Are Your Business Network Credentials for Sale on the Dark Web?

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Oct 6, 2019 9:08:11 AM

You use password-protected applications for everything from banking and financial management to planning vacations and socializing. In the workplace, sign-in credentials connect you and your employees to business applications and online services like payroll processing, appointment scheduling, invoicing, and every other confidential function of your business.

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Topics: Cybersecurity, Threat Prevention

Washington County Day of Caring 2019

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Sep 23, 2019 12:07:44 PM

Innovative has much more to offer than just our technology and business expertise. We proved that last Thursday when our team put their blood, sweat, and hopefully not too many tears into cleaning 103 historic gravestones for the Sharpsburg Historical Society during United Way of Washington County's Day of Caring

We learned a lot about cemetery preservation and were assisted and trained on proper stone cleaning techniques by Robert Mosko and his crew from Mosko Cemetery and Monument Services. Here, Robert gives us a demonstration of how to properly clean a gravestone with just water and a scrub brush.

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Topics: Life at Innovative

Two Common Problems with Your IT Support Company

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Sep 18, 2019 9:05:28 AM

You signed a contract with an IT support company and are relieved to have the weight of technology troubles lifted from your shoulders.

Not so fast.

You may be in for a bumpy ride.

We’ve heard all kinds of stories about why businesses are unhappy with their IT support vendor. Sometimes trouble creeps up over time as the service or the perception of service goes downhill. Other times the relationship is rocky from the start.

We’re not too proud to admit that we’ve had customers leave us in search of greener pastures. We’ve also acquired new customers leaving other providers with which they became unhappy.

Sometimes you need to leave your IT support provider (yes, even if it's us) when you outgrow one another or determine that your priorities and values are no longer aligned (or maybe they never were). Other times you can turn the relationship around with a little communication.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Outsourced IT Support

Ransomware Defense: Anti-Virus, Backups and Cyber Insurance

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Aug 29, 2019 8:53:43 AM

We recently used Presbyterian Health Services potential breach of protected health information (ePHI) as a case study in why employee behavior and training are key elements of security and compliance.

Not even a month later, and here we go again.

Last week, Grays Harbor Community Hospital in Aberdeen, WA issued a formal notice of a potential electronic protected health information (ePHI) breach. Like Presbyterian Health Services, this potential breach was the result of a phishing email. In this case, the attackers initiated a ransomware attack holding the organization’s medical records hostage and demanding a $1 million ransom to release the key to de-encrypt their data.

Grays Harbor seemed to have done everything right to prepare for this type of incident. They have an IT department, anti-virus solution, data backups, and even took out a $1 million cyber insurance policy.

Even though they seem to have followed the playbook, there are some lessons to be learned from this incident.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, HIPAA, Threat Prevention

Cost of Business IT Support

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Aug 26, 2019 9:20:38 AM

There are four different ways most businesses acquire IT support.

You can:

  1. Hire an internal IT person
  2. Hire an on-demand IT vendor or freelancer when you need help
  3. Pre-purchase blocks of IT support hours
  4. Partner with a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Each approach to IT support has its pros and cons, and within each approach are various pricing models.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Purchasing, Outsourced IT Support

Technology Lessons from The Office

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Aug 15, 2019 10:32:47 AM

I'm currently re-watching The Office (US) for what feels like the 100th time. This time, I realized that some parts have a whole new meaning now that I work for an IT company that provides tech support to businesses like the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. 

In this clip from Season 7, Episode 9, "WHUPF.com," Jim tries to reset the server after a power outage causes it to go down. 

He's stuck and The Office can't do any work since he doesn't know the password to sign into the server. This causes Michael to recall all of The Office's former IT guys to determine who originally set up the server.

As Michael thinks through the list of IT guys backward from the most current by the nicknames he gave them, "Glasses, Turban, Ear Hair, Fatty 3, Shorts, Fatty 2, Lozenge, and Fatso," Kevin remembers that 'Lozenge' set up the server eight years ago. Michael recalls that whatever the password was made him laugh when he heard it but, "Pam got really offended." Jim ultimately enters Kevin's suggestion of "big boobz," based on Michael's clues. The password is accepted, the server is reset, and Dunder Mifflin lives on to sell paper another day. 

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Topics: Employee Retention, Technology Strategy, Threat Prevention, Disaster Recovery, Devices

Employee Behavior is the Key to HIPAA Compliance & Data Security

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Aug 12, 2019 8:27:36 AM

On June 6, 2019, Presbyterian Health Services, a health care system and health care provider in New Mexico, discovered a potential breach of protected health information (ePHI).

You might assume that a hacker breached their firewall or snuck into their network undetected. That was not the case. The breach occurred because well-intentioned employees fell victim to a phishing email.

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Topics: HIPAA, Business Strategy, Cybersecurity, Threat Prevention

Five Reasons Why every Business Needs a Custom Email Domain

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Jul 29, 2019 10:08:22 AM

Think of your business’ domain name as your own, branded corner of the internet. It is the space you own for business-related web and email traffic.

In today’s digital economy, most businesses own a custom domain for their website. However, it’s surprising how many aren’t using a custom domain for email and instead use generic email addresses like gmail.com, yahoo.com, aol.com, etc. Even if you have not yet registered a custom domain, the process is relatively simple and inexpensive, and the benefits to your business are significant.

Here are the top five reasons every business needs a custom email domain.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy

A Week in the Life of an Outsourced IT Vendor: Part III

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Jul 25, 2019 8:54:47 AM

Welcome to the third and final installment of our three-part series demonstrating the types of services you should expect from a quality outsourced IT vendor.

Part I outlined the support you should expect from a help desk and service team, and Part II showed how your IT vendor should advise on business strategy.

Now, we’re featuring the third element of service provided by an outsourced IT vendor, project management and implementation.

Part III: Project Team

Projects are pre-planned, scheduled activities, like new device installation, software migration, cabling, etc. This role might be filled by the same team that handles your day-to-day support. However, when you’re evaluating an IT partner, it is important for you to understand how they maintain the capacity to respond to daily requests while meeting their pre-scheduled project commitments.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Outsourced IT Support

A Week in the Life of an Outsourced IT Vendor: Part II

Posted by Stephanie Hurd on Jul 25, 2019 8:51:41 AM

In Part I of this series we outlined the Service Team component of an outsourced IT vendor. The Service Team tends to see the most day-to-day activities from customers since they handle incoming help desk calls and emails. They resolve issues remotely or on-site at the customers’ locations. Plus, they proactively monitor and maintain customer networks to address as many potential issues as possible before end-users ever notice a problem.

As you evaluate the benefits of working with an outsourced IT vendor, you’ll want a good understanding of the process for requesting assistance and their guaranteed response and resolution times. Additionally, you’ll want to understand what proactive steps the team takes to resolve issues before they impact business processes and productivity.

But it doesn’t stop there - the Service Team is just one component of the relationship you’ll have with a quality IT vendor.

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Topics: Technology Strategy, Business Strategy, Outsourced IT Support

IT Starts with Strategy

Tips to get the most out of business technology

Expert advice and best practices allowing you to leverage technology for business growth. 

Topics include:

  • Fusing business and technology strategy
  • Business operations
  • Budgeting and lifecycle management
  • Network security and compliance
  • HIPAA
  • Data security and backup
  • Hardware and infrastructure 
  • Phone systems
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