Why You Should Focus on Improving Your Cybersecurity Strategy

By | Security, Strategy

Your cybersecurity strategy has been established and now you feel confident that your organization’s data is protected. While you should be applauded for developing a cybersecurity strategy, you should never rest on your laurels. Cybersecurity requires your constant and full attention.  

The following are five reasons you should focus on improving your cybersecurity strategy:


1: Your organization’s personal data is valuable.

2: Recovering from a cyberattack is expensive.

3: Your organization’s reputation is at stake.

4: Cyberattacks are on the rise.

5: Your greatest security risk requires constant coaching.


1: Your organization’s personal data is valuable.


The level of sensitivity may vary, but all organizations have personal information that they need to protect.  Just consider the following three ways in which personal information  can travel within your organization:

  • Employees collect information from individuals doing business with your organization.
  • Individuals and organizations transfer and or communicate information to your organization.
  • Employees and third-party organizations access information from within or outside your organization.

In just those three methods of transmission, multiple people have interacted with data. Should all the hands that touch your sensitive data have access to it? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s a good idea to inventory all the data assets in your organization and determine who requires access to the most sensitive information. Creating an inventory of your data will also help you understand the level of protection you need to implement. Effective recordkeeping and evaluation are important in this area because the information can change and the people who require access to it can also change.

2: Recovering from a cyberattack is expensive.


According to a report published by Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 was just under $4 million. Gartner Inc., an advisory firm, predicts that the worldwide cost of security will balloon to $170 billion in just a few years. What if your organization suffers a cyberattack and it is more devastating than the average? The costs are even higher. 

Consider the costs associated with the following five historical data breaches:

    • Epsilon – This company suffered an attack in 2011 that involved the personal information for 75 of its clients. The costs to recover from the incident were in excess of $4 billion. 
    • Veterans Administration – Unencrypted data of more than a quarter of a billion records was sitting on a laptop and external drive and stolen from this respected government agency. The VA reportedly was out of up to $500 million to recover from the incident.
    • Target – More than 150 million shoppers of this top retailer received the sad news just before the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday that a hacker “compromised the retailer’s credit card readers” and their card numbers were stolen. The company spent $162 million to recover from the incident.  
    • Capital One – A previous employer of this large financial institution illegally accessed a cloud-based server and stole the personal information of more than 100 million customers. The initial estimate of the data breach was $150 million. The eventual number was closer to three times the number of customers that were impacted–$300 million. 
  • Yahoo – Considered by many as the largest data breach ever, this web services provider first announced in 2013 that 1 billion customer accounts had been compromised. In October 2017, just after it sold itself to Verizon, the company changed the estimate to being closer to three billion records.  In April 2019, their settlement with individuals of the compromised accounts was $117.5 million.


3: Your organization’s reputation is at stake.


In addition to being expensive, suffering a data breach or other cyberattack can impact how other organizations or individuals feel about your organization. According to a survey conducted by of 1,000 people (including 300 victims of data breaches), 67.3% of the respondents had less trust in a company if they had a data breach, and  21.6% would not share their personal information with such companies. 

Of course, cyberattacks are not 100% preventable. However, the organizations and individuals that you work with expect you to perform an acceptable level of due diligence to mitigate your risk. An investigation often follows a data breach, especially one that impacts a large number of people or organizations. Once an organization suffers a security breach their reputation is damaged and it while possible, it is difficult to recover from.

Consider the following companies that struggled after a data breach:

  • Capital One – Shortly after they suffered the large data breach mentioned above, the stock of this large financial institution decreased in value. 
  1. FlexMagic Consulting – This small firm operated their business successfully for 34 years, had an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and reported $2 million in annual revenue. They experienced just one data breach, but the effects of it forced the company to close their doors forever.
  2. LabCorp – In 2018, this large clinical laboratory suffered a ransomware attack that compromised millions of patient records. In 2019, the laboratory learned that 7.7 million of its patient records were accessed by unauthorized individuals via their collection agency, American Medical collection Agency (AMCA), for eight months. In 2020, a website misconfiguration by the laboratory led to 10,000 company documents being exposed. In addition to their stock losing value, LabCorp is the subject of multiple lawsuits by patients impacted by the multiple data breaches. 


4: Cyberattacks are on the rise.


One constant about cyber threats is that they are increasing. There are many reasons for the increase. One of the most common is that cyber threats are closely tied to major shifts in technology. Advancements in technology provide convenience but also new opportunities of exploitation for cyber criminals. 

Cyberattacks are also on the rise because of a series of special events. The 2020 presidential election was a major event with such increased cyber activity that the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) issued a press release warning Americans about international threats. Most recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported an increase in cyberattacks due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Healthcare organizations have been targeted for vaccine information, video communication (increased during this time of social distancing) is being hacked, and social engineering attacks abound amid the news of government stimulus checks, COVID-19 vaccinations, and unemployment benefits.

The following are three additional reasons cyberattacks are increasing:

  • IT departments are understaffed and can’t keep up with cybersecurity demands.
  • A new digital currency (bitcoin) is available to exploit or use as ransom payment.
  • Cyber criminals want fame and compete to orchestrate the largest attack.


5: Your greatest security risk requires constant coaching.

It’s a common belief that the weakest link of a cybersecurity strategy are employees. A great example is a report by Trend Micro that uncovered that nearly 100% of the cyber threats based on the COVID-19 pandemic were spam or phishing threats. Human error is difficult to improve and probably one of the most important reasons you should focus on improving your cybersecurity strategy.

Training employees about phishing and other types of social engineering cyberattack methods is the obviously the best method of increasing employee awareness. However, you should focus the training on the weak areas of your employees’ behavior. The HubSpot Your Guide to Employee Phishing Scams document includes a suggestion of simulating phishing attacks to both train employees about them and test their awareness. You can easily carry out the simulations on a regular basis and adjust your cybersecurity strategy as needed.


Next Steps

Effective cybersecurity requires a dynamic process for protecting your organization’s data against the sophisticated and increasing threats of cyber criminals who are constantly changing their tactics.  When should you review your cybersecurity strategy? That depends on your organization. If your organization operates within an industry, such as financial institutions, with security compliance requirements, those standards will mandate the intervals in which updates are required. 

If there are no mandates or regulations for your organization to contend with, consider improving your cybersecurity strategy on a regular interval your security team determines proactive or when there are major changes in your organization or industry, there is an increase in a type of cyber threat that is a weakness for your organization, or there is a shift in technology or information that impacts your organization.

Here are five steps you can take to improve your cybersecurity strategy:

  1. Review the objectives from the last iteration of your strategy. 
  2. Evaluate the current protection of your sensitive data. 
  3. Evaluate employees’ security awareness.  
  4. Update the cybersecurity strategy based on your findings. 
  5. Obtain approval from key roles in the organization.
  6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 on a regular basis or during specific shifts that impact your business. 

If your security team is struggling to develop a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, the security consultants at BACS can provide assistance. We understand that every organization is unique in its cybersecurity needs. We conduct in-depth assessments of IT infrastructures to learn the scope of an organization’s security needs.  We can then work with you to develop an effective strategy for your organization.

it planning

Benefits Of Smart IT Planning

By | Networking, Strategy, Technology

In today’s fast-moving business environment, short-sighted IT decisions can lead to costly, inefficient investments and subpar performance. This is especially true in the area of technology and infrastructure. As applications and platforms proliferate and age, problems can emerge, including redundancies, inefficiencies, security gaps, and unplanned information silos.

Businesses will often look to the latest technologies that will deliver the fastest return on investment. This approach can work in the short term, but without proper planning IT teams find themselves struggling to manage an unwieldy IT infrastructure.

Adding to the complexity, many organizations are running on outdated systems and platforms that are not readily adaptable to today’s rapidly changing business demands. Technology modernization efforts not only require upgrading physical equipment and infrastructure, but also the processes and tools that support them.

Understanding what technology your business needs to reach its goals is essential. Knowing how to get it done—how and when to invest, map, plan, coordinate, and engage the enterprise around your technology initiatives—is equally important. That’s where a carefully planned, smartly executed technology strategy can deliver substantial value.


Creating a solid technology foundation

Effective technology planning begins with a detailed assessment of your IT environment to determine how well your current infrastructure is performing and how best to leverage existing resources. The assessment will help determine what technologies are being optimized, how they are used, and how well they align with your business needs.

The detailed evaluation will reveal insights into your IT strengths and weaknesses, uncover opportunities for cost optimization, and provide greater clarity for making difficult technology investment decisions. As part of the assessment, technologies and workflows are analyzed, tracking performance to uncover weaknesses, inefficiencies and vulnerabilities.

Data gathered from the assessment is then used to create a plan for performance improvement including actionable implementation steps, timelines, roadmaps, cost estimates, options, and alternatives.

To better assess your IT strengths and capabilities, consider applying similar processes and management techniques used by other organizations to identify areas for improvement and better understand how your business compares to industry benchmarks. Once metrics have been established, recurring checks help ensure the technologies and processes are aligned with the benchmarks.

A results-focused approach to IT assessment and evaluation relies on collaboration between the business and the IT consultant. Make sure your technology partner uses the latest analysis and reporting tools to gather information and determine the health status of each area under review. This will provide a deeper understanding of how well your IT is performing and whether your business strategy is supported by your technology.

With an objective IT evaluation, you’ll better understand the complexities and challenges of technology integration and deployment and gain the insight needed to help ensure your IT solutions align with your priorities and will scale appropriately. The assessment will also help determine if your IT security measure are sufficient for your business needs and allow you to identify opportunities to streamline your operations, optimize resources, minimize risk, and create a competitive advantage.

A comprehensive IT assessment will help your business:

  • Stay current with the latest technologies and security defenses
  • Identify opportunities for cost optimization
  • Meet compliance standards for security, uptime and data governance
  • Improve the reliability and availability of applications and resources
  • Plan for new capabilities based on defined business goals


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Reaping the benefits of sound IT planning


Technology is advancing rapidly, and your business should focus on leveraging these advances to propel growth, not hinder it. That’s where strategic IT planning can deliver substantial value―providing the expert guidance and optimum internal resources needed to improve efficiency, drive productivity, safeguard assets, and maximize ROI.

A well-designed technology plan has several core functions:

  • Evaluate the capabilities and skills of your in-house IT staff
  • Create a custom, prioritized list of projects and initiatives you need to complete to ensure your technology will support business goals
  • Examine your IT environment, systems, and applications for adherence to best practice standards
  • Conduct an analysis to identify gaps between your business’s needs and the mix and performance of IT infrastructure
  • Understand the timelines, milestones, and estimated costs for each proposed project

A proactive strategy gives you a better chance of preventing major disruptions that can impact your bottom line. The plan prioritizes your management activities to take full advantage of the opportunities enabled by a smooth-running IT operation, whether it’s growing revenue, capturing market share or digital transformation.

Expert analysis and technology roadmap planning help ensure the best approach to migrating your platforms and applications to deliver optimum performance and maximum return on investment. The roadmap includes all of the recommendations and actionable work outlined in the assessment, including a timeline and estimate of the cost of each project and the resources required from both IT and business unit perspective.

With a defined plan and roadmap, technology investments become much more transparent, as milestones and improvements are achieved and tracked along the way. The roadmap will also provide you with a structured framework for planning and managing changes to business and technology priorities as they evolve.

A carefully planned technology strategy will help you:

  • Identify the business capabilities that will be needed over a defined period as outlined in your business plan
  • Establish an overarching technology vision that defines the core elements or features of the technology needed to support your business strategy
  • Agree on the execution timeline outlined in the technology plan
  • Determine the business needs that will take priority and assess the gaps between current and required capabilities
  • Identify and prioritize top technology goals as defined through the needs assessment
  • Develop a roadmap detailing the initiatives that will be delivered during the established planning period


Keeping pace with the speed of business

Innovation can transform your business and elevate your performance, but navigating technology and managing complexity isn’t always easy. As your business needs change and grow, more focus is needed to ensure that technical delivery functions and IT services are designed, implemented, managed and controlled in a consistent manner.

Changing business dynamics continue to shift the role of IT―from managing and supporting technology to the broader, more strategic objective of driving business value. In this era of rapid change, strategic IT planning takes on greater importance. To position IT as an enabler of success, you need an IT strategy that aligns with your business and will take you where you want to go.



Why You Need An IT Strategy

By | managed It services, Strategy

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

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

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


What Is An IT Strategy?

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

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

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Why Do I Need An IT Strategy?

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

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

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


How To Write An IT Strategy or IT Assessment

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

Most IT strategy documents will contain the following elements:

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

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

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

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


BACS Can Help Your IT Strategy

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

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


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Managed IT Services Case Study – OrangeTwist

By | IT Support, Strategy, Technology

OrangeTwist started life as a single-location medical spa in Costa Mesa, CA, offering treatments such as Botox, facials, CoolSculpting® and more. As the company began to grow, the stakeholders set their sights on a seemingly simple goal: to create a virtual and physical space which would be instantly familiar to both clientele and staff alike. The idea was that clients traveling far afield could enter any OrangeTwist location in the country and feel just like they were on their own home turf. Likewise, staff who moved from location to location, either as transfer employees or simply to cover staff absences would not have to ask questions like, “How do I set up the TV in this treatment room?” or “Where’s the Sonos unit kept?” or “How do I connect to this printer?” 

This, in turn, would provide a streamlined experience for everyone involved, offering both uniformity and the comfort of familiarity, without the associated challenges of learning a new system or physical layout at each individual location.  

To accommodate this goal, OrangeTwist reached out to BACS Consulting Group. Our first step was to meet with the company stakeholders to ensure we understood exactly what was needed and wanted, and to set appropriate expectations on all sides of the table before we proceeded. From these discussions, we were given the following mandates:

  • Creating a single, scalable web portal connecting the various OrangeTwist locations to establish uniform branding and virtual user experience
  • Establishing a cloud-based network which would allow clients and staff to connect to the Orange Twist network at each individual location using a single individual login or access token
  • Providing and deploying UI technology to solidify control, ease of use and assimilation across the corporate constellation
  • Creating “plug-and-play” methodology to allow new locations to seamlessly integrate with the existing OrangeTwist systems across the country
  • Moving forward as OrangeTwist’s IT management partner, providing ongoing IT and cybersecurity services to maintain the integrity and function of the company’s technological and virtual faces

Understanding OrangeTwist’s needs and infrastructure

Armed with this information, BACS Consulting Group and OrangeTwist moved forward, working in tandem to develop an actionable strategy plan around OrangeTwist’s existing interfaces, planned additional locations and expanding technology and IT needs. Once we achieved clear and enthusiastic agreement and consent on the action plan, we proceeded.

The user experience

The first step was to create a web portal which provided clear branding and easy access to their chosen locations for clients. Given the scope and intensity of OrangeTwist’s intended expansion, this required making the portal simple to navigate and easy to port contact parameters for additional locations into as they came online. This realized an immediate time and money savings for OrangeTwist as all their web and contact traffic came through one portal, rather than having to build out multiple portals and tie them all together piecemeal.

Head in the cloud

Next, we created a cloud-based access scheme which allows customers and staff in any OrangeTwist location to access the company’s bespoke music, television and WiFi through an individual password or access token. This cloud migration negated the need for expensive physical servers, reduced the amount of cabling and electricity consumed on each site and amplified ease of use for both employees and clients.

Interchangeable Tech

The next step was to procure and deploy uniform technology to be used in the individual locations. VoIP phones based in the cloud, iMacs set up to OrangeTwist’s specifications and uniform printers, all using the same protocols, were placed to simplify and streamline staff usage, permit real-time corporate oversight and allow for smooth, seamless IT intervention in case of an issue. 

 “Plug and Play”

Next, we shifted our attention to ensuring the hardware, software and access protocols were “plug and play.” By doing this, we vastly simplified onboarding of new and transferring employees, the creation of new locations as appropriate and the replacement of malfunctioning or defective devices when and where necessary. This uniform approach also allowed for superior IT overwatch and made resolving issues simpler, because when a problem develops, we can readily identify where the issue started and how to correct it to minimize downtime and maximize efficiency.

A reliable IT Management partner

Today, four years after that first contact with OrangeTwist, they are quite happy with BACS Consulting Group’s service and responsiveness. With locations in California, Washington, and Texas, and more expansion on the way, they cite the simplicity of a uniform technological approach across the company as a key driver in their success. Having access to a single point of contact for all IT issues who can take ownership and resolve the issue using only one phone number and email has reduced downtime and increased productivity for the company. We at BACS Consulting Group look forward to a long, strong relationship with OrangeTwist moving forward.

How can BACS Consulting Group help your company?

We’re very proud of the work and outcomes we provided for OrangeTwist, and creating bespoke IT solutions which met their needs and exceeded their expectations is a point of pride for us.

With so many cyber threats including phishing, hacking and cracking attacks on the rise around the world, not to mention day-to-day threats and commonplace IT issues, virtually every size company can benefit from having access to dedicated IT professionals. BACS specializes in taking the time to understand the nature of each individual business we serve, and the unique needs, concerns and threats they face. 

Our ongoing commitment to providing excellence for our clients doesn’t end once the full system is functional, either. We deliver quarterly reports and evaluations which allow us to pivot and adjust to the client’s ever-evolving needs, keeping the customer experience our clients deliver to their clientele and expect and receive from us uppermost in mind at all times. Each of our technicians is rated at a level 2-4, which permits any of our people to act as the client’s single point of contact, with the ability to take ownership and work toward resolution of any IT concern or issue. We never consider a case or ticket closed until the client clearly says the issue is resolved.

To learn more about BACS Consulting Group and how we can help your business deliver a superior customer experience with less downtime and greater security, we encourage you to call (650) 887-4601 or email us at today!

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Phishing: The Uncommonly Common Cyberthreat

By | Security, Strategy

According to, in the period from 2014 to 2018, the average office worker received 90 emails each day. 40 of these emails, or five per hour, were directly related to business operations. This average includes personal correspondence, follow-up emails, requests for information, initial contacts—and potential, attempted or successful cyber attacks known as phishing.

The goal of phishing is to simulate or emulate an email originating from a legitimate source, in an effort to convince the recipient to reveal confidential or sensitive information such as login credentials, bank account numbers, passwords, and credit card information. Some types of phishing require the recipient to click a link or enter information, while other forms only need the email to be opened. 

In nearly every successful case, the recipient is guilty of nothing but poor judgment—but nonetheless, the damage is done, compromising the security of the business, exposing sensitive information and eroding public confidence. 

How Phishing Works

There are several types of phishing. Many of these are designed to look innocent and legitimate. The FBI’s Internet Crime Report says phishing attacks through business email cost organizations $676 million in 2017 alone, nearly double the loss of $360 million from the previous year.

You may get an email from when your actual company domain is Okay, maybe it’s from the UK office. There might be a slight change in the sender’s address, such as “someone” when you usually correspond with “somebody.” Happens all the time, right? Person A changes their email address for security purposes and forgets to let Person B know. The email has a vague or off-topic subject line, but you “know” this person and open it anyway, thinking it comes from a trusted source. The subject line may include your first name, such as, “Bob, here are those documents you requested.” It’s not terribly specific, which would naturally make many users ask, “Which documents? I need to find out. I think I remember that conversation…”   

The email is opened. The attack has begun.

Common attacks of this type include:

Phishing, in which an email purporting to be from a legitimate company asks you to log in to their site to verify your account or manage an issue by clicking a link. These emails look legitimate, but the links they provide lead you to a spoof site. When you enter your login credentials, the attackers now have them, giving them access to your account with that company and allowing them access to further compromise your sensitive information.

Spear Phishing is a more sophisticated form of phishing. This type of phishing uses specifics such as your name, phone number, your company’s name and your position in it to give the illusion of a previously existing connection, making it more likely you’ll click any links or provide requested information because it appears to come from a trusted source.

Whaling uses the psychology of power structures against the unwary. In this sort of phishing, the attacker poses as a high-level company official, such as a vice-president or someone in the C-suite, and produces emails crafted to appear like legitimate requests for information originating within the company. This sort of attack asks for sensitive information such as passwords, login information or financial information like credit card numbers and other identifiers.

Shared Document Phishing uses the ubiquity of the connected, collaborative workplace as its weapon of choice. In this sort of attack, you may receive a legitimate-looking email purporting to be from Google Drive or Dropbox, encouraging you to sign in to view or edit a shared document. As you might have guessed by now, when you log in, you’re actually accessing a spoof site and giving your information directly to the attacker.

Document Signature Scams rely on the rise in electronic signatures to lure in victims. “Hey, Bob, here are those documents. Can you sign them and send them back to me today?” Because of the erroneous belief that e-signing is completely secure, this is the most successful type of phishing scam, with a 7% success rate. If that doesn’t sound like much, consider that phishing attacks in total only enjoy around a 3% success rate—and that relatively small number is enough to account for business losses of around two-thirds of a billion dollars in 2017.

How to Protect Against Phishing Attacks

While it may seem counterintuitive to growing your business, a healthy dose of suspicion and some basic countermeasures can circumvent most phishing attacks before they ever get started. By following the basic steps below, you can help prevent phishing from compromising sensitive information. Always remember: You are the first and most important line of defense against phishing and other cyber attacks!

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    • Never, under any circumstances, share your login credentials or other sensitive information with anyone, especially over email. Assume anyone who has a valid need for such information has access to other methods of obtaining it without using email to ask you for it. No one in your company should ever ask you for sensitive information such as banking details or login credentials over email!
    • Always check the subject line and sender’s address. If anything, no matter how innocuous, doesn’t look right, do not open the email. Contact the purported sender through secure communications such as a known secure website, by phone or in person if at all possible, to verify the email’s validity. If the person denies having sent the email, contact us immediately.
    • Use specific subject lines rather than vague ones. Instead of saying, “Bob, here are the documents you requested,” use, “February Bills of Lading for as requested by Bob Johnson on [date].” This may seem needlessly pedantic, but clearly stated subject lines which include information establishing the sender’s bona fides and offering specifics about the contents of the message can help validate authentic emails. It also helps make emails with less specific subject lines more evident and suspicious by contrast. 
    • If you don’t routinely receive emails from high-ranking company employees, and you receive one, ask your manager or supervisor if it’s a legitimate communication before opening it. Phishing attacks are rarely targeted at only one person, and the more widespread the attack, the greater the chance sensitive information could be compromised.
    • Never click on a link, shared document, image or attachment you were not expecting, regardless of the type of file or how legitimate the source appears, without verifying personally with the sender. Compressed and executable files, such as those with the file extensions .zip or .exe, should be considered especially suspect, but treating all links and attachments as potential threats will help increase security and curb attacks before they have a chance to get properly underway.
    • Look for suspicious or incorrect domain names. and are not the same. In the same way, inspect all domain names or links you encounter to verify they are domains you actually recognize, and check the URLs to make sure they take you somewhere you know to be legitimate. If anything doesn’t look right, no matter how small, or even if you just see something which makes you say, “That’s odd,” there’s a good chance the email might be an attack.
    • When in doubt, assume the worst. Contact your supervisor and/or us immediately, so we can determine whether the email is legitimate or a phishing attempt.
    • If the email comes with a banner warning it originated from an outside source, do not open or click anything within. Report it immediately. Remember, the success of a phishing attempt hinges on making the email look as innocuous and legitimate as possible.

    Is There More We Can Do to Prevent Phishing?

    Following good email security protocols and best practices can stop most phishing attempts in their tracks. BACS has recently partnered with Proof Point Email Security to manage the filtering of such emails—but any automated filtering system, no matter how sophisticated, is still only a tool. You are and will always be the first line of defense against stopping cyber attacks, including phishing attempts before they start.

    The BACS Consulting Group Is A Team Of Highly Trained IT Professionals Available To Help At A Moments Notice

    BACS has developed training programs specifically designed to help harden your company communications against cyber attacks such as phishing. If we haven’t already, we’d like to speak more to you about these programs and how BACS can help prevent these attacks before they begin—and limit the damage if they’re successful. Email us at or call
    (650) 887-4601 for more information on preventing cyber attacks and other threats which can compromise your business’s function and security.


    The Bay Area Managed IT Service Provider That You Can Trust

    By | IT Support, Security, Strategy, Technology | 2 Comments

    BACS Consulting Group

    This blog was updated August, 2021 to reflect additional services we offer and explain further how they can help keep your business data safe. If you have any questions regarding our services or to find out how we can customize services to meet your IT needs, contact us at (650) 747-8370 today!

    From San Ramon to Oakland, CA and beyond, BACS IT has become the managed services provider the Bay Area trusts to handle every aspect of your company’s IT, data security, and cloud computing needs. With your business in mind, we tailor solutions based on your needs and growth plans.  We offer all of our managed services for flat fee subscription billing to bring the best value possible. When you partner with us, you will receive affordable, reliable, and secure IT services managed by a team of professionals with years of experience.

    bay area managed it services provider BACS Consulting offering better IT - better managed it services 

    Why Work with a Bay Area Managed IT Service Provider?

    There are many reasons why working with a managed IT services provider is helpful. Many of these reasons can be summed up with one simple fact: a services provider employs qualified, experienced professionals who understand industry best practices and remain abreast of the newest developments in IT infrastructure, security, and cloud computing.

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      Save Money While Gaining Access to Experienced IT Professionals

      Many companies choose to use a managed IT service provider instead of hiring their own in-house IT experts. The benefit here is that you receive a large, experienced team for one flat price. You will not need to worry about hiring your own security expert, server administrator, database manager, or any other professional IT team member. You have access to an entire staff of these experts. Using an outside IT provider can save you a significant amount of money since you do not need to pay out salaries or benefits for these employees. You also save on office space, equipment, and the associated HR costs of finding and hiring new employees.

      Even if you already have an in-house IT team, working with an IT managed service provider can provide additional benefits. Again, these providers may have team members who have focused their knowledge in areas not represented by your team. By outsourcing some of your IT work, you also allow your in-house employees to focus on particular tasks or projects that cannot as easily be outsourced.


      Avoid Downtime

      A managed IT provider can help you avoid downtime. A glitchy, slow site, a security breach, or a power outage can damage your company’s credibility, which in turn can damage your profits. Current and prospective clientele may think your business is not dedicated to quality work or cannot adequately safeguard their data the way they expect. A professional managed IT service provider will focus on keeping your systems safe, secure, and running at peak efficiency with the minimum downtime possible. These benefits ensure that your business consistently delivers the sort of performance your clients expect to receive.


      Grow and Upgrade with Ease

      However, it doesn’t matter how great your website runs or how robust your cybersecurity is if your infrastructure isn’t scalable. Your business will grow, and your infrastructure must be able to grow with it. As computer technology and the software administering it becomes more complex, keeping your systems in step with the latest advances can be increasingly difficult. A provider’s project management capabilities will look beyond software to the underlying infrastructure of your business, helping you be ready for whatever the next stage in the evolution of your company might be. You won’t need to start from scratch, either. Here at BACS, our turnkey solutions are designed to integrate easily into your existing physical support systems.


      Keep Your Data Secure

      In today’s world, your data must be secure. Your IT managed service provider should use the latest cybersecurity technology, practices, and protocols to ensure your data is always where you need it, when you need it, and can only be accessed by those with the correct permissions. Having this setup often requires solutions that are tailor-made to the needs of your business and can be modified to meet the ever-changing regulatory, statutory, and best-practices landscape. By using these solutions, you and your clients will know that your information is safe. If a data breach has already occurred or if one occurs in the future, your service provider will assist with hardening your system against new infosec attacks.


      Contact Us for a FREE IT Assessment


      Be Ready for the Worst

      When you need access to your crucial data immediately or to check-in and make sure a sensitive project is proceeding as planned even though you’re away from the office, you need the functionality to do it now. Even more frightening than not having access to your data now is not having it at all due to a system attack, glitch, or failure. Working with an IT managed service provider in the Bay Area includes creating redundant backup systems and fail-safes to minimize disruption and data loss due to natural or human-caused activity.


      Remain Compliant

      Regardless of what industry you are in, you must remain compliant with several data gathering, storage, and security regulations. If you are found not in compliance with these regulations, you can be fined a staggering amount. For those in healthcare or finance, regulations such as HIPAA require even stricter data safeguards and practices. You will want to work with an IT managed service provider who understands all of these regulations and ensures that your network is always compliant.

      In addition to avoiding fees, being compliant also reduces the risk of a data breach. Should such a breach occur, you may not only be fined, but you will also lose the trust your clients have in your business. Breaches can lead to losing clients and the income they bring with them.


      Selecting the Right IT Consulting Company

      Selecting the right IT managed service provider in San Jose should be a choice you make carefully. Working with the first company you hear of may result in a poor partnership that does more harm than good. Here are a few tips that will help you find the right consulting team.


      They Should Understand Your Company

      You need an IT service provider who understands you, your industry, and the requirements you must meet to operate in that industry. A provider who does this will better anticipate your needs and develop solutions that meet them. However, more than this, they need to work closely with you to understand your unique processes and direction. Two companies in the same industry can have wildly different IT issues and needs. Your provider should understand yours.


      Learn About Their Employees

      Partnering with a service provider is similar to hiring a large team of employees at once. When comparing potential partners, ask each about their team. How many people do they have on staff? What experience do they have? Ask about certifications and unique skills that the provider brings to the table. The ideal service provider should have a well-rounded team of professionals who bring various skills and knowledge to the job.


      Ask if They Do Everything In-House

      Some service providers do outsource some of their work. In that case, you may have no idea who is working on your cloud security and other IT solutions. You may also not be able to have a professional come to your job site to do in-person work. Ideally, the provider you partner with will do everything themselves.


      How to They Bill?

      Does the provider charge by the hour or offer flat-fee services? Companies that offer a flat fee are often more dependable because they have no reason to work slowly or find additional tasks to charge you for at the end of the month. A flat fee rate also impacts your budget. You can allocate a set amount to your IT services and know that amount will be sufficient.


      Why Choose BACS IT as Your Bay Area Managed IT Service Provider?

      What sets BACS apart from other managed IT consultants in San Francisco and the surrounding areas? We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managed IT. Every business we work with has unique goals, motivators, and expectations. We work closely with you to understand these goals along with your business practices and your company culture so we can offer the right IT solutions for you. Communication with your leadership is paramount in achieving this.

      Another difference between us and others is that we believe in being accessible to our clients. With our strict “no-robots” policy, when you call us, you will always get a real live person and a friendly voice on the other end of the line, ready and willing to help you with all your IT needs to bring the best experience possible. This team member is also highly knowledgeable in our services, so you will not be passed back and forth between representatives.


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      We bring a “Can do” ethos and attitude to every client and project we undertake. Whether supporting new or upgraded infrastructure or implementing advanced remote monitoring and cybersecurity methodologies, we believe every job and client deserves the same attention and care. Our team treats every client the same, regardless of size or industry. We hold all of our projects to the same high standards. We work just as closely with small businesses in Palo Alto as we do with large corporations in Santa Barbara.


      Our Services

      We offer a suite of turnkey cloud and backup and disaster recovery services. Below is a partial list of everything BACS can do for your small or medium-sized business (SMB).


      AWS/Azure cloud computing solutions

      We work closely with clients to create the ideal cloud infrastructure that meets their current and future needs. As a SMB, it is essential that your cloud computing solutions are scalable. Your business will grow in the coming years, and your cloud infrastructure needs to be able to grow with it. Our team will work closely with you to determine your IT needs. We then design a model that addresses these needs while also taking your budget and compliance regulations into account. Whether you require a private cloud for internal solutions or a large multi-cloud solution, our team can assist you with design, implementation, and maintenance.


      Backup systems and storage

      Large-scale data loss can be devastating to your business. It can result in a massive loss of productivity, tarnish your reputation, and damage your budget. You may need to spend a large amount of money to recreate the databases you have lost. Having a backup system is vital to your business continuity. However, many small businesses only back up data to a single local storage device. A single device is often not sufficient, especially if a natural disaster results in your worksite being damaged. We will work closely with you to create a business continuity plan that includes both on-site and off-site data backup and recovery procedures. Having both options ensures that you can continue operations with little to no interruption.


      Hosting exchange services

      BACS IT offers exchange server hosting to ensure that your SMB has the reliable email, calendar, and other services you need to operate smoothly. In addition to configuring and running the exchange server, we troubleshoot problems as needed. Our team also ensures that your server software and hardware are up to date. We monitor every exchange service for potential security breaches and hardware malfunctions, plus we provide backup services in the event of a disaster.


      Remote monitoring

      Many cyber-attacks, malfunctions, and other issues occur during off-hours when no one is available in your office to handle them. Smaller businesses simply do not have the option of having an IT professional on-call 24/7. Our remote monitoring services ensure that someone always has an eye on your system and can act should something go wrong. In addition to this, we also continually remotely monitor your network for signs of intrusion, viruses, malware, and other suspicious activity. Constant monitoring allows us to take steps to protect your data proactively.


      Active and passive cybersecurity solutions

      BACS IT provides our clients with both active and passive cybersecurity solutions. By offering both, it ensures that our SMB clients are protected at all times. This holistic approach begins with an evaluation of your current system to determine weak areas. Once identified, we address these areas to improve your overall security. We actively monitor your network, addressing concerns and improving security as needed. Our team updates software as needed and maintains your cloud, preventing future attacks by closing security gaps. Actively, we respond to threats and take steps to neutralize them. We also continually gather information about new forms of viruses and malware to prepare defenses against them. Many small businesses simply do not have the time or resources to do this.


      Managed client portals

      In addition to managing your internal IT needs, we also manage your external client portals. This includes designing the infrastructure of the portal, managing and maintaining it, and updating as necessary. We backup any online databases your clients need to access. It also ensures a smooth transfer to a backup if the primary database is inaccessible. By taking up responsibility for client portals, small businesses can provide their unique services and work closely with their clientele.


      We Deliver Turnkey Managed Services for Industries Across California and the Nation.

      Whether you’re in Sacramento, Oakland, Mountain View, or across the country, we are here for you. We work with a wide range of clients and projects, including the following:

      BACS offers managed IT solutions that focus on the needs of your business with less downtime, increased productivity, and heightened responsiveness. To learn more about why BACS is the only managed IT services provider in Santa Clara, Berkeley, and other areas of California that you’ll ever need, call us at (650) 747-8370.


      Free IT Consultation

      To learn more about why BACS is the only managed IT services provider you’ll ever need, call us at (650) 887-4601!

      Young creative business people working in the office

      9 Great Microsoft Outlook Time-savers

      By | IT Support, Productivity, Security, Strategy, Technology, Uncategorized

      Are you using Outlook to its fullest potential? If not, you’re missing out on a valuable tool that will make your work so much easier. Not only will it incorporate everything you need to do with emails, like make appointments and set “Quick Steps,” it can save you a lot of time. We have 9 great timesavers we want to share with you here.

      1. Turn Off Notifications

      You know those little pop-ups that appear when you’re trying to concentrate on a project? They are there to let you know that you have new mail. This is great if you’re waiting for an important email. Otherwise, they can be very distracting.

      Here’s how to turn these off:

      • Just go to the bottom right-hand side of your screen (in Windows) and click on the little triangle. A check box will come up.
      • You can see here where it says, “Show New Mail Desktop Alert”.
      • Uncheck this and no more annoying pop ups!

      You can also do this right from Outlook:

      • Go to the left-hand side of your screen with Outlook open.
      • Select “File” and “Options.”

      Under “Mail” you’ll see a bunch of options. Here’s where you can select all the notifications and sounds that simply distract you, and that you don’t need. Ah, peace and quiet for a change!

      2. Drag Mail to the Calendar

      When you’re in an email, and you want to add a meeting to your calendar, simply go up to the top Ribbon where it says “Meeting” and you can “Reply with Meeting” to all the people on the email stream.

      Set up the time and place, and then invite everyone.

      3. Block Off Time Slots

      Let’s say someone emailed you a proposal and you need to block off some time to read it. Here’s how to do this right from the email and attachment:

      Here’s the email with the proposal marked in blue.

      Drag the box down to the left where it says “CALENDAR” and it will create a prompt where you can enter the block of time in your calendar, on the day and time that works for you. It will appear as an appointment in your calendar.

      When you’re entering time in your meeting time slot, Outlook does some of the work for you.

      Say you want to start at 10:00 am. Simply key in 10 and hit TAB, and Outlook will enter the rest (10:00 AM). You can even enter military time. 15:15 TAB and Outlook will convert it to 3:15PM.

      You can do the same with the end time as well.

      4. The Ignore Button

      If there’s an email that keeps appearing in your inbox, but you don’t want to see it anymore, rather than deleting it you can simply go to the Ignore button on the top left, (or Control >Delete) and emails about this subject will automatically go into your Deleted Items.

      You’ll get this prompt to ensure that you want to delete the message every time. Check “Don’t show this message again” and click “Ignore Conversation.” You won’t be bothered by the message anymore.

      5. The Quick Access Toolbar

      Microsoft provides this toolbar in all of their software solutions. You can put some of your most used commands in this toolbar. Simply check the ones that you want to appear. They will always appear at the top of your screen until you remove them.

      And you can easily add more commands, as you see below.

      Simply highlight the commands to the left and click “Add” and they will appear in your ribbon. To remove, do the opposite. Highlight the commands to the right and click “Remove.”

      5. Respond Fast with Instant Messaging

      Sometimes you need a fast way to get a message to someone, and email isn’t doing this for you. Right from Outlook, go to the top ribbon to: “Reply All with IM”

      Now, you can send everyone on your email stream an Instant Message instead of an email. This comes in handy if you need to get a quick message to your team. However, it only works if your team is connected to you with Microsoft Link. If not, you can do this with Skype as well.

      6. Quick Steps

      You may recognize this in the top Ribbon. It’s been in Microsoft products since 2010.

      Sometimes you do things manually. Or you may set up Rules. For example, “If the email is from Molly Dempsey save it to Project Falcon.” Or something like this. You can also save commands like this in Quick Steps. Here’s one we set to move the message, mark it as read, tag it, and put a follow-up flag on it.

      Quick Steps moved the email, categorized it and marked it as read, just as we specified.

      There are multiple actions you can choose from in Quick Steps. Start with “Create New” and your selections will pop up. Click “New Message.” Then preset the email that you think you’ll use over and over.

      Here’s a Quick Step to create an invoice right from Outlook.

      Click the invoice you want (we have one called Tailspin already set up). Outlook will take you to your contact list where you can choose who to send it to.

      Then we set the importance level as “High.”

      And we simply fill in the information in the preset template, send it and it’s done!

      7. Out of Office in Advance

      Now you can set your “Out of Office” messages in advance. Remember when you had to do this right before you left town? No more.

      Here’s how to set it up:

      Go to the “File” menu.

      Click ” Automatic Replies (Out of Office)

      Then set up your parameters.

      Click “Send Automatic Replies” and type in the start and end date, along with the message you want to send when you’re away.

      Check the box that says, “Only send during this time range”. Outlook will remember to send the Out of Office message beginning on the date and time you set and stop on the end date and time.

      You can also set Out of Office emails for those emailing you from inside or outside your organization. How easy is that?

      8. Search Your Email

      The search box is right above your emails.

      Say we want to find messages from Garret Vargas. All I have to do is type “Garret” and his messages came up.

      But as you can see, some other messages popped up here. They probably contain Garret’s name.

      Yes, you can see below that Garret’s name was in Katie Jordan’s message. Outlook search capabilities go that deep into your emails. Outlook will even look in attachments in your emails for what you’re searching for.

      You can also search the Current Mailbox or All Mailboxes.

      And, notice that when you’re in Search you have all kinds of options in the top Ribbon.

      9. Look for ? or press F1 for Help

      The ? is on the top right of your screen if you ever need help in Outlook or any Microsoft program.

      Or, simply click F1 and the Help prompt will appear.

      Microsoft Outlook has many other great features. Keep watching this space for more ways to get the most from Outlook and other Microsoft products.

      Published on 4th April 2018 by James Berger.


      Hiring an IT Company? Make Sure You Ask These 25 Essential Questions!

      By | IT Support, Productivity, Security, Strategy, Technology, Uncategorized

      Selecting a company to maintain your technology is one of the most important decisions you can make for your business. You must find the most competent and reliable IT support provider in your area.

      How do you know if the IT company you’re considering is right for your business?

      Some technology companies call themselves the best, but they haven’t kept up their certifications. This is important because the latest certifications validate the skills that their techs learned in their training. With all the cyber threats and new IT solutions today, it’s critical that your IT provider is up to date on their skills.

      Don’t just pick a company off the Internet because they’re the closest one to you. Do your research to find out if they are truly qualified to protect your data and meet your organization’s unique IT needs.

      VP-Small-Business1 - BacsitThe following are some key questions that you should ask any IT provider you’re considering for your business.

      • What are your staff’s qualifications and certifications?
        The right IT company should be able to provide you with information regarding the certifications held by their staff and relay how these will meet your needs.
      • How long have you been providing technology services? They should have a minimum of three years of experience in the service, support, and solutions you require.
      • What Partner Certifications and Technical Specialties do you hold? Ask, for example, if they are certified on Apple devices and Microsoft solutions. Also, ask if they can provide you the latest hardware and software products at the best price.
      • Do you require continuous training of your IT techs? This is the only way to ensure technicians have the most recent certifications.
      • What industries have you worked in?
        Find out if they’ve worked in industries similar to yours. If not, determine if the work they’ve performed for others aligns with your needs.
      • How well do you understand the business applications we use?
        Your business may have specially-built applications to handle needed workflows. Your IT provider should understand how your business technology works and be able to support it.
      • How large is your IT company?
        If they are a small company, you’re more likely to be high on their priority list. However, larger IT companies typically offer a broad knowledge base and capabilities. Plus, their available resources may be more expansive. You must weigh the benefits of each and decide which is best for your business.
      • What kind of customer service can we expect? Do they offer 24/7 service with a live person on the other end of your call, chat or email? Is their help desk staff qualified to address your issues immediately?  If they can’t resolve your problems over the phone or online, how long will it take for a tech to visit your business?
      • Is your onsite service response time backed by a written Service Level Agreement (SLA)? A certified, professional IT company will put what they offer in writing. They should offer managed services with service-level guarantees. What is their “on-time” guarantee? Their SLA should include this as well as information about how you’ll be compensated if they continually show up late, or if they don’t meet the standards detailed in the SLA.
      • What is and isn’t covered by your service contract?In addition to what they do provide, find out what they don’t.  Do they provide fixed-fee services? Are there extra costs, and if so, what are they? Avoid using IT companies that are only interested in fixing what breaks and selling you equipment.  You deserve an IT partner who will work diligently to give you and your employees an IT infrastructure that is secure, reliable, and enhances productivity.
      • Do you offer outsourced CIO Services? Having an Outsourced CIO means your technology will meet your business needs now and into the future. Their CIO should be able to:
      • Develop an understanding of your business and technology infrastructure.
      • Provide recommendations for IT solutions that will promote your success and grow with your business.
      • Construct a Strategic Plan that aligns with your budget.
      • Conduct ongoing evaluations and provide IT performance metrics on a monthly basis.
      • Will you monitor our IT system around the clock? This prevents downtime because they will detect problems early before anything fails.
      • What security services do you offer? How will you protect my interests?Cybercrime is on the rise, and your data must be safeguarded. They must provide up-to-date cybersecurity solutions to protect your computers and network from unauthorized access, malware, phishing, viruses and other forms of cybercrime.
      • Can you monitor our network for cyber intrusions and threats? With all the security incidents today, 24/7 security monitoring is essential.
      • Do you provide Mobile Device Management? When you or your employees use your laptops, tablets or smartphones for business outside of your workplace, they are vulnerable to theft and malware from public Wi-Fi and more. You need the assurance that your data can be remotely wiped from any device if necessary.
      • Do you perform Risk Analyses and Vulnerability Assessments? Your business may require this to stay compliant with government or industry regulations. Plus, this will detect any “holes” in your computer and network security that hackers can take advantage of.
      • Do you provide Backup and Recovery Solutions? You need both an onsite removable backup solution and an offsite one (in the Cloud) to ensure you will have access to your data if it’s stolen, corrupted, accidentally deleted, or damaged due to a flood, fire or another emergency.
      • What’s included in your Disaster Recovery Plan?
        This is extremely important. Be sure to ask about site visits and audits to estimate the recovery time and the impact of a potential failure. Do they have a reliable process in place? How often do they test the disaster recovery plan? Is their staff knowledgeable and ready to react under the worst possible conditions? Also, make sure they can regularly provide the results of disaster recovery tests.
      • Will you provide ongoing Security Awareness Training for our employees? Cybercriminals are constantly developing new techniques to trick your users into downloading malware or releasing confidential information and credentials. It’s critical to conduct recurring and updated security training to ensure your employees recognize these threats and know what to do to prevent exposing your data.
      • Will your IT professionals communicate with our staff in “plain English?” They should be able to relay information in a way you and your employees can comprehend.
      • How do you stay informed about evolving technologies? Do they attend industry events to update their skillsets?
      • Will you migrate us to the Cloud and help us understand how to use cloud solutions? Make sure your IT provider can help you and your employees understand the Cloud, it’s benefits and risks. They should be able to help you find the right cloud services for your unique business needs.
      • Can you offer us different types of cloud solutions? Do they provide:
        • A Public Cloud, so you can securely share space with other clients?
        • A Private Cloud that is dedicated only to your use?
        • A Hybrid Cloud which is a combination of a private and public cloud?
      • How much will cloud migration cost? Migrating your workflows and data to the cloud can provide many benefits, including cost savings, and increased productivity. However, you should ask how much cloud migration will cost, including associated expenses such as maintenance and support.
      • Do you have any case studies or testimonials from existing clients that I can read? Can I contact them? Would you hire a new employee without checking their references? Of course not. So, you should do so with your IT provider. Contact some of their existing clients to find out what you need to know.


      Published on 20th March 2018 by James Berger.

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      Get Into the Flow Of Things… Automate Tasks and Eliminate Workflow Waste!

      By | IT Support, Productivity, Security, Strategy, Technology, Uncategorized

      Cloud-based file storage is an amazing convenience, giving users the ability to access files from anywhere and share them with colleagues. When users have more than one cloud-based storage solution, needing the same files stored in each can be tedious and confusing – but not anymore!

      Technology is a wonderful thing; it’s given us electronic communications, shortening the life cycle of a project significantly. Shorter project timelines equate to increased project volume completion within the same time frame, thus generating more revenue. Technology has allowed for business processes to be automated, reducing costs and increasing productivity.

      The key to productivity is in the approach. Increasing productivity requires the output to be greater than the input, which is why automation is a must. Technology enables expedited business processes, therefore increasing productivity. Any time a process can be automated, the result is reduced cost for the business in questions. If not managed properly, from design to deployment, automation can have disastrous results. Avoiding this requires a thorough understanding of each step of the process involved, preventing anything from being overlooked.

      Business Process Automation is big business. Integrating applications to work seamlessly with each other can have a major impact on organizations, and often results in a dedicated and loyal customer base for a business that offers applications and platforms to meet these needs. In this regard, one of the biggest players in both the technology world and the BPA circle simultaneously is Microsoft. Microsoft can be — and wants to be — the manufacturer of the desktop or laptop computer your workforce is using, of the software application through which your professionals are communicating and documenting tasks, as well as the platforms in which these files are being stored. From their Surface product line to their Office 365 Suite to SharePoint, Microsoft is keen to deliver and provide for your every professional need.

      Now, Microsoft is taking this one step further with automated workflows in Flow. A workflow is a multi-step repetitive task, and Microsoft Flow is a workflow management tool that automates these workflows even across multiple applications and cloud-based connections for files and services. Microsoft’s goal with Flow is to simplify the lives of professionals, period. The fortunate byproduct of this goal — and of Flow itself — is for Microsoft to be in every aspect of users’ lives: cloud data storage, electronics, email, word processing, and reliance for every element of productivity.

      A popular user feature of Microsoft Flow is templates, of which there are many – and users can create workflow templates as well. Given the number of integrated applications is over 200, the relative number of workflows is seemingly countless.

      • If you don’t already know how to use a template in Microsoft Flow, take a “two-minute tutorial” and acquaint yourself with the straightforward process in their step-by-step guide.

      You’ll see immediately how you can establish a multi-step workflow, with these being some of the most-used templates in Microsoft Flow:

      • Get a push notification when you receive an email from your biggest customer
        • Perhaps your biggest customer demands immediate responses from you to remain happy. Happy customers stick around longer, spend more, and are much more likely to refer business to you based on their positive experience. Setting up a push notification for these emails could make you money!
      • Save all Outlook email attachments in OneDrive or to a SharePoint document library
        • Time is money! Never lose time hunting down a specific email from an undetermined date for an attachment again – set up a workflow that automatically saves all email attachments.
      • Save all tweets that include a specific hashtag to an Excel spreadsheet
        • Track your social media footprint with the metrics that matter!
      • Save Dropbox files to SharePoint files
      • Send an email survey and save all responses to an Excel file
        • Better yet – save all responses to a Google Spreadsheet that can be shared and each user’s changes documented
      • Copy your Outlook task list into a Trello board
      • And so many more!

      The Browse Templates page in Microsoft Flow is your new best friend. The most commonly-used workflows, some designed by Microsoft and others designed by people who think just like you, are shown in categories. Our favorite category is the Productivity tab – and we’re pretty sure yours will be, too. Microsoft Flow is a virtual assistant that only needs to be told what to do one time, and then never forgets!

      One of the more mundane features is the ability to add conditions to a workflow. Much like a “Rule” in Microsoft Outlook treats incoming email messages a certain way when specific conditions are met, Microsoft Flow applies prerequisites or conditions to repetitive tasks before enacting the workflow.

      • Conditions can include timetables, as well. You can establish a workflow to save all comments on an Instagram post after one day to an Excel file to track these metrics.

      We saved the best for last… Microsoft Flow has a mobile app! Users can download the app to their mobile device — phone or tablet — and access from anywhere. The mobile app not only allows the creation of an on-the-go workflow but also monitors workflow activity to see how often a workflow is applied or if it needs to be edited for improvement.

      Automation is a beautiful thing. Microsoft Flow offers a free tier for users with unlimited workflow creation and up to 750 runs per month, with a “run” being an application of a workflow and an automated check to see if a workflow can be applied, every 15 minutes. Paid plans offer a higher run volume with greater frequency at shorter intervals, and also connects with premium platforms including and Adobe Creative Cloud.

      • Do you use LiveChat on your website? You can establish a workflow to send you a push notification when a LiveChat message comes in, eliminating the need to sit at a machine and watch and wait for an indicator or alert.

      If you haven’t already reviewed the Service Toolbar to check out what applications can be integrated for workflows, what are you waiting for? Microsoft Flow is waiting to help you stay organized, manage your time more efficiently, and nearly eliminate downtime.

      Published on 6th March 2018 by James Berger.

      2222 - Bacsit

      Update on Multifactor Authentication Methods

      By | IT Support, Productivity, Security, Strategy, Technology, Uncategorized

      Each year seems to bring even bigger and more expensive data breaches. It’s become commonplace to hear that your favorite retailer was just breached and millions of records were lost to hackers somewhere on the other side of the world. In spite of our best efforts, cyber crimes are now the number one leading crime worldwide. Every organization is vulnerable on some level.
      Read More