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Hurricane destroying a business with no backup data, files, and continuity plan.

How to Prepare your Business for a Hurricane

ACCUweather, which provides global forecasting services,  predicted 12-14 storms in 2019. Of those, only about two to three strengthen enough to become a major storm (category 3-5). In 2020, hurricane season is projected to be “extremely active”. A research team at Colorado State University predicts 24 named storms, 12 total hurricanes and 5 major hurricanes.

It’s important that business owners understand what they can do to protect themselves and their workplace.

Preparing 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.

Create A Business Continuity Plan

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.

51% of small businesses surveyed said that damage from a hurricane would be “extremely damaging” to their operation, according to survey by Womply. 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.

Back-Up Your Data As Soon as You Can

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.

Establish A Plan of Communications

Hurricanes can severely impact communication with staff. That’s why it’s necessary to plan accordingly should a storm cut off your lines of communications. 

  • Build a reliable communication tree between you and personnel. Even you’re working remotely, power outages can create a chaotic environment for your business processes. Communication is essential to keep a business running during or after a storm. Also communicating after the storm will give you insight into what employees are dealing with. That will help you manage your business more effectively overall and resolve these issues appropriately. 
  • Prepare for interrupted computer lines, cell phones, emails and landlines. Give employees resources where they can learn about closures and updates regarding the storm. Share as much as possible so that no one member of your team knows more or less than another.

No Office No Limitations: Working From Home is No Hassle At All

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.

Nerds Support Contact Us Leaderboard

Miami-Based Nerds Support Inc. Ranked Among Top 200 of World's 501 Most Elite MSP's

Nerds Support is Among The World’s Most Elite MSP’s

Nerds Support Ranks Among The Top 200 Managed Services Providers 

Nerds Support is one the world’s premier managed services provider on the 13th annual Channel Futures MSP 501 rankings for 2020. The company is proud to have won this honor for the second year in a row.

In 13 years, the MSP 501 has grown from a competitive ranking list to an eclectic group of service providers, vendors, distributors and industry analysts that now define the managed services industry.

In response to demand from telecom agents, resellers, digital agencies and other non-MSP channel partners that are spinning up managed services practices, we are excited to this year launch the NextGen 101, an MSP 501 list. 

The demand for telecom agents, digital agencies, agents and other partners interested in managed services practices, MSP 501 released this top-tier list of exemplary managed services provider.

To read the full press release click here.

Channel Future’s 501 Ranking

MSP’s across the world complete an extensive survey and application reporting their services, rate-of-growth, annual total and recurring revenues, pricing structure and more to determine their eligibility. MSP’s are ranked using a unique methodology developed by Channel Futures that weighs revenue figures according to how well the applicant’s business strategy predicts and adapts to trends and growth within the industry.

Nerds Support’s History 

Nerds Support is a Miami based managed IT Services Company that provides IT consulting, support, cloud computing, Software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cyber security support to a variety of industries but focuses on manufacturing, logistics, financial and CPA firms. Scott Richman founded Nerds Support in 2004, hoping to provide small to medium sized businesses the assets need to gain a competitive edge by the strategic use of IT and support technologies.

Using his knowledge as a Microsoft Certified systems engineer, Scott built infrastructures unique to each of his clients and partners to provide them with a fully functioning IT services department. In the 15 years since its founding, Nerds Support has become the reliable partner of now successful companies and as they have grown so have we. The success of Nerds Support’s partners has coincided with our own because our partner’s success is Nerds Supports as well.

Nerds Support now has a thriving team of industry systems engineers and IT professionals with a combined 30+ years of experience in Technologies support, services and security. “We have a real passion for helping our clients,” said Scott. “We want to make sure our clients have the IT infrastructure, that they have the tools, that they have someone working with them helping them develop in a world that’s becoming more reliant on tech.”

That is why Nerds Support was ranked “…among the most elite, innovative and strategic IT services providers on the planet,” according to Kris Blackmon, Content Director of Channel Partners & Channel Futures. 

An accounting firm considering to accept cloud technology.

Why CPA’s Need Cloud Services To Survive

Cloud Services For Accountants is More Important Than Ever

As a CPA firm you’re going to have to adjust to this new remote reality. No one expected the lock-down, however firms that operated on the cloud had an advantage over those who hadn’t yet or only did so partially.

Many accounting firms learned to understand how the right technology could help them access and review financial information, create reports, manage accounts and more.

There is no telling how or when businesses will open up. Moreover, reopening A CPA firm to its full capacity requires much more than opening the doors, turning the lights on and wiping off the dust from your desk.

It is a gradual process that will require much planning and the transition itself will depend on many factors.

That is why cloud technology has become so pivotal in the last few months. The lock-down put many accounting systems to the test, forcing everyone from individual practitioners to larger firms to operate continually outside of the office.

Firms that migrated to the cloud prior to the lock-down are doing well. Their client data secured in a data center and their applications on a cloud network ready to use. The Accounting industry has been discussing the impacts that would occur as a result of the cloud. Now, it’s no longer a theoretical discussion.

Experts predict cloud accounting to be a permanent feature of any CPA firm. Firms that didn’t migrate to the cloud previously might be asking if it’s too late for them. The answer is a definitive no.

Video Conferencing

Firms that use Microsoft 365 might be familiar with Teams. Teams is one of the many video conferencing applications firms are using to communicate while working remotely.  There are also applications like Zoom, Google hang outs, and Skype. These video tools facilitate collaboration and, with the right cloud service provider, can create an effective remote environment.

Financial services experts and CPA’s are discussing the possibly of permanent remote advising. Remote advisory services was always the direction technology was heading in. However, the lock-down that proceeded the COVID-19 pandemic only sped this transition.

These remote services will only be afforded to firms willing to migrate and adopt the virtual tools necessary to perform these roles efficiently.  That means finding a managed services provider with cloud hosting capabilities that are designed to meet your firm’s needs.

Remote Advising Through The Cloud

Remote advising is the future of the financial services industry. Technology was already in the processes of changing the role of CPA’s towards more advisory positions. With software automating much of the compliance work once handled by an accountant or bookkeeper.

James C. Bourke, a CPA an accountancy technology expert, predicts that if CPA’s are not spending on technology solutions that are accessible remotely, they will be revisited.

“Priorities are going to change on technology spending, once we are all back in the office,” he said in a recent podcast.

Adopting a cloud storage system that can handle any project without downtime can help your business succeed with remote work.

Migrating  Your Firm to The Cloud

Can you migrate mission critical applications to the cloud now? Specifically can you migrate Document, tax, engagement, and practice management to the cloud?

According to Bourke, currently, migrating to the cloud will be difficult but CPA’s should do everything they can to prepare themselves for a cloud migration when we return to normalcy.

That requires firms to research the best cloud providers, checking to see if they have the right security and compliance tools to provide your firm with the proper IT support without failing to meet regulation standards.

Technology disruption and the shifting to more advisory services are creating a professional environment where accountants must offer more valued and diverse skill sets.  However, this also means shifting focus to the client’s specific needs and away from other aspects of your practice like software, cyber security and IT services.

Leveraging the Cloud

If you plan on working as a trusted advisor you need to understand the implications of these shifts and what these tools mean for your firm. It’s not only adopting a cloud solution but adopting one that has the services that benefit your firm the most. Migrating to the cloud is like purchasing a car. Just because it has four wheels and an engine doesn’t mean it will be the vehicle you.

There are many types of cloud providers and every cloud provider has different assets, strengths and weaknesses. There are public, private and hybrid cloud. Different cloud companies like Azure have cloud services but require you to pay an extra fee for support services. Nerds Support’s accounting cloud services utilizes software that complies with SOX and FINRA standards for example.

Other cloud providers like AWS are public clouds with thousands of clients. Their service would be less personal and contacting support is difficult.

Cloud Accounting is The Future

A Survey in The New Jersey Society of CPA’s, revealed that 40 percent of participants expected a decrease in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The development of cloud technology and remote services will work to mitigate revenue loss once properly implemented.

The abrupt switch from in-person accounting services to remote focused work was jarring. Firms were unprepared for the demands of a remote work environment. However, now that industries, not just Accounting, have seen the results of a shut-in, firms will work to eliminate this vulnerability by revisiting cloud technologies and focusing on remote tools.

Managed Service Providers expect an increase in demand for public cloud services. Specifically, a an increase in SaaS, industry- focused apps. These include collaboration and other productivity and business continuity tools.

The social shift towards online platforms (VOD, social media platform, and cloud gaming) shift focus towards cloud infrastructure automation/management software.

In other words, cloud environment reliability, optimizing online platforms and the performance of your infrastructure determine the success of your firm in the future. Clients now and in the future will require and request online services.

Make sure your firm stays protected and ready for this new shift.

Cyber criminal breaching federal emergency loan site for access to money.

8,000 Emergency Loan Applicants Affected by Data Breach

The SBA Was Breached

8,000 small business owners who applied for loans from the Small Business Administration potentially had their personal information exposed last month, admits the agency.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) offers up to $10,000 to owners currently struggling with their businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who Is Affected?

The breach affects people who applied for the EIDL. Traditionally, it was used to aid owner whose businesses were impacted by tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters. Congress expanded it in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.

Notification letters were sent to 7,913 applicants possibly impacted by the breach and then the letters were posted online. The letters revealed that personal data could have been exposed to other applicants. This data included phone numbers, addresses, dates of birth, income and financial information, and social security numbers.

What’s In the Loan Program?

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL) offers up to $10,000 to owners currently struggling with their businesses due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A Trump administration official described the issue to CNBC saying that an error occurred when some owners would hit the back button on a page they would see the information of someone else’s businesses rather than their own.

How Did The SBA Find Out?

According to reports by the Washington Post, the SBA was initially silent on the duration of the breach or about details of its discovery. Businesses that may have been affected were notified by the SBA and offered one free year of credit monitoring.

The Agency said it discovered the vulnerability on March 25 and notified those affected with letters. A copy of the letter was posted by a victim after the breach. The letter itself mentioned that there is no sign of data misuse as of last week.

What’s The SBA’s Track Record?

Business owners have had issues with the disaster loan website before. The site was taken down for maintenance for several hours on March 16, and owners could not apply during that time. On March 29, the SBA revised its application process for the disaster loans and owners had to reapply. Many learned days or weeks later that they needed to reapply.

Business owners experienced issues with the loan website previously. In fact, the site was taken down for maintenance for hours on March 16. This meant owners couldn’t apply for a loan in that time. About two weeks later on March 29, the SBA updated the application process for the loans and owners were required to reapply.

How Much Money Was Allocated?

As of April 19, SBA had approved almost 27,000 EIDL loans valued at $5.6 billion. Another 755,000 businesses received EIDL grants worth a total of $3.3 billion. The Trump administration official told CNBC that 4 million business owners had applied for assistance worth $383 billion—far more than the $17 billion allocated for the program.

Even before the breach the agency website was strained by a flood of applications for the loan that overburdened funding, keeping businesses waiting for weeks to receive money.

Before the COVID-19 crisis small businesses should have been eligible for up to $2 million in disaster loans. Unfortunately, because millions of companies are now seeking assistance,  the SBA had to limit the loans to the previously mentioned $10,000

What are the Risks Now That There Was a Breach?

That being said, the SBA approved nearly 27,000 EIDL loans since April 19. However, the breach raises a problem for anyone looking to exploit personal information on the website for social engineering scams. IBM Securities published research revealing it had seen a 6000% increase in email campaigns impersonating the SMB.

For more information on cyber security, cloud, remote work and more, visit Nerds Support’s blog.

 

Miami-VoIP-Phone-Services

Why Companies Needs Miami VoIP Phone Services in 2020

Americans are working from home more than ever before. Statistics from Smallbizgenius reveals the number of people working from home has increased by 150 percent since 2005.

Remote working is changing the workplace dynamic dramatically and knowing how to use the right tools will be essential in growing your business in the coming years.

One such tool is VoIP.

VoIP Phone Services (Voice-over Internet Protocol) phone services, which is a technology that allows you to make voice calls over an internet connection, rather than a regular phone line. This means that you can make calls from anywhere through your office phone number.

Getting the Most Out of VoIP

To make sure you have the best VoIP system in place you will need a VoIP that:

  1. Has a secure and encrypted connection, preferably in the form of VPN. A Virtual Private Network lets users connect to the internet securely without worrying about being infiltrated or breached. This way, remote workers can share files and communicate even when they’re in other locations like coffee shops or restaurants.
  2. Is Hosted by a Cloud Provider. A hosted VoIP system means remote workers have easier access from different places. Additionally, outsourcing your provider is more practical because an outsourced provider has more experience and technicians to provide the best possible service.
  3. Has a mobile App. There is greater versatility for remote workers if they can access video chats on their devices. Communication doesn’t only happen when workers are in front of their computer. In the case of an emergency, you need to be able to contact anyone at a moments notice.

In 2020, VoIP phone services are very important business IT support tools with remote work becoming the norm. Below, our IT Support Miami team lists three reasons why business owners need Miami VoIP phone services.

Keeps Remote Workers Connected

With VoIP phone services, business owners and their employees can stay connected, wherever they go. As long as they have a secure  internet connection, business owners and employees can take calls from their office number, their personal phone and even their email address even while working from home.

These features make it possible to stay connected with your employees regardless of where they are in the world. Furthermore, each system is scalable and customized, so you can have a phone system that meets your needs as your business changes and grows.

Moreover, business owners and employees don’t have to give out different phone numbers or even their email address to their clients. Business owners and employees can simply hand out one phone number and keep their other personal information confidential. This will help a lot of employees separate their work life from their personal life, without coming off as rude or limited to their clients.

Fastest Business IT Support in Miami

Other technology companies that offer VoIP Phone Services may take hours to get back to you, but Nerds Support’s 24/7 IT support Miami help desk will ensure that your business is helped in under an hour.

Miami VoIP Phone Services is More Than a Phone Number

Communication isn’t just limited to audio; video calls can bring remote employees in direct contact with one another. They can exchange files, leave comments, or edit each other’s work with ease.

There are some factors that really set Nerds Support’s Miami VoIP Phone services apart from other VoIP phone services. Some big differentiator are the services that Nerds Support’s VoIP system brings. Such included services are:

  • Call Forwarding
  • E-fax
  • Auto-attendant
  • Call Processing
  • Voice to Email

Call Forward

With these services, you can have calls forwarded from your office to your personal phone. Having your business phone number connected to your email also means that you can have your voice converted into text. That way, business owners and employees will never miss another email again!

These services also mean that you can disconnect your fax machine and save money on having an online fax service for your clients.

Auto Attendant

Finally, Miami VoIP phone services come with an auto attendant. That means you will never have to miss another call again, because the auto attendant will take the call for you and record your message so you can reach the caller again later.

The Industry’s Only Money Back Guarantee

Nerds Support’s Miami VoIP Phone services is the only Miami VoIP phone service that offers a 100% money back guarantee. Our promise is that if you don’t like Nerds Support’s Miami VoIP phone services, then Nerds Support will refund you up to two months of your money back.