Hybrid Workforce: Understanding Nuances and Pitfalls

hybrid-workforce

Since Coronavirus turned things on their head, businesses across the globe have responded well to enforcing remote working. And now, things are on the move again. Businesses are trying to decide how things will look in a post-Covid world. Many workers and businesses don’t see a complete return to office working anytime soon, therefore introducing a hybrid workforce. Recent surveys tell us that over 50% of workers in the U.S. favor a mix of office and home working. Other surveys predict the numbers of remote workers will double before they begin to drop. Pre-pandemic, less than 20% of employees worked at home. Whatever the final number happens to be, businesses need to be flexible to the constant changes.  Present Arrangements  Currently, businesses are dealing with these changes in different ways. Some companiesRead Full Article

The Cloud and Big Data

Cloud-and-big-data

Cloud infrastructure is one of the fastest-growing forms of online technology. As a result, it is vitally important for you to understand how cloud computing services work and the benefits that it can offer. We’ll take a look at ‘big data’ and how the cloud can enhance big data security solutions.  What is the Cloud?  Cloud solutions are growing at a fast pace. The growth is widespread. You can’t go a day without using, or at least being affected by, cloud services. However, many of us still don’t have a complete understanding of what the cloud is. We just accept that it’s something vague, existing somewhere, and we unknowingly access it.  So, the question remains – what is the cloud? How does it work? What makes it such anRead Full Article

Cloud and Virtual Office

Cloud and Remote Work

The cloud has become hugely important in our lives. One notable way the cloud is used these days is for virtual (remote) work. This has escalated with the recent Covid-19 lockdowns. Many of us have experienced a disruption in our normal workflow, making virtual working a reality for more of us than ever. The cloud has been pivotal in the success of these remote working plans. As a result of this, you must know how to use the cloud for remote working. Know how to access files stored on the cloud, and how to ensure your cloud use remains safe and secure! Today, we will be covering all of these different points so that your cloud solutions don’t end up making life harder.  What isRead Full Article

Change Is in the Air

Tulane Avenue

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. Gail Sheehy Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. has been growing and evolving ever since the day it was founded by Darrin Piotrowski in 1997. We have embraced this growth, but we haven’t always been the best at reflecting it. So now we are surrendering the security of our beloved identity: Rent-A-Nerd, Inc. and are rebranding! Our new name is Courant (pronounced “current”). And our tagline is “Keep IT Current.” Courant: Keep IT Current. What? After all of these years? And why? For at least a year, maybe longer, Darrin has realized that our brand name didn’t reflect who we are. “Rent” implies temporary. “Nerd” is so limiting. Our technicians are much more than nerds (they ARE nerds, don’t get me wrong).Read Full Article

Cloud Technology: Its Definition

cloud technology

Although you’ve heard of it, it can be a little overwhelming to understand what is meant by cloud technology. Cloud architecture offers a huge number of solutions, and cloud technology’s rapid development has ensured that it is a field with huge potential. However, many people are not aware of what it is.  As such, our team of IT consultants is on hand to help you understand what the cloud is. In this blog, we’ll tell you how people and companies are using it to enhance modern data management systems.  What is the Cloud?  Cloud technology and solutions are rapidly developing in our modern world. As such, you must understand what cloud infrastructure is and how the modern business world uses this architecture.  When it comes toRead Full Article

Cloud Security

cloud security

When it comes to working remotely, making use of the most up-to-date and high-quality cloud infrastructure and cloud computing services is very important. Cloud computing offers a number of options for business profitability, and a huge improvement for the ability to work remotely. However, you must have the right cybersecurity protocols and software in place to keep your network secure from hackers. Let’s take a look at some of the cloud security measures you should be aware of. What is SASE? First of all, you must know what the SASE cybersecurity software is. SASE is short for “secure access service edge”. It serves to help enhance business computer security when using cloud technology. By implementing SASE for your office network, you can safely access enhancedRead Full Article

Is Cloud Computing Right for You?

information saved in the cloud

Everyone is talking about cloud computing these days and for good reason. The cloud has revolutionized how computing power is generated and consumed. Cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer. When tech companies say your data is backed up “in the cloud,” it has nothing to do with those white fluffy things in the sky. Your data isn’t actually up in the cosmos or floating around in space. It has a terrestrial home. It’s stored someplace – lots of places, actually – and a network of servers find what you need, when you need it, and deliver it. Cloud computing, if done properly, can make your business much more efficient. However, a cloud solution isRead Full Article

Computing in the Cloud

cloud

Keeping your business network safe and secure is essential. Virtual offices and cloud services can be smart ways to keep your data safe. However, many people do not understand the benefits that investing in virtual offices can have. Today we will be looking at what confidential computing is and how investing in the right computing strategies – with help from your managed service provider – can help your business network achieve safe cybersecurity thanks to cloud solutions. Why Confidential Cloud Computing is So Important When it comes to protecting your business network from hackers, you must have the right cybersecurity software in place. Information technology is an integral part of our lives these days. Still, a few businesses operate without some influence from IT serviceRead Full Article

Touchless Business: A New Era

touchless technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected individuals and businesses across the globe in a manner that rings with permanence. Many businesses that were previously successful are now left baffled as to how they should adjust their business models. To work effectively in this new age of touchless business, we need to adopt to new systems and organizational methods.  How do I even begin to mobilize my business in light of current restrictions? The top priority for businesses that haven’t done so already is to establish an online presence. And they should get online fast! Establishing an efficient online storefront is the first step to attracting customers who shifted to shopping online during this pandemic. If a website is already part of your business model, then some tech solutions may be needed to handle more sales. Make your website functional enough to be a solidifiedRead Full Article

Automating Business Processes – How Can You Be Better?

automate business practices

If last year taught us anything, it was that small to medium businesses need to adapt with the times if they want to stay open. Social distancing and crowd restrictions drove all of us to figure out ways to retain our clientele without dealing with them face-to-face. Online business transactions, telecommuting, and third-party suppliers became the norm. In this new ecosystem, how can we automate business processes and stay ahead of our competitors?  Future growth trends point to business automation in every department, contactless deliveries and transactions, and more remote employees and supply chains. To stay competitive, these are the directions we need to focus on.  The good news is that the future is here! Many large businesses are already fully automated, and their innovations are easilyRead Full Article

Are Your Apps Dangerous?

Are apps dangerous

Apps make the modern technology world go ‘round. If it weren’t for them, smartphones and other mobile devices wouldn’t be nearly as useful. Of course, there are many factors to consider before using an app. You should ask yourself, could this be a potentially dangerous app? This is especially true if you’re using a device for business purposes. Last month, we asked and concluded that allowing cookies is safe in most circumstances. In this week’s blog, we will be delving into using apps for business purposes and whether or not they pose a risk to your safety. Apps for the Business Place There is literally an app (or 50) for just about anything you can think of. However, even those that are helpful can beRead Full Article

What’s the Biggest Remote Workforce Cybersecurity Pitfall?

remote-workforce

Remote Workforce Cybersecurity Holds Unexpected Dangers The global pandemic continues to shape the way that we live and work. As a result, many companies are finding themselves supporting a remote workforce for significantly longer than they anticipated in March 2020. With the chaos of getting everything back up and running in the spring, many of those same companies are discovering that remote workforce cybersecurity is a little bit different than in-office cybersecurity. This includes  a few unexpected pitfalls. Some employees and businesses did little or no work remotely before the pandemic. They were unprepared for some of the challenges that regular remote workers are accustomed to facing. In addition, many people found themselves in quarantine with their children and other family members who were alsoRead Full Article

Remote Work Phishing Threats Aren’t Slowing Down

remote work can lead to exposure to phishing threats

The World May Be Settling Down, But Remote Work Phishing Threats Aren’t Remote work phishing threats have become a big factor to be calculated into every company’s cybersecurity plan. In 2020 we saw exactly how a perfect storm of circumstances that lead to a tsunami of cybercrime, especially phishing. This included the public’s desire for new information about COVID-19. The mountain of Dark Web data increased. We experienced a sudden shift to remote work. Add to these factors economic challenges and inadequate remote security. Bad actors got to work to capitalize on this opportunity. They did so by sending out record amounts of phishing email designed to ensnare the unwary. And many remote workers got caught up in their nets. COVID-19 and Remote Workers MadeRead Full Article

Are Your Cookies Safe?

reminder about cookies

The holiday season is upon us and we have many things to look forward to — even if this year will be a little bit different than others. This time of year the things that come to mind include: family, holiday festivities, and of course cookies! As a Managed Service Provider, people often ask us, are cookies safe? But we’re not talking about the kind that your grandma bakes for you. In technological terms, cookies typically pop up on your internet browser. They track and store data in the deep corners of your hard drive. With lots of controversy surrounding cookies, many people don’t know if they’re a good or bad thing. You probably have seen notices regarding them on most major sites you visitRead Full Article

Holiday Phishing Scams Can Wreck Your Business. Here’s How.

Every year around this time, our thoughts turn to great gifts, holiday shopping lists, and other seasonal fun. Cybercriminals are thinking about their seasonal fun too. And they’ve picked out some exciting gifts. Except you don’t want what they’ve got for you – a great big sack of holiday phishing scams to deliver to your door. Alas, these don’t just prey on your employees, they also endanger your business. Your a mean one, Mr. Grinch. While we all like to think that during the workday our staffers are so focused on their jobs that they wouldn’t even think of doing their holiday shopping. We also know the truth. Many employees are online shopping at work. They’re doing even more online shopping this year with COVID-19Read Full Article

Is It Time for a Server Upgrade?

Time to update your servers

While many of us may not physically see our servers as often as we see our personal terminals, we interact with them directly or indirectly daily. Within your office network, the server is the heartbeat of the entire system. Since we rely on them without directly interacting with them we tend to forget that they’re there. However, just like with any other type of computer, servers can expire and need replacing from time to time. Have you checked your servers lately? It may be time to upgrade them. Section 179 Deductions For those who read our blog last week, you’ll recall that our topic was Section 179 tax deductions. As a quick recap, this is a section of the tax code that not only allowsRead Full Article

Tax Deductions: Writing Off Major Purchases for 2020

IRS Section 179 Tax Deductions

Managing a business this year has had its unique challenges, to say the least. But some things remain a constant. And that includes the IRS Section 179 tax deduction for the cost of tangible equipment. As a disclaimer, we are not tax advisors. Any planning or decisions should be reviewed or undertaken by your company’s CFO or accounting professionals. If you and your staff are still working from home, even just part of the time, you should seriously consider improvements to your technology infrastructure. Look at this as an overview to motivate you to take advantage of this law. What Are Section 179 Tax Deductions? When we talk about 179 deductions, these are the classic “write-offs,” but with an extra benefit. With many write-offs, youRead Full Article

Internet of Things: Why Should You Care?

The Internet of Things

You probably have heard of the Internet of Things. But do you know what it means? It describes the network of physical objects that are connected with other devices and systems over the internet. Your home is probably full of them. And you are probably working, at least some of the time, from home. Here are some examples: light bulbs, smart appliances, cars, thermostats, and speakers The list goes on. But why does that matter? A Plethora of Devices Equals a Plethora of Danger for Your Data This year’s theme for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month was “Do Your Part.” We were encouraged to own our role in protecting our part of cyberspace. We did our part during the month of October with blogs regarding variousRead Full Article

Be Cyber Aware: If You Connect It, Protect It

become cyber aware

In today’s age, we all must be cyber aware. The average American today has access to more than 10 Internet Connected Devices in their household. Most have at least 2 computers and 2 smartphones. Across the world, an estimated 30 billion+ devices connect to the Internet. This connectivity generates massive potential for advancement. But in turn, this creates a paradise for hackers. This is nothing new. Hacking has been on the rise since the dawn of connected technology. And here’s the problem. Most businesses have maintained the same security protocols for just as long. The theory is that what they’ve done so far has worked. So why is there any reason for change? Here are the seven reasons why technology is more dangerous than everRead Full Article

COVID-19 Phishing Scams Exploit Online Rumor Mill

COVID-19-phishing-scams

There is an explosion of extremely believable COVID-19 phishing scams. They are precisely targeted spear phishing. This shows how cybercriminals exploit Dark Web information and the online rumor mill for profit. Months into the global pandemic, cybercriminals are still using COVID-19 messaging. They do this by taking advantage of the worldwide fear and uncertainty around the disease, what causes it, and relief efforts for those affected by it. Scams grow more imaginative and more believable. This is because bad actors fashion bait that capitalizes on the rumor to create COVID-19 phishing scams that look more genuine than ever. COVID-19 phishing scams are everywhere. Phishing scams are by far the biggest type of attack threat based on exploitation that businesses face. Phishing is up more thanRead Full Article

2020 Ransomware Statistics

randsomeware-cybersecurity

If you ask a cybersecurity professional what threat keeps them up at night, the majority of them will tell you it’s ransomware. If you’re unsure of what ransomware is, it’s a type of a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. It has been a problem for years. But it peaked during the current pandemic. This increasing threat takes down organizations of every size every day. And it’s only getting worse. Here are ten of the most important 2020 statistics to take into account as you consider how your organization plans to prevent ransomware from taking your data hostage. Here Are the 2020 Statistics Regarding Ransomware 1. 65% of ransomware infections are deliveredRead Full Article

Passwords – Outdated and Dangerous, But Necessary

my-password

It’s important to continually use best practices when creating passwords because hackers are constantly trying to obtain your credentials to be sold on the Dark Web. Are you protecting your data? Here’s a quick test. What do these seemingly random alphanumerical groupings have in common? 123456 password 123456789 12345678 12345 111111 1234567 sunshine qwerty iloveyou That is a list of the top ten passwords used in 2018. Recognize any of these? If you don’t, you’re not necessarily in the clear. However, your chance of becoming compromised or hacked is far less than someone who uses one of these. If you do recognize these, you’re certainly testing your luck. These days, it is increasingly challenging to create and remember so many passwords. If we had onlyRead Full Article

Can VoIP Phones Help Your Business?

VoIP-phone-system

We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP is just fancy jargon for an internet phone system. People are hearing from friends or business acquaintances who are using VoIP phones that, not only are they saving money, but this “new” technology has added a lot of flexibility to their daily operations. It is true that VoIP systems will save you money over landlines or cellphones. Additionally, there are even more benefits to utilizing the right VoIP set-up for your business. Here we take a look at how this technology works and visit some of the strengths and weaknesses of Voice Over Internet Protocol systems. VoIP Basics You can make and receive calls through the internet rather than hardwiredRead Full Article

10 Facts about Cybersecurity

facts-about-cybersecurity

Get the facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 to protect your business. Emergency preparedness is essential for smooth emergency response – and the faster you respond to an emergency, the better. September is National Preparedness Month. Thus, as you’re reviewing the other disaster preparedness plans in your life, it’s time to make sure that you’ve got the facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 to plan for 2021. No two cybersecurity disasters are exactly the same. But most of them share certain characteristics. It’s important to learn the facts about today’s biggest threats. This can help you make an effective plan. You could be impacted by phishing, ransomware, insider threats, credential stuffing, or other Dark Web dangers. These basic facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 can helpRead Full Article

The Benefits of Using VoIP Technology

voip-technology

VoIP technology (Voice over IP) is yet another tool to utilize in creating an ideal virtual office. You should opt for a VoIP system because it will also trim expenses, as well as make the most of technology. More and more businesses are implementing VoIP technology. That is because of its versatility, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. ViOP allows you to bring your office phone system wherever you and your employees are. This means you will have a state-of-the-art business telecommunication system whether you are in your brick and mortar office or working remotely. Versatility/Flexibility of VoIP Technology: All modes of communication such as voice, fax, video, web conferencing, and emails can be utilized, using a single software application. Yep, fax is still used frequently in theRead Full Article

Why the Break-fix Model Doesn’t Work

break-fix

So, you may be wondering why the break-fix model doesn’t work. Grandpa always said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While we love Grandpa, that truism isn’t always true. Just like the customer is always right and other similar expressions, simply because people have been saying something forever doesn’t make it correct. Still wondering why the break-fix model doesn’t work? Break-fix fails: waiting to take action when something breaks before you fix it can end up being costly and disastrous in the long run. Where do we find the balance between upgrading routinely and only replacing when you have no choice? Also, what does this have to do with this series’ theme of hiring an IT tech? Break-fix Model: Let’s Break the Cycle When a company grows andRead Full Article

IT Professional Job Description – What do they really do?

it-professional

So, you’re working on drafting an IT professional job description. This series covers the most important factors to consider before you hire an in-house IT tech or team. Our last article reviewed the hidden costs of hiring an IT Professional. Now, we’re talking about what IT actually does besides ask if you turned your computer off and back on again. Depending on the size of your organization, work in IT can be complicated and time-consuming. Let’s go over the major job responsibilities of IT professionals beyond tech support and equipment maintenance. Vendor Management Outside organizations most often provide your Internet, copy machine, phone system, and computer equipment. When they break, need maintenance, or require warranty replacement, the IT professional interacts with the vendor. Oftentimes, they’re responsible for communicatingRead Full Article

The Hidden Costs of Hiring an IT Tech

hiring-it-tech

If your business is at the point where you’re thinking about hiring a fulltime IT tech, congratulations! Having enough consistent needs to fill this role means you’ve worked hard and made good decisions that drove business growth. Our best advice? Don’t stop now! Moving forward with hiring requires a lot of analysis to avoid major consequences down the line, though. One of the biggest decisions whether you’ll hire someone directly or use a third-party MSP (Managed Service Provider). In this article, we’ll get into the specifics of both scenarios. Why Do You Need an IT Tech at All? In the past, business people and tech people were two different breeds. Over the years, the gap has gradually shrunk to the point that many people areRead Full Article

Facts You Should Know About Cybersecurity Education

cybersecurity education

Why should businesses be concerned with the state of cybersecurity education? Because it brings unexpected risks to the table. As the world continues to evolve in the wake of the global pandemic, every aspect of life has changed. Students are headed back to school and most will be attending virtually at least some of the time. With many parents still working from home, that means that everyone is sharing a network – and the underwhelming state of cybersecurity education for kids creates unexpected cybersecurity risks for businesses. Cybersecurity isn’t a priority in most K – 12 curricula. But cybercriminals have learned that kids are easy targets for social engineering attacks, and schools are generally way behind the curve in internal cybersecurity, creating openings for themRead Full Article

Beyond a Basic Disaster Recovery Plan

disaster-recovery-plan

You’ve invested in a disaster recovery plan and now sleep more soundly at night, but the hardware itself is really only part of the solution. You want to ensure your technology provider does preventative maintenance, periodic testing, multi-location storage, and staff training. Having these things in place will help avoid downtime if the worst happens. Preventative Maintenance In addition to the hardware itself, a solid disaster recovery solution also has its own backup including generators, backup batteries, cooling systems, fire detection, suppression systems, and redundant cloud storage. You can’t necessarily head to your provider’s office to see for yourself, but you can read the fine print on your contracts as well as have meaningful conversations with potential providers. Periodic Testing Consistently ensuring everything is runningRead Full Article