Purchasing, installing, and maintaining your own servers can be a stressful and complicated task for many businesses. When you bring a server in-house you incur costs for hardware, software, and support. Have you considered cloud services?

Cloud technologies are becoming more advanced and secure by the day, and can offer you the freedom you need to accomplish your tech goals, while also becoming a more agile business.

It makes sense that your employees want access to work related applications wherever and whenever they are, from whichever device they're on. Cloud based services make it possible for your work staff to engage in secure communications and collaborations via the cloud. All you need is access to the internet and the proper credentials, and you can access your working environment from anywhere, just as if you were in the office.

When you opt for cloud based services, you save money and resources, and gain peace of mind. Your tech support and maintenance is taken care of for you, as are big concerns like security, and data backup and recovery. If you are interested in maximizing your budget, and improving workflow, contact us to talk more about how the cloud can better enable your business.

The cloud may not be a good fit for everyone, but it is worthy of your attention. It appears that many small to mid-sized businesses will operate with a more modular and agile mentality in the future. We'd be happy to talk all about your current tech needs, whenever you'd like!

Cyber threats can catch people by surprise, necessitating a quick and thoughtful response, even before the full story with all its details emerge.

A recent example is Cloudbleed, a software bug in Cloudflare that led to alarming data leaks. Sensitive information, including log-in credentials and private messages, got exposed publicly and cached by search engines.

The coding error that led to this data breach has since been fixed and a cleanup undertaken to try to remove leaked data from public view. But the extent of the exposed data isn't yet clear. Cloudflare offers various web services, including website protection, to numerous companies, including Uber and OKCupid. We don't yet know how Cloudbleed will affect people.

Are you prepared to respond quickly?

When a new cyber security threat emerges, you need to immediately act. What are some of the steps you may need to take?

  • Changing login credentials. With Cloudbleed, for example, it would be important to quickly change passwords and other credentials for potentially affected sites and perhaps make inquiries to Cloudflare about the steps they're taking to resolve the problem.
  • Double-checking and strengthening your user authentication measures. How can you more reliably distinguish between authorized and unauthorized users?
  • Performing a software update. If a new version of a software gets released and contains a patch for a security vulnerability, you need to quickly perform the update.
  • Taking any other steps needed to correct the problem. Sometimes it's your own error or vulnerability that led to a data breach; other times, the problem stemmed from a vendor. You may need to do anything from rewriting your own code to discontinuing your relationship with a particular vendor.
  • Monitoring possible repercussions. Compromised data may wind up getting used against you, sometimes within hours of a data breach and other times within months or years. You need to remain aware of the potential repercussions and monitor the situation. (In general, 24/7 monitoring of your systems is an essential defense against cyber attacks.)
  • Alerting people to the situation. If your business website uses Cloudflare, for example, how would you let customers know about the situation and what you're doing to address it? Without alarming people needlessly, discuss the problem and highlight your commitment to fixing it.

 

Handling all of this on your own is daunting. However, if you work with a managed services provider (MSP), you'll benefit from experienced IT professionals assisting you round-the-clock. Your MSP will act quickly and thoughtfully on your behalf while keeping you informed about the situation and receiving your feedback and insights. Please contact us for more information about our managed services.

According to industry experts, phishing is one of the top cyber threats for organizations to concern themselves with in 2017. However, many professionals thought phishing was something that only happened back in the early to mid 2000’s.

 

TV documentaries would interview blurred ne'er do wells who'd set up computer rooms in Nigerian warehouses to lure lonely single women into sending them money for plane tickets to America. The women sent money in the hopes of finding a husband. Still, other scammers would call from India and other countries and threaten to arrest people if they didn't pay a bill they supposedly owed from 5 or 6 years ago. Apparently, they'd been tried and convicted of not paying it though they didn't know it and the corporation was now demanding $2,000 or they were sending the authorities.

However, these scams are now easy to spot. Most people don’t fall for them. Unfortunately though, phishing now falls under the category of social engineering and has a far more shark-like bite to it.

The premise of the early days of phishing was that anonymous people were able to manipulate mainly Americans and Europeans into thinking they were someone else with fake online profile pictures, phone calls, texts etc. However, though it's still possible for people to create fake profiles, many people don't fall for them in the same way. However, social engineering often puts a real face and a fake name to the crime of phishing.

These scammers get to know high-level executives and company gatekeepers. They become friends with these individuals or convince them they are colleagues from another large corporation. They gain enough trust to send an email with an attachment the person will open. The person opens the attachment and there it is. The same old scam was just carried out in a different way. Once these phishers, (called whalers when they go after high-level execs) get in; they have complete access to almost everything that company computer has access to.

It’s crucial to educate staff about social engineering so they can recognize the tactics before it’s too late. It’s also important to have a good MSP monitoring your network and encrypting and securing your data. Only a qualified expert can identify and contain intrusions as soon as they happen. Contact us at Kotori Technologies today. We offer enterprise-level security and straightforward IT solutions

 

To successfully rely on their IT infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology, manufacturing companies need the ability to perform seamless upgrades and implement other changes across their systems.

 

Embracing digital technologies allows manufacturers to make the best use of their data, boost their output, and respond flexibly to changing economic demands.

 

High-quality IT change management is critical, so that any changes you make to your systems unfold smoothly, without resulting in protracted downtime.

 

What are some key considerations to make?

 

  1. Always double-check cyber security measures. If you introduce new kinds of equipment to your IT-setup or switch to a new software company-wide, make sure you've checked (and double-checked) for every possible security hole. Manufacturing companies are vulnerable to cyber attacks through multiple channels including cutting-edge, Internet-enabled devices such as industrial sensors.
  2. Keep channels of communication open. Remain attentive to questions and concerns, and solicit feedback from employees in different departments and locations, including the factory floor. You'll be able to better respond to unexpected problems and evaluate issues that you hadn't fully considered. Also, keep employees informed about the IT changes you're introducing and how you're implementing them, step by step.
  3. Draw up a concrete plan, but keep it flexible. What are your goals for these IT changes? What are the deadlines you want to stick to? Have you factored in possible sources of delay? Come up with a detailed plan, though also stay open to the possibility of last-minute changes. You'll be able to monitor your progress and identify areas of inefficiency, along with any problems (such as incompatibility between a new and old component of your IT set-up).
  4. Try to keep the changes gradual. Don't overwhelm your employees with too many changes at once. Help them ease into each one. Provide hands-on training, FAQs, or other forms of assistance whenever necessary.

 

For further advice on how to handle change management, please contact us. Manufacturing companies need to constantly adapt to new technologies to stay competitive. High-quality change management helps you deal with these developments without making preventable errors or becoming overwhelmed.

 

The cloud is definitely changing the way we do business. Even some banks and financial institutions have switched over to the cloud. However, not every business owner is quite so quick to jump on the cloud bandwagon. Not every financial institution is ready for such a drastic change either.

However, just like cloud computing is becoming a standard for other industries; most financial institution heads admit that cloud computing will likely become their industry standard in the future.

In addition, platforms like Microsoft Office 365 make simple cloud migrations as familiar as it’s always been to open and install an Office upgrade to a PC.

However, though many businesses throughout a variety of industries are migrating to the cloud, it's still not the right choice for every organization.

If you're a small office, with no telecommuters, no need for extensive online collaboration and your staff only uses technology for basic office applications and simple work; you can likely use the same version of Office for years without needing to upgrade. However, if you use software like tax preparation and accounting software, annual updating is a priority. Using the cloud will likely save you money.

Hidden Costs and Pitfalls

In their clamor to migrate to the cloud, many business owners don't realize that cloud costs aren't as low as they imagine.

Cloud providers charge you per GB for outbound data transfers on top of your monthly fees if you go over a certain limit. Inbound transfers are usually free. Make sure to calculate your costs based on the amount of data you'll need to backup, store and transfer every month.

Lastly, understand that when you choose a cloud computing platform, it's almost just as permanent as using your own server. It's important to have realistic expectations. Your data is stored in a format only compatible with platforms developed by the same vendor. When you choose a cloud platform, that's a long term choice. Migration to or from a cloud platform isn't always simple.

Contact us today at Kotori Technologies. We can handle your IT needs and monitor your network 24/7/365 whether you host your own server or prefer cloud hosting.

With the state of the economic climate, many businesses are hiring IT consulting firms to handle many of their technology needs. All businesses, not just large businesses, can definitely benefit from the expertise and skills that professional IT consultants can offer. 

There are several reasons why a company like yours should consider using the services of an IT consulting firm.

It Is Affordable

Sometimes the services and resources you need to improve your business are too costly, and this makes many businesses stay away from those services. Thankfully, IT consulting services are cost-effective for any business. You can hire an IT consultant based on how long you need those services. Do you need IT consultants to help you with a project that will last for a few weeks or a few months? Regardless of how long you need the services, you will be able to find consultants who have the skills and flexibility to provide you with the services you need.

Resolve Your Problems Instantly

When your technology is giving you a hard time, your employees will not be able to complete their work assignments. When your employees cannot complete their work assignments, everyone in the workplace will become unproductive. When you have an IT consultant on your side, your technology issues will be addressed right away and these problems will be resolved quickly. When your issues are resolved in a reasonable amount of time, everyone will be able to get back to work.

 

When you use the services of an IT consulting firm, you will have a skilled team of professionals on your side. Your business will see a variety of benefits on a daily basis. If you need consulting services, contact us today.  

Communications is important for all businesses. Many companies are changing the way they communicate; they are no longer relying on the traditional methods of communication.

One way companies are improving their communication is by using VoIP phone systems. VoIP has become so popular over the past few years due to its variety of features, better sound quality, and greater scalability and flexibility than the traditional phone systems.

VoIP will allow everyone in your workplace to communicate with someone else by using an internet connection. Since you will be using a digital connection, voice messages can be sent to you in an e-mail format.

If you are thinking about upgrading your phone system to VoIP, it is very important that you choose a VoIP provider that will meet all of your company's needs. A small company will not require the same VoIP features as a large company.

Many VoIP providers will have a variety of features that your business can take advantage of, such as call forwarding, a receptionist(virtual), translating your voicemails to an e-mail or text message, and many more.

Are you hoping to work with a VoIP provider that will not require you to purchase and set up any equipment in your workplace?

Do you need a VoIP system that will allow you to access it by using any mobile device? Do you need a VoIP provider that will be able to configure its VoIP system to fit your company's specific purpose?

You have to seriously consider every feature your business may need before you choose a provider. Once you find the right VoIP provider, you will need to have the right team of people on your side to implement your new VoIP phone system.

 

If you want to implement a VoIP phone system into your workplace, contact us today for more information. 

What Will You Do If Ransomware Strikes?

Posted by in Security Thursday, 02 February 2017 00:00

If you haven’t been concentrating on a disaster recovery plan in case your files are lost, it’s time to start thinking about it now. Companies that have until now neglected to create disaster recovery plans are now being forced to rethink their strategies and practices. 

The rise of ransomware incidents has caused many losses. Ransomware is when hackers install malicious code onto your computer or network. It then slowly encrypts your data behind the scenes, without anyone noticing. After a day or two, the code will close down your computer, throw away the decryption key, and not restore access to your files unless you pay a ransom. 

This ransom is usually paid by bitcoins, a type of digital currency that is almost impossible to track. This makes it hard for law enforcement to capture the hackers. In addition, many hackers are operating from overseas, making their arrest even more difficult. 

Unfortunately, anti-virus and anti-malware programs are not always effective against ransomware. Although some may claim to be, the hackers are always finding new ways to sidetrack the anti-virus systems. 

The only way to ensure that you’ll be able to restore your files is by implementing a disaster recovery plan that includes full and secure backups. When ransomware strikes, you’ll be able to restore your files immediately.

Stories of ransomware payments have dominated the news. Large hospitals have been forced to pay thousands of dollars when ransomware attacked their systems. Since they hadn’t been doing backups, they were forced to either pay up or lose thousands of patient files. Even several police departments and sheriff offices have quietly paid their attackers because they had no other way of regaining their law enforcement files. 

Don’t be like them -- instead, be prepared. Contact us for effective disaster recovery solutions that will get your system up and running anywhere and anytime. 

 

If you’re like most business owners in the manufacturing industry, you know you need to work with a managed services provider, (MSP), because you don't understand tech or how to secure it. How then, can you feel confident you've chosen the right vendor?

A good MSP should provide specific value. They should:

  • Improve operations,
  • Ease your security concerns,
  • Fit in with your company culture,
  • Meet regularly with executive staff,
  • Introduce you to reputable products, and
  • Offer relatable customer service

2 Key Questions Only the Right MSP Can Answer Effectively

  1. Define your business' 1, 5 and 10 year goals. What will you need from your technology at these benchmarks?
  2. Define your immediate requirements. What specific improvements would you like to see in your business? (Do you want to start working with a new CRM system or mobile tracking PaaS? Do you want your field and onsite staff to start logging through a custom portal?)

Your chosen MSP should be able to clearly tell you how they would help you reach your goals. Good MSPs will talk very little about their chosen processes, toolsets and engineering resources upfront. Their primary focus should be your organizational goals. They should only be telling you how the tools and resources they work with solidly back up their ability to meet your needs.

 

The best MSP to choose is one who has staff with a wide variety of IT skill sets and adequate resources to properly handle your company data. Contact us today at Kotori Technologies. We offer a broad range of IT solutions for manufacturing verticals. We have the trusted resources and the talent to manage and secure your organization’s technology properly.

Virtual infrastructure is becoming more present in the workplace as the days go by. The benefits of including virtual infrastructure include lower costs of operation, higher levels of network monitoring, and additional disaster recovery planning. Your network is the core of your company’s operation, and programs like Thin Client from Citrix can make your day-to-day operations more efficient.

 

Not only can virtual infrastructure increase your business’ efficiency, it also allows for adaptability, scalability, and a higher overall user experience than many traditional solutions. Higher time in action and fewer overall disruptions are some of the benefits of having a service provider behind you. Even beyond fewer disruptions, the time to recover in case of a breach or server failure is also significantly faster, because your provider has well-established contingency and disaster recovery plans.

 

Keeping a solid working relationship with a service provider not only helps to keep your business stable, but also allows you to conserve money by reducing the need for in-house equipment—servers, backups, etc. can be kept with your provider and stored across several servers, allowing you and your customers to access your data in the event of a failure.

 

 

Beyond increased security, efficiency, and better overall user experience, you have the reliability of the service provider to garner and hold the trust of your clients as your business continues to expand in both reach and service offerings. The end result is a higher level of consumer trust and reduced need to front the cost of hardware. Contact us today to see the difference that virtual infrastructure can make in your business.

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