Lead Your Business More Effectively by Implementing Unified Communications

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Business owners who want to streamline their businesses (to increase employee productivity) see how Unified Communications benefits business.

High-quality communications are crucial for companies. After all, inter-department collaboration and speedy ideas exchanges make effective business decisions easier.

Although phones are great, information exchange with phone, video, screen sharing, chat, and file management features is better. Many business owners now turn to unified communications.

So unified communication – what exactly does it entail?

Discover the main concepts in this article, the suggested approach and how to use unified communications in your business to help your success.

UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS – WHAT DOES IT ENTAIL?

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Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

Unified phones, video calls, screen shares, chat boxes, and data file management in a single space make for seamless communications in numerous ways. . Unified communications platforms are ready-to-use systems operate as a cloud that’s accessible to your team members over the internet with ease.

But why consider switching your current operations to a unified communications platform?

There are several very good reasons l, but just one crucial thing to remember:

Business leaders who adopt it streamline their businesses to (increase employee productivity) by making it easier for their colleagues to interact every day.

Here are five of the key features to help you better understand how to scale your business.

FEATURES OF UNIFIED COMMS

1. CONNECTED FROM EVERY LOCATION

When connected to a unified system, employees can stay connected from every location. At home, on holiday, sitting in the office or even on a business trip to a remote island. With unified communications there is the ability to message chat, receive a call, and much more.

2. UNIFIED MESSAGES

Here at Cirrus IT Services, we know that quick messages allow our employees to handle enquiries quickly. The team can then easily switch communication mode, depending on their needs.

3. VIDEO & AUDIO MEETINGS

Whenever you need to meet, you’ll have everyone in the palm of your hand. You can join a group of colleagues or customers when you connect and speak to them via video or audio from any location.

4. STATUS/PRESENCE

This feature lets others know when you are online (Active), busy (Do Not Disturb), or away from your desk (Out of the Office).

HOW DO UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS HELP BUSINESS MANAGERS?

So, what have we discovered about the benefits of using unified communications throughout Lancashire and nationwide?

INCREASES IN TEAM PRODUCTIVITY

It’s important for business owners to boost team workflow to eliminate bottlenecks and drastically improve productivity.

Using unified communication makes it easier for team members to save time by:

  • File sharing quickly to remove email threads in teamwork
  • Receive calls from any location
  • Receive voicemails and faxes directly
  • Speedily starting a single-click video meetings in an emergency

Teams with access to up-to-date tech can be more effective to get tasks done quickly. At Cirrus IT Services we find that it help us with communications challenges.

LOWER COMMUNICATION COSTS

If you have legacy phones for on-site communication they can cost more IT budgets allow.

Try looking at unified communication and turn to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to integrate with other tools. This approach removed the need for server hardware infrastructure.

Unified comms also makes adding new users simple via an easy-to-use dashboard.

Also – thinking again about budgets – the cost of unified communications is the same every month, so there won’t be any surprises.

ENHANCE CUSTOMER SERVICE

Company success greatly depends on the quality of your customer service.

With unified communications, employees can respond to client queries regardless of their location by chat, incoming call, and email from any device.

You can also integrate CRM software for many added benefits, so that the person in charge can see all the necessary notes related to each customer to help solve issues faster.

EMPOWER A REMOTE WORKFORCE

The constant concern that we hear is about remote workers having all the tools they need.

Thousands of companies find plenty of benefits to a unified approach.

Thanks to unified comms, communication from a single platform means that all your remote worker needs is a stable internet connection. With access to your network, all the features are just like everyone else in the team.

INCREASING ORGANISATIONAL AGILITY

When you increase your team’s agility, the same follows for the whole organisation. Organisational agility is the strategic value of unified communications.

So, to see the benefits at work, you must consider a management side approach. When unified communication drives productivity, it streamlines the whole workflow, to leads to enhanced business outcomes. That’s where you really get to see the value!

ENHANCING SECURITY

Enhancing security is crucial for every business. Unified communications integrate all applications into a single platform to make it straightforward for IT teams to apply specific security policies. It’s easier for them to manage secure programs, apps, security patches and compliance updates when all applications share the same underlying system.

REALISING THE POWER OF UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS

Streamlining is extremely important for overall performance of employees and your business as a whole.

With unified communications, you can boost customer experiences and make your team more efficient. Unified communications let teams make calls, host video chats, send emails, receive a fax, to make jobs (and life) easier.

If you’d like to learn more about how to implement unified communications, we’re happy to help. Perhaps start with a 10-15-minute chat? Contact us at Cirrus IT Services to discuss unified communications further.

 

This blog article by Cirrus IT Service is adapted with permission from The Technology Press.

Featured Image Credit: Pete Linforth from Pixabay

WHO is Endangering Your Business Data? (And How do you Protect Information?)

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Your sensitive business information is pivotal to running a successful business. Do you have proper security measures in place? Hackers can steal data easily – they’re experts! Please don’t allow them to put you out of business.
At the moment, Cybercriminals might not be the biggest risk for companies in our local area of Burnley. Spiralling costs are a concern for every local company throughout Lancashire and beyond. However, please do take a look at the threat from hackers. They have many carefully crafted ways to gain access to your money and accounts. They can take over critical software if you let them. They disrupt businesses and may prevent you from working with your customers.
Many organisations fall victim to hacks. Here at Cirrus IT Services, we understand why small and medium businesses seem to be particularly at risk.

So why?

All too often, business owners don’t address cybersecurity fully. Integrating digital security into their company from launch might be seen as non-essential. Sometimes, IT service providers are hired without much thought. Some tech-savvy people don’t guard themselves against online attackers. Therefore hackers generally regard small to medium-sized companies as low-risk targets.
Can you risk going under due to the loss of sensitive data? Is it a risk that you are prepared to take?
To help, continue to read this introduction to the potential hacks so that you can start to protect your business.

WHO ARE USING THE TOP HACKING THREATS?

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HACKERS WHO WANT PERSONAL INFORMATION

Personal information hackers target the information about your customers and staff. This also includes birthdays, financial details and national security numbers.
National security numbers seem to be the most valuable asset. Cybercriminals can use them to open new accounts, and make significant identity theft breaches such as claiming benefits. Financial data – such as bank account details – can be used to commit fraud. When your customer or staff member becomes a victim of crime, it’s their relationship with you that starts to suffer.

HACKERS WHO WANT ACCESS TO YOUR DATA SERVERS

Data storage servers are expensive – and hackers want to use yours!
Hackers cut their costs by storing their data and applications on your server infrastructure. Cybercriminals are likely to target good equipment infrastructures. The resulting strains on network limits has devastating effects on businesses ability to work efficiently.
As tech companies are common victims of this subtle attack, choose your IT services company wisely.
The digital infrastructure that frequently runs out of storage, or suffers slowdowns may have unknown devices on their network.

HACKERS WHO WANT YOUR CONFIDENTIAL DETAILS

If your business is growing, your products and services likely make you stand out from your competition. When you know how to engage your target audience, you want to think carefully about how you protect your confidential business details.
Imagine a hacker gains access to new deals and steals upcoming business relationships or products before you launch or submit a patent. When hackers offer your competitors your trade secrets, will they tell you? They may obtain information to undercut your sales without your knowledge.

HACKERS WHO TARGET ACCOUNT DATA

Are you sure that your employee accounts are secure?
Hackers who use scams to gain information that disrupts your operations are likely to try to use an employee account.
For example, losing the login details of key staff can be devastating. Using management login details and accounts provides access to emails and systems to impersonate, request information, target employees, target customers and ruin your business credibility.
Data breaches lead to a lack of confidence in your reputation.

NETWORK CONTROLLERS

Some savvy hackers don’t want data. To launch a ransomware attack, they become full network controllers.
Access to the entire network allows them to lock your systems, making data inaccessible. The ransom demands start to arrive. Ransomware gains access typically through spam emails, and clickable advertisements online.
A ransom amount of £20,000 might be bad enough, but business disruption that brings your sales channels down is usually much more significant.

HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS?

So, given the many different threats – how do you protect your business data, networks, systems and infrastructure?

INVEST IN SECURITY MEASURES

Avoid the mistake of thinking that you can’t afford cybersecurity measures. Allocate enough to set up your most solid defences. Investing in reliable IT Services helps you out.
This way, your business data, networks, systems, and infrastructure is more secure.

TRAINING YOUR TEAM

Security systems do have weaknesses, but employees who don’t know the risks pose the biggest threat.
There are threats in the office and at home. Every phone or laptop used for work can be weak and a point of entry for a hacker. All managers should know about the risks to ensure their staff follows security measures.
Introduce your employees to the best practice. Talk about the steps necessary within your company and how they deter cybercriminals. Consider making security education and training a monthly activity as a reminder.
Suppose you want an example of one way to promote a healthy security culture. We offer more information for you here: https://www.cirrusits.co.uk/human-risk/

ADD AUTHENTICATION

A two-factor authentication is a valuable tool you can use to fend off a hacking scam.
Each user must verify their identity before accessing your systems. Using it on business-related accounts reduces the chances of cybercrime.
Encouraging your team members to authenticate personal accounts at home gets them used to how it works. Anything that helps them to follow appropriate security measures is good. Try to keep up the conversation about reducing the risk of data, network and hardware breaches.

LEVERAGE SOFTWARE

Without antivirus software, your business is open to hacking attack.
Leverage software by making sure that it is up to date. You can consider trusted antivirus software corporate/business versions from Bitdefender, Norton, McAfee or Total AV.
Every machine used to access work systems should rely on antivirus software. Failing to run regular antivirus scans leaves your systems open to virus infection.

PERFORM SECURITY CHECKS

Antivirus software is good, and adding a manual scan to your procedures is even better. Check your systems optimal cybersecurity by checking who has accessed your network. Make sure that each point of access is authorised. Don’t ignore the red flags or gut instinct.

STAY SYSTEMS SAFE

Here at Cirrus IT Services we believe in making cybersecurity a part of all digital business processes. Small businesses in Lancashire UK might think that it’s an unnecessary overhead, but scammers know who to target. Put a plan in place to help avoid losing your money, your data, or your business reputation.
A single bulletproof solution would be ideal, however adopting the right tactics is a sound starting point.

Contact us at Cirrus IT Services if you want to discuss your cybersecurity in greater detail and pinpoint potential risks. We can arrange a quick, non-sales chat and figure out ways to help you.

 

This blog article by Cirrus IT Service is adapted with permission from The Technology Press.

Featured Image Credit: Štefan Štefančík from unsplash.com

Benefit from the Right IT Provider: Avoid 8 Mistakes

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Your business can benefit from working with the right IT provider. Here at Cirrus IT Services, we’d like you to choose us! However, we recognise that you need to evaluate your options. Here are several critical mistakes to avoid when selecting your team.

Time spent trying to understand the most appropriate technology for your business can be costly. When you focus on IT rather than your business needs, then the result is poor customer satisfaction.

IT providers need to be open and honest with customers. At Cirrus IT Services, we help when we know that we have the expertise. Or we point our customers in the right direction.

You can focus on revenue-generating activity when you discover the best-outsourced hardware and computing-related services. Managed IT security and cloud computing provide a robust IT infrastructure and peace of mind.

While there are many IT providers, not all accommodate specific needs. Choose the right team to control your spending. Eliminate irrelevant services, recurring security issues, data backup problems, and downtime.
Please do be extra careful when selecting your IT team. Avoid common mistakes.

THE EIGHT COMMON MISTAKES

MISTAKE 1 – THE LATEST TECHNOLOGY

Insisting on the latest technology plays into the hands of the advertisers, who want to trick you into believing that the newest technology will resolve all your issues. While the latest cloud offerings can boost operations, they might not suit your specific business.

Don’t let hype dazzle you.

Carefully consider the results your IT provider can help you achieve. Work together to determine if the investment enables you to fulfil the brief. Seamless integration is your aim.

MISTAKE 2 – FAILING TO UNDERSTAND THE RESPONSE TIMES

Determining an understanding of response times is essential. It would be best to ask how long it usually takes for the IT provider to reply to queries and resolve problems. Be sure to factor in their onsite and offsite support efficiency.

Constant offsite monitoring can help detect IT issues early. Providers should immediately administer patches and updates to safeguard your business.

Furthermore, check that you have simple access to their support services. Do they offer email, phone, and chat for instant guidance.

MISTAKE 3 – NEGLECTING SECURITY

Neglecting security might be the most severe mistake. Teams with improper defence mechanisms can’t shield your business systems from cyberattacks. Don’t run the risk of losing data or system access.

Look for an IT provider to protect you from malware and other threats. They also need to understand the importance of protecting your confidential business data, like trade secrets and customer information.

Prevent data intrusions instantly upon detection with an IT services provider who offers specific security alerts. Address issues such as phishing attacks, DNS security, endpoint protection, mobile device management, dark web protection and, more importantly, human risk management.

All your staff, colleagues and manager should understand how to eliminate point-of-sale and network intrusions before they compromise your system. If you would like to understand more, then look at our page here: https://www.cirrusits.co.uk/human-risk/.

MISTAKE 4 – FORGETTING THE BUDGET

Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/olichel-529835/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=912718">Olya Adamovich</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=912718">Pixabay</a>
Image by Olya Adamovich from Pixabay

Many IT service providers operate a pay-as-you-go pricing structure. However, adopting many technologies simultaneously without considering the recurring costs can cripple your finances.

Think twice – no three times – before signing on the dotted line.

Research each provider carefully. Draft your budget and anticipated costs with professional assistance. Prevent considerable frustration further down the line.

MISTAKE 5 – NOT DETERMINING SCALABILITY

You’ll need an IT provider with good scalability when growing your company.

Scalable IT systems and teams allow your business to evolve at the pace you choose. Look at how their services extend to accommodate your company’s goals.

MISTAKE 6 – NON-RESPONSIVE SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS

Service level agreements (SLAs) hold IT Systems and IT Services providers accountable. It sets out the responsibilities, quality, scope, and delivery times. Without it, you’ll have no way of setting the standards for transparent collaboration.

Find an IT Services provider with a responsive agreement. It helps to guarantee their services while rendering continual improvement.

MISTAKE 7 – LACK OF TEAM TRAINING

Once you’ve found an IT Services provider you can trust, new technologies won’t work magic on your bottom line.

Your employees need to understand how to use your solution and tech to achieve your goals. But bear in mind that some team members might not grasp new tools quickly. Some may even prefer the old platforms.

Hire training experts. Choose professionals who can simplify complex steps and show your staff how to make the most of your new investment.

Set up regular training and monitor the team’s performance, or run the risk of missing poor employee response to new technologies.

Establish questionnaires and other forms of feedback to spot and address any weaknesses.

MISTAKE 8 – IGNORING PREVIOUS CLIENT EXPERIENCES

Choose an IT provider based on user reviews. Failure to check and ignore previous client experiences can lead to your future disappointment.

To get a clear picture of an IT team capability:

  1. Analyse current and previous clients in similar industries.
  2. Look for the reviews.
  3. Ask for testimonials.
  4. Follow up references.

Your due diligence will tell you whether an IT provider is an ideal match for your organisation.

Some IT Services providers might be experts in the healthcare industry but have no experience with retailers. Choose IT providers servicing your sector for the best results.

FIND THE FLEXIBLE FIT

Don’t end up with poor IT. Don’t leave your company open to cyberattacks and other vulnerabilities. Protect your investment and your operations.

Luckily, we can show you how we work.

Arrange a quick, 10-15-minute obligation-free chat. We can discuss finding the right IT provider for you to ensure you get your money’s worth.

 

This blog article by Cirrus IT Service is adapted with permission from The Technology Press.

Featured Image Credit: Štefan Štefančík from unsplash.com

The University That Was Hit by a Cybersecurity Attack (and the 6 Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities You Need to Check)

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VULNERABILITY 1 – LACK OF ENDPOINT DEFENCES

Many enterprises fail to set up defence mechanisms. This means their organisation is more susceptible to cyberattacks, allowing targets to easily access their servers.

Inadequate endpoint defences can turn them into vulnerabilities, including the use of signature-based antivirus platforms. They’re no longer efficient since many tech-savvy criminals can quickly bypass them.

Additionally, many programs don’t monitor unexpected or unusual behaviour. They may also be unable to investigate or respond to endpoints, especially on larger scale.

The best way to address these issues is to invest in cutting-edge endpoint defence tools that involve next-generation antivirus, response, and behavioural analysis capabilities. They provide a comprehensive evaluation of malicious actions and flexible prevention options.

If you’re operating a traditional antivirus platform, consider upgrading it to a version with in-depth behavioural inspections. You could also use detailed compromise indicators, forensic details, and real-time response functionality.

VULNERABILITY 2 – POOR ACCOUNT PRIVILEGE CONTROL

Limiting the access privileges of your software users is the hub of controlling vulnerabilities. The less information they can access, the less harm they can do if they have a compromised account.

The problem comes if your company doesn’t control your user account access, enabling practically any user to have administrator-level privileges. It gets even worse if your configuration allows unprivileged members to set up admin-level accounts.

Therefore, you should grant access only to those team members who can’t carry out their duties without the access.

You also need to ensure new accounts don’t have administrator-level access. This helps prevent less-privileged users from creating additional privileged accounts.

VULNERABILITY 3 – COMPROMISED OR WEAK CREDENTIALS

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Your password and username may be the most widely used access credential. And cybercriminals can easily compromise them, exposing your user credentials.

This usually happens when an unsuspecting team member falls victim to phishing and enters their login information on a fake website. And with compromised credentials, an intruder gains insider access.

Even though analysing and monitoring can help identify malicious activity, these credentials can bypass security and impede detection. The consequences vary, depending on the access they provide.

For example, privileged credentials offer administrative access to systems and devices, posing a higher risk than consumer accounts.

Keep in mind that humans aren’t the only ones who own credentials.

Security tools, network devices, and servers generally have passwords to enable communication and integration between devices. Intruders can utilise them to activate movements throughout your enterprise – their access is almost unlimited.

To avoid this scenario, you should implement stringent password controls. Another great idea is to include longer and complex passwords, as well as frequent changes. Combining these principles is another effective method to prevent compromised credentials.

VULNERABILITY 4 – LACK OF NETWORK SEGMENTATION

Cybercriminals can target inadequate network monitoring and segmentation to obtain full access to your system. This is a huge vulnerability as it enables attackers to maintain their access longer.

One of the leading causes of this weakness is the failure to develop subnet monitoring or outbound activity control

Overcoming this obstacle in a large company can be challenging if hundreds of systems send outbound traffic and communicate with each other. Nevertheless, solving the problem is a must.

To do that, you should primarily focus on controlling your network access in systems within your subnets and building robust detection strategies for lateral movements. Plus, make sure to pinpoint strange DNS lookups, behavioural traffic trends, and system-to-system communication.

Also, segmentation, firewalls, and proxies can help create restrictive policies for system communications and traffic.

VULNERABILITY 5 – MISCONFIGURATION

Misconfiguration refers to errors in your system configuration. For instance, enabled setup pages and default usernames or passwords can result in breaches.

If you don’t disable setup or application server configuration, hackers can recognize hidden vulnerabilities, giving them extra information. It’s because misconfigured apps and devices are an easy gateway for cybercriminals to exploit.

To prevent this, establish systems and procedures to tighten the configuration process and employ automation whenever possible. Monitoring device and application settings and comparing them to the best practices also reveal potential threats across the network.

VULNERABILITY 6 – RANSOMWARE

Ransomware is cyber extortion that prevents users from accessing their data until the attacker receives a ransom. They instruct the victim to pay a certain fee to obtain their decryption key. The costs can reach thousands, but many criminals also opt for Bitcoin payments.

Making sure your system is ready to address a ransomware issue is integral to protecting your data. To do that, keep your system up to date with the latest security standards as it reduces the number of vulnerabilities. Another recommended defence mechanism is to stick to trusted software providers.

NEUTRALISE THREATS FOR PEACE OF MIND

Successfully running a company with poor cybersecurity measures is virtually impossible. The risk of losing precious data and reputation is just too high.

To ensure your organisation isn’t a sitting duck for cyberattacks, you must implement reliable defence strategies.

To figure out the problem with your IT, reach out to us for a quick, obligation-free chat. We’ll see if we can help you boost performance and set up an impregnable system for your business. Take a look at our services page here: https://www.cirrusits.co.uk/human-risk/

This blog article by Cirrus IT Service is adapted with permission from The Technology Press.

Featured Image Credit: Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

 

Reducing Human Cyber Risk with an IT Compliance Policy – 7 Things to Consider

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The business operations digital world is prone to security risks. Reducing human cyber risk is impossible without an IT compliance policy. Here are 7 things to consider.

Reducing human cyber risk in your business is more important now than ever. And it’s because most organisations now depend on digital services.

Companies rely on taking orders and receiving payments online. Even brick-and-mortar organisations utilise software for order management and back-office accounting.

In such tech-driven environments, a lack of proper security measures jeopardises the business position. If their IT systems get abused, their technology often becomes a source of negative publicity and damaging brand scandal.

At Cirrus IT Services we understand that the only way to avoid this possibility is to create a strong IT compliance policy – with a focus on training staff – to reduce human cyber risk.

This article will cover key considerations when developing your IT compliance policy.

WHAT TO CONSIDER FOR YOUR IT COMPLIANCE POLICY

FACTOR #1 – YOUR PEOPLE, PROCESSES, AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY

IT compliance is more than just digital technology. It involves your people and processes. The reality is that many organisations focus too heavily on tech, resulting in failed audits due to their failure to consider the human cyber risk and the processes. This makes the compliance world more complex.

Follow the correct approach to help ensure the necessary standards.

FACTOR #2 – RELEVANT LAWS AND REGULATIONS

There are the relevant laws and regulations that govern IT compliance requirements.

You can’t start your compliance process without understanding the laws and regulations applicable to your organisation.

You should also look at the controls that apply to these laws and regulations. They are the process-oriented means to adhere to your policies.

There are various industry and government standards that specify control objectives for information and related IT, standards, and payments.

These can have a massive bearing on your sector. Therefore, make sure to familiarise yourself with all relevant controls.

FACTOR #3 – RAISING EMPLOYEE AWARENESS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COMPLIANCE POLICY

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At Cirrus ITS we focus on the biggest threat to your data security by offering training for employees. Their actions can not only have a huge impact on cybersecurity, but also they can act as your first line of defence. For instance, proper software upload, controlled sharing, policies on downloads, and correct storing can all help to control critical information.

The reality is, many employees opt for insecure data transfer methods because they are convenient. They are very familiar with tools that they use for personal emails, consumer-grade collaboration apps, and instant messaging. All of these are targets for cybercriminals.

To control your business data, your employees must learn and understand where various threats originate from. They should especially understand the actions that can give rise to vulnerabilities to reduce the human cyber risk. Becoming the victim that brings down their employer is a real possibility without a mandatory IT compliance policy.

Making correct file sharing a top priority and investing in education training demonstrates the organisation emphasis of IT compliance. Your efforts can help team members to engage and adopt best practices in the field of cyber security.

In your training plan, include several key topics:

  • How insecure file transfer exposes your company to risks
  • Recognising phishing scams
  • Precautions to exercise before downloading or using applications
  • Creating, using and when to change strong passwords

FACTOR #4 – HOW YOUR IT COMPLIANCE ALIGNS WITH THE COMPANY SECURITY POLICY

Aligning IT compliance with business operations involves understanding the culture of your organisation. For example, at Cirrus IT Services we have an environment that revolves around processes NOT ad-hoc ways of doing things.

Enterprises are best off issuing in-depth policies to ensure compliance.

By contrast, companies that have ad-hoc ways require detective work to address specific risks. Auditors need to understand why you’ve deployed a particular control or decided to face certain risks.

FACTOR #5 – UNDERSTANDING THE IT ENVIRONMENT

IT environments are generally a particular type:

  • Homogeneous environments consist of standardised vendors and configurations. They’re largely consistent IT deployments with clear documentation.
  • Heterogeneous environments use a wide range of security and compliance applications, versions, and technologies.

Compliance costs are usually lower in homogeneous environments. Fewer vendors and technology add-ons provide less complexity and fewer policies. As a result, the price of security and compliance per system isn’t as high as with heterogeneous solutions.

Regardless of your environment, your policy needs to appropriately tackle new technologies, including virtualisation and cloud computing.

FACTOR #6 – ESTABLISHING ACCOUNTABILITY

IT policy compliance doesn’t function without establishing accountability. It entails defining organisational responsibilities and roles that determine the assets individuals need to protect. It also establishes who has the power to make crucial decisions.

Accountability begins with senior management, the best way to guarantee involvement is to cast IT policy compliance programs in terms of organisational departments human risks instead of technology.

As for your IT providers like us, we have two pivotal roles:

  • Data/system owners – The owner is in your management team. They’re accountable for protecting and managing information.
  • Data/system custodians – Custodial roles can entail several duties, including system administration, security analysis, and internal auditing.

These responsibilities are essential for IT policy compliance. For example, auditors need to carefully verify compliance activity execution. Otherwise, there’s no way to ensure the implementation is going according to plan.

FACTOR #7 – AUTOMATION OF THE COMPLIANCE PROCESS

As your IT continually evolves and grows, internal auditors can review just a small number of user accounts and system configurations. Automation is the only way to ensure you can evaluate systems regularly.

BREEZE THROUGH BUSINESS IT COMPLIANCE

Setting up your well-designed IT compliance can make a world of difference in terms of business security. It might take a while, but ultimately it keeps your business reputation intact and allows you to avoid penalties and fines.

We’ve mentioned several aspects that need special attention. And one of the most significant is your IT provider.

At Cirrus ITS, we want to live up to the potential of the tech you choose. You’re bound to face compliance issues. This can cause tremendous stress and halt your operations if you don’t get the process of human cyber risk management right..

Luckily, there might be an easy way out of your predicament. Schedule a quick chat with us to discuss your IT problems and find out how to get more from Cirrus ITS.

https://www.cirrusits.co.uk/human-risk/

This blog article by Cirrus IT Service is adapted with permission from The Technology Press.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Top Tips For Post Pandemic Business Communications

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A BBC business news headline this week highlights ‘… UK inflation to five-year low.’ So what does it mean for your business? Can you take advantage of new technology while prices remain steady?

Deciding to move your business communications to the cloud can be a daunting prospect. Why be the person responsible for changing systems – right? However, at times of low inflation and high staff redundancies, perhaps your senior management team need to future proof your business. Moving to cloud computing is simpler than you might think. Here are our top 5 business benefit advantages.

Eliminate Risks of Replacing Systems

Replacing out of date systems is operationally risky and expensive. But with a cloud solution, you can expect all updates and upgrades with your subscription. You can enjoy the peace of mind of predictable costs, regular updates and system performance without replacing systems. Think of an extra pair of hands at low cost & low-risk.

Eliminate Risks

Improve Security and Resilience

While physically having your IT systems in one place might feel more secure, government statistics say otherwise. The Home Office Cybercrime review of the evidence: Research (Report 75) found that businesses hacking experiences often go unreported. It states: ‘…regarding damage to reputation from cyber crimes and a desire to avoid publicity of any problems.’ Cloud providers are safe hands for cloud security, encryption, active service monitoring and more. And another bonus is cloud computing, disaster recovery. Automatically including failover to another data centre for your SIP Trunks and a full backup of your system to another server is the ultimate reassurance. Restoring to another cloud service provider is an exceptionally resilient disaster recovery scenario.

Reduce Capital Expenditure

Communications systems are expensive, so why pay more? Traditional hardware and software systems require server hardware, network solutions, IT administrator staff and network specialist staff costs on top. Adopting cloud strategies are generally cheaper and could save you as much as 80% off your phone bill as well. And with reliable WebClients and Apps for mobiles, it’s worth checking how much more you’ll save with your existing business smartphones.

Reduce Capital

Access More Productivity Features

Consolidating communications with colleagues and customers improves productivity. Look at easy integration with other software platforms such as Customer Relationship Management systems, PMS or IoT systems. Allow your managers to coordinate product enquires, sales, online bookings, payments, and reporting – all from one central place.

Connect Remote Workers

If you lack a direct connection to remote workers, you are limiting the benefits of employees on the move. Moving your systems to the cloud removes location boundaries and increases productivity. Any destination with an active connection can receive call traffic just as easily as an office phone.

Connect Remote Workers

If you want to find out about the extensive range of products available from Cirrus ITS, the features and benefits of a 3CX implementation, or the flexible lower rate monthly Microsoft 365 subscription, then please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

 

Microsoft Business 365 – Here is what you need to know

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Microsoft 365 is the new name for the Microsoft Office 365 monthly subscription plan designed to help you achieve more. Innovative Office apps, intelligent cloud services, and world-class security bring your content together for a seamless organisation.

With a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can collaborate with your team members, customers, and suppliers, access your application and data from anywhere. Latest features are continuously updating and evolving.

Name Changes

Microsoft announced their latest product name changes for the small and medium-sized business Microsoft Office 365 Subscriptions plans in April 2020.

Many people are still getting confused by the name changes, so we have listed the basics below:

New NameOld Name
Microsoft 365 Business BasicOffice 365 Business Essentials
Microsoft 365 Business StandardOffice 365 Business Premium
Microsoft 365 Business PremiumMicrosoft 365 Business
Microsoft 365 AppsOffice 365 Business & Office 365 ProPlus*

* Where necessary Microsoft will use the “for enterprise” label to refer to ProPlus.

Plans & Pricing

If you choose to purchase directly from Microsoft, they currently offer two payment options. A lower option if you take an annual commitment or a higher if you want the flexibility of a month by month subscription. You must pay by Credit Card.

If you chose to purchase from us at Cirrus IT Services (a Microsoft Partner), we pass on savings to our customers. The licenses we buy from a Cloud Service Provider enable us to match the Microsoft annual commitment price AND offer monthly flexibility. With Cirrus IT Services, you can give just 30-days’ notice to flex up and down your product license requirements. You can also pay by Direct Debit or by Credit Card.

M365 Plans

Applications

Cloud Services

Moving Providers

Existing Microsoft Customers

Changing providers is a little like changing Gas or Electricity providers; the only thing that changes is the company that invoices you.

Microsoft 365 Business or Enterprise account (Not Home Editions) have a Tenant – your own private Microsoft 365 Management console –  where your account, data and settings live.

As a Microsoft Partner, we can easily take over any existing Microsoft 365 Tenant with no disruption. Hence, you’re safe in the knowledge that you are not tied to any provider. You can switch as required without losing any data or having to go through any downtime or reconfiguration.

New Microsoft Customers

If you do not already have a Microsoft Business Tenant, they’re easy to set up. As Microsoft Partners, we have tools available to easily import email from other providers to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Microsoft also offers lots of excellent simple training videos and guides on how to make the most of your Microsoft 365 Subscription.

If you want to find out more or take out a Microsoft 365 subscription, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

3CX – Why should you believe our hybrid 3CX model is better?

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Why should you believe our hybrid 3CX installation is better than a standard 3CX model? The answer is simple. We are careful to provide the benefits that matter most.

We think that having more than 99.95% of connectivity up-time is important. Your data matters; your disaster recovery plan is essential.

In times of economic uncertainty, there is no excuse for poor reliability or poor customer service. Giving your business the best communication systems has never been more critical.

Before we tell you about popular standard 3CX features, there is a long list of exclusive 3CX benefits that we love. And before you think all this comes at a cost, you may be pleased to learn that low price matters too.

Our experience comes in handy. There are advantages and disadvantages to having your phone system hosted in the cloud, so we have developed a hybrid 3CX model that makes the best of all options.

  • Our 3CX Systems are all hosted in a 3CX Certified UK Datacentre that has a connectivity service level agreement (SLA) of at least 99.95%, to keep you connected.
  • All 3CX instances are backed up every night to a different location for disaster recovery purposes. Restoring to any location can be an option for our customers.
  • All 3CX customers have their own 3CX instance, we do not multi-tenant customers so you’re not directly affected by any issues that another customer may have or any “system-wide” outages or platform maintenance.
  • Each customer site has a 3CX Certified SBC (Session Border Controller) that offers a secure connection (like a VPN) between the Site and the Datacentre, for privacy and protection.
  • Each Site SBC (Session Border Controller) offers encryption of all traffic between the Site and the Datacentre over a single port making Firewall and Quality of Services setup more straightforward and much more secure.
  • All our Engineers are 3CX Certified and UK based.
  • We are not tied to a single handset manufacturer so we can select the best option for your requirements and can offer Paging, Public Address, Loud Ringers, Video and Voice Intercoms and access control that is all 3CX Approved and certified to work seamlessly with your system and handsets.
  • Our SIP trunks are geo-resilient, with two connections to different geographically located Datacentres. So if one has a problem, we failover to the other, you continue to make and receive calls.SIP Trunks Diagram
  • Our SIP Trunks all include calls so that you can save a fortune on phone bills – fair usage policy applies.
  • If you take our SIP Trunk Direct Dial Numbers, we also offer Inbound Text to Email on your main number for streamlines administration.
  • Our SIP trunks are all on a 30-day rolling contract, so no long-term tie-ins and just a 30-day notice to cancel. Try the system with confidence!
  • We offer a Multi-Network SIM card option to connect to the strongest UK provider signal wherever you are. Used in any mobile, it converts a phone system extension anywhere with a mobile signal, no app required. It doesn’t even have to be a smartphone! Another example to show you that working with us doesn’t come with the highest price tag.

And on top of everything we have mentioned so far, here is a list of standard 3CX features:

  • 3CX is a software-based PBX (Private Branch exchange) or Telephone System. Just about anything is compatible, whether that’s a Micro PC that sits on a desk, a Virtual Machine running in a Datacentre or a customer-specific infrastructure.
  • The flexibility of 3CX means you can provide the right size system for your business, whether that’s just two extensions or a call centre with 10,000 agents.
  • The 3CX offer is so much more than telephony. Unlike many other communications systems, you don’t have to keep paying extra to add features. You pay a low annual license fee that includes all options, except for a few top-end enterprise features like inbuilt failover and standby licenses. We can show you the most up-to-date edition comparison list online.
  • A 3CX Professional License includes Video Conferencing, CRM Integration, Unlimited Extensions, iOS & Android Apps, Call Recording and much more.
  • 3CX also supports many different Manufacturers Handsets and Devices from Standard Desk Phones and cordless phones to Loudspeakers, Paging Systems and voice and video intercoms.

It can be challenging to select the right combination of options for your scenario. Again, this is where our experience and flexible approach comes in handy.

To find out more, get a quote or arrange a demo, email us at [email protected]

 

Why is an MSP Contract Better than Insurance?

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Many describe a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Managed Service Support Contract as an insurance policy for IT equipment. The truth is that a good MSP Contract is so much more than an insurance policy.

An MSP contract is a fixed-term monthly fee covering support for any technology equipment specified.

As your plan will cover you for the support needed to rectify tech problems, it is similar to an insurance policy.

With insurance, however, if nothing happens throughout the policy term, you don’t have anything to show for your money. You only see the benefit when you have a problem. But why would you want issues or problems to get value for money?

With an MSP contract, you don’t need problems to start seeing real value. Right from the start and throughout the policy term, you get all the software licences you need for each product covered.

Our MSP package includes Remote Monitoring and Management, Mail filtering and a Security Suite including Firewall, Antivirus, Antimalware, Content Filtering, Device Control, Network Protection and more.

Your MSP provider should pro-actively work in the background to prevent issues before they occur.

For example, our Mail Filter protects from Spam and includes two different Antimalware Engines. Adding layers of security for inbound and outbound mail makes practical sense.

All our MSP customers receive regular updates. The entire protected inventory list of checks carried out regularly on each device is reported on a regular basis.

There are two types of checks, frequent recurring checks and daily safety checks.

The daily safety checks examine each machine and verify that the security software is operating and up to date. A critical events log monitor alerts you to failed login attempts, your physical disk health status and more.

Frequently recurring checks can run as often as every 5 minutes. Checking for available disk space, monitoring performance, watching critical services on machines an automatically, restarting if necessary and providing data on missing patches and updates are examples of the support provided.

The latest technology reduces security risks with optimal cybersecurity.

All our MSP customers have an agreed Service Level Agreement (SLA) and a help desk system accessible by email, online or by telephone.

If you are the allocated administrator for a company MSP contract, you will be able to log in to our help desk portal to view all tickets logged by your employees. A full audit trail of the life of each ticket shows you – with transparency – precisely what you’re getting for your monthly subscription fee.

Our Managed Service employees are expert, highly qualified and experienced. They only give you the best possible service. They are up to date with industry techniques to update your IT, make sure that you have secure networks infrastructure and that you are happy with the service that you receive.

Outsourcing your IT services allow you not only to save money but in the long-term to streamline monthly costs.

We work closely alongside you, offering quick response and proactive support every time you need it. If you realise the importance of appropriate technological infrastructure to manage your information successfully, then an MSP is for you.

As you can see, an MSP contract is so much more than insurance. It gives you complete peace of mind at an affordable fixed, predictable monthly cost. To find out more contact us at [email protected]

What’s the best way to back up your work?

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Millions of remote workers throughout the UK are asking the question, ‘What’s the best way to back up your work?’ A simple, reliable backup is more critical than ever.

SharePoint

Do you use SharePoint already? If you do, that’s great! You can store your documents and data just as if you were at your business premises.

Organisations configure SharePoint (integrated with Microsoft Office 365) to manage content, knowledge, and applications. Secure sharing helps teamwork and efficiency. The seamless collaboration of backed up data allows for productivity benefits. Data is available to authorised personnel using PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.

Data Security

If you are using a company PC, Mac or mobile, then it’s slightly easier to remember to back up your device as you would at the office. You can either use your VPN connection or your remote desktop.

If however, you are using one of your own devices for work, be extra careful.

Only use encrypted Wi-Fi for business data. Do not use Wi-Fi that is open for all to access. If you’re working from home, make sure your home Wi-Fi network is secured – all home routers support encryption.

Use strong authentication to access your device. Now is a good time to think about the passwords you use. It’s a good time to upgrade to secure your passwords. Make sure each device that you use is up-to-date. Security updates are important. Also, install the latest versions of antivirus and antimalware programs. Make sure that your data security protection software is actively running. Use a modern browser, and make sure you’re running the latest version.

Store your files in a secure cloud location. Your laptop, your local drive or removable media might not be safe enough. Make sure that if you save to a synchronised back up storage service like DropBox or OneDrive that you don’t download a copy of sensitive files to your home computer.

Check that you have the tools and security protection that your company demand. Check your company Information Security Policies. Keep your company data safe at all times.

Whenever possible use web versions of apps, such as Word, Outlook, and Excel. When you use the web versions, your data stays on the server  – not your local device.

Stay in touch

Stay in touch with your company IT services team while you work remotely. There might be new tools for you, or they may need your help. If you don’t understand something, then ask. If you suspect compromised data, notify your IT support staff immediately. Limit the damage by starting an investigation quickly.

Be Vigilant

Now more than ever is the time to be vigilant. Resist the temptation to store data offline on your own devices. Review and get approval for your data back up processes. Ask your IT services team or escalate to your line manager if you are not sure what to do.