Cloud Best Practices: How You Should Be Using Cloud Technology

Cloud Best Practices: How You Should Be Using Cloud Technology

What Cloud Computing Technology in North Carolina works best for you?  

At Nitor Solutions in North Carolina we know cloud computing technology like the back of our hands. And we know how to advise you when you’re considering what cloud IT solutions best suit your unique business needs.  

Public or private or hybrid — the definitions and differences can seem a bit like a labyrinth. It can get difficult to identify which solution would best resolve your challenges.  

Let’s break it down:

  • Public: While public cloud solutions tend to cushion your wallet, they’re also severely limiting.
  • Private: Private cloud solutions deliver more control and privacy over your operations but are expensive to maintain.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid fuses both ideas, but it’s difficult to implement correctly, especially without the right guidance.  

The cloud continues to grow, and businesses continue to misuse it and underappreciated the value provided. Whether you’re a small business just beginning, or a seasoned corporation, there is an innovative cloud solution that not only fits your business needs now but evolves as your business grows. How do you know which solution is right for you?  

We put together this handy checklist to see if public or private cloud, or a combination of both, is better suited for your business.  

 

What are you looking for?  Public  Private  Hybrid 
I need scalability and flexibility   X     X  
I need improved security     X   X  
I need more control     X    
I need hands-free solutions   X     X  
I need a simplified approach   X   X    
I need a cost-effective solution   X     X  
I need less hardware investment   X     X  
I need a reliable solution     X   X  
I need a customizable solution     X   X  
I need an expert consulting partner     X   X  

 

Take a moment to think about your top three needs. Are they security, reliability and customization? Then you should consider a private cloud solution.  

Maybe you prioritize scalability and flexibility with hands-free solutions that are cost efficient. Public cloud might be the better choice.  

Or maybe you’d like to try a combination of public and private cloud computing for your business, in which a hybrid solution is best.  

Any way you choose, by leveraging innovative cloud computing technology, you can improve your business operations without rebuilding your entire IT infrastructure.  

As your MSP partner, we help you identify the best and most innovative cloud solution for your unique business needs and challenges. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each cloud type and help you create a personalized growth plan, so you can worry less about cloud IT and focus more on meeting your business goals.  

Leave your IT to Nitor Solutions in North Carolina so we can steer you toward the best solution for your business.  

We deliver scalable and budget-friendly solutions to help you transition to the best cloud solution that optimizes your workflow. We proactively monitor and maintain your cloud environment, so you know data is always secure.  

For more information on public, private and hybrid cloud solutions, and how we can help you implement the right one for your business, contact Nitor Solutions today.    

 

The Importance of Strategic IT Budgeting for Business Growth

The Importance of Strategic IT Budgeting for Business Growth

In today’s business world, IT has transitioned from a mere tool to a foundational pillar that companies prioritize. IT has firmly established itself as a fundamental component across various industries by catalyzing innovation, improving efficiency and enhancing competitiveness. Organizations must learn to align their budgets to take advantage of IT strategically fully. This blog will discuss the critical importance of strategic IT budgeting for organizations aiming to achieve growth, innovation and overall success.

Let’s look at eight steps that enable organizations to align their IT budgeting strategically:

1. Enabling Innovation and Competitive Advantage

Innovation is the lifeblood of any organization looking to thrive. Strategic IT budgeting empowers organizations to invest in cutting-edge technology and solutions that drive innovation. Whether it’s adopting AI and machine learning for data analysis or implementing IoT devices for real-time insights, a well-planned IT budget allows businesses to stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive advantage in the market.

2. Enhancing Operational Efficiency

Efficiency is a crucial driver of growth. Strategic IT budgeting enables organizations to identify and prioritize technology investments that streamline operations. These tasks may include automating repetitive tasks, optimizing supply chain management or improving customer service through digital channels. Businesses can allocate resources more effectively and redirect savings towards growth initiatives by enhancing efficiency.

3. Aligning with Strategic Goals

Successful organizations have a clear vision and strategic goals. IT budgets should align with these objectives to ensure that technology investments directly contribute to the realization of these goals. Whether it’s expanding into new markets, launching new products or improving customer engagement, IT budget planning should support the broader business strategy.

4. Managing Risks and Ensuring Security

With the increasing dependency on digital infrastructure, cybersecurity has become a top concern for businesses—which are critical aspects to consider for sustainable growth. A strategic IT budget allows for investments in robust security measures and risk management strategies. Organizations can protect their assets and reputation by proactively addressing security threats and compliance requirements.

5. Scalability and Flexibility

Businesses are dynamic, and their IT needs evolve over time. Strategic IT budget management takes into account scalability and flexibility. It allows organizations to adapt to changing market conditions, seize new opportunities and respond to emerging challenges without being constrained by budgetary limitations.

6. Maximizing ROI

One of IT budgeting’s best practices is making informed investment decisions. It involves evaluating each IT project or initiative’s potential return on investment (ROI). Organizations can ensure that IT spending contributes directly to growth and profitability by prioritizing projects with the highest ROI and regularly monitoring their performance.

7. Empowering Data-Driven Decision-Making

Data is a valuable asset in the working landscape. A strategic IT budget should include data analytics and business intelligence tools investments. These technologies empower organizations to gather insights, make informed decisions and identify new growth opportunities based on data-driven strategies.

8. Adapting to Market Dynamics

Market dynamics can change rapidly. A strategic IT budget enables organizations to adapt to these shifts swiftly. For example, if a sudden market trend necessitates a shift to e-commerce, having the budgetary flexibility to invest in the necessary infrastructure and platforms can be a game-changer.

Final Note: Aligning IT budgets with strategic objectives is not an option; it is a necessity for organizations aiming for sustained growth, innovation and overall success. Businesses can leverage IT as a strategic asset, enabling them to innovate, optimize operations, manage risks and respond to market dynamics effectively. At Nitor Solutions, we can help you plan, build and implement a strategic IT budget to help your business thrive and grow. Contact us today to get the ball rolling.

 

Defend Your Assets with Cybersecurity Training in Winston-Salem

Defend Your Assets with Cybersecurity Training in Winston-Salem

Most data breaches start with an email. But it’s no regular email.

67% of data breaches are due to attacks like phishing, according to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report. Knowledge obtained from cybersecurity training is the most critical tool for team members to recognize cyberattacks and phishing emails.

This article covers how training your team can turn them into security assets instead of liabilities. If you’re interested in empowering your employees with up-to-date cybersecurity solutions, contact Nitor Solutions.

Who Do Cybercriminals Target?

Cyber attackers are especially interested in small and medium-sized businesses. SMBs are not investing their time as much in security as larger organizations do, like Fortune 500 companies. When hackers know that SMBs might not have the proper IT infrastructure to prevent cyberattacks, due to their inherently smaller budget, this makes them an easy mark for cyber attackers.

Unfortunately, this trend of picking on the little man isn’t going away. Nearly half of all cyberattacks target SMBs, and 60% of SMBs close shop within six months of a cyberattack, according to Inc. Business disruptions, downtime and reputational damage all threaten to turn your business into a statistic. Investing in cybersecurity training can reduce the risk of a cyberattack, so every small business needs to take security precautions to ensure protection.

What You Can Do

Teaching your employees to spot scams is a great way to turn your employees from your weakest link into defenders of your data. You can teach them to exercise caution before reading emails. They can learn to compare the sender’s name and URL. They can scan for bad grammar and “urgent” messaging often used in phishing emails, and you can teach them to think twice about clicking on links from unknown senders.

Many companies outsource their IT needs, including cybersecurity training, to ensure they remain protected against a data breach. Nitor Solutions specializes in integrating a comprehensive solution that protects your systems and data, with cybersecurity as a top priority.

Training educates your team on security tips that minimize the risk of an accidental data breach through human error. From identifying online scams to knowing what comprises a secure password, employees have the potential to turn into a human firewall.

Most businesses have experienced a cyberattack. It’s now a regular news report: cybercrime is on the rise. And cybercriminals are growing more sophisticated in their techniques. It’s crucial to arm your team with the knowledge they need to ramp up their cybersecurity.

Get Help

With Nitor Solutions, employees are trained to understand it’s a shared responsibility to stave off cyberattacks. They recognize the accountability of their actions when they’re online, and the dangers are illuminated with educational programming.

It can even be fun with simulated phishing attempts and celebratory awards for people who take the appropriate steps to keep the company safe.

Once cybersecurity training is a matter of course for all employees, new or existing, the training is updated to make it a permanent part of employment at your business. This serves the purpose of allowing  to keep the training updated to keep it in line with current cyberthreats.

Neither you nor your employees want harm to come to your business. Give them the tools they need to stave off cyberthreats and protect your data now and later, when cybercriminals are upping their game. Outmaneuver the bad guys with your greatest asset —your team.  Call us today.

 

3 Reasons the Co-Managed IT Model Might Be the Perfect Fit

3 Reasons the Co-Managed IT Model Might Be the Perfect Fit

Money—saving it and making it—drives almost every business decision regardless of the size of your organization. Cutting back on IT makes room in your budget, but ultimately results in more IT issues and subpar performance. It’s the old cliché — you get what you pay for, and if you pay for mediocre service, you’re going to get mediocre results.

The challenge is finding the right balance of internal and external support. Full-scale in-house IT support can be expensive, but fully outsourced support isn’t always a viable solution either. If you already have a dedicated IT professional or team, you may be better suited for a co-managed model that closes your technology gaps without busting your budget or breaching your security needs.

The advantages of co-managed IT include:

  1. Takes a Load Off — We know what you’re thinking, but no, you don’t have to fire your internal IT team if you decide to co-manage your IT services. In fact, bringing on an MSP will enhance your team’s value to your business. If you have an internal IT professional or team, their workload becomes increasingly complicated as your business grows and becomes more dynamic. Fixing daily hiccups, updating software, mitigating security threats and optimizing performance consumes time that’s better spent on strategic planning. Co-managing IT solutions enables you to make better use of your internal resources and free up your team’s time so they can focus their energy on researching and implementing new hardware and software that aligns with your business goals and growth.
  2. Fills in the Gaps — When your business grows faster than your IT team, it may lead to a slew of technology issues when there’s a new hire or your company rolls out a new service. As you grow, routine tasks tend to shift to the back burner—but someone has to manage the everyday aspects of your infrastructure to minimize risk to your mission-critical systems. Perhaps growth isn’t the issue—maybe your IT staff doesn’t have the bandwidth or expertise to roll with the changes. Partnering with an MSP can help you with managing your IT environment or simply act as an advisor.
  3. Keeps Your Business Moving — Whether it’s sick days or approved vacations, your IT expert or team is sure to miss some days during the year. Even when you have a full house, you may have everyone working on a major project and need backup support for routine maintenance and issue tracking. Partnering with the right MSP means your systems will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, giving your business the coverage it needs whenever you’re short-staffed or faced with an emergency.

If you want or need more control, already have in-house IT, or simply don’t need all the services of a full-blown MSP agreement, co-managed IT services is an alternative that can give you just the right amount of support you need without blowing your budget. Contact one of our experts for more information.

 

Ransomware Attacks in Winston-Salem Are Imminent 

Ransomware Attacks in Winston-Salem Are Imminent 

The FBI and Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently announced a public service warning of ransomware attacks looming on the horizon. With attacks on the rise, particularly surrounding holidays and weekends, Nitor Solutions urges Winston-Salem-based businesses of all sizes to remain vigilant throughout the rest of the year.

This year is on track to being one of the darkest for cybercrime. In fact, the first six months of this calendar year saw a 151% increase in attacks compared to the same time last year.

While your business is at higher risk of encountering ransomware, the Nitor Solutions team is proactively working to keep our community safe and provide 360-degree ransomware protection. As your local cybersecurity experts, we understand our civic duty in protecting your business and staying ahead of the latest threats.

How Cyberthreats Infiltrate Businesses

Cybercriminals today are masters of deception and social engineering. They use believable phishing emails disguised as trusted brands to manipulate people into revealing their sensitive information.

These messages alert you of supposed purchases made to your account or potential compromises to your account, urging you to click a link or download an attachment. At first glance, they appear legitimate, and one wrong click in less than a second can provide a floodgate of trouble for your business.

Your data becomes encrypted, the ransom alert and timer are set, and pressure is put on your business from all angles. Long gone are the days when a ransomware attack focused solely on your business. Now, they reach out to your clients and investors, sharing that their data is compromised as a result and increase pressure exponentially to have you pay out fast and big.

That’s when you’ll really feel your back is up against a wall.

The Latest Ransomware Tools

The techniques and tools behind ransomware attacks are becoming more sophisticated alongside their social savviness. Here are just a few of the latest ransomware tools in circulation.

  • CryptoWall — infiltrates operating systems with an email and fake downloads
  • Locky — Microsoft Word document that’s sent through email and contains malicious macros
  • TorrentLocker — targets Microsoft Windows and uses malware to encrypt the victim’s files before demanding ransom
  • CTB-Locker — encrypts files on a hard disk and demands ransom; known for high infection rates
  • CrypVault — renames a file extension to “. vault” to make it seem like it’s already quarantined by anti-malware

Keeping track of these and thousands of other methods isn’t realistic for the everyday businessman or woman. However, <> is well-versed in the most advanced ransomware attack strategies and ransomware prevention methods in today’s market. We use sophisticated, zero trust methods to keep your data locked down, yet still accessible and intuitive for those who should be accessing it.

A Cost Beyond Dollar Figures

According to research by the National Security Institute, the average ransomware demand is a steep $200,000 and can be tempting to pay out and try to recover over time. After all, it’s a worthwhile price to pay to get your business and client’s critical data back, right?

But the costs go far beyond the initial ransom request.

If you pay, you’re increasing the risk of your business being flagged for retargeting, and potentially won’t get your data back despite following the ransom instructions. In fact, more than nine out of 10 victims of ransomware never get their data back.

Additionally, they are beginning to reach out to those you do business with, breeding a cloud of mistrust and potentially lost business and reputational damage that lingers for years to come. This creates a cycle of decreased ROI, increased risk and, for many, the end to their business altogether.

The overwhelming consensus: save your business by investing in preventative measures, rather than paying the ultimate price when it’s too late.

What Does Ransomware Protection Look Like?

Although the problem can feel insurmountable and overwhelming, there are many strategies we can help implement to defend your business. Here are just a few of our suggestions:

  1. Train Your Team
    Cybersecurity training is a must. Forbes notes that human error accounts for 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches. So, investing in all the right tools may be useless if your employee’s digital behavior is your weakest link. However, with frequent and proper training, they can become your first line of defense and greatest asset in cybersecurity efforts.
  2. Update Your Software as Soon as You’re Prompted
    While having to restart your computer can feel like a pain during your midday activities, it’s critical to the health of your business. Software updates seal the cracks where attackers could potentially let themselves into your systems. However, expert managed security partners can work with your team to create an automated updates schedule that minimizes interruptions to your operations.
  3. Adjust Your Security to Factor in Remote Workers
    Nearly 70 percent of organizations have experienced a compromise because of a remote office or roaming user. Yet, most users don’t use the proper VPNs to account for travelling or remote employees. With the right VPN in place, you can disguise your network and secure your data against external threats.

It’s Time to Partner with an MSP

There’s never been a more pressing time to seek out expert cybersecurity support, and the expertise at Nitor Solutions goes well beyond ransomware prevention. We assess your current technology infrastructure and arm your business with a comprehensive strategy required to defend your data. In addition to increased security, we offer a wide spectrum of services that equip your business to operate more efficiently and intuitively.

There will always be risks in operating a business, but with Nitor Solutions, you can rest assured knowing you’re in good hands.

To request a security assessment and gauge your risk of a ransomware attack in Winston-Salem, reach out to one of our experts today.

 

Mitigate Disaster with Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery in Winston-Salem

Mitigate Disaster with Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery in Winston-Salem

Let’s face it; Accidents happen. If it can go wrong, there’s a good chance it will. That’s why every business, from the mom-and-pop shop around the corner to the Fortune 500 company in the downtown high-rise, needs a backup and disaster recovery plan. At Nitor Solutions in Winston-Salem, we know disasters — manmade and natural — are on the rise. We also know business continuity and disaster recovery plans are crucial to long-term business success.

According to FEMA, four out of 10 businesses don’t reopen after a disaster and another 25 percent fail within one year. Too many businesses are unprepared for a disaster because they don’t have the proper backup and disaster recovery plans in place. The truth is catastrophic events can derail your business, but you can stay ahead of unexpected events by recognizing the potential threats.

Here are 4 reasons your small business needs a backup and disaster recovery plan:

1. Natural Disasters

We’ve all witnessed the deadly impact of natural disasters across the country. Notable natural disasters range from hurricanes along the Atlantic coast, flooding everywhere from New York to Louisiana, and wildfires in California. Businesses are devastated. Buildings, equipment and livelihoods have been damaged or destroyed.

2. Building & Hardware Failures

As the temperature outside rises, so do the number of building fires. Summertime is a peak time for commercial structure fires as the summer heat, overworked air conditioning units and lightning strikes increase the risk of fires.

When your building suffers a fire, there’s a strong chance your hardware may fail. Hardware failure causes data loss, downtime and reduced productivity.

3. Cyberattacks and Data Breaches

Hackers and cybercriminals are starting to view small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as prime targets. According to Verizon’s “2019 Data Breach Investigations Report,” 43 percent of breaches involved small businesses. Here are some of the ways cybercriminals attack:

  • Malware — malicious software such as spyware, viruses and ransomware. Once in your computer, the malware can block access to your computer, covertly transmit data or destroy the system from the inside.
  • Phishing — the act of sending fraudulent communications, such as emails or attachments, which ultimately trick the receiver into providing access credentials.
  • Exploiting Outdated Software — Hackers taking advantage of weaknesses in older versions of computer programs. For example, according to CSO, there was a patch available for Windows computers months before the WannaCry ransomware attack, but the people affected put off downloading the update.

4. Human Error

Unfortunately, if there is going to be a data disaster, we — the end user — will most likely be the cause. Ninety-five percent of cybersecurity issues are the result of human error, according to IBM. These behaviors can include clicking on suspicious links, neglecting to download software patches and updates, accidentally deleting important files and intentional damage caused by disgruntled employees.

How We Can Help

For SMBs, it’s not a matter of “if” you’ll be affected by hardware failure, a data breach or some natural disaster — it’s a matter of “when.” But with a comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery solution including onsite and offsite servers, automated cloud backups and enhanced security features, your business won’t miss a beat when the unexpected happens.

Let Nitor Solutions help by designing a business continuity and disaster recovery strategy completely customized for your business. Contact us today to get started.