TOP 5 For Shopping Safe on Cyber Monday

Here is a great article for any of you that fear shopping online this holiday season.

Remember to shop safe and keep on top of your accounts, credit reports and above all “THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!!”

 

Top 5 Reasons to have a TRUE IT Budget

Most of us are going through this fun time of year: Budget Cycle. Either you’re knee deep in it, have completed it, or are just plain ignoring it. Whatever your choice, here are 5 reasons to actually do it!

  1. Know the truth about your IT organization
  2. Prepares you for the questions
  3. Limits surprises
  4. Easier to obtain approvals if it’s budgeted
  5. Shows you are forward thinking and NOT reactionary

It’s been our experience that most smaller companies kind of “wing it” based on last year’s budget and some ideas of what they want to accomplish in the coming year.  Dynamic Strategies, Inc. are working hard on changing this method of IT Budgeting for our current and future clients.  We’re providing not only the IT Budgeting framework for our clients, but also an true IT Road Map.  This formal document and process drives not only the IT environment for our clients, but is also a tool for our clients to hold us accountable for our services.  Rather than just reacting to our clients needs we are driving the discussion, putting it to paper, and using this tool to enable our clients to succeed!

Below is a great article by a firm that focuses solely on IT Budgeting and Finance. Enjoy the read and reach out to us if your team would need help creating it’s IT Road Map!

Apptio-EB-6-Best-Practices-for-Strategic-IT-Finance

TOP 5 Reasons why you need better IT documentation

The importance of better IT Documentation

We as IT professionals are always amazed when we see new clients we work lacking the basic documentation. The cornerstone of efficiency, resiliency, and adaptability all comes IT documentation.

Here are the TOP 5 Reasons why you need better IT documentation:

  1. Record Keeping
    The saying “if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen,” is often repeated in professional IT spaces, and with good reason. This
  2. Fast and Effective Training
    IT documentation doesn’t just mean incident reports and meeting notes. It means quickly getting new resources up to speed.
  3. Analyse your processes
    While documenting your processes, you will define standards of your services and products, and then be able to analyse the performance of existing processes.
  4. Consistency
    Anything that is done more than one time by more than one person in your company should be documented. You may have started out by “having everything in your head,” however when you begin delegating to employees, you must to ensure that they will be able to replicate your processes in order to provide the same level of service to your customers each and every time.
  5. It’s not in someone’s head
    The biggest danger is that someone who own’s a process leaves the company and now what…

Read below a couple of great articles about the importance of IT Documentation:

4 Reasons you need good internal documentation

Why you need to document business processes

Do you have an IT Strategy Road Map?

Why is it important to have an IT Strategy Road Map?

Our team started reviewing typical managed service marketing efforts (ours and others) and during this process we noticed one thing in common: Every provider was offering some version of the statement “We align IT with your business goals.”  This led us to ask these questions:

  1. What does this statement mean?
  2. If you do this, don’t you need to know the business goals?
  3. Are any of these providers (us included) really defining what this means?
  4. Even if they are, what does that look like?
  5. To our clients, what are we really selling?
  6. Most importantly, what are we all actually doing?

Ultimately, we concluded that NOTHING is being done!  It’s just a marketing ploy to get you to believe we care about your business.

We are going to change the way we do things and lead the industry in providing real value to our clients.

How does this look to you, our clients?

  • We will provide a written IT Road Map
  • We will review corporate goals every year
  • We will review IT infrastructure every year
  • We will create and ratify a written plan
  • We will calibrate the plan throughout the year as the business need changes
  • We will use this document to govern the budget and plan for the year

So, back to the original question: Why is an IT Strategic Road Map important?

Below are links to two articles that will tell you why this is so important for your organization. As our team reviewed what was being said and what was being done, we realized that many of our clients’ IT systems were not aligned with the priorities of their businesses.  More importantly, their IT systems were not a value add for their respective companies. If IT is always a “cost center” item and doesn’t provide a “value add” to the business, then we are all missing out on the opportunity to create any value.  By having a plan based on business goals from an IT perspective, organizations are able to align the two so to perpetuate as an increasingly important valued asset for each and every one of our clients.

Look at this article from CIO Magazine about the importance of an IT Strategic Road Map

Here’s what Gartner has to say about the importance of an IT Strategic Road Map

Security Alert – Threat Level Medium – UPDATE!

UPDATE:  See article here, recommendation now is to re-image or restore your computer!!

On Monday, Avast’s Piriform, the creator of CCleaner, announced that their award-winning PC optimization software had been compromised. Hackers injected malicious code into version 5.33, which was available to download on the official CCleaner website, from Aug. 15 through Sept. 12.
The malware code ran behind the scenes, collecting information about compromised computers, and delivering it to a US-based “Command and Control” server while it waited for new instructions. Fortunately, the hack was discovered and the compromised server disabled before more damage could be done.
While the information transmitted was reported as “non-personal,” the breach is a serious reminder that even reputable companies have to be vigilant about their IT security.
According to Piriform, uninstalling the program or upgrading to version 5.34 removes the bad code – A suggestion they recommend even though they already turned off the leak. You can download this direct from their website.

Patching; it’s no joke, just ask Merck and Equifax!

 

We are watching companies make some really poor decisions about how they maintain and keep their networks running.  In March both an Apache and separately a Microsoft patch were provided free of charge, just deploy them, that’s all you have to do.  For some reason many companies, most famously Merck and Equifax, although they were not alone, didn’t!  While everyone sees the impact for both of these companies in the press and in their image, what does it do to overall productivity.  Stories of employees sitting at desks, unable to access anything…  Tic toc and the dollars just roll out the door!

So, what should YOU know.  First are your systems patched?

Now read here for 5 things you need to know about ransomware.

Are you prepared for the NEXT storm?

Check out this great article from one of our partners, Datto.  You can read the full article here

While our thoughts and prayers go out to those in the storms path.  While we are not in this storms path, we can learn from what happens in other areas of the country.

Our Top 5 this week is based on this article and we realized there are some very simple things we ALL can do with our businesses to make sure our employees are safe and limit the impact to our businesses.

 

If you’re interested in helping out the recovery efforts remember to check out our last Top 5 here and support one of our partners efforts to ship help to Houston!

Office 365 Migrations – other thing you need to know!

 

Companies are moving to Microsoft Office 365 a break neck speeds.  So, what is one of the pitfalls with moving this quickly?  Have you looked at your network and Internet bandwidth?  With most moves to Office 365 companies find their bandwidth suffers as no one planned that part of the migration.  Be sure to review your current usage and plan for your expected usage once the migration is complete, it will definitely change!  Read here about Network Design Best Practice from Gartner.  Although the article is a year old, the practices remain the same!

 

Merck Cyber Attack and What you should know!

Over the last month there has been a lot of information on the affects of the Cyber Attack that hit Merck (NotPetya).  Read more here

What is not being discussed much is HOW this happened…  Read hear about how NotPetya works and why it is worse than Petya!

In short, while Petya could be expensive to the infected company you would have the ability to pay the ransom, with NotPetya, the perpetrators didn’t think the whole thing through and we not prepared to provide the unlock keys, so you’re out of luck.

Many  of these attacks worked due to a vulnerability in the Microsoft Operating system that was fixed earlier this year!  This means that a significant portion of the infected companies could have prevented the attack if they had updated their computers on a regular basis as we always recommend to our clients!  Contact us today to ensure you’re up to date.

Top 5 Streaming Services and Their Impact on Your Business

Below is a link to a great article about the Best Live TV Streaming Services out there today:

Read More Here

Here are 5 better questions to ask concerning these services and your organization:

  1. What does allowing steaming video do your end users productivity?
  2. Do you know what service you ARE allowing?
  3. What is the network impact of these services on your network?
  4. Have you investigated the security impact of allowing these types of services?
  5. Does your network have the ability to STOP these services from being run on your network?

These are important questions you should be asking yourself as these service become more common.  Be sure to know what the impact is not only to your IT infrastructure but to your business as a whole, contact us today if you need help answering these and other IT related questions!