Get Serious About Cybersecurity Says Entrepreneur Magazine

“But companies are starting to realize how extremely vulnerable they are. If you have one person with one bad password, then you have the Target breach. They realize this kind of product is important.” published an interesting article about the increasing awareness and focus among small and medium size businesses to arm themselves against cybercrime. Sure corporations and large enterprises are expected to be safe from cyber hackers but what about SMB's? Read the full article here

The consequences are too great to not demand more security and privacy for your business. Call us to discuss your options for protection against cyber attacks. 

Why Our Clients Choose Our Managed Anti-Virus Solution

Keeping your business protected requires more than just off the shelf software. Our Managed Anti-virus solution delivers enterprise class protection, and is maintained 24/7 by our Network Operations Center, keeping your business secure while saving you money.

Here's why our clients choose our managed anti-virus solution.

Managed Anti-virus:

  • Provides proactive and comprehensive security, monitoring and management
  • Centralizes the deployment and updating of software to ensure coverage and consistency
  • Automates management processes to avoid errors and reduce costs
  • Leverages expert IT skills 

Stand-alone Anti-Virus Software:

  • Provides a point solution to specific issues
  • Requires manual monitoring and maintenance to remain current and effective
  • Relies on end-user decisions for operation
  • Does not provide consistent version control across desktops
  • Does not provide centralized management

Give us a call for your free quote and systems analysis! 

4 SMB Benefits of Hybrid Cloud

Today’s businesses require a backup solution that delivers much more than a traditional local only strategy. Given the constant risks to its data, from all directions, it’s important for businesses to ensure 1) that their data is protected and 2) they can remain operational in lieu of a system disruption. This paper identifies four key reasons why a backup, recovery and business continuity solution based on a hybrid cloud model is preferred. 

Cheap IT Will Cost You

Frequently we get calls from people who are frustrated and fed-up with their IT provider’s service and unexpected IT expenses. While we’re not in the business of laying blame to any of our IT colleagues, we do notice a trend which is explained by our partner, Datto, who seemingly noticed the same occurrences. 

The following is an excerpt from Datto’s September 17th blog post. You can read the full article here

Going the cheaper route on technology may save you money in the immediate future, but it could hurt when you need it most. Whether it comes to disaster recovery, or just keeping your system running, why would you want anything but the best?

When you account for how much the cost of downtime is, how can you afford to cut costs with something that holds so much value?

According to a report from TechTarget, 4 out of 5 CIOs are focused on expanding IT to support business growth. Looking at this statistic solidifies the weight and importance that is put upon IT, proving what a crucial part it is to running an effective company, regardless of your industry. 

We hope this isn’t you, but to be sure, you might want to take advantage of our FREE system analysis. Consider it an “under the hood” check of your infrastructure, and at the very least you’ll gain peace of mind knowing that your systems are in good hands. 


Most companies have decided they need the business agility and want the cost savings that come when moving to the cloud. But with the bewildering amount of contradictory information floating around on the internet, not many really understand exactly what that means or what it entails. Here are the top business cloud myths you may have thought were true – but aren’t.

MYTH 1 - If our data moves to the cloud, our business will no longer have control over technology. FACT -  Moving to the cloud reduces time spent maintaining hardware and upgrading software, and you no longer need to budget for pricey severs for email storage and workloads. You can think strategically and support business managers in a much more agile fashion, responding to their needs quickly.

MYTH 2 - Keeping data on-premise is safer than in the cloud. FACT - Many companies are routinely hacked and don’t know it, as a result security has become a full-time job for experts requiring hefty salaries. Cloud technologies staff industry-leading regulatory compliance experts that most companies can only dream about.

MYTH 3 - I have to move everything to the cloud; it is an all-or-nothing scenario. FACT - Most implementations start with a hybrid approach, moving a single application, like email and growing from there. The hybrid cloud creates a consistent platform that spans data centers and the cloud, simplifying IT and delivering apps and data to users on virtually any device, anywhere. It gives you control to deliver the computing power and capabilities that business demands, and to scale up or down as needed without wasting you onsite technology investments.

MYTH 4 - Cloud migration is too much for my business to handle. FACT - “Going cloud” may seem daunting and overwhelming. It’s not as easy as pie, but you can be up quickly for agile initiatives and calculated data migrations. We’ll help you every step of the way with information and tips on firewall configurations, reverse proxy requirements, identity options, migration possibilities, and a phased approach for hybrid setups.

MYTH 5 - Cyberthieves and the government will have access to my data if it is in the cloud. FACT - Your IT team manages access, sets up rights and restrictions, and provides smartphone access and options. Your company remains the sole owner. You retain the rights, title and interest in the data stored in the cloud. Strict controls and design elements prevent mingling of your data with that of other organizations.

MYTH 6 - Email isn’t any simpler in the Cloud. FACT - By moving your business email to the cloud, you can rest easy knowing that the experts who created the software are taking care of the tricky maintenance, while your team keeps control of your company’s capabilities and of how your employees use features. Software updates and fixes are delivered automatically as soon as they are released. 

Top 10 Benefits of Server Virtualization

Server virtualization has been a game-changing technology for IT, providing efficiencies and capabilities that just aren’t possible when constrained within a physical world. If you are still waiting to get into the game, here are 10 great reasons why you should be jumping into the server virtualization game with both feet.

10. Save energy, go green
You don’t have to be an eco-activist to appreciate this benefit. Migrating physical servers over to virtual machines and consolidating them onto far fewer physical servers means lowering monthly power and cooling costs in the data center.

9. Reduce the data center footprint
This one goes hand in hand with the previous benefit. Server consolidation with virtualization means far fewer servers, less networking gear, a smaller number of racks needed – all of which translates into less data center floor space required. Another money saving feature!

8. Test environments
Virtualization allows you to easily build out a self-contained test environment, operating on its own isolated network. Building a test lab would be cost prohibitive with purely physical servers, and in many cases, technologically improbable.

7. Faster server provisioning
Server virtualization enables elastic capacity to provide system provisioning and deployment at a moment’s notice. You can quickly clone a gold image, master template, or existing virtual machine to get a server up and running within minutes. Remember that the next time you have to fill out purchase orders, wait for shipping and receiving, and then rack, stack, and cable a physical machine only to spend additional hours waiting for the operating system and applications to complete their installations. I’ve almost completely forgotten what it’s like to click Next > Next > Next.

6. Reduce hardware vendor lock-in
While not always a bad thing, sometimes being tied down to one particular server vendor or even one particular server model can prove quite frustrating. But because server virtualization abstracts away the underlying hardware and replaces it with virtual hardware, data center owners gain a lot more flexibility when it comes to the server equipment they can choose from. This can also be a handy negotiating tool with the hardware vendors when the time comes to renew or purchase more equipment.

5. Increase uptime
Virtualization technologies keep virtual machines running or give them the ability to quickly recover from unplanned outages. The ability to quickly and easily move a virtual machine from one server to another is perhaps one of the greatest single benefits of virtualization.

4. Improve disaster recovery
Virtualization offers an organization three important components when it comes to building out a disaster recovery solution. The first is its hardware abstraction capability. By removing the dependency on a particular hardware vendor or server model, a disaster recovery site no longer needs to keep identical hardware on hand to match the production environment. Second, by consolidating servers down to fewer physical machines in production, an organization can more easily create an affordable replication site. And third, most enterprise server virtualization platforms have software that can help automate the failover when a disaster does strike. The same software usually provides a way to test a disaster recovery failover as well. Imagine being able to actually test and see your failover plan work in reality, rather than hoping and praying that it will work if and when the time comes.

3. Isolate applications
In the physical world, data centers typically moved to a “one app/one server” model in order to isolate applications. But this caused physical server sprawl, increased costs, and underutilized servers. Server virtualization provides application isolation and removes application compatibility issues by consolidating many of these virtual machines across far fewer physical servers. This also cuts down on server waste by more fully utilizing the physical server resources and by provisioning virtual machines with the exact amount of CPU, memory, and storage resources that it needs.

2. Extend the life of older applications
Let’s be honest – you probably have old legacy applications still running in your environment. These applications probably fit into one or more of these categories: It doesn’t run on a modern operating system, it may not run on newer hardware, your IT team is afraid to touch it, and chances are good that the person or company who created it is no longer around to update it. By virtualizing and encapsulating the application and its environment, you can extend its life, maintain uptime, and finally get rid of that old Pentium machine hidden in the corner of the data center. You know the one, it’s all covered in dust with fingerprints from administrators long gone and names forgotten.

1. Help move things to the cloud
As much as you think you’ve been talked to death about virtualizing your environment, that probably doesn’t even compare to the amount of times in the last year alone that you’ve had someone talk to you about joining “the cloud.” The good news is that by virtualizing your servers and abstracting away the underlying hardware, you are preparing yourself for a move into the cloud. The first step may be to move from a simple virtualized data center to a private cloud. But as the public cloud matures, and the technology around it advances and you become more comfortable with the thought of moving data out of your data center and into a cloud hosting facility, you will have had a head start in getting there. The journey along the way will have better prepared you and the organization.

Hurricane Season is Here - Prepare Your Business

If your business relies on digital files and software applications, then a robust backup and business continuity solution is required to minimize downtime in the event of a disaster. BusinessContinuity was specifically engineered to save SMBs time and money with an enterprise-level on-premise and Cloud backup solution.

In the event that one or all of your on-premise servers are unavailable (due to power outage, theft, fire, flood, etc.) we can virtualize your servers in the Cloud, or on the backup server at your office, ensuring that your business never misses a beat. Contact us to learn more about how you can protect your business’ vital data and information systems with our BusinessContinuity Service. 

What are Managed Services and What Does a MSP Provide?

CMIT Alliance wrote a great piece on why the time is now to join the MSP revolution. (Read the full article here.) The piece articulately outlines the services that Strategic IT Consulting provides (following is excerpted from the CMIT Alliance article).

“Managed Services is the proactive management of an IT (Information Technology) asset or object, by a third party typically known as a MSP, on behalf of a customer. The operative distinction that sets apart a MSP is the proactive delivery of their service, as compared to reactive IT services, which have been around for decades.”

Typically, MSPs delivering managed services will have the following distinguishing characteristics:

  • Have some form of network operations center (NOC) service
  • Have some form of service or help desk service
  • Be able to remotely monitor and manage all or a majority of the objects for the customer
  • Proactively, compared to reactive, maintain the objects under management for the customer
  • Delivery of these solutions with some form of predictable billing model, where the customer know with great accuracy what their regular IT management expense will be

In a nut shell, MSPs go beyond the “break-fix” service model by offering technology solutions to satisfy higher productivity and efficiency goals for their clients. This is the field in which Strategic IT Consulting plays by offering access to increased performance through enhanced, cost-effective IT support. Interested in learning more? Call us at (732) 369-3192 x206.

Why Data-Backup is the Ugly Stepchild of IT

Super Storm Sandy, hard-drive failures, lost/stolen hardware - all are culprits of lost data that we’ve seen since starting Strategic IT. Imagine your company suffers data loss at the hands of any one of these scary scenarios. Naturally you’d call on your backup provider for help retrieving and restoring your pertinent data. Your vendor would send your massive data file back to you online or via a disc. Then what? Your recovery plan now includes searching for new servers, network and other infrastructure. No part of that sounds efficient and inexpensive. So why don’t business owners give data back-up the same priority as customer issues? What we surmise is that small to medium sized businesses haven’t broken out of that reactive mindset when it comes to technology. As the adage says, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As technology solution specialists, we understand that the focus is on developing strategies that are in line with the company’s business goals. But isn’t it a no-brainer when NOT having backed-up data returned to a production environment could lead your business to fall from your clients’ good graces? So if any of those aforementioned scary scenarios became reality, reactive business-focused solutions seem like a moot point in comparison to losing data (and potentially losing clients).

The ultimate goal of data back-up and business continuity is to get that backed-up data to a ready-to-go production environment ASAP and to restore normal operations before the business is severely compromised. Our #1 recommendation for disaster recovery - cloud computing. Based on virtualization, the entire server, including the operating system, applications, patches and data is captured into a single software bundle or virtual server. This entire virtual server can be copied or backed up to an offsite data center and rolled up on a virtual host in a matter of minutes. This can dramatically reduce recovery times compared to conventional (non-virtualized) disaster recovery approaches at a fraction of the cost. Cloud computing is a solution for any business model, just as a solid backup and disaster recovery plan is essential for any business.

Need help warming up to that “ugly stepchild?” Contact us for a business continuity infographic with some shocking statistics of the effects of not having adequate data back-up solutions. We’re always available to answer any questions you may have. 

Top 5 Most Common IT Mistakes

Over the years Strategic IT Consulting has witnessed all sorts of avoidable mishaps due to companies making important network decisions without proper advisement. We’ve seen our fair share from the CEO that personally manages all of his own technical issues, to inexperienced IT personnel, to MSP’s that show up only when there’s a problem. Sometimes the smallest occurrences can be responsible for bringing down entire business networks. Mistakes are costly, and we hate to see money go to waste because of poor technical decisions made by unqualified people.

These are the most common (and avoidable) IT mistakes that we have seen. 
1. Failing to get staff input.  In order to get the most ROI on your IT, you must ensure the technology fits the needs of your staff. Who better than the people that actually use the technology to decide on new software, hardware and processes.  Their opinions can be used to increase productive and inevitably save the business money.  Implementing new technology that the employees dislike or find difficult to use will hurt productivity (and maybe morale too).

2. New is not necessarily better. We all get excited about new technology, but that doesn’t mean it is the best option for your network. We cannot stress this enough: no two businesses are alike; therefore every new technology is not suited for every infrastructure. A highly skilled professional will comprehensively evaluate your infrastructure and plan the most appropriate upgrades to streamline operations, maintain a competitive edge and stay within budget. 

3. Rejecting all new technology. Essentially the polar opposite of #2. Typically these are the conservative adopters, waiting for the dust of innovation to settle to take their sweet time deciding on which low-cost choice to be a reliable alternative to the “new.” By the time this decision-making process is complete, the competition has gained momentum, company growth has outgrown the existing infrastructure, and you’ve just cost your company money on insufficient productivity. Don’t be that person.
4. Not all hardware and software are meant to co-exist.  Universal compatibility amongst all software and hardware is just not the world we live in. Before purchasing any hardware or software you must extensively investigate the product, its intended purpose, the effect on current systems, and adoption by new users. In our experience, clients that have purchased software without consulting with us waste their company’s time as well as ours. Now we must diagnose the issue and find out what the changes were that you made, and how to fix it.  Folks, your network administrators are just a phone call away, make the call.

5. Not having adequate data back-up AND failing to have a business continuity plan. Unpredictable weather, hard-drive failures, lost/stolen equipment are all disasters that have lost valuable data and applications for our clients. Possibly the most tragic situation is when a client insisted their current data back-up system was sufficient, only to discover (after it’s too late) that the last back-up was months ago. At that point, extra resources are spent trying to recover all of that lost data. A disaster recovery plan maintains the availability of websites and entire network systems which decreases your downtime. It just makes sense.

Making technical decisions can be overwhelming for anyone who’s not professionally trained in IT. A reputable Managed Service Provider can offer expert solutions for your unique business model and they’ll have qualified staff specialized in working with all types of hardware, software and networks. Steer clear of these mistakes and consult with your network administrators to ensure that the future of your business network will be in a more productive state. 
Strategic IT Consulting is always available to answer any of your questions no matter how silly you think it might be. Feel free to contact us at (732) 369-3192.