3 Ways Cloud Services & VoIP Technology Can Enhance Business Collaboration

Over a full year after a monumental shift to work-from-home, a number of companies are heading toward a hybrid workplace where employees have the flexibility to rotate in and out of the office and access what they need through cloud services. One potential roadblock to a successful hybrid workplace model is the upfront investment in tools and systems that can support a blended workforce. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few of these investments in greater detail and why it’s so important to implement them as soon as possible. 

For more ways technology can change your workplace for the better, reach out to the experts at Delval Technology Solutions.

#1 Enable a Digital Workplace with Tools to Conduct Business Anywhere

If you want to harness the power of mobile collaboration, it’s important to make sure that your team has the right tools to sustain a successful mobile experience. Are your workers able to do the same work from their laptop or cellphone as they can from their desktop computers? If not, invest in technology that can make key applications accessible. 

To boost collaboration, you’ll want to set your team up with a digital toolset that can bring your entire staff together through email, video calling, group chat and synchronized calendars.

#2 Take Your Collaboration Tools to the Next Level with the Cloud

In past years, enabling your business with advanced collaboration technology required complex, time-consuming and expensive infrastructure. But now, with the rise of cloud technologies and cloud-hosted applications, advanced collaboration is well within reach. Whether you’re looking to collaborate in real-time through virtual meetings or asynchronously through shared workplaces and files, innovative cloud services are sure to take your collaboration tools to the next level. 

Cloud-based business applications are easy to deploy, maintain and access. Even better, your critical data and files are automatically synced and accessible from any of your internet-ready devices. No more confusion over which file version is the most recent or frustration over who can’t access a file off site. Some common cloud-delivered collaboration services worth looking into include Dropbox, OneDrive and M-Files. 

#3 Integrate VoIP with Your Existing Tools and Applications Integrate VoIP with Your Existing Tools and Applications

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that converts voice into a digital signal, allowing you to make phone calls over a broadband internet connection as opposed to a traditional landline. And VoIP technology can integrate different multimedia so you can turn an instant messaging thread into an impromptu virtual meeting. Better yet, there’s no need to purchase extra hardware or software from yet another vendor. With VoIP, you have more options than ever for real-time collaboration, all with your existing equipment. 

Are You Ready to Grow Your Business? 

If you’re ready to deploy a forward-thinking technology plan that integrates tools essential to real-time collaboration, such as cloud services and VOIP, it’s time to partner with the technology experts at Delval Technology Solutions. You’ll receive ongoing support, up-to-date insights and all the tools you need to set your business up for success.  

The In’s and Out’s of PCI Compliance

Paul runs a distribution company. They package, send, and deliver orders all over the area, and most of the transactions they deal with are electronic. Their servers are teeming with data from these transactions, including bank account and credit card numbers. Two weeks ago, Paul had to fire someone in the warehouse. The employee felt the need to get even, so he copied scores of credit card numbers that were in an unsecured folder on an office desktop. This compromised Paul’s entire operation and he knew he was going to face

consequences. He had been to lax on protocol for his network, and knew that when asked if he validated his PCI compliance the answer would be no. What happens, and what can you do to avoid being a Paul? Read on to find out.


PCI, or PCI DSS, stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. It was enacted in 2006 by the PCI Security Standards Council, which includes major credit card companies including Amex, Discover, Visa and Mastercard. Due to the rise in E-commerce and the subsequent rise in account breaches, it was put into place as a set of guidelines to ensure that customers account information is safe and to protect these companies against heavy losses. PCI has six goals, each with separate requirements for merchants

and businesses to follow.


Noncompliance can be a very costly thing. These fines on the regulatory side can be between $5,000 to $100,000 dollars per month depending on the violation. The fines are collected every month until compliance is reached. On top of that, your business will most likely face steep penalties from the card providers to cover their damages as well. While these charges may be manageable for big businesses, for small to mid-size businesses, these can be death sentences.


As stated before, the PCI SSC put together a list of 6 goals for your business with 12 steps to follow. They wanted to make these as easy as possible to implement as the goal is not levying fines but protecting businesses, customers, and themselves from cyber criminals.


The first goal is to “build and maintain a secure network.” This involves setting up security measures such as firewalls to protect data from being leaked. It also requires businesses to use custom passwords and change them regularly to further keep your network safe from intrusion. This is a very easy to manage step that can be implemented either in house or with a compliance forward MSP such as Delval Technology Solutions.


This goal is about protection of the data when sending through a network. We all know how credit card processes work at this point. It starts with the vendor and the information is transmitted to the financial institution for processing and approval. Different vendors have different networks, so encryption is the focus of this goal. Card information should only

be stored for necessary regulatory, business or legal purposes. When you do keep the data, you must block out key information such as cardholder name and the first 12 digits of the card. By properly encrypting your data, you can protect yourself and your customers from data-thieves and keep yourself within PCI compliance.


No network is impenetrable. In fact, the best offense against being hacked is awareness and defense. A proper vulnerability management plan is key to this. Always make sure your anti-malware and anti-virus software is up to date and running. Regular tests and assessments should also be run in order to spot any new vulnerabilities and ensure your network is

properly protected.


A big part of securing your network and maintaining compliance is making sure that only approved parties within your enterprise can access credit card data. This has to operate on a need-to-know basis, making sure that your employees only have the least amount of relevant card data to do their jobs. If it does not have to be seen, it should not. In addition, you need to employ robust passwords, which are defined as at least seven digits and have numbers, letters, and characters. Multifactor Authentication needs to be in place, making sure that anyone trying to access the system is verified via a second step. Finally, just as you have to separate your trash from your recycling and put it out to the curb on a certain day, you have to follow specific rules for holding and disposing credit card data. Unless otherwise stated by law, you must dispose of this information after 90 days, and must be destroyed after that point.


This may seem like goal 3, but this refers to your transaction network. Any endpoint or transactional system you are using needs to be monitored and tested on a regular basis. Transaction logs must be put on a central server and kept for one year. These logs should be reviewed daily to ensure that any potential breaches can be identified. On top of this, penetration tests should be run regularly to find vulnerabilities within your system.


We make plans for everything we do. We have maps and routes for trips, plans to meet friends, blueprints for buildings and just about every other facet of our lives. Your network needs a plan that is both thorough and easy to follow. You must have protocols for how to handle every part of the process of completing a transaction, for how to store, process and dispose of data, and to protect your network. Having this policy not only helps you and your team follow proper steps, but also helps any regulators looking track your work, making everyone involved life easier.

In the end, Paul had to shut down his business over this issue. Had he partnered with a focused MSP such as Delval Technology Solutions, or followed these guidelines, he would still be fulfilling orders. Don’t be Paul. Follow these simple guidelines, align yourself with a great MSP who can handle your compliance issues, and remove a major headache for doing business. You can thank us later!

Is it Time To Break Up With Your In-House IT?

The world of business changes at a pace that is unmatched. In the past year we have seen companies move from an office-based workflow to a work from home model. Software that used to have to be purchased yearly every time it updated has been replaced by subscription services. Onsite hardware to back up data has been replaced by the cloud. One thing that has not changed, however is the need for IT support. While many companies still employ the traditional IT guy or gal, others have found that going the MSP route works

much better. What is best for your business? Having a dedicated IT person certainly has it’s merits. They are employed by you, making your business their primary focus. Your IT person knows the ins and outs of what you do and have a relationship with both you and your employees. They are a specialist, which can be a good or bad thing, which we will touch on in just a bit. Let’s unwrap some of the gaps that can be caused by an in-house IT person, and why an MSP may be better for you.


Having a good to great in-house IT guy will normally run you in the six-figure range. This is not to say they are not deserving of such a salary, but it certainly can be a big dent in the yearly budget for a small to midsize business. With an MSP, your costs are shared by multiple businesses also using that MSP, meaning you get IT expertise at a fraction of the cost. What is more, many MSP’s also offer packages that include much of the subscription software you use, giving you access to the best technology at a much lower price. This is one of the key benefits to an MSP such as Delval Technology Solutions, you get all the talent of an in-house IT person, at the fraction of the price.


When you have a single person handling your IT, you are beholden to them, even if you are the one employing them. They are the single source for expertise of your network and are just one person. If they get sick or go on vacation, well you can end up having your whole network stuck at a standstill. What if they leave? If that is the case, you have to find a

replacement, train them, get them acclimated with your network, and this process can take weeks if not months, leaving your companies needs vulnerable. With an MSP such as Delval Technology Solutions, you have a team working behind you, not just one person. If one person leaves, or goes on vacation or gets sick, nothing changes, you still get the same great service without all that pesky downtime.


We have all heard the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”. This refers to someone who is versed in many different avenues but doesn’t have a clear area of expertise. Most people in the corporate world fall into either that category or that of a specialist, highly versed in one area, but lacking in many others. This is no different for IT. Your in-house IT guy

may be a whiz at programming, but how are they at security? Your network is a multi-faceted system, that when working in harmony, can help propel your business to the next level and save you time, money, and anxiety. When it’s out of whack, it can have devastating consequences. Think of your IT staff as a doctor. You walk in with a broken foot to your general practitioner, who while familiar with feet, is not an expert. So what does he do? He refers you to a podiatrist. This is because the podiatrist specializes in feet. Now, if you were to walk into a major hospital, they have teams of specialists on hand, at your service depending on your ailment. That is the difference between employing an IT person, who is

akin to the general practitioner, vs hiring a managed service provider. A proper MSP, such as Delval, is like the hospital staff, teaming with specialists and experts for all of the moving parts of your IT needs, from helpdesk to security and systems management, for a fraction of the cost of a dedicated IT person.


As the old saying goes, time is money. When you experience a problem with your network, you need it handled as quickly as possible. Your IT person can handle this, if only one thing goes wrong. However, bugs, viruses, and attacks do not factor in your IT person’s capabilities when they happen, they just happen. Picture this, you have a system error that your IT person is rushing to fix. While they are handling that, you have two employees locked out of an account, potentially delaying them from reaching a deadline for a client.

On top of that, someone just opened an email they shouldn’t have and may have just compromised your server. These things happening one at a time can be bad

enough for an IT person to deal with, but if they happen all at once, that’s a recipe for disaster. With an MSP, you have a team at your disposal who can multi-task

and troubleshoot multiple problems at once. This saves you valuable time, which in turns, saves you money.

We get it, your IT person has been with you for a while. You probably have a bit of an emotional attachment to them. They know you, you know them, you are friendly. However, this is business, and at times we have to take a hard look at the facts and the numbers. Ditching your IT guy in favor of an MSP can do wonders for your enterprise. You will save money, as you are paying for a service that doesn’t need things like vacation days and insurance. You gain a variety of expertise as opposed to having one specialized employee handling a

network that has many different facets to it. You get a seamless experience without having to worry about a transition that usually comes with a ton of downtime, and you get the efficiency of a team working behind you. Is it time to drop your IT person and move to an MSP? Probably.

Data Loss and How to Protect Yourself In House and In The Cloud

Picture this. You spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars implementing a cloud solution to your network. Your team meticulously catalogs and backs up your data to the cloud. It’s working well, but you are still experiencing data loss. It is frustrating, as everyone has told you the cloud is the be all end all for backing up your data. There is some truth to

that. When you move your data to the cloud, it’s not backed up to a single server, but multiple servers around the globe, which does greatly reduce the risk for data loss. However, there are a few ways that your business can lose data in the cloud, as well as a few practices you can follow to ensure these losses are a minimal occurrence, and not a daily headache for your IT department and your business.


The cloud isn’t perfect technology. That is because there is no such thing as perfect when it comes to technology. These are ever-evolving platform and they are of course run by people. This brings us to the first problem, human error. We have all been there, you open a file, make edits, and forget to save your work. You open an email, click a link or an attachment, and before you know it, your data is corrupted, or you accidently save changes to a document that should not have been altered. We are human, and we all make

mistakes, and sometimes, those mistakes can lead to data loss.


Another issue that can lead to cloud data loss is third party apps. When some of these subscription apps update, they change format, which can affect your data. Data can also potentially be overwritten, such as if an update is occurring and a new file that is named the same thing as an old file, the old file will automatically be overwritten. This could also occur with entire folders.


The final way a data loss can occur is malicious activity. As you know, cyber-crime is on the rise, and cyber-villains are looking for anyway they can find to steal data, install ransomware, and engage in other malicious activity. Obviously, these actors can install software or use other methods to wipe out your data, regardless of your server if you happen to be a target. Remember, there is no such thing as an immunity to hackers, but there are always ways to protect yourself, some we have outlined in previous blogs,

and others we are going to show you now.


Due to it’s vast nature and multiple servers, the cloud is perhaps the most secure way to store your data, back-up your files, and run your network. However, you do have to make sure you take care of your network the same way you would your body. Just like you may have a daily routine for hygiene, exercise, diet, and relaxation, you should also have a routine for keeping your data safe no matter where it is and no matter what happens.

THE 3-2-1 Strategy

3-2-1 isn’t just for starting a race or blasting off anymore. In this case the 3-2-1 strategy is a great way to ensure that even if one method of storage fails, you are backed up. All data should have 3 copies, one original and two copies, on two different devices, with one off-site storage system. Therefore, it’s called the 3-2-1 rule.


While it seems obvious, backing up your data frequently is the best way to ensure that you have minimal headaches and minimal data loss. Make sure you have your auto-save feature enabled for any projects you or your team are currently working on. Utilize the 3-2-1 rule and make sure you have copies, and copies of your copies, stored safely and where authorized users can easily access them. Figure out which data is updated the most, and make sure they are the ones being backed up with a higher frequency. Use multiple methods

of back-up, both cloud and onsite hardware, as different backups work best for different type of data. There is no such thing as backing up your data to much, as it is better to be safe than sorry. That brings us to our next point…


Earlier, we mentioned that your files should be easy to distinguish. That was meant for those with internal access to your files. What about external access, which could be anyone, authorized or unauthorized. You want to make sure that you encrypt all files you back up. This will require authorized users to provide an encryption key to see said files. You want your account to be able to easily legible to say, your accountant, by having the file clearly labeled “Q3 2020 Financials”, but not to external operators who may be trying

to illegally obtain your data. Just like a burglar is going to look for houses with open windows and without security systems, hackers are looking the path of least resistance. If you have your data properly encrypted, the chances of having an outside force corrupt your data drastically decreases.


Who you choose as your internet service provider and your managed service provider can make all the difference. You want to know what they offer, down to the details of every feature, and if they put limitations on backups or maintain a backup schedule that differs from your own. A proper MSP such as Delval Technology Solutions will advise you on the schedule, on your hardware and software you are using for backups, handle your cyber-security needs and work with you to create a disaster recovery plan in case of an emergency.

Your data is perhaps your businesses most asset. System outages happen, breaches happen, accidents happen, but how you back up your data can mean the difference between a minor hiccup and a catastrophe causing productivity and financial losses. Cloud storage is a fantastic way to back up your data, but it shouldn’t be the only way you back up your data. Do not rely on automation alone, be sure to have multiple systems in place to back up your data, and protocol in place such as a back up schedule and a disaster recovery

plan. These things, along with the tips will surely save you time, money and headaches.

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Change MSP’s

Mike has been running his accounting firm for the past 25 years. As the time went by, his technology needs grew. What started as an office of two with two computers grew into a firm of 20, each with their own computer. When the pandemic hit, Mike decided to move his team to a remote model. When he did, he also hired an MSP, or managed service provider, as he knew he needed help. The first two months were smooth sailing, then something happened. As his MSP gained bigger clients, Mike’s company and his needs seemed to get placed on the back burner. Phone calls were not getting returned on time, help desk tickets went from hours to days, and the decision Mike made to help his

business, well, it began to hurt it. Mike was faced with a rough choice. He either had to hire an in-house, dedicated, IT staff, which he knew he could not afford to do, or to

dump his existing MSP. From there, he knew he needed to start shopping around immediately for a new partner, as tax season was coming up, and he could not afford any

more downtime.  The first time around when choosing an MSP, Mike went in blind, only knowing his immediate needs. Now, after dealing with his former provider, he knew what he wanted and more importantly, what he was not going to deal with. What are some other reasons people would want to change providers?



Response time is of the utmost importance when dealing with your company’s technology needs. Depending on the issue, minutes can cost you hundreds if not thousands in damages and downtime. No matter what the issue is, you want your MSP’s help desk to give you an expedient response. Not only could it save you downtime and money, but it will also make you feel your business is valued and not lost in the shuffle. Another big factor in this is the level of customer service. No one wants to feel dumb or like a second-class citizen, and it’s no different when dealing with your IT team. Ask yourself this “Does my MSP make me feel valued as both a business and a human being?” If not, it may

be time to move on.


Trusting a company with your systems and your data is hard enough as it is. After all, these are the things that power your business and allow you to track your performance. Your MSP exists to advise, implement, and optimize the technology side of your business. It is important that you can see the results of the work being done, and the changes being implemented. This allows you to know what is working and what isn’t, so you and your MSP can make changes accordingly. You could be getting the best advice in the business, but

without seeing the data to back it up, how will you know what is effective or what needs amending. The answer is, you can’t. Being kept in the loop by your MSP is invaluable, as is being able to trust that the decisions they are making are working as they told you they would.


Does your MSP get to the bottom of an issue the first time it happens? No company is immune to tech issues, be it firewall issues, system errors, or worse yet, breaches. How these are dealt with can be a make-or-break moment when choosing to continue with an MSP or changing course and finding a new partner. Do they take the band-aid approach, and just cover up the problem and keep it moving? Do they get to the root of the problem and fix it, ensuring that it goes from an avoidable issue to an issue that is being avoided? Those

are the questions to ask when analyzing your choice of partner.


This is perhaps the biggest concern when it comes to trusting an MSP and continuing to do business with them. In the past two years, we have seen a rise in MSP’s getting hacked. From the hackers point of view, it’s simple. Why take the time to hack one business for their data and access to their network, when you can hack an MSP and get that information for multiple businesses? You want an MSP that takes their security as seriously as your security, not one that fails to practice what they preach. Ask for an explanation of what they do on their end to protect the data of you, their other clients and themselves. You also need to make sure they take compliance seriously. An MSP that isn’t on top of their compliance isn’t on top of your compliance, and this has serious consequences. As covered in previous blogs, being found non-compliant can cost your company thousands, if not millions of dollars in fines depending on the sector you are in.


Do you look at your MSP bill every month and see things that you are being charged for that you never use? Does your MSP take a “one size fits all” approach?  Just like with your

cable company and other services you use in your personal life on a day-to-day basis, you want to make sure that you are only being charged for what you are using, not what you are not. A great MSP, such as Delval Technology Solutions will offer a la carte or tiered pricing plans to make sure that you are getting a solution that fits your business.

After doing his research, Mike realized that it was time to dump his existing managed service provider and move on. He knew what to look for, an MSP that was based on security, customer service, and proactivity. At first, he was cautious to trust based on his past experiences, but eventually he found the MSP that was right for him. They were willing to show him each step of the process, and he felt like their only client, although he wasn’t. Mike learned what many before him already have, a great MSP partner is invaluable.