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Digital Transformation Sounds Sexy but it Sucks --- 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Spent all of this Money

There is so much buzz around digital transformation but what does that really mean? Digital Transformation is the new, fast, and frequently changing digital technology that companies use to solve business problems. It is about transforming manual processes into automated workflows. Unfortunately, just picking the latest and greatest technology to implement is not that simple and will not solve your problem on its own. Here are 5 things you should know before you spend all of that money:

Are you sure your business is not an open target for a cyber-attack?

There is a general understanding among business owners on how to keep their businesses protected. We all know the standard operating procedures around cybersecurity such as password protection, firewall implementation, and backing up company data. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) take this a step further by also training your employees on best practices and constantly monitoring your networks. These methods alone, however, are no longer enough to keep you safe, especially during this pandemic. Remote work and relaxed summertime work habits often creates sloppy security precautions as your employees are using their home devices and unsecured networks are more prevalent --- a breeding ground for a cyber attack. We have seen countless reports of security breaches since the beginning of COVID-19, many of which could have been prevented with proactive and preventative cybersecurity standards. What can you and your IT support do to make sure you’re not attacked? Understand your Risk In the past, Cyber risk analysis was difficult for companies with so many seemingly endless ways that they could be targeted. Luckily, today there are frameworks in place to protect your company by developing plans to inspect your current policies and see where the weak links lie. From this, you can work with your MSP to create a plan that fits both your timeline and budget. We recommend using the NIST Cybersecurity Framework - which is a globally-recognized cybersecurity risk assessment standard for small-businesses to measure your current operations and develop your plan of action. RCS can help you do this. Here’s how: · We interview you with questions about your current policies and procedures · We aggregate the findings into an easy-to-understand report showing your top security risks and the impacts they have on your business · We discuss the top risks and which ones are most important to you · We develop a plan of action that fits your timeline and budget The entire process only takes a relatively short time to complete and is very affordable. We also invite you to join our cyber-security awareness training on August 5th to get a more detailed look at creating a risk framework for your company. You can register for this here: Implement Mobile Device Management An analysis done by Webroot reported that 62% of the endpoints they had reporting a malware infection on their device were from a home device, the other 38% were from business machines. As a business, you need to understand the risk your security faces when you allow users to connect to company networks from their personal devices. Mobile device management (MDM) implements the security of a business setting on all devices where work is performed on a company network --- end users laptops, smartphones, etc. --- to prevent cyberattacks from targeting unsecured devices. Your IT support should be proactively working with you to ensure all user devices are being monitored on a device management platform. These platforms automatically detect devices in the network and send them settings for immediate and continued usability. By doing this, your support is able to control and protect the data and configuration settings of all mobile devices in a network. In turn, MDM can reduce support costs and business risks. Most small and medium sized businesses fold within six months of an attack because they can’t afford to bounce back, but you don’t have to be one of them.

Microsoft Teams is Overshadowing Zoom by a Landslide --- Here’s Why

Microsoft has announced a bunch of new features coming to its Teams platform before the new year, some of which are right on par with its competition, and some of which are new and different --- and we’re excited! The new features, which Microsoft disclosed via a blog post on July 8, are supposed to make chats, meetings, and other collaborations less tiring and more productive. These new releases; such as the much-anticipated ability to see 49 people on screen at once, will be reaching end-users as soon as the new few days.

Security Size Up: Zoom vs. Teams

Choosing between the two front -running video conferencing software, Zoom and Microsoft Teams, will probably come down to the use of the platform in your business along with cost. What you should be prioritizing is the security of each.

Returning to the Office? Here are 4 things you should know before you go

The decision to return to the office after working from home is a difficult one, for the safety of yourself, your employees, and your clients. Whether this be a choice you are making now, or, in the foreseeable future, you need to be prepared for it. COVID-19 is still among us, and planning for re-opening may seem stressful, but you can use the following steps to ensure that your office is clean, safe, and organized as you plan for re-opening:

What your IT Company Is Not Telling You (But Should Be!!!)

Outsourcing your IT support shouldn’t be a painful part of your business. If you made the decision to hire an external IT Team, they should provide you with consistent coverage, and help you make educated decisions --- not only to protect your business, but also to help you grow. But what if that isn’t what’s going on? MSPs should add value, not loss. Many times, IT providers aren’t proactively communicating with their clients the current climate changes within IT nor are they effectively making their clients aware of all the nuances and current market trends which they need to be on top of. If you find yourself questioning your current tech support team, try asking yourself the following questions to see if they are really looking out for your best interests: Why am I still remoting into computers? Remote work was on the rise far before Covid19, but now many more employees are working from home due to the pandemic. Oftentimes, these workers will “remote” into their work computers from home machines, whether that be a personal laptop or desktop, in order to have access to all of their work from their main office machine. Remoting into your machine seems simple by using a VPN or “virtual private network,” to provide an additional layer of very effective security between the user and your company’s servers. What your IT provider might not be telling you however, are some of the less obvious pains and disadvantages to utilizing a remote connection. For starters, the cost of VPNs remains very high. Anyone with a server will tell you that maintaining, hosting, and supporting your own server is extremely expensive. Add on to that, the fact that each remote user will need a VPN license in order to remote into the network and connect to the server. If your company has their entire team working remotely, the cost of VPNs is high. Not to mention remoting into machines is troublesome because both machines need to be running and on in order to work. What happens if the internet goes out at the office or your computer breaks down? Then you’re no longer able to work from your machine. The risk of an outage is too high for remoting into machines to be used as a continued option for remote workers, especially if many offices are shutting down completely in favor of a fully virtual environment. Switching to the cloud is the only solution to remove the risk of down-time, security breaches, and costly licensing. Not to mention convenience and ease of use. Cloud computing takes place through your provider with minimal hardware investment and many options for accessing large amounts of storage, not to mention a much bigger focus on the security of your data. The cloud offers all of your computing services --- servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence --- over the internet. You can connect anywhere at any time with no need to “remote” into your machines, removing any risk of outage. What do I do with my physical office and equipment after going virtual? If you’ve decided to leave the office and work virtually, whether it be just for the time being or permanently, what do you do with your office equipment? What about the internet and telecom bills you’re paying for and not using? These are questions which your IT Team should be addressing with you. Many businesses don’t realize that disposing of electronic equipment by trash is illegal in New York. Not only is it an environmental concern, but it is also a privacy concern. Wiping data off of computers, servers, and all other networking equipment is essential when getting rid of equipment to protect your data. Using a trusted E-Waste service that abides by legal and security standards for proper data destruction on electronic equipment could save you from fines and security attacks. At RCS Professional, we use a company called 4TH Bin for disposing of equipment. 4th Bin is a trusted E-waste servicer in the tri-state area, and they help us provide all of our clients with reputable and assured data destruction, removal, and recycling for their unused computing equipment. Please feel free to reach out to us if you are needing us to facilitate an e-waste pickup. Providers of phone and internet services are assisting in the financial pains businesses are facing during COVID19. Many internet providers are offering the ability to suspend your internet accounts temporarily while you are waiting on the return back to office. Telecommunications companies are doing the same in order to remove monthly bills racking up for services you simply aren’t using right now. Suspension allows you to keep your accounts active without paying for them so that you can open them right back up when you are ready instead of cancelling service and facing possible early termination fees and dealing with installing everything again when your physical office opens back up. Not warning you of COVID-19 related risks and scams Users working from home is a security risk in and of itself. Personal devices and unsecured wifi leaves users and company networks susceptible to cybersecurity attacks. Your IT company may be securely monitoring the laptops and machines that are managed by them (company owned machines that they allowed users to bring home) but who is managing users personal machines? Cyber attackers are increasingly targeting weak links in company networks (human errors) now that so many people are away from the protection of company security. Reducing risk needs to be proactive with setting up Multi-factor-Authentication for all users along with practicing “Cyber Hygiene” amongst all of your workforce. Phishing scams and other email related attacks have also seen a rise during the pandemic. It’s scary to see how scammers are getting smarter and enacting scams that are more and more advanced. Proper training from your IT support team is necessary to warn you and your employees on what not to click on and watch out for. One of the free trainings we are currently offering is a Cyber-Security awareness webinar. Contact us to learn more. Making sure you are leveraging collaboration tools to maintain a healthy remote culture All of the equipment and software your IT support manages for you is great, but we all know that a great company is built on a lot more than machinery. Your people - your employees, are the most important part of any business. Company cultures have been hit the hardest during remote work, but there are tools out there like Microsoft teams to help you communicate more effectively with your team while you are working remotely. If your IT support IS offering you these kinds of tools, they ought to be training you on how to use them too. RCS has Microsoft teams webinar training to help you learn more about teams and deploy it within your own company. If you would like to join these webinars, please register here. Other tools that should be offered to you are ActvTrak, which allows managers to audit & optimize employee productivity while working from home. Also, there are many virtual workshop platforms for event booking like Signupgenius or Eventbrite. Most of these platforms are free to use and offer a wide range of tools to help your organization flourish, even while at home. Your IT team should be looking out for you, now more than ever. Remote work puts the pressure on you to make sure your business continues even while everyone is not working under one roof. Let your IT be the support you need to walk you through everything you need to know proactively. If you are interested in learning more about RCS Managed IT Services, please reach out to us as