Why Tampa Businesses Outsource Their Help Desk

Why Businesses in Tampa Outsource Their IT Help Desk

The support of a well-managed IT help desk plays an integral role to the day-to-day productivity of your business. Their help not only ensures that you resolve the technology obstacles that slow down your team’s work, but it also helps your team feel valued and supported, boosts morale, and allows them to better focus on valuable work.

But running an IT help desk internally takes a considerable commitment of resources that far exceeds the ability and budget of small and midsized businesses in Tampa.

For this reason, most companies will need to outsource that duty to a managed IT service provider like LNS Solutions. But with so many competing companies making similar claims, how do you know which provider is the right choice?

In this blog we’ll explore why businesses outsource their IT help desk and what they can do to ensure that they’ve picked the right provider.

The Benefits of an Outsourced IT Help Desk

Handing over the responsibility for your IT help desk duties helps businesses solves some of the most challenging pain points associated with IT support and management. There are four major benefits to working with an outsourced help desk provider.

Guaranteed Responsiveness and Stability

Managing IT staff is a unique challenge that most businesses aren’t prepared for, even if when they think they’ve got it under control. Businesses that have a small internal IT team struggle to fully understand their work or give them the direction they need to ensure make sure that they’re doing everything they can to protect your network.

Reputable MSPs back their IT help desk service with a detailed service-level agreement (SLA). This contract outlines in clear terms exactly how quickly their technicians will respond to your IT support requests, what steps they’ll take to address your issue, and how important issues are escalated to senior network engineers.

The result is a network with a guaranteed level of availability, usually above 99.99%. That level of service is difficult to achieve with just in-house resources.

Eliminate IT Staffing Stress

IT staffing is a nightmare, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced companies in all industries struggling to find new staff. According to recent research from Gartner, 64% of business leaders say that a talent shortage is the biggest obstacle to adopting new technologies.

Finding qualified help desk technicians, reviewing their resumes and credentials, administering skill tests to check their real-world abilities, and then dealing with a high rates of turnover can drain your energy and cause significant stress.

Working with a reputable MSP eliminates those IT staffing woes. Veteran MSPs have a mature process for vetting and hiring help desk technicians, reducing your HR overhead and reliving a serious source of stress.

Refined Help Desk Technology and Processes

Running an IT help desk isn’t just about good technicians, it’s also about good technology. Modern help desk teams rely on specialized software that allows them to remotely monitor the status of your network, analyze new issues, then make required repairs, without having to disrupt your productivity.

Those software suites are expensive to purchase and difficult to learn, which makes them inaccessible to most businesses. A reputable outsourced IT help desk will have all these systems in place, along with years of experience configuring and using them. That expertise means they can hit the ground running and spare you those high capital expenses.

Streamline Your IT Budget

When you start to build an IT team, the significant costs start to add up fast.

First, there are the direct costs of your technical hires and the software you need to support them. Beyond that, there are many costs that businesses fail to budget for, like new hardware, employee training and certification costs, and dedicated office space to house your IT help desk team.

Working with an MSP consolidates all those costs into a single, flat monthly bill that includes remote IT support like the IT help desk, along with unlimited onsite support from their team of network engineers.

In some scenarios, outsourcing leads to a cost savings over running these programs in-house.

But in every case, it provides your business leaders with budgeting confidence. An IT help desk service from a reputable MSP means a predictable IT support budget that never fluctuates, no matter how much support your team needs or what type of cybersecurity incident your organizations faces.

How to Choose the Right IT Help Desk?

I’ve used the term “reputable” MSP several times in this article so far, so much that it begs the question, “What is a reputable MSP”?

That’s one of the central issues that’ll have to answer when you’re evaluating potential IT services partners. Unfortunately, the MSP market has a low barrier to entry, so established providers can have a hard time standing out for the plethora of low-cost providers who making identical marketing claims.

Check Their Help Desk Metrics

Start with a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey and see if they’re tracking how many of their IT tickets end with a happy end-user. If they’re not tracking CSAT, that may be a red flag that they’re not taking their service quality seriously enough.

Digging deeper there are huge variety of help desk metrics that you can inquire about. These will provide a clear picture of how effectively the MSP’s help desk is serving their clients.

For a deeper look into important IT help desk statistics, check out this great post from help desk software provider, Kaseya.

Long-Term Partnership

Switching MSPs is a serious business. Over months and years, the MSP will build a strong relationship with your business and team. This means not just supporting your immediate IT support needs but providing strategic guidance to your leadership as your business and technology evolve.

To ensure that an MSP is capable being a dependable long-term partner, you should make sure they have a track-record of working with clients for several years. To start, check to make sure that their reputation in your community is solid. During the MSP interview process, make a point of asking about the average length of their client engagements and dig deep into their referrals too.

The Tampa Business Community’s Trusted Managed IT Service Provider

The LNS Solutions team has been serving the Tampa area for decades, helping our business community streamline and upgrade their day-to-day operations with cutting-edge, reliable technology. If your company would like to outsource regular IT support to a trusted provider, we’d love to speak with you any time at (813) 393-1626.

 

The Tampa Business Guide to Cybersecurity Incidence Response Planning

Tampa Business Guide to Cybersecurity Incidence Response Planning

Cybersecurity has become a major threat to small and midsized businesses. Nationally, the number of attacks that target these companies has even surpassed attacks that target enterprises. Why? Smaller cybersecurity budgets and a lack of expertise make them easy targets.

Florida businesses are no exception. In just the last few years, we’ve experienced several high-profile incidents. Russian hackers have increased their attacks on the local business community, putting the state’s security professionals on edge. Disgruntled employees have stolen troves of confidential data. We’ve even had hackers try to poison Tampa’s drinking water.

A powerful but overlooked tool in the cybersecurity toolbox is the incident response plan. Having a centralized document that explains how your company can respond to a data breach or ransomware attack is critical to defending your business.

How Do I Develop a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan?

The first thing to do is assemble stakeholders from across your organization to contribute their skills and perspectives.

This team should include technical personnel who can help to prioritize and oversee the actual incident response, as well as people who can coordinate the important legal, human resource, and public relations components of a comprehensive plan.

The support of senior leadership is critical too. An incident response plan needs long-term maintenance to stay relevant to your evolving business. This makes executive buy-in critical, so that the incident response team receives the time and resources it needs to succeed.

The next step is to conduct a network risk assessment.

If you’ve never performed one, a risk assessment is an audit of your technology and processes to identify which cybersecurity or technology disasters would have the biggest impact on your business. It also measures how effectively your existing security controls will defend you against those threats.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework is a great resource to help you conduct a successful assessment. Developed by the Federal Government to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure, the NIST framework is now a model for small and midsized businesses across the country that want to better understand their cyber risk.

NIST has several documents that can help guide you through the assessment process:

Navigating the risk assessment may be difficult with in-house expertise alone. Because of that, many companies enlist an external cybersecurity partner to help them navigate NIST and ensure that they get the right handle on their cybersecurity risk.

What Information Should I Include in My Incident Response Plan?

The first thing to clarify is that the incident response plan will be different to every business. Every organization has unique operational goals, business objectives, culture, and network technology. All their cybersecurity plans and protections must be designed to accommodate that uniqueness.

In general, an effective incident response plan will have at least these 5 sections:

  1. Prepare
    To prepare, you should identify who will response to cybersecurity issues. This phase also includes reviewing the roster and the entire plan itself to document changes, so that everyone is working off the latest version of the plan.
  2. Identify
    This step means how you’ll detect and analyze cybersecurity threats. It should also include how to document and report cyber threats to the rest of your organization, so that you have a coordinated response to an incident. You may wish to deploy a dedicated incident management system to track evidence related to the event.
  3. Contain
    Once your team has detected a new threat, the next step is to prevent that threat from causing more damage to your network. This probably means isolating the affected server of endpoint. An example of stronger containment measures is replacing an affected hard drives or piece of hardware.In order to properly contain a threat, interrogate it like you would a real-life criminal. Who was involved? What exactly took place? Where did the attack occur? Why did it bypass my defenses? How did we identify the attack?
  4. Eradicate
    This stage is where you find the root cause of the incident and take immediate steps to prevent similar attacks in the future, which could be patching systems, updating software, or otherwise ensuring that no artifacts from the attack are still in your systems.
  5. Recovery
    Now that the threats have been eliminated, you can start to restore functionality to the rest of your network. As you bring your technology back online, monitor the system and ensure that each system is behaving as they should.
  6. Learn and Test
    The final step is to test your systems and gather as a team to discuss the attack, update the incident plan based on the knowledge that you’ve gained through your recent recovery efforts, and complete any documentation your regulators require.

 Do I Really Need an Incident Response Plan?

The short answer is, yes! Cybersecurity attacks like ransomware or malware can be devastating to a business — but they don’t have to be. When you identify intrusion early and take steps to contain the problem, you can avoid some of the worst effects and save a considerable amount in recovery expenses.

Specifically, it helps you achieve a few key goals:

But the plan isn’t a “one-and-done” initiative; businesses must allocate regular attention to maintain their incidence response plan. New hires, shifting business priorities, changes in your technology, and a long list of other events can push your response plan out of alignment with your business.

Regulatory Compliance Requirements
In some cases, incident response planning isn’t just important to have, it’s the law. Regulatory compliance standards, like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), HIPAA all require organizations have a plan for dealing with cybersecurity threats and test that plan at least annually.

Manage Cybersecurity Risk with the Help of a Trusted Partner

The average salary for a cybersecurity engineer in Florida is over $113,000, putting important IT talent out of reach for many small and midsized businesses in the state.

For decades, the cybersecurity team at LNS Solutions has been helping businesses in Tampa manage their cybersecurity and regulatory compliance risk. If your business could benefit from outside cyber expertise, fill out the form below. You can also reach our friendly and responsive team any time at info@LNSSolutions.com or (813) 393-1626.

We look forward to speaking with you!

 

Migrating your Small Business to the Cloud

Migrating Your Small Business to the Cloud

A recent study by Gartner shows that 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025 and will rely on cloud-native technology in order to fully execute their digital strategies. 

"The Cloud" refers to servers or services that are accessed over the Internet through a 3rd party provider such as Microsoft or Amazon. There are many reasons to migrate your small business: greater ability to collaborate, more efficient cost management, and accurate planned growth without unknown capital expenditures. Small business owners should consider all the advantages of a move to the cloud.

Fairly often, conversation of the Cloud seems overwhelming or unclear, but it’s likely that your business is already using the cloud in some capacity. Systems like Microsoft 365 for email or centrally managed security dashboards are all cloud based. 

However if you are not currently using any cloud features and are looking to increase efficiency, there are a few key touch points to make sure you start off on the right path.  

First, develop a strategy before migrating. 

Often we are asked by customers to “move us to the cloud” because everyone else is doing it, and they do not want to be left behind. That is not a good cloud migration strategy.

So ask yourself, on behalf of your business, “why do we need to be in the cloud?”

Every business is different, so find specific answers to this question. Take time to research the benefits of cloud migration, and if you’re able, talk to a Cloud professional to learn more. 

It may turn out that you are not ready for a migration and staying on-premise is still the right solution (for now), but fully understanding your options and the benefits of the Cloud is the first step in developing a strategy. 

If you do choose to migrate, plan accordingly. Cloud migration is typically driven by a line-of-business application specific to your business or industry. Be sure to understand the impact on other applications you use. A common issue  we see during migration is that email or printing must be reconfigured.

Second, make the transition gradual. 

The cloud is a new system for your business, so make sure you take a migration slowly. 

An easy way to start is with your email system. Migrating to Microsoft Office 365 is a very easy task and can  be accomplished quickly and effectively by an experienced provider.

Talk to your business software account representatives (accounting, CRM, time-entry) and ask them for their current and long-term cloud strategies. More than likely, they have or are developing a Software-as-a-Service (cloud) offering. What you don’t want is their legacy application offered remotely and then rebranded as a cloud computing solution.

Finally, secure your internet. 

As previously mentioned, cloud services are internet-reliant, so it is important to make sure your business has access to reliable internet. A second fail-over connection is highly recommended. If your internet goes out, the impact of losing access to your data and applications can be costly - your business can lose actual revenue for every second you are disconnected. 

Begin Your Exploration

The migration to a Cloud based business can be a time-consuming, arduous journey, but in the end, the decision can improve your business by making it more efficient, secure and profitable.

If you are ready to migrate to the cloud or interested in understanding more fully the benefits it may offer, click below or fill out the form to talk to one of our experienced representatives. 

Get started now.

 

How to Choose the Right Managed IT Service Provider

How to Choose the Right Managed IT Service Provider - 7 Questions to Ask

A Managed IT Service Provider (or MSP) acts as a business’ internal IT team, and is responsible for managing all IT infrastructure. Managed IT Providers are rarely one size fits all, so finding the right MSP can be a worthwhile challenge. 

Going with an MSP is a good idea. In a survey of 1000 small businesses by Deloitte, it was found that 85% reported that technology aids in their success. If you have made the decision to use an Managed Service Provider or dissatisfied with your current vendor, use these seven questions to find the best MSP for your business. 

Does the MSP know your industry? 

There are about 40,000 MSP in the United States alone… so chances are that when you start your search, you will find an inexpensive general-purpose Managed Service Provider. 

General-purpose MSPs typically offer surface level solutions that cater to a broad market. In the long run, these will hurt your business more than they help as a general-purpose MSP does not have a deep understanding of your environment or how security impacts your business.

Instead, look for a MSP team that has expertise in your industry (legal, finance, nonprofits, engineering). MSPs are most effective when a long-term business relationship exists, which will only happen when you partner with a MSP that understands your industry-specific needs. Industry specific MSPs can create and implement repeatable processes geared directly towards your business’ IT and security needs.

Does the MSP understand and offer comprehensive Cybersecurity?

Some MSPs operate at the surface level of security and merely aim to ‘check the boxes’ of antivirus and firewall. Make sure you partner with someone that understands today's threat environment and offers comprehensive services to protect you. According to SonicWall, there are roughly 1000 new malware variants created every day. At a minimum, ask them these questions.

You need to know what is involved in getting you back online in the event of a cybersecurity event or hardware failure. It’s easy to recommend new applications and web solutions to win a pitch, but security should be the major determining factor when the MSP is making recommendations.

What does the Customer Support Journey look like?

The customer support journey is the experience a customer undergoes when they decide to interact with an MSP (typically through a support ticket or a phone call). The key here is determining how the MSP handles day-to-day support calls, system alerts and emergencies.

Oftentimes MSPs will casually answer this question by stating that their system monitors the computers 24/7 and alerts you immediately of a problem. Nearly all MSPs do this, so it’s important to take a deeper look. The end-user experience is what really matters here.

Make sure the MSP has a consistent and repeatable process for customer support requirements. MSPs that focus only on technology are tied to what technology can or can’t do—and that affects the success of their processes.

What a customer journey should look like. 

Can the MSP's solution scale and grow with my organization?

Industry changes are real-time, and you need an MSP that won’t slow your growth.

In fact, it’s important to look for an MSP that can help your growth. 

Ask potential providers what their toolset and service offering looks like. It should include some (if not all) of the following:

A great MSP will help you determine what services will work as your organization continues to scale. Your Managed Service Provide should be focused on your success.

Do you own your software or cloud services?

Is your cloud environment or Line-of-Business software in your name or the MSP? It’s important that you have full ownership of these solutions. You do not want to be held hostage by your previous provider.  

An MSP is a partner in your business, not an owner. Make sure they agree to keeping everything in your business name. Review the current SLA (service level agreement) to ensure you are not relying on the MSP provider to release ownership.

At LNS, we keep everything in your business name. We believe it is your right to own your IT infrastructure.

Does the MSP’s team stay up to date on new technologies? 

Be careful of the MSPs that are made up entirely of technicians that spend all day  handling support tickets and putting out fires. Any MSP you look at should have a system in place that allows their team to stay updated on the latest technology. At a minimum, this includes annual reviews of their management and security products. Training for their staff should be a priority.

Ask them about their commitment to reviewing and learning new solutions. 

A company that is forward thinking and focused on learning throughout its organization is committed to growth and service. 

Does the MSP have processes and procedures in place for efficient resolution?

Unfortunately, in the world of cybersecurity and managed service providers, breaches do occur from time to time. While you naturally want to partner with a company that is going to limit the frequency and severity of these breaches, it is important to also consider how a managed service provider will handle things in the event of your security system being compromised. 

Before partnering with a MSP, make sure to ask if they have processes and procedures in place for efficient resolution.

You’ll want to make sure the MSP you partner with offers has clear answers for the following questions regarding efficient resolution. 

What is their escalation procedure?

A security breach should not go unattended for very long. Some inexperienced technicians may spend too much time on a problem before asking their team or supervisors for help. The longer a problem is unsolved, the greater the risk. 

What skill levels do their technicians have? 

This ties into the escalation procedure question above. 

A MSP should have a strong mix of junior and senior technicians. When a managed service provider has too many junior technicians, there may not be a member on the team that has experience in solving extreme situations. When there are too many senior members there may be a poorly delineated split of responsibility, allowing problems to go unsolved.  

A team made up of varying experience levels creates a clear division for escalation within the team. and a clear path on how problems are escalated and resolved.

How is their communication? 

Do you, as a customer, have a clear line-of-sight on the status of your ticket and project? Are you able to know where you are at-a-glance?

Is your environment fully documented? 

A technician not familiar with your environment can spend far too much time (theirs and yours) ‘relearning’ your system so they can resolve your problem. 

A great MSP should have your system full documented and immediately accessible.

What are their onboarding procedures? 

Ask your potential MSP to show you the steps they take to get you to a steady-state for support. On average, an MSP should spend 6 weeks securing, documenting and monitoring your system.

Do they have a process for user onboarding and offboarding? 

Every customer is unique on how new and previous users are added to the system. A new user in your organization should be ready to work on their first day, while a previous user should be immediately prevented from inadvertently accessing your system.

Summary

Choosing the right MSP takes time.  

A Managed Service Provider (or MSP) acts as a business’ internal IT team, and is responsible for managing all IT infrastructure. Managed Service Providers are rarely one size fits all, so finding the right MSP can be a worthwhile challenge. 

When looking for the right MSP, consider the following seven questions:

A quality MSP will create a customized solution that fits your industry. Their processes and technology (and training) should work with you to achieve the best customer service possible while scaling with you as needed.

LNS Solutions has an extensive toolset and service offering that can scale to your organization, as well as over 35 years of experience. We focus not on break/fix but on proactive measures that predict problems before they happen and prevent them from impacting your organization. 

Are you ready to partner with an Managed IT Services provider that has the experience and expertise of all the items above? Give us a call at (813) 393-1626 or fill out the form below.

6 Ways You’ll Benefit from a Business Continuity Plan

6 Ways You’ll Benefit from a Business Continuity Plan

Unfortunately, disasters aren’t going away. With man-made and natural disasters growing in frequency, backup and disaster recovery services with LNS Solutions are crucial to prevent business interruption. From weather-related events, fires and cyberattacks, companies that take the time to prepare a business continuity plan are better positioned to manage the fallout.

SMBs might look to managed service providers to take care of backups, hardware and software fixes, and network management during ordinary times. But what about when an unexpected event happens? Unfortunately, the unexpected is happening more and more, warranting the need more than ever for your business continuity plan in Tampa.

What You Risk Without a Data Backup and Recovery Plan in Place

No less than 60% of SMBs have to close their doors after a cyberattack, according to Inc., in part because they did not have the proper business continuity plan in place. A disaster of any type can cause:

- Downtime
- Business closure
- Expensive fines and penalties
- Loss of clients due to a hurt reputation
- Brand damage

The 6 Benefits of a Plan

A business disruption is far less stressful when there’s data backup and recovery and a plan in place to re-establish operations. Here are the top six ways a business continuity plan protects your business before, during and after an unexpected event:

1. A business continuity plan ensures your business keeps running smoothly
— A strategy helps you recover quickly after an incident

2. Operations are restarted promptly after a disruption
— A proactive plan in place ensures minimal impact and re-establishes workflow

3. A business continuity plan shortens the length of the disruption
— A plan in place means your processes will function properly, sooner

4. Your reputation stays intact when you can weather a disruption
— Your brand remains competitive

5. You’ll dodge costly fees and penalties while improving compliance
— Our compliance services keep you up to date and fine-free

6. Reduce risks to your employees and clients
— Your clients and employees know their data is safeguarded

What to Consider

First, your business continuity plan should remain current. LNS Solutions makes sure your plan is updated regularly and stays in compliance, no matter how the regulations have changed.

Second, regulations, requirements and cyberthreats all evolve on a daily basis. Your business continuity plan should, too. Check your plan regularly with tests that reflect the modern world against your current business needs.

Lastly, make sure your plan has considered every possible risk. A top-to-bottom assessment of your organization results in the appropriate plan that will ensure that your coverage is comprehensive, no matter what the risks are.

Let’s Determine Your Risks

Your assessment from LNS Solutions Tampa determines how your existing risks could affect your business operations if the worst should happen. We build a plan that safeguards your data, and we strategize to install procedures to mitigate your risks. Then we test it to make sure your plan is up to date — today and in the future.

We specialize in proactive and highly effective business continuity services. By installing and deploying security measures that minimize downtime, we mitigate all potential disruptions.

Are you ready to fortify your business against disaster? Partner with LNS Solutions in Tampa to strategize and build your customized plan.

How to Take a Proactive Approach to Cybersecurity

Each year, the volume of cybersecurity threats continues to steadily climb, with more than one billion malware programs out there and approximately 560,000 new pieces of malware being detected each day. All the while, regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are constantly evolving. This means even the most minor of security breaches can be incredibly devastating for your organization, leading to negative publicity, hefty fines and a loss of confidence in your brand.  

At LNS Solutions, we can help you implement a proactive approach to cybersecurity that sees your business is protected on all fronts in a dynamic, complex and ever-evolving threat landscape. This means understanding your organization, including its systems, applications and user base, identifying where vulnerabilities lie and addressing security risks before an attack ever occurs. This article will delve into how to do just that with a dedicated technology partner by your side.  

Identify and Evaluate Risks for Assets That Could Be Affected by Cyberattacks 

A proactive approach to cybersecurity is all about understanding, managing and mitigating risk to your company’s critical assets. The easiest way to accomplish this mission and ensure any shortfalls in your IT infrastructure are properly addressed is to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment. Here are a few basic steps to ensure a smooth risk assessment within your organization:  

  1. Identify and Prioritize Assets: Here is where you will determine the scope of the assessment and decide which valuable assets attackers may wish to target.  
  2. Identify Threats: A cyberthreat is anything that could cause harm to your organization, such as hardware failure, natural disasters, human error and more.  
  3. Identify Vulnerabilities: This is where you’ll identify any vulnerabilities that could be exploited to breach security and cause harm or steal data from your organization. 
  4. Analyze Controls: These are any controls that are in place to mitigate or eliminate the possibility of a cyberthreat. They should be classified as either preventative or detective. 
  5. Calculate the Likelihood of an Attack: At this point, you can determine the likelihood of a given attack considering the current control environment your organization has in place. 
  6. Develop a Risk Assessment Report: Finally, you can develop a risk management report that supports management in decision-making on cybersecurity budget, policies and procedures.  

Invest in Preventative Cybersecurity Measures 

Just like there is not one security product that can completely encompass all your organization’s vulnerabilities, there is not a single cybersecurity policy that can sufficiently address all the needs of your business. Instead, it’s time to invest in a multi-layered, integrated cybersecurity strategy that covers many core areas of cybersecurity, including network security, cloud security, application security, Internet of Things (IoT) security and more. To lay the foundation for a solid cybersecurity strategy, it’s important to do the following: 

Never Underestimate the Power of Cybersecurity Training 

A proactive approach to cybersecurity begins with awareness. While lack of proper training can leave employees more than vulnerable to releasing cyberattacks on to your organization, diverting resources into proper cybersecurity training could very well mean the difference between the success and failure of your business. The responsibility always lies on the employer to ensure that your employees have the knowledge they need to make the right decisions and where to turn if they have any questions related to cybersecurity. To prioritize cybersecurity training for your employees, we recommend getting executive buy-in, start training early and often and making the security health of your organization an ongoing, team effort. 

Stop Relying on Reactive Cybersecurity Measures Alone to Protect Your Business 

If your company’s current cybersecurity strategy is limited to firewalls, antivirus or anti-malware software, ad blockers and other measures put in place to spot the tell-tale signs of a security breach, there’s a good chance that you already have a reactive cybersecurity strategy in place. Unfortunately, reactive cybersecurity measures on their own are not enough to comprise a strong cybersecurity defense. You need to have a combination of both proactive and reactive measures in order to actively prevent data breaches and mitigate cyberthreats. For more cybersecurity solutions, include cloud security services, contact the experts at LNS Solutions.  

5 Data Security Risks When Working Remote

In a study of business leaders performed by Accenture, 68 percent feel their cybersecurity risks are increasing – and rightfully so! Based on data provided by Cisco, cybercrimes are on track to surpass all the global trade of all major drugs combined. That begs the question, how do we maintain our business’s data security, especially with the global shift to remote work? In this article, you’ll learn the risks that accompany a digital presence, and how you can prepare your team for optimizing work from home security.

Risk #1 – Using public or unsecured networks.

With employees having more freedom to select their work environment, many choose to trade in their home offices or kitchen tables for a local coffee shop or co-workspace. While the change in scenery can help boost morale, it’s a serious data security risk to consider for businesses. When employees access company information from unsecure networks and public Wi-Fi, they create an open door for potential hackers to gain entry.

The Solution:

Having an external network for remote access is one solution that can help improve business privacy and data security. External networks create a degree of separation to isolate data breaches and protect your private network. Another solution is to set up a virtual private network (VPN) to act as a private network gateway. A VPN extends your business’s private network across a public one. This allows for added work from home security because it grants employees secure access from any device and a safe space for them to perform daily work. And as a rule of thumb, only use SSL connections (“HTTPS”) when accessing anything on the Internet.

Risk #2 – Easy access points through personal devices.

Another risk to public and personal devices is the ease of penetration hackers have through them into sensitive company materials. According to a survey by Google in 2019, 65 percent of people reuse the same password across multiple platforms. This explains why the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that compromised passwords directly cause 81 percent of hacking-related breaches. In addition, personal devices cannot be controlled and audited for frequent updates, security software and access to potentially harmful content.

The Solution:

Having access to devices utilized through the provision of company-owned devices is a guaranteed way to mitigate risk and improve private information security. If you’re also in an industry that relies on mobile devices to accomplish work-related tasks on the go, it’s advisable to implement a mobile device management solution to prevent data breaches should a smartphone or tablet ever be lost or stolen.

If these options are not feasible for your company, providing clear instructions regarding password best practices and which devices and software are permitted can add an extra layer of security. By ensuring employees are not installing potentially malicious software and maintaining strong, unique passwords that are updated over time, you can create an extra line of defense against cyberthreats.

Additional security measures include the use of multi-factor authentication, data encryption and session locking mechanisms. These actions will help detect suspicious behavior and deter hackers from breaching your system.

Risk #3 – Using outmoded software and technology.

The 2020 Kaspersky Global Corporate IT Security Risks Survey found that businesses utilizing outdated technology suffered far more frequent data breaches (65%) than counterparts who kept their technology up to date (29%). Not only does it pose a security risk, but outdated technology works against your team’s efforts to collaborate, utilize their time efficiently and communicate key information effectively. This can bottle-neck your projects and waste valuable time and money spent on each deliverable.

The Solution:

Choosing cloud-based collaboration tools provides a dual benefit for your team with the ability to keep software and technology updated and an extra layer of protection via cloud security. Cloud-based technology and software ensure that every user on the platform maintains updates, as it is managed by an overarching administrator, and it ensures the highest level of security cyberthreats. The company-protected cloud will give your business peace of mind through the ability to backup data, monitor and control data security, and maintain necessary defenses against lurking threats. Just be sure that your employees maintain business privacy by not storing cloud-based company data on their personal devices.

Risk #4 – Slow responses to suspected or known data breaches.

Based on a study by the University of Maryland, every 39 seconds a hacker strikes. Yet, for the prevalence of hacker attacks, it can take nearly 197 days to identify and 69 days to contain a breach according to IBM. Those numbers don’t bode well for businesses! So, how can organizations protect their data privacy and ward off threats?

The Solution:

The best offense is a great defense. And much like on the field, it’s key that everyone involved on the team understands the plan. By training your entire staff about current data security risks and signs of potential cyberthreats and data breaches, you’ll have more eyes watching for potentially suspicious activity. These trainings don’t require team members to be IT experts, but it will help your IT experts stay ahead of weak spots, areas of concern and instances of private information security being compromised.

Coupled with a vigilant team, data loss prevention (DLP) strategies are measures that can be set in place to preserve your data in the event of a natural or manmade disaster striking. These plans work to prioritize data, learn risks, closely monitor data movement and ensure that backups are regularly implemented to swiftly restore order back to your business.

Risk #5 – Not staying on top of software updates.

If you had a hole in the side of your house, odds are, you wouldn’t leave it exposed for long. The same mentality should be transposed in cyberspace. By not updating software regularly, your technology won’t be dexterous against active hackers and digital threats. As tempting as the remind me later button may be on update notifications, the time and money that companies would have to spend after data breaches is far too precious to risk.

The Solution:

This is, again, where cloud-based collaboration tools can be wisely implemented. The ability to control your entire network’s technology updates and regularly update company-wide hardware and software through patching updates will keep your ahead of cyber vulnerabilities. It’s important to have an expert overseeing these updates to ensure that updates don’t disrupt function and compatibility of your technology and create a blind spot in your defenses.

Have an expert on top of your data security.

When it comes to the costs of your business and data privacy, you can never be too safe. That’s where we come in. We provide top-tier, customizable managed IT services to help keep your business secure and your focus on your goals. Our team of experts will ensure your private information security is up to date, maintained, and preventative against data breaches and losses. To discover more about how we can support your business, contact us today!

3 Ways to Leverage Your Technology in 2022

Every investment you make for your company should be made with confidence. While it’s hard to be sure which new technologies have staying power over others, one thing remains certain – your employees will always need to communicate and collaborate. Whether your team is working from the office or remotely, it’s vital for their workflow to occur unimpeded. With the right solutions, your business can efficiently operate without breaking the bank.

Scalable communications and collaboration solutions don’t come cheap when you handle them alone. But with a technology partner working by your side, you can get the tech you need for less. Learn about the technologies available and see how a managed services provider (MSP) can help you maximize your investment.

1) Understand the Importance of Modern Tech

Have your employees switched to remote work? Are they back in the office? Even if you plan on operating a hybrid of remote and in-office staff, you need to ensure their workflow remains uninterrupted. But there is a lot to consider when choosing the right tech. Most business leaders can boil their concerns down to three primary questions:

How can I best keep my data secure when it’s accessed remotely?

  1. Will my staff be able to share files and data seamlessly?
  2. What is the best solution to keep my team in contact from all locations?

Unless you spend your day-to-day in the IT communications world, it can be challenging to know what you need. However, there are simple answers to these common questions.

2) Use IT Solutions for Different Situations

There are many reasons your staff may need to work from locations outside of your office. But they shouldn’t have to suffer through extensive downtime when they could be working. As long as they have the technology they need, it’s no longer a worry.

The Business Journals conducted a study about the primary causes of downtime. Topping their list were hardware failures, power or internet outages and most importantly, cybersecurity threats. With occurrences like this looming, it’s no wonder the fear of downtime is so persistent. But fortunately, the technologies you invested in for your remote work can help keep your staff working. Suppose your employees are displaced, or an internal system goes down. In that case, your remote technologies can double as backup systems for the day or for as long as you need until you can return your primary systems to their everyday operations as long as you need until you can return your primary systems to their everyday operations.

Don’t allow a cyberattack, natural disaster or other unforeseen situation to stop your company. Leverage your communications and collaboration tech investment to the fullest.

3) Leverage the Power of CaaS

The middle of a network or systems failure or natural disaster is the worst time to consider your technology. But getting a head start and deploying it yourself can be time-consuming as well. Partner with an MSP and see how their Communications as a Service (CaaS) can make a positive difference.

Your MSP partner will take the time to understand your communications and collaboration goals. They will then plan, deploy and maintain your solutions to your communications concerns from the very start so that you can stay focused on your daily tasks.

We’re Your Solution Provider

Once you get the communications and collaboration technology you need, you can stay focused on growing your business. As your technology partner, we want you to have confidence in your ability to communicate and collaborate in any location with reliability, efficiency and security. Our expertise can get you there with the value you need.

Let’s build your solution now.

IT Compliance in Tampa: Get the Help You Need

Tampa business leaders know the importance of staying up to date on IT compliance. It’s a necessity that must remain top of mind regardless of the IT compliance challenges it poses for your team.

With a wide variety of cyberthreats circulating, governing bodies continuously update policies for data storage and security to minimize risks to businesses, investors and consumers alike. And it’s not just enterprise-level businesses in danger. Did you know that small businesses are a prime target for cybercriminals? With more than half of SMBs closing within six months of a cyberattack, it’s critical to stay current with the latest IT compliance policies.

 

Here are the top four compliance standards we can help you maintain:

GDPR

The European Union (EU) is leading the world in protecting the information of its citizens with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Unlike current laws in the U.S., all businesses that gather, store and transmit the data of EU citizens must abide by GDPR compliance. In order to conduct business in EU countries or with EU citizens, organizations must maintain IT compliance with GDPR regulatory standards.

One of GDPR requirements includes a mandate that businesses must allow individuals to opt-in for data collection with the choice to opt-out at any time.

PCI DSS

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) protects the storage and transmission of credit, debit and cash card information by businesses. Compliance with PCI DSS creates a foundation of benefits for both you and your customers.

You can meet PCI DSS compliance standards, provide your customers with active data protection and seek out potential threats before they arise—all at the same time. This is done by building and maintaining secure networks and systems, implementing a vulnerability protection program and conducting regular network monitoring and testing.

Documented information security policies and access control systems can also go a long way in protecting your organization’s data.

SOX

Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) compliance focuses on protecting the investor. If you’re an officer of a publicly traded company or about to offer an IPO, this applies to you.

SOX mandates that companies are transparent with their financial information for shareholders. The annual audits that go along with SOX compliance rely on data-secure financial reporting. This requires complex, formal internal control processes over IT infrastructure and applications.

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) outlines the protection of medical records at all levels of storage and transmission by a business associate. This means that any information collected from patients must be properly managed, transferred and accessed.

Privacy, security and notification are key steps to HIPAA compliance. Privacy ensures that no personal medical records can be disclosed without patient consent. Security focuses on ePHI (electronic protected health information). Administrative, physical and technical safeguards are put in place to ensure compliance standards are met. Notification refers to the process of informing all parties involved in any confidential breach in a timely manner.

How We Help

LNS Solutions implements compliance management solutions that actively safeguard confidential data. We also offer IT compliance training to educate your employees on the latest regulations. Training ensures the proper measures are in place to minimize the risk of compromising information.

By partnering with LNS Solutions, we’ll get you compliant without the hassle and headache of doing it yourself.

While businesses have numerous focuses beyond security, it’s vital to the success of your Tampa-based business that IT compliance is maintained. We know it’s not always easy. Take advantage of our expertise to maintain adherence to the ever-changing laws and codes. We keep track of your compliance and safety 24/7 so you don’t have to.

Contact us to learn how we can help your business with IT compliance challenges in Tampa today.

Phishing Prevention in Tampa Is Easier Than You’d Think

IT consulting services are, in simplest terms, advisory services that assist businesses in the process of aligning their technology strategy with their business strategy or model. In the process, the consultant or team of consulting professionals helps your business assess IT needs, the current state of IT infrastructure and formulate an industry-specific implementation plan that addresses the unique needs of your business. When you think of IT consulting, you probably think of these services as a means to solve technology problems, deploy new technology and even improve business performance.

However, these advisory services can also drive the growth and boost the productivity of your business. Continue reading to see how you can prioritize the growth of your business with the assistance of an outsourced IT support provider, such as LNS Solutions.

Avoid a Piecemeal Approach

One of the biggest problems for businesses when it comes to prioritizing growth and scalability is a fragmented approach to IT solutions. This leads companies to unwittingly purchase, implement and manage overlapping solutions that are neither cost-efficient nor procedurally effective. You’re then left paying exorbitant amounts of money for software, hardware, equipment or features your business simply does not need. Not only are you duplicating specific functionality, but you’re also leaving yourself vulnerable to missing certain functionality down the line.

Instead, you should invest in an IT consultant who can provide your business with less costly solutions. This equips your company with adequate storage space and compatible software, providing long-term upgrades and future discounts that you can benefit from. Your business will save money, free up valuable space and position your organization for future growth.

Benefit from In-depth Knowledge

If your business is like many other small and midsized companies, your in-house IT staff is likely composed of generalists who have basic knowledge across a wide range of technology areas. These types of companies can get by just fine handling their day-to-day responsibilities and minor security conflicts that arise. However, for businesses looking to drive growth and boost their bottom line in the process, it's critical to invest in a managed IT provider with specialized knowledge that can provide the smart solutions you require. This allows for no second guessing, as a technology expert enables you to make smart, confident technology decisions that maximize your budget and prepare your business for future growth.

Easily Scale Up or Down

Scalability is a critical aspect of business growth and development. The only way to achieve scalability, however, is to focus on improving the profitability and efficiency of your services to sustain your operations even when your workload increases. One great method of prioritizing the scalability of your business is choosing the right pricing model for your IT services, such as IT helpdesk support, network services, server management and backend disaster recovery.

When you partner with an IT consulting professional, we’ll recommend that your business invests in a budget-conscious IT plan that allows you to easily scale up or down when your business needs change. You’ll reserve the remaining business funds for other needs. Optimize critical operations, improve productivity and watch your business grow.

Prepare for Growth

It's time to partner with an IT consultant from LNS Solutions who can provide you with your ideal managed IT services. We’ll work with you every step of the way to identify your business’s areas of weakness and what processes can be improved to better serve your company.