Are Servers Extinct? Making the Case for Dedicated Servers

As computing technology gets faster, smaller, and more affordable, companies are increasingly turning to shared or virtual servers for their business needs. While you can save money by going that route, some companies would do better to take advantage of a dedicated server’s powerful benefits. What makes dedicated servers a strategic choice?

Outstanding Performance
Security — The greatest benefit of dedicated servers is their strong security, with options for specialized security measures and better protection against malware and adware—especially important for companies dealing with sensitive data.
Reliability — Crashes on dedicated servers are less likely to occur than on shared servers, minimizing downtime and maximizing availability.
Exclusivity — A dedicated server eliminates service-slowing bandwidth competition. Companies with high traffic or large, data-heavy files like high-definition video or images will appreciate the boost in performance that comes with dedicated bandwidth.

Dedicated IP Address
No Guilt by Association — Spammy or adult sites that share your IP can damage your ranking in search engine rankings. A dedicated IP prevents you from being blacklisted as a result of others’ bad behavior.
ECommerce — The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) dictates that ecommerce sites must have SSL-enabled, dedicated IP.

Complete Control    
Customizability — Configure the CPU, RAM, disk space, and platform however suits you best: manage a database, host a website, or act as a mail server.
Growth & Scalability — For companies looking for long-term stability and growth opportunity, dedicated servers are ideal—growth doesn’t require migration to a new server.

Other Considerations
Technical considerations — Some IT knowledge is necessary to run a dedicated server, which managed hosting services can handle for you.
Cost — A dedicated server is a bigger investment than a shared server, so your company’s needs and growth plans are important as you weigh the options.

Dedicated servers can be the best choice for companies that need top notch performance along with excellent security, have ecommerce options, or need a customized system that can grow with them. If a dedicated server sounds like a good fit for your business, contact Infomax Office Systems today.

Is Your Network Secure?

From sending email to opening a file, connecting to Wi-Fi to browsing the web, critical business data on your network must be protected. There are dozens of opportunities to protect your network from unwanted access, but here we’d like to share some of the simplest and most effective network security strategies. Is your network secure?

● Are passwords robust? Make sure passwords are eight characters in length or more, and include at least one upper- and one lower-case letter, a number, and a special character. Avoid actual words and letter substitutes—hacking software is sophisticated enough to recognize when you use “$” instead of “S”.

● Are passwords changed regularly? The longer a password exists, the more vulnerable it is. Tired of managing dozens of passwords that change all the time? Consider an enterprise password management service application, so you’ll only need to remember one.

● Are all inactive accounts disabled? Every account is a door that can be breached, so don’t delay—each individual account should be disabled as soon as an employee leaves.

● Is your data regularly backed up offsite? Whether in another office or with a cloud-based server, make sure your data is recoverable even if your office is lost to a fire or disaster.

● Does every computer and mobile device have antivirus software installed? Don’t be a sitting duck for spyware, ransomware, viruses, and other malware. Ensure every piece of hardware in your network has active, up-to-date antivirus software installed. Also, don’t wait to update! It is crucial that all of your devices are running the latest version of antivirus software available to ensure the security of your data.

● Do you use WPA2 encryption? Short for “Wi-Fi Protected Access 2,” WPA2 encryption ensures that your Wi-Fi connection is secure. So, don’t leave your virtual front door open. WPA2 authentication is easy to set up and simple to comply with.

● Is your equipment physically secured? Don’t leave your physical doors open, either. Store critical hardware in a locked room with limited accessibility. A data thief doesn’t need to worry about hacking the network if they can walk in and physically remove the device they want to access.

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you have work to do. Take these few simple steps and get your network secure and your data protected.

What’s Your Policy? Corporate Mobile Device Rules to Consider

We live and work in a mobile world, and mobile access is increasingly critical to business communications and workflows. Whether your employees use a laptop computer, mobile phone, tablet, or portable drive, a few well-executed, thoughtful policies can provide some assurance for your employees and your company.

Consider the following rules when crafting your mobile device policy.

● Devices must be password-protected. Employees may object to the inconvenience of having to unlock their device, but this is a must-have rule. Note that swipe patterns and facial recognition are less secure than a strong password.

● Stored data must be encrypted. Strong encryption—typically 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES)—is a necessity to protect data on all mobile devices. Talk to your IT professionals specifically about encryption when developing your policy.

● Users must use encrypted network connections. In other words, make sure your staff doesn’t use free Wi-Fi connections! Options vary, but approved connections usually include SSL for Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections, or WPA2 for Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) connections.

● Mobile devices must be stored securely. Physical theft is as much of a risk as data-only theft, so make sure to stress that mobile devices shouldn’t be left unattended to your staff.

● Lost or stolen mobile devices must be reported to the company within 24 hours. Increased exposure time means increased risk. Make sure your team knows to notify you when devices are lost, so you can take action quickly.

● Devices must have remote data wiping enabled. If it’s not possible to recover a lost device, the only way to protect company data is to remove it completely.

● No texting or emailing while driving. No business communication is worth the life of your employee, or that of another driver or passenger. Stress responsible texting in your mobile policy. As the saying goes, it can wait.

● Noncompliance has consequences. Make sure employees know that repercussions associated with violating internal data sharing rules also apply to mobile data. Accidental exposures of non-sensitive data may warrant a simple written warning, while intentional data theft or exposure may call for termination.

Embracing mobile technology is vital to competing in today’s economy. With a few smart device rules and staff training, your company can thrive in the mobile world. Call Infomax Office Systems to optimize your mobile device strategy today.

Keep Remote Employees Connected with the Cloud

The rise of cloud computing has been a boon for American businesses: communication and collaboration are now easier than ever, and productivity is soaring—especially outside of the office. We’ve put together a list of a few ways cloud technology can help keep your remote employees productive and engaged.

Ensure communication — With cloud-based services, there’s no reason to feel disconnected from your off-site employees because communication is easily facilitated via the cloud. Whether for one-on-one conversations or team meetings, video conferencing technology such as Skype and Google Hangouts enable everyone to see their colleagues during a call. Services like, Adobe Connect, and GoToMeeting make screen-sharing presentations possible. Meanwhile, ongoing conversations can run in a private Slack channel, which also significantly reduces email clutter.

Facilitate collaboration — Working together through the cloud can manifest itself in dozens of ways, from full-fledged project management suites (Basecamp, Asana, CentralDesktop) to document sharing (Google Docs/Drive, Dropbox) and other services (Trello and Evernote). Thanks to version control and detailed activity histories, everyone has access to the latest—and the same—information. Messy email chains and file attachments have been eliminated by centralized tools.

Outsource infrastructure headaches — Infrastructure technicalities can distract a company from its core purpose. Whether managing workspaces or maintaining servers, cloud-based services reduce your admin and housekeeping needs by providing unparalleled scalability, redundancy, and support.

Optimize your mobile workforce — Unlike the haphazard collection of software and devices that used to plague IT departments, strategic technology services can streamline your mobile device fleet, coordinate services, and improve security business-wide. Working with a mobile technology solution simplifies device management and reduces costs for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

Manage security and safety risks — Cloud-based services are uniquely positioned to keep your data secure. Firewalls, filters, and access controls limit the encroachment of security threats, while backup systems mean that your files are safe—even in the event of human error, hardware failure, or ransomware.

These days, having your head in the cloud can be a good thing. Your business can take advantage of countless communication and collaboration tools, let specialized service providers handle the headaches of infrastructure management, optimize your mobile workforce, and manage technology-related risk. If you’d like to take advantage of all the cloud has to offer, Infomax iGuard can help with security and device management. Contact us today for more information!

Surprising Benefits of Managed IT

Many businesses are now familiar with some of the primary benefits of Managed IT. They include cost control, troubleshooting and problem-solving, and freeing up resources for activities more central and unique to your business. But, in addition to those common valuable features, Managed IT can provide some surprising benefits to you and your business.

With Managed IT, you can:

Stay up-to-date. Complete management of your IT network includes the critical element of patching and upgrading. Easily left by the wayside when you’re focused on troubleshooting, your Managed IT provider includes regular software patches as part of their services. By keeping you on track with the latest updates for your software and operating system, they’ll help you avoid security risks, eliminate glitches, and solve usability issues. Managed IT keeps all of your systems running smoothly.

Get custom insight. Usage reports and service statistics are par for the course, but your Managed IT provider can also design dashboards and reports tailored specifically for your business. Department managers can see at-a-glance which systems are running smoothly and where action needs to be taken. Custom dashboards provide the insight you need to stay on top of your operations.

Be ready for disaster—and recovery. A Managed IT partnership means having redundant and fail-safe systems. Normally this is a significant investment. But, when you work with a Managed IT provider, the cost of network and data center infrastructure is distributed among various clients, so it’s more affordable to incorporate a comprehensive backup and recovery solution.

Take your information technology to the next level. While in-house IT staff must normally be generalists who can solve any number of problems, Managed IT providers employ specialists whose expertise can be leveraged for your business’ strategy. They provide intimate knowledge of device life cycles, software risks and options, and OS upgrades. Periodic reviews by these experts can make sure you’re operating with the most efficient and effective systems.

Working with a partner for Managed IT is so much more than outsourcing your Help Desk tickets. With dedicated resources, specialized expertise, and a strong relationship with your provider, a move to Managed IT means teaming up with a partner that is invested in your company’s success. Contact Infomax Office Systems to learn more about Managed IT and how it can benefit your business.

How to Keep Your Network Safe

Maintaining the security of your business’s IT network safe isn’t an easy feat. Securing your network is a process requiring time and dedication even for those entrenched in the IT world. Doing it well on top of your everyday tasks can be daunting at best and fatal for your business at worst. Moreover, the sophistication of today’s hackers leaves no one’s system—not even your home computer—safe from threats.

To avoid these ongoing threats, consider the following tips to keep your business network safe.

Use encryption – Data that is encrypted requires a key or password to decode information, making it the most effective way to secure your network. At the very least, ensure that your Internet network has Wi-Fi Protected Access II encryption, the most up-to-date protocol, to eliminate the likelihood of a breach.

Change access passwords – When considering how to keep your network safe, also consider how conspicuous your passwords are. Of course, certain team members—if not all of them—will need to know your accessibility password. However, administrative passwords, where applicable, should be restricted. Also, if you notice too many users on your network and your bandwidth begins to suffer, consider changing your password and reinforcing its confidentiality to employees with whom it is shared.

Scan your system regularly – The point of malware and spyware is for it to remain undetected on your network in order to do as much damage to your system as possible. So, unless you take the time to regularly look for these programs, you won’t be able to detect their presence. Scanning your system will unveil viruses and spyware on your network, while scanning the ports will inform you of any accessibility issues. It’s recommended to scan your network on a daily basis to ensure security. This is ideal for outsourcing, since a trusted IT partner—like Infomax—will ensure this gets done regularly, whereas in-house staff might push system checks to deal with pressing issues.

Choose a smart SSID – Simply put, the Service Set Identifier (SSID) is the name of your Wi-Fi connection. Remember that this name will appear on a list that is available to anyone attempting to find a Wi-Fi network to join within a certain physical distance of your company. Naming your network after your company in any way provides an easy way for hackers to identify your network. A simple name like Wireless1 or WIFI1 strips your SSID of any company-related identifiers, adding an easy layer of security to your network.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the weight of keeping your network safe or you’d like more information on protecting your IT systems, contact Infomax today!

The Driving Force behind Office Productivity

When considering office productivity, several factors come into play. Your management style, employee morale, and even how much sleep your team gets at night affects your team’s productivity levels. One oftentimes overlooked factor of productivity is the tools you have in place to maximize your company’s workflows.

Although there are various novelty items that can make your business soar, like applications that enable wireless printing straight from mobile devices, or fire and waterproof external storage drives, the driving force behind office productivity is your larger technology fleet. These essential tools are responsible for keeping your team’s workflows running efficiently.

Here are a few foundational pieces of office equipment and technology that will ensure your team is working at its peak of productivity.

Multifunction Printers (MFPs) – Whether color or black and white, MFPs offer a wide range of capabilities, including document capture and data automation software, which will help your team function at its highest level. MFPs allow users to email scanned documents to a customer from the machine itself, or easily print addresses on envelopes instead of printing out labels. Once properly trained, your staff will save hours of time with an in-house MFP.

Cloud Storage – In today’s mobile world, having your business’s data available at your fingertips opens up new possibilities for workflows. You can pull up an invoice on your smartphone while visiting a client on-site, or edit a proposal on your tablet on a layover in the airport on a business trip. Unlimited access to all of your company data is available with modern cloud storage solutions, increasing your team’s access to business documents and programs, and in turn boosting productivity.

Software – Don’t forget the tremendous benefits that specific software can reap for your business. Think about how document automation software, programs that streamline the filing of electronic documents, can add to your team’s productivity. Your employees will never lose an email again, or decide how to file data. Software options are abundant, so working with your trusted technology partner is key when determining the best software to incorporate into you business’s workflows.

If you’re interested in upgrading your current technology or in adding new hardware or software to increase your company’s productivity, contact Infomax today.

Making the Best of a Bad Situation: Why Backup & Disaster Recovery Are Essential

Have you taken the time to plan for the worst? Everyone likes to think they are immune from disastrous situations like fire, flood, or security breaches. But the truth is, without a backup and recovery plan, your business is at risk.

Backup and recovery is a crucial aspect of any company’s business model. It simply refers to strategically protecting your business documents and programs from any type of data loss, and developing a plan to retrieve or reconstitute files in the event they are lost or destroyed. Typically, backup and recovery focuses its plan around electronic databases that are networked across your organization.

Here are a few reasons to design and implement a solid backup and recovery system into your business plan ASAP.

Preemptive protection – A backup and disaster recovery strategy literally safeguards your livelihood. Would your business survive a week if a flood destroyed all of your computers, servers, and hardcopy documents? How would you get back on your feet? By working with a trusted IT provider, like Infomax, you can determine a plan that best fits your company’s needs before disaster strikes. That way, if and when some unforeseen disaster happens you’ll be able to get your business back up and running in a timely manner.

Guaranteed coverage – If you are put in the position of having to rely on your backup and recovery plan, you can lean on your services provider to get you up and running quickly while you deal with the other inevitable aspects of clean-up, like rethinking deadlines or contacting your insurance company. Whether you’re a mom-and-pop shop or enterprise-level business, your IT services provider will ensure that all aspects of your business are included in your backup and recovery plan. For example, Infomax will back up your data automatically through cloud computing every 15 minutes, guaranteeing you uninterrupted workflows in almost any emergency situation.

Peace of mind – Let’s face it, you’ve got enough to worry about. Your day-to-day tasks can be overwhelming enough, without having to consider how your data would survive a disaster. Working with an IT service provider to determine a plan that works for your business will ensure that you have one less thing to stress about, giving you peace of mind when it comes to your company’s data.

Interested in having your data backed up every 15 minutes? Contact Infomax today to get your backup and recovery plan started.

Archiving Solutions for Optimal Protection

If your organization has large volumes of data—and let’s face it, most businesses do—you’re probably in need of digital archiving solutions. Digital Archiving provides a secure method for storing and accessing your electronic content, so you can easily find what you need, saving you time and resources.

Digital archiving provides the ultimate in asset preservation, so you never have to worry about your files disappearing or being unavailable in the event of a crash. Here are some of the ways digital archiving protects your data.

Be prepared for an audit. Audits are an unfortunate reality in today’s business world. By implementing digital archiving solutions, you can ensure that you have everything you need in the event of an audit. Although audits are never enjoyable, being prepared for them makes all the difference. Digital archiving means your data is retrievable in an instant, should your business find itself under the microscope.

Reduce server crashes. Data left uncontrolled can flood your networks and cause huge headaches. Those years-old files are not helping anyone. In fact, obsolete files can clog your servers and cause crashes. By removing these files across your servers and archiving them instead, you can save around 60-70% of your server space.

Reduce your backup window. No one likes to watch a pot of water boil. Similarly, waiting around for your data to be backed up can feel like a lifetime. Instead, bundle your data and don’t backup duplicate files, so your backups take less time.

Get compliant. The devil is in the details, and your business must remain compliant. Everyone wants to think their data is compliant, but without proper storage and security measures, many businesses simply drop the ball. But many industry and governmental policies dictate just how long documents should be saved. Digital archiving will help ensure your documents are securely stored for the right amount of time, so you can avoid financial or legal penalties.

To learn more about digital archiving and how it can free up space and resources, contact Infomax today.

When Service Is More Important than Technology

Technology drives your business, and you depend on your technology equipment to function on a daily basis. Between computers, servers, printers, scanners, and all the elements of your IT network, your company needs its equipment in optimum working condition at all times. And that’s where service comes in. In an ideal world printers would never jam, laptops would never fry, and servers would never crash. But when those things happen, you need a reliable business solutions partner to get you back on track.

Here are a few telltale signs that your technology solutions partner prioritizes service—and your business—above all else.

  • Proactive service and maintenance. In the world of business, you only want the best. A good solutions partner will ensure that your equipment is secure, up to date, and working efficiently. You work hard to make your business the best it can be. Shouldn’t your service partner do the same?
  • Rapid response times. When your equipment needs help, it needs help immediately. A solutions partner that prioritizes response prioritizes your business. Having someone you can call quickly and who will respond immediately is invaluable to long-term business success.
  • Strong local presence. Word of mouth is paramount when it comes to whether a solutions partner will be a good fit. Take time to get referrals for potential service partners, and gain the opinions of trusted colleagues and other local businesses before making your decision. Also remember that a solutions partner’s local presence will equal enhanced flexibility and responsiveness.
  • Expert technicians. A great solutions partner will have the expertise to back up their work. Furthermore, expert, certified technicians will be up to date on all of the latest innovations and advancements, helping keep your business on the cutting edge. This way, your company’s workflow is consistently smooth, efficient, and ahead of the competition.

For a solutions partner that prioritizes your business above all else, contact Infomax today.