How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

How Can Manufacturing Companies Benefit from Managed IT Services?

Manufacturing is central to a strong, vibrant economy. But in order for manufacturing companies to succeed and prosper, it’s essential that their technology be properly equipped, secured, and optimized.

In today’s world, manufacturing operations like yours rely on information technology for practically every aspect of the business. Manufacturers can communicate with anyone, anywhere in an instant. Advances in technology allow you to better formulate plans, fine-tune production processes, and adapt to market demands with remarkable agility and speed. Orders can be submitted more accurately to vendors, and with greater ease. In short, IT continues to provide better, more efficient ways to work.

Selecting the right technology that your manufacturing business needs in order to thrive is a challenge in and of itself. Maximizing the power of that tech on your own is a far-greater challenge.

Manufacturing is a Complicated Business

 Today’s manufacturing environment is progressing more quickly than it did during the Industrial Revolution. With information technology changing just as rapidly, it can feel like an uphill battle for manufacturing companies to fight.

Whether you’re managing production, supply chain, logistics, consumer safety, or regulatory compliance, manufacturing processes can be hard to execute when your operations and businesses aren’t properly aligned. Effectively constructing a network of technology and solutions, along with managing ongoing IT efforts, can put a significant strain on your resources.

Manufacturing IT departments often grapple with the task of supporting a global organization with multiple locations – one that requires data and applications to be shared from a centralized location, no less – while having a fixed budget and limited staff at their disposal. At the same time, the in-house IT team is expected to build competitive advantage and profitability for the business by creatively making use of both IT tools and their own technical prowess.

There’s Got to Be a Better Way (And There Is!)

 In the highly competitive manufacturing industry, companies want IT that makes their work easier, more productive, drives efficiency, increases profits, and frees them to focus on growing the business. While that may sound like a tall order, it’s easier than you might think.

With customized IT solutions, your manufacturing company can see significantly accelerated productivity, streamlined production, and the type of uptime and efficiency needed to propel the business to succeed for years to come.

A reliable managed services provider (MSP) with experience supporting manufacturing companies understands the unique IT challenges of your industry, and knows how to build systems that will effectively keep your operations up and running.

By leveraging the talent of a skilled MSP, manufacturers can take the burden of day-to-day network monitoring and incident remediation off the IT team’s plate, freeing them to focus on more important tasks.

Managed service providers are capable of integrating a variety of technologies across production, administrative departments, and management, in ways that are both secure and streamlined.

What Is Managed IT Services for Manufacturing?

 Managed IT services is a cost-effective alternative to retaining onsite IT support. For a fraction of the cost of a single in-house specialist, your company gains access to a specialized team of highly trained IT professionals. Backed by a clearly defined service level agreement, a skilled MSP provides proactive management, remote monitoring, and maintenance of your entire IT infrastructure.

The Benefits of Managed IT Services for Manufacturing Companies

1) Reduce Operational Costs

If you choose to go with a managed services provider instead of in-house IT techs, the money you save on salary, sick leave, health insurance, and social security can be used to fund other key aspects of the business.

A managed services provider already possesses all the tools needed to monitor, secure, and manage your IT infrastructure, so you don’t have to invest in these technologies yourself.

With a flat monthly fee, you can confidently budget for all your IT support costs and avoid unexpected expenses.

 

2) Save Time

The average IT staffer spends most of their time working on network issues, routine system maintenance, and troubleshooting everyday problems – often related to printers or operator errors.

By partnering with a reliable managed services provider, the manufacturer’s in-house IT team is able to redirect their efforts towards more strategic, business-building IT initiatives that will generate revenue for the company.

An MSP has a whole team of trained IT professionals available to help, enabling them to respond faster when problems arise and resolve the issues proactively.

3) Increase Productivity

Manufacturing is a very fast-paced industry. Downtime from a network crash can shatter productivity, costing your company time and money. When downtime starts to affect your clients as well, your reputation is at risk. While some instances of downtime – such as employee error and regular machine maintenance – are unavoidable, you can control the management of your IT infrastructure. With a managed services provider actively monitoring the state of your IT, you greatly reduce the risk of extended downtime, which can save your business money and prevent catastrophic production delays.

4) Streamline IT Processes

As a manufacturer, your primary focus is on streamlining operations and maintaining high levels of production. It may not have even occurred to you that your day-to-day IT processes could also be streamlined for greater efficiency.

Standardization allows for greater consistency in all manufacturing processes, particularly when it comes to rapid recovery when issues arise. Some manufacturers don’t deploy and utilize the same technology across multiple locations. Managing operations with a variety of CRM, ERP, and other software creates a needlessly complicated tangle of communications that hampers employees and the business in general.

A good technology partner will help identify and assess all your IT assets and ensure that these systems are working together well. A skilled MSP can help you design efficient networks that provide seamless collaboration among your staff, outside vendors, sister plants, and other business locations.

A managed services provider can help transition internal office productivity processes to cloud-based services, enabling your administrative employees to work more productively throughout the day.

Technology integration allows you to speed up production on the manufacturing floor, as well as gather and make use of analytics to aid in real-time decisions.

5) Proactively Manage Your Network

Far too many manufacturing companies depend on outdated technology with unreliable systems for both their front-office and production functions. When these assets are not carefully managed, the entire operation becomes subject to chronic inefficiency and productivity lapses caused by ERP system crashes, server issues, email outages, data loss, and even network malfunctions affecting CNC and robotics systems. As a result, your organization’s collaboration will suffer, accessibility will be compromised, and valuable time will be wasted. Instead of staying ahead of IT problems, you find yourself constantly reacting to them.

With a reputable MSP proactively managing, monitoring, and maintaining your network, you can devote your time to overseeing your production line, without having to be concerned with the IT involved in it. A team of dedicated IT technicians works to identify and address minor problems before they lead to critical failures; update software, hardware, and security capabilities consistently to extend the life of your equipment; apply necessary patches and upgrades; and periodically audit your IT systems to detect potential issues.

6) Around-the-Clock IT Support

If your network runs all day, every day, nonstop (and it likely does) – so must your network monitoring. Having a managed service provider remotely monitoring and managing your servers, desktops, and mobile devices 24/7 gives you peace of mind that the network won’t let you down and production can keep moving forward.

When an IT problem arises that you don’t understand, you need help right away. Most MSPs provide 24/7/365 help desk support, ensuring that a highly trained professional will be available to take your call, answer your questions, solve your problems, and get you back up and running quickly. Many issues can be resolved remotely, but IT technicians are also available to work on premises as needed.

7) Protect Against Cyberattacks

Operational procedures and network configurations unique to manufacturing networks make them more vulnerable to certain kinds of malware threats. Many manufacturing companies tend to rely on older software and machines on the production line, and these tools may lack the sophisticated security protections needed to prevent most cyberattacks. A data breach of any magnitude could have a disastrous effect on productivity and cost millions in lost revenue.

With that much liability and money on the line, it’s crucial that you protect your users, systems, network, data, and intellectual property from increasing security threats which could derail your business. Cybersecurity services help defend against harmful viruses, malware, and hackers by using firewalls, intrusion detection systems, virus and spam protection, and responsive incident management.

A reputable managed services provider can reconfigure older technology so that it works securely and safely with newer tools; help detect suspicious activity and respond quickly to minimize the impact of cybersecurity events; and conduct ongoing risk assessments to identify network susceptibility.

8) Scalability

When it comes to managing manufacturers’ IT needs, scalability is extremely important. Manufacturing companies often work on large projects requiring a small “burst” of employees and resources. Once the job is completed, the need for these resources decreases and the company can no longer afford to retain the additional employees.

Ramping up your technology with the help of an IT solutions provider is the ideal solution, as increased workloads can easily scale to the cloud with no upfront costs or time delays for you. When the project is complete, your company can easily scale back down to adjust to your current needs.

New service offerings often come with significant upgrades or new software. A trusted MSP can provide the flexibility you need to alter your products and services and add new ones as needed. Having a network that’s easily scalable makes your manufacturing company more agile when it comes to meeting constantly changing demands.

9) Data Backup & Disaster Recovery

In a manufacturing environment, any number of unexpected things can occur – whether it’s a large-scale disaster like a fire, flood, earthquake, storm, or widespread power outage, or a seemingly harmless disruption such as an overheated server room, leak, hardware and software failure, or employee error.

Extended downtime due to a disaster – natural or otherwise – is not only incredibly frustrating, but can significantly affect your bottom line as well. If you struggle to return to “business as usual,” the cost is even greater. Having solid preparedness plans in place for ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery can help you move past the pain of a disaster and get back to full operations more quickly.

When you work with a managed services provider, you have a dedicated team of IT professionals working to keep your systems up and running and your valuable data backed up and stored properly.

10) Cloud-Based Services

Cloud computing has been an extraordinary boost to the manufacturing companies that have embraced it. With a cloud-based system, you can build a connection among all your technologies, from the back office to the factory floor. This provides greater insight into problems and inefficiencies.

By decentralizing your IT functions and making them universally available in the cloud, all users can enjoy the same experience regardless of their location.

However, shifting your data and applications to the cloud can be tedious and complicated. A reputable MSP can ensure that your cloud migration is effective while minimizing the likelihood of downtime during the transition.

11) Mobile Device Management

Manufacturing, like most work these days, has increasingly gone mobile. But if your mobile devices aren’t being properly managed, they can be a major point of concern.

A managed services provider can set up all your employees to use your smartphones, tablets, and laptops safely and securely. This ensures that all your data – both that of the company and your customers – remains protected, even if a device is lost or stolen.

12) Access to the Latest Technologies

Many businesses, but especially manufacturers, have a difficult time keeping up with the latest technological advancements. By outsourcing your IT to a trusted MSP, you gain easy access to the most up-to-date technologies so you can better compete in a tech-driven world.

Moreover, with an outside service provider, these IT solutions are often less expensive than if you purchased them outright. Most IT companies have partnerships with vendors who provide them with new technologies at a reduced cost.

13) Maintain Regulatory Compliance

Depending on what your company manufactures, you may be expected to meet certain compliance and regulatory standards. Compliance issues can cost you profoundly in legal liabilities and regulatory penalties, not to mention your good reputation.

A trustworthy MSP will work with you to ensure that your systems meet these legal requirements and provide supporting documentation to help you avoid fines and penalties for noncompliance

Final Thoughts

Manufacturing companies have unique technology needs that are best served by working with a qualified managed services provider. With an optimized IT environment as well as cloud, web, and mobile solutions in place, you can greatly enhance the efficiency of your production line. Manufacturers can also benefit from the latest, most sophisticated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software which allows for top-to-bottom cooperation and collaboration.

When you partner with a reliable MSP, you can expect lower cost of ownership, business scalability, streamlined processes, greater continuity, improved security, and increased productivity for your manufacturing company. A team of IT professionals, with its broad range of technical expertise, is able to review your existing technology, help determine where improvements or restructuring are needed, and leverage the tools and processes needed to keep your systems secure, reliable, and protected.

At DataGroup Technologies, we make it our business to help you build yours. We understand the types of challenges that manufacturers face, and we have the proper expertise to design and implement a technology strategy that will improve your productivity as well as your bottom line. We can customize IT infrastructure that’s perfectly suited for every aspect of your operations, from the front office to the manufacturing floor.

With our depth of experience and extensive knowledge base, we are able to troubleshoot and quickly resolve routine network issues, develop processes to disaster-proof your business, identify areas where infrastructure could be improved, and execute these technology upgrades. We provide complete and continuous care of your onsite and cloud assets within an easily budgeted, predictable subscription payment.

When you partner with DataGroup Technologies, our technical services engineers will become an extension of your existing IT department, working side-by-side with your in-house professionals to handle a variety of tasks, from large-scale installations to providing support to staff, customers, and vendors. We can also operate as your entire IT department, if you don’t already have one.

If your manufacturing company could benefit from the numerous advantages of managed IT services, give us a call today at 252.329.1382!

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Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

Why Your Business Must Take a Proactive Approach to IT

 

If you’re like most businesses today, you rely heavily on technology to support your daily operations. When your systems stop working properly, productivity grinds to a halt, employees and customers become frustrated, and your bottom line suffers.

A singular IT disaster can set your company back months, decimate your budget, leave staff struggling to pick up the pieces, and seriously risk damaging your reputation. From data loss to network malfunctions, downtime due to IT issues costs businesses in excess of $1.5 million each year in terms of lost productivity and sales.

There are two primary ways of addressing IT support for any business: the reactive approach and the proactive approach.

Some might argue that a reactive approach has its benefits. Common wisdom says that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” If your business is tight on cash, you may be seeking ways to cut expenses — and in general, you don’t see the point in paying for something you might not need.

With a reactive approach to IT support, when something goes wrong you try to get in touch with a technician to come and check your systems, then wait for them to resolve the issue. The problem with this working model is that it can lead to significant downtime. The technician will first need to analyze the problem before they can get to work on it. If updates or replacement hardware are necessary, business operations could be disrupted even further until the upload or order is completed.

Reactive IT support staff often don’t have the right tools in place to keep tabs on the end-user’s experience, instead relying on issues being reported as they crop up. According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 35% of the time IT support first learns about issues when end-users contact the service desk and open a ticket. This is because their support is reactive rather than proactive.

In order for your business to be able to foresee the challenges that may lie ahead, you need to take a more proactive approach to your IT needs. Proactive IT support allows you to better manage your IT budget, secure your data, and avoid some of the major technology risks that your business faces today. 

Through continuous monitoring and real-time analytics, proactive IT support provides excellent insight into your IT infrastructure and endpoints from the end-user perspective. Potential problems are spotted early and resolved before they can jeopardize your business.

Businesses that opt to outsource their IT needs to a managed services provider (MSP) can expect to save time, money, and stress in the long run. MSPs continuously monitor a company’s infrastructure in search of would-be problems and work to remedy those issues before a major catastrophe occurs.

 

WHAT IS REACTIVE IT SUPPORT?

Let’s dive into this one a little bit deeper.

Reactive IT support involves taking measures to correct problems only when they materialize. It’s often referred to as the “break-fix” model. Under this model, a business contacts IT support (whether in-house or an external company) when something goes wrong and makes arrangements to have the problem repaired as quickly as possible. The business is then forced to wait for the IT team to address and resolve the issue, all too often resulting in a great deal of downtime.

The cost of a provider agreement for reactive IT support tends to be lower than a fully managed plan, primarily because this support is implemented on an as-needed basis. If your business already employs in-house staff to provide general IT maintenance, partnering with a reactive support team gives your company access to highly skilled, reliable resources at a budget-friendly price tag. 

Having a variable service agreement means you’ll only be billed for the time that’s spent fixing problems, and this can be a very attractive option for companies with limited financial resources. But there’s a catch.

The time that elapses between detecting a problem and getting it resolved can be hours or days, depending on the specific situation. In that time, significant damage could be done to your system. Since a typical IT project often surpasses its original budget by 45%, fixing an existing problem can be both cumbersome and costly for your business.

 

WHAT IS PROACTIVE IT SUPPORT?

Now, for the good news!

With proactive IT support, you can stay ahead of your technology problems. You don’t have to worry about losing productivity, damaging your company’s reputation, or tanking employee morale. Plus, it’s much friendlier to your budget in the long run!

Proactive support is all about prevention — mending potential problems before they can snowball into much more severe issues. By proactively managing your IT support needs, you can empower your business to do more with its technology. You’ll get more out of your existing systems, establish new solutions in a strategic fashion, and develop long-term plans for business growth.

Key components of proactive IT support involve automating certain processes and monitoring technology assets to further streamline operations and make analyzing and identifying issues in advance considerably easier.

12 Advantages of Proactive IT Support Businesses

Proactive IT support offers a number of decided advantages which can make a considerable difference for businesses. Here are 12 benefits to taking a more proactive approach to your IT needs:

Early Detection of Problems

Through continuous monitoring, your IT support partner is able to identify potential issues before they even occur. Resolving problems quickly prevents them from extending to other parts of your system. More often than not, a problem can be eliminated and maintenance carried out before it’s even detected by end-users.

Increased Productivity

Employees and clients depend on your technology to help them achieve their goals. Software and hardware failures and other IT-related issues cause disruptions that can hamper productivity and foster frustration for all parties involved. Solving issues proactively means less time sitting around waiting for repairs to be completed. Reducing the risk of downtime empowers your workforce to be as productive as possible. Productivity and happiness go hand in hand; giving your staff the right tools for the job creates a more harmonious, happier workplace.

Upgraded Cybersecurity

A proactive IT support team is able to cover every aspect of cybersecurity, from software updates to employee training. They’ll create security plans, protect your network against basic threats, and outline steps to be taken if systems are breached. Managed antivirus and anti-malware programs help keep viruses and malware at bay, while strategic backup procedures ensure that data loss doesn’t occur.

Predictable Costs

Most managed services providers offer their services for a fixed monthly fee which covers ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and updates, making it easier to budget your IT expenditures accurately and strategically. You may pay more in a given month than your would in a variable fee arrangement, but you’ll also incur fewer costs as a result of downtime. When tech problems inevitably arise, you won’t have to worry about an unexpectedly high bill for repairs. Having your systems continuously monitored keeps your infrastructure in good working order at all times. It’s always cheaper to prevent technology failure than it is to clean up the mess afterwards.

Team of IT Professionals

When you partner with a managed services provider for proactive IT support, you have an entire team of certified IT experts at your service, instead of just one or two individuals whose daily grind consists of putting out fires or solving routine problems. These IT specialists recognize how each device on your network plays an essential role in the operations of your company. Having a team in place to keep an eye out for problems and handle them in a timely manner gives even smaller companies the IT support strength of much larger institutions.

Better Decision Making

Before the onboarding process even begins, an MSP will perform a strategic analysis of your IT infrastructure to identify any areas of weakness that could impede optimal performance. Based on automated tools provided by the MSP, you will be able to make informed decisions about your specific IT needs. Having all the information presented clearly in front of you puts you in the driver’s seat, making it easier to see when you need to scale up.

Strategic Planning

From carrying out thorough risk assessments to inventorying your IT assets to updating your software and hardware to align with your business goals, MSPs are fully equipped to handle all strategic aspects of your IT. A proactive strategy allows you to adapt to a changing business environment and meet future challenges head-on. MSPs will work to head off issues that can not only crop up again but worsen over time.

Regular Updates & Patches

Many successful cyberattacks rely on unpatched hardware and software. A proactive update schedule minimizes opportunities for hackers to intrude on your systems. The most recent patch may also add new features that could improve overall performance. Proactive upgrades are particularly beneficial for maintaining older technology that may be more vulnerable to attacks. MSPs can schedule these updates for ideal times, ensuring that servers don’t go offline at inappropriate times.

Regulatory Compliance

Understanding how your company performs in regard to regulatory compliance is a fundamental facet of proactively protecting your company and its data. Regulatory compliance can safeguard your company from unwanted fees and preserve your customers and employees from impending data breaches.

24/7/365 Monitoring

Remote monitoring of your workstations, servers, routers, printers, and other network devices keeps your IT network in good shape at all times. Knowing that a team of skilled computer experts is regularly testing your systems and thoroughly evaluating them for a wide range of potential problems give you and your employees peace of mind. When the team is alerted of an issue, they start working on a fix immediately, often without you ever noticing it. Software problems can generally be fixed remotely, while hardware issues typically require a technician who is physically present on the premises.

Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

Major events such as fires, floods, hurricanes, and cyberattacks are a hazard to all businesses. A reliable MSP will set up a robust disaster recovery plan for your business and implement software solutions that will keep your business up and running. All data is backed up regularly so that, in the event of an emergency, your most crucial information is completely safe and easily accessible.

Around-the-Clock Help Desk Support

Most managed services providers offer 24/7/365 help desk support as well. Not only does this come in handy whenever there’s an after-hours incident, it also allows your internal IT staff (if applicable) to focus on projects that add value to the business rather than running around troubleshooting everyday problems.

Final Thoughts

Managing the health of your IT systems in a merely reactive way is like managing your own physical health reactively. Like many health issues, most IT issues can be detected by early warning signs that could be picked up through proactive monitoring. By analyzing your business and identifying the gaps, weak points, and strengths, a managed services provider can better determine how to protect your company from emergency expenditures, last-minute crises, unexpected downtime, cyberthreats, data loss, and compliance issues.

When partnering with an MSP, you can count on effective monitoring and maintained functionality of your network, enhanced overall performance of your IT infrastructure, reduce downtime and increased productivity, ongoing support whenever you need it, and more time to devote to your core business.

Taking a proactive approach to IT doesn’t make your problems go away. But it will make them easier to plan for and simpler to manage.

DataGroup Technologies, Inc. (DTI) is the premier managed IT services provider in our area, delivering ideal IT solutions to businesses of all sizes. We strive to provide significant value and outstanding service to all of our clients by acting as an extension of your business’s IT team. If your organization could benefit from the many advantages of managed services, including proactive IT support, give us a call at 252.329.1382 today!

What Is MDM & Why Does Your Business Need It?

What Is MDM, And Why Does Your Business Need It?

We live in a society where technological advances are increasingly accelerating consumer demand for mobile devices. These devices are continually evolving to create limitless possibilities for users. This supports the consensus of the general public – they’re continuously on the go and seeking to enrich their daily lives with tablets, mobile phones, and other devices.

The dynamic nature of technology requires organizations to be easily adaptable and willing to effect cultural changes. Nevertheless, since company progression is hampered by a failure to change with the times, it’s clear that most organizations don’t realize how much they can benefit from Mobile Device Management (MDM) security.

MDM entails deploying software to secure, monitor, manage, and support mobile devices either owned by the organization or the employees themselves.

Employees are capable of accessing company data more easily than ever before, whether by the use of mobile phones, printers, or tablets. With this increased access, the need to monitor these mobile devices is crucial.

Organizations seek to strike a balance that empowers employees to be more efficient. Since mobile devices ease this process, it’s vital that company data is kept protected and under close observation. Pairing MDM software with managed IT support services is the best way to maximize your network security.

There are a number of distinct benefits revolving around maintaining the integrity of the company’s network and the data within it. In this article, we’ll recount and expound upon 7 clear benefits of mobile device management.

7 Key Benefits of Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Remote Management of Users and Devices

Remote management describes any operation in which the controlling device is not physically attached to the actual unit. The principal reasons for implementing a remote management system are to enhance safety and boost productivity. 

Remote management is one of the most conspicuous advantages of MDM. However, the capability to remotely manage users and their devices shouldn’t be discounted. This ability assures the security and health of every mobile device that’s connected to a network, while providing an option to remotely render unauthorized users and applications inoperative as needed.

Automatic Deletion

Automatic deletion frees up storage created by temporary files that were not deleted by applications and that are no longer necessary to keep.

With MDM, you can easily delete confidential information from any device in the event that a device is lost, stolen, or is still in the possession of a previous employee who might otherwise retain access to sensitive company information. The capability to execute this kind of action gives rise to considerable peace of mind from the company’s perspective.

Data Backup

Data is a major component of any organization – quite simply, it keeps the company running. 

Data backup is the copying or archiving of files and folders with an eye toward being able to restore them in case of data loss. An organization that fails to back up its data is very likely to topple at the first sign of trouble. 

When you incorporate an MDM solution, data connected through corporate applications is backed up in conjunction with company policies. This supports business continuity measures through preventing single or multiple mobile devices from being points of failure for information loss.

Supports Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, is the practice of permitting employees of an organization to use their own computers, smartphones, or other devices for work purposes. This not only creates a level of trust within the organization among employees, who now feel more valued – it also allows them to work within their comfort zone, utilizing devices with which they’re already very familiar.

Traditional IT support was more inclined to reject “unknown” devices as intrusive. However, MDM fully recognizes the importance of BYOD. Modern organizations would be wise to encourage employees to utilize their own mobile devices to access information such as important data and emails, provided they don’t abuse their rights.

By properly managing every device connected to the network, you don’t have to compromise security for the sake of efficiency.

Cost Savings

Assuming that mobile devices are monitored and maintained well, enabling BYOD also saves the company the stress of buying and replacing mobile devices every time something goes wrong or a new employee is hired. In other words, it conserves money – undoubtedly, the amount that would be required to purchase a new device would end up being significantly higher than the cost to secure and manage an existing mobile device.

Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance involves an organization’s adherence to the laws, regulations, guidelines, and specifications relevant to its business processes.

Modern regulatory compliance should include safeguards that prevent an unauthorized device from compromising your business’s security. In addition, MDM’s reporting capabilities should permit the confirmation of network integrity.

With MDM, compliance initiatives are closely monitored through a centralized console. This means you can ensure enhanced protection while working in correlation with legal requirements.

Controlled Device Updates

Making sure systems are up to date is a major focus in the business world, as this is a crucial component of security.

MDM enables the organization’s management to control when updates are installed on devices by setting a local system update policy for each device in the network.

Application Control

Your organization likely utilizes a number of different apps, all of which are essential to some degree or another for ensuring a productive workforce. MDM security creates a centralized control for users who need to install these apps on their devices.

Application control also works to block or restrict unauthorized applications from executing in ways that put data at risk. The MDM’s centralized management system generates a number of significant advantages, such as role-based access management and the ability to disable applications as needed.

Additional functions of application control include completeness and validity checks, identification, authentication, authorization, input controls, and forensic controls, among others.

Conclusion

It’s essential for organizations to manage team members’ mobile devices that are connected to the network in order to ensure the success of identity and access management as well as optimization of functionality and mobile device security.

Achieving this success starts with identifying the solution that’s right for your business, with the goal of protecting your corporate network. The solution you choose should include device tracking and inventory, application distribution, password verification, and regulatory enforcement, as well as data encryption.

Is your business looking to bolster its network security? Call DataGroup Technologies at 252.329.1382 to learn more about how implementing mobile device management can benefit your systems and your security.

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7 Steps to Securing Your Business Website

7 Steps To Securing Your Business Website

by Cody McBride

Maybe you’re getting ready to launch your small business website, but you’re concerned that your site will be vulnerable to cyberattacks. Or perhaps your website has been live for some time now, but your company’s data was recently compromised by a hacker, and you want to avoid dealing with the same situation in the future.

If you’re concerned about whether or not your company’s website is truly secure, the best first step is to consult with a trusted IT service provider. But even with support from IT experts, understanding a few basic cybersecurity principles is crucial if you’re operating your business in the digital space. Here are a few strategies that small business owners can apply in order to keep their websites secure.

Hire Expert Support

 If you’re new to the world of cybersecurity, you may not know where to begin when it comes to keeping your website safe from hackers and cyberattacks. But you don’t have to figure it all out on your own through trial and error. For instance, if you’re developing custom applications for internal use that will be integrated with your website, you can hire a software developer who can install appropriate security protections. In addition, you can work with a cybersecurity expert if you need further guidance.

You can even keep security at the forefront when you start developing your website. By hiring a WordPress developer with a proven background in cybersecurity, you can rest assured that your website will include features specifically intended to protect your company and your customers. If you’re not sure what to look for when hiring a developer, you can check out their portfolio and case studies from their work with previous clients.

Educate Your Team

 Chances are, you’re not the only person at your company who accesses your website from the backend. If your employees also have access to internal functions for your website, you will need to spend some time educating them on cybersecurity. Virtu recommends implementing and enforcing a strong password policy that requires employees to create long, complex passwords and change them every three months. You can also task a web administrator with creating strict access policies for different functions and train your employees to recognize phishing attempts. And should you ever update the security protections for your website with the help of an IT support provider, hold an additional training session with your employees to make sure they’re in the know.

Install SSL

 If you’re unfamiliar with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates, it’s important to learn a bit more about why your website needs this certification. Sucuri states that setting up an SSL certificate enables your website to use an HTTPS protocol for secure information transfers. This ensures that data like credit card information and other personally identifiable information from contact forms stays protected. If your website lacks this certification, you cannot guarantee to your customers that you are making every effort to keep their information safe. You can add an SSL certification to your website simply by seeking out a hosting service that offers this option for free.

Use Anti-Malware Software

 By installing anti-malware software for your website, you can protect your business from viruses. Today, it’s all too easy to accidentally download malware, and doing so can cause all kinds of problems for your company. You might get locked out of your website or expose your customers to security risks. You can research different versions of anti-malware software and find an option that suits your needs and budget.

Run Software Updates

 When your hosting provider prompts you to update your software, you do not want to push this task to the backburner. Outdated software may have lackluster security protections. On the other hand, newer software will likely include features that make it easier to secure your website. Furthermore, updating your software will give you access to new functions that enable you to modernize your website and run it efficiently. Perhaps you’ve been putting off a software update for a while, but it’s a good idea to take care of this as soon as you have the chance.

Back Up Your Data

 If your website is compromised, your data could be corrupted or even erased. This would be a frustrating situation for any small business owner. But since no cybersecurity protections can completely prevent attacks, it’s a good idea to back up your website’s data, just in case. You may be able to do this by using a cloud solution or by storing your data with hardware. Should a hacker ever gain access to your website, you can at least rest assured that you will not lose access to your own data, and you will be able to get your website back up and running.

Be Aware of Scams

Unfortunately, it’s quite common for hackers to run scams targeted at business websites. And even people who are relatively tech-savvy can easily fall victim to these scams. That’s why it’s important to read up on common scams that are aimed at business websites and talk to your employees about the tactics that these scammers use. For example, if you ever get an email claiming that it is allegedly from your web hosting provider that contains a link, double-check the email address and consider calling your provider to confirm that they sent it to you. Otherwise, clicking the link could enable a hacker to gain access to your website.

Today, the internet makes it easier than ever to run your own business – but this low barrier to entry has also introduced new risks, like dealing with cybersecurity threats. However, your website does not have to be susceptible to cyberattacks. With these tips, you’ll be able to ensure the safety of your business website and keep your data private.

Final Thoughts

Interested in learning more about DataGroup Technologies’ IT services? We’re here for you! Find out how choosing us as your IT partner will provide the support you need to gain a competitive edge in your industry. Reach out to us at 252.329.1382 today or drop us a line here to schedule a quick 15-minute discovery call with our team.

 

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Guest blogger Cody McBride’s love for computers stems from high school when he built his own computer. Today he is a trained IT technician and knows how the inner workings of computers can be confusing to most. He is the creator of TechDeck.info where he offers easy-to-understand, tech-related advice and troubleshooting tips.

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10 Advantages of Moving to The Cloud

WHAT IS CLOUD COMPUTING?

Cloud-based technology allows companies to expand their technical capabilities without the hardware hassle. Businesses that implement cloud services gain so much more than simple mobility. Moving to a secure cloud can help your business streamline its critical IT processes while simplifying business application management.

Cloud computing gives users the ability to access all the data and applications on your network by logging in from any device that has an internet connection. Programs are outsourced and reside in a secure data center rather than your hard drive.

10 Advantages of Moving to The Cloud:

1) Cost Efficiency

Cloud technology eliminates the need for businesses to purchase and maintain additional hardware or software, greatly reducing your capital costs. With a cloud provider managing the business’s equipment, applications, upgrades, updates, patching, and all other IT processes, you’ll have more time to spend on running your business and more room in the budget to modernize and automate your processes.

2) Flexibility

The cloud provides you the freedom to work anytime from wherever you are, as long as you can connect to the internet. In addition, many applications have been optimized for use with tablets and smartphones, so you don’t even have to carry a laptop anymore. The flexibility that the cloud offers also makes it easy to share documents with your colleagues. With software providing version control, it’s possible for multiple people to update the same document simultaneously, increasing overall productivity.

3) Collaboration

Cloud-based workflow and file-sharing applications give teams in different locations the ability to work together more easily and efficiently. Staff can make updates in real time, see what other team members are working on, and communicate more effectively. This advanced level of collaboration speeds up projects and, ultimately, improves customer service.

4) Security

The cloud service provider is responsible for maintaining all hardware, software, and networks in the cloud. A team of IT professionals ensures that equipment and applications are upgraded regularly, updated in a timely manner, patched when appropriate, and outfitted with the latest security measures. In addition, the cloud utilizes data encryption to ensure that anyone not authorized to access your data is prevented from doing so.

5) Mobility

With cloud technology, you can provide total access to employees who work remotely or those who travel regularly, as well as individuals who work on a freelance basis. This increased flexibility allows employees to work on the go or from home, using their desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

6) Scalability

Most cloud computing programs and applications operate on a subscription-based model. This allows your business to scale up or down according to your needs and budget. This level of agility gives businesses using cloud computing a huge advantage over their competitors.

7) Data Backup & Recovery

With robust disaster recovery solutions in place, you don’t have to worry about data loss – even if your laptop, smartphone, or tablet is stolen, damaged, misplaced, or it malfunctions. You can quickly regain access to data using any computer or laptop with an internet connection. Daily data backups and recoverability tests ensure business continuity in case of an emergency.

8) Competitiveness

Migrating to the cloud gives businesses of all sizes access to enterprise-class technology. Cloud-based business applications allows smaller businesses to compete with bigger, more established competitors, all while remaining lean and nimble.

9) Environmentally Friendly

Since additional hardware and other physical products aren’t necessary, your business will help reduce environmental waste by operating in the cloud. This change will also likely decrease the production of paper waste. Not only are you cutting company expenses and freeing up physical space, you’re also empowering your employees to adopt a more proactive environmental approach.

10) Easy Implementation

A cloud service provider will work with you to outline your technical and business goals. This helps them to better understand which cloud services are right for you. From there, the provider will develop a plan and timeline to move you to the cloud. Preparing for your business’s transition to the cloud is pretty simple. You might want to consider upgrading your network bandwidth in advance of the move, as cloud computing can put a strain on local internet connections. You won’t need to hire additional staff to help with the transition. The cloud service provider will handle the move from start to finish.

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Computer Security Day: 8 Tips to Bolster Your Business’s Cybersecurity

Computer Security Day: 8 Tips to Bolster Your Business’s Cybersecurity

In 1988, the Association for Computer Security established the first Computer Security Day to raise awareness about cybersecurity issues. Computer Security Day encourages people to take ownership of their online presence and identity. Taking the time to review computer security best practices can help individuals and organizations avoid compromised data and other unwanted scenarios.

In celebration of this day, here are 8 tips for bolstering your computer security:

1) Update Passwords on All Your Devices

Take the time to change the passwords on all your online accounts. This is something that should be done on a regular basis anyway, but if you’ve neglected to do so recently, today is as good a time as any.

Avoid using the same passwords across multiple accounts and devices. Reusing the same or similar passwords over a period of time can put you at greater risk of being hacked. Ideally, you should create a different password for each account that you use on your various devices.

It probably goes without saying, but it’s never a good idea to share your passwords with others, even people that you trust. You can’t know for sure that they will keep your credentials as secure as you would yourself.

2) Create and Use Strong Passwords

When it comes to password security, length matters. Passwords that are 6 characters or fewer are much easier to hack, particularly if they consist of only lowercase letters. To strengthen your password, create a complex, unique mixture of upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers that is at least 9 characters in length.

A password manager can help generate unique passwords for each of your online accounts. At the same time, this useful tool can save all your passwords in one convenient location, so you don’t have to remember them each time. You can also take advantage of Password Checkup, a Google Chrome extension that warns you when it detects you using compromised, duplicate, or weak passwords. As another option, consider using the tool How Secure Is My Password to test the strength and “hackability” of your passwords.

3) Keep Your Software and Hardware Up-to-Date

Make sure that all software – for your operating systems, browsers, programs, applications, etc. – is updated with the latest versions available. When you’re all set with that, it’s time to update your protection software, including spyware, antivirus, and antimalware software. Run a security scan not only on your computers, but on your smartphones and tablets as well. Mobile devices are as much at risk, if not more so, than your desktops or laptops.

It’s crucial to check on the status of your hardware as well. Outdated hardware may not support recent software security upgrades, and also responds slower to cyberattacks, in the event that one should occur. Better to be safe than sorry and upgrade your hardware while everything is smooth sailing.

4) Encrypt and Back Up Your Data

Keep your data secure and confidential – whether it’s being stored or in transit – by encrypting it. Encryption uses complex algorithms to scramble your data and make it unreadable, ensuring that only an authorized person can access the data.

Create a backup copy of all your sensitive data on a portable storage device – such as an external USB or hard drive – and store it in a safe place. Alternatively, you could upload your backed-up data to a cloud-based storage solution such as Google Drive. It’s important to keep your data backups up-to-date and test them periodically.

5) Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

Many online platforms now allow you to enable multi-factor authentication in order to keep your accounts more secure. Multi-factor authentication offers an additional layer of protection by helping to verify that it’s actually you who’s trying to access your account and not an unauthorized user.

6) Be on the Lookout for Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering attacks are difficult to counteract, as they’re specifically designed to take advantage of natural human characteristics, such as curiosity, respect for authority, and people’s desire to help their friends. Anytime you receive a suspicious email, it should be treated as such. Take a moment to think about where the communication originates from; don’t just trust it blindly.

Often, social engineering depends on a sense of urgency. Attackers hope that targets won’t think too hard about what’s going on. Thinking twice before taking any action can prevent most social engineering attacks and expose them for what they are – frauds.

7) Don’t Leave Your Devices
Unattended

Despite what you may think, locking your office is not enough. If you use a laptop or desktop computer at work, you should always power it down at night. Additionally, whenever you leave your office for the day, you need to lock up your memory keys, hard drives, and anything else that has sensitive data on it.

8) Educate Your Employees About Cybersecurity Awareness

Cybercriminals are specifically targeting your employees when they send out phishing emails in attempting to steal information. Through training and awareness, you can help your employees better recognize fraudulent emails when they encounter them. In so doing, you can significantly reduce the risk of your employees surrendering sensitive data to those who would deliberately misuse it.

Onboarding training and continuous updates help create a human firewall between your company’s information and security threats. Employees need to understand that cybersecurity is every bit as much their concern as it is the concern of your technology experts.

DataGroup Technologies offers a wide variety of cybersecurity solutions to help protect your business against cyberthreats like malware, phishing, ransomware, man-in-the-middle attacks, social engineering, and distributed denial-of-service attacks. Are your company’s data and that of its customers fully protected? How can you be sure? Partner with us and we can help safeguard your business against all these and more! Call us today at 252.329.1382 or drop us a line here.

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How To Secure Your Business Website In 2022

How To Secure Your Business Website In 2022

If you have a booming business website that’s raking in profits and helping you establish your brand, that’s great! However, you still need to make sure your site is protected from hackers and trolls who might want to tarnish your image. To ensure continued success and prevent bad actors from appropriating your intellectual property, follow these tips to help better secure your business website.

What Is Business Email Compromise?

According to TechRepublic, business email compromise (BEC) is “a sophisticated scam that targets companies and individuals who perform legitimate transfer-of-funds requests.”

Through the use of social engineering or malware, cybercriminals will masquerade as one of the individuals involved in these money transfers to trick the victim into sending money to a bank account owned by the cybercriminal. Once the fraud is exposed, it’s often too late to recoup the money. Scammers are quick to relocate the money to other accounts and withdraw the cash or use it to buy cryptocurrencies.

However, the scam is not always associated with an unauthorized transfer of funds. One BEC variation involves compromising legitimate business email accounts and requesting personally identifiable information (PII), wage and tax settlement (W-2) forms, or even cryptocurrency wallets from recipients.

How to Protect Your Business Against BEC Attacks

In the public service announcement, the FBI offers several suggestions for businesses to adopt to better protect against business email compromise attacks.

  • Use secondary channels (such as phone calls) or multi-factor authentication to validate requests for any changes in account information.
  • Ensure that URLs in emails are associated with the businesses or individuals from which they claim to be originating.
  • Keep an eye out for hyperlinks that contain misspellings of the actual domain name.
  • Steer clear of providing login credentials or PII of any sort via email. Bear in mind that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.
  • Verify the email address used to send emails – especially when using a mobile or handheld device – by making sure the address appears to match that of the purported sender.
  • Enable settings on employees’ computers to allow full email extensions to be viewed.
  • Monitor your personal financial accounts routinely for irregularities, such as missing deposits.

What to Do If You or Your Company Should Fall Victim to a BEC Attack

According to TechRepublic, business email compromise (BEC) is “a sophisticated scam that targets companies and individuals who perform legitimate transfer-of-funds requests.”

Through the use of social engineering or malware, cybercriminals will masquerade as one of the individuals involved in these money transfers to trick the victim into sending money to a bank account owned by the cybercriminal. Once the fraud is exposed, it’s often too late to recoup the money. Scammers are quick to relocate the money to other accounts and withdraw the cash or use it to buy cryptocurrencies.

However, the scam is not always associated with an unauthorized transfer of funds. One BEC variation involves compromising legitimate business email accounts and requesting personally identifiable information (PII), wage and tax settlement (W-2) forms, or even cryptocurrency wallets from recipients.

What to Do If You or Your Company Should Fall Victim to a BEC Attack

Cybersecurity has never been more important. We live in an increasingly connected world, which enables cyberattackers to constantly find new ways to carry out digital attacks. Even the most vigilant business owners and IT managers can become overwhelmed with the stress of maintaining network security and protecting their data.

These increasingly advanced cyberattacks create unprecedented situations of data breach and money extortion. The tools that hackers use are getting smarter and stronger every day. If you’re not proactive about protecting your network, your business will become a target of cybersecurity attacks.

DataGroup Technologies, Inc. (DTI) offers a wide variety of cybersecurity services to help protect your business from cyberthreats, including security risk assessments, email security solutions, web/DNS filtering, next-generation firewalls, network security monitoring, operating systems/application security patches, antivirus software, and security awareness training. If you’re not 100% certain that your business is protected from cybercriminals, contact us today at 252.329.1382 or message us to find out more about how we can help #SimplifyIT!

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