Managed Services

In this video, we explain about Managed IT Services and how we can help your business save money while improving your technology.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

In this video we review some of the features and benefits of the Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions provided by AccentLogic:

Cyber Crime and Security for SMBs

Did you know the illicit trading of personal data was worth $3.88 billion last year? Cybercrime is a growing industry known for its innovation. It goes far beyond the image many of us have of some hacker kid in his basement. Many who engage in this activity are professionals and work in large teams. Some may even be sponsored by governments. If you follow the news, you can find large corporations and even government agencies who have fallen prey to hackers and had massive amounts of data compromised. Unfortunately, this has led smaller firms to feel they fly below the radar. In fact, the opposite is true. Small businesses-especially those in regulated areas such as medical, financial, and legal services need to be hyper-vigilant about security. The cybercriminals’ professional efforts will outdo your amateur efforts at security.

As a small business, you are vulnerable for two reasons. First, serious hackers see small business as entrances into larger entities. Small firms that have any interaction with larger firms, perhaps as a subcontractor, can be easy targets for professional criminals. Second, the clients or customers of small firms are shown to be less forgiving of data compromises that occur in small businesses.

Security now goes beyond buying an antivirus program online. You should seek professional advice setting up security policies and business continuity plans or testing these policies on a routine basis. A professional can spot vulnerabilities and prevent breaches before they occur.

Government regulations

Any business that stores customer payment information must comply with a number of state and federal regulations. The legal, healthcare, and financial sectors have a number of laws tailored specifically for them (such as HIPAA or CISPA). If you run almost any kind of professional practice or agency you probably have very specific data security requirements. Running afoul of these regulations puts you at risk for legal action and probably means that you have bad security in place.

As a professional, your focus needs to be on your clients and running your firm. Regulatory requirements to ensure data security can be complex and include rigorous testing requirements. Ensuring compliance with the regulations can be a serious distraction for you and take you into territory where your experience is limited.

One of the best solutions is to work with a third party who has strong credentials in the area of regulatory compliance and data security. When you are working with a third party to set up security or data storage, make sure that they have experience working in your industry. Finding a service provider with experience in your profession can give you peace of mind knowing that you can focus on running your business without the distraction of ongoing technology concerns.

Higher goals get dragged down by Tech: The NPO story

If you are a smaller Not-for-Profit, it is likely that your organization has been driven from its inception by individuals strongly motivated with a passion for their cause or humanitarian goal. As a result, it is also possible that the leadership has little interest in developing the administrative technology infrastructure that is necessary for any organization to function in the internet age.

Failure to understand and focus on technology can damage an organization’s growth and success. However, NPO leadership has to be laser-focused on the day-to-day struggles of the organization such as seeking funding, keeping the doors open, and pursuing the mission. As a consequence, technology infrastructure may be cobbled together as an afterthought; resource limitations may lead to short term tech decisions that can be wasteful and more expensive in the long term.

An NPO, with its tight budget margins, is an excellent example of an organization that could benefit from outsourcing its fundamental tech needs to an MSP. An MSP can determine short and long term needs, assess possible solutions, and propose the most cost-effective tech solutions to ensure a stable, long-term tech infrastructure. Without the time or stomach for administrative distractions, NPOs may continue to use the break/fix model, making less informed tech decisions that may ultimately waste precious resources. Good and careful planning with a professional can mean better strategic use of organizational resources far into the future.

Password basics people still ignore

You can have all the locks on your data center and have all the network security available, but nothing will keep your data safe if your employees are careless with passwords.

  1. Change Passwords – Most security experts recommend that companies change out all passwords every 30 to 90 days.
  2. Require passwords that mix upper and lowercase, number, and a symbol.
  3. Teach employees NOT to use standard dictionary words ( in any language), or personal data that can be known, or can be stolen: addresses, telephone numbers, SSNs, etc.
  4. Emphasize that employees should not access anything using another employee’s login. To save time or for convenience, employees may leave systems and screens open and let others access them. This is usually done so one person doesn’t have to take the time to logout and the next take the effort to log back in. Make a policy regarding this and enforce it. If you see this happening, make sure they are aware of it.
    These are just a few basic password hints, but they can make a difference.

The Cloud: Are there security issues?

For many, the idea of offloading their data to another physical/virtual location can seem like a security risk. It seems counter-intuitive that moving data away from “ home” is safer. But is that really true? Any server stored at your location is probably more physically vulnerable than one protected in a large server farm. If you had a fire, flood, or other physical damage that included damage to your server, what would be the result? Also, are your backups stored on–site? If a major event damaged your entire physical location, those backups would be also lost.

There is a second reason the cloud may be safer: security. All of your data, no matter where it is located, may be vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches. However, cloud storage providers probably offer some of the most sophisticated security projection available. It is unlikely that a small or even mid-sized firm has the internal resources and research capacity to maintain an equivalent level of security.

So give some thought to the cloud as a tool to preserve your data and the integrity of your business (as an added bonus, it likely will be a money saver, too).

How the cloud saves smaller firms money

OK. You pay someone to store all of your data in the cloud, as opposed to keeping it on your own server and backing it up. And you pay on an ongoing basis. How is that possibly going to be cheaper than just making a one-time investment and keeping it your self?

Let’s count the ways:

(1) You lose the hardware expense –a capital expenditure cost.

(2) If that hardware fails, you are out in the cold.

(3) Someone has to maintain that hardware. In house IT labor is expensive.

(4) If you need more capacity, you have to ramp up at a tiered level, which means you may need to buy capacity you don’t presently need

(5) All of that hardware runs on software, which costs money

(6) All of that software needs to be installed, updated, etc. (see # 3)

(7) All of that hardware and software has to run 24/7. Are you large enough to pay for in house monitoring and support 24/7? (See again #3)

(8) All of that data has to be protected with security software, which means skilled IT support and expensive virus protection

Ok. The list doesn’t end here, but this blog will. Talk to AccentLogic about how the cloud can be a really budget saver for small and medium sized firms.

Data regulation and our business: You are probably regulated by these laws

Small firms are probably aware that there are laws regulating the handling of data, but they probably assume that these apply only to larger firms and that they are too small to have any data that is worthwhile or protected under state/provincial or federal laws. Think again. Data protection laws generally worry about the content of your data, not the volume of it. That is, you don’t need to have “tons” (not the technical term) of data to be to regulated by data privacy laws. If you maintain personally identifiable information (PII) you may be regulated by these laws which may include penalties and fines for non-conformance. PII means you store a person’s first name/initial, last name and then link it to another piece of personal information, such as, but not including:

  • Social Security Number
  • Driver’s license, or state ID
  • Passport
  • Some financial account number, e.g. credit/debit card, checking account, etc.
  • Health insurance ID

You are very likely required to observe regulations regarding protection of that data, and reporting of data breaches.

This isn’t an issue for the faint of heart. Contact a managed service provider with expertise in your specific industry or field of business to make sure you are in compliance. Failure to maintain compliance can lead to some very expensive fines and penalties.

A security hack doesn’t have to mean the end of your company

Statistics are showing that each year over 50% of small firms are victims of a cyber attack or data breach. Why does this matter? Most smaller firms have not prepared business continuity plans to keep their IT infrastructure going in the event of an attack. Failing to do so often leads to the failure of the business. Delaying the creation of a business continuity plan is a bit like a younger person delaying writing a will, on the grounds that they are not likely to die soon. That may be true, but if the worst occurs the consequences can be severe for their heirs.

If the chance of a breach that could compromise your data or cripple your IT infrastructure is over 50%, there is every reason to immediately develop plans for how your business could maintain operation in the event of an attack on your IT systems.

This is an effort that shouldn’t be delayed. Contact AccentLogic to help you develop a complete and holistic business continuity plan immediately. Your income and your future depends upon it.

Don’t steal… It isn’t nice and makes you vulnerable to security hacks

Don’t steal. It isn’t nice. And… it makes you extremely vulnerable you security hacks if you “steal” software packages. Smaller firms often will use unlicensed software packages to save money. This is especially true if they only need a program for a specific task. Aside from the legal and ethical issues involved here, there is a very selfish reason not to do this. Software providers are constantly sending users updates to their programs, and those updates aren’t just about features. They include fixes to security holes and protections against specific new viruses that have been discovered. So, the longer you have an old, outdated software program on your PC or laptop, the more vulnerable you become. Is it really worth saving $200.00 when your entire business’s IT infrastructure could be put at risk? We suggest not.

Cybercrime: In-house protection that only YOU can provide

From the political world to the corporate, all we hear about is hacking, hacking, hacking. Everyone gets hacked, data is stolen, etc. So, the cry goes up for better security protections for everyone’s data. Firewalls, virus software, etc.

Want to know one of the best ways to protect your data? Train your employees to stop opening any emails or links unless they absolutely know they are safe. Scam emails that try to trick you into opening a link to a bogus site, or worse, trick you into providing your password or ID for a known site are exceptionally effective ways for hackers to get into your internal system and compromise data. Yes, ransomware is a serious issue, and malware is out there, but employees naively opening phishing emails remain one of the biggest risks to data security. Talk to your employees on an on-going basis and provide training and tips on how to ID phishing scams