Lessons from the Nashville Flood: How to Prepare Your Business IT for Natural Disasters

In 2010, record rainfall caused catastrophic flooding in both downtown Nashville and in surrounding communities, throughout the metro area and beyond. Nashvillians remember the eerie photographs of landmarks like LP Field (now Nissan Stadium), the Schermerhorn, and Opry Mills under water.

The flood took a heavy toll on local businesses. According to the Tennessean, somewhere between 300 and 400 local businesses remained closed after the flood, unable to recover from their losses.

Nashvillians understand, then, that natural disasters can pose a heavy threat to businesses. Unfortunately, however, many business owners don’t think past insurance as a safeguard. To truly be prepared for natural disasters, it’s essential that businesses consider and implement strategies to safeguard the continued functionality and accessibility of their key systems and data.

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Is Your Industry-Specific Software Helping—or Hurting—Your Business?

In today’s business landscape, industry-specialized software propels small and mid-sized businesses of all types. Construction firms manage building projects with Construction Management Software. Doctors’ offices easily track patient records using Electronic Medical Records (EMR) solutions. And nonprofits utilize specialized software to track and process fundraising efforts. Industry-specific software exists everywhere from funeral homes to marketing firms, HVAC installers, hospitality, shipping and receiving, ministry, and pet grooming.

 There’s no question that industry-specific, line-of-business (LOB) software can serve as an engine for growth and better work for businesses and organizations of all shapes and sizes. However, the more companies rely on software deeply integrated into their specific workflows, the more important it becomes to make sure that the right software is in place and that it is implemented and managed well. Because the failure or poor performance of such software can be a source of endless headaches in the workplace, which always translate into less productivity and profitability.

 To help you think through how well your industry-specific software is serving your business’s needs, let’s approach some of the questions business need to ask themselves, and let’s find some solutions.

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Construction Technology Is Evolving...Is Your IT Management Plan?

Cranes fill the skyline of downtown Nashville. The city is growing at a shocking rate. According to census data, around 100,000 people have moved to Nashville in the last decade, a number that has been on a steady rise since the 1970s. All of this is good news for construction companies. But the question remains—how will your construction firm remain competitive in the crowded Nashville landscape?

As in many other fields, innovative technologies are providing forward-thinking contractors and construction companies with ways to work better, faster, and more efficiently—giving them a leg up over the competition. That’s why it’s essential that today’s construction firms work with technology experts—be they internal IT teams or a managed service provider with experience in the construction industry—to leverage technology to improve their efficiencies and grow their businesses.

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Is Your Business at Risk for Disruption?

If you haven’t felt disruption in your industry, it’s likely only a matter of time. In a recent Forbes survey of business leaders, 51% of executives saw disruption as posing a high level of risk to their companies, while only 13% could be considered true leaders in leveraging data to drive growth. We are still in the midst of a digital revolution, wherein businesses are becoming smarter and more efficient—and reaching new customers—through technological innovation, from big data to AI and automation.

All this means that technology, far from being a necessary evil, is becoming a strategic, competitive advantage for forward-thinking companies. Which, on the flipside, means that companies that do not see technology as an opportunity to get ahead of the competition are at risk of being on the losing end of disruption.

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How to Maintain Cyber Security When Working with Freelancers and Subcontractors

It’s no secret that, in what many have dubbed the “gig economy,” the number of freelancers and the types of work they offer have grown in recent years. According to Forbes, a third of today’s workforce identifies as a “subcontractor”. Millennials make up 40% of this workforce, and 92% of millennials, in general, desire to work in a freelance capacity.

For many small and mid-sized businesses, this has been a welcome development. Freelancers and subcontractors provide flexibility for businesses, allowing them to avoid the expense of full-time employees for part-time needs, as well as the flexibility to hire seasonally, when demand is high.

Still, the use of freelancers and subcontractors without strategically considering how they will mesh with your current employees, processes, and information systems can pose serious risks for your company—especially when it comes to cyber security. A revolving cast of subcontractors, combined with a lack of appropriate security safeguards on your network and data systems, is a recipe for disaster.

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Allowing Workers to Telecommute? Make Sure Your IT Facilitates Collaborative and Secure Remote Work.

Telecommuting is increasingly common in today's business landscape. For some businesses, it's a worthwhile model for boosting productivity and adding flexibility to their workforce. Depending on your company's culture, this may be an attractive option.

It’s important to remember, though, that a productive telecommuting policy requires significant investment in and strategy around IT. Technology is, after all, the lynchpin that will keep your remote workers connected with others in your organization and with the assets—from business data to key software applications—that will keep them productive. And telecommuting necessarily involves relying on technology that is outside of your physical premises, leading to a greater potential for cyber security risk.

With the right approach to technology and the right safeguards in place, though, businesses can implement smart telecommuting and remote work options that can boost employee flexibility and productivity—and thus positively impact the bottom line.

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Recent Studies Show Small Businesses Are Big Targets for Cyberattacks — And May Have The Most to Lose

It's not uncommon for small and mid-sized companies to assume they’re safe from cyber criminals. They reason that their smaller scale and lower level of visibility make them less enticing to would-be crooks.

Unfortunately, this is a mistake.

According to recent cyber security studies, small businesses may be a bigger, and easier, target than larger ones. Criminals suspect, too often accurately, that small businesses may not be paying enough attention to protecting their data. 

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Are Your Employees' Passwords on the Dark Web? Find out with Dark Web Monitoring.

Are Your Employees' Passwords on the Dark Web? Find out with Dark Web Monitoring.

The internet you browse and make your living on every day probably feels like an endless expanse. There are countless websites on every topic imaginable. However, the reality is that what we conventionally think of as the internet makes up only about a tenth of cyberspace. An estimated 90% of the web is occupied by an unstructured, unregulated expanse called the Dark Web. If your information—usernames and passwords, financial information, personally identifiable information, etc.—finds its way into the wrong hands on the Dark Web, either by mismanagement or accident, your business is at risk for dangerous levels of exposure. The good news is that advanced cyber security tools like Dark Web monitoring can help protect your business and preserve your peace of mind.

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91% of Cyber Attacks Begin With Phishing. Train Your Employees with These Tools.

91% of Cyber Attacks Begin With Phishing. Train Your Employees with These Tools.

Assuming that your company has the appropriate baseline cyber security safeguards in place, the greatest threat to your data security is likely social engineering attacks—where fraudsters prey on the human instinct to trust in order to trick your employees into giving up access to information or funds. The most common social engineering attacks come in the form of phishing emails. And, unfortunately, these have a huge impact on business security; researchers estimate that around 91% of data breaches begin with a phishing email.

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Windows 7 Support Ends on 1/14/2020. Here's How to Prepare.

It may be hard to believe, but Windows 7 is now 10 years old. In computer years, that’s ancient, which is why Microsoft will stop supporting the OS on January 14, 2020

This means that if you have computers running Windows 7 in your business, you will need to take action before the end of support date. To help you understand the implications of this change for your business, and to jumpstart your planning, here’s a list of frequently asked questions about the end of support for Windows 7.

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Mobile Devices and Your Workforce: Reducing the Threats Created by "Lost" or "Stolen" Devices

Mobile Devices and Your Workforce: Reducing the Threats Created by "Lost" or "Stolen" Devices

A lost or stolen corporate device is a major threat to a company’s data security and privacy. It is critical to develop an IT strategy that protects sensitive organizational information even if this worst case scenario occurs.

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Tools Are Not Enough: Why Your Company Needs a Cyber Security Process

Every week, new cyber security tools come on the market for small and mid-sized businesses. Tools that previously were only imaginable for government entities and the largest enterprises are now priced at a level at which most businesses can use them to keep their data—and their customers’ data—safe.

Should your business take advantage of these tools? Absolutely. From advanced threat detection to penetration testing and patch automation, these tools can make a huge impact on your business’s security—and your ability to sleep at night.

It’s critical, though, to note that cyber security is not a problem that can be solved by tools alone, or even by the right set of tools, in one fell swoop. True cyber security—security that grows and adapts with your business—can only be achieved with an ongoing process of constantly evaluating the risks your business faces and the measures you are taking to mitigate those risks. 

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Outsourced IT in Nashville: A Guide for the Retail Industry

Outsourced IT in Nashville: A Guide for the Retail Industry

Retail industry technology is evolving at an extraordinary rate. More and more, retailers are turning to outsourced IT to maintain their competitive edge in the industry.

To the point: over the last 6 months, the internet has seen a rash of blackmail spam schemes. The most common of these involve emails suggesting that the sender, a hacker, has hijacked the recipient’s computer and recorded evidence of the recipient viewing pornography. The sender threatens to send that evidence to the recipient’s contact list—unless the recipient sends a Bitcoin payment to a provided address.

So, what should you do if you receive one of these emails? Read on to find out

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