Network Essentials: What Is No Longer Optional

Cyber-Necessities for your business

When we look at our enterprise expenses, oftentimes we tend to separate them between wants, needs, and luxuries. For example, we may want to have a brand-new trucking fleet, however we need to have our existing fleet maintain, and that pool table in the break room, well, that’s a luxury. What about when it comes to our networks? We know the networks themselves are necessities, but what about incidentals. Do we need an in-house IT guy? Must we have a help desk? Should we have a VCIO? While those are all logical questions, there are two main things that your business absolutely needs, proper security, and proper data backup, that not all MSP’s and IT personnel can properly provide.

It can not be stated enough that your data is the lifeblood of your business. It’s how you track your revenue, your employees, and your growth. It contains all of your important filings, from employee and customer records to your tax records. Therefore, it makes sense that you want to make sure that this important data is backed up on more than one device, just like in the paper days you would have multiple copies of all your important documents squirreled away in filing cabinets. Your managed services partner or IT personnel should be

aiding you in being on top of this.

Cloud technology is a necessity in this day and age as it not only allows your business to stay connected wherever you are, but it also allows you to keep your data offsite, and away from catastrophe. Onsite, you should be implementing backups as well. Utilizing external hard drives and other hardware, you want to maintain a proper backup protocol for

your data. There are reason these methods are what can be referred to as failsafe. Having a proper partner such as Delval Technology Solutions can help you avoid confusion and the hurdles that pop up to doing a proper failsafe data backup. They can not only advise you, but also implement proper systems, be it onsite hardware, or software-based solutions such as the cloud. This helps you avoid having excess downtime and anxiety over what happens if you lose your data. On top of implementing the system, they can also run maintenance and tests to ensure that if you ever do need to employ these backups, they are ready to go.

Ransomware, malware and other cyber attacks of all shapes and sizes are on the rise. You and your employees are most likely inundated with phishing emails, be it on your personal or business accounts. Hackers are fighting to turn company data into commodities on the dark web. Nowdays, cyber security can’t just be handled by basic firewalls and antivirus software. You need to be vigilant and treat security like you do HR, payroll, and everything else you need to succeed in business.

Consumer and employee trust is a vital component to a successful business. Breaches in your network can cause irreparable damage to your enterprise as well as your reputation. Cyber-crime has evolved. What used to be limited to highly skilled operators has morphed into an as-a-service network where everyone from computer experts to novices can partake in attacks on your network. For these reasons, you need to have someone in your corner that takes your cyber security as their full time job.

If you have IT personel in your company, take the time to ask yourself “What is this person’s expertise?” While some may be well versed in data backup, or fantastic at troubleshooting, they may not be experts in cyber security. This is why partnering with an MSP who focuses on cyber-security may be a crucial move for your business. These MSP’s, such as the good people of Delval Technology Solutions, don’t merely just check your network periodically. They can also train your staff on how to be security minded,

often with varied monthly training courses to keep them on the lookout for intruders. Also, they can test your system to see what holes can be accessed by cyber criminals.

Real time monitoring is also offered by security minded MSP’s. This means that not only are they maintaining your firewalls and anti-virus and anti-malware software but monitoring your network minute by minute to ensure that you are protected, and if there is a breach, it can be stopped before it wreaks havoc on your network. Finally, it’s important to realize that you must be on the right side of the law in order to properly run your business.

Compliance is a sector that can not be overlooked. Violating acts such as SOX, HIPAA and the like can cost you not only thousands if not millions of dollars, but also can

destroy consumer confidence. It’s not always an easy task. Compliance is an ever-changing thing. Each year, new laws and acts are passed, some federal and others on the

state level. Having someone watching out for you to keep your company compliant isn’t something that you can go without.

As a business owner, your eyes are always on the bottom line. However, you must not only look short term. Every decision you make in regard to what is necessary and what is optional can cause a ripple effect, be it positive or negative. Stay on top of your bottom line and on top of your game. Don’t cut corners on things that can be the difference maker between being a flash in the pan, or a long-term player in your industry.

What’s Up With Downtime?

When we think about the things that can stop a business dead in it’s tracks, our minds go to different things. Some may think of a lack of inventory. Recently we have seen problems due to a lack of employees. Others worry about being obsolete in the marketplace, like the milk men and shoe shiners of yesteryear. What about things that can cost a company lots of money? Issues such as not following ever changing laws, not keeping up to date with new technology, or the rising costs of everything from labor to materials. These are all real concerns, however one of the biggest issues a business can face is downtime.

What is downtime? You may think of it as a lack of productivity, which is partially correct. Simply put downtime is the amount of time between a systems outage and getting back up and running. Ask yourself the following question, “How long can my network be down for until I have to close my doors”. For many business owners, 90% in fact, the answer is three days. That is the same amount of time a human being can go without water. We are in the digital age, where everything our businesses do, from bookkeeping, to communications, to billing and the like are done via our network. A system outage for a business dependent on the network could be catastrophic and cost thousands if not millions of dollars in lost business depending on the length of the outage.

There is an old phrase, “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”. Proper preparation also ensures that you can bounce back from an outage and minimize your downtime. In the past year we have seen massive ransomware attacks that have crippled the supply chain, as well as made key agencies from medical facilities to police departments grind to a halt. However, what about the thousands of ransomware attacks that were unsuccessful? They are usually that way because the company or institution was proactive in being prepared in case of emergency. Take the attack on the Houston Rockets. In April, hacker group Babuk, the same group that successfully perpetrated a ransomware attack on the DC Police department, unleashed a ransomware attack on the NBA organization. However, the Rockets had something that the DC police did not. They had a disaster recovery plan. This allowed them to quickly shut down the attack without having to shut down operations, saving their data and cutting down their downtime.

Reducing downtime is not merely about your cyber-security needs. Think about this, you own a call center that handles logistical issues for trucking companies around the country. You have a disaster recovery plan in place in case of a cyber-attack. One day, a huge storm rolls in, lightening, thunder, and heavy winds. How prepared are you then? If your network goes down, then how do you continue to help navigate these fleets. Do you have a generator to keep the power going? Is your team able to work remotely from their homes or

vehicles on their mobile devices or laptops in case they have to leave the office or can’t come in? It’s called disaster recovery for a reason. You cannot just focus on what happens if there is an internal issue in your system, but also how you deal with external situations that can disrupt your day-to-day operations and cause heavy downtime.

These are just a few of the issues that you can run into that can cause business disrupting if not destroying downtime. What else can you do to ensure you are able to keep going no matter what the circumstances? To start, test your systems, constantly. Check on your backup servers, this way you can make sure that if you do need them, they actually do what you need them to; backup and restore your data. You should also be checking and assessing your facilities. This could be everything from checking for leaks near electronic equipment, making sure walkways are clear so no one is going to trip over a cable that could unplug key parts of your system, making sure your climate control is working to

keep your machines in tip top condition. Also don’t forget about our furry woodland friends who may wander in, racoons and squirrels love chewing through cables.

Give your space a once or twice over every week so you can be on top of any issues that may occur.

Pay attention to your machines. Oftentimes we get notifications that we minimize without reading that are warning us the same way your car’s check engine light lets you know you have a problem. These alerts are there for a reason and can help you stay on top of issues that may be about to occur. You want to maintain your servers with the same diligence that you would maintain your vehicle or your home.

Make sure you update your devices and software when new updates become available. Yes, this can be a chore as usually you have to restart after an update, but it can save you time and money. These updates aren’t just about new features and layouts, but oftentimes they contain patches. These patches allow the hardware and software to deal with reported vulnerabilities, helping keep you and your network safe from unwanted intrusion.

Finally, find yourself a great partner. An MSP, such as the folks at Delval Technology Solutions, can help you create and maintain a proactive plan that will keep your downtime low and increase your uptime. You would never go on a trip without turning your GPS on, so it makes sense that you would have a roadmap to follow in case of an emergency. With a great MSP by your side, you can count on not only expert advisement, but also having a team that can aid in implementing a top-class disaster recovery plan.

It has been said “It’s not about how you fall down, but how you get back up.” No company is impervious to disasters, be it an internal issue such as being hacked, or an external issue like a hurricane. How you deal with these issues is what makes the difference between a company that keeps moving full speed ahead and a train running off the tracks.

Your Guide to Safe Social Media Practices

We don’t have private lives anymore. While to many of us, including this writer, it’s unfortunate, it’s the truth of the modern times we live in. Social media has been with us since the early 2000’s with Myspace, but it has become increasingly prevalent in our lives and society with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram being a part of the average American’s everyday lives. You can reach old friends, let loose with your opinions on the latest music, TV and movies, and show pictures of everything from your pets to your kids to your food. However, just because it’s “ours” doesn’t mean it’s private, or that it cannot wreak havoc in real life, or as the youth says “IRL”. As a business owner, employee, partner, etc, your social media could be a great tool to expand your business or professional life, but it can also tank you before you know it.

Let’s start with the most obvious. The saying goes “The internet is forever”. As children we are taught never put anything in writing you wouldn’t want read or you wouldn’t say in public. People get to comfortable on social media, and it tends to bite back, hard. Take for instance, you have a rough day at work. In the past, you would go home, vent your frustration to a friend or significant other, and that is the end of that. Now days, people go and post their various gripes and groans on their social media. They oftentimes

to this without realizing these posts are visible to the world, including their employers and customers. People have lost business, lost jobs, and even lost their entire businesses by airing out the dirty internal laundry for the world to see.

People also forget that these pages are representations of them to the world, including people they engage in enterprise with. It was always commonplace to never talk religion and politics at the table to avoid offending or alienating people at best, or at worst, starting a massive argument. Take these manners to social media. If you own a business, understand that people viewing your page may hire you or buy from you. Why would you allow your opinion online to cost you money, when you would never do such a thing in real life.

Now that that’s out of the way, lets talk the safety issues. You must always make sure your pages on these apps, your personal ones, are set to private. This ensures that only people you accept can see your posts. This has nothing to do with your opinions, but with your safety, both online and in life. While many people use things like random password generators at work, in their personal life, it’s usually life events, pets, maiden names and the like that make up your passwords. Chances are, your social media is littered with this information. Yes, the picture of your daughter Mya on her birthday may seem completely innocuous. However, if your password is your daughters name and her birthday, you just gave hackers the keys to the kingdom.

Remember in movies like the Home Alone franchise when burglars are roaming the streets to see who they could rob while the homeowners took a vacation? They don’t even need to do drivebys in the days of social media. All it takes is perusing through someone’s page as they tell the world “We’re going to Florida for a week!” or posting pictures while on the go in some exotic locale. Now these criminals have just been given an invitation “Hey steal from us, we aren’t even home right now!”

For your business, be aware of the pictures you post. Showing off that new office? Well, be sure to check that you aren’t taking pictures of proprietary secrets, such as that new tech you have or that white board filled with equations. Showing off the new shipment is great, however, showing pictures of your back door or alerting the world as to what shipping or

maintenance company you use can be costly. This is how social engineers do their jobs, which is to steal from you. They crash an account with brute force, using passwords groomed from your social media. They see that you use FedEx, so they go online, buy a Fedex uniform (which is far easier than you think), then head to the backdoor and get let in by some unsuspecting individual. These methods can be used to get anything from access to emails, to access to bank accounts. In fact, most malware and ransomware attacks come from information gleaned from either data dumps or social media accounts.

They can gain names, like knowing that someone named (for the sake of argument) Linda Hamilton works in accounts receivable giving them a name to use as a referral. While your security may not be willing to abide “the account lady’s friend”, they may be more keen to give access to “Linda Hamilton’s nephew”, and next thing you know, they are in that secure area instead of bringing aunt Linda a cake.

How do you protect yourself? It’s nowhere near as hard as you may think. This is as simple as impulse control in some cases. Angry at your boss or coworker, keep it to yourself, or tell a friend offline. Make sure you set your pages to private. Keep any sensitive information that you use for password off of your page. Yes, you are proud that you got to go to that

vacation in Tahiti, just please wait till you get home to show off those pictures. Stage your photo ops at work, don’t just take pictures of whatever you please and post them. Use the 2FA provided by many of these apps so if someone is trying to breach your account, you know and can keep them out. Change your passwords regularly.

It's ok to be active on social media, it’s ok to have a private life. It’s also important to be vigilant about your online presence, for your own security as well as your piece of mind.

phishing prevention

Four Phishing Prevention Strategies Any Business Can Employ

Have you ever ignored emails from potential leads because you were nervous that they could be fake or malicious? In today’s world, we are taught to be skeptical of what crosses our inbox. Cyberthreats come masked in the form of trusted brands and lure users into sharing otherwise secure data. And while being crucial for business operations, email provides attackers with an opportunity to infiltrate your system. So, what can a business do to conduct business efficiently and safely? Here are four phishing prevention tactics you can utilize to stop hackers in their tracks.

1. Install Security Software on Your Computer

Hackers attack every 39 seconds - University of Maryland

As long as your computers have an internet connection, they’re set up for an attack. In UMD’s study, they found computers were targeted for attack more than 2,000 times a day. In the IT world, Secure Email Gateway (SEG) is one common path to phishing prevention. SEG is a device or software that scans employee computers for malicious content. An SEG blocks the delivery of the bad emails while allowing the delivery of good ones. And an SEG stops an email before it ever reaches its intended recipient.

2. Computer Updates

74% of attacks targeting U.S. businesses are successful - Expert Insights

Phishing sites are found 75 times more often on the Internet than malware sites. And more than one in five data breaches involved phishing. Hackers are not only increasing their activities; they’ve got a good likelihood of success. But if you’ve kept your data backed up, you’ll increase your recovery time and decrease downtime in case of a data breach. By maintaining backups in several locations and testing often, you’ll mitigate your recovery time — and save the reputation of your brand — in case of a data breach.

3. Train Your Employees to Defend Your Business

Half of data breaches are caused by machine and human error - IBM

When employees complete security-awareness training, they’re more likely to report a suspicious email. Requiring mandatory security awareness training for your staff will go a long way toward identifying malware the second it hits their inbox. Instead of acting as cybercriminals’ main targets, your employees can become your biggest defenders of business data after completing phishing security training.

4. Hire an IT Partner

60% of companies fold within six months of a cyberattack - Inc.

By far, small to midsize organizations take the brunt from a larger share of cyberattacks. But you don’t have to fight this David and Goliath battle alone. Your MSP can prevent the effects of cyberattacks on your business by enabling your computers with SEG, installing PDP, and training your team. Services provided by an MSP means you've got a partner in protecting your important data from phishing attacks. Outsourcing your IT security needs with an IT partner means you can let your MSP determine the best strategy for phishing prevention and protection, now and onward.

These threats are only the tip of the iceberg. Your MSP is your best guard against the threats posed by cybercriminals. Quit worrying about what emails your employees are being bombarded with and let Delval Technology Solutions be your 24/7 guard. Contact us for your security assessment today.


Take a second and look around your house. I am sure you see appliances abound, but do you see a phone? Not a cellphone or a tablet, but an actual hardwired landline. Chances are probably not. Now, think about your office. There it is there’s phones everywhere! In fact, businesses are perhaps the last place where we use classic landline phones. Stores, office spaces, garages, warehouses, all full of phones. You already knew that. What you may not have known is this, you do not need a traditional copper wire PSTN or Public Switched

Telephone Network phone line to run your phone system. In fact, you can use your high-speed internet connection and save yourself some money in the process. It is called VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol, and it can be a great tool for your business.

First hitting the market in 1995, VOIP was created to cut down on long distance bills for enterprises doing international business. Originally brought on the market by VocalTech, the first internet phone used existing internet connections to convert voice packets from analog to digital. Originally these systems were only able to execute phone calls, and at the time, high speed internet was only available to major institutions such as government agencies and universities, and to big business. Though voicemail capabilities and computer to phone and phone to phone calling was available, it was only adopted by about 1% of businesses since you had to listen to commercials to make and end a phone call. In the early 2000’s however, the true shift began. Broadband internet became more available to small and medium sized businesses and became commonplace in households around the country. In fact, by 2003, almost 25% of all business phone calls occurred using VOIP. When Skype first launched in 2004, companies began to realize the true benefits of VOIP, and the growth boomed.


VOIP is a more cost effective, feature rich version of traditional phone systems. Using SIP (Session Initiated Protocol) trunking systems, VOIP allows for multiple lines to be set up on the same connection, for oftentimes $30 less per line. The number of extensions far exceeds that of a traditional phone system. SIP trunking also allows for feature rich apps to be created and integrated into a calling platform. What is more, it allows for you to keep your existing phone hardware intact, as the sip trunk handles the digital to analog routing of the calls.

You may have called a local office and heard an auto attendant. This attendant directs you to any number of extensions in the directory and can even answer questions for you and give you information on the business. Other features that are usually additional costs, such as call waiting, conference calling and direct video calling, are available far cheaper

if not free with your voip service. This is all done through what is known as a PBX. PBX technology has been a commonplace in business for decades now, however, in its traditional form, it is costly. VOIP has done away with much of the costs, hundreds or thousands per assigned user, as all of the call routing is done through broadband, eliminating the need for costly PBX hardware.

Many companies have switched over to a remote work force over the past year. Keeping a uniform system, where customers and clients can’t tell if you are working remotely or from an office can be hard in these cases. However, with VOIP technology, you can integrate remote workers and their devices of choice into your telephone network. Due to the PBX technology and the broadband capabilities, VOIP can offer a seamless transition for companies wherever their employees may be. Many times, business are concerned with porting over their phone numbers if they have to change locations, service providers, or add and subtract phone lines. However, VOIP offers complete portability, allowing businesses to keep and transfer their phone numbers to any device via login, regardless of the device type or network. This helps cut down on confusion in case of internal changes.

VOIP and auto attendant technology can save your company time and manpower. Think of your secretary. They do so much for your business, data inputting, schedule maintenance, file and record keeping. By making sure they don’t need to answer a phone every five seconds, you are enabling them to focus on the important tasks at hand for your business, allowing automation to do the tedious work of routing and rerouting calls to your office.

When it comes to running your business in our modern times, both accessibility and scalability have become more than buzzwords, but part of the process we all need to follow. VOIP allows for your team to be reachable as long as they have a data connection, even in places that they are lacking in traditional phone connections. In previous eras if you were trying to grow your business, you had to get someone in to physically add a phone line and purchase new hardware for each additional line you were adding. With VOIP, these upgrades can be made with the click of a button, without having to acquire new hardware.

VOIP allows for integration not seen in traditional phone technology. You can send files to be looked over, documents to be signed, and even collaborate on projects, right through your phone. You can make calls on any device that has a microphone and a speaker as long as it is connected to a broadband connection. This is done utilizing softphone technology. Softphones are basically apps that use a devices internet connection to make calls, bypassing the traditional phone system attached to the device, or allowing calls if there is no traditional system at all. All you need is your network working on the same app, and your business is off to the races.

VOIP even helps with security measures. Have you ever received a phone call and seen a spam warning? This is because softphone technology allows for similar security protocols to your computer network, such as IP traces and encryption. This allows your end user to spot malicious calls and social engineering attacks before they hit your network.

If you want a safer, clearer, more flexible way to reach the people you need to daily, then VOIP may be for you. Talk to your local internet service provider, or your MSP partner, like the good folks at Delval Technology Solutions, and see if a VOIP system is right for your business.