Ransomware Attacks: How are you protecting your business?

While you may be hearing that the total number of ransomware attacks declined in 2018, that doesn’t mean your data is safe. In fact, CyberSecurity Ventures predicts that ransomware will cost businesses $6 trillion by 2021 and Cisco considers it more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs.

How do you truly protect your business? Here’s our checklist:

  • A major vector for an attack is an attachment in an email. You can do a couple things to safeguard from this vector. First, scan all attachments with a good anti malware solution and make sure the definitions are up to date and your solution provider has some protection from zero day attacks. Secondly, and maybe most important, is to train your staff to be weary of attachments –even if they come from a trusted source. If it looks suspicious, do not open it. If it is something that you feel may be important or it appears to come from someone you know, contact them and ask if they sent it. Another related vector is malicious websites that are a conduit for malware. Be sure your anti malware solution can block suspicious websites and web links.
  • Have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and a solution of managing and mitigating the impact these devices have on the security of your environment. You need control over the notebooks, mobile devices, and tablets that enter your network. Your solution must provide you with sufficient visibility into what’s connected to your network and what those devices are doing. You need to be able to enforce policies that prevent users from accessing compromised websites or downloading suspicious files.
  • Run modern operating systems. Systems like Windows 7 may be user favorites and may support some legacy applications, but they are the cyber criminals’ dream. They lack the sophisticated built-in defenses found in operating systems like Windows 10. If your business uses Macs, you are not immune. Be sure to get users on the latest version of Mac OS as quickly as possible.
  • Patch every server, network device and endpoint with the latest security patch. This is critical as it can be an effective vector for attack and many IT departments are lax about patching.
  • Secure your network by deploying a layered approach; protecting your endpoints, network, email, and DNS layer. Do not ignore IoT devices. They are vulnerabilities too! They’re often ignored or even unknown to the IT department, but by removing simple points of vulnerability, you can effectively block the attack before it enters your infrastructure.
  • Protect your assets by segmenting your network to prevent an attack from being able to spread. Segmented networks will limit the number of resources that that can be attacked from a single entry point. This also allows you to deploy the strongest defenses where the highest value services and data reside without burdening the entire network with the expense and complexity of these defenses. This is all intended to ensure that your entire network is not compromised in a single attack and any damage that does occur is in the lowest value portions of the infrastructure.
  • Closely monitor network activity. This allows you to identify patterns of attacks before they can cause real damage. Deploy a good Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tool and use it.
  • Most importantly, have a business continuity plan that details how to respond in the event of an attack. Carefully choreograph all the steps you need to take and what your users need to do to be sure they do not make the situation worse and are ready to resume work once your systems are back online. Core to this plan is a disaster recovery solution that is designed to restore your critical business functions quickly enough to avoid the effect of a prolonged outage. This is your life vest when all else fails and the criminal gains sufficient access to your systems to cause major damage. It is the only option available today that can foil every known attack.
  • Orchestration eliminates the panic by allowing you to rely on a pre-planned, automated, and tested recovery. To be effective, the business continuity solution needs to continuously protect your data and has orchestration that automatically restores your entire infrastructure, including servers, network devices and storage to an offsite virtualized environment. The automated orchestration is a key element because it translates to speed and predictability of the restore process when your team is operating under the pressure of an outage.

As we know, ransomware is on the rise and it is clearly here to stay. Ransomware is doing some real damage to businesses, and increasing in its sophistication to better target vulnerabilities. All businesses are at risk unless you take action to lower your susceptibility to an attack. The true fix is an effective business continuity plan that restores your systems and gets users back online as quickly as possible. For more information: Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant – (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

Will Your DR Solution Rise to the Challenge?

This may sound like a familiar situation: You have the latest and greatest disaster recovery software available. You have carefully designed processes in place to monitor the system, to be sure that the backup jobs run when scheduled and all your data is protected. Your system supports Bare Metal Recovery (BMR) to dissimilar hardware, so you will be able to restore your systems on new hardware, if needed. All this gives you 100% confidence that, in the event of a disaster, you can recover all your systems and get your infrastructure back up and running. Sounds like your data protection plan is on point, but even assuming that you can recover these critical systems just as expected, we have some news for you. You’re still not properly protecting your business.

The problem arises from the fact that traditional disaster recovery was originally developed even prior to internet, when the pace of business was slow as a snail compared to today’s standards. Businesses could accept a longer Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Systems were less complex, which aided in making traditional disaster recovery an acceptable solution. The transaction rate of most businesses would allow a down time of a few hours with little problem, and even a day or two with some inconvenience. In today’s world, not only would such disruptions in vital systems be unacceptable, but the complexity of modern systems would add to the recovery time afforded by typical disaster recovery solutions. What is needed is a modern disaster recovery solution, that also provides business continuity functionality, at a price that everyone can afford.

In the past, disaster recovery solutions were so costly and sophisticated that only the largest companies had the financial resources to afford them (not to mention the staff to operate them). Only the “big guys” were able to benefit from virtual non-stop operation of their IT infrastructure. At the time, most disaster recovery systems consisted of duplicate environments idling along with a team to manage the failover — should the need arise.  Fortunately, technology evolved, and thanks to virtualization, orchestration, deduped file systems and the cloud, true business continuity is now available within the budget of companies of any size.

To get a better idea of the difference between legacy disaster recovery and today’s Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solutions, let’s examine the workflow differences between the two solutions once a failure occurs. The goal of a traditional disaster recovery solution is to allow the restoration of individual systems back to physical or virtual hardware from some type of backup. The problem with this approach is several fold:

  • It is focused on the individual systems and not the entire infrastructure. This means that all the dependencies for services necessary for the operation of restored systems are a manual process and therefore slow and prone to human error. Imagine repointing IP addresses and MX records manually after the restoration of an Exchange server.
  • It is dependent on the limitations of the availability of physical hardware or virtual systems that are largely manually configured.
  • Typically, large amounts of data are moved from backup locations to target systems to complete the restoration of failed systems. This includes: operating systems, applications, databases and data. This is always a slow process.

In the end, this all adds up to a very time-consuming and tedious process, that often requires several attempts and re-work to get everything functioning as it should.

The goal of a modern DRaaS solution is to restore the function of the entire IT infrastructure after a single or multi-system failure, while minimizing human intervention and downtime. To do this, the business continuity solution leverages several key technologies:

  • Virtualization — provides complete flexibility in deploying any scale of machine at any location which allows your business to dramatically speed recovery time in the event of a disaster, and also allows you to test multiple disaster scenarios without affecting your daily operational processes, so that you can be ready at a moment’s notice.
  • Orchestration — orchestration creates intelligent workflows to support real-time recovery of applications by understanding the dependencies of applications and systems and ensuring that each process comes back in the correct order and in a completely automated fashion.
  • Data deduplication — one of the advantages of data deduplication is the ability to replicate a reduced data set to a remote location without the same network bandwidth requirements as conventional replication. It also makes it easier for replication to occur at any time due to the small amount of data that actually has to travel between locations.
  • Cloud based resources — having the ability to spin up applications and systems remotely allows complete flexibility for your business, even in the event of your primary business location becoming completely unavailable. It also provides complete flexibility and scalability for your business because the cloud-based environment is able to instantly provision any environment your business may require.

Interested in learning more about ECMSI’s layered security? Call Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, today at: (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

Why Do You Need to Back Up Your Data?

Your business data is the lifeblood of your company and the amount you are collecting and storing is growing all the time. Imagine the impact if you lost a day’s data, a week’s data, a year’s data, due to inadequate or infrequent back-up processes. What would happen—could you recover?

Why Do You Need to Back Up Your Data?

  • Simple Recovery. People make mistakes and frequently. Emails containing viruses are accidentally opened every single day. There’s no reason to stress about the issues if you have frequent backups to restore when you’ll need them most.
  • Audits and Taxes. Tax authorities are notorious for audits. It’s important for companies to maintain financial and accounting data for tax purposes.
  • Archiving. Backed up information streamlines the development of archives. With digital information, company history is in the making.
  • Data Loss Prevention. We’ve all heard about or experienced a tragic loss of data. The main reason for data backup is to save important files if a system crash or hard drive failure occurs.

How Can Data Be Lost Unexpectedly?

  • Computer Crashes
  • Virus/Malware Infection
  • Hard Drive Failure
  • Theft
  • Physical Computer Damage

Benefits of a Managed Backup

  • Low Cost of Ownership. A fully managed data backup and restore solution for the same or less than a capital purchase that you have to manage yourself.
  • Total Peace of Mind. You can rest assured that your business data is safe and being handled by experts, which means you can focus on your business.
  • Reduce Your Day-to-Day Operating Costs. While most solutions require full backups periodically or in some cases daily, our solution only requires an initial full backup then from that point stores only incremental file changes. This saves you money in storage space, data transfer costs and server load.
  • Safeguard Business Information. Since the solution takes backups in terms of changes, you will be able to recover files, even older revisions.
  • Ensure Business Continuity. Backup your most critical business applications to ensure that you can get quick access to restore systems that would have the most impact to your day-to-day operations if they were down.
  • Increase Productivity and Decrease Downtime. With our rapid restore capabilities, we will minimize the costs associated with lost productivity and downtime.
  • Detailed Reporting Information. No longer will you be unsure of how well your data is protected. We will provide you with reports monthly that let you know that your data is safe!

ECMSI’s Backup Solution

managed backup service from ECMSI ensures that all files are automatically backed up as frequently as every 15 minutes if needed. And it will likely cost less than your monthly phone bill. So, how much is your data worth?

Call Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, to learn more about ECMSI’s managed services, security services and backup solutions: (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

What is Proactive Security?

Almost every Managed Service Provider (MSP) will promise you a “proactive” cyber security approach. With the idea of a proactive approach, businesses small and large expect their MSP to prevent cyber attacks and data breaches and MSPs would like to ensure these issues do not escalate. It’s not always clear what proactive means. Here’s some additional information to ensure you’re receiving the best approach when it comes to your network security.

What threats are you facing?

Before any SMB can work towards the prevention of cyberattacks, it’s important to understand what threats you’re up against. You should review the most common cyberattacks in your industry at least a few times per year.

What is it that you’re protecting?

Take some time and document every company device that connects to the internet. Review what services you have to protect those devices and what they have access to.

Create a baseline of protection

Before you can start improving your cybersecurity approach, you need to know where your baseline is. Devise a handful of real-life scenarios and simulate them on your network. Network penetration testing from trustworthy IT professionals will help pinpoint weak spots in your current framework.

Finalize a plan

With an experienced MSP on board for the entire process, you can easily turn these findings into a layered proactive security approach.

An MSP will train everyone in your office about effective security practices such as spam awareness and proper device usage. They will also dedicate their tool set to ensure:

  • Software, licenses and patches are up-to-date
  • Dangerous and unsecured websites are blacklisted on your network
  • Training is provided for office staff to educate on the most effective security practices
  • Your data is protected and backed-up
  • Front line security defenses are put into place
  • and much more.

As soon as you focus on preventing downtime events instead of reacting to them, your IT infrastructure will increase your productivity. EMCSI offers a FREE Network Health Assessment to identify what devices are on your network and where your vulnerabilities lie.  Call Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, today to schedule : (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

Disaster Recovery: Is Your Business Ready?

Your organization is running like a fine tuned machine. Every single piece is in place from your employee’s to processes and the critical technology it takes to run your day to day operations. It has taken years to cultivate and get your process down, but it is all still a work in progress. There is always going to be obstacles that come your way that have to be tackled on to keep your business moving forward. The last thing your business needs while trying to grow and move forward is an IT disaster.

Disasters can come in many forms, events like hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes can definitely put a damper on daily activities, but the type of disaster that has been recurring more often and is more of a silent player are IT disasters. Equipment failures, ransomware and other malware can really cut down your businesses productivity and make it hard to focus on your core activities. When IT problems strike, companies are always faced with putting in more time and resources than they need to in order to fix these problems. Downtime is something no organization can afford to have.

According to a report from the IT Disaster Recovery Preparedness (DRP) Council, one hour of downtime can cost small companies as much as $8,000! But what are some of the major causes of this IT downtime? A survey from a disaster recovery service provider Zetta provided some common causes of IT downtime.

  1. Power Outage
  2. Hardware Error
  3. Human Error
  4. Malware
  5. Natural Disaster
  6. Onsite Disaster

IT systems these days are critical to the success of a business, it only makes sense that every business has an IT disaster recovery plan.  Imagine if your business is being held up by some malware, which if the right prevention tactics were put into place would have never even happened. It can be quite frustrating. IT disaster prevention is also a very specialized plan. These plans need to include the following:

  1. A Statement and overview of the goals of the plan
  2. Contact information for key personnel and disaster recovery team members
  3. A Diagram of the entire IT network
  4. Identifying the most critical IT assets
  5. List of software, licenses keys and systems that will be needed in the recovery effort.

For a small business owner these resources can be scarce and hiring those specialized in IT can be quite expensive. Small business shouldn’t have to worry about their IT, they should stay focused on growing their business and maintaining a safe, productive digital environment for their employees. A managed service provider like ECMSI can be your main partner in IT disaster recovery. An MSP will be proactive about your environment fixing up any issues that could arise before it causes any damage to your network. This leaves you with peace of mind that your business is safe and protected. Contact Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, today for additional information: (330) 750-1428.

www.ecmsi.com

Tips for Staying Safe While Online Shopping

Labor Day weekend. The time for family, friends, fairs, cookouts and…. shopping! While it’s undeniable that holiday deals are some of the best around, it’s important to always keep your security in mind before purchasing. Check out the below tips on ways to keep yourself safe while online shopping this weekend:

1. Shop Secure Sites Only

Prior to entering any of your personal or financial information, it’s important to make sure the site that your one is secure and legitimate. The easiest way to tell if your site is secure is to check for the “https” at the beginning of the site address. If you’re finding yourself wanting more information  on how to know if a site is secure or not, check out this link here!

2. Don’t Use Your Debit Card

When online shopping, it’s best practice to use credit cards or a payment service like PayPal. Credit cards offer more security and less liability is a card number gets stolen. Because debit cards are linked to your bank account, you become a much higher risk if someone is able to back your information.

3. Beware of “Too Good to Be True” Links

Before you start clicking around, take precautions on accessing links that seem a little too good to be true, especially on social networks. If you find yourself really tempted by an offer, save yourself the risk and do some research or find someone else who has tried to take advantage of the deal before clicking.

4. Create Stronger Passwords

We know. We’re always stressing the importance of stronger passwords. But unique and secure passwords are your best gate keeper when keeping your information private. Want to beef up the security to another level? Use a 2FA: you can read more about this here!

5. Outsmart Email Scams

Similar to avoiding click-bait links, beware of email scams. Email scammers send out malware and viruses by disguising them as “special offers” or “gifts”. Safe bet: Don’t open emails from people or companies you don’t know. Especially those who alert you that “there may be a problem with your account!” – if you’re genuinely worried about the safety of your bank account, give your bank a call.

It’s always important to follow safety protocols when accessing websites, emails and more. Score some great deals – but keep it secure!

Partner With A Managed Service Provider – It Just Makes Sense!

The world of IT is constantly evolving. Regardless of business size or complexity, at some point, assistance is needed. Innovations, such as cloud computing, have significantly impacted the IT landscape for businesses of all sizes. For SMBs, these changes can be daunting. That’s where managed services come in – to give your business all of the new tools without a significant investment in new equipment and talent.

By using an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP), a business has the opportunity to hand over all day-to-day IT tasks and maintenance so they can focus on growing their business. There are numerous ways a MSP can help keep your business productive – check out a few of these benefits below:

Maintenance

The daily maintenance of servers and desktops, from software patches to reboots, can all be outsourced by a MSP. The biggest benefit of outsourcing IT support is the advantage of expecting a fixed cost and freeing up internal business to focus on the core of your business.

A MSP is almost always equipped for advanced remote monitoring that keeps tabs on internet traffic, performance, software patches and more. The resources required for constant monitoring, both in technology and personnel, can be prohibitively expensive for a small business, and removing that load makes good fiscal sense.

Support

An IT managed service provider can easily function as the internal help desk for a small business. Everything from basic troubleshooting of desktop PCs to restoration from major server crashes can fall within the purview of an outsourced IT firm.

In most cases, the external company will have greater support resources available than the IT department of its client. Services like 24/7 support and troubleshooting of highly specialized software are fixed, predictable costs included within a standard service plan without the need to rely on just one or two people within an organization or invest time and money on staffing up internally.

Cloud and Hosting Services

The cloud is here, and it has changed the modern workplace. Cloud services allow the workplace to extend far beyond the office with safe, secure access to files and documents from home or on any mobile device. Cloud-based collaboration software increases employee productivity and satisfaction, leading to a happier and more profitable business.

However, the multitude of cloud software packages available today is daunting, to say nothing of the cost and expertise required in building a private solution. A small business is often in the position of knowing what it wants to achieve, but not having the time or resources to spare in devising and implementing a workable plan.

An outsourced IT firm has been there before, and maintains the breadth and depth of knowledge to select the right platform for any use case. Allowing internal IT to spec out custom software and then outsource the nuts and bolts of development to an external firm helps maintain forward momentum. The freedom to move on to the next strategic target without being bogged down in routine help desk tasks is a boon to a small IT department.

At a fraction of the cost, partnering with an MSP can help businesses achieve the same end result as adding an entire IT department.  Offloading IT tasks to an MSP means more time and energy to spend on real progress, improvement, and ultimately, growth.

ECMSI is the area’s leading Managed Service Provider with the most proactive IT approach and quickest response time in the industry. To learn more about ECMSI and our services call Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, at (330) 750-1428

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4 Things To Look For When Choosing an MSP

Trusting another company to look over your IT infrastructure can be a very difficult thing to do. Today’s business landscape requires organizations to be increasingly dependent on the strength of their cyber security and IT team to hold the fort down and keep the company moving day to day.  But technology and cyber security is an industry that is constantly evolving, and the challenges businesses are facing include how to keep up and finding out what the right questions are to ask when choosing an IT partner. The following guidelines can help lead business owners in the right direction.

1. Can They Prove Themselves?

Many MSP’s (managed service providers) claim that they are the premier, number one or most experienced in your area, but can they prove it? A truly premier MSP should be willing to show you their operations and invite you to their headquarters to see just what resources they have and how they plan to achieve your IT goals. This level of transparency should come with any MSP that wants your business. If you are willing to trust them with your company data, they should be at least able to show you their operations and make you familiar with their staff of IT professionals that will be handling your infrastructure. Successful experts should also reflect a proven track record for dealing with IT issues, so do your research! Look around to find testimonials from other companies that are dealing with this MSP, do they have nice things to say? MSP’s that have open client testimonials and good reviews should be on top of your list for a potential partnership.

2. Don’t Be Another Line Item

Your business is unlike any other, even others in your industry do not have the exact employees with the same exact processes, so why should your technology services be any different? Each organization’s pain points are unique and require customized solutions. If any other MSP is not willing to approach your company’s technology requirements with a tailored technique and a process that focuses on your individual need, then they are not providing the highest level of value.

3. Don’t Think Just Do

Continually identifying incidents, potential threats and risks in a network infrastructure should be a required task for all managed service providers. However, just identifying threats isn’t enough. Working to fix identified holes in an organizations security strategy requires a huge level of focused analysis and evaluation. An MSP should not only be able to fix your problems, but they should be able to do so within a reasonable amount of time. Downtime to an organization is critical, no one can afford for their operations to be put to a screeching halt, especially because of some technical issues. Find that MSP that will guarantee you they will be there when needed and within the time you need them to be.

4. Find a Business Partner

The role of a good MSP is to work cooperatively with a company’s top executives to create a strategy that is relevant and comprehensible throughout the business.  They should form a partnership with you and your team in order to help the business grow. A top expert should be able to take confusing topics and make them clear.  They should understand that one size does not fit all and a cookie cutter approach to IT does not work anymore. Finally, a good MSP should be able to narrow down the issues to create a cost-effective solution for your organization.

If you have any questions regarding MSP’s and how one can help your business, please feel free to give us a call at 330-750-1428 ECMSI is here to make IT easy!

The Cost of Cyber Crime

Cyber Crime. It’s extremely expensive to those companies who become victim. Cyber crime not only has an upfront cost to fix, but many times cyber crime can affect the end consumer of a business. A cyber crime can ruin a companies credibility and relationship with their end consumers. When this happens, the business is not just faced with the cost of fixing the issue but also how this can effect their future endeavors. So how much are these malicious attacks costing the various businesses and corporations around the planet?

According to the business consultant firm Accenture, cyber crime has increased over 23% over the past year and shows absolutely no sign in slowing down. The company decided to get the information from a poll conducted to over 2,100 global organizations. The report shows that if the cost of cyber crime would spread out it would average to about $11.7 million per business

The study then separated the cost by industry and country, it found that the most hard hit firms were in the financial and energy industry. Financial services suffered a loss of $18 million while energy followed closely at $17 million. When the study looked at various numbers for different countries. It found that US firms incurred the highest average cost of any other country at a whopping $21 million with the lowest being Australia at $5 million. The statistics also showed that on average each firm suffered about 130 breaches/network or system infiltration’s each year.

The most interesting find in the article is how long it took for these firms to recover from various attacks. The study stated that attacks by malicious insiders took an average of 50 days to resolve while ransomware attacks took over 23 days. The time being spent to fix these issues has caused a huge ramp up in prevention for cyber attacks. Companies are now adopting a more dynamic security strategy that builds resilience from the inside out instead of only focusing on a border wall that will not let anything in.

It is becoming increasingly important for business of all sizes and industries to prepare and be pro-active about their business and IT network. A cyber security problem is one that no company can afford to have when there are many other important and critical business tasks that need to be done. The director of Accenture Security stated that security investments in the right areas can make a difference in reducing costs and preventing potential hazards.

6 Signs That Your IT Network Isn’t Healthy

If you’re reading this, there is a pretty good chance you’re concerned about your businesses IT network.

We wish we could assure you that your network is fine, but we talk to business owners every day who are dealing with network issues. Sometime these issues are minor, but other times they bring business to a dead stop.

Either way, these network issues cause some downtime, which can put a huge hole in business productivity.

The truth about downtime.

Downtime causes a whole slue of problems in an organization. When your technology is offline, your staff can’t work. Your customers can’t get the support or service they need. You may not even have phone or email service. The end conclusion? Downtime is bad.

In an article by CNN, they reported that the average cost for IT network downtime for small businesses dealing with ransomware attacks exceeds $100,000. This form of cyber attacks is also just one of the ways a network can go down.

Basic hardware and software maintenance is extremely critical. For the most part, technology gives you ample warning that your IT network is in trouble. The trick is knowing what warning signs to look for and understand how important it is to heed those warnings.

6 IT Network Warning Signs

The trick to understanding network signs is knowing what to look for.  Once you know what to look for, IT network warning signs are not hard to identify. In fact, they tend to stand out.

If you’re dealing with any of the following red flags, its probably time to take a closer look at your IT network- or call on the help of a reliable IT consultant to get your network back up to speed.

1. Things Are Moving Slower Than Normal

Let’s say the employees at your office use a shared drive for big files—something like image files. Normally, you can access the shared drive in a matter of a few seconds. Downloading even a large file rarely takes much longer.

And then one day, it takes four times as long.

Changes in IT network speed are often indications of some kind of problem. The server may have an issue, or you may need to tend to your network cabling. It could even be your Wi-Fi connectivity. The one thing you shouldn’t do is just suffer through it. Slow network speeds are typically a symptom of some other issue.

2. Temperamental Wi-Fi

Speaking of Wi-Fi, if you find your connection dropping on a regular basis, there is likely an issue behind it. Wi-Fi technology is well past the testing phase. Once your wireless IT network is set up and configured, it should be reasonably stable.

If you’re in doubt, ask around. When others in your office are experiencing the same kind of wireless drops, that’s not a coincidence. It means something’s wrong.

 3. Reboot. . .Then Reboot Again..

One of the most common troubleshooting techniques is pretty simple, and we have all done it before, the reboot.

But rebooting a computer (or server) can fix a lot of problems. Similarly, if you’re having issues with a specific application, closing it and reopening it often clears things up. When you restart (your computer, server or an application) the code can start from square one and hopefully it won’t encounter the same problem again.

But you shouldn’t have to restart constantly. If you do, that’s a sign of an ongoing problem, not a one-time issue.

 4. Bringing on the Heat

A common hardware failure warning sign has to do with the temperature.

Most IT network hardware produces heat. That’s why computers have fans—to help disperse that heat and keep the delicate inner workings at a comfortable temperature. If there’s too much heat, it can damage hardware.

Here’s what to look (and listen) for. If your computer’s fan is running on high all day, that’s a bad sign. If your laptop or desktop is physically hot to the touch, that, too, is not a good sign. And if any piece of hardware shuts down due to heat, pay attention.

It’s much more convenient to replace hardware before it fails than to scramble for a replacement after it had a meltdown.

5. Too Many Workarounds

Something about the IT network isn’t working properly. Maybe there’s an ongoing error message or the printer fails every other time someone tries to print something or one of the applications everyone relies on is clearly outdated.

But instead of addressing the issue, the staff just work around it.

If your office has some kind of elaborate plan B to deal with an IT network issue, it’s time to stop accommodating the inconvenience. Rather than changing how you do your job, take care of the underlying issue with your IT network—whether that’s a needed upgrade, routine maintenance or some other fix.

6. The Warning Sign You Do NOT Want to See

If you’ve already experienced data loss, hardware failure or a cybersecurity breach, then it’s well past time to assess the health of your IT network.

Any of these three issues means you’ve already suffered through real impact to your business. You’ve likely incurred downtime, lost opportunity, and maybe even a hit to your reputation. Don’t assume lightning won’t strike twice. You’re not in the clear until the underlying problem has been addressed.

Reevaluate the state of your hardware, ramp up your cyber security, and be sure your business is protected and prepared for the future.

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

There are times when IT network trouble happens out of the clear blue. But the vast majority of the time you can see it coming—if you know where to look.

One of the best ways to proactively maintain your IT network is to keep an eye out for these warning signs. If there’s a potential issue, address it before it has the chance to slow your business down.

For information on how to protect your IT environment, contact Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, at 330-750-1428.  Our goal at ECMSI is to focus on your IT, so you can stay focused on growing your business.