Hacks, attacks and security breaches are an unfortunate reality that affects – sometimes devastatingly – companies across the world on a daily basis. The most frightening part is that any business that relies on the Internet, computer connectivity or, essentially, anything more than a whiteboard and a typewriter to do business is vulnerable. Every business owner, executive and manager on earth knows the damage that data theft or misuse can cause to the organization, its customers and its suppliers.
Yet even with the increasing regularity these events occur, many Denver businesses still spin the roulette wheel hoping it won’t happen to them.
So what are the five steps an organization should take to protect itself from IT malfeasance?
Audit Data Access — While most threats originate externally, they can and do come from internal sources as well. The first step in a comprehensive network security strategy is to examine what is being accessed and who is doing the accessing. How is content shared with colleagues and customers? Who has control?
Audit Current Security – The second step is to create a comprehensive list of the security measures already in place (e.g., firewall, virus protection, secured WiFi, etc.) and the efficacy of these measures. IT support consultants can help by creating a technical roadmap of your organization.
Audit Assets – Rank all of your company’s internal information by level of importance. Then, using the current security audit from step two, analyze how well each asset is protected. A helpful exercise to determine importance is to estimate how much each asset would cost the company (in hard and soft costs) if it were to be compromised.
Conduct a Risk Assessment – Identify the key risks your organization is currently facing and could conceivably face in the future with regards to network security. Estimate cost, downtime, effects on reputation, effects on compliance, and all other known factors. Analyze probability.
Hire a Third-party IT Consultant – Network security is not something to keep in-house. IT experts can use the work already done – along with identified needs and goals – to perform a gap analysis between your current state of security and desired future state. They then can find the exact network security solution for your organization and its specific situation.
There’s no substitute for sleeping easy. While Denver companies may not have to worry about tsunamis or earthquakes wiping out their technical capabilities, they still are not immune to both internal and external threats. Contact the IT consultants at Lark IT today to schedule a free IT audit. It may be the best money you never spent.
Top Five Reasons to Switch to Google Apps
Here at Lark IT, we love helping businesses of all sizes harness the power of cloud technology . . . but we also know it’s not for everyone. Google Applications (or “Google Apps” as the kids say) is the cloud technology that our certified IT consulting team has found brings the most instantly accessible benefits and Return on Investment (ROI) to organizations across a spectrum of industries.
So what does a Google Apps conversion look like? Simply put, it entails moving documents, collaboration and data from on-site servers to servers hosted by Google. Armed only with a reliable Internet connection, you and your employees can launch, store, access and collaborate on your operational documents from anywhere. Lark IT has found that the service provided by Google Apps safeguards and transmits information seamlessly and safely, and we recommend at least some aspect of it to many of the Denver companies that retain our IT services.
Yet, even with all the benefits of cloud technology in general, executives are still skeptical. Sure the reduction of cost, ease of use and inherent mobility all sound great . . . but what about the security? Is trusting proprietary organizational information to another company really the best option? While these questions are valid, Lark IT consultants believe that the benefits far outweigh the potential risks. Google Apps might not be right for every business, but here are some reasons to switch that are well worth consideration:
1. COST – There’s no question about it: maintaining information on the cloud is far cheaper than using an in-house exchange server. The cost of equipment and software is greatly reduced and ongoing expenditures are lessened because of Google’s low percentage of downtime and automatic, user-friendly upgrades. In fact, Denver companies that use Google Apps tell us that they love never having to purchase the next version of the software, or invest in consultants to provide training and upgrades.
2. RELIABILITY AND ACCESSIBILITY – One of the best things about converting to Google Apps is that it’s incredibly reliable (up to 99.9-percent availability for Gmail alone). In fact, research conducted by the Radicati Group showed that “Gmail is 32 times more reliable than average email systems and 46 times more reliable than on-site Microsoft Exchange.” To boot, information is accessible from any computer, smartphone or tablet device. Sounds like your employees excuses about not being able to get work done on the road just went out the window!
3. SCALABILITY – To better serve its clients, Google Apps has expanded to include “modules” such as customer relationship management (CRM), accounting and help desk. These applications can be easily purchased as the organization scales and deepens its use of the technology. Further, Google Apps allows companies to easily add or delete users and space. Rather than having to estimate capacity demands, businesses only pay for what they actually use.
4. FREEDOM FROM IN-HOUSE EXCHANGE SERVER - Managing an in-house exchange server is oftentimes problematic. In-house servers are frequently not just unreliable but expensive to support, license and maintain. Google Apps is easy and cheap to set up and maintain, and its framework was developed by many of the best minds working in tech today. What more could you want?
5. EASE OF USE -The bottom line is that technology comes easily to some people and . . . not so easily to others. With that being said, it’s hard to find a business software as intuitive and straightforward as Google Apps. While we still recommend basic Google Apps training to get the staff on the same page and create documentation for new hires, the chances anyone will need refresher courses are slim. Your company will be up and running in no time.
Want to learn more about using Google Apps at your Denver company? Contact us today to schedule your totally free IT audit and receive a free 8GB USB drive. And be sure to sign up for our newsletter, IT Support & Strategies to receive tips from our IT consulting professionals right in your inbox.