Tag: IT Services Chicago

10 Apr 2019

One Must Have From your Chicago IT Support Provider

Network Security
SECURITY OPERATIONS CENTER FROM YOUR CHICAGO IT SUPPORT PROVIDER

The single most important thing your Chicago IT Support plan needs

If you are making a decision related to IT and your Chicago company you are faced with a ton of options, technologies, costs, software, platforms, etc. But, currently the single most important focus of your Chicago IT support strategy needs to be IT Cyber Security. You’ve probably heard this from any reputable IT Company or one of the better IT Companies in Chicago. Don’t ignore this message. Sometimes executive leadership tends to tune out the constant sky is falling messages about information technology. But IT Cyber Security is one area that can’t be ignored.

Your Data is Under Attack

Your data is your company. All your accounting records, sales records, human resources records are today’s most valuable assets. And hackers want this data, and spend enormous amounts of time trying to get it. Cyber threats are becoming more common and extremely sophisticated. And as one of Chicago’s leading IT Companies we see more and more attacks happening to smaller companies. That’s why even as a small business or mid-size business IT Cyber-Security must play a huge part in your IT Support plan. The threats include Malware attacks, that can penetrate your systems through emails, web site visits, downloaded files. Other threats may include hacking, insider attacks and of course ransomware. Well the majority of these threats can not be stopped by typical firewall and perimeter security technologies.

Why Firewalls aren’t enough!

The problem is many Chicago IT Companies have relied on firewalls and perimeter technologies to protect your company’s data from hacking. Perimeter technologies are systems that act like a fence or gate. They protect intruders from getting in from outside your network. Imagine a house, your yard fence, windows, locks and doors, these would be considered perimeter defense technologies. However, these technologies alone will no longer protect you. The reason is most attacks these days come from inside your network. So what would you do to protect your house if someone was already inside? Well your security and home defenses would be much different. Then you would need to look more at solutions that allow you to respond and eliminate the threat from the inside. Now your Chicago IT Support plan needs a Managed IT Cyber Security service to keep your data safe from the inside. What does that mean? Well it means that your systems, network and its data are monitored 24/7 to make sure no one is hacking or compromising your data from the outside and inside.

Protection Detection and Response

Lets continue with the home analogy. To protect your home you may install a fence, locks on your doors and windows, or even gates on your windows. In the IT security and support world, gates, locks and doors would be the firewalls, and endpoint protection technologies. This is the first step towards a proper IT Security plan. Protection! Next let’s think about burglar alarms, and what they consist of in your home. They would have motion sensors, movement detectors and cameras. In IT Security solutions and IT Support technologies this would be the Detection piece of your IT Security solution. You need a platform that detects an intrusion, similar to burglar alarms. These are referred to as intrusion detection solutions. And lastly, and perhaps most important is what happens when an intruder is detected? Well 911 is called. This is Response! Well in IT Security how you respond to an intrusion is what will save you from an attack. You need all three pieces, Protection, Detection and Response to have a successful IT Security plan.

The Glue that holds everything together

OK well now you know you need an IT security solution that provides Protection, Detection and Response. That is great, but finally there is a something that keeps all of this working, and that’s a SOC. The Security Operations Center is the glue that holds everything together. All successful Managed Security services must provide a Security Operations center or SOC. You must work with a Chicago IT support company that offers IT Managed Security Services and that has a SOC that provides 24/7 monitoring of your systems. And I am not talking about a SOC that is run inside some small IT company. I am talking about a SOC that meets compliance requirements and the platform is maintained in a HIPPA, PCI. SSAE 16 compliant data center.  The SOC is the cornerstone to a successful Chicago IT Support strategy. And as a small business you can not afford to implement your own SOC. A good SOC Cyber Security Platform from a good IT support company will do the following:

It will monitor the inbound and outbound data and network traffic of all your network devices. This will allow the traffic to be evaluated as being from good sources or from bad sources. Action based on the different traffic behaviors can then be evaluated to see if a threat pattern exists. The threat pattern may be related to ransomware attacks, insider attacks, botnets and other threats that slip past the firewall. This is what Managed IT Security is.

A good SOC offering will also provide your business with regulatory compliance reporting to deal with HIPAA, OCI, SOX and other regulatory bodies. This will minimize your exposure to fines, penalties and remediation costs. Regulatory compliance is a key benefit of a good Managed IT Security offering.

And to pull this all together Log Capture and Management has to play a roll. This is where the information is evaluated and data investigated to discover breeches, anomalies, and other malicious behavior.

In conclusion your IT Support plan must have a IT Cyber Security solution or SIEM (security information and event management) solution that leverages a Security Operations Center to succeed and protect your comapny’s data, network and systems.

If you have further questions related to Chicago IT Support or IT Security Solutions for your business feel free to call Rick Bolda at 630-918-7370 or email info@itriskmgrs.com.

 

10 Feb 2019

OneNote an Awesome Office 365 Tool

Office 365 has great tools
Office 365 has many great tools like OneNote

Tips for using OneNote for Project Management

Hopefully by now your IT Support team, or the Managed IT Support company you are working with has introduced you to Microsoft OneNote. OneNote is a powerful project management and online notebook tool. The best part is that it is part of the Office 365 cloud suite. So if you have Office 365 you don’t have to pay extra. You now no longer have to spend a lot of money on expensive project management software because OneNote is not only available on all devices but it can also be used for a number of projects. OneNote can be configured according to your needs and the type of project that you are working on. Following are some of the tips that can prove to be very helpful if you decide to use OneNote for project management. Your IT consulting team can help get you started but its not overly complicated

Train your team to use OneNote:

The essence of project management is teamwork. Your team must be able to effectively collaborate to make any project successful. Another important factor is that your team should be skilled at and comfortable in using the tools being used for project management. One of the major advantages of using OneNote as your main project management tool is that it can be learned very easily with minimal training. If the people working in your team are familiar with Microsoft Word they would have no difficulty in getting used to OneNote. There are plenty of guides available online that can help you and your team in getting comfortable with the software. As one of Chicago top IT companies we can provide you training also. Our most popular cloud offering is Office 365!

 

Customize according to the project:

One of the unique and very useful abilities of OneNote is that it can be very easily customized according to your preferences or the project you are working on. If you force yourself to work on a software that doesn’t look or feel good you will find a lot of hindrance in your creative process. The simplest customizations can be done from the View tab. By using this tab, you can change the settings from the default view to full page view. You can also use this tab to dock the pages to the side of the screen while you take notes from different online sources. More fancy customizations can also be easily found in the Options area when you click on the Display option. Even if the project that you are working on is a simple one, some customizations like changing the color of the pages can really mean a huge difference in the end result. By learning to use customizations to your advantage you can have increased work efficiencies in any given project.

Using custom page templates:

Page templates can be a big lifesaver when it comes to project management. In any project of any size, there is a high possibility that some objects or tasks are repeated. This is where page templates can save a lot of time and effort that you and your team put into the project. One of the features of OneNote is that it not only allows you to use the preexisting page templates but it also gives you the option to create your own custom page templates from scratch. All you have to do is to go to the Insert option and then click on an insert page template to add any template. Using page templates can dramatically reduce time especially when you are duplicating any information. This information can be anything, recurring meetings, interviews with different clients, task processes, idea discussion meetings etc.

Follow an organization strategy:

OneNote is equipped with multiple options such as pages, categories, subcategories, notebooks, sections etc. But in order to use these features to their full potential, it is necessary that you use an organizational strategy to keep things in correct order. One of the best practices that can ensure a good organization strategy is to make sure that you add a table of content at the start of the project. This additional page should have clickable links to different content in the project so that you can navigate easily. Another important feature in this regard is the search feature in OneNote. This feature can be used to search for any file or page in the project. When the conventional methods of finding anything fails tags can be used to quickly search for the items. Tags in OneNote is another very useful feature that can be used to properly categorize different items in the project. They can help you in quickly getting to the required data.

Some other great Office 365 tools include yammer and teams. Yammer is a bulletin board type of tool and great for company wide communications, broadcasts, and announcements. Microsoft teams is another Office 365 tool that can be used for communication between project teams, have a central repository for project files, and other project related functions/

Hope this information helps. If want to work with one of Chicago’s top IT Companies, and a top Office 365 provider feel free to email info@itriskmgrs.com or call Rick Bolda at 630-918-7370

09 Dec 2018

“Likeability” and Attitude, The keys to a Great Chicago IT Support Team!

Chicago IT Solutions
Managed IT Services for Small Business

IT Support Technicians Need a Great Attitude

As a business leader from time to time you need to make a decision about getting IT Support for your business. Do not make attitude and likeability an afterthought when it comes to selecting your IT Support team. As a matter of fact, these attributes can make or break the success of your technology investment. Time after time I have seen some great technologies and IT solution projects fail because of the poor attitude of the IT support technicians and IT consultants delivering the solution. I am seeing this happen less frequently as more younger IT support technicians become advanced and trained. The old guard “know it all” IT support engineer has gone from being irreplaceable to quickly replaced with someone with a great attitude. A good Managed IT Services firm will have people in place with great attitudes!

What’s a great Attitude for IT Support?

In my mind a great attitude means the ability to explain things in a language people can understand. It also means being able to document processes and train other people to fill their role in the event of an emergency. And most importantly to smile while they do it. If you sense that your current IT support team holds the keys to your kingdom, and you are unsure of what they do sometimes you are not alone. Your IT support team needs to empower you, and not make you feel they speak a language you don’t understand. They have to bridge that gap and help you understand technology in a way that empowers you to run your business more effectively. They have to have a great attitude!

Selecting the right IT Support Team

Here are a few considerations to review when selecting an IT Support Firm. Again the most important thing when selecting an IT Support partner is the likeability factor. Information Technology experts are a different breed. Today’s IT Support technicians and IT Consultants need technical experience and business experience. They need to be able to solve business challenges with technology. Technology just for the sake of technology is not going to drive your business forward and meet your needs. On top of being able to understand the business pieces of technology your IT support team needs to have people you like to work with and trust. This may go without saying, but you can have the most brilliant technically savvy IT consultant, but if that person is not easy to work with, it’s going to cost you a lot of money and give you many headaches.

It’s about your Business not Technology

Remember it’s not about the technology it’s about your business. If you find your current IT Consultant or IT support person speaks in a technical language you can’t understand that is a red flag. Today’s IT Consultant has to be able to communicate in a business language you and your people can understand. Secondly they have to have patience. Today’s IT solutions move so fast, between the cloud, VOIP, Managed IT Services, and other IT technologies your tech support team needs to be able to slow it down, communicate and make sure your business is getting the most out of its technology spend. They also need to be able to explain the technology to your people and train them to use it. That takes teamwork, communications, patience, and compassion. I’ve often found IT Companies that have implemented some great technologies but the platforms have failed to deliver because of lack of training, communications, and follow through.

The roles of IT Consultants, IT Support Technicians

And of course another key consideration and factor when hiring is putting the IT support people in their correct roles. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the square peg in a round hole expression. This is an extremely important concept when it comes to IT Support. You wouldn’t have a plumber doing brain surgery would you? That’s why a help desk support person is different from a network engineer person. A help desk support person needs to have a great attitude, patience and communications skills. Why? Because these are the technicians that are responsible for customer support and satisfaction. Someone who works in a Network Operating Center will not make a good customer facing help desk support person, it’s two entirely different roles. Most Network Engineers don’t like to deal with end users, they want to be in the plumbing not handing out glasses of water. So don’t assume that because you’re hiring an IT Consultant they will be able to be all things to your organization. Hire a Network Engineer to do engineering not to do help desk. That’s why it’s also important to understand an IT consultant may not have the same skills as an IT Director. And expecting them to have the same skills will end up in disappointment. It’s about having round pegs in round holes!

If you would like information about IT Support Services please call Rick Bolda at 630-918-7370. Or if you need an IT Health Assessment give me a call.

02 Nov 2017

Help your Company– Change Your Passwords – It helps the IT Security Solutions you have in place!

IT Security Solutions are a cornerstone to protecting your company’s data! Make sure you help your company and adhere to good password habits!

Your company could be spending thousands on their IT Security Solutions. But if you don’t respect password management, and strategy it could be money wasted.  Making sure you have a good password strategy is key to a successful IT Security Solutions! We have passwords for everything – our computers and cell phones, our garages, and, for some of us who can’t control our snacking habits, even our refrigerators are password protected. Many services that you use such as email, online banking, and your apps for shopping will automatically prompt you to reset your password with a new one; but how often should you really be changing your passwords to keep your information protected?

Personal vs. Shared-Device Passwords:

First thing’s first: we all know that we have the same password, or a variation of it, for everything we use. Of course, that’s the easiest way to keep yourself from having to send your forgotten password to your email, which you’ll then have to sign into, and change your password yet again. While it saves time and energy to have the same password for all of your logins, it’s never a good idea to use your personal passwords for shared computers. And your company works hard to make sure data is safe and the IT Security Solutions they have in place do the job!

This isn’t to say that you have a malicious coworker (which, you might) who would sign into your personal accounts using the password from your work computer, but, as the saying goes, it’s always good to keep your work life and personal life separate. The same goes for your work and personal passwords.

What Passwords Should I Be Changing?

The sweet and simple answer is: all of them. If you want your information to have maximum protection, you’ll need to periodically change your passwords to ensure that you don’t get hacked. If you made an email account specifically to get your fourth free trial of your favorite online radio streaming service, no need to go back and change that password. But it’s safe to say that the more you use a particular website, email address, or online service, the more you should be changing your passwords. Help IT and make sure their IT Security Solution is effective!

How Frequently Should I Change Them?

The current, most common recommendation for changing your password is once every 90 days, but do you really need to be changing your passwords that often? For your most important accounts that need the most protection, like your online banking account, you’ll want to change your password at least once every 90 days, if not more frequently. And that doesn’t mean you can be lazy and change your password from “password1” to “password2” – if you really want to maximize your protection, you’ll have to get more creative than that. Something as simple as adding an “e” or “b” to signify that it’s your email or bank password will be a reminder for you and a head-scratcher for a hacker. For other passwords, such as your social media profile or movie-streaming account, you can wait as long as a year to change your password (or longer, if you really feel that daring).

Tips for Changing Your Password:

Though it’s a little extra hassle, keep a list of all of your passwords somewhere safe – and not on your computer. Have a hard copy of your passwords tucked away in your desk or on a thumb drive so that they’re easily accessible to you, but not to your potential hackers. Keeping all of your passwords similar, but not exactly the same, can also help when it comes to trying to remember what exactly you chose a few months ago. If you find yourself forgetting whether or not you’ve changed your password, set a schedule to change all passwords at the same time so that you never have to search through the depths of your memory to figure out what password you used when you signed up for your account in 2009.

Just like wearing a seatbelt, passwords can be annoying to remember but are there for your protection. Don’t get caught with your proverbial pants down and leave your personal or professional information up for grabs.

To learn more about how employees enable hackers;

Go Here:

https://www.itriskmgrs.com/8-ways-your-employees-enable-hackers