Why Cloud Solutions Are a Good Fit for SMBs

There was once a drought. Rain was scarce and animals great and small were in search of water. The creek beds were bare. Ponds dried up. Even the rivers ran low.

During the dry spell, a crow happened across an abandoned pitcher with a little bit of water sitting at the bottom. But there was a problem. The neck of the pitcher was narrow, and the crow’s beak could not reach far enough in to touch the water.

But crows are clever creatures, and this crow set about devising a solution to the problem at hand.

Spotting some small stones near the pitcher, the crow plucked up a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher. The water rose just a bit. Seeing progress, the crow continued to drop rocks into the pitcher until the water rose high enough that he could drink.

Crows Flying

Where Fables Meet Reality

You may have heard that story before. It’s one of Aesop’s fables. What you may not know is that it’s closer to reality than you would expect.

A few years ago, a group of researchers wanted to see if actual crows would prove as clever as the crows of myth and legend. They were not disappointed.

Four crows were put to the test, presented with exactly the same dilemma: a pitcher with a narrow neck and water at the bottom. All four crows used rocks to raise the water level so they could take a drink. As one article summarized, “According to the researchers, the only other animal known to perform this kind of task is the orangutan . . . ”

What Do Crows Have to Do with Cloud Solutions?

If we were talking about clouds in the sky, you could probably think of several connections right off the top of your head. But cloud solutions? As in IT network tools? What do crows have to do with those?

From our point of view, a lot.

In the fable, the crow is met with a specific problem. Rather than lamenting the problem, giving up, or flying away in search of another source of water, the crow used the tools at hand to produce the desired results. That’s exactly the same kind of thinking that make cloud solutions a powerful resource for small businesses.

Cloud Stat

Are there other ways to deal with your day-to-day challenges? You bet. Do you have to adopt cloud solutions in order to be successful? No, not at all.

But the cloud provides SMBs with quick, flexible, intuitive solutions that solve several common business problems. And that’s why 90% of organizations use the cloud in some way. In fact, more than 50% of all organizations actually prefer cloud solutions.

Let’s explore a few of the advantages of cloud solutions.

Customized to the Hilt

Cloud solutions are hardly one-size-fits-all. Unlike so many out-of-the-box solutions, cloud solutions come with some impressive options. That just makes sense. Your business is unique. Your tools should be unique, as well.

Here’s what that looks like in practical terms.

You won’t have to rework your entire internal process to match what your new CRM (or inventory tracking software or recordkeeping platform or whatever) expects you to do. You can tweak your tools to match how YOU and YOUR TEAM work.

And you can achieve that level of customization without breaking the bank. (More on that in a bit.)

New York Business

Scalable for Any Size

One of the challenges for SMBs is that many are in a near-constant state of growth. If a large corporation adds 10 new employees, it’s likely no big deal. If your small business with a core team of only 20 adds 10 new heads, that’s game-changing.

As a result, it’s critical that your solutions be flexible and scalable. You can’t ditch one set of solutions and migrate to another every time you hit a new tier of growth. You need tools that will grow with you.

Cloud solutions are not only customizable but also extremely scalable. Adding new users won’t mess with the whole process. Instead, you can grow your team and your company with confidence that your cloud solutions will keep pace.

Working from Wherever

50% of all Americans have jobs that could be done remotely. Not only that but working remotely comes with a bunch of perks for your employees: greater productivity, boosts in employee satisfaction, lower stress and reduced turnover, to name a few. And cloud solutions make all that remote access magic possible.

Stat

But that’s not the only reason to embrace cloud solutions and working remotely. Even if you have no intention of giving your staff the option of remote access, there are still huge benefits to having it for yourself and your leadership team.

Imagine being on the road or in a face-to-face client meeting and still having access to all your files, tools and solutions, as if you were sitting at your own desk in your office. When you work in the cloud, you’re always connected as long as you have access to the internet.

More Secure Than You Think

Forbes recently reported that an increasing number of cybersecurity platforms take cloud solutions into account. That’s important because security has long been a concern when considering the move to cloud solutions. After all, if your precious data is out there in the cloud, how can you be sure it’s safe from cyber criminals?

As McAfee’s 2017 report, “Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The State of Cloud Adoption and Security,” infers, the real question for business leaders isn’t whether or not to make the move to the cloud, but how to move to the cloud securely.

There are secure cloud solutions. Finding them and implementing them is more a matter of the right cybersecurity strategy than an issue with cloud solution security in general. Our advice is to work with an IT consulting expert to ensure the right level of security for your company.

Cybersecurity

Budget-friendly Value

Finally, the benefit you’ve been hoping for all along. Sort of.

Many business owners are able to save money by making the move to cloud solutions. But we know better than to make lofty promises about how much the right cloud solutions will cost for your business. Instead, we’d rather speak to value.

We’re confident that the sum total of the benefits of cloud solutions will make for a better overall value for your business. Think of it as more bang for your buck. You may save money . . . or you might pay a little more for way more agility. Either way, we consider that a win.

Getting to the Good Stuff

Like the crow working to get to the water in the bottom of the pitcher, SMB owners have to tap into creativity and ingenuity to grow their businesses. Cloud solutions are an effective way to help in that effort.

If you want a leg up on the competition, the right cloud solutions can make a powerful difference.

The Single Most Important Thing About Office 365

There’s something fascinating about how the concept of trustworthiness is handled in fables.

For example, consider the boy who cried wolf. You know the story. An overly dramatic shepherd boy alarms his whole village by claiming wolves are attacking the flock just because he thinks their reactions are entertaining. He does this several times, and people learn to tune him out.

Eventually, wolves do attack . . . but no one believes him.

Or what about the scorpion and the turtle? (Or frog or fox—there are a ton of variations.) The scorpion wants to cross a river but cannot swim, so he asks the turtle to usher him across. He promises not to sting the turtle, explaining that it would be foolish to do so as both would then drown. Convinced, the turtle agrees.

Halfway across, the scorpion stings the turtle. As they begin to sink, the turtle wants to know why. The scorpion simply says, “It’s my nature.”

The Thing About Trust

Here’s what we find interesting. Both stories speak to the value of trustworthiness, but neither story ends well. Ultimately, both are about what happens when trust is broken.

Perhaps this is why a Forbes article from a few years ago called trust “the most valuable business commodity.”

Whether we’re talking about vendor agreements, in-house relationships, interactions with customers or the technology you rely on day-in, day-out, trust is critical. If you don’t put your trust in others, you won’t get anything done, but misplaced trust can be devastating.

Which is why trustworthy IT solutions are so valuable.

Office 365: The Proven Solution

The issue of trust is, perhaps, the most compelling selling point of Office 365. This is the gold standard of business productivity suites. Are there other options? Of course. Google’s G Suite, for example, has gained traction in the last few years.

And yet, Office 365 is twice as popular as G Suite. In fact, over 1.2 billion people rely on Office 365, making it the most used collaborative productivity suite available.

There are plenty of reasons for Office 365’s success, and plenty of reasons why Office 365 makes sense for your SMB. But we’re just going to focus on one of those reasons today. Trust.

The Value of Trust

When you’re knee-deep in work, the last thing you need is an unexpected hiccup. Think about the last time you were sorting out a complicated issue with a customer. Does that seem like a good time to discover missing files? An unsaved spreadsheet? A corrupt document?

No. Absolutely not.

In fact, that’s precisely when you want to know your technology is dependable and well-organized, all those digital ducks in a nice little row. That’s what you get with Office 365—the assurance that you’re using a tool you can count on.

Edging Out the Options

But what about the other options? After all, if Google’s G Suite has half as many users as Office 365, that’s still a lot of people. Isn’t that worth considering?

We’ll happily concede that some organizations use other solutions with no issues. Office 365 isn’t the only game in town. But it is our recommended solution, and here’s why.

First, Office 365 is a near-universal standard. While some businesses use other suites, even then files are frequently saved and shared in the file types Microsoft pioneered. Why not stick with the original?

Second, Microsoft continues to be an innovator in the productivity suite market. Office 365 comes with some powerful tools. You can share files, work remotely and collaborate with Office 365 as effortlessly as you can with any other suite—and you can do so with peace of mind.

Office 365 is the standard for good reason.

Make Your Move to Office 365

If you’re not already using Office 365, it’s a big deal to move to a new productivity suite.

We’re talking about everything from documents and spreadsheets to email hosting and in-app instant messaging. You’ll need to facilitate migration as well as employee training if you’re going to take full advantage of everything Office 365 has to offer.

Intelligent IT can help. We’ll get you set up and bring your people up to speed on the features you’ll find the most beneficial so you can focus on what really matters—growing your business. Just give us a call to get started today.

Finding Peace of Mind with Regulatory Compliance

When Miles Kington passed away in 2008, it was a real loss. The British writer was well known and well liked for his humor and wit. Additionally, he frequently appeared on BBC radio, had multiple television appearances, and played multiple musical instruments.

In tribute to Kington, The Independent published a piece about his life and memorial service. In it, the author observed, “The main contributor to yesterday’s funeral service was Kington himself, since most of those who paid tribute to him preferred to use his words rather than their own.”

Could a writer ask for better?

Knowledge vs. Wisdom

One of Kington’s most quoted lines is both simple and powerful. “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

And right about now, you’re wondering what this has to do with regulatory compliance. That is what this post is about, right?

It is, and that quote from Kington is more relevant than you might think. Sometimes knowledge—even expert knowledge—isn’t enough. Sometimes you need something more than raw knowledge to achieve a strategic advantage.

The Regulatory Compliance Challenge

Compliance is important. If you operate in a regulated field, you already know that. What’s more, you already know how costly non-compliance can get—at least in part. What you might not know is the cost of poorly organized compliance extends well beyond the fines.

47% of companies report that their greatest challenge with regard to regulatory compliance is keeping policies current as regulations change. And 44% of organizations don’t even track how effective their compliance policies are.

Here’s why that’s scary.

Regulatory compliance isn’t just about avoiding fines. Compliance affects your entire business process. In order to remain compliant, you have to adjust business processes, carefully select hardware and software solutions, and engage in thorough, ongoing employee training.

The fact that regulations change regularly means this is hardly a “one and done” scenario. You’ll never be done with compliance. It will always be a factor.

If keeping up with regulatory changes is a major challenge, or worse, if you’re not even tracking the effectiveness of your compliance policies, the implications are profound. Not only do you risk fines—you risk inefficiency, as well.

Taming the Regulatory Compliance Beast

There are a handful of things you can do to make compliance more manageable. We’ll be candid. None of the following suggestions are going to sound fun. However, given the stakes, these are critical steps to protecting your business and ensuring high levels of efficiency.

Compliance Training

You can’t remain compliant if you don’t know what regulations are in place. Compliance training may not make for the most riveting activity, but it’s essential—for you and for your employees.

We recommend a strategic approach to compliance training. Take part in regular training sessions, and make it a point to engage as many members of your staff as is practical. The more well-known compliance rules are, the more likely your organization is to follow them.

Industry-specific Publications

In addition to training courses, industry-specific publications can be a good source for compliance news. Just be sure to stick with publications that are well-established and reputable.

A recognized journal that’s been around for a couple of decades is far more likely to be a good source than a random website run by an individual you’ve never heard of who doesn’t even bother to cite sources.

Periodic Reports

As Kington’s quote above indicates, knowledge alone isn’t enough. That’s why periodic reviews of your policies and processes are so important.

At least once a year, you should engage in a deep-dive review of every process within your organization that is affected by regulatory compliance. Will that take time? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Outside Consultation

In addition to the above recommendations, many organizations opt to bring in an outside expert. We say “in addition to” instead of “in place of” because your responsibility as the business leader remains intact even if you choose to enlist some help.

That said, there’s a real advantage to working with a compliance professional. Especially one who can offer guidance on technology solutions and business processes as they relate to regulatory compliance. We won’t make any false promises. This approach won’t make regulatory compliance a breeze, but it will make it far easier to manage effectively.

Turning Challenge into Opportunity

Like so many other areas of business, regulatory compliance doesn’t have to be a thorn in your side. With the right strategy, you can turn your compliance policies into a strategic advantage.

The key is taking a proactive approach. The above tips are a great place to start. Additionally, if we can provide further guidance, we’re here to help. Just give us a call if you’d like a hand.

Ransomware: The Elephant in the Room

You’ve probably heard the story of the blind men and the elephant. In western culture, we’ve adjusted the tale, often simplifying it by reducing the number of blind men. But the point is more or less the same.

In the original story, six blind men encounter an elephant—but only specific parts of the beast.

One of the blind men, for example, discovers the elephant’s trunk. After feeling it he remarks that the elephant is very much like a snake. Another of the blind men wraps his arms around one of the elephant’s legs. To him, the elephant is more like a tree.

One by one, each of the blind men gets only part of the story. And because they only have part of the story, none of them has a full understanding of what an elephant actually is.

The whole elephant

This parable is a powerful example of how misleading a lack of information can be. We see that all the time in our line of work, and nowhere is it more dangerous than when it comes to ransomware.

Speaking candidly, it really doesn’t matter if you understand the ins and outs of how ransomware works. You don’t need to know how to code, or even how to set up all the appropriate protection for your network.

That’s what we’re here for. We’ll handle all the technical heavy lifting. What you do need to know is how to avoid exposing your company to risk.

Why ransomware works

Brace yourself for several unsettling facts.

According to Kaspersky, every 40 seconds a different company experiences an attempted ransomware attack. This year alone, two headline-making attacks have played out: WannaCry and Petya.

Ransomware attacks are basically what they sound like. Cyber criminals take your data hostage and hold it for ransom. It works because most ransomware victims pay.

How ransomware gets in

One of the most common delivery methods for ransomware is email. In fact, 93% of all phishing emails contain ransomware.

Phishing emails are fake emails. They often include hidden bits of code, like ransomware. Cyber criminals just want the end user (that’s you and your staff) to open the email or click a link. That’s all it takes to infect your network.

And get this. An estimated 97% of people can’t spot a phishing email.

Most folks are like the blind men trying to understand the elephant. They only see part of the issue. They understand ransomware is bad, but they don’t understand how easily a careless click can backfire.

Stopping ransomware at your company

If you’re serious about stopping ransomware, you need to be serious about educating your employees. Here’s are three basic anti-ransomware tips to get you started.

1. Watch where you click.

If you aren’t certain an email came from a source you know to be safe (or the sender’s email address just looks strange), do not click on any links. Don’t even open the message. Just trash it or send it to spam. Those cute cat pictures aren’t worth the risk.

2. Pop-ups can be dangerous, too.

Emails aren’t the only danger. Pop-up ads can sneak in malware, too. Cultivate a sense of awareness when you’re online. Always know where a link is taking you before you click.

3. Oh, and social media.

Hackers have started using social media, as well. In fact, social media phishing is up by as much as 500%. A Facebook link isn’t safe just because it’s on Facebook. Be careful everywhere.

The next step

As you might suspect, there’s more to protecting your network than being careful about where you click. A full cybersecurity plan is an intricate, complex thing. If you want full protection, we recommend working with a professional.

The experts at Intelligent IT would be happy to help out. Just give us a call if you’d like to get the process started.

However you address your security needs, please address them. Ransomware is a global problem. It won’t stop until all of us do our part to make it impractical for cyber criminals to be successful. The most powerful first step you can take is educating your employees.

How Cloud Solutions Can Make Your Life Easier

The story is told of a promising martial arts student who wanted to advance his skill as quickly as possible. Having seen the value of working with one master, the clever student thought it wise to double-up his training.

“Master,” he said, “I’ve learned so much from you. You know I’m a devoted student. I’d like to learn even more. I’m considering working with a second master to learn another style. I think it could strengthen my understanding, coordination and skill.”

The master looked at his student. He was silent for a moment, and then he exhaled deeply. The wisdom of his years showed on his face as he shook his head.

“No,” he said. “You should not do this.”

“Why not?” the student asked with respect.

The master smiled. “Because,” he explained, “the hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither.”

Simple is better.

Ready for confirmation of something you already know? Here goes.

The key to making your business a success doesn’t lie in being busy. It lies in creating a productive environment for yourself and your employees.

A recent survey found the average professional is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes during an 8-hour work day. Too many of us spend too much time on stuff that doesn’t contribute to growth.

But there’s a better way.

Greater focus leads to better results.

The more you can focus on your goals, the more likely you are to hit them. That’s why it’s important to use every available tool to make the tasks of running a business easier.

Why waste your valuable time and energy on tedious administrative stuff? Wouldn’t you rather hone in on the things that really matter? If so, cloud solutions are a good fit for your small business.

How cloud solutions can improve your focus.

Cloud solutions aren’t a passing fad. They’re a powerful way to narrow your focus, getting more done without working insane hours. In fact, 60% of small businesses that use the cloud see a significant boost in productivity.

Below are 6 ways cloud solutions can help you get more done in less time.

1. Less time spent on grunt work.

Installing, updating and maintaining software and hardware is critical. It’s also a huge time commitment. Cloud solutions eliminate much of that time. Cloud services don’t require any of that kind of routine maintenance, freeing you to spend your valuable time on something else.

2. Unreal flexibility.

Growing a small business is a delicate balancing act. When you’re in rapid growth mode, just keeping up with the demands of more customers and more employees can become a huge distraction. Cloud solutions are a great fit because they’re scalable, allowing you to easily adjust as your needs change.

3. Unleash collaboration.

Cloud solutions focused on team collaboration are in vogue right now, and for good reason. When your people are able to effortlessly pool their efforts, you’re guaranteed better results. And some of the best collaborative tools on the market right now are cloud-based.

4. Big business solutions.

Just because you run a small business doesn’t mean you can’t have access to enterprise-level tools. Cloud solutions are the great equalizer. Because they scale easily, you can use the very same top-tier options Fortune 500 companies use to stay at the top of their game.

5. Work from wherever.

As a small business owner, you can’t be in the office every single day. Sometimes the many hats you wear force you to work on the go. Cloud solutions give you the ability to stay connected and productive, even if you’re on the other side of the globe.

6. More value (and maybe lower costs).

Cloud solutions can absolutely deliver high value. You can see that in the previous five points. They might also lower costs. It’s great when that happens, but the important thing here is value. Any tool that helps you sharpen your focus and grow your company is worth investing in.

Cloud Solutions with Intelligent IT

Of course, you only get the benefits of cloud solutions if you choose the right cloud solutions. That’s a tall order for most SMB owners because of the sheer number of options available. But there’s a way to make that easier, too.

The experts at Intelligent IT can help identify, setup and support the cloud solutions that will work best for your company. Just give us a call to get the process started today.

6 Things Managed Services Can Do for Your SMB

There’s an old fable, often attributed to Aesop.

A small community of mice lived in the same home where there was also a cat. The cat was a skilled hunter, and the mice were afraid for their lives. But a clever, young mouse had a solution.

“We should tie a bell around the cat’s neck,” the young mouse said. “Then we’ll hear her coming and we can hide before she finds us.”

The other mice readily agreed that this was a good plan, until the oldest mouse in their community raised a weary paw.

“That is a fine plan,” the old mouse said. “I see only one problem. Who will bell the cat?”

Belling the cat.

All too often, the problem with good ideas isn’t finding them. It’s implementing them.

Like belling the cat, the best IT strategies in the world won’t do you any good if you don’t know how to make them a reality. That’s why you need managed services.

Stuff that works.

Legendary author Douglas Adams once said, “We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

Running an SMB is fraught with tough choices. What do you tackle on your own? When do you turn to experts for outside help? What’s the ROI of keeping things in-house versus outsourcing?

When it comes to the things you truly rely on, like your technology, you can’t afford to take chances. Even short periods of downtime cut into your productivity, hamper customer relations, and sap the enthusiasm from your employees.

You need the best possible performance from your network. But . . . who’s going to bell that cat?

6 ways managed services help.

We have a solution. Instead of handling all of your IT solutions yourself, call on the support of a managed services provider. There are several reasons why that’s a smart move for any SMB leader.

We even made a list.

1. The beauty of a proactive approach.

Why wait for something to break to fix it? A managed services provider can proactively keep an eye on your network 24/7. If there are early warning signs of an issue, they can deal with it then instead of waiting until it slows you down.

2. Support when you need it.

Of course, some issues pop up without warning. When they do, who do you call? A managed services provider is there at all hours, ready and willing to step in with the solutions you need when you need them.

3. Security, security, security.

There’s no shortage of cyber crime. Recent headlines about ransomware attacks and data breaches don’t just spell trouble for huge companies. Small businesses are at risk, too. A managed services provider can help you take steps to mitigate those risks.

4. Just in case.

Even well-protected networks experience disasters – big things like successful cyber attacks and acts of God, as well as less spectacular interruptions like power outages and human error. A managed services provider can give you a plan for bouncing back from any incident.

5. The best possible IT solutions.

Technology is constantly changing. The solutions that work today will be outdated next year. Or next week. A managed services provider can help you keep pace with the best IT options for your business, making sure you always have a cohesive, smart technology strategy.

6. Sharpen your focus.

With your network in good hands, you’re free to focus your attention elsewhere. Grow your business, or cultivate better work/life balance. Your managed services provider will help with any IT hiccups so you can concentrate on what matters to you.

Managed Services with Intelligent IT

The experts at Intelligent IT take managed services seriously. We know what it takes to support SMBs. We’ve been doing it successfully for years.

Plus, we see the full picture. Running a business isn’t the only thing you do, and keeping your network online isn’t your only priority. We want to help make you a success in every way we can. Perhaps that’s why working with us is a unique experience.

We truly care.

If you’d like to learn more about managed services with Intelligent IT, feel free to give us a call. We’ll be happy to explore how our IT support can help you meet your goals.

Why Your SMB Must Consider Outsourcing the CTO Function

Robust IT is becoming more difficult to manage in house.

As expansive API network trees and complex cloud infrastructures become the norm even in the SMB market, companies looking to control their digital footprint, identity and data under one roof simply cannot do it fast enough to keep up with competition.

When a company outsources a particular IT function, such as cloud services management, it makes the decision about the function to outsource internally. If a company does not have the expertise to determine if this decision was actually the appropriate one, then it may partner with a perfectly capable company for a misappropriated reason. It is not the fault of the partner, but the company may end up losing money due to wasted resources.

Outsourced CTO services give a company a more practiced eye for IT strategy as well as a team of experts to monitor and maintain an IT system . In the small business world, you are not expected to know the most efficient strategies for maintaining a network. You may use certain cloud services, but you may not be involved enough in the cloud to warrant a specialized partner – the value add of an IT partner may be elsewhere. However, you might sign up for a certain service just because you heard it was the hottest thing to do, and all of your competition seems to be doing it as well. This is an extremely efficient way to lose money and frustrate yourself.

Small Business Computer Support

The majority of companies today are running under some sort of computer infrastructure. Most of those companies are not directly associated with information technology, nor is there anyone within the company with the skills or expertise to even understand where to look for the problem when something goes wrong. If this is the case, it may be best to outsource the entire IT department with a total CTO service package from a company like Intelligent iT.

Do not waste time trying to learn the infrastructure of things that do not directly affect your revenue streams. We are focused on IT.

let us help you devise the strategy as well as giving you the technical boots on the ground to fix the problems!

Intelligent iT is a partner of some of the biggest tech companies in the world because of its ability to strategize as well as maintain and correct systems.

Outsourced CTO Services

CTO services help you determine what it is that you need to fix before you spend money going after the wrong problem . Intelligent iT is ready to help you define your infrastructure. Companies of all scale around the globe continue to trust us, and we have a special expertise in helping your small businesses.

Call us today.
212. 730. 1844

Russia, Yahoo, Hacking and Your Business: Protecting Your Company in the Wake of Increasing Threats

With local news agencies warning businesses in their area to beef up digital security due to the Russian hacking of Yahoo!, there is more attention than ever on the danger of simply thinking you can do business without an appropriate measure of protection. Hackers today are no longer the unsophisticated individuals in their parents’ basement – today’s malicious digital breaches are perpetrated by massive, interconnected networks of automated computers who ceaselessly attack targets – no human administration is even necessary.

One of the most powerful and resourceful Internet companies in the world, Yahoo!, was targeted and successfully hacked in 2014 by Russian agents tied into domestic black hat hackers. The aftermath is stretching far into 2017. What is the takeaway? Even if you catch the perpetrators, the information that you lose may shatter the reputation of your company for years to come. Yahoo!’s breach completely stopped an acquisition by Verizon, causing massive upheaval in the Yahoo! C-suite and causing investor confidence to dwindle substantially.

Can you afford this level of scrutiny without the deep pockets and connections that Yahoo! has? Most companies smaller than Yahoo! need to prioritize their spending on marketing and R&D, not PR and legal fees. No, it is best to stop a breach before it starts by having the right security in place form the start.

Security compliance measures are in place for a reason. Are you paying attention to the measures that apply to your industry? If not, then you could be in immediate danger of a breach.

If you are looking for protection from an ever growing network of cyberthreats, Intelligent iT is your one stop shop for full scale resistance. Specialists in security audits, compliance and preventive measures, Intelligent iT gives you the fortress that you need to keep your proprietary ideas and information private. Give us a call or an email today – the bad guys are definitely not waiting on you.
Source:

http://www.11alive.com/news/local/atlanta-companies-should-increase-security-in-wake-of-yahoo-breach/423754691

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/03/15/hackers-to-be-charged-in-yahoo-security-breach.html

Finding the Right ISP for Your Small Business

So, you say you are ready to get your small business up and running? Well, this is no easy feat so do not underestimate the process. In a rush to launch a business and begin generating revenue, business owners make blind decisions that end up costing them in the long run. This is why we created this guide–to help you get set up so you can start operating now while remaining capable of scaling your business and avoiding common mistakes and pitfalls in the future.

Welcome to the first of a four part series in which we discuss various service providers for your business to help you make informed decisions in terms of who you partner with to service your company.

In this first post, we will look at a few internet service providers (ISP’s). We will not go into extensive research as that is your due diligence, but we will identify the big players to help with your decision along with some basic plans offered to those in NYC.

You will have to answer some questions to help you understand your needs and which provider will best meet those needs. Think about these questions:

  • What services do I provide? What do I need the internet for and how often will I need access?
  • How many employees do I have that will need internet to operate the business?
  • Where do I see the company in one, three and five years?
  • How quickly do I expect to expand?
  • How many programs will employees run simultaneously?

Answering these questions will help you and the ISP understand what speed, package, and additional services you will need to run your business smoothly.

Before we dig into the various ISP’s lets first discuss the different connection types because there are a few.

Dial-up

Dial-up is the ancestor of internet connection, or the “grandpappy” as Globalcom calls it. It connects to the internet via phone lines, so phone conversations and web surfing cannot take place simultaneously. Dial-up has become pretty obsolete except in most rural areas because it remains easy and convenient to install. Dial-up’s maximum transfer speed is 56 kilobit per second (kbps). To put this in perspective, a 20 page PDF full of text and some images can be upwards of 10 megabits (mb). Suppose you wanted to download a 10mb PDF, it would take approximately three minutes.

DSL

Digital subscriber line, or DSL, is a modern version of dial-up in a sense. It does use a phone line, but can also support data transfer. Transfer speed for DSL start at around 250 kbps and can leap to 100 mbps. You would have to discuss the speed with your ISP for specifics with your particular business as technology and line conditions vary by region.

Cable Internet

Cable internet, you guessed it, provides internet access via cable television. This is a popular internet connection type that almost all ISP’s offer. Although it uses the cable network, simultaneous use of internet, cable television, and telephone of course, is possible. Transfer speeds can reach 400 mbps for business connections.

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet connection is pretty straight forward. It is convenient in that you can connect from anywhere as location is not much of a factor. No major installation is needed or infrastructure from the ISP so setup is easy. This is ideal for businesses in secluded areas and because the connection is via satellite, interruptions are rare. Speeds can reach 1 gbps (gigabit per second) or 1024 mbps.

Fiber

Fiber internet connection is considered the best of the best. It revolutionized the internet service industry with its capability to convert optical signals (light) into electrical ones, providing the fastest internet connection available. Because fiber is relatively new, many regions do not have access to it yet as it requires infrastructure that is costly to develop.

Google Fiber is the among the newest addition to the fiber family. Only offering service to just a few cities in the US, Google recently selected another 34 cities to offer Google Fiber. Google Fiber offers internet, television and storage reaching speeds of 1 gbps. Because it is not offered in many cities such as New York City, Google Fiber will not be compared with its competitors. However, it is worth noting that Google Fiber does offer free internet connection, although, the installation comes at a cost.

Below are the ISP’s along with some plan details specific to New York City. Internet service providers may have variations in price based on location and may not be available in certain regions. Be sure to check their websites for terms and prices in your area.

Internet Speeds

Before we jump in to the different internet service providers, it is important that you understand there are two different speeds related to the internet connection: downstream and upstream.

Downstream refers to network traffic of data that occurs from a server to your computer. Opening emails and downloading files are good examples of this.

Conversely, upstream refers to traffic that occurs from your computer to a server. Examples would be uploading files or videos and sending emails.

When you ISP’s quote their speed, it is usually something like, 15/5 or 15 x 5. The first set of numbers refer to the downstream traffic while the second set refers to upstream. As you will notice, downstream is usually much faster than upstream and, chances are, you know this by experience.

Time Warner

Most people cringe when they hear or see anything that involves Time Warner. If you are one of them, feel free to skip this section. A snapshot of Time Warner’s services offer packages that range from 15×2 mbps at $79.95 to 50×5 mbps at $229.99. However, with recent news of Comcast purchasing Time Warner do not be surprised if these plans and prices change.

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Comcast

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Verizon Fios

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For more information, reviews and comparisons of on these subjects, please check these links:

http://www.broadband.gov/broadband_types.html

http://mashable.com/2012/08/21/google-fiber-verizon-fios/

Top Ten Resources for IT Support

You’ve heard “there is no shortage of bad information.” The same is true for information technology. As innovative technologies constantly improve with newer features, articles and posts that were found useful have become outdated and irrelevant. For this reason, Intelligent IT NYC conducted thorough research to find you the best resources for IT support. The following websites are always updated with fresh content that remains relevant with current trends and all you need to know for accurate and helpful IT support.

1. www.pcsupport.about.com

Offering tutorials, guides, tips and tricks, pcsupport remains a good resource for valuable information pertaining to your pc.

2. www.tomshardware.com

tomshardware has informative guides on various machines, programs, and software. You can find articles on bugs and updates for the mac, windows, android and more.

3. www.helpdeskgeek.com

Tips and troubleshooting guides for all windows versions. With each new update comes new issues, but here you can learn how to resolve them all.

4. www.computerweekly.com

Vast amounts of information can be found on this site. Offering access to their research libraries and IT management strategies, this can easily be an essential resource for you.

5. www.freeprogrammingresources.com

The url says it all. This website is a database full of books, resources, and tools for your desktop and mobile devices.

6. www.datacenterknowledge.com

Offering white papers and information technology news this website truly is a data center where you can learn a lot about the IT industry.

7. www.drchaos.com

Frequent fresh content on hot topics ranging from mobile security to government technology, Dr. Chaos provides context on what you should be aware of.

8. www.themodernnetwork.com

The modern network has its own resource center where they share white papers and case studies that can help your IT infrastructure and decision-making.

9. www.discussions.apple.com

10. www.answers.microsoft.com

With a responsive community for both the apple and microsoft products, there was no way we could ignore their tech support forums with hundreds of participants responding to thousands of issues; we’re sure you’ll find answers to your questions as well.

There are additional information technology resources that offer and direct you to more places where you can find the tech support you need.

You can also continue checking back our blog for tech support. Be the first to know about bugs and fixes by subscribing to our newsletter or connecting with us on social networks.