How Disaster Recovery Protects Your Company’s Reputation

It was a nightmare for everyone involved.

For customers, it was jarring. 70 million records exposed. We’re talking about credit card and debit card information lost . . . just before Christmas, in that hectic window between Black Friday and the 25th. Unless your idea of holiday cheer includes meticulous review of your banking statements, it was not a good thing.

And for the company behind the breach, a PR horror show. Because of the timing and the sheer number of customer records involved, it made headlines for weeks. We’ll likely be using it as a case study for cybersecurity for years to come.

Granted, some time has passed. It was 2013 when Target fell victim to one of the most highly publicized security breaches we’ve seen. You almost certain heard about then, but you probably haven’t thought much about it since.

Still, consider this. When the news broke and reporters couldn’t say “70 million” enough times, how many people started to swing by Target and then thought, “You know, maybe I’ll shop somewhere else today . . .”?

Reputation matters. A lot.

Most of the time when you hear about disaster recovery, the focus is on getting your business up and running as fast as possible. The average small business loses as much as $8,600 per hour when its network is offline. It’s expensive to rebound slowly.

But there’s another reason to get serious about disaster recovery – your reputation. As CSO put it, “. . . a data breach is a PR and financial disaster. Companies often spot the intrusion too late, and respond inadequately . . . Customers, for one, will often vote with their feet.”

No joke.

When customers feel they can’t trust a company with their financial information, other factors fall by the wayside quickly. Maybe you’re the best in your industry. Maybe you have amazing customer service. Maybe your customer base is insanely loyal the rest of the time.

But lose their trust, and you’ve lost them.

Disaster recovery and your reputation.

The very same article from CSO quoted above goes on to argue that the damage is often only temporary. After all, Target is still a viable brand. They bounced back from a massive breach, due in part to their disaster recovery plan.

When things got rough, they responded quickly.

Disaster recovery isn’t just about restoring functionality to your system. It’s also about restoring customer faith. If something happens – anything from a natural disaster to hardware failure to a security breach – you need a clear disaster recovery plan.

If you have one, you can weather the storm. Trust can be rebuilt. But only if you show your customers you know how to handle a crisis.

We Give A Damn ‘Bout Your Reputation.

Here at KME Systems, we care a great deal about disaster recovery. We understand the impact downtime has on your bottom line. We also understand the hit your reputation will take if you don’t know how to navigate a disaster. That’s why our custom disaster recovery plans are designed to get you back up and running as fast as possible.

It’s our goal to minimize the impact to your customer base and keep your reputation untarnished, even when everything goes wrong.

If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place already, we highly recommend addressing that. And, of course, we’d be honored to help. Get in touch with us to find out more about how our disaster recovery strategy can protect your network stability and your reputation.

How to Make Working Remotely Work

How you feel about working remotely depends a great deal on your expectations. For some, it sounds like a dream-job situation. For others, a convenient option when the situation calls for it. And for some, a colossal mistake full of opportunities for misfires.

We believe remote work has a place in modern business, if approached the right way. We’ll get to that in a bit. First, we’d like to share an example of just how mind-blowing working remotely can be.

Unsettlingly awesome.

Whenever technology opens new a new door, someone’s bound to push it to its limit. The results are almost always interesting, and sometime enlightening. Take the start-up Unsettled, for example.

The subject of a recent New York Times article, Unsettled “organizes 30-day co-working experiences around the world for creative people, entrepreneurs and other professionals seeking to combine work, travel and redefining themselves.” Sure, that sounds interesting, but what does it mean?

Imagine this. For a month, you’re abroad. You’re surrounded by energetic, enthusiastic people in an unfamiliar location. You have all the resources you need to do your job, like Wi-Fi connectivity and work space, plus the adventure of international travel.

Granted, you may not be ready to take that kind of plunge, but Unsettled shows just how feasible working remotely is. There’s an entire community of people who work remotely all the time, from all over the world.

The benefits of working remotely.

Some of the benefits of working remotely are obvious. Remote work allows for flexibility, versatility and a whole new layer of collaboration. Even if a co-worker is on the road for a conference, you can still schedule a meeting and get things done.

But the benefits don’t stop there.

According to one report, a whopping 77% of employees claim they’re more productive when they work remotely. With fewer interruptions, they can get more done. They’re also less likely to take time off. Perhaps most surprising, “42% of remote workers feel they’re just as connected with colleagues as if they were working on-premises, and 10% feel even more connected.”

Not only that, but remote workers are happier, too, stating they “enjoy the freedom and flexibility” when working remotely.

Remote work options that really work.

Of course, even with stats as compelling as these, you can’t just tell folks they can work remotely and hope for the best. There are three key questions to determine if remote work will work for your business.

1. Are you comfortable offering a remote work option?

As the leader of your organization, if you’re not comfortable with remote work then it’s not really a feasible option. You don’t have to justify your preference. It’s okay if you aren’t a fan of working remotely.

If that’s where you are, then the die is cast. No remote work for you. On the other hand, if you see some benefit to working remotely, consider the next two questions.

2. How will you hold remote workers accountable?

This is a big one. Remote work and micromanagement don’t mix. If you’re going to allow your staff to work remotely, you’ll need to be able to hold them accountable without being overbearing.

Will you focus on output and productivity? Reporting? Weekly follow-up meetings? Make sure you have a plan for accountability, and make sure your employees know what it is.

3. What tools will your employees need to work remotely?

Finally, remote work is only possible if your staff can function away from the office. The best way to make that happen is with cloud solutions.

The cloud gives you options for storage and remotely accessible applications. With the right suite of cloud solutions, your people can do every component of their jobs regardless of where they’re located. However, this is also the hardest element of prep.

The solutions you need.

Finding the right cloud services for your company is no easy task. It requires some real expertise. There are a lot of cloud solutions out there. If you want to ensure you’re using the ones best suited for your business, you may want to get an expert opinion.

If you’re gearing up for remote work and would like some help selecting the best cloud solutions for your team, KME has the expertise you need. We’ll guide you to the right blend of cloud services for your needs. Contact us today if you’d like some help going remote.

Unleash Business Agility with Cloud Solutions

There are a lot of compelling reasons to opt for cloud solutions. Small businesses, in particular, stand to gain big by integrating the cloud into their IT infrastructure. Several of the individual benefits of the cloud have the potential to be game-changers. But there’s one advantage that ties them all together.

Cloud solutions give you an unprecedented level of strategic agility.

Agility on the front lines.

General Stanley McChrystal knows a little something about strategic agility. McChrystal was the Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq. In 2004, he hit a brick wall in his efforts to combat Al Qaeda forces.

The problem wasn’t capability. The soldiers under his command were elite – quite literally, the best of the best. But the information simply didn’t flow fast enough. In the time it took his analysts to decypher the enemy’s plans, the data was no longer relevant. He was two steps behind the terrorists.

In tech terms, he was experiencing lag.

The solution, while novel for a military operation, was both simple and effective. Analysts were handing off information to commanding officers. From there, data worked its way back down the chain of command. He eliminated the unnecessary slowdown and facilitated interdepartmental communication.

He shares his entire strategic approach in his book, Team of Teams.

The challenge of efficiency.

The issue McChrystal faced in Iraq is common in business, as well. Your operations aren’t as smooth and efficient as they could be. It’s an unpleasant truth, but it is true.

Every business struggles with efficiency. Cumbersome processes suck the life right out of growing businesses. It’s difficult to determine just how much you lose through inefficiency, but the impact is real. As is the decrease in your ROI.

So let’s talk about what you gain from efficiency.

Frost & Sullivan report that collaborative technologies improve efficiency by as much as 400%. You read that right. That’s a four and two zeros.

What’s more, a recent Forbes article makes the case that productivity is about more than just efficiency. “Productivity in today’s business world means something new . . . Productivity in today’s world must focus on adaptation, innovation and forward progress.”

We could not agree more.

From combat to the cloud.

And this is where cloud solutions come into the picture. Few business resources pack as much punch as cloud solutions. Working in the cloud unleashes all kinds of untapped potential in your organization.

Cloud solutions make communication feel seamless. Whether your staff works from the same office or on opposite sides of the world, the cloud allows coworkers to be collaborate in real time, any time. On top of that, cloud solutions are at the cutting-edge of modern business innovation. If productivity requires agility and adaptation, then the cloud is very nearly a necessity.

But selecting the right cloud solutions for your business is easier said than done. There are a lot of options out there. Some will fit for your business, and some won’t. If you want to take full advantage of the cloud, you need ensure you’re using the right tools.
The KME team knows the cloud, and knows how to identify the solutions that will propel your business forward. It’s time to take the guesswork out of working in the cloud. If you’re ready to find the cloud solutions that are right for your organization, contact us today.

An IT Helpdesk Is More like the Wild West Than You’d Think

It’s an iconic scene in classic westerns.

The villains are on the run. They just might get away. The lawman knows his chances of catching them grow slimmer by the minute. So he turns to his deputy and says, “Round up a posse.”

He knows the problem he’s facing is too big to tackle by himself. He’s going to need help.

And here’s the irony. When the sheriff assembles a posse, no one says he’s incompetent or lazy. Everyone knows he’s being smart. What matters is getting the job done.

If that requires outside help, so be it.

You need a helpdesk. (Really.)

Here’s the standard case for the IT helpdesk. It’s insultingly basic. Brace yourself.

You’re busy. You have many important things to do. You run a business! You don’t have time to mess with IT issues. You really should have someone who can help out with that. You, my friend, need an IT helpdesk.

Of course you’re busy. Everyone’s busy. And of course you have better things to do with your time.

Unfortunately, you’ve likely heard this lame spiel often enough that you tune out two sentences into it. That’s a shame because, annoying though the approach might be, it’s true.

You really do need an IT helpdesk.

A helpdesk for everyone.

No matter the size of your company, you can’t afford to waste resources. But that’s exactly what you’re doing if you have non-IT staff trying to put out IT-related fires.

Think about all the things you could be doing instead of spending a couple of hours trying to figure out why the Wi-Fi won’t connect. Or why the printer is only printing page 5 of your report. Or why one of your go-to applications says it needs an update, but won’t let you download the very same update.

That time adds up. And that’s time you could invest in activities that actually make money.

It’s no better if you delegate random IT issues to a member of your staff. They have jobs, too. When they get derailed by some kind of technical hiccup, they’re not helping your clients, they’re not closing deals, and they’re not contributing to ROI.

It’s infinitely better to have an appropriate resource ready to go when your tech tools don’t behave. It’s faster, far more efficient, and even less expensive in the long run.

Our helpdesk is your posse.

In that sense, an IT helpdesk is just like a posse. When you need a helping hand, they’re there. Round ‘em up and take care of that issue before it has a chance to slow down your growth.

We strongly recommend that even small businesses consider a helpdesk service. It’s an investment that easily pays for itself in time, focus, and employee satisfaction. Once you have a helpdesk at your fingertips, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned without it.

Our helpdesk team here at KME Systems is top-notch. If you’re interested in further exploring how a helpdesk could benefit your business, we’d like to talk. Give us a call today.

Saddle up, partner. It’s time to round up the posse.

 

Win the War with Managed IT Services

With business competition growing fiercer each day, it’s easy to make parallels with armies going off to war. After all, your competitors want to wrestle market share from you just as much as a general wants to take land that his enemy occupies. But there are also enemies aside from your competitors trying to take down your greatest asset: your network. This is why managed IT services are a must to win the war.

The Need for a Managed IT Services

Technology has streamlined business processes, bringing products and services to a global marketplace. This expansion, however, has meant a larger frontier to police.

A CEO already has enough to do marshaling his troops in the war to conquer markets. Sales, marketing, HR, distribution, manufacturing: there’s a lot to juggle. CEOs must also ensure their IT network is always online because when your technology fails, your business not only experiences a decrease in productivity; it can incur financial loss.

The best solution is to hire a managed IT services provider to look after your network. They will keep your system safe from attack and will leave you to do what you do best: run your business.

Your General in the War on IT

As an experienced managed IT services provider, KME Systems implements a broad range of strategies in the field. Think of us as your IT general.

We perform a technical analysis of your existing IT infrastructure. After identifying any weaknesses, we devise the best hardware and software solutions for your specific needs.

We’ll offer you a strategy to shift the odds for you winning the war.

An Ongoing Fight

Let us protect your network 24/7. We generate periodic, encrypted data backups, monitor your security configuration, administer vendor patches, and manage your firewalls.

Our team can also help you draft a business continuity plan, so your army is never down in combat.

When there’s a data breach in the line, we act fast. Our service desk never sleeps so you can keep on fighting and win the war.

Give us a call, and we’ll work with you as partners on the battlefield.

Why The Death Star Needs IT Support Services

The Death Star was the greatest feat of engineering the galaxy had ever known. The nearly moon-sized battle station could travel at light speed, fend off enemy fleets on its own, and reduce entire planets to dust and echoes. The Empire’s pride and joy loom large in popular culture and epitomizes destruction, but for all of its terrifying power, the Death Star had one fatal flaw: it had awful IT support services for a product of such incredible engineering.

Spoiler alert: in part thanks to those awful IT services, the Death Star got blown up. If we were the Empire, here are the flaws we’d have spotted almost immediately:

The Death Star’s terrible security is a result of incompetent IT support

A farmer, a smuggler, an old man, a Wookiee, and a princess managed to elude the crew of the shiniest new superweapon in space thanks to the Death Star’s terrible IT support services. As the heroes wove through the battle station’s corridors during Star Wars’ second act, red flags started popping up all over the place (in our minds, but certainly not on any security terminals on the bridge). With proper networking, every Stormtrooper on the station would have been aware of the threat they were facing the moment shots were fired.

Not a single door on board the Death Star was protected by a keypad or a fingerprint scanner, which seem like they’d be common security considerations in such a facility. Not even the high priority prison cells needed a passcode to open. It’s no wonder Princess Leia nearly didn’t believe that she was being rescued.

Let’s not even talk about the fact that the Death Star crew didn’t even notice when old Ben Kenobi shut off the tractor beam that was preventing the Millennium Falcon’s escape. Any technician worth his or her weight in Kessel spices would have worked in some kind of safeguard to alert command if one of the station’s major tools suddenly went offline.

The Death Star as a metaphor: a planet-exploding IT kerfuffle

Even when we zoom out and look at the Death Star as one giant network instead of examining its individual systems, the superweapon was still an IT nightmare. The people in charge of the station clearly had no real grasp on the network architecture. If they had, there would have been a pack of very angry Stormtroopers waiting outside the trash compactor, and a glorified USB port in the hangar wouldn’t have been able to control that same trash compactor from the other side of the station.

To compound the problem, no one seemed to consider that the Millennium Falcon may have had something to do with the sudden sequence of disastrous events aboard the Death Star. A good commander would have jettisoned the ship. After all, if a CD puts a virus on your computer, it at least seems prudent to eject the CD.

All of this ignores perhaps the greatest and most known of the Death Star’s flaws: despite the greatest network of defenses ever constructed, all it took was some careful analysis and a single torpedo to blow the whole thing up. To make things worse, (minor Rogue One spoilers follow) the plans for the station were stored in perhaps the most obvious possible place in the Imperial archives. That’s like putting your username and password in a locked box and leaving it on the street somewhere in hopes that no one decides to break it open and take a look inside.

Simply put, consulting an IT support provider like KME Systems would have prevented the events of A New Hope from happening. Yavin IV would have been destroyed, Luke Skywalker would never have used the Force, and Empire Strikes Back would never have been made. The Empire’s reign of terror would have continued.

We’re really glad the Empire didn’t give us a call. If your business is worried about its technological vulnerabilities or areas for potential improvement, however, we’d love to get in touch and provide all the IT services you need to ward off the Dark Side.