Tip of the Week: Maintaining Software that Fits Your Business

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Businesses use different types of software to fulfill various tasks and functions throughout the workday, but there are certain practices you can implement today that can help you better manage your software solutions. Here are three ways your organization can take better care of its software infrastructure, regardless of industry or business size. 

Be Wary of Shadow IT 

If you don’t provide employees with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively, they will more often than not go out of their way to find tools themselves. This can lead to unregulated software on your infrastructure that is not monitored or maintained by your business, also known as “shadow IT.” The easiest way to prevent shadow IT from becoming a thing for your business is to make sure your staff have access to all of the solutions they need right from the get-go. This might mean providing them with an entire productivity suite or specialized software based on their role within your organization. 

Appropriately Manage Subscriptions 

In today’s age of “as a service” offerings, it’s easy to purchase a solution for one project but forget to cancel it when the project is done and over with. These additional subscriptions that are entirely unnecessary can add up if you aren’t paying attention. We recommend that you perform an audit on the regular to ensure that you aren’t paying for services that are not being used on a regular basis. 

Apply Software Patches and Security Updates 

Software developers frequently have to issue patches and security updates to their creations to offset the progress made by hackers or to cover up oversights during the initial development cycle. It’s your responsibility to make sure any patches or updates are applied in a timely manner; failing to do so could put your business at risk of security issues down the road.  

One way many businesses have managed to successfully keep tabs on their software infrastructure is to implement Software-as-a-Service offerings for the majority of their operations. SaaS helps businesses by providing them with an affordable and scalable infrastructure for their software needs, including an easy way to manage licenses and subscriptions. We also recommend you implement a software management platform that gives you the ability to see, at a glance, all of the applications in use on your infrastructure at any given moment. 

4 Corner IT can help your organization implement any SaaS offering or software management platform. To learn more about what we can do for your business, reach out to us at 954-474-2204. 

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Here are the Online Threats You Need to be Concerned With

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Network security is a constant problem for many organizations, and it’s mostly because of the many advanced threats that make their homes on the Internet. Businesses that don’t have dedicated IT resources or security professionals do not know how to handle network security or appropriately protect their assets. Let’s examine some of the more common online threats that your business should be prepared to address. 

You can consider this a shortlist of potential security threats for your business. There are many different strains of malware, for example, so it would be impossible for us to include every single type here. 

The More Notorious Network Security Threats 

  • Viruses and malware:

     These are essentially bits of code that cause chaos for users with their effects ranging from mildly annoying to incredibly threatening. Many variants of malware are designed to fulfill a specific role, such as stealing data, installing adware, or encrypting files on a victim’s computer. 

  • Trojans and backdoors:

     Trojans are also known as backdoors, as they provide back-end access to the infected or compromised network/device. Hackers can then remotely execute code to pull off all kinds of problems for your business. These threats are often gateways for other, more dangerous threats. 

  • Unpatched vulnerabilities:

    Vulnerabilities are often discovered in older software, and in most cases when the software is supported, the developer will issue a patch. However, it is the business’s responsibility to implement them, and failing to do so can be problematic from a security standpoint. This is especially the case with unsupported software, like older operating systems. 

  • Phishing attacks:

    Phishing attacks are often used to spread other types of online threats or steal information like banking credentials or personal information. These can come in several different ways, like through email, fake websites, or even over the phone. 

Security Measures to Protect Yourself 

Your security strategy must contain two parts: the technology and the people using that technology. For technology, we recommend you implement tools like a Unified Threat Management (UTM) device, a tool that combines common security measures like an antivirus, firewall, spam blocker, and content filter. You should also invest in a virtual private network for secure data access and multi-factor authentication for account security. 

To make sure your employees are not putting your company at risk from online threats, you must properly train them to identify and respond to threats. They must know how to report a security breach to your IT department as well, even if they are not an in-house department. 

4 Corner IT can help your business succeed in network security. To learn more, reach out to us at 954-474-2204. 

Vendor Management Can Really Waste Your Time

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As a business owner, vendor management is very important and vendor relationships must be cultivated and maintained in some way on the off chance you need them for support. However, working with vendors can be stressful and downright frustrating at times. Let’s examine a specific situation that demonstrates these challenges and what you can do about them. 

Imagine that you have one vendor who you need to contact about a specific issue you have with an application you use on a daily basis. You want it to work for your company, but you have to adjust the settings to allow it to work well with other applications on your network. These other applications are not necessarily managed by the same vendor. Next thing you know, you are calling other vendors left and right to see what your options are, and you have tasks piling up on your desk that are not getting resolved because you are too busy on the phone with vendor after vendor. A simple task turns into a wild goose chase for the correct solution to your problem. 

In the end, you might not even find the right answer. You might waste all of this time on the phone with vendors and be no closer to solving your problem. You’ll have to repeat the process again and again until someone is able to help you, and this frustration might lead you to just give up on the solution entirely, despite your research telling you that it is the best tool for the job. 

When you have so many solutions on your infrastructure, including software and hardware components, vendor overload can happen. It can be difficult to keep everyone straight, especially when you have countless points of contact for the plethora of vendors your business works with. It would be easier and much more simple to have a single point of contact for all vendors on your list, but surely something like this is too good to be true… right? 

Not necessarily—it turns out that managed service providers can offer a vendor management solution that can make working with your vendors much easier in the long term. The biggest issue is managing points of contact and dealing with them, so vendor management services allow you to bypass both of these by reaching out to one point of contact—your managed service provider—thus streamlining the process. 

A managed service provider effectively creates this single point of contact for your technology needs, vendor management included. If you need help setting up a new solution, we’ve got your back. If you need some support with that new solution, we’ve got that covered, too. We act as the mediator between you and your vendors so you can have one phone number on your contact list for all of your technology needs instead of a hundred. If you do need to get in touch with your vendors, just let us know and we can take care of that for you. 

4 Corner IT wants to help your business with managed services. To learn more, reach out to us at (954) 474-2204.