5 Red Flags Your IT Provider Didn’t Prepare You Well Enough for COVID-19

As businesses face the challenges of COVID-19, it has become obvious to some that their IT provisions weren’t as prepared as they should have been. Unfortunately, as businesses began working from home, security incidents, downtime, and other IT disruptions have been on the rise, putting them in even more precarious situations during this global pandemic.

Remote working comes with many challenges, but many of those can be avoided when businesses have the right level of support to protect their remote networks. With 58% of American knowledge workers now working remotely as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important that businesses understand where their continuity plans can be improved and how to deal with at-home working challenges.

With that, here are 5 major red flags that your IT provider failed to prepare you properly for the COVID-19 pandemic and what you can do about it:

1. Your team is having trouble safely accessing files and programs.

Not having the right access to essential files and programs can be incredibly frustrating when working remotely, as well as slow down productivity. Not only that, but it can also be dangerous, as an improper server setup can often lead to employees sharing files through public or open Internet connections, putting your data at risk.

Your IT provider should have prepared you for at-home working by implementing a virtual private network or VPN for safe access to your in-house server data. If you don’t rely on in-house servers, they should have suggested cloud solutions that allow access to the data and programs needed to perform tasks on laptops or tablets remotely. 

If your IT provider didn’t prepare you to safely access your data, this is a sign that you are in need of more robust IT services that can help you achieve safe business continuity.

2. Your team is struggling to communicate or collaborate effectively.

There has never been a more vital time for employees to maintain reliable contact with co-workers and clients than when working remotely. Not having solutions in place to promote effective communication can have a huge impact on productivity, as questions that could be answered within minutes when working alongside fellow employees could potentially take several hours to gain a response.

Not to mention, if your communication software is lacking, your clients may also be left waiting for a response or solution to a problem. Failure to implement effective remote communication tools can cause significant damage to your customer relationships.

Simple remote telecommunication solutions such as VoIP phone systems allow your team to keep calls secure while also implementing instant chatting and video conferencing features to increase productivity. VoIP phone systems are also much cheaper than traditional landlines, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses who need to preserve their bottom line now more than ever.

Other collaboration tools for your team such as Microsoft Teams can allow your employees to easily cooperate on group tasks and projects by offering remote editing capabilities on documents. Tools such as these can also consolidate your applications into one managed platform, allowing you to cut back on separate programs or software and save money.

If your IT provider didn’t offer solutions in the way of remote collaboration tools as part of your business continuity plan, your business likely has already felt the effects of lower productivity and communication. To remedy this and prepare better for the future, look for IT services that offer collaboration tools such as these.

3. Your cybersecurity didn’t get upgraded at all.

Unfortunately, many remote workers are now accessing sensitive data from insecure locations or devices, which has made them more vulnerable to cyber threats since the outbreak. In fact, the World Health Organization has reported a five times increase in cyber attacks since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown. 

Your IT provider should have been thinking ahead and supporting teams to employ security solutions such as firewalls, spam filtering, and anti-malware that are adaptable to remote networks. Additionally, they should offer security training to employees and consulting on work-from-home policies to maintain data security at all times.

4. They failed to advise you on new tools and hardware.

One of the many challenges that companies had to face when transitioning to remote working was to ensure that all employees had the correct equipment to be able to successfully work from home. 

Some companies had to send employees home with equipment from the office while others began working from personal devices—which comes with its own security issues. Some employees even had to wait for equipment to be ordered and delivered before being able to begin working. 

The role of the IT service provider in this instance is to advise your business in accordance to what new equipment will be needed to maintain productivity and safety. Whether you needed new computers for your employees, a custom software to manage new administrative tasks, or cloud storage solutions, your IT provider should have already consulted you on these business continuity tools. 

5. They still haven’t updated your business continuity plan.

With the world around us constantly changing, business contingency plans need constant revision to ensure they are prepared for any changing situation. This is especially true for businesses whose continuity plans have failed them in some regard when it comes to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

IT service providers should be evaluating how your contingency plan has been working amidst the pandemic and amend any flaws in the plan that have caused issues. This will better prepare you for the future and ensure that the best solutions are in place while you deal with the challenges of remote work now. 

A reliable IT provider should offer its clients continuous support—especially during difficult situations such as the one we’re facing. They should have prepared you with the proper remote networks, tools, and cybersecurity to deal with the challenges you are now facing. If they didn’t and you’re experiencing one of the red flags listed above, it’s time to look for more comprehensive solutions.
At ISG Technology, our managed IT services are designed to prepare your business for anything. We work directly with our clients using a proactive approach to improve their systems continually. If you’d like to learn more about our managed services for businesses, contact us today.

If you have questions about how to take advantage of our COVID-19 promotions, please don’t hesitate to contact the ISG COVID-19 Task Force.

5 reasons why you need a backup service, even if you’re using Office 365

Enterprises around the world continue to move key applications to the cloud. But the speed and scope of migration presenting new challenges regarding data protection, service delivery, and compliance.

While most organizations have developed robust on-premises backup solutions, the failure to protect cloud data and ensure the availability of key services is widespread and incredibly alarming.

Contrary to popular belief, Office 365 and other software as a service (SaaS) models provide no real internal backup solutions.

While Microsoft has sound internal security and is capable of managing Office 365 infrastructure, third-party services are needed to ensure comprehensive data protection and compliance. Let’s take a look at 5 key reasons why you need a dedicated backup service when you’re using Office 365.

  1. Protection against internal accidents and threats

Regardless of how careful you are with your data, accidents can and do happen. Whether it’s the accidental deletion of a user, the incorrect merging of fields, or the failure of a key service, accidental deletion can be replicated across an entire network and lead to serious problems.

Simple accidents have been responsible for serious damage over the last few years, with an outage on Amazon Web Services costing up to $150 million dollars in 2017.

A backup service can restore data and services quickly and with minimum disruption, either to the on-premise Exchange or the Office 365 cloud network. In addition, dedicated backup services can protect you against internal security threats and manage the risk of malicious data loss or destruction.

  1. Protection against external security threats

Along with internal security threats, many businesses have experienced a rise in malware, viruses, data theft and other security threats from the outside.

Kaspersky blocked almost 800 million attacks from online resources across the globe in the first quarter of 2018 alone.

While Microsoft 365 and other cloud suites do have some security controls, they’re not robust or reliable enough to handle every case scenario. Having access to a high-grade, third-party backup service is the best way to reduce your exposure and manage the risks associated with data loss and destruction.

  1. Retention and recovery management

Cloud-based services are popular for many reasons, with Office 365 and other solutions featuring better integration between applications, more efficient data exchange and delivery, and the ability to utilize transparent services regardless of location.

Many of these benefits come at a cost, however, with enterprises losing control over data retention and recovery.

While Office 365 does have its own retention policies, they are ever-changing and difficult to manage. In fact, confusing and inaccessible data retention is one of the reasons why so many businesses refuse to move to the cloud.

You can have the best of both worlds with backup solutions that provide you with complete control over data retention and recovery management.

  1. Legal and compliance obligations

In addition to running a business and ensuring access to key data and services, organizations have a responsibility to meet certain legal and compliance obligations.

A cloud backup service allows you to retrieve important data instantly and with minimal disruption to critical business systems.

Whether it’s retrieving user data for law enforcement, accessing your mailbox during a legal action, or meeting regulatory compliance standards, dedicated cloud backup makes it easier to meet your responsibilities.

  1. Managing the migration process

With more businesses moving to the cloud all the time, the migration process is often presented as a seamless and natural transition.

While the benefits of SaaS are valid and well-known, managing hybrid email deployments and other critical services during migration can be more challenging than Microsoft would have you believe.

Whether you want a dedicated cloud solution or a mix of Office 365 and on-premises services, backup solutions like Veeam (our recommended solution) allow you to protect and manage your data during and after the transition in a way that makes the source location irrelevant.

The post 5 reasons why you need a backup service, even if you’re using Office 365 appeared first on ISG Technologies.

Source: my isg

ISG Technology Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

Overland Park, KS  February 19, 2019  ISG Technology announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named ISG Technology to its 2019 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Elite 150 category. This annual list recognizes North American solution providers with innovative approaches to managed services. These services help customers improve operational efficiencies, maximize return on IT investments, and continuously help them navigate the complexities of IT solutions.

Managed service providers are integral to the success of businesses everywhere. They empower companies to implement and operate complex technologies while staying within their budgets and keeping focus on their core business. CRN’s MSP 500 list identifies the most groundbreaking managed service organizations, with advanced solutions that have endless potential for growth.

This annual list is divided into three categories:

  • MSP Pioneer 250 – recognizing companies with business models weighted toward managed services and largely focused on the SMB market
  • MSP Elite 150 – recognizing large, data center-focused MSPs with a strong mix of on-premises and off-premises services
  • Managed Security 100 – recognizing MSPs focused primarily on off-premises, cloud-based security services.

“Capable MSPs enable companies to take their cloud computing to the next level, streamline spending, effectively allocate limited resources and navigate the vast field of available technologies,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “The companies on CRN’s 2019 MSP 500 list stand out for their innovative services, excellence in adapting to customers’ changing needs and demonstrated ability to help businesses get the most out of their IT investments.”

ISG’s managed service offering is centered around a core set of services such as 24×7 network monitoring, proactive alerting, patching and updating, infrastructure maintenance and a help desk to keep users productive. Customers also have the ability to add advanced services such as cloud backup and replication, hosted voice, managed security, Office 365+ and more.

“Our goal is to help unlock new possibilities for our customers,” commented ISG Technology CEO, Ben Foster. “And the managed services offering is a critical piece to doing this. We take technology maintenance off their plate so they can focus on initiatives that help drive business growth. When you combine this with one of the best professional services and technology advisory teams in the Midwest, we are able to help our clients in so many ways.”

The MSP500 list will be featured in the February 2019 issue of CRN and online at www.CRN.com/msp500. Learn more about ISG Managed Services at www.isgtech.com/managed-services/

 

About The Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequalled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace. www.thechannelco.com

Client Testimonial: Freddy’s Frozen Custard

Technology partnership helps fuel the growth of Freddy’s Frozen Custard

Industry: Food & Beverage
Client: Freddy’s Frozen Custard

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In Partnership with

THE CHALLENGE

Enlisted by Freddy’s, ISG was tasked with transitioning the client’s infrastructure to a more secure and flexible system. The initial findings highlighted a few opportunities:

  • Evaluated the health of the client’s network security to find at risk data. If a server were to fail under the original network system, data would have been lost and unrecoverable.
  • Discovered the company was poised for growth, but infrastructure was unable to keep up with needs and goals.
  • Determined the transition to the new network had to take place outside of business hours.

 

THE SOLUTION

  • Utilized leading backup solution to migrate the company’s data to the cloud
  • Migrated an aging small business server to a updated and upgraded exchange server
  • Provided an internal SQL consultation
  • Deployed Cisco Meraki Technology across locations

 

RESULTS

Freddy’s is now ready for tremendous future growth with the flexibility and security of ISG’s cloud solution with our straightforward approach to implementation and willingness to execute outside of business hours, ensuring both client satisfaction and business success.