If you’ve taken a class or read a book on business strategy, you’ve likely come across the “outsourcing decision”. In this decision, a business compares the costs and benefits of producing a part or service internally versus the costs and benefits of paying someone externally to do it. For this decision to be accurate, all the associated costs and benefits need to be factored in. One of the hardest variables is the opportunity cost – what new product or service can my business not develop because it’s busy working on something else? Read more
Uncertainty about the availability and allocation of financial relief funds for the COVID 19 pandemic has confused small business owners while simultaneously creating new opportunities for cyber attackers to prey on unsuspecting victims. Per a recent article published by IBM and Morning Consult, nearly 40 percent of small business owners believe they’ve been targeted with malicious coronavirus (Covid-19) spam emails. This new phishing scam has created an open door for those bad actors to wreak more havoc during this already stressful time.
Since mid-March, Covid-19 related phishing lures mimicking the Small Business Administration (SBA), the World Health Organization (WHO), banks offering relief funds, the U.S. Federal Reserve and other government organizations, have spiked by 6,000 percent, according to the report. For example, spam that impersonates the SBA and promises government relief funds trick victims into opening a spoofed application attachment that triggers a malware infection. With this continued rise of phishing attempts Security Awareness Training has never been more important. As you can see from the statistics below people are expecting to receive COVID-19 information and updates. As such, users may let their guard down and be easily tricked. “The data and intelligence should remind us that there is no honor among thieves,” the report reads. “Cyber criminals will continue to view times of uncertainty as an opportunity, seeking new ways to exploit targets when they have their guard down.”
Growing interest in up-to-date news on the COVID-19 (Corona Virus) is making many vulnerable to online cyber-attacks. Hackers are exploiting the public’s need to feel safe and in control, through phishing attacks.
Did you know Cybercriminals have ramped-up phishing attacks over 667% in the month of March alone?
With cybercriminals in a feeding frenzy, it’s super-important to conduct phishing training during this time. Make sure that your users are prepared. It’s better to have a “fail safe” in place and direct your users to a learning moment, than to have an employee click on a phishing email and have your entire organization experience a breach. According to Symantec, phishing emails have risen, common spoofs include the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Health Alert Network. Claiming to provide a list of local active infections, the links takes eager readers to a sign-up form that collected emails and passwords. Once these email/password pairs are stolen and in the hands of a cybercriminal, the damage can be catastrophic. Hackers use such methods to deliver payloads as: clicking a link, opening a PDF, or installing a program that infects your systems. Read more
Planning and disaster recovery, more importantly, budgeting, is one of those tasks few business continuity managers look forward to completing every year. After all, it can become a pretty involved, and complicated processes for anyone, often seen as sobering to tally-up the final bill. Love-it or hate-it, devising a business disaster recovery (BDR) budget is a necessary evil which nobody can avoid. On the bright side, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure you spend wisely on a disaster recovery budget.
Rally the Troops
Call in the troops with a rallying cry for disaster recovery to protect the entire organization. By design, planning and budgeting should involve the CEO, or top-level management, and department leaders across the company — not only IT. Key members from varying departments like sales and customer service can drive budgeting needs by contributing valuable insights on how systems and resources are used, performing, and the maintenance needed. Business owners and CIOs can see what the plan entails, and decide how to best execute the proposed strategies while staying within the budget.
Know What’s Important
After you’ve rallied the troops and the advocates, your next step would be to focus the bulk of your disaster recovery planning efforts around your most precious asset. For most, business begins and ends with data. Data can be perceived as analytical, or informational bits and bytes that make up the information that runs your business.
Commonly, these budgets should be structured in a way, to cover vital company information from various angles. An example of this can be found at some level of most businesses. The entire organization uses a firewall(s), to ward off network attacks at the perimeter level. Anti-virus and end-point protection halt threats on production servers or prevent data encryption. Although the equipment varies from one company to another, but eventually technology breaks. Having an on-site, and an off-site backup plan will ensure that your business line data can be recovered fully, and reliably.
Business Risk Weigh-out
Now it’s time to hone in on actual disastrous scenarios. This is when your staff can assist in identifying the biggest threats to your business. Begin to engineer strategies to minimize the exposure and risks to data. Your hardware and data’s physical location is always a factor, but most organizations should thoroughly plan for both natural and accidental disasters. Although you might have prepared a comeback from fire or flood, have you given thought to disgruntled employees? What about cybercriminals, and hacking?
From here, we can begin working on a budget that properly reflects, the tools and resources needed to put your strategy in place. Our managed service partners have the freedom to budget in anything from training internal-staff in advanced cybersecurity measures to our network monitoring process. Your budget must cover the workforce needed to spring into action during these disaster recovery scenarios.
Prioritize Your Assets
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in disaster recovery planning is treating each system and process as equals. Why? Because it often leads to employing “grade-A” protection across your infrastructure. Not quite sure where your resources rank in the pecking order? Well, this is where a detailed business impact analysis (BIA) comes in handy. A BIA will identify each resource in your environment. It will also help drive your budgeting efforts based on their order of importance.
Fund Your Budget Wisely
Smart budgeting is about setting your limits and staying within those very boundaries. Your ability to stay within that safe zone will largely depend on your organizational structure, but some companies are already allocating a sizable portion of their budget towards disaster recovery services. Typically, we see those that operate disaster recovery as its own separate line-item, taking a more targeted approach for every department.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan. Failed backups or lapses in communication, these roadblocks can lead to stumbling over the hurdles to recovery. Your disaster recovery can be seen as an ongoing process, without a time constraint, you can periodically test your solutions along the way.
If your company is struggling to get over any of the hurdles on the road to successful disaster recovery, contact us to begin a no-cost, no-obligation conversation with one of our friendly staff members.
Dreading your company’s technology review because you can’t show how your technology is performing? Have a provider suffering from a lack of ideas on how to truly accelerate technology? You’re not alone – these are common symptoms for Bay Area businesses having selected the wrong managed IT service solution.
Who could blame you? The marketplace is crowded with vendors and tools that promise to deliver exactly what you need. Even the “do-it-yourself” path, with homegrown systems or spreadsheets, can seem like you’re moving in the right direction.
Sooner or later, you will sense “something is wrong,” but you can’t quite put your finger on what exactly. If that’s you or could become you, check out these 10 warning signs that your company needs to make a change:
8 Warning Signs You’re Using the Wrong IT Service Solution:
1) Lacking a consolidated point-of-service for all technology related matters
2) Tired of burning service hours on re-active support instead of proactive thinking?
3) Bouncing between different relationship and account managers within your IT support’s organization?
4) Weeks have passed without any word from your account manager or that IT Guy you hired
5) There’s no personalization – Your IT support never seems to know your network, let alone, your name
6) No one owns the roadmap for projects, unplanned work, updates, and changes
7) The “out-of-the-box” support solutions were over positioned, and don’t deliver
8) Your “good enough,” functionality isn’t good enough for your management team
Coming to the Realization That You Didn’t Make the Right Choice?
Make a change — your next quarter doesn’t need to be a repeat of this quarter. The bottom-line is that executives need to know technology is being supported by scalable trustworthy, technology partner. This includes building a check-list of “would-like-to-have” features, “must-have” features and “deal breakers.”
Reference your list closely as you vet future products and solutions. Finally, it’s smart to secure feedback from others in your industry or channel. Consider inviting potential solution providers to your site, to your team a solution demo.
There’s no doubt this process is rigorous. But, it’s what’s required to find the best IT support and service solution for your organization. Contact Us – for a no-cost, no-obligation, conversation regarding unlocking the true potential of your business network and managed IT service solution.