Although it’s never recommended, some local businesses have taken their chances at managing and manipulating Office 365 configurations. With so much knowledge needed before making any moves, most of the time we only hear the horror stories from how things went from bad to worse. When it comes down to Office 365 management for your business, you need someone with a proven track record of knowing how to monitor, manage and grow your Office 365 tenant effective, this includes not OVER sizing/charging.
If you’re serious about managing more seats and growing your business, the time spent can quickly add up. Luckily for you, with a time-tested procedure, your business can take the pain out of managing mutilate Office 365 tenants or sites. I would not advise anyone, without expert knowledge of these products to tinker with the settings, so our team has pulled together a list of the 12 tricks to you succeeding in managing Office 365. Read more
http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/vm-server-room_Final.png8532048adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22019-09-17 23:33:022019-09-20 19:28:14The 12 Tricks to You Succeeding in Managing Office 365
One of the focuses of the Windows 10 operating system was its improved security overall. While it does still dwarf it’s older versions in comparison; one aspect even your Operating System can’t fix by itself is – user behavior.
That’s right, your operating system, can only assist, guide, or require you to change your password, never focusing on its complexity. Microsoft has long stood-by their policies, that passwords should expire after so many days, to prevent compromised credentials. Having done numerous studies, when push comes to shove in most cases employees are forced to change passwords, they make a small alteration to the existing password and hit save. For many, this includes symbols and numbers tagged to the beginning or end of our credentials, to fulfill this task, before beginning our work.
In Microsoft’s latest release Feature Update #1809, they’ve updated password policies in the operating system’s including many changes to native application’s security baseline, making ALL passwords expire by force. Although this doesn’t impact password length, history, or complexity we’re moving towards much more secure environments. As many of these vulnerabilities, 77 in total related to business-line products used in our everyday working life. These won’t be the only changes, those utilizing the following Microsoft Solutions will receive security updates for two zero-day events: Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Office, Azure DevOps, .NET Framework, Azure, SQL Server, ASP.NET, Visual Studio, and Microsoft Exchange Server.
Business’ and their employees should always focus on having a security-focused mindset, whether from Security Awareness Training, or just knowing what role passwords play in an attack. To sufficiently secure your data, organizations seek updated security tools to address their concerns and look towards in-house experts and close working relationships to build the latest guidance for securing employees and business data.
Built to battle simple passwords, sticking with default passwords, makes it much less frustrating to hackers. By stopping employees who are using passwords like “123456” and “1Password!!” your organization can block the use of these commonly stolen credentials, making it more secure for the employees.
Known by many as “MFA,” it’s grown common practice for most industries to require every employee within the organization to utilize more than one path for authentication. This company stance should be leveraged across your entire business, even if they ONLY have access to email.
By employing the use of these alternative controls, businesses can begin leveraging employees as their first line-of-defense. Begin to offset the potential for increased security vulnerabilities and risks, commonly seen today, educating your employees on proper password hygiene, length, and complexity, your business can easily meet the security needs of your customers and your employees.
According to Flipboard, hackers were able to tap directly into the databases where the app-company housed customer information. The information stolen, including customer names, user names, hashed passwords, emails, and digital tokens or API tokens for your favorite social media apps. Although Flipboard does not know how many accounts hackers infiltrated, nor have they fully-assessed the damage, one thing is for sure: It’s time for many companies to begin reading between the lines. While data that was stolen is serious, it’s the number of time hackers were able to go undetected that is cause for concern. Companies need to focus on Endpoint Protection. Read more
http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/CCS_FlipboardLG.jpg6311121adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22019-06-04 00:04:432019-06-11 18:22:32Read Between the Lines: What Your Business Could Learn from Flipboard's Recent Data-Breach
http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.png00adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22019-04-29 21:38:152019-04-30 17:27:31Begin Making Your Plans to Migrate, as Windows 7 End -Of-Life Is Coming January 14th, 2020
For many CIOs and COOs, the process of technology continues to be a top priority for many come 2019. As a major headache, businesses are increasing their cloud investments to move forward with digital transformation efforts were then faced with the massive undertaking of getting multiple resources connected for a seamless user experience.
Many of the local SMBs have found a lack of competency in many smaller providers, with stitching together applications and services to make up your current IT environments. It’s these environments that will increasingly become more-hybrid. With a large mix of on-premises equipment dispersed across various sites, public and private continue to muddy the waters.
As part of the many businesses moving towards a digital transformation, IoT (Internet of Things) has entered further cluttering device options and platforms that can begin to optimize your operations. As many begin with 2019 initiatives, that will further bring-on greater levels of complexity. As a result, many local business owners have identified this gap and began to address this in their technology plans.
As many CEOs begin cracking down according to the latest “State of the CIO 2018” report, IDGs. This continues to add pressure on the organization. As one of the most experienced MSPs in the SF Bay Area, we continued to rapidly innovate, enhance your speed-to-market and greater your customers experience with your business.
By assessing your existing investments in equipment and resources to better determine what new investments need to be made, when achieving technology goals. The digital transformation many businesses are undergoing isn’t exclusively about new technology, but instead, deciphering what makes sense to retain and what needs to be integrated for legacy applications and services, it’s more of a comprehensive assessment.
With all this in mind, we offer CIO’s and COO’s a range of services to further assist in the development of these transformative plans. In our experience, these three components continue to best assist companies in their digital future.
Assessments & Planning – As you begin launching digital initiatives the need to measure twice, cut once an be a great undertaking for several businesses. Involving a review of current architecture, and bandwidth demands of these assets require greater discovery and review to determine a solution that’s right for your business.
Execution – Once planning and alignment are finished, technology providers assist in multiple ways to execute this vision. It takes an IT Expert to match workloads to platforms with optimization in mind, followed by the task of creating a truly digital ecosystem where your business network can be secured and managed successfully by a business that’s done it for over 30 years.
Follow Through – With experience gained through time, we continue to see clients with a lack of talent and expertise in these fields. To fully integrate technology, it requires businesses to either hire someone full-time or outsource to an MSP. As your business continues to propel further towards a more connected network, how does a business keep all of this secure, and up-to-date?
adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22018-11-29 12:59:522018-11-29 12:59:52Empowering Executives with Integrations for the Technology You Love
Many of our clients, rely on this tax incentive each year, to provide them with the ability to purchase or update the technology that runs their business. Utilized by many for licensing, software packages, servers, routers, and switches, many of our clients have leveraged Section 179 as an invaluable asset for the innovation and management of their network infrastructure
Below is an overview of the section 179 tax-incentive for 2018 include deduction limits, and bonus depreciation. Originally used by innovators and investors to further the(their) businesses technology goals, many of our clients rely on this credit for the larger items in their technology scope.
2018 Deduction Limit = $1,000,000 (one million dollars)
The initial deduction is good for purchasing new technology equipment or off-the-shelf software. To take the deduction successfully in 2018, the equipment must be purchased or financed and put into service between January 1, 2018, and December 31st, 2018.
2018 Spending Cap on equipment purchases = $2,500,000
The maximum amount that can be spent on equipment, before the small business tax incentive is affected, is $2.5 Million to $3.5 Million. Most businesses looking to qualify for the tax-incentive doing $2.5 Million in technology spending, don’t meet the needs of a small business.
Bonus Depreciation: 100% for 2018
An additional bonus to close-out the year-end budgeting for 2018, bonus depreciation is generally taken from the spending cap that a business reaches and is available for both new and used equipment.
What’s the Section 179 Deduction?
Most small to medium-sized businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area think the Section 179 Tax Deduction is some mysterious or complicated tax code that you’ll need an accounting or financial firm to clear. Essentially, Section 179 is the IRS tax-code allowing businesses to deduct the full purchasing price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. This incentive was created to encourage businesses to invest in themselves and update vulnerable technology.
Currently, Section 179 is one of the few incentives available to small and medium-sized businesses. Large businesses also benefit from Section 179 for Bonus Depreciation. Join the millions of SMBs that have begun taking action and get your team real benefits.
Here’s How Section 179 works:
In the past, businesses would purchase IT equipment, typically writing-off some through depreciation. While this writes off was better, it wouldn’t be until 2018 that the government would include the write-off of all qualified equipment purchases for the same year your IT equipment was purchased. Making a big splash so far, many of the companies looking to move to the cloud or replace an older exchange server would qualify to write-off on the 2018 Tax Return up to $1 million.
Limits of Section 179
2018 Cap to the total amount of write-offs is $1 Million
Amount of technology equipment purchased $2.5 Million
Dedication phases-out on a dollar-for-dollar basis after $2.5 Million is incurred and goes away at $3.5 Million.
Who Qualifies for Section 179?
Businesses looking to purchase, finance, or lease new or used business equipment during the 2018 tax-year qualify. Most of the tangible goods purchased through Section 179 and must be placed into service no later than December 31, 2018.
If your business is looking for ways to save on technology spending, look no further. With over 30 years of experience serving the San Francisco Bay Area, our seasoned staff knows just how to get you the technology you need. If you wish to price it out, visit the Section 179 Calculator.
Not sure what you might need? Sourcing-out gaining desktops or mail-servers are always at the top of an SMBs list. If you need assistance in discovering and identifying technologies that could benefit your business, contact us today to speak with one of our many experts.
adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22018-10-22 10:52:282018-10-22 10:52:28Section 179 Makes Most of Our IT Products 100% Tax Deductible
Every week, I’m sure your inbox becomes bombarded by the daily news alerts regarding the dangers of hacking attack, phishing attempts, and data breaches. The rapidly-evolving landscape poses major challenges for companies today, by establishing or updating your security framework.
Information and technology managers are especially concerned about gaps created in security system controls, and processes. These will begin your ongoing shortages of resources and expertise needed to protect information or stick to compliance. Your industry and business will begin to dictate your approach to advancing your security posture. Given the scope of this problem, your security team is uncertain where to begin and how to proceed.
Begin taking a phased approach to your cybersecurity systems. Plug the most important security gaps first, following the later when timing and process are flushed-out. Typically, security gaps are created when assumptions are made surrounding your IT network, as these new threat vectors emerge as soon as updates are rolled out.
Security Is More of a Journey
Typically, companies push security initiatives through, with no real destination in sight, so it wouldn’t be likely, every gap can’t be solved at once. For this reason, it’s best to begin revisiting your security framework, and any pressing risks or vulnerabilities. This better aligns our comprehensive security platforms better, over time. Begin focusing efforts around securing the most important aspect of your business, for some companies that are patient safety, for others, it’s privacy or monetary funds. By creating what is important, IT companies like ourselves can assist better in the threats haunting your business. It Starts with a reference point, and if you don’t have any security framework, or are unsure, it can usually be found by asking your IT manager, or the resident computer guy.
Getting cybersecurity right requires extensive experience, with a multitude of business models. Hackers are always looking for ways to generate some form of social engineering, to take advantage of our emotions. I get robot-dialers calling my cell phone all the time, with fake stories about a prince, needing my help. By following this framework, business leaders can evaluate the current and future state of business cybersecurity.
There will always be social engineering, hackers and sneaky back-door entries to software. As a result, no matter the stance on cybersecurity, it’s essential to your business to begin training the members in your organization and contribute to stopping the spread of these threats. As people will always be the weakest link when scrutinizing your cybersecurity.
Sharing the knowledge, we’ve gleaned from over 30 years in IT support and consulting services the best way to defend against the constant threat of cyber attacks for our managed service clients, is with a phased approach, built from alignment and cohesion of your strategic plan, and our knowledge.
To further understand what your security framework could be, or to have any questions answered, contact us today to get started.
adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22018-10-08 16:30:162018-10-08 16:30:16Applying Our Award-Winning MSP Process to Your Security Framework
http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Dollarphotoclub_71689444.jpg7681152adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22018-09-25 17:16:092018-10-01 17:18:298 Must-Ask Questions for Your Next MSP
Your data retention and customer information are the lifeblood of your business – there’s no denying data’s importance, especially in day-to-day operations. Today, organizations across all industries are tasked to protect this vital info, retain it, and provides access at all hours. Yet, all we’ve seen was a lack of the appropriate archiving and retention policies upon initial inspection.
Building Data Retention
As your MSP, it’s our job to be your strategic advisor and help them understand exactly what their retention requirements are for various business needs. By looking to clean up your IT environment and implement retention policies for more secure, and accessible data you can gain an edge on the pitfalls of errors and mistakes.
By establishing data retention policies, here are some key points you should consider. Keeping in mind, that not all data is created equal—the first step in establishing appropriate retention policies, which data needs to be archived, and for how long.
Step 1: Classifying
Strike a balance between what’s optimal for your business needs vs. cost-effectiveness, by asking some of these questions before classifying or deleting data.
– Is this info critical for the customers’ business operations?
– Would your data be classified as a permanent document of any kind?
– Is your data considered proprietary intellectual property?
– Does your data reflect the current, legitimate and useful information or needs?
Data that fits none of these criteria may be suitable for deletion – although most data is generally retained for at least a twelve-month period, with a very small percentage needing to be retained after that period for legal holds. Assess value and risk before deleting anything and consider cost and storage requirements when choosing to keep anything else. There should be no arbitrary or ambiguous data—everything must be accounted for.
Step 2: Compliance
There is a hierarchy to follow when determining which data must be stored. Ensure data retention policies align with any of the following compliance or regulatory restrictions:
Regulatory Compliance Whether it’s HIPAA, FINRA, PCI, or other regulatory concerns, know your verticals, and know the law. What data must be kept (and for how long) can vary significantly from one industry to the next. Legal Concerns Retain all data that could be subject to legal discovery or would be needed in legal action should it arise.
Once your identified data no longer serves any useful purpose, there’s more to do than simply emptying your desktops recycle bin. Set expiration dates for all data when establishing retention policies unless it’s designated to be retained in perpetuity. It should be noted, that when data has exceeded the retention limits, it should be deleted immediately.
Finally, data that is retained must be data that is accessible. Choose a fast and searchable archival method to access data and determine what frequently-used data (if any) should be kept “live” outside of archival applications.
For anyone unsure of their backup and disaster recovery technology, and its configuration, we can help. With over 30 years of experience, with information technology, our trained IT consultants can get you started down the right path.
adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22018-08-23 15:35:412018-08-23 15:35:41Retention Best Practices: What to Do with All of That Data
I’m sure many of you have heard of the age-old adage, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” No business owner should see this as a surprise. Yet, when we chat with new clients and their peers, it seems like they were winging information technology(IT) until now.
Many local businesses are surviving on a day-to-day basis. Some even feel they barely have time to plan for what is going on this afternoon. Tomorrow will begin to seem overwhelming, and the recipe for disaster is born.
Here Are the Three Important Reasons Why You Should Take the Time to Plan for Tomorrow:
1. Your Business Depends on It: How many of us have thought about businesses growing in a healthy, reliable fashion when executing your sales efforts consistently. It’s critical that you and your team understands the full capabilities and metrics tied to your business efforts. By planning for your technology future, employees will begin to thrive, finances become more predictable, and the stress levels around technology drop. Your internal staff members aren’t left with trial and error. By preparing your information technology today, you can battle the fires of tomorrow.
2. Putting-Out Fires Isn’t Productive: Many local business owners become regularly stuck fighting information technology fires. That’s unfortunate because, in the larger scope of things, it feels like work is being accomplished, but no situation has been remedied. Your information technology partner should be working within your business, not on your business. This path of neglect is also one leading to high stress and minimum growth.
3. Life Happens: Employees can get sick, or decide to leave the business unexpectedly, even with proper planning, there’s absolutely no margin for error at this point. Sometimes, businesses are faced with opportunities, that demand immediate action, again delaying the time to think about what advantages, and needs your business now has for technology.
How Can WE Fix This?
As IT people and not miracle-workers, we can create a fully-encompassing management solution for your technology. Putting out the fire, of one of the largest problem with local companies today, aging technology. As a trusted IT partner in the Bay Area, we understand that there are many substitutes that come close to the care, and customer satisfaction provided by our staff.
If your business has been having technical issues, you owe it to yourself, and your work, to give an expert a call. To begin a no-cost conversation regarding your information technology, feel free to reach out to any of our friendly staff for further assistance.
adminclare2http://www.clarecomputer.com/DEV/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Fy19_Fixed_CCS_Logo_EvenSmaller.pngadminclare22018-07-17 15:07:302018-07-17 15:07:303 Considerations When Planning Your Future Information Technology