Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Cloud Security and Remote Computing for Medical Practices

Increase Your Cloud Security with NSA’s Cloud Services

Cloud-based computing has been around for some time now, although it didn’t become heavily utilized until a few years ago. Cloud-based computing makes it possible to store any kind of data to an internet-based drive, and in return, access it anywhere in the world (as long as you are connected to the internet). As the owner of a medical practice, you may wonder if this is suitable for your day-to-day operations or have questions about cloud security. Here are some major benefits of cloud computing for medical facilities: 

Eliminate Local Storage
As your medical practice grows, you will need to expand the data storage available on-site. This forces you to invest in internal data servers. These servers are not only expensive to purchase and update, but as your internal server grows, more and more energy will be used (both to keep the hardware running and to keep it cool). With cloud-based computing, you can eliminate this internal bulk. You will no longer need to constantly purchase new server blades or update the hardware and software associated with it. 

Thanks to cloud-based computing you’ll free up space in your office, cut down on energy consumption and have 24/7 access to storage options you do not need to maintain or update yourself. By removing the local server, you create more space and save money in the long run.

Avoid Data Crashes
There’s nothing worse than a hard drive crash. If an internal server or hard drive crashes at your office, you’ll be forced to find ways to transfer the information to a new drive. Hopefully, you backed everything up prior to the crash. If you didn’t, you’ll need to find a professional service capable of extracting files from a damaged drive. If the files have been corrupted, it may be impossible to recover the information. 

With cloud-based computing you never again have to worry about this. Your information is continually backed up and stored off-site. In addition, the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, which makes it easier to work remotely.

Boosted Security
Data security is critical to protecting both your business and the personal information of your patients. Secure storage of information via the cloud reduces the risk of others getting access to your data. This can help keep your practice compliant to HIPAA regulations.

Get Ongoing Cloud Security You Can Trust

Network Security Associates offers an array of services to bolster your cloud security and safeguard the files you have stored on it. We continually monitor your systems to safeguard your information against fire, theft and natural disasters. Your servers and software will be updated on a regular basis, and you will have access to important files from virtually anywhere. For more information on our cloud services, contact us at 702-547-9800 today.

3 Signs Your Company Needs Help from a Managed IT Services Company

If you run a small or medium-sized business, you may feel like an internal IT professional can meet all your organization’s needs for managed IT services. While an internal employee can assist with many needed tasks, there are benefits of outsourcing your network security management.

Signs It May Be Time to Hire a Managed IT Services Provider

Get Reliable Managed IT Services from Network Security Associates

1. You’re Putting All of Your IT Eggs in One Basket
When you have a single employee tending to all your business’s IT needs, you’re putting all of your eggs in one basket. Even the most reliable employees miss work occasionally. 

If your internal IT person is out for more than a few days, this can put your organization at risk. You’ll either need to put off IT tasks until they return, or you’ll have to cross train other employees to handle their work. Either option leaves your company in a lurch or potentially spreads your other employees too thin.

Working with an external IT provider ensures you always have someone available to attend to your time-sensitive needs. At Network Security Associates, we offer a guaranteed 24-hour emergency response time. You let us know what you consider an emergency, and we’ll make sure you get the rapid help your company needs.

2. Your Company Has New Projects on Its Horizon
Your organization may have plans to integrate new processes or apps that require the attention of your internal IT employee. Some projects may benefit from management from an internal employee who has an inside perspective regarding your organization. However, your employees only have so much time in their days; this makes it vital to utilize their talents in a manner that offers maximum benefits for your company.

Outsourcing some of your basic or “boring” IT tasks gives your IT employee the availability to develop new processes or assist with projects that are vital to the success of your organization. 

3. Your Current IT Employee Lacks Certifications
If your current IT person has been with your company a while or previously worked in another position, they may not have some or all the certifications typically required to work in an IT position. While these certifications aren’t always indicative of a great IT hire, they do mean the employee has acquired specialized knowledge that helps them better deal with certain situations or provide top notch managed IT services when working with sensitive data. 

Should your current employee balk at working to obtain these certifications, you can outsource some of your IT work to a company that requires its employees to have and keep these certifications up to date, like Network Security Associates. To learn more about the various managed IT services we offer, including cloud services, contact us now at 702-547-9800 to schedule your free consultation.

How Much Would Network Downtime Cost Your Business? 4 Important Factors to Consider

As a business owner, you want to make sure you and your employees stay as productive as possible during working hours. When something goes wrong, it can cost you in a big way. 

Calculating the Cost of Business Downtime

When you calculate the cost of downtime, you need to look at more than just lost revenue. Your total cost also includes your recovery costs, the cost of lost productivity, and other intangible expenses. 

Lost Revenue

To calculate lost revenue, simply determine your weekly revenue and divide it by how many hours you operate each week. Multiply this by the number of hours your business was down and multiply your total by uptime. “Uptime” is simply the percentage of your business revenue that’s dependent on your internet access and other programs working correctly. For example:

$120,000 weekly revenue / 40 hours per week = $3,000/hr.

$3,000 x 8 hours downtime x 80% uptime = $19,200 in lost revenue.

Recovery Costs

Until you fix the problem, you will continue to lose revenue. Recovery costs include repair and replacement services, data recovery and other expenses. This can vary greatly depending on the situation.

Loss of Productivity

While your business is down, you won’t earn revenue, but you’ll still have to pay your employees. To calculate this cost, look at the number of employees you have, each employee’s hourly salary, and the percentage of each employee’s productivity that’s dependent on uptime. 

Assume you have 10 employees who each make $25 per hour and all of their jobs are 50% dependent on uptime. 

10 employees x $25 per hour x 8 hours downtime x 50% uptime percentage = $1,000 in lost productivity.

The Impact of Interruptions

You don’t need a full outage to experience a serious loss of productivity. Even if your systems are running slowly or are working intermittently, every time there’s an interruption, it costs you. This may include employees contacting you to let you know a system is down, taking calls from clients who would normally do their business online or stopping work to call your IT company.

Studies suggest after every interruption, we need approximately 23 minutes to get re-focused on the task at hand. This can add up quickly and end up costing your company greatly.

Intangible Costs

Your intangible costs can include the loss of a potential lead who has no patience for your 404 error, loss of customer trust, and issues with employee morale. If the interruption is serious enough, publicly traded companies may even see their stock prices plummet. 

Reduce Downtime with Proactive Measures

While some causes of downtime, like power outages or natural disasters, can’t be avoided, you can still take steps to reduce damage. One of the most common problems is a lack of updated software programs and computer equipment. Fortunately, this hazard is easy to reduce or eliminate. 

Many small and midsized business owners try to save money by avoiding investments in IT upgrades, but this can end up being a far costlier choice, as your data will not be protected, and your company will be vulnerable to cyber attacks. Contact us at 702-547-9800 to schedule a network security assessment.

Employee Independence: A Look Into the Benefits of Working from Home

Giving employees the option to work from home is the wave of the future. More and more companies are putting work-from-home protocol in place to help not only keep employees happy with a flexible work schedule, but also to help benefit the company as a whole in the long run. Recent studies have supported the idea that working from home—for the right people—can increase productivity and decrease stress. Research also suggests companies that encourage and support a work-from-home protocol actually save money in the long run. Here are a few highlights of this increasingly popular business model:

  • Employees are more productive. A  Stanford Business study found employees who work from home are 13% more productive compared to their in-office counterparts.
  • Employee retention is higher.Happier employees are more likely to stay in their current job than looking for another one. According to the Wall St. Journal, a high employee turnover rate can cost a business  “twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.”
  • Absenteeism is reduced.Colds and flues can spread like wildfire throughout an office. With a work-from-home environment, employees are healthier and less likely to call in sick.

A work-from-home environment doesn’t have to be an all or nothing. It can be structured as you see fit. Start off with just a few days a month. Then, try a few days a week – whatever benefits you, your company and your employees.

The best way to transition your company to a work-from-home environment is by utilizing the cloud. A cloud-based service can offer an invaluable benefit, giving your employees the flexibility to access company data remotely and securely. Network Security Associates’ cloud-based services have many benefits. They are:

  • Reliable
  • Secure
  • Accessible anywhere
  • Scalable to your business
  • Affordable

For more information about our cloud-based services, visit www.nsa-nv.com or contact us at (702) 547-9800 today!

 

How to Prioritize Upcoming Technology Updates

Technology updates are never fun for any business, but they’re increasingly important to ensure your business’s systems are safe and secure. Unfortunately, upgrading everything all at once just to get it over with isn’t a safe approach.

The investment of time and resources necessary for any major upgrade, combined with the need to identify and resolve problems in training, implementation, and compatibility make it important you establish a strategy for prioritizing updates. 

Motivation for Updating Key Components

How to Prioritize Upcoming Technology Updates

While there are countless approaches to updating necessary business equipment, consider the key motivation behind the priority: modernization, maximizing user benefits, and matching company culture. Let’s take a closer look at each.

Updates Focused on Modernizing Architecture

Updates centered around modernizing the design of your IT solutions aim to eliminate the least flexible, most needlessly specific or complex pieces of technology you rely upon. This is often seen alternatively as updating in favor of simplification; modern IT solutions share standardized languages, components, and APIs, so even as the technology beneath the surface grows more complicated, and the experience as a company using the product grows simpler. 

Not only does modernized design make it easier for your company to leverage other cutting-edge technologies, such as machine learning suites, it also makes it easier for employees and customers to interface with your business with minimal learning curve. Network Security Associates can help your company identify critical areas for modernization and put together a roadmap for quick, efficient upgrades. 

User Benefits or Customer Satisfaction-focused Updates

Another approach places the emphasis on customer satisfaction or direct benefits to users and clients. By looking at the places where your technology fails to adequately serve clients, you can quickly put together a path for updating equipment that achieves optimal customer satisfaction over time. 

Of course, optimizing for user value doesn’t mean forsaking employees and convenience for your business; in most cases, the two concepts overlap significantly without conflict. Automation and cutting-edge IT solutions applied in the right places eases the load on team members and improve the customer experience. 

Unlike an upgrade priority based on modernization, which emphasizes architecture upgrades, upgrading for user benefit begins with day-to-day software, which interacts with your customers. The team at NSA can determine the minimum adjustments to architecture necessary before moving on to end-user improvements or recommend improvements which require no adjustment to your existing core architecture. 

Company Culture or Employee-focused Updates

The third way to think about and prioritize updates looks at the way you do business – your company culture, or the unique problems your employees face in using IT solutions. This might mean adjusting your update plans and schedule with a heavy emphasis on reducing the learning curve for new technology, scheduling with a strong emphasis on alleviating pain points for employees, or simply updating by matching the priorities of your core business values. 

This approach may not show immediate results with employees or your bottom line, but it can be excellent for morale, company cohesion, or even, in some cases, branding and image.  

NSA Can Help You Prioritize Your Updates

Technology updates are vital to the overall safety and efficiency of your business. NSA’s managed IT solutions can help you make the necessary improvements as quickly, painlessly, and efficiently as possible, minimizing downtime and ensuring they’re done correctly. Contact us today at 702-547-9800 to get started on a plan.

Why do some companies fail their disaster recovery plan (DPR) audit?

Why do some companies fail their disaster recovery plan (DPR) audit? Perhaps because they did not get the right information for it. They say experience is the best teacher; thus, nothing beats what you can learn from real-world case studies. See what you can learn from the following case.

Hosting certain types of data and managing a government network legally bind you to maintain DRPs. After an audit of the Michigan Department of Technology and Budget, several failures led to a trove of helpful tips for small- and medium-sized businesses attempting to create a bulletproof disaster recovery plan.

  1. Update and test your plan frequently.
    What was one of the first and most obvious failures of the department’s DRP? It didn’t include plans to restore an essential piece of their infrastructure — the department’s intranet. Without it, the employees are unable to complete even the most basic of tasks.

The reason for the oversight? The last time the plan was updated was in 2011, leaving out more than six years of IT advancements. If annual revisions sound like too much work, just consider all of the IT upgrades and improvements you’ve made in this year alone. If they’re not accounted for in your plan, you’re destined to fail.

  1. Keep your DRP in an easy-to-find location
    It may seem a bit ironic that the best way to store your top-of-the-line business continuity solution is in a binder, but the Michigan Department of Technology and Budget learned the hard way that the alternatives don’t work. Auditors found the DRP stored on the same network it was meant to restore. Which means if something had happened to the network, the plan would be totally inaccessible.

Your company would do well to store electronic copies on more than one network in addition to physical copies around the office and off-site.

  1. Always prepare for a doomsday scenario
    The government office made suitable plans for restoring the local area network (LAN), but beyond that, there was no way for employees to get back to work within the 24-hour recovery time objective.

Your organization needs to be prepared for the possibility that there may not be a LAN to go back to. Cloud backups and software are the best way to keep everything up and running when your office is flooded or crushed beneath a pile of rubble. For more information on the benefits of the cloud go to www.nsa-nv.com/cloudservice.

 

Your DRP is more than just a pesky legal requirement. It’s the insurance plan that will keep you in business when disaster strikes. Network Security Associates professionals know the importance of combining both academic and real-world resources to make your plan airtight when either auditors or blizzards strike. Contact us today at www.nsa-com or 702-547-9800.

4 Debunked Myths About Cloud Services

The cloud has grown in popularity in recent years and continues to do so. However, there are some common misconceptions about cloud services that still prevent people from trusting this technology. Here are some of the top myths about the cloud you shouldn’t believe.

Myth 1: The Cloud Isn’t Secure

Don’t Believe These Myths About Cloud Services

There are a couple underlying concerns behind this myth. One contributing factor is the reality most companies will have to work with a third-party provider to receive cloud services. You may have concerns this company doesn’t take the necessary steps to secure your data. However, Network Security Associates utilizes multiple safeguards to make sure your information is protected, such as:

  • Data encryption
  • Firewalls
  • Monitoring 
  • An intrusion detection system
  • Antivirus
  • Anti-phishing

Address any concerns you have about data security with your potential cloud provider.

Myth 2: Cloud Services Are Too Expensive

Although cloud services may be costly upfront, it’s important to remember the benefits of the cloud exceed monetary savings. The cloud ensures your business always has backups of its data, software, and programs. If a natural disaster or device theft occurs, these backups mean your business will have minimal downtime. Cloud services also make it more convenient for your employees to work remotely; they can access the cloud from a secure connection and quickly pull up the files or programs they need. Downtime impacts profitability and revenue generation, which can be challenging to determine assign a dollar value to the impact.

Myth 3: Small Businesses Can’t Benefit From the Cloud

Businesses of all sizes, from sole proprietorships to large corporations, can benefit from using the cloud. Small businesses have many of the same needs as larger organizations, such as the need for reliable data and software backups, secure remote access to their information and multiple security initiatives to safeguard their valuable information.

Myth 4: You’ll Lose Ownership of the Data You Store in the Cloud

Most reputable cloud providers permit their clients to retain ownership of the data they store in the cloud. Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of your service agreement to ensure you retain all the rights to your information.

Help Secure Your Company’s Data With Cloud Services

Ready to learn more about how cloud services can benefit your business? Contact Network Security Associates at 702-547-9800 today to schedule a network security assessment.

The Importance of Proper Server Maintenance and Managed IT Solutions

Your servers are the foundation of your computer network. To keep these systems performing optimally, it’s important to have sufficient managed IT solutions in place to prevent security breaches and data loss. 

Server Maintenance

Protect Your Servers With Network Security Associates’s Managed IT Solutions

Proper server maintenance keeps your organization operating efficiently and can help prevent unexpected downtime. Your server maintenance should include the following tasks:

  • Reviewing logs
  • Verifying automated systems and utilities
  • Identifying potential security risks
  • Maintaining a robust backup system

It’s important to complete these tasks before something goes wrong; what could have been a small preventable issue can bring your office down.

Server maintenance and IT alone require full-time attention, and while many businesses try to adhere to a strict maintenance schedule, it’s easy to let these tasks fall by the wayside when business is booming or you’re short-staffed. 

Instead of trying to handle your server maintenance internally, consider outsourcing the job to a company specializing in managed IT solutions, like Network Security Associates. We’ll take care of all the tasks required to maintain your servers so your company can devote its resources to other projects.

IT Maintenance Best Practices

To maintain reliable servers, Network Security Associates can help your organization implement best practices to help ensure your data is always secure.

One of the most critical maintenance steps is verifying your backups on a regular basis. Data loss from server failure can be catastrophic for your organization. Our team will monitor your daily backups to make sure they are occurring as scheduled.

Monitoring disk storage should also be done on an ongoing basis. Clearing out and archiving files in storage will keep your empty disk space at a healthy percentage. It’s also important to review your CPU, RAM and network utilization.

Updating your operating systems and applications should be an automated process, as security patches and other updates are frequently released. Our cloud-based computing services automate the update process so your devices are always running the latest software versions. We will schedule routine checks to make sure all updates are occurring as planned.

Some of the other maintenance tasks Network Security Associates provides include:

  • Implementation of Our Remote Monitoring Tool

Our remote monitoring tool makes it simple to monitor your hard drive usage. If your hard drive runs out of space, this constitutes an emergency that will bring your server to a standstill. Constant monitoring prevents this from happening. We can also remotely manage your devices to make sure your free space remains at a safe level.

  • Systematically Reviewing User Accounts

It’s vital to review user accounts to check that individuals no longer with the company have their access revoked. Those with high-level access accounts should have their accounts regularly reviewed and all inactive ones removed. Network Security Associates offers custom software that checks all your company accounts and discontinues those that are inactive after two weeks.

Comprehensive IT Solutions

Network Security Associates is your go-to provider of managed IT solutions in Las Vegas. Our expert technicians will handle your server maintenance and are available to assist 24/7 in the event of an emergency. Contact us today at 702-547-9800.

Network Security Solutions for the Gaming Industry

Keep Your Data Safe With Our Network Security Solutions

A data breach is one of the most significant and potentially expensive threats companies face each day. Casinos and gaming establishments are particularly susceptible due to the large amount of sensitive customer information they must retain and transfer.

2018 study conducted by IBM estimates the breach of a single record costs a company $148; if a breach results in the digital theft of 1 million records, this can cost your organization about $40 million. To mitigate this risk, gaming establishments must use an IT company licensed in Nevada to provide all their information security services. Network Security Associates is licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission to offer network security solutions for all of your IT needs. 

This license means we have the knowledge, experience, labor, and resources to correctly and efficiently handle the distinct requirements of companies in the gaming industry. Our IT experts provide network security solutions to combat a variety of digital threats to your cloud services, such hacking attempts or the intentional use of malicious software. 

What’s Included With Our Network Security Solutions

Keep Your Data Safe With Our Network Security Solutions

In addition to offering network security solutions, you can expect our team of experienced IT professionals to:

  • Maintain your wireless networks
  • Set up remote network access for your employees
  • Establish cloud-based servers for sensitive data
  • Implement a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
  • Optimize inter-office connectivity

We offer 24/7 emergency service to ensure our gaming clients receive the security solutions they need to keep their valuable data safe. 

Contact Network Security Associates Today

Don’t put your company at risk of a data breach. Our network security solutions and cloud services will ensure you worry less about the safety of your network or losing data. Contact us today at 702-547-9800 to request a consultation.

How to Set Your Remote Workers Up for Success With Cloud Desktop Service

A 2018 study indicated, 70 percent of global workers work remotely at least one day a week. Telecommuting has benefits for both the workers and the employer. Employers can reduce the expenses associated with maintaining permanent office spaces and work stations, while workers can boost their productivity and achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Giving your employees the ability to work remotely may pose some challenges for your company, especially when it comes to keeping your sensitive data secure. If you want to give employees the option to work remotely, here are a few things to do to ensure their success:

Establish Your Expectations

Clearly communicate your expectations to your remote workers, so they understand what steps are necessary to keep you informed of their daily projects and to maintain optimal security levels for company information. You may need to offer clarification regarding the following areas:

  • Device usage (can employees use their personal devices to work or should they stick with company-issued equipment?)
  • System security guidelines (password specifications and requirements for two-factor authentication)
  • Physical device security
  • Data storage rules

Set Up a Cloud Desktop Service

You can bolster the security of your business’s data with a cloud desktop service. A cloud desktop service permits your remote employees to send, receive and store data using a virtual cloud. They can access and use the cloud anywhere they have a secure connection.

The cloud desktop service makes it simple to grant employees access to the programs and software they need to telecommute. Instead of having to install software on each individual device, you can just add it to the cloud.

Another option to help keep your business’s data secure is to set up a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN makes it possible for you to extend your company’s private network to remote workers. You won’t have to worry your workers might conduct sensitive transactions or send private information using a connection that is not safe. Make it clear to your workers they are to always use the VPN for work-related matters. You can even set some systems up, so they will only work with a VPN.

Not only does a cloud desktop service provide secure backups of your employees’ work, but it also allows for easy data restoration in case of a natural disaster or device accident. Contact Network Security Associates at 702-547-9800 to set up cloud desktop service today.