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How To Help Your IT Department with Managed IT Services

If you’re looking to grow your business, you should consider managed IT services in Miami. Managed IT Service Providers help improve business’s operations by reducing costs and providing superior technology solutions. Here are a few ways an MSP can help you achieve your business goals.

You can take a look at 10 examples of cloud computing on our blog.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions Increase in Popularity

It’s no secret that Nerds Support’s Miami cloud solutions is increasing demand day-by-day. A lot of companies are turning to the hybrid cloud. Organizations need to learn about hybrid cloud to grow. But hiring an MSP can help them.

Experts expect  the hybrid cloud market to grow from $44.6 billion in 2018 to $97.6 billion by 2023.

The hybrid cloud market was valued by Markets and Markets at $45.70 billion in 2019. Furthermore, hybrid cloud is expected to reach $128.01 billion by 2025.

These numbers indicate that Hybrid cloud systems are growing in popularity and use. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that 94 percent of enterprises use cloud systems. This is according to Right Scale annual state of the cloud report.

More and More Businesses Embrace Multiple Cloud Applications

In addition to using the hybrid cloud, companies are using more cloud applications like Citrix & Vmware. So, it becomes important for organizations to integrate all of these different solutions. An MSP can provide integrated solutions so that companies have a smooth workflow.

Sticking to one type of cloud solution might resolve some issue but create others. Both public and private cloud solutions have benefits and drawbacks.

Pros of Public Cloud

  • Based on a pay-as-you-go model. Lower upfront costs.
  • Large enough to meet the needs of a majority of organizations
  • Massive network of servers which protects the system from failure.
  • Servers are physically housed in a secure, offsite data center
  • Large public Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Comcast Business Cloud have enterprise level infrastructure and top grade security.
  • Scalable on-demand resources and applications

Cons of Public Cloud

  • Options are limited if a company requires more customized solutions.
  • The public nature of cloud puts your data at risk. A hacker targeting the public cloud vendor could expose your data even if the hacker was not targeting you specifically.
  • Public cloud may be a one-size-fits-most, and has limited flexibility in configuration and security.
  • Public cloud is not ideal for companies who use sensitive data or is subject to compliance regulations.
  • Data centers might be located overseas where specific regulations don’t apply or compliance standards differ.

The Pros of Private Cloud

  • Hosting and infrastructure are not shared by customers, providing a higher level of control, security and customization.
  • Server can be stored onsite or offsite
  • Capable of delivering different service models
  • Strong security features make it ideal for companies who operate using private data.
  • Can adhere to strict compliance standards
  • Has more flexibility and controls
  • Cost could decrease over time
  • Lower security risk. Private clouds are not as targeted as larger public cloud vendors.
  • Higher scalability than public cloud.

Cons of Private Cloud:

  • Remote access of a private cloud could create security risks
  • More expensive up-front costs than public.
  • Private clouds might require hardware that you will have to own and maintain.
  • Security, in many cases, is up to the user

The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud harnesses the capabilities of both public and private clouds. Hybrid clouds offer more customized options than public cloud by giving companies the option to choose decide where to place your IT applications.

Pros of Hybrid Cloud:

  • Flexibility and scalability depending on individual application needs within the company.  For example: interacting with clients on the public cloud, but keeping their data secure on a private network.
  • Scalability and flexibility is determined by the needs of the company
  • Higher level of security than a public cloud alone
  • Can choose what aspects of IT will be private and which will be public.
  •  Integrates benefits of both private and public cloud solutions

Cons of Hybrid Cloud:

  • Keeping track of multiple different platforms and vendors
  • If you’re using multiple platforms and vendors it it could get overwhelming to track.
  • Using both public and private clouds may require more complex IT management that could equate to higher overall costs
  • Using a combination of public and private clouds could require advanced IT support and management that will raise costs

Fortunately, many of the drawbacks associated with hybrid clouds are resolved through managed it services. A managed IT services company like Nerds Support offers co-managed IT. That means we provide the business with supplementary IT department capable of handling the transition. Not only that, but we also provide the hardware necessary for a successful cloud migration.

Moving Enterprise Applications to the Public Cloud or Private Cloud

Cloud migration, for those of you who don’t know, is the act of moving business operations into the cloud. It is more a digital move than a physical one but it is at least partly physical. Cloud migration involves moving applications, data, IT processes, and data to the data center or centers.

Enterprise applications are located in the private cloud to maintain the security of an organization. But more and more organizations come to know that cloud is actually the more secure solution. So, companies are moving enterprise applications to the cloud. An MSP, like Nerds Support can help you move your enterprise applications to the public cloud safely.

Optimizing IT Cloud Strategies

As more and more companies are using the cloud, it becomes important to optimize and refine services and reduce expenses. As companies know the benefits of cloud solutions, they are looking to improve on the costs related to cloud. MSPs can assess the status of an organization’s cloud infrastructure. They can provide an all-in-one solution at an affordable cost.

Well, MSP service is not just about growing your business. It’s about achieving meaning growth. Let’s build a stronger foundation for the future with reliable managed services.

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Be careful with social engineering scams that install malware

Reduce Malware Infections in 7 Steps

7 IT Solutions To Reduce the Risk Of Malware Infections

Friday, June 26 2020 The University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine paid over $1 million to regain access to data after hackers encrypted it with malware.

Situations like this happen all the time. Unfortunately, businesses and institutions across the world have failed to properly prepare for cyberattacks. In many cases it’s a matter of outdated infrastructure and insufficient funding. In other cases, it’s neglect or improper training.

Because of the fact that if your system is infected, you likely won’t be getting your files back unless you pay the ransom, you likely don’t want this to infect your work systems. One of the ways to limit the possibility of this is to educate your employees on how to minimize the chances their systems will be infected. Here are seven practical IT solutions to reduce the risk of malware infections.

1) Watch out For Vulnerabilities

Cyber attackers are using all kinds of technology to exploit networks and systems. One piece of malicious tech they use are exploit kits. Exploit kit, also exploit packs, are programs used to deliver malware to a vulnerable network.

What do I mean by vulnerable? A vulnerability in software is a mistake, or error, in the code. The hacker manipulates the user into visiting a malicious website and if any errors exist in the code of the system, the exploit can be implemented.

Furthermore, exploit kits function in the background making it difficult to determine when you’re experiencing an attack.

Update your operating system, browsers, and plugins. If there’s an update to your computer waiting on queue, don’t let it linger.  Additionally, updates to operating systems, browsers, and plugins are often released to patch any security vulnerabilities discovered.

You can protect yourself from these types of attacks by avoiding links and remembering to update your software. Many of us have the nasty habit of putting off systems updates. The little icon in the corner that reminds us of a new update is often seen as a bother. However, consider the alternative.

These systems updates fix any security vulnerabilities the developers and programmers uncover. There is actually a type of vulnerability called a Zero-Day vulnerability and it happens when hackers exploit undiscovered or unintended vulnerabilities. The malware is actually called zero-day exploits.

This applies to mobile phones as well. Software updates on your phone are meant to strengthen the software and patch any flaws the programmers missed when releasing the software. Software is constantly improving because code is constantly improving.

This explanation in many ways oversimplifies the process but it works for our purposes.

2) Remove Software and Files From your Systems You aren’t using

We’ve all heard of spring cleaning. We look through all the things we have and toss out what we don’t use. If we let things accumulate they create clutter and can create big problems. Well, the same thing applies to software on your devices.

You have to periodically look through all the software on your devices and determine which ones are outdated and which ones are worth keeping. For example, Microsoft no longer releases software updates for Windows 7 and Windows XP. Furthermore, using these applications without support or patch updates puts you in a position to get hacked.

How old are the applications you use? When did you last update them?

Do your homework and find out or someone else will.

3) Be aware of Social Engineering

Cybercriminals spread malware into your systems through social engineering tactics like phishing. There are older, less commons ways too that are worth going over. In some cases, a hacker will place an unlabeled USB in a public place or an office. The idea is that an unsuspecting victim will pick it up, consider it harmless and claim it as their own. This is also a form of social engineering because it still manipulates users into executing a certain action.

There are anti phishing tools you can use like Retruster that protect against fraudulent emails, phishing and ransomware. There are also many plug ins available for free that help users identify malicious links by creating a “safe to click” marker on them.

4) Inspect your Inbox Like Your business depended on it: Because it does.

Understand that the biggest vulnerability your business has walks on two feet. It doesn’t matter how many tools, tips and software updates you have if you fall for a social engineering scam. And it doesn’t just happen to small companies either.

Facebook and Google put together were victim to a payment scam of over $100 million. Between 2013 and 2015 a Lithuanian hacker managed to send each company fake invoices while pretending to be an Asian manufacturer they were in business with.

This is an example of Vishing, a.k.a. voice phishing. Leading to the next point:

5) Always Verify credentials with Cold Callers

Vishing is a bit more difficult to pull off on companies. However, when done correctly it can generate a huge amount of profit for the scammer like I mentioned with Facebook and Google.

Depending on the company you might get a call from someone pretending to be Microsoft. In other cases it’ll be a vendor or a bank checking in. It’s difficult to say in what form these scams will come because the scammers tailor them specifically for a business.

In the case of Facebook and Google, for example, the scammers had to know they two companies were working with that specific vendor.

For your company it will be different according to your specific circumstances. If it isn’t believable then the victim won’t fall for it.

6) Make sure You have a Secure Connection

Whether you’re working in the office or remotely, you need to ensure your connection is secure. If you’re working from home, perhaps you’ll need a VPN to protect your Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, when you’re browsing on the web make sure the website is secure.

7) Use strong passwords with Multi-layer authentication

A large percentage of people reuse the same passwords for the personal and professional logins. It’s time to change that habit. Companies like Google and Apple created password generators that create strong, complex passwords. However, don’t leave it up to google.

If your business doesn’t use multi-layer authentication for access to important documents, files or websites, you’re living in the past. Nerds Support uses multi factor password authentication to ensure whoever is logging in can only do so if they are the right person.

Our systems require a mobile phone confirmation, email confirmation and password confirmation in order to provide access to our systems. That way, if a device gets stolen or a hacker gains access to a password, neither will be enough to access files alone.

Conclusion

Malware attacks are growing. Now that businesses are moving towards remote work, protecting against these types of attacks are more important than ever. Cyber security is not just about the technologies that protect your important data. It’s also about what you are doing to protect your business. It is the first and the last line of defense.

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A business owner thinking about choosing a Managed IT Service Provider

5 Mistakes When Choosing a Managed IT Service Provider

What is The Role Of A Managed IT Service Provider

One of the biggest misconceptions about working with a managed IT services company is the idea that you have to replace your IT department.

However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Managed Services companies are usually brought in to augment and assist existing IT personnel.

Small and medium sized businesses often hire a managed IT services company to provide the same support they would have with an advanced IT department at a lower cost.

Co-managed IT services are options as well. Co-management services are for businesses that already have an IT department but want to improve upon it while taking advantage of the cost savings and structure of an MSP.

The benefits of a managed services company are numerous. For one thing, they handle application and network security issues while lightning the workload for I.T. departments.

Every business wants to grow, but growing too fast comes with its burdens as well. Rapid, exponential growth could start putting a strain on your resources and time. IT is no exception.

But, should you make the decision of hiring a managed IT services company, you have to know what to look for.

Unfortunately, business owners fail to consider some very important factors when choosing an MSP that is right for them.

Here are 5 BIG mistakes businesses make when hiring an MSP and how to avoid them.

1) Letting Managed IT Services Handle ALL of your Problems

Outsourcing all of regular applications and security to an MSP doesn’t rid you of responsibility. It’s still very important that you develop a strategy alongside your IT department and review it with the Managed services provider.

Businesses have to stay in the know when it comes to IT solutions and requirements. An MSP might know your industry well, but only you know your company.

As a business owner you need to discuss compliance, security, infrastructure and strategy regularly and frequently. This ensures the MSP is doing their jobs according to your business goals and complimenting them.

2) Relinquishing Control

Some providers gain popularity simply because they are large. But that doesn’t make them right for your business. Especially since they are so large that establishing a point of contact is nearly impossible.

This is a big problem among large public cloud providers. Public cloud providers have so many clients that they don’t have the time to cater to a individual client’s needs. It devolves into a tenant/landlord relationship rather than a partnership.

You are sharing their services with other businesses and they don’t have time to review your concerns. There are even cases where support is sold separately from the cloud service.

At the end of the day an MSP is an extension of your business, not a business unto itself. They are there to consult and contribute but not control. Choose a provider that is transparent and easy to access.

Which leads me to mistake number three.

3) Choosing a provider that is indifferent about response time.

Downtime is a significant issue for all businesses. However, not all MSP’s act accordingly when it comes it comes to downtime.

Choosing a provider that fails to properly respond to down time is particularly horrible because it can be frustrating, agonizing and terrifying.

Imagine your business goes down and not only is the response time slow, but support is nearly unreachable. The average response time for a large MSP is 5.5 hours. They often market themselves in a way that de-emphasizes their response time in favor of their durable network and security. But, that’s just a trick.

A great MSP has multiple alert systems and responds to downtime in twelve minutes or less. Anything beyond that is negligence. It doesn’t matter how popular, “efficient” or “secure” an MSP is when during an outage or downtime they’re nowhere to be found.

54 percent of companies experienced a downtime event that lasted more than eight hours. That means over half of all companies, regardless of size, experience downtime of over a full work day. Furthermore, that could lead to massive hits in profit and revenue.

According to a Ponemon Institute Study, the average cost of an outage is $9,000 per minute. Let that sink in. Eight hours, sixty minutes an hour, $9,000 per minute. Let that sink in.

4) Thinking all MSP’s are Essentially the same

All MSP’s are different. Managed IT Services companies have resources and tools that suite different companies. Don’t assume that all MSP’s offer the same services or have the same expertise.

For example, Nerds Support works with many financial services companies and CPA’s. As a result, we put a heavy emphasis on cloud compliance and regulations. Financial firms are heavily regulated due to the sensitive information they work with on a regular basis. So whatever MSP a financial firm hires has to closely follow those same regulatory guidelines.

To achieve compliance we had to undergo SOC I and SOC II audits to ensure our clients felt secure relying on us with securing their data and systems.

You have to make sure you ask any potential MSP the right questions. If you want to know exactly what questions to ask a prospective MSP, check out our e-guide “22 Questions for your IT Department”.

5) Misunderstanding Service Level Agreements

The contract between a company and a Managed IT services provider is called a Service Level Agreement, or SLA. Make sure that the contract and the agreement are clear that all relevant staff knows the ins and outs.

That includes where and when these services are available, where their servers are located, how to contact support and what is covered in the terms of billing.

The MSP should provide you with a non-disclose agreement that needs to be signed before the provider gains access to your company’s confidential data.

There should also be an understanding of how to report and analyze resources and services. If something isn’t working to your expectations, know how to report it and who to report to.

Outdated technology causes issues for future situations

Outdated System Creating Issues For Those Filing For Unemployment

Outdated Systems

As the temporary shutdown forces millions of people out of a job, millions of Floridians struggle to file for unemployment due to the Florida Reemployment Assistance Program’s outdated website.

These website crashes leave many Floridians confused and desperate to find work. The system used by the Florida Economic Opportunity is called CONNECT. The CONNECT system runs on a software that dates back to 2013. Some of the system framework used to build the application seems to date back to the time of Governor Rick Scott.

Connect Keeps Crashing

The CONNECT system doesn’t seem to have been designed with an end date in mind. In other words, there was no plan put in place to replace or update it.

This results in slow and unstable connection to the site when users open the program from a P.C. using Windows 7 or newer.

The Cloud is Constantly Connected

To avoid the hassles of running complex software and storing and processing large chucks of data, businesses and government agencies outsource these processes to cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services or Nerds Support. That way, applications and programs are scalable and operate more efficiently.

The CONNECT system was developed before the time of cloud computing was as popular as well known. Governor Ron Desantis himself has acknowledged a flaw with the website.

“The website would be down more than half the time, it would take seven second just to connect through,” he said. ” It may have been okay in 1996, not in 2020.”

Old Browsers Beat Beyond Belief

Considering Windows 7 itself has recently reached the end of life period, you can image how problematic it is for people trying to use the current system.

This is why so many people in Florida struggle to file for unemployment.

This, however, is not an isolated incident.

Labor Department Lagging Log ins

New York’s State Department of Labor also experienced a flood of traffic to their website as people try to apply for unemployment as well.

The governor of New York got various tech companies to work on the infrastructure of the website. Furthermore, it increased server capacity and assigned 700 staff members to an unemployment insurance hotline.

Filing Formula Fixes Freeze

The State Department of Labor also asks to reduce the surge of traffic by scheduling when citizens file. For example, people with last names A- F apply on Monday, last names G-N apply on Tuesday, and last names O-Z apply Wednesday.

In Florida IT experts admit the existing website hasn’t been developed beyond earlier browsers. In order to navigate through the existing site, users would have to use an older, or outdated browser that functions better with the site.

Wednesday, April 8, Florida did provide a second website that was easier to use on smartphones and tablets. This helped ease the influx of traffic but many of the findings from the Office of Florida Auditors have not been addressed.

Word To the Wise From the Web

This should be cautionary tale for businesses with outdated IT or unaudited systems. This period of remote working should be an opportunity to review your IT network and infrastructure and ensure everything from security to data and filing systems are updated.

Even outsourcing some of these tasks to a cloud provider can dramatically increase the productivity and efficiency of your business.

If you’d like more information on cloud, cyber security, remote work or managed services visit our blog or contact us at 305-551-2009.

 

Technology IT Industry Round Up

Top 5 Tech Trends Businesses Should Watch Out For

Companies are beginning to rely more on technology to meet their objectives. As a matter of fact, IT jobs are projected to grow 12 percent over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is probably due to the growing use of cloud technology, data storage and security as the world becomes more technology-centric.

For this reason, it’s important to take a peek behind the curtain every once in a while and try to understand the topics being discussed or what’s happening in the industry. Whether you’re a business owner, a tech enthusiast or just curious, staying informed about what’s here and what’s coming can be an advantage.

With that in mind, here are five technology trends and topics to keep an eye on in 2020.

1. Blockchain Technology

Blockchain is a digital ledger, a series of records that store data in chronological order units called “blocks” in a sequence or “chain”. Furthermore, once that data is stored it cannot be changed or altered. Information can be added but not changed. That is because any changes to a block would alter its connection to the previous one in the chain. This is due to the way block chain encrypts data. The information in a block becomes a sequence of symbols called hashes and every input creates a unique hash output. In blockchain, even changing the case of the first letter in a sentence alters the output.

The inability to change information is what makes it so secure and appealing to a variety of industries. As a result, companies like Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM are have already begun investing in block chain technology. So much so that blockchain-related jobs are the second fastest growing category of jobs according to Techcrunch.

2. Cyber Security

Cybersecurity risks are a problem for every organization in every industry. In order to remain competitive and accomplish their business initiatives, business owners and leaders have had to modernize their IT infrastructure. However, the digitization of things has increased the risks of cyber threats.

For evidence of that you just have to look at the most recent cyber-attack on a local government or institution. Schools, police stations and even hospitals have all fallen victim to a cyberattack that freezes their systems and extorts them for money. Not to mention the all of the private organizations that are attacked regularly and don’t make the news.

By 2020 100% of large enterprises will have to report on cybersecurity and technology risk at least annually according to Gartner. This is not a surprising statistic when you consider all the places that depend on digital technologies to function properly. This is becoming a hot button issue only now that cyberattacks and breaches are impacting entire communities but the threat has been there for a long time.

As these threats become more pervasive CIO’s and business owners will have to take the step to secure themselves accordingly.  Unfortunately as of now, industry leaders only invest in cyber security once they’ve experienced a breach themselves.

We wrote a blog on cyber security lessons a business should consider to grow in today’s digital era that you can read here.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

Everything from cars to refrigerators to vacuum cleaners are being designed to connect to WiFi and therefore, the internet. The internet of things is not a fad but a transition to a more seamless system of exchanging data.

We aren’t just talking about consumers, businesses are also expected to benefit from IoT as well. IoT can create safer working conditions, faster data acquisition and as a result more efficient decision making. Gartner also forecasts that the IoT market in the enterprise and automotive fields will grow to 5.8 billion in 2020, which is a 21 percent increase from 2019. To put this into perspective,90 percent of all automobiles will be connected to the internet by 2020.

Moreover, the economic impact of IoT technology could range from $4 to $11 Trillion per year by 2025. The benefits are wide ranging because the technologies are. Devices like smart sensors could improve how logistics companies track and deploy products flowing through their supply chain, for example.

4. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most interesting tech developments in recent years. Companies are exploring AI technology to improve business operations and customer experience. Developments in AI has led to things like machine learning, where computers software is programmed to adapt and adjust by analyzing data. Amazon and Netflix use machine learning to make suggestions on what to watch next or what products to buy. For those working in the financial services industry, this technology could help eliminate compliance risks.

AI technology will continue to grow and develop in the coming years and its generally associated with automation. A report by McKinsey Global Institute says that 73 million U.S. jobs will be lost to automation. Fortunately, AI technology will create demand for experts to develop and operate this new technology. Jobs in AI engineering, AI Development, and Data science should become more lucrative.

As AI becomes more commonplace, AI-as-a-service will emerge. It will function in the same way other as-a-service because it will be distributed through cloud computing. AIaaS will be for those businesses that cannot or do not want to develop their own AI software.

5. 5G Networks

The next generation internet connectivity for mobile devices will become the norm in the future. Increased bandwidth will increase internet speed and facilitate communication between smart devices. Businesses should consider how this will impact their industry. Leaders across the communications industry estimate that by there will be 3.5 billion cellular IoT connections.

This will ultimately create more flexible networks that provide truly end to end systems that apply to not only networking but data storage and more. It will also improve your companies infrastructure and strengthen it against cyber threats like crypto jacking. This is all under the presumption that your existing IT infrastructure is reliable and capable of managing your network.

If you would like to stay updated on the latest news on cybersecurity, emerging technology, cloud computing and more follow Nerds Support on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube or check out our blog for more in depth articles.