How Co-Managed IT Could Save Your Company From Financial Disaster

When you consider the investments in your business that you can make as a CEO, you probably think to yourself, “Which investments will give my company the best ROI?” With that in mind, would you think of making a significant investment in bolstering your IT department?

Many CEOs are understandably hesitant to throw a lot of money into their IT department because the ROI is more difficult to estimate. That said, though, consistently updating your company’s IT services is becoming increasingly crucial to the continued success, and indeed safety, of your company. Ransomware and other cyber-attacks that steal company data are becoming more frequent and more costly, while IT departments continually get the short end of the budgetary stick.

While that all undoubtedly sounds horrible, you might be wondering just what you can do about it. After all, you only have so much money you can invest back into your company’s IT department, and it might not be sufficient for keeping your IT staff from getting burned out, disgruntled or making costly mistakes – even when they’re performing their responsibilities to the best of their abilities.

What if there were a way that you could have access to the most up-to-date IT knowledge and software while also not having to shell out the funds necessary to update your systems and hire more knowledgeable employees? Well, that’s where co-managed IT can be your company’s life preserver.

Co-managed IT is a flexible system for keeping data for your company, employees and clients safe from cyber-attacks as well as assisting in your daily operations where needed. Think of it as “filling in the gaps” that your current IT department (try as they might) struggle to fill.

For instance, say your current IT department is great at taking care of the day-to-day fires that inevitably come up in a normal workday, but they struggle to get to the “important but not urgent” task of updating your company’s cyber security and creating data backups. Maybe it’s the other way around, where your IT department is very focused on security, but they struggle to find time to assist employees with password resets and buggy programs. Maybe neither of these cases describes your IT department, but they still need better access to the tools and software that would allow them to reach their full potential in protecting the company’s sensitive information. Or maybe your company is going through a period of rapid expansion, and you just don’t have time to build the kind of IT infrastructure that would best serve your needs.

Regardless of what your IT department’s current needs are, co-managed IT is the solution. We’re here to do the tasks and provide the tools that your current IT department just can’t provide. Make no mistake, however: our intent is not to replace your current IT leader or team. In fact, we rely on the expertise that your IT department has about your systems. That’s what makes up the “co” in “co-managed IT.”

In order for co-managed IT to work, your company’s IT department will need to see us as an ally in doing their job, not as an adversary. At the same time, they’ll also need to be open to new ways of doing things. The world of cyber security is constantly changing, and if your IT department is set in their ways and unwilling to budge, your company will be left with an antiquated system, chock-full of valuable data that hackers and cybercriminals can easily exploit.

Finally, however, in order for co-managed IT to work, your company still must be willing to invest in its IT department. We know that the ROI might not be as clear as it is for some other investments, but trust us, the consequences of not having up-to-date IT services if (or when) hackers steal your sensitive data could financially devastate your company – or even end it altogether.

So, with that in mind, we hope you’ll consider the benefits of co-managed IT and how it can make your company safe from cyber-attacks and bring you peace of mind.Could your internal IT staff use some extra hands? Are you worried that your backups and IT security are not adequate for todays every changing threats? Our free IT optimization plan will show you how we can, ensure your cyber security solutions are up to date and stay that way, as well as where we can provide those “extra hands” for projects, end user support or to fill in those gaps, while potentially lowering your IT costs.    

Could your internal IT staff use some extra hands? Are you worried that your backups and IT security are not adequate for todays every changing threats? Our free IT optimization plan will show you how we can, ensure your cyber security solutions are up to date and stay that way, as well as where we can provide those “extra hands” for projects, end user support or to fill in those gaps, while potentially lowering your IT costs.    

Schedule a Discovery Call today to get started on getting your free IT Optimization Plan.

Don’t Let The Dog Days Of Summer Wreak Havoc On Your Technology

Heat and technology don’t mix. We’re talking about things like PCs, servers and everything inside of them. A lot of manufacturers try to make sure the heat generated by hardware has a way to escape, but it’s not always enough. And what about heat from the outside? This is where problems can really get out of control.

Right now, we’re in the dog days of summer. The temperatures are high and air conditioners are running at full capacity in an attempt to keep us cool. As you run your business, your technology is running and generating its own heat, as well. If it can’t keep cool, the end result can be disastrous.

Why Every Business Should Take Heat Seriously

Smaller devices like laptops, tablets and more compact desktop computers are especially susceptible to heat damage simply because they are not as efficient at removing heat internally. As they heat up, their performance degrades. If they get hot enough, it can cause irreparable damage. Most devices will automatically shut down if they get too hot – you want to avoid getting to that point as much as you can.

Overheating can also cause damage to specific components. There have been reports of graphics cards catching on fire due to heat and heat-caused electrical issues. Heat can also destroy CPUs. While CPUs are designed to withstand the high temperatures created by processing data, they have their limits. If the computer is forced to overwork as it tries to stay cool, the end result can be a melted CPU!

To make matters worse, as heat intrudes on your devices, they will struggle to function correctly. For example, you may even start to notice slowdowns when using your laptop. Programs may take forever to load, and they may even freeze, leaving you without a way to work!

For any business, this can be devastating. When you’re dealing with clients and customers, the last thing you need is for your systems to fail. Suddenly, productivity falls through the floor, and you’re left scrambling as you try to figure out what to do next. It can bring your business to a standstill.

But it doesn’t end there! If your systems overheat – either due to internal issues (such as inadequate heat dissipation), external issues (summer temperatures) or a combination of both – you could lose valuable data. Heat is a common cause of data loss. Heat can damage hard drives and solid-state disk drives. If you don’t have an off-site backup (whether it’s local or cloud-based), that data may be lost forever.

And if you lose that data, it can be incredibly costly to get your business back up and running. It’s not only data lost, but also it’s time and money lost. It can be as devastating as a data breach or cyber-attack and can leave you with few options.

What Can You Do?

First, it’s important to assess your cooling needs. Does your business have adequate air conditioning? If you have a data or server room, does that have adequate air conditioning? Look at individual devices – do they have adequate cooling or do they need to be supplemented?

Second, assess your data security needs. Do you keep all of your data on-site? In the event of an emergency, and if your data is compromised, do you have a contingency plan? Do you regularly back up your data?

There are a lot of questions to consider, but they’re all important. Your data and the health of your business is top priority. If you have questions about your technology cooling needs – as well as data protection and backup – consider partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) or an experienced IT services firm. They can help you solve all of these problems and get you through the dog days of summer like
it’s nothing!

3 Issues Surrounding Finance IT and Cybersecurity

Finance is one of the most highly targeted sectors of industry when it comes to cyberattacks. The reality is that there is simply too much to gain for cybercriminals when going after banks, accountants, investment firms, and other financial businesses. The amount of potential monetary gain and access to sensitive, valuable information is too much of a pull for bad actors to resist. Many industries deal with the realities of things like phishing attacks, DDoS attacks, and ransomware. The finance industry must deal with these threats as well, often in higher-than-average numbers, but there are also complications specific to the finance industry that finance IT services providers and the financial businesses they serve must be aware of. Here are a few to consider.

Credential-Seeking Malware Targets Financial Services Clients

While you’d expect most malware to target actual financial information directly, the truth is there is another form of attack that hits financial institutions commonly. Credential-seeking malware is sent by bad actors looking to gleam personal information for identity theft scams. This form of malware goes after personal data rather than money itself or account numbers. Some businesses do not protect their customers’ personal data as strongly as the more sensitive financial data and hackers look to exploit that. Finance IT services need to be aware of this potential exploitation and ensure all personal information is always secure in companies’ systems.

State-Sponsored Attacks on Financial Institutions

Most industries don’t have to worry about how international incidents may affect them, but that isn’t true in the financial industry. State-sponsored attacks by hackers on other countries are often designed to affect financial markets in specific ways. Most of these manipulations fail, but when they succeed they can wreak havoc in unexpected ways. Unfortunately, there isn’t much individual businesses can do except fortify their network security as much as possible and pay attention to how such attacks might affect their clientele.

Breaches Complicate Issues Further By Decreasing Trust

The majority of cyberattacks in the financial industry fail. Unfortunately, the few that do succeed can have a compound effect on the industry. When a breach occurs, fixing a company’s systems and recovering drains resources and time, but even worse, the reputation damage makes that process even more difficult. Where this situation gets especially dicey is when numerous financial institutions have breaches over a relatively short period, people begin to distrust the industry at large and lose faith in companies that have been protecting their data appropriately. The sensitivity of information and widespread effects of the damage that can be done means those providing cybersecurity to financial companies have even more burden and responsibility to keep thing secure.

The financial industry is complicated and difficult one to keep secure, but many excellent finance IT services providers continue to do so. If you would like to talk to a managed services provider about your cybersecurity, reach out to Panurgy and make an appointment today.

These Technologies Hold The Key To Growing Your Business

After a roller coaster of a ride in 2020 and into 2021, businesses just like yours are looking to the future. Their eyes aren’t just on recovery. Many businesses are eager to make up for lost time, and they want to bring new customers into the fold.

There are countless growth strategies out there, but one area offers a lot of options you can dial into your specific business needs: technology. Under the umbrella of tech, you have plenty to choose from. It really comes down to finding the right solutions that fit the current or future needs of your business.

man holding graphical gear and surrounded by technical symbols as if controlling them

This month, we’ll dive into two ways you can utilize various technologies to grow your business in the second half of 2021 and in the years to come. Let’s get started.

Using Automation

Many businesses have yet to crack the code on automation. They aren’t sure how to implement it and make the most of it. And that’s okay. Automation comes with a few hurdles, like just getting started for one. It’s an investment of time and money. However, once you get started, it does the rest.

A majority of daily business activities can be automated. One increasingly popular form of automation is artificial intelligence (AI), often used by chatbots. In the past, chatbots were useless. From the user standpoint, they never worked as expected. But those days are over; thanks to major strides in AI technology, chatbots are automation kings.

Chatbots are highly customizable. You can use them as the first “person” a customer or potential customer sees when they visit your website. From there, a chatbot can ask questions and mimic a real person. But here’s where the automation really comes into play: if a potential customer has a specific request or question, the chatbot can instantly direct them to the person within your company who can help. It saves a lot of time.

Automation is also useful when it comes to collecting data. Now, you can rely on numerous apps to collect different types of data and have it all sent to one place. For instance, you should have forms on your website where people can input data, such as their name and e-mail (and other similar data you may be interested in). You lock free content (such as special reports, books, videos, demos, offers, etc.) behind a “data wall.” Once a potential customer gives you what you want, they get access and you have a lead.

Investing In IT Security

Many businesses went through huge changes last year. One common change was the shift to remote or hybrid work models. In the process, these businesses had to figure out a lot of things on the fly, from how to get their employees up and running to making sure their data was secure.

Unfortunately, many businesses, particularly small and medium-size businesses, struggled to balance getting their employees up and running and staying secure, due to a lack of resources, support or know-how. They ended up having to focus on one or the other – data security often got left in the dust. And in the mix of it all, growth completely fell off their radar.

We’re going into Q3 2021, but many businesses still lag behind when it comes to their IT needs. Not investing in network security, and an overall IT security strategy, has the potential to hold your business back and prevent the growth you’re looking for. Not only is your data at risk from both internal (hardware failure, data loss, etc.) and external (data breaches, cybercriminals, etc.), but there are also other issues to be aware of.
Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Do your employees have strong endpoint security? (Are their devices and network connections secure?)
  • Are they trained in IT security protocols? (Do you have protocols in place?)
  • Are your network and IT needs scalable? (Do they allow for growth or are they static?)

These questions are a starting point. If you aren’t happy with the answers, it’s time to fill the gaps and give your business the advantage it needs for the future.

Getting Started

If technology still eludes you, you want to jump into the cloud or automate parts of your business, or you need to boost your data security, your best next step is to partner with a managed services provider (MSP) or a firm that specializes in IT solutions. You never have to do any of these things on your own – especially if you have questions or aren’t sure how to get started. This is the kind of partnership that can put your business on the path to hitting your growth goals and set you up for tech success!

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3 Biggest Threats to Your Business Continuity

We all worry about unplanned downtime for our companies. When your company’s operations screech to a halt due to an issue completely out of your control, it is often disastrous for your bottom line. Sales stop. Your existing customers are hurt and depending on your industry, may require compensation of some kind, and trust in your company moving forward is severely damaged. There are no positives, which is why having a solid business continuity plan is essential for any organization operating in the marketplace today. Having appropriate IT plans to ensure data and infrastructure is protected at all times saves businesses immense amounts of time and money. To have a truly comprehensive plan, a company must consider all the ways their business’s IT infrastructure could get shut down. Here are three of the biggest and most common threats to your company’s technology from a business continuity standpoint.

Natural Disasters

Floods, fires, hurricanes, snowstorms, and more are a major threat to any business’s operations. Whether you refer to them as natural disasters or acts of God, these weather-related phenomena can throw a major wrench in your business’s plans if you’re not prepared for them. If you don’t have appropriate cloud services and backups in place so staff can work away from the office, even average snowstorms could end up being an issue. Having a business continuity plan that includes the appropriate contingencies for dealing with any of these disasters can save your company some major headaches.

Local Power Outages

It’s often forgotten about, but simple blackouts in the electricity grid can wreak havoc on your company’s operations. If you don’t have appropriate backup plans in place, any somewhat extended blackout can cost your small business a huge amount of productivity and money.  Power outages can be a nightmare for business continuity and if you end up with several in a short period of time it can be even more devastating. Business continuity plans need to account for not only the possibility of power outages, but the possibility of long-term blackouts or a series of them.

Cybersecurity Breaches

The most commonly known and talked about reason for business continuity plans are cybersecurity failures. In a worst-case scenario, either due to a particularly sophisticated cyber threat or an unfortunate user error that causes a security breach, you need to be ready to keep your business running. Ransomware attacks have been known to shut down entire businesses for extended periods if they aren’t stopped in time. Keeping those attacks at bay is key but having contingencies in case the worst occurs can save your business entirely.

You have to be prepared for anything when it comes to unexpected disasters disrupting your business. Business continuity, data protection and data backup are lifesaving services to many businesses who have had to deal with any of these unexpected nightmares from occurring. If you want to learn about how business continuity services can help keep your business safe, reach out to Panurgy today.