Why Is Cybercrime So Bad For Mid-Sized Businesses?

CIOs today are most concerned about data security and cybercrime. It’s no wonder. Mid-sized businesses are major targets for hackers. Plus, when a data breach occurs, their customers are often so angry that the take their business elsewhere. This can be the “kiss of death” for any company no matter the size.

Cybersecurity Small Business

CIOs today are most concerned about data security and cybercrime. It’s no wonder. Mid-sized businesses are major targets for hackers. Plus, when a data breach occurs, their customers are often so angry that the take their business elsewhere. This can be the “kiss of death” for any company no matter the size.

Your customers are concerned about the security of their data. No matter how good your service or products, if their confidential data is revealed due to your negligence they’ll just go to your competitors.

Are You Prepared For A Cyberattack?

Many mid-sized businesses aren’t. In fact, 31% don’t have a plan to respond to a cyberattack, and 22% lack the expertise to develop one. According to a report in Tech Republic, 71% percent of small and mid-sized businesses aren’t prepared for cybersecurity risks, even though 96% believe they are susceptible.

The report also found that nearly 2/3rds said they believe it would be more difficult to restore their company’s public image and to regain employee trust and morale if they were attacked.

If this surprises you it’s probably because you’re uninformed. It’s not your fault. The media tends to only cover attacks on large enterprises and government agencies. Attacks on mid-sized businesses like yours aren’t newsworthy (probably because there are so many).

Have You Made Plans For A Cyberattack That Disrupts Your Business?

What would you do if one happened right now? Downtime isn’t acceptable. Here are the consequences:

  • Idle Employees
  • Lost Productivity
  • Lost Revenue
  • Disgruntled Customers Who Go To Your Competitors

Cyberattacks Not Only Affect Your Customers But Your Relationship With Other Companies You Do Business With

What the media ignores is that attacks on mid-sized businesses present a conduit to larger ones. This is what experts believe happened to Target when they were attacked, leading to the exposure of 40 million accounts.

So, when considering your businesses cybersecurity, not only should you be concerned about losing your customers, but you could also be losing the good relationship you have with larger enterprises. This is the double-edged sword that kills so many mid-sized companies.

Have You Invested In IT Security As You Should?

What does all of this mean? You must be certain that you’re on top of your IT infrastructure’s security and be able to prove it, or you risk losing customers and contracts with business partners.

If you think investing in IT security is too expensive, the opposite is true. You can’t afford not to because the consequences of a data breach can be devastating to the future of your company.

CIOs of mid-sized firms must keep on top of all the IT security strategies available to them to protect their infrastructure. The CIOs of large enterprises know this and practice it daily. Are you?

For help setting up your IT Infrastructure Security and a Plan to respond to a cyberattack, contact the cybersecurity experts at ICS.

 

 

How Can Your Small Business Profit From Using Cloud Technology?

Are you wondering whether you should move your small business to the Cloud? If you aren’t, you should.

Small Business Cloud Technology

Small Business Cloud Technology

Are you wondering whether you should move your small business to the Cloud? If you aren’t, you should. The Cloud provides many benefits for the small business sector. It’s fast becoming the new normal because if used right, it can help to improve cash flow and cut operational costs.

Cloud technologies provide new opportunities to drive growth and success. Need convincing? Here are 10 ways that your small business can profit from using the Cloud.

1. Scale Your IT Infrastructure To Save Money

The Cloud allows for the deployment of services and solutions on an as-needed basis. This means that you can grow your IT infrastructure or recede it based on demand. This will enable you to shift workloads from overburdened areas to underutilized IT assets.

Cloud deployments offer flexibility that we never had in the past. They are inexpensive, efficient, and responsive to demand. You pay for the server load you need and nothing more.

Your cost for data management can be scaled for use. This provides an economical solution for small businesses that must watch every dollar. And, this level of agility offers you an advantage over competitors who don’t use cloud computing.

2. Never Lose Business During Peak Demand Times

E-commerce can make for unpredictable server loads. A spike in demand might overload traditional servers and limit your customers’ access to your services or products. A cloud-hosted infrastructure can automatically spins-up to meet the demand, so you never lose business or customers.

3. Keep Your Capital

With pay-as-you-go cloud-based services there’s no large capital outlay required. There’s no high cost for hardware. You pay for services with a subscription-based model, so there’s no out-of-pocket, upfront expense required. Include the ease-of-setup, and you’ve started saving money from the first step you take to adopt the Cloud.

4. Cut Your IT Labor Costs

In-house IT staff can be expensive to support. When you rely on cloud-based IT service and support you not only eliminate downtime but the expense of employing 24/7 resources to support your infrastructure. With cloud-based IT support, you share labor costs with others and can take advantage of economies of scale. You can’t do this on your own with in-house support.

5. Increase Employees’ Productivity

In 2018, small businesses everywhere are benefiting from collaborative work environments that cloud-based office platforms provide. Solutions like Microsoft Office 365 and G Suite from Google promote team-based projects where multiple users can work on projects and documents in real-time simultaneously.

No more emailing files back and forth will save time. And no more wondering, if versions are the most up-to-date, will save frustrations. If your employees are still emailing documents back and forth, moving to a cloud platform like Microsoft Office 365 can significantly improve their efficiency and productivity.

Plus, when you utilize cloud computing, all of your files are stored centrally where your authorized users have the access they need. Improved collaboration equates to better work and a healthier bottom line.

6. Telecommuting Cuts Costs

Small-business foundations are shifting. Many have realized that telecommuting provides many benefits over tradition in-the-office workspaces. With cloud technology workers can meet virtually with tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom where they can share their desktop and laptop screens with other meeting attendants wherever they are.

Web-based meetings save money in travel time and expense. Real-time communication promotes collaboration between groups and managers in disparate locations. Experts estimate that by 2020, almost three-fourths of the workforce will be working remotely for these reasons.

7. Cloud Backups Save You From Data Disasters That Can Cost You Your Business

Information security and business continuity after a disaster continue to be a significant concern for small businesses. Threats abound with ransomware infections, accidental data deletions and even natural disasters. A 2017 survey by the Better Business Bureau revealed that only 35 percent of businesses said that they could remain profitable for more than three months if they lost access to their critical data.

With cloud-based data storage, you can keep your business running if your onsite data is destroyed. A system that backs up your data to the Cloud in real time provides the security you need from data disasters. With the right managed backup system, your data will be recoverable whenever you need it.

8. No Time Wasted Worrying About Updating Software

When you use cloud computing, your servers are hosted off-premise and managed for you by your cloud provider. This includes security updates for the cloud-based software you use. All software is automatically updated – you and your staff won’t have to waste time worrying if everything is up-to-date, including security updates. This leaves you the time to focus on growing your business, and your employees on their tasks at hand.

9. You Can Grow Your Small Business With Big Data

Today, small businesses are beginning to utilize big data. This is because now with cloud computing they have the processing power they need to manage and use large quantities of data.

This also provides the capability to analyze in-depth customer information to make better decisions. Plus, you can provide your clients with the relevant information they need in a timely fashion and adjust the services you offer in real time. Open-source platforms facilitate cloud-based computing to handle the “heavy lifting.”

10. Benefit From Increased IT Security That Saves You In Lost Data

What happens if an employee loses a laptop with your clients’ confidential information? With cloud computing, the data on this laptop could be wiped clean. You’ll have greater security because your IT provider can implement solutions like mobile device management, intrusion protection and remote management and monitoring that will protect your data from getting into the hands of criminals. Plus, if your data is lost on a computer, you still have access to it in the Cloud.

The team at ICS can ensure you use the right cloud solutions for your small business. We’ll help you use the Cloud to save money and direct your energies and capital to boost profits and growth.

Jason Simons
Vice President
Innovative Communication Systems
sales@ics-com.net
1-866-427-4722
www.ics-com.net

Move Up To The Big Leagues

Cloud Computing

Compete With The Major Players Using Cloud Computing

One thing that has changed in the last few years is technology. Today’s technology-driven world expects the best and fastest internet, computers, networks and servers. In the past, it was impossible for a small business to afford most of it.

The cloud has changed all that. Nowadays, the smallest companies can afford cloud technology and once they have it, they can compete with much larger businesses.

You don’t need millions of dollars to build physical retail locations anymore. All those old barriers to market entry disappear when you have the cloud. But there are other breakthroughs for today’s small businesses as well.

In the old days, you’d have to spend thousands of dollars creating a top-notch IT infrastructure in order to compete with larger companies. You’d have to hire experienced IT people, purchase expensive software licenses. The cost of servers, computers, software and labor was just too much for a new start-up.

All those high costs made having an enterprise-grade IT infrastructure out of reach for most small firms. However, these days small firms can join in and benefit from the massive combined IT infrastructure available in the cloud.

There are so many ways that the cloud enables small firms to compete on a level playing field.

For one thing, no matter how little you think you’ll use technology, there are too many processes that rely on it to get business done each day. That means large capital expenses. If a system fails, you’ll quickly realize how much you use technology in day-to-day operations. If your systems are down for even one day, you can lose thousands of dollars. So what’s the answer? Mirrored servers and other redundant hardware.

The second thing is that small businesses experience cyclical sales peaks. During certain seasons, you’ll need all hands on deck. At other times, you may benefit by cutting back on your use of technology. Scaling up and down used to be expensive, but the cloud makes it easy.

Third, there’s the cost of labor. The average salary for an IT specialist is around $60,000 per year. You may need several IT people even in a smaller company. And they don’t work around the clock. What if you run second and third shifts and need IT support at midnight? That will be expensive. In short, the traditional IT model doesn’t work well for a small firm.

But all those obstacles are a thing of the past. Today, even a small start-up can compete by having a redundant IT infrastructure, 24/7 support, easy upgrades, the ability to scale up or down when necessary and so much more.

With cloud technology and managed IT support, you can forget about barriers and obstacles. The monthly costs are predictable and budget-friendly.

Isn’t it time to explore all the options that cloud technology offer? Are you ready to become a major player in your industry?

Move Up To The Big Leagues with Cloud Computing

CONTACT DETAILS

Jason Simons, Vice President | ICS- IT, Voice, Video Email: sales@ics-com.net or Phone: 1-866-427-4722

Confident In Your Firms’ Current IT Security Infrastructure?

There is no understating the important role IT security measures play in a modern law firm.

A lot rides on your security measures, which means a little due diligence goes a very long way.

Law Firm Computer Users

There is no understating the important role IT security measures play in a modern law firm. With so much of what you and your team do relying on your technology, keeping your network, data, and devices secure is crucial. The risk of data theft is high, and the consequences of a data breach are costly and far-reaching. It’s a scenario firms will do anything to avoid.

However, what many legal professionals don’t realize is that there is more to be concerned about than just external threats.

When was the last time someone took a thorough look at your IT security infrastructure? Simply checking in periodically to make sure that your security software is up to date and functioning isn’t enough. Effective IT security is made up of layers of protection, and with so much of your daily work being done on the go, that protection needs to extend outside of your office walls. Add to that the need to meet compliance regulations, and you’ve got a system that you cannot afford to have let you down.

Why Turn To Outside Help?

Think of it like this – no matter the case, you would never suggest that someone represent themselves in court. No matter how confident they are or how much they know about the charges they’re facing, allowing them to take the lead is a huge risk. They’re not a lawyer, and there are things that they simply don’t know about how the legal system works. The stakes are too high to not turn to a professional to make sure the case is handled correctly.

By that logic, of course it makes sense to have experienced and knowledgeable IT professionals take a look at your IT security infrastructure and take the lead on maintaining it. These pros know what you’re up against, and they know how to make sure that you have everything you need in place to avoid the infections and intrusions that lead to downtime, lost productivity, lost billable hours, and costly data loss.

Need A Second Opinion?

Many law firms have already made the decision to partner with an IT provider to have their technology needs taken care of. But not all of these providers have experience working within the legal field. A tax lawyer would be out of their depth in family court, despite both having similar education and certifications. He or she could still potentially win the case, but it would be nerve-wracking for everyone involved.

Nothing about your technology should ever be nerve-wracking.

ICS provides complimentary IT Security Assessments to area law firms in order to identify and potential vulnerabilities and confirm that your infrastructure is stable and secure. We’re happy to offer this service with no strings attached – all we want is to make sure that your firm is adequately protected against the growing number of cyber threats targeting law firms like yours. Simply contact us to schedule your free assessment.

Outsourcing Isn’t A Dirty Word

Businesses today have so many mundane tasks that must be completed by their in-house IT staff. They stay busy trying to keep your technology running smoothly.

Why Not Let Managed Services Prevent Your Staff From Feeling Overwhelmed?

IT Outsourcing In San Antonio

Businesses today have so many mundane tasks that must be completed by their in-house IT staff. They stay busy trying to keep your technology running smoothly. If a special project comes up, they can easily get overwhelmed. Why not free up your in-house IT support so they can focus on bigger issues? It’s possible with managed services.

According to the research group Gartner, over 65% of IT budgets go towards tasks that do nothing more than keep the lights on. You’re investing money that isn’t improving operations and efficiency or enhancing security.

Regular system maintenance tasks can be performed by the MSP, while in-house IT can focus on processes that will drive down costs or increase revenue. Your IT department will benefit from many other managed services like:

  • Disaster recovery/business continuity solutions
  • Security audits/updates
  • Remote monitoring
  • End user help desk
  • Proactive management
  • 24/7 network operations center

With these services, your in-house staff can get to work on more meaningful jobs that will create value for your company. You can remove the burden of those daily routine chores that never seem to end. Plus, you’ll have access to a professional MSP ticketing and monitoring system, so when system issues come up, you can count on getting the help you need in a timely manner.

Your business will greatly benefit from having a 24/7 Network Operations Center that identifies and addresses system issues before they become business disrupting problems. When you have those daily problems like malfunctioning computers, this can be handled by the MSP’s help desk.

Focus On Your Priorities

When you work with a managed services company, your in-house team can count on getting help with projects that seem overwhelming. Your MSP partner can perform a network assessment or evaluate the overall performance of your current IT infrastructure. It’s so helpful to get an unbiased professional opinion on the health of your IT network.

Your managed service provider might recommend products and services that could greatly benefit your business operations. Evaluations like this help your internal IT people determine what system oversight and future planning they should be doing.

Fewer IT problems can greatly enhance your overall production. Your staff can get more done each day without the frustrations that come with irritating system failures at inopportune moments.

Reducing Human Error

A high percentage of expensive security breaches are the result of human error. This is often because IT employees are stretched too thin and overlook vital security measures, such as applying tested security patches or updating anti-virus software programs.

Working with a MSP will eliminate much of the work overload that often leads to system or security vulnerabilities. Systems can be backed up in the cloud for an immediate system restore if needed. Many of the issues that become costly business interruptions, such as downtime-inducing hardware, software, and application failures are completely preventable if they are detected early and addressed promptly.

Bottom Line

Smaller firms have a few hard-working IT employees who deal with way too many responsibilities. And the majority of their duties are mundane and routine. Why not free up these employees so they can find new ways to increase efficiency, drive business revenues and innovate? Your IT staff deserves a break and they can become a much more valuable resource when they don’t have to put out so many daily fires.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are being used by businesses everywhere to cost-effectively manage, service, and support their IT processes. They’re a great alternative to hiring additional in-house staff.

Today’s smart business owners use this hybrid approach to IT that gives them the best of both worlds. Your in-house IT staff can work hand-in-hand with a managed services company to help your business achieve a greater return on your investment. And, your people won’t feel overwhelmed anymore about their daily responsibilities. They’ll have the support they need to do a better job.

Is Your 2019 Business Technology Plan Completed?

The new year is already upon us, but it is not too late to put together a solid, sensible information technology plan for 2019. Strategic planning in all areas of operation—including technology—helps organizations budget for and efficiently manage day-to-day requirements while investing in long-term projects and solutions.

As your business evolves, so will it’s IT requirements. Likewise, as technology advances, your company will also have to adapt to stay viable and competitive. For 2019, your top concerns regarding technology likely will include:

  • Upgrading software
  • Making data and systems more secure
  • Preparing for structural changes
  • Responding to threats and emergencies
  • Supporting business growth—locally, nationally, and/or globally

A vigorous technology plan should address these concerns, as well as those unique to your business and industry, and provide a framework to guide IT-related decision-making, prioritization, and task-implementation. If you have not yet started, here are a few ideas for how you can start putting together a robust technology plan to support the success of your company in 2019.

What should a technology plan account for?

Anticipated changes within your company may impact what items are necessary for your strategic technology plan to address for 2019 and the years beyond. Having a clear picture of where your company or organization is headed will help make it easier for you and other members of the IT team to determine which new technologies and upgrades are necessary and/or preferable for your specific business strategy. For instance, you should consider whether your organization plans to add or eliminate a notable number of employees within the fiscal year. Another question to address: Are you are planning to acquire any additional companies or provide new products or services? All these considerations will factor into your technology requirements. As you determine which new software, hardware or other IT solutions you may need in 2019, make sure they will integrate well with your existing IT environment.

Additionally, your technology plan should include arrangements for support services, including installation, maintenance, upgrading, and troubleshooting. Most business operations for companies across a range of industries are severely limited when technical issues arise, making it vital for you to preempt possible IT disruptions and have a plan for dealing with them.

How can companies deal with IT security threats?

It is common knowledge that cyber-security threats are continually evolving, along with the IT defenses needed to prevent and mitigate the risk. According to the Information Security Forum, an independent research organization, companies should stay well-informed about emerging technologies and corresponding threats to position themselves to make the best business decisions.

Information Security Forum’s Threat Horizon for 2019 reports on nine major threats that companies should expect to face in earnest over the coming year or two.

The first category of threats pertains to disruption from an over-reliance on fragile connectivity. The cyber-security threats in this category include:

  • Premeditated Internet outages
  • Hijacking from ransomware
  • Privileged insiders aiding in cyber-attacks

The second category covered by the Information Security Forum’s report deal with distortion, which occurs when trust in the integrity of information is lost. The risks in this category include:

  • Automated misinformation gaining undue credibility
  • Falsified information compromising performance
  • Subverted blockchains

In the third and final category are threats that have to do with deterioration, or controls eroding because of regulations and technology. These threats include:

  • Surveillance laws exposing corporate secrets
  • Privacy regulations impeding how organizations monitor insider threats
  • Overly enthusiastic deployment of AI (artificial intelligence) leading to unexpected outcomes

The proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices being used in professional environments only increases the amount and varies the types of cyber-security risks that companies face. As a business of any size, your goal should be to protect your systems and networks from data loss or malicious attacks, both internal and external.

Should you invest in Cloud technology?

Compelled by factors such as profitability, efficiency, and gaining a competitive advantage, about 71 percent of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) intend to increase their investment in cloud-based technologies in 2019, according to survey data from Bill.com, a company that creates digital business payment solutions. The three primary areas for anticipated investment, according to respondents, include marketing software, sales software, and payments software. Cloud computing allows for streamlined operations, connected through a sort of virtual office accessible to employees and clients. While it comes with some risks, especially about privacy and security, cloud technology is definitely trending for the capabilities it provides, such as flexibility, potentially lower IT costs, collaboration efficiency, access to automatic updates, and business continuity.

Bill.com’s Chief Marketing Officer Yael Zheng reportedly stated, “These businesses are now developing a clear understanding of how technology can help them streamline processes and ultimately power business growth, which I anticipate will lead to even more investment in the future.”

As you put together and implement a technology plan for 2019, consider whether further embracing and investing in cloud-based technologies can help propel the growth of your business.

What changes are coming to Windows?

Beware: Jan. 14, 2020, is an essential date for Microsoft users for a couple of reasons. At that time, Microsoft will end support for Windows 7 software systems, as well as Windows Server 2008 and 2008 RS. If you have not already formulated a plan to upgrade to Windows 10 systems and new server technologies, 2019 is your opportunity to do so. Microsoft’s options for new server systems include upgrading to Windows Server 2016 or migrating your company’s workloads to Azure. Replacing outdated software and server systems is critical to protecting your infrastructure, applications and information. Even as early as April, your outdated Microsoft system may not receive critical security fixes, as new systems are moving over the to the more secure SHA-2 algorithm in the future. Keep in mind this transition may take some time, making it imperative to start the process sooner rather than later.

2019 Technology Plan

Is technology planning an easy goal to accomplish?

As the year progresses, you may have to work with IT consultants and other department heads within your company to update or tweak your technology plan to address unexpected costs and events or to take advantage of current opportunities in the marketplace. Once you start a project outlined in your plan, you may also have to adjust cost estimates or deadlines to have a more realistic framework to guide progress. Just because adjustments might need to be made down the road, however, that does not negate the prudence and benefits of engaging in a formal strategic planning process at the start of the year. Doing so can help you optimize IT spending and proactively invest for the future, creating a culture of continuous improvement rather than merely trying to stay on top of day-to-day technology needs.

From the get-go, and along the way, your organization should take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of IT consultants and advisors who are more well-versed on current market trends, innovative technologies, and emerging cyber-security threats.

Using IT Companies in San Antonio: Leveraging Cloud Data Services

IT companies in San AntonioIT companies in San Antonio offer many different ways to store and access your data. This information is critical for you and your staff to make smart decisions and stay profitable. It needs to be readily available, quick to access, and secure. The right data storage solution for your company is scalable and cost effective as well. Finding the right solution seems overwhelming, yet a competent IT service provider can help you find the best data storage system for your business. Continue reading “Using IT Companies in San Antonio: Leveraging Cloud Data Services”

IT Companies in San Antonio Can Increase Your Profitability

IT companies in San AntonioIf you are like many small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), you work on the break/fix model of IT management. You wait for something to break, and then you get someone to fix it. And that wait can go on for quite a while if it is major or your external IT guy is working on something else for another client of his. The break/fix IT model makes you experience unnecessary downtime, lost productivity, and unneeded stress. Hiring one of the many IT companies in San Antonio to manage your IT needs will take out of the break/fix IT model and into the proactive/”fix-it-before-it-breaks model”— and that will increase your profitability. Here’s how: Continue reading “IT Companies in San Antonio Can Increase Your Profitability”

Understanding Hybrid Cloud Solutions from IT Companies in San Antonio

IT companies in San AntonioThere are multiple types of cloud solutions that you can choose from IT companies in San Antonio for your business. In general, cloud computing presents numerous advantages over the traditional alternative. For example, the former choice allows you to reduce IT expenses by eliminating the need to purchase extensive hardware infrastructure. One of the most beneficial cloud computing solutions to consider for your enterprise is the hybrid cloud. This option is ideal because it promotes both privacy and low expenses for commercial computing. Continue reading “Understanding Hybrid Cloud Solutions from IT Companies in San Antonio”

You Need Proactive Managed Services from IT Companies in San Antonio

IT companies in San AntonioOwning a small or medium-sized business (SMB) is a challenge. You need to manage costs while simultaneously delivering great customer service, acquiring new customers, retaining old ones, keeping current with your industry, and meeting government regulations. The thing is technology can give your business the edge it needs to stay ahead, and to make leveraging your technology easier, IT companies in San Antonio recommend using managed services. Continue reading “You Need Proactive Managed Services from IT Companies in San Antonio”