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Best Phone System Features For SMBs in 2024

As we prepare for 2024, the demands for efficient and versatile phone systems have evolved. SMBs need advanced features to streamline communication, enhance productivity, and ensure seamless collaboration. 

In this article, we’re helping you look closer into each key feature, focusing on both innovation and practicality.

What’s Ahead For 2024? Your Business and Clear Communication

A new year sometimes brings new challenges and even fears for what’s to come for your business success. There’s a lot of pressure and expectations as we create our company’s plans and strategies and how to become a better organization than we were the previous year. 

Some of these thoughts have to do with office technology solutions for your business, and with that comes modern or digital phone systems. Is your company currently utilizing the best phone system solution? What cloud phone features are helping you increase productivity and efficiency with your customers? 

VoIP Integration: The Foundation of Modern Communication

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become the cornerstone of contemporary communication. In 2024, SMBs should increasingly adopt VoIP phone systems to leverage cost savings and enhanced flexibility. 

VoIP integrates voice and data, allowing businesses to make calls over the Internet, reducing traditional telephony costs. Look for a system that offers crystal-clear voice quality, scalability, and compatibility with other business applications.

Enhanced Voice Quality: Ensure your chosen VoIP system prioritizes voice quality. High-definition (HD) voice technology minimizes background noise and delivers clear, crisp communication, vital for maintaining professionalism and ensuring effective collaboration.

Scalability: Choose a VoIP system that grows with your business. Scalability is crucial, enabling you to add new lines and features and even integrate with other business tools seamlessly. This ensures your communication system remains adaptable to the evolving needs of your SMB.

Compatibility with Business Applications: Integration is key. A VoIP system that easily integrates with existing business applications like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, project management platforms, and collaboration software enhances workflow efficiency.

As we prepare for 2024, the demands for efficient and versatile phone systems have evolved. SMBs need advanced features to streamline communication, enhance productivity, and ensure seamless collaboration. 

In this article, we’re helping you look closer into each key feature, focusing on both innovation and practicality.

What’s Ahead For 2024? Your Business and Clear Communication

A new year sometimes brings new challenges and even fears for what’s to come for your business success. There’s a lot of pressure and expectations as we create our company’s plans and strategies and how to become a better organization than we were the previous year. 

Some of these thoughts have to do with office technology solutions for your business, and with that comes modern or digital phone systems. Is your company currently utilizing the best phone system solution? What cloud phone features are helping you increase productivity and efficiency with your customers? 

VoIP Integration: The Foundation of Modern Communication

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has become the cornerstone of contemporary communication. In 2024, SMBs should increasingly adopt VoIP phone systems to leverage cost savings and enhanced flexibility. 

VoIP integrates voice and data, allowing businesses to make calls over the Internet, reducing traditional telephony costs. Look for a system that offers crystal-clear voice quality, scalability, and compatibility with other business applications.

Enhanced Voice Quality: Ensure your chosen VoIP system prioritizes voice quality. High-definition (HD) voice technology minimizes background noise and delivers clear, crisp communication, vital for maintaining professionalism and ensuring effective collaboration.

Scalability: Choose a VoIP system that grows with your business. Scalability is crucial, enabling you to add new lines and features and even integrate with other business tools seamlessly. This ensures your communication system remains adaptable to the evolving needs of your SMB.

Compatibility with Business Applications: Integration is key. A VoIP system that easily integrates with existing business applications like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools, project management platforms, and collaboration software enhances workflow efficiency.

Unified Communications: Breaking Down Silos

Unified Communications (UC) is a game-changer for SMBs seeking seamless collaboration. In 2024, integrated platforms that combine voice, video, messaging, and conferencing functionalities are gaining prominence. 

A unified system ensures that communication tools work together harmoniously, breaking down silos and fostering a more connected and productive work environment.

Collaborative Messaging: Look for UC systems that offer advanced messaging features. Real-time messaging, file sharing, and collaboration tools within the unified platform facilitate quick decision-making and enhance team productivity.

Video Conferencing: Beyond mere voice calls, video conferencing capabilities are essential for face-to-face communication in a virtual world. Ensure your UC system provides high-quality video, screen-sharing options, and the flexibility to host virtual meetings with ease.

Presence Management: Enhance communication efficiency with presence management features. Knowing the availability status of team members in real-time reduces delays in reaching out and fosters a more responsive and agile work environment.

Mobile Integration: Work Anytime, Anywhere

The shift towards remote and flexible work has accelerated, and SMBs need phone systems that support this trend. Mobile integration is no longer a luxury but a necessity. 

Ensure your phone system allows employees to make and receive calls on mobile devices, maintaining professional communication even outside the office. Look for features like mobile apps and softphone capabilities for added flexibility.

Mobile Apps for Seamless Connectivity: Choose a phone system dedicated to mobile apps. These apps should offer a user-friendly interface, ensuring employees can easily access essential features, contacts, and messages while on the go.

Softphone Capabilities: Softphones, virtual phone applications for computers and mobile devices, enable employees to make calls using the internet. Ensure your chosen phone system supports softphone capabilities, allowing for flexibility in work locations without compromising communication quality.

Call Handoff between Devices: Seamless transition between devices is essential. Your phone system should support call handoff, enabling employees to switch between their desk phone, mobile device, and computer without interrupting ongoing calls.

Advanced Call Routing: Efficiency at its Core

Efficient call routing is a fundamental feature that SMBs should prioritize. In 2024, advanced call routing goes beyond simply directing calls to the correct department. 

Look for intelligent routing options based on caller history, IVR (Interactive Voice Response) customization, and skills-based routing to ensure that calls are directed to the most qualified team member.

Intelligent IVR Customization: Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems are callers’ first point of contact. Ensure your phone system allows for intelligent IVR customization, providing a personalized and efficient experience for callers by directing them to the correct department or representative.

Skills-Based Routing: Implementing skills-based routing ensures that calls are directed to team members with the most relevant expertise. This enhances customer satisfaction, reduces resolution times, and optimizes internal resources.

Call Analytics for Optimization: Utilize call analytics tools to gain insights into call routing efficiency. Data on call volumes, wait times, and resolution rates enables you to optimize your call routing strategy continuously for maximum effectiveness.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Telephony: Smart Automation

As AI continues to evolve, its integration into phone systems is becoming increasingly prevalent. AI-driven features like chatbots, virtual assistants, and automated call transcription enhance efficiency and customer experience. 

In 2024, SMBs should consider phone systems that leverage AI to automate repetitive tasks, provide data insights, and offer a more personalized customer interaction.

AI-Powered Chatbots: Implement chatbots to handle routine customer queries. AI-powered chatbots can provide instant responses, freeing up human resources for more complex tasks and improving overall customer service efficiency.

Virtual Assistants for Call Handling: Leverage virtual assistants to handle call routing and basic inquiries. AI-driven virtual assistants can enhance call efficiency, reduce wait times, and provide a more personalized experience for callers.

Automated Call Transcription: Save time and enhance record-keeping with automated call transcription. AI-driven transcription services can convert voice conversations into text, facilitating easy review, analysis, and documentation of important information.

Integration with CRM Systems: Customer-Centric Communication

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) integration is a must-have feature for SMBs focused on delivering exceptional customer service. 

In 2024, phone systems that seamlessly integrate with CRM platforms empower businesses to access customer information during calls, personalize interactions, and streamline the sales and support processes. Choose a phone system that enhances your customer-centric approach.

Real-Time Customer Information: Integrate your phone system with CRM platforms to provide real-time access to customer information during calls. This ensures that your team is well-informed and can offer personalized and efficient service.

Automatic Call Logging: Streamline your sales and support processes by enabling automatic call logging in your CRM. This feature ensures that every customer interaction is documented, providing valuable insights for future engagements.

CRM Analytics for Performance Tracking: Utilize CRM analytics tools to track the performance of your customer interactions. Data on call durations, customer satisfaction ratings, and follow-up activities can inform strategic decisions and improve overall customer relationship management.

Scalability: Growing with Your Business

The ability to scale is a crucial consideration for SMBs, especially those experiencing growth. 

Choose a phone system that can effortlessly scale with your business needs, whether it’s accommodating new employees, expanding to multiple locations, or integrating with additional software and services. 

Scalability ensures that your communication infrastructure remains agile and adaptable to changes in your business landscape.

Flexible User Licensing: Opt for phone systems with flexible user licensing options. This allows you to easily add or remove user licenses based on your business’s changing needs, ensuring you only pay for the services you truly need.

Multi-Location Support: If your SMB operates in multiple locations, choose a phone system that offers seamless integration across various sites. This ensures consistent communication and collaboration, regardless of geographical distance.

Integration with Third-Party Applications: Scalability extends beyond user licenses. Ensure your phone system can integrate with third-party applications and services commonly used in your industry. This flexibility allows for a customized communication infrastructure that grows with your business.

Analytics and Reporting: Data-Driven Decision-Making

In 2024, data-driven decision-making will be at the forefront of business strategies. Phone systems with robust analytics and reporting features provide valuable insights into communication patterns, call volumes, and customer interactions. 

This data empowers SMBs to make informed decisions, optimize workflows, and enhance overall operational efficiency.

Communication Patterns Analysis: Utilize analytics tools to analyze communication patterns within your organization. Insights into call durations, frequency, and peak times can inform resource allocation and scheduling for optimal efficiency.

Call Volume Trends: Track call volume trends to identify busy periods and anticipate staffing needs. This data-driven approach ensures that your team is adequately resourced to handle peak call times, minimizing customer wait times.

Customer Interaction Metrics: Evaluate customer interaction metrics to gauge customer satisfaction and identify areas for improvement. 

Metrics such as average call resolution time, customer feedback ratings, and repeat customer interactions provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your communication strategies.

The Final Say: Future-Proofing Your Communication Strategy for 2024

As SMBs navigate the ever-evolving landscape of business communication, investing in the right phone system features is paramount. In 2024, the convergence of VoIP, unified communications, mobile integration, AI, and security features will define the landscape of advanced phone systems. 

By prioritizing these features, SMBs can future-proof their communication strategies, ensuring they remain agile, efficient, and competitive in the years to come. Stay ahead of the curve by embracing the technological advancements that empower your business to communicate effectively in the digital age.

To learn more about phone system features and solutions for 2024, make sure to reach out to us today.

Top Managed IT Trends for 2024: What to watch out for

Today’s modern business landscape is rapidly changing, and managed IT services play a critical role in this evolution. But, as technology continues to integrate into everyday operations, the complexity of managed IT does as well. 

To help you better understand this landscape and position your organization for success, let’s explore the top information technology (IT) trends of 2024.

What Are Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services refer to the delegation of IT operations and tasks to third-party providers who specialize in maintaining, improving, and overseeing a range of IT processes for businesses. This includes key IT service segments:

  • Cloud services
  • Remote help desk 
  • Network monitoring
  • Application maintenance
  • Server and desktop management 
  • Device life cycle asset management

When businesses employ managed IT services, they can free up internal resources and people power toward more critical tasks while becoming more proactive toward IT management rather than reactive. This is especially powerful for cybersecurity efforts, where proactive measures are essential for safety and compliance. 

Top Managed IT Trends for 2024

As digital transformation efforts take center stage, it’s critical for businesses to keep a keen eye on the top trends in IT to stay ahead.

Rising Popularity of Cloud Services

While cloud computing is certainly nothing new to the world of managed IT, it’s set to dominate and become a top IT trend for 2024. The pull toward cloud services emerges from the need for flexible, scalable, and remotely accessible infrastructure.

As businesses migrate from traditional IT infrastructure, they’re expected to lean more heavily on cloud solutions for data storage, collaboration tools, and business applications. Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services was expected to grow 21.7% in 2023. Matching the pace of adoption isn’t a choice but a matter of survival for most businesses.

However, the simplicity of the cloud and how managed cloud services handle data security, integration, and hybrid workflows make it an invaluable resource for any organization to explore and master.

Advanced Cybersecurity Approaches to Support Remote Work

With the boundaries of business operations expanding past physical office walls, traditional cybersecurity defense mechanisms will become inefficient. This year will bring more robust, dynamic, and proactive cybersecurity strategies.

These approaches will focus on securing endpoints like mobile devices to counter the blurring of boundaries between personal and professional devices. In 2019, around 68% of surveyed organizations were victims of an endpoint security attack.

Managed IT services will prioritize holistic security solutions that encompass not just reactionary measures but predictive threat intelligence. To support the future of remote and hybrid work, businesses need to approach cybersecurity comprehensively, with both reactive and proactive strategies.

Changes in Customer Experience and Technology

Customer experience (CX) is the cornerstone of modern business, and technology plays a pivotal role in shaping these experiences. Take the average customer journey. In 2016, the average customer would use five channels; in 2021, that number increased to ten. Omnichannel is the new reality — and businesses need robust IT infrastructure to support this new era.

One of the top IT trends in 2024, CX will be even more intertwined with technological advancements. This will result in real-time customer feedback loops, AI-driven customer insights, and chatbots that offer instant support.

As customers demand a more seamless experience, businesses will need to integrate more advanced tooling and infrastructure. The result will be more consistency and responsiveness across all touchpoints and digital channels.

AI, ML, and Other Advanced Technology Integration

2024 will see the further integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in managed IT services. These features will inevitably improve service delivery and efficiency. But, as the data influx continues to grow, businesses will need to employ and develop advanced tools for analysis and interpretation to harness the power of this data.

AI and ML will help automate routine tasks. From predicting market trends and personalizing customer experiences to automating approvals and customizing workflows for service requests, these technologies will quickly become a standard element of managed IT services.

Additionally, cybersecurity will significantly benefit from this kind of integration and automation. AI and ML will enhance incident management by proactively predicting and preventing potential issues and mitigating the risk of disruptions and downtime. Businesses should be exploring these types of integrations and working with service providers that are at the forefront of these advancements.

 Development of Advanced Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions

IoT has quickly become an integral part of business IT strategies — and its importance will only intensify in the years to come. With more and more devices connected daily, the IoT landscape will offer smarter solutions for businesses. Currently, there are around 13.2 billion connected IoT devices, with that number estimated to eclipse 34.7 billion in 2028.

These devices range in application from enhanced supply chain management systems to innovative customer engagement tools. Managed IT will focus not just on connecting these devices but also on ensuring they work in harmony, generating actionable insights for businesses.

Businesses need to approach IoT with cautious optimism. While it will bring profound changes, there are enhanced security risks with additional endpoints, hefty upfront investments, and the problem of integrating these devices into existing infrastructure.

Looking Ahead: Fostering Progress in 2024

While the world of managed IT is in constant flux, keeping an eye on these trends can help your organization stay ahead of the pack. The symbiosis of business and technology will undoubtedly deepen, opening up new opportunities and presenting novel challenges. By partnering with a seasoned managed IT service provider such as Forbtech, businesses can seamlessly navigate these trends and find solid footing in 2024 and beyond.

From Chaos to Order: How Managed IT Services Can Optimize Your Office Operations

Most businesses get started by building their own tech stack. Patching together a few valuable pieces of business software and setting up a few workstations is something that most modern professionals can handle. 

However, once you get past the chaotic startup phase, a business benefits far more from having an organized and expertly implemented IT infrastructure.

You need optimized servers, securely networked endpoints, and software stacks configured to integrate smoothly. Creating an optimized workflow for your office takes more than throwing a few technical assets together.

Fortunately, you don’t have to hire an entire IT department to lift your team out of chaos. Managed IT Services can ensure that you benefit from professionally managed IT without the cost or hassle of internal hiring.

How can managed IT services optimize your office operations? Let’s dive into the operational benefits.

Working on a Fast, Well-Organized Business Network

The quality of your network configuration is at the heart of business efficiency. Your network defines how data flows through your business, and network configuration has become ever more complex as both on-site and cloud-based business operations must coincide.

Your managed IT team can optimize your routing, security, and quality-of-service configurations so that your team experiences the best possible performance when using the business network.

Routing configurations ensure that when data flows from one endpoint (laptops, devices, servers, etc.) to another, the traffic flows most efficiently without slowing other data.

Security settings close unused ports and block known bad actors so that your company can safely operate with internal and external business data traffic.

Quality-of-service prioritizes certain functions and systems—like video conferencing or necessary data transfers—so that high-priority traffic is allocated bandwidth first. In contrast, a smaller bandwidth channel is reserved for low demand but vital traffic flow.

Integrated and Maintained Business Software Stack

There is a big difference between business software that has been cobbled together and an adequately integrated software stack. A Managed IT Service can use a combination of APIs and shared server resources to ensure your business software operates like a single business technology system.

Your IT team will work to eliminate data silos and redundancy so that every team and department is on the same page, no matter what digital toolkit they use in your software stack.

Attentive software maintenance and updates also ensure that each element of the stack works optimally with your chosen technology’s latest version.

Regular updates can provide new features, better security, and improved performance. Having a skilled IT team to manage your software updates also ensures that your entire business software stack remains adequately integrated and fully secure when updates do not perfectly align from one stack element to the next.

Quick Solutions to Office Technical Problems

Managed IT services also include on-call technical support, often with specialists available for specific problems. From office cloud phones to on-site server errors, you have experts ready to immediately resolve any technical issues.

Should you experience a hardware issue, a computer or server specialist can walk your team members through the solution process. Or in some cases, the company will send someone over to enact repairs.

Suppose the problem is with your business software. In that case, the solution can often be implemented through remote server and desktop management or by providing quick guidance on navigating more challenging use cases for your chosen programs.

Copiers and printers are a notorious source of technical problems in the office. So, having a printer expert on-call can ensure your necessary office paperwork management is always on-point, with solutions ready to implement any time a device goes on the fritz.

Your managed service provider (MSP) should be able to quickly assess the situation and apply solutions as soon as a problem occurs. In most cases, your company’s employees can quickly receive the help they need to get office operations back on track before noticeable delays occur.

Proactively Cybersecurity

Data security is essential to optimized business operations because cybersecurity attacks can become significant setbacks.

You rely on your IT team to ensure that your firewalls, network routing, and integrated software are all securely configured to prevent malware intrusion. But preconfigured defenses aren’t the only way a Managed IT Service can keep your business safe.

As you probably know, cybersecurity also relies on the knowledge and capabilities of your entire team. Awareness of what a phishing email looks like and how to avoid infected links is essential, even in the best-fortified business networks. IT service providers are often your best source of employee cybersecurity training as experts in the field.

Your Managed IT Services team may also be an excellent source of cybersecurity drills, providing fake cybersecurity threats for your employees to catch and report.

This will keep your team on their toes and ready to resist phishing, social engineering, and infected link threats that may be real in the future. By rewarding successful drill responses, you can even make it a fun and enthusiastic “game” for the whole staff as they become an effective cyber-defense force.

Access to the Latest Business Technology

In addition to maintenance, problem-solving, and security, your Managed IT Service may also watch for the best software that provides the tools and services your business needs. Should a superior platform or tool kit be released, they suggest upgrading your CIO/CTO and then taking on the implementation process.

An attentive and involved Managed IT Service can always ensure your business has access to the latest business technology or help you decide exactly the right time to jump to the next set of tools when the newest software is stable enough for your operations.

Managed System-Wide Updates and Data Migration Projects

Every now and then, a business must undergo a significant technological upgrade process. Digital transformations, cloud migrations, and sometimes major software platform changes are all vast undertakings that an on-staff IT team typically does not have the time or manpower to implement.

However, as an outsourced team, your Managed IT Service can expertly plan, stage, and implement these major upgrades with minimal interruption to your business.

This is often achieved by duplicating your systems, creating a new working environment, migrating your data, and then smoothly transitioning your operations to the new infrastructure, all while your usual operations are maintained until the transition is ready.

Comprehensive Data Loss Prevention with Routine Backups

Last but never least, a Managed IT Service will ensure that your business takes comprehensive and routine backups with a backup-restoration plan in place.

This means that whether you are attacked by ransomware, a software update corrupts your data, or an employee accidentally deletes an entire database—your backups will be there for quick and easy restoration of anything that might be lost.

Infrastructure backups are taken periodically as full images of endpoints and system configurations. These make it easier to reload an entire computer, server, or network after it has been wiped to factory settings (getting rid of malware) or a new system is set up.

Archival backups are records of static data your company keeps in large storage servers and databases—essential but not often changed. Routine backups are then paired with daily logs, making it easy to restore recently added or changed data to a specific date with the minimum possible data loss in the restoration process.

The Takeaway: The Ability to Focus on Your Operations, Not Your Tools

We have deeply explored the benefits of Managed IT services for your business, but how does this all contribute to optimizing your office operations?

When your software and technology stack is fully handled, your team can focus on your operations, not the tools they use. Your business will have access to efficiently configured business software, integrated company data, and robust cybersecurity, so your primary focus can be on your production, customers, or whatever your company does best.

To learn more about our managed IT services and office technology solutions, contact us today!

Ensuring Data Security: Managed IT Services Safeguards Your Digital Assets

In today’s digital business environment, security has become a necessity. It is no longer safe to coast on business software solutions alone. 

Even if your software has security features and your SaaS providers tout secure operations, a business needs a comprehensive IT security solution to remain safe from the landscape of hackers and automated malware now common in the digital environment.

To safely handle customer information or keep your operations private, even the smallest business requires a comprehensive security strategy.

Hiring a managed IT service is the best way to safeguard your office’s digital assets. This is done by taking on the role of your IT department, providing multi-layer infrastructure, monitoring, and support to ensure your business data and digital assets are continually secured.

This article explores how your managed IT service can provide a comprehensive digital defense.

Building a Secure Network and Software Stack

The first step to securing a business’s digital assets is securing the network and the company’s software stack.  Business networks today are typically hybrid systems, a combination of on-site networking using physical routers and workstations combined with a cloud network that connects employees no matter where they are located.

Hybrid networks support multiple business locations, remote workers, hybrid schedules, and a widespread network of connected users.

Securing your network, on the other hand, is a matter of router settings, firewalls, access control settings, and sophisticated routing permissions. Your managed IT service will also audit every piece of software in the company’s tech stack to ensure that they are, together, handling company data securely and streamlined.

Implementing Regular Updates and Security Patches

Once the company’s infrastructure is complete, the next step is ensuring everything updates smoothly. Software updates are essential to digital security because of the evolving nature of cyber threats.

New attack vectors are introduced daily, often targeting popular business platforms and tools. Fortunately, your software providers usually have a live team ready to design new defenses released in each update. Extremely specific reasons are sometimes released in optional security patches, as well.

A great managed IT team will watch for updates and software patches, ensuring that your business software stack has the latest defenses available. They will also monitor the update process to prevent update-related data corruption and other problems that sometimes occur when company software is updated.

Testing for Vulnerabilities and Closing Security Gaps

Of course, no software stack is perfectly secure. This is why vulnerability tests are a necessity. Managed IT services will put your defenses through a battery of tests seeking any possible security gaps or vulnerabilities in your workflow.

If a problem is discovered, they will then devise the correct solution to overcome the risk. This can mean adding external defenses over a weak point in the software stack, seeking security patches, or even writing their own security solution to ensure your digital assets are fully secured.

New tests will be run regularly whenever a change is made to your network or digital infrastructure.

End-to-End Encryption Protection

Encryption is a business’ best defense against a successful data breach. In the event that malware slips through an employee’s email or a hacker manages to crack into your servers, encryption is what can keep your data safe.

When encrypted, data is parsed into “gibberish,” a hashed code that cannot be read unless you have the key. Modern encryption keys are so randomized and complex that hackers can only crack them with their own counter-software.

This means that even if hackers copy a significant section of your servers, the data inside might still be safe because it is unreadable.

Managed IT services can ensure your business has end-to-end encryption, meaning that data is always encrypted in storage, transit, and when in use.

Providing Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Identity and Access Management, or IAM, is how businesses maintain the internal security of digital assets. The system involves assigning specific access permissions to each individual employee account.

Employees have access to the files and tools they need but not to digital assets outside their job scope. This protects the company if an employee account is hacked or otherwise misused because each account can access only a tiny portion of the company’s total digital assets.

A managed IT team can help your company allocate employee and partner accounts, assign the correct access permissions, and keep those permissions up to date when employees are promoted, change teams, transfer to new locations, or leave the company.

Dedicated Protection of Sensitive Data

Your managed IT services can also provide exceptional protection for more sensitive digital assets. Personal, financial, and medical information, along with proprietary business data, are all classified as sensitive.

Through both human and programmatic identification, these elements of your digital assets can be kept with more robust defense measures, and access to these assets can be actively monitored.

Dedicated protection of sensitive data can ensure that only the right accounts and use cases are authorized to view or edit your company’s most sensitive data.

Security Training for Your Company Staff

No cybersecurity solution is complete without employee training. Hackers today know that firewalls and network defenses are robust and often seek to go around these challenges by targeting employees instead.

Infected links in emails, customer service tickets, or commonly visited websites, as well as more direct attempts to scam a business through its employees, are all matters that your staff needs to be aware of.

Through knowledgeable cybersecurity training from your Managed IT Services provider, you can elevate the security level of your entire business.

This will allow your staff to become a security force in their own right, recognizing and reporting attempts to use ‘social engineering’ hacking methods. A well-trained staff closes any hacker’s final route once your business’s digital systems are made into a fortress.

Employee Device Security Management

Device security is another aspect of managed IT services. Your IT team will not only handle the configuration and security of the company’s network and computers, but they can also administer security for the company’s many laptops, phones, and tablets.

Technicians can set up employee devices with security programs and configurations. They can also help employees prevent malware infections and remove any malware on company devices.

Through these measures, it becomes possible to create mobile devices that can safely access the company’s secure platforms and digital assets for remote, traveling, and active employees who are not always using networked company computers or workstations.

Live Monitoring for Suspicious Network Activity

Network monitoring is an advanced security service performed over a specific device, server, file system, or a company’s entire hybrid network.

Using manual and AI-driven monitoring tools, it becomes possible to identify suspicious and unusual network activity that may indicate lurking malware in the system or a live hack in progress.

Managed IT provides detailed network monitoring, making it possible to identify threats in real-time and take preventative actions amid a breach before damage is done.

Network monitoring can lock down a hacked account showing unusual behavior, shut off access to your most secure digital assets in the event of a threat, isolate an infected device, and learn new red-flag behaviors for the future if an incident occurs.

Incident Response Plans for Malware and Data Breaches

Incident response planning is a way to prepare for potential malware threats ahead of time. Your IT team will determine the steps to take and assign roles to help your entire company take immediate action in the event of a cybersecurity incident.

Response planning can play a vital role in stopping an attack in progress or enacting swift recovery after a breach.

Routine Backups and Comprehensive Backup-Recovery Planning

Lastly, your managed IT services should ensure that there are always comprehensive and recent backups of your business’s entire digital operations.

System backups can allow you to reinstall a server, computer, or entire network swiftly if natural disasters, corrupted data, or ransomware attacks damage your systems.

Daily data backups of live file systems make it possible for your business to pick right back up where you left off should an interruption occur.

For example, in the event of a ransomware attack that encrypts/corrupts vital digital systems, backups make it possible to restore your business without paying the ransom or losing a single day’s worth of data.

With comprehensive backups (regularly tested for operability), your IT team can wipe the affected systems back to factory settings, restore your programs and configurations, and then reload recent data to have your teams back up and running in a matter of hours without ever considering paying a questionable ransom.

Responsive Resolutions to Technical and Security Matters

Every business in operation needs a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, continuously implemented by a skilled team of IT professionals. With Managed IT Services, you don’t need an internal IT team or dedicated security specialists on the payroll. Instead, you can partner with technicians and admins who specialize in securing the digital assets of businesses in your industry.

Forbtech is here to keep your company’s network, accounts, and digital assets safe from your deepest archives to your company phones and everything in between. Contact us today to learn how we can fulfill your business’ need for active and skilled cybersecurity through Managed IT Services. 

Streamlining Business Communication: Benefits of Cloud Phone Systems for Modern Offices

Cloud phone systems are one of the best technologies available for modern businesses. Traditional PBX systems pioneered the phone-switching features that many companies need, but they are also highly limited by wired-in networks and desk-bound telephones.

In a rapidly evolving world of remote, hybrid, and multi-location businesses, an old-fashioned PBX just isn’t sufficient to suit your telecommunication needs.

This is where cloud phones have stepped up to the plate, knocking business communication technology out of the park with a vast upgrade to traditional business phone features and flexibility only possible with cloud-based systems.

In this article, you’ll learn how integrating a business cloud phone system can streamline your communications by both improving on your current favorite features and adding new functionality—empowering your team both in the office and all over the world.

The New Features of Cloud Phones

What’s new with cloud phones that your PBX cannot do? While you may have already guessed that cloud phone systems can function as a wireless PBX for remote and multi-location communication, you might not realize how many features have been added to the traditional phone-exchange functions.

Video Conferencing & Screen Sharing

Cloud phones offer more than just ‘telephone calls.’ You can also host video conferences, screen sharing, and more.

Find Me, Follow Me

Ring any device where an employee is logged in, not just one phone handset or connected computer at a time.

Advanced Programmatic Routing

PBX gets an upgrade with advanced computing power behind phone pools, switching, and exchange technology.

Software Integration

Cloud phones can smoothly integrate with computers and software programs so you can facilitate and automate communications using your internal business technology.

AI-Backed Phone Automation

Phone menus and automation can now be connected to advanced chatbots, trained language models, and voice-to-speech programs for never-before-seen automation flexibility.

Cloud-Based PBX

Bring all your phone networks into a single unified system using the cloud.

Individual, Business, and Remote Possibilities using Cloud Phones

Not only do cloud phones offer a new suite of features and integrations. The inherent functions of cloud phones also empower your business in three distinct and essential ways.

First, cloud phones empower individuals by untethering them from their desks. Second, businesses are streamlined through location flexibility and access to new features. Third, cloud phones allow expanding your business’ remote, hybrid, and travel positions with one extremely accessible cloud phone network.

Individual Flexibility of Cloud Phones

How do cloud phones streamline individual workflows? Once, employees were tethered to their office and had to leave ‘out of office’ messages any time they stepped away from the desk – or take the risk of handing out their cell phone numbers. But with cloud phones, availability reaches a new level.

Call the Individual, Not the Office

A cloud phone number is assigned to an individual and can be accessed through any device they may be using.

This means you can ring an employee no matter where they are working or on what device, provided they are logged in. This is a vast improvement to calling an employee’s office and hoping they are in.

Find Me, Follow Me Device Flexibility

The find me, follow me feature rings any device where an employee’s cloud phone account is logged in and can even use smart features to intuit which device they are most likely to answer, given the time of day.

This means employees are more accessible on the clock, whether at their desks or tablets on the factory floor.

Ring Cellphones Without Sharing a Personal Number

Cloud phones can function as an app inside a personal cell phone. This makes it possible to call an employee’s cell phone when they are away from their desk and for employees to remain available on-call, but without giving out their number to clients and colleagues.

Any Workstation or Computer, Any Time

Many businesses do not have permanently assigned offices or desks, or employees change location based on their daily schedule. Cloud phones allow your entire staff to stay connected no matter what workstation, device, or computer they have logged into.

This can include cash registers, manufacturing stations, hot desking, assigned tablets, or any connected device that can run the cloud phone app your team members might use at a given time.

One-Number Business Cards

Then there’s the simplified business card. Gone are the days when professionals need to list three or four numbers that a client or partner can reach them at.

Organizational Benefits of Cloud Phones

What benefits does a cloud phone system bring to overall business operations? Cloud phones expand your business model, scheduling, and workflow opportunities by untethering your operations from wired phone networks.

Say Goodbye to Wired Phones and Installations

As soon as you integrate your cloud phone system, you can say goodbye to invasive phone system installations—no more running wires behind walls and ceilings.

Gone are the days of needing to wire new desks and offices when team members are added, or floorplans are rearranged. Adding a new desk or onboarding a new team member is as simple as creating a new number and user account.

One Phone System for Multiple Business Locations

You can also say goodbye to the need to patch together local PBX systems. A cloud phone system allows sharing the same phone network, service pools, and office extensions, whether you have one office location or one hundred.

Opening a new location or moving between locations, phone numbers are tied to employee logins and are always within the same unified company system.

Simple Scalability

Another convenience of cloud phones is how scalable your system can become. Adding a new employee requires only creating a new cloud phone system login with an assigned number. If your team shrinks, decommissioning a few numbers and accounts is easy.

This makes cloud phones ideal for growing and seasonally dynamic businesses expecting future changes in team size without the hassle of wired phone installations or even company cell phone allocations.

One Number for Rotating Manager Positions

Do you have managers, inspectors, doctors, or other specialists that rotate between locations? Now it is possible to reach them at the same number, no matter which office they occupy and where they are in the rotation schedule.

Easily Integrate Phone Pools and Ticket Systems

Phone pools are one of the primary functions of a traditional PBX, allowing a single number to be split out to many customer service agents, internal support techs, or department phones.

With a cloud phone system, pools are shared without regard for location. You can have remote and dispersed phone support, share phone pools over tech floors in multiple locations, manage overflow and more.

Simplified Availability Management & Work-Life Balance

Availability has become a critical issue with modern business management, being able to clearly indicate whether a professional is available to take calls or not. Automated availability can be aligned with an employee’s schedule and manual control.

This can also ensure employees are disconnected and officially unavailable during their off-hours to protect a healthy work-life balance.

Remote, Hybrid, and Travel with Cloud Phones

For a company to achieve true flexibility in today’s business landscape, you must also have access to remote workers and hybrid schedules.

Remote work allows you to hire talent anywhere in the country or worldwide. At the same time, hybrid schedules permit you to be more flexible regarding disability, mental health, and productive convenience.

The same technology that empowers both remote and hybrid work also allows you to optimize communication and availability during any necessary business travel.

Assign Remote Numbers Inside the Cloud Phone System

When a new remote employee is added to the team, they can be assigned a cloud phone number that is inside the business phone system.

Rather than relying on a personal or company-provided phone, each remote employee will simply be part of your internal communication network by logging into their cloud phone application.

One Number for All Hybrid Schedule Office Locations

Cloud systems are a vital element of streamlined hybrid scheduling. Employees can now easily collaborate at work or home using cloud-based resources, which is true of cloud phones.

Employees working at home can have the same phone number and office hours as they would when working in the office simply by logging into their cloud phone application on a personal device.

Clients, colleagues, or business partners can reach at-home team members through the same phone number and cloud channels.

One-Number Availability for Field Work and Business Travel

Lastly, cloud phones introduce the convenience and accessibility that oft-forgotten traveling professionals need to stay connected.

From laptops in hotel rooms to tablets on-site with clients, employees who travel for business benefit from having the same phone number and cloud communications platform at all times, even using their personal cell phone numbers.

Streamline Your Business Communications with a Cloud Phone System

Upgrading to a cloud phone system is an excellent way to introduce flexibility to your workforce in many ways. Upgrade your communication capabilities regarding location, device, and programmatic integration in one system upgrade.

Enjoy scalability, efficiently onboard remote employees, empower hybrid schedules, and equip business travelers with the ideal mobile communication toolkit. No matter your business’s industry or sector, a cloud phone system can upgrade your workflow and open up new opportunities. To learn more about streamlining your communication through a cloud phone system, get in touch with us today!

Understanding a Network Assessment

In the modern IT landscape, consecutive business growth requires the right technology, security measures, and infrastructure. The state of network infrastructure have evolved over the years, causing many possible security vulnerabilities. Unfortunately, many companies and organizations don’t think about their current infrastructure until problems arise. Sometimes these problems are uncovered when they are already severe. That is why a network assessment is vital for businesses.

Once reading this article, you’ll better understand a network assessment of your current IT infrastructure and needs—and why this is such an essential part of managed IT services for your employees, business, and customers.

What is Network Assessment?

A network assessment is a form of audit that involves scanning a network to uncover any anomalies or risks. It can also be defined as a detailed report of a company’s current IT infrastructure, processes, security, management, and performance.

A network assessment collects information from a company’s network and endpoints to determine if anything is out of the managed service provider’s (MSP) standards.

This assessment aims to provide a comprehensive view of an existing network’s current state and identify improvement opportunities. It requires a qualified managed IT services provider to scan and compile results that give you a technical analysis of your network. This enables you to make strategic business decisions.

The need for a network assessment begins when you realize that your business’s IT systems have grown. At this point, you cannot tell what is happening everywhere in the network. In the event of performance bottlenecks, you cannot verify the cause until a thorough analysis of all the network components is done. 

1. Infrastructure Assessment

A network assessment starts with an infrastructure assessment that targets specific enterprise and office components. It reviews the current location, types of offices, number of users, facilities for access, distribution, etc.

The infrastructure assessment also examines common elements like Windows ADS, circuit maps, and the routing protocol design. Results of this analysis help to determine potential issues with a company’s current infrastructure.

2. Performance Assessment

This step identifies potential problems with specific locations, devices, and servers. It determines any errors or over-utilization of these components. Some of the primary causes of network performance problems include:

• Network device configuration

• Equipment and circuit provisioning

• Application configuration

• Enterprise design problems

• Application model

3. Availability Assessment

An availability assessment determines whether they cater to a company’s availability requirements.

The managed services provider (MSP) identifies any problems within these survey groups and their effects on the network and the company’s revenues.

4. Management Assessment

During a management assessment, the MSP reviews the current strategy used to manage servers and devices. It aims to identify any existing network management strategy problems and their effects on the ongoing network operations.

This determines the additional applications, processes, and events required to manage any new implementations.

5. Security Assessment

Security policies are critical in protecting a company’s assets. This assessment aims to keep your networks, data, and devices safe by discovering all possible entry points for cyber-attacks.

Not just from outside your business but also from inside. It considers your company’s security strategy and identifies any problems affecting its operations.

Assessment Analysis and Recommendations

Once the network assessment is complete, the MSP analyzes the collected information for problems, issues, and trends that may adversely impact the network. They review all the network assessment groups while comparing them with the best practices, design requirements, and business requirements.

The detailed analysis is then used to give recommendations that address all the identified problems. These recommendations address issues from all the five assessment groups, providing valuable practices to achieve operational efficiency in an organization’s network.

The Benefits of Having a Network Assessment Done

A network assessment is a crucial element for cybersecurity and system maintenance. Here are the top benefits of getting a professional network assessment for your business.

1. Helps to Identify and Resolve Bottlenecks

Some applications, processes, or software may slow down your managed network systems. Identifying these bottlenecks without using a network assessment tool can be difficult.

So, getting professional help from a qualified managed IT company enables you to locate and fix these bottlenecks, increasing the speed and functionality of your network. The good thing is that most managed IT services are affordable and worthwhile.

2. Gives You a Chance to Try New Technology Options

The recommendations are given after a network assessment and discuss various technology options that could fix your current network, along with their implementation. They give you short-term and long-term options and when to consider integrating them into your IT systems.

3. Helps you to Establish a Baseline and Set Thresholds

Before assessing the performance of your network, you must establish a baseline of what average performance looks like. A network assessment helps you to set this baseline, which acts as your quality assurance evaluation.

It allows you to evaluate future performance and set critical thresholds. If the networks surpass these thresholds, your IT department receives an automatic alert indicating that there is an issue that needs to be resolved.

The report you receive from a network assessment gives a detailed report outlining every aspect of your network. It pinpoints the areas that are doing well and those that need improvement. You will understand your system’s capabilities and shortcomings with this information.

If your network needs improvement and you don’t know where to begin, the assessment alerts you with the necessary information to make valuable improvements. It will also help you avoid altering what is already working well.

The Final Say: Understanding a Network Assessment

A network assessment is the first step to ensuring your network is secure and functioning perfectly.

Forbtech is a qualified MSP that helps businesses identify the weaknesses in their networks and recommends the best practices to achieve operational efficiency. If you’ve any questions regarding network assessment, contact us today and allow us to take the performance of your network systems to the next level.

When Is It Time to Solve Your IT Challenges?

Relying heavily on technology to streamline operations, enhance productivity, and stay competitive in the market is one of the best ways to ensure the success of your business. However, with the rapid advancements in the IT landscape, organizations often face a myriad of IT challenges that can hinder their growth and success. Recognizing the right time to address these challenges ensures seamless business operations.

Solving Your IT Challenges: How Will You Know When It’s Time?

In this article, we will explore common IT challenges businesses face and discuss when it is time to solve them.

Outdated Infrastructure and Technology

One of the most prevalent IT challenges organizations face is outdated infrastructure and technology. Over time, hardware and software become obsolete, leading to inefficiencies and security vulnerabilities.

Outdated technology hampers productivity, limits innovation, and poses a higher risk of cyber threats. If your systems are running on outdated infrastructure, experiencing frequent downtime, or hindering employee efficiency, it is a clear indication that it’s time to address your IT challenges.

Investing in modernizing your IT infrastructure can have several benefits. Upgrading hardware components such as servers, storage systems, and networking equipment can improve performance, reliability, and scalability.

Similarly, updating software applications to the latest versions ensures compatibility, security patches, and access to new features. By embracing the latest technology trends, businesses can unlock new growth opportunities and maintain a competitive edge.

Scalability Issues

As businesses grow, their IT requirements evolve as well. Many organizations face scalability challenges when their existing IT infrastructure fails to accommodate increased demands.

Slow network speeds, limited storage capacity, and insufficient server capabilities can lead to bottlenecks, hampering business growth. When your IT infrastructure struggles to keep up with expanding needs, it’s a sign that you need to invest in scalable solutions to overcome these challenges.

Cloud computing offers a viable solution for scalability concerns. Adopting cloud-based services allows businesses to scale their IT resources dynamically based on demand.

With cloud infrastructure, you can quickly increase storage capacity, add or remove virtual servers, and optimize network bandwidth. This flexibility ensures your IT infrastructure can adapt to changing business needs, support growth, and deliver a seamless user experience.

Data Security and Privacy Concerns

In the age of increasing cyber threats, ensuring data security and privacy is a top business priority. Data breaches can have severe consequences, including financial loss, reputational damage, and legal liabilities.

If your organization lacks robust security measures, experiences frequent security incidents, or struggles to comply with data protection regulations, it is crucial to address these IT challenges promptly. Investing in comprehensive cybersecurity solutions and implementing best practices can safeguard your valuable data and mitigate potential risks.

A robust cybersecurity strategy should include a combination of proactive measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection systems, and encryption techniques. Regular security audits and vulnerability assessments help identify and patch potential weaknesses in your IT infrastructure.

Employee training and awareness programs can also educate your staff about cyber threats and promote responsible digital behavior.

Inefficient Business Processes

Technology plays a significant role in optimizing business processes and enhancing efficiency. However, if your organization relies on manual and outdated methods, it can lead to inefficiencies, errors, and delays.

IT challenges in this context may include disjointed systems, redundant workflows, and a lack of automation. Identifying bottlenecks and streamlining processes by implementing integrated IT solutions can significantly improve productivity, reduce costs, and provide a competitive edge.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and workflow automation tools can streamline and integrate various business processes, including finance, human resources, supply chain management, and customer relationship management.

These solutions eliminate manual data entry, improve department collaboration, and provide real-time insights into business operations. By leveraging technology to optimize processes, organizations can enhance efficiency, reduce human errors, and allocate resources more effectively.

Poor IT Support and Management

Adequate IT support and management are crucial for maintaining smooth business operations. If your organization experiences frequent IT issues and lacks a proactive support system, it can result in prolonged downtime, frustrated employees, and customer dissatisfaction.

Additionally, poor IT management practices can hinder growth and innovation. When your IT team struggles to keep up with demands, lacks necessary expertise, or fails to provide timely resolutions, it’s a clear sign that you must address your IT challenges by considering outsourced IT support or investing in internal training and development.

Outsourcing IT support to managed service providers (MSPs) can provide several benefits. MSPs offer expertise across various IT domains, ensuring your systems are well-maintained and optimized.

They provide proactive monitoring, timely issue resolution, and strategic IT planning aligned with your business goals. Alternatively, investing in internal training and development programs can empower your IT team to acquire new skills, stay updated with emerging technologies, and better support the organization.

The Right Time Could Be Now To Solve Your IT Challenges

In today’s technology-driven business landscape, organizations must proactively address their IT challenges. Outdated infrastructure, scalability issues, data security concerns, inefficient processes, poor IT support, and inadequate disaster recovery plans can hinder business growth and impact profitability.

By recognizing the signs that indicate the need for change and investing in the right IT solutions, organizations can overcome these challenges, enhance productivity, and stay competitive in their respective industries. Remember, timely action is the key to success in today’s fast-paced digital world.

To gain further insights into managing your IT challenges effectively, make sure to reach out to us today.

Top Benefits of an outsourced IT Help Desk

Think back to when you had a tight deadline but couldn’t meet it because your office or home computer crashed, taking your entire project with it. There have been thousands of stories where screens stop working, and suddenly, people find themselves unable to access key and sometimes life-saving information.

A computer can experience a problem with hardware, software, or drivers. It can encounter an error sometimes without warning and become inoperative. This is where an outsourced IT help desk comes in handy.

What Is the Work of an outsourced IT Help Desk?

An outsourced IT help desk is a service offered by third-party managed providers and typically covers various IT help, from troubleshooting to dealing with advanced issues.

If your business relies heavily on your IT infrastructure to be fully available 24/7 without necessarily investing in a costly in-house IT model, an outsourced IT help desk support may be a good choice.

Unlike traditional IT support, the coverage options of managed IT services are always available to suit any business model. Rather than wait for something to break down, the IT help desk team is always working in the background to forecast and take proactive actions to remedy potential disruptions.

What Are the Key Benefits of an outsourced IT Help Desk?

The main goal of an outsourced IT help desk is to oversee the entire IT operations of your business, which includes but is not limited to monitoring and on-demand IT support. With round-the-clock backing, you can allocate internal resources to other projects within your company without worrying about unexpected service downtimes or system interruptions.

A help desk is also a scalable solution that allows you to include additional requests based on your business needs as it grows—a valuable benefit because it reduces training and upskilling costs for an in-house IT support team.

Another key advantage of an outsourced IT help desk is that you can choose a specific response time based on the severity of the issues and still be assured of the continuity of your system’s availability.

Beyond the scope of IT specialists and experts that employ solutions to elevate business performance across the board, an outsourced IT help desk enables cost savings and fills employment gaps.

Think of it this way; your business can cut costs because you don’t need to hire and retain traditional staff. When an outsourced IT help desk proactively addresses systems issues, which can cause downtime and consequent performance problems, your company can enjoy a greater return on investment (ROI).

There is also growing adoption of cloud-based outsourced IT desk services that offer remote assistance on data monitoring, troubleshooting, cyber security, responsive support, and much more.

With cloud-based managed services, businesses can deploy their teams and company infrastructure into lacking areas while providing a dedicated approach to their IT framework.

For example, data or security monitoring handled by a reliable outsourced IT help desk can help track a company’s bandwidth use or keep its network safe by searching for malware intrusions or unusual activities.

Services Offered by an outsourced IT Help Desk Technician

When you outsource the services of an IT help desk, you’ll liaise with specialists whose role is to help you through various technical support systems. They have numerous resources for dealing with various IT issues and create comprehensive reports to escalate complicated problems that require additional tech support.

An outsourced IT help desk organizes information and streamlines communication for teams assisting employees and, therefore, serves many purposes, including; 

  • Automating critical operations such as logging issues into request forms using tech-savvy personnel, software, and hardware to assign competent technicians to disaster recovery and support cases. IT task prioritization through automated workflows ensures customers get fast, efficient customer service.
  • Keeping detailed logs of previous issues or solutions and then sending post-service surveys to customers for feedback ascertains that requests don’t slip through the cracks and that customers get assistance quickly.
  • Improving response and resolution times by automatically categorizing low, medium, and high-priority tasks. Automating tasks and processes as well as tracking issues and status updates, in turn, simplifies workflows and makes IT service teams more efficient.
  • Providing an easy-to-use portal where customers can log in to create a help ticket through a ticket system or learn when their issue is expected to be resolved. The single location portal also serves as a self-service center where end-users can get answers to questions that don’t necessarily require contacting IT.

Issuing complete logs of previous problems and solutions attempted. So, instead of asking help desk employees to repeat themselves, field technicians have direct access to all records of communications with clients requesting assistance.

Top Qualities of a Good outsourced IT Help Desk

Before deciding on the right support system, it’s best to look at the main pain points of your company’s IT needs and how best to resolve them.

For example, can you keep up with the vulnerabilities or security patches required for all your applications? Are there underutilized IT applications or inadequate monitoring to detect issues, and are upgrades conducted promptly?

Having an outsourced IT help desk handy to verify these activities are executed efficiently can significantly reduce the pain points. To ensure you don’t come up short when investing in a managed service provider, look for the following top-performing characteristics:

  • Responsive and provide support within a 24-hour timeframe.
  • Have robust security measures and backup recovery options to mitigate data loss and keep your information safe during downtime or crisis.
  • A reliable IT help desk will cover a range of services, meaning they can meet multiple needs in one centralized place.
  • A trustworthy IT service provider offers flexible pricing models and enables you to access vital information from secure points.

The Final Say: An outsourced IT Help Desk for Your Business

  • An outsourced IT help desk is one of the best ways to ensure your entire IT infrastructure is constantly managed, assessed, and monitored. Now more than ever, we need our technology to work during all hours of the day, whether we’re in the office or working from a remote location.
  • If your business is rife with IT problems, be they troubleshooting errors or a massive decline in performance, it’s worth looking into the extensive and affordable services of an outsourced IT help desk for a network risk assessment. Make sure to reach out to us today to learn more about an IT help desk or some of the other technology services we offer.

Cyber Security: What Is Malware and How to Avoid It

Malware is short for “malicious software” and refers to a type of computer program that is strictly designed to infect a user’s computer and cause infliction in various ways. Malware is powerful and can attack a computer in several forms, such as viruses, worms, Trojans, and spyware.

So, in simpler terms, is malware just a computer virus? Kind of, but not really. A computer virus is just one type of malware, and even though you’ll hear the terms “malware” and “virus” interchangeable, they aren’t the same thing.

What Is Malware and How Does It Work?

Even though malware comes in many different forms, it all follows the same pattern. Without knowing, the user downloads or installs the malware onto their computer or tablet, and that device then becomes infected. 

You may be wondering, “How do I know I’m downloading this harmful virus?” Well, you don’t always know. Sometimes you need to rely on your anti-virus software, your IT team, or IT provider to put the necessary preventive measures in place. 

The action of unknowingly downloading malware could be from clicking a link in an email or visiting a malicious website. 

However, you can also experience an attack through file-sharing services that online hackers have control over. Cybercriminals have the potential to embed types of malware so that it spreads from one user to another if people are sharing files, internally or externally. 

Mobile devices (such as smartphones) are not safe from this type of virus either, and can become infected in the same ways like a computer or tablet. Instead of the virus transferring through a computer network or critical infrastructure, it’s transferred through text messages, online advertising, and even direct from phone to phone.

Another common form of malware is the use of a USB stick or a flash drive. You probably have many files stored on the USB stick that you wanted to transfer from your work computer to your home office as your business switches to a work from home (WFH) environment. If this is the case, you should pay careful attention. 

Because the harmful virus is loaded on the internal hardware of a device (opposed to its file storage), your computer is more unlikely to detect malware. So, make sure that you are familiar with the USB drive that you are loading into your computer. 

Common Types of Malware and How They Differ 

For the most part, the majority of malware falls into the following classifications:

  1. Virus: Similar to a virus you can contract from another person; computer viruses attach themselves to clean files and infect other clean files, spreading uncontrollably and damaging a system’s core functionality and deleting or corrupting files. Viruses typically appear as an executable file.
  2. Trojans: Trojans disguise themselves by looking like legitimate software but act discreetly to create backdoors in your security, allowing malware to enter. Trojans received this name since they act much like the fabled story of the “Trojan Horse.” The tricky thing about Trojans is that they can also infect your computer by tampering with clean or new software without your knowledge. 
  3. Spyware: Spyware is pretty self-explanatory— it’s designed to spy on you. Spyware hides in the background and takes notes on what you do online, including passwords, credit card numbers, and surfing habits. It can then be accessed or sent directly to hackers so that they can have access to your private information and any of your online use. You can think of spyware as a virtual way of watching you, then robbing you.
  4. Worms: Using network interfaces, worms infect entire networks of devices, either local or across the internet. Once infecting one machine, worms can travel and infect other machines. They call them worms because these types of software burrow from one machine or network to another. They cause damage by spreading and using your computer network and begin consuming bandwidth and overloading your network servers. 
  5. Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of malware that can lock down your computer, preventing you from even logging in to your machine. Ransomware can threaten to erase every single document and piece of information on your machine unless a ransom is paid to the owner. Even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee you will regain access to your information, it will be intact, they won’t try to request more money, or create a backdoor into your system for future access.

Cyber Security Best Practices: Protecting Against Malware

Now that you have a better understanding of what malware is and how it affects your sensitive data, network, and files, you’re probably curious about some ways to prevent malware from occurring in the first place. 

Below are some best practices to follow and always try to keep in mind to further protect your network and the overall network of your organization.

  • Don’t click – if you don’t trust the source of information explicitly, don’t click the links offered in emails, pop-up messages, text messages, and on websites.
  • Don’t download – unless you are on a secure and respectable website, don’t download any files or programs.
  • Look for the lock – websites without padlocks near the URL aren’t secure. Any information you download or copy from them could be infected with malware.
  • Install a firewall – firewalls block unauthorized access and provide an extra barrier against malware.
  • Keep software update – make sure all your apps and anti-virus software is updated to use the freshest weapons against malware.

In some cases, malware can be removed as your device is restored to normal or factory settings. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all types of malware, depending on how badly your device is hit. 

Partnering with an experienced and well-versed managed IT services company is one of the best ways to prevent malware from occurring or quickly taking care of the matter once the virus occurs. 

A great managed IT company will provide you an extra layer of network security through anti-malware protection software or anti-virus protection software. It’s helpful to have a team of experts to rely on when it comes to the security of your network so that you can focus on other pressing tasks.

The Final Say On Protecting Against Malware

Malware (along with other malicious codes and cyber attacks) is such a dense topic that can affect businesses and employees in many different ways. The best thing you can do for your organization is to keep it safe and protected from outside threats and attackers. 

At Forbtech, we’re not just a technology company. We’re a company that is dedicated to equipping you with the knowledge and tools you need to continue your path of growth and success. Our goal is to always provide you with new and emerging data technology solutions for your business, customers, and employees. To learn more about our products and services, reach out to our IT experts!  

Top Difficulties Businesses are facing with Security Cameras and Access Control Systems

Security cameras and access control systems are essential for businesses prioritizing safety and security. However, some of these systems are not without their problems. In fact, many businesses struggle with issues related to their security cameras and access control systems.

This article will explore the top difficulties of security cameras and access control systems for businesses. This article will help you better understand these products to ensure you choose the best for your business and employees.

Difficulties Your Business May Face with Security Cameras and Access Control Systems

Technology is ever-changing and is by no means perfect. Although we’re focusing on discussing some of the problems with security cameras, there are also a lot of benefits too!

We aim to educate you on the pros and cons of this type of office technology product so you can be an informed buyer. 

Compatibility Issues

One of the biggest problems businesses face when using security cameras and access control systems is compatibility issues. Many companies use various security devices and systems, and getting them to work together can be challenging.

For example, a business might have security cameras from one manufacturer and an access control system from another manufacturer. In this case, the two systems may need to be compatible, making it challenging to integrate the two.

Compatibility issues with security cameras and access control systems can result in several problems. Businesses may need to invest in new equipment or software to get their systems to work together.

Additionally, compatibility issues can lead to gaps in security, leaving businesses vulnerable to security breaches and other threats.

Lack of Integration

Another common problem businesses face with security cameras and access control systems is a need for integration. All security devices and systems must work together seamlessly to achieve total security. However, many businesses have siloed security systems that don’t communicate with each other.

For instance, a business might have its security cameras separated from its access control systems. In this case, security personnel might need to monitor security cameras and access control systems separately, which can be inefficient and time-consuming.

A lack of integration can also lead to security gaps, making it easier for unauthorized individuals to access restricted areas.

Vulnerability to Cyber Attacks

Businesses becoming more reliant on technology makes them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Security cameras and access control systems can be susceptible to cyber threats, which can compromise confidential data and sensitive information.

For example, hackers could gain access to security cameras and use them to monitor business operations or steal confidential information. Cyber attacks on access control systems could also give hackers access to sensitive areas of a business, putting employees, customers, and valuable assets at risk.

Lack of Maintenance

Security cameras and access control systems require regular maintenance to function correctly. Unfortunately, many businesses neglect to maintain their security systems, leading to issues like malfunctioning equipment, connectivity problems, and other technical issues.

For example, dim lighting, unfortunate weather conditions, and outdated software can leave a business’ security system less than stellar. Without regular maintenance, the video feed gets hazy or jittery, video storage capacity may max out, service agreements expire, and automation may stop working.

If this type of equipment becomes damaged or fails, it must be replaced immediately.

False Alarms

While it’s essential to have a system that notifies security personnel of potential threats or intrusion attempts, false alarms can be a significant problem. False alarms can create confusion and waste time, resources, and money.

Environmental elements like substantial winds or rapid shifts in sunlight can trigger motion alerts from security cameras, leading to confusion and frustration for security personnel.

A poorly functioning access control system can also cause regular false alarms, leading to security fatigue and, eventually, security gaps when threats go unnoticed.

Lack of Monitoring

It’s not enough to have security cameras and access control systems installed. They also need to be monitored consistently to be helpful in the protection of the organization’s assets, intellectual property, products, services, and workforce.

Security personnel should monitor security cameras in real-time to ensure that unauthorized people are not entering restricted areas. At the same time, access control systems should be reviewed and analyzed for any possible unsuccessful attempts.

If the organization needs to monitor its security system, it may not fully benefit from the protection it provides, exposing the business to threats it thought it was protected from.

Security Camera Difficulties Your Business May Face

While security cameras and access control systems are essential for businesses, they also have their fair share of problems. By understanding the common issues with such systems, companies can improve their security measures, protect their assets and workforce, and mitigate risks that could potentially harm the organization.

Businesses can efficiently implement solutions when they collaborate with an experienced security professional such as Forbtech, who can guide you through the functionality of your systems, provide necessary upgrades, and ensure that all security devices and systems work together seamlessly.

Lastly, regular maintenance of security systems is vital for a business to operate with the right degree of security to feel safe and productive.

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