Why the Internet of Things is Here to Stay

Why the Internet of Things is Here to Stay

There are a lot of connected devices nowadays, but not all of them have a very practical purpose. Some of the more practical uses of connected technology range from security systems to thermostats, but other technologies can’t necessarily be justified so easily. Why would a blender need to connect to the Internet? There are many more that are being added every day, which is why a lot of companies are concerned about this rise in connected technology.

Understanding 5G Helps Highlight its Benefits

Understanding 5G Helps Highlight its Benefits

You’ve heard of 3G and 4G technology for your mobile devices, but have you ever stopped to consider what these phrases actually mean? Since the world is on the cusp of a 5G introduction, it’s time to take a look at what these wireless technologies do, and how 5G can further expand on its formula.

Access Control is Key to Your Business’ Security

Access Control is Key to Your Business' Security

Access control is an extremely useful way to manage a secure computing infrastructure, and one of the best ways your organization can protect important data. However, with innovations in the way that access control is implemented, it’s time to consider what you can do to secure your business’ future in more ways than one. Let’s discuss some best practices regarding access control, as well as some technologies that you can implement to further cement your business’ security.

3 Business Communication Standbys

3 Business Communication Standbys

Communication is one of the most important parts of running a business, and if you’re not communicating properly, it could spell trouble for your organization. Projects could be delayed and could ultimately cost your organization more money than they’re worth. Thankfully, technology makes communication better, easier, and more efficient. Here are some of the ways that the best communication technologies can improve the way your organization functions.

Dell Support Scam in the Wild

On Monday, April 2nd, Dell sent out a notice about tech support scams that have cropped up targeting Dell customers. Since we are a Dell partner and have put Dell machines at a lot of our clients, we are publishing this notice. The scam consists of a phone call from someone pretending to be a Dell technician and they are reporting a fictitious problem with your PC. In the process of validating your account with Dell, they attempt to get credit card information, passwords, Dell product information, or other sensitive information.

Dell does not have any kind of proactive support service that makes calls to their customers. As a result, these are always going to be scams. Do not give them any information, and above all do not let them connect to your computer remotely. If you are concerned about the legitimacy of such a claim, contact VentureNet for clarification.

As always, VentureNet can assist with technical issues on your systems, so give us a call.

Disasters Come in All Sizes

Disasters Come in All Sizes

Each organization has a different definition for how they define a disaster. One business might feel that they can get away with losing a few files here and there, while another might need every file to be secure and protected against data loss. Regardless, the importance of being able to define the severity of a disaster cannot be underestimated, as you will need to properly gauge just how much hot water your business has landed in before it can pull itself up by the bootstraps and push forward.

Two factors are typically used to define just how bad a disaster is. The first is how much it costs to resolve the issue. This can include all sorts of costs associated with data loss, including hardware replacement costs and infrastructure damages. The second factor is the overall loss of productivity. This second factor ties into how much downtime your business experiences due to a data loss incident.

Determining the total cost of a disaster incident is critical, and it’s the only way that you can know for sure just how much work you’ll have on your hands just to get back into a bearable position. Depending on the type of disaster experienced, you could have a considerable amount of damage that needs to be repaired. For example, a hardware failure is perhaps the least costly incident. Of course, a hardware failure shouldn’t be underestimated, because it still means that you have to replace a server unit or workstation, as well as pay the employee working with that technology (or your whole organization, for that matter) for the time wasted while waiting to get back in business.

Other disasters can have far-reaching repercussions that drastically affect your organization’s ability to recover. A flood or similar natural disaster could destroy both your data infrastructure and physical infrastructure, including your office space. How much would it cost you to relocate an entire workforce? What about repairs to the building and/or renting a new one? All of these expenses hitting you at once is enough to crush even the most conservative budget–at least, if you’re unprepared for them, anyway.

Downtime is another major factor for determining how bad a disaster is. Downtime can be defined as anytime your business doesn’t operate as intended. It can be something as simple as an employee not being able to access a critical account, or it could be something as sudden and impossible to avoid as one of the aforementioned disaster scenarios. What it boils down to is that your business loses money when it’s not being productive, so you should do everything in your power to keep this from happening.

VentureNet can equip your business with an enterprise-level data backup and disaster recovery solution, as well as a business continuity plan that can help your business survive even the most disastrous scenarios. To learn more, reach out to us at 214-343-3550.

Small Businesses Need Comprehensive Communications

Small Businesses Need Comprehensive Communications

Does your business suffer from chronic miscommunication? Chances are that your business is not the only one. Small businesses often lack the ability to invest in solutions designed to cut down on communication problems in the workplace. To help your company’s workforce improve communication and collaboration, we’re going to discuss some of the many ways that you can implement technology to eliminate miscommunication in the workplace.

Here are some of the most important tips that we can offer, in no particular order.

Implement an Intranet
For those who might not be tech-savvy, one of the most difficult parts of communication comes from not knowing how to properly navigate around your own network. This could mean finding specific files, or moving about your organization’s cloud-based file storage system. An intranet can help not just these employees, but all of them, by providing a central hub where any critical assets that your business depends on can be seen at a moment’s notice. This clears up any confusion regarding where your employees need to go to access links to software or important information.

Take Advantage of Communication Solutions
If your organization has yet to implement a unified communications solution, it’s in your best interest to do so as soon as possible. A unified communications solution includes an email solution that’s used across your entire business’ infrastructure, a phone system that provides each of your employees with an extension where they can easily be reached (this is often a Voice over IP solution), and an instant messaging or video chat system that can be used to get in touch with employees who might not be in the immediate area. Basically, you want to provide your employees with ample opportunities to reach out to others in your business for assistance with any projects.

Make Important Information Easily Accessible
Have you ever browsed the Internet for information about a particular solution, only to find a whole lot of nothing? In most cases, the services that your organization uses will have detailed online documentation and frequently asked questions that will help you figure out what you need to know; yet, your internal processes may not have these questions or documentation as transparent. You can implement your very own knowledge center that can be located in an intranet, allowing your employees to find any vital information that they need.

Does your business need to implement more powerful communication solutions? If so, VentureNet can help. To learn more, reach out to us at 214-343-3550.

What Is the Real Value of IT for Small Business?

What Is the Real Value of IT for Small Business?

It’s important that your business get as much value out of your technology as possible, but this is often easier said than done. There isn’t an easy answer to how you can get the most out of your technology. Even if you implement a brand-new solution, who’s to say that you don’t actually need it or use it? Cutting costs is more important now than it has ever been, and for small businesses hoping to save on IT support, there’s no time like the present to secure your business’s future.

This all starts by making IT profitable for your organization. In other words, you don’t want to waste assets on technology solutions. Instead, you want your technology to save you money, thus making it worth investing in. To find out if your technology is a waste or a benefit to your business, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are some of the services you have that aren’t being utilized properly? Are you wasting time and assets on software or hardware that aren’t being utilized to their full extent?
  • Do you replace hardware more frequently than you need to (or not often enough)? You could be risking hardware failure or general technology deficiency by not maintaining your technology.
  • How much are you spending on technology that doesn’t offer a return on investment? While it’s one thing to pay for services that make your job easier, it’s another entirely to waste them on unnecessary assets that are either a luxury or simply don’t offer enough value to justify the expenditure.

To get started, ask yourself how your business’s technology is affecting its bottom line. If you implement a new solution, what is it offering for your organization? Are the funds best being spent, or would they be better delegated elsewhere? For example, if you spend some money on automation technologies for basic tasks, you can eliminate the need for important personnel to waste time that would be better spent on more important tasks.

Another common example is the use of break-fix strategies. Businesses are throwing money away trying to keep their technology in proper working order. Break-fix model for IT support puts up the facade of value by providing support in the moment you need it most. While this does get your business back in action, you still have to pay exorbitant fees for new hardware and downtime. You’re not preventing the incident outright, which is where most of the waste comes from. Instead of wasting time, assets, and resources on downtime caused by reacting to technology troubles, try taking a preventative approach instead.

The best way to find more value in your technological investments is to work with a managed service provider like VentureNet. Basically, you can cut out the costs of hiring multiple IT technicians by outsourcing the work to us. This eliminates the costs of managing an IT department, adding new technicians to payroll, and most important of all, the upkeep of your systems. Instead, for a single monthly payment, you can invest in an outsourced IT department that can handle any and all responsibilities of an in-house team, plus some. Here are some of the services that we can offer your organization:

  • Remote monitoring and management
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Network security
  • Email management
  • And more!

To learn more about how IT outsourcing can help your business, reach out to VentureNet at 214-343-3550.

Backup and Recovery is Essential for Today’s Business

Backup and Recovery is Essential for Today's Business

How confident are you that your business could survive a worst-case scenario? Organizations should always be ready to go in case they are struck by overwhelming odds, be it a hacking attack or a natural disaster. How would your business respond to a disaster scenario? Do you have a business continuity plan put in place so that you can guarantee your organization survives to see the light of another day?

A business continuity plan consists of much more than just data backup and disaster recovery, though. It includes having a plan to keep mission-critical staff and personnel safe in the event of a disaster, as well as ways to stay in touch with your staff and get back in business as soon as possible following the disaster. If your business fails to eliminate downtime, keep key personnel safe, and restore crucial data, any random threat to your business continuity could put your future in jeopardy.

We’re going to discuss one of the most important parts of business continuity in detail: data backup and disaster recovery. With a BDR solution, you’ll be one step closer to keeping your business running following a crippling incident.

How Much Data is Being Backed Up?
If you ever need to ask the question of how much data is being backed up by your organization, you’re likely not backing up enough of it. You should be backing up all of your data, or as much is feasibly possible, so that you ever have to question whether or not a hardware failure robbed you of the most important data your business holds. Even losing something as simple as contacts can be a considerable annoyance, as you will then have to waste time collecting them all over again.

Traditional tape backup takes complete backups of your data, but it only does so on a limited basis. VentureNet’s BDR solution, which we call KeepGoing.biz, can back up data more frequently, and only updates backups when files have been changed, making it a much more convenient and less straining solution for the average small business.

How Often is Data Being Backed Up?
Your data will only be so helpful if backups are only taken every so often. For example, tape backup only takes one big backup at the end of the day due to how it works. Since the process is rather intensive, it must happen after hours, lest it threaten your organization with downtime. This leads to a conundrum–take backups more often, or lose out on productivity due to your infrastructure being slowed or brought down by intensive, frequent backups.

A cloud-based BDR solution allows your company to take much more frequent backups without sacrificing uptime. Since the backups only occur for files that have been changed since the last backup was taken, they can happen more often–up to as frequently as every fifteen minutes. This lets you minimize data loss in the event of a disaster.

How Fast Can You Restore Data?
In the event of a data loss incident, there’s no time to waste. You need to get back in action as soon as possible so that you lose minimal time, resources, and assets. Yet, this is often more difficult than it seems, as you might not even have an infrastructure left to restore data to, if the disaster is bad enough. Even if you have tape backup, you’re looking at several hours or days to restore your business’s infrastructure completely, which isn’t an option if you’re looking to minimize wasted time.

VentureNet’s BDR solution allows your organization to restore data directly to the BDR device, providing you with the opportunity to get back in business as soon as possible while worrying about replacement hardware later. This minimizes downtime and keeps your business active, despite overwhelming odds.

What Can be Restored?
Backing up and restoring files is one part of the equation. But what happens when the operating itself is destroyed? In the age of cryptolocker and other ransomware attacks, this is a very important question to ask. While some crypto-variants only attack files, others attack the server they live on. Having a comprehensive disaster recovery solution will allow you to not only recover from file loss, but also from operating system corruption. If you don’t have an image of the server itself, you might not have anywhere to restore files to after a disaster. VentureNet’s BDR solution allows you to do both. We take full system images, including the operating system and all the files on it, so that we can restore individual files or the entire server, depending on what is necessary to get your business functioning again.

Does your business need a BDR solution? VentureNet has your back. To learn more, reach out to us at 214-343-3550.

Your Guide to Tightening Up Network Security

Your Guide to Tightening Up Network Security

Network security is one of the most important parts of running a business, but you might be surprised by how easy it is to fall prey to some of the more common threats out there. It’s not enough to implement endpoint security or train your employees. Comprehensive network security is a considerable investment that requires not only the utmost care, but enterprise level solutions, backed up with the knowledge of security professionals.

We’ll walk you through some of the ways you can tighten up your network security. Remember, the end goal here is to ensure that your business can not only survive a data breach, but prevent one entirely. As such, you need to take a multilayered approach to network security, including endpoint security, best practices, and patching and system updates.

Endpoint Security – Optimizing Network Security
Your business’ technology needs to be properly secured if you hope to stay in business. For example, your company likely employs the use of multiple different types of technologies, including workstations and server units, to get work done and share information throughout the workday. Furthermore, your employees might bring mobile devices to the table, which adds even more endpoints to your business’ infrastructure. All of these devices need to be secured; otherwise, you’re risking your business’ integrity.

A unified security solution like a Unified Threat Management (UTM) device can provide preventative solutions to keep threats from becoming major problems down the road. You can protect your network with a firewall, antivirus, spam blocker, and content filter, all to keep issues away from your data.

User Best Practices – Creating a Mindful Workforce
The next step toward protecting your infrastructure is to handle the user side of things. By this, we mean the end-user, your employees, or the ones actually using your business’ technology solutions. It’s one thing to implement powerful enterprise-level security solutions, but another entirely if an uninformed user lets threats in through a phishing email or clicking on the wrong link. Therefore, you want to take measures to ensure your employees are trained, or at least relatively competent, with security best practices.

You should always express the importance of security awareness training to your staff, as well as password best practices. Doing so allows you to minimize risk, but more importantly, covers your bases so that you know you’ve done everything in your power to secure your organization. By regularly testing your employees on network security and enforcing security-minded policies, you can significantly reduce the risk of your employees being the cause of security threats.

Patching and System Updates – Maintaining Your Infrastructure
It doesn’t matter how many devices your business owns and uses for operations. Regardless of how many systems are utilized, you will need to patch every system for any potential vulnerabilities. Over time, you might notice in the news that software solutions your business utilizes will become vulnerable to new and emerging threats. In cases like this, you will need to implement patches and security updates to any affected systems. If you don’t, you’re putting your business at unnecessary risk.

Automating patching and system updates will allow your company to focus on more important things, like operations, instead of worrying about how long it will take to update your software and operating systems. In fact, most of these patches and updates can be applied remotely, eliminating the need for an on-site visit.

If your business is concerned about network security, you should consider working with a managed service provider to both augment and reinforce your current network security practices. VentureNet can equip your network with all of the above tools so that you can ensure there is minimal risk associated with security troubles. To learn more, reach out to us at 214-343-3550.