on, some corporations have signaled they may never go back to an in-office work atmosphere. A few companies are considering a hybrid solution, while others have called their employees back to the office permanently.

Current Technologies in Place, Protecting the Home Workforce:

  • Zero Trust has been a part of the networked system for some time. However, with recent developments, the zero-trust policy is being forced to take on a more substantial role. The Zero Trust model is a secure remote application based on a defined set of login rules for employees and devices to the network. Non-compliant devices are either quarantined or rejected out-right.
  • SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a method for wide-area networking and security. SASE is Cloud Service which bundles security, network, and policy functions, sending the information back to the source as a separate cloud service.
  • Identity Access Management is a broad framework of technologies and practices that ensures the right users access the appropriate resources.

Enterprise security foundations are being built on the three legacy technologies. However, more cyber-attacks are coming. Keeping home workers safe and company data secure means businesses must look at cyber-security issues from start to finish. One of the initial elements of a healthy plan is a Policy Statement.

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Policy

Taking employees out of their work situation and moving to an unstructured home/office environment is imposing for anyone. The first component a company must provide is a Cyber Work from Home Policy. The key to this document is setting the right expectations.

A work from home policy document must create an infrastructure to protect the worker from every intrusion.  The policy must seek to mitigate the dangers of such a radical move.  With the proper preparation, a policy can keep your team connected, safe, and rewarded.

A sound Policy Statement should empower your employees. Consider the following:

  • Trust: A Work from home worker must be fully invested in the company’s success. With the correct type of trust, an employee will go above and beyond what they are called on to accomplish. A company must establish a higher level of trust to cement the engagement bond.
  • More Time: The average American commute is 52 minutes a day. Policy statements need to point to this extra time and direct the employee to their families or themselves, rather than more work.
  • Focused Work: Office distractions are eliminated when working from home. Your team should be encouraged to schedule tasks that require an intense focus on certain days of the week.
  • Absenteeism and Lateness: Office norms are no longer an issue with a home/work environment. However, time is a premium, and home employees must be instructed to use that time productively.
  • WellRounded: Work from home employees must be encouraged to cultivate a complete family and life environment. Take time for passion projects and family hobbies. Well-rounded employees perform better at work.

It is essential to define the scope and purpose of the policy. Too short on procedure and employees may get stuck with making up their own rules. Too long, and no one will read or pay attention to the document.

Expectation is a vital part of a remote workforce. Employees must understand what is expected of them without being overly demanding. Responsibility plays a vital role.  Each person in the organization needs to understand security is a priority for everyone. If there is a problem, there should be procedures in place to fix the issues.  

 

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Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is must-have security feature for any business and specifically those with a burgeoning remote workforce.  Vulnerabilities are everywhere. Recently it was discovered hackers were rerouting  SMS messages from 2FA apps and diverting money directly from bank records.

The following five authenticator applications are for the distributed enterprise:

  • Duo Mobile is used for corporate networks and is a part of Cisco. Enterprise features such as multi-user deployment, provisioning, and one-tap authentication. Back-up is to Google Drive and iCloud.
  • Google Authenticator is a no-frills basic authenticator app. Google seems content for Users to employ Android as its two Factor Authentication. Potential users may wish to have additional apps to fall back on.  However, this is a great authenticator.
  •  Last Pass is a comprehensive authenticator with full integration with its password manager.  Installation is a breeze, and users can quickly authorize the app with the push of a button. The Last Pass Vault is extremely helpful when moving the account to a new phone. Seamless operation between mobile and the desktop.
  •  Microsoft Authenticator works with the entire Microsoft ecosystem. A complete set of authentication tools are available for desktop and mobile. Pin or biometric logins are available. Sync the system with your primary Microsoft account to use the full capabilities.
  • Twilio Authy offers several advanced two-factor authentication features. First and foremost, it is their encrypted backup to Google drive that makes the app unique. The app makes abundant use of encryption across its platform, with encrypted logins.

Advanced authenticator apps generate time-based codes that refresh every 30 seconds. Hackers may gain access but will not work after the time code expires. Each of the apps above is exceptional for a distributed enterprise.

Do you want cloud solutions, but you are not sure which ones will help your remote workforce best? Then download our guide that covers the questions you need to know before migrating to a cloud. If you have more questions after you read our download, then contact us!

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Remote Access Software

Remote Access Software is ideal for specialized functions within the remote workforce. Remote Access apps and Desktop software allow users to access a computer in a remote location anywhere in the world as if they were sitting at the screen.

Some Remote Access software is designed for personal use, while alternatives are strictly for the enterprise.  Smartphone apps can be designed to access desktop systems.

Software and Apps for the Remote Workforce

Nothing is as fundamental to the security of a remote workforce as the software and apps used for an efficient worker. Proper design and the unique demands of the remote worker are paramount in shaping the applications needed for the enterprise.

Password Managers

In a world of multiple access to various business and personal accounts, password managers rise to the top of a critical needs list. It is crucial to have an authority system everyone is comfortable handling. Do not force an operation on employees!

Here are five good managers:

  • Nord-Pass is an attractive application with outstanding encryption features. Support for seven browsers, chat, and a data breach scanner makes the Nord-Pass an interesting choice.
  • Enpass combines a minimalist look and maximum security. Cloud host and SQL cipher for added security.
  • ZOHO Vault is a well-known application with valuable elements for a distributed network. A built-in VPN and a deep web scanner are useful quality-added factors.
  • Passbolt is an open-source application developed for the enterprise. Plenty of transparency and customization options are available.
  • Keeper supports various devices and browsers and comes with 5G of storage—a feature-rich app with instant messaging.

Advanced Password Technologies

Automated password management is coming into its own. The widespread endorsement of artificial intelligence and, specifically, machine learning have fostered many unique facets of password technologies.

Automated password reset tools are enterprise applications needed to automatically reset a host of new account passwords without human intervention. Many small businesses are implementing these tools for security and convenience.

Password Vault Technology is an earlier approach that is experiencing new technologies. A password vault keeps an infinite number of passwords and account data in a secure digital location. A single master password is required to access the vault.  

Management tools for the enterprise use several security layers to ward off internal and external threats from stealing login credentials. Many of these centralized management strategies are now cloud-based and heavily encrypted for the ultimate remote security.

Password Vaulting is a coined phrase that takes highly sensitive executive accounts and passwords out of the control of company IT personnel. The vault is digitally secured in locations known exclusively to a few in the enterprise.

Risk, Threats, and Solutions for the Enterprise

Statistics that illustrate the breadth of cyber-attacks are overwhelming. In the first quarter of 2021, strikes against Fortinet’s SSL-VPN were up an astonishing 1.916%. Another popular VPN service, Pulse Connect Secure VPN, encountered a 1,527% hike in assaults.

VPNs are separate networks within a public network where users send and receive data as if their machines were directly connected. VPNs are now encrypting data as it leaves the device, and any IP address is suppressed. Remote servers secure network activity by storing data remotely.

Companies are using all the communication tools at their disposal to secure connections for their hybrid workers. The Remote Desktop Protocol is another mechanism that is experiencing rising attacks.  Developed by Microsoft,  the RDP establishes a graphical link to another computer. Attacks on RDPs are seeing the same proportion increase of intrusions.

Modern Solutions

Companies are progressing beyond the traditional VPN services to a more protected environment. A recent survey of global leaders found that 40% of all respondents are planning a move to the ZTNA/SDP protocol. In comparison, 38% expressed the need for a more robust multi-factor authentication model.

The ZTNA/SDP is a zero-trust architecture based on a defined credential networking framework. SDP adds a need-to-know design, and the default is, “deny services to all.”

Enterprise VPN Service

Cisco AnyConnect: Cisco is a world leader in device security. The largest companies on the planet rely on Cisco networking machines. AnyConnect offers a lower overall cost of ownership, continuous automation from endpoint to endpoint encrypted security.

AnyConnect works on hybrid, full remote, or any combination in between. Robust MFA protocols are employed, threats are eliminated at the access point, and world-class analytics. There is no better VPN service for the enterprise than Cisco’s AnyConnect.

Cisco offers several cutting-edge technologies no other company comes close to providing. Umbrella Roaming is a cloud-based security service that supports users even when they are away from the VPN.

Under Attack

The enterprise is undergoing unprecedented attacks from criminals thousands of miles away. High-profile attacks are making headlines every day.

What are the primary attack vectors?

  • Supply Chains are under siege. Weak third-party vendors are causing havoc for large corporate businesses. Cyber attackers look for the weakest link in the chain and attack. Two of the most significant breaches, LabCorp and Quest, the attack originated from their online payment system.
  • Unpatched and Obsolete systems. No other area of the network is as preventable as keeping systems updated with available patching. An Apache Struts Web Framework was unpatched and contributed to 145 million social security numbers being exposed.
  • Compromised credentials are an enormous headache for the enterprise. Billions of stolen credentials are accessible for the taking on the dark web. Cyber-criminals use this vector as an entrance point because of its simplicity of stealing login information.

What is the Best IT Security Solution?

Will the relentless tide of cyber-attacks ever end? In a word, No! As long as the rewards are substantial, cyber-criminals find no need to slow down their aggressions. The “it can never happen to me, syndrome” is prevalent in every industry. There will always be that one staff member that will click on the apparent malware or ransomware email.

The sharpest minds in corporate security have provided a number of great tools for the enterprise. Each new cyber-attack creates a flood of new attacks and modifications.  Cyber-attacks have risen to one of the top ten corporate concerns for the next decade.

The World Economic Forum has determined that the money to keep pace with cyber threats worldwide will cost the enterprise nearly $90 trillion. Those dollars are merely keeping pace, not beating the attacker.

In the digital age, cyber resilience will happen with effective leadership and the secure design of infrastructures. First and foremost, corporate leaders must understand the foundations of cyber-security, and position their teams as enablers rather than casualties.

We wrote a guide on safety when it comes to working from home. Take a moment and read some of the safety and security tips we put in this guide.

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BACS IT is Here to Help Keep Your Remote Workforce Secure

When you want to protect your remote workforce, turn to the experienced Bay Area IT Consultants here at BACS IT. We will discuss your specific needs and create a security plan that fits your business. We can even help with unique security needs, so contact us. 

 

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BACS IT Email Threats and Solutions

Advanced Email Threats and Solutions

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

Email is the most incredible communication medium ever created for personal and professional use. From the application’s humble beginnings in 1965, 270 billion emails are now delivered every day.

No other form of communication is as powerful and efficient as email.

It is challenging to nail down when the first email hack occurred. However, it is safe to say; attacks have been going on for much longer than documented.  The first email account hacked may have occurred back in 1965 at MIT, when email was created.

Rise in Email Threats

Each year, email attacks continue to rise. Business and personal accounts are doorways to a much bigger payoff for the attacker. Statistics bear out the frightening surge in email threats.

  • 96% of all cyber-attacks to your framework is by email
  • According to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach report, 74% of all phishing scams come through email.
  • 22% of all breaches involved phishing.
  • Only 3% of users reported suspicious emails to authorities.

In the last few years, extraordinary times have changed the email threat landscape from passive attacks to highly aggressive intrusion teams. The bulk of infrastructure raids and widespread malware assaults come through unsuspecting email users.

Security gateways and software management designed for the Cloud has begun to stem the tide of low-level spam and bad link intrusions to email. 

BACS IT Ohishing and Email Threats

Phishing scams and malware attacks have shared characteristics:

  • Unfamiliar Greeting
  • Blatant spelling errors
  • Threats to a “Sense of Urgency”
  • Attachments
  • Email addresses are inconsistent

Security agencies worldwide are bracing for more destructive Ransomware and DDoS attacks. Saudi Aramco suffered the most significant and destructive cyber-attack ever recorded. In a few short hours, over 35,000 computers were wiped out. The resulting cost to the company was well over $50 million.

User Apathy

Employees from some of the largest companies worldwide were surveyed on phishing and malware attacks, a staggering 48% of respondents  saying, “it cannot happen to me.”  User apathy has developed into a leading concern for every business.

The weakest link behind every keyboard is the end-user. Companies must start extensive user education.  IT departments must provide the employee a stronger sense of involvement.

However, there will invariably be that one person who will click on anything.

It is imperative to identify the weakest link in a network before cyber-criminals find their entrance point. Once the attacker has infiltrated your company, they are now a user operating from within the network. Once inside, detection is virtually impossible.

BACS IT Security Breach and Email Threats

Ransomware, Malicious Intent, DDos, and Email Threats

Ransomware and other malicious attacks have exploded since the beginning of the global pandemic. Years before, cyber-criminals were invading infrastructure targets with little to no fanfare. Now, the world is aware and playing catch-up.

Cyber-criminals only require one user’s email account for access to thousands of computer systems. Every industry is a target; pipeline infrastructure, healthcare, and the public sector are especially vulnerable.

New markets for cyber-criminals are opening up, such as the Cloud and, sadly, K-12 schools.

94% of all cyber-attacks originate from email!

How do Ransomware and malicious code happen? Any digital means can be used as an access point. USB drivers, social media, business attachments are all delivery vectors. Email remains the number one entry point for cyber-attack.  Criminals prefer attachments first and links second.

Phishing attacks are addressed as fake delivery notifications or requests for software updates. The unsuspecting user clicks a link or attachment: a transparent download starts, and the attack begins.

Cyber-criminals have ungraded their encryption capabilities, using RSA 2048-bit private key encryption. This coding is impossible to break.

Do you know how to spot email threats? Check out our Signs of Email Threats You Need to Know!

Signs of Email Threats You Need to Know BACS IT

Trends in Email Threats

Email remains the most effective means of communication for personal and work accounts. As long as electronic messaging remains popular, criminals will keep attacking. 

Below are some of the developing trends for cyber-attack and their solutions:

    • Google has taken a front seat in the security of business accounts and infectious phishing scams. Every day GMAIL is blocking over 100 million phishing emails; this is in addition to the 240 million COVID-related phishing scams. Google is taking a proactive approach to protecting its G-Suite business email accounts by continually updating code.
    • Artificial Intelligence content interpretation is being applied to protect business and government interests. BEC Attacks (Business Email Compromise) tricks the user into paying for fraudulent invoices or subscriptions. At present, the technology is only applicable to English and German languages.
    • New threats are coming down the line every day. Threadjacking is a unique approach that transforms an email thread mid-sentence and inserts the attacker’s comments.  Attackers are scouring Outlook, Yahoo, and GMAIL for suitable threads for insertion. Since the email comes from a trusted party, attackers can deceive users into downloading the malicious code. Threadjacking has been applied extensively in ATT and Verizon mobile systems. The code is layered and hard to defend.
    • Excel has been used for years as a means to embed malicious code into attachments.  The attachment downloads a legitimate tool such as NetSupport Manager, which cyber-attackers use to manipulate a machine.
  • Keyloggers are attached to an Excel file, helping attackers to log in to bank accounts. 

BACS IT Dangers from Email Threats

Top 5: Dangerous Ransomware and Malware Code

Each of the following malware or ransomware programs has endless varieties. Cyber-criminals use malicious software to compromise email accounts. If a portion of code is not working on the target, the prepared cyber-attacker builds on that knowledge. Their team re-codes the application, making it more destructive and intrusive, then waits for the right opportunity.  

  • Social Engineering is one of the more recent additions to a well-rounded cyber-attack. This code is described as research and persuasion for the basis of spam and phishing scams spread by email. Attackers rely on the victim’s trust to steal data. Verizon’s Data Breach report says about 22% of intrusions involve social engineering and spoofing.

Most of the Fraud comes from attackers impersonating companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Netflix. The FBI recorded over 25,00 incidents costing companies approximately $300 million.

  • Spam has been linked with email since the beginning. Spam is usually email advertising the next best thing in unwanted products or services. Statista reports that 60% of the world’s internet traffic is made up of spam. The most annoying and costly spam effect is the messages that choke email inboxes, culminating in lost time and productivity.

Another costly complication of spam, messages often carry malware code.

  • Ransomware and Trojans are the most recognizable malicious code of this group. Ransomware and trojans are examples of malicious malware code buried in emails. Verizon’s report again says of all the data breaches, 17% are the malware type, and of this group, 27% are vicious ransomware.  Ransomware uses advanced encryption to block files and then demand payment. Attackers usually want payment in the form of cryptocurrency.

Trojans are another dangerous malware code that gets into a system by hacking logins. Nomoreransom.org  is an organization that is fighting aggressive ransomware code.

  • DDoS and Botnets are alternative forms of malicious code. Botnets are a group of systems linked to the internet and controlled by a hacker. DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) is code that enters a machine by email and inundates the system with spam or phishing code.  These types of codes will send thousands of emails in a brief period. The objective is to overwhelm the system so hackers can penetrate a network unnoticed.
  • Spear Phishing and Phishing use fraudulent emails to steal money from a company and personal bank accounts.  In 2019 the FBI reported losses tolling $57 million from 119000 vicious attacks. Attackers will conduct a comprehensive analysis of their targets to make the scams more efficient.

An extensive report from Europol provides more frightening statistics on the widespread use of phishing. 65% of all the hacker groups worldwide use some form of phishing. In the shadowy world of espionage, 78% of these incidents have email phishing techniques.

Today’s cyber-criminals have access to a vast spectrum of malicious code, causing billions in lost money and productivity. New tendencies of these criminals are using social engineering on millions of unsuspecting users.  

Industry experts have agreed one of the fastest ways to combat the rising threats is by employee education.

Solutions Stem from an Increase in Email Threat Intelligence

What is the answer to email security?  For years, the same question has been given to so-called experts, and their same answer repeatedly is to educate the user. In our post, this statistic from above says it all: a staggering 48% of respondents  saying, “it cannot happen to me.”

The brightest minds in the world have been working on different solutions. Protection must start before malware hits the email inbox and eliminate the user altogether

Two Technologies that may provide answers:

  1.       Email Gateways
  2.       Endpoint Security

Email Gateways Powered By Artificial Intelligence

Email gateways can be deployed as a Cloud or on-premise solution.  Each email that comes through a business system is classified and will catch both known and unknown threats.  Advanced machine learning and AI are used to classify emails and block malicious messages with ransomware payloads.

The email gateway is a type of server where every email passes through and is analyzed for malicious code. Secure gateways allow businesses to control email before it hits the inbox. AI-powered gateways scan the email URL for suspicious delivery sites. Content is scanned, and any email deemed suspicious is taken out of the system and placed in a sandbox.

Various protective systems around the internet are getting involved. Granular email filtering is used to tag suspicious emails for later examination. The systems are designed to block various emails, including payment redirects and fraudulent vendor invoicing.

One of the strongest companies in the field of Email Gateways is Proofpoint.

Proofpoint

Proofpoint offers a complete lineup of products for email protection,  Advanced email threat protection, to Cloud Security.  Compliance is another string point for the company. They offer solutions to meet regulatory and corporate requirements while managing cost and complexity.

Endpoint Security

Managing Endpoints on the network has been in the crosshairs of developers for years. Threats come from every angle, which includes smartphones, tablets, watches, or any digital device. The approach is to protect every device by having a level of security.

Over several years, Endpoint security has evolved from the antivirus space to now include malware detection. Network administrators have complete control of what goes out and what comes into the network. Each connected device is controlled. If the device does not meet the requirements, it is not allowed access. Some administrators will only allow cursory access.

No other company has the resources to control endpoints more than Cisco.

Cisco

Cisco, the worldwide expert on connected devices, is reinventing what can be connected to global networks. The company is directing its efforts to Endpoint and Detection systems. Cisco has become heavily involved with Behavior-based detection and advanced machine learning models.

Cisco has been working steadily in the area of work-from-home safety solutions. The aim is to protect home users and their networks.

Cisco Solutions:

  • Hybrid Workforce to manage distributed devices from a central location.
  • Multi-Cloud solutions are designed for simpler access anywhere in the world.
  • Hybrid Workspaces are designed for automated connectivity and intelligent infrastructure.

Cutting Edge

The cutting edge of cyber-security and email changes daily. Tactics used by attackers shift from one attack point to the next instantaneously. Networks are under constant siege. Fresh approaches to cyber security are needed to transform the landscape.

Cutting-edge technologies are making cyber defenses stronger than ever before. Industry leaders have developed three cyber-security directives any company or governmental agency can follow.

Policy First

Companies must establish a sound policy or best practice, employees must follow. Without this direction, a worker can end up in treacherous waters.  Leaders must put down clear directions on employee cyber hygiene.

Policies must include how to handle incoming emails and what type of email is acceptable to send. Leaders must understand “Network Users are Securities Weakest Link.”

Behavior Analysis

With proper endpoint security, administrators can measure a companies’ network. The benefits tell how the network operates on a normal basis and detects any abnormal behaviors.  The approach goes beyond traditional procedures and can detect ransomware and malicious code with no prior digital signature.

With the proper monitoring, anomalous activities can be stopped, and infected devices can be removed.

Embrace Technology

Transformative technologies are continually coming online. Less human intervention is needed by machine learning systems that automatically learn from past experiences. Dramatic results in cost savings and improved productivity are seen.

Game-changing technologies such as EDR (endpoint detection and response) can monitor servers, mobile devices, and home computers in real-time. Any suspicious behavior is detected instantaneously, and actions against the threats are immediate.

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BACS IT Can Help with Email Threats, IT Threats, and IT Solutions

Companies, government agencies, and individuals must learn to embrace the new technologies that will inevitably be coming into focus. The brightest minds in the world have spent careers devoted to defeating the massive flood of cyber-attacks.  

To find out how to ensure the safety of your emails, contact us here at BACS IT. We are IT consultants in the Bay Area ready to help keep your business, your employees, and your data safe from email threats and more. When it comes to advanced threat protection for email accounts, BACS IT has you covered.

 

Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment

Avoid a Security Lapse During an Infrastructure Improvement BACS IT

Avoiding a Security Lapse During Infrastructure Improvements

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

The pace of technology innovation continues to accelerate. New versions of software are launched every day to keep businesses on the cutting edge of digital transformation and customer service. Frequent technology upgrades and modernization of enterprise systems is no longer an option―it’s a requirement in today’s highly-competitive business environment. 

While ongoing infrastructure improvements are essential for sustained business growth, these projects can also create unintended (and sometimes dangerous) gaps in your security framework. Without proper planning and a clear blueprint, what may seem like run-of-the-mill system upgrade can instead create the perfect opportunity for a cybercriminal to attack hidden weaknesses and breach your defenses.

Keeping systems and data safe and secure in an era of escalating threats requires a well-planned, proactive approach―built around best practice measures, smart policies, and a defined security framework that aligns with your business goals.  Following are some of the common challenges that can elevate your security risk when implementing new technology or modernizing existing infrastructure

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Lack of Visibility

Maintaining a clear view of all devices and network assets across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure is critical to ensure optimum protection. The challenge for many organizations lies in the reliance on disparate, outdated systems to track and monitor network activity. Optimum protection can be best achieved by relying on more centralized security platforms that allow you to automate network discovery, improve visibility and quickly identify attack points, irregularities, patterns and other suspicious activity. Compared with point tools, these integrated systems require fewer IT resources to maintain effective threat protection. Every upgrade project has its own set of risks and benefits. While implementation speed is important, it should never supersede the need to keep systems and data safe and secure.   

 

Strategic Network Management

Poor Integration

The best approach to minimizing risk in technology deployments is finding an optimum balance between speed, flexibility, and security.  A common challenge in many IT environments is the diverse range of disparate security platforms from a variety of vendors. Meanwhile, legacy technology requires increased IT resources and support as they age. Eventually, these growing inadequacies and service demands can create dangerous security gaps, integration barriers, and scalability challenges. Disconnected systems and components make information sharing difficult, creating a recurring challenge for IT teams responsible for monitoring potential threats across the enterprise. Disjointed communication leads to unreliable processes and protocols. Left unaddressed, these concerns create uncertainty about what to do in the event of a threat and who’s responsible.  

Inadequate Planning

Today’s top-performing companies operate with some of the best digital technology available, yet many are still unable to prevent a near catastrophic security breach. Poor risk assessment and a lack of planning are among the top reasons. Infrastructure planning must take into account the present, along with the future, so it’s important to integrate security into your operational and infrastructure foundation from the beginning.  In planning a technology upgrade, it’s important to look beyond the potential cost savings and make decisions in the context of sustainability and long-term goals. That means carefully considering your security requirements, computing needs, resources, and many other factors. It’s complicated, and often involves trade-offs with significant strategic impact.  

 

IT-security-services

Substandard Monitoring

As your infrastructure expands and evolves, problems can emerge, including redundancies, inefficiencies, and performance gaps. The problem is only compounded in the midst of a technology upgrade. The temporary disruption of systems and applications can make it difficult to determine what components are secure and which ones are not. This is where network monitoring can provide substantial value, conveying critical insights that can help identify gaps in application and perimeter defenses by notifying you of potential problems before any damage actually occurs. Rather than waiting for problems to materialize, you can proactively identify areas that are vulnerable and take action before they impact your business. Regular infrastructure monitoring can also provide an accurate audit trail when investigating an incident.

Disorganized Response Handling

To effectively safeguard business data and assets, it’s important to close the gaps and address the vulnerabilities that other improvement projects might create. That includes setting up a defined plan for how security incidents should be reported and resolved. In the event of a problem, clear communication is as important as solving the underlying technical issue.  It’s essential that everyone impacted by an event clearly understands their responsibilities and the role they play in the recovery effort. This is particularly important when working with third-party providers. Should an outage occur, you need to have confidence in your recovery plan to know exactly how long it will take for the business to be back online―with systems restored and critical data intact.    

Contact Us for a Business Continuity IT Assessment

Make Security a Business Priority with Help from BACS IT

Preventing a security lapse during an infrastructure upgrade requires careful planning and an operating culture firmly focused on safeguarding data and mitigating risk. Although there is no way to defend against all types of attacks, new tools and techniques for detecting and identifying threats can help protect data without hindering  mobility or productivity. 

While staying on the cutting edge of hardware and software advancements is critical to business growth, maintaining world-class security and business continuity is a vital component to ongoing sustainability and success. 

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.

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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 significant challenges for the financial services industry are 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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