Helping clients manage their technology for over 30 years.

Keep Your Guard Up During the Holidays

Yellow sign with exclamation point

The holiday season is upon us – which means it’s also cyberattack season. Though, arguably, 2014 has turned into an entire year of the cyberattack: one study estimates 2014 will rack up an incredible 42.8 million cyberattacks worldwide. That’s more than 117,000 attacks every day!

Which leads me to the topic of firewalls. It’s been 20 years since the first firewalls were deployed to make a perimeter gateway barrier blocking unwanted IP traffic.

Since then, firewalls have evolved to keep pace with new technologies, the ever-increasing complexities of network infrastructures and applications, and new business models that have spawned things like cloud computing and mobile apps. These days, companies deploying firewalls and advanced perimeter controls see a 15% return-on-investment. Continue reading

Planning for 4 Key 2015 Technology Challenges

Colleagues making a plan

Four technologies will very likely impact your business in 2015 — whether or not you explicitly consider them in your planning. Which is to say, ignore them at your peril:  Continue reading

Getting the IT Staff You Need May Not be as Easy as You Think

Man contemplating a decision

According to Computer Economics’ 2014/2015 IT Spending & Staffing Benchmarks report, hiring of IT professionals is finally on the upswing — yet another indication that our long-declining economy continues to improve.

Even so, you may not have an easy time finding the right IT expertise when you need it. That’s because there’s something of a squeeze going on (you know, the one that puts you between a rock and a hard place):

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CEOs in the Crosshairs

Writing hand in crosshairs

When it comes to security breaches, CEOs stand in the crosshairs. More than their IT staffs, it’s a CEO who’ll take heat for a breach that exposes customer data or endangers relationships with business partners.

So, unlike plenty of other IT issues that don’t require C-level attention, information security ranks right up there alongside financial issues as something with which CEOs need to be familiar. Yes, information security can be daunting, but so are financial statements — and CEOs have to sign off on those.

Where to start? Here are three questions every CEO should be able to answer: Do you know who your security expert is? Do you have a security policy? Do you understand how it’s implemented, managed, enforced, monitored?

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Cloud Computing best practice: 4 security must-dos

Cloud on blue background with a lock in front. To illustrate Cloud Managed Services and Security services from Quest.

Your Cloud provider isn’t the only one with responsibility for the security of the information and applications your enterprise depends on. When it comes to security in the Cloud, it’s a collaboration between provider and customer.

After all, there are limits to a Cloud provider’s reach. For instance, if your employees use compromised web browsers to access data in the Cloud, your provider cannot be blamed.

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Cloud Computing best practice: Evaluate Cloud provider security with these 7 questions

Person writing on glass the words good, better, best. The word best is circled.

Unless you’re an expert in security issues, doing proper Cloud provider due diligence can be daunting. Yet it’s essential, given the importance of your business’s data and applications.

So I offer seven questions for you to ask of every Cloud provider you’re considering. Pay attention to the answers you get and don’t hesitate to demand drilldown details. Remember: You’re contemplating putting at least some of the data and apps your business relies on into this provider’s Cloud environment.
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Maximizing cloud computing for small business — securely

This Wednesday — October 12 — I’ll be participating in the Small Business Technology Tour that’s coming to Salt Lake City, UT, where I’ll be talking about how cloud computing can boost small business productivity and help keep your operations secure.

I’ll be joined by a couple of other experts, and together we’ll talk about the benefits of cloud computing for small businesses: why and how cloud computing can reduce your capital expenditures, help you spend less on IT operations, provide you access to the deep resources and skills of a reliable cloud services provider, and improve your IT security, privacy, and availability.

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Why a SAS 70 Type II audit matters

Since the arrival in 2002 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) as well as other more stringent financial accountability standards, the role of SAS 70 Type II audit and certification has grown. My company takes SAS 70 Type II audits very seriously.

That’s because both SOX and SAS 70 Type II use the same model of controls — so a SAS 70 Type II certification is the best way third parties (like our customers) can be assured of acceptable, SOX-compliant service organization controls.

Developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), SAS 70 Type II audits mean an independent third-party has verified that a service organization’s policies and procedures were correctly designed and operating effectively enough to achieve the specified control objectives.

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On the menu: Networking, dinner, and the scoop about cloud computing

Cloud Computing has been defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

No wonder the Sacramento chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI), the leading organization for senior-level financial executives, wants to hear about it.

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Dangerously vulnerable: 3 quick (and scary) anecdotes

How secure are the data, applications, systems, and networks your business depends on? If you’re like too many of the executives I talk to, you may believe all is well — but only because you haven’t asked the right questions.

One executive told me recently, “We’re cool; we haven’t had to touch our firewalls in three years.”

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