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  1. Weak Security - New technology is being created and released every day. However, more often than not, these new technologies rush to market with consumers connecting them to their wi-fi without fully considering the security ramifications. These unsecured connections can pose a very real risk of hackers and cyber criminals gaining access to your network. With more and more employees working from home and using their own home wi-fi, businesses are left exposed.
  2. Social Media - Cyber criminals are not leveraging social media more than ever. Using personal information from social media profiles or targeting specific websites they know social media users are visiting are just a few ways hackers can be invited in.
  3. Mobile Malware - Virtually almost every device utilized now is mobile. That means these devices are traveling around connecting to different networks, wi-fi, and hotspots EVERYWHERE. If mobile devices are not fully secured the door is left wide open for attacks.
  4. Third-Party Entry - Entering through a third-party endpoint is the easiest way for hackers or cyber criminals to gain entry to your systems.
  5. Poor Configurations - Companies continues to regularly not customize and properly configure their security settings which can lead to major holes in networks and security parameters.
  6. Old Security Software - If security software is not updated, patched and monitored on a very regular basis when new malicious code comes out it will easily bypass old systems.
  7. Social Engineering - Utilizing social media to interact and psychological gain trust into somebody's network is perhaps one of the most malicious security threats but also effective.
  8. No Encryption - Protecting sensitive business data should be top priority however, encryption is a measure few industries choose to enable. Specifically, when it comes to healthcare, encryption is necessary for HIPAA compliance.
  9. Personal Devices - Whether an organization issues company devices or not, company information will end up on personal devices. Mobile Device Management is imperative for businesses.

Inadequate Security Technology - New security technologies will send an alert when attacks are being attempted as well as advanced threat protection to try and stop an attack BEFORE it happens. Companies and businesses alike should be investing in these types of software

 


 

allscripts.pngAs many of you know, an Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a digital record of a patient’s paper charts, updated in real-time.  This is an incredible option to have in the world of medicine, where information can be exchanged between doctors as well as business associates. It also provides an incredible benefit to the patient, giving them the best and most appropriate care when needed.

Overall, it really is a great thing to have so much information at your fingertips.  Unless that information gets into the wrong hands.  Which is exactly what happened to Allscripts Healthcare, an EHR company used by a variety of businesses in the medical field, including

hospitals, pharmacies and emergency service (ambulance) centers around the world.

Today Allscripts is working with the Department of Justice to pay $145 million in a preliminary settlement in response to an attack that exposed patient records which were thought to be safe in the cloud.   They were in violation of HIPAA, the HITECH Act’s EHR incentive program, and the Anti-Kickback Statute related to Practice Fusion – which was the company acquired by Allscripts in 2018.  This settlement will resolve both companies of all criminal and civil liability related to the investigation surrounding them both.

Unfortunately, they aren’t alone.  With the human component being the big risk factor in any organization, healthcare employs many, many people with patient access.  Each record is a gold mine for hackers, and therefore even one mistake can prove costly to an organization like we’re seeing with Allscripts.

How do we remedy this?  The first and most important step is to cover your assets. Cyber Insurance is going to increase your likelihood of surviving a breach, but once you have the end protection setup, get your employees trained.  And then repeat the training.  Conduct Security Risk Assessments at least annually, not only to comply with HIPAA but to identify security gaps which could leave your organization’s data up for grabs. Then, perform a vulnerability scan and find out if your system is as secure as you hope and believe.

Protection and prevention go hand in hand and in the world of healthcare, you can never have enough.

The post Allscripts to Pay $145 Million for Practice Fusion EHR Investigation appeared first on HIPAA Secure Now!.

HIPAA – Then & Now

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, has been around since 1996, with the intent to protect patients by properly handling their protected health information (PHI).

With good intentions, HIPAA set forth to provide both security provisions and data privacy. The legislation was passed in the age of paper records, a time that required much different security measures than what we see today.

23 years later, it’s safe to say the ways in which we store, access, or transfer PHI have changed drastically. Of course, incredible changes and advancements in technology require changes to how we protect and safely handle patient data. Have we seen regulatory change with HIPAA regarding the digital age we now live in? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

The Digital Age

Today, the chances of you finding a healthcare provider that still relies on paper records is slim. The convenience of electronic medical records (EMRs) for both providers and patients is undeniable. From providing an easy way to share records with patients and other clinicians to allowing for simpler communication between patients and their providers, EMRs have changed the healthcare industry.

Unfortunately, with the pros come the cons. Digital medical records do pose some major risks, and as mentioned, HIPAA has made minimal progress when it comes to addressing them.

Hackers Exploiting Healthcare

According to the Protenus Breach Barometer, 2018 saw 15 million patient records compromised in 503 breaches, triple the number of compromised records in the previous year. 2019 has already seen some massive healthcare breaches, like the Quest Diagnostics data breach that affected at least 12 million patients.

So, why are hackers setting their sights on healthcare organizations? There are several reasons.

PHI yields high profits on the dark web. Where credit card information can quickly become worthless to cybercriminals, PHI is another story. Not only can healthcare breaches go undetected for sometimes lengthy periods of time, the data that is compromised in one is not something that the affected individual can easily change, like a birth date for example.

Hackers also know that the healthcare industry historically underinvests when it comes to IT security and training. What’s this mean for a cybercriminal? Lack of IT resources often means poor security, perhaps no firewall, outdated systems, no anti-virus, and more. In addition, lack of employee training means employees are ill-equipped to handle a cybercriminal’s malicious attempts at gaining access to the sensitive information they are expected to safeguard.

Furthermore, with the vast technology and highly connected systems used in the healthcare industry, one attack on a small system could lead to detrimental consequences for an organization. Cybercriminals know that organizations rely on these systems, and thus, suspect that attacking them may give them what they’re hoping for, like in a ransomware attack for example – pay the ransom and regain access to your systems, or ignore this request and lose your data.

Acknowledging the Cybersecurity Problem

With HIPAA being flawed and outdated, how do we move forward to protect patients and their data from the cybercrime epidemic?

Although HIPAA needs some major updating, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), who is responsible for enforcing HIPAA, hasn’t completely ignored the issue at hand.

In December 2018, HHS issued cybersecurity guidelines for the healthcare sector in an effort to drive voluntary adoption of cybersecurity practices. This guidance sent a message that HHS’ is well-aware of the cybersecurity issues surrounding the healthcare industry.

In addition to the cybersecurity issues plaguing healthcare, protecting consumer data, in general, has become a hot topic with the passing of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While Congress has tossed around the idea of a federal privacy legislation that would create a unified privacy law, there are no real signs of that being carried out anytime soon.

How Do We Fix This?

  1. Don’t wait around for a regulation. It’s evident that we cannot wait around for HIPAA to change, or in hopes of Congress passing a federal law to better protect the privacy of patients and consumers.
  2. Take a look around. It is critical for both Covered Entities and Business Associates to take a closer look at the patient data they are protecting. Remember, cybercriminals don’t just seek out financial information, but rather, information that could yield a large profit for them, whether that be a birthdate, a Social Security number, or anything in between. If you store, access, or transmit any kind of PHI, take a hard look at that data. If a hacker were to exploit it, what kind of damage could be done?
  3. Secure your systems. Now that you’ve thought through what kind of data you have access to, secure it. Don’t leave any data vulnerable. Cybercriminals can launch extremely detrimental attacks against individuals and organizations. Do everything you can to keep them from successfully carrying one out against you.
  4. Train employees. Make sure employees understand how valuable the data they have access to is, and the repercussion that could ensue if that data is compromised. Employees should know how to properly protect PHI, how to report a data breach, how to spot a phishing attempt or any other malicious attempt by cybercriminals, and everything in between.
  5. HIPAA is not optional – abide. Despite the flaws of HIPAA, it’s intended to protect patient data, which is valid and necessary, from an ethical point of view as well as a regulatory one. Whether you’re a Covered Entity or a Business Associate, it is your responsibility to comply with HIPAA.

Technology will continue to advance, and hackers will continue to do the same when it comes to ensuring their skill set matches the need necessary to exploit these ever-evolving devices and systems. It is up to us to ensure that we continue to evolve our cybersecurity practices, which in turn will help us better protect PHI in the digital age where HIPAA has left holes.

The post Why We Need to Go Beyond HIPAA appeared first on HIPAA Secure Now!.


 

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MeetMe: A dating social media app that connects people based on location. Users are encouraged to meet in person.

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WhatsApp: A messaging app that allows texts, video calls, photo sharing and voicemails with users worldwide.

Bumble.jpg
 Bumble: Similar to Tinder, but requires women to make the first contact. Law enforcement says kids and teens can create fake accounts and falsify their age.

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 Live.Me: A live-streaming app that uses geolocation to share videos. The sheriff's office said users can earn "coins" to "pay" minors for photos.

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Ask.FM: The sheriff's office said this app lets users ask anonymous questions and is known for cyberbullying.

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Grindr: A dating app geared toward the LGBTQ community based on user location.

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TikTok: A new app popular with kids lets users create and share short videos. Law enforcement said the app has "very limited privacy controls" and users can be exposed to cyberbullying and explicit content.

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Snapchat: One of the most popular social media apps in the world, Snapchat lets users take and share photos and videos. The app also lets people see your location.

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Holla: This self-proclaimed "addicting" video chat app lets users meet people in seconds. Law enforcement said users have seen racial slurs and explicit content.

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Calculator : Police say this is one of several apps that are used to hide photos, videos, files and browser history.

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Skout: A location-based dating app that is supposed to prohibit people under 17 from sharing private photos. However, police say kids can easily create an account with a different age.

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Badoo: A dating and social media app where users can chat and share photos and videos based on location. Police say the app is supposed to be for adults only, but they've seen teens create accounts.

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Kik: Police say kids can bypass traditional text messaging features using this app. Kik "gives users unlimited access to anyone, anywhere, anytime," the sheriff's office said.

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Whisper: An anonymous social network that lets users share secrets with strangers. Police say it also shows users' location so people can meet up.

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Hot or Not: The app lets users rate profiles, check out people in their area and chat with strangers. Police say the goal of the app is to hook up.

 

dataExposedInEmail.pngApproximately 25,000 patients are being notified by Adirondack Health that their protected health information (PHI) may have been obtained by a hacker.

Vermont-based Adirondack Health is part of the Adirondacks Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Adirondacks ACO analyses health data for the entire region and is made up of all the Adirondack region’s hospitals.

The Breach

On March 4, 2019, it was discovered that an unauthorized individual had accessed an employee’s email account for two days. After discovering the unauthorized access, Adirondacks ACO began checking every email and attachment in the affected employee’s account, looking for any PHI that may have been accessed.

Adirondacks ACO discovered that two employees had been discussing information regarding patients who had missed a baby wellness exam and other screenings, as part of their population health analysis. The employees were planning to send the information, contained in a “gap-in-care” spreadsheet, to providers so they could determine how to contact their patients.

That’s when an unauthorized individual from outside the U.S. remotely obtained access to the email account. At this time, no evidence suggests that the email was opened by the unauthorized party, however, the possibility could not be ruled out.

The Exposure

The unauthorized access was not due to a phishing attack, and a spokesperson for Adirondack Health stated he does not believe the employee could have avoided it. The spokesperson also stated that policies are being changed as a result of the incident.

Information contained in the exposed spreadsheet includes patients’ names, dates of birth, Medicare ID numbers, health insurance member numbers, as well as limited treatment and/or clinical information. Some patients also had their Social Security numbers listed.

Adirondacks ACO began notifying patients of the breach in early July. 25,000 letters of notification have been sent to affected patients, with only a few remaining.

For patients who had their Social Security numbers listed on the spreadsheet, free credit monitoring and identity protection will be provided by Adirondacks ACO.

The post 25,000 Patients’ Data Exposed in Email Hack appeared first on HIPAA Secure Now!.

 

 

Facebook Status: Away on Vacation

Socihackers_social_media.pngal media is great for a lot of things.  Sharing photos, reconnecting with old friends, finding like-minded people and groups to share ideas and hobbies.  But when does sharing become oversharing?

Hackers gain access to your personal data via your profile and the information you share there – and you don’t even realize it’s happening.  Photos with your children and pets with identifying names on them, locations of where you’ve been, or where you are currently on vacation.

By posting this all and not ensuring that your profile is private or protected, you are handing over valuable information that attackers can use to guess passwords or hack your accounts while you are away on vacation, – and likely less engaged with the day to day happenings – like bank account deductions. Not away on vacation? That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook either.

Tagged in a photo from that recent work conference?  Now they know where you work and what you do for a living.  Some people even post detailed resumes online that give away an incredible amount of information.

While your likes and dislikes can create online engagement for you, it can also be a goldmine for marketing agencies and now cybercriminals who can not only guess your whereabouts and possible login information, but they can also create duplicate (fake) online profiles using all of the personal information you’ve shared.  Using professional headshots only adds to their bank of resources and credibility.

How to Avoid Oversharing

Make sure your profile security is set to the strictest parameters available.  Do not allow yourself to be “tagged” without approval.  Do not indicate when you are traveling – wait until you are home to share photos and stories.

Professionally speaking, give details that are headlines, but not entire outlined details of your experience and career.

Social media isn’t going away, and the power it holds can be used for wonderful things to enrich your life.  Just be sure that you aren’t giving away too much to the wrong people.

The post Hackers Using Social Profiles appeared first on HIPAA Secure Now!.

 

Credential Stuffing

trojanHorse.pngEvery year it seems there’s a constant slew of major hacks at big companies that end up with millions of username/password pairs being compromised. These results in the real world are what’s known as credential stuffing. Credential stuffing is when hackers use long lists of stolen login credentials in a large-scale automated attempt to log into various websites. Therefore users should make their credentials more secure and not something not commonly used.

Banking Trojans

In network security terms, a Banker trojan- horse or (Banker Trojan) is a malicious program used to obtain confidential information about victims via online banking and payment systems. How a banking trojan works is it disguises itself as a genuine app or software that users download and install. Once installed it positions itself in a way to access your banking details. Once it has the login information, it can beam it back to the malware developer granting them access to your bank account. Easy right?

Quantum Cryptography

Quantum cryptography is the science of exploiting quantum mechanical properties to execute cryptographic tasks. Essentially, quantum cryptography is based on the usage of individual particles/waves of light (photons) and their intrinsic quantum properties to develop an unbreakable cryptosystem - essentially because it is impossible to measure the quantum state of any system without disturbing that system. It is theoretically possible that other particles could be used.

 


 

momo.pngMomo, with its bulging eyes and stringy hair, reportedly appears on sites or apps like WhatsApp, Facebook and YouTube, sometimes in conjunction with kids’ videos meant to depict the popular game "Fortnite" or kids show character Peppa Pig. A trend called the “Momo Challenge” has been stirring up fervor in recent weeks. This terrifying doll asks the viewer to participate in challenges that range from innocuous to deadly including murdering and suicide. This “character” has been appearing around the internet for at least a year, according to international police agencies and news outlets. These videos are targeting children.

Educating Your Children

While the MoMo challenge is nothing more than a viral hoax, it still lays the underlying problem that your kids need to be educated and careful when on the internet, even if you think they are watching something as simple as their favorite kid show on YouTube. It’s not just this creepy character that kids need to be aware of on the Internet but of various things from disturbing content to cyber criminals aiming to extort information. 

History

To clear things up, this isn’t the first sighting of “the Momo challenge” but it has resurfaced, and people are still unaware of its presence on the internet. This is nothing more than an internet hoax that is reappearing that reminds us to watch over what our kids are doing on the internet and what they might be, being exposed to.

 


 

What is SIM Swapping?

SIM for Cellphone.jpgSIM swapping is a technique that mainly involves the social engineering (or manipulation) of a target’s mobile phone provider. Using personal information obtained on their target, a hacker will attempt to persuade the target’s mobile phone provider to port their phone number over to a SIM card belonging to the hacker. Once the swap occurs, the hacker has essentially hijacked their target’s mobile phone number. One-time passwords, verification codes, and two-factor authorization that goes through a user’s mobile device via phone call or text message gets sent to the hacker.

College Student Steals Millions

College student, 20-year-old Joel Ortiz of Boston, accepted a plea deal for stealing more than $5 million in cryptocurrency from more than 40 victims. Cyber theft has recently and is continuing to be a huge threat to the crypto-currency community. Ortiz pled guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 10 years in prison as part of his plea deal.

You’re Just Lucky

You’re just lucky you haven’t been breached. Over the last few years, several SIM hijackers have been arrested, such as 21-year-old Nicholas Truglia who stole a million dollars in crypto, however authorities say Ortiz is the first person ever to be convicted of a crime involving SIM swapping. This just goes to show Ortiz is not the only person using this social engineering technique but was just one of the many to get caught. These are millions of dollars we are talking about, in the form of digital currency. Be protected and stay engaged in cyber security practices!

 


 

Went Phishing Again…

phising.jpgSophisticated hackers launched a successful phishing campaign that stole more than $800,000 from Cape Cod’s Community College. According to a Cape Cod Times report “Next-generation endpoint security solutions, if installed on all systems, would have stopped and prevented the attack.” Working with banking officials, the West Barnstable, Massachusetts college was able to recover around $300,000 of the funds.

Attack Details

  • The Phishing email appeared to have been sent from another college.
  • The person who clicked the email open had no suspicions at first, but when something seemed off, contacted the school’s IT department who ran a diagnostic test and found a polymorphic virus embedded in the phishing email.
  • The hackers set up a fake URL address for TD Bank and made nine fraudulent transfers totaling $807,130 from the college’s financial account. The hackers also placed calls to fool employees and validate the transactions.
  • The college recently installed next-generation endpoint protection software — but only on a portion of systems. Had the security been installed on all systems, the virus infection would have been avoided.

School Districts Under Attack

This is the second time in recent months that hackers have stolen money from the higher education industry in the United States’ New England region. An attack in June 2018 stole an estimated $1.4 million from 21 account holders at the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET). Outages that have crippled colleges have also been Hacker-generated, for example, the Wisconsin outage that triggered three days of class cancellations.

Forgetful Users

Every year, technology like smartphones and laptops are lost in taxis, coffeeshops and elsewhere. Any security plan that doesn’t account for these “user error” conditions, is going to have difficulty from the very start. Teach routines like places to search before leaving a location or create "rituals" around packing up and leaving. These will help remind people to look around them before leaving. Also, mobile device management like a log-in authentication could help minimize damages.

Thieves

Sometimes laptops get stolen by people who want to sell them on Craigslist, but sometimes laptops get stolen by people who are trying to steal your data. These data-hungry attackers are often found in parking lots and coffee spots normally visited by high-value targets. Always be mindful about where your laptop is, as well as using the public Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop. 

USB Trojans

Hackers have created a trojan that makes exclusive use of USB devices in order to spread. As with most cyber-security practices, the first line of defense is changing user behavior. In order to defend against USB Trojans is to first make sure that anti-malware systems are Up-To-Date and aggressive. The second step is to make sure there is a procedure for randomly appearing USB sticks. 

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are fraudulent emails appearing to come from a legitimate business or enterprise. These messages usually link you to a fake website or may get you to provide private information that is later used to obtain your personal data. Be on the lookout. Educate yourself and your staff.

 


 

crytojacking.jpgCryptojacking is the practice of using a computer’s processing power to mine for cryptocurrencies without the owner’s consent or knowledge. Cryptojacking has become a more popular way for cyber-criminals to extract money from targets in the form of cryptocurrency. Widely publicized hacks, like ransomware attacks, are some of the ways the hackers are Cryptojacking.

Four Young Hackers Booked In South Korea

Four young hackers have been arrested in a cryptojacking case involving over 6,000 computers in what is allegedly South Korea’s “first” known case of its kind, Korean English-language news outlet Aju Daily reports Nov. 8. The cryptojacking campaign is said to have lasted two months, as of October 2017, but resulted in mined crypto worth only around one million ($895).

Cryptocurrency In The US

International cybersecurity firm Group-IB has shown that the number of compromised accounts has risen 369 percent since 2017. Data shared with Hard Fork shows that a staggering third of all victims were in the US. Every single one of the top 19 exchanges has been breached; 720 usernames and passwords were stolen in total.

Prevention

Now, more than ever, it’s a good idea to increase your knowledge of cyber-attacks and pay attention to who you conversate with about cryptocurrency in public. Set a complicated password and until the exchanges sort out their security issues, don’t keep too much on any particular exchange.

 


 

MmadisonCounty.jpgadison County employees were unable to send emails one evening when a ransomware virus infected their computer systems. The virus has had crippling effects on the county’s ability to conduct business according to Madison County’s clerk Kim Muir. Ransomware viruses work by cutting off a user’s access to files and other important systems while demanding a ransom for it back.

Madison County’s Game Plan

The virus was discovered on October 4th, when an employee was checking to make sure the court’s new Odyssey system would run properly for the next day. “We don’t know a lot about how it happened or anything. We’ve got great IT people working to get our systems back up to where they need to be,” Muir says.

Update

Many of the files that were encrypted have since been restored. Muir says they still do not have access to email but hope to have that too, soon restored. The ransomware virus ended up costing the county just under $200,000. Lisa Cannon (IT Director) said the ransomware breach affected over 600 personal computers and up to 75 servers. Weeks were spent recovering data.

Prevention

Ransomware and other viruses can be easily avoided with 24/7 monitoring of computer networks, strong anti-virus, software patches, and updates, as well as end-user training. Reach out to your IT support team or person whether it be internal or external and make sure all of these things are being taken care of so you can avoid being the next Madison County.

 


 

ninja.jpgHacked to Mine Cryptocurrency?

According to a local news report in China’s Da Lian city, 20 arrests have been made in suspicion to hacking over a million computers and using these computers to mine or “generate” cryptocurrency using their victims’ computer processing power. Cryptocurrency is a form of digital “money.”

How did the Hackers do it?

The hackers created and embedded the malware inside internet browser plug-ins they developed for multiple purposes, such as improved browsing speed, which were shown in display ads that reached 5 million computers in the country.

When clicking the display ads and downloading the plug-ins, over a million computers were breached, mining a total of 26 million digibyte, decred and siacoin tokens over the course of two years, according to the police. China reported this hack has earned its creators more than $2 million.

Reasoning?

Hackers apparently opted to mine more minor cryptocurrencies or alt coins since they don't require such significant amounts of computing power, allowing the back-end mining process to be quieter and less likely to be spotted by victims.

The report also indicated the hackers developed a network of more than 100 agents to help propagate the illicit mining software, such as through working relationships with internet cafes.

 


 

DEFCON.jpgWhat is the DEFCON Convention?

The DEF CON convention is one of the world's largest hacker conventions, held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada with the first DEF CON taking place in June 1993. Many of the attendees at DEF CON include computer security professionals, journalists, lawyers, federal government employees, security researchers, students, and hackers with a general interest in software, computer architecture, phone phreaking, hardware modification, and anything else that can be "hacked."

What does this mean for Me and You?

The meaning behind this is simple and obvious, there is a LARGE convention where hackers go and show off their new skills, new hacking technology, and even go to show off what kind of damage they can do. As this convention grows, so does the possible threat of someone going back to their hometown and using what they learned on you or your company! Just as these hackers are sharpening their tools, your company should be doing the same via cyber-security!

The Positive Side

On the positive side of this otherwise dark convention, a lot of cybersecurity professionals and software engineers also attend this event to help find loopholes in big-name companies and programs to help strengthen cyber defense. So, hackers go to show off their skills and new technology, and the “good guys” come and try to figure out how to stop it. 


What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain is the digital and decentralized ledger that records all transactions. Anytime someone buys digital currency on a decentralized exchange, sells coins, transfers, or buys goods and services with virtual currency, a ledger records that transaction, often in an encrypted way to protect against cybercriminals. All these transactions are recorded and processed without a third-party provider or bank, which is usually the case.

Why was Blockchain Invented?

Banks almost always serve as an intermediary of currency transactions, thus taking their cut in the process. Blockchain developers want the ability to process payments without a need for this middleman. For example, when transferring money to overseas markets, a payment or transaction could be delayed for days waiting for a bank to verify it. People argue financial institutions shouldn’t tie up cross-border payments for such a long time.

Are Blockchain Transactions Anonymous?

Despite popular belief, most blockchain transactions aren't anywhere near as private or anonymous as you'd like to think. Even though you don't have to provide a Social Security number or bank account when buying or selling cryptocurrencies, an analysis of a blockchain can often be traced back to an individual sender or receiving of funds. There are however certain “privacy” coins to counteract this. 

 


 

Popcorn Time Ransomware:

This type of Ransomware gives you a “choice.” If possible, you could just pay out the one bitcoin ransom (currently $8,500-$9000), or you are able to download the virus and infect two other friends or coworkers.  Once the people you have sent it to pay the ransom, you get your data decrypted (maybe). This is one way hackers spread their viruses.

Bad Rabbit:

A type of ransomware that has impacted organizations in Russia and Eastern Europe. Bad Rabbit is passed along through a fake Adobe Flash update on breached websites. When the ransomware infects a machine, users are directed to a payment page demanding .05 bitcoin.

CTB-Locker:

With CTB-Locker, hackers outsource the infection process to partners in exchange for a cut of the profits. This is a proven strategy for achieving large volumes of malware infections at a faster rate. CTB Locker is delivered through aggressive e-mail spam campaigns.

Jigsaw:

Jigsaw encrypts and progressively deletes files until a ransom is paid. The ransomware deletes a single file after the first hour, then deletes more and more per hour until the 72-hour mark, when all remaining files are deleted.

 


 

YouTube’s most watched video, ‘Despacito’ was apparently deleted by hackers. The artist Luis Fonsi’s music video, which had over 5 billion views was deleted and replaced with a cover photo showing the apparent hackers. The hackers in the picture are seen to be wearing masks and pointing guns reported by BBC.

 

That’s not all

The hackers, referring to themselves as Prosox and Kuroi’sh, defaced more than a dozen artists’ videos. Some of the known artists include: Shakira, Selena Gomez, Drake and Adele. The hacker identified as “Prosox” also tweeted saying: “@YouTube it’s just for fun I just use script ‘YouTube-change-title-video’ and I write ‘hacked’ don’t judge me I love YouTube <3”. Vevo can confirm that several videos were subject to a security breach, which has now been contained.

 

What Does This Mean?

No matter how big the company or business is, cybersecurity is essential. Modern day hackers are not only smarter but have access to more powerful tools than ever used before. Cybersecurity is today’s top industry worry and will most likely be this way for some time to come.

 despacito_hack.jpg


 

 

Ransomware is one of the most prevalent variety of malicious software, found in 39% of malware-related causes. Once the malware is on your computer, your data is then encrypted (essentially locked) and to get your data back, you would need to come up with a “ransom” normally in the form of Bitcoin. Even though a ransom is asked of you and even if you pay it, you STILL may not get your data back.

 

Major Findings in Summary

  • The human factor continues to be a key weakness as employees are still falling victim to social attacks.
  • Phishing attacks cannot be ignored, a cybercriminal only needs one victim to get access into an organization’s network.
  • Based on Verizon’s dataset, ransomware started impacting critical systems rather than just desktops. Due to this, cybercriminals are asking for higher ransoms for less work.
  • 72% of attacks were perpetrated by outsiders, 27% involved internal staff, 2% involved partners and 2% featured multiple partners. Organized crime groups still account for 50% of the attacks analyzed.

 

ransomwareImage.jpg

What Does This Mean?

“Ransomware remains a significant threat for companies of all sizes,” says Bryan Sartin, Executive Director of Security Professional Services, Verizon. “It is now the most prevalent form of malware, and its use has increased significantly over recent years. With all this happening and cybercriminals becoming smarter, businesses continue to still not invest in the proper security training or professional security protection.


 

 

atlanta.jpgWhat’s Happening?

On the morning of March 22, a remote ransomware attack trapped the city of Atlanta’s data behind an encrypted wall.  The only way the city can remove this wall is to give the hacker or hackers $50,000, for now, the city is working to come up with a solution to get past the virtual attack without paying its ransom. The attackers gave the city until Wednesday to pay it off. The city is bringing in the “best in class external partners” to guide the fix, according to Atlanta news station WSB-TV.

The Warning

Experts have warned that cybersecurity is likely the next great security threat for companies and governments around the globe. Most systems in use today are simply not prepared, and Atlanta is not the first of cities to have been hit with virtual attacks. Although some companies have ramped up security following these types of attacks, as Atlanta plans on doing, cities still aren’t adapting their security before an attack happens.


The Auto-Driving Vehicle

Uber set its sights to the future in hopes of replacing human drivers with Artificial Intelligence (AI) vehicles through its self-driving program. In 2016, Uber users in Pittsburg were able to request self-driving vehicles to take them to their designated locations.  These autonomous cars use radar, cameras and LiDAR to detect obstacles and pedestrians in their path. While the car does drive itself without the need of a human driver, a supervisor is placed in the car to make sure things are running smoothly. 

The Accident

The future of Uber’s self-driving car program is looking dull in the state of California. A video that went viral showed an Uber self-driving accident unfold. In the video you could clearly depict both internal and external views of the Uber vehicle, as well as the Uber’s safety driver looking down at their phone, as suddenly a pedestrian crosses paths with the vehicle, being struck and killed. The local police deemed the accident “unavoidable.”

The Future of Self-Driving Vehicles

The company announced it will not renew Uber’s permit through the state’s DMV to continue testing a fleet of AI driving vehicles. With this accident in mind, it brings up serious questions and some of those questions are, with this recent accident are we ready for AI vehicles in today’s society? What could this mean for AI like Humans?

selfDrivingCar


 

Ransomware in the Cloud

In the past year, we have seen a plague of ransomware attacks, with big and small targets including Britain’s National Health Service, San Francisco’s light-rail network, and big companies such as FedEx. Ransomware is a relatively simple form of malware that breaches defenses and locks down computer files using strong encryption. Hackers then demand money in exchange for a digital key to unlock their data. Victims will often pay, especially if the material encrypted hasn’t been backed up.

Spam, Phishing, and Social Engineering

Human error is the leading cause of data breaches. Unpatched software and social engineering are the causes for most attacks.  We should expect to see even more attacks like these as time goes on. Fortunately, the problem of human fallibility may have a budding solution in the form of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In the meantime, MVP provides a human Security Training that can train your staff on what threats to look for and what scams to not fall for. Find more information at www.mvpworks.com/PIIProtect  

Artificial Intelligence-powered attacks?

AI can be used to automate the collection of certain information, perhaps relating to a specific organization which may be sourced from support forums, social media platforms and more. Additionally, AI may be able to assist hackers when it comes to cracking passwords by narrowing down the number of probable passwords based on geography, demographics and other such factors. This calls for MORE cybersecurity solutions than ever.  


 

brain.pngSam Altman, an American entrepreneur, investor, programmer and blogger has just spent a whopping $10,000 with a start-up company to one day, preserve his brain. According to MIT Technology review, Sam is but 1 of 25 other people who have put down a $10,000 refundable deposit to join a waiting list at Nectome, a company whose sole purpose is to archive your mind.

The Catch…

While being on a waiting list to have your brain archived may seem cool and something to do out of the ordinary, there’s just one tiny catch. Nectome’s Co-founder Robert McIntyre, told MIT Technology Review, that the process is “100 percent fatal”. That’s right, the tiny catch is you must die.

The Procedure

The company needs to embalm a living brain for it to potentially be stimulated later by a computer. The living person or customer, would be hooked up to a machine, and then pumped full of Nectome’s custom embalming fluids and chemicals. Oh yeah, this is where the death part happens. According to Co-founder Robert McIntyre, the user experience is compared to a “physician-assisted suicide”.

 

 


 

What is the “Surface Web”?

It is best to imagine the Web as an entire ocean: the surface web is the top of the ocean which appears to spread for miles around and is the easiest part of the ocean to see or "access". You can access the surface web using any of the main search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.). You are on the surface web for example when you are buying from Amazon or reading the daily news.

What is the “Deep Web”?

The Deep Web was also part of the web at its conception, and in simple terms, it is the opposite of the surface as it is anything that search engines cannot find. This is the key difference between the two in real data terms; sites on the surface internet are indexed for search engines to find, but the deep web is not indexed. Both are available to the public, but special software is needed to access the deep web.

What is the “Dark Web”?

 The Dark Web IS part of the Deep Web, but it has one major difference in that it has been intentionally hidden and is inaccessible to normal web browsers. The technology to create the Dark Web was initially created (and still funded) by US Military Researchers in the mid-1990s to allow spies and intelligence agencies to anonymously send and receive messages. Named "The Onion Router", it was quickly coined with the shorter "Tor" with its name coming from application layer encryption within a communication protocol stack; many layers representing the layers of an onion.

 


 

Elon_Musk.jpgScammers are posing as celebrities, like Elon Musk, and using their status as a way to get innocent people to give them crypto-currency. These scammers are using similar usernames to the genuine accounts, making them seem more credible.

How Does The Scam Work?

While scammers are impersonating Elon Musk (whose fans were a real target) they then post replies to popular tweets made by the real Elon Musk. This gives their deceiving messages prominence when targeting the celebrity’s fans.  The scammers then ask people to send them small amounts of crypto-currency, offering to send a larger amount back as part of a giveaway.

How To Avoid Being Scammed

The golden rule here is “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Celebrities are most likely not going to ask you for money to give you back more in return. This concept doesn’t make much sense to begin with, as they have a large amount of money at the start. Celebrities like Elon Musk also have a blue checkmark next to their name to symbolize a genuine account. Never give your password, or any other information to anyone you don’t personally know very well over the internet.


 

 

EEG-Headset.jpgEEG is an electrophysiological monitoring method to record the electrical activity of the brain. These headsets allow people to make a ball float in front of them, simply by using their brainwaves. EEG, however, is most often used to diagnose epilepsy, by being able to sense abnormalities in the brain.

Hackers and Brainwaves?

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggest that brainwave-sensing headsets, known as EEG (electroencephalograph) headsets, need better protection and security. A recent study revealed hackers could guess a user’s password by monitoring their brainwaves. How jaw-dropping is this? Now we need to worry about hackers hacking our brains?

What Does This Mean?

In a real-world attack, if more and more people begin utilizing these headsets for gameplay, Virtual Reality, and/or school or work a hacker could facilitate the step required for the malicious program to be initiated through the headset. This program begins by requesting that the user enter a predefined set of numbers to restart the game/program being played or used, after pausing it to take a break, like the way CAPTCHA is used to verify users when logging onto websites. Hackers are becoming more creative as well as dangerous. Understanding how to protect yourself has never been more relevant.


 

A small robotic dog named “SpotMini” can act as a human assistant in home or office. Unlike other robots by Boston Dynamics, SpotMini isn’t designed to help people in a disastrous situation, but more meant to be a vaguely cute home or office robotic pet. However, is this cute robotic dog now being trained to fight back against humans?

The Robo-Dog That Could

An amazing video of SpotMini went viral after fighting off a human as he tries to open a door. Not only is this slightly uncomfortable and even a little creepy, but the real question is: Why are we teaching robots to fight back against humans?

Enjoy Robots?

If you enjoyed reading this short summary on SpotMini, be sure to check out the video of the door opening robot dog here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1LWMk7JB80

Also, be sure to check out Boston Dynamics for tons of robot videos on YouTube.

Robot Dog


 

caduceus

In 2017, the healthcare industry was reported to be hit most frequently by a variety of cyber-attacks. The United States was reported to be the country with the MOST cyber- attacks in the world. That makes the healthcare industry in the U.S. the most targeted and breached industry in the world. Still feel safe?

The Statistics

Here are the top targeted industries hit by ransomware in 2017.

  1. Healthcare: 45%of cross-industry ransomware incidents.
  2. Finance: 12%
  3. Professional services: 12%
  4. Manufacturing: 7%
  5. Education: 6%
  6. Retail: 6%

(Beazley, 2017)

That’s Not All…

The Healthcare industry is also the main target for something known as a W-2 phishing scam. How does it work? Well, cybercriminals use multiple spoofing techniques to mask an email to make it look as if it is from the organization’s executive. The masked email is then sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources department, requesting a list of all employees and their W-2 forms .  According to IRS commissioner John Koskinen, “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time”.

Make sure you and ALL of your employees are as informed and protected as possible. Visit our website to learn more at www.mvpworks.com


 

What is Bitcoin?

bitcoinBitcoin is a new digital currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown person using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions are made with no middlemen – meaning, no banks! Much of the hype around Bitcoin today is from getting rich by trading it.

How is Bitcoin Used?

While most people are now using Bitcoin as a source of investment hoping for a healthy return, its original use was not for that. The idea behind the technology has always been and remains - one of decentralization - that is, remaining completely independent of a central authority, like a bank, a government, or a country. This privacy is the main reason many users use bitcoin on the “Dark Web.”

Should You Invest in Bitcoin?

As with any investment, this question comes with a set of questions you should ask yourself first:

Do you have the money to risk?

Do you understand fully in what you’re investing in?

What is driving the investment decision?

With these questions in mind, it’s important to understand the risks involved with any investment, especially one as unpredictable as bitcoin is.


 

 

The Top 5 Tricks, Sneaky Schemes And Gimmicks
They Use To Hack Your Computer Network

Cyber_Security.jpgThe contemporary world is rife with digital thieves. They’re penetrating the complicated data structures of huge credit-monitoring companies like Equifax, scooping up the personal information of millions of people. They’re releasing sensitive customer data to the public from discreet businesses like Ashley Madison. They’re watching webcam feeds of our celebrities without them knowing; they’re locking down the systems of public utilities like the German railway system; they’re even managing to steal thousands of gigabytes of information directly from high-profile government entities like the CIA.
They’re also targeting small businesses exactly like your own and extorting them for thousands and thousands of dollars. When running a company, it’s vital to have a dedicated security team, equipped with the most up-to-the-minute security technology, on your side to protect you from these malicious cyberthreats. But it’s not enough to leave it to somebody else. You also need to be informed. Here are five of the most common ways hackers infiltrate your network:

1. Phishing Scams

You receive an e-mail in your work inbox coming directly from a high-ranking employee with whom you’ve been working on a project. Inside is a link he needs you to click to access some “vital information,” but when you click it, it rapidly installs a host of malware on the computer, spreads through the network and locks out everyone in the company.
Phishing scams are the oldest trick in a hacker’s book – ever received one of those “Nigerian Prince” scams? – but they’re still wildly successful. Not only that, but they’re becoming increasingly more sophisticated. As Thomas Peters writes for “Newsweek,” “The best messages look like they’re trying to protect the company. One well-meaning system administrator even offered to post a PDF that could deliver malware on an internal server because it was called, ‘How to avoid a phishing attack.’” How’s that for irony?

2. Social Engineering

Social engineering is a type of “hacking” that uses real, well-intentioned people to carry out its schemes, rather than intricate lines of code. This is especially effective for gathering sensitive information that can later be used in another type of attack – e-mail passwords used for phishing scams, for example. Maybe your IT guy receives a call from the “secretary” of one of your clients, pretending that they’re experiencing problems with your service due to some firewall, a problem that your IT professional is more than happy to help out with. Before you know it, the caller knows the ins and outs of your entire security system, or lack thereof. Social engineers have been known to use phone company customer service departments, Facebook and other services to gather Social Security or credit card numbers, prepare for digital robbery and even change the passwords to your central data network security.

3. Password Hacking

You may think that your passwords are clever and complicated, filled with exclamation points and random numbers, but it’s rarely enough. With information gathered carefully from social engineering or a simple check on your employees’ social media accounts, hackers can easily use brute-force to figure out that your password is the name of the family dog, followed by your anniversary (for example). That’s if they didn’t already manage to steal your password through one of the techniques listed above.

4. Fault Injection

Sophisticated hackers can scan your business’s network or software source code for weak points. Once they’re located, they can surgically attempt to crash the system through snippets of code they splice in expressly for that purpose. Different commands can do different things, whether they want to deliver a devastating virus, redirect links on your website to malicious malware or steal and erase vast swathes of information.

5. USB-based Malware

At the last conference you attended, someone probably handed out free branded USB sticks to keep their business top-of-mind. Hackers will sometimes covertly slip a bunch of infected USB sticks into a company’s stash. The instant somebody tries to use one, their computer is taken over by ransomware.


So What Can I Do About It?

It’s a scary world out there, with virtually everyone left vulnerable to digital attack. Knowing the strategies hackers deploy is half the battle. But, frankly, these techniques are constantly changing; it’s impossible to keep up by yourself.
That’s why it’s so important to utilize only the most up-to-date security solutions when protecting your business. Hackers move fast. You and your security technology need to stay one step ahead.

Call MVP For a Free Security Assessment Today!
716.362.7592


 

International Cyber Threat to ALL Industries & Organizations!

We are sure that by now you have all heard about the new Ransomware Virus sweeping the globe and infecting hundreds of computers, called WannaCry. Clever name if you consider that when ALL of your information and data is gone, you will most definitely, WANNA CRY!

 

 

IT consulting company

Managing a small business can be quite hard sometimes. There are so many things to figure out and so many details to prepare that will ensure both your employees and clients are happy and satisfied.

 

However, no matter your expertise, it is crucial that you invest in IT support to ensure your business runs smoothly behind the scenes. While at first, it may seem that hiring new network consultants can be a bad investment for a small business, the benefits cannot be argued. Here are some of the best reasons why any small business should invest in an IT consulting company.

 

To learn more about the cloud

 

Forbes magazine recently reported that four out of five small businesses will soon rely on cloud computing. This relatively new idea is known for its efficiency, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness, but can be quite hard to grasp at first. So for the safety of all your secure information and data, it is wise to invest in a professional.

 

 

The digital world is transforming every single day, and it can sometimes be too overwhelming to stay on track of everything. This is where networking consulting comes in. It is their job to stay up to date on the trends after all, so you won't be left in the dark! With the help of a professional IT consulting company, you won't have to worry about handling confusing algorithms or completing difficult updates.

 

You need insight on what is working and what isn't

 

Do you feel like you're in a rut, and no matter what you do, nothing gets better? Well working with an IT professional can help solve some of your problems in that they can take an unbiased stance on exactly what is working for your business and what isn't. Sometimes all you need is a neutral opinion to get the best results for your company.

 

Peace of mind

 

Above anything else, a professional IT consulting company can give you ultimate peace of mind. Nothing beats knowing you have a professional who can handle the complexities of technology behind the scenes while you run the show!

 

With these benefits in mind, what are you waiting for? Our IT consultants are here ready to help.

voip solution

A growing service for personal and professional use alike is that of VOIP solutions. It's particularly popular among small businesses who are looking to either choose a new phone system or update their old one. Indeed, Infonetics Research reports that the number of seats for hosted VoIP services will double from 2012 to 2016 and in 2017, the number of mobile VoIP users is supposed to hit one billion. So why are so many businesses looking into VoIP phone solutions? There are a number of benefits to using VoIP providers instead of a traditional phone system that can be attractive to small businesses in particular.

Can You Explain What VoIP is?
VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, which basically breaks down to mean that you can get your phone service using the Internet, instead of through your phone company. Of course, this means you need a good Internet connection, but most businesses make that a priority.

Okay, So What are the Perks to Looking Into VoIP Solutions?

  • More Space and Easier Maintenance
    If you have a traditional phone system, you also probably have a closet full of wires, phone lines, phone switches, and the other necessary physical items needed to run the system. With VoIP, which runs over the Internet, you can nix that phone closet and use the space for something else. You can also say goodbye to the phone technician and the associated costs of having him or her come and fix whatever piece of hardware had an issue.

    With VoIP, any new changes or updates that occur with your phone system are automatically included and installed into your system as they occur, eliminating the need for a technician to come out and set it all up. No more poring over complicated user manuals or wondering what went wrong this time.
  •  
  • Gives You a Better Reach
    Is it frustrating to miss calls while you're away from your desk or traveling? With VoIP solutions, you can get calls to your line anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection -- which most people do now, thanks to phone data. And even better, long distance calls through VoIP are less expensive than phone calls done via cell phone.
  •  
  • Say Hello to a Productivity Boost
    If you're the ultimate multi-tasker, using VoIP solutions is going to be right up your alley. You can add e-mail, e-faxing, remote conferencing, and other applications to your VoIP system in addition to telephone access. This means you can be doing a host of other things while you talk on the phone -- a working dream.
  •  
  • Cut Costs
    VoIP solutions are also less expensive than traditional phone systems in a variety of ways. Not only can you cut out your phone bill and just pay the Internet bill, you also cut out maintenance and technician costs, as discussed above, and save on long-distance calls. For a small business focusing on allocating funds, using a VoIP solutions provider can be the perfect solution.


How Do I Get Hooked Up With VoIP?

Get in touch with your Internet provider. Many companies have seen how lucrative offering VoIP can be and may be able to offer a package that bundles your Internet service and VoIP together.

There are also providers that specialize in just VoIP services. A quick Internet search will yield you a host of companies who can get you started with VoIP. Depending on if you want cloud-based VoIP companies or features like automated voice systems and conference calling, you'll want to cross-check each company and compare to see which has the most advantages.

If you use an IT support company for your computers and other technology, see if they have technicians who also help with VoIP troubleshooting -- though VoIP is significantly more user-friendly, it's always good to have an expert on hand, should you need one.

Make the switch to a VoIP service today and enjoy an easier to use phone service, reduced costs, and better functionality. What's not to love?

IT consultingTechnology is everywhere, and more and more businesses and consumers are relying on the Internet for everything and anything. Since the world of technology and the Internet is constantly changing, there is more of a need than ever to invest in IT consulting for your small business. Not sure if your company is in need of network consultants? Here are some red flags to consider.

You cannot rely on your existing server

Are you constantly frustrated with your server shutting down or spending a lot of valuable time updating? Have you missed multiple messages from coworkers, which compromised your productivity? Communication is extremely vital in any business, and an it support firm will be able to set up different methods of communication that will work best for your specific business.

You can't remember the last time you updated your workplace technology

It is no secret that technology changes incredibly quickly. There are new updates to be installed regularly, and if they go unnoticed, your operating system will suffer. IT consulting will bring you in touch with new, updated technologies such as cloud computing or a VoIP server. They will also be able to offer guidance of what direction you should be going with these new technologies, and considering that the amount of mobile VoIP users will reach 1 billion by the year 2017, this is incredibly important.

You would like to train your employees, but don't know where to start

At the end of the day, there is no use in having updated technology in your office if your employees cannot use it properly. But the best training comes from professionals, so if you would like everyone to be on the same page, simply set up a training session with our IT support office and we will handle the rest!

You need a fresh perspective

Do you feel as if your company is dated and out of touch with your customers? This may be the case, but no worries as a simple network consultant can fix this quickly! They will be able to see what you are doing right, what could use some improvement, and what practices need to be stopped immediately.

Does your company need some IT consulting? Look no further than MVP solutions -- call us today for a quote!

search engine optimization

search engine optimization

Search engine optimization can be an especially powerful tool with a little bit of dedication and persistence. However, it is much more than just keyword stuffing, and more about creating quality onsite content. The goal of content on your web page is more about piquing your customer's interest and giving them helpful information and considering that users will only read slightly more than a quarter of the content they see on the web page, you want to make it good! Here are some IT support analyst-approved tips on how to create the best onsite content to boost your SEO.

1. Know exactly who you're writing to
It is important to know your audience so you can write information that is relevant and easy to understand. If you are unsure, always assume they are complete beginners, and start out by writing introductory articles. Some good ideas include the 101s of X, X for beginners, a glossary of X, and what to know before investing in X. After writing these, you can easily move up to more experienced content.

2. Keep a FAQ section in your website
Your potential customers will most likely have a lot of common questions if they are new to your site. So to make it easier, keep a separate tab for FAQs. Doing so will also boost your search engine optimization because you will most likely be incorporating crucial keywords to your business/services.

3. Don't be afraid of pictures
Many users think that pictures won't add to their search engine optimization plans because pictures don't contain any keywords. But, pictures are actually worth a thousand words! Having pictures and other forms of media on your site can be especially beneficial not only for giving the customer more context and information but because they look enticing. And the more updated your website looks, the more intrigued customers will be, and the longer they will stay!

Follow these tips, and your onsite content will soon flourish! If you are in need of any networking consulting or interested in learning more about SEO in Buffalo, contact our IT support firm today.

cloud services

cloud services

Is your website easy to maneuver? Does it work across mobile platforms? Are you receiving regular traffic and traction? It's important to ask these and other questions since you're in business to succeed.

Were you aware that you have 10 seconds to make a positive impression on potential customers? In some cases, however, you may only have 3 seconds to make that first impression. According to eConsultancy, this is because 40% of your visitors may be abandoning your webpage if it takes longer than that to load.

Since there are even more users accessing the Internet via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, having a website that works across platforms is essential. A recent survey showed that 46% of mobile users experienced difficulties with web-page interactions, and 44% experienced difficulties with navigating website pages. You want their experience to be seamless, right?

When visitors are at your website, they want to know why they are there. Basically, this relates to your business purpose, mission, and what products and services you can offer them. Furthermore, since these potential customers rarely read more than a quarter of your website's content, you want that content to keep their attention. You also want them coming back for more on a regular basis.

You're probably aware that you need to have fresh content cycling through your website. If your visitors see the same content every time they visit, they may just take you out of their bookmarks. If you do cycle your content on a regular basis, and still aren't receiving much traction, you probably need search engine optimization services. When an SEO specialist provides you with SEO solutions, your website will have greater visibility. The result? You'll attract the types of customers that you want.

Are you making effective use of cloud services? If you're not sure, you may want to schedule a consultation to learn more about how cloud computing services can make a difference in your overall business operations. Depending on your business needs, there are a variety of cloud computing solutions available.

If you're not that familiar with cloud services yet, PC magazine explains it quite well. Basically, rather than storing your data and programs on your hard drive, they're stored on the Internet, according to this recent article.

If you would like to learn more about web development and cloud computing services, contact us today.

83154621 Subscription S1It's a new year, and a new year means new cloud computing trends. Cloud computing, which is the use of an online network to store, manage, and process data, is becoming more popular than ever. Clouds aren't gaining exposure solely in the digital marketing world either -- this technology can be found in basically every industry.

To stay up to date with cloud computing solutions, here are some cloud services trends to keep an eye on in 2017.

malware threats

For a business to be successful in 2017 it has to have a great product or service, hardworking employees, and a strong emphasis on technology. Because technology is so vital to the success of business, IT consulting is more important than ever.

IT support companies are available for businesses that want to improve many aspects of their company that pertain to technology. Here are a few important reasons why you should work with professional IT support companies.

search engine optimization

search engine optimization

search engine optimization

It's easy for anyone to be connected via mobile applications. The worldwide revenue from these apps is estimated at about $35 billion, and this is including the ever-popular social media sites Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, to name a few.

Social media is often seen as a casual tool for staying connected, but in reality it's crucial to building a professional web presence online. When used correctly, Search engine optimization and social media can be an incredible and helpful tool. Here's how.

1. Grows the number of followers you have
The number of followers you have greatly impacts your rankings. The more people who click on your website, the better! Plus small businesses have a little bit more of an advantage compared to mullion-dollar corporations in that Google can determine the quality of your followers. Even though quantity is not always the best when it comes to followers, it is incredibly easy to build your follower base with social media. By posting relevant articles, helpful tips, and open inquiries, you will soon have an interactive following which will share your information and help build your authority for potentially new followers.

2. Encourages external links
Social media encourages clicks to your website, which will diversify the backlinks you already have. Think of your social media accounts as a broadcast network, and the more viewers you have, the better! Your end goal is to improve your social reputation, which will in turn help you rank better within Google's algorithms as they will look for more authoritative websites.

3. Helps local SEO
Because you are a small business owner, it is important to think of your SEO solutions. What do you want to gain by investing in an SEO company and IT support? One SEO detail you need to focus on is local visibility, as you will want to attract viewers in your general location! Social media provides the perfect opportunity to engage your business within the local community, and by making updates whenever you are doing something in your town your viewers will be able to see it. After a while, this will go a long way in terms of boosting your local search engine optimization and more clients will come knocking at your door.

Looking to invest in search engine optimization services for your small business? Contact our specialists today!

cloud servicesConsider this -- one-fifth of all the malware that has ever existed was created in 2013. Worse, the rate of new malware development has only grown, meaning that it is more important than ever to protect yourself while using the Internet.

As cloud computing services become more and more available, cloud based networks are growing in popularity thanks to their ease of access and ability to store anything and everything. To protect yourself when using cloud services, follow these simple tips.

1. Be one with the clouds
First and foremost, make sure you understand the what cloud providers do. In simple terms, the cloud is an application that allows you to store files from anywhere and everywhere. Since it doesn't exist via a physical device, you can use any tablet, smartphone, or computer to access your files. Most individuals choose to use the cloud because of its storage capacity and its ease of access. However, these cloud services aren't always the most secure, which is why you should be vigilant whenever you upload information.

2. Do your research
As mentioned before, there are plenty of cloud computing solutions available to use. However, it is important to do your research so you know exactly what you are signing up for. Does your cloud automatically encrypt your files? Do they provide information to the government if requested? Do they own their servers or do they rent from another company? While some users may choose a lapse in security for convenience, make sure you are fully knowledgeable before you sign up.

3. Use secure passwords
While this may seem obvious, it is often overlooked. Make sure your passwords for each cloud application differ and be sure to include a special character, an upper case letter, and a number. The best passwords are almost impossible to guess, and most importantly, make sure they go through a two-step verification system in case they are guessed incorrectly.

4. Encrypt your files
If you are not specifically using an application that encrypts your files, you should consider doing them yourself. This way, you will have another added level of protection in case a hacker gains access to your information.

There is no such thing as too much protection when it comes to using your cloud services online. If you have any questions or are concerned about your security online, contact our IT services professionals today.

cloud computing solutions

It is no secret that we live in a technology-filled world. But with these technological innovations comes a higher risk for cyber crime and data breeches. In fact, security, cloud computing solutions, and mobile devices are the top three IT services business owners are focusing on over the next year. However, the new year is just around the corner and with that in mind here are some security trends that are set to take over in 2017.

IOT attacks will increase

IOT non-human devices with weaker security will increase as they are being used more and more in drones and botnets. While there is no easy fix for this problem as there are just too many weak security options on the market, experts are hoping the owners of these technologies will follow simple instructions, such as using complex passwords and keeping up with vendor updates to protect themselves and their sensitive information.

Ransomware will keep getting stronger

Gone are the days where a single virus would ruin one computer at a time. Cyber hackers are becoming more and more adept at carrying out larger attacks, so ransomware is on the rise. These virus strains are so powerful that they can wipe out all the information on thousands of computers at a time. Whats worse is that the majority of these strains are undetectable and cannot be prevented until it is too late.

Internal threats are on the rise

Unfortunately, human error is a huge security risk. Lack of training and proper precautions can compromise entire systems, including all of a company's important data. In order to prevent this, business owners can invest in anti-virus and backup solutions, while providing adequate training for all employees. Or, if that is too difficult, consider placing limits on who will have access to the important data.

In order to prevent the unexpected, it is important to utilize network consulting services and choose the right cloud computing solutions for your business. IT consulting will provide you with the right cloud services, so you never have to worry about losing important data or putting your client's information at risk.

If you are interested in finding out how cloud computing solutions can help to secure the infrastructure of your business, contact the professionals at MVP today.

it support company

Whether you run a small retail business or a massive ecommerce corporation, the holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year. More so than any other season, it's important for your business to have satisfactory IT support during the holiday rush. A spike in web traffic and transactions are typically a good thing, but if your current IT services aren't up to the task, the consequences can can wreak havoc on your company's web presence -- and your overall sales.

That's why it's imperative that your IT support company understands the potential pitfalls your company's website could face this season and that they have the right solutions, should these incidents occur. Here are three of the top reasons why your retail business needs better IT consulting and support this holiday:

Revenue
In many industries, the holidays mean an increase in web traffic and sales. In fact, holiday sales often account for a significant portion of a company's revenue stream for the entire year. That's why it's so important that your website is functioning properly and is totally accessible on countless platforms. If customers are having trouble navigating your website or placing an order, they're going to look elsewhere for products or services. If something on your site isn't working the way it should, you need an experienced IT support company to tackle the issue before the rush.

Security
With increased spending comes the need for increased security measures, especially if you handle transactions online. Identity theft tends to occur a lot during this time of year, and small businesses aren't safe from attacks. In 2013, an average of 82,000 new malware threats occurred every day, and the numbers have only increased over the last few years. IT support companies can ensure that your website is secure and that any threats are taken down before they take over your system. If you fail to protect your customers and your business's sensitive information, the consequences can haunt you all throughout the new year.

Fast Fixes
If your server goes down during a peak time, that's bad news for your business. It's even worse if your IT support is on holiday, too. That's why it's so critical to have a competent IT support firm working for you. They'll be able to quickly diagnose and fix problems before a widespread outage takes down your bottom line. They can also advise you on the benefits of cloud computing services to make sure that your site doesn't experience frequent issues due to web activity that's unrelated to your site.

Are you getting enough out of your current IT support company? If not, now's the time to make a change. To find out more about our IT support for retail businesses, contact us today for a consultation.

search engine optimization

Whether we like it or not, the holidays are fast approaching. Now that Christmas and Hannukah are just a couple of weeks away, consumers across the nation are pulling out their wallets out and looking to spend.

So what does that mean for your small business? That you have to be as prepared as possible for the influx of consumers coming to your website! In order to handle all these potential customers, it is more important than ever to make sure your website is as optimized as possible and your search engine optimization is in tiptop shape. Here are some steps to take, to ensure your website and SEO solutions are both ready for the holidaysL

Start now rather than later!

Some business owners believe they don't have to worry about SEO until closer to the holiday season, but SEO is a long-term solution, not one that typically yields quick results. The holidays will fly by fast, so once you have chosen holiday specific keywords, write your onsite content and get it posted. The longer you wait to put those keywords into action, the less impact it will have on your website. You'll likely need to start making changes at least 45 days before a major holiday -- but if it's too late for your business this year, don't worry. You can still utilize other internet marketing solutions, like pay-per-click advertising.

Use holiday previews

It never hurts to hint at what is to come! This will create hype for your clients and encourage them to check back on your website regularly. Even if you have not completely finished your holiday prep, a quick sneak peak or sale announcements will add a buzzworthy value to your website.

Have an onsite audit

It is important to invest in routine network consulting services in order to make sure your site is performing the best it can. This includes checking the quality and quantity of your links, what keywords are ranking, and if you have shareable content. Plus, you will want to make sure you have a responsive web design, as 40% of consumers will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. To complete an onsite audit efficiently, an IT support firm that specializes in search engine optimization will be able to work with you with all you need.

Keep an eye out for our next segment on search engine optimization tips for the holidays!

search engine optimization

Struggling to draw more visitors to your business website? This is a problem facing many small businesses today. What you need is to optimize your site for search engines to boost your web presence. Search engine optimization can be tricky, but here are a few simple tips to get you started.

  • Identify your target audience
    When it comes to marketing, identifying your target audience should always be your first step. Who are you trying to appeal to? What is your typical customer looking for? What are their online behaviors? The more you understand your audience, the easier it will be to grab their attention.
  •  
  • Use a variety of keywords
    Once you’ve identified your customer’s needs and behaviors, you will be able to figure out what they’re searching for online. Search engine optimization depends heavily on keywords. You need to know which keywords they’re searching for in terms of your business and which of those words you can rank on. Don’t stick to just one important keyword, either. Make sure you’re using a well-rounded approach that incorporates all relevant keywords and phrases.
  •  
  • Blog well and blog often
    You can’t just throw keywords around carelessly. Use your keywords in the proper context in your blog posts. Blogging is one of the most important things you can do to boost your SEO strategy. A recent study from Hubspot revealed that small and medium-sized businesses with blogs received about 55% more traffic than those without blogs. Additionally, businesses that increased their blog posting from five articles per month to eight articles per month nearly doubled their leads.
  •  
  • Build a well-designed, mobile-friendly website
    Studies show that 40% of Internet users will move on to a different search result if the first website is not mobile-friendly. If your bounce rate is high, you’re going to lose traffic and even hurt your SEO ranking. Today, more and more people are accessing the Internet via mobile devices. Make sure you are always adapting to changes in technology.
  •  
  • Consult an expert on SEO solutions
    If you’re not a digital marketing expert, it’s better to rely on an SEO company for their professional search engine optimization services. SEO is complicated, time-consuming, and requires a lot of research and marketing industry know-how.

 

If you’re looking for SEO services in Buffalo NY, contact MVP Network Consulting today. They offer services in digital marketing, cloud computing, VoIP communications, and more.

 

cloud based network

Cloud computing is a practice that is usually surrounded by plenty of myths and false information. After all, with a name like the cloud, many users don't understand what to think! So check out the following myths in order to prevent any further misunderstandings.

Myth: Using a cloud based network is all about the money.

While cloud computing services can save you money, it is not the only reason why numerous businesses choose this method of storage. Some of the benefits include easy access for employees, increased security, and document sharing.

Myth: All clouds are treated the same.

This is not true. Some low-quality IT support services like to brand their storage options as being in the cloud, when in fact they are not. Some quote-unquote "clouds" are not nearly as highly protected as they should be, which increases your risk for a data breach. So if you are investing in an IT consulting company, make sure they are a reputable service that labels products for what they actually provide.

Myth: The cloud is becoming stagnant.

False! Worldwide, cloud based networks are becoming more and more reputable and popular. They aren't going anywhere anytime soon; in fact, by 2018 more than 60% of businesses will have at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms.

Myth: You can use your cloud based network to store just about everything.

While your documents will be protected under the cloud, as always there are some documents you should keep physical files of. This includes tax records, pay stubs, Social Security numbers, and any other information that can be used to steal an identity.

Myth: The cloud is less secure and more expensive than having your documents on premises.

False! Not only is storing your information on a cloud based network extremely secure, doing so provides immediate access for all your employees. Plus, utilizing the cloud is an easy way to save money as you will not have to invest in document shredding or any safes within your office.

Interested in moving to the cloud? Contact MVP, your one stop shop for cloud computing in Buffalo.

cyber securityWith the recent stories of large retail chains Target and Home Depot suffering from cyber attacks, business owners across the nation have become more vigilant of their data backup and recovery. However, it is easy for many small business owners to believe their business is safe from cyber hacks and that larger enterprises are more at risk for data breaches. This is, in fact, false. Cyber security for small businesses is just as much of a threat as it is for their larger competition. In fact, one study from 2013 shows that there was an average of 82,000 new malware threats each day, a number that has only grown in the past three years.

In order to prevent security catastrophes, here are four things any small business owner should know about cyber security.

Ignorance can be bliss

Simply put, hackers cannot steal what you do not have. Sometimes, it's better to store less data than you need, so there's less of a risk. The goal is to only store data as long as you have a legitimate business need. Remember to never be careless with your client information, as those who are can be charged by the Federal Trade Commission.

Protect the important data you have to keep

There will always be data that you cannot get rid of. In this case, it is important to put your company through a network assessment while investing in network disaster recovery. These procedures will make sure that your company is as protected as possible while ensuring only select employees have access to the actual data.

Employee education

Human error is one of the leading causes of cyber security. The easiest way to prevent this is by educating your employees in the proper way to act online. At the very least, your training should include the importance of protecting data, the procedures needed to protect your company's data, and how to recognize the signs of a data breach.

Invest in the basics

It can be easy to become overwhelmed when preparing your business against a cyber hack. However, it is important not to forget the basics when it comes to securing your company. Don't forget to protect your computer systems, install anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and use spam filters as an extra level of protection.

It is important to invest in cyber protection for any size business. To get started, contact the professionals at MVP today.



In an age when we increasingly rely on things like computers and smartphones, it only makes sense that cyber security should be a big concern. While it's the job of IT support companies to provide these services to businesses, it's also important that you practice good cyber security habits on your own. That's because even the smartest cyber security systems on the planet can be completely undone by basic human error.

And with every year that goes by, the dangers of "cyber" get even scarier. Just because 20% of all the malware in existence today was created in or after 2013 doesn't mean it isn't going to harm your 2016 computer or phone. If you want to keep your machines and your small business safe, practice these dos and don'ts of business cyber security.

DO: Use Hard-to-Guess Passwords
The more obscure the password, the better. While it should still be something you can remember, try not to go for things like your first address, school, or your birthday. If you can think of an inside joke or reference, you'll probably be more prepared to pass a cyber security assessment. Not only that, but you should regularly change these passwords throughout the year.

DON'T: Leave Password Information Lying Around
No matter how obscure your password is, if you leave your password sheet open on your computer or lying around somewhere in the office, you're not practicing good cyber security protection. These documents should always be on your person or in a safe location.

DO: Use Different Passwords for Different Accounts
If someone guesses your password from one account, they shouldn't be able to get into any of your other accounts do. Change up your password completely or make variations between accounts to ensure all of your profiles are secure.

DON'T: Click Untrusted Links
If a link looks suspicious to you, don't click on it. A great way to discern the difference between trusted websites and scams is to search for reviews. If you find bad reviews, don't click. Also, be especially cautious on links you find in emails from strangers.

DO: Destroy Information Properly
While IT support companies might keep your technology secure, it's important for you to remember to keep your paper information secure, too. At maximum, you should keep important documents like taxes and big receipts for a year and then shred them before putting them in the garbage.

In truth, cyber security and paper security go hand in hand. If you practice these good habits, you should be looking at a secure and spam-free future.

learn about cloud computing

Every business, no matter the size, should learn about cloud computing. Cloud computing can be beneficial to companies of every size, as a cloud-based network can help boost their business success in many different ways. Here are the top six reasons any business should invest in cloud computing.

The cloud helps collaboration
By using a cloud based infrastructure, your employees will be able to connect with each other no matter where in the world they are. Your data can be accessed from anywhere at anytime, which boosts collaboration. Multiple different teams will be able to work together without any problems.

The cloud drives better consumer engagement
Not only can your employees easily access information with the cloud, they will be able to easily engage with their customers. Don't underestimate this benefit. Better consumer engagement leads to a higher customer conversion, and cloud computing is often seen as one of the easiest ways to tighten relationships with your clientele.

The cloud is fast
You will never have to worry about slow processing speeds when retrieving your data ever again! A cloud-based network is known for its speed, making your employee's jobs easier and less stressful.

The cloud helps you with disaster recovery
Cyber security poses a huge risk to businesses every day. Investing in a secure, cloud-based network is the easiest way if something happens and your files are lost. A cloud can protect you against anything from a computer crash to a malware attack. All in all, an investment in cloud computing is an investment in cyber security protection.

The cloud gives you access to more advanced technology
One of the most important things you can learn about cloud computing is that this platform will easily be able to give you access to up and coming technologies. It allows smaller businesses to act more competitively with their larger competitors, as they will be utilizing the same infrastructure but with lower costs.

The cloud is growing
Right now, a full 82% of businesses and enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, and this statistic is only going to grow year after year. Why wouldn't you want to invest in a cloud-based network that will bring numerous benefits to your company?

What are you waiting for? If you are looking to learn more about cloud computing, contact our experienced professionals here at MVP today!

cloud based computing

The world of technology brings many different confusing buzzwords to the table, such as VoIP, search engine optimization, cyber security, and the cloud. Otherwise known as cloud computing, the cloud is a method of storing data over the Internet rather than on a physical hard drive.

Saying that you are hosting your information on a cloud server can be quite confusing for those who are not used to this technology yet. While you might prefer to envision a white fluffy cloud magically hosting your important data, that's not the case. Here's the truth: Even if you don't know anything about the cloud, you're already using it. If you use any popular email service, your emails are already in the cloud.

So to help you understand this technology, we have compiled a quick and easy beginner's guide to everything you need to know about using a cloud based network.

How does it work?

Cloud computing provides a simpler way for many different people to access information over the Internet. This includes servers, storage, databases, photos, and various applications. Cloud computing companies own and maintain these networks, while you decide what software to use and what information is stored on the web.

Advantages of having a cloud based network

Only pay for what you consume.

When you choose this method, you do not have to invest in expensive data centers and servers without knowing how much of them you will actually use. With the cloud, you will instead pay only for what you need.

Lower pay as you go prices

Since millions of customers are using the cloud, there is a better economy of scale with this method.

No capacity problems

Take the guesswork away from your digital storage needs. With the cloud you do not have to guess at how much space you need to store your files, and it is especially easy to adjust your capacity in minutes.

Increased speed

When you take advantage of cloud hosted networks, you're never more than one click away from updated IT resources that can bring speed and agility to your server.

Types of cloud computing

There are two basic types of cloud computing, public and private cloud based networks.

Private cloud hosting is where the hardware, storage, and network are dedicated to one single client and company.

Public cloud hosting is when the network provider makes everything available to the general public over the Internet. In this model, you share your cloud with other businesses.

Using each cloud offers different benefits for different individuals. All in all, a full 88% of organizations currently use the public cloud, while 63% use the private cloud. If it seems like those numbers don't quite add up, it's because more and more people are using a hybrid of the two, known as the hybrid cloud model.

Cloud computing is a great storage method for any business, no matter the size. It can be used for data backup and storage, Voice over the Internet Protocol (digital phones), mobile applications, or simply sharing family photos with friends. If you are looking to learn more, contact MVP today.

website design

Website design is a powerful tool that will ensure potential customers have an easy experience with your website -- which increases the likelihood that they'll become a customer or client. Although it's not necessarily easy to optimize your website, there are a few web design tricks you can try to keep customers coming back for more.

Concentrate on your homepage
Your homepage should not be cluttered with ads, but rather it should be clean and streamlined. Have your polished, professional logo at the front and center of the page, and implement a easy-to-navigate tab system if you have multiple pages. Also, make sure that pertinent information -- your phone number, email, locations and hours of operation -- is visible on every page.

Less is more when it comes to pictures
Having too many pictures on your page can slow down your site. This is important; according to eConsultancy, a full 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load. Think of all the potential customers and revenue you can lose just by having a picture too many! Keep the pictures to about two or three per page, and make sure they are small.

Use color strategically
Again, less is more. Stay with a neutral color palette to project a clean, modern, and professional image. It is a good idea to concentrate the color on the page to specific keywords; this way the customer will be guided to important content.

Design every page as a landing page
Not only is this beneficial for your search engine optimization plans, but a website design that ensures every search leads to a landing page will make it easier for your client to navigate. Doing so will bring the client to exactly the page they are looking for, decreasing their frustration and increasing your conversions.

Optimize the page for mobile use
One of the best web services you can offer is to optimize your website so it is easily read on mobile devices. Considering that the majority of Americans use mobile devices daily, this is just one more way to increase customer satisfaction.

Website design doesn't have to be complicated. Our professionals at MVP are here to help!

voip phone solutions

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, which is a way to connect your phone service over the Internet instead of regular analog phone lines. This form of communication is on the rise, as research predicts mobile VoIP users will reach a full one billion users within the next year. Unfortunately, many VoiP users can become confused about this service compared to a traditional phone system, so here are some frequently asked questions about VoIP phone solutions to clear up any confusion.

How does VoIP work?
VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over an Internet connection. Compare this to an analog phone, which converts your voice into a regular telephone signal before it reaches its final destination. Using a VoIP solutions provider will allow you to make a call from your laptop, and it will give you the ability to make a call whenever you are connected to the Internet.

What equipment is required for this service?
First and foremost, a high-speed broadband Internet connection is required. You will also need a computer, a VoIP phone solutions adapter, and/or a specialized phone to make the calls depending on the VoIP services company you choose.

Is there a difference between calling locally and long distance?
Each different service provider has different limits for what constitutes long distance. The provider may allow you to choose one specific area code -- different than the one you live in -- that you can call unlimited, or they will allow you to call anywhere in the nation for one flat rate. Speak to your provider if you have any specific requirements about long distance calling, to ensure you are not charged an arm and a leg every time you make a call out.

What are some advantages of VoIP?
There are many advantages of using VoIP phone solutions including:

1. It is easier to install, configure, and maintain than an analog phone.

2. You can easily add phone lines without any hassle.

3. Your phone number travels when you do, so you do not have to worry about changing numbers if you are working from home or traveling for business.

4. It is more cost effective than analog phones.

5. VoIP integrates with other business systems meaning that you are able to place an outbound call through your email, access your voice mail within your company dashboard, and even have a transcription service installed so you don't have to worry about taking notes during an important call.

VoIP is a easy-to-use business system that can streamline your daily activities to save time. Install a VoIP service to bring ease of calling into your office today.

cloud based network

With the Olympics off to a flying start, the entire world is captivated with the almost super-human athletic achievements on display. But what many spectators don't realize is the advanced technology behind every event they watch.

The Olympics are a unique event where tech companies can come and take full advantage of their new and improved technology on a global scale. And at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, that includes incredibly impressive advancements in cloud computing.

Cloud Computing and the Olympics Go Back Further Than You'd Expect

Cloud computing, the act of using a cloud based network to store data remotely, is no stranger to the Olympics. The 1980 Lake Placid Winter games were the first to use minicomputers, portable terminals, and PC-esque intelligent terminals to develop a customized scoring software. Overall, the goal was to streamline the scoring process for the judges, reducing the risk of biased scoring. Before Lake Placid, this network of computers, along with the IT support firms behind them, were so expensive that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could only afford one.

Fast forward 36 years, and the Olympics are almost overrun with technology dependent on a cloud based network. Today in Rio, the scoring process is easier than ever and varies by sport. Here's a breakdown:

Fencing: touches between the foils are detected electronically, and use a Wi-Fi service to report the touches to the judges.

Taekwondo: Fighter's points are determined by using magnetized socks and impact sensors in body pads and helmets.

Volleyball: this sport is introducing replay review for the first time in the history of the Olympics.

Swimming: Waterproof screens at the bottom of the pool allow distance swimmers to account for their laps. We can only hope they have a data backup disaster recovery solutions in place in case of a crash!

Rowing and Canoeing: GPS locators are installed in the boats and oars so the spectators can track the races publicly.

Archery: Scoring is now done electronically with help from sensors built into the targets. In addition, the athletes will be wearing a heart monitor that will display their vitals for spectators to watch.

Opening and closing ceremonies: The IOS will be using virtual reality to broadcast high-definition images of the opening and closing ceremonies. The spectators will need specialty virtual reality glasses to see the broadcasts, but the goal is to make them feel as if they are in the middle of the event.

All in all, the Olympics are setting the stage for businesses everywhere that are interested in using a cloud based network. Currently, 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, and even though a full 88% of organizations are using the public cloud at the moment, cloud computing is only expected to grow. Experts believe that by 2018, more than 60% of all businesses will have at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms.

cyber security

It seems as if everywhere we look, there are new security hacks and breaches happening all over the digital landscape. No one seems to be safe, and even large retail powerhouses like Michael's, Target, and Home Depot have recently fallen victim to hackers.

Unfortunately, cyber hacks are not limited to only big businesses. Considering the fact that in 2013, there was an average of 82,000 new malware threats per day, small companies can just as easily fall victim to online sleuths. In fact, because these mom and pop operations have lower security, they often make attractive soft targets for cyber criminals.

So in order for you to stay as aware of malware as possible, here are three things you should know about cyber security protection.

  1. Less is more

    Simply put, a hacker cannot steal what you do not have. This means keeping your data to a bare minimum, as the higher volume of data you keep online the more you are susceptible to a hack. Do not collect sensitive data that you do not need in order to protect not only yourself but your clients.

  2. Practice active security

    You still have to protect the data you do choose to keep, so it is important you take proactive steps to defend yourself against hackers. This includes simple things like using a strong password, changing your password frequently, using eight characters or more, along with an uppercase letter thrown into the mix. Do not go basic just because it may be easy to remember! In fact, two million Adobe users reported using '12345678' as their password, so one moment of being lazy can potentially cause a lot of headaches down the line.

    Additionally, be wary of who you let handle your security features. Only allow this privilege to more experienced employees, or set benchmarks where an employee can only access data they require to do their job. If you aren't sure what big steps you need to take, then it may be time to invest in a professional cyber security assessment.

  3. Keep it simple

    Cyber security doesn't have to be hard. It all starts with basic precautions to protect your data, including keeping your WiFi password private, having regular network security assessments, installing a firewall, and investing in a quality backup disaster recovery solution with a qualified IT support company.

Just keep these tips in mind, and you will keep the hackers at bay!

cloud based network

When you think of the two simple words "Pokemon Go," you may be thinking of millennials running the streets late at night, driving their cars into trees, and spending more time on their phones in order to catch them all. But what many don't know is that Pokemon Go is more than just an average mobile application, but more of a technology phenomenon.

And depending on how you feel about Pokemon and millennials, it's a harbinger of things to come.

Brave New World: Pokemon Go and the Future of Mobile Computing
Worldwide revenue from mobile applications is estimated to bring in about $35 billion, a number that has surely grown since the July 7 release of the game. Even though as of June 2014 there were 75 billion mobile apps downloaded from the Apple store, Pokemon Go boasts an incredible 75 million downloads in less than a month. One week after its launch, it surpassed Twitter in amount of daily users, Tinder for daily installations, and Facebook for average daily engagement by mobile phone users. And it is all thanks to cloud computing.

In simple terms, Pokemon Go creates an augmented reality world where Pokemon characters pop up in real world areas and entice Pokemon trainers to get off the couch and go into their neighborhoods to find them. The technology behind the app comes from Niantic Labs, a brainchild of the technology gurus at Google, Alphabet, Nintendo, and The Pokemon Company.

This new company seems to be taking quite a different approach to their cloud based network, rather than developing their own like social media platform Facebook, they are choosing to rent the cloud services from a large, scalable server with locations globally. To get themselves started, Niantic did rely on their Google partner's cloud based network for IT support.

This cloud reliance is helping to develop the app as a social media and marketing platform. Because the Pokemon characters are randomly dispersed throughout town, they end up at different businesses, restaurants, even churches. Already, savvy retailers are inserting themselves into the game by purchasing specific animals that pop up at their shop. One pizza place owner said he witnessed a 75% growth in revenue since paying a measly $10 dollars to lure 12 characters to his establishment. This just further confirms Forbes magazine's prediction that four out of five small businesses will soon rely on a cloud based network for efficiency and accessibility.

Overall, Pokemon Go brings interactive web development right into the hands of users worldwide. It also shows how cloud computing is changing our lives in surprising, Pokemon-related ways. The application will only grow from here, so ask yourself will you be able to catch them all?

network assessmentIn 2013, there were approximately 82,000 malware threats per day, and the numbers have only grown since then. Viruses and malware on computers and other electronic devices can not only be detrimental to the device itself, they can worm their way through a whole network.

If you're concerned about viruses on your devices, there are a few simple ways you can avoid them. Here are five tips to help you keep your electronic devices safe!

Invest in Quality Antivirus Software
According to a recent report, over 20% of malware ever created was during the year 2013. But just as malware and viruses have evolved, so have antivirus web services. Pro-grade antivirus programs update frequently throughout the day, protect against a wider range of threats, and enable custom protective features.

Disable Auto Run
Many viruses work by attaching themselves to a drive and automatically installing themselves on any other media connected to that system. As a result, connecting any network drives, external hard disks, or even thumb drives to a system can result in the automatic propagation of such threats. So all of those programs that pop up upon starting your computer? They could be dangerous.

Don't Click Suspicious Links
Any IT support company will be able to tell you this. If a link looks suspicious, leave it alone. Received a strange notice from your internet or cable provider? Call them before you do anything to ensure that they did, in fact, send the message. If they didn't, send it straight to the trash.

Choose Apps Wisely
Just as your computer can suffer the effects of viruses, so too can your smartphone. As of June 2014, over 75 billion mobile apps had been downloaded from Apple's app store. If the app you want doesn't look credible, report it and do not put it on your phone.

Invest in Network Assessments
If you're running a network of computers, you should contact an IT support firm for regularly scheduled network assessments. These assessments can diagnose issues with your network of devices, as well as help you prevent dangerous situations in the future.

Keeping your devices safe should be your top priority. A shocking two million Adobe users employed unsecured passwords, such "123456," among others, which only serves to increase the risk of potential infection. Don't let your devices fall victim to viruses.

cyber securityFor any business owner, it is imperative to stay safe online. An entire system can be put in jeopardy by one careless user, so it is important to stay up to date when it comes to cyber security protection. Here are some tips that can protect you from cyber threats and help you become more vigilant online.

1. Understand that you can be a target
Never trust that you are protected from all threats. Cyber threats are real and will target anything in their path if there is not adequate protection. And while there are many smart steps to take to safeguard your business, no one is ever completely safe online.

2. Protect yourself from malware
Malware can be a powerful threat, and can cause you to lose important files and data. And this threat is growing; 20% of all existing malware was created in 2013, with an average of 82,000 threats per day. In case your system gets hacked by a virus, it is important to invest in quality data backup and recovery plans, along with discussing your options with a network disaster recovery planning company.

3. Practice good password management
As a rule, your password should have an uppercase letter, a special character, and a number included for extra security. The password should be something unique! Insecure passwords are one of the top culprits for a cyber hack, and in a survey of 38 million Adobe users, nearly two million accounts used the insecure password of 123456. You do not want to have a password that is easy to guess!

4. Be careful clicking links and attachments that come in emails
Generally, you should immediately delete any emails that come through from a sender you do not recognize. If you accidentally open the email, do not click on any attachments or links.

5. Be aware of what you plug into your computer
Your data can be threatened by infected hard drives, CDs, and even smartphones.

6. Be cautious of what you post on social network platforms
Cyber criminals can gain a wealth of information from what you post on social media, including where you are located, or when you are away from the office. You never want to make yourself vulnerable to cyber predators.

To ensure you have gone to all the lengths you can when it comes to security online, make sure to talk to a expert and have a cyber security assessment done on your system for your protection. The MVP IT support specialists are experts in security solutions and are able to help you with all of your cyber security needs.

network disaster recovery

No matter your line of work these days, computing and connectivity are likely large components of your business functioning. Often, our most sensitive materials and documents are stored on networks or cloud computing systems -- but we don't always take the proper protective measures required to keep them safe and secure.

One survey of 38 million Adobe users, for example, found that two million people used the obvious and insecure account password of "123456." You're not doing your company or your clients any favors by putting them at undue risk for hacker or malware attacks. In 2013, there were a reported 82,000 new malware threats per day, on average.

However, hackers and malware aren't the only things you should be guarding your information against. An unexpected network outage due to lost power, weather conditions, cable failure, or other causes could result in heavy damage and lost files. Protect yourself now before it's too late by setting up a network disaster recovery plan.

If you don't have a designated IT support system of your own, you can hire an outside firm to run network security assessments for your business and help set in place a network disaster recovery plan.

These plans often include extensive data backup and recovery options with off-site locations in case of an emergency. They'll also help you sort out the most important files and documents for safekeeping and test your entire plan before disaster hits to make sure that you're ready to handle anything Mother Nature or web hackers try to throw your way.

Experienced IT firms already understand what kinds of threats you're likely dealing with. Some estimates suggest that 20% of all malware was created in 2013 -- so experts know how to prevent them from hitting you before they even get the chance.

It's always better to be safe than sorry. Network disaster recovery planning is vital for any company that regularly deals with computing. Find IT network consultants you can trust to get a recovery plan in place, to help you anticipate potential threats or disasters, and to be there in case of an emergency.

data backup and recoveryThere's no doubt about it: using technology of some sort is pretty much unavoidable these days, particularly for businesses that want to maximize efficiency -- and profits. Whether it's a simple email client, an e-commerce portal, or proprietary software, tech connects employees and clients, makes information easily available, and stores important data and information. But what happens if there is an accident, and your data disappears. What would you do?

For any business owner who plans on using the Internet for work purposes, it is crucial to invest in data backup and recovery. Here are some reasons why.

First off, data can disappear through a couple different ways.

Malware
Malware, aka computer viruses, are incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately, it is easy to accidentally access one as there were on average 82,000 new malware threats per day in 2013 and that number is only expected to grow. One-fifth of all malware that has ever existed was created in 2013, so these viruses are constantly changing to meet new restrictions.

Human Errors
Sometimes no matter how experienced a worker you may be, there will be accidents. This is why you should always invest in a network disaster recovery planning company to handle all back up disaster recovery.

Natural Errors
There could be a power outage, a flood, or a snowstorm that can cause your computers to go awry. These in addition to sudden hardware failures account for the majority of data breeches.

Why invest in data backup and recovery?

Getting your business protected should be on the top of every business owner's to do list. Here's why.

Peace of mind: Business owners do many different tasks at once. One less thing they will have to worry about is the hassle of backing up their important data. Peace of mind in the workplace will lead to less stress in the long run.

Protect your clients: Your clients put trust in you to give them the services they pay for. If you loose their data, it could lead to a potential nightmare situation.

It is easy: One way to ensure you have the proper data backup and recovery is through cloud computing. With 82% of enterprises already utilizing this method, it has proven to be successful for many companies big or small. All you need is a cloud readiness assessment, and you are good to go!

Don't skimp on your data backup and disaster recovery. Contact the experts at MVP Network Consulting today to protect yourself!

cloud computing servicesFor any business owner, the term cloud computing can be confusing. But, cloud computing services can be extremely beneficial for anyone looking for data backup and disaster recovery, IT support, and cyber security. Here are some things to consider if you are interested in investing in cloud computing.

What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the method of using remote servers that are hosted on the Internet to store a company's data. This is a growing approach, as 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy with 88% of organizations using a public cloud, and 63% using a private cloud. Come 2018, experts estimate that over 60% of all businesses will have at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms. Some tips to consider:

1. How much protection do you require?
Security is incredibly important when it comes to data. Accidents happen, so in order to prevent them, it is necessary to be prepared. That being said, the level of security depends on how much data you have. Do you have a small amount of data for a smaller business? Or do you hold data for your clients? These factors all need to be discussed with your cloud computing provider.

2. Public or Private?
Depending on your needs, you may need to utilize private or public cloud infrastructure.

3. Where is your cloud?
It is important to determine where the physical cloud infrastructure is located, especially if you have to be worried about information flow restrictions.

4. What is the cost?
If needed, contact different cloud providers and compare their costs and services. You will want to determine if your cloud will give you a good return on investment, and if you need to invest in any new skills.

5. Scalability
You will most likely require cloud computing services that can meet the growing demands of your clients. As your business grows, there is the need to be more flexible especially for those who base a majority of their business on web-based sales.

If you are looking to invest in cloud computing services, look no further than MVP Network Consulting, the experts in handling anything related to IT support for businesses. Contact our professionals today to get protected!

cyber security

Given the ubiquity of the Internet and cloud computing in our everyday lives, both corporations and individuals need to make absolutely certain that their important data is secure. Yet many remain downright cavalier about protecting themselves on the web. One 2013 study found that there were an average of 82,000 new malware threats per day, that nearly two million users use the insecure password of "123456," and that 20% of all the malware that has ever existed has been created in the last three years.

Considering this, it is no surprise that security as a whole is the number one initiative emphasized by IT executives as they plan for the future. Especially with recent reports of the federal government's personal breaches, data backup and disaster recovery is on many people's minds.

In a new report, the United States Federal Reserve discloses that they detected more than 50 security breaches between 2011 and 2015. During these four years, several incidents were described as acts of espionage.

The central bank's internal staff believes that hackers and spies are to be blamed for the majority of the incidents. These global banking systems play an important role in worldwide banking, since they contain extremely confidential information about discussions between countries concerning monetary policy and how to drive financial markets.

These reports were made available to Reuters through an Freedom of Information Act request, but the Feds declined to comment. These texts were heavily edited when they were made public, in order to keep confidential information secret due to the bank's security procedures. The records do not say who hacked the systems, nor do they report if any money was stolen or if sensitive information was accessed.

Moreover, these records only highlight a small number of cyber hacks experienced by the federal government, because they only include reports on cases including the Board of Governors. In a time where there have been numerous hacks on financial systems around the world, including $81 million stolen from Bank Bangladesh, this can be very unsettling news.

Cyber hackers are everywhere, and "internet security" can be an elusive entity. If the government can fall victim, so can you or your company. It is important to contact a trustworthy IT support company who can run proper cyber security assessments and give your business the cyber security protection it needs.

Call the experts at MVP Network Consulting today to get started.

cloud computingIt is not always easy to figure out the cloud, but business owners need to learn about cloud computing in order to help their business soar to new heights. This web hosting method has been proven to be successful in many enterprises nationwide. After all, of the 82% of companies that have a hybrid cloud strategy, 42% are planning to increase spending on the cloud in the coming years.

So when you go to an IT support company and get a cloud readiness assessment, it is important to ask the following questions so you completely understand the process and what you will be receiving.

The questions can be sorted into separate sections.

Business Background

1. Can you provide references?

2. How long have you been in business?

3. Have you worked with situations similar to mine?

4. Can you determine the best cloud option for our company?

Flexibility

1. Can I add or get rid of services if needed throughout my contract?

2. Do your other services such as security and compliance work across your cloud platform or is that a completely other package and fee?

Availability

1. Do you offer public or private cloud services? Can you explain the pros and cons of each?

Of those that use cloud computing, 88% use a public cloud, and 63% use a private cloud, so it is important to understand the differences of both kinds and figure out which type is best for your specific business needs.

2. How do your services compare to your direct competition?

3. Have you ever had any cloud outages? If so, how long did it last?

4. Do you offer any cyber security protection packages?

5. What are your back up disaster recovery solutions?

Manageability

1. How do your prices work? Are your services priced monthly or annually per a contract? Do you offer one bill for everything or does it differ per service offered?

2.Do you run your cloud on one single pane of glass, or do you have other servers?

3. Do you use one platform for monitoring and alerting or are they separate entities?

It is important to invest your time and hard-earned money into a reliable cloud computing service. MVP Network Consulting specializes in the cloud and has trusted professionals that will work will all your needs. Contact us today to get started!

cloud computing

It is no secret that cloud computing is gaining popularity within many businesses. It is estimated that by 2018, more than 60% of companies will have at least half of their infrastructure on the cloud, and 82% of enterprises are using cloud services today. When surveyed, security, cloud computing, and mobile devices are the top three initiatives IT executives are planning to focus their businesses around within the next year.

And the reason is simple: it works.

Consider Amazon. The web based e-commerce retailer has recently released its first quarter report and has brought in record sales -- all thanks to their cloud business.

Amazon Web Services business is responsible for the most profitable earnings in the company's 22-year tenure. In recent years, investors have been flexible in allowing Amazon to experiment with putting all its money in one basket when it comes to new initiatives because their track record has proven they are more than capable.

It is pretty easy to say that the investors are smiling now, as at the end of April, Amazon reported a net income of $513 million, with $1.07 a share. This is compared to the loss of $57 million and share value at 12 cents just one year ago. Experts are both shocked and thrilled, as they had predicted quarterly earnings of only 58 cents a share.

Additionally, for this past quarter, Amazon reported the highest earnings in its network assessment compared to Apple and other big companies.

Amazon Web Services started 10 years ago, but has only recently gained steam. Now on track to bring in $10 billion a year in revenue, this cloud service is the largest, most used web service for start-ups and large businesses looking for outsource IT services. The profit was a whopping 56% of the total net profits Amazon raked in this past quarter.

Forbes magazine recently reported that four out of five small businesses will soon rely on cloud computing as it is efficient, accessible, and cost-effective. Dealing with professional network consultants will take the headache out of the frustrating IT processes, and give you peace of mind that your important information is secure. Head over to MVP Network Consulting, LLC today to get everything you need for cloud computing!

back up disaster recovery

For every business owner, it is important to become one with the clouds. And in this case, we mean cloud computing. In simplified terms, cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers to store data on the Internet.

 

This approach is used by 82% of enterprises with 88% using public cloud while 63% are using private cloud. For these companies, the importance of using back up disaster recovery is no secret. With the amount of malware threats growing per day, there was an average of 82,000 per day in 2013 alone, it is crucial for every business to develop backup disaster recovery solutions.

 

But when the worst happens, experts agree that there are a few steps that often go wrong. Read on below to make sure your company doesn't make these mistakes!

 

Not planning
It is easily assumed that any business has the bare minimum of a data backup and disaster recovery plan in the works. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There are usually two behaviors experts see, either a business has a back up disaster recovery plan in place but isn't a successful plan, or they don't have one at all

 

Failing to invest
For some business owners, they like to see an immediate return on their profit. So, spending a large sum of money to buy what they think is unnecessary equipment can be a waste of time. But it is better to be prepared for the worst rather than having to scramble at the last minute.

 

Not taking time to test the system
What good is a back up disaster recovery plan if it doesn't work? Simply taking the time to run through your program will save you a lot of stress in the long run. Involve your staff in this process as well, so they know what to do in case of an emergency.

 

Not buying the proper hardware
There is no reason to invest in a data backup and recovery system if there is no place to back your data up to. This simple step gets overlooked by many business owners but is the most crucial step.

 

Need advice on data recovery plans? Contact MVP Works, the best network disaster recovery company in Buffalo!

cloud computingCloud computing is becoming more widely accepted in the world of technology, with 82% of enterprises using a hybrid cloud strategy with 42% of IT decision makers increased their spending on cloud computing in 2015. The growth is expected to reach more than 60% of enterprises by 2018, so utilizing the cloud in your healthcare office will help you to evolve and meet the everchanging demands of the healthcare industry. Getting a cloud readiness assessment and a network assessment by an IT support firm will not only help you learn about cloud computing but will help your business run more efficiently. Here are four reasons why switching to the cloud will be beneficial.

Compliance with HIPAA Laws
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is federally regulated to protect health care information. It comes with a list of strict requirements by which doctors and nurses must abide by, and if they are not followed, there can be some strict penalties and fines. Using cloud computing is a great way for health care organizations to stay compliant with this law because of the advanced security it offers as well as data backup and encryption that helps preserve confidential information.

Smooth, Straightforward Information Access
Since doctors are so incredibly busy during the day, they are usually only able to view and go over patient records after office hours. But now with the cloud solutions, doctors can easily access medical records from the comforts of their own home and not have to log long hours in the office.

A Cheaper Option
Using this method will help doctor's offices cut expenditure as using the cloud saves you from having to pay for expensive hardware and infrastructure installation. Additionally, you will not have to pay for high maintenance fees or software updates. Doing this will also allow your practice to cut patient visit costs, making everyone happy!

More secure data backup
Medical records hold sensitive medical information and are very thorough and complex. It is important to keep meticulous track of your patient's medical records and have a backup plan in case of an unexpected disaster. Cloud service providers will offer you a backup for maximum protection and ease of mind.

Have any questions or want to know how using the cloud will benefit your medical practice? Call to talk to one of our experts today!

voip

VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, or in more common terms, phone service over the Internet. It allows you to make voice calls using broadband Internet instead of a standard phone line. This service is growing as research forecasts that both business and residential VoIP services will grow to be worth $74.5 billion by the end of 2015. Plus, research is predicting that mobile users will reach 1 billion by the year 2017, and the number of seats hosting this communication set to double from 2012 by the year 2016. With this in mind, why wouldn't you want to implement this in your office?

Here is everything you need to know about VoIP solutions and how they can benefit your business.

How Does It Work?
When you call someone over the telephone, the signal is converted to a regular phone signal before it reaches its destination. Comparatively, this service converts your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. Using voice over Internet protocol, you can call directly from a computer or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter. Additionally, you can make phone calls using wireless hot spots if you are traveling or on the go.

What Equipment is Needed?
Most importantly, a high-speed broadband Internet connection is needed along with a computer, adapter, or specialized phone. A VoIP phone solutions company will help you install all the proper tools, and provide the proper network that will keep your employees in the loop!

Who Can You Call?
Depending on the VoIP providers, you may be limited to only calling other subscribers of the service. But if you subscribe to a more in-depth service you will be able to call anyone who has a telephone number, including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers.

Why Use This Service?
There are two primary reasons to use voice over Internet protocol: lower cost and increased functionality. In general, this service costs less than traditional phone line providers and comes with the benefit of being able to combine voice and data into the same network. You are also connected to your phone system anywhere there is an Internet connection giving you an ease of use wherever you go!

Interested in voice over Internet protocol? Contact MVP Network Consulting today!

cloud computing

When discussing computer technology more likely than not you have heard the term the cloud. But what does this mean? How can technology have anything to do with clouds? Here is everything you ever need to learn about cloud computing.

 

What is cloud computing?

Simply speaking, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and internet over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive. This computing relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local devices handle applications. The term cloud is a metaphor for the Internet, so in a nutshell, cloud computing is where different services -- like servers, storage, and applications -- are delivered to your computer and devices through the Internet.

 

Are there different types?
There are three different cloud platforms: private, public and hybrid.

 

The private cloud is implemented within a corporate firewall, generally managed by the IT department. This option offers more control over a company's information, which ensures a higher level of security over customer's data. This option has been chosen by 63% of businesses.

 

The public cloud is a form of computing where a company relies on a third party cloud service provider, which is delivered over the Internet. Choosing to go public can free companies from the hassle of purchasing their own cloud, and is a much faster option due to the public cloud provider's expertise. This is a relatively popular choice as 88% of businesses have chosen this method.

 

The hybrid cloud is a combined form of private and public clouds in which important, critical data resides in the privately owned cloud while other data is stored publicly. Hybrid clouds are a great option as they deliver the advantages of reliability, safety, rapid deployment and cost savings. This choice has been implemented by 82% of companies.

 

Why move to the cloud?

    • Using the cloud is becoming the new normal. It is projected that by 2018, more than 60% of businesses will have at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms.

 

    • Cloud based services are ideal for businesses with growing bandwidths as flexibility is built right into it.

 

    • Important for data backup and disaster recovery as the cloud is connected to the Internet in case your systems abruptly fail.

 

    • Your cloud supplier offers automatic software updates so you do not have to worry about maintaining the system yourself.

 

    • Using the cloud offers increased collaboration within your team, increasing productivity. It also allows for teleworking because if you have an internet connection you can work anywhere!

 

  • Moving to the cloud is a simple step your business can take to become more competitive, for it gives access to enterprise class technology to everyone. Small businesses can now act faster than their larger competitors, packing a large punch.

 

Interested in moving to the cloud? Contact an IT support company and they will give you a cloud computing assessment including a cloud readiness assessment, cybersecurity protection, and network disaster recovery planning. It's a no brainier -- so go ahead, be one with the clouds.

network consulting servicesIf you've found that your business needs a stronger source of IT support, you may have decided that building up your own internal IT department is just a bit too far out of your price range and current capabilities. It's completely okay if your business's needs simply can't make room for a brand new department -- but that doesn't mean your IT needs aren't important enough to justify finding outside help! Working with network consulting services can be a great way to experiment with different IT solutions and troubleshoot areas of your network infrastructure without making a huge investment.

Here are just a few reasons why outsourcing to a network consultant can be a good decision:

    • Data backup and disaster recovery are things that all businesses can benefit from -- even the smallest of small businesses. Not only do network consulting services provide assistance for creating a disaster recovery plan, but they can also provide smaller solutions to implement on a daily basis that will make your network less likely to need a disaster recovery plan.

 

    • Overall data security is another important aspect of network consulting. You might really be surprised by how many smaller security mistakes your business is making! One survey of 38 million Adobe users found that two million of respondents all used the same password: "123456." Another survey found that there are, on average, about 82,000 individual malware threats sent out online each day.

 

    • Getting a network assessment is a key part of most network consulting services. Understanding where your network stands in terms of security, flexibility, and accessibility is important. This will help you figure out where the weak points are in your network before you make any changes or additions.

 

    • Many services also offer access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for businesses that need a little more control over their Internet access. Ongoing network assessments and security management can be part of this network management plan, which is very helpful for small businesses that don't necessarily have the resources to invest in independent, private networks on their own.

 

  • A unified communications and cloud computing network are, last but not least, another reason to work with network consulting services. Network consultants can provide managed network services that include several different types of communications platforms to fit the needs of your business. From VoIP services to web design and development, you can hit the ground running with a new communications platform or a new website for a better digital marketing campaign.


So how exactly can a network consulting service help your business? You won't know until you try it out!

 

Contact MVP Today for a FREE Assessment by calling 716.362.7592 or by visiting www.mvpworks.com/free  

cloud computing

 

You've probably heard the phrase "cloud computing" thrown around before, but never really understood what it meant. Or perhaps you've heard about storing data in "the cloud" without any explanation of how this works. This new(ish) technology has quickly become one of the most important digital assets for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. Here's a quick look at the three main sectors of cloud computing: the public cloud, the private cloud, and the hybrid cloud.

Public Cloud

The public cloud is what most businesses use when they look for cloud computing services. It's estimated that around 88% of businesses using the cloud are using public platforms while 63% are using private platforms. A public cloud service operates through a public network and services (including data storage and individual applications) may not be as secure or customizable as on the private cloud.

You may have already heard about popular public cloud platforms such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google; these companies generally provide cloud-based services for personal use to individuals while providing similar but more comprehensive and structured services for organizations. Independent IT companies providing managed network services can also have public cloud platforms; these are offered on a much smaller scale but are just as secure and structured as big-name offerings.

Private Cloud

In terms of infrastructure, there are very few differences between the private and public clouds. The biggest reason why businesses choose to use private cloud computing platforms is focused on security. Private cloud services are hosted internally, which means that the computing infrastructure is hosted on a private platform that isn't shared by multiple businesses.

Many businesses find that a private cloud system alleviates security concerns because each platform is used by only one business. The ability to have more control over security aspects allows each business to create a cloud-based system that fits their needs. Another big benefit is that businesses can experiment with a variety of different cloud computing programs before committing to and investing in one program.

Hybrid Cloud

As the name suggests, the hybrid cloud is a mix between public and private cloud applications. Around 82% of businesses that use an enterprise (private) cloud computing program also use the public cloud, meaning that they rely on a hybrid model. A hybrid cloud computing model can be a great choice for businesses that need a certain amount of security for sensitive information, but don't necessarily need the highest level of security for all of their daily operations. This model allows businesses to experiment with different types of applications and to receive help from experienced IT network consultants.

IT experts estimate that around 60% of organizations will use a cloud-based infrastructure of some sort by 2018. Will your business be part of that group? It's time to find out! Leave a comment below or contact us today for more information about how cloud computing services can help your business succeed.

web services

 

Virtually every part of a normal day for the average U.S. citizen contains technology of some kind. One needs to look no farther than the morning routine of most people. It typically goes something like this: wake up from an alarm set on your phone, check out the news on said phone or the television, hop into your car you started from inside remotely and check your back up camera as you pull out to head to work.

At MVP Network Consulting, we work not only as network consultants, but also as an IT support company, website design, and various other web services. It's safe to say we work squarely in the technology industry. Which is why it's always good to see the industry headed in a positive direction overall, and overall employment is one of the best ways to track such growth.

According to a new report from CompTIA, the technology industry continues to be one of the most profitable and successful fields in the U.S. with steady growth in the number of jobs being one of the main factors. Approximately 7.1% of the overall GDP and 11.6% of the total private sector payroll come from the tech industry, according to the Cyberstates 2016 report.

Furthermore, the tech industry added about 200,000 jobs last year. Overall, there are currently over 6.7 million people employed in some sort of tech industry capacity, whether that be web services or tech manufacturing.

One of the reasons the tech industry continues to grow is because more and more businesses are putting stock into the web services that can, in turn, help their own businesses grow. Approximately 40% of people will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load, according to eConsultancy. Increasing overall conversion is a dominant priority for over 80% of marketers their website services optimization programs.

One of the specific areas that have no doubt contributed to the growth shown in the report is in cloud computing. While big businesses have been using these web services for some time to manage their mammoth organizations, even small businesses are jumping on board. According to Forbes, about 80% of small businesses will soon rely on cloud computing for the efficiency, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness of this technology.

More employment in the technology industry means more people working to come up with ways to produce, manufacture, create, and design stuff that helps make our lives easier, more efficient, and better in the end.

search engine optimizationHave you ever gone against the grain, judging a book by it's cover, only to find that it was actually really good? First impressions are everything, but unfortunately you rarely, if ever, get a second a chance at making one. And while judging a book by its cover isn't always a bad thing, customers judge small and large businesses on their websites constantly.

In fact, websites have an average of 10 seconds to make a good impression on customers and communicate what the customer can get out of the site and business. Almost half -- 46% -- of mobile users have complaints related to navigation, which is why it's critical to have a mobile-friendly company website. Keep this in mind; a survey from eConsultancy revealed that 40% of people will abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.

It's easy to see how poor web design and web development can be a turn off for potential customers. Although many of today's web surfers mostly skim content -- users read about 28% of the content on a web page -- it's still important to invest in web design services as a business owner, especially as a small business owner.

As a small business owner, think of your company's website as your "book cover." Like a book cover, get ready for it to be judged, despite the sage advice not to. Though website design is critical to the success of your small business, search engine optimization services are just as important. Think about it -- even if you had an awesome website, what's the point if no one on the internet can even find it? That's the beauty and power of implementing solid search engine optimization plans.

Similarly, even if your brick-and-mortar business is bustling in the physical world, you might find it difficult to increase sales and connect with your customers if you lack a strong online presence in the digital world. Search engine optimization allows you to become more accessible and visible to your target audience by allowing your company website -- your well designed company website, mind you -- to rank higher in search engine results. The end goal is to keep your phone ringing by attracting and securing qualified potential customers and turning them into loyal, repeat customers.

This helps to create a sense of brand awareness that keeps your customers coming back. Search engine optimization can also lead to an increase in customer referrals, as search engine users are more likely to trust and refer websites that rank on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs).

By having a well designed website and taking advantage of search engine optimization services, you can feel confident that your brand will get the recognition in deserves.



Over the past few years, investing in cloud computing has become more and more popular. An estimated 42% of IT heads have said they increased spending on cloud computing in 2015. It’s no secret, though, that the cloud can sometimes come with risks -- high-profile hacking cases with celebrities have made this clear. And when it comes to businesses, there is often even more at risk. Worse, online threats continue to increase, as there are about 82,000 new malware threats popping up every day. Luckily, the risks associated with cloud computing can be mitigated. Here are a few things you should keep in mind.


Understand the Difference Between Services

There are three types of cloud computing services: Platform as a Service, where users access platforms (example: GoDaddy), Software as a Service, where users access applications (example: Google Apps), and Infrastructure as a Service, where users access infrastructure (example: rackspace). The right choice for your company depend on your specific needs, and each service deals with different common security threats.


When is the Last Time You Had a Cyber Security Assessment?

In many cases, system vulnerabilities come not from the technology itself, but from users. Even today, 2 million of Adobe's 38 million users rely on the password “123456” -- a highly insecure solution. A cyber security assessment from an outside company can look at everything from your typical employee behavior, to the threats malware pose to your everyday business. Third party audits can identify anomalies you may not even realize are a problem.


End-to-End Encryption

To decrease risk, your cloud service provider should be encrypting data when it is in transit and when it’s at rest. Additionally, data should only be decryptable with the right encryption key. Certain industries have a lot at risk when it comes to reliable encryption. The medical field, for example, relies on data encryption to protect patient privacy and to remain legal under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). A HIPPA guide can help in ensuring that hospitals and doctors offices are following the letter of the law and preserving confidentiality.


As cloud computing solutions become more popular, things like cloud computing assessments, end-to-end encryptions, HIPPA guides and a clear understanding of services will become increasingly standard.ard.

Your web site is incredibly important to your business. Most people know this, but then when it comes to actually designing a site that's easy to use, they go a different way.

6 Ways to Improve Your Web Design and Increase Your profits:

  1. Make your site as simple as possible
    Your web design should not have a hundred or more pages for people to look through. Make it easy to navigate. You may know where to find items and information on your web site, but you need to make it easy for people who know nothing about you, your company, and your website to do the same thing.
  2.  
  3. Simplify your site with fewer colors
    One way to really turn people off is to have a site that's so busy it can blind them. Even if your site does not do that, having overly intricate backgrounds or hundreds of colors only serves to distract people from the content. Lose some of the ornate designs and people who come to your website will be more able to focus on your content.
  4.  
  5. Remember the 80/20 rule
    What's that? Web design experts estimate that 20% of your site is responsible for 80% of your traffic and revenue. Focus on that part to increase both. This also means that by focusing on the elements that make up that 20%, you will lose a lot of content that is distracting and off putting to your visitors.
  6.  
  7. Repeat your messaging
    You need to repeat your message all the time on your web site. Many people only give a web site about 10 seconds to give them something. That's not a whole lot of time. Remember that people will only really register and pay attention to about 28% of the content on your website. You can up the chances that your message, slogan, or brand identity is part of that by repeating it on your web site. If you have a slogan, incorporate it into the logo and header of you website.
  8.  
  9. Understand SEO
    Search engine optimization services (SEO) are very important. These can help your website appear higher up on a search in an organic way. When you consider that more than 90% of all web experiences begin with a search engine, and most of those start with Google, you can see how important it is to be up at the top. Many people never go past the first page of a search, so if you are below that, you may never be found. Make sure your search engine optimization plans are incorporated fully into your web design.
  10.  
  11. Pay attention to your mobile site
    Make sure your site looks and works well on mobile devices. More and more people are using devices to look at web pages. Your web design can look perfect on a computer, but if it looks terrible on mobile technology, you can really hurt your brand. A whopping 46% of mobile web users complain that the pages are hard to load on their devices and 44% say they are hard to navigate. A full 40% will abandon a website and look elsewhere if the site does not load on their mobile device. If your website design plan does not include a strategy for mobile users, you will really miss out on a lot of business.

 

The way people use the Internet changes all of the time. The things we use with the Internet are also changing all of the time. Ten years ago, no one used mobile applications for their businesses. Now, global revenue from these applications is slated to top $35 billion. 

These new ways to interact with customers and clients can help you grow your business, but only if you take advantage of the opportunities and understand the pitfalls. You may have great products and services to sell and a great web page, but what do people see when they look at it on their smart phone? Keep these new technological advances in mind when working on your web design and it can help grow your business.

 

For A Free Website Analysis Call 716.362.7592

network disaster recoveryData backup and recovery is something that most businesses consider doing at least once. Unfortunately, it's not untilafter a disaster that business owners understand the importance of a thorough network disaster recovery plan. This is never good. 

If your business has yet to devise a disaster recovery plan, or if you think your plan may need some updating, here's a quick guide to the essentials of a good network disaster recovery setup:


The Basics: Network disaster recovery planning is all about having safeguards in place for the worst possible situations. This can refer to a natural disaster event where an enormous amount of files are damaged, or it can refer to an internal and/or virtual disaster, such as a hacker compromising sensitive company data.

The Planning: First, you'll want to conduct a network assessment (or have a professional network consultant do so) in order to determine your overall system security. You'll then have to devise a detailed set of steps for every disaster that your business is likely to encounter. This will include a risk assessment calculation, or a prediction of how much data would be compromised in each specific event, and also recovery objectives to determine how much data you could recover and how long it would take.

The Details: Here are just a few details you'll want to consider for each incident when you create a recovery plan:

  • People: How many customers would be affected by the incident? How many employees? What important information would you need to convey to those affected, and how would you do so?
  •  
  • Data: What's the most important data in your system, and how do you protect it? Do you have fail-safe backups ready in case the original documents are damaged?
  •  
  • Equipment: How much do you rely on physical equipment (like computers or phone lines) to run your business? If itall got damaged, do you have the funds to purchase replacements? If not, how much equipment could you replace and what business tasks would you then be able to accomplish?
  •  
  • Security: In a survey of 38 million people, at least 2 million admitted they used the password "123456" to protect important files. You want to make sure that you have physical and digital security measures in place.
  •  
  • Outside Help: Will you need to call upon a network consulting firm or specialist to accomplish everything after a disaster? Will you have suppliers or business partners you'll need to cooperate with? Who will be able to assist you in each situation?
 

The Policies: Once you're able to solidify the details, you'll then want to create an official policy and set of procedures for each scenario. This part is one of the most important steps and it's something that network consulting services really help with. The reasoning here is simple: If and when a disaster strikes, you'll want to have a procedure already in place; you want to use your time making valuable actions, not wasting it making decisions (or mistakes).

With over 82,000 new malware threats each day and natural disasters occurring in the U.S. every year, it's important to make sure that your business is prepared for the worst.

it service pricing

It's not easy for businesses today to decide if managing IT services in-house is worth the investment or if it's a better idea to outsource IT services to a professional network management service. At the root of this debate is one big problem: understanding IT service pricing. Here's a quick guide about what many people get wrong about IT service pricing, and a few things to keep in mind when you're assessing the benefit of a managed IT service for your business:


Myths About IT Service Pricing:

  1. Myth: It's impossible to accurately price cloud computing services
    While it's true that cloud computing services are getting more complicated by the day, but it's still possible to price effectively. You need to consider factors such as storage space, traffic allotments, and data backup services.

  2. Myth: Managing high-risk IT tasks in-house is more secure than outsourcing
    Think of it this way: when you give employees the keys to your most valuable information, they're able to walk out the door with all that info if they really want to do some damage. It's definitely safer to have outsourced management teams handling sensitive information about your business's security network.

  3. Myth: Outsourcing IT work per project is more cost-effective than outsourcing everything to a managed service
    When you outsource your IT work by the project, you aren't likely to have a solid estimate of what it will actually cost. Many services will charge hourly rates of anywhere between $125-$175 per hour -- but they won't always tell you how many hours a project will likely take. With a managed service, you'll pay a flat fee (usually monthly) and you have the reassurance of getting good-quality services every single time, regardless of how long a project takes.
 

Factors in IT Service Pricing:

The biggest factor you'll have to consider with pricing IT services is cost; when everything is said and done, it all boils down to the cost effectiveness of outsourcing your IT services. More specifically, you'll have to consider the following questions:

  1. Do you already own equipment or will you have to purchase it?

  2. Can your business really afford the cost of this equipment up-front?

  3. If your business is growing quickly, do you have the resources to make sure that your IT department grows as well?

  4. Can you easily recover important information if a disaster occurs, and without jeopardizing your network security?

  5. Are you willing to pay for ongoing software and hardware updates, as well as ongoing staff training?
&bsp;

It's important not to let the confusion of IT service pricing keep you from using a managed IT service. Whether you rely on cloud computing programs (as four out of five businesses do), or you need to upgrade your cyber security defense (there were over 82,000 new malware threats per day in 2013), or if you simply need to boost your visibility online with SEO services -- a managed service can provide it all.

voip solutions

There are many web services out there that can help out businesses. Each one has its own benefits, and packages of several services can really take your company to the next level. Web design, in a market becoming increasingly digital sales-driven, is especially important for building a brand and increasing your bottom line. However, there are more important services as well! Read on for our list of killer web services to help your company!


VoIP Solutions
VoIP solutions can immensely help a company in a few ways. VoIP solutions allow your company to call any provider or business partner over the internet. This can help to facilitate communication, as it is much easier. It connects your entire company using IP addresses, and can make communication between different parts of your business more efficient. With better contact, your business with thrive on connection and fast dealings. This is why experts are predicting that VoIP users will hit one billion users by 2017!

Web Design
Web design is more important than many businesses realize. Did you know that about 40% of people will leave a website taking more than three seconds to load? In today's economy, most consumers and business partners will check your website before going to a brick and mortar location. This means that your website is their first impression of your business. A web designer can make sure that your website leaves them wanting more!

Back Up Disaster Recovery
This is one of the biggest keys to running a successful business: having a backup plan. According to Forbes magazine, four out of five small business will now be relying on some sort of cloud computing thanks to its efficiency, accessibility and cost-effectiveness. This also provides your company with backups in case something ever goes wrong. You won't lose your important files!

Are you thinking of investing in any of these services? Which ones will benefit you the most?

network disaster recoveryInformation technology is a vital aspect of all businesses and it's changing constantly. Forbes magazine recently reported that 80% of small businesses will soon be using cloud computing technology. Combined with the fact that 60% of businesses will have at least half their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms by 2018, maintaining a strong network is more important than ever.

However, accidents happen. Whether it's a power outage or malware, keeping your information secure during a network disaster is paramount. With more than 80,000 new malware threats per day, the threat is incredibly relevant to small and large businesses alike. Let's take a look at some of the potential threats to your network and what network disaster recovery entails.

Causes of network disasters:

  1. Earthquake, tornado, flood, etc.

  2. Computer malware

  3. Hackers

  4. Power outages

  5. Failure of underground cables

  6. Other security breaches


When calamity leaves your network vulnerable, the next steps you take will make or break the recovery. A network disaster can cost organizations million of dollars within a matter of hours. For enterprises, it can also have long-term effects due to customers' distrust in the company's ability to protect information. So when catastrophe comes knocking, be prepared with network disaster recovery planning.

Detect the root of the problem. Network disaster recovery gets much harder when you don't know what's causing it.

Notify any parties that may be or have been affected. It's also ideal to notify your IT department as soon as possible (if you have one).

Isolate the systems that have been compromised. Whether you have a LAN or WAN, isolating the problem will prevent further damage to other systems.

Repair the effected systems as soon as possible so the organization can continue to operate.

While most small businesses don't have the luxury of an IT department devoted solely to their enterprise, there are organizations that specialize in network setup services, cyber security protection, and data recovery. They understand the severity of network disasters and will use their professional resources to get your operations back up and running. Either way, it's imperative to plan for the worst.

Data recovery and backup is an important yet complicated part of business ownership. There are a variety of solutions in the case of a network disaster but the message remains the same: Be prepared with a plan of action.

Have you had experiences with a network disaster? Sound off in the comments below!

cyber security protectionCloud-based technology has opened many new doors for organizations all over the world. It's easier than ever to connect with fellow businesses as well as consumers. However, this also means more risk of information falling into the wrong hands.

It's estimated that 60% of businesses will have half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms by the year 2018.Forbes magazine went a step further when it reported that 80% of small businesses will soon rely on cloud technology for the efficiency and cost-effectiveness that it provides. With mobile communications at an all-time high, security is more important than ever.

Specifically, voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) is becoming an increasingly popular choice for enterprise communication. VoIP phone solutions allow businesses to make phone calls over the internet rather than using a landline. Many businesses are pairing this technology with mobile device management solutions (MDM), giving themselves complete managerial control over devices used by employees.

While this is helpful for the administrators, it can mean trouble for those sending and receiving secure information. 20% of all malware that's ever existed was created solely in the year 2013. This most likely means more malware is going to be unleashed with each coming year. With malware threats at an all-time high, protecting information sent through mobile devices is more important than ever.

The world of cyber security protection is growing just as quickly as telecommunication. When the privacy of information is at risk, cyber security protection needs to be a priority for IT teams everywhere. Revolutionary companies are creating technology that will encrypt all data (voice calls, texts, emails, etc.) sent through VoIP. By doing so, businesses are ensuring the protection and security of such information.

For Your Free Cyber Security Assessment Click Here

mobile device management solution

The realm of technology is forever changing. While keeping up with those changes can prove tricky, advancements have drastically changed the way businesses interact with each other and consumers. Cloud technology has changed the interface of business-to-consumer relations. It's estimated that 88% of organizations are using public cloud technology.


With cloud-based technology and voice-over internet protocol (VoIP) leading the world of enterprise communication, organizations everywhere are now employing mobile device management solutions to bridge the gap between efficiency and security. Making their technology more secure allows the passage of private information without the threat of corruption.

Mobile device management solutions allow for businesses to implement the utilization of modern devices by employees while monitoring and managing the mobile devices across all operating systems. This gives administrators managerial control over the devices while employees are able to use modern technology to improve their productivity.

This technology is expected to boom over the following years. It is estimated that 42% of IT decision makers are going to make more room in the budget for spending on cloud computing. Forbes magazine has reported that 80% of small businesses will rely on cloud-based computing technology based on the increased efficiency, accessibility and cost-effectiveness it provides.

When it comes to implementing such technology, IT network consultants are able to assess a business' needs, budget and platform while advising which network management services best suit them. The cost effectiveness of this technology has made it appealing to organizations across every industry. By utilizing cloud-based technology, businesses are not only making the work of their employees more efficient but are better communicating with consumers.

Does your business use cloud-based technology? Are your employees looking for more efficient means of production? Sound off in the comments below!

cloud computing

These days, it seems like everyone's IT is on the cloud. But if you haven't done so yet and are considering a cloud computing assessment, it can certainly be a daunting decision. For many companies, that means having to change the sourcing and delivery of IT products and services. But by making the leap, you'll be joining a majority of organizations getting on the cloud these days -- and the feelings regarding this move are resoundingly positive. Approximately 88% of organizations are on the public cloud and 63% are on the public cloud. And soon, four out of five small businesses will reportedly rely on the cloud due to its cost-effectiveness, efficiency, and accessibility.


But why is the cloud so great, and how can cloud computing reduce IT costs? We've compiled a short but concise reasons why switching to cloud computing services will benefit your organization:


Increased Security
As of 2013, there are over 80,000 new malware threats per day. These malware threats not only pose major security risks, but they also put your company at risk for data loss. Cloud computing software keeps your managed network services safe and secure from data loss and security breaches.


Save Money
Private clouds are great way to cut costs within your company. Not only do you get the benefits of both virtualization and security, but you don't have to worry about the expenses and maintenance of hosting your own servers, or buying dedicated servers.


Save Time
The cloud makes performing maintenance, a software upgrade, or other repairs on your server a breeze -- there's absolutely no downtime whatsoever. Cloud computing also allows you to save time when you need to create a server in a moment's notice. When it comes to allocating more disk space, RAM, or CPU, the cloud makes it easy to reallocate resources in a matter of seconds without having to worry about data backup and disaster recovery later.


Got questions or comments? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

data backup and recovery

Everyone's heard about the cloud. While some of us still have no idea what it is exactly, there is one thing everyone understands: security on the internet is very important. It is estimated that 60% of companies will be using cloud-based platforms within their infrastructure by 2018. Forbes magazine estimated an even higher 75%. With such an increase in cloud computing services, a lot of information is at risk of being lost.

Aside from having security protocols in place, business owners are becoming vigilant about data backup and recovery. Common mishaps can result in the loss of enormous amounts of data, such as power outages, malware, human error and malfunctioning servers. This means backing up data regularly is extremely important. What does this entail exactly?

Data Backup: When you backup digital information, you send it to an external destination that is separate from your servers. Many choose to do this with an external hard drive. You can copy the information to the hard drive or you can send it all there and delete the original. This is especially important for companies dealing with large amounts of private information (health care institutions, dental practices, schools, etc.).

Data Recovery: If data isn't backed up and is lost, some technicians are able to salvage inaccessible information that has been compromised. If you somehow lose information that is stored digitally, there are resources available to help you retrieve it. Many business owners outsource responsibility of data to companies that offer network management services and cyber security protection.

According to a 2013 study surrounding malware, there were an average of 82,000 new malware threats created every day, making up 20% of all malware threats that have ever existed. Until technological advances decrease those threats, it's important to make sure your information is safe and secure by implementing regular data backup and recovery practices.

cloud computing

Running a company is stressful enough without having to worry about the multitude of responsibilities and risks of technology. To optimize your business, it is necessary to be on top of the latest technology, but you may not always know how it works or how you can best protect yourself. This is where IT professionals come in. They can help with any and all technology services your business needs. Read on for three reasons you should invest in their expertise!


Have Backups
IT professionals have trusted and true backup disaster recovery solutions to help you protect your company. There are nearly 82,000 malware threats on an average day according to studies, and if something ever happened you need to know that you won't lose data. IT professionals can help protect you against these attacks in the first place, as well as helping you to backup all of your company's data.


Cloud Computing
As many as 82% of enterprises now invest in hybrid cloud computing. According to Forbes, four out of five small businesses use this technology to aid them in efficiency, accessibility and cost-effectiveness. Cloud computing allows seamless access to data across numerous applications. In addition, this provides a backup for data, rather than storing it on one hard drive. The cloud can be a bit confusing at first, so IT services will help get you set up and teach you how to use it.


Managed Network Services
Not only can IT professionals run network assessments to see where you can improve, but they can also help if you ever have network issues. This means that if you ever have an issue and you end up offline, they can find the issue and fix it as quickly as possible. This ensures less downtime for your business, so you won't lose time and money being off the grid.


Do you think you'll look into any services? How could they benefit your business?

"networkIT services can be incredibly difficult to get the hang of if you don't have a background in it. This can lead to numerous issues with company servers and applications as well as hinder web development. Read on for a few ways network consultants can help your business.

Efficiency
Network assessments to ensure that your company is running efficiently are essential to a successful business. Having people who are experienced in network management services can help with this. They can manage and track events that are causing user problems and fix them as quickly as possible. New technology ensures that issues are automatically reported to IT specialists, allowing them to instantly begin work to fix it. This leads to a reduced down time in your business. Many are surprised once they invest in these services at how inefficient their old system made them. IT service pricing is well worth what you gain back. These services will also help ensure that an entire system failure is at a very low risk.


Security
IT service providers are able to conduct network security assessments and keep your data safe and secure. Network security assessments will not only find flaws in your current system, but will allow IT specialists to immediately begin the work to lock everything down. With 82,000 malware threats per day, this is huge. Nearly two million Adobe users alone were found to be using easy-to-guess passwords, damaging security. They will also help you back up all of your data, in case of an emergency. This not only benefits your business, but it also allows clients to have more faith in your company, which is very valuable.

Better Understanding
IT service providers can also help you understand your own system when needed. You'll have easier access to someone to walk you through things. Lack of time and resources in companies often lead to many inefficiency in web systems, and having a dedicated service provider helps avoid those issues. Periodic reviews will show the company how they can improve, as well as pointing out updates needed before a device dies. All in all, these services will ensure preventative measures are taken, rather than simply reacting to problems.

network management servicesThe business world is constantly looking for new quicker and more cost-effective methods for reaching their consumers and in simple everyday operations. While computers and the internet itself were the largest milestones in expediting business processes, a new form of network management services is beginning to take hold.


Cloud computing services have begun offering the ability for companies to store and transfer data remotely without the need to pay for large servers and hard drives. The information is immediately accessible to any party with access with just a few clicks of a mouse. Some people may worry about cyber security protection considering that all of this sensitive information is being stored an a completely digital and invisible platform, but even Information Technology (IT) companies are starting utilize this tool.

Even now, 42% of IT decision makers plan to increase their spending on cloud computing in 2015. With basic cyber security assessments by experienced professionals, cloud based network management services are equally as secure as any other storage and data transfer system.

More and more companies are beginning to take notice with an estimated 60% of all enterprises expected to have at least half of their total infrastructures transferred to a cloud-based platform. According to Forbes Magazine, even small businesses are hopping on the bandwagon with four out of every five small companies soon to be relying on cloud computing due to the renowned efficiency, accessibility, and cost- effective technology.

Cloud computing is an incredible advancement in network management services but is still relatively new. As it becomes a more widely used tool, more services will become available to the cloud platform. Companies may begin storing more and more information with cloud computing, requiring more cyber security to work to make sure all of the data is safe. Implementing this technology in your system as soon as possible is important in order to not get left behind in the years to come.

web design

Having a functioning website with a mobile app alternative is more important than ever. Nearly 40% of people will choose a new search result entirely if the first one they pick isn't user friendly, and even then, you only get 10 seconds to make your impression. When you're looking to upgrade your company's web presence, it's important that you know what you're in for. The key to knowing what to expect is knowing what questions you should be asking ahead of time. So if you're looking to upgrade into the world of mobile applications, which rakes in almost $35 billion a year in revenue, here are some of the things you should ask web designers.

How will you be forming your estimate? - When forming a cost and scheduling estimate for your project, it can sometimes take more than just the initial phone call or meeting to get a clear picture. Ask instead about the way that the company will be deciding on these estimates, so you can get at least a ballpark idea of what you can expect in terms of cost and date of completion for web services.

Will the code you write belong to us? - Sometimes, website designers can offer you a discounted rate if you give them permission to use the code that they write on later projects. However, make sure you ask your web development team early about what the ownership of the code entails. You may find that in order to do further web design and changes, you may need to pay extra if the code isn't technically all yours.

What do we do if we aren't happy? - If the work that you're getting from your web design team isn't turning out the way that you thought it would, you want to make sure that you have the ability to opt out. In some cases, you can arrange your contract so that you can stop development services and keep the work that has already been completed. This will give you the best path to a user-friendly, engaging website and mobile application for your place of business.

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.

cloud computing

>When a computer suddenly won’t work, it can often lead to the loss of important personal or business information. Luckily, there are ways to create copies of these files to save in the event of data loss. There are a few crucial files that you may want to save in the event of data loss. But what files do you need to back up? Here are a few of the most important files that you should back up to avoid a data backup and recovery disaster.

Documents
Much of your personal information is stored in your Documents folder, so be sure to have at least one copy of everything that you think to be important. This includes Word documents, Excel spreadsheet, PDF files, text files, and any other files you have created on a word processing program. If you have done your taxes on your computer, be sure to add the records into your backup. Don’t forget to add any documents that may be stored on your desktop.

Music
If you have a large music collection, it can be devastating to have a computer suddenly crash with no back up. Instead of re-purchasing and uploading all your favorite songs onto a new computer, save yourself the hassle by backing it up on a spare drive or cloud services. If you use iTunes, make sure you back up your iTunes folder, which is typically found in your computer's ‘Music’ file.

Pictures and Videos
Pictures and videos are one of the most important things to back up, because once they are gone it’s almost impossible to get them back. This includes any family photo albums or videos that you have uploaded onto your computer. To prevent the loss of your precious memories, copy all of your pictures onto a backup device. You can also keep them uploaded on an image site, or upload them to your social media pages.

As companies continue to grow, they are looking for new ways to safely and efficiently store their data. More and more businesses are now turning to cloud computing as a way to store their data. In fact, 82% of enterprises now use a hybrid cloud strategy. Cloud computing services continue to grow as cloud providers find new ways to securely store precious data through the Internet. Recently, Forbes magazine reported that four out of five small businesses will soon rely on cloud computing. Experts predict that by 2018, more than 60% of enterprises will store at least half of their infrastructure on a cloud-based platform. To learn about cloud computing and how it can benefit you, contact our network consultants.

voip

In the 1990s, perhaps you laughed when you heard someone bought a mobile telephone or a car phone for the first time. Who would need to answer the phone in the car? Of course, now, the government has to pass laws to stop people from taking calls behind the wheel. And for better or worse, most of us can barely remember how we functioned without our smartphones. The point is, telecommunications have gone through a radical shift in the 21st century, and ultimately it's a shift that's good for small businesses.

That's because services like VOIP, or Voice over Internet Proxy, can deliver all your telecommunications needs at a lower cost than traditional land lines. Not only that, but you get all the benefits that come with other types of digital and cloud-based computing, like greater flexibility and tech support. There's a reason Forbes recently reported that four out of five small businesses will soon rely on cloud-based computing platforms.

If you're staring a small business, or considering upgrading your existing phone lines to a digital VOIPnetwork, then consider the top seven benefits of this new technology:

  • Go Mobile: With VOIP enabled phones, you can route calls to your laptop or smartphone whenever you step away from the office. That means you're always connected, where ever you go.

  • Reliable: With the best VOIP providers, your system will be monitored and maintained 24/7.

  • Spend Less Time With Your Cable Company: If you've ever dealt with a cable company's legendarily awful customer service, then we think this benefit speaks for itself.

  • Save Money: VOIP services come in a variety of competitively priced packages, meaning you can almost certainly find VOIP options less expensive than traditional phone systems.

  • Save Time: Not only will you cut your telecommunications costs, but you'll also avoid the extra setup, installation, and maintenance fees that come with the phone systems of old.

  • Easy To Use: VOIP phones come with an intuitive user interface that anyone can understand at a single glance.

  • Did We Mention You Can Save Money?: In addition to saving on telecommunication costs, you can also save on Information Technology costs as well. That's because VOIP providers usually offer a wide range of IT services, like cyber security protection, data backup and disaster recovery, and all the latest cloud computing systems. Get your VOIP and IT services from the same company, and you could save a fortune on overhead costs.


It's hard to imagine days when cell phones were an exciting novelty. The days of T9, when you had to press a button four times to type a single "S." We've come a long way in 2015. So if you want your small business to stay competitive, it's crucial that you invest in the latest cloud computing technology. Surveys show that 42% of IT decision makers are increasing investments into the cloud in 2015. Why don't you start with VOIP solutions? There's a reason VOIP services are expected to become a $74.5 billion market by 2016. So if you aren't already using this exciting technology, you're already falling behind.

cloud computingIf you run a business or have any involvement with information technology, you’ve probably at least heard of the term “cloud computing.” Today, 82% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy; by 2018, it’s thought that more than 60% of enterprises will have moved at least half of their infrastructures to cloud-based platforms. Moreover, one study found that about 42% of IT decision-makers planned to increase their spending on cloud computing in 2015.

 

But what if you’re not quite sure what the cloud is, or whether using it could be beneficial for your business? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Cloud computing simply means computing that is based on the Internet. Almost all of the computer processes that used to be handled by servers in a business’ physical building can now be handled offsite. That includes running programs and applications, as well as storing and sharing data files. There are numerous reasons so many businesses, especially small and medium-sized ones, are switching to cloud-based solutions. Here are seven to get you started:

 

  1. Flexibility and Scalability

    Businesses whose IT demands are handled via the cloud find it much easier to scale and modify their operations based on current demands. If your business surges even temporarily, it’s simple to upgrade your services without making a big investment. 


  2. Reduced Labor and Infrastructure

    Cloud computing can keep information technology costs low by reducing or eliminating your need to maintain on-site technology infrastructure and an in-house tech team. 


  3. Backups and Disaster Recovery

    Cloud-based data can be automatically backed up, meaning that you never have to fear that a crash will wipe out all your files. 


  4. Automatic Updating

    Updating software can be a big hassle when that process needs to be carried out on individual machines on site. But with a cloud-based operation, software can be updated for all relevant machines automatically or with a single click. 


  5. Remote Work Abilities

    Running software and storing files on the cloud makes it easy for employees to access them from anywhere. That means you can globalize your workforce, offer your employees the perk of working from home, or simply make accessing information while on business trips less of a headache. 


  6. Collaborative Work Enhancement

    Working on the cloud allows employees to streamline workflows and collaborate more efficiently, whether they’re doing that from across a room or across the globe.

  7. Better Security

    As long as it’s properly managed, cloud computing can offer a very secure IT solution for businesses that would otherwise struggle to maintain good security measures. If you’re not sure how your system would interact with cloud servers (or if you have special privacy and security concerns), you can get a professional cloud computing assessment before you make any decisions.

Do you want to learn about cloud computing further, or are you ready for a cloud readiness assessment? Discuss what you’re looking for in the comments.

it network assessment

Chances are your business isn't just dependent on providing great products and customer service. While those are certainly part of what makes any company great, most today would be nothing without the computer networks they rely on daily. But what many small business owners don't realize is that their network could be holding them back. Getting an IT network assessment from a qualified firm, however, can identify network and security risks early in order to save frustration when business is in full swing.

With an IT network assessment, your business can identify its needs in these five key categories:

Network Setup Services
Are you looking to expand or alter your existing network, or do you need a brand new infrastructure put in place? An IT network assessment can take a look at your current network and determine where its strengths and weaknesses may lie. You can also take advantage of this service to have new computers installed or added to your network.

Cyber Security
Perhaps one of the biggest threats to businesses these days is the hacker activity, including the use of malware. An estimated 82,000 new malware threats were detected each day in 2013, the year when about 20% of all existing threats were created. Yet today the problem has only gotten worse, and it's costing businesses some serious money. Each data breach that occurs, whether it's for large or small businesses, winds up costing money to make amends and aggravating even the most loyal of customers if their information is stolen. Getting an assessment now can determine where the weak spots in your network are and how you can fix them.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
Losing data can be an incredibly frustrating, costly, and time-consuming accident, but it's unfortunately easy in the age of hackers and simple human error. This is why inquiring about this service is so important. Some firms will perform backups as often as every hour or less, so you're never at risk for losing everything. Ask your IT professionals about how they can handle backup and recovery for your business. VOIP Services VOIP (or Voice Over Internet Protocol) is an internet-based phone service that eliminates the need for landlines. Many businesses prefer using VOIP because it allows for easy recording of phone calls, and it's not subject to the outages that landlines can face. It also doesn't require any additional installations or maintenance because it works with your existing internet infrastructure. A network assessment can determine whether or not your business needs VOIP solutions.

Cloud Readiness Assessment
Today's data storage doesn't just take place on hard drives or removable storage -- it's also in the cloud. Cloud storage involves storing and accessing information through the internet, and it doesn't even need to be stored on your own servers. This gives you instant access to files, applications, and other information from anywhere -- even a mobile device. Current estimates say that more than 60% of businesses will store at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based applications by 2018, and today, some already have a hybrid of physical and cloud storage for their businesses. Is your business cloud-ready? An assessment can help you determine what you need.

Have more questions about these services? Be sure to contact us today and ask about our IT assessments.

search engine optimizationDuring your time on the web, you've more than likely come across an infographic or two on your journey through cyberspace.

If you're like most people, these graphics that present information in a visual format are much easier to digest than blocks of text. The human brain is wired to process visual information. It's hardly surprising, then, to learn that the average web user will read only 28% of the text content on any given web page!

As a result, the need for your business to adopt infographics as part of its search engine optimization (SEO) campaign should be clear. With engaging visuals that have value to the end user, you'll boost your search engine rankings and keep your customers coming back for more.

Still not convinced that regularly producing infographics can add a much-needed boost to your business' web development, web design and SEO campaign? Here's a look at three little-known advantages of the infographic:

Infographics are memorable
As stated before, the human eye is more likely to stay put on an image than it is on a monochrome block of text. By combining images, colors, movement and content, you can ultimately improve your website design's metrics by keeping people on your page longer. Humans are also more likely to remember visual information more than information we've read. When the average website has less than 10 seconds to make an impression on a user, this is key.

Infographics are shareable
Another huge benefit of the infographic is its ability to be shared among web users on their social media pages. Most infographics come with embed codes that users can copy and paste to their pages, generating an automatic link between your website and theirs -- another good thing for your SEO rankings. As a result, infographics are much more likely to reach the coveted viral status than text content.


Infographics are mobile-ready
Did you know that 40% of web users will choose a different search engine result if the first one listed isn't equipped with mobile web design? Infographics today are typically designed to adapt to the the device on which they're being viewed, making them especially equipped to be viewed by mobile users. Last year, mobile web use surpassed desktop use for the first time. You can't afford to miss out on this massive audience.

Have any other questions or thoughts about how infographics can aid your business' search engine optimization plans? Share with us by simply leaving a comment below.

How SECURE is Your Email and Patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI)?

Thursday, December 18th from 12 – 1 p.m. 

We will cover everything you need to know about e-mail security, HIPAA requirements, how to keep your e-mail and information safe, and we will be answering the questions you most want to know! Please click the link below to register, as well as submit specific questions you have about secure e-mail and keeping personal health information safe!

REGISTER NOW!

Viruses are like cobwebs in your house–you can never keep them out completely but with regular dusting you can do a lot to avoid or minimize them. Cryptowall is the latest in a string of ominous-sounding viruses making the rounds. It is a Trojan Horse, popping up as an innocuous-seeming e-mail and infecting a network by tricking people into installing it themselves.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with viruses like these is to never download attachments that you aren’t expecting. Even if the e-mail appears to be coming from someone you know, if it is vague or there isn’t a reason for them to be sending you an attachment, double check that it is legitimate. A quick phone call can save a lot of headaches down the line. There are a few common e-mails circulating to watch out for in particular. Click through the gallery to see some examples.

Once a computer is infected, the virus begins by establishing a network connection to remote servers where it uploads connection information like the IP address, location, and system information from the infected machine. It then creates encrypted copies of all files, deleting the originals and leaving an encrypted version in its place in an effort to extract money for the decryption key. The virus expands beyond just a local computer, hopping onto files located on other drives–such as external hard drives, cloud-based storage that saves a local copy of files, and network shares (any drive that has been assigned a letter).

Once your drive has been infected, you will typically see three files in every directory with encrypted files:

  • DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.txt
  • DECRYPT_INSTRUCTION.url

You may also see error pop-ups or data that looks garbled when attempting to open an encrypted file. If you believe your computer has been infected by this or any virus, IMMEDIATELY DISCONNECT YOUR COMPUTER FROM THE NETWORK! Just pull the network cable right out of it. You should also perform regular backups, stored offline, and maintain your anti-virus software.

 

 

MVP is a technology company based in Western New York that helps its partners achieve there corporate goals through the intelligent use of technology for over 10 years. MVP helps businesses like yours create the strong communication foundations needed to ensure success. We build reliable voice and data networks that secure sensitive company data, promote organizational growth, improve team productivity, and generate competitive business advantages. 

Our goal at MVP is to provide technical consulting services that identify critical business needs and proactively develop long-term solutions that are affordable and ensure the needs of your business are put first. 

MVP area of expertise focuses on 4 areas of technology. 

1. Telephony Solutions – MVP is an AVAYA Partner and also offers HoPs (Hosted Office Phone System) 

2. Managed IT Services – MVP provides Managed IT support and maintenance for any size network with end-user help-desk support. 

3. Cloud Computing – MVP offers Public, Hybrid and Private cloud computing solutions custom tailored to your specific needs. 

4. Development Services and solutions – MVP has the development expertise in house to help you evaluate your business process and implement an ERP solution that will streamline your operations. MVP has also developed a custom hosted software solutions for the funeral business. MVP is a SAP Business One partner. 

MVP show you how your IT should be managed and converged to work together in a cohesive network environment.