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Why You Should Audit Your Network

Do you know what’s connected to your network? If not, you should! Auditing your network and creating an inventory of your IT assets catalogs all devices connected to your network including PCs, laptops, printers, routers and switches. In some cases, assets discovered may even be unauthorized. By scanning and discovering all connected devices, your IT team can quickly perform a hardware and software audit. This helps ensure compliance with network policy, software licensing compliance, and compliance with industry regulatory requirements, such as, HIPPA. What’s more, having asset data cataloged, including hardware and software profiles, helps remote support technicians troubleshoot when things go wrong. What can you do with network audit data? Check your firewall’s security settings to make sure you are protected from the latest hacker attacks, worms, and viruses. Scan and remove spyware that is secretly stealing your company’s bandwidth, jeopardizing the speed of your computer system, and embezzling confidential information about you, your employees, and your business. Check your network’s backup system to ensure it is working properly and accurately backing up all of the critical files and information you never want to lose. Verify that you have the most up-to-date security patches installed properly; miss one critical update and you’re a “sitting duck.” Identify unstable PCs that may operate slowly. Search for all items meeting a criteria in summary and detail. For example, to determine how many machines use windows 7 with 4 megs of RAM to see if they are eligible for an O/S migration. Determine which devices may be out of software license compliance. Summarize warranty information for which devices are covered and which...

Proactive IT for Small and Medium Businesses

Let’s face it, most businesses rely on their IT Systems to run their daily operations. Whether it is email, eCommerce, accounting or other “line of business” applications, SMBs need the same up time and availability as a large business. Most of the time everything hums right along. When PC’s crash or the network crawls, business can come to a grinding halt. Being proactive with your IT Services can make all the difference in the world in getting up and running again. Here are some tips to ensure you get back up and running quickly: Start off by having all your ducks in a row. When things go wrong, make sure you know who to call. Don’t wait until things are broken to find an IT Service Provider or Computer Repair Company. Establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with a reputable IT Service Provider in advance. By having an agreed upon response time and rate schedule, you can ensure a rapid response to your problem that works by your schedule. In many cases you can pay by the hour or by the ticket. You may even be able to include unforeseen computer repairs as part of a fixed fee IT Managed Service Agreement. By having a service level agreement in place, you will save time and money when things go wrong. Also consider having both local and off-site backups of your data. When we thing about backup we typically think about a disaster, theft or other systems failure. Any way you look at it, backup is all about recovery. A local backup can help you find lost files or recover...

The Importance of Maintaining Network Compliance

Last month’s blog provided information about ways to “Avoid Being Held Hostage by Ransomware.” Eight days later, on May 12, 2017, there was a global outbreak of the Wanna Cry Virus. With Cyber Threats on the rise, the importance of maintaining network compliance is top of mind with business owners and IT professionals alike. Industry compliance regulations, including PCI, HIPAA, and SOX, drive best practices in Network Compliance. However, most businesses today rely heavily on their systems to access Cloud Services, Voice, and Data Networks for mission-critical applications that run their business. What can you do to maintain network compliance? Automate Your Network Administration Keeping operating systems and network configurations up to date is a top priority for network compliance. Each device that connects to your network needs to have up-to-date operating system security patches, anti-virus definitions, and malware threat prevention in order avoid un- intended intrusion of your network. There are abundant tools and managed services to help your business stay up to date without adding to your internal labor cost. Proactively Monitor Your Network Monitor your network to identify any systems that are out of compliance. Proactive monitoring can also identify unauthorized devices connected to your network. You can monitor your network traffic to identify unusual use of network bandwidth. Aside from slowing down your systems, excessive bandwidth may be the result of a malware-infected device that is exploiting your network. Documenting Your Network Security Controls Achieving compliance with documented security procedures including password policy, systems maintenance, backup procedures, and compliance measures, is critical to following most industry compliance regulations. It is a  best practice to update...

Adopting an Integrated IT Strategy

Are you thrilled with your IT infrastructure? Chances are you do not want to think about it at all. In fact, the less you worry about your IT Infrastructure and assets the better – right? Small and medium businesses (SMBs) rely on hardware, software, email and data to run daily operations. The slightest hiccup can turn into a huge distraction resulting in loss of productivity for your employees and company. What can you do to take the worry out of your IT? One solution is to adopt an integrated IT strategy. Instead of managing a variety of tools for data protection, remote backup, anti-virus and anti-malware yourself, have your IT Service Provider manage your infrastructure for you. Do you really have time to ensure all your systems are up to date with operating systems (O/S) patches to protect you from the latest security threats? Remember, your network is only as secure as your most vulnerable device. If you miss a patch on one device, your entire network may be out of compliance and compromised. There are plenty of benefits from adopting an integrated approach to managing your IT assets. For starters, having a single source IT Service Provider means you have one organization to call when you have a problem. If you have service level agreement (SLA) in place, you will get a rapid resolution when you run into problems. What’s more, by using the latest remote monitoring and management technologies, your IT Service Provider will identify and resolve problems before you even realize you have them. By proactively managing and monitoring your IT Systems, you will run into...

What are Managed Services and Why Should I Care?

A managed services provider (MSP) takes on the responsibility for a company’s technology and infrastructure by proactively providing a defined set of IT services for a fixed monthly fee. This approach is preferred by businesses over the traditional Break/Fix services delivered on an hourly rate when needed. By emphasizing high availability and reliability, Managed Services align the MSP’s business model with a company’s business objectives. In contrast, the break/fix model addresses problems when they occur. According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global managed‐services market will grow to $193B by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.5%. Information Technology as a Service According to the fifth annual Trends in Managed Service published by CompTIA, “The central tenet to the MSP model is a provider-customer relationship based on a contract backed by a service level agreement.” This approach provides IT services similar to other utility models.  Many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) rely on remote monitoring and management technologies to deliver a range of core IT services in a scalable and proactive manner. This approach streamlines the process for proactively identifying and resolving issues with IT infrastructure.   What to Expect from an MSP CompTIA research indicates it is common for a managed service provider to include desktop and network management, applications management, and remote help desk in their service level agreements (SLA). Security (including firewall management), server management, storage, network monitoring, Business Continuity/DR, Backup as a service (Cloud Backup), Email, and Virtual desktop are often available as managed services. Benefits of Managed Services The managed service approach is favored by business for a variety of reasons. Managed services...