“Never before in the history of humankind have people across the world been subjected to extortion on a massive scale as they are today.” That’s what The Evolution of Ransomware, a study by Mountain View, California-based cybersecurity firm Symantec, reported recently.
Efficient Escrow of California was forced to close its doors and lay off its entire staff when cybercriminals nabbed $1.5 million from its bank account. The thieves gained access to the escrow company’s bank data using a form of “Trojan horse” malware.
In 2015, the world's first "international cybermafia" stole up to $1 billion from more than 100 global financial institutions. The gang's "spear-phishing" emails opened the bank's digital doors and released trojans into each entity, which then directed ATMs to transfer huge sums of money into dozens of hacker accounts. Although your business might not have billions in the bank, data breaches like these could happen to any entity -- regardless of size -- and implementing a cyber security checklist is the first step to securing your digital walls.
Thirty-three percent of small business owners place a high priority on technology investment, according to eMarketer. As a small business owner, you seek out new ways to improve your operations, but you may face several roadblocks along the way. By learning about these inevitable IT problems now, you'll be better prepared to overcome them and get more ROI from your technology.
1. Desktop Support
An outage in your infrastructure can cause major setbacks for your business. In fact, 27 percent of small businesses lack desktop support, which means you'll need to take time away from your leadership duties to fix it or find inefficient workarounds for the issue. Even small problems can add up fast when you have to fit it around an already hectic schedule.
Thanks to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and ever-improving cloud technologies, the phone-service options available to you as a small business are plentiful, with more features at a lower cost than were ever available before.
Nothing interferes with productivity more than slow or unreliable computers. Think about it: How many times have you or your team members had to reboot your computer or attempt to troubleshoot an issue?
While 10 minutes here and there might not seem like a huge time suck, when you multiply that across your organization, these small lapses in productivity can take a major toll on output. Over the long run, it quickly adds up to thousands of dollars in lost productivity and revenue for your business.
As your company grows, you need to ensure employees have uninterrupted access to the programs they need to stay productive. In your search for an IT solution, you may be weighing the benefits of outsourcing IT versus hiring an IT manager.
Your company depends on technology to power everything from building security to payroll. While you see excellent productivity gains from a technology-forward infrastructure, you are vulnerable to any situation that takes out your systems. A rogue ex-employee could delete essential databases, a flood could knock out electricity to your data center and emergent mechanical failures are a few ways you could end up losing significant revenue and customer loyalty. A backup and disaster recovery plan is critical for business continuity, as downtime could cost a company millions in direct and indirect losses. When you talk to your managed services provider, use these disaster recovery questions to ask about exactly what you're getting before you sign the dotted line.
1. Add "Do you monitor an off-site and an on-site backup, or do you rely on outdated tape backups?" to your list of disaster recovery questions to ask
Your managed service provider should not put critical backups on outdated tape backups. You could end up losing days, weeks or months of work or data that you can't recreate. Look for a vendor offering on-site and off-site backup monitoring and management. They should provide an up-to-date business continuity system that supports fast recovery in the event of an emergency, even if the backups at the location are destroyed.
Your small business depends on technology to help you get the most out of your available resources. However, you end up in a tricky situation when you need help with your infrastructure but you don't have the budget for a full-time IT professional. Managed IT services can fill this gap and deliver many advantages.
No Need for an Internal IT Team
Your company has IT needs, but you don't need someone around all the time. If you didn't have to worry about bringing on a full-time person to take care of your systems, you could make investments elsewhere in your business. Managed IT services act as your on-demand team, so you don't have to go through the hiring process for IT professionals. If you do have employees on hand to manage your technology, managed IT services can take the burden off of them.