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  • Cybersecurity & Compliance: The Focus of 2016 – Part 1

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    Cybersecurity & Compliance: The Focus of 2016 – Part 1

    Leverage your IT to Get Ahead of Your Competitors

    2016 will be the year of cybersecurity and compliance. SMBs need to take notice. Let’s take a look at the numbers….

    44% of SMBs have been victims of cyber attacks. Average cost per attack $8700.

    60% of SMBs that are victim of a cyber attack go out of business within 6 months of the attack.

    In early 2016 regulators for the New York State Department of Financial Services will be issuing guidelines for cybersecurity requirements for banks. An interesting portion of these requirements will be focusing on policies regarding third-party vendors. Ian Russell, chief of Investment Industry Association of Canada mentioned this past November about implementing cyber security plans for their member firms. It should be no surprise that these guidelines may cross over to other jurisdictions/countries as well as other industries.

    This can be an opportunity for a small/mid-sized business to use their IT infrastructure as a competitive advantage. For example, an advertising/marketing firm who is bidding on a project with a pharmaceutical firm may have an edge if they can prove that their IT infrastructure is secure and have sound security policies.  Even if they were best at what they do, which executive will choose them if there is a hint of concern that their intellectual property or marketing strategy is at risk for getting hacked or leaked?

    As cyber security incidents continue to rise, organizations in general will take necessary future steps towards their vendor management processes. Even though the following incidents occurred over 2 years ago, the Target CEO resignation was a wake-up call to all c-level executives. Traditionally the IT department executives “fell on the sword” when an incident occurred. The Home Depot hack can be traced back to an outside vendor. So it is no surprise that third-party vendors will face more scrutiny.

    For 2016, small and mid-sized business should expect more site audits from their clients and prospects, detailed reports on cybersecurity plans and internal policies. Organizations that are quick to realize this and prepare for it will definitely have a competitive advantage.

    Part two will investigate strategies to implement. If you require more information or would like a IT infrastructure audit, please contact us.

    Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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  • Welcome Ontario Solar Provider!

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    We would like to extend a warm welcome to Ontario Solar Provider as one of BIT Incorporated’s most recent client additions.

    BIT will be functioning as the complete RMM and Managed Services Provider solution for Ontario Solar Provider. We will be managing their IT infrastructure both in Toronto and Los OSPLogoAngeles.

    Ontario Solar Power is a Canadian solar development and construction company. The company focuses on the execution of commercial to utility scales projects globally. Ontario Solar Power has been named Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies in Canada and their team’s internationally successful business model enhances the income of property owners while reducing Ontario’s carbon footprint.

    To learn more about Ontario Solar Provider, Click Here !

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  • IT Considerations when Relocating Offices

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    IT Considerations when Relocating Offices

    BIT has moved its headquarters to a new location! Relocating offices always has its challenges, especially when it comes to IT infrastructure and equipment. Proper planning is always the key to success. Here is a checklist of guidelines to consider when planning your IT office relocation…

    1. Pre-Planning.

    The most important step of a move is to ensure it’s properly planned from the start.
    The project manager for this step will need to co-ordinate activities that will crossover with other parts of the move such as furniture moving team to ensure there are no conflicts.

    Milestones for this step:

    • Ensure that IT staff (or IT Service Providers), Telecom and ISP providers are aware of the move date. Give at least two months’ notice, preferably three
    • Schedule a visit with IT staff to review network/phone cabling requirements at new location

    2. Communication Requirements Evaluation.

    Does your new location have the proper infrastructure to support your environment? Is this the time to upgrade/replace our phone system? The following is a checklist to consider:

    • How many phone lines are required?
    • How many Cat5 and/or Cat6 cables?
    • Cabling for security cameras?
    • How many power outlets per room, desk, boardroom?
    • Broadband Internet speed availability?

    In some cases, internet connection/speed could or should be part of the pre-planning phase. A new office location may not have the proper infrastructure required for internet. This may involve more expensive setup connection costs.

    3. Technology Equipment Evaluation.

    This is the time to catalog all your equipment and evaluate its future. In some cases, new networking devices, such as routers and switches, can be installed at the new location prior to the move in date. The following list of activities to consider:

    Inventory all equipment assets and determine the following:
    • Suitable for new location?
    • Asset owned or leased? If leased Does it need to be returned?
    • Equipment requires upgrading or replacing?
    • Any additional equipment required for the new office?
    Other tasks:
    • Review of server room requirements
    • Disposal of unnecessary equipment and e-waste in an environmental responsible manner

    4. Site Visit Checklist.

    With the other phases completed, the site visit is where you confirm everything has been properly planned and finalize any adjustments. During the visit, you want to verify you have your IT provider and your cabling company (if your IT provider does not provide that service) scheduled and organized. If you do not have the layout of the desks and cubicles, then the team member with that responsibility should be available for additional insight. In some cases, having the building manager available is also a good idea. Review the following with all involved parties:

    • Review locations/placements of workstations/desks in relation to network/phone cabling and power outlets
    • Confirm locations for peripheral devices such as printers, copiers, fax and scanners
    • Ensure server room meets power, cooling and security requirements

    5. Business Continuity/DR Considerations.

    If you plan for the worst case scenarios and it does not arise, then you can consider any other result good. In this phase, it is positive to think negatively! This is the time to review all BC and DRP plans and to let all staff know what roles they play in it. Since every organization will have different requirements, here is a sample checklist of activities to consider:

    • Test your backup and restoration jobs to ensure they are properly working in advance of the move
    • Create multiple copies of your backups of all organizational data. Store in different offsite and/or cloud locations
    • Ensure that company phone numbers are forwarded to new location lines in case there is a disruption from one site to another
    • Ensure all staff have access to key contacts via mobile devices and/or cloud based databases in case of emergency

    6. Preparation for the Big Move.

    It is not uncommon to have multiple moving companies involved in your office relocation. In our case for example, we have a mover dedicated to disassemble and reassemble our office cubicle furniture. Another mover is involved with boxes and other miscellaneous items. Moving servers, desktops and other electronic equipment is going to require special attention. Proper dis-assembly and handling during transportation is required. The IT department or IT provider should be responsible for this portion of the move. If your moving company is handling the transport of equipment, ensure they have the proper training and expertise for it. A few considerations for move day:

    • Have the IT staff or provider be responsible for disconnecting equipment.
    • Label and tag everything! Cables, wires. A label maker such as this is essential Having mismatched power adapters for equipment can become a serious headache
    • Have separate transports for your backup data. Prepare for the worst case scenario You never know what could happen if data goes missing or damaged or simply delayed in traffic.

    7. Testing your New Office Network.

    Based on your requirements and pre-planning phase activities, testing your new network in small phases is a good idea. For example, the back-end network infrastructure should be tested and operational before the big move. Once that is accomplished, all we really need to focus on is server migration and end user endpoint equipment. Once again, we need to have all parties available from IT to telecom provider and even building management if necessary to resolve any unforeseen issues.

    Network Infrastructure

    • Testing of network hardware, switches, routers if applicable
    • Verification of all network and phone cabling
    • Test operation of new ISP and phone connections

    Telecom Infrastructure

    • Ensure operation of new telephone numbers. Test to see if call forwarding is working from the old number/location
    • Verify each endpoint phone and extension

    Servers & Workstations

    • Ensure all servers are up and running
    • Verify email operations. Sending and receiving emails
    • Verify access to websites, intra and extranets
    • Test each workstation/desk endpoint network connections

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