Multi-Factor Authentication: Locking down Your Business Data from Hackers

Known as a common occurance for most information technology engineers, is logging into systems through remote means. The idea was, only you would know your login and password, and this would keep your information safe. The company data you?re protecting is more important than ever, and the tools cyber-criminals employ to get access to your data are growing in sophistication – making multi-factor authentic the best fit for most businesses.

Security experts have been recommending multi-factor authentication as a?means of protecting access to systems for years, but what does the term mean?

What Is Multi-factor Authentication:

Multi-factor authentication adds different levels ? in addition to what you know, it may also employ “who you are,” (Biometrics) or “what you have.” (physical token, or personal device)?Using more than one level of authentication makes ?hacking? into your accounts nearly impossible. The largest benefit to most businesses securing their data with multi-factor authentication is the use of single sign-on.

We?ve grown accustomed to passwords that must be changed every so often.?However, multi-factor authentication often employs information that is generated when you try and log in, and is used only once, creating a different set of credentials each time.

Does this add complexity to the user experience? Yes, by design – but if you?ve ever watched someone quickly scan an access card (something they have) and then enter a quick code (something they know) to access a facility, you can see how quickly this can become routine.

Adoption of Multi-Factor Authentication:

For many vertical industries, companies must comply with regulations regarding physical and technical security.?Those who provide services, or support to those companies?should also be familiar with its compliance as well. Multi-factor authentication is no longer an “enterprise product.” Being found in such technology as Office 365, Microsoft 365, G-Suite (Gmail), or the latest cloud environments.

Wish to Enhance Security in Business-Line Applications?

Clare Computer Solutions can help your company evaluate options for multi-factor authentication, and then implement the solution that best suits your needs. Contact us to get started ? the stakes are too high to wait.

Spooked by the Number of Zombie IT Projects at Your Business?

Have you ever started?IT projects at your company that burst out of the gate with great verve and energy, only to get bogged down in problems and questions, stalling out at 90% completion forever? This is referred to as a “Zombie IT Project,” and they can be annoying, or at worst, they can be a devastating drain on time, money, and company assets.

 

“Why is our?organization having such a hard time crossing-off these zombie projects?”

 

 

Unrealistic Goals from the Outset

Sometimes, a project can be doomed from day one, because the final goal is not realistic. Hindsight will usually pinpoint what went wrong for most companies, but by then, it?s too late. You’re months into the project,?your money has been spent, and you’re left with an undead, Zombie IT Project on your hands!

 

Resource Issues

Your project goals might be realistic and on target, but you may have bigger problems ahead, with resource issues. The personnel needed to bring the project to fruition isn?t available, or, more often, gets reassigned mid-project. What was once a well-planned project gets derailed and never seems to get finished.

 

Poor Project Management

You’ve set a?realistic goal, and created a decent plan, and you have the people to get it done ? so you?re all set, right? Wrong?- someone?must?be in?charge.?A project of any complexity will have a number of moving parts, all on their own schedule.? If no one?s responsible for making sure everything is done, then everything won?t get done.? Minor issues and questions will bring the project to a Zombie halt.

 

Scope Creep

We have all had “that boss,” the one who comes in mid-project, and adds more to your list of tasks.? “As long as you?re doing ‘that,’?you might as well do ‘this,’ right?'”?Nothing causes a project to enter the netherworld like allowing extra tasks to be tacked onto to the original plan. It?s not always possible to anticipate every twist and turn in a project, but anything that comes up that lies outside the original scope needs to be identified as such and managed separately.

Most companies don?t tackle IT projects often enough to gain the experience and insight needed to ensure a project is designed correctly, has the appropriate resources dedicated to it, managed properly and held within scope.

 

Resurrecting IT Projects

An IT Project should result in a positive transformation for your business, and pay for itself over a reasonable length of time.? A project that never gets done has the opposite effect ? therefore, it?s wise to hire the expert services of a firm experienced in IT Project Management. It’ll save you time, and money in the long run!

 

Clare Computer Solutions has designed, launched, managed and completed hundreds of IT projects. We know how to bring even the most complex projects to a successful conclusion. We can help your company, too. It all starts with a conversation. Contact us to get started.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

The offices of The Department of Homeland Security released a statement, designating October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
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Known to many in the IT industry, the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) partners engagement and education through events and initiatives to raise awareness of the importances of cyber security. With tools and resources used by many to stay protected online and increase your defense.

Clare Computer Solutions is very involved in helping clients ensure they have the tools and education to mitigate the risks from a variety of cyber threats. The NCSAM website has some tools, too ? and they break them into separate toolkits for a variety of users. They call this the ?StopThinkConnect Toolkit? ? they have some very sensible advice.

Here?s the URL to access these tools:?
https://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-toolkit

Busy executives may find it difficult to take the time to go over these materials in detail, but Clare Computer Solutions can definitely help. We can have a conversation with you, learn about your business, help you pinpoint your major concerns around cybersecurity or any technology, and help you devise a road map to prepare your company to avoid problems with cyberattacks.

Threats include malware (viruses, worms, ransomware), and hacking. The consequences can be business disruption, destruction of data, and theft of data. These threats come in from a variety of places ? from sophisticated hackers getting through a firewall, to unwitting employees clicking on an email attachment.

Your employees, your colleagues, and especially your customers, are counting on you to take the proper steps to protect your business. It all starts with a conversation ? contact us to get started.

Cyber Security Awareness month

When Is it Time to Call an IT Consultant

When is it the right time to call an IT?consultant? As information?technology?continues to change, the lines can be blurred as to when your business should bring in an IT Consultant. Any modern business with more than a handful of people has an IT infrastructure, and this has been the case for at least a decade. What has changed, is people are generally more familiar with technology, and the technology itself has become more user-friendly. Many aspects of maintaining that infrastructure?have grown easier.

Another change is the depth to which technology has permeated?business operations. It?s not just crunching numbers anymore, or word processing. Technology affects every aspect of a business, from marketing to operations, accounting, and communications. This should?be seen as good thing, but managing the IT infrastructure has not become easier. With clouds, and SaaS, VDO, DNS, VMWare, it?s no wonder companies drift off course.

This is where an IT consultant can make a huge difference for your company. Even if you have an in-house IT staff to deal with parts of your network, there are some areas where a consultant can add tremendous value. Here are a few of them.

Strategic Planning

Despite IT being an integral part of most businesses, we don?t see many hiring IT staff with business skills.? An IT consultant can help you align your IT initiatives with your business goals ? going beyond technical details and guiding IT decisions and plans with a business context.

Multi-Vendor Management

Most infrastructures contain equipment and services from a variety of vendors. This is fine ? you should choose the products and services your business needs. But all these things have to work together, reliably, for your business to really realize the power of this technology. When things go awry in a complex environment, vendors often default to an ?not our fault? mode, making sorting out of responsibilities and next steps, a real struggle. A consultant can aid in unraveling issues that span, several vendors? products and services.

Hybrid Environments

The cloud is here to stay, but most businesses aren?t moving everything to the cloud, for a variety of reasons. For businesses that are considering moving workloads to the cloud, an IT consultant can help by evaluating a company?s existing IT environment and devising a cloud strategy to determine which workloads should be moved to the cloud, when to do it, and how to manage the resulting hybrid environment.

Clare Computer Solutions has helped hundreds of companies in the San Francisco Bay Area grapple with the complexities business encounter with regards to technology, and helped companies integrate IT into their business operations to provide the best advantages. We can help you, too ? and it all starts with a business discussion. Contact us today to begin the process!

Hybrid Infrastructure Trends Towards “Everything-as-a-Service”

For years, Information Technology (IT) focused on physical platforms ? the computers and the software that ran on them.

IT costs were capital expenditures that purchased these products initially, and as they reached the end of their lifespans, more capital expenditures were incurred to replace them.

This was the normal way to do business and this model was the standard?for decades.

The rapid changes in physical platforms led to an undesirable result: companies found they had equipment that was considered obsolete more quickly, than ever before, and that drove costs up, to try and keep the infrastructure modernized.

Sometimes companies try and beat this trend, by over-buying computing capacity, in the hopes that a company could grow into it before the hardware became obsolete. As server virtualization became more common, and internet bandwidth came down in price, this opened up a new paradigm ? buying IT capabilities as an ongoing service.

This?had several appealing characteristics:

  • Increased agility ? it?s fast and easy to build out computing capacity in the cloud, and it?s easy to adjust that computing capacity, so companies can buy only what they need when they need it. Some services can be allocated dynamically, too.
  • The shift of IT expenditures from capital expenditure to operational expenditure ? this makes managing cash flow easier.
  • Decreased consumption of space and power for physical servers in the office.
  • Protection from hardware and software obsolescence ? the cloud provider handles ensuring up-to-date versions of hardware and software are being used.

 

Does this mean companies should immediately put all their IT workloads in the cloud?

Of course not, for several reasons. First, your existing infrastructure could be a year or more away from obsolescence. Or your business may have specific applications that do not lend themselves well to cloud computing.

Many businesses opt for a hybrid infrastructure, with some services delivered by the ?as-a-service? cloud subscription model, and others through on-premises infrastructure. Regardless, cloud services present a win-win scenario for businesses to utilize the best technologies to make their?business run better and compete more effectively in their market. Clare Computer Solutions has been helping companies realize the power of technology for over 25 years ? we can help your company, too. It all starts with a conversation ? contact us to begin your transformation.