What Are Your Backup And Disaster Recovery (BDR) Plans For Hurricane Season?

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Severe storm in the forecast, time to confirm your plan is up to date.

Would you say your business is fully prepared for this year’s stormy weather? We believe this year’s hurricane season will be busier than it has been in a while. There have already been indications that there will be at least two major hurricanes during this year’s hurricane season. We know the numbers are only based on data, but we should always remember how many businesses have been severely damaged by hurricanes.

Hurricanes can cause millions and billions of dollars worth of damage. If your business was hit by a major hurricane, do you think you will be able to fully recover from it? Do you think you will be able to recover your business’s important data and systems? If you are unsure, you should strongly consider taking action right away so your business will be prepared in case there is a major disaster.

What Is Your Current Backup And Disaster Recovery Strategy?

Unfortunately, many businesses do not pay much attention to their current backup and disaster recovery strategy. A backup strategy is taken for granted by many businesses. Your business has to make sure that all your important files are backed up. Your business should also make sure that all the files can be recovered, even if your on-premise equipment has been damaged or completely destroyed.

Your business should also be able to verify that your backups can be recovered by the method you have chosen. When your business uses 24/7 backup monitoring, you will always know that your backups can be recovered. You will also feel comfortable knowing that your backups will also be stable.

Website Downtime

Did you know that your business’s network image can be stored? When an image of your network is stored, you will be able to pick up where you left off. You will not have to wait until your applications and software are re-installed and running successfully. You will be given screenshots that can confirm your systems and applications are working as they should be.

We know that the summertime is supposed to be a time of fun for many people. However, the summer can bring some horrible and disastrous weather. In case bad weather strikes your workplace, you want to be fully prepared for anything and everything. It is important that you are proactive as you can be during the summer. You should have a complete list of solutions so your team, customers, clients, etc. will not be left in the dark.

You can create a backup and disaster recovery plan that works the way you need it to. Your business is unique, and you need a BDR strategy that will fit the needs of your business. Do not hesitate to contact us today for more information on backup and disaster recovery plans, consulting, etc.

Have A Plan During The Summer

When you have a plan, this can be the major difference between having your business up and running hours, days, weeks, months, or years later. When you are proactive, you will be able to anticipate any situation that may come along with a disaster. When you are prepared to take the right steps, everyone in the workplace will be prepared for the worst situations, and no one will miss a single beat.

You have to anticipate everything that can arise, which means you will have to think beyond having your computers destroyed or your computers being offline for hours. Do you have an evacuation plan? Will there be a set location for your team to meet? Will your team be able to work from home until it is safe to enter the workplace again?

What are we learning from Microsoft’s recent emergency security patches?

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Are you running an outdated operating system?

This past May, the ransomware known as ‘WannaCry’ swept through 150 countries and affected hundreds of thousands of computers in organizations ranging from telecommunication companies to nationwide healthcare systems. Devices running older versions of Microsoft software (such as a Windows 7 operating system without key security updates) showed critical vulnerabilities to this powerful, rapidly propagating malware.

In response to WannaCry and to future threats of a similar nature or scope, Microsoft has recently taken steps to supply emergency security patches for various older software, including Windows XP, Server 2003, and Vista. Even when an older system does show some resilience to a WannaCry attack, it can still remain extremely vulnerable to other forms of malware.

The issue of updates and upgrades

Microsoft typically doesn’t support these older systems, and its recent release of free security patches is a deviation from how the company ordinarily operates. It’s an extraordinary measure for an emergency situation. However, where will Microsoft draw the line? What will happen during future occasions involving widespread malware or other security risks?

Some organizations that are reluctant to upgrade to Windows 10, for example, might take this is a sign that they can continue relying on Microsoft to support outdated versions of various Windows software when there’s an emergency. However, this is a flawed way of thinking.

  • Organizations can’t reliably depend on the fact that Microsoft will step in to fix old, unsupported software whenever there’s a major security problem. The company offers no such guarantee.
  • Upgrading to a supported platform like Windows 10 ensures that your organization benefits from the most recent updates.
  • Beyond updates or patches for specific security risks, an up-to-date platform like Windows 10 has also been designed with greater security built into it throughout. If you’re running an outdated system, there may be deep security flaws that can’t be comprehensively addressed just by performing certain updates. Older systems may be lacking in powerful security features that newer systems have adopted.

Managing your systems

Another key lesson we can take from the problem of rampant malware is how important it is to stay on top of managing your IT systems.

You need to make a full accounting of all the devices your business uses, and the information you must stay on top of includes the following:

  • The versions of operating systems and other software your computing devices use. (Maybe you’re using similar software across devices, or perhaps the software you use varies quite a bit from one device to another.)
  • The schedule of upgrades and updates you’ve developed for your systems. For example, have you made updates automatic, or are they manual? How often do you check for new updates?
  • The current vulnerabilities in your system, and your priorities for which to address first. Some security flaws are much more likely to be immediately exploited and cause potentially widespread damage, while others pose less of a threat, at least in the short-term.
  • What each device is connected to. For example, a major security risk comes from devices (ranging from laptops to digital security cameras) that are inadvertently exposed to the Internet and left unprotected. Configuring devices properly and limiting their exposure is critical for improved security.

To further discuss these issues and to receive assistance in strengthening the security of your devices and systems, please contact us. If you don’t manage your software and remain aware of the potential risks, you leave your business far more vulnerable to the threat of malware and other security breaches. The results can prove deeply damaging and include steep financial losses, damaged trust, and prolonged downtime. With our assistance, you can perform any upgrades or updates you need in a timely way and implement cyber security strategies that better safeguard you against the numerous threats out there.

Microsoft Dynamic 365 Components Expected To Launch In Mid-2017

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Excited for the next release of Microsoft Dynamics 365!

Last year, Microsoft significantly changes their portfolio by introducing Dynamics 365. Dynamic 365 integrated the critical ERP and CRM functions of the original products into a complete package. Dynamics 365 consists of several applications, including customer services, finance, sales, etc.

If your business consists of 250 employees and more, the Enterprise edition of Dynamics 365 would be a perfect match for your business. If you have a smaller business that consists of less than 250 employees, the Business edition of Dynamics 365 would work best for your business.

There are also a variety of options when it comes to licensing your software, which will mean every business will have the ability to adjust the software to fit the specific needs of their business.

Dynamics 365 was placed on the market for purchase in November 2016, but it did not include some critical components. Microsoft plans to release additional components and developments in the mid part of this year.  We are going to take a look at some of the great developments that you will see in Dynamics 365 this year.

Using Cortana

Many people are very skeptical of using the voice functionality tool, Cortana. There is also skepticism about using Cortana with Dynamics 365. Can a voice functionality tool actually be useful in a workplace setting? What can a voice interface actually offer employees in an office that is probably already crowded or noisy?

Well, we have found that a voice interface tool can actually provide a significant amount of help to employees, especially when you need to multitask. When Cortana is integrated with Dynamics 365, you will be able to use the feature when you are traveling.

Cortana can be fully integrated into Dynamics 365 for your Sales department. Cortana already has exceptional features and components, so can you imagine how easier it will be for you to multitask, organize, and prepare when you are working on a sales project? Your sales teams will always need something that will make their jobs a little easier, and the functionalities of Cortana will certainly give them the peace of mind they need when they are working.

Chat Features

Three years ago, Microsoft obtained a portal platform, Parature. Microsoft obtained this platform with the hopes of improving the functionality of Dynamic CRM, as well as to eventually add web chat features. Unfortunately, Parature was placed to the side after Microsoft acquired ADX Studio. Since Parature was not integrated into Dynamics 365, this means Dynamics 365 is still operating without a web chat solution.

Chat features are certainly important when it comes to multitasking, improving teamwork, and improving the overall operations of a department. Since there have not been any functionalities to perform a web chat, it definitely seems likely that Dynamics 365 will add a web chat solution soon.

Marketing Plus Adobe Equals A Great Partnership

Adobe Marketing has turned into the perfect solution for Dynamics 365 Marketing. What does this mean for your organization? It means that you can expect to see Dynamics 365 use Adobe Marketing Cloud as a marketing solution. If your business has access to Dynamics 365 for Sales, you will be able to fully integrate Adobe Marketing Cloud. The Adobe Marketing Cloud includes a variety of functionalities, including the ability to manage web content and email marketing.

You can expect to see a variety of added features in Dynamics 365. 2016 was certainly a great year for 2016, and no one could have made any predictions about what Dynamics 365 would bring to business. It certainly seems that Dynamics 365 is putting a bigger focus on mobility. We expect to see Microsoft deliver more components and applications that will allow businesses like yours to focus on improving their entire business operations.

For additional information on Dynamics 365 and other Microsoft product releases, contact us today.

Habits That An IT Help Desk Department Should Avoid

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Frustrated by the attitude your receiving from your help desk?

Can you think of a time when you did not appreciate the kind of customer service you received? Unfortunately, many of us remember the bad customer service we receive from the good customer service. Terrible customer service moments will remain in customers minds, and they will share those stories with anyone who will listen.

There are various bad habits that IT help desk professionals should certainly avoid if they want to provide outstanding customer service on a consistent basis.

Avoiding Some Help Desk Tickets

Generally, an IT help desk department will use tickets to successfully manage the interactions they have with their customers. Some IT help desk agents will ignore the difficult tickets in favor of the easier tickets. If a help desk agent only wants to take the easier tickets, the help desk agents will never know what it is like to be challenged. When IT help desk agents are challenged, they will have to dig a little deeper, which will allow them to obtain more knowledge. Every customer should have their questions answered in a timely manner.

Formal Tone Of Speech

One of the biggest mistakes many IT help desk agents make is not connecting with customers on a personal level. It can be easy for help desk agents to read directly from a script or send an automated email to the customer. When IT help desk agents put in the extra work to build relationships with customers and give them a better customer service experience, the more the IT help desk agent will get out of the interaction.

It is certainly important for IT help desk agents to be polite, but being too formal may make your customers feel isolated. When someone contacts a company’s IT help desk department, they are usually feeling agitated and upset that they could not figure out the problem on their own. When a help desk agent responds in a friendly tone, the customer may be able to relax a little more.

The Attitude

We all know what it is like to have a bad day, right? However, it is important that IT help desk agents have the ability to keep their emotions in check. It is important to remain calm at all times, even though it may be difficult at times. There should be no arguing with customers, being defensive, or being dismissive when a customer asks a question.

IT help desk agents have the ability to create great experiences that will lead to a loyal customer base. IT help desk agents should be able to separate the business at hand from their personal feelings. The knowledge, experience, expertise, patience, etc. should all outweigh the personal feelings of an IT help desk agent.

Failing To Fully Respond To Questions

Many IT help desk agents are in such a hurry to respond to as many tickets as they can that they will simply respond with a yes or no answer. When customers only receive a yes or no answer to a question, this will only lead to more questions. When customers are constantly asking the same question because they did not get a better response the first time, this will mean the help desk agents will have more work to do.

In order for an IT help desk agent to be effective, the agent should try to respond with a detailed answer the first time the customer asks the questions. Customers have high expectations, and when they have a problem, they expect the IT help desk agent who responds to their ticket to have the knowledge and expertise to help them. How can an effective IT help desk department change your business operations? Contact us today and learn more about the SystemsNet team.