How To Combat Organizational Downtime


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.


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.


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.


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

Hand-Held Hacking: Mobile Devices

Hand-Held Hacking.png

Your mobile device holds your entire life: emails, messages, photos, social media accounts, etc. Because your phone is always in your hands, on your desk, or in your pocket, it's hard to believe that it can be hacked. This is a real possibility, however, and one that should not be taken lightly.

Here are 3 signs that will tell you whether or not your phone has been hacked, and tips that will help prevent your device from being exposed.


Your battery life does not keep up with you. You go from 100% to 50% in a couple of hours. While this could be a sign of a simple "bad" battery, it could also be due to a potential hacker. Your battery could be dwindling because of an app that is running in the background that you do not have control of. It's important to investigate why your battery isn't performing well just in case it is due to an unknown application.


If your phone is turning on/off on its own, it may not be a simple glitch in your phone's system. If your device is restarting by itself, if you are finding calls that you didn't make in your call history, or if your device is pulling up applications without your control, there may be a hacker accessing your device.


Your phone should have the ability to keep up with constant usage throughout the day. If your device starts to slow down, and if settings begin to become unresponsive such as volume or screen resolution, your device may be at risk. It will be easy to tell whether or not your phone is working the way it should be, and a lack of performance may mean someone is trying to access your information. 

There are a few steps you can take to prevent exposing your device to hackers. First, don't join every public wireless internet your phone suggests. They are not always secure, and can expose personal information on your phone. If you don't trust it, avoid it. Don't click on random URL's that you don't know, as they can contain phishing scams that will allow hackers to access your device. Finally, keep your passwords safe and don't allow your device to auto-fill your passwords for you, especially when buying something.

Your phone contains your most personal information. Keep it protected and give yourself peace of mind that you are taking the right steps to avoid becoming victim to a hacker.


Want to spread this information to your team? Download our free printable infographic to keep your team informed and aware when using mobile devices!

Click Here For A Free Shareable Graphic

Topics: Security, Mobile Device Management

What Is Phishing?

Phishing Reformatted-1

We'd like to throw a quick statistic your way. According to the security awareness training platform KnowBe4, 91% of successful data breaches start with a Spear Phishing Attack.  Why is this significant? This number proves that end-users are the vulnerability when it comes to IT security.

Now that we have gotten your attention, we'd like to provide you with a breakdown about what phishing really is, how it works, and how you can avoid being a target and the weakest security link.


Phishing is when hacker sends an email to a user in hopes that the individual clicks on a link or opens an attachment within the email. Once the link is clicked or attachment opened, the hacker gains access to personal information of that user on that device. Afterwards, they can gain access to the network, and once they gain access to the network they can do the same thing to any computer that's connected to that network. All with just one click.


First Step. You can receive a phishing email despite the antivirus software or extra protection your organization has in place, so you can never be too careful. Hackers can get their hands on thousands of emails by using scripts on large search engines. Then, by conducting a little research through your organization's website or social media platforms, hackers can get an idea of what kind of antivirus software is used within your company. They can then customize an attack to you before sending a flawless, undetected email.

Second Step. Whoever wants to steal your information will reverse the traffic on your network back outside of your organization. To do this, they connect their hidden network directly to yours, making it difficult for your IT security software to recognize and stop.

Third Step. It's important for hackers to make the phishing email seem as real as possible, so that users mindlessly click on the email. This email doesn't have to necessarily come from a stranger. It could be in the form of a friend, spouse, a supervisor, or even a brand.

Once a user clicks, hackers have the power.


Prevention is all about constantly being on the defense. It's important to educate and train all end-users throughout your organization, and it's all about working to make sure your IT environment is properly secured in all aspects.

According to the 2017 Cisco Security Report, 57% of cyber-attacks derive from user behavior, an example being the act of clicking on malicious links within emails. Information is the core of every business and is something that needs to be protected. Company data is too significant to compromise over a phishing email that can be prevented. 

Don't be the next big fish a hacker catches. Watch our FREE webinar that will give you all of the information you need to avoid falling victim to a phishing attack.

 Click Here For The Gone Phishing Webinar

Topics: Security, Cybersecurity, Webinars

How to Begin The Fight Against Cyber-Crime

The Fight Against Cyber-Crime

Small to medium-sized businesses are consistently targets of cyber-attacks due to their size and underestimated security measures. According to the 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Report, 61% of these organizations have experienced a data breach in the past year. It's time to prioritize your IT environment, and it's time to sleep soundly at night knowing your business has what it needs to stay protected.


Protecting your business from a cyber-attack is about investing in and utilizing the right tools for the right protection. Covering all of your bases in terms of security is the only way to confidently fight cyber-attacks, and these aspects can range from monitored firewalls or intrusion prevention systems to managed vulnerability scanning of networks, servers, and databases. According to the report above, the root causes of these significant data breaches range from system errors to employee negligence. There is no "one tool fights all" solution, but the combination of the right tools will make your IT environment that much stronger.


You've heard rumors about the cost of securing your IT environment, but what you don't hear about is the money that could be lost due to a cyber-attack. According to CSO Online, cyber-crime damage is estimated to reach up to $6 trillion on an annual basis by 2021, making it the greatest threat to companies around the world. It's important to stay ahead of the curve, as the risk of a cyber-attack consistently increases.


Prevention starts with a conversation. Recognizing that you don’t know what you don’t know, and giving yourself permission to ask for help. Fighting the cyber-era is about being proactive, and implementing the right team and tools for a safe and successful IT environment. Regardless of the amount of time or money you spend on implementing tools to safeguard your environment, the first, last, and BEST line of defense are your people. There is no substitute for the human element. If you’re not leveraging the collective asset of your people, then it’s only a matter of time before a compromise occurs.

Cyber-attacks are becoming more targeted and severe as technology advances, but they also provide a real opportunity for businesses to focus on true IT security methods. Avoid vulnerability and make it a priority to add value to your technical environment. 


There is a Five Nines Difference. To learn more about the service model that sets us apart, click the free download below. 

Click Here to Download the Five Nines Difference


Topics: Security

Planning For The Worst With An IT Business Continuity Plan

 IT Business Continuity

Viruses strike, hardware fails, users click on things they shouldn’t, natural disasters and theft, the list goes on. When disaster strikes, how much are you willing to lose? Learn more about today's threat landscape, how to protect your business, and how to plan for when your defenses fail.

Miss the NE Tech Summit? Download our free presentation to learn more about how you can implement an IT Business Continuity Plan for your organization. 


Jeff Newton - Senior Account Executive at Five Nines

Adam Palmer - Senior Systems Engineer at Five Nines

Sit back and learn about the NE Tech Summit Session about Planning For The Worst.

Click Here for Free Presentation Download


Topics: Security, Threat Landscape, Cybersecurity, Business Continuity

The Cost of NOT Replacing Old IT Equipment


The Cost of Not Replacing IT Equipment

If you drove a truck that you had to constantly fix, pay for, and wasn't meeting your driving standards, you would replace it, right? It's time to have the same mindset about your IT infrastructure. This session will help to equip you with information from research studies that provide insight to the hard and soft costs of waiting to replace equipment, and the effects it will have on an organization.

Miss the NE Tech Summit? Download our free presentation for a breakdown of aging infrastructure, performance degradation, increased security risks, and much more. 


Dana Olson - Director of IT Services at Five Nines

Sit back and learn about the NE Tech Summit Session on Replacing Old Equipment.

Click Here for Free Presentation Download


Topics: Security, Equipment

Web Threat Defense - The Ultimate Protection


Surfing the web plays such a strong role in the daily life of users, it's almost uncomfortable to imagine life before it. As technology has advanced, so has its users, utilizing search engines to bring ease and efficiency to their lives. This has pushed individuals and businesses forward in many ways, but has also caused them to be vulnerable in other ways.

As the web landscape consistently changes, it's important for users to adapt with it. If they don't, they put themselves and their information at risk. Web threats are growing in consistency and popularity with today's technical agenda, as 76% of scanned websites were found to have vulnerabilities in 2016 according to a study conducted by Symantec

It is important for organizations to know the purpose behind web threats in order to completely understand why taking action against them is necessary. Any time there is a weak spot in your system, whether that be a vulnerable server, a website that isn't secure, or a weak anti-virus/security system, there is always one major component you are trying to protect: data. Users responsible for web threats want to exploit sensitive data to compromise organizations. In order to avoid this, businesses need to be ready with a defense to prevent an attack from happening.


A plugin is a piece of software that acts as an add-on to a web browser, giving the user additional functions within the browser. While plugins can increase efficiency, it's important to talk to conduct proper research before using a plugin you aren't familiar with. Regardless of automatic updates and security, plugins can become a major security threat. 


Updates have been around ever since technology started to evolve. While updates have been portrayed as an annoying "last step" for users, they are an extremely important part of the web threat defense process. If your organization isn't regularly updating your websites/servers/programs/firewall, cyber criminals will take advantage and steal your data.

best practices

Overall, the goal is to eliminate the possibility of becoming victim to a web attack. It's important to consistently check your website for any vulnerabilities and scan for malware or other threats daily. Don't trust every plugin you see, and be picky about the ones you utilize. When surfing the web, always be on the lookout for suspicious links and websites. 

According to Symantec, browser vulnerabilities are slowly decreasing over time with new security measures, but as the web landscape is consistently changing it continues to threaten users and entire organizations. Don't allow your IT environment to fall vulnerable to these everchanging threats.


Five Nines conducts routine Network Health Assessments on all clients to ensure the safety and consistency of their systems. To learn more about what our team looks for, click below to download our free and helpful infographic, no strings attached!

Is Your Network Secure? Click HERE To Find Out!


Topics: Security, Outsourced IT

What You Need To Know About Next-Generation Firewall



There are so many components put into place to protect your organization on the technical side, it's difficult to differentiate between each one. So, when we talk about a firewall, more specifically a Next-Generation Firewall, what are we talking about? Here is what you need to know, and why Next-Generation Firewalls are important.


A Firewall is part of a computer system or network that consistently works to block unauthorized entry into your systems, while allowing you to communicate outside of your organization. Like any security function, the purpose of the firewall is to keep internal information safe. Think of a firewall as an invisible shield around your organization's technology, blocking any suspicious content from entering your system. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) is an integrated platform within the third generation of firewall technology. NGFW contains the same functions as firewall, but goes a step further with the addition of intrusion detection, intrusion protection, content filtering, and much more.


Also known as intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS), the IPS vigorously monitors networks and systems for suspicious activity within the Next-Generation Firewall. If a suspicious activity is detected, the IPS must identify it, record information about it, attempt to stop it, and finally report the activity. Unlike a typical firewall, the IPS monitors both outward communication and internal processes to evaluate risk, and prevent an attack from within.


Next-Generation Firewall also includes a new version of content filtering that is more concise, blocking out all the undesirable content, and only allowing for the necessary content to be shown. This increases efficiency and security when employees browse the Internet.


Another feature of Next-Generation Firewall is the ability to intentionally block all communication from different parts of the world. This can weed out unwanted communication and programs from virtually anywhere, and protects users to an even higher extent.

Next Generation Firewall will allow users to communicate outside of their organization with peace of mind knowing their internal information remains confidential and safe. The prevention, content filtering, and overall security measures will allow for continued business opportunity and efficiency. 


It's time to audit your network from the comfort of your desk. There are many other capabilities of the Next-Generation Firewall. Download our free Network Health Assessment below to assess if your current solution meets your security standards.

Click here for our FREE infographic

Topics: Security, Outsourced IT

3 Ways To Keep Your Business Email Account Safe

Emailaccountsafety.pngThe most common way most business users share information with one another is through their work email addresses. Aside from sharing important information, business emails assist users with coordinating projects, setting up meetings, and organizing shared files. Keeping business email accounts safe is crucial in the protection of internal information. 

We wanted to provide 3 specific ways users can keep their business email accounts secure and protected. Download the infographic below for a printable visual you can share with your fellow users.

Click here for our FREE infographic

Protecting Passwords

Any mobile device that provides access to a business email should be protected with a strong password that only the employed individual knows. This will make it difficult for anyone who steals a device to break into it. Making sure you have different passwords for everything is also helpful. Secure applications such as LastPass and DashLane help users manage all their different passwords effectively. Different passwords for every application make accounts even more secure.

Filtering Spam

Spam has the potential to ruin a computer without a user even realizing they are clicking on anything wrong. Implementing enterprise-level spam filtering will stop these digital viruses from making it to any inbox within an organization. This secures email account safety significantly.

Policy-Based Email Encryption

Implementing technology that can secure sensitive data even further is one of the best ways to keep business email accounts safe. This technology helps to scan all emails and attachments to ensure the safety of the content. If a message contains information that may be sensitive, it can be encrypted or quarantined.

Being confident in the security of your business email will give you a peace of mind knowing your data is safe always. Protecting your passwords, filtering spam, and implementing policy-based email encryption will provide the extra level of protection your business email needs.

Topics: Security

How To Know When It's Time To replace a server

 Replace Server.png

To find out how Five Nines goes beyond the tools to inject a human element when checking on your network, download our FREE infographic: 

Click here for our FREE infographic

Your server is a diamond in the rough of the technology that runs your business. It supports all your hard work; projects, processes, and important organizational documents. Taking good care of your server will keep it running at its highest efficiency level, keeping the production of your business focused and continuous.

To accomplish this, it’s important to keep a close eye on the status of your server or servers. You may find yourself asking, "How will I know when it's time to replace my server?"



It's important to look at how long you have had a server. On average, physical servers typically last 3 years without hardware issues such as overheating, or failing parts. Once the 4-6-year mark hits, your server may begin to slow down, or continue to overheat. Once you start seeing a decrease in the performance of your server that is older than 3 years, it may be time to consider a replacement. Replacing the server parts or installing upgrades aren’t as effective as they used to be.



When your server is down, your productivity has the potential to be at a standstill. When employees can’t work, this can cause angst and frustration for everyone and brings business to an unpleasant stop. Losing time and money is never a favorable scenario, so it's paramount you pay attention to how long your server is down, and how often downtime occurs. If your server is older, or has developed issues that cannot be resolved, it may be time to invest in a new one. This could save you money on downtime in the future.



How reliable is your server proving to be? Is your information secure? Are you able to access and share files at the click of a button? Pay attention to the overall performance of your server: speed, storage, accessibility. If you find a flaw in any of these details, you may need to get a second opinion on the reliability of your server.



Pay attention to how problems are detected within your server. If your server does not detect problems at all, you may want to consider building a fail-safe into it. Fail-safes help detect issues with files before they arise, so you can prevent technical problems before they happen. This could help save and lengthen the life of your server.


If a server is decreasing in consistency, and increasing in downtime, it is time to reconsider purchasing a new one. The productivity of your business depends on the efficiency of your server or servers. Be sure to prioritize the upkeep of this key technical component, as it will keep your business technology running smoothly.


Topics: Security, Outsourced IT, End of Life