Posts

Mandatory Google Workspace Transitions Begin

Google Cloud PartnerIf you have not completed your transition from G Suite to Google Workspace, Google will automatically begin Google Workspace transitions on January 31, 2022.  You will receive at least 30 days notice of your migration.

Please note that this transition includes significant changes to your subscription options, features/functions, AND PRICING.

Google Workspace

KEY POINTS TO KNOW:

  • Disruption: The transition is non-disruptive to end users and administrators, unless you decide to transition to a subscription with different features.
  • Pricing: Depending on your size and current G Suite services, keeping the same features may result in price increases of 50% to more than 300% (see below).
  • Savings: Cumulus Global can manage your transition, help you select the best Google Workspace for your business, and offer discount incentives for making your transition before the end of the year.

YOUR KEY DECISION:

You need to decide if you want to manage your transition or wait for Google to transition your subscription automatically.

If you chose to manage your transition, we can:

  • Save you money with Google-supported incentive discounts, provided we schedule your transition before the end of the year.
  • Help you select the best subscription plan/mix for your business, ensuring your business and security needs are met at the lowest cost.
  • Schedule your transition at a time that works for you and your team.
  • Educate your IT team on any new end-user, admin, and security features.
  • Support your IT team and end users.

YOUR MANAGED TRANSITION

To learn more about Managed Transitions, please contact us by email, or use the following form:


RESOURCES

In addition to more information in the “About” sections, below, we offer the following resources as well:

About: Automatic Transitions

Google will begin automatic transitions on January 31, 2022.

  • For annual subscriptions, the transition will occur at the end of your current annual or fixed term contract.
  • Companies on “Flex Plan”, month-t0-month services, Google will transition your account as quickly as possible
  • Google will determine the Google Workspace subscription based on your current product features, even if this change results in a significant price increase
  • Automatic transitions are not eligible for incentives or other discounts

About: Pricing Changes

The three biggest impacts on your Google Workspace pricing are your number of licenses,  features, and storage.

License Count

Companies with fewer than 300 users can select from three Google Workspace Business subscriptions.  Companies with more than 300 users will need to select from the two Google Workspace Enterprise subscriptions.  While you can mix and match licenses within the Business and Enterprise tiers, you cannot mix and match Business and Enterprise subscriptions.

Impact for companies with more than 300 users:

  • Companies running G Suite Basic, will see their per user license fees increase form $6 per month to at least $20 per month.
  • Companies running G Suite Business, will see their per user license fees increase form $12 per month to at least $20 per month.

Features

The biggest feature impact for most companies will be their use of Vault.  Companies running G Suite Basic and Google Vault, or running G Suite Business (which includes Vault), will need to transition to Google Workspace Business Plus. Because both Google Workspace Enterprise subscriptions include Vault, any company with more than 300 users will have Vault due to the license count-based migration requirements.

Impact for companies using Vault (with 300 or fewer users):

  • Companies running G Suite Basic plus Vault, will see their per user license fees increase form $11 per month to $18 per month.
  • Companies running G Suite Business, will see their per user license fees increase form $12 per month to at least $18 per month.

Storage

Added storage is no longer an option with Google Workspace. Because you can mix and match licenses within the Business and Enterprise tiers, you may need to transition users to different subscriptions based on their storage needs.

The Google Workspace subscriptions offer the following per-user storage:

  • Business Starter = 30GB, no Shared Drives
  • Business Standard = 2 TB, aggregated across the domain, with Shared Drives
  • Business Plus = 5 TB, aggregated across the domain, with Shared Drives
  • Enterprise Standard = Unlimited storage, with Shared Drives
  • Enterprise Plus = Unlimited storage, with Shared Drives

Other Changes: Vault Former Employee Licenses

Vault Former Employee (VFE) licenses are free or discounted Vault licenses for users that no longer have active G Suite accounts.  With the transition to Google Workspace, VFE licenses are no longer available; VFE licenses will transition to Archive User Licenses (AUL).

Archive User Licenses are NOT FREE. The per user per month pricing for AULs is as follows:

  • AUL – Business = $4
  • AUL – Enterprise Standard = $5
  • AUL – Enterprise Plus = $7

Companies with VFE licenses should plan for alternate retention strategies or potentially significant licensing fees.

 

The Kaseya Attack Effect

Data Protection & SecurityThe Kaseya attack demonstrates how cyber crime is a big, organized business.  How big? You can subscribe to “Ransomware as a Service” and outsource attacks on your intended targets.  How organized? Hacker groups and service providers, such as the REvil Ransomware Group and DarkSide, actively manage their brands and reputations.  The REvil attack on Kaseya shows us that cyber criminals are technically advanced and operationally sophisticated. The nature of the attack, and its scope, should scare you.

By using known vulnerabilities in Kaseya’s VSA Remote Monitoring and Management system, REvil was able to create an automated ransomware distribution network. They used the very systems that Managed Service Providers (MSPs) use to monitor and manage customer servers, computers, and networks.

The Impact

MSPs update their Kaseya VSA servers automatically installed the Ransomware on their customers’ systems, as well as their own. Best estimates are that up to  1,500 small and medium-sized companies are victims. While this number seems small, those 1,500 business face an existential threat. Remember: more than half of businesses victimized by ransomware fail within six months.

Most MSPs shut down their Kaseya VSA services before spreading the ransomware. These firms had no ability to monitor, manage, or remotely support their customers. Customers facing IT issues were met with longer diagnostic and resolution times, resulting in business disruption, lost productivity , and the possibility of data loss.

As a managed cloud service provider, Cumulus Global does not use the Kaseya VSA system.  Our clients were not at risk, via our services, from this attack.

The Lessons

We were on the sidelines for the Kaseya attack. We understand, however, that the way in which may cloud services are managed create connections between vendors, resellers, partners, and customers. While these connections do not generally provide any access to customer data, they do provide access to management functions and information about users.  This information, in turn, could be used to improve the effectiveness of phishing attacks, spoof identities, and gain access to systems.

As a trusted IT advisor and a managed cloud service provider, we are part of a connected supply chain. We take our responsibility to secure our part of that chain seriously. While we follow commercially accepted best practices for security and privacy, the Kaseya attack warns us to step back and re-evaluate our strategy, policies, and procedures.

Our Next Steps

Cumulus Global is conducting an internal review of all of our internal and operational systems, including vendor portals and services we use to order, provision, manage, and support cloud services. As part of this review we are examining our policies and procedures related to:

  • Identity management and protection
  • Access to the systems
  • System level permissions related to function and data
  • Roles and responsibilities with respect to security and privacy
  • Business continuity plans and capabilities

Through this process, we are challenging our assumptions, re-assessing how we operate security and effectively, and raising our expectations for how well we protect ourselves and our customers.

We will also be making recommendations to our clients, and the broader community, on steps they can take to improve their security profile and protections.

Your Next Steps

As a user of cloud services, and technology in general, have responsibilities as well.

We Can Help

To assess your cyber security status, discuss your risks and needs, and identify solutions that fit your business and your budget, contact us to schedule a complimentary session with one of our Cloud Advisors.

Quick Guide to Your Google Workspace Transition

Google WorkspaceIn October 2020, Google announced the transition of its productivity platform from G Suite to Google Workspace.  More than a simple branding change, the transition includes significant changes to your subscription options, features/functions, and pricing.

Big Picture

  • Google Workspace has two subscription tiers: Business and Enterprise
    • The Google Workspace Business tier offers three subscription options: Business Starter, Business Standard, and Business Plus
      • You may mix and match subscription types within the Business tier based on user and group needs
      • You total user count (licenses) cannot exceed 300
    • The Google Workspace Enterprise tier offers two options: Enterprise Standard and Enterprise Plus
      • You may mix and match subscriptions within the Enterprise tier
      • You have no limited on the number of user licenses

Big Impacts

Vault

As part of the repackaging, Google Vault is no longer available as an add-on.  G Suite Business subscriptions and G Suite Basic subscriptions with Vault as an add-on, will need to move some or all of their users to Google Workspace Business Plus.  At standard pricing, this means a price increase from $11 or $12 per user per month up to $18 per user per month.  For businesses that need Vault for regulatory or industry compliance, this increase in unavoidable.

License Counts

From companies with more than the 300 users, Google is forcing a move to the Google Workspace Enterprise tier.  While Google offered a grace period allowing companies with more than 300 users to transition to Google Workspace Business subscriptions for up to 3 years, the offer has expired and is not expected to return.

The impact is a standard price increase from G Suite Basic and G Suite Business at $6 and $12 per user per month, respectively, to $20 per user per month for Workspace Enterprise Standard.  As noted, below, we can help with transition incentives and discounts to help mitigate the increase.

Storage

Workspace Business Standard and Workspace business Plus have 2TB and 5TB per user, respectively. This storage is pooled and available to all users, reducing the likelihood that specific users will need additional storage space.  While rare, some businesses running G Suite Business with unlimited storage are above those limits.  This will also become an issue over time for some businesses, particularly those that work with large files, such as CAD, images, and video.

Big Incentives

Working with Google, we are able offer incentive and discounts for transitioning from G Suite to Google Workspace.

  • Incentives and discounts are greater if you transition before your annual renewal date
  • Greater discounts exist if you are willing to commit to a 2 or 3 year term, instead of a 1 year term
  • Incentives change quarterly and, generally, become less generous over time, so reach out to us for details and your specific options
  • We will work with Google to address any unique requirements and circumstances

Incentives and smart subscription and license planning will save you money and mitigate any cost increase related to your transition.

Your Next Steps

  1. Check out our Quick Guide – Google Workspace Transition that covers migration paths and the impact on features and costs.
  2. Contact us to discuss and map out your transition from G Suite to Google Workspace, or use schedule a brief call with one of our Cloud Advisors directly.


The State of SMB Cyber Security

Data Protection & SecurityGone are the days when cybercrime was exclusively a big business problem. In the modern workplace, all businesses are at risk, regardless of their size or industry. Today, we recognize that implementing a cyber security program, much like hiring people and growing sales, is an essential part of running our companies.

With 43% of cyberattacks targeted at SMBs, it’s not surprising that many have identified cybersecurity as a priority. And while most of us have deployed protections, it is challenging to know if you have the right balance of protection relative to your risk.

Here are 4 key findings from research conducted by Microsoft:

01 Businesses understand that cybercrime is a problem, but understate the severity of the threat and overestimate their preparedness

The vast majority of businesses (85%) cite cybercrime as a concern, and more than half (56%) believe it is a top priority. Businesses are backing up this belief with action. Most have begun to invest both time and dollars into protecting their company from hackers and other malicious actors.

However, when you look a little deeper, it becomes clear that many have underestimated their risk. 74% of businesses don’t believe they are likely to be attacked at all and that corporations are two times as likely to be attacked.

90% of businesses say they have the right protections in place to prevent an attack, and those with more than 50 employees are even more confident. It is encouraging that businesses are investing in security, but the reality is that they are at greater risk than they think. Nearly half (41%) have been attacked

02 Small and medium-sized businesses are just as likely to be attacked as large corporations

For solutions that do cost money, businesses allocate about 15% of IT budgets go to cybersecurity,  and  21% plan to increase how much they spend protecting the company. Businesses recognize that this investment is worth it because three out of four know that it costs more to recover from an attack than it does to prevent one.

03 Employees can be a business’s biggest protection and also their biggest threat

As a small business owner, you face many of the same threats as larger businesses, but also unique challenges.

Given the number of security events tied to employees, businesses run the risk of underestimating the threat of employees leaking data or  sharing sensitive information, whether maliciously or accidentally.

Insider threats take several forms. Employees or partners may find it more convenient to transfer sensitive data using personal email or an unsecure cloud drive, not realizing the risk to your company. In fact, 30% of security events are attributed to careless or uninformed employees. More alarming is the roughly 36% of attacks where a malicious employee steals sensitive data.

04 Businesses have begun taking steps to protect themselves and there is a set of solutions and practices available to them

Most small and midsize businesses don’t have the same scale of resources to combat security threats and implement cyber security solutions as larger entities.

Fortunately, there are right-sized solutions and strategies designed to overcome the unique vulnerabilities of smaller companies. An effective security strategy doesn’t have to be expensive—or time-consuming. With a few simple, no-cost/low-cost steps, you can make a significant  impact on your company’s overall security profile. The key is to match security to your business needs and your budget.

To assess your cyber security status, discuss your risks and needs, and identify solutions that fit your business and your budget, contact us to schedule a complimentary session with one of our Cloud Advisors.

Security Threats: 3 You Know and 1 You Should

Data Protection & SecuritySecurity threats take many forms. Most owners of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are aware of the need to defend against the top three — viruses, ransomware, and phishing attacks — but their organizations are generally not as prepared to deal with the risks related to employees leaking data or sharing sensitive information, whether maliciously or accidentally.

1 Viruses

According to research conducted by Microsoft, infection by a computer virus is the most commonly cited among security threats facing businesses. Preventing viruses requires an integrated approach to endpoint and identity management, including:

  • Deploy next-gen antivirus software, with advanced threat protection, installed and updated, on all devices
  • Use web filtering and monitoring services to prevent infection, even from trusted sites
  • Roll out mobile device management to secure work devices (including laptops and desktops), as well as personal devices used for work
  • Enforce the use of multi-factor authentication as part of an integrated identity and access management solution

2 Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that restricts access, encrypts files, or even stops you from using your systems. Like viruses, ransomware can enter the company through insecure endpoints or unsuspecting users.

While virus protections also protect against ransomware, no protection is perfect. You need to be ready to respond and recover in the event of a successful cyber attack. Here are some solutions and services you should have in place:

  • Backup your data and system images, in the cloud, to ensure your ability to restore and recover
  • Encrypt all data, at rest and in motion
  • Deploy business continuity services to spin-up copies of servers in parallel with remediation
  • Pre-arrange access to forensic, legal, and communications resources to ensure a proper business response
  • Acquire cyber insurance to cover remediation, recovery, and regulatory costs, along with lost revenue

3 Phishing Attacks

The majority, 67 percent, of cybersecurity professionals surveyed consider phishing to be the greatest security threat facing your business and employees. To protect your people, your data, and your business:

  • Configure advanced threat protection services to identify and block attacks via email using links and/or attachments
  • Monitor inbound and outbound email traffic
  • Provide your team with awareness training to recognize problem emails, and how to respond/act
  • Instruct your team to report suspicious messages, links, and attachments
  • Deploy domain level services to prevent identity-spoofing

!! Internal Leaks & Threats

Insider security threats are often overlooked. Surveys indicate that 53% of organizations have experienced insider attacks against their organization.

These risks take several forms. About 37% of internal leaks can be attributed to careless or uninformed employees. In many cases, these employees are using personal, less secure or unsecured services to conduct business.  Whether consumer versions of email or cloud drives for sync and share, these “shadow IT” services pose a significant risk.

While the majority of internal leaks and threats are unintentional, 36% of internal leaks are identified as attacks by a malicious employee.

To prevent data leaks and breaches, you should:

  • Actively manage access and permissions to networks, systems, applications, and data; periodically review permissions for compliance
  • Leverage features within your systems that help you manage and protect confidential and proprietary information
  • Deploy information protection solutions, such as Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and document/message level encryption, to block sensitive data from leaving your control

>> Take Action

All of the suggestions, above, fall within our CPR best-practice model for cyber security: Communicate & Educate; Prevent & Protect; Respond & Recover.

To assess your cyber security status, discuss your risks and needs, and identify solutions that fit your business and your budget, contact us to schedule a complimentary session with one of our Cloud Advisors.

Data Breaches are Still a Thing

As we speak with small and midsize business executives, we sometimes hear that cyber attacks and the risk of data breaches are no longer seen as a threat serious enough to warrant attention and spending.  We understand this hesitancy. Even with the level of media visibility, the prevalence of security solutions and a weariness of the constant focus on security can lead to the conclusion that we can let our guard down.

The reality, however, is that the rate of cyber attacks jumped about 600% in 2020.  More businesses are getting attacked and more attacks are successful.

A List of Breaches

For perspective, in the last 4 weeks, the cyber security experts at ID Agent have published data on these major breaches. Many are likely to be familiar to you or represent a major government entity.

  • Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
  • Pennsylvania Department of Health
  • The Resort Municipality of Whistler
  • CNA Financial
  • OfficeDepot
  • Personal Touch Holding Corp
  • Facebook
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Illinois Office of the Attorney General
  • Wyoming Department of Health
  • Eversource Energy
  • California State Controller
  • LinkedIn
  • The New York Foundling
  • University of Maryland Baltimore
  • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Plan District of Columbia (CHPDC)

The Case for Concern

The list, above, is only a sample and only represents larger breaches.  Cyber attacks hit small and midsize businesses on a daily basis. Even so, we often view protection and recovery services as insurance.  We do not want to pay for coverage; we hope we never need to use it; and we do not see the value until we are a victim.

A Model for Success

Cyber security differs from insurance. We can reduce the risk of successful attacks with foresight, planning, and protections. Our CPR Cyber Security Model balances awareness, prevention, and response.

Communicate and Educate

Involve everybody in the solution. Communicate the risks and your commitment to protecting the business and your employees. Educate your team on the risks, how to spot and report attacks, and how their behavior can prevent or help an attack.

Protect and Prevent

Implement multi-layer, multi-vector protections that focuses on your people (identities), data, applications, and systems. Use “next gen” solutions that analyze behaviors and that can learn as risks evolve.

Respond and Recovery

No defense is perfect. Have services in solutions in place that let you recover and return to operations within a time frame that protects the health of your business. More than getting data and systems back on line, we recommend that you put in place the forensics, legal, public relations, and customer service resources you will need in a cyber attack emergency.

Want to learn more?  Want to assess your cyber security protections and risks? We can help.  Email us or complete our contact form to schedule a complimentary meeting with one of our Cloud Advisors.

 

Work From Home – Office Ergonomic Checklist

Even with the pandemic and the shift to work from home (“WFH”), business owners remain responsible for making sure employees’ home work spaces are safe, comfortable, and effective.  For employees working at a computer most of the day, bad ergonomics can lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sciatica.  MSDs can be uncomfortable or painful for employees.  Beyond the impact on productivity and job satisfaction, MSDs often require medical treatment and can result in longer term disabilities.

When employees work from home, the are unlikely to have the same chair and workstation options as they do at the office.  Businesses should do what they can to help employees maintain good posture and relieve strain.

This short checklist can help you evaluate work from home environments. Have employees answer these questions to determine if any changes are needed and appropriate. Often, small adjustments to the work space can improve ergonomics and reduce the risk of injury.

General

  • Are items that you frequently use located close by?
  • Are items positioned equally on both sides, i.e., not all on the dominant side of your body?

Chair

  • Are feet resting flat on the floor, with hips slightly higher than knees?
  • Does the chair fit the contour of your back? If you can, adjust the back rest up or down to fit the
    natural curve of your lower back with the curve of the chair.
  • Is there a two-finger gap between the back of your lower legs and the seat of your chair? If
    possible, adjust the seat pan forward or backward to correctly fit it to the length of your legs.
  • Are both chair arms are at the same height to prevent you from leaning one way throughout the
    day?
  • Can you use your keyboard and mouse without twisting or reaching? Note: If you can’t get the
    keyboard or monitor low enough for your body type then raise your chair and use a footrest to
    obtain the ideal height for the chair, keyboard, and monitor.

Keyboard

  • Is the keyboard close to elbow level to help keep the wrists straight? Note: Don’t use high force to
    type on your keyboard as force can put strain on your muscles and ligaments.
  • Is the mouse located right next to the keyboard so it can be operated without reaching?
  • Can you move your mouse cursor from one end of your screen(s) to the other without picking it
    up? (Adjust mouse/pointer settings as needed in your software)

Computer monitor(s)

  • Can you see the display of both monitors without looking downward or to either side?
  • Does the distance from your monitor(s) to your eyes allow you to read the screen without leaning
    your head, neck, or trunk forward or backward?
  • Is the monitor positioned so the top line of the screen is no higher than eye level? Note: If you
    wear bifocals and you feel like you’re always looking down, you should adjust your monitors lower
    than the normal height to use the bifocal part of your glasses.

Varying positions

  • When possible, do you make small adjustments to your chair or backrest to keep from staying in
    the same posture for long periods of time?
  • Do you stretch your fingers, hands, arms, and torso throughout the day?
  • At least hourly, do you stand up and walk around for a few minutes periodically?
  • If possible, do you perform some of your tasks in a standing position? Note: When adjusting height of your
    desk or monitor, ensure it is on a sturdy surface with proper adjustment of your mouse also.

If you cannot answer “Yes” to most, if not all, of these questions, we can help.  Cumulus Global can provide ergonomic aids — from keyboards and wrist supports to monitor arms and sit/stand desks. Email us or complete our contact form for information and solutions.

 

Lessons Learned: Remote Workforce Security

As part of its Global Year in Breach – 2021 report, security firm ID Agent found that remote workforce security is more difficult than generally thought. With many of the changes in how we work expected to continue, as business leaders we need to embrace hybrid work as the way of the future.

Pandemic Triggers Panic

2020 and the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges. The biggest challenge was cybercrime. The mix of understaffed IT departments, maintenance failures, unpreparedness, record-breaking cybercrime, and employee stress taxed IT teams and services. Cybercriminals took advantage of this golden opportunity, and businesses were hit hard.

Businesses needed to rapidly shift to remote operations. For those with older technology, this shift was especially difficult. Everybody became a remote worker. IT teams needed to become instant experts in remote workforce security. For too many businesses, it was a mad scramble to to get their teams remotely or face shutting down entirely. Many employees lacked training in remote work; many IT teams had never managed remote security at scale. A barrage of unintentional, insider threats assaulted IT teams daily.

Stress Creates Vulnerabilities

Why was the massive shift to Work from Home such a boon to cybercrime?

IT departments were unprepared and understaffed.  Only 39% of IT executives polled felt they have adequate IT expertise on staff to assist with remote work issues. Only 45% of organizations reported having and adequate budget to support remote work.

At the same time, employees were dealing with unexpected stress at home and more likely to make cybersecurity mistakes. Over 50% of respondents admitted they were more error-prone while stressed. 40% said they made more mistakes when tired or distracted. Altogether, 43% of workers surveyed acknowledged mistakes resulting in cybersecurity repercussions for themselves or their company while working remotely.

Cybercrime Complications

Chaos and confusion created opportunities for cybercriminals. Experts estimate that overall cybercrime was up by 80% in 2020. Much of that increase was from phishing attacks. Cybercriminals took advantage distracted, stressed workers, with limited IT support, and immense numbers of email. In 2020, phishing attacks skyrocketed by more than 650%. Attacks hit 75% of companies and accounted for almost 80% of all cybercrime.

Successful ransomware also jumped more than 145%. In 2020, 51% of all businesses and 40% of small and midsize businesses experienced a ransomware attack. 50% of attacks on SMBs used vicious double extortion ransomware. Ransomware will continue to top the list of cybercrime trends in 2021.

Next Steps to Stay Ahead of Remote & Hybrid Workforce Risk

Stopping ransomware and decreasing your company’s risk of a successful cyberattack against remote and hybrid workers starts with stopping phishing and its destructive effects. We have tools that help your IT team support and protect your people and your business, while also protecting your budget.

To learn more about you cyber risks, and solutions to fit your needs and budget, contact us and schedule a complimentary Cloud Advisor Session.

 

Business Email Compromise: 10 Stats; 5 Solutions

Business Email Compromise (BEC) is a type of phishing-related fraud with far-reaching consequences. Not only can BEC attacks hurt your business, companies you work with can be damaged as well. BEC threats are hard to detect and mitigate, given the a byzantine structure of the attack.

Here are 10 statistics that demonstrate the increasing risk of BEC attacks, along with 5 solutions that reduce the chance of your business becoming a victim.

10 BEC Statistics

1Business email compromise rose by 14% overall in 2020 and up to 80% in some sectors
265% of organizations faced BEC attacks in 2020

3In 2020, BEC costs increased rapidly, from $54,000 in Q1 2020 to $80,183 in Q2.
4The energy and infrastructure sector topped the 2020 list with 93% of attacks
560% of the information on the dark web could potentially damage businesses

6In 2020, 80% of firms experienced an increase in cyberattacks

762% of BEC scams involve the cybercriminal asking for gift or money cards.
8The most common type of BEC scam is invoice or payment fraud
9Payment/invoice/billing scams skyrocketed by 155%, in 2020

10The average amount requested in wire transfer-based BEC attacks nearly doubled to $75,000 in the fourth quarter.

Protecting Against BEC Attacks

The most effective way to prevent business email compromise attacks is a strong, multifaceted defense against the primary delivery system: phishing email.  Here are 5 solutions that help you mitigate threats and the risk of successful cyber attacks.

1 Phishing Resistance Training

An absolute must-have for any organization in today’s tumultuous world is a strong cybersecurity culture. Too many employees are still clicking on dangerous messages. Strengthen your security culture and reduce your risk of suffering email-based cyberattacks by up to 70%.

2 Advanced Threat Protection

Go beyond attack profiles and blacklist lookups. Take advantage of next-gen protections that assess content and context, leverage machine learning, and analyze the behavior of links and attachments.

3 DNS / Web Protection

Secure your DNS traffic to help prevent cyber attacks that spoof or use your identity.  Block known, dangerous web sites. Block malicious web content and downloads, even from trusted sites that have been hacked.

4 Identity Access Management

Secure your user identities over time with a comprehensive approach. Include multi-factor authentication, password vaults, and single-sign on for your best protection.

5 Dark Web Monitoring

Your team probably uses their work email address (identity) to log into third party services. Breaches in these services put your business at risk. Monitor you domain for potential breaches so you can take action before you become a victim.

To learn more about these Business Email Compromise, other cyber threats, and solutions to fit your needs and budget, contact us and schedule a complimentary Cloud Advisor Session.

 

Modern Workplace: Benefits and Challenges

The modern workplace brings together teams, information, and processes to empower our teams and enable our businesses. Powered by cloud, getting the most out of our systems requires more than simply moving from one system to another. Managing adoption, ensuring users understand how to use tools effectively, increases individual and team productivity and efficiency.

5 Benefits

Most of our businesses realize benefits when we create our modern workplace.

1 Faster and more reliable communication
The modern workplace improves our ability to communicate. Beyond fast Internet connections, the integration of voice, messaging, audio/video conferencing, file sharing, real-time collaboration, and other tools lets us work together and share information in the ways that work best for us. Secure access from virtually anywhere enables us to work where we are most productive.

2 Enhanced efficiency and productivity
The modern workplace ushers in efficiency and productivity in many ways. Automating tasks and workflows, improved access to files and information, and embedded AI help users complete work more effectively.

3 Lower costs; Higher profits
Technology-driven increases in efficiency and productivity decrease operating costs. Reduced travel, faster time to market, quicker customer response times, and faster and more effective decision-making all result from the reliability, mobility, and productivity of a modern workplace.  These benefits save time and money, and drive revenue and profits.

4 Greater transparency and interconnected operations
You can replace complex, bureaucratic processes when you match access to data and information with updated processes that take advantage of integrated, secure applications, tools, and services. Whether simple file sharing or ensuring you have one record of customer information across your systems, the modern workplace helps connect, streamline, and simplify.

5 Improved security
Modern workplaces are more secure. Integrated, layered security is embedded into the architecture of cloud services, designed and built to meet your security and data privacy needs. Beyond the traditional focus of protecting physical computers in specific locations, security for the modern workplace protects the systems, networks, applications, data, and processes. You also protect your people with identity and access management that removes the physical boundaries of security.

3 Challenges

Moving to a modern workplace, like any, change comes with challenges.

Resistance to Change
Even when they understand the objectives and benefits, some members of your team will hesitate to embrace change. Helping team members understand how the changes will benefit them individually —  how it will enable them succeed — improves buy-in and acceptance. Offering tools to help them learn and apply new features and capabilities supports their personal growth and overall adoption of new apps, tools, and processes.

Inadequate Training
Turning on a new app, tool, or process is not enough. “One and Done” sessions are not effective.  To fully benefit from your modern workplace investments, your team needs to understand your apps and tools as they use them. Individuals retain and apply learning best when they have time to use what they have learned. Adoption plans that provide training and support relevant to a person’s role and responsibility in small, manageable doses, over time are most effective.

Mismatched Technology
Technology for the sake of technology leads to disaster. Picking the best technology that is not the best fit creates problems. Start your selection process by defining your business goals and objectives. Identify the types of technologies you need and want to support your objectives. Then select the specific technologies that match your prioritized needs and wants.

Your Next Steps

Email us or complete our contact form to discuss how your modern workplace can help your business thrive and grow.

Webcasts

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

Your Transition to Google Workspace

Thursday July 14, 2021 at 3:00 PM ET

In October 2020, Google announced the transition of its productivity platform from G Suite to Google Workspace.  More than a simple branding change, the transition includes significant changes to your subscription options, features/functions, and pricing.

In this Coffee & Clouds webcast, Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon maps out your subscription and license options, the changes in features/functions, and the impact on your cost.

Please join us. We will have time for Q&A and the coffee is on us.

Additional Resources:

Coffee & Clouds Series

Register to attend or receive the recording





Small Business Guide to Cyber Threats, Security, and Response

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, Jun 15th at 3:00 PM

The recent ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline sent shockwaves through the gasoline supply chain. And while some panicked and tried to stockpile gasoline, others saw this major cyber attack as evidence that “I am not the target”. Over 50% of small businesses think they are too small for a cyber attack.

With 43% of cyber attacks targeting small businesses, the number of breaches in small businesses jumped 424% in 2020.

In this month’s 3T@3 Webcast, we provide a practical guide to cyber threats and security. No fear mongering, no hyperbole. We will share data that quantifies your level or risk and the most prevalent types of risks and will outline practical, reasonable, and affordable steps you can take to both protect your business and, should an attack succeed, respond and recover.

This session will save you time and money today, and might just save your business in the future.

Watch the recording on-demand



Data Protection & Security

Productivity Suites: Google and Microsoft Revisited

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, May 18th at 3:00 PM

Cloud productivity suites, particularly Google Workspace and Microsoft 365, have evolved from leading edge concepts, to mainstream solutions. Along the way, both services have evolved with multiple iterations of branding, features, and subscription options, adapting to the growing use and needs of businesses adopting the solutions.

Which productivity suite is right for your business, today?

In this month’s 3T@3 Webcast, we take a fresh look at Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 and how each might best serve your business. Rather than a feature-by-feature comparison, we take a strategic look at positioning, architecture, services, subscription options, and integrations. Our objective with this session is to help you assess which suite best supports your business goals and priorities, best enables productivity, and best empowers your team to succeed.

Whether you are in the cloud or getting ready to move, join Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon and gain a better view of your future.

Watch the recording on-demand



Data Protection & Security

Next Normal: WFH and Remote

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, April 20th at 3:00 PM

COVID-19 and the events of the past year have, and continue, to change the way we run our businesses.  While some of these changes are temporary, many will become part of our next normal.

Now part of the norm, Work From Home and remote work changes your IT service needs.

This month’s 3T@3 Webcast, is the third in our “Next Normal” series looking at how we adapt, prepare, and respond to economic, social, and business changes. To some extent — small or large — employees working remotely and from home will continue to be part of how we run our businesses.

With “WFH and Remote”, we explore how Work From Home and remote workers alters your IT service needs.  Taking a holistic view, we look beyond using apps and accessing files. In this session we look at factors that protect your business and support productivity.  We use our PARS model (performance, availability, reliability, and security) as a framework to explore how to effectively create, manage, and support your team — wherever they may be working.

Watch the recording on-demand



Data Protection & Security

Next Normal: Apps & Servers

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

COVID-19 and the events of the past year have, and continue, to change the way we run our businesses.  While some of these changes are temporary, many will become part of our next normal. For many of us, these changes came in a scramble to work from home.

What IT changes best position your business for the future?

This month’s 3T@3 Webcast, is the second in our “Next Normal” series looking at how we adapt, prepare, and respond to economic, social, and business changes.  

With “Apps and Systems”, we explore how your team accesses the applications, systems, and data they need to succeed, whether in the office or working remotely. We will compare the pros and cons of on-site systems, hosted servers, and cloud solutions with respect to performance, availability, reliability, and security. In doing so, we will discuss options and roadmaps for modernizing your apps and systems infrastructure. 

Watch the recording on-demand



Data Protection & Security

Next Normal: IT Efficiency

3T@3 Webcast Series: Tuesday, Feb 23rd at 3:00 PM

COVID-19 and the events of the past 10 months have, and continue, to change the way we run our businesses.  While some of these changes are temporary, many will become part of our next normal. For many of us, these changes came in a scramble to work from home. With respect to IT, this has many businesses using new, often redundant apps and systems.

Are the IT choices made during the crisis the best for your business in the long term?

This month’s 3T@3 Webcast, is the first in our “Next Normal” series looking at how we adapt, prepare, and respond to economic, social, and business changes.  We start the series exploring “IT Efficiency.”  We see where many small businesses signed on to services in order to adapt to mandatory closures, reduced office capacity, and parents’ need to be present for children learning remotely. Many of these service duplicate features in other systems, resulting in excess cost and lost productivity.  Join Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon to identify how you may streamline your IT services, reduce costs, and improve efficiencies.

Watch the recording on-demand



Data Protection & Security

library

The Transition to Google Workspace

In October of 2020, Google announced the rebranding and restructuring of G Suite into Google Workspace.  In doing so, Google created two subscription tiers — Business and Enterprise. Within each tier, Google announced new subscription options with features aligned to better match what organizations of different sizes need and want in the productivity suite. With the transition to Google Workspace, most businesses gain communication and collaboration features they need and want.

For many businesses, maintaining current capabilities comes with a significant increase in subscription fees.

To help you plan your transition to Google Workspace, this slide deck with notes from our Coffee & Clouds Series webcast covers

  • Subscription changes
  • Transition options
  • Pro/Con considerations for each transition path

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the slide deck:


State of Security for Small and Midsize Businesses

State of Security for SMBseBook | Source: Microsoft

If you work at a small or medium-sized business (SMB), you probably juggle multiple roles, including cyber security.

Gone are the days when cybercrime was exclusively a big business problem. In the modern workplace, all businesses are at risk regardless of their size or industry. Businesses recognize that a cyber security  program is an essential part of running a company.

This eBook identifies key findings from studies and surveys for small and midsize businesses and makes recommendations to ensure your business is protected, and can recover, from cyber attacks.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook



Protect Your Business – Top 3 Security Threats

Protect Your BusinesseBook | Source: Microsoft

Security threats take many forms. Most owners of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are aware of the need to defend against the top three — viruses, ransomware, and phishing attacks — but their organizations are generally not as prepared to deal with the risks related to employees leaking data or sharing sensitive information, whether maliciously or accidentally.

You face many of the same threats as larger organizations, but also the unique challenges around budgeting and setting priorities as the leader of a small or medium-sized business.

This eBook explores how you can safeguard your business against the top three security threats, plus the one threat your business is probably overlooking.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook



Crash Course in Office 365

Office 365 Crash CourseeBook | Source: Microsoft

How Microsoft 365 and Office 365 can help you grow your business.

You already know the productivity power of Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Full adoption empowers you to access your content from any device, coauthor with anyone in real time (regardless of whether or not they’ve purchased a copy of Office), and use the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to create more impactful content with less effort.

This eBook is a six step crash course in empowering your team by leveraging the capabilities and features of Office 365 and Microsoft 365.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook



Global Year in Breach – 2021

eBook | Source: ID Agent

Fundamental changes in the way we lived and worked made 2020 a wild year for cybersecurity professionals. The resilience of every company was tested in the midst of a pandemic-induced, volatile economy as threats snowballed in the wake of a rapid shift to remote workforce support.

Adding to, and perhaps fueled by, those challenges, a cybercrime boom that included record-breaking phishing and ransomware threats ratcheted up the stress. Sectors unaccustomed to being targeted by cybercriminals suddenly found themselves under siege while unprepared companies quickly learned the cost of failing to take cybersecurity seriously.

The Global Year in Breach 2021 report, gathers and analyzes data from industry-leading cybersecurity
solutions, combined with illuminating industry statistics to give you a clear picture of how the data breach landscape evolved in 2020.

Through this lens, this report provides insights into how global events can rapidly transform the cybersecurity landscape. The report forecasts continuing and emerging cybersecurity trends for 2021 and provides helpful advice about smart risk mitigations that fit every business and every budget.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook



Google Workspace Security

Google Workspace SecurityeBook | Source: Google

We fully understand the security implications of powering your business in the cloud.

Because Google and our enterprise services run on the same infrastructure, your organization will benefit from the protections we have built and use every day.

      • Secure by design
      • Product security innovation
      • Compliance, eDiscovery, and analytics
      • Transparency

Our robust global infrastructure, along with over 700 security professionals and our drive to innovate, enables Google to  stay ahead of the curve and offer a highly secure, reliable, and compliant environment.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook



Make it Work: The Future of Collaboration and Productivity

Make it WorkeBook | Source: Google

Many of the technologies , trends , and cultural norms that will shape tomorrow’s workplaces are already transforming forward thinking organizations around the world. In other words , the future of work is here it’s just not evenly distributed.

This report identifies three important and impactful changes businesses  can make to catch up with competitors that are already working in the  future:

  • Give people the tools to save time and work faster
  • Empower people to access knowledge and share ideas
  • Let people work how they want: flexibly and collaboratively

Armed with these three strategies , businesses can improve productivity and encourage innovation while better  meeting the needs of their customers and their employees now and in the decade (or more) ahead.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook



Unblocking Workplace Collaboration

Unblocking Workplace CollaborationeBook | Source: Microsoft

A lack of workplace collaboration – a work environment that doesn’t encourage teamwork – is one of the top 5 reasons people quit their jobs.

Today’s workforce is more collaborative than ever. Unfortunately, though, many modern workplaces lack the tools to make collaboration efficient, effective, and enjoyable.

The solution lies in building workplace collaboration. Strategically break down collaboration blockers so that teams can work together with ease. To accomplish that, business are turning to  collaboration suites that allow employees to communicate and share through a single platform.

This eBook explores 5 collaboration blocks that likely impact your business and outlines solutions, featuring the capabilities and features of Office 365 and Microsoft 365.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook



Google Workspace Migration Guide

Google Workspace Migration GuideeBook | Source: Google

Whatever your business’s reasons for considering a switch in collaboration tools — a merger or acquisition, the desire to become a  more collaborative, innovative and transparent organization, or simply a  technology audit — change can provoke anxiety and disruption, even  when it is for the better.

What are your goals, and what makes one technology solution the best fit?

Here are some insights that can help facilitate a smooth transition to new workplace productivity tools at all stages — with specifics on Google Workspace — from decision to preparation to deployment to upkeep.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook



Six Types of Remote Workers and How to Support Them

Six Types of Remote WorkerseBook | Source: Microsoft

Great teams build great companies. And remote workers will be part of your team.

How do you best use technology to keep your employees and business as efficient as possible? Understand the six types of remote workers who impact your team and

  • Evaluate their technical needs
  • Assess their remote work styles
  • Help them simplify and enhance their work, across devices

Solutions like Microsoft 365 Business and Office 365 Business Premium bring new levels of productivity to your business.

Please confirm the information, below, to view and download the ebook