Monthly Archives: August 2015

Incoming “Industrial Internet of Things” Data Explosion Encourages Proactive Monitoring of Network Infrastructure

With the development of the Industrial Internet of Things, proactively monitoring your network infrastructure will be easier and more efficient than ever.

With the development of the Industrial Internet of Things, proactively monitoring your network infrastructure will be easier and more efficient than ever.

A crucial barrier for every future-focused enterprise to overcome any lack of interoperability among existing systems. Many of today’s industries still use technologies that function primarily in silos, where systems work beside each other, and not together as an integrated whole. For small businesses, this circumstance arises when digital services and software products are purchased individually for specific purposes. Standing alone, each product provides singular operations for its designated purpose. However, without integration into a system that supports the entire enterprise, the individual gains from each product are minimized. Further, the potential for future disaster is increased, since the failure of one product could trigger the failure of other products, rendering the enterprise inoperable or perhaps even terminated. And the situation is about to get worse.

According to the World Economic Forum, the next ten years will see dramatic changes in manufacturing, energy, agriculture, transportation and other industrial sectors. These changes will mirror those experienced in the last 15 years, as the Internet redefined media, retail, and financial services. Now dubbed the “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIoT), the coming revolution adds complexity to the digital world through the collection and sharing of data by devices, completely independent from human interaction. Establishing the infrastructure to manage that future data (and the systems used to collect, store and retrieve it) will be critical to future enterprise success.

In its 2015 report, “ The Industrial Internet of Things: Unleashing the Potential of Connected Products and Services”, the Forum details a digital framework to guide business and government leaders to long-term success through Internet and IIoT technology. It lists key business opportunities in four major areas:

1. Improved operational infrastructure efficiency through constant preventative maintenance (ie – proactive monitoring to prevent systems crashes and malware attacks) and remote management;

2. The emergence of an “outcome based” economy – software and hardware driven services that improve processes to produce defined outcomes;

3. Software platforms that come together and blur traditional industry boundaries, and

4. Increased collaboration between human and machine, vastly increasing productivity.

The Forum suggests that the incoming software/hardware partnership will capture, aggregate and exchange data over multiple platforms to create new products and services at an unprecedented scale. The new products and outcome-based services will create new kinds of value that will better respond to consumers’ expectations. With the use of soft and hardware maintenance systems, producers and manufacturers will be able to tailor production facilities to harness network-collected data and inform business strategy to maximize profits and prevent costly losses and breaches.

The challenge for today’s industrialist is to modify existing products and services in preparation for the oncoming data explosion. The ability to capture, record and analyze overall equipment effectiveness is critical to both inform corporate decision making and to prevent expensive equipment and production failures and shut-downs. Proactive monitoring of network infrastructure will ensure that redundant backup data capacity, sufficient malware protections, and high-security thresholds will prevent loss or failure. Maintenance and oversight software can perform evaluative or diagnostic services, including raising equipment failure flags, tracking inventory to prevent over- or under purchasing, and analyzing aggregate sales data to track the profitability of products and services.

As important, the opportunity to forecast the lifespan of equipment and systems will prevent unexpected shut-downs, and allow management to install replacement technology before any losses or delays are realized.

The processes used to monitor and record industrial productivity have changed. The emergence of preventative maintenance software has introduced technical oversight and maintenance processes that far exceed the capacity of any human-performed exam. And the ever-competitive global community is recognizing the value of preventative maintenance to reduce time and resource waste when production systems fail.

If your business is planning to participate in the IIoT future, it will benefit from 24/7/365 proactive monitoring of its technological infrastructure. Contact us today to find products and services that will bring all your current technological assets into a cohesive whole, and will protect and preserve your present and future corporate infrastructure growth.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Office Support: Ways to Keep Your Tech Running Optimally

It's amazing how many people don't take the time to do basic maintenance on their office computers.

It’s amazing how many people don’t take the time to do basic maintenance on their office computers.

Do you need a cheat sheet on office support in your company so you can get a handle on basic IT issues? Some things you can do on your own, but working together with an IT team that understands what you need creates a more powerful process. As your business grows, you likely have more technical aspects to think about, especially if you don’t even know what devices get used.

For example, with a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, your employees are probably using dozens of mobile devices in the workplace. Even all your desktops in your company can’t always be accounted for, especially when you have employees doing things on them you can’t keep track of on a daily basis.

As a result, using your own cheat sheet as a form of office support works in tandem with a managed service from a dedicated IT team.

Here at SystemsNet, we provide managed services and a superior help desk that works along with your own sensible office support system. Take a look at some things you can do to keep all your tech devices running optimally. Combined with managed services, you’ll know what each employee does, plus methods to get issues fixed faster.

Basic Security on Your Computers

You need to have a meeting with your employees and make them aware of how prevalent viruses are, particularly through phishing schemes in emails. The more awareness they have of the latest threats, the more circumspect they’ll be when surfing the web or doing email reading. It doesn’t hurt to acquire virus software or firewalls for preventative measures.

Combined with a managed service, however, you have added protection since your systems gets monitored around the clock. In the chance you catch a virus by accident, we’re there to get it removed remotely so you’ll have no downtime.

Employee awareness and managed services work hand in hand for the ultimate safeguard.

Basic Maintenance on Your Computers

It’s amazing that so many people still don’t take the time to do basic maintenance on their computers to prevent slowdowns. By simply going in to your Windows or Mac control panel, you can defrag your hard drive, plus remove temporary Internet files that slow your computer down. This also includes doing all software updates on your computer. If you fall too far behind on those, you open your computer to major threats.

Doing this alongside having managed services, you once again have remote assistance if something happens. Managed services also make sure you have updates done on your software and hardware if you forget to do it on your own.

Backing Up Your Files

You already know about the dangers of not backing up your files, and using external drives or even your own server for file backup helps to a point. Regardless, these aren’t always reliable due to the possibly of server failure or even external drives malfunctioning.

With managed services, you have the cloud available as a safer and more reliable backup so you’re guaranteed to have all your data intact when you need it back after a disaster.

This is even more essential on your mobile devices where we save all data to the cloud as it’s being created. Considering many of your employees are out in the field with their mobile devices, you don’t want them losing any data while conducting business with a customer. Smartphones and tablets are also just as vulnerable to online threats if they depend on an unreliable Wi-Fi service.

Contact us here at SystemsNet so we can help you with office support for your tech in a way that works efficiently alongside company awareness.

Backup Disaster Recovery (BDR) the new lifeblood of business

With an increasingly mobile workforce on multiple devices, backup disaster recovery for your network is more important than it's ever been to protect your company's data.

With an increasingly mobile workforce on multiple devices, backup disaster recovery for your network is more important than it’s ever been to protect your company’s data.

It wasn’t so long ago that backing up your data involved tape cartridges put in an external drive. You could pretty much leave it alone because the backup might take overnight.

Now companies like Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba and others make slim external drives that plug into a desktop or laptop computer and can hold one-4TB of data and fit into a pocket of a laptop bag or a woman’s purse. A USB 3.0 connection and, depending on the amount of data, well, let’s just say, the backup is quicker than overnight. Flash drives are another miniature form of saving.

The explosion of mobile devices and other technology has put a much stronger emphasis on not only backing up valuable information, but Backup Disaster Recovery (BDR). Notice the “Disaster” modifier. The work force is becoming more mobile, able to work on laptops, tablets or smartphones while on a train or plane. People can work from home or other remote sites, logging into the business network. This means more data like documents, spreadsheets, and Power Point presentations are saved on more devices and platforms. Even some e-mail communications, contact lists, and text messages may be important. While flash drives and external hard drives are still a good solution for individuals, larger small and big businesses need more far-reaching managed solutions.

Mike Monacello, editor-in-chief of Business notes that their annual reviews of BDR solutions have been the most read material on their site. “Not only is BDR the central service of most MSPs (managed Services Providers), but also the reviews have been loaded with great insights from our tester…Many established and would-be MSPs have told us that they find the product reviews to be valuable resources in evaluating new products or confirming their decision to use the products they do.”

A post on The Talkin’ Cloud blog is geared toward how managed service providers should talk to businesses about the need for a Backup Disaster Recovery plan, but it is certainly educational for businesses seeking a solution.

  • Define Disaster: “…For a business, a disaster is more likely to be something small–like an accidentally deleted file, crippling malware or the always-pervasive hardware failure. When discussing disaster recovery, it’s important to make the distinction between a site-destroying event and the failures that are likely to happen…It’s the small things that bring business to a standstill.”
  • Disaster Recovery vs. Backup: The blogger says the difference between the two is essential for the business to understand. The keywords in disaster recovery are being able to be back online quickly. “…Disaster recovery involves creating redundancies that can reduce or even eliminate downtime…”
  • Downtime: Depending on equipment, downtime could mean different things to different businesses. A company that is down for a couple of days can have catastrophic economic consequences. The goal of a managed service provider — and the goal of a business looking for a managed service provider of BDR solutions — is to be back up in a few hours or less. A small monthly fee prevents the thousands of dollars that can be lost during downtime.
  • Service Delivery: A MSP knows there are different types of services and deliveries. They should be able to recommend the best affordable solution for a specific business. Will it be simple or advanced? Will it involve hardware? The cloud? Will it be remotely off site or on site or both? Businesses can educate themselves, too, so they can have a frank discussion.
  • Showing Continued Value: Businesses should be shown or ask to see how the backup recovery works. Since, most backups are conducted remotely and in the background, this is a good idea, as are regular e-mail reports and occasional visits to the business site.

Contact us to discuss your BDR needs.

Viruses: Like a Ninja Waiting to Take Down Your Business

Like a ninja, some programs rely on secretly infiltrating your computer, embedding themselves among some of the systems most crucial to your computer, and simply wait.

Like a ninja, some programs rely on secretly infiltrating your computer, embedding themselves among some of the systems most crucial to your computer, and simply wait.

If you’re familiar with your computer, you’ve got a pretty decent idea what programs you have on it. You probably have a word processor, an internet browser or two, some work specific programs, and a few other odds and ends. There could be one or two others on there that you don’t even know about, though, and those are the ones that can cause you major problems down the road.

Hiding in the Digital Shadows

Like a ninja, some programs rely on secretly infiltrating your computer, embedding themselves among some of the systems most crucial to your computer, and simply wait. Often, these programs will not give any sign they’re there, and by the time they do give a sign that they’re in your system, it’s often a losing battle trying to get them out.

They can do anything from corrupt files, to render your computer completely useless, and never do they do anything good. They can even be used to gather information about you or your company that can then be used by criminals. It’s a scary thought.

A Hero to Save the Day

Thankfully, there is a reliable solution: Anti-Virus software. This software works tirelessly to detect and kill those silent, secretive, and damaging virus programs. Most anti-virus programs rely on extensive teams of analysts and coding masters to ensure they identify and learn how to remove new and unique viruses as soon as they come into circulation.

In this internet age, they’re simply essential, and they aren’t something you want to skip out on when it comes to personal or professional computers.

One of our specialties is finding the best anti-virus software available and helping to get you protected. We offer a wide range of protection options, from the more familiar Norton and Windows Defender, to programs that make your computer like Fort Knox against viruses; tools like Webroot and Virpre.

All the Options, How do you Choose?

Figuring out which option would work best for you depends on what you use your computer for, what kind of storage and back-up options you use, as well as some personal preference. If your computer is used to store critical information on clients, for instance, choosing one of the more robust anti-virus systems is likely the best option.

If you use your computer primarily for email, keep secure back-ups of any documents you have, and don’t need tons of options for how your computer is checked, there are more affordable options that will provide you protection, without a significant investment.

If you simply aren’t sure how much protection you need, we’re here to consult with you. Our staff is well versed in getting to know your system, how it works, where your vulnerabilities are, and which program would best serve to protect your important data from those sneaky viruses.

Double Agent ‘Anti’-Virus

What we will caution against, however, is attempting to go it alone in your battle against viruses. While we’re certainly well aware of viruses, that’s a two-way street. Those evil doers that make viruses have spent countless hours preying on people looking for protection from them, going so far as to release ‘free’ anti-virus systems that are, themselves, riddled with viruses. While that isn’t the case for all ‘free’ options, those that aren’t full of viruses often provide sub-par protection, use outdated information on viruses, and often ask for money to remove viruses when they do find them.

We’re Here to Help

By teaming up with a quality team of software professionals like SystemsNet, you can be sure that you’re getting a tested and reliable anti-virus program that will help keep you and your data safe, with professionals on hand to help you understand how to make sure it’s working for you and keeping your computers online and working as intended.

To find out how we can help you protect your computers from ninja virus programs, contact us. We’re here to help.