Managed IT Services: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Q.  What do you give someone running their own business during the holiday season?

A.  A break.

Sound familiar? You’re running your own business. You’re putting everything into it. You rarely have time off. What you really can use is … a break. But that could mean closing down or leaving all the critical business system challenges to someone else. Read more

7 Security Risks of Consumer-Grade File Sync Services

Cloud Security

Consumer-grade file sync solutions (referred to as CGFS solutions) pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Below are seven of the biggest risks that these solutions pose in a business environment.

  1. Data theft

    Most of the problems with CGFS solutions emanate from a lack of oversight. Business owners are not privy to when an instance is installed, and are unable to control which employee devices can or cannot sync with a corporate PC. Use of CFGS solutions can open the door to company data being synced (without approval) across personal devices. These personal devices, which accompany employees on public transit, at coffee shops, and with friends, exponentially increase the chance of data being stolen or shared with the wrong parties.

  2. Data loss

    Lacking visibility over the movement of files or file versions across end-points, CFGS solutions improperly backup (or do not backup at all) files that were modified on an employee device. If an end-points is compromised or lost, this lack of visibility can result in the inability to restore the most current version of a file or any version for that matter.

  3. Corrupted data

    In a study by CERN, silent data corruption was observed in 1 out of every 1500 files. While many businesses trust their cloud solution providers to make sure that stored data maintains its integrity year after year, most CGFS solutions don’t implement data integrity assurance systems to ensure that any bit-rot or corrupted data is replaced with a redundant copy of the original.

  4. Lawsuits

    CGFS solutions give carte blanche power to end-users over the ability to permanently delete and share files. This can result in the permanent loss of critical business documents as well as the sharing of confidential information that can break privacy agreements in place with clients and third parties.

  5. Compliance violations

    Since CGFS solutions have loose (or non-existent) file retention and file access controls, you could be setting yourself up for a compliance violation. Many compliance policies require that files be held for a specific duration and only be accessed by certain people; in these cases, it is imperative to employ strict controls over how long files are kept and who can access them.

  6. Loss of accountability

    Without detailed reports and alerts over system-level activity, CGFS solutions can result in loss of accountability over changes to user accounts, organizations, passwords, and other entities. If a malicious admin gains access to the system, hundreds of hours of configuration time can be undone if no alerting system is in place to notify other admins of these changes.

  7. Loss of file access

    Consumer-grade solutions don’t track which users and machines touched a file and at which times. This can be a big problem if you’re trying to determine the events leading up to a file’s creation, modification, or deletion. Additionally, many solutions track and associate a small set of file events which can result in a broken access trail if a file is renamed, for example.

Consumer-grade file sync solutions pose many challenges to businesses that care about control and visibility over company data. Allowing employees to utilize CFGS solutions can lead to massive data leaks and security breaches.

Many companies have formal policies or discourage employees from using their own accounts. But while blacklisting common CFGS solutions may curtail the security risks in the short term, employees will ultimately find ways to get around company firewalls.

The best way for business to handle this is to deploy a company-approved application that will allow IT to control the data, yet grants employees the access and functionality they feel they need to be productive.

Eliminate Downtime and Improve Productivity with Lifecycle Management

In this recorded Webinar, ManageOps discusses the advantages of proactively managing the lifecycles of IT assets within an organization.

Top 5 Enterprise File Sharing Trends of 2015

File Sharing

In recent years, the global workforce has become more mobile than ever before. A survey by Forrester Research of information workers found that 37% of respondents work from multiple locations outside of the office and that 53% of respondents use 3 or more devices for work. To empower employee mobility, many businesses have adopted enterprise file sharing solutions that enable users to easily access business files from anywhere, using any device. As organizations continue to embrace business-grade file sync, what’s top of mind when choosing a solution is to ensure full security and control over how employees access and share sensitive business files. To keep up with current market forces and meet the needs of businesses, purveyors of file sync solutions are constantly enhancing the features and capabilities of their offerings.

Here are the top trends in the file sync and share market this year:

  1. Central file system

    One of the top file sync trends is that, more and more, businesses are using file sync as a central repository for all of their documents, whether those files are internal-only or are meant to be shared externally. Centrally located folders and subfolders help organizations organize their files logically by department and file types. By hosting all files in one central location, businesses can avoid scattering their files in different locations, enabling greater efficiency and productivity.

  2. Secure ways to share

    Organizations need security when it comes to sharing sensitive business documents. As business-grade file sync solutions continue to improve, organizations can expect to see more secure sharing features. Some current secure sharing features include share links that expire after a specified period of time, limits on how many times shared files can be downloaded, and requirements for third parties to log into a guest account in order to access shared files. Secure sharing features allow senders to maintain control over how files are being distributed, which helps in preventing data loss and data leakage.

  3. Integrations with email applications

    Users rely on emails to communicate both internally and externally, but sending file attachments via email — especially sensitive files, such as financial or legal documents — is not secure. Many business-grade file sync solutions now integrate with email applications, such as Microsoft Outlook. By installing a plugin, users are able to easily “attach” files stored within in their file sync solution to an email using a secure share link. Email integrations allow users to securely share files without interrupting their workflows.

  4. Compliance

    Since various industries, such as the healthcare and financial industries, are bound by regulations regarding how data can be stored and accessed, a recent focus of business-grade file sync solutions is compliance. Business-grade file sync solutions are working on being compliant with some of the most common regulations, such as HIPAA and PCI. Using a compliant solution will give companies the peace of mind that they are operating within the guidelines of these regulations and won’t incur any non-compliant fines or penalties from using file sync.

  5. IT visibility and control

    One of the main components of a file sync solution that makes it business-grade is a collection of rich administrative features. The BYOD trend has not only brought a lot of personal devices into the workplace, but also personal applications, including consumer-grade file sync solutions. These solutions have little security features and do not permit control over where critical data resides and how it is being accessed and shared. Administrative features in business-grade solutions, such as detailed activity reporting and remote wipes, enable better control and oversight.

Business-grade file sync solutions continue to mature, giving users a versatile tool that is both secure and easy to use. Especially in this rapidly changing space, it is critical that businesses stay ahead of current market forces and solution trends. To learn more about file sync and what to look for when choosing a business-grade file sync solution, contact us today.

Use It or Lose It: Section 179 Tax Break Adds Up to End-of-Year Technology Savings

Every business needs PCs, servers, printers, network gear, data security hardware or software. Fortunately, Section 179 of the IRS tax code lets small businesses better manage their IT budgets. They can write off the entire cost of computer equipment and off-the-shelf software purchased and put in use before December 31, 2015.

179 Recap
Most people think the Section 179 deduction is some mysterious or complicated tax code. It really isn’t. Read more

The True Cost of Using End of Life Software

In this recorded Webinar, ManageOps discusses the true cost to organizations of using software that is past its “End of Life” date, and is no longer supported by the software manufacturer.

Give Reactive the Boot: Get More Value from IT with Lifecycle Management

When it comes to your business’s hardware and software, it pays dividends to be proactive instead of reactive. The end game is to eliminate downtime, unplanned expenses and improve productivity.

However, many businesses squeeze as much life from their technology assets as possible. The downside can be unexpected expenses and headaches as equipment inevitably breaks down and becomes obsolete over time.

Which begs the question: does your business have a plan for lifecycle management?
Read more

Don’t Play Roulette with Your Tech!

The dangers of gambling with unsupported & unsecure software
When it comes to continued use of outdated software, are you putting your business in danger of losing vital data and information? Is your business a ticking time bomb ready to explode into a potential abyss of bankruptcy and going “out of business”?
If your business’s operating system software is well known for being out-of-date and unsecure, the answer is unequivocally yes. That circumstance for many has already come and gone in regard to Windows XP (retired April 8, 2014) and Windows Server 2003 (expired July 14, 2015).
Read more

6 Reasons Why Offsite Backup in the Cloud is 100% Critical to Save Your Business

Many times, businesses suffer not only the financial devastations caused by data loss, but they suffer the loss of client confidence. Both are equally devastating and determine whether a business can survive.
The industries that typically suffer the most frequent and expensive breaches are healthcare, financial, pharmaceuticals, transportation and communications. More than one-third of attacks are on businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
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Dial Up VoIP to Drive Down Telecom Costs & Improve Productivity

Let’s face it. As a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to increase operating efficiencies and save money. And, technology is a great tool in which to accomplish those undertakings.

But, how do you go about getting it done?

An increasingly popular and effective approach is implementing Voice-over-Internet Protocol, or more commonly called VoIP. Basically, this system moves your business phone communications to your network connection. Consequently, it allows you and your team to access communication services from anywhere.

Yet, despite its growing use, many business owners are still unsure whether VoIP is the right choice. Does knowing you can reduce your telecom costs by as much as 30% help make the decision easier? Thought so.

Let’s take a look at some primary benefits of VoIP and see how well it fits your business needs.

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