Tag Archives: disaster recovery

Cloud Computing: Good, Bad & Ugly

18 Jan 17
lverbik
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When a network of IT gadgets like routers, DVR machines and closed-circuit TVs can take down hardened, well-provisioned Internet giants like Twitter, Spotify and Amazon – as happened last October – you’ve got to think twice before moving your data to the cloud.

Yes, a move to the cloud can yield big payoffs in terms of cost savings, increased efficiency, greater flexibility, collaboration for your workforce and more. Yet there is a dark side. It would be naive to think otherwise. Your choices about whether and how to use cloud technology in your network merits serious consideration.

So, just what is “the cloud”?

Instead of constantly buying new equipment and software, cloud computing allows you to pay for just what you need. Just as with a utility company, you get software and storage on a monthly basis, with no long-term contracts. Chances are, most of the software you now use is cloud-based. You simply access it on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Similarly, you can store data in the cloud, where it can be easily accessed when you need it. This reduces the need to buy and manage your own backup gear and software, thus reducing overhead. Yet, as with any major decision, it’s critical to be aware of both the benefits and pitfalls of putting your company’s data in the cloud.

The Pros

There are three major advantages offered by cloud computing:

  1. Scaling up or down can be done without major investment or leaving excess capacity idle. It also enables your entire workforce to get more done, where and when they need to.
  1. With data and software in a shared cloud environment, staff can collaborate from anywhere. Everything from HR to accounting, and from operations to sales and customer relations, can be managed from diverse and mobile environments, giving your team greater power to collaborate effectively.
  1. Disaster Recovery. Typically, data stored in the cloud can be easily retrieved in the event of a disaster. It also augments local backup and recovery systems, adding protective redundancy.

The Cons

While the cloud offers obvious benefits, it also increases your company’s potential “attack surface” for cybercriminals. By spreading your communications and access to data beyond a safe “firewall,” your network is far more exposed to a whole bevy of security concerns. Many of them can be addressed with these three best practices:

  1. Social Engineering Awareness. Whether you go cloud or local, the weakest link in your network is not in your equipment or software; it’s in the people who use them. Cybercriminals are aware of this fact. And you can count on them to come up with an endless variety of ways to exploit it. One day it’s a phone call ostensibly from your IT department requesting sensitive data, the next it’s an e-mail that looks official but contains malicious links. Make sure your employees are aware of and trained to deal with these vulnerabilities.
  1. Password Security and Activity Monitoring. Maintaining login security is absolutely critical any time you’re in a cloud environment. Train your staff in how to create secure passwords and implement two-factor authentication whenever possible. Take advantage of monitoring tools that can alert you to suspicious logins, unauthorized file transfers and other potentially damaging activity.
  1. Anti-Malware/Antivirus Solutions. Malicious software allows criminals to obtain user data, security credentials and sensitive information without the knowledge of the user. Not only that, some purported anti-malware software on the market is actually malware in disguise. Keep verifiable anti-malware software in place throughout your network at all times, and train your employees in how to work with it.

Service & Support – They Do Exist!

21 May 15
lverbik
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Do you ever tire of picking up the phone for customer service or tech support and reaching any number of auto attendants and prompts?   You wait patiently for that friendly and knowledgeable voice, but instead the call leaves you with unanswered questions and piles of stress and frustration?

You called because you need help with something…but it seems that no one’s home.   Wish you could just talk to a person? Like the good ol’ days….when people used to answer the phone.

Maybe you need to replace some equipment but you’re not sure what’s out there, perhaps the server is down, you might suspect malware or viruses on your computer. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a problem or question and there was a real, live IT expert just a phone call away? Of course it would!

Well, there’s good news. It does exist and it’s on display everyday at the Techno Advantage offices.

Recently, I spent some extra time with Jay and Matt and it really opened my eyes to the value of the monitoring packages and service plans they offer. On a given day, many calls come and go from the Techno Advantage offices, and each one is handled efficiently, honestly and with the client’s best interests in mind. Questions range from, “Can you help me find my file?” to “What steps should I take to migrate to a new operating system?”

Having a monitoring plan with Techno Advantage means that there really is a qualified professional standing at the ready to support your business IT needs. The team at Techno Advantage can monitor your system daily for storage issues, error messages, updates and all those things that you don’t have time to worry with.   If need be, a friendly technician can log-in using the Techno Advantage support portal to see what you’re seeing and walk you through a solution. Now that’s targeted help, when and where you need it!

The GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE packages cover servers, networks, devices and applications, as well as disaster recovery. Click here to see our monitoring plan packages. Techno Advantage has just the right monitoring and service plans to fit your unique tech support needs.