2019 Cyberthreat Predictions

Cybercrime is not a new problem, but one that keeps evolving as technology itself progresses.  As we enter into 2019, the cybercrime conundrum continues: it is not a matter of IF a company or institution will be targeted by cybercriminals, but WHEN.

3 Ways Technology Facilitates Your Growth

Most strategic business plans include a growth goal. Whether your goal is to increase sales by 10 percent this year or to land two new accounts every month, technology is your go-to resource to achieving your goals.

Because technology is always evolving, it provides new relevant tools to apply toward innovative processes to save your business time and money. Using technology to do more and propel your business toward growth takes strategic planning and vision to ensure you stay on track without over- or underbuilding your IT.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

If your organization isn’t updating and evaluating its IT resources on a regular basis, your processes are probably outdated to the point they are hindering business efficiency and growth.

Take, for instance, a central California oil company that found itself with 275 employees in the field all handwriting production notes, recording orders on four-part forms and filling out timesheets manually. From the job site, this information was brought into the office for yet more employees to manually input data into order fulfillment, payroll and other line-of-business software.

The company simply could not grow any further as it was restricted by its manual processes. DiamondIT stepped in to help them adopt the right technology to grow and contract with the ever-changing oil industry. After assessing the current IT environment and learning more to understand the oil company’s strategic growth goals, DiamondIT implemented a scalable cloud solution which provided immediate benefits for the current need to work remotely while allowing for future growth.

Tickets are now entered electronically in the field and go into the billing cycle immediately without any manual processes. Timesheets are recorded online as well. The elimination of handwritten information has resulted in faster, more accurate operations as well as increased efficiency in payroll processes including tax reporting. Current staff members now devote more time to producing than to data entry, giving them more time to serve more customers as the company grows and eliminating the need to hire more people.

When a company is chasing technology, its risk for losing customers and employees is high. Eventually, the entire business could even go under. DiamondIT’s interactive technology designs ensure your budget and growth agendas are both served by scalable IT solutions.

Why You Need an IT Growth Plan

From an IT standpoint, areas of growth involve increases in the number of end users, facility locations and transactions. Working with a managed service provider (MSP) who understands your business and growth objectives well enough to implement a solution that scales with your growth is key to making sure your technology fits with your current and future needs.

Here are the top 3 technology considerations when growing your business:

  • Your Personnel

During business growth, the number of employees in an organization often increases, although adding more people is not always the answer to accommodate the additional business. When new employees are hired, they need workstations with a computer and phone ready to go on their first day. By working closely with human resources, DiamondIT assures that every employee has access to the systems needed to complete their job.

When your technology is current, you also can take advantage of a remote workforce – or even retain a valued employee who needs to relocate across the country.

  • Cloud computing opportunities

The cloud gives companies the nimbleness needed when growing. Users can be added or removed quickly depending upon seasonal or industry trends. By moving computing to the cloud, businesses are not restricted by their current infrastructure environment which may require adding another server to accommodate additional employees and business transactions. And, employees can work remotely in the field or even at home.

  • WiFi scalability

As with the cloud, your WiFi infrastructure should be scalable and secure to accommodate your business’ changing needs. When adding physical locations to your business, point-to-point connections can quickly connect buildings. Staying current with the best-available internet speed also allows faster, cheaper processing and streaming as well as larger downloads. This in turn allows you to take advantage of the latest app features. Of course, this typically means the use of more RAM and CPUs than older software.

As your company is growing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of adding more of the resources you already have whether it’s more employees or more equipment and infrastructure. Before going blindly in this direction, consider the areas of growth where technology can give you a cost-effective boost with an eye toward the future. It’s equally important to enlist the expertise of an IT provider with strategic growth planning and technology skills to help you. Our clients know their business is as important to us as our own.

“Sometimes in business, you come across true professionals in their field that make your job easier,” says Cary Evans of Bakersfield Pipe and Supply. “Rarely do you come across people who treat your business as if it were their own.” At DiamondIT, we share our passion for technology to maximize your business’ potential. Contact us at (877) 716-8324 or online to talk about growing your business.

How Blockchain Technology Is Being Used to Improve Identity Management and MORE

When many of us hear the word “blockchain” we automatically associate it with bitcoin.  But today, blockchain technology is so much more than the platform behind the bitcoin cryptocurrency – as it is now becoming a serious asset in identity management.

The Importance of Data Back Up: Data Management is the Key to Maintaining a Healthy Business

Lately, the news has been rife with tragic stories – from the hurricanes in Florida to the fires in both northern and southern California.  Even when there are not catastrophic natural disasters, cybercrime such as phishing, DDoS attacks and ransomware can ravage a network and compromise your data.

The fact is, today’s organizations both large and small, have lots of important data to store on their networks – and IDC predicts that even smaller organizations can be dealing in petabytes of data in the next few years, much like their larger enterprise counterparts. If a natural disaster or a cybercrime bars access to all that data or destroys on-premise servers, then mission-critical data can be lost forever.

Multi-Factor Authentication is a Practical Way to Protect Against Cyber Threats

The government is doing it.

Major healthcare centers are doing it.

Private businesses are doing it.

Everyone should be doing it, in fact. That is, implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Why Technology is Key to Your Compliance Reporting

Whether you’re a shrimp importer tracking the temperature of shipped shrimp, a nonprofit using state or federal grant funds or a healthcare professional protecting patients, it’s likely you are required to meet compliancy regulations. This, in turn, necessitates a robust compliance management plan.

It’s not enough to track compliance, you also have to be able to collect, secure and report information to regulatory entities. Tracking compliancy is particularly difficult and would be almost impossible without technology as a key tool in successfully meeting regulations.

Just like you need a CPA for tax services or an attorney for legal advice, you need a third-party IT consultant who understands how compliancy relates to your technology environment. Integrating compliancy software and specific security practices into your day-to-day operations is crucial to reporting data accurately to governing agencies. In fact, securing data is the primary objective of many compliancy laws. Compliance auditors must see evidence that policies, procedures and practices have been implemented to secure the data required by compliance guidelines.

When looking for an IT partner to manage the technology aspects of your compliancy plan, make sure they have experience and expertise in the following areas.

4 Compliance Objectives Your IT Partner Should Manage

  1. Control of your environment
    Most compliance laws require organizations to have a process to plan and manage IT risk. As a third-party provider, your IT managed service provider must also meet standards set forth by the regulator. In fact, many times a third-party IT service is required by an audit.
  • Develop strategic plan for IT plans and priorities
  • Regularly evaluate IT risks and address any risks identified
  1. Data center and backups
    An appropriate, reliable data backup and recovery processes must be part of your strategic plan. Data and file server backups are performed – and tested – to minimize the risk of lost or corrupted data. Backups should only be accessible by authorized personnel and this practice needs to be documented.
  • Provide logs and snapshots of backup intervals
  • Ensure parties that house backups have proper controls in place
  1. Information cybersecurity
    Software, data and equipment are safeguarded to prevent unauthorized access. This includes securing email, files and network information while physically protecting server rooms, offline data storage and hardware.Many compliance regulations place a high emphasis on this area as non-compliancy potentially affects many people through loss of personal information such as credit card numbers, social security numbers and health information. Information security reaps a high number of legal infractions and fines.
  • Develop and implement information security policies
  • Document employee changes including processes for removing and issuing user accounts
  • Proof of IT password policies and practices being followed
  • Inventory of security controls in place such as firewalls, routers, intrusions detectors, etc.
  • Conduct vulnerability assessments
  1. Change management
    A centralized change tracking system ensures that any organizational application, database and operating system changes have been approved and are being managed in conjunction with compliance regulations.
  • Formalize policies to manage changes
  • Maintain a list of system changes
  • Provide supporting documents to prove system changes have been authorized

As your company’s Chief Information Officer, DiamondIT is your partner in meeting compliancy tracking, remediation and maintenance requirements. Don’t let industry or governmental regulations stand in your way of success. Our team is ready to help – Contact us online or call 877-716-8324.

4 Reasons to Include IT in Your Compliance Management Process

Regardless of the industry you’re in, most businesses have regulations and requirements they have to abide by, making compliance an essential part of being successful.

The cost of maintaining compliance

The cost of regulatory compliance averages $12,000 a year for most small businesses, says the National Small Business Association. For new businesses, direct and indirect costs to stay compliant in the first year top $80,000.

Of course, the cost of non-compliance can be much steeper. HIPAA violations range between $100 to $50,000 per violation or record with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per year, and Sarbanes Oxley fines are up to $5 million and 20 years in jail. Regardless of the monetary cost of non-compliance, loss of production and reputation may take a higher toll on your business.

The rules that regulate your regulation

From Food and Drug Administration and the SEC to OSHA regulations, businesses ranging from healthcare, finance, agriculture and energy face complicated rules – and the number of rules are ever-increasing. In 1960, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations was about 20,000 pages; today, it has over 185,000 pages – an 825 percent increase!

Tracking is an important component of managing compliance. Whether you’re an importer needing to trace your product from point-of-origin to point-of-sale or an oil producer tracking equipment parts from the manufacturer, the success of your business (and, often, the safety of your customers and employees) are dependent upon your ability to meet tracking requirements.

The sheer complexity of being compliant makes it necessary to use technology to meet requirements.

As with many government programs, compliance programs tend to be complicated and time consuming. Integrating compliance tracking into your culture is not as simple as reaching out to colleagues to borrow a spreadsheet. An experienced, professional IT managed services provider is the best resource for implementing a seamless, automatic tracking system into your regular operations and existing technology.

As your personal Chief Information Officer, DiamondIT helps you manage compliance tracking projects:

  1. Help evaluate and select the best software for compliance tracking
    New software can be problematic if your IT provider hasn’t inspected it to make sure it will work with your existing resources and to assure that it does what it says it will do. DiamondIT works with you to evaluate the software that will work for your current systems.
  1. Ensures hardware requirements are in place
    New software may have different hosting requirements than you have in place. DiamondIT ensures that your new software is compatible with your hardware.
  1. Advises on ways to integrate the app into your day-to-day operations
    Don’t make the mistake of purchasing software without knowing whether or not it will integrate into your operations. Software vendors often don’t look past their own apps to see if the new app will integrate with your existing infrastructure.
  1. Monitors your system
    Lapses in compliance tracking can lead to messy audits when the government comes calling to inspect your compliance management. An MSP monitors your systems to ensure your software is up-to-date and functioning optimally.

Don’t end up with a compliance tracking system that fails to meet your needs. Let Diamond IT help you address your compliance needs so they are effective and fit into your current technology environment.

Five Tips for Developing a Cybersecure Culture in Your Organization

Every year in October, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  promotes National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – a time when organizations are asked to take stock of the state of their network security.  However, as we head into the holiday season, with Cyber Monday and other online sales and promotions abound – cybersecurity for both businesses and consumers is an issue everyone should pay attention to year-round.

The Future is Almost Here – 5G Brings the Next Gen Cellular Networking

 

Today, the buzz in the cellular world is all about the promise of 5G – otherwise known as the fifth generation of cellular networking.  While some carriers have announced 5G products, the truth is, we are still a ways off from actually seeing 5G mass marketed in the way of 4G and LTE.  There is also a misperception that like a product launch, 5G will suddenly appear on the market, drumming up mass excitement.   It won’t appear all at once; customers will start to see 5G emerge in bits and pieces with various carriers.

Embracing Compliance Can Save Money and Reputation

Data is the DNA of any business or organization.  And your data – whether it’s research and development, payroll information, client payment details, or any other mission-critical information – is up for grabs by cybercriminals who want nothing more than to sell stolen data on the dark web.