5 Impactful Tech Solutions for Your Company
5 Impactful Tech Solutions for Your Company
I recently attended a technology conference, in Chicago put on by the ASCII Group, an organization for IT professionals and Managed Service Providers. This is one of the first in-person conferences I’ve been at in years. It was great to see people attending in person. The energy in the room, and people learning in a collaborative setting was refreshing after years of virtual conferences. The high-level take-aways were consistent with the industry trends we have been experiencing and hearing about.
We may be growing tired of hearing about it, but cybersecurity was the headliner. Statistics clearly show that there has been an explosion in cyber events in the last couple of years. Depending on the study, cyber incidents are up from 60% to 80% in the last year. Everyone is a target and there are lots of new technologies available to help us reduce risk. Additional new security mechanisms are something that we should all be evaluating and taking action on.
Cloud migration continued to be a big topic with vendors focused on cloud for the SMB market. Small businesses have been the last to make a full cloud push, and many new offerings are tailored to making the move of servers to the cloud even easier.
There were several solutions that were newer or that are gaining adoption that are interesting.
Here are 5 Impactful Tech Solutions for SMB Companies:
1. Zero Trust Networking. Zero Trust takes a different approach to creating security. The idea is to start by blocking everything and then allow only the functions you need. For instance, consider a PC on your business network. There is likely a group of people who only use a few applications. You can create a very secure network by limiting what they can do to only the applications they need. If Caleb only uses Outlook, Word, Excel, and ERP software, a Zero Trust solution will block every other function and only allow these applications to run. In addition, Zero Trust will block behind the scenes built-in tools that hackers like to use like PowerShell or ftp. By doing this, even if a user picks up Malware somehow, it will most likely be unable to do anything significant, because it can’t operate or use the tools and features it would typically use to accomplish its malicious intent. The key to Zero Trust is making it easy to managerules. ThreatLocker Cybersecurity made a great case for using their solution to make this easy and practical even in a small business environment.
2. Simplified Email Encryption. Email encryption has become a standard for many industries who are sending personal information by email, or for industries that are regulated like financial advisors, defense contractors, healthcare, and others. There are a host of solutions that are available to do this. Microsoft 365 even has a built-in add-in (for a fee) for email encryption. The issue is that this is often difficult for the sender and the receiver. One of the solutions profiled at the conference is a product called Bracket. This mail encryption solution automatically encrypts any email simply by encasing the subject in brackets, like [Subject Line]. Bracket makes triggering email to send encrypted as simple as it gets, and it focuses on keeping things simple for the receiving person. There is a sign-in required. There is no way to avoid the sign-in, but the experience for the recipient is kept as simple as possible.
3. Cloud Based Desktops. Cloud computing has been trending in tech for years, and cloud-based desktops are not new either. However, use of cloud desktops has grown in recent years. The supplier choices for cloud and cloud desktops are many. The vendors at this recent conference were focused on either their own small business platform for cloud desktops or making the Microsoft and AWS cloud easier to deploy and manage. The real question is whether cloud desktops make sense for your environment. If they do, they can offer the advantages of easy deployment, easy update, consistent interface from anywhere, and even additional security. Cloud based desktops are not usually for your entire organization. Power users who like to load new applications, use a variety of peripherals, and need some autonomies are usually better using a traditional laptop. Cloud desktops are a great solution but need to be deployed with the correct strategy.
4. New Security Baseline. There were all sorts of security vendors at the conference. The interesting thing was that amid all these new technologies, a new security stack or baseline emerged. Right now, most companies have a firewall, antivirus, SPAM protection, and should be on a security awareness training program. The emerging security standard is that there should be a shift to another level of malware protection called Managed Detection and Response or MDR. These MDR packages use advanced malware protection to even look for behavioral indicators that there is a security problem on your network. They then send their information to a Security Operations Center or SOC for review. If the threat is determined a real issue, then your MSP or IT people are notified and advised on what actions to take. This new detection and review provided by MDR is a necessary change to meet the increasing threat landscape we are seeing out there.
5. Enhanced Microsoft 365 Security. Microsoft 365 has become a target of the hacker, and there are very few measures most companies are taking to protect themselves from a threat like this. There are two newer types of solutions to protect your 365 platform. The first one is a variety of different backup tools to backup email and documents on 365. Imagine a scenario where some malicious actor deletes or encrypts files that you are storing on OneDrive or Sharepoint? You can recover from recycle bin, and you can request file recovery from Microsoft for up to 14 days. New backup technologies put you back in control of your data instead of having to rely on the built-in Microsoft offering. The second type of MS365 security offering is a security auditor that focuses on your cloud setup. Does everyone really use MFA? Are there any compromised passwords? Are there rules that should be changed to keep you safe? Has a hacker already infiltrated email and is capturing data? There are several new tools to evaluate your MS365 security state and provide reporting on your level of security.
The great thing about technology is that it always changing. The frustrating thing about technology is that it is always changing! Staying up-to-date and employing new strategy and tools to managing IT is more important than ever. If you would like to discuss these new technologies or any other technology concerns, please contact us!
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, a Brookfield IT support company that has been helping businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.