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.


Why VOIP?

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.

WHAT BENEFITS DOES VOIP HAVE

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.


The Dark Web: Where Your Stolen Data is a Commodity

Your Data and The Dark Web At this point daily, you and your team are most likely getting emails, texts and direct messages from people claiming everything from needing a verification on a bank account, that you won a million dollars in a contest you didn’t enter, or HR needs your login credentials, from accounts that aren’t what they seem. These social engineering attacks serve one purpose, to get access to your network and grab your and your client’s information. This could be anything from logins to bank accounts, to social security numbers. While at times these are being used directly by the hackers themselves, for the most part, they serve another purpose. These are sold as goods and services on

the dark web.

WHAT IS THE DARK WEB

Think of the web like the earth. What we deal with every day, is akin to the part of the planet we live on and walk on. This is called the clear web, as it is the part that is the most visual to us. Beneath that,the crust into the core, is known as the deep web. In there are things that require access to enter, from files for corporations, data, and media to

streaming services, and everything in between. Inside the Deep Web, is the Dark Web. The Dark Web is a cloaked subsection that requires a special browser and a

VPN to access and is full of marketplaces where the illicit is traded, as well as housing sites for federal organizations, news, and social media accessible to

those in countries with blocked access to the internet. It is for better or worse, the unregulated version of the world wide web.

One of the main things for sale on the dark web is data. This data comes in the form of consumer records such as credit card information, bank information, passwords from everything to business networks to Netflix logins. These are often sold by hackers in the form of dumps. Dumps are when large troves of information are sold, oftentimes for under 100 dollars, to be perused through by malicious actors to gain access to useable accounts. While a dump may contain over 10000 credit card names and numbers, not all of

them will work. From there, hackers and scammers go through these to find the ones that will work and exploit these opportunities. Some of these scammers can even clone cards, creating usable physical cards that can be disposed of as needed.

The other thing that is sold is access to accounts. This goes past just providing the logins and letting the criminals figure it out for themselves. This is taking compromised accounts, be it Western Union, PayPal, Venmo or bank accounts, and making transfers directly from said accounts and into the hands of the would-be thieves. These are also sold on the dark web for pennies on the dollar, making the attractive for criminals looking to make a quick buck.

RaaS and The Rise of Cyber Attacks Cyber attacks have become lucrative business for this reason. Not only can they offer direct payment in the form of ransom, but also

a secondary source of income in the form of selling access and data to whoever can pay for it. For this reason, hackers are selling their malware, spyware, and ransomware in the same way Microsoft offers it’s Office365 service. Malicious actors from disgruntled former employees to amateur hackers can purchase this software ready made and ready to be unleashed on unsuspecting people and organizations. While these methods are highly illegal and can land someone years in jail for getting caught, unfortunately they are to prevalent to stop, and are a worldwide problem, many times originating from countries without extradition and without the want to prosecute these crimes themselves.

Therefore it is imperative that you be vigilant in protecting your data and your customers data, as well as checking your network for flaws that will allow malicious actors to access your network. Encryption within your network is key. You should have your files encrypted to anyone who isn’t supposed to have access to your network. This way if there is a breach, they won’t be able to discern anything important from the illegally gained information.

Passwords should be changed regularly. Use a random password generator in order to ensure that your team doesn’t use the easily hackable passwords such as pets names, birthdays, and other personal information. How your team carries themselves on social media is also very important. Oftentimes we feel the need to overshare on social media, which leaves us vulnerable to cyber attackers. Make sure they set their pages to private, so that only the people they want to access their pages can. Avoid posting things that are to personal, making it harder for malicious viewers to wean passwords based off of the photos given. Also keep in mind that access to social media accounts is also available on the dark web, often for under $40, so things that you think are only accessible to you, may not be.

The best thing you can do is have a great partner on your side. An MSP like Delval Technology Solutions has many approaches they can take. They can scour the dark web for your data, which would save you time, money and even save your security as even surfing the dark web can leave you open to malware and ransomware attacks. From there, they can fortify your network through testing to find the vulnerabilities, and patches to shore them up. Your endpoints, which is tech for entrances and exits, will be monitored, and

protected, ensuring that only the people you want to get in, can get in. Finally, they will monitor your network in real time to keep it as airtight as possible.

For more information, be sure to check out our whitepaper The Dark Web and Your Small Business, available at www2.dtsolutions.com. It is free and filled with facts, infographics, pictures and everything else you need to understand the dangers of the dark web. From there, contact us for your free Dark Web report, so you can see firsthand if you have been compromised.


it consulting

3 Ways Your Business Could Benefit from an IT Consulting Service

To be sure that your business is productive, efficient and capable of growth, it’s important to prioritize the health and functionality of your IT infrastructure. This will allow you to keep your critical data safe and your business operations up and running. Even in the event of disaster, IT consulting increases the productivity and value of your business. That being said, it’s not always easy to prioritize your technology obligations in addition to managing the other day-to-day demands of regular business operations.

That's why you need to invest in IT consulting services with Delval Technology , which has a strong and reliable IT support team that can empower your business with the ability to thrive and sustain future growth. This blog highlights the three ways to benefit from professional IT support services.

1 RECOGNIZE SHORTCOMINGS

While your organization may be the best in your line of business, your in-house IT staff may be shortchanging your efforts. The IT staff may not have the professional expertise needed to advise you on how to implement the best IT solutions for your business. An IT consultant on the other hand will have the industry-specific knowledge plus years of experience to make sure your company is optimizing its usage of IT technologies. The goal is to continually streamline the procurement and integration of IT solutions to ensure any issues with your technology can be alleviated quickly and efficiently.

Recognizing bottlenecks is the first step to determine if you need expert IT consulting. An expert helps your business spot potential IT-related issues before they get the chance to greatly affect your workflow. This proves invaluable if your current IT department is only capable of patching up IT problems, instead of preventing or mitigating them. Recognizing bottlenecks is the first step to determine if you need expert IT consulting.

2 AVOID WASTED MONEY

While buying new software, hardware and equipment can save you money, purchasing unnecessary upgrades or updates can easily waste it. For example, some companies may choose to buy multiple moderately priced servers to run web services instead of incorporating one or two powerful machines with virtualization technologies. Other companies may make the mistake of purchasing expensive equipment for a project that requires intensive computing resources for a limited amount of time rather than using scalable, cloud-based services and paying only for the resources they actually use.

When you partner with Delval Technology , we’ll set you up with an affordable technology solution that covers all your current support needs. This way, you can seamlessly scale up or down depending on the evolving needs of your business. This is often the best service model for businesses looking to accommodate periodic, seasonal or other unexpected fluctuations in their workload without paying for underutilized capability year-round.

3 PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS

If left unaddressed, technology issues can become more than a severe bottleneck in your business’s day-to-day operations. They can also lead to serious problems, such as cyberattacks and lost revenue. If you rely on backup drives to save your files, you may be exposing sensitive information to potential hackers and leaving your business open to serious losses in the event of a data breach. Do you have a plan in place to detect and halt an attempted breach before it occurs? How about a backend disaster recovery plan in the event your sensitive data does get leaked?

If not, it’s time to patch up the security vulnerabilities of your company and hire an IT consultant. Not only will they be able to identify any areas that put your business at risk, but also provide the best mixture of IT support solutions for your unique needs. A managed service partner can help prevent extended downtime that could result in your company losing thousands of dollars in potential revenue.

IT’S TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE

If your business is suffering from any of the problems described above or any other IT concerns, it’s time to partner with a professional in IT consulting that can provide your business with tools, resources and expertise your business needs to succeed. Don’t wait until the problems are overwhelming to bring in the support you need.


Why The Broke/Fix Method is Broken

We have all heard the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While that is sound advice on certain things that we do in our lives, it also points to a problem many face when it comes to the modern business world. Many of us work on the thought process that the only time you need to concern yourself with issues is when something is broken, but that is an antiquated thought process in many aspects of enterprise. Your business IT, computer system and network fall into this category. You need to be proactive when dealing with

your tech, but unfortunately, many companies still rely on the old “broke/fix” method of waiting for something to go wrong before addressing it. This approach can lose many businesses productivity, and money.

WHY BROKE FIX DOESN’T WORK

The broke fix model makes sense for so many things that we use in our day-to-day life. Something in your house breaks, well, call someone to fix it. Your car breaks down, then head to a mechanic. Even some medical issues are better treated with broke/fix, after all you are not going to treat a leg that isn’t already broken.

Your network, however, is none of these things. The broke fix method worked fine thirty plus years ago, when your network was only interconnected within your office, and your computers were not always online. Back then, you had a problem, you needed a technician, but you really did not have to have one in house or on contract. Your phone lines were traditional copper wire phone lines. Most of your files and bookkeeping was done with massive piles of papers, filing cabinets, and ink. Your PC’s were mainly used for emails, word processing, and web surfing purposes, and were all attached to an in house server.

Just as with everything else in our world, your network, and therefore your network needs have evolved. High speed internet isn’t merely for giant corporations and institutions and are now part of daily life for most people and businesses. Those old, clunky servers have been left in the past in favor of the cloud. Filing cabinets are basically relics of the past, as basically everything is done on computers at this point. In addition, the notion of team members and employees only having access to the network and the data on it while at the office is an obsolete way to work at this point. Fluid workforces with multiple devices, working from everywhere has become the new norm, and for good reason.

However, it is not all a bed of roses so to speak. These new techniques and solutions come with new problems all their own. Think of your network as your office. In the past, there was only one door, which made it harder for people to come and go as they please, and easier to track who is there and who isn’t. As your office space grew, you added more doors. Now, while it’s far easier for your employees to get in, for your deliveries to be dropped off, it’s also easier for unwanted, unauthorized people to come in. It’s harder to track who is in the office, who just left, and where people are coming from. It’s necessary, but you should probably throw some cameras and keypads up to keep the office secure, right?

When you add new pathways for access into your network, and new software that requires access, you need more protection. When everything is online, and interconnected, you need more monitoring, and more expertise. Technology changes by the day, and business technology is ever evolving with new updates, new products, and new innovations that can propel your business even further. With all that comes new threats, new ways in, and requires you as a business owner to adjust your course. You can go broke by hanging on to the

broke fix model, or worse.

PROACTIVE IS THE WAY TO GO

The importance of having experts watching your network and therefore watching your back is one that cannot be overstated. In your business, each department is headed and staffed by people who specialize in their field, be it accounting, human resources, logistics, etc. Your IT needs are no different than your needs of these departments. These are full time departments, gears in the machine that is your business that need to constantly be in motion. This allows for proactive management of these functions. Having a

proactive approach to technology will keep your business better protected and more productive as it is far easier to be at the cutting edge with expert guidance.

What’s the best method to employ to find these experts? That can be dependent on a few things. Employing a full time IT professional can be costly, often times in the six-figure range. However, this does give you some piece of mind when it comes to having someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of your business, whose sole job it is to stay on top of your network. However, unless you are employing multiple IT professionals there are some drawbacks to this approach. One person can only house and execute so much information. This can mean gaps that need to be filled. Say Lyle is your IT guy, and Lyle is great when it comes to troubleshooting, but not as strong when it comes to

security. Then you need to hire a security expert as well. Well lets say both of them are lacking when it comes to advisement on trends, well then you need what is known as a CIO, or Chief Information Officer, whose job it is to specialize in what’s on the horizon and what is best for the company. This is all necessary, however I just named about 300 to 400 thousand dollars’ worth of personnel.

For most small to mid-size businesses the best approach they can take is partnering with an MSP such as Delval Technology Solutions. With an MSP you get all of the expertise, guidance, and technology that comes with employing a full time IT staff at a fraction of the cost. An MSP can serve as a guide through things such as what is the right tech for the right situation, cyber security, cloud migration and everything in between. You get a whole team of experts in different facets of the IT world, watching your back and helping you

move forward. Once more, many company such as Delval Technology Solutions offer Co-Managed IT. This means if you have an in-house tech, you are now giving them

crucial backing and bolstering their confidence and their performance, which at the end of the day helps your business and your bottom line.

Don’t wait for something to break that can possibly break you or your bank. Get proactive, have a plan, and most importantly have the tools needed to execute this plan.


2 Factor Authentication: Can You Afford NOT to Have It?

Fluidity has become a hot button issue for business owners. More and more, you need fluid streams of capital, fluid business models, and a fluid workforce, able to work from anywhere they need to, on any device they need to. This past year we as a populace have witnessed drastic changes occur to our day-to-day work lives, and more importantly, many of us have seen how much more productive this form of working can be for everyone involved. However, with new advances you end up with new issues, which is why we are

going to talk about a system that comes in a couple of forms, 2FA or two factor authentications, or it’s cousin MFA or multi-factor authentication. With the rise in cybercrime in the United States, a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down, it’s not an issue of whether you can afford to implement 2FA, it’s becoming evident that you can’t afford not to if you have a mobile or semi-mobile work force.

WHAT D 2FA AND MFA DO FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Let me tell you a story. Sylvia has a company that runs logistics for major trucking companies in the state. These companies rely on her business, at all hours of the day to make sure they are staying on the proper course, and the right materials are going to the right places. Sylvia knows she can’t afford to keep her office space open 24/7, but she needs her

agents to be working at the schedules of the truckers, so she has a large part of her workforce working from home. Unfortunately, her system got breached one day. While she was able to minimize her downtime due to her partnership with an amazing MSP, which let’s just call Delval Technology Solutions, some of her employee login information is still out there. Thankfully, she also opted into endpoint security for her business, including 2FA. Someone tried to login to one of her employee’s accounts, and they were notified when they got a notification from their 2FA system to authenticate the login. They called Sylvia to report the suspicious activity to her and were able to thwart the malicious actor in

their tracks. Her small investment into a 2FA system for her business just saved her thousands of dollars and the trust of her clients. It basically just paid for itself.

HOW DOES 2FA WORK

When users are remotely logging into your network, 2FA gives your business an extra layer of protection to ensure that the authorized person is the one entering the network. There are different tools to use when it comes to 2FA. Some send SMS texts, others use emails, and some use apps that require a push. Either way, the system works as such. An authorized user enters their credentials to log into the network. From there, a message is sent to them via one of the above-mentioned methods, that the user must complete the process, usually entering a code that has been sent, to get into the network. This ensures that no one can get into the network that isn’t supposed to. Best case scenario,

the person trying to access the system is the one who gets in. Worst case scenario, an intrusion can be thwarted by the authorized party receiving a 2FA message

saying someone is trying to get into their network using their credentials.

TYPES OF 2FA

The most common type of 2FA uses the authorized users SMS in order to authenticate them. Once a user inputs their login credentials, username and password, a code will be text to their device that they have to enter. The user then has a certain period (usually five to ten minutes) before the code expires in order to get into their network.

Email authentication is another form of 2FA. Similar to the SMS version, an email will be sent to your address. From there, you may have to click an authentication link, be given a code to input, or even use a QR code on a secondary device. While this is a more versatile form than the SMS based 2FA, it isn’t as widely used because of things like device lag time, and people’s ability to turn email notifications off, which many do if they are usually inundated with spam.

App based 2FA is becoming increasingly more prevalent, and also may be the best for overall security. First the user needs to download an app such as DUO Mobile, or Google Authenticator. From there, when they attempt to login to the network from a new device, or to get in certain parts of the network, they will receive a push notification to an app. From there they will have to enter a matching code to let the administrator and the app know that they are in fact the user. Apps have more features they can use to aid your

security. One aspect that is great for aiding in security is their ability to track the location of the user on both ends. This could be used to stop phishing attacks as the perpetrator is not usually anywhere near the IP of the person assigned to the login. While this may take some additional monitoring, it can be a great way to further protect your network.

Having the ability to be fluid with your work force can be a game changer for many business owners. However, you never want to compromise security for the sake of functionality. Utilizing a 2FA plan for your system is something that is a cost effective way to ensure that you know the person trying to get in is the person you want to get in.  While there is a cost to 2FA, it is far less than the cost of the consequences to your business. Contact Delval Technology Solutions and ask about 2FA today, because you never know what tomorrow will

bring to your network.


VPN's and Your Business

Ralph is a small business owner with a team of 10, most of which are in the field. They work off their phones, tablets and personal laptops from wherever they may be. Ralph has seen that more and more hacking attacking on small businesses are taking place, and knows that by his team using public wifi, they are more exposed to these malicious actors. Due to the nature of their work, everything from where they browse, to their write ups, and the files they send to each other are proprietary information that he wants

to keep safe for the sake of his business and his customers. Ralph talked to his MSP partner and they recommended he get a VPN.

WHAT IS A VPN

VPN stands for virtual private network. This is a network that while accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, is a more secure connection for a user to access the internet. A VPN is encrypted, meaning that a key is needed in order to be able to actually see the information. It serves as a cloaked portal between the user and the internet. Many people use VPN’s at home to do things such as change their location to watch foreign streaming services, or access Tor browsers to reach the dark web. While these benefits

can help your enterprise if you have remote workers abroad who can’t otherwise access your network, there are a few key benefits to a VPN for your business.

SECURITY

Public wifi servers are just that, public. This means that anyone can sign onto them regardless of the credentials. Once in, hackers can use this to access and mirror other users computers, allowing them to view your data as well as steal data and other credentials. A VPN stops these actors from being able to do so. A VPN is a cloaked portal, which means that it is encrypted. This encryption makes it impossible to view the data without a proper key to unlock the encryption. This means anyone trying to spy on yourself or your employees’ devices will only see illegible chunks. A VPN is akin to an invisiblity cloak, making it a more secure way for your teammates to enter your network from anywhere, any time with any devices. This is also the case for Peer-to-Peer file sharing amongst teammates. While services such as Dropbox, Google Drive etc do offer some security measures, often times those alone are not enough and files can be intercepted. However, with a VPN service, your employees and your customers are cloaked and protected, with these files being protected by the same encryption as the traffic.

ACCESSIBLITY

When the pandemic hit, many had to migrate their workforce from the traditional in house model to a remote, work from home model. While many companies had already migrated data to the cloud, they didn’t always have an easy way for their employees to access this data. This is where a VPN comes in. It doesn’t matter if the employee is down the street, two states away or in a country that doesn’t even allow free internet access, with a VPN, anyone with the proper credentials can get into their network and get their projects

accomplished. What’s more, VPN’s allow companies to segment data, so only specific users can access specific data if necessary. Everything from usernames to passwords to even IP addresses can be used as identifiers of who should be in, and who should be in, your network.

SAVINGS

This is a tricky one but depending on your business can be one of those great “hacks” that could be helpful to your bottom line. Businesses offer different pricing in different countries. This goes for everything from consumer goods to flights and hotels, to equipment for your business. VPN’s allow you to disguise your country. By doing this it enables

you to access these discounts for your business. This could mean cheaper hotels and flights for traveling representatives, cheaper equipment for your company

and other great savings that you would never be able to access otherwise.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT VPN

VPN’s are not all created equal. Just like many other subscription tech services, VPN companies offer a variety of add-ons and other tools for your business. The need for these obviously vary based on the nature of your enterprise. With that said, there are four main things that you should look for when choosing your VPN provider. Speed is crucial to how your business runs. You want to ensure that you at least get the same connection speed as you do from using an uncloaked network. VPN providers offer an array of different

pricing, so be sure to choose the right one for your business. Just like anything else, you never want to pay for features you do not need. Reliability is key. A reliable VPN will ensure that you don’t deal with costly and frustrating downtime issues. The final thing is ease of use. Not everyone who works for you is a tech expert. Regardless of the level of expertise, you want them to be able to access your network and be productive team members. Look at things such as the interface and how to access the VPN and ask yourself “Can my IT team and my janitorial staff both understand how to use this?"

Ralph listened and did his research. He knew that he could work with a trusted MSP, such as Delval Technology Solutions, to find the right VPN with the right features for his business. Now he knows that be it the field or the office, his team can access his network safely and securely, ensuring that the work keeps flowing and unwanted downtime is avoided.