Hurricane destroying a business with no continuity plan

How to Prepare your Business for a Hurricane

Storms can devastate homes, families and entire communities. For small businesses, recovering from hurricanes and tropical storms can take years. Sometimes, they don’t recover at all. The Golden Corral franchise restaurant in New Orleans suffered considerable damage after Hurricane Katrina.

Natural disasters can negatively affect businesses in a variety of ways. There are other kinds of disasters called operational disasters, which occur when a business loses an important manager or director, the conditions within the business become far too unfavorable to maintain productivity. Large and small businesses deal with the effects of disasters differently, mainly because larger businesses have more resources at their disposal for restoring their operations.

ACCUweather, which provides global forecasting services, is predicting 12-14 storms in 2019.

Of those, only about two to three strengthen enough to become a major storm (category 3-5).

The first thing to do before anything else is to create a business continuity plan as soon as possible, preferably long before hurricane season starts. A continuity plan can greatly improve your chances of a timely recovery after a hurricane, storm or any other natural disaster. Plans include detailed instruction for restoring operations after a natural disaster.

Protect the components that are most responsible for sustaining operations first. It is important to make an appraisal of key elements within your business to really determine how you proceed.

According to survey taken by Womply, a software-as-a-service company, 51% of small businesses surveyed said that damage from a hurricane would be “extremely damaging” to their operation.

This is due to the damage that a hurricane deals to business assets during a storm. Networks, technology, equipment and data are among the litany of assets that are at risk during a hurricane.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a Continuity Resource tool kit which gives businesses insight into how to adapt to rapidly changing conditions and make quick recoveries from operational disruptions.

Where are your assets located? A software company, for example, may have servers that operate within a warehouse away from the office. In that case you would have to ensure there are protections put in place to secure them.

Back-up your data as soon as possible. Make sure your data is secured off-site.

For example, Nerds Support data center is located in downtown Miami in a secure building that can withstand a category 5 hurricane. If a catastrophic hurricane, more powerful than a CAT 5 were to hit, the servers would be moved to another secure location away from danger with the uttermost care.

With today’s technology this is easier than ever. Cloud based services function as a way to secure data and ensure functionality for businesses so that they can work remotely or recuperate necessary digital tools to continue their operation.

You can work from a different location regardless of the weather conditions or circumstances.  

Your workforce will also need to adapt and work with you to expedite recovery, but that will necessitate effective leadership on your part as a business owner.

Many companies now have a mobile workforce that often have to move from the office to the field or work remotely from another location.

You need a system of communication that allows you to access the bulk of your workforce if not everyone simultaneously. It is important that you keep track of everyone’s location in real time and establish a plan of action. Look into who within your workforce travels most frequently and where they travel to.

Establishing clear communication from within your team is essential to preserving organization and even moral. Confusion and miscommunication can lead to exacerbate tension and anxiety and create a perception that the storm is more severe that it is.

Download our FREE e-book for more information on how to prepare for a storm and how to weather any natural disaster this hurricane season.  Or contact us today at 305-551-2009, there’s still time to get prepared.

Nerd Support mascot under an umbrella avoiding the rain

How to Avoid Hurricane-Related Scams

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, cyber-attacks like phishing scams and other forms of social engineering become more common. Cyber criminals use social media and email scams to exploit individuals empathy and desire to help.

Businesses, whether they are large or small, are also at risk of cyber-attacks and security breaches after a natural disaster because IT systems often end up damaged or compromised. If the damage is substantial, this can set a company back month and forces the IT team that works to monitor cyber breaches to focus on rebuilding internal architecture. This is how cybercriminals exploit natural disasters.

Maintaining data secure means knowing the natural risks that could affect your facilities and/or data centers.

Data companies at risk of natural disasters must implement a hurricane contingency plan and make the appropriate adjustments to their infrastructure to withstand whatever natural disaster threatens them.

Companies like Data Foundry Inc. in Houston, Texas build their data centers to withstand winds of a category 5 hurricane.

Keeping your business protected from storms and earthquakes will only go so far however; it is important that you keep vigilant and are privy to the scams used by cyber attackers in the wake of a disaster. The US Federal Trade Commission, US-CERT, Federal Management Agency and the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) issued alerts on scams associated with natural disasters.

The most recent example of phishing scams were related to Hurricane Harvey in 2017. US-CERT advised users to stay cautious when handling emails, hyperlinks and attachments related to the storm. Fraudulent emails will often be unsolicited and, in many cases, claim to represent a charity looking to raise funds towards a cause or victim relief.

If you do receive emails or messages from charitable organizations, always make sure they’re legitimate. If you don’t recognize the organization, assume it is a potential phishing attempt and research the charity extensively. Many cyber attackers will go as far impersonating the victims of a natural disaster asking for charitable assistance.

If you or your business are looking to assist victims of natural disasters or charities, it’s best to stay away from links provided through email or social media. Always type out the website of the organization you’re looking to support, a link can be misleading or a fraudulent spoof.

Legitimate organizations will never ask for personal banking information or a social security number. If you receive a phone call, exercise the same level of precaution you would towards an email or a link. Scammers impersonate charities through the phone as well. Always research the organization.

The US Department of Homeland Security recommends organizations to develop business continuity plans that would address what to do in the result of a natural disaster. That being said, many back-up systems don’t have the same security protections that exist in the primary system or in a live environment. This makes them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Taking the necessary steps to protect your data begins first with awareness. Be aware of the location you’re operating out of in order to develop an effective continuity plan as well as being aware of the types of cyber schemes that may arise as a result of a natural disaster like a hurricane.

Download Nerd Support’s free e-book to learn more about how to protect your business in the coming months as hurricane season begins.

Are you hurricane ready ?

 

Find out today

Examples of cloud computing in Miami

10 Examples of Cloud Computing

 

Cloud computing is an infrastructure and software system that allows for access to shared networks of storage, servers and applications over the internet.

It can be used to process data and it’s either provided by a privately owned cloud service or a third party cloud provider. Here are some examples of such cloud services.

Here are 10 examples of cloud computing

 

  1. Nerds Support Cloud

Nerd Support Cloud Computing Miami Services has a variety of services included within its cloud system. The Nerd Support cloud assists Medium and Small sized businesses with all IT based services by providing software (SaaS), hardware upgrades and maintenance as well as security so they may operate at maximum efficiency.

  1. Salesforce

Salesforce has a cloud based software-as-a-service (SaaS). It is both a business-to-business and business to consumer commerce solution.

  1. BPM Online

BPM online is a cloud service specifically for marketing, sales and servicers to manage business processes and assist companies to facilitate consumer experience and customer journey.

  1. Slack

Slack is an American based cloud service designed to facilitate internal team collaboration through its tools and services.

  1. Google Cloud

Google Cloud Platform, a cloud service offered by Google, runs on the same infrastructure that Google uses internally for its end-user products like Google and YouTube.

  1. Microsoft 365

Office 365 is a product line of subscription-based services such as Outlook, Powerpoint, and Excel.   

  1. Workplace by OS33

Is a software-as-a-service platform for compliance and productivity for wealth management firms.

  1. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is a set of applications and services from Adobe Systems that gives subscribers access to various software used for graphic design, video editing, web design, photography and more.

  1. Microsoft PowerBI

Power BI provides cloud-based business analytics services by Microsoft. It offers data services that provide interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface that allows end users to create their own reports.

  1. Box

Box is a cloud content management and file sharing services provided to businesses. It is a service available for Windows and IOS as well as some mobile platforms.

If you want to learn more about how cloud computing can help your business. Download our FREE E-book by clicking here

Financial firms use IT Support Miami to remain competitive

How financial institutions can digitize to remain competitive

According to the PEW research center, 56 million Millennials
(ages 23-37) were working or looking for work in 2017, making them the largest
portion of the U.S. labor force. This means millennials are becoming the
largest drivers of the economy. Millennials are on average more technologically
savvy than the previous generations and have driven growth towards a more
digital economy.

Banks and other financial institutions must adapt to account
for this new trend. Digital banking users have increased from 26% to 51%
between the years 2012 and 2017, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Consumers are banking digitally, meaning through desktops, laptops, tablets and
smartphones.

82% of consumers ages 18-24 were using mobile banking
platforms in 2017, indicating a shift towards a more personalized banking
experience. They also want to sign up for banking services without needing to visit
a physical branch.  

Based on a 2018 survey, PwC, a professional services firm,
found that mobile users grew from 10% in 2017 to 15% in 2018. This means mobile
banking is becoming more popular as time passes.

Taking all of these statistics into account, banks should
adjust their priorities towards increasing and personalizing digital banking
services.

There is growing competitive pressure coming from companies
like Alibaba and financial startups to go digital in terms of how companies
should function and engage with customers.

The goal is to make banking services available to people in
remote locations where they may others be unable to access local branches.

Digitalization is also far less expensive than banking in a
traditional brick-and-mortar branch. PwC ‘s report titled  Bank of the future: Finding the right path to
digital transformation, mentions how some banks create full on digital native
banks that use completely digital customer interface and back end.

The report also says, that branch transactions cost about $4
each, while online and mobile transactions cost $0.09 and mobile transactions
cost $0.19. Automation is the biggest channel in terms of growth for many businesses
across the board.

Going digital makes banks more agile as well. It allows them
to quickly adapt to changing customer trends and tastes. Going digital will
provide for a testing ground for new services and products where a bank would
otherwise have to commit to a strategy and hope it’s successful.

It’s possible to use modern IT infrastructure to set up a digital bank using third party architecture, also known as cloud services or cloud computing. In other words, one can set up an entirely digital bank without the need for internal IT, which would be a huge financial barrier. Instead, one may outsource hardware, software and maintenance to a cloud provider, further decreasing costs and risks.

Nerds Support has 17+ years of experience helping financial institutions digitalize while meeting important IT compliance.

 It’s important to
understand that digitizing everything is not necessarily the best option. Each
bank is different and has different strengths and core capabilities. You might
not be in a place to fully digital overhaul.

In order to succeed in digitizing where others fail is to
define and evaluate your long term strategy. PwC suggests you consider the
questions:

•             What do
we want to be known for?

•             What
consumer segments are we targeting?

  • What are our core capabilities and how can a digital
    strategy strengthen them?

Many industries are also on the
way towards digitization in order to appeal to the Millennial and Gen -Z that’s
following behind. This also means that adopting a digital infrastructure is
going to be pivotal in business-to-business (B2B) interactions.

Having outdated or incompatible
business models may become a deterrent to industries you want to service and
conversely, an updated, innovative structure may appeal to start-ups or bigger
companies that are looking to change and want to work with work with
institutions that they feel will help them achieve their goals.

Contact Nerds Support today for a complimentary IT assessment where we identify gaps and areas of opportunities in your IT infrastructure.

Transform your team into an agile,
lean, modern work environment with Nerds Support’s IT Solutions.