Tag Archive for: cloud

Now, more than ever, it is crucial to prioritize investments in advanced threat intelligence, monitoring systems, and ongoing employee training.

In 2023, there has been a concerning surge in data breaches. During the second quarter of 2023, over 110 million accounts were compromised, a staggering 2,6 times more than in the first quarter of the year. Recent findings reveal that the average cost of a data leak has reached $4.45 million, including both direct costs, such as fines and legal proceedings, as well as indirect like reputational damage.

The good news is that the causes of such breaches are often trivial and are under your control, like neglecting to change passwords or using overly simplistic ones, or overlooking the deactivation of access by a fired employee. Businesses can readily mitigate risks to safeguard themselves from both data and the subsequent financial losses. So, what are the most common reasons for data leaks, and how can they be effectively handled?

Cloud misconfigurations

According to IBM, 82% of breaches involve information stored in the cloud. Cloud misconfigurations can lead to data exposure or even compromise entire environments. They take various forms, including improperly configured storage buckets, insecure access controls, and mismanaged encryption settings. These errors often stem from a lack of understanding of the cloud service provider’s security features or oversight during the configuration process. Attackers exploit these vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Solution:

– Adhere to recommendations from your cloud service provider, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud. This includes configuring security groups, setting up proper identity and access management, and implementing encryption for data both in transit and at rest.

– Implement automated tools for configuring and enforcing security policies. For example, in Kubernetes clusters you may use Gatekeeper or Kyverno. They can significantly reduce the risk of human error.

– Additionally, look for software solutions and scripts to regularly check your cloud configuration against best practices and compliance standards.

Lack of permissions control

The human element remains a significant factor in 74% of data breaches, and the common reason is the lack of proper permissions control. It means that users may have access to data and systems beyond what is necessary for their roles.

The primary issues associated with this challenge include overprivileged accounts, with users having more permissions than necessary, thereby expanding the attack surface. Additionally, there is a concern about proper segregation of duties. For example, a single user may have the right to both create and approve transactions. This leads to an increased risk of fraudulent activities. Outdated settings also contribute to the problem. Imagine a fired support employee still having access to the company’s database. They could potentially download and sell sensitive data to competitors.

Solution:

– Implement least privilege concept to ensure that users and applications have only the minimum level of access required to perform their tasks.

– Utilize role-based access control to assign permissions based on job roles. This way your team members will only see resources and data necessary for their specific responsibilities.

– Implement multi factor authentication by requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification before gaining access. Even if login credentials are compromised, MFA adds an additional security barrier.

Infrequent software updates

Outdated software often contains known vulnerabilities. When businesses fail to regularly update, they leave a window of opportunity for cybercriminals. An illustrative case is Memcached, a widely utilized distributed memory-caching system for enhancing the performance of dynamic, database-driven websites. Vulnerabilities in this software were uncovered in 2016, however, it wasn’t until 2018 when a novel method for DDoS attack amplification using Memcached was exploited in notable network incidents.

Solution:

– Update at least once in half a year. Ideally, implement a patch management policy that outlines procedures for identifying, testing, and deploying software updates in a timely and systematic manner.

– Utilize automated tools to streamline the process. Automation helps to guarantee that patches are deployed consistently across all systems.

Insufficient perimeter control

This risk refers to a situation when an organization’s network boundaries are not adequately secured, allowing for potential unauthorized access to critical information or systems. The network perimeter serves as the first line of defense against external threats. Today, it extends to cloud services, remote users and mobile devices. The attack surface has expanded even further with the proliferation of the Internet of Things. From smart thermostats to industrial sensors, these gadgets often become attractive targets for hackers. Recently, it was reported that the number of IoT devices involved in botnet-driven DDoS attacks had risen from around 200,000 a year ago to approximately 1 million.

Solution:

– Deploy firewalls (such as Web Application Firewall) at network entry points to control and monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. Configuring them correctly allows only authorized and necessary communication.

– Implement Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS) to detect unusual or suspicious activities within the network. They can automatically respond to potential threats, mitigating risks in real-time.

– Add encryption for data transmitted over networks, including local networks, for an extra layer of protection. This way, intercepted data remains unreadable without the proper decryption keys.

Other emerging threats

Among other emerging threats is the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence. Cybercriminals use it to assess attack strategies, significantly increasing their chances of success. It is also used to amplify the speed, scale, and reach of their attacks. For example, hackers now use cutting-edge AI to create convincing phishing campaigns in nearly any language, even those with fewer historical attack attempts due to their complexity.

While there are also other cyber threats, in reality, businesses rarely face them as they are typically targeted at large corporations, government systems and critical infrastructure with top grade security. These include advanced persistent threats (APTs) orchestrated by well-funded and persistent criminals and characterized by their long-term presence within a target network. Usually, these are state-sponsored cyberattacks driven by political, economic, or espionage motives.

Safeguarding your business: universal tips

Apart from all the measures already listed, there are a few general rules to keep your business protected. First of all, conduct regular security audits and assessments, whether they concern cloud infrastructure, the status of software updates, user permissions or the overall effectiveness of perimeter control. External audits or penetration testing can also help in evaluating the organization’s security posture.

Second, invest in advanced intelligence and monitoring solutions. They can detect threats and respond in real-time. Such systems can use machine learning, behavioral analytics, and pattern recognition to establish a baseline of normal network behavior and detect deviations. Upon identifying a potential threat, the system will automatically trigger response mechanisms: block suspicious traffic, isolate compromised devices, or alert security personnel for further investigation.

Third, regularly train your employees to recognize and counteract threats, especially phishing. The latter remains one of the most common methods used by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive data.

The effective employee training comprises two key elements, which I refer to as the “stick” and the “carrot.”

The “stick” involves educating all team members on the company’s security policies and legislative initiatives, such as GDPR. It emphasizes the collective responsibility in safeguarding confidential data, which extends beyond the information security department’s duty. Training sessions should explain the consequences of breaches, including potential fines and even dismissals. It is important to conduct these events at least once in two years, if not more often. Moreover, businesses should incorporate them into the onboarding process for new employees.

The “carrot” aspect involves workshops, meetups, and webinars focused on various cyberattacks and the latest advancements in information security. This facet of training is designed to be more engaging and enjoyable. It may include some interactive activities, such as online games and simulations. Guest speakers can take part in these events, for example, employees from the IT department, representatives from other divisions sharing insightful cases, and external market experts.

Through the combined “stick” and “carrot” measures, team members cultivate a collective immunity to information security issues, fostering a culture of mutual accountability.

And, of course, always keep abreast of the latest cyber trends to develop countermeasures in time.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechRadar SOURCE

Businesses operate in a volatile world where unforeseen events such as cyberthreats and natural disasters can strike at any moment. To ensure your company’s survival, it’s essential to have the following business continuity strategies in place.

Back up your data

The most effective way to ensure business continuity is to back up your data regularly. Having a comprehensive data backup strategy is like having insurance for your most valuable digital assets. If any of your systems fail, become corrupted, or are inaccessible, these backups will allow you to quickly recover and minimize downtime.
When backing up your data, it’s important to consider off-site backups in addition to on-premises solutions. This will ensure that your data is safe in the event of a physical disaster, such as a fire or flood at your primary location. Additionally, cloud-based backup solutions can provide added security and accessibility for your data during times of crisis.

Virtualize your IT infrastructure

Virtualization is the process of creating a virtual version of a physical IT resource, such as a server or desktop. The virtualized resources are put into a virtual machine, which can be easily replicated and migrated to other physical machines as if it were a simple file. This allows for quick and efficient disaster recovery, as virtual machines can be easily backed up and restored to new hardware if necessary. Virtualization essentially provides flexibility and scalability, making it easier to recover your systems and maintain operations without extended downtime.

Install a UPS

Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are essential components of your business continuity strategy. They offer protection against power interruptions and surges, allowing your systems to continue running even during electrical outages. A UPS provides a buffer period for you to shut down your systems safely or transition to backup power sources, reducing the risk of data loss and downtime.

Consider a secondary recovery site or temporary hot desk arrangement

In scenarios where your primary business location becomes inaccessible due to natural disasters or other crises, having a secondary recovery site or temporary hot desk arrangement is a lifesaver. This tactic ensures that your employees can continue working, even when the primary workspace is unavailable. Establish agreements with co-working spaces or set up an alternative location where your team can temporarily relocate and access the necessary resources to keep your operations running smoothly.

Implement cloud solutions for remote work

The cloud has revolutionized the way businesses operate and has become a vital component of modern business continuity plans. Cloud solutions provide the flexibility to enable remote work, allowing your team to access essential applications and data from anywhere with an internet connection. This is particularly valuable during unforeseen disruptions, as your employees can work from home or any location, maintaining productivity and business operations.
If you want to ensure business continuity, we can help you develop and implement a comprehensive business continuity plan. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Hurricane season is here. These harsh weather events can produce devastating high-speed winds, torrential rains, and microbursts, and can bring your business to a grinding halt. To address the threat of hurricanes, your company should have an effective hurricane disaster recovery policy in place.

What is a hurricane disaster recovery plan?

A hurricane disaster recovery plan is a written set of procedures on how to respond to a hurricane. Just like a standard disaster recovery plan, this policy contains steps that should be taken before, during, and after a hurricane, including:

  • How to anticipate and mitigate the effects of a hurricane
  • Emergency procedures to ensure everyone’s safety
  • Steps for restoring vital business systems and operations
  • Long-term plans for full business recovery

How to create a hurricane disaster recovery plan

While each organization’s hurricane disaster recovery plan is unique to its industry, the basic framework should contain the following:

1. Risk assessment
Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment will help pinpoint vulnerabilities your company must address. This lets you prioritize the most critical parts of your planning and help you shape your hurricane disaster recovery policy.

2. Preventive planning
While it’s impossible to stop a hurricane, anticipating and carefully planning for it can help prevent serious damage to your business. Think about how people board up their windows before a hurricane strikes. You need to take preventive steps to protect vital aspects of your business from a hurricane. This includes:

  • Backing up your data
    Data backup is an important component of any disaster recovery strategy. Even if a hurricane does not completely destroy your IT infrastructure, the disruption caused by the loss of huge quantities of data can lead to lost productivity and revenue.Having a robust data backup system allows you to quickly restore vital business data and minimize downtime caused by a hurricane. Examples of data backup solutions include:

    • Off-site backups – Storing copies of your backups in off-site data backup centers in areas rarely hit by hurricanes is an ideal solution. This ensures that you will have secure copies of your data even if your servers and computers are destroyed during a hurricane.
    • Cloud storage – Cloud storage lets you access your data and files remotely, as long as you have a stable internet connection. This allows employees to work from home in case your offices suffer severe damage.
  • Protecting physical assets
    During a hurricane, the biggest threat to your servers and other electronic equipment is flooding and water damage. Here are some ways you can keep them safe.

    • Avoid storing servers in the basement, as this is usually the first area that will be flooded.
    • Choose a storage room with no water pipes in the walls and ceiling to prevent water from leaking in.
    • Install flood detectors to warn you if water enters your facility.
    • Invest in turtle shells to protect electrical equipment from leaks.

3. Response
This covers the emergency procedures that should be taken during a hurricane to minimize the risk of injury to employees, such as:

  • Guidelines on how to protect oneself from strong winds
  • Where to take refuge if trapped in the building
  • Evacuation policies to ensure everyone’s safety

You should also include the names and contact information of emergency personnel to ensure all safety measures are carried out properly.

4. Restoration
This contains steps on how to restore critical business operations and systems after a hurricane, and who will be responsible for the restoration process. It should include clear instructions on what needs to be restored first, such as:

  • Data backups
  • Power
  • Network access
  • Servers and other damaged equipment

Conducting a business impact analysis will identify critical business systems and help you formulate an effective restoration plan that will get your business back up and running as soon as possible.

5. Recovery
Even if your company restores vital systems quickly, you still need a complete, long-term recovery plan. It should include details on how the company will fully restore operations to pre-hurricane levels. Here are some examples:

  • Repairing of damaged structures
  • Replacement of destroyed equipment
  • Relocation of business if needed
  • Returning the workforce to full capacity

Hurricanes are unpredictable, but having a disaster recovery plan in place will help you recover as quickly as possible. Talk to our experts today to learn more about disaster recovery planning.

If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, call us today. We offer comprehensive business continuity services that every company should have.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

This guide will take you through the essential Microsoft Teams features

Following the rapid shift to remote or hybrid working, many employees were simply expected to know how to use video conferencing tools like Microsoft Teams. However, for the majority of the workforce, a day spent in the office meant little more than responding to emails. The sudden adoption of Microsoft Teams for long-distance meetings and remote collaboration took some getting used to.

Given the pace at which the Covid-19 pandemic spread, the usual adjustment period and training to accommodate the use of Teams simply didn’t take place. Fortunately, Microsoft has tried to make the transition as streamlined as possible by providing an intuitive platform that is full of easy-to-use features for even the most inexperienced IT user.

However, if you’re still unsure about using Teams, we’ve come up with a handy guide that goes over some of the most important features below:

Signing up

Perhaps the most important step to using Teams is the first one: signing up. This is easily achieved by visiting https://products.office.com/microsoft-teams. Then simply enter the email address associated with your Microsoft account and select “Next”. Then enter your password and select “Sign in”. There may be a few more details to enter but then you should select “Set up Teams.”

After that is complete, it’s time to choose how you want to open and use Teams. Microsoft Teams is available in several different versions – with Windows, Mac, mobile, and web options all available. Download or access your chosen version of Teams and the signup process is complete. If you want to know more about logging in, this guide will show you how.

Exploring the Teams interface

The best way to understand how to use Microsoft Teams is to explore its user interface. On the left, you’ll see the App bar, where you’ll find a whole host of different icons. These include “Activity,” which displays mentions, replies, and other notifications, as well as “Meetings” or “Calendar,” either of which is synced with your Outlook calendar and provides a quick way of viewing all your upcoming meetings. There’s also “Chat,” “Files,” “Calls,” “Store,” and “Feedback.”

Aside from the App bar, the interface also boasts the “Teams” section, which displays a list of the user’s teams, “Channel,” the “Command Bar,” and various “Tabs” that allow you to move between different Teams pages. There are lots of additional features to get to grips with as well, so it’s a good idea to start investigating the interface to see what’s on offer.

Collaborate in a Microsoft Teams hub

In order to collaborate with others in Teams, you first need to join or create a Teams hub. To do so, select “Teams” from the App bar, followed by “Join” or “Create a Team.” If you’re creating a team, enter your chosen name and description, select your privacy settings and add your members.

A team can have a maximum of 2,500 members – so the opportunities for collaboration are pretty vast. You can also assign roles to each individual, such as “Owner” or “Member.” If you’re finished with a particular Teams hub, you can always choose to “Delete the team.”

Setting up a Teams call

Another of the most important actions to understand on Teams is how to set up a call. One of the ways is to select the “Schedule a meeting” button during a chat to set up a call with all the people involved in the chat. Alternatively, you can select the “Calendar Meetings” button followed by “New meeting.” Then if you select a time in the calendar, a scheduling form will appear for you to finish setting up the meeting. Once you’re happy with the meeting details, click “Save” and the relevant individuals will be sent a meeting invitation.

Don’t worry if you want to invite someone that doesn’t have Teams to a meeting either. As long you have their full email address, you can invite them. They’ll receive an email with a link to the meeting so they can join just like any other attendee that has a Teams license.

Take part in chat

Sometimes a full-blown video call may not be necessary, so Teams enables

collaboration to occur through its chat function. In order to start a new chat, click on the “Compose Box” and begin typing. Click “Send” to deliver your message to any individual in the team or channel that you’re working in.

One of the best aspects of the chat function is that any new member that is added can look back at all the previous messages – even those that were posted before they joined. This means it is easy for them to get up to speed with a new project.

Sharing files

Following the creation of a Teams hub, a SharePoint site is automatically set up, complete with a document library for each channel. Any file uploaded to Teams will be visible from the Files tab and simultaneously stored in SharePoint. If you want to open the file directly from SharePoint, you can click on the three dots located after the file name and select “Open in SharePoint.”

Accessing help

If you feel like you’ve exhausted all the assistance you can find from third parties, you can always try Teams’ built-in help feature. Towards the left-hand side of the app, you’ll find the “Help” button, where Teams provides localized advice on a host of topics. These are organized by feature, but there is also a “Videos” section displaying visual content on how to use the app.

Teams also has its own dedicated support webpage, which provides guidance, training, and tips so you can discover how any aspect of the platform works. With all that and the above guide, you’ll go from dummy to Teams expert in no time.

Fortunately, there’s another way to find the right app for your business: ask the experts. Contact us today for an IT assessment!

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechRadar.com SOURCE

There are three Microsoft 365 tools that are typically used for office communication and collaboration: Microsoft 365 Groups, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams. While these three are similar, did you know that there are subtle differences that set them apart from each other? Let’s take a look at some of these.

Microsoft 365 Groups

With Microsoft 365 Groups, every member gets a shared inbox, calendar, project planner, notebook, and document library. You can also integrate third-party apps like Twitter, Trello, and Mailchimp to Groups so notifications are sent directly to your shared inbox.

This means all relevant messages and information are sent to one place, so if your organization normally communicates via email, Microsoft 365 Groups is ideal. What’s more, HR and sales departments that communicate with external parties will also find plenty of uses for its email features.

A big downside of Microsoft 365 Groups, however, is email overload. Since all messages and notifications are sent to one inbox, users may become overwhelmed by the number of emails they have to sort through every day.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams, a chat-based collaboration platform, works with Skype for Business, so you can text, call, video chat, and share files with colleagues. Thanks to its seamless integrations with other Microsoft 365 apps, you can even work on shared files without leaving the app.

Unlike Groups, Microsoft Teams is designed for more advanced collaboration, making it great for completing projects with tight deadlines or other tasks requiring immediate feedback.

Yammer

Much like Groups and Teams, Yammer works well with other Microsoft 365 tools like Outlook and OneDrive. However, Yammer is a professional social media app designed to foster open communication and break down barriers between teams.

Yammer serves like a virtual office bulletin board: important files and announcements can be shared with the entire company through this platform. Users can also see the most popular post on their feeds, follow it, and even comment.

Yammer also takes design elements and features from social media apps like Facebook, making it a popular choice for companies with millennials in their workforce.

Although we’ve discussed the fundamental differences between Groups, Teams, and Yammer, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what each app can do. To figure out which apps you need, you must understand how your employees work, how they like to collaborate with one another, and what you want to achieve from such collaborations.

Fortunately, there’s another way to find the right app for your business: ask the experts. Contact us today for an IT assessment!

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Do you need a website that’ll convince people to sign up for your services or buy your product? The solution to conversion is simpler than you think. Here are five easy website essentials that will surely encourage conversion.

1. Optimize your website for mobile devices

More people are now surfing the web via smartphones and tablets. If you want a piece of this traffic, you need to make your website’s design responsive to all mobile devices.

To give your visitors a seamless mobile experience, make sure your website design fits the screen of any device. Additionally, all elements of your website, including inner pages, resources, and call-to-action buttons should be easily accessible. If not, visitors will get frustrated and move to another site.

2. Make it easy for customers to contact you

Displaying your phone number in the upper-right corner of every page and providing a simple contact form is crucial for conversions. While some people prefer not to give up their email address for fear it will be picked off by spambots, it can serve as another contact option for those who hate web forms. At the very least, your customers will have more than one way to contact you.

3. Keep it simple

People don’t always have time to navigate a complicated website, dig through dozens of pages to find a contact number, or figure out what it is that you’re selling. So when it comes to design, simplicity makes sense. When producing a simple website, every page, word, and image you create must have a singular purpose: to get visitors to contact you. Don’t distract them with excessive information, silly games, or flashy animations. Instead, have a nice clean layout so they can quickly understand what you’re offering and can contact you in just a click.

4. Include original photos whenever possible

Imagine having to choose between two different websites that sell the same thing and look virtually the same. The key difference is that one uses real photos of the owner and his or her staff, while the other uses stock images of business people.

By using original and authentic photos, visitors can get a better sense of your company as well as its products and services. It also gives you better control over how you can compose your photos and determine how you want your company to be perceived. So the next time you need images for your website, invest some time and money in having quality pictures taken by a professional photographer.

5. Move social media icons to the bottom of the page

Everyone loves throwing social media icons on their websites. And while it’s not a bad idea to show your credibility, putting social media icons at the top of the page makes your visitors more likely to click on them immediately. When this happens, you just gave them a reason to leave your site and never return, and we all know how easy it is to get distracted on social media.

Instead, place your social media icons at the bottom of the page or in the footer area. Remember, the goal of your website is to convert. If your visitors leave before they get a chance to explore your services, content, and offerings, you’ve lost them before you even had them.

For more tips on enhancing your digital presence, give us a call and leverage our IT expertise for your business today.

Ask yourself what your website is doing for you and whether it’s aligned with your business needs and objectives. The GCInfotech professional web design team is here to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. SOURCE

Data is everything to a small business in this day and age – which means if you lose access or control of your data, you lose everything.

As dramatic as that might sound, the data backs that up. According to several sources, 93% of companies, no matter how big they are, are out of business within one year if they suffer a major data disaster without having first formulated a strategy for combating it. And since 68% of businesses don’t have any sort of plan for that worst-case scenario, that means losing data would be a death knell for most of the businesses in the country.

Fortunately, your business does not have to be one of them. By taking the following steps, you can ensure that you have a rock-solid disaster recovery plan in place.

Step 1: Know How A Disaster Recovery Plan Is Different From A Business Continuity Plan

The main difference between these two types of plans is that while business continuity plans are proactive, disaster recovery plans are reactive.

More specifically, a business continuity plan is a strategy by which a business ensures that, no matter what disaster befalls it, it can continue to operate and provide products and services to its customers. A disaster recovery plan, on the flip side, is a strategy by which businesses can back up and recover critical data should it get lost or held for ransom.

So, now that we have a clear, concise understanding of what constitutes a disaster recovery plan, we can dive into the steps necessary to create one.

Step 2: Gather Information And Support

In order to get the ball rolling on your disaster recovery plan, start with executive buy-in. This means that everyone, from the CEO to the entry-level employees, needs to be brought in on executing the plan in case your company suffers a data disaster. When everyone is aware of the possibility of a data disaster, it allows for cross-functional collaboration in the creation process – a necessary step if you want to prevent breaches in all parts of your systems.

You need to account for all elements in your tech systems when you’re putting together your disaster recovery plan, including your systems, applications and data. Be sure to account for any issues involving the physical security of your servers as well as physical access to your systems. You’ll need a plan in case those are compromised.

In the end, you’ll need to figure out which processes are absolutely necessary to keep up and running during a worst-case scenario when your capability is limited.

Step 3: Actually Create Your Strategy

When everyone is on board with the disaster recovery plan and they understand their systems’ vulnerabilities, as well as which systems need to stay up and running even in a worst-case scenario, it’s time to actually put together the game plan. In order to do that, you’ll need to have a good grip on your budget, resources, tools and partners.

If you’re a small business, you might want to consider your budget and the timeline for the recovery process. These are good starting points for putting together your plan, and doing so will also give you an idea of what you can tell your customers to expect while you get your business back up to full operating capacity.

Step 4: Test The Plan

Even if you complete the first two steps, you’ll never know that you’re prepared until you actually test out your disaster recovery plan. Running through all the steps with your employees helps them familiarize themselves with the steps they’ll need to take in the event of a real emergency, and it will help you detect any areas of your plan that need improvement. By the time an actual data disaster befalls your business, your systems and employees will easily know how to spring into action.

So, to review, these are the quick actions that you and your employees will need to take in order to make a successful, robust disaster recovery plan:

  • Get executive buy-in for the plan.
  • Research and analyze the different systems in your business to understand how they could be impacted.
  • Prioritize systems that are absolutely necessary to the functioning of your business.
  • Test your disaster recovery plan to evaluate its effectiveness.

Complete these steps, and you can ensure that your business will survive any data disaster that comes your way.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Hurricanes damage property and put lives at risk. If you’re not prepared, hurricanes can also disrupt your operations and put your business through extended downtime. In this blog, we’ll help you quickly regain access to your data and get your business back to operational mode after a disaster.

Determine recovery hierarchy

Certain parts of your IT system are more mission-critical than others. Ask yourself which systems and/or data must be recovered in minutes, hours, or days so your business can resume operations quickly

For example, you may find that recovering sensitive customer information and eCommerce systems take priority over recovering your email server. Whatever the case may be, prioritizing your systems ensures that the right ones are recovered quickly after a disaster.

Pay attention to location

First and foremost, your backup site should be in a hurricane-free zone. Ideally, your off-site facility should be located at least 100 miles away from your main location. If this isn’t possible, make sure it is built to withstand wind speeds of 160 miles per hour (as fast as Category 5 storms) and is supported by backup generators and uninterruptible power supplies.

You should also request an upper floor installation or, at the very least, keep critical IT equipment 18 inches off the ground to prevent water damage in case of floods.

Use image-based backups

Unlike fragile tape backups, image-based backups take “snapshots” of your systems, creating a copy of the OS, software, and data stored in them. From there, you can easily boot the virtual image on any device, allowing you to back up and restore critical business systems in seconds.

Take advantage of the cloud

The cloud enables you to host applications and store data in high-availability, geo-redundant servers. This means your backups can be accessed via the internet, allowing authorized users to access critical files from any device. Expert technicians will also watch over and secure your backups, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of enterprise-level backup facilities and IT support.

Back up your data frequently

Back up your data as often as possible, especially during disaster season. If your latest backups were created on September 15th and a storm makes landfall in your area on the 28th, you could lose nearly two weeks of data.

Test your disaster recovery (DR) plan

After setting up your backups, check whether they are restoring your files accurately and on time. Your employees should be drilled on the recovery procedures and their responsibilities during and after a disaster. Your DR team should also be trained on how to failover to the backup site before the storm hits. Finally, providers, contractors, and customers need to be notified about how the hurricane will affect your operations.

As cell towers and internet connections may be affected during a hurricane, make sure your company forums are online and have your employees register with the Red Cross Safe and Well website so you can check their statuses.

It’s nearly impossible to experience disruptions during disasters like Harvey or Irma, but with the right support, you can minimize downtime. If you’re concerned about any natural disasters putting you out of business, call us today. We offer comprehensive business continuity services that every company should have.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

The cloud is currently a key player in transforming organizations and digitizing IT infrastructures. In the coming years, cloud solutions will be more accessible, agile, and competitive. This will drive more and more businesses to adopt cloud computing. But with many different types of services available, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your organization. To help, here is a rundown of the three most common cloud service models used by small- to medium-sized businesses.

1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Unlike software that you install on your computer, SaaS solutions are apps that are hosted on a provider’s servers. Easily the largest and most well known cloud-based service, SaaS uses the cloud to process app functions for users. That is, when a user opens a mobile or web browser app, the device merely sends inputs to a data center. The data center then processes the inputs and sends its outputs back to the user’s device.

Minimal to no processing is done on the user’s device itself. And for as long as users have an internet connection, they can access the software from any device, at any time.

With SaaS, your provider is responsible for software maintenance and updates. This allows all users will be using the same version of a particular software and get updates at the same time. As a business owner, this means that managing the software on all of your computers is not only easier but more affordable.

SaaS software solutions include office document creation suites, accounting software, email service, HR solutions, content management tools, customer relationship management systems, and more.

In a nutshell, SaaS is:

  • Available over the internet
  • Hosted on a remote server by a third-party provider
  • Scalable, with different tiers for small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses
  • Inclusive, offering security, compliance, and maintenance as part of the cost

2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS is primarily used by developers who need a virtual environment for developing and testing their own custom software or apps. This means developers don’t need to build and maintain their own infrastructure — which is comprised of networking devices, storage, servers, an operating system, and other necessary hardware and software — when developing applications, saving the firm time and money.

Most companies that utilize PaaS do so to either host or develop their own software solutions, or provide support for software used by employees. But while PaaS is gaining popularity with many small businesses, most won’t have firsthand interactions with this type of cloud.

In general, PaaS platforms are:

  • Accessible to multiple users
  • Scalable, as you can choose from various tiers of resources to suit the size of your business
  • Built on virtualization technology
  • Easy to run without extensive system administration knowledge

3. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS offers services such as pay-as-you-go storage, networking, and virtualization. The most popular and well-known type of IaaS is the virtual machine. This is a digital version of a computer or server that is accessed over the internet. IaaS gives users cloud-based alternatives to expensive on-premises infrastructure so businesses can use their funds to invest in other things.

In other words, if you are looking to virtualize your systems via the cloud, IaaS is a good place to start. It allows you to move existing support systems into the cloud. Other solutions can then be migrated or introduced as needed.

IaaS is essentially:

  • Highly flexible and scalable
  • Accessible by multiple users
  • Cost-effective

While the cloud offers a wide variety of benefits and solutions, choosing the service which is best for your company’s needs can be tedious. To ease this burden, get in touch with us today. We’ll you find the best solution your business needs, ensure proper migration and implementation allowing you to focus on running your business.

If you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE