Is Your Tech Partner a Team Player?

Business is about relationships. One important relationship today is with a technology partner. This partner will consult on hardware, software, security, and other IT concerns. You can focus on other business priorities, but is your tech partner actually a good team player?

There are a lot of businesses that call themselves technology partners. The term can be broadly defined.

Technology vendors who sell specific hardware or software solutions will promise a partnership, but they will focus on a relationship that benefits their business goals.

For instance, they will generally try to steer you toward buying the products that they themselves make. Vendors will also bill your business for support when you need it. Yet that creates a conflict of interest: they profit from your inconvenience. That’s not the type of partner you want on your team.

A True Partnership with your MSP

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are another type of technology partner. They …

4 Common Compliance Issues You Might Be Missing

Information security is on every business’s radar these days. Data drives so much of what we do. Looking to contain the risks, many sectors have established IT compliance regulations. Whether meeting a standard or not, don’t overlook these common areas of concern.

Governments and regulatory agencies have established compliance standards for the financial, legal, healthcare, and energy sectors. Other organizations abide by best practices for data protection and improving system security. Whether mandated or not, the goals remain similar:

Improve security protocols.
Identify vulnerabilities.
Prevent breaches.
Reduce losses.
Increase access control.
Educate employees.
Maintain customer trust.

Shortcomings can mean compliance concerns, industry fines, customer churn, and brand reputation damage. Being proactive about these four common issues can benefit companies in any industry sector.

Common Issues that Thwart Compliance

Companies with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies save $350 annually per employee, according to CISCO, but cost savings aren’t the only reason organizations are …

5 Best Practices for Buying Technology for Employees

Buying technology for personal use can be exciting once you get past the price tag. Yet there are many factors to consider when investing in technology for employee use.

There are many digital tools available to improve the day-to-day way people do their jobs. Providing the right tech can increase productivity, streamline processes, and improve employee engagement. Yet determining which solutions are smartest for your team takes work.

Investing in a technology that doesn’t suit the needs of your staff can hurt your business:

Learning a new technology takes time away from other mission-critical tasks.
Employees resent the change when the tech further complicates their day.
Staff feel unheard and disrespected when asked to use digital tools that don’t help.
Disgruntled employees disengage, which hurts customer experience.
Employees look for an easier way to do their work and may change work environments as an answer.

Best practices for buying employee technology

Providing …

Are You Doing Your IT Due Diligence?

The words “due diligence” may make you think of a courtroom drama on television. Surely, that’s something only lawyers have to worry about? Not so fast. Due diligence is something your business can be doing, too. Are you covering the basics?

Due diligence is about taking care and being cautious in doing business. It extends to how you manage your technology, too. You may think you’re immune to a data breach or cyberattack, but cybercriminals can target you regardless of business size or industry sector.

Depending on your industry, you may even have compliance or regulatory laws to follow. Some insurance providers also expect a certain level of security standards from you. The costs associated with these cyber incidents are increasing, too. Don’t leave your business vulnerable.

What due diligence involves

Technological due diligence requires attention to several areas. Generally, you’ll need to show the following:

Each staff member has a unique login. …

Security Patches – The Better Way to Update

Updates often come at the worst moment. You go to shut down your laptop to rush to a meeting, and you get a “Windows is updating. Do not power off” message. Argh!

Or you leave your desktop to go to a meeting and come back to find your computer has restarted in your absence. Those unexpected bug fixes and performance improvements lost you all your unsaved work.

You know updates are important. They help patch security flaws. These are the vulnerabilities that hackers love to exploit. Updating helps you keep business documents and data safe. Software updates can also add new, useful features and remove outdated ones. Plus, keeping software and systems up to date is good cyber citizenship. Security patches protect from attacks that could also impact employees, customers, and partners.

Updating is a pain, but oh so important!

The WannaCry ransomware attacked hundreds of thousands of computers in more than …

The Dark Web and Its Impact on Your Business

Business owners today know the internet is not only a force for good. Some people exploit the Web for ill intent. They congregate on the Dark Web, and small businesses need to understand the risks.

What is the Dark Web?

You and your employees spend time daily on the Web. They’re researching clients, checking out competitors, and searching for information. They are not accessing the Dark Web. The Dark Web houses dangerous, often illegal activity. This includes black-market drug sales, illegal firearm sales, and illicit pornography.

The Dark Web’s collection of websites is inaccessible using standard search engines or browsers. Users employ a Tor or I2P encryption tool to hide their identity and activity, and they spoof IP addresses.

To go into the Dark Web, you also need to be using the Tor or I2P service. Plus, you’d need to know where to find the site you are looking for. There are Dark …

Making Technology Another Target for Continuous Improvement

Your business likely talks a lot about continuous improvement. It’s everyone’s goal, right? Yet “set it and forget it” is a common approach to handling business technology. Here’s why IT needs your ongoing attention too.

Your competition is increasing, and it can feel as if it is doing so exponentially. Why? There are lower barriers to entry in many businesses. The marketplace has gone global. Transaction costs are declining. Technological advances, automation, and AI are making processes more efficient and increasing productivity.

Your business can’t stand still. Don’t leave your IT sitting unattended either. Sure, the very term “continuous improvement” may have you twitching with discomfort. Not that buzzword again! Yet taking an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to IT could be hurting your business. Settling for “alright” or relying on “the way we’ve always done it” could leave you lagging behind competitors.

Your business may not have a …

To Backup or To Archive? ‘Tis The Question

Hamlet worried about whether to be or not. You may be more preoccupied with whether backup or archiving is better for your business. You know you need to secure your data, but how? This article examines the different benefits of both options.

Back in the day, businesses kept important information on paper. They stored important records and notes in nearby filing cabinets for easy access.

When there were too many files to close the cabinet drawers any longer, someone would do a big clean out. Older, important documents would get boxed for the basement or other storage area. They might still be needed for tax, or compliance, or other reasons. But you didn’t need those files readily accessible any longer.

A similar scenario is true of digital business data. You can back it up to recover from hardware failure, cyberattack, or disaster event. Or you might archive the data for space management …

5 Common Computer Myths Debunked

Common urban myths would have us believe alligators live in sewers or people put razor blades in kids’ candy. Common misconceptions about computers are just as persistent. Here are several IT myths debunked for your benefit.

#1 A slow-running computer has a virus

A virus can be to blame. Spyware or other malware can also cause a computer to slow down. However, there are also many other reasons your computer might run slower:

You may have a lot of programs that start up when you boot up the computer. You could remove or disable programs that start every time.
The computer has gone into power save mode every night, but you haven’t rebooted the computer in a long time.
There are many programs running in the background. On a Windows PC, you can go into task manager and see what is running and the computer resources in use.
A security …

Failure is Not an Option: Getting Rid of Single Points of Failure

You might think that your business is going to be OK even if a single device goes down. After all, there are other devices your employees can use. It’s not as if the entire system is going to fall like dominoes. Or is it? Get rid of single points of failure to make sure one vulnerability doesn’t take down your network.

A single point of failure (SPOF) can be a design, implementation, or configuration weakness. Without proper design considerations, unintentional SPOFs may be introduced into computing environments.

Yet, cybercriminals don’t need super powers to target IT fatal weaknesses. SPOFs for technology include:

Having only one server that runs an essential application. Without that server, your employees can’t use that particular business tool.

Solution: Plan for the worst with built-in server redundancy. Have multiples of any hardware that is business critical. Consider a standby backup server or migrate to the cloud so …