A lot of people didn’t take the novel Coronavirus seriously when it was first discovered outside of China in late February. Now four months later, as the pandemic rages on, people continue to work from home, have their hours cut, or be completely out of a job. For the business owner, this period has been filled with difficult decisions, including halting all major IT projects. If your business is looking for a solution to help them add the technology they need at a price that works for this period, here are three useful options.
#1 - Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)
Your data is your business’ lifeblood. Keeping it protected has to be a priority. There is no more proficient system to protect your data from loss than the BDR. The BDR features a network-attached device that you can configure to copy changes in data as frequently as every 15 minutes. This guarantees that your organization won’t lose a great deal of work. Once a backup is taken the data is uploaded to an offsite storage facility. This ensures that if something happens to your physical workspace, that your data is protected in the cloud.
#2 - Virtualized Environments
For years now, if your business had to purchase a new server, it would be something that you would have to plan for. Centralized hardware, software, and configuration can cost a company a lot of money. Instead of spending five and six figures on IT that you are going to underutilize, try taking advantage of virtualization to save a lot of time, effort, and most importantly, money. With virtualization, you can digitize and transfer several servers onto one piece of hardware, and using virtual machines, run those systems just as they would if you had several servers running. In doing so, you spend less on hardware, and get the same amount of reliable computing constructs necessary to effectively run your business. Additionally, now that this technology can now be purchased in the cloud (usually by the gigabyte) your company can further scale back the required upfront capital outlay.
#3 - Voice over Internet Protocol
Businesses rely on their communications systems. Today, there are options outside of the pricey platforms available through your regional telephone company. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) uses your existing bandwidth to run an enterprise-grade phone system that has dozens of features, for a fraction of the cost. These features, which include video and voice conferencing, instant messaging, and soft phone capabilities, can help any business stretch their IT budget. VoIP solutions are incredibly secure. With built-in encryption your business’ communications won’t be intercepted.
In stressful times, technology is often the best answer. If you would like to talk to one of our IT technicians today about getting the technology your business needs to get through this stressful period, call us at (732) 360-2999.
As so many businesses have had to close their doors recently, remote work has become a very popular option. Unfortunately, this sudden shift has not been without negative side-effects. One such byproduct of this shift has been a serious overworking problem. This is a big problem, and one that you need to address if it has presented itself in your operations.
Let’s start by reviewing a few trends that have become apparent with so many adopting a remote work strategy.
Today’s remote-friendly solutions enable workers to meet similar levels of productivity, whereas the solutions of the past once had a much more limited capability.
Suddenly transitioning from the professional environment to a work-from-home one has created serious issues in many newly remote workers, as feelings of isolation and lost control have settled in and taken root.
On top of this, remote work can also remove much of the separation between the professional work environment and an employee’s personal life, primarily because there is literally no space between the two. This is exacerbated by the pressure many remote employees feel to perform above and beyond.
Productivity and security can potentially come at odds with each other, as security protocols interfere with productivity.
As these trends all come to a head, remote work burnout is a considerable and predictable outcome. Combining current events with the day-in and day-out routine can create some significant stress. This leads to a tendency to overwork, a detriment for your team.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce these negative impacts.
Resist the Temptation to Overschedule
Employers will naturally want their employees to accomplish as much as possible during their time, but a remote worker is no more capable at home than they would be in the office. Just because you put more on their schedules, doesn’t mean that they can work any faster.
To make this stressful time less stressful, some businesses are specifically scheduling time for their employees to relax and decompress. However, these efforts aren’t very effective, as the scheduled breaks are commonly triple booked with other activities. Instead, micromanage less, and communicate more.
Set the Pace
Speaking of communicating more, you need to check in with your team members and make their jobs as simple as possible. Cut back on frivolous meetings and other obligations so that they can focus on their productivity.
There is still no sign of how long remote work will be the only option for many, so any business that wants to survive will need to implement the solutions to support it.
Over the past few years, VoIP has become an extremely popular solution for small businesses. In fact, 30 percent of today’s businesses use some sort of VoIP platform. There are many reasons why businesses are making the switch to VoIP. Today, we’ll explain a few.
VoIP Saves Money
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is the first real viable alternative to the telephone company’s monopoly over business telephone systems. By switching to VoIP, you eliminate the relationship you have with the traditional telephone company and use bandwidth to place and receive calls. By using a service that your business already relies on, you save on a lot of costs.
VoIP offers many different ways to gain value. Not only does it eliminate the large expense a business would see, it also offers businesses a lot of different options. Businesses that use video and voice conferencing options afforded them by their VoIP provider pay an average of 30 percent less than they would without VoIP.
Business can also gain value by using the soft phone feature. VoIP providers have dedicated smartphone apps that work on all Android and iOS-fueled devices. This gives a business the added mobility that they seek, without the huge hardware costs that are associated with buying mobile devices for your staff.
If your business does business internationally, communications costs can really be a major problem. Finding a communications system that provides affordable international calling is important. VoIP providers have a competitive model for keeping international communication costs down. With VoIP, you can cut down on your communications spend while retaining the reliability and feature-rich system that you use domestically.
If you are looking to improve your business’ communications, while also saving some pretty serious coin in the process, look no further than VoIP from Net It On.
When it comes to your business, especially its technology, some of the buzzwords you hear floating around can be pretty convincing, almost intoxicating. Unfortunately, like most buzzwords, many of these are aggrandized beyond their worth to the average small-to-medium-sized business. Let’s take a look at how this can impact a business’ perception of its cybersecurity, as well as dig into the reality behind these terms.
To begin, let’s examine a phrase coined in the early 2000s by cybersecurity technologist Bruce Schneier: “security theater.”
What is “Security Theater?”
Security theater is a simple shorthand for any security efforts put in place that do little to better ensure one’s security, despite making one much more comfortable, generally for some considerable cost. The idea behind it is that security exists as both a reality based in math and science, and as a perception that is based in emotion.
In a 2007 blog article, Schneier cited a personal anecdote where a friend’s newborn was fitted with an RFID tag to help prevent infant abduction during their stay in the maternity ward. However, the rates of infant abduction were astoundingly low at that point. In his blog post, Schneier posits that these bracelets were a form of security theater, meant more to placate the parents when their bundle of joy was out of sight than it was to help prevent the rare case of infant abduction.
While security theater may have perceived benefits, Schneier says, the true concerns come with the costs that are associated with it.
Let’s return to his example of the tracking tags on newborns. With such a low rate of infant abduction, there was realistically little-to-no practical risk of someone’s child being abducted from the hospital. However, as the low-cost RFID bracelets allowed parents to breathe a little easier when their baby wasn’t in the room with them, hospitals found this investment to be worthwhile. Another example that Schneier gives is the introduction of tamper-resistant packaging on over-the-counter drugs in the 1980s. With poisonings getting some significant coverage by the press in this era, the idea that medications would be tampered with was relieved.
It didn’t matter that the statistical likelihood of a drug being altered was negligible, or even that the tamper-resistant packaging wasn’t all that effective anyways. The theater of the tamper-resistant packaging that companies would use helped align the perceived threat with the practical odds.
However, there is a point at which security theater can become detrimental: when the investment (real or perceived) into your security is generating negative returns—or in other words, when your security measures are actually making you less secure. One glaring example from recent years is the 2013 hack into Target, where numerous security teams dropped the ball as numerous failsafe notifications and procedures were ignored. Let’s go into how you might be “overacting,” so to speak, when it comes to some of the security theater you have in your office.
Excessive Password Updates
Forcing your employees to update their passwords each month has long been established as a counterproductive security measure, as this will only encourage them to adopt other behaviors that will directly undermine your resiliency. Perhaps these passwords will become embarrassingly predictable, or your users will resort to writing them down somewhere to keep track of them all. Instead, use other methods of reinforcing your business security, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) or single sign-on solutions, paired with a more moderate password policy.
That said, we’re not advocating never changing passwords, but the bad habits it causes are much worse than what mandatory password changes do for the greater good.
A never-ending barrage of security notifications can have a few negative repercussions on your users. Naturally, their workflows will suffer from consistent interruptions, but there is also the fact that these notifications will eventually be tuned out. As a result, if a real issue does eventually present itself, it is more likely to be ignored. An MSP’s services can help to separate the wheat from the chaff, preventing your users from encountering interruption in most cases.
Lacking User Awareness
Think back for a second: when you last had a cybersecurity training session for your users, what was the general format? Was it primarily a lecture, or were your employees involved and engaged in the process? When was your last training initiative? Many companies figure that these seminar-style sessions serve their purpose, but the more effective means of instilling good cybersecurity training is through shorter, more frequent, and (most importantly) more interactive efforts.
Net It On has the tools and resources that can help you to better ensure your security efforts are contributing to your practical security. To find out more about the solutions that we can assist you with, reach out to our team by calling (732) 360-2999 today.