What It Looks Like When IT Becomes An Asset

IT AS AN ASSET

Building an efficient IT team can make the difference between your workplace technology becoming an asset or a liability. In this webinar, we will discuss how to make your IT an asset by going over how to utilize the right tools, processes, and people to keep your technology running smoothly. 

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN ABOUT:

  • IT Responsibilities 
  • Technology Standards
  • IT Service Requests 
  • IT Security
  • Budgeting for IT
  • IT Training and Knowledge 

 Sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch this FREE Five Nines Power Hour Webinar: What It Looks Like When IT Becomes An Asset. 

Watch the Webinar

 

Topics: IT, Business Continuity, Webinars

7 Questions To Ask When Auditing Your IT Department

Auditing Your IT Department

Business growth does not happen overnight, nor does it happen without addressing what is working well and what isn't working well within an organization. The same goes for the technology that drives your business. The reality is, your technology should consistently give your organization opportunities to be more efficient and successful. In order to improve how your technology operates within your business, you must conduct an audit to ensure your documentation, processes, and overall technical strategy is aligned with your current business needs.

Here are 7 questions you should be asking when auditing your IT department or Managed Services Provider.

Does the IT environment comply with technological standards?

In order to maintain a healthy IT environment, technology standards must be completely defined and implemented throughout your organization with full executive support. If there is no immediate drive towards standardization, it may be time to begin developing standards that can drive your IT department towards standardization.

How are IT developments documented?

To increase forward movement when it comes to technology, everything must be documented and accounted for. Are all service requests documented in a database? Are service delivery key performance indicators (KPI's) being reviewed on a consistent basis? It's also important to ensure that all IT projects or technology change requests are being documented and are aligning with strategic growth.

How does the IT department manage and monitor the entire technical environment?

Investing in the right tools to increase integration and performance levels throughout your technology is best managed by consistently monitoring the technical environment. How is performance being reported? Is automation a factor within your technical environment? If basic documentation is being collected on an inconsistent basis, a step in the right direction would be to consult with your department to begin investing in the right technology that can add to an integrated technical tool-set.

How does the IT department maintain momentum and continuously improve operating processes?

Formal documentation will help with building momentum within your IT department. Documentation helps show what is working well and what processes need to be improved. All existing processes should be documented, and compliance to process creation and documentation must be high. If your documentation is lacking, start with a basic documentation of processes, and work towards consistently updating and developing IT documentation efforts.

How does the IT department comply with security standards?

A focus on complying with IT security standards should be a high priority. Similar to the documentation question above, when all IT policies and procedures are documented, they must exactly reflect the documentation, and must be measured and reviewed on a consistent basis to ensure that security standards are being complied with. If there is no drive towards IT security compliance, we recommend developing a formal IT security policy to start.

How is the IT budgeting process being prepared and communicated to the rest of the business?

Does your IT department have a formal IT budget based off of your technological roadmap? Creating an annual budget for all IT hardware, software, and operation expenses that can be budgeted for in advance will help your organization efficiently strategize when it comes to technology.

How does the IT department add value to the organization's overall business strategy?

When it comes to executive-level forward planning, does your IT department have full participation in strategic efforts? Is there a technological road map that is aligned with an overall business plan on a quarterly basis? It's important to maintain a focus on forward planning within your IT department to avoid the day-to-day firefighting that derives from having no formal plan or budget in place. Technology is such a strong piece of any business, therefore it should continuously add value to the strategic pieces of the organization.

 

If any of these questions resonated with you, it's time to take a deeper look at each question and the IT efforts of your organization. Click below to schedule a free IT consultation with Five Nines, or to take a quick IT assessment quiz. 

Click To Take The IT QuizClick To Request A Free IT Assessment

Topics: Outsourced IT, IT, Managed IT Services, Business Continuity

Mayday, Mayday! My IT Environment Is Sinking!

Mayday, Mayday!-1

Do you feel as though your IT environment is a sinking ship that you are trying to keep afloat?

Keeping your IT environment efficient is the best way to help your organization avoid unnecessary downtime.

Technical environments consist of many moving parts, but today on May Day we would like to provide you the gift of quality initial steps we believe will keep your IT environment above water, and away from signaling a distress call. Want to skip straight to our more in depth recommendations? Click below.

Replacing Old Hardware

An aging IT infrastructure can cause more than occasional downtime, which is why it's important to replace old hardware when it is due for an upgrade. The IDC found that if timely server upgrades are neglected, 39% of peak performance can be lost and add up to 40% in application management, as well as a 148% increase in server administration costs. Computers are no different, in fact J Gold & Associates concluded that companies can spend up to $1,000 per machine in maintenance and repair costs for older computers. Aside from rising maintenance costs, decreased performance, and the higher possibility of downtime, procrastinating the replacement of old hardware is also a growing security risk. If you don't replace old hardware you will be slowed down, and you will feel your IT environment begin to sink.

Backups

When it comes to your data, you don't want any of it to be stored directly within any of your IT hardware. You want your data to be on a secured company server that is maintained by consistent backups. Backup implementation varies based on the preference of the IT professional or organization, but the solution of hourly backups throughout the day has proven to have very little performance impact with almost no data loss. Why is this important? According to StorageCraft, the survival rate for companies without a disaster recovery plan is less than 10%, and 90% of businesses who lose their data due to a disaster are forced to close their doors after a couple of years. If your IT environment is sinking, consider adjusting your data backup solutions.

Maintenance

Maintenance is an intentional way to stay on top of your IT environment through routine updates, detailed documentation, and regular network health checks. It's key to pay attention to your technology and prompt your IT team to proactively address issues that could slow down or impede your technology's ability to function properly. Schedule routine update checks and be sure you are consistently replacing the equipment that is no longer functioning as it should within the technical environment.

It's not always easy navigating the technological waves that come with maintaining an entire IT environment. Taking it step by step and keeping your devices top-of-mind will save your organization time and money in the long run. Even if you feel as though your IT environment is navigating just fine, it may be time to assess your technology so you can have peace of mind.

Life Raft

Still feel as though you are sinking? We would love to throw you a virtual life raft by providing you with more in depth steps you can follow to keep your IT environment afloat. Download our free top 5 recommendations to avoid having to send a "Mayday" distress call by clicking below.

Click Here To Grab Your Virtual Life Raft

 

Topics: IT, Tech Solutions, Business Continuity

Building An Optimal Network

building an optimal network

Understanding the basic functions of your network and how the right components can positively impact technological performance is key to building and monitoring an optimal network. 

In this webinar, we will dive into the optimization of organizational networks. This power hour covers everything from simple network functions you need to know, to how your entire network operates within an IT environment, as well as how Five Nines analyzes the efficiency of various network setups. 

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:

  • Network Basics
  • Network Design: The good and the bad
  • Troubleshooting and Monitoring

Presenter: 

Marshall Ford: Training and Development Manager at Five Nines

Sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch this FREE Five Nines Power Hour Webinar: Building An Optimal Network. 

Watch the Optimal Network Webinar

 

Topics: Managed IT Services, Business Continuity, Webinars, Network

The Importance Of Securing Your Wi-Fi

SECURE WI-FI

Wi-Fi. It's a symbol that everyone recognizes, a term that most people are familiar with, yet many business Wi-Fi networks are left unprotected and exposed. Securing your Wi-Fi is more than the avoidance of a slower connection, it is an integral part of being proactive in protecting entire internal networks.

SECURED VS. UNSECURED

If Wi-Fi is unsecured, anyone can access it. The purpose of secured Wi-Fi is that it is only allotted for individuals who have been granted access. If the Wi-Fi is not secure, many individuals have no problem taking advantage of the connection or the information that comes with it. According to a study conducted by Symantec, 25% of individuals surveyed have accessed a Wi-Fi network without the owner's permission, and 8% admitted to guessing or hacking the password. Once someone is connected to an organization's Wi-Fi connection, there is a greater chance that they can gain access to an internal network.

IMPLEMENTATION

In terms of implementation, organizations can increase Wi-Fi security by using a strong password users must type in to access the Wi-Fi. For even more security, businesses can keep Wi-Fi traffic and their internal network separate. That way, even if someone happens to connect to the secured Wi-Fi, they won't have access to internal data. Another protective measure that is highly recommended is implementing a separate Wi-Fi network for internal staff and anyone the organization wants to give access, while having a separate guest wireless network for visitors.

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

If Wi-Fi isn't secured, someone could accidentally or maliciously access an organization's internal network. Once within an internal network, malicious access could result in stolen data, the shutdown of devices, encryption of data that the organization would have to pay to get unencrypted, inputting keyloggers on the network to steal users' passwords, and the list goes on. These vulnerabilities can be extremely costly, which is why taking the extra step to secure your organization's Wi-Fi network is important to protect the business at large and its' users.

Wi-Fi security goes beyond a slow connection, it's about decreasing a huge security risk that could lead to a loss of time, money, and confidential data. If you are unsure about the security of your Wi-Fi network, contact an IT team today to ensure the protection of your technology and information. It can make the difference in regards to the protection of your network.

Your Wi-Fi network can be compromised, but so can your mobile devices. Educate yourself and your team about several signs that will tell you whether or not your mobile device has been hacked by clicking below.

Click Here For Hand-Held Hacking Facts

Topics: Security, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity, Wi-Fi

The Benefits of Promptly Replacing Old Computers

BENEFITS OF REPLACINGAs long as old computers are still running with limited problems they don't need to be replaced, right? It may seem easy to prioritize these updates on the lower end of your technological budget, but it is the wrong way to approach computer replacements. Turns out, waiting until you absolutely must buy newer computer models can be very detrimental and even more costly in the long run.

Here are several benefits your organization can experience by promptly replacing your older computer models every 3 - 5 years.

COST

Keeping older computers longer than recommended can actually cost you more. According to a study conducted by J Gold & Associates, keeping notebooks an additional 2 years (years 4 & 5) can cost you up to $960 per machine. The more wear and tear the device experiences will most likely result in frequent performance problems that become difficult to fix as the computer becomes outdated. Based on a study conducted by Techaisle, maintaining or repairing an older computer may equal or exceed costs of purchasing a new computer. The more time spent trying to get your computers to keep up with your organization, less money is saved and more productivity is lost. Intel even found that replacing your older computers every 3 years provides organizations optimal ROI. The point is, it's worth prioritizing.

PERFORMANCE

Techaisle also found that an average of 42 hours is lost due to an old computer repair. When purchasing a newer computer, your organization is also purchasing the promise of improved application performance and increased productivity. New computers gain faster connections to your network, have an improved battery life, and are typically associated with easier solutions to any technical problems that may arise. Newer devices are always more consistent and reliable, and can help streamline how devices collaborate within your IT environment, giving your organization the most out of your tech budget.

SUPPORT

When it comes your business computers, the technical support you receive is extremely important. According to a research study conducted by WiPro, businesses save 52% in PC support costs with new PC's compared to maintaining a 4-year-old system. When updating your computer models, your software support, network connections, and security is updated as well. These updates can save your business from having to pay to fix these issues, and potentially stop them from happening in the first place. After a certain amount of time, developers may stop issuing updates for various kinds of software, which is why your older computers will be at a higher risk of becoming unable to support your business practices.

The cost of replacing old computers is worth it, and not just because it saves your organization money. It is also worth it when it comes to performance and the device's ability to support the work of your organization. Don’t wait until you experience the loss of productivity and money, develop a plan to replace your computers every 3 years.

For more information on this topic, click below to access Five Nines' FREE presentation, "The Cost of NOT Replacing Old Equipment" for more quality statistics and best practices.

Click Here For The Full Presentation

Topics: Tech Solutions, Managed IT Services, Business Continuity

Cylance: Proactive Protection For Your Business

Cylance Reformatted

As cybercrime continues to evolve, it's time to look beyond traditional approaches to malware detection. 

In this webinar, we will discuss all things Cylance. This power hour covers everything from simple definitions to how Cylance works within an IT environment, as well as how Five Nines utilizes Cylance to protect businesses from advanced malware. 

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:

  • What is ransomware and malware?
  • Preventing cyberattacks with artificial intelligence 
  • Using artificial intelligence to predict and prevent threats
  • A complete overview of Cylance
  • Why companies choose to utilize Cylance
  • How Cylance works through a technical demonstration

Presenter: 

Ryan Christensen: System Administrator at Five Nines

Sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch this FREE Five Nines Power Hour Webinar: Cylance - Proactive Protection For Your Business. 

Watch the Cylance Webinar 

 

Topics: Managed IT Services, Threat Landscape, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity, Webinars

How To Combat Organizational Downtime

ORGANIZATIONAL-1

When it comes to workplace technology, the possibility of downtime is very real and has lasting impacts for organizations who experience it. Downtime is idle time within a business when systems are unavailable, and it is commonly applied to networks and servers. Common causes of downtime are outages, a breach in security of an IT environment, or other system failures.

We'd like to tell you why downtime is a relevant aspect to focus on when it comes to your IT environment, what you can do to focus on uptime, and how to be prepared if downtime strikes.

PAST DOWNTIME

It's all about prevention and detection. According to Cisco's 2017 Security Capabilities Benchmark Study, four in ten companies have suffered an attack that caused them to lose substantial business opportunities. Downtime is not just about losing revenue, studies have shown if downtime isn't handled the right way, it can negatively affect client relationships as well. Preventing downtime is key to business success, which is why you must shift your focus to the present condition of your current IT environment.

WHAT TO DO IN THE PRESENT

It's time to focus on uptime. We recommend implementing a change management process, which is a process you put any IT environment change through to ensure that you're looking through a holistic lens when implementing new technical pieces. It helps you ask the right questions, such as analyzing whether certain departments will be impacted or not. Planning ahead prior to changes in your technical environment will help to avoid disruption.

Consistently tracking and implementing hardware refresh cycles is also an important way to increase uptime. Just because your business technology is still working, doesn't mean you're not putting your organization at significant risk of failure and downtime by not proactively replacing hardware prior to an issue.

THE FUTURE OF YOUR IT: PREPARATION

Expect the unexpected before it's too late. While focusing on uptime, your organization must also be prepared for the inevitable: potential downtime. Taking the time to carefully draft out a disaster recovery plan that will provide a smooth transition from downtime back to production will be a tool you will rely on in the case of an emergency. What are your options for data backup? How will you prioritize hardware and software reinstallation? Who will collaborate with your clients and vendors?

The past, present, and future of your downtime will derive from how proactive your organization is willing to be to achieve the highest levels of uptime. Potentially consider developing a Life Cycle Management Plan to hold your team accountable. If you're prepared you will place trust in your equipment, trust in your team, and trust in your processes. Peace of mind is worth the preparation.

There is a Five Nines Difference in combating organizational downtime. To learn more about the service model that sets us apart, click below for our free download.

Click Here For More Information on The Five Nines Difference

Topics: Security, Outsourced IT, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity

The Future of Financial Technology in 2018

THE FUTURE OF FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGYTechnology will continue to impact change within the financial services industry throughout 2018. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, there are differing opinions from financial services leaders about how technology will drive change. Over two-thirds of respondents from this audience believed technology innovation will push for change within the industry, while one-half claimed that regulation will be the pressing factor.Regardless of how technical changes will impact the industry - whether it's instant, or gradual, there will be changes not only in 2018, but within the next 5 years.
 

SECURITY

Research conducted by IBM states that the financial services industry was within the top 2 industries targeted the most by cyber-attackers throughout 2017. This means financial organizations experienced 65% more attacks than the average company. This jarring statistic means that financial companies need to continue to take preventative action in 2018. First, don't allow employees to fall victim to a cyber-attack. Implement the right awareness and training to prepare all teams. The 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-Sized Businesses Report by Keeper Security shows that 48% of SMBs experienced a phishing attack last year, so it's recommended to develop a plan to address phishing scams ahead of time. Finally, ensure that all of your cybersecurity tools are up-to-date and working together.

MOBILE PAYMENTS

Mobile payments and transfers will continue to grow in 2018. Millennials prefer the use of their on-the-go digital devices whenever possible, which is why mobile within the financial industry will continue to skyrocket. This digital demand will push the industry to newer heights, as they will have to continue to streamline and implement efficient mobile payment systems. Applications such as Apple Pay and Android Pay, PayPal, Venmo, as well as banking applications will continue to grow in use and popularity, and will need to have the ability to work together seamlessly.

MODERNIZATION

There are many technical resources that banks are using to keep track of their assets. Modernizing core IT infrastructures so that operations run smoothly will become a trend in 2018 as technology continues to be implemented in different ways. Companies within the industry must maximize the use of their tools while minimizing the amount of tools they are using to ease confusion and streamline the overall environment.

Staying on top of industry changes and being open-minded to technological changes is extremely important when maintaining a successful and efficient IT environment. There's a pattern when it comes to workplace technology, change makes users uncomfortable, especially in the banking industry. Organizations don't want to compromise their processes or make their clients uncomfortable. As we have seen technology evolve throughout the years, however, one thing remains clear. Companies always have to evolve their technology eventually.

Be proactive, don't be afraid to make changes, and continue to keep workplace technology top of mind in 2018. Download our free Network Health Check today to briefly assess the quality of your IT environment. 

Click Here For Your Free Network Health Check

Topics: Phishing, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity, Financial

It's A New Year: Predicted Healthcare IT Trends

IT Trends in Healthcare.png

2018 is finally here, bringing new innovation and trends for healthcare technology. The International Data Corporation FutureScape conducted research and developed predicted IT trends for the industry in 2018. We'd like to share our insights on 3 of these key predictions that will strongly impact healthcare IT this year.

MOBILE ENGAGEMENT

Mobile technology is growing rapidly, and will only continue to expand in 2018. According to Health Data Management, digital mobile engagement by patients and providers will increase by 50% by 2019, which means we will be seeing consistent advances in mobile technology this year. Individuals on both sides of the healthcare industry will begin to access medical information on their phones or tablets, which will facilitate new forms of communication. Maintaining patient privacy on mobile devices, as well as application navigation will need to be a priority.

SELF-REPORTED MEDICAL DATA

Patients are gradually starting to become reporters of their own medical data through online patient portals to save time filling out paperwork at the office. The patients themselves are beginning to have the ability to play a role in their medical care by generating their personal data within healthcare systems. This will help them feel more in control of their medical history as they have the information they need at the click of a button. The data that is stored and collected over time will help providers determine a more personalized treatment plan for each patient. The technical aspects behind the scenes will need to be efficient and accurate to utilize these mass amounts of data.

SHARED INDUSTRY DATA

By this time next year, it is likely healthcare companies will have begun to utilize their data and studies to share across their industry. This will help to provide real stories and evidence that may help solve similar medical cases or advance current treatments. This availability of information will push the industry to innovate and grow. IT will play a role in maintaining the quality, security, and ease of access to this information as it is collected. 

All of these adjustments will result in IT teams needing to continue to streamline healthcare technology environments so that privacy, security, and productivity are maintained during the technical advances throughout 2018 and beyond.

 

Want to learn more about remaining privacy compliant with Healthcare IT? Sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the free Five Nines presentation on Privacy - Technology in Healthcare.

 Click Here to Download & Watch

Topics: Outsourced IT, Equipment, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity, Healthcare