Category Archives: Uncategorized

Importance of Data Back Up and Disaster Recovery

The loss of your critical business data can happen rapidly and without notice. Whether your office experienced a natural disaster that ruined your systems, you experienced hardware failure, or your data is compromised or being held ransom. What about human error? You could simply and accidently delete it yourself. Let’s talk about the importance of data back up and disaster recovery.

Data Backup

Data backup is a necessary part of your business and is important for cybersecurity, disaster recovery and business continuity and productivity. While you may not have experienced critical data loss, failing to keep clean and up-to-date backups is putting your business at a higher risk.

Why is it important 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.

Do you have a reliable backup solution in place?

If you lost all of your critical business data today – could you recover. The most effective way to ensure your business’ data backup capabilities are best is to work with an established and capable IT company. It’s important to check for the following:

  • Comprehensive Backups: Your data should be available for a quick recovery in instances of data loss, depending on the recovery plan you choose.
  • Acceptable Recovery Time Objective (RTO): Not all backups are the same and it’s important to find the right fit for your business. Here’s some questions to ask:
    • How long will it take to recovery files? Applications? Server? Full infrastructure?
  • Regular Testing: As a business owner, you can’t assume your backups will just work when you need them to. An established IT company should test your backups regularly and verify their effectivity if something were to go wrong.

ECMSI’s Backup Solution

A 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

Every Business Should Invest in Cyber Security. Here’s Why:

Cyber security is essential to businesses of all sizes. Learn how to keep your business up to date and protected from the most common digital threats.   Cybersecurity is no longer a concern exclusive to large corporations. Since the infamous attacks on Equifax, Target, and Apple, cybercriminals have started to shift their focus towards smaller businesses. Without proper security protocols, small businesses are sitting ducks even for novice hackers. In recent years, the cost of data theft targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) has risen significantly. The threat has prompted many SMBs to invest more heavily in third-party data security services.

Cybersecurity in A Continuously Evolving Digital Space

Ever-evolving technology makes the world more connected, but also makes data more vulnerable to attackers. Gone are the days when an antivirus, firewall, and email filter were enough to earn a passing cybersecurity grade. As criminals refine and improve their methods of attack, businesses and IT professionals must step up their defenses.

The most recent trend in cyberattacks is a shift towards SMBs, many of which lack the breadth and depth of data security that larger corporations are likely to have. Illicit tactics such as email phishing, direct hacking, and installing ransomware can spell big trouble for SMBs. If your data is compromised, the results can extend to your customers and other members of your supply chain.

Consequences of A Data Breach

The fallout from a data breach depends on the scale of the attack and the value of the data stolen. Hackers may be able to seize control of accounts, drain funds, freeze assets, and access sensitive customer information. If you operate in the healthcare or financial sectors, you may be liable to pay reparations in addition to suffering the cost of stolen capital and the inability to continue operations. The cost of a large-scale data breach can devastate even the wealthiest of corporations and will most certainly overwhelm a small business.

How to Improve Cybersecurity

A common misconception is that only large corporations can afford effective cybersecurity. In most cases, implementing cybersecurity isn’t merely a matter of money, but of proper training and awareness. This includes email phishing, which is often the first step attackers use to conduct large scale theft of usernames, passwords, and other sensitive data.

Educating and training your employees on cybersecurity minimizes the risk of data theft at the point of contact. Your business should have protocols to identify signs of phishing, choose secure passwords, and grant or deny access to information. You can also inform your customers about how to keep their information secure. Taking this two-pronged approach shows customers how committed you are to keeping their data safe.

Many small businesses do not have the personnel, expertise or time to put in their IT security and that is when they are put at a high risk for their business or employee data to be compromised. These proactive security steps are an absolute necessity to any modern-day business. ECMSI is the area’s leading IT Management provider whose goal is to keep its partners productive, safe, and secure.  Call today for a FREE Network Health Assessment and find where your network is vulnerable and where ECMSI can help! (330) 750-1428

4 Ways Co-Managed It Services Can Lower Your Operating Expenses

Co-managed IT offers a wide array of services to complement your company’s inhouse IT staff. Unlike a fully managed IT service provider, co-managed IT allows you to select which projects to keep in-house and which projects to outsource. A co-managed IT partner also provides additional knowledge and support to help reduce downtime and increase efficiency of your IT infrastructure. Some of the main benefits lie within the cost-saving advantages. Let’s check out how co-managed IT services can help lower your operating expenses:

1. Reducing the Need of Additional It Staff

Depending on your industry, it is recommended to have at least one IT support specialist for every 45-70 employees. A co-managed partnership reduces the need for additional staff members. In addition, it also still provides all the technological support your company may need. For a fixed monthly your employees gain access to unlimited IT support 24/7/365.

2. Vendor Partnerships

An established MSP has developed professional relationships throughout the tech industry. As a partner, your business can benefit from these connections for advantages such as special pricing on software or products.

3. More Time to Spend on Important It Projects

Is your IT department’s time is devoted towards day-to-day tasks such as helpdesk services? Though this is vital towards completing projects and hitting department goals, this inevitably results in lack of time spent on improving your current IT infrastructure. Keeping your IT infrastructure up to date with the latest technology is vital to protecting your hardware from cyberattacks and avoiding costly issues such as downtime.

4. Access to Additional Resources

Due to the ever-changing nature of technology, it can be difficult for your internal team to stay up to date with the latest IT best practices. Rather than having to pay for an additional service or hire a consultant, your co-managed partner can assist your business in resolving tedious projects and unresolved technical issues.

Do you think your team could benefit from co-managed services? We’re here to talk about it! Find out what it’s like to have a true partner in IT, and not just another service provider.

https://www.ecmsi.com/internal-it.html

What Are Your Business Goals for 2021?

As we approach the close of 2020, businesses are continuing to plan for the new year. In your plan for 2021, have you considered where you’d like to see your company establish a stronger foothold on technology? What about your business goals and how technology can play a big part? When your work with ECMSI as your Managed Services Provider (MSP), you’re getting a true partner in business and in IT.

Technology to Reach Business Goals

It’s established that small to midsized businesses are requiring more than just the lowest level of functioning technology to remain competitive. By partnering with ECMSI, you’ll become accustomed to quarterly strategic reviews, budgeting discussions and evolving services to ensure you have access to the technology needed to achieve your goals. We’re here to help your staff reach peak productivity and reduced downtime to ensure your business can continue to grow.

Cyber Security

Cyber Security should always be on a business owners mind. While this past year has proven how effective cyber security services can keep your business safe, many businesses are not prepared. Ask yourself: Are you protecting your critical data? Do you have current and clean backups? If you lost all of your critical data – could you recover? ECMSI’s robust cyber security suite keeps your business secure and offers total peace of mind.

Get Help Creating an IT Budget

When you establish business goals and the involvement of reputable IT support, ECMSI will help you stick to your budget and even help prepare for it. By being on the same page as our partners, everyone is able to stay on track with planning and expectations. Best part about budgeting with ECMSI? Quicker, more predictable decision making!

Planning for the new year is daunting but your IT strategy shouldn’t be. Want to learn more about how IT fits into your 2021 business goals? Let’s talk today: (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

YOUR COMPANY NEEDS AND IT SERVICE DESK. HERE’S WHY:

Think about it: You’re a business owner. Your company is growing. Your operations are beginning to expand and you find yourself struggling with the growing pains. You decide it’s time to offload your stress and find that there’s an easy way to handle your IT issues and get back on the speeding business track.

Below are Five (5) Reasons Why You Should Utilize an IT Service Desk!

No one has time for the aches and pains of IT issues.

Business is booming – you and your staff are busy.  When your team can’t focus on their work due to pressing IT issues – are they being productive or derailing your potential growth?

An IT service desk gives your team the opportunity to maintain focus on the success of your business and takes the responsibility of your IT issues.

Time = Money.

Again, you’re busy. But did you know you’re losing money the moment one of your employees stops focusing on their work to deal with an IT issue? After an employee tries to fix the issue, they’ve lost time on their responsibilities and trying to regain their focus.  That time would have better been used to continue the momentum of your company.

All these inefficiencies add up. Imagine the potential growth your team could have facilitated if you had the right resources on call.

Temporary fixes do not work!

Many small businesses don’t have an IT expect on staff. This creates a challenge for your other staff members who need to handle these IT issues as they arise. Even if these employees can work around the problem, they may have no idea how to work with technology.

This runs the risk of making things worse! You have the opportunity to solve these problems the first time by utilizing a skilled IT service desk.

Reduction in Operating Costs.

There’s real monetary savings in outsourcing your IT service desk.

When you outsource to an IT service desk, you’re opening your business up to a quality service provider who will address your issues strategically to help you meet your business needs and goals. They’re not just going to fix your issue this time.  They track your network error causing the issues and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

You don’t have to run into the same issues constantly. An IT service desk can provide solutions to better equip your team now and in the future.

Around the clock support.

It’s simply not practical for a small business to staff and internal IT service desk, especially if you’re needing 24/7 support. If you have your own internal IT, you’re limited to your resources by the business hours they work.

When you outsource your IT service desk, they are available all day, everyday.

ECMSI knows IT Service Desk Support

If you’re an small business owner and you’re serious about getting the IT service desk support you need when you need it, ECMSI is ready to help. Our service desk support is unparalleled. This is one of those business tools that can truly set you apart from the competition.

If you’re ready to focus on growing your business and alleviate the stress of IT, contact ECMSI today.

Tips for Safe Online Shopping During the Holidays

Tips for Safe Online Shopping During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and this year (more than ever), companies are moving their sales to strictly online deals. We’re taking this opportunity to keep our community aware of where they’re shopping and who they’re giving their vulnerable information to. Now is not the time to let cybercrime ruin your holidays – so, let’s take a look at some tips to keep your personal information safe this holiday season!

Do Your Research Before Purchasing from Unfamiliar Websites

Are you shopping from a website you’ve never heard of before? If the website and the deal seem reasonable and not too good to be true, check for the following before handing over your information:

  • Check the URL. Does it start with https? Websites with https instead of http are more secure from outside threats that are trying to steal your information but be aware, scammers can still create websites with https.
  • Look up reviews on a third-party website. Google and the Better Business Bureau offer legitimate reviews. Make sure there’s a significant amount of positive reviews over time.

Are You Supplying the Appropriate Information for Your Purchase?

If you’re purchasing from a legitimate business, they’re not going to request information that may see inappropriate. For instance, they won’t ask for (to name a few):

  • Your birthdate
  • Where you were born
  • Your social security number

Keep in mind you don’t have to fill out form fields that aren’t required and when in doubt, purchase from a different company.

Don’t Use Your Debit Card

Your debit card is directly linked your bank account. When online shopping, credit cards or third-party payment services like PayPal or Venmo keep themselves further removed from your money. Credit card companies and payment services like the ones listed above are required to have additional safeguards in place to protect you from fraud.

Although using your credit card is safer, it’s important to keep an eye on your statements and current activity. Credit card companies are quicker to dispute chargers and it’s easier for them to act against fraud or cyber-attacks on your credit cards.

Beware of Fake Promotions

While it’s not just during the holiday season, we’re more likely to receive an abundance of emails in our inboxes with deals that often times look too good to be true. While we do receive emails from companies we have subscribed to, be sure to check links prior to clicking on them. It’s also important to check the email it’s being sent from – because emails can be spoofed, too! Take the extra time to take additional precautions to avoid fraud, viruses, or malware.

Why You need a network health assessment

Cyber security should be a top concern for your business. While attacks hit the biggest and even the smallest companies, most businesses do not know where they’re most vulnerable. It’s imperative to your business security, productivity, and reputation to routinely evaluate your security measures to make sure you’re keeping your business safe. The main goal is to protect and back up your data, accepting a network health assessment offers additional benefits as well. Let’s check out some below:

Benefits of a Network Health Assessment

  • Uncover Vulnerabilities: When you take a deep look at your system, you may find vulnerabilities you’ve never considered before. Often times, it’s a simple as not updating your software or hardware failure. However, there could be deeper vulnerabilities such as ransomware or malware sitting on your network waiting to strike. It’s important to identify all hazards to close gaps on all possible security breaches.
  • Stay Compliant: Many businesses are responsible for following state and federal guidelines and regulations to protect their customers’ critical information. It’s important to stay ahead on compliance in order to avoid any fines or lawsuits.
  • Increase Productivity: By agreeing to a network health assessment, you have the opportunity to identify areas on your network that may not be performing efficiently. This allows you to identify issues, fix them and start to increase productivity.
  • Secure Your Investment: While staying proactive about cyber security, your business will save money by not active reactively.

What is Included in a Network Health Assessment?

When it comes to identifying and combating IT security threats, there are several items our network health assessment looks for, including but not limited to:

  • Passwords Set to Never Expire: User accounts with passwords set to never expire present a risk of use by unauthorized users.
  • Lack of Redundant Domain Controller: There is a heightened risk of business downtime, loss of data, or service outrage due to lack of redundancy.
  • Operating System in Extended Support: Extended support is a warning period before an operating system is no longer supported by the manufacturer and will no longer receive support or patches
  • Inactive Computers: Investigate the list of inactive computers and determine if they should be removed from the active directory, rejoined to the network, or powered on.
  • Spot Potential Threats: Look into actions that could damage your network including cyber theft, server failures, natural disasters, and power outages.

How ECMSI Can Help with a Network Health Assessment

Understanding what to look for during a network health assessment can be confusing and may even discourage you from accepting the support. By accepting ECMSI’s assistance in a network health assessment, at no cost or commitment to you, will give you the knowledge of a team of experts who are well versed in cyber security.

At ECMSI, we’re here to answer your questions and help you through a network health assessment to identify any potential risks. We’re here to learn about your organization and provide solutions to keep your business safe. Let’s chat today and get scheduled for this no cost or commitment service: (330) 750-1428

Signs That It’s Time to Upgrade Your Phone System

We’re preoccupied with the speed, storage, and software of our computers – but how often do you think about your phone system? If you’re like most, it rarely crosses your mind. However, it’s important to keep your phone system up to date before it becomes too expensive to repair or becomes obsolete. We don’t consider the risks to a failing phone system: lost calls, panic of finding a new system as soon as possible, disrupted business operations which results in decreased revenue, to name a few.

Now that you’re thinking about it, let’s look at the most common ways to identify an aging phone system.

1. You’re having to reboot your phone system more and more often due to intermittent quirks and delays, but you can never find a specific issue.

2. You’re experiencing more frequent hardware failure.

3. The software used for your phone system won’t work, even when you do the latest updates – or there are no updates available.

4. You have someone who services your phone, only they don’t service your system any longer and you’re having difficulty finding a qualified provider who does.

5. Replacement parts don’t exist any longer or you can only find used/refurbished parts that cost a fortune.

The above signs are indications that your system is outdated. Experiencing a decrease in productivity are more likely to become apparent to you as time goes on. To avoid the risk of sudden hardware failure, you might want to start researching into upgrading your phone system before it becomes too costly.

ECMSI has teamed up with Allworx® to provide one of the best-in-class phone systems to all of our partners. If you are a current partner, find out how ECMSI can help implement Allworx® in your office to deliver the best phone experience that includes the following:

  • Real-time sharing of contacts across mobile devices (via Reach), Outlook (via Interact Professional), and Verge IP phone
  • Remote control of Verge IP phone using your mobile device (via Reach)
  • Instant handoff of calls to and from your mobile device and Verge IP phone (via Reach)
  • Bluetooth® hands-free

ECMSI and Allworx® power an easy-to-use voiceover internet protocol (VoIP) phone system, whether in the cloud, onsite or hybrid, and will improve your business’s processes and boost staff and client communication. Let’s talk today: (330) 750-1428

https://www.ecmsi.com/voip-phone-systems.html

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.

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

should you switch your it company?

When you realized you’re not getting the most out of your IT investment with your current provider, you might just stick around – dreading the idea of having to switch companies. You’re probably thinking that changing IT companies is a daunting process but it’s important to consider the way your business is being affected.

While intimidating, switching IT companies can be a necessary activity. By switching, you can save your business from IT support frustrations and working with a company that does not help you achieve your objectives. Transitioning between companies is completely manageable. So, now you’re wondering, “How can this process be simplified?” Let’s discuss what to look for:

Characteristics of a Successful IT Company Switch

  • The IT company understands the risks and takes the appropriate steps to mitigate the risk
  • There’s a strict plan to follow to ensure a transition with minimal complications to your company
  • You gain more from your new IT company such as, more IT professionals, faster response times, increased productivity, and strong security, to name a few

Signs of a Good IT Company

  • The IT Company Prioritizes Cybersecurity: An IT company prioritizes cybersecurity by having protocols that will protect your network from changing cybersecurity threats. You can check their cybersecurity protocols with other clients and see if they have cybersecurity experts. A company that pays attention to cybersecurity reduces your vulnerability to cyberattacks. It saves you from the effects of network breaches, such as downtime, financial losses, data loss, and damage to your reputation. 
  • The IT Company Is Reachable: An IT company is reachable if they provide active communication channels, such as telephone numbers, ticket system, and email support. The company should also listen and act on your complaints or requests. Your organization may need to reach the IT company for clarification or during emergencies. You will have frustrations and avoidable losses if you cannot contact the IT company. 
  • The IT Company Ensures Compliance: An IT company can help you comply with regulations if they have the relevant certifications, hire professionals, and know the essential rules of your industry. For example, IT companies offering support to medical institutions should know and comply with HIPAA Rules and Regulations. Dealing with an IT company that helps you comply with rules can save you from penalties, such as hefty fines and suspensions of your licenses. 
  • The IT Company Provides Proactive Support: An IT company that offers foresighted support helps you identify IT opportunities and problems early. For example, they can have frequent maintenance of your IT infrastructure. These checks ensure your network works well, and you identify and fix IT issues early. Working with a proactive IT company helps you enjoy IT opportunities and deal with situations before they cause substantial losses. 
  • The IT Company Has Excellent Reviews: An IT company offers reliable support if its clients are saying good things about them. You may check for reviews on search engines, social media, or other platforms. Knowing what past clients say can inform your expectations and decision on whether to work with a company. 

Steps to Follow When Switching Providers

  • Don’t cancel your current IT Support just yet. Wait until the new company gets everything, they need to ensure a seamless transition.
  • Get administrative privileges from your current provider for everything on your network. It’s important to have a master list of all credentials and settings for your new provider.
  • Request that your new IT company does a comprehensive security review of your network, that way they can identify missing information and fix backdoors that could be putting your network at risk.
  • Communicate support changes with your staff. It’s important to keep communication open to help them understand new protocols, processes, and other important information.

Ready to Switch IT Companies?

ECMSI is here to help make that process as easy as possible At ECMSI we make a point of helping our customers thrive. By creating an effective network security system, we’re providing you with a competitive edge. Let’s talk today: (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com