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Tech Talk: How to Develop an IT Strategy for 2019

5 Things to Consider When Developing Your 2019 IT Strategy

At this time of year many of our clients are finalizing their budgets and plans for the coming year. Part of our job at TechMD is to help them develop and implement a sound IT strategy that aligns with their business objectives. With that in mind, here are 5 things you should consider while developing your IT strategy for the coming year.

1) Develop a technology mission statement.

Consider how you want technology to support your organization’s goals. The basics like email and file storage are similar in all organizations but what you need to figure out is the unique way you want your technology to impact your specific business. In general, you need to determine where your company is going and how technology can help take you there.

2) Perform a technology SWOT analysis.

This is where you outline your company’s technology related strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Doing this will help you see areas where technology can help mitigate weakness and threats or provide you with the ability to capitalize on strengths and opportunities. A sober word of caution: just about all organizations should have cybersecurity in their threats column.

3) Review your short- and long-term goals.

Knowing what your organization is working to accomplish will help you think about which technologies are worth investing in and how they can bolster your team to better achieve those goals. The business world is rapidly moving towards cloud technology. If you haven’t considered this already, next year needs to be the year where you consider how the cloud will impact your business. The digital transformation is happening, and your response could make or break your business.

4) Address the training and development needs of your team.

You’ll want to prioritize cybersecurity training for your staff, because they are the number one target for cybercriminals. You’ll also want to consider what new skills need to be learned as you adopt new technologies and how you will educate your employees who utilize those skills.

5) Develop an IT budget.

Many businesses leaders we talk to consider an IT budget an oxymoron; they feel like IT costs are always surprises and investment is always out of control. But with the right focus and team an IT budget can be created and followed. The IT budget should align with your goals and ensure your company can properly invest in the technology you need to run your organization effectively.

The most useful IT budgets are based on a 3-year cycle and provide you with great visibility into the investments required for that time frame. During this process, make sure that you involve your organizations leadership team and stake holders. If you don’t have a C-level IT employee at your company, you may want to look into engaging a company like TechMD or an outside IT consultant to help guide you through the process.

We’d love to help!

If you have any questions about how to build your IT strategy for the coming year, we’d love to help. Please feel free to reach out to us here.

For more information about the cloud and cybersecurity, please check out the links below:

Further Reading

December 13th, 2018|

Tech Talk: Is AI Ready For Small Business?

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly emerging technology that is set to change the landscape of all kinds of industries. But with so much news surrounding new developments, you may be wondering if AI is right for small and mid-sized organizations today.

First let’s dispel some myths. The first thing to know is that AI will not instantly solve all your business needs. And despite its growth, implementing AI will require both massive commitment, resources and the right set of skills to integrate it into your systems. Also, you’ll want to avoid adopting AI for AI’s sake alone; 99% of businesses don’t actually need AI to be profitable right now. Instead, ensure new technology aligns with your business needs.

Tools You Can Use Right Now

Now with that said, there are some current AI applications that you can leverage today, ranging from marketing, logistics and operations to fraud detection and more. For example, Fin is an app that utilizes machine learning in tandem with skilled remote staff to act as your personal virtual assistant. Using speech-to-text technology, you can have a variety of tasks performed on your behalf.

Salesforce’s Einstein is another example that uses artificial intelligence to gather predictions and recommendations based on customer data and business processes. You can then use that data to automate responses and actions to improve sales, and in so doing, happier customers. Also, if you feel that your business objectives are in line with the capabilities of AI and machine learning, be sure to check out the solutions provided by Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google’s Cloud AI.

Steps To Take

Understand that the key to AI is good data, so make sure you are implementing effective solutions to collect and store data so it can be leveraged in the future. Lastly, follow these steps to keep up with AI trends:

  • Capture your most important data digitally so it can be leveraged in the future.
  • Stay on top of AI advancements in your industry.
  • Don’t hesitate to leverage AI and machine learning today if you have clear business needs that might be accomplished with today’s AI technology.

Thanks for watching this Tech Talk and come back next time to learn more!

Further Reading

November 6th, 2018|

Cybersecurity Alert: SharePoint Phishing Attack Targets Office 365 Users

New PhishPoint Attack May Be Affecting As Many As 10% of Office 365 Users

Recently we have been seeing a new phishing attack called PhishPoint that is targeting Office 365 customers. In this scam, cybercriminals are inserting malicious links into SharePoint files and then sharing them with potential victims, ultimately allowing them to steal Office 365 user credentials.

This attack is particularly insidious because it bypasses Office 365’s built-in security. Microsoft automatically scans incoming emails for malicious links and attachments, but a link to Microsoft’s own SharePoint Online platform wouldn’t raise any red flags with their system. Because the malicious phishing link is hosted in the SharePoint file rather than the email itself, is goes unnoticed by Microsoft’s email security.

How to Spot A PhishPoint Attack

In a PhishPoint attack, the target will receive an email that looks exactly like the standard SharePoint invitation to collaborate:

an example PhishPoint email

Clicking on the link will automatically open up a SharePoint file. This SharePoint file will contain content that looks like a standard request to access a OneDrive file. However, the link to “Access Document” is actually a malicious URL.

A malicious SharePoint file

Clicking on the SharePoint link to access the document takes the user to a spoofed Office 365 login page. When the victim enters their username and password, their credentials will be recorded and stolen by the hacker.

PhishPoint ultimately leads to a spoofed Office 365 login screen

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Like many phishing attacks, PhishPoint is designed to perfectly imitate aspects of the Office 365 experience in order to lull users into a false sense of security. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • PhishPoint emails are unsolicited and usually have a generic subject line like “[name] has sent you a OneDrive for Business file”. If you are not expecting a file share from someone in your office, take the time to verify the email’s legitimacy by calling the sender directly or, better yet, talking to them in person.
  • Many PhishPoint emails attempt to manufacture a sense of urgency by including words like ACTION REQUIRED or URGENT in their subject lines. Don’t let the sense of urgency put you in a hurry—take the time to look closely at emails like this before clicking on them.
  • Always check the URL when you receive suspicious links! In PhishPoint’s case, when you finally make it to the login page, you can tell that it is not associated with the Office 365 domain by looking at the address bar in your browser.

To learn more about how to spot phishing attacks, check out this helpful video. As always, make sure you stay alert and think before you click!

August 21st, 2018|

Tech Talk: Work Seamlessly with Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 includes a wide range of cloud applications that can revolutionize productivity, collaboration, and work mobility. In this Tech Talk, Sebastian Igreti tours Office 365 and discusses how it can transform the way businesses leverage the traditional Office software stack.

January 25th, 2018|

Tech Talk: Microsoft Azure VDI: A Game Changer

Microsoft recently announced their Azure Virtual Desktop Solution, which allows organizations to move their entire IT infrastructure into Microsoft’s first-class cloud environment. If you’re interested in learning more about what’s on the IT horizon and how it can benefit your organization, check out this episode of Tech Talks, where Sebastian Igreti discusses the latest in cloud technology.

July 5th, 2017|

Cloudflare Announces Possible Breach of User Credentials

Make sure you change duplicate passwords immediately!

On Thursday of last week, website security provider Cloudflare announced a major security vulnerability affecting their service. This vulnerability has caused sensitive user data to be exposed across a number of popular websites, like Yelp, Uber, and others.

To protect yourself, make sure you are not reusing any passwords on multiple accounts. If you are reusing passwords, we suggest changing them to unique passwords immediately. People often get into trouble when a breach compromises one of their passwords, and they also use that password for their bank account, credit cards, or other sensitive logins.

We know it’s tough to make sure every single password is unique, so we recommend using a tool like LastPass. To learn more about LastPass, check out this article and One-Minute Wednesday video on our favorite password manager. You can also watch the video below:

 
February 27th, 2017|