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Workplace: What You Should Know

Software-as-a-service companies are more and more common these days. With many industries seeing the benefits of SaaS, there is growing interest in these types of services. However, finding the right service is the key. Of all hosted services, Workplace_ is among the best.

Workplace promotes remote team collaboration and improves employee productivity for your company. A cleaner, user-friendly interface allows you and your co-workers to find, access and share files, websites and apps easier than ever before.

What’s more, Workplace’s key upgrades assure its users better security and regulatory compliance, as well as make the platform a tool for remote workers and organizations who care about keeping their data safe.

So, what are the main changes that will transform your Workplace_? 

Makeover of the Workplace Web App in Windows and Mac

On Windows, you are able to resize the app as big as you wish, even entering full-screen mode in your computer. You could also minimize it as small as you want so it doesn’t take the entire screen if you’re working with multiple applications or browser windows.

On Mac, Workplace works perfectly with the OS version, Mojave. Upgrades were installed, fixing an issue that previously affected users: the inability to see some virtual graphics products. Developers working on improving this app went above and beyond not only fixing what users weren’t able to see or the app wasn’t able to display, but also enabling Workplace to function on multiple monitors.

Pin Any File or Folder to Your Launch Page

Workplace has a feature that allows users to “star” websites, applications, folders and files that you can open directly from the Launch page with just a simple click.

Workplace’s Feature: Websites

You are able to see all the websites you visit and work with on a daily basis in a section dedicated specially for that! You can “star” (or pin) a website to your Launch page and see the Websites section there, or you can visit the sidebar menu on the left to see all of your featured and frequently visited sites.

Also, you can save websites with or without including login credentials and set up your username and password without depending on a company manager to do so. And let’s not forget about the feature that allows you to share bookmarks and websites with your colleagues, increasing collaboration and team productivity levels.

Find All Your Hosted Apps in One Place

Talking about simplifying workflows and increasing productivity, Workplace gives Citrix (“hosted”) applications their very own section. Click on “Hosted Apps” on the app sidebar and you will find all your hosted applications, or “star” the apps you use the most appear in your Launch page for quick and easy access.

See If You Have Compliance Issues

All apps in the Workplace desktop platform have a feature that perfectly aligns with the company’s mission of keeping our customers’ data safe and improving security compliance. “Compliance Status”, the latest feature on Workplace, is implemented on both Windows and Mac machines. It checks your devices to see how your compliance level compares to the industry’s best practices.

What’s more, if you have compliance issues, recommendations will be made to fix the problem and get you to 100% compliance.

Run your Firm from the Cloud

Workplace provides a comprehensive solution that combines cybersecurity and compliance needs. The all-in-one, cloud based platform delivers and intuitive experience that reduces risk of data leakage.

You can protect your firm’s most important data by ensuring that all applications run only from this unified cloud environment. There is also improved continuity and disaster recovery features so your operation stays fully functional through any event.

Multi-Factor Authentication Keeps Your Firm Secure

Workplace also reduces the risk associated with logins and passwords. Employees access customized applications with one-click access. It also comes with multi-factor authentication that conforms to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) guidelines.

Furthermore,  Multi-Factor Authentication enforces authentication methods required by regulation.  These methods are supported by both iOS and Android as well so employees can use them, regardless of device.

 

For more information on the cloud, cybersecurity and more, visit our website.

 

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Tech: 4 Things To Expect in 2020 and Beyond

Technology continues to develop and impact how individuals, businesses and communities function. In 2020 cyber security will need to be front and center of every organization’s agenda and for good reason.

1) Cyberattacks Will Get Worse

Cyber breaches were all too common in 2019. The news flooded with stories of cyberattacks on schools, municipalitiescities and even big name private companies. If you think this is as bad as it gets, you’re wrong. In fact, cyberattacks are increasing against small businesses. Industry experts estimate cybersecurity incidents will cost businesses more over $5 trillion within the next five years alone.

The cost associated with cybercrimes are dangerous for businesses. Even worse, a business might not even know the totality of damage caused by an attack until years afterward.

That’s because cybercrime costs include not only stolen money or data, but lost productivity, reputational damage, and more.

Despite global spending in cybersecurity reaching $1 trillion by 2021, organizations admit feeling under-prepared to deal with advanced cyberattacks. We aren’t talking about a guy in his mother’s house trying to access files from his laptop. These are coordinated attacks organized by highly skilled criminal networks.

2019 Attacks on Banks are Attacks on Government

Financial Institutions were particularly popular targets because they have valuable information hackers can use or sell. As well as the indirect impact they have over governments. Governments rely on financial institutions for economic stability. In other words, if a banks are vulnerable, economies are vulnerable.

In February of 2019 several credit unions across the U.S. were hit by spear-phishing emails impersonating compliance officers from other credit unions. Fast forward to May, FirstBank, Colorado’s largest locally-owned bank, experienced a breach that resulted in the cancellation of many customer payment cards.

The most famous example of a breach this past year was the Capital One Data Breach. The bank announced the breach compromised around 100 million card holders after a software engineer hacked into its cloud server. Based on this, we can expect that these types of breaches will only become more frequent.

2) IoT Will Increase Vulnerabilities

And now, with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology growing in popularity, security risks are only going to increase.  As a matter of fact, by 2020 it is estimated that approximately 20 billion devices will be connected to the internet.

A few months ago, a story broke about a family in Texas who had their Ring security camera hacked and the hacker used it to harass their children.

The Ring doorbell system is an example of Smart home, IoT devices and they are becoming increasingly popular.  By the end of 2020, projections state that 28 percent of total households will be smart homes. It’s speculated that this trend has to do with lowered device prices and market preferences. As IoT grows in popularity, property owners integrate smart devices into their homes.

Businesses are also getting in on the action. Business owners save energy costs with smart lighting, thermostats and sensors by regulating temperature and light according to the time of day.  Integrating smart devices means more data to store. In this case, developing security measures to protect this new data will become imperative. IoT, however, is only the tip of the iceberg.

3) Look Out for AI

Artificial Intelligence becomes more mainstream, we’ll see the deployment of AI based malware or phishing attacks in 2020. With AI technology, a cybercriminal can perform multiple attacks on a network with ease.

That’s because AI can learn to attacks by itself and increase its knowledge on its target. In the age of machine learning, AI malware may very well become among the most serious threats.

Another threat to look out for in 2020 is the use of Deepfakes. Deepfakes are media that replace an individual’s face with the likeness of another using advanced software. A malicious actor could superimpose the face of an employer onto their own and create a video requesting access to sensitive data, for example.

This technology’s main purpose it to proliferate disinformation and create confusion among its targets. As a result, cybercriminals are already using deepfakes to scam companies into relinquishing large sums of money.

Costs related to deepfakes will exceed $250 million in 2020.

4) Cloud is Taking Over

Public cloud services is set to grow 17 percent in 2020 to a total of $226.4 billion, according to Gartner, Inc. Moreover, the largest market segment in terms of growth will be Software as a service (SaaS). Gartner predicts further that  cloud based application services industry will be 143.7 billion by 2022.

This new decade promises rapid growth in smart technology, AI, and cloud software, but the more connected we become the more vulnerable we are. Cyber-attacks will increase and evolve as attackers adopt newer technologies to improve their effectiveness. Managed IT services will become more prominent as businesses migrate to a cloud provider for their data and IT needs.

Governments and businesses will have to make cybersecurity a top priority in 2020 to ensure their data and information isn’t stolen, used or sold on the darkweb.

For more information on how you can prepare for this new decade of cyber threats, IT consulting Miami, or cloud news visit our website or read our blog on how to keep your business safe against cyber attacks.

Tips for Outsourcing Your Small Business Tech Responsibilities

Small business owners shoulder several tech-related tasks that eat up valuable time every day. Outsourcing some of these responsibilities will allow you to focus on more important aspects of your business, like generating leads or tending to the needs of your customers. However, you don’t need to outsource everything—some responsibilities are better handled in-house. Here are some tech projects to outsource and a few that you can take care of yourself.

Automate Whatever You Can

Many of your tech tasks can be automated so you can avoid spending your business dollars on in-house or remote help. The right tools can help you tackle those tedious, repetitive tasks that are tempting to hand off to someone else. You can automate all kinds of things, including posting on social media, tracking your website analytics, sending invoice reminders to clients, responding to common customer questions, and scheduling meetings.

 

With a good smartphone, you’ll be able to manage all of these tasks easily and efficiently. The new iPhone XS, for example, has a super-powerful processor for running demanding business-related automation apps. The phone also features secure facial authentication to protect your sensitive business information. If you’re an Android fan, the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ can provide the business support you need thanks to efficiency features like the S Pen which works as a remote and note-taking device.

Data Loss Protection and Compliance

A cyberattack and data loss event can cause your customers to lose trust in your brand, but it can also result in legal consequences and class action lawsuits. It might even spell the end of your business. According to CNBC, 60% of small businesses shut down within 6 months of a cyberattack. Consider outsourcing cybersecurity to trained professionals who can prevent disasters and resolve any issues as quickly as possible. For example, Nerds Support offers essential cybersecurity protection solutions including data compliance and email security.

 

If your business processes and stores credit card information, make sure you hire a cybersecurity expert who can help your business comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) rules. PCI compliance will ensure that you meet the established security standards for protecting credit card information by implementing required safeguards like anti-virus software, restricted access to data, and encryption.

Web Design and Development

Outsourcing the development of your website will give you complete control over the design and functionality of your business’s online storefront. While website builder tools allow you to create a website on your own, you will be very limited by the cookie-cutter result. On the other hand, experienced web designers and developers know how to create attractive, user-friendly sites that will drive traffic to your business and help you generate more leads. Rather than hiring an in-house team and spending your valuable time managing them, consider outsourcing your website tasks to a company with experience in your industry and a cohesive team that’s ready to work.

Cloud Hosting

Another great way to outsource your business tech is to take advantage of cloud hosting. With cloud hosting, your business data is stored stored across multiple servers in different data centers to increase security, protect against data loss, reduce website downtime, and handle traffic spikes. Business.com suggests that cloud hosting could eliminate the need to hire in-house IT staff, saving your business money while increasing the flexibility of your computing infrastructure. This will also allow you to access any business information you need from anywhere on any device. Managed cloud services like Box take all of the work out of maintaining this infrastructure.

 

It’s easy to outsource any of your small business tech tasks thanks to the vast availability of tech services and solutions out there. This can help you eliminate wasted time and reap the benefits of specialized help. Consider outsourcing anything that’s outside of your team’s expertise, so your in-house staff can focus on the specific projects that will help your business grow.

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.

 

Windows 10 May 2019 Update IT Downtime

Microsoft Windows 10 Makes a Mess of its Newest Update

Windows 10 1903’s History

Microsoft struggles to get updates for its Windows 10 users up and running. In the past several months users encountered failures and a variety of error code warnings when installing updates. Since its launch in May, users reported issues with Bluetooth, Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity. Microsoft has tried to remedy the issues the update created but it didn’t do enough and now the company issued a warning to Windows users. The company started displaying a warning to users running on this 1803 update. It read: “ You’re currently running a version of Windows that’s nearing the end of support. We recommend you update to the most recent version of Windows 10 now to get the latest features and improvements.”

This wouldn’t be an issue if Windows 10 1903 wasn’t so flawed and filled with bugs. However, Microsoft is now advising some users to not install the update because it might break the Windows Defenders Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) services.

Windows 10 Can’t Figure it Out

This is a problem for businesses also, considering the end-of-life period for Windows 7 is almost here. Microsoft advised Windows 7 users to migrate to the secure and monitored Windows 10 as support leave Windows 7 altogether. Many businesses like accounting and financial firms operate on Windows 7 and have done so for years. Migrating to a newer Windows program will be difficult and challenging, as these businesses learn to use the different features and setup offered with Windows 10.

Windows 10 1903 came out with a new update that is supposed to fix the bugs mentioned earlier. However, installing the update, according to Microsoft themselves, could create failures in the threat protection program. Now, this won’t impact Windows 10 consumer users, but it could create problems for those businesses who rely on Windows Defender ATP to protect them.

Windows has said it is “working on a resolution and estimate a solution will be available in mid- November 2019,” that still leaves businesses vulnerable. Flawed updates like this can lead to downtime for businesses relying on Windows 10 or Windows Defender ATP.

Windows 10 Update IT Downtime Statistics

Managed IT & Software as a Service

Managed IT service providers that offer Software as a service (SaaS) install all software for the company they work with. In SaaS, the hosted application management model, the provider gives customers access software over the internet. The provider hosts the application in a data center and a customer accesses it through a web browser. Many industries use SaaS, Nerds Support, for example, provides cloud  SaaS solutions for accounting firms and financial services.  SaaS falls under the broad category of cloud computing, which continues to grow and develop in use and popularity.

In the case of cloud accounting or finance IT solutions, Nerds Support provides Microsoft office as part of its services. Moreover, The cloud provider updates and configures all applications provided to the user. SaaS is a popular service as it frees the company from managing the installation of programs like Windows on their own.

Microsoft Users, Don’t Worry

Microsoft’s faulty update will only impact devices in an “affected environment,” which are those running Windows 10 version 1809 or Windows Servers 2019 alongside Microsoft Defender ATP. Windows 10 Enterprise edition has Defender built in and it’s a useful, comprehensive antivirus and security tool, but that might change if you download the cumulative update.

This news might seem complicated if you’re a small or medium sized accounting firm. Maybe you don’t have the proper resources necessary to comb through the technicalities of these updates. But rest assured, not all 900 million users of Windows 10 are impacted by the update nor is it mandatory.

Cloud technology and Software-as- a- Service is becoming the pragmatic solution for businesses that want to focus on delivering their products or services to their clients and not have to worry about faulty updates. Many cloud providers offer to install, update, monitor and backup all applications a growing business needs to operate. Technical support for finance and accounting firms doesn’t just include software. There are even vendors that do Hardware-as-a-service as well. They take care of the installation, repair and maintenance of computers, monitors and all other hardware.

Microsoft’s code is complex, fragile and massive and maintaining it might prove challenging to say the least. That said, they should do a better job with Windows 10 considering it’s will be the default Windows program.

For more information on Microsoft office, the cloud and cybersecurity visit our website!