Cybersecurity: What Is It And Why It’s Important For Your Small Business

Cybersecurity: What Is It And Why It’s Important For Your Small Business

In the past year, the cost of data breaches in the United States rose 10 percent to reach an all-time high of $4.24 million. In today’s technological business world, the importance of cybersecurity can’t be overestimated. Cybersecurity is essential for small and medium business owners. Think about how much your business relies on technology. How much of your company’s data gets stored on computers, personal devices, and other systems?

Digital business networks are practically universal. At the same time, cybercriminals are growing more innovative by the day. A data breach can be especially devastating for small business owners. There is no way to guarantee these things won’t happen to your business, but there are many precautions you can take to minimize your risk. Keep reading to find out what steps you can take to improve cybersecurity for your small business.


What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the practice of fortifying digital networks, devices, and data against attacks. But the cybersecurity definition goes further than that. The art of cybersecurity involves taking enhanced measures to combat any threat to your network security whether that threat comes from an external organization or inside your own company. Cybersecurity ensures integrity and confidentiality. It limits the availability of sensitive information and prevents unauthorized access.


What Are the Risks of Weak Cybersecurity?

The risks of weak cybersecurity vary in severity. There is the possibility of a malware attack that could erase the contents of your entire system. Similarly, hackers could break into your system to change or alter data and information. A cybercriminal could also use your business’s system to attack others. They could steal your financial information. They could even use your business accounts to make unauthorized purchases.

Cybercriminals target personally identifiable information (PII). This includes names, addresses, social security numbers, bank accounts, and credit card information. Once they have this information, they can sell it in underground digital markets. When your business’s PII gets compromised, it can lead to major problems. Customers may lose trust in your business. You could be forced to pay regulatory fines and even face legal action.

If you have a complex system but lack IT experience managing it, the cost of a data breach could be even higher for your SMB. Small and medium business owners with comprehensive cybersecurity strategies are better protected. They can minimize the frequency and impact of cybersecurity breaches.


What Are the Essential Domains of Effective Cybersecurity?

The more layers there are to your cybersecurity strategy, the better your system gets protected. Here are some of the countermeasures an effective cybersecurity strategy should include.


Critical Infrastructure Security

Your SMB needs critical infrastructure security to protect its systems, networks, and assets. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a cybersecurity organizational framework.


Network Security

Network security refers to measures taken to protect computer networks from cyber attacks. This security applies to both wired and wireless network connections.


Application Security

Application security processes protect the apps your business operates on-site or in the cloud. Incorporating this type of security during the application design stage is vital. That’s when you can take data handling and user authentication into consideration. 


Cloud Security

It is important to use encryption data to protect the information your company stores in the cloud. This supports customer privacy and compliance standards. It encrypts all types of cloud data, whether at rest, in motion, or in use.


End-User Education

Cybersecurity training is essential across an organization. Promoting security awareness among employees strengthens cybersecurity.


Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity

When an unplanned event does occur, it is important to have procedures for handling and minimizing the impact. This planning will enable your business to continue as usual despite a power outage, natural disaster, or cyber attack.


Benefits of Cybersecurity for Small Business Owners

Cybersecurity management services use a combination of these domains and more. For this reason, the benefits of cybersecurity for small business owners are far-ranging. Cybersecurity protects data from getting lost, deleted, or accessed by unauthorized parties. It also prevents financial fraud, embezzlement, and financial loss. Protection from viruses and malware attacks as well. That way, your business’s productivity doesn’t get interrupted by damaged hardware. Cybersecurity also protects your intellectual property and data from exposure. Combined, the benefits of cybersecurity will increase your customer’s confidence in your company.


How To Improve Cybersecurity for Small and Medium Business Owners

Sometimes, the purpose of a cyber attack is to gain access to sensitive information. Sometimes the goal is to change or destroy it. Other times, cybercriminals attack with the intention of interrupting business processes for extortion. Here are some of the steps corporations are taking to strengthen cybersecurity protocols.


Complex Passwords

Using robust and complicated passwords is an essential first step in cybersecurity. It might seem obvious, but over half of internet users recycle passwords between accounts. This makes it exceptionally easy for hackers to access multiple accounts with a single password breach.

When choosing a password, include a variety of letters, numbers, and special characters. It will be more difficult for cybercriminals to hack into your accounts and systems. Always avoid using any easily identifiable information in your passwords. This type of information includes names, dates of birth, addresses, etc. Even more importantly, do not store your passwords in easy-to-access locations.

In offices, it is common to write passwords on post-it notes and stick them in highly visible locations. Avoid doing this as it provides an easy invitation for hackers. Finally, make sure to change your passwords often. This is just one more way you can improve your password security throughout your network.

Multi-Factor Authentication

Multifactor authentication (MFA) is an extra layer of security that goes beyond passwords. It is an essential tool all small and medium business owners should use. Instead of relying on passwords alone, multifactor authentication creates an extra access barrier. To get into the account, you will need to provide added proof of your identity.

When you have multifactor authentication, having a password stolen isn’t as big of a deal. It will still be very difficult for an unauthorized entity to get into your account. Multifactor authentication can rely on personal knowledge only the account holder would know. It can also be a physical token like a key fob, mobile phone, or USB device.

The most secure multifactor authentication relies on biometrics. This might include fingerprints, retina scanning, or facial and voice recognition. In addition, MFA alerts users to unauthorized attempts to log into their accounts. That way, you and your IT management team can handle it immediately.


Email Security

The majority of cyberattacks occur via email. Switch to an email program that will limit your exposure to attacks by reducing email spam.


Employee Education

It is essential to educate your employees about the dangers of cyberattacks. Cybersecurity training should be part of every employee’s onboarding process. Many businesses use social media to attract customers. Make sure to inform your employees on how to handle social media posts. That way, they won’t disclose sensitive information to a competing business.


Network Security

Using firewalls and encryption is important for any SMB. It is especially important when working remotely or in public. Say you want to take a working lunch at a coffee shop. Connecting to free wifi can put your data at risk. Invest in a portable hotspot with a secure network instead.


Personal Computer & Device Monitoring

Do your employees use personal devices to do work? Your network administrator should have access to these devices. You don’t need to worry about invading your employees’ privacy. Your network administrator only needs to install security updates and track software.


Back-Up Your Files

Every month, make it a habit to back up all your data. This will prevent the possibility of data loss. Remember to back up your local data and what you have stored in the cloud.

Hire an IT Management Service

None of these precautions alone will completely protect your business. The best way to get comprehensive cybersecurity is to use an IT management service. A cybersecurity analyst will begin by performing a security assessment. This allows them to see how well your current security system is working. They will then make the necessary enhancements to protect your data better.


Cybersecurity Services For Your SMB

Minimizing costs is important to small and medium business owners. But if there is one area where you shouldn’t pinch pennies, it is IT support and cybersecurity. One cyber attack could be enough to destroy your business. As a small business owner, you stand to lose time, money, and the trust of your customers. Find out how Edge Networks can improve cybersecurity for your SMB. Contact us today to learn more.

Edge Networks Ranked #1 in Cybersecurity & IT Firms in Washington top IT service award for edge networks

Since 2006, Edge Networks has been providing all-things IT to our clients in order to help them be more productive and profitable. Our focus on making our clients happy has caught the attention of Recently, they recognized Edge Networks as one of the top B2B companies in Washington and the #1 Cybersecurity and IT firm!

The Edge Networks team is happy to be receiving a Clutch Award. Edge Networks Founder and CEO, Mark Tishenko says: “I’m extremely proud of our team for delivering happiness to our customers, who in turn helped us earn this amazing award.”

Clutch is a B2B site that rates and reviews agencies across a variety of industries in the United States. The team helps connect businesses with the best suited service provider to solve their firm’s challenges. Based on their unique method, they rank hundreds of companies by evaluating their client feedback, market presence, and work portfolio. Our Clutch profile is #1 in their Leaders Matrix out of the top 15 Portland IT and business service providers.

Our success is not limited to Clutch. Rather, it extends to their sister sites: Visual Objects and The Manifest. Visual Objects publishes the creative and visual work of B2B companies so that prospective clients may view previous projects. Similarly, The Manifest aids potential buyers by sharing how-to guides and industry reports. Like Clutch, we are ranked on The Manifest with other leading B2B agencies.

Additionally, this year, listed Edge Networks among the Best Managed IT Service Providers in Vancouver. 

All the teammates at Edge Networks are happy to receive this recognition. We would like to thank our clients for taking the time to thoroughly review our services with the team at Clutch, and we look forward to the future as we continue to help our clients optimize their IT capabilities! 

Want to work happy? Let us know . When you work with Edge, you have a cavalry of award-winning IT professionals behind you that’s dedicated to solving issues fast and recommending the right solution. 

Why You Should Be Using Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Data breaches are at an all-time high. If you’re one of the 56 percent of internet users who use the same password for multiple accounts, you could be putting your digital assets at risk. When you recycle passwords between accounts, it increases your chance of a data breach significantly. You’ve given potential hackers an incredibly valuable tool. Instead of needing to hack into multiple accounts, they only need to crack a single password. This results in a domino effect giving them unlimited access to your most sensitive information. Multi-factor authentication is the cybersecurity solution you need. MFA is a simple, effective way to protect all of your assets from the threat of a data breach.

In this article, you’ll learn the importance of using MFA to protect your business.

What Is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

Multi-factor authentication, or MFA, is a method of proving identity. This type of authentication requires the user to present at least two pieces of evidence.

These pieces of evidence are used to verify that the user is who they say they are. Multi-factor authentication aims to increase security, but that’s not all.

Verifying your identity through authentication systems can be a tiresome obstacle. This is especially true for those who need to log in and out of accounts throughout the business day.

That’s why multi-factor authentication aims to find the balance between security and convenience. 

SSO secured phone

How Does MFA Work?

Typically, when you log into an account, you get prompted to type in a username and a password. That’s it. The problem is that anyone who gets a hold of your username and password can log in pretending to be you.

Multi-factor authentication adds a few more steps that strategically fend off would-be hackers. After you put in your username and password, you’ll get an additional set of prompts asking for further identity verification.

The method of multi-factor authentication relies on three types of personal information. Businesses can use one or a combination of all of these methods depending on what suits their budget and priorities.

Knowledge (Things You Know)

This type of information generally includes information that only you would know. It could be in the form of security questions like, “What was the make and model of your first car?” or “What high school did you attend?” Passwords also fall into this category.

Another common type of knowledge authentication is the combination of a username, password, and PIN.

Possesions (Things You Have)

This type of authentication is useful for anyone with a specific type of identifiable item in their possession. This item could be a USB device, key fob, mobile phone, or another type of physical token.

Possession authentication has a high success rate of thwarting hackers. It is highly unlikely that a hacker who stole your password was also able to steal your physical belongings.

When you use this type of authentication, it might look like a pop-up notification on your phone. It could also be a prompt to insert a security card.

The least effective form of possession authentication is the one-time password (OTP).

With this method, you submit an authentication request. Then you get a code sent to you via text or email. The code only works once and it has a limited window for use.

Since it is very easy to request this type of code, OTPs are generally less secure than the other types of authentication.

Inherence (Things You Are)

Inherence authentication uses your behavior and biological analysis to verify your identity. This could be in the form of fingerprints, facial or voice recognition, retina scanning, or some other form of biometrics.

This type of authentication is especially secure. It is extremely difficult for someone who isn’t you to imitate your biology and behavior. It’s also the most convenient form of authentication to use.

Why Do I Need Multi-Factor Authentication?

Data breaches have increased by a record-breaking 68 percent in the past year. Changing your password regularly might seem like a good approach to cybersecurity, but that alone won’t keep your data safe. Multi-factor authentication is the most effective method to prevent a data breach. That’s why cybersecurity insurance providers are required by law to use multi-factor authentication. Different businesses and organizations use MFA for a variety of purposes. However, the three primary reasons to use MFA to protect your information are security, usability, and compliance.




The main purpose of MFA is to enhance security so your business can operate safely. How well your information gets secured depends on how many layers of authentication you use. You’ll get the highest level of security with a system that uses two factors of authentication or more.



Another reason businesses prefer to use MFA is that it offers them the chance to stop relying on passwords. Trying to remember a complicated, unique password for every account, app, or document is a lot. Resetting passwords when you forget them is a nightmare in itself sometimes. MFA can allow users to eliminate passwords by relying on biometrics and physical tokens.



For those who work in industries that regulate the handling of sensitive information, MFA is often a requirement. Failing to adhere to these state and local regulations can result in fines, audits, and potential lawsuits.

What Are the Cybersecurity Benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication?

Multi-factor authentication is one of the top three cybersecurity methods. In fact, 95 percent of American companies use multi-factor authentication in some manner already. An additional 85 percent of executives plan to adopt or expand their use of multi-factor authentication.


Here are a few top ways your business will benefit from multi-factor authentication:

Stronger Authentication

The majority of data breaches occur as the result of a weak or stolen password. MFA uses multiple layers of authentication to prevent this from happening. By doing this, multi-factor authentication reduces the risk of an account getting hacked and taken over. With MFA, getting your password stolen isn’t an issue. The hacker who stole it won’t be able to penetrate the added layers of authentication MFA provides.



Increased Security

If you run a large business, there are likely third parties who need to access your system regularly. Perhaps there are dozens of outside individuals using your system, or hundreds, or thousands. The larger your business grows, the more impossible it is to keep track of all the people moving in and out of your system. The added layers of authentication MFA provides increase your security significantly. 



Control Who Accesses Your Files

MFA allows you greater control over who can and cannot access specific files and data. Using only passwords is dangerous. It’s easy for someone to duplicate or share a password with someone who shouldn’t have it. Using two or more authentication factors limits access to certain files to specific individuals.



Tailored Security to Suit Your Specific Needs

When you work with MFA, you get to select which combination of authentication forms is best suited to your business. Using at least two factors, you will determine every aspect of your company’s security strategy. To get the most tailored MFA experience, entrust your cybersecurity to a professional IT management service.


Comply with Regulatory Requirements

Multi-factor authentication is a requirement in the health care industry. These businesses are required to maintain HIPAA compliance. MFA safeguards individually identifiable health information by preventing unauthorized access. Some governmental agencies and organizations also require adherence to multi-factor authentication security policies.



Minimize Password Risks

We can’t emphasize enough the danger of relying on passwords as a sole form of protection. The high rate of duplicate password use almost ensures the inevitability of a data breach. If you do use passwords, make them unique, complex, and difficult to guess. Avoid using passwords that involve birthdays, addresses, and phone numbers.


frustrated girl in front of laptop

Additional Cybersecurity Options To Protect Your Business

The best way to protect your data is to be proactive. To ensure your business and information remain under your control, IT management services offer additional security implementations. risk assessment battery of tests is an effective place to start. Through rigorous testing, an IT management team can identify your existing vulnerabilities. That way they can design an individualized strategy to protect your digital assets. This assessment also involves implementing specific technologies to do surveillance on your systems. They are designed to look out for any sign you may be getting hacked. For an extra layer of protection against cyberattacks, you can implement a penetration test. A penetration test involves the performance of simulated attacks on your digital information. By doing this, an IT management team can determine the best methods of protecting your data from a real attack. It also demonstrates how vulnerable your current system is and where it needs fortification.


Protect Your Business With IT Management Services

In our technologically dependent era, with data breaches at a record high, using multi-factor authentication is an essential form of data protection every business needs. In addition to providing unmatched cybersecurity, MFA makes accessing your data easier by eliminating the need for passwords. But you don’t have to figure out your multi-factor authentication strategy on your own. Let the IT management professionals at Edge Networks create the ideal service program so you can focus on running your business. Fill out a quick contact form to learn about our convenient flat-rate management services today.


How a Managed IT Service Provider Can Help You Avoid Social Engineering Attacks

A cyber attack on your company could cost you millions of dollars and cause you to lose customers. There’s no surprise that companies are doing everything they can to protect against cyber criminals. With that said, most companies’ cybersecurity strategy focuses on things like firewalls and antivirus solutions. While these apps are essential, they can’t protect you against one of the cybercriminal’s favored methods. Social engineering attacks can bypass your cyber defenses and do massive damage to your company. So what is social engineering, and how can you protect your company against it? Read on to find out more.


What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is when cyber criminals use sophisticated social trickery to access systems. The trouble with a social engineering attack is that it involves deceiving people rather than computer systems. This means that your cybersecurity software probably won’t be able to prevent social engineering attacks.

If a social engineering attacker tricks one of your employees into giving up their password, your cybersecurity setup simply won’t recognize them as an intruder. Social engineering attacks are, therefore, a significant problem for businesses that rely on IT systems. 

Firewalls and antivirus software are becoming more powerful. So criminals are turning to social engineering techniques to commit crimes.

According to some statistics, hackers use social engineering in 98% of their cyber attacks. The following social engineering tactics could cause security problems for your business. 

Whaling Attacks

A whaling attack is when cyber criminals target a specific person or group of people with a social engineering attack. For example, the attackers might send an email to a particular person hoping to scam them. 

Generally, the victims have access to some kind of computer system that the criminals want to break into. They may attempt to trick the victim into giving up their password. They might also try to convince the victim to transfer money to the attacker’s account. 

One of the defining features of a whaling attack is the sense of urgency the hackers convey. The hackers will always try to convince the victim to take action as quickly as possible. The hackers know they stand the best chance of success if they don’t give the victim much time to think. 

Successful whaling attacks use carefully crafted language tailored to the targets to make the attack seem as convincing as possible. These attacks often target C-level executives, but cybercriminals will target almost anyone they think has enough authority. 

In a whaling attack, the criminals might also try to impersonate C-level executives. For example, in 2016, hackers tricked an employee at Snapchat into giving up payroll information by pretending to be the Snapchat CEO in an email. 


How Managed IT Services Can Protect You Against Whaling Attacks

Protecting against whaling attacks using technological solutions can be challenging, but some potential safeguards exist.

Managed IT services could help you set up a permissions system on your network. This means that you can restrict the level of information that certain employees have access to. 

You can then only grant workers permission to access the files they need to do their job. While this doesn’t completely mitigate the risk of a whaling attack, it does help minimize the number of people criminals can target. 

Your permissions system can help you to identify employees who criminals may target. You can then train these at-risk employees to identify whaling attacks. 


Watering Hole Attacks

A watering hole attack is when criminals put malicious code on a site or program they know their targets will use. For example, they might compromise an industry-specific website in the hope of infecting computers on your company network. 

This kind of attack can be challenging to recognize. If the attackers execute a watering hole attack well, the victim won’t even notice. An example of a successful watering hole attack was when attackers managed to sneak malicious code into the app Ccleaner.

Thankfully, you can take some basic precautions to protect your company. 


How Managed IT Services Can Protect You Against Watering Hole Attacks

One of the main ways that managed IT services can protect your company against watering hole attacks is by ensuring all your apps are up to date. These kinds of attacks often only work because the hackers exploit vulnerabilities in software. 

Software developers usually quickly identify these issues and push out a security patch. As long as you constantly update to the latest version, you should be protected. Of course, keeping everything updated on an extensive company network can be difficult, but managed IT services can ensure everything stays updated.


Pretexting Attack

A pretexting attack is when a cybercriminal creates a social situation where the victim gives out personal information. In normal circumstances, the victim would never give up this information, but the hackers create a scenario where the victim feels like they need to. 

Criminals using this type of attack try to exploit human psychology. For example, they might present themselves as someone in a leadership position. They may also try to present themselves as someone the victim can trust. 


How Managed IT Services Can Protect You Against Pretexting Attacks

The best way to protect against this kind of attack is to make it more difficult to access your systems with just one piece of information. For example, you could use multi-factor authentication.

This is when you need to confirm your login from a second device. Typically, this involves logging in and providing a code you receive on your phone. 

This makes it much more difficult for an attacker to use pretexting. With multi-factor security at play, an attacker must gain access to your password and verification code. 

A managed IT services company can quickly implement this kind of security system for your company. 


Baiting Attacks

A baiting attack is when criminals leave some kind of digital bait for a victim to find. Once the victim takes the bait, the USB stick will execute malicious code on their system. A popular way of making a baiting attack is by leaving a USB stick lying around somewhere a victim will find it. 

Most people would be curious about what’s on the device. They might then plug the USB stick into a work computer. At this point, the malicious code executes, and the network is compromised. 

For example, in 2022, the hacking group FIN7 sent USB drives laced with malicious software to various organizations. 


How Managed IT Services Can Protect You Against Baiting Attacks

There are several ways managed IT services could protect your company from this kind of attack. They could make it impossible for workers to plug in their USB sticks. If you have workers who don’t need to do this to do their job, this solution makes a lot of sense. 

If this solution isn’t viable, they can also install robust antivirus software on your computer network. In many cases, good antivirus software detects and refuses to open the malicious code. 

Managed IT services will also back up all your essential data. If the antivirus fails, they can simply shut down the network and revert to an old backup. When done correctly, it will be like the baiting attack never happened. 


Phishing Attacks

A phishing attack is when cyber criminals set up a fake website. They make this site look authentic, but when the victim inputs their information, it sends it straight to the hackers. A phishing attack might also involve sending fake invoices to a company to try and get victims to pay. 

Cybercriminals might target your company by setting up a fake login portal for your company’s website. This could trick your workers into providing their passwords. In some cases, the criminals can even spoof the URL to appear to be a legitimate site. 

Even big tech companies like Google and Facebook are targeted. In 2016 a phishing scammer earned $100 million by sending these companies fake invoices. 


How Managed IT Services Can Protect You Against Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are often made through email. Managed IT services can install a filtering system to block phishing emails. They can also protect your company from malicious websites by setting up a proxy server.

Again, a two-factor password system also helps because attackers need more than one password to access your company.


Protect Your Company Against Social Engineering

As you can see, social engineering attacks pose a massive threat to your company. The good news is that managed IT services can help you implement security solutions to protect you. Working with a good managed IT solutions company and having a solid security culture will help keep your company safe.

If you want to work with an experienced managed IT services company, contact us today. 

Server and Network Management Basics

When you set up your own business, the details of the network and servers might not be something you even begin to think about. However, it can make or break small businesses, especially if they have their own websites and online services. An MSP can help you manage with network management and server management so that you don’t have to worry about losing customers due to security issues or slow networks. Keep reading to learn more about what server and network managements are, as well as what an MSP is and how they can help you.


What is Server Management?

Server management is the way that servers are handled to have ideal optimization. This means that it helps prevent slow loading times, ensures the site is safe and secure, and that it can grow and expand as needed. So essentially, server management should handle four main things on a fundamental level.

  • Hardware. Monitor CPUs and RAM for good performance from the server.
  • Software. Keep track of software, firmware, and operating systems and make sure they are regularly updated.
  • Security. Make sure antivirus software, firewalls, encryption, and access control are available and up-to-date.
  • Backups. Make sure your data is constantly backed up, no matter if you use physical or cloud storage as your preferred method.

There are many different kinds of servers out there, and you may end up using a few of them at once while setting up your business. Some examples of various servers include:

  • Web servers. As the name suggests, this server is what helps web content get to clients. A slow server could cause the website to load slowly or even only partially. Also, personal information like addresses and passwords are at risk of being stolen without proper protection.
  • Email servers. Email servers allow mail to be sent. Usually, they can be paired with websites.
  • Database servers. These servers rarely work alone, as their primary job is to store data. Data also must be carefully protected, so having server management handle that is very important.
  • Proxy servers. Web proxy servers are pretty variable and can do a lot. However, they all take in requests by users and process movements for the user themselves.

Your business depends on critical IT infrastructure in order to keep it running every day. Edge Networks has been managing and maintaining IT systems for over a decade, and we’re meticulous about failure prevention.

Our support team is here for you 24/7/365 to help keep your systems performing optimally. We can also help you decide whether choosing a virtualized or cloud-based infrastructure would make the most sense for your individual business’ needs. 


What is Network Management?

Unlike server management, which is mostly handled on one computer, network management handles a whole set of data on the same network. Like with server management, you can store network data either in a physical server or via a cloud system.No matter which way you decide to store it, however, you still need proper network management. Good network management handles a few different steps for you.

  • Automation. A proper network management system sets up the network to handle configuration, management, testing, deployment, and operation of both the physical and virtual devices.
  • Assurance. Your management system’s assurance measures will help you track and enhance performance, user experience, and security. This keeps your data safe and makes your clients happy with a smooth network. This is done by working with the analytics.
  • Analytics. Network analytics measures data coming in against the models that are set up and help make decisions about network performance. It usually works with the assurance feature to make sure the system is working securely and smoothly. Some analytics include policy, application, and analytics.

By having network management, you can make your network better in a variety of ways. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Reduce network disruptions
  • Improve security
  • Increase productivity

However, you may find that you get even more benefits from a well-managed network.

When it comes to Network Management, let Edge Networks relieve the burden. We’ll keep your IT environment safe and secure, and we’ll ensure that it’s fast, efficient, and reliable. Whether you need help choosing new hardware, software, or cloud-based solutions, we can offer guidance and personalized support, or help you maximize the lifespan and usability of the IT investments you’ve already made.


What Is an MSP?

MSP stands for Managed Service Provider. Their job is to manage information technology (IT) infrastructure and end-user systems. Many different companies hire MSPs, whether large or small businesses. Those that don’t hire MSPs tend to have their own in-house instead of using a third-party group. MSPs are tasked to handle jobs such as management of networks and infrastructure, security, and monitoring. Some Managed Service Providers will do broad jobs, while others handle more specialized sections.

Some examples of specific segments include:

  • Remote firewall administration
  • Security-as-a-service
  • Financial services
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Vertical markets
  • Data storage

There are three main types of MSP. There are the pure-play MSPs, who are smaller and focus on networks and applications and how those both perform. Sometimes, they may even offer their services to improve security and reports. Next is the staffing legacy MSP. These work for larger companies usually, though they may go down to more of the more mid-level groups. They do a lot of different services at once, which can include things like reporting, software upgrades, and monitoring. Finally, there are high-level MSPs. These providers outsource a lot of their client’s IT processes and offer a wide range of services.

Sometimes, MSPs can additionally be categorized by which services they offer. There are six general categories you may find an MSP falling into.

  1. Monitoring
  2. Remote support
  3. Proactive support
  4. Simplified billing
  5. Scheduled maintenance
  6. Centralized management


Why is it beneficial to hire an MSP?

There are many benefits to hiring an MSP. Six of the most important ones are:

  1. Lower technology costs
  2. Efficient service delivery
  3. Experienced people helping
  4. Can scale up or down quickly
  5. Application of emerging technology
  6. An idea of future trends

Simply put, it is beneficial for small and medium-sized businesses to hire an MSP because that way, you can focus primarily on your business growth. The security benefits alone are well worth it. With a good MSP, you don’t have to worry about server or network security. This is incredibly important for small businesses as over half of all small businesses targeted and attacked by cybercrimes go out of business from that attack.

Also, since many small businesses don’t have security measures, and that knowledge is well-known, many cyber attacks target smaller businesses. An MSP can help you with security measures, 24-hour monitoring services, and other management and monitoring tools.

However, you get a lot more than just security with a Managed Service Provider. They are people and companies that are knowledgeable in areas that might be a bit murky to you, and they are there to provide their expertise. Not only are they experienced in their work, but they have access to expert resources to help you out.

MSPs can also provide you with data loss security measures. Things happen, and data gets lost. Even though you can have preventative plans and take steps to reduce issues, they can’t plan for everything. Thankfully, MSPs can help ensure you have up-to-date backups when something goes wrong, so you still have everything recorded somewhere.

In the long run, a service MSP can also help you save money. If something does go wrong and you need a lot of repairs or updates, then you can pay a fixed monthly income to your MSP instead of hiring another organization hourly wages to do the same work.

However, the most significant benefit of an MSP is that it allows you to focus on what’s important. You don’t have to stress and monitor parts of your business you don’t understand and constantly worry about your network and server safety.

Instead, you can keep moving forward with your business and focus on the things that matter the most to you, such as keeping up-to-date with your customers and creating new and exciting products.


How to Choose a Managed Service Provider

After looking at all of the benefits of an MSP, you may want to just spring on an MSP so that you and your organization can take advantage of these benefits as soon as possible. But not all MSPs are created equally, and some can do just as much harm to your organization as the benefits they could and should be providing.

Below are some of the most important aspects of an MSP and how they operate that you should look for before beginning any business relationships. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, and you should always perform proper research into any potential business partners.


1.   Request and use references

If you’ve already shortlisted a couple of MSP candidates, you might be able to learn about some of their current clients and business partners. Reach out to these clients to better understand the MSP’s expertise with organizations of your size, as well as the type of industry you work in. If an MSP has a great reputation, it should also have a track record across the years it has been operating.


2.   Look for MSPs with experience in many different work environments

We’ve seen a lot of change in how we think about work in recent years, mostly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote work, whether from home or a separate office, has exploded in popularity across many industries. An organization that needs an MSP will have to meet these technological demands with an appropriate MSP. MSPs that understand the unique challenges of getting a remote computer onto a managed network or server and the potential for new cybersecurity breaches are vital in our new work paradigm from 2022 and onwards.


3.    Can the MSP feasibly scale with the growth of your organization?

As businesses ebb and flow, so should their needs from an MSP. You need to find an MSP that can keep up with your organization’s growth, otherwise, you’ll soon find the IT department to be your limiting factor. If an MSP has the right toolset for your needs, scaling up and down appropriately will be easy.


Keep Your Server and Network Running Smoothly

Choosing an MSP can take a lot of time, but it is well worth it. Not only can they keep your network and server running smoothly, but they can help protect your data and allow you to focus on your business’ growth and brand.

While it may not seem like a necessary expense at a glance, it is a security measure and safety net you don’t want to be without. So start looking for a Managed Service Provider as soon as possible to have peace of mind! Want to find out if Managed IT Services is right for your business? Contact us today for a free, 30-minute consultation or get started with a free, self-guided IT Security Risk Assessment.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs an Incident Response Plan (+ Free Template!)

Did you know that Americans face a hacker attack every 39 seconds, and 43% of these attacks target small businesses? Most companies will take about six months to detect a data breach, and by then, it’s often too late to do anything about it. The global average cost of a data breach is about $3.9 million for small to medium businesses.  Having a solid strategy can make all the difference for your business when dealing with a cyber-attack. What kind of strategy are we talking about? Having an incident response plan in place.

We are going to share some tips with you on why your business needs an incident response plan. That way, you can always be ready in the case of a cyber-attack. Read on to learn more.


Don’t Get Caught Off Guard: The Importance of an Incident Response Plan

The term “ransomware” is becoming a regular part of business security. Ransomware is a type of malware where hackers threaten to publish personal data or block some service until you pay a ransom. Organized crime gangs like the Russia-linked REvil Ransomware are constantly attempting to access computer networks and hold them for ransom.

An incident response plan sets out tools and processes your team can follow to identify new threats and end them. It also sets out steps for the recovery of the business following a cyber-attack by setting out the roles and responsibilities.

With a plan in place, you can constantly test the security system, identify issues, and learn from your mistakes.


Team making a Cyber incident response plan

Be Prepared: Why Your Business Needs an Incident Response Plan

Cyber-attacks are increasing as time passes, and the impact on your business is more significant than you would think. Your business should prepare for any emergency by implementing an incident response plan. The benefits of such a plan, such as finding security attacks faster and protecting your reputation, outweigh the costs.


#1: Pre-emptive Strike

There are several types of attacks that your business can run into that you need to protect yourself from. These include the denial of service attacks where your system is overloaded to the point where it can’t run legitimate customer requests, or a phishing attack with malware in emails that look like they come from legitimate sources.

An incident report plan allows you to strike pre-emptively and protect your business from a security breach. Attackers usually go for groups that they think are more vulnerable because they have a greater chance of success.

Having a plan means that you are prepared before an incident occurs, catching the security breach before too much time has passed.


#2: An Organized Approach from Disruption to Recovery

Business data loss is more than just losing your clients’ private information. It can cost you about $141 per data record, and that cost will continue to increase. The cost of cyberattacks includes lost wages, lost revenue, potential fines, and lost trust.

An incident response team will implement your plan that will set out the process for all types of attacks. It will help you from disruption to recovery in an organized way so that any security breaches can be handled without disrupting the business.

It can help you reduce the response time and the overall cost of dealing with a security breach.


#3: Learn From Past Mistakes and Strengthen Overall Security

Some simple tips like backing up and encrypting all data can help protect your business from cybersecurity threats. The goal of an incident response plan is to manage the complete security system and deal with all vulnerabilities. You can assess, analyze, and report on the security systems to minimize the impact of a cyberattack and quickly restore operations.

A part of the response plan means increasing cybersecurity awareness among your employees. Once they recognize threats, they will be more vigilant, leading to reduced cyberattacks attributed to human error.

You also have to test and improve your security practices and systems continuously. One way to do so is to use simulated security attacks and security breach scenarios to test your security system. This can expose gaps before a real cyberattack takes place.


#4: Protect Your Reputation and Build Trust

As a business, your reputation is your most essential tool. You work hard to develop a brand that people can trust and rely upon by providing the best service possible and giving 100% to your customers and employees. In a single moment, all that trust and a good reputation can disappear because of a cyberattack.

If your business loses too much data or resources to deal with ransomware, your reputation could be damaged beyond saving, where business continuity is a concern. The cost of paying ransomware can impact your bottom line and even lead to bankruptcy. An incident response plan can help protect your reputation and the public trust you have worked hard to build.


People pointing to graph

#5: Comply With Regulations

Specific sectors like the health care and financial services industry have regulations to protect consumer data and privacy. When those rules are not met, you are faced with hefty fines and costly lawsuits.

A business continuity plan, like an incident response plan, will set out the steps that your team will need to take to comply with the regulations. Your business can avoid legal penalties by managing its resources during an emergency. You can use the plan as proof of your due diligence when needed.


Need Help Getting Started with an Incident Response Plan?

Developing a cyber incident response plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Having one can make a dramatic difference in your level of preparedness, your overall vulnerability, and your peace of mind. If you need help with creating a Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan, look no further! We’re here to help. Our comprehensive Incident Response Plan covers all the important things you need to get started. Download our free template using the link below.


Download Your Free Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan Here!

Talk to an Expert Today

The first step to protecting yourself from cyberattacks is to design and put in place an incident response plan. Your entire team should be engaged and understand their role when dealing with a security breach. Working with a managed service provider can help you make the plan and implement it for a low fee.

Contact us today to talk to an expert. We can help you keep your business safe with a risk assessment to understand you can tackle insider and external hacking attacks. With our help, you can get a better understanding of the vulnerabilities of your business.

How Your Business Can Save Money by Outsourcing Managed IT

Save Money by Outsourcing Managed IT

Running a business in today’s fast-paced landscape requires constantly keeping up with industry trends and advancements and making sure that the data the company handles is safe. In a time when remote workers are a significant portion of talent and company networks are no longer bound by the traditional physical borders of a building, network maintenance, security, and general IT flexibility are crucial to success. Outsourcing Managed IT is becoming a more common solution to this challenge, but even though outsourced IT solutions may be cheaper, are they really saving money, or are they costing the company more in the long run? We’re going to dig into whether or not they’ll save you money and just how that money saving is accomplished.


What Is Managed IT?

Managed IT is what it’s called when a business contracts out its information technology (IT) to a third-party entity. The business and the managed service provider have a contractual agreement between them that assigns ownership and accountability for the overall IT functionality of the company in exchange for a monthly or annual fee. 

Depending on the service plan chosen and the needs of the business, this often puts the third party in charge of everything from maintaining the physical computer and network equipment and other digital devices to keeping the security policies current and properly configured. This third-party contracting is transparent from the customer’s viewpoint in most cases.


The Primary Benefits Of Managed IT Services

There are many different potential benefits of outsourcing IT services, many of which will depend on the industry and specifics of the business. Some of the most commonly-cited benefits are below.


Contractual Agreements

Managed IT services let the business decide what contractual terms the service provider must meet. These are called service level agreements, or SLAs. These agreements generally remove the burden of recruitment, onboarding, and training of the IT department, since the provider is working with talent      ready to be implemented as a turn-key IT solution. This is one of the reasons that managed IT is also more cost-effective since the business is only paying for services or time that they use.


Increased Overall Uptime

Since an outsourced IT solution won’t be bound by your business’s hours of operation nor by your after-hours IT overtime policies, they can maintain a schedule that fits your needs best. In many cases, this means they are on-call 24 hours a day and able to address downtime issues within minutes, instead of the traditional solution of calling in-house IT and having them commute to the worksite to bring a server back up. When your network goes down, managed IT is often monitored and can reboot in moments.


More Effective Uptime Management

Another benefit to your IT solution not being affected by local business hours is that maintenance can be handled much more efficiently. Updates and similar maintenance can be scheduled for off-hours when network usage will be at its lowest level, and the fewest employees will be affected. More uptime and network availability during regular business hours mean fewer disruptions and more consistent workflow.


Easily Fill Skills Gaps

Outsourcing your managed IT services can hold huge benefits for teams that have skill gaps or simply don’t have time in their day to address internal IT issues. This means your talent can keep their focus where it belongs, on their job duties, and not in a secondary capacity as in-house shadow IT. Filling those still gaps also means you’ll always have someone addressing an issue who is an expert in it, not just handy at the time.


Minimize Effects Of Talent Shortages

One of the biggest challenges facing businesses right now is finding, hiring, and retaining the talent they need. It is notoriously challenging to fill IT vacancies, and outsourcing your IT services eliminates that shortage. When you contract with a competent managed service provider, you no longer have to worry about finding someone to fill a role, nor will you need to focus on onboarding them as that will already be done.


Does Outsouricing Managed IT Actually Save Your Business Money?

Depending on what industry or space your business operates in, there are likely significant savings in outsourcing your IT services. Businesses that rely on apps, coding, and other functions that lie largely in the tech space can see 31% lower costs compared to in-house IT operations. In fact, the reason cited by 71% of businesses that switched to outsourced managed IT services was to reduce overall costs.


Primary Ways Outsourcing Managed IT Saves Money

While this list isn’t exhaustive, it does have some of the most common reasons that outsourcing IT services can help your business cut costs. 


Eliminating Onboarding & Training Needs

One of the highest costs for any business is recruiting, hiring, and onboarding new talent. This can be a considerable expense for many smaller companies that are still in the growing stage, and reducing or even eliminating those expenses can dramatically improve liquidity and pivotability for smaller businesses.


Reductions In Benefit Funding

Since your managed IT solution will be its own business entity and operate as a contractor, your business will not have to worry about funding employee benefits for those contractors. This can save incredible amounts of money in the context of your entire IT team and the cost per year for their benefits.


Elimination Of Shadow IT Costs

Shadow IT is the term used for leveraging talent committed to other roles for in-house IT support. While this may be highly convenient, it also works against your business in two ways. Not only are people you hired for a different job now focused on something that isn’t their responsibility, but they’re also getting paid for a job they aren’t doing right now. Outsourcing your IT needs keeps this phenomenon to a minimum, saving you money and keeping talent-focused where it needs to be.


Immediate On-Call IT Support

In-house IT personnel will have on-call rotations, but while they will need to then commute to the business site and begin addressing the problem, outsourced IT providers will already be aware of the outages or downtime and can be counted on to be proactive. Additionally, no matter what the issue is, they are available 24/7 to address it.


Managed IT Services Are Highly Efficient

When you use internal associates for IT, you’re drawing on the knowledge of a few individuals and their resources to be able to fix your problems. However, when you outsource managed IT, your needs are addressed by entire teams of a company, which allows them to pull solutions from a far larger pool of knowledge and resources. The IT field is incredibly wide and diverse, so being able to have a diverse array of personnel attending to the needs of your company can be crucial to success.


Scalability That Aligns With Your Business Needs

Most managed IT solutions can rapidly scale their abilities to your business needs. This means you can easily scale down during slow periods of the year to save even more while ramping up for your busy season and using the increased seasonal revenue to make sure your company’s network and abilities are on point for your customers. Scalability is also great if you’re planning an expansion but don’t necessarily want to dedicate additional resources for in-house infrastructure.


Unbeatable Consistency

Your managed IT provider won’t be taking sick days, doesn’t need a vacation, and will never put in their two weeks while leaving you scrambling to find a replacement. While in-house IT talent will have lives outside of work and will require a work-life balance, your outsourced IT solution will operate as a company, not an individual, and will constantly work toward fulfilling your service level agreement.


What Factors Can Affect Your IT Spending & How Much Outsourcing Managed IT Can Save You

Many service providers will offer a variety of options for service, but they will often depend on several factors. These factors will include the size and complexity of your network, the number of users, the estimated amount of support time the business will need each month, and more.


Average Service Time Needed

Some service providers will charge hourly rates while others will have a more standardized “plan” structure, similar to picking a monthly cell phone plan, that will let you customize the services you get for the price you pay. If you go with a provider that charges an hourly rate, expect to pay anywhere from $125 to nearly $300 per hour, which can rise or fall depending on the provider. This is a prime consideration if you have a larger company that may require support for many employees on a near-constant basis.


Total Number Of Network Users

More users mean more devices, which leads to larger and more complex networks and the resulting management that goes into that network. Before you start pricing out a service provider, you’ll probably want to do a full inventory of all your users, as well as exactly how many devices your provider will need to maintain.


The Amount Of Data You Deal With

If you need your service provider to secure or backup your data, you will need to know just how much data you deal with daily. This is crucial for businesses looking to protect large databases of customer information and records from data breaches and potential leaks. Many businesses take backups for granted, but securing your company against catastrophic data loss could be worth the price of the service provider alone. 


How Many Servers You’ll Need

Just as you should know how much data your business handles, you should also be aware of how many servers your company owns or rents. If you plan on having your outsourced IT department manage your servers and associated data security, you will want to know what your business needs from them to determine if the move is cost-effective.


Your Service & Planned Upgrades

One final consideration when choosing a managed IT provider is what you expect in terms of ongoing security patches and equipment upgrades. Will they be responsible for security, or will you keep that in-house? Will they be accountable for the entirety of your network and its associated health? Will your need potentially extend beyond computing to possibly encompass your VOIP phone system and similar needs? These are all things to consider when evaluating a provider and its costs.


Are There Different Types Of Managed IT?

Depending on your needs, you may only need specific types of managed IT support. Here are some of the most common types you’ll encounter, though many Managed IT providers offer multiple:


Conventional Break/Fix Modeling

These plans only address your needs when something needs to be fixed or patched. They often will not perform any general maintenance or monitoring, and while they can be the most cost-effective for companies that don’t need much, they are also the most limited.


Security Services

Security services are one of the most frequently outsourced IT tasks. These providers will offer managed IT security solutions and assistance. They will frequently develop or configure the security policies for your entire network.



Software as a service, or SaaS, is most frequently used for companies that need customer relationship management or CRM software that is frequently hosted in the cloud. SaaS is very application-specific and will generally deal with individual software suites. 



Infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, is where your provider will leverage cloud services like AWS and Microsoft to provide cloud service for your company’s operation and storage.


Data Management

Data management services are used to help secure data, databases, and backup services. Data breaches in 2021 cost the average business more than $4 million, a 17-year high. This makes it a matter of not only customer security but also financial security for the business.


Understanding The Benefits Of Outsourcing Managed IT Can Help Your Business Save

There’s no telling how much your business could save by leveraging an outsourced IT service provider until you speak to one and get a quote. The key is understanding not only how it will affect your bottom line but also the non-monetary benefits that can lead to indirect savings. Once you know what you need from your managed service provider, you’ll be able to create an IT solution plan that works for both your IT needs and your budget.

Want to find out if Managed IT Services is right for your business? Contact us today for a free, 30-minute consultation or get started with a free, self-guided IT Security Risk Assessment. 

6 Tips For Implementing New Technology In Your Business

6 Tips For Implementing New Technology In Your Business

Businesses today run on technology. It’s almost impossible to have a successful business without using at least a couple of different kinds of technology to help that business work. No matter what kind of business you run, from selling homemade candles at farmers’ markets to internet service providers and everything in between, you probably use a variety of software and technological tools to make your business work.

With that comes the reality that sometimes you need new technology, either to add functionality to your existing tools or because the older technology you’ve been using is outdated. You need something newer or more flexible. There’s just one problem. If you’ve ever been through the process of adding a new technology before, you probably already know what the problem is.

Adapting to new technologies is hard, and introducing new technology to your business can make things a lot harder, at least in the short term.

There is good news, too, though. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to make adding a new technology a lot easier for you and everyone else involved in your business. Here are the top tips and tricks to make implementing a new technology easier, no matter what kind of business you have or what technology you’re implementing. Let’s get started.


Tip #1: Make Sure The Technology Is Genuinely Helpful

One of the biggest technological problems businesses encounter is technologies that seem helpful on the surface but don’t make things easier for the people who are actually using them. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including executives deciding to implement unnecessary technology or redundant technologies and implementing technology that doesn’t really address the needs of the business.

For instance, accounting technologies can be a fantastic addition to most businesses. But a program that basically just dresses up Excel probably won’t actually help your business if you’re already using Excel and the new program doesn’t add substantial functionality.

Unfortunately, one of the truths of today’s world is that there is a lot of redundant technology out there and a lot of programs designed to look useful that don’t actually offer much functionality. There is also a lot of purpose-built technology that’s useful in specific situations but not useful outside of those contexts.

That means that business owners and executives need to be careful when choosing new technologies, even when you’re trying to address an explicit need in the business. You need to make sure you’re not just choosing an effective option but also the option best suited to your company’s specific needs and culture.

To do this right, you should consider several different technological options to meet your business’s needs. Talk with the companies offering the technology to get demos and as much information about each technology as possible.

If possible, try to involve at least some of the people who will be using new technologies in the trial process. You want to make sure people with the most knowledge about what’s needed and what will be useful are included – otherwise, you risk implementing technologies that don’t adequately address the problems you’re trying to solve.

When necessary, consider implementing multiple technologies as needed to fully address a problem or hurdle you’re encountering in your business.


Tip #2: Give Everyone Advance Warning About The Addition

One of the hardest things to handle as a worker is when your company suddenly introduces a new technology or process without proper warning and training.  Even technologies that help solve real problems can feel unnecessary or burdensome when they aren’t well introduced. If you’re a solopreneur with a business of one, you probably don’t need to worry about this, but once anyone else is working with you, it’s a good idea to think about how you should introduce new technologies.

For instance, you’ll need a training program and time for people to adjust to the new technology before it’s fully implemented. If new technology is replacing an existing system or process, you should also probably have both systems in place simultaneously, at least until everyone is used to the new technology and consistently able to get what they need from it.

Depending on the technology involved, an appropriate warning about change might mean letting people know a few weeks in advance, or it might mean letting them know a few months ahead of time and planning on training over the course of a few weeks, as you can pull people from regular work to train.

Very few new technologies can be successfully implemented in just a few days. Plus, you should consider the technical skill of the people who will be using the new technology. If your workforce is generally tech-savvy and adaptable, you might be able to get away with quick turnarounds. But if your workforce is less technically skilled, you should plan on extra time to help get everyone up to speed with new technologies.

When you’re demoing a new technology, take some time to think about how difficult it is to get used to. Consider if it’s similar to existing technologies you’re already using and how steep a learning curve the technology might come with.

Those things will help you decide how much warning you need to give when you’re changing to the new system.


Tip #3: Get Some People Trained Early

Another tip to make technological transitions easier is to have a group of people who are already familiar with the new technology before it’s been generally implemented in your business.

These should be individuals who either have the most skill and qualifications for the new technology or who are already leaders in your business and have the skill and patience to help other people learn.

Small businesses can probably get away with just one or two people getting advance training on new technology, but the size of the team should increase with the size of the business.

Only after this group is trained and ready to help everyone else upskill on the new technology should you implement that technology in the business as a whole.

Remember, this group is here to make training easier and faster, but not to replace training entirely.

In ideal circumstances, you shouldn’t be completely reliant on new technology until after everyone has had the opportunity to train on it and is comfortable using it.

However, since business is rarely an ideal world, the other role of people trained on new technologies in advance is to figure out the hiccups and problems so they can fix them when they happen in real-time.

That way, your business doesn’t have to slow down as much when you’re implementing new technologies, and you’re less likely to get frustrated employees burning out on training and new systems.


Tip #4. Consider A Pilot Team To Work Out Problems Before They Happen

Having a pilot program for new technology is a little different than having people trained in advance, but it can be very similar, and you can turn your pilot program into your trainers and helpers a lot of the time.

The goal of a pilot program for new technology is to make sure it addresses the need you think it addresses, finds the hurdles or drawbacks to the technology, and generally makes sure it’s actually a better option than what you’re already doing.

Having a pilot program is a little like proofreading an important email before you send it out. You already think that the new technology is a good idea and are ready to move forward; you’re just making sure there aren’t any serious problems that could get in the way or make the technology more trouble than it’s worth.

This option is best for medium and large businesses that can afford to have some people assigned to the pilot program instead of working on their normal duties. That’s important because, even though the pilot program participants will get back to work and may even have better productivity at the end of the program, they may lose their productivity for a little while as they upskill and get used to the new technology.

Pilot programs should also last long enough to really test the new technology you’re implementing. Setting someone to learn and use the new technology for a shift or two before you move forward isn’t really a pilot program.

You need time to find the flaws in a system before you can decide if it’s the right option for your business.


Tip #5: Think About Getting A Managed Service Provider

One way to make implementing new technologies easier is to bring in a managed service provider for your business.

Managed service providers are similar to your in-house IT department in some ways but very different in others. For one thing, your managed service provider will likely have expertise in a wider range of technologies, which means they can help steer technological decisions based on your business needs and the available software.

Managed service providers can provide a range of expertise and services, including:

  • Data management
  • Safe data storage and backups
  • Increased network security
  • IT support
  • Communications support

All of those things are critical when you’re implementing new technology.

For instance, bringing in new technology can often leave your business and individual workers vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. You might not even realize that the risks are there until after the exposure.

But having a managed service provider helping with onboarding and implementation means that you’ll have someone who can help catch those security risks and warn you away from them.

Your managed service provider may even be able to eliminate the risk during implementation, which keeps everyone safer.

Having a managed service provider also helps your business escape the break-fix cycle with new technology. By anticipating problems and helping avoid them, you get the benefit of issues being ‘fixed’ before they ever become issues in the first place.

That means fewer business interruptions and a lot more productive time for you and your team.

If you are interested in learning about how a Managed IT provider can help your business, schedule a call with Edge Networks.


Tip #6: Don’t Be Afraid To Fine Tune After Adding New Technology

Another big mistake businesses make when implementing new technology is that they forget they can still fine-tune processes and how they use that technology after it’s been implemented.

Unfortunately for the businesses that skip this step, it’s also one of the most important parts of making sure your technology is working for your business, not eating resources you need elsewhere.

Almost no technology these days is going to be perfect for your business’s needs unless it was literally designed for your business. And even if you do manage to find the perfect technological solution to a problem, you’re still likely to need fine-tuning to make sure it’s working as well as it can.

Fine-tuning can include things like adjusting what parts of the technology you’re using, who uses it, and even subscription levels and other details until you find the right match.

Ideally, you’ll figure out a lot of the fine-tuning in the pilot program stage or early in implementation, but you should still be open to fine-tuning for a minimum of a few months after implementation.

This part of the process is also a chance to customize the technology and surrounding processes to the needs and personality of your company and the people who work there. Need a good accounting program that’s as simple as possible to make it accessible to a lot of different workers? This is when you can figure out which features are most helpful or which workers benefit most from having access to this technology.

Not sure whether a program is going to be a good fit for everyone in your company, or if you should restrict use to some specific people? Take this time to try both ways and see how the relevant teams think it should be implemented.

Realistically most companies should be fine-tuning how they use technology all the time, but it’s especially important right after implementation.

Remember, this isn’t just about finding the best technology or the right fit; it’s also about figuring out how to best utilize the technology and how to meet the needs of your entire business. It’s okay if that takes some time to get right. It’s a big project.

Technology is there to make your business easier to run and organize. But if you want to get the most out of that technology, you have to take the time your business needs to get there.

Among many things, Edge Networks can help you implement new technology into your business. To learn more about how we can help, schedule a call with us, or take our free, self-guided IT Security Risk Assessment

Everything You Should Know About Backing Up Your Data

The essential way to store your information

Backing up your data is essential for anything related to technology. If you do not regularly back up your data, you can lose hours spent on acquiring that information, which can affect productivity. You can use a few different methods to back up information safely.

Backing up your information means duplicating it and storing the backups securely. It is essential to store your data in such a way that there is more than one copy of it available, but you also must make sure those copies aren’t readily available to other people. This article will teach you everything you need to know about backing up your information securely.


What is a Data Backup?

Data backups make and store copies of the data that is important to you or your company. People back up their data to avoid losing their personal and professional data. This data can range from songs you like to essential company documents you need to keep and everything in-between. You should back up any digital information you deem as important one way or another.

Data is any digital information stored on a device. This information can include music, photos, documents, and audio files. People have important data that needs to be backed up in both their personal and professional lives.


Why You Should Be Backing Up Your Data Securely

If you neglect to back up important information, then you run the risk of losing that information. Unfortunately, there are situations in which you will be unable to recover some data if it is lost, so any information you find valuable should you need to back up. For example, you may need to back up personal or professional data to prevent losing important files.

Here are a few situations where you will need to back up your data securely to prevent data loss.

  • Any personal documents that you cannot replace easily. This data can include tax documents, photographs, or medical documents.
  • You need any professional documents like reports, databases, spreadsheets, etc. Not backing up professional documents can cost you hours if any technical issues arise.
  • Credit card transactions and bills should have copies to avoid scams or incorrect charges.
  • You should back up professional documents related to payroll and benefits to prevent employment issues.

If you deem any data important for any reason, then you need to back it up. Even minor technical issues can cause unrecoverable data loss, and by backing up your information, you will avoid that problem entirely. Backing up your data is easy and doesn’t consume much time, so there is no reason not to do it.


Best Practices for Backing Up Your Data Securely

Cybersecurity is more critical now than ever before. If you are not careful about how you back up your information, then people you don’t know may get ahold of your data and use it. Many people find themselves the victim of a scam at one point, and data loss is one of the most significant effects of a cyber attack.

There are a few different options to back up your data, and there are pros and cons to each of the methods. Unfortunately, no method is 100% perfect, but any way of backing up data is better than none at all. You can determine which option is best for you.


Option 1: Put your data on a designated USB drive

USB drives are an easy way to save your information. If you are concerned about someone accessing your internet accounts, you could back up your files on a USB for less chance of data loss. USB drives provide a quick and easy way to backup both personal and professional documents. However, this is not necessarily the most secure way to store information. If you do use this option, you should not store your personal and professional documents together on the same USB drive.

USBs are easy to hide if you have concerns about someone in your home accessing your data. They are also compact, so you can either tuck them into a discreet place or easily keep them on your person if that feels safer for you. USB drives are compatible with most computers and are easy to transport around with you. This makes it ideal if you have to have access to the backed up data often.

However, keep in mind that USBs have the potential to be misplaced, broken, or stolen. While it is one of the easiest ways to back up data, you may want to find another way to back it up if you have very sensitive data. The most secure way to store them after the data is stored is to put the USB directly into a safe.


Option 2: Back up your information using an external hard drive

Consider a larger external hard drive if you have a more sizeable amount of data you need to backup. USB drives are suitable for storing some documents, but an external hard drive can store larger files like videos, movies, and photo albums. You may need an external hard drive to store larger files in many professional settings.

Hard drives are similar to USBs because they don’t require internet access to back up your data. However, hard drives are not nearly as easy to transport as USB drives. So if you are storing smaller files that you need to take with you frequently, you should use a different data storage solution. Additionally, it is best practice to have the hard drive encrypted so attackers could not access the data if the hard drive was misplaced or stolen. If the data doesn’t have to be accessed frequently, it should also be stored in a secure location, like a safe.


Option 3: Back up your information on a disk drive

CDs and DVDs are another way to backup data. Disk drives are good for data backup because you can get many disks for a low price and easily keep your data separate from each other. In addition, disk drives have stored audio, video, and documents for several years, and disk drives are easy to transport.

The downside of using disk drives to backup data is that disk drive-based media players are not as abundant at they used to be. In the hay day of disk drives, most people had a cd player or a DVD player readily available in their homes, but these days many people don’t have that type of media player. In fact, even many computers no longer have disk drives.

This method can be beneficial because you won’t have to worry about too many people having access to data backed up on a disk drive, but inconvenient because you may find it difficult to find a source to play the disk. If you have a disk drive at home and only need to access the data at home, you may be able to use a disk drive. If you don’t have a disk drive player readily available, you may want to consider a different data backup method. Additionally, disks have the same issue as USBs, in that they could be easily misplaced, stolen, or broken, and should be stored in a secure location.


Option 4: Back up your data on the cloud

Cloud storage is a newer data backup method compared to the other data backup methods on this list. To backup your data on the cloud, you will need to link the data to an account that only you can access. People backup their data using the cloud by connecting it to their email accounts.

If you are using the cloud to back up your important data, you will need to make sure that the account your information is linked to is secure. If the account that all of your essential data is backed up on is compromised, you will not only lose the data, but someone else can gain access to your data.

Even when you choose to backup your data on the cloud, you may also want to consider a physical data backup method. Having your data backed up physically adds security for your information when your accounts are breached. We will go over ways that you can keep your cloud storage secure to prevent your data from being compromised.


Protect Your Cloud Account

If you want to make sure your data is safe, you need to take measures to prevent your account from being compromised. For example, suppose someone can get into your accounts and access your information. In that case, they may be able to access credit cards, identity information, and all of your files. Data leaks are common, but there are ways to keep yourself safe. We will list the methods you should use to keep your cloud data safe.


Keep Different Passwords for Every Account You Have

The primary way other people can access people’s accounts is through data breaches. Unfortunately, most people have been the victim of a data breach at one point or another without even realizing it. These data breaches often leak names, credit cards, emails, and passwords used on the website.

If you use the same password for your email account on a website with a data breach, then strangers may gain access to your email account. In addition, it is common for personal information acquired through website data breaches to be sold, and scammers pay breachers to have access to the information found in data leaks.


Be Aware of Phishing Scams

Another common way people end up with compromised accounts is by falling for phishing scams. Phishing is when someone sends an email posing as a reputable company to acquire personal information. Do not click links from sources you do not trust, and be careful not to trust every email you receive.

Scammers know that many people store their personal information on the cloud, and because of that, they want access to that cloud. Data stored on the cloud can give your credit card numbers, address, and name. As a result, many people who fall victim to phishing scams also fall victim to identity theft and credit card theft.


Never Give Your Passwords Out

Sometimes people feel so comfortable with each other that they think they can trust them with their accounts. While the sentiment may seem touching to some people, giving out your passwords to other people is an unsafe practice.

People you trust can change after a while and become less trustworthy. If you give out your passwords to other people, you put yourself at significant risk of theft and losing your important data. So do yourself a favor and keep your passwords to yourself, no matter how much you may trust another person with your information.


Essential Things to Remember About Backing Up Your Data

  1. Even if you back up your data on the cloud, you should also back it up using an alternate method.
  2. Keep your backed-up data in a safe place where it is not easily accessible.
  3. You should back up any data that is important to you.
  4. Keep your cloud accounts secure, and do not allow others access to your accounts.
  5. If you need your information to be easy to transport, you need to back up your data using a method that allows easy transportation, like a USB or disc drive.


Final Thoughts on Backing Up Your Data

It is vital to back up important information because it is easy to lose important data from something as simple as a technical issue. When you backup your data, you need to keep the information safe, whether in physical copies or cloud storage. Maintaining backups of necessary data is easy to do and doesn’t take much time, so you should do it even with personal things only to you.

When backing up your data on a cloud device, keep that account secure to avoid your data from being compromised. Follow the cyber safety and password advice provided in this guide to keep your data safe.

Knowing what critical systems need to be backed up, where to back them up, and how to back them up can be a complicated process. Let Edge Networks help! You can schedule a call with us.

What do Virtually All Phishing Attacks Have in Common?

How to figure out if an email is genuine or “phish-y”

We have all gotten those messages. The ones that state we’ve won the lottery despite never buying a ticket, or that some unknown relative has left us a great fortune, or the ever prominent one where a Nigerian Prince threatens to split his inheritance with us and all we need to do is give up some information. We just need to click a link, send the person on the other end our bank account information, or input our social security number to get rich quick, right? Unfortunately, whenever you do this, you may find that instead of your bank account growing, it is instead dramatically thinned out. Even worse, attackers could get access to something even more valuable: your data. These types of emails are a common type of email scam called ‘phishing’ where attackers pretend to be someone else and ask for your information. Whenever you give the information out, it gives the attackers a way to get into your private data and your bank account. Even for people who are experienced in the ways of the internet, phishing attacks can be difficult to detect as attackers make more and more efforts to trick us.

Thankfully, all phishing attacks have a few red flags in common that you can train yourself to identify, and with a bit of practice, you can keep yourself and your data safe from attacks.


How Phishing Works

Phishing works whenever an attacker pretends to be someone you would trust, trying to get you to open a link. For example, you might get a strange email from someone pretending to be your bank, a workmate, or a business you frequent. They will then ask you to click on a link or perform an action in the email.

Whenever you do, the attack can install malware onto your computer, steal funds or make charges to your credit card, or even steal your identity. Phishing is also very dangerous for companies, because a phishing attack that gets through employees can get through security and other safeguards.

This can be the opening to a larger data attack that can compromise the company’s information, leak hidden data, and can put everyone at risk. So no matter what, it’s important that you know how to detect these phishing scams and how to defend yourself against them.


What Most Phishing Attacks Have In Common

It is very understandable to be worried about phishing attacks. They can cause devastation to individuals and companies alike. However, most phishing emails or texts have a few things to watch for that most phishing attacks have in common.


1.  “Phish-y” Email Addresses

One thing that may tip you off that an email is not legitimate is an email address that does not match the expected sender. If the email claims it is from a legitimate company but does not come from an email address associated with that company, it should be cause for concern. Most attackers cannot gain access to a legitimate company email and simply hope that the recipient takes them at their word. You can check the email against legitimate emails from the same company to further see the differences. Keeping an eye out for ‘phish-y’ email addresses is a great way to prevent most attacks. 


2.  Spelling and Grammar

Another way to detect a phishing attack is to examine the contents of the email. Phishing and scam emails tend to have worse grammar and spelling and have awkward sentence structure. If it looks like the email should be run through a spellchecker, you might want to consider that it isn’t legitimate.

Additionally, the email might have inconsistent and informal wording. For example, the email could use phrases that are not common in the workplace or business environment. The word ‘dear’ or other informal language from someone you don’t have a casual relationship with is also a red flag. 


3.  Sense of Urgency

Phishing emails will often require you to perform an urgent action and try to get you to panic: You need to log into your account now, claim the money now, and click on the link now. A common tactic is to state that your account has been hacked, and you must log in immediately to change the password. This is done so that people do not have time to think about their actions and will take steps they wouldn’t usually take if they had time to consider. Most legitimate emails will not require such urgency.


4.  Too Good To Be True

Finally, many phishing emails are too good to be true. Any emails offering money, or expensive items for free, are almost always too good to be true, especially if they are asking for personal information in return. No legitimate company will ask for your social security number or account credentials in exchange for a free set of Airpods. Trust your gut, and don’t be afraid to report the email to your IT team and move on.


Who Is At Risk?

Everyone is at risk for phishing attacks, whether you are an individual on a personal device or part of a company, because phishers and data scammers cast a very wide net. They send out thousands of emails to thousands of people, confident that no matter what, someone somewhere is going to fall for their scam and give them access.

Whether you are a normal person or the CEO of a big company, no one is immune to getting these emails. Often, people working either at the bottom rung of companies are good targets because they are gatekeepers to their internal workings and often aren’t trained to recognize phishing emails.


What To Do If You Are A Victim

Sometimes accidents happen, and you slip up and get caught on the hook of a phishing attack. If you are a victim, here are some of the things you can do to keep yourself safe and prevent an attack like this from happening again. 


Phishing Recovery As An Individual

One of the first things you will need to do is take a deep breath. Phishing attacks often rely on the urgency to get you to do something, such as entering a password before a 24-hour time limit is up. However, continuing to be reactive is precisely what the attacker is hoping for. Often, it prevents you from taking the steps needed to mitigate the damage.

First, record everything. If you entered your email or password into a scam webpage, record exactly what you entered, try to take screenshots, and do whatever you can to gather information. If you have downloaded a dangerous attachment, instantly turn off your Wi-Fi and disconnect from the internet. You might be able to prevent the virus or the attacker from getting a firm grip on your computer and all your data.

Then change your passwords for all the affected accounts and any other accounts that might have the same password. You should also change your security questions, recovery emails, and anything else that helps you get into the account. Then make sure to scan your computer to remove any viruses, either by using software or by working with an expert who can professionally clean your drives.

Finally, take the time to keep an eye on your bank or email accounts. If the scammers are making moves with your data, you’ll be able to see and report it. If your identity has been stolen, reach out to the Federal Trade Commission or Credit Reports to mitigate the damage.


Phishing Recovery As A Company

If a company is recovering from a phishing attack, it can take a while to sift through everything and see what has been stolen, affected, or exposed. The first thing to do is disconnect the affected device from the internet and the network. You don’t want an infected device causing problems for your entire network, so isolating the virus is the first step. Additionally, if you logged into a fake website, make sure to go to the actual website and change the credentials. 

If you have a Managed Service Provider, you should immediately report the attack to them. They can help with your data recovery, and help you figure out your next steps. Your company will also need to report the attack to the Federal Trade Commission. Finally, scan the affected device for malware and try to determine how much damage it can do. 


Moving Forward After A Phishing Attack

Whether you are a company or an individual, recovery from a phishing attack can be done. You just need to make sure that you have learned from the attack, are more cautious when opening and interacting with emails, and work on prevention. Keeping your emails safe with programs and other defensive measures is crucial to preventing phishing attacks from getting you on their hook again.

Implementing Multi-Factor Authentication is one of the best ways to mitigate the effects of phishing attacks. Multi-Factor Authentication gives you an extra layer of security if an attacker gains access to your credentials through a phishing attack, and may prevent them from being able to use those credentials to access your accounts.

For example, a website might ask for your username and password, but it will also text a numerical code to your phone if MFA is implemented. Hopefully, a phishing attacker doesn’t have access to your phone, so you would be able to get into the website while the attacker wouldn’t be. Having two or more steps to your verification will be one of the easiest ways to prevent hackers from getting into your data.


Recent Attacks in the News

Phishing attacks are more common than we think, and despite how much we know about them, they keep happening. Here are some of the most recent phishing attacks in 2022.


The Attack On Trezor

With everyone trying to get into cryptocurrency, it was only a matter of time before someone attacked crypto wallets. However, the popular email service, MailChimp, was compromised on March 26th, 2022, sending phishing emails to people who have cryptocurrency wallets made by Trezor.

Other cryptocurrency areas are getting attacked in a similar manner, and although the attack was found and halted, emails were exposed, and attackers were able to access data from them. The affected email owners were notified, but it still was something that shook the cryptocurrency industry to its core. 


The Attack On Spokane Regional Health

On February 24, 2022, the personal information of almost 1,200 residents of Washington was exposed. An attacker accessed these clients’ medical data and protected information at Spokane Regional Health. While no social security numbers or financial data were exposed, medical information, first and last names, and other data were leaked.

The Health District stated that their staff failed to recognize a phishing scam, exposing the data and getting into the system. In order to handle these threats better and prevent this type of attack from happening again, the District is requiring extra training and communication so their employees can recognize phishing attacks.

No matter what field you are in or where you work, nearly everywhere can be vulnerable to phishing if the proper precautions and training are not taken. So making sure that everyone involved is educated about how to handle a phishing attack goes a very long way.



Needless to say, phishing attacks can be detrimental to not only businesses, but any individual who accesses emails or text messages. We must constantly be on high alert against these attackers. However, hopefully these tips will help you recognize these attempts and get you ready for when you inevitably face one of these phishing emails. 

Do you have a plan in place for if you or your employees fall victim to one of these attacks? Edge Networks can help! Our Advanced Cybersecurity Plan can provide your business with employee security awareness training, phishing simulations, and even help you put a plan in place for incident response and disaster recovery. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to find out how Edge Networks can help your business.