Insight and advice from AIS technical resources on technical trends and events

AIS VoIP Frequently Asked Questions
    Frequently Asked Questions about AIS Managed VoIP
3 Misconceptions Of IT Consulting Firms
    3 Misconceptions of IT Consulting Firms The IT talent shortage is a leading, national news headline. The majority of the articles out there focus on how large companies are attracting IT talent with unprecedented salaries, perks, and benefits. However, the businesses struggling to hire IT employees the most are small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), defined as those with less than 1,000 employees. Oftentimes SMBs lack the strong brand identity needed to compete for talent.
Cisco Security Updates
    Executive Summary Cisco has released has released security updates that address multiple products, the most important of which being security updates for enterprise NFV infrastructure software. Internet browsers, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, have released important security updates. Finally, we offer a brief introduction on encryption. Cisco Cisco has released ~20 security updates for various products since our last briefing. All Cisco users should review the Cisco Security Advisories page below to ensure that necessary updates for respective products have been applied.
Log4J Cybersecurity Risks
    Log4J Overview, Detection, and Mitigation
Why Is AIS Managed SIEM Needed?
    When it comes to cyber-attacks and data threats, it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” There is only so much anyone can do to prevent a successful attack, but hackers have become more resourceful and will continue to find innovative new ways to penetrate security defenses. Malware and web-based cyber-attacks are the most popular forms that are growing in their complexity and method of delivery. And just because you currently have an AV solution doesn’t mean you’re covered.
Vendor Neutral Solutions
    Enabling the best combination of on-premise, cloud, and edge resources.
Are Managed IT Services Right For You? A Few Things To Consider
    How do you get a small business to recognize the value of manages IT services? In the start-up environment, we encounter an eclectic bunch of personality types. There is a reason people become entrepreneurs or C-level execs. When we meet the owners or decision makers at smaller companies and organizations, we can tell right away why they’re where they are. They’re visionaries. They’re risk takers. They’re competitive. They want to be in charge.
Continuous Vulnerability Scanning
    One-time scans are no longer sufficient to manage modern threats
Open Source Solutions
    Enterprise software at a small business cost.
Gaining New Insight Into Your Network
    Insight into a network is essential for any business and their IT Team. Data about your network at any single point gives a snapshot, however it is not showing the whole story. Graphical visualization of data can quickly show high level trends to showcase specific events or areas of concern. The true key to knowing your network and changing how you interact with it comes from the ability to move from visualized data points into the root cause.
5 Ways SMBs Can Save Money On Security

    5 Ways SMBs Can Save Money on Security

    Small-to-medium sized businesses and large enterprises may seem worlds apart, but they face many of the same cyber-security threats. In fact, in recent years, cyber-criminals have increasingly targeted SMBs. This is because it’s widely known that SMBs have a smaller budget, and less in-house expertise, to devote to protection. Thankfully, there are several things SMBs can do today to get more from even the most limited security budget.

8 Cold Hard Truths For SMBs Not Worried About Disaster Recovery And Business Continuity

    8 Cold Hard Truths for SMBs Not Worried About Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

    The foundation of any successful business continuity solution is the ability to retrieve data from any point in time from anywhere. When the topic of data recovery and business continuity comes up, you get the feeling that many decision makers at smaller businesses and organizations wish they could channel their inner six year old, simply cover their ears, and sing “La, la, la.

A Smarter Approach To Mobile Device Management

    A Smarter Approach to Mobile Device Management

    More people today use personal mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for business purposes. Such devices, coupled with greater Wi-Fi accessibility and cloud services, have empowered us with the ability to access data and do business from practically anywhere at anytime. Needless to say, many small-to-medium sized business owners have embraced the BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) revolution. The benefits are obvious increased employee productivity, enhanced services to customers/clients, and better overall customer and employee satisfaction.

Can You Really Afford Not To Have A Backup Plan?

    According to Symantec SMB, 50 of SMBs admit to having no backup and disaster recovery plan in place. 41 of those surveyed confessed that they had never even given much thought to implementing a disaster recovery or business continuity plan. If you are one of them, then you really need to think about whether you can afford the status quo. Answering these questions will help you decide.

    1. How often is employee productivity and customer accessibility or service stalled each day from a downed network or system?
Data Loss Can Cause You To Shut Down
    Small and medium sized businesses today are relying more than ever on IT systems to efficiently run their business, support customers and optimize productivity. These systems house sensitive digital data ranging from employee and customer information, to internal emails, documents and financial records, sales orders and transaction histories. This is in addition to applications and programs critical to daily business functions and customer service. While corporate-level data losses and insider theft are well publicized, many smaller businesses have also become casualties of data loss and theft.
DNS Resolution Issues
    On 5/12/2020, Domain Names using DNS Servers become intermittently inaccessible from Comcast internet connections. The root cause of this issue appears to be lack of DNSSEC and EDNS support by the DNS Servers. To resolve this issue, AIS recommends using Amazon AWS Route53 DNS hosting services, which is included as part of the AIS Network Monitoring Service(NMS). After initial testing, Comcast DNS Servers were responding with a Servfail error on affected domains, which means the domain exists but the authoritative DNS server(register.
Does A Cloud Based VOIP System Make Sense For My Business?
    AIS Managed VOIP designed for the Hybrid Business ModelAs business activity moves from 100 in the office to a hybrid model of office/field/remote- businesses are evaluating the role of their phone system and how it ties into their IT strategy. Phone systems have long been viewed as a vital, AIS Managed Cloud VoIP can ease the transition and even enhance the experience! WHAT ARE THE CURRENT PAIN POINTS OF PHONE SYSTEMS?
Has The Remote Work Initiative Your Company Just Deployed Told Hackers When, Where And How To Hit Your Company?

    Over the past month we’ve seen an explosion in remote workers due to Covid-19. For many of my customers, they’ve been directed to get employees working remotely any way they could as quickly as possible. Now that we have a moment to breathe, it’s important to make sure that your cybersecurity risk isn’t soaring.

    WHY IS CYBERSECURITY RISK SOARING? Data compiled by Shodan, a search engine for Internet-connected devices, has revealed an increase in enterprise RDP and VPN use but these solutions aren’t being used securely.

How Can I Be Successful And Productive Working From Home?
    Play to strengths and Pivot when you need to- 2 P’sPlan your day to work on tasks when you’re in the best mindset for that taskFor Me:Writing in the AM (blogs, emails, responding to RFP’s, writing business value cases for IT Solutions)Chatty at lunch (following up on calls)Process oriented in the afternoon (writing SOW’s, documenting sales processes, etc.)Set date deadlines for projects that require more then 3 deliverables to be completedI set deadlines for everything.
How Can I Make Sure My Meetings Are Secure?
    As we’re becoming more reliant on video conferencing and VOIP to communicate the value of security and privacy are increasing. Start your meeting slightly after or before the hour to avoid the meeting rush and provide a better logging in experience.If you’re hosting a public webinar, use a one time use only meeting ID.If you’re using your personal ID for meetings, don’t share that information publicly.See if your platform has a “waiting room” feature.
How Much Does Downtime Really Cost Your Organization?

    Many SMB owners think IT downtime only costs them a few productive hours, but there’s a lot more at stake when your systems go down. Customer satisfaction and loss of brand integrity are just two of the key losses apart from the more evident costs such as lost productivity and a temporary dip in sales. Here’s a few other ways downtime can hurt your business:

    1. Customer Loss – Today’s buyer lacks patience !
How To Align Your Managed Services With SMB Business Priorities
    By leveraging an IT Managed Service provider, small-to-medium sized businesses will enjoy a more efficient and proactive approach to IT that aligns with their business priorities and allows them to focus on what matters most – growing their business. Please see the above chart which outlines the top business priorities for SMB business. For most firms, business priorities almost always start with the customer – and you are no exception.
Inquiring SMBs Want To Know… What’s The Difference Between A Help Desk And NOC?

    Inquiring SMBs Want to Know… What’s the Difference Between a Help Desk and NOC?

    It’s no secret that any growing small-to-medium sized business must monitor and manage its business technology in the most cost-efficient way. The tricky part is figuring out how to do this without sacrificing the overall experience of the end-user. End-users can be clients and customers or employees. Both rely on the efficiency of a firm’s network, servers, and applications, and the availability of the company’s data center.

Is That Email A Phishing Scheme?
    Research has revealed that over half of all users end up opening fraudulent emails and often even fall for them. Phishing is done with the aim of gathering personal information about you, generally related to your finances. The most common reason for the large number of people falling for fraudulent emails is that the phishing attempts are often so well-disguised that they escape the eyes of a busy email reader.
Mitigate Costly New Technology Risks For Continued Stability And Profitability
    Partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) is one new approach being used by many companies like yours. Experienced MSPs have access to newer tools that reduce costs by automating many routine in-house labor intensive processes. Break-fix is labor intensive, and labor is one of the most expensive operating costs within your IT infrastructure. The new innovative tools that can be provided by MSPs generate real productivity increases and mitigate the risk of network failure, downtime and data loss from human error.
Six Steps To Better Data Backup And Quicker Recovery
    Think Quicker Recovery Time, Not Quicker Backup – While incremental backups are much faster than executing a full-backup, they also prolong recovery time. In the event of data loss, a full restore will require loading the most recent full backup and then each incremental backup tape. Having too many incremental backup tapes not only adds time to this restoration process, but it also increases the probability of not recovering all of your data.
The Benefits Of A Managed Service Provider
    Managed Service Providers – or MSPs – are often recommended as a cost effective IT solution for small businesses. For a minimal monthly fee, MSPs provide a reasonably priced solution to the complex technology pains of small businesses. Here’s a look at the various benefits an MSP can offer your business… Freed-Up Resources and a Renewed Emphasis on Core Business – Both business owners and internal IT staff would much rather focus on revenue enhancing tasks like product development or the creation of cutting-edge applications/services.
The Sky’s The Limit For SMBs Taking To The Cloud

    The Sky’s the Limit for SMBs Taking to the Cloud

    There has been a lot of hype about cloud computing transforming the way small-to-medium sized businesses do business. Proponents of the cloud say that cloud computing has leveled the playing field, allowing SMBs to finally compete with bigger companies despite their limited financial resources and staffing. Still, many are apprehensive to make the jump. They’re hesitant to give up control and they fear the cloud will expose them to greater security risks.

Think You Are Too Small To Be Targeted By A Cybercriminal?
    Think you are too small to be targeted by a cybercriminal? Think again. When I meet with clients, especially SMBs, I often hear them say that they feel their business is too insignificant to be a target of cyber-criminals. Why would someone go after my business when there are bigger ones out there, making more money? Here are a few reasons why. Because you think so – The fact that you think you are safe makes you more vulnerable, because you are not prepared for the eventualities that arise from an attack.
Three Steps To Fix IT Management For SMBs

    Three Steps To Fix IT Management for SMBs

    Small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) tend to have a more difficult time managing IT than larger enterprises. Despite being as technology dependent as larger enterprises, SMBs have tighter budgets and fewer resources to devote to IT management. This leads to a more reactive “break-fix” approach to their technology that never does any smaller company or organization any good. Here’s what break fix most often leads to.

Understand How Data Losses Happen – In Order To Prevent Them

    Small business owners are often worried about data loss. Rightly so, because data loss has the potential to wipe out a business. We have identified the most common forms of data loss so you can see how they fit into your business and assess the risks related to each of these pitfalls.

    1. Human Error – Human error – by way of unintentional data deletion, modification, and overwrites – has become much more prevalent in recent years.
Understanding Business Continuity Planning
    Technology is full of difficult jargon. To further complicate things, certain terms are often used in a different context between one publication or service provider and the next. An example of this is the usage of backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity. These terms are commonly used interchangeably, often resulting in confusion. In an effort to alleviate some of this confusion, let’s describe each physical process. You will see an overlay among all three, although they are each different processes.
Understanding Managed Services And How They Benefit SMBs

    Understanding Managed Services and How They Benefit SMBs

    Small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) receive a lot of calls each day from slick sales people peddling the next technology trend that’s going to save them money and revolutionize how they do business. They’re all too quick to caution that if you don’t listen to them, you’ll fall behind the times, and eventually be swimming in a sea of debt and out of business.

Why Should You Get On The Cloud?

    A recent article by The Guardian (UK) states that the cloud industry is set to see a growth of around 30 soon. But many small and medium business owners are still struggling to make sense of the cloud and how it can benefit them. If you are one of them, then here’s what’s in store for you when you migrate to the cloud:

    1. Connectivity – Being on the cloud gives you unparalleled connectivity to your data—from anywhere and at any time.
You’re In Business But Is Your Technology Ready?

    Click, Click, BOOM – You’re in Business But Is Your Technology Ready?

    It’s a fast business world. Brilliant business ideas can be conjured up at some hipster-filled vegan coffeehouse, a website is thrown together, and poof… in no time at all there is a living, breathing, small business venture accessible from anywhere in the world. But as your head hits the pillow at night, with visions of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg dancing in your head, understand that many obstacles will greet you on your road to entrepreneurial success.

How Much Is Not Worrying About Cybersecurity Worth To You?
    At an increasing rate, cybersecurity issues have been making mainstream news. There are headlines of major companies getting hit for millions of dollars in ransomware, large scale infiltration of user data from government agencies and social media companies, but what about the SMB market? What about the companies you work at or that your neighbor owns? Those aren’t making the headlines, but the problem is just as serious. Recently, Microsoft Exchange servers had a vulnerability exploited.
Five Things You Should Do Right Now To Preserve Your Network And Systems
    1. Backup Files Every Day – As catastrophic as data loss is, the number of businesses that still are not backing up their network is unbelievable. According to the Symantec Small to Medium Size Businesses (SMB) data, only 23 of SMBs are backing up their data on a daily basis and fewer than 50 are backing up data weekly. Any number of events can result in data loss, so the importance of frequently backing up your network cannot be overstated.
Is Your Organization Safe From Virtual Threats?

    Did you know that 50 of small business owners think their businesses are too small to be targeted by the thieves of the virtual world? Contrary to popular belief, 72 of hacker attacks often happen to smaller firms – firms with less than 100 employees! So how prepared is your SMB? Here’s a checklist to help you find out how vulnerable you are to these attacks.

    1. Do you have Antivirus protection?
Last modified June 8, 2022