Smartphones are becoming just as powerful as the average laptop and desktop computer. As such, more companies are now integrating these devices into their roster of workplace tools, often as handier and far more affordable alternatives or accessories to computers – depending on what the situation calls for.

However, people tend to assume that smartphones and other mobile devices are less secure than computers. And there are a lot of misconceptions going on about data security within the mobile device industry.

 

Debunked: The Top 4 Myths On Mobile Security

In a society where information security is extremely important, the need to keep your data safe is a must. Misconceptions can lead you astray and prevent you from better securing your device. So we’ve decided to debunk the top myths on mobile security so you’ll know the truth behind them.

 

Myth #1: Smartphones aren’t as secure as computers

It’s true that smartphones are more prone to being stolen and that their data can be just as easily compromised. But in spite of these, they aren’t actually as vulnerable as you might think. In fact, most data breaches and cybersecurity incidents happen to desktops and laptops. This is because most malware and ransomware are designed to spread through computers. Unlike smartphones, computers have a larger capacity to store data, making them more attractive targets for cybercriminals.

 

Myth #2: Android devices are prone to malware attacks

The vast majority of mobile users are divided between two leading platforms – Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. iOS users are often quick to point out that Android devices are prone to malware.

The myth is so pervasive that some companies offering mobile devices to their employees limit their option to iPhones. But the fact of the matter is that Android devices aren’t any more vulnerable to attacks than iPhones and other iOS devices.

 

Myth #3: iPhones are safer from security threats

It’s no different from the “Android is unsafe” myth – equally pervasive and just as bogus. Apple does run a pretty tight ship when it comes to safety and security, but the potential for security threats still exists. Since malware and ransomware are evolving at faster rates than security protocols, your iPhone (or any iOS device) will be at risk of being infiltrated if you’re not careful about the sites you visit or the links you click.

The bottom line for both Android and iOS devices is that both can be compromised.

 

Myth #4: Hacking and malware are the only vulnerabilities of your mobile device

Hacking and malware may be dangerous, but these are often direct attacks which can be anticipated – and therefore, prevented. Furthermore, they aren’t the only possible ways that information can be stolen, leaked, or corrupted.

In most cases, the biggest threat to your device security comes from within the company itself. Whether it’s an untrained employee or a disorganized IT infrastructure, your mobile device will continue to be at risk of a data breach. Implementing a cybersecurity policy can help keep your workplace devices more secure and better protected against data loss.

In recent years, information technology has become the cornerstone of many businesses. You’ll rarely find a company that doesn’t have some kind of IT support.

While an in-house team may be fine for a startup business, it becomes quite problematic once it expands. Unfortunately, some businesses simply don’t know when it’s time to outsource their IT needs. So they try to wait it out and suffer losses over time.

 

Tell-Tale Signs You Need to Outsource Your IT

If you’re wondering about the perfect time to outsource your IT needs, here are four things to look out for.

 

Sign #1 – Your business is suffering from slow productivity

When you start to see your business operations drastically slow down as a result of tech-related problems, then there’s an obvious need for you to outsource your IT support. Maybe your computers are outdated. Or maybe you’ve had to handle more than one incident where you had to manage supposedly-automated systems. The moment that technology feels like it’s holding you back instead of helping, it’s time to get professional help from an IT company.

 

Sign #2 – Your in-house IT is costing you more money than they’re worth

If you’re an established company, you probably already have IT staff working for you. While they can be an excellent advantage, you’d be wasting money. You have to pay for their salary, benefits, and any additional training.

If you’re losing money from a team that’s unable to keep up with your needs, consider outsourcing to cut costs. With an outsourced company, you only have to pay for what you need, when you need it. Since these companies specialize in IT services, you can be sure that the people they hire are competent enough to assist you.

 

Sign #3 – Your cybersecurity is lacking

Businesses these days have to be extra careful in keeping their information safe from cybercriminals, especially since it is now easier than ever to steal data. Whether you’re a small business or a large company, having solid cybersecurity should be a top priority.

Outsourcing your IT security promises several advantages for your business. Not only do you get to save money. You are also equipping yourself with a reliable 24/7 support system while reducing the overall costs of maintaining hardware and software.

 

Sign #4 – Your business is growing rapidly

Any sort of growth is a welcome change for a company. However, if you have recently expanded your business to accommodate more employees and customers, you’ll require more consistent and timely IT support. In which case, you should consider outsourcing.

A small in-house team can manage small to medium-sized businesses. However, larger companies and still-expanding ones will likewise need the support of a larger team. An outsourced IT company can provide you exactly just that. They have the manpower and technology needed to provide different solutions.

Indeed, outsourcing to a third-party IT company promises more for less. Whether you need upgrades, updates, cybersecurity, maintenance, or monitoring, you can be assured that your technological needs are met.

The moment you integrate technology into your business, you’ll be under the constant threat of cyber attacks. Vulnerabilities can make you an even more attractive target for hackers who are after one thing – your precious data.

Losing data can result in huge setbacks or shut down your business if it’s really bad. As such, it’s essential that you take precautionary steps to secure your data.

What you may not realize is that external forces are rarely the culprit.

Your biggest enemy is much closer than you think.

 

Internal Weaknesses: The Leading Cause of Data Loss

When a data breach takes place, a business would instinctively point their finger at some hacker. However, you’d be surprised to know that internal security gaps within the business cause most data loss incidents.

A recent survey by the Ponemon Institute reveals the extent of internal weaknesses in businesses across the UK, France, Germany, and the US. Below are some of their most startling findings:

  • 88 percent of employees said they were required to access and utilize sensitive data as part of their job
  • 62 percent of employees said they could access business data they probably shouldn’t
  • Only 25 percent of businesses monitored all activities performed by employees, including third-party emails and file access
  • 38 percent of businesses didn’t monitor any activity at all

In 2017, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) reported that 4 out of 5 leading causes of data loss resulted from either the lack of a data security protocol or human error.

At this point, it’s clear that businesses are the ones setting themselves up for disaster.

 

How to Protect Your Business from Internal Weaknesses

Securing your business from the inside seems to be a sensible choice, considering that most data breaches result from internal and not from external issues. The secret lies in controlling access to sensitive information, whether for sharing or processing.

If you want to minimize your risk for data loss, here are the three steps for reducing your internal weaknesses:

 

Step 1 – Implement a cybersecurity policy

Have your IT staff create a cybersecurity policy. This is a set of guidelines which employees can follow to ensure that your data is secure whenever they access, process, or share it across your company’s networks.

A proper cybersecurity policy includes:

  • An acceptable use policy which outlines the allowable use of your company’s hardware, software, and data – including storage and shareability.
  • A remote access policy which provides guidelines on how staff can access data from a remote location, which features are available for keeping data safe, and the processes by which mobile devices are secured.
  • A privacy policy which includes what staff can do with your business data, the locations where sensitive information is stored (and why), and the safety precautions taken to protect said data.

When implementing these policies, highlight the consequences which employees could face should they fail to follow them.

 

Step 2 – Provide education and training

Your staff will need more than a pep talk. If you really want them to learn the ins and outs of cybersecurity, you should keep them informed and up-to-date with the latest standards and practices in data protection.

Launch awareness campaigns, send out newsletters, and hold meetings when necessary. These should create a culture of cybersecurity within your business. Training programs can further strengthen your internal data security since they teach employees how to respond to specific threats.

 

Step 3 – Let IT specialists handle the rest

It doesn’t matter if you have your own team, if you’ve outsourced the help of an IT company, or both. Whoever is filling in your needs is responsible for monitoring data access throughout your networks. They can do so with the help of tools and programs which they can set up and make available at your disposal.

Any business that utilizes technology will require software one way or another. It’s an indispensable asset that allows for more efficient and effective operations, which help to facilitate a company’s growth.

Depending on the software, its features, and its capabilities, each has a unique way of providing business solutions. Some of them can be useful in meeting your specific needs. Others might turn out to be incompatible with your system or prove difficult to maintain. For this reason, it’s important that you invest in the right software so you don’t end up wasting time, money, and resources.

But how do you know which software to choose?

To help you make the right decision, we rounded up six questions to ask the vendor before buying software for your business.

 

1. How much is the software?

Prices are mainly going to vary based on software functionality and the provider. Providers also have different pricing models. For instance, you can purchase software for a one-time fee or through payment plans which tend to limit features and access for a lower price point.

Knowing the cost of software and which payment options are available will help you determine if you could afford it. Be realistic with your budget and consider additional costs for maintenance, updates, customization, and staff training.

 

2. What services do you offer?

Providers may offer remote or on-site services alongside their software. Ask them which services are included with your purchase or payment plan; and if they offer extra services for a fee.

Take note that no matter the price of your software, it has to have customer support. The support team should also be available during your business hours.

 

3. How long does it take you to resolve issues?

It’s common for software to have bugs, so this shouldn’t be much of a problem. What matters is how a software provider responds to it.

They might address the bug as soon as they notice it, or they might release bug fixes on a schedule – such as monthly or quarterly. However, some providers are inconsistent and seem to take forever to fix bugs. You wouldn’t want to buy software from them.

 

4. How often do you update your software?

Updates can add new and more useful features to your business software or they can refine existing ones. When a provider updates their software frequently, it suggests they spend a considerable amount of time to improve their product and ensure its quality.

Ideally, updates should be available at least once every few weeks. Stay away from vendors who haven’t released updates in more than 6 months.

 

5. Is the software scalable?

Before you invest in software, make sure it’s future-proof. Not only should it have enough room to accommodate your needs. It must also have the capacity to grow with your business and meet its increasing demands.

 

6. Is the software customizable?

One software is not enough to meet all of your needs. More often than not, it takes a few to run a tight ship. However, you can make the most out of a single customizable software. It allows you to create apps, programs, and other solutions that are specific to your business.

In a world where businesses rely on computers, an IT infrastructure that you can stake your business on is a must if you expect to make it big. Unfortunately, most in-house IT solutions can be very pricy and difficult to manage.

IT support isn’t something you can simply opt out of. And finding the right partner that can guarantee smooth operations and reliable crisis management prove to be difficult. If you’re looking for IT solutions or are considering hiring an IT management service, it is important to know that there are three types:

 

1. Break-fix support

The break-and-fix support system is exactly what the name stands for. If your IT systems break, they will fix it. This is a good option if you’re running on a limited budget since it doesn’t provide ongoing monitoring services. What it will do is offer you the repairs and maintenance you need whenever your operating systems go bust. That way, you could get back to business as fast as possible.

 

2. Managed service support

The priciest of the three options, it works more like a partnership between two companies – you and the IT partner you’ve chosen to manage your systems. Not only does managed support provide 24/7 monitoring and regular system maintenance. It can even go so far as to suggest tips for optimizing. Some support systems will try to provide cost-savings solutions and IT roadmaps for keeping your infrastructure up-to-date.

 

3. Pay as you go

It’s often confused with the break-fix support system but “pay as you go” is more like the budget version of a fully managed service support. Unlike managed service, associated charges are usually either fixed price or hourly.

Pay as you go services may or may not include system monitoring, and can be limited to an as-per needed basis, depending on the provider.

 

Questions To Ask A Potential IT Partner

By now, you should have an easier time picking the right service for you. Once you’ve made a choice, however, you will have to ask them some important questions.

 

1. What services do you offer?

It’s important to know exactly what sort of services are offered by your selected IT provider. Different companies will have their own roster of services available at varying rates. Knowing which ones are essential to your company’s day-to-day functions, and how much they cost should help you decide if they’re a perfect fit.

 

2. Do you specialize in a specific industry?

This is a question that a lot of companies tend to overlook whenever they’re on the lookout for IT management services. But you should ask your chosen provider if they have any specializations. If they happen to specialize in the same niche as your company, then you’ve found a perfect fit! If they haven’t, ask them if they’re flexible enough to meet your needs.

 

3. What innovations can you bring to the company?

This is probably a hit-and-miss. But if you’re opting for a managed support service, you have to know if taking them on board is going to be advantageous for your company in the long run. This will also let you know if they have a plan of action, or if they’re just going to be a break-and-fix disguised as a management support system.

Businesses are struggling to maintain a secure IT infrastructure. Threats to cybersecurity are continuously on the rise and becoming more complex. Cybercriminals are always coming up of new ways to take advantage of security holes.

The challenge of securing an IT network is more apparent for growing companies. Their increasing dependence on technology demands the need for more extensive infrastructure. Unfortunately for these businesses, it takes a more significant amount of effort and resources to secure their data.

A firewall can act as your first line of defense against cyber threats. It protects your assets from malicious intent, though it could also hurt your business without the proper configuration. In today’s article, we’ll teach you how a firewall can potentially damage your business. But first, let’s talk about what a firewall is and what it’s supposed to do.

 

Understanding How Your Firewall Works

Simply put, a firewall is a security feature that prevents unauthorized access to your network. At the same time, it allows authorized staff to access systems and devices within the same environment.

Think of it as a gatekeeper. A firewall monitors and controls the flow of information between your network and the internet, and across different components in your infrastructure. It prevents cyber threats such as malware from infiltrating your system or from spreading if they manage to get past your security.

 

Four Signs Your Firewall Is Hurting Your Business

When installing a firewall, you’re not just taking the first step towards cybersecurity. You’re essentially building the foundations of data protection. However, things can go wrong during the process and instead of doing good, a firewall can harm your business.

 

1. Improper setup

Improper setup can either make you more vulnerable to attacks, or it can restrict your staff’s access to much-needed data. If you expect to be adequately protected against cyber threats, a firewall has to have the right configuration.

This can be difficult for growing businesses given the complexity of their systems and an increasing number of devices. If your IT team is not up for the task, consider outsourcing to a third-party provider.

 

2. Overloading

Growing companies have to invest in more technologies if they want to compete with established businesses in their industry. However, your network can only handle so many devices and programs at any given time.

Besides limiting your network’s performance, a firewall won’t be able to keep up with the additional workload. Not unless you allow some data to get past the firewall unchecked – which shouldn’t be an option for obvious security reasons.

 

3. Poor visibility

Traffic flow is more difficult to monitor in a larger infrastructure, especially for a small in-house IT team. Due to poor visibility, you won’t be able to…

  • Block malicious activities
  • Identify key business operations and optimize your network towards them
  • Find out which apps are reducing productivity so you can limit their use

Outsourcing your IT support can help you overcome these limitations and provide comprehensive visibility. In turn, this allows you to take advantage of your firewall’s features other than security.

 

4. Expensive costs

When a firewall is costing you more money than it should, and if your IT team is spending most of their time on maintenance just so they could keep it together, then it’s definitely hurting your business. Spending your resources on a firewall can hold you back and prevent you from investing in solutions for growing your business.

Outsourcing your IT needs doesn’t guarantee that you’d be satisfied with the outcome. It can be disappointing at times, especially when you realize too late that you’ve made a wrong choice. By then, you would have already wasted hundreds to thousands of dollars on lackluster services.

Thankfully, you can still cut back on your losses by switching to a different provider. Though it’s going to present new challenges such as possible delays if the handover is botched.

 

Tips for Seamlessly Handing Over Your Outsourced IT Support

We want you to get the best IT services for your company. So we’re giving away 6 tips on how to seamlessly handover outsourced IT support.

 

Tip #1 – Secure your business data

Outsourcing to an IT support partner grants them full access to your IT infrastructure and any stored data within it. Before switching to a new provider, you should secure your data by changing passwords to prevent them from accessing it any further. Perform a backup just in case you need to restore data.

 

Tip #2 – Know why you’re switching

It pays to understand your company’s reasons for outsourcing IT support and for switching providers. That way, you’ll know exactly what your business needs and what to look for in a support partner.

For many, it’s usually the expensive costs which drive them out. But there are also instances where a provider is simply incompetent. And so, changing providers makes sense.

 

Tip #3 – Learn from experience

Note how your previous IT support partner met and failed your expectations in terms of projected goals and standards. Identify their strengths and weaknesses, and how these factors helped or held you back.

These experiences will allow you to narrow down services that you’d want in a provider.

 

Tip #4 – Hand over reports

Retrieve copies of the IT audit and support log from your old provider. An IT audit includes an inventory of your hardware, software, and log-in information. Meanwhile, the support log is a documentation of issues previously encountered –  whether or not they were resolved (and how).

Handing over these documents promotes business continuity and ensures quick and easy transition from one provider to another. It allows your new provider to pick up on where you left off.

 

Tip #5 – Be open about your IT needs

Feel free to talk openly about your expectations and goals. Be clear about your daily needs and which aspects of your business you’d like to grow and improve, so you can avoid future disappointments.

From here, an outsourced IT partner can tell if they’re able to help you or not. But if they do take on the responsibility, they should give you a clear outline of how they plan on meeting your goals.

 

Tip #6 – Keep collaborating

Don’t just stand there. Be an active participant in the process from start to finish. Keep communication lines open and collaborate with your new provider so you’ll have the reassurance that your needs are being met. You likewise have to stay on the loop and be made aware of any updates, upgrades, and fixes that were applied.

The cloud has become popular in recent years and is currently the preferred solution for secured data storage and reliable computing power. There are several reasons why companies are shifting from traditional servers to the virtual cloud. These include better accessibility, security, management, and storage capacity – all for a lower cost.

Cloud services have been around since the early 2000s. And yet there are still people who are unfamiliar with the technology or what it is capable of. Companies likewise have little grasp of what cloud really is, or they expect too much from it.

If you’re planning to move some or all of your company’s data to the cloud, you should at least know its benefits and drawbacks – and which options are available to you.

 

The Benefits of Cloud Computing

One of the most appealing features of cloud computing is the fact that it promises a more streamlined approach towards managing data. It provides nearly unlimited storage, all without the need for a physical device.

Other benefits of the cloud include:

  • Reduced costs due to the absence of physical servers
  • Improved customer and client communications from 24/7 accessibility
  • Better cybersecurity
  • Increased productivity and work organization

However, cloud computing isn’t perfect. It also comes with drawbacks which have to be taken into consideration before you make the switch.

 

The Drawbacks of Cloud Services

Affordability is among the best features of the cloud. But it turns out this can also be one of its major disadvantages. Due to its cheap cost and the fact that most cloud systems are outsourced, you’d have to put up with some limitations.

The drawbacks of the cloud include:

  • Fewer options available, especially for cheaper cloud computing plans
  • Data caps and bandwidth allocation, which is a side effect of its shared user nature
  • Potential risks for data theft and breaches of privacy, especially for unencrypted data
  • A blurry line of legal protection and coverage

 

Types of Cloud Services

If you’re still keen on opting for a cloud service and migrating your data, there are three options available for you to choose from.

 

1. Public Cloud Solutions

Public cloud options are cheap, scalable, and fast. This is often the go-to option of small-scale to moderate-sized businesses, as well as companies that want to have an edge in the business.

The downside to public cloud systems is that there is no guarantee that it is 100% secure and foolproof. It is also prone to data capping and technical outages resulting in downtime.

 

2. Private Cloud Solutions

Private cloud systems fix the privacy and data security issues which public cloud simply cannot meet. They also offer the means to store larger amounts of data than the public cloud. Unfortunately, they tend to be pricier. They also can’t be scaled as efficiently as a public cloud.

 

3. Hybrid Cloud Solutions

This option offers the best of both worlds. Hybridized solutions allow users to access both a private network and a public cloud. Users get to choose which information is stored in which system, allowing for greater flexibility without compromising data security or the potential for growth and expansion.

If you want a shot at success, you’ll have to incorporate newer technologies into your business and back them up with enough IT support. Having adequate support helps ensure that everything is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible so that you can leverage the acquired technology to your advantage.

But how can you tell if you’re getting the right support for your IT needs?

The answer: What you need is an IT audit.

Today, you’ll learn everything there is to know about an IT audit, including what it is, how your business can benefit from it, and how it’s done.

 

What is an IT audit?

Information technology audit, or an IT audit, is a process wherein your IT infrastructure and its servers, systems, devices, apps, and components undergo a thorough assessment. Your hardware, software, and processes will be scrutinized for their capacity to secure your network, systems, and business data; and if they are adequately supported by tools.

To put simply, an IT audit is a general checkup of your IT infrastructure’s health so you’ll know which gaps to fill and how to address them.

Among the factors to evaluated during an IT audit are:

  • Daily operations
  • Quality management
  • Data and cyber security
  • Disaster recovery plan
  • Level of IT support

After the assessment, you’ll get a complete overview of your existing IT assets. You will also receive insights on much-needed upgrades, policy updates, staff training, and other investments.

 

How can your business benefit from an IT audit?

An IT audit gives insight into different aspects of your IT infrastructure. In doing so, it offers the following benefits:

  • Spot issues in your infrastructure that require immediate action so you can fix them right away
  • Get standardized solutions for facilitating business efficiency and productivity
  • Identify IT assets which are no longer necessary and are costing you money, and which assets need to be replaced with newer and better alternatives
  • Plan your IT spendings by following the recommended guidelines on your audit report

However, the main benefit of an IT audit is that it improves the overall efficiency of your business. By helping you provide quality services to your customers, and allowing your business room to grow and innovate in a secure environment, it sets you up for the long-haul.

 

How is an IT audit performed?

Audits are performed by professionals who may be part of an in-house team or an outsourced IT support company. They follow a series of steps to assess an IT infrastructure.

It starts with a preliminary audit of existing IT assets – including the number of devices which are actively used and what they are used for. Next, your IT team will check the efficiency of these assets as they transfer data across your networks.

Weaknesses, required updates, and unnecessary assets will then be highlighted along with recommended cost-saving solutions. And finally, your business continuity plan will be evaluated. If it isn’t viable and there is no disaster recovery plan in place, your IT team can create one based on their findings during the audit.

Today’s businesses are increasingly dependent on technology. And any enterprise that relies heavily on tech will likely have a server. But whether it’s up to par with the latest standards is often questionable. Many companies continue to operate on an old server without even knowing it, or without realizing its adverse effects on their scalability.

 

What is a Server?

A server is a computing device or a program which links hardware and software together. It controls access to computers, systems, applications, and other devices. Depending on the set parameters, a server can enable users to access information within its environment, or it could block them for security reasons. At a business level, these users can be your employees, partners, or clients.

Think of it as the brain of your IT infrastructure. The server is responsible for managing the technological aspect of your business. Due to its critical role in operating systems and processes, your server has to be kept up-to-date to ensure its optimum performance.

 

Why an Outdated Server is Costing You More

By now, you should know that the integration of technology into your business doesn’t guarantee advancement. At least, not when you’re using an outdated system. The same holds true for an old server which does more harm than good for your company.

Unfortunately, many businesses have an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality towards technology at large. Investing in say, a new server is seen as a luxury rather than an obvious necessity.

 

The Disadvantages of an Outdated Server

Sticking with an obsolete server will only cost your business more the longer it goes. The drawbacks of an outdated server include…

  • Poor energy efficiency. Hardware tends to consume more electricity the older it becomes.
  • Requires constant maintenance and monitoring. An old server is prone to issues and security breaches, thus needing more attention than usual.
  • Lowers productivity. Employees are unable to perform tasks efficiently or any tasks at all whenever your server encounters problems.
  • Slows down business. Outdated servers prevent your business operations from running smoothly, from the delivery of services to handling customer care.
  • Continuous need for software updates. To compensate for the inadequacies of an obsolete server, you will have to keep on integrating new software into your infrastructure.
  • Limits scalability. The increasing needs of an outdated server, combined with decreased operational efficiency and employee productivity, limits the capacity of your business to grow.
  • High costs with low return of investment. Old servers will keep you from providing quality services, as well as limit the number of clients you can accommodate. Either way, you could end up losing customers while having to pay mounting costs for server upkeep.

 

How to Tell If Your Business Needs A New Server

A server that has gone past its life span will show signs of wear and tear. The tell-tale signs of an old server include:

  • Louder fan drives. This means that your server’s hardware can no longer keep up with your demands.
  • An increasing number of problems. It indicates that your server is no longer compatible with newer systems.
  • Your server is operating at more than 80% capacity. When a server is working harder than normal, it isn’t a trait to be admired. Rather, it is a sign of slowed performance, and that the server is ill-equipped to meet your business needs.

If you have an in-house team of IT professionals or have outsourced your IT needs to a third-party provider, you should consult them for an expert opinion. They will be able to tell if you need to upgrade your server or not.