Staci Stickovich

3 cloud trends that all small businesses should know in 2015

The cloud’s steady gains in popularity has led to numerous applications and productivity solutions targeted to improve business operations. According to Data Center Knowledge, by 2020, more than half of small businesses will be looking to move their entire portfolio of IT functions to the cloud.

When considering whether or not to adopt cloud solutions for your business, there are three key trends you should be aware of when making your decision: Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

Cybersecurity and Windows Server 2003 end-of-life

Earlier this month, Microsoft released its last patch for Windows Server 2003. The end of support for the server has prompted businesses to take a closer look at cybersecurity. Tech Target contributor Michael Heller stated that many businesses are at risk because they aren’t planning to migrate current applications to more recent versions of Windows.

In fact, a recent study by Softchoice found 21 percent of servers still ran Windows 2003 at 200 enterprises in June. One reason for this, Heller noted, is that system administrators may not be aware that there are 2003 servers in the network, so those servers may not receive critical cybersecurity updates. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

3 easy strategies for implementing your BYOD policy

Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are becoming increasingly popular now that smartphones are becoming ubiquitous across the country and around the world. According to Pew Research, as of October 2014, 90 percent of American adults owned a cell phone and 64 percent owned a smartphone. By the same coin, tablets are helping propel small businesses and large firms alike to make the move to implementing BYOD.

The same Pew study found that 42 percent of American adults own a tablet computer. The benefits of BYOD, including saving money on IT infrastructure, increasing business intelligence and achieving higher levels of productivity among employees, are good reasons to look into implementing some sort of BYOD strategy.

Here are three ways your company can easily bring BYOD into the workplace: Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

How will Microsoft’s re-organization affect Dynamics CRM customers?

Windows Server 2003 end-of-life isn’t the only thing on Microsoft’s plate at the moment. The company is also currently undergoing a company-wide re-organization aimed at strengthening current offerings and emphasizing innovation, according to an employee memo obtained by The Verge. In the memo, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced June 17 that the company would be moving the management of its customer relations management solution, Dynamics CRM, under the Cloud and Enterprise division, under current division leader Scott Guthrie.

How with the move impact organizations?
Right now, Dynamics CRM Online is part of Microsoft’s Commercial Cloud businesses, according to ZDNet, but there is a possibility that in the future Microsoft will move Dynamics CRM Online to its cloud platform, Azure. Hence the move to the Cloud and Enterprise division. In the employee memo, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stressed that the transition will be beneficial for the company and its customers because it will allow for better innovation and collaboration. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

Small businesses should educate employees about cybersecurity

An important first step to cybersecurity is making an initial assessment of the data you most need to protect. According to CIO,com, careless or uninformed employees are one of the biggest cybersecurity risks. Therefore, it’s crucial that businesses make an effort to educate their employees about risk and how to prevent it. Additionally, the Small Business Administration reports that cybercriminals use smaller organizations as a bridge to attack a larger company, which can harm business relationships.

Assess your risk
Risk assessments can be instrumental in helping you take a step back and get an idea of where you are most vulnerable. Once you’ve determined the risks within your company, you can take the necessary steps to protect it, as well as determine a coordinated plan should that data be infiltrated. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

Tips for a successful ERP deployment

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications can help businesses increase employee productivity and improve project management by automating time-consuming and redundant tasks. Unfortunately, ERP systems are often overlooked because of the time or scope of the project. Business leaders should look past the implementation details and instead focus on the future benefits and cost-savings it can bring to the organization.

We’ve come up with the following recommendations to help businesses ensure a successful ERP deployment: Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

Five ways to improve your customer’s experience using custom apps

Mobility in this day and age is indispensable, and custom apps can be a great way for businesses to connect with their customers. A recent SalesForce study on mobile behavior found that smartphone users spend between 3-4 hours per day, primarily to email (91%), text (90%), and search the Internet (76%) – with social networking (75%) following closely behind.

Businesses have already begun to change their strategies to include SMS messaging, responsive web design, and optimized emails for smaller screens, but there is still a lag in adoption when it comes to custom business apps. Yet, despite slow adoption, consumers’ cite “access to content any way they want” as the most important factor in a mobile experience according, to the study.

Providing customers with a custom app to connect with the business is not only beneficial for you, but also preferred by them. The ExactTarget study noted that 65 percent of those polled have downloaded business-specific apps for more convenient access to information. Of those who do use business-specific apps, 92 percent believe they are useful. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

South Bend medical organization affected by data breach

Hackers were recently able to compromise a Web portal used by the South Bend Medical Foundation to capture demographics information about patients. The incident yet again underscores the need for organizations of all sizes and in all industries to have a robust cybersecurity strategy in place.

On May 26, the South Bend Medical Foundation first discovered the issue with NoMoreClipboard, a program it uses to allow patients to view lab results online. The problem may have been around for longer than that, however, as the South Bend Tribune reported that the breach may have first appeared unnoticed around May 7. At the moment it does not appear as though financial information such as credit card numbers were taken in this breach, but the FBI, NoMoreClipboard and others are looking into the cause to find the perpetrators. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

3 tips for disaster recovery

Since the onset of the digital revolution there has been a huge shift in data storage from manual paper to electronic storage. Where there were once rows and rows of filing cabinets now sit stacks and stacks of servers, and while many business leaders believe that their data is safer than it was before the digital age, it is merely a false sense of security unless they have a proper backup and disaster recovery plan in place.

Although digital data storage provides an easier way to archive, store and retrieve information, it does not necessarily safeguard it from potential risks associated with malicious attacks, natural disasters, or unintended human error. In a 2014 study done by Databarracks, the number one cause of data loss over a 12-month time-frame was Hardware (21%)/Software failure (19%), followed closely by human-error (18%), corruption (15%), and Theft/Security breach at 7% each.

The study also indicated that SMBs are not investing, or planning to invest, in disaster recovery or business continuity solutions in the near future despite the risks. Yet, last year, the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council’s (DRPC) annual benchmark survey reported that, nearly one in five organizations did not fully recover from a ‘serious business disruption’ and one in ten suffered from reputation damage. Continue reading

Staci Stickovich

Cybersecurity: is the cost worth the risk?

According to Wikipedia, Cybersecurity is defined as the process of applying security measures to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data. These measures can consist of access controls, awareness training, audit and risk assessments, vulnerability management and more. There are many different solutions available to help you with protecting your data. Needless to say, the more protection you need, the more you can expect to spend. But how do you know when you’ve invested enough?

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that the average large business spends over $10 million a year to protect its information. Of course, small and midsize businesses cannot afford such a large spend on cybersecurity. To figure out what is most cost effective for your business, it is important to know where your data is most vulnerable. Therefore, a risk assessment should be a top priority for CIOs. It would not be cost-effective to invest in security measures for areas that are unnecessary.  Continue reading