Happy New Year! Our New Year’s Resolution to You

Happy New Year! Our New Year’s Resolution to You

A new year always bring reflection and insight. For me, it’s often what can I do better, how can I be more effective? This means different thing to everyone. I cannot express enough concern when it comes to helping businesses be prepared for the threats they face in today’s digital landscape. So this year, here’s how I plan to help:

  • – Focus more on Solutions
  • – Help Businesses Be Aware and Prepare
  • – Don’t Settle for just “OK” because it’s working now
  • – We Want to Earn Your Business

Focus on Solutions

Last year, I published blogs almost weekly about cyber-security and breach events that affected many business to raise awareness. This year I want to focus more on solutions that can help you be prepared and aware of the challenges that occur during and after a breach. At the Houston Cyber-security Summit, one thing was more clear than ever, it’s when not if.

For the first time, the FBI and DHS has created a federal response force dedicated to helping businesses lock down, access, and deploy digital forensics to get to track these breach events, and hold cyber-criminals accountable when caught. This is true recognition of a real problem that is not going away anytime soon. So let’s talk about what you need to be doing now.

1. What are you doing now?

Do you have proper backups? Do you have off-site redundant backups? Do you have a firewall with proper threat detection and remediation? Is there a documented plan that management can follow to deal with data loss, network breach, ransomware or hardware failure?

If you answered “No” or “I don’t know” to any of these questions, then as they say, “Houston, we have a problem!”

2. Have a plan and test the plan

Every solution that is put in place to protect you from a threat should be tested. Not just once, but regularly. In almost every solution, it is the human element that fails first. So take as much of the “human factor” out as you can to narrow the scope of failure. Automate as much as you can but make someone responsible to test these systems to insure that when you need them, they function as expected.

Have a plan on how to deal with situations that can affect your business:

– Ransomware/Malware
– Data Loss
– Network Breach
– Hardware Failure

These should be documented and tested. Someone needs to be accountable for managing this as well.

Fact: Over the holidays, a telemarketing company in Missouri had to lay off over 300 employees after being infected with Ransomware. Their IT company was unable to restore network services even after paying to get the data back. This is a total failure by the IT company. Not only should they never have to pay to retrieve data that should have been protected properly in the first place, but they failed to restore services in any way that allowed the business to function as needed. Loss of jobs, income and credibility in the marketplace.

3. What solutions best mitigate these risks?

As a business owner, partner, or IT professional responsible for your businesses network and data integrity; you need to be aware of how Cloud Services like IaaS, DaaS ans SaaS can protect your business from all the threats we’ve discussed.

Most have questions, doubts, and concerns about how these services can help. The truth is that these types of services are the best line of protection due to the inherent redundancies that power them. You owe it to your business to get these questions or concerns answered. Educate yourself about the protection offered in Cloud environments.

Cloud services used to be cost prohibitive and complicated, but businesses like Quasar Data Center have designed complete, affordable solutions that scale as your business changes. Providing unlimited growth potential without having to spend thousands on hardware, software and implementation. The best part is the protections against modern day threats are built-in with multi-layer security, system redundancies, hourly snapshots, and business continuity.

Be Aware & Prepare

Last year I published blogs almost weekly about cyber-security news, breaches, training and events in the hopes of raising awareness to business owners and decision makers. This year I will be focusing on making businesses aware and discussing ways to be prepared to battle these threats. This includes the challenges present during and after a breach occurs.

1. How do I backup properly? What, when, and where.

Many owners I’ve spoken to over the years have one idea of what is being done and the IT people are doing something completely different. This is because all things change over time. Many people just assume it works because they never hear otherwise. Most find out their backup failed or were broken after having a failure and needing to do a restore from them. Not the best time to find a failure of your backup system.

What to backup

Anything data used for your business. This includes desktop documents, server documents, email, data in file-sharing services like OneDrive or Dropbox, and of course accounting data.

When to backup

This depends on how often your data changes. Some data may need to be backed up daily, other types hourly. This needs to be considered for every area and proper backup policies implemented as well as tested. Testing should occur regularly across all backup systems for data integrity and restorability.

Where to backup

Where to backup is important. It should be to multiple places. In my experience having redundancy in your backup systems is crucial. Backups should be done locally to media that is only accessible at the time of backup for protection against ransomware encryption methods, but also off-site through a secondary system to protect against environmental threats to networks.

2. Have a Plan. Be Prepared.

Having protections in place is one thing, having a plan of action when a situation occurs that requires you to use those systems to protect your business is equally important.

Document procedures for restoration and make senior management aware of the what, where and when to use or activate those systems when needed.

Don’t make your business dependent on a single person. One of the biggest mistakes committed by small businesses is the thinking that by having their own IT person on staff, they are protected. He’s taking care of us. In the past, say 15 years ago, that may have been a safe assumption. Nowadays, no way Jose.

Having a team of professionals at your disposal 24/7/365 who are certified up-to-date professionals protecting your company’s “family jewels” is the only practical method. Having large digital brain pan of knowledge is far better than the limited experience of a single individual.

Show me a small business with IT professionals on-staff and I’ll show you how to save $20,000+ a year and get the job done better. With better protection and guaranteed 99.99% uptime.

3. Don’t Settle for “OK”

I cannot tell you how many times an owner has told me “We’re OK. Everything is working and I’m not sure what’s being done but I trust my IT guy to take care of it.”

This is usually where the famous definition of “Assumption” kicks you in the butt. You need to know, need to be aware, and know what is going to happen when a incident occurs. Take notice I said “when” not “if”. Every cyber-security expert out there will tell you the same. That why the the FBI and DHS now have incident response units to help businesses when it occurs. This is to help businesses through the process, as well as track the occurrences so they can determine who is responsible.

Let me say this: I assume most reading this own a car. Do you change your oil as recommended by the manufacturer or wait till the engine runs out of oil and seizes up? You’d be surprised how many businesses operate on the later psychology.

What is business Continuity?

This is a term that has been around for a while but not in the SMB market. Is used to be a very cost prohibitive service available only to enterprise clients. Business continuity provides complete redundancy to business systems that allow your business to recover from any incident almost immediately. That means if something happens that causes any kind of system failure, it can be reversed in minutes. The average cost to add this to a Cloud solution is about $100/mth. That’s less than most pay for cable.

Our New Year’s Resolution – We Want to Earn Your Business!

From today forward I have dedicated 25% of my time to being available to answer questions, talk about concerns you have, discuss your business needs, or demo Cloud solutions that can help you with what we’ve addressed here. We want to help. We want your business. We want to be your technology partner that helps your business get to where it wants to go. We want to take the topics discussed here and give you the piece of mind that your covered. No matter what. We want you to focus on your business knowing the IT powering it is solid.

In many of these sessions we have found ways to capitalize on Cloud services, like Office365, already being used but not their full potential.

Give me a few minutes of your time to listen to your needs and concerns about Cloud so we can show you solutions that fit and benefit you. It will be an excellent investment in time on your part whether we do business or not. We want to earn your business. Let us prove it. Click here to access my available calendar and book an appointment with me, not any sales person, to discuss how we can help.