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Email Security – Good, Better, and Best

When launched Cumulus Global 15 years ago to provide small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with email security and security solutions. As early adopters, we saw how cloud solutions made enterprise grade solutions affordable and effective for small businesses.  While much as changed over the past decade and a half, we still face email-based threats.

Email Attacks are Easy

According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Report, email remains one of the most common vectors for attacks. And, phishing attacks are at the top of the list. Email phishing attacks remain prevalent because they are relatively easy. Cyber attackers are able to say one step ahead of our defenses, in large part to the rise in social engineering. With more of our personal information available through social media, attackers can use psychological tactics and personalized messaging to target specific individuals (spear phishing) and business leaders (whaling). In doing so, they garner sensitive information and gain access to systems and data.

Business Email Compromise

Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks impersonate your email domains or emails for specific users. In most instances, BEC attacks look and feel like legitimate emails from your business. Combined with social engineering tactics and personalize information, they are hard to spot and often successful.  Attacks can be “internal” that target your employees, or “external” that use your business to defraud your customers and associates.

Email and Domain Impersonation

Preventing email and domain impersonation attacks bypass account level security, including multi-factor authentication. To prevent these attacks, recipients should only accept email that can be authenticated as coming from your domain.

Protection: Good, Better, Best

Currently, you have three levels of email domain security that can protect your business and your identity: Good, Better, and Best.

Good: SPF Sender Policy Framework

SPF verifies emails sent from valid IP addresses, either from your domain or authorized senders. While most small businesses have an SPF record configured, errors cause individual emails, or emails from marketing and CRM systems, to be flagged as spam by the recipient. Cyber attackers can spoof email addresses to give the appearance of a validated sender.

Better: DKIM DomainKeys Identified Mail

DKIM verifies that have been digitally signed by the sending domain, or by services sending email on behalf of the domain. Proper configuration is technical and involves cryptographic key management; errors can lead to fake messages with valid DKIM signatures. Cyber attackers can remove the DKIM signature using sophisticated relay attacks.

Best: DMARC Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting,
and Conformance

DMARC authenticates email origin by aligning identifiers from SPF and DKIM, and instructs recipients to deliver, quarantine, or reject failed emails by policy. DKIM helps improve email deliverability. Is the best protection against email and domain impersonation attacks, whether they target your employees, vendors, or customers. Reporting enables you to see email sources and manage your policies.

Call to Action

While you set up SPF and DKIM with DNS record entries, DMARC is best implemented as a service. Doing so provides you access to settings, reports, and analysis tools. For most small and midsize businesses, the level of protection DMARC provides is worth the minimal cost.

You can learn more with our eBook: Email Security: Good, Better, Best.

To discuss your email security configuration, make an appointment with one of our Cloud Advisors, send us an email, or fill out our contact form.

More Than 40% of SMBs Face Dark Web Risks

We offer a monitoring service for dark web risks.  In August, we received a alerts for more than 40% of the companies we monitor.

Threats from information mining and third party breaches continue to pose a risk.  The level of risk varies based on the source, scope, and nature of the breach.

Direct and Indirect Threats

Third party breaches pose direct and indirect threats. A direct threat, as the name implies, represented a compromised identity with direct access to your system.  Indirect threats are breaches with information that enables more advanced attacks against your systems and user identities.

Direct threats, while less common, represent a breach of usernames and passwords for your system.  The source of direct threats may not be your systems. Hackers with access to valid email addresses and similar passwords will try permutations and patterns to gain access.  While they may then use the compromised credentials themselves, they may also put them up for sale or lease on the Dark Web.

Indirect Threats take many forms.  Identities with similar passwords are sold to hackers that will use them to gain access.  Personal identifying information is valuable to hackers looking to create effective spoofing and phishing attacks.  Repetitive breaches identify targets more easily compromised and/or more likely to respond to a phishing attack with personal information.

Threat Sources

Sources for Dark Web threats vary.  Most common is a third party breach, for example the LinkedIn breach in 2018.  Given that many people use their work email address as an identity for LinkedIn, along with identical or similar passwords, the breach gave hackers a means to test access to core businesses services.  Simple testing of leaked passwords, permutations, and common patterns provides access to core businesses systems, including accounts on Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and others.

Growing in frequency, hackers grab personally identifying information matched to known email addresses.  While first and last names may not appear to create much risk, cyber criminals can use PII to create sophisticated spoofing and phishing attacks.  Your zip code, home address, job title, role in your company, and who you work with and for can all be used to create more effective attacks.  When matched to data from social media accounts — where you shop, foods you like, answers to “survey” questions that mirror security prompts — criminals can refine their attacks and sell your data for more.

Protecting Yourself and Your Business

More than 70% of people use the same or similar passwords across systems.  When employees use work email addresses for other services, the nature of their passwords creates risks when any of these third party systems experiences a breach. Compromised third-party passwords reduce the effort required for cyber criminals to compromise other accounts. LinkedIn, Egnyte, Dropbox and other reputable services have all experienced breaches over the past few years.

An additional risk from third-party systems is the risk of personally identifying information, or PII.  With a valid email address and leaked or breach PII, cyber attackers have access to information that allows them to personalize phishing emails and other attacks.

Monitoring the Dark Web for these third party breaches, and responding appropriately, helps protect your employees and your business.

 

Productivity Suite Assessment Helps Small Businesses Choose or Improve their Cloud

May 25, 2021 – Westborough, MA – Cumulus Global is pleased to announce the launch of its new Productivity Suite Assessment, a consulting service that helps small and midsize businesses (SMBs) determine which productivity suite best meets their needs and how to fully utilize the suite to improve productivity and support business goals. Whether considering, or currently using Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, the productivity suite is the foundation for IT services. The right match is about more than the marketing hype and basic features. The right match integrates with how you work and other systems to support business goals, needs, priorities, and budget.

“For businesses not yet in the cloud, we guide them to the best fit and solution,” stated Allen Falcon, CEO of Cumulus Global. “For those only using some of the Microsoft and Google suite services, we help them fully adopt, utilize, and leverage capabilities.”

The Productivity Suite Assessment gives businesses:

  • A comprehensive review of current technology platforms and how well they are serving the business
  • Expert analysis of challenges, gaps, and opportunities to improve productivity and efficiencies
  • Recommendations: “what” technologies are a best fit and “how” to leverage them for greatest impact and value
  • Savings on implementation of recommendations.

“We help businesses decide if Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace best aligns with their operations and technologies. More impactfully, we identify under-utilized capabilities and guide adoption,” noted Falcon. “Using these recommendations, businesses improve processes, empower employees and teams, reduce costs, and enable growth.”

The Productivity Suite Assessment follows Cumulus Global’s best-practice methods.  The three phase project includes: detailed discovery, thorough analysis; and recommendations with guidance on implementation and adoption.  Cumulus Global partners with both Microsoft and Google, providing objective analysis and recommendations. Founded in 2006, Cumulus Global has 15 years experience delivery cloud solutions to small and midsize businesses.

Cumulus Global takes AIM with Manufacturers

www.aimnet.orgApril 27 2021 – Westborough, MA – Cumulus Global is pleased to announce its Corporate Membership in the Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM). Through its membership, Cumulus Global will better understand the issues and challenges facing manufacturers. As a member, Cumulus Global will help support manufacturing as a key component of a diverse, healthy economy.

“By joining AIM, we gain access to information and ideas,” stated Allen Falcon, CEO. “A better understanding of the business issues — challenges and opportunities — facing manufactures is key. This knowledge improves our ability to design, deploy, and manage technology solutions that deliver tangible business results.”

Manufacturers, like most businesses, are adopting cloud computing as a mainstream component of their technology infrastructure.  CIO magazine reports that over 90% of all businesses use some form of cloud computing.  According to IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing Survey, investment in cloud computing jumped 59% from 2018 to 2020.

Smart strategies, investments, and management are critical.  Cumulus Global helps small and mid-size manufacturers leverage secure, public cloud services to maximize results and value. Done properly, cloud solutions help manufactures adapt and compete in our rapidly changing economy.

“A diversified, healthy economy depends on a healthy, diverse manufacturing sector,” noted Falcon. “Our AIM membership supports advocacy for public policies that enable manufacturers to adapt and thrive. This as essential for our community and our nation.”

Cumulus Global believes that manufacturing will continue to play a critical role in our local, regional, and national economies. The company shares AIM’s commitment to innovation and sound economic policy.

About Associated Industries of Massachusetts

AIM (www.aimnet.org) is a forward-looking organization of dedicated, focused, and experienced business leaders. The association works to support public policy and provide services that enable jobs creation and economic opportunity. AIM focuses on public policy advocacy, employer services delivery, business community development, and best practice guidance for, and on behalf, of its members.

Cyber Protection Solutions for SMBs

Data protection iconAs our businesses become even more reliant on technology and cloud services, the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks continue to accelerate. Your Cyber Protection 

Cyber Protection Needs

We need our businesses — and our people — to be aware, protected, and able to recover.

At Cumulus Global, our CPR model maps the necessary components of cyber security into three areas.

  • Communicate & Educate
    • Ensure you team understands the risk, educate them so they can avoid falling prey, create a culture of security and data privacy.
  • Protect & Prevent
    • Leverage advanced and “next gen” technologies to prevent attacks and to protect your networks, systems, data, and people from attacks.
  • Recover & Respond
    • No system is perfect; make sure you can recover your data and systems, return to normal operations, and respond to the technical, legal, and communication challenges.

Successful Cyber Protection relies on your policies and procedures, technologies, and people working in sync. Across more than a dozen focus areas, you need to balance the level or protection you need with the costs and with the risks of not doing enough. You need to balance external requirements, such as government and industry regulations, with internal priorities.

Your Cyber Protection Solution

To design and implement an affordable, integrated, and effective cyber protection solution for your business, start with a Cyber Protection Assessment (CPA).  A CPA will assess your needs, within the context of your business, and preferred solutions across 15 areas of focus:

  • Written Information Security Plan
  • Patches and Updates
  • Email Encryption
  • Data Destruction
  • Background Checks
  • Written Information Response Plan
  • Antivirus and Intrusion Detection
  • Email and Web Security
  • Account and Identity Management
  • Employee Training
  • Firewalls
  • Backup / Continuity / Disaster Recovery
  • File Encryption
  • Network Access Security
  • Responsible Parties

Using the results of the Cyber Protection Assessment, you can plan and implement your levels of protection in each area to create the balance that is best for your business.

Next Steps and Resources

Your best next step is to contact us and discuss your cyber protection status and needs with one of our Cloud Advisors. Consider using our Cyber Protection Assessment to understand your needs, current protections, gaps, and priorities.

Related Resources:

Where to Look for IT Savings

Almost all of our businesses are feeling the impact of COVID-19.  Revenues and cash flows are down and some costs are rising. We are all looking to cut expenses. Information technology and services can be a good place to find savings.

Most businesses can find savings in their IT services. Here are some places to look.

Unused Accounts

It is a common practice to hold onto the accounts for past employees or projects with the expectation that we may want or need to access the information at some point in the future. Often, these accounts incur costs as they remain billable within your systems. Here are some methods that you can use to clean up old accounts in Microsoft 365 and G Suite without losing data:

  • Transfer ownership of files and other data to other employees before removing an account.
  • Transfer ownership of files and other information to a designated archive account that will hold historical information for multiple past employees
  • Use a backup service to snapshot the account(s) and verify you can restore the data. Most cloud backup services let you restore to an alternate user and the licenses are significantly less than the Microsoft 365 or G Suite account.
  • Export data from past employee accounts into searchable format as an archive
Redundant Services

We see businesses sign up for new services, or keep existing services, even when they already have similar capabilities.  A lack of awareness and training can lead to redundant IT services. In most cases, even with feature differences taken into consideration, these redundant services are not needed — or are only needed by a few specific people.

If you are running Microsoft 365, you can use …

  • Teams for
    • Video conferencing instead of paying for Zoom, Webex, or GoToMeeting
    • Audio conferencing instead of paying for a third party service
    • social communication and teamwork, instead of paying for Slack
  • Teams Live to stream/broadcast events to large private groups or the public
  • OneDrive, SharePoint, and/or Teams for sharing files with others, instead of paying for DropBox
  • SharePoint for secure internal and secure external portals
  • Planner for project and task management instead of Trello and other third party applications
  • Bookings for appointment setting instead of paid services like ScheduleOnce and Calendly
  • Shared Inboxes and Groups for simple service desk / call center functions

If you are running G Suite, you can use …

  • Google Meet for video conferencing instead of paying for Zoom, Webex, or GoToMeeting
  • Google Meet audio conferencing instead of paying for a third party service
  • Chat for social communication and teamwork, instead of paying for Slack
  • YouTube Studio to stream/broadcast events to large private groups or the public
  • My Drive and Shared Drives for sharing files with others, instead of paying for DropBox
  • Sites for secure internal and secure external portals
  • Shared Inboxes and Groups for simple service desk / call center functions
Shadow IT

Chances are, if you scan your environment, your company charges, and expense reports, you will find employees using one-off or personal IT services that you have not approved or authorized.  In addition to costing you money, these services remove data from your systems and expose you to the risks of data loss and liability. In many cases, employees turn to “Shadow IT” services because they perceive these services as more convenient or easier to use than company resources.  Here are ways to reign in Shadow IT:

  • Actively look for employees using Shadow IT services.  Scan your environment, credit card fees, and expense reports. You can also use tools like Blissfully to find and quantify these services.
  • Find out why employees are using the services.  Is it a missing capability or are they unfamiliar with how use the capabilities of company systems?
  • Educate and train employees, rather than discipline
  • If shadow IT is filling a need, find a way to provide the capability within company systems if possible
Move to Scalable Services

While it may sound counter-intuitive, now may be a good time to migrate some IT services to solutions that will scale better as you company continues to adjust to changing markets and business conditions.  Moving from in-office, co-located, or hosted file servers to cloud file services, for example, replaces fixed assets and operating costs with services that can scale up and down with staffing levels and/or business volume.  Moving to scalable services may be even more appropriate if you are facing hardware or system end of life, or if doing so will simply and improve access to applications and files for those working from home.

Be Careful with Your Cuts

It may be tempting to cut services you feel that you rarely use.  Be careful, however, that you do not make short term savings decisions that will cost you much more later. See our companion post to learn more.


For help evaluating your IT environment for efficiency, please contact us to schedule a free Cloud Advisor session, or take a look at our Recovery Road Map Assessment.


 

For 2019: Focus on Outcomes

UncertaintyAs we close out 2018, we reflect on a year that has been a bit of a wild ride.  For our customers, we clearly are leaving a period of sustained growth into more uncertain economic times. At the macro level, the economy shows competing signs of growth and contraction. Our political climate is less certain and predictable.

We Live in Uncertain Times

Economies and business climates vary by region. Taking a look at a non-scientific survey of businesses in central New England (Worcester Business Journal, Central Massachusetts Economic Forecast 2019, December 24, 2019), we get a pulse of where are are and where we may be going. We also see a new way forward for small and midsize organizations looking to weather whatever stormy or calm seas may be in our future.

  • Only 35% see the economy improving in 2019, while 65% see the economy stagnating or declining in the coming year.  This is a significant change from a year ago when 65% expected the economy to improve.
  • While the number of business leaders who believe the economy has improved over the past year is at 77%, the number of those uncertain of our current economic health more than doubled from 7% for 2018 to 15% for 2019.
  • On the positive side, the number of business leaders expecting to hire additional staff in 2019 jumped to 49% from 40% a year ago.
  • At the same time, 72% of those surveyed are “very concerned” about finding qualified talent to hire, a major increase from only 50% of hiring employers a year ago.

In short, we see the economy as having improved over the past year, but are uncertain what course it will chart in 2019.  Many of us plan on growing but are concerned about being able to find, hire, and retain the right people.

Charting a Course

Economic uncertainty can, and sometimes should, cause us to pause and re-evaluate our plans. We often see businesses reacting quickly and pulling the plug or delaying technology projects and changes. Often, these decisions make it more difficult for you to manage changes you want or need to make in order to adapt to a changing business climate. Here are some thoughts on evaluating technology decisions during changing or uncertain times.

  • Understand What is Possible
    2018 is the year in which Machine Learning, AI, and Bots came into the mainstream. These technologies can, when deployed properly, can improve operations, expand the productivity of your workforce, and mitigate operating costs.
  • Remember the Cloud
    Most small businesses have not yet fully adopted a cloud computing strategy. Cloud computing is a means to scale IT resources and costs to the size of your business without sacrificing features, capabilities, or security.
  • Focus on Outcomes
    Don’t worry about the technology, focus on the outcome. What do you want to achieve? What do you need to happen? How do you want things to be different after making a change? Understand and clearly define the endpoint, as this will drive how you define and manage the projects and changes that will get you from Point A to Point B. Let the outcome guide priorities and, subsequently, the technologies and changes needed to make a difference.
  • Balance the Quantitative and Qualitative
    Not all outcomes will have a specific dollar value.  When deciding on outcomes, consider the near-term and long-term value to your business. Employee engagement and satisfaction improves retention. Automating repetitive tasks improves productivity. Training and support improves morale and fosters innovation.
  • Consider All Opportunities
    “Cut to Survive” rarely works.  Look beyond quick hits and savings. Look for opportunities that: (1) reduce operating expenses; (2) improve team and individual productivity; (3) simplify your IT services; (4) differentiate your business in your markets; (5) help employees do their jobs better; (6) improve customer service and engagement; (7) empower team collaboration and innovation; and/or (8) help you better understand your business and the metrics that measure success.

Change, particularly in uncertain times, often come with increased risks. Deciding to invest or make changes is more difficult. Not doing anything, however, is a decision.  It is a decision to NOT actively manage how your business moves forward; it is a decision to let external forces determine your future. How you move forward may require more thought and analysis, but continue to move forward.


We are here to help!  Wondering how you can get more value from your current IT services, cloud solutions, or emerging technologies?  Contact us to schedule a complementary Cloud Advisor session. 


Pending Storm; Pending Doom

A quick scan of the weather headlines late on Thursday afternoon: a “Nor’easter” storm going through rapid escalation, know as “Bombogenisis”, looks ready to hit New England tomorrow with rain, snow and hurricane force wind gusts. Now it is Sunday, and many small and midsize businesses along the northeastern coast are wondering when, or if, they will be able to reopen. The impact of disasters is increasing. We can argue about climate change versus weather. We can discuss our aging infrastructure. We can debate whether to plan for disaster causes or effects. If we do not, however, make our businesses more resilient, the quantity and severity of disruptions will continue to grow.

The coming storm should not foretell coming doom.

By taking advantage of proven cloud services, most small and midsize businesses can protect themselves from disruption. Many businesses in coastal areas of New England may be without power and other utilities for 2 to 4 days. Businesses with no continuity plan are down and out. Given that about 50% of businesses shut down for a week will fail within six months, “down and out” can be fatal. If you rely on VPN or remote desktop to on-premise systems, you are still at risk — no power means no on-premise networks or servers.

Businesses with key systems in the cloud, however, can be up and running if employees have power and Internet access.

So what are your next steps?

First, measure the impact on your business of a disruption lasting one day, three days, and five days?  As you do, consider the full cost of recovery, including post-disaster productivity loss as your work to recover lost data and time while keeping things moving forward.

Second, consider the value of keeping your business running rather than having to recover and regroup. Beyond the dollars and cents, understand the value to your customers, to your reputation.

Third, contact us for a complimentary Cloud Advisor Session to discuss your cloud and continuity strategies.

The Longest Yard: WiFi Solutions for SMBs

WiFi ServicesBusinesses depend on WiFi service. From employee laptops, tablets, and phones, to visitors in conference rooms, WiFi service is a critical component of your network infrastructure. And yet, for many small businesses, WiFi performance and reliability degrade over time. Most WiFi installations start with a focus on coverage — ensuring all areas and users have access to the service. Often neglected is capacity, the availability of bandwidth to ensure fast, reliable service for all users. For companies with small offices, and SMBs in general, the odds seem stacked against us.

  • Installations typically use default settings, placing WiFi traffic on slower bandwidth service and on channels most susceptible to interference
  • Wireless routers and access points sold to SMBs and small offices often lack settings (bandwidth steering, antennae power control, etc) needed to manage and tune performance
  • Most SMBs and small offices do not have active monitoring of WiFi performance, or even periodic reporting about the quality of WiFi service

When SMBs and small offices have WiFi connectivity or performance issues, the typical response is to add additional access points or to increase signal power, “solutions” that often exasperate the problem.

You can and should have the WiFi connectivity and performance you need.

Even if lower cost wireless routers and access points have been installed, SMBs and you can take steps to ensure WiFi connectivity and performance. And, you can do this without expensive equipment upgrades and installations. Take an approach recognizing that the quality of your WiFi service is not static. The environment in which your WiFi operates will change over time.

WiFi Assessments:

Historically, WiFi assessments have been expensive; most SMBs cannot afford a few thousand dollars for a one-time assessment. These one-time assessments capture a point in time and may not recognize shifting usage, demand, and interference patters. These types of assessments are often vendor-led and recommend significant equipment upgrades and installations.

New technologies and services allow for one-time assessments to be completed for hundreds, not thousands, of dollars.  Drop-in devices capture all WiFi traffic and feed the data to cloud-based, AI-driven analysis engines that diagnose and prioritize issues. The AI analysis engines are able to recommend specific solution actions addresses both your WiFi infrastructure and devices accessing the network. The drop-in devices capture all WiFi signals in the area, looking not only at your networks, but the behavior and impact of WiFi signals reaching your space from other locations. And, our recommendations focus on setting changes in existing equipment rather than upgrades and overhauls.

With this lower cost, SMBs can afford to run assessments as-needed when performance or connectivity issues arise, or on a periodic schedule. With periodic assessments, you capture and adapt to changes that occur over time, often preventing issues before they impact your business.

WiFi Monitoring:

Using the same intelligent technology and services, SMBs can now also afford on-going WiFi Monitoring. With continuous monitoring, the AI engine and analysis tools can look at historical trends and address changes to the WiFi environment. This service offers incredible value to restaurants, retail, warehouses, schools, and other locations where the number of WiFi connected devices (customer, employee, IoT, etc) and usage patterns change hour-to-hour, day-to-day, or over time. As the drop-in devices also provide remote network testing, the monitoring infrastructure saves valuable time and effort when testing or re-configuring WiFi services.

Because the monitoring is not depending on your existing infrastructure of vendors, the analysis is agnostic and the recommendations are not biased to any vendor solution.

Managed WiFi Service:

For the first time, SMBs can now afford to have a managed WiFi service. With a managed service, WiFi routers, access points, and (hopefully) attached physical switches are connected to central management console. The console allows for active performance and connectivity alerts that can trigger service tickets and responses. The console also provides remote access to manage configurations and settings, diagnose issues, and resolve problems in real time.

As a managed service, we configure, monitor, and maintain your WiFi network to ensure it meets the needs of your business.

When combined with WiFi monitoring, Managed WiFi Services provide a complete WiFi service that adapts to the changing needs of your environment, ensuring connectivity and performance.


We offer WiFi Assessments and Monitoring services powered by the Wyebot Wireless Intelligence Platform along with a range of Managed WiFi Service offerings.  Please contact us for more information.


 

The Last Mile: Internet Access in the Age of Cloud

The Last Mile

Internet access has changed radically in the past half decade. With greater availability of broadband service from cable providers, small and midsize businesses are no longer limited by legacy wide area network technologies offered by traditional telephone providers. The cost of service has also plummeted.  In our area, we have gone from paying $500 per month for a 1.5 Mbps circuit to paying $149 per month for 75 Mbps service. From $330 per Mpbs down to $2 Mbps in less than five years. The impact is profound and has spurred changes on how we use the Internet. We have moved from surfing web sites and email traffic to cloud computing, creating a new set of challenges for small and midsize businesses. High speed internet is not readily available in many rural, sub-rural, and urban areas. High speed internet is often built over aging infrastructure and lacks reliability. And, most importantly …

Many Broadband Services Fail to Meet the Needs of Small Business

Most business broadband services are asymmetrical, with different upload and download speeds. With uploads running at 10%-15% of download speeds, broadband fails to meet the needs of cloud users. Working with cloud systems, applications, and file services, as much data moves “up” to the cloud as “down” to user. Symmetric upload/download speeds are critical to reliable performance and productivity.

Fortunately, Solutions Exist.

By looking to other carriers and their agency networks, we can offer solutions that delivery bandwidth, reliability, access, and coverage.

For bandwidth, many carriers offer Fast Ethernet, Gig Ethernet, and other high speed fiber and coax services. These services deliver symmetrical service with a range of speeds, usually starting at 100 Mbps. Availability is generally good in urban and suburban areas. For buildings not pre-wired for service, installation may involve pulling new wires from the street network. In most cases, carriers will waive this construction cost, along with normal installation fees, when you sign a three (3) year agreement.

For reliability, a second, fail-over, Internet connection can provide business continuity when your primary service fails. As the failures are often on the last mile — the connection from the network to your business — alternate service should not be built over the same infrastructure as your primary connection. For many small businesses, cellular can provide reliable, affordable fail-over services with reasonable speeds. Solutions like the Datto Network Appliance connect to your local provider and offer automatic fail-over to the Verizon or AT&T cellular data networks for a low monthly fee.

For access and coverage in areas without high speed Internet service, broadband satellite is emerging as a viable solution, particularly in rural and sub-rural areas.  Speeds start at 20 Mbps. Service may not be symmetrical everywhere, but coverage areas continue to grow.

The solution you need for business will depend on your location, size, and use of cloud services. Taking time and picking the right Internet access will improve performance and productivity.


If you are interested in exploring options, contact us for a free consultation.


 

 

Webcasts

Streamlining Security

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, May 17 at 3:00 PM ET

The on-going coverage and hype about the threats of risks of cyber attacks continues. While small businesses are more vulnerable and more frequent targets, the constant fear-mongering does not help. We become immune to the message. 

Streamlining Security: Sound business practices, not fear, should be your motivation to protect against cyber attacks.

In our May 3T@3 Webcast, Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon will identify the most common and most costly cyberattacks facing small businesses. He will then outline concrete, affordable actions and solutions to protect against these types of threats.

View the Recording On-Demand:


Spring Cleaning Your Files

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, April 19 at 3:00 PM ET

Have you counted the number of places where you store your files? How often do you need to search more than one service or location to find what you need? You are not alone! In an era of virtually unlimited and nearly free storage, we fail to keep things organized. The clutter makes it more difficult to find what we need, collaborate with colleagues, and save what we must.

Using the file services you already have will increase productivity, protect your information, and save you money.

In our April 3T@3 Webcast, Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon looks at how small and midsize organizations can most effectively use cloud file services to improve productivity, enhance security and privacy, and lower costs. With an understanding of personal file services – OneDrive and My Drive – and domain file services – Shared Drives and Sharepoint, businesses can build a file service that organizes and protects files in ways that make them easier to find, share, and use. With an eye on best practices, Allen will compare types of file services, define the role and use of desktop file service clients, and discuss ways to eliminate costly, redundant services. He will also share some Quick Tips that your staff can use to make it easier to work as a team.

View the Recording On-Demand:



Beyond Backup

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, March 15 at 3:00 PM ET

We all know that we need to backup our data and our systems. The vast majority of us have backup solutions in place. Most of us will be able to restore our data or recover from a disaster. Only a few of us will be able to do so with minimum disruption to our businesses and our lives.

Being able to restore data is not an option. The real measure of success is how quickly you can get back to work.

In our March 3T@3 Webcast, Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon looks at evolving business needs for data protection and business continuity. He will discuss the difference between “mean time to recovery” (MTTR) and “Return to Normal Operations” (RTO) and how these measures impact your business. He will also map out how restore, recovery, and continuity solutions offer different value propositions for you and your business and how to look at total cost and impact when selecting your solution.  

View the Recording On-Demand:



Business Continuity & Protection

Peak Productivity

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, February 22nd at 3:00 PM ET

We all have our jobs to do. We want to do well. We want to succeed. We want and need peak productivity. 

While “hacks” are trendy, productivity is boosted when we understand how to best use the tools we have.

In our February 3T@3 Webcast, Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon takes a look at features and tools that can save you steps, simplify your day, and boost your productivity. Whether you run Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, learn how to get more done, more efficiently.

View the Recording On-Demand:



Managed Cloud Services

Keep IT Simple

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, January 25th at 3:00 PM ET

For small and midsize businesses, particularly solopreneurs and very small businesses, information technology is a double edged sword. Solid IT services are critical to your success, but they consume your time and budget.

Using managed services ensures you have effective and affordable services and frees up time and money to focus on your core business activities.

In our January 3T@3 Webcast, our CEO, Allen Falcon, provides an IT roadmap for solopreneurs and very small businesses (those with fewer than 5 to 10 people). The roadmap is designed to ensure you have the communication, collaboration, and security features and functions you need, along with the services and support to prevent IT headaches and disruptions to your business. Allen will also walk through a value analysis, looking at the hard, soft, and opportunity cost and savings of well-managed IT services.

Please join us, and bring your questions, for this informative session.

View the Recording On-Demand:



Managed Cloud Services

2022 is Here; What’s Next?

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, December 14th at 3:00 PM ET

It was not all that long ago that we thought the COVID-19 pandemic would be winding down and we would be returning to normal.  And while the shape and direction of COVID-19 pandemic is different now, the impacts are still very real and significant.

COVID-19 triggered fundamental changes in the economy, markets, and society that alter the way we need to operate our businesses and work as individuals.

In our December 3T@3 Webcast, our CEO, Allen Falcon, will cover the societal, economic, and market forces at play and how small and midsize businesses can adapt. From the “great resignation” and a broad labor shortage, to supply chain disruption and the shift to remote/hybrid work and office, Allen will explore ways small and midsize businesses can better leverage technologies and resources to respond to these challenges. And, to help your business survive and thrive.

View the Recording On-Demand:



Managed Cloud Services

Four Cornerstones for Cloud Security

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, November 16th at 3:00 PM ET

As Cyber Security month has come and gone and we still face increasing security challenges when protecting our businesses, customers, and employees. The rate of attacks against small and midsize enterprises continues to increase, as does the sophistication of these attacks. Beyond regulatory compliance and insurance risk, these attacks disrupt operations and put your operations, cash flow, and reputation at-risk. The good news: you can create a sound security foundation without breaking the bank.

Four security cornerstones create a solid foundation for your cloud security

In this month’s 3T@3 Webcast, our CEO, Allen Falcon, defines and details the four cornerstones for cloud security. He will delve deeper and walk through a road map for using the four cornerstones across your IT services and your organization.  With this road map, you will be able to:

  • Assess your security footprint
  • Identify security gaps
  • Prioritize changes and security services

Please join us, and bring your questions, for this informative session.

View the Recording On-Demand:



Managed Cloud Services

Cloud File Services

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, October 19th at 3:00 PM ET

As we continue to adapt to post-COVID realities, our businesses face new market pressures as well as new needs and expectations for how our teams will work and collaborate. Remote work is here to stay; Cyber security remains a challenge; Business continuity plans are necessary; Budgets must be respected.

Moving To A Cloud File Service Is A Strategic Approach For Access, Security, And Resilience

In this month’s 3T@3 Webcast, our CEO, Allen Falcon, dives into the what, why, and how of managed cloud file services. Allen will discuss:

  • When cloud file services are a viable replacement of on-premise file services
  • Providing native access to desktops, laptops, and mobile devices
  • Security and privacy
  • Backup/recovery
  • Data loss prevention

Allen will also discuss migration strategies and ensuring consistent services for in-office and remote users.

View the Recording On-Demand:



Managed Cloud Services

Manage Cloud Services Primer

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, September 21st at 3:00 PM ET

Over the past decade, the dominant trend in IT services for small and midsize organizations has been managed services.  Instead of unpredictable fees for services as delivered, managed services provide businesses with well-defined services and a predictable monthly fee. Managed services include monitoring and active administration, not just reactive support. While reducing IT-related disruptions, services are generally limited to infrastructure and are priced based on the number of users, servers, and other devices under management.

Managed Cloud Services Address the Shift in IT Services and Resources.

In this month’s 3T@3 Webcast, we look at key differences between managing on-premise and cloud-based IT services.  Our CEO, Allen Falcon, will discuss how Managed Cloud Services differ from traditional managed and “break-fix” services. He will also explore how, beyond cost savings, Manage Cloud Services offer strategic  security, services, and business advantages.  

Please join Allen to understand if, and how, Managed Cloud Services are the right solution for your IT and business needs.

View the Recording On-Demand:



Managed Cloud Services

Email Security and Reliability

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, August 17th at 3:00 PM ET

Cyber attacks are up more than 400% over the past 18 months. More than two-thirds of all attacks begin with email. Most organizations have Sender Policy Framework (SPF) records to identify authorized IP addresses; Some use Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) to validate email integrity. Very few use Domain Authentication Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) to prevent inbound attacks and ensure your email is trusted and delivered.

DMARC prevents business email compromises, spoofing, and phishing attacks. In addition to protecting you from inbound attacks, DMARC protects your domain’s reputation and helps ensure reliable email deliverability.

In this month’s 3T@3 Webcast, we explore the tenants of email security and will discuss how adding DMARC to your security profile protects your business. Our CEO, Allen Falcon, will be joined by Brian Westnedge of Red Sift. The team will present onDMARC as a DMARC-as-a-Service solution. More than half of all companies fail to complete their DMARC implementation projects. onDMARC ensures a successful deployment and on-going management of your email integrity.

Please join Allen and Brian to learn about risk, reputation, and reliability for your email communications.

View the Recording On-Demand:



Data Protection & Security