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2 Important Networking Trends You Must Consider

b2ap3_thumbnail_your_company_network_400.jpgOne sometimes-frustrating aspect about computer networking comes from the always-changing nature of technology. For example, let’s say that you have your network perfectly set up with everything running smoothly, then comes along some newfangled IT trend or mission-critical technology workflow that requires you to change everything. You can’t prevent this from happening, but you can stay on top of the latest IT trends so that you’re not caught off guard.

To that end, here are two IT trends that will cause you to make some major changes to your company’s network.

Mobility (BYOD)
Business today is going mobile as workers utilize their personal devices for work purposes. Many companies are adapting to this trend and providing their staff with mobile devices so they can get work done more efficiently. Providing devices for your staff takes away the worry that’s inherent from the security risks of BYOD (bring your own device). In fact, in a recent IT survey by Forrester Research, “65 percent of respondents said they plan to expand their enterprise mobility services to meet their business priorities.”

What this means for your business is that you’re going to have to accommodate this trend, or else have your network be overwhelmed by mobile devices. One of the challenges of BYOD is that it opens the door to twice as many access points that all need to be managed and secured. Plus, you’re going to need to increase your network’s bandwidth, or else experience some major lag issues when the number of mobile devices accessing company files inevitably doubles.

Unified Communication and Collaboration
What you’re sure to run into as you continue to do business in the modern age is more companies and clients requesting meetings via video conferencing and other digital collaboration tools. NetworkComputing explains:

Communications and collaboration solutions now allow businesses to assemble the best people to do a job, regardless of their location. Information sharing between companies – in organizational settings; between suppliers, vendors and clients; or for special projects – has also become the norm.

If your business isn’t equipped with these tools, then you’re going to miss out on potential sales and networking opportunities, as well as a powerful way to streamline internal communications with your team. Equipping your network with a solution like Voice over Internet Protocol will give you the modern communication capabilities that you need, without crippling your current IT infrastructure. Total Networks can provide you with a VoIP solution that’s perfect for your needs.

Of course, these are only two IT trends that promise to disrupt your company’s nice and tidy IT network. Also, be on the lookout for advancements in cloud computing, big data and analytics, new security compliances, and The Internet of Things–they’re sure to really shake things up! At Total Networks, we stay on top of all of these trends and explain them to you so that you’re not hit with any surprises that require you to make drastic changes to your network. Instead, the best approach new technology is to gradually adopt it as your business has need. We can help you with this, call us today to learn more.

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The Most Dangerous Threats to Your Business Could Be Internal

b2ap3_thumbnail_insider_mistakes_400.jpgMost of the time, when it comes to cybersecurity, businesses tend to focus primarily on external threats rather than those that might be lurking in the shadows of their internal operations. Believe it or not, the most dangerous entities out there could very well be working for you, right under your nose.

What Constitutes an Inside Threat?
While there are a number of entities that can threaten your business, many of them come from within. Included are previous workers who might not have left on the best terms, current employees who could be engaging in corporate espionage, or even unknowing end-users who might have allowed external hackers to compromise your network infrastructure.

  • Irate former employees: Some employees will quietly pack their things and be on their way without saying a word. Others will make a big fuss and leave in a flurry of rage. It’s the latter that you have to worry about, simply because they could lose their head and leak any information, like passwords and whatnot, to the web. Or, if they’re feeling particularly sneaky, they might attempt sabotage themselves.
  • Suspicious co-workers: If there’s some behind-the-scenes action going on in your business, you might suspect that someone internally is behind it. Issues like stealing equipment, devices, or even data, can arise for a variety of reasons. However, it’s most likely for personal gain, like monetary compensation or to assist themselves with other endeavors outside of your business.
  • End-user error: Unlike the previous two examples, workers who have made mistakes and cost the company its data security or worse don’t necessarily do so on purpose. This can often be seen by the spear phishing hacker, who will target unsuspecting employees and coerce information out of them with phishing scams.

How You Can Protect Your Business
In order to ensure that your business follows a policy that mitigates insider threats, be sure to follow this action plan:

  • Integrate an office security system: While this might seem like a far-fetched idea, it’s a very common occurrence in the small business environment. Organizations just like yours take advantage of security systems to ensure that nobody is breaking into the building, trespassing where they aren’t supposed to, or taking part in any sketchy activity.
  • Monitor and maintain your access logs: If you’re concerned that there might be some suspicious activity on your network, you should integrate a comprehensive monitoring solution, complete with access logs that can tell you who accessed the network, from where, and when. This helps to keep only approved users from accessing the network.
  • Perform exit interviews: When someone leaves your business, you should implement a thorough process to distinguish whether they own company devices or data, and respond to any concerns you or they might have about their departure. It also gives you a chance to address problems before they become serious issues later on. If someone is fired for seemingly no reason, they will grow bitter, and if they have sensitive information, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that they will use this information to get back at you. Be sure that any credentials and accounts are quickly taken care of, because the biggest risk comes from employees who still have access to their work accounts.

Total Networks can help your organization keep both internal and external threats at bay. Give us a call at (602)412-5025 to learn more.

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5 Tips to Consider for Your IT Budget

b2ap3_thumbnail_wasting_money_400.jpgPutting together an IT budget is an exceptionally tricky procedure. Every year presents unique technical challenges that need to be addressed, but the slightest miscalculation can be detrimental to an IT budget. Here are five tips to give your organization some breathing room when it comes to planning out next year’s IT expenses.

Think in the Long Term
When planning out your IT budget, it’s important to consider both short-term and long-term investments that you’ll be making for the sake of your business. The fact that so many services, like cloud computing, are being turned into operational expenses, is placing an emphasis on a model based around affordable payments rather than heavy up-front costs. It’s important to consider how these costs will affect your budget, especially over the long-term.

Invest in Training Your Staff
There’s far too little investment in ensuring that employees understand the benefits of the latest technology solutions. What good are the latest IT solutions if your staff has no clue how to use them? By properly training your team on how to take advantage of this technology, you’re essentially providing them with skills necessary to make their workflow easier and more convenient. This helps them get the most out of their technology and maximize the amount of work they’re able to perform.

Carefully Consider Storage Options
Your organization shouldn’t just be taking advantage of one centralized storage system for its data. Instead, you want to have multiple avenues where your data can be stored. One of the primary reasons for this is because you need to make sure that your data won’t be wiped out in one fell swoop (redundancy is crucial). Another reason for this is to optimize your organization’s access to its critical data. For this purpose, cloud computing can be exceptionally helpful, for both data storage and data backup solutions.

Account for Anticipated Software/Hardware Upgrades
Unexpected hardware failure can be a pain to deal with, especially if your budget hasn’t taken these issues into account. Not only are hardware failure and software issues hard to predict, but they’re also expensive to replace. Your budget should always have assets allocated toward mitigating and replacing technology that’s critical to the success of your business. Otherwise, you could be dealing with huge expenses that will, without a doubt, break your budget, and force you to come up with funds from elsewhere.

Take Advantage of Outsourcing and Consulting Services
Outsourcing management responsibilities is typically very budget-friendly, considering you’re turning up-front costs into operational expenses that can be paid for over a specific time period. In other words, you can think of it as enjoying all of the benefits of purchasing a brand new solution, without the expensive price tag.

For more tips on how to optimize your IT budget and get the most out of your technology, give Total Networks a call at (602)412-5025.

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3 Vendor Scenarios You Can Do Without

b2ap3_thumbnail_vendor_agreements_400.jpgVendors can be a hassle. You need their product or service to keep the gears of business turning, but sometimes, having to deal with vendors can be way too time-consuming. This is where our vendor management service comes in.

With Total Networks on your side, we can handle all technology vendors for you so that you don’t have to. This is what it looks like to have a “single point of contact” for any and all of your technology-related needs. Image not having to deal with these three common technology vendor annoyances.

Vendor Acquisitions
The speed of business moves rapidly. Sometimes a vendor will go completely go out of business, requiring you to find a new supplier. Other times, a vendor might get acquired by another company and your account will get mishandled in the transition. At the end of the day, you don’t much care who bought out who and which company folded up; all you care about is keeping your business supplied with working hardware and supported software.

Instead of having to be bothered by business moves that are outside of your control, let us coordinate your accounts to find you new, trustworthy vendors that best suit your needs.

Drama with Your Vendor Account Manager
Have you ever dealt with a vendor point of contact that just happens to rub you the wrong way? Maybe they have a poor attitude, or maybe you’ve had a major disagreement with them in the past over-billing. Then there are some companies which seem to have a revolving door when it comes to their point of contact, which means that you’ve got to explain the particulars of your business to a new account manager way too often than you should have to.

Total Networks can relieve this vendor drama by working with technology vendors on your behalf. One way that we do this is by taking the time to learn the intricacies of your business and what your needs are, which effectively makes us a liaison for your company’s technology needs.

When You Experience Problems with Mission-Critical Technology Services
When you experience a problem with a mission-critical technology service like your Internet connection or cloud hosting service, it’s on you to drop everything and call the vendor to get the situation resolved. TechRepublic offers this scenario which you may have experienced:

You consign a major system to a cloud-based vendor because the vendor has a reputation for being reliable and best in class—then the vendor has a failure that puts all your users offline and has a dire impact on [your] company’s business.

When dealing with nightmare scenarios such as this, you’re going to want a professional on the phone representing you. You need someone in your corner that’s knowledgeable enough about technology to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. At Total Networks, we deal with technology service vendors all the time and we know what it takes to get your company back online.

Alternatively, you could handle of these frustrating vendor issues on your own, but why would you if you don’t have to? Call us today at (602)412-5025 to have us be your single point of contact for all of your company’s technology needs.

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