An outsourced IT partner can bring a myriad of benefits to your company, including simply saving costs and nearly eliminating the overwhelm and risk that comes with keeping it in-house. However, with so many outsourced IT providers in the market, how do you know how to choose the right partner? Here are some tips to better help you clearly understand what to look for and guide you to an informed decision.
It is just as important to find an outsourced service provider that aligns with your company culture as it is when you hire internally. You want your IT team to communicate well with your team and apply work ethics that matter to your business. This makes collaboration seamless and positively affects trust, project management, and just about everything you will work on together.
Anyone in IT knows that disruptions can happen anytime. Prompt resolution is a necessary expectation to have for your outsourced IT partner. All IT service providers these days should offer round-the-clock technical support and overall assistance. You should especially seek this if your company operates across different time zones or has critical operations outside typical business hours.
A good IT service provider should demonstrate a vested interest in your organization’s success. These businesses want long-term relationships and show an understanding of your business goals and challenges. These qualities will become obvious and you will quickly learn which providers have your best interests in mind and which are just looking to sign more contracts.
Establishing these most important values will guide you toward an IT service provider who will stay with you for a long time. Contact Point North Networks today for an IT service provider who will pay attention to your values, offer you 24/7 service, and be committed to your unique business goals.
We often talk about scams and cyberthreats, and lately our advice for dealing with a potential phishing threat is to simply avoid it altogether.
That is, when you get any kind of email or text message with a link you weren’t expecting, whether it’s from someone you know or from your bank, just don’t click it. Instead, log into the account in question the way you normally would, and verify the information there, or confirm with the sender through some other means to make sure what they are sending is valid. While this is still a good practice, sometimes you need to click on a link. Here are a few tools you can use to check if a link is safe, before you click.
Why Would a Link Be Dangerous?
First of all, why wouldn’t you want to trust a link that someone you trust sends you?
There are a lot of reasons. Even if it looks like a video message from your dear sweet Nana, or a virtual Christmas card from your youngest niece, there is a chance that the sender has been compromised and is trying to spoof their contacts.
You want to know when it’s probably not a scam or a threat? When your dear sweet Nana or your niece calls you up on the phone and asks you to look at it.
That simple two-step confirmation makes all the difference in the world. Otherwise, you should consider the risks that maybe, just maybe, the sender was compromised and that the link you are being sent is malicious.
The same goes for the business end of things.
Your coworker, business partner, vendor, or client might have no reason to do anything malevolent to you. If they fall for a trick themselves, though, a part of that trick might include spreading to all of their contacts.
A malicious link could contain malware that infects your computer, tries to steal your data or access your online accounts, and also spreads itself as quickly as possible to anyone in your contacts list. Not only will you be the victim, but your friends, family, and colleagues will be YOUR victim, and so-forth.
How to Safely Identify and Copy a Link
Before we get into the tools, let’s quickly run through what we mean by a link.
Basically, any text or graphic that is clickable and takes you to another page in your browser is a link. Sometimes, that link will be written out, with the https:// and the full URL.
For example, if it is a link to PayPal, it might look something like this: https://www.paypal.com/us/smarthelp/PAYPAL_HELP_GUIDE/getting-started-with-paypal-icf29
Links could also just be text that is clickable. So instead of writing out the URL, the link might be something like this: Get Started with PayPal
Now here’s the thing. If you’ve been paying attention, we’ve already proven to you just how easy it is to trick a user into thinking they are going to one website, and taking them somewhere totally different. Both of the links above don’t actually go to PayPal. We assure you that they are safe, but they are taking you to goofy fake mustache glasses on Amazon.
Sometimes, links are graphics, like buttons, icons, pictures, or virtually anything else. If you can click or tap it and have it take you somewhere, it’s a link, and any links can be spoofed very easily.
If you want to tell where a link is going to take you, you need to copy the actual link:
On a Desktop or Laptop:
-Hover the mouse over the link.
-Right-click on the link.
-Select “Copy Link” or “Copy Link Address” or “Copy Hyperlink”
Now you have the link copied, and you can paste it into one of the following tools with CTRL+V (or right-click and select Paste)
On a Tablet or Smartphone:
-Be careful not to accidentally just tap the link to open it!
-Hold your finger over the link for a few seconds to pop up the context menu.
-Select “Copy Link” or “Copy link address” or “Copy Hyperlink”
Now that you have the link copied, you can paste it into one of the following tools by holding your finger down over the URL field within the tool and selecting Paste.
Safely Check a Link Before You Click it with These Tools
You can use the following tools to check the safety and legitimacy of a link. Keep in mind, this won’t protect you from one hundred percent of all scams, as these tools can only check for known threats. It’s also a good idea to use multiple tools to cross reference, in case some of the tools just haven’t been made aware of the link you received.
Use Norton Safe Web to Check a Link
Norton Safe Web is a free online tool that lets you paste a link to check to see if it’s safe.
It will give you a quick rating on the link. If the link is untested in Norton, it’s a good idea to try a few of the other tools. If Norton states the link is dangerous, it’s a pretty safe bet you should avoid it.
Check the Link With PhishTank
The cleverly named PhishTank site will tell you if a link you received has been reported as a phishing scam. Phishing links tend to look pretty similar to legitimate web pages. For instance, a phishing link for PayPal might look almost exactly like the regular login page for PayPal. The problem is that it won’t log you into PayPal, but it will send your PayPal credentials to someone else.
Google’s Transparency Report Might Tell You If a Link is Unsafe
Google’s search engine works by crawling the Internet and indexing everything it finds. Sometimes, it might run across dangerous content such as malware or phishing risks. Google’s Transparency Report tool will tell you if a link you’ve been sent is found in their massive database of unsafe content.
Scan the Link with VirusTotal
Finally, there’s VirusTotal. This tool takes a little longer to give you an answer, but it can be a little more thorough than the others. This is a good last-ditch effort if you aren’t happy with the results from the other tools.
It’s important to keep in mind that a phishing scam or malware attack could still sneak through these tools, especially if the URL was just generated and you are among the first people to get it. These tools are designed to spot known phishing attacks and malware that has already been reported. With that in mind, it’s still a good idea to err on the side of caution.
If you feel like you’ve received a suspicious email, text message, or other correspondence, and you would like us to take a look for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 541-234-0895.
More businesses than ever before are seeing the value of outsourcing their technology management to a managed service provider (MSP) and it’s easy to see why. The size of the IT industry is expected to touch $557.10 billion in 2028 at a growth rate of CAGR of 12.6% in this period.
With a more hands-off approach to technology management, businesses can focus on delivering quality goods and services instead of worrying about their technology.
If you are considering jumping on the MSP wagon, consider asking the following questions to make sure you understand what you are getting from your provider.
Aaron Hawke, CEO, Xari Group, says about a managed service provider, “Choosing an IT managed service provider is an important decision. The best approach is to compare several potential choices and ask relevant questions about their business, technical abilities, and service.”
1 – What Services Do You Offer?
It helps to know what services your managed service provider is capable of offering to your organization, specifically because it helps to establish expectations and inform your ability to add or remove services according to your specific needs.
For example, if you can foresee a situation where your business wants to move to a more cloud-based infrastructure environment, you want to ensure that your provider offers services like cloud hosting and cloud migration. Otherwise, why would you consider them?
2 – How Experienced Are Your Technicians?
When it comes to your technology, you don’t want some greenhorn handling it. You want a seasoned and experienced technician who has had their fair share of time working with business technology solutions.
This is especially the case in a world where security needs to be at the forefront of every business owner’s mind. You want technicians who both know what they are doing and are knowledgeable enough to distill complex ideas into easily-understood concepts.
3 – What is the Service Level Agreement?
The service level agreement, or SLA, is an agreement between your business and the managed services provider which dictates the services rendered and the costs associated with them. It might include information such as how much you pay, which services are included with that payment, how often you pay for your services, and so on.
Basically, asking this question helps to determine what kind of expectations you have from your MSP and the services they provide for you based on what you pay.
4 – Do You Have Client Reviews?
Even in this digital world, word of mouth continues to be a heavily relied method to find a good service provider. Client reviews and stories are a great way to find out how reliable and efficient your managed services provider is and what are its industry credentials.
5 – How Big is Your Company?
You don’t want to be doing business with a company that promises big things but delivers below your expectations. This is why it is important to know their technical staff and whether they are capable of handling your projects.
6 – What are Your Company Values?
Compatibility is an important factor when you partner with another company. It is a good idea to check the company’s values and whether they match yours. You don’t want to be at loggerheads with them, which will only waste your time, effort and money.
7 – Red Flags for Not Hiring the MSP
Most companies highlight their positives and the reasons why you should hire them. But it is also good to understand their weaknesses. See if your managed services provider is ready to have an open discussion about their weaknesses. This will give you an idea of how honest they are.
8 – How Much Do You Charge for Your Services?
Budget is one of the most important deciding factors in any IT company. The same is true for an MSP. You must check how much they charge for their services and choose the one that fits your budget.
9 – What is Your Onboarding Fee?
Certain companies charge an onboarding fee, which is in addition to the service charges they take. Usually, the onboarding fee depends on your requirements, however, it is always better to get clarity on the actual price. You must also decide if you wish to pay extra.
10 – What is Your Rationale Behind Your Charges?
No company will ever give you the entire breakdown of their fees and charges, however, they should be able to justify certain aspects of it. If they are hesitant about justifying their price, consider that they lack transparency, a big red flag.
11 – What Extra Fees do They Charge?
It is always better to clarify everything regarding the overall fee and respective fee structure before finalizing the contract. ” If you’re being quoted a fixed rate, you need to get an itemized list in the contract and you have to be sure you understand what each item covers,” says Aaron Hawke, CEO, Xari Group.
Ask them what services are charged and what is the overall package so that you have complete clarity. You must also ask if you would need to do monthly and annual payments and yearly rate hikes.
12 – How Long do You Take to Complete a Project?
Time might not always be on your side when you are looking for a managed services provider. You might want to start immediately or get certain things delivered urgently. Knowing how much time the IT company will take to finish their tasks is a good way to start. Also ask if they offer customized solutions.
13 – How Long do Onboarding and Offboarding Take?
Sometimes, it can be a pain coming on board with a company as their processes are too long and cumbersome. An easy and hassle-free onboarding and the offboarding process is a sign of a professional approach.
14 – What is Your Response Time for Critical Matters?
You just can’t afford lengthy downtime, delayed response, data management, data leaks, regulatory compliance requirements or slow disaster recovery action from your MSP. So, clarify how they respond to critical situations and how long they take to fix them.
This is a critical aspect to maintain business continuity. A quick response time, especially to disaster recovery is a mark of professional service.
15 – How Soon Can You Start Onsite Services?
Onsite services are one of the most important additions to your business needs and workplace requirements. You must ask your service provider how soon they can start the onsite work and how efficient they are with it.
16 – Will You Provide Reports of Your Services?
Evaluating how well your managed IT service provider has done its job is a critical piece of information that you must be privy to. And different reports will provide you with that data. Ask your MSP about the reports they will deliver so that you can calculate your ROI.
17 – What Kind of Customer Support do they Provide?
An IT service desk team is a must that your right managed service provider should provide. Check how easy it is to communicate with them and what communication channels they are on.
Also check if they are available twenty four hours or not. This will be really helpful in times of urgency.
18 – What are Your Future Plans?
Having a proper future plan ready is extremely important. Your business will change and so will your IT requirements. Your MSP must have a future plan ready so that they are able to meet the evolving requirements.
19 – Can You Handle All Our Services?
The most obvious answer to this question will be a yes. However, an honest company would tell you if there are certain services that they are not efficient with. This displays their honesty and professionalism.
20 – Can You Provide Some References for Additional Services?
Asking for references is another way of finding out if your MSP has connections and industry knowledge. If they are not delivering all your services, you can connect with any of the references they provide.
Get Started with Managed Services Today
If your business is considering working with a managed service provider to fill the technology skills gap that so many companies find themselves with, we encourage you to think local and work with Point North Networks for your needs.
Our trusted and trained technicians can work with your team to ensure that technology is never a pain point for your business again.
Plus, depending on your specific needs, we can either fulfill the roles of a full-fledged IT department, act as a consultant, implement new technology solutions, operate as a help desk, and so much more. Our services are truly customizable to suit your company’s specific needs and IT infrastructure needs.
To learn more about how we can support your business goals, call us today at 651-234-0895.
Frequently Asked Questions About Your IT Service Provider
Why is it important to ask questions to your MSP before finalizing their services?
The right questions to ask managed service providers is a good way of finding out how well-equipped they are to handle your needs and how efficiently they can manage your IT infrastructure. This can be a deciding factor in a company’s success.
What are the things I must know before hiring an MSP?
A few of the most important things that you must be aware of before finalizing IT service providers are its size and IT infrastructure, workforce, can they host multiple clients, how many team members providing such services are there, what kind of experience the technical staff carry, strategy towards data leaks, if they have their own data centers, data management and correct size to handle big projects, what new technology developments do they work on, their values, the time they take to deliver projects, prices and fees and if there are any extra charges involved.
It doesn’t matter if your workplace is your typical office space or if it is remote. There will always be factors that can contribute to burnout. These struggles are not exclusive to the location of the office, and if left unchecked they can impact work performance, productivity, mental health, and so on. It’s important that you have coping mechanisms and strategies in place to address burnout before it becomes too severe to counter.
Let’s go over some of the ways you can encourage employees to prioritize their own mental health to reduce burnout from the workplace.
Here are some strategies you can use to keep burnout at bay.
Stop, Take a Breath, and Focus
If enough pressure builds up, you’re going to break, no matter how strong-willed you are. You need a break every once in a while. It’s important that you make your breaks as impactful as possible by taking a moment to clear your mind of all the clutter and take slow, deep breaths. Once you’re ready, you can get back to work.
Encourage Communications Across Departments
People rely on others to help them get their jobs done, so you should be prepared to ask for help from other departments or other people at your company to handle tasks as needed. You shouldn’t isolate yourself and your tasks from others who might help you get things done in a more efficient or stress-free way.
Be sure to establish clear lines of communication with other departments so when the time comes for collaboration, you’ll know exactly who to talk to and when. Collaboration lightens the workload for all, and it can reduce burnout in spades.
Consider Low-Pressure Hobbies
Some people bring their work home with them, so to speak, when they use their personal time and space to work or worry about work. This kind of stress can wear people down over time and create burnout.
We recommend that all employees have hobbies and interests outside of the workplace so they can get their mind off things when they need to. This will help to mitigate burnout and help them do things they enjoy.
Implement Procedures to Help with Stress
One of the best things you can do for your workplace is to implement procedures that take the stress out of work. You can streamline processes by automating them and reducing the margin for error, allowing employees to invest that time in better, less stressful and more meaningful work, thereby reducing stress further.
Combat Burnout Before You Get Burned
If you keep your team engaged in their work, burnout will eventually become a factor, so take steps now to keep it in check. Point North Networks can help you in this effort by making sure that technology struggles don’t exacerbate the problem. To learn more, call us at 651-234-0895.
Benefits of VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) That You Must Know About
Independent software vendors, business owners, IT managers, and managed service providers can all benefit from using a cloud hosting desktop solution.
A hosted desktop service, also known as Desktop as a Service, or Daas, is essentially a cloud-based service designed to enable the functioning of a desktop environment on a virtual machine hosted on the cloud. Here is what that can mean for any company that uses technology to operate.
When it comes to accessibility, desktop software is quite limiting. Firstly, desktop software can only be used by one person at a time and it requires that person to be physically present at that location to access it.
In a time and age, where remote working and work-from-anywhere are fast becoming the new norm, this kind of work structure can cripple the flexibility aspect of organizations. This can be even more limiting in case of an emergency as accessing data while physically not being there could be a problem.
A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) on the other hand, provides easy access from anywhere, at any time. Since such software is available globally over the internet, it can be accessed irrespective of your location and time zone on monilr . Moreover, virtual desktops comes in handy in an emergency as it is fairly easy to access virtual desktops especially via mobile devices, and take suitable action.
Security that Counts
Security is a huge concern in today’s digitally dominant world where cybercrimes and data threat is fast becoming a menace.
This data threat becomes very real when all your important information is stored on a desktop or an external hard drive, which can be easily lost if the computer crashes or if the hard drive is lost/misplaced.
However, if the data is stored on cloud-based software, you can safeguard it from all the above-mentioned threats.
VDI environment offers one of the safest storage methods as the data stored cannot be accessed by any unauthorized person. It requires your login details to be accessed.
So, even if your laptop is stolen, the data remains safe and you can still access it via the central server from another device. The data also remains safe from cyber criminals as the cloud program runs from a data center that has numerous layers of protection.
Locally Managed Facilities
Moving from Desktop to Cloud is not as messy as it sounds. It is rather simple and can be done across multiple platforms. You can either choose to go virtual to virtual and cloud to cloud, or you can try the physical to virtual and data center route as well.
Whatever you decide to choose, your third-party provider will easily be able to migrate your desktop to the cloud without any downtime or disruption in your current work scheme. This is yet another advantage of being on the cloud. Moreover, you can also enjoy centralized management with VDI!
On the contrary, any changes in the desktop system will eat up your productive time and takes longer as well.
Data Loss Elimination
Data loss is a huge issue in a desktop-oriented setup. In order to keep your data safe and secure, you would need to take backups on hard drives to ensure that it is not completely lost if anything goes wrong with the desktop. It is an extremely cumbersome process as the data keeps piling up as you go about your business and keeping a track of what is stored in which drive is something that can take up a lot of your time and effort.
However, cloud-based software does all of this through auto-updates. So, you don’t have to do anything to store and save your data. And this storing of data is done at several places to provide extra protection.
Even if your laptop is lost or crashes, you can access the data from any other system. Cloud-based systems are always updated, so you get the most updated and secure data storage facilities.
In a virtualized desktop infrastructure, the same image can be used as a central desktop image. The same image VDI supports the creation and use of the same virtual desktop image for numerous desktops. These desktop images can be easily created, edited, enhanced and deployed via VDI infrastructure.
Regardless of the time or location of your employees, a hosted desktop service allows them to access all necessary desktops in the most seamless manner possible. They can enjoy this browser-based access to all desktops and apps with optimal security, too.
Only those who you want to have access will be able to use this feature as Point North Networks can implement multi-factor authentication, proven compliance levels, and more.
You’ll want your IT partner to be able to provide services made and certified to simplify moving your infrastructure to the cloud. Point North Networks’ hosted infrastructure is wholly built and managed by our engineers in our own data facilities in Minneapolis, Eagan, and Kansas City.
Reduce your Operation Costs
High-end desktops and laptops for all your employees add up enormously. Using a locally managed data center for a monthly fee is helps introduce cost efficiency to the system, and enables humongous cost savings in the foreseeable future.
The cost-effectiveness of centralized server is simply one of the biggest benefits that organizations can reap. It might seem like a lot of investment at the beginning of the shift to the cloud, but it is far more affordable and cost-effective in the long run.
With a desktop-based software system, you would need to invest in developing a proper IT infrastructure right at the beginning and it would require timely upgradation of software and hardware.
This is a never-ending process that would keep springing up surprise expenditures at any time of the year. The sudden crashing of the desktop systems, damages, maintenance, etc. are additional costs that you must factor in as well. A cloud-based system, on the other hand, frees you from all these hassles.
You won’t have to pay for IT infrastructure, it auto-updates, ensuring you get the latest versions, and you only pay for whatever features and space you use through its pay-as-you-go feature. Together, these factors result in more cost-effective operations and much higher returns.
Hosted desktop environments should be backed up several times a day and contain at least 90 days of retention storage to allow you, the end user, to quickly restore files.
Don’t have Microsoft Office suite on the device you’re using? No problem, a hosted desktop solution can even run Cad Applications.
You won’t break any rules with the right hosted desktop solution. Your provider should follow all the right security controls so that you can follow the rules even when handling controlled unclassified information data.
Contact Point North Networks today to implement a cloud hosting desktop solution for your business. We can also help you with Thin Clients – the much coveted lightweight, small pieces of hardware designed ideal for the VDI platform of your choosing.
With us by your side, you can also revel in additional VDI benefits such as data security, disaster recovery, bring your own device (BYOD) such as personal desktop, thin client or mobile devices!
So, what are you waiting for?
Make the most of our expertise in designing the best virtualized environment for your business, and enjoy the benefits such as quick and convenient desktop fixes, better graphics VDI, increased productivity VDI and more.
There are countless ways your organization could face down a disaster, whether it’s a high-profile natural disaster, a physical disaster, or a technology-related disaster. If you aren’t prepared to face the consequences, your business could falter in the face of such incidents. How can your business best prepare itself for all manners of disasters?
Disaster Recovery Is a Big Issue
There are two ways to approach a disaster: reactive and proactive. The reactive approach involves the mindset that you cannot prevent the disaster; therefore, there is no reason to try, as you will experience the consequences anyway. The other mindset, proactive, subscribes to the idea that you can be ready for a disaster and can mitigate the damages ahead of time with the right amount of preparation.
In just about all situations, it’s better to be proactive than reactive, especially in the case of disaster recovery. Due to the nature of the situations, you never know if and when they will strike, so you had best be prepared to handle natural disasters, physical disasters, and technology disasters. Let’s go over them.
A natural disaster is usually what people think of when they think of disasters, and they include situations like fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and so on. You could even put a pandemic in this category. While the severity might vary, there can be no denying that these situations can impact operations. You need to have a plan to address unexpected weather and illness for your business; the continuity of operations hangs precariously in the balance.
A physical disaster has to do with the physical infrastructure of your company, which might include your building, its utilities, physical security breaches, or theft. Examples include burst pipes, HVAC system errors, and power failures. While it might not seem like a massive loss, you can be sure that the accumulated downtime will be costly enough to make you wish you had a contingency plan in place.
Technology disasters are the result of technology failures, including the components of systems, as well as cybersecurity breaches. These are the most likely issues you will deal with regarding your hardware, and it will inevitably fail with enough wear and tear. Furthermore, they require a very specific skill set and expertise to maintain. Technology-related disasters like data loss and cyberattacks can both be prepared for, so it’s your responsibility to do so.
How to Go About Planning for the Worst
The general goal of a disaster recovery plan is to reduce downtime and get back to business as usual as quickly as possible. The devil is in the details, here; you need to know exactly what must be done, including metrics and benchmarks you want to hit, in order to successfully prepare for a disaster incident. There are certain things you’ll need regardless of the situation, though, such as data backed up both on and off-site. With the appropriate preparation, you can ensure that these situations don’t derail your operations.
Point North Networks can help you build out a disaster recovery plan and test it periodically to ensure your business can recover without a hitch. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.
Why You Should NOT use Personal Accounts and Corporate Email Accounts On the Same Phone
While we’re all for efficiency, there are some boundaries that should not be crossed for everyone’s benefit. Take, for instance, the email you use to subscribe to online services. While it may be tempting (or, for some people, automatic) to use your work email address when you sign up for, say, your Netflix account or an online merchant, we wanted to discuss why this is a bad habit to get into that could have lasting consequences.
The reason you shouldn’t use your work email for personal purposes is a simple one:
You are no longer working for the company! Now what?
Seriously, we want to know: what’s your plan if your employment comes to a sudden end?
Let’s say that you were using your work email for an assortment of personal reasons—maybe you used it to subscribe to a few subscription services, or you used it to log in to a favorite online retailer or two… maybe one named after a really big river in South America.
Potential for distraction aside (which is itself a whole other can of worms), tying your personal life too much to your work life can have some long-term issues. Let’s say you did choose to use a work email to sign up for personal service, only to leave that job sometime later.
Regardless of the reason you leave—whether you or your position was terminated, you found another job, whatever—one of the first things that any responsible company will do is to deactivate your accounts from their system. Neglecting to do so would be a cybersecurity failure on their part. Good luck trying to recover a forgotten password when the authentication is sent to an email you no longer have access.
Businesses Should Actively Discourage Private Use of Professional Email Addresses
There are plenty of reasons that a business should want to keep their users from using their professional email accounts for their own personal purposes. We’ll quickly run through the list:
- Corporate accounts are readily available online in many cases, making them easy targets for phishing and spam.
- On a related note, it becomes a lot easier for a cybercriminal to find online accounts that are tied to a business email address and use what they find to craft more effective spear phishing messages—ones that are tailored specifically for a particular recipient.
- Many people still reuse passwords across many different websites and services, so if a website is breached that an employee’s work email was used to access, there’s a good chance that the password for your corporate email address could be stolen with it.
- A vast majority of password reset requests go to the registered email account. If your requests which should ideally come to your personal email account go to your work account, your emails may be subject to Freedom of Information Act Requests. This is especially true if you work for the the Federal or State Government.
Cybersecurity Over Convenience
While convenience is an appealing motivator, it is important that your processes are shaped to prioritize your business’ security. Educating your team about password best practices and the actual importance of this kind of work/life balance will be key to shoring up this particular security issue.
Strike the Balance with PointNorth
Turn to us for help with keeping your team members from inappropriately merging their work lives and personal lives, as well as our assistance in optimizing the rest of your processes. Give us a call at 651-234-0895 to learn more.
Data Privacy Week happens this month and it’s the perfect time to assess your company’s overall network security. There are many ways to do this and Point North Networks can cover almost all of them. Here are 3 of the best ways you can start ensuring your data is as protected as it can be.
Get an IT & Cybersecurity assessment
A free IT & cybersecurity assessment from Point North Networks is a great place to start. During your full audit, we will provide you with detailed information on servers, workstations, and networking devices. We will also identify risks from misconfigurations, network vulnerabilities, and user threats. It also includes an internal and external vulnerability scan, a ransomware protection review, and a comprehensive SWOT analysis and roadmap. How much more thorough could that be?
Train your employees
Knowledge is power when it comes to cybersecurity threats. Another way to keep your data safe is to empower your employees to know how to do that. Point North Networks provides employee cybersecurity training that is engaging and relatable, not demeaning. We first assess your organization’s risk using the Employee Vulnerability Assessment and then we help you fight cybercriminals from the inside out with this training.
Get your network on a secure private cloud
Point North Networks provides PCI, NIST, & HIPAA compliant IT solutions to keep your business running safely without missing a beat. Secure cloud hosting infrastructure provides higher security and privacy. It ensures your data is always monitored and accessible and our service provides full-data backup, too.
Contact Point North Networks today to get set up with a free IT & Cybersecurity Assessment during Data Privacy Week.
As technology advances, so will the cyber threats that can affect your business. With the rise of remote working and more businesses moving their operations online, your business faces increased risks of being targeted by cybercriminals trying to hack and destroy small and mid-sized businesses without dedicated IT security teams. Here are 3 reasons why it might be time to perform an IT & cybersecurity assessment if you haven’t in over a year.
One weak link is all it takes
One ill-advised employee can damage your company’s reputation. Your spam filter isn’t enough. 48% of hackers and incident respondents spend 1-5 hours per week keeping up with security news, trends, and technologies. Your employees need to be informed.
Point North Networks is Minnesota’s team of cyber security experts. We have a trusted and proven system for training your team to protect itself from cyber security threats.
Your business needs to meet compliance requirements
Many businesses are operating without knowing that parts of their IT plan may not be compliant with their industry.
Our Private Cloud Hosting services from our Minneapolis & Eagan facilities support a wide array of organizations, from healthcare, financial services companies, merchants, and SaaS providers, helping them all to ensure their infrastructure, websites, and applications meet the compliance requirements of FedRAMP, FISMA, SSAE18, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS.
No one wants to lose information
Are you backing things up and storing your information in a safe manner? Have a data recovery plan in place before a disaster happens, like vital information being lost.
Our data disaster recovery solutions cover all device makes and models as well as all operating systems and software. We have extensive experience in recovering data of all sizes and in various industries. We also provide a secure backup of your recovered files through our computer solutions and data recovery.
Point North Networks is running free IT & Cybersecurity Assessments. We will provide detailed information on servers, workstations, and networking devices to identify risks. Take advantage of this by simply scheduling some time to discuss it.
Contact Point North Networks today for your IT Assessment.
Regular computer maintenance is part of maintaining healthy IT infrastructure, but one aspect that can often go by the wayside is keeping your computer physically clean. By this, we mean keeping it dust-free, clean and tidy. We’ve put together a shortlist of everyday actions that employees of any caliber can use to keep their workstations clean. This will help your organization take preventative measures over time and (hopefully) prolong the lifespan of your business’ technology.
Before you begin cleaning up your device, we recommend that you power it down and unplug it from its power source. The last thing you want to do is give yourself a jolt on accident!
Keep the Fans Free of Dust
You may have noticed that dust tends to gather around vents and fans on your computer’s casing. If left unchecked, this dust could affect airflow and become a major problem in the long term. This is why it’s so beneficial to keep things clear; the last thing you want is your computer to overheat due to an easily preventable thing like the accumulation of dust. Use a can of compressed air to blow the dust away from the vent (Note: NOT into the computer–this does the exact opposite of what you want).
Wipe Down Screens and Surfaces
No matter how frequently a device is used, chances are it will accumulate some sort of dust on its surface. This is especially the case with your monitors. If you plan to wipe the dust off of them, we recommend that you use a microfiber cloth specifically for this purpose, and whatever you do, don’t spray anything directly onto your monitor’s screen. The same can be said for your keyboard. If you use a can of compressed air to blow away dust, combined with a microfiber cloth, you should be able to get your device reasonably clean.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use a cleaning agent to clean your screens, we find that good eyeglass cleaner works great, but harsh chemicals could cause damage. This works great for smartphones and tablets as well, but spray a clean microfiber cloth, don’t spray the device.
Keep Food and Drink Away
This is more of a preventative measure rather than an actual cleaning tip, but if you can keep your workstation tidy in the first place, the less cleaning you will have to do in the long run. Crumbs and other gunk can easily find their way into your keyboard, especially if you are the type of employee who often finds themselves working through their lunch break. The same can be said for liquids; even water can create problems if it gets under your keys or into your computer’s components, and you better hope that you never spill something sugary on your keyboard. While it isn’t necessarily a death sentence for your keyboard, the effort it takes to clean up after such a spill will make you want to just buy a new one instead. Better to just eliminate the possibility and keep your workplace clear of anything of the sort.
Perform More Thorough Cleaning
Every so often it helps to perform a cleaning that is more than just at the surface level. By this, we mean going into your case and making sure that there is minimal dust clogging up your PC’s components. Obviously this is something that you should only attempt if you are familiar with the innards of a computer, so if you are not adequately trained or experienced in this prospect, we recommend working with Point North Networks, Inc., to make sure your workstation gets the deep cleaning it needs to promote longevity. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0894.