What is a computer network?Simply put, a computer network is a logical grouping of computers designed to communicate with one another. This communication allows users...
When everyone was working in the office behind firewalls, your greatest IT risks were most likely employees clicking on suspicious links and the occasional coffee spill.
But as our need to work remotely stretches on, you might find that you need better, more permanent IT plans for your Boise SMB. You need to manage your risk and ensure continuity, in a way that keeps you sane and doesn’t keep you up all night.
Earlier in the year, most employees took their PCs home and teams did the best they could to manage in the short term.
Now we are still working remotely, using different business apps and getting and sharing data, but no one's in the office. At the same time, new challenges seem to pop up daily.
You need to know who's managing the network at all times. Who's tracking what's being added and shared, who's monitoring network health and troubleshooting? You might be wondering, are we really protected from the latest threats?
If you’re like many in the community, the next logical question you’re asking yourself is: What should I be paying attention to, and how do I find out?
If you aren’t working with a Managed Service Provider, here are the three (3) main areas you should consider:
1. Attack Vector Security
What's an attack vector? Generally, it's any system vulnerability that can be exploited by hackers to infiltrate your system and harvest personal, financial, or healthcare data. Some nefarious types may also hope to plant malware or conduct DOS (Denial of Service) attacks.
What does this have to do with your SMB? Now that so many more people are working from home, potential attack vectors have tripled, along with system vulnerabilities.
Think about it. With your employees accessing your VPN from home, every one of those connections—all those phones, tablets, kids' computers, Netflix, Xbox, and even your Smart lightbulbs and Alexa—are potential targets for hackers.
Be honest, we know that not all our employees are necessarily tech savvy. They may delay installing important updates, use weak passwords, or download suspect or unverified software or apps.
So, what's the solution? A Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help you implement 2-factor authentication and ensure that you always have updated anti-spam and anti-malware protection.
2. The Move to Network Solutions (and the Death of the Desktop)
The death of the desktop? Isn’t that a little dramatic?
One big reason is data sprawl, the huge amount of data that organizations produce daily, and where it's all kept. Is all your confidential data protected and stored in a central place? Or are employees saving proprietary data to their hard drives, where it can be easily lost—or at least not easily accessible to others who may need it?
In addition, there are common contingencies you may not have planned for:
- A new employee needs network access
- A new laptop needs to be configured
- Employees need software installed or updated
- You have a new contractor or client that needs to be added to their VPN
- You need to set up greater security or a firewall
- Some part of your network goes down
- Remote employees are struggling with connectivity issues
It can be hard to anticipate all the possibilities. A reliable MSP will make sure that these issues are planned for and handled smoothly, with as little disruption to your business as possible.
3. Becoming More Agile with Cloud Solutions
Think about what new solutions you have added to manage your daily operations. People might be making L.O.B. (Line of Business) decisions by department, for example, using desktop versions of QuickBooks or the HubSpot Outlook add-in.
Who's tracking and managing it all? Does your IT manager know that everyone has moved to Slack to collaborate and share files?
Cloud solutions aren't always necessarily cheaper, but they could definitely be smarter for your SMB.
Some examples of cloud apps that you might be considering or already using:
- File sharing - Dropbox or Google Docs
- Collaboration - Microsoft Teams or Slack
- Video meetings - Zoom or Go To Meeting
- CRM - HubSpot or Zendesk
- Finance - QuickBooks or Xero
- HR - Paychex or ADP
A MSP can help you decide what's the best route for your organization long term and help you implement and maintain the security you need for each application.
Embrace the New Normal in SMB IT
A MSP builds “hooks” into everything you're doing online. They know who's using what software and apps, how they all work together, and how to keep your systems updated and secure.
Regular audits are recommended for security every six (6) months. Audits can help you assure business continuity and make sure your solutions are agile and sustainable. Audits of your closet keep your business humming with regular server maintenance, Wi-Fi trouble shooting, and networking and computer setup.
Don’t settle for mediocre IT. A reliable MSP can be a partner that helps you sleep better at night. You’ll know that your IT needs are being anticipated and professionally managed, especially in light of today’s changing business demands.
Don't try to handle the growing SMB IT challenges yourself.