8 Steps to redefine your IT spend...
A Step-by-Step guide on how to identify erroneous charges that are inflating your monthly communication and cloud expenditures.
In today’s economic climate, Financial and IT leaders recognize the need to redefine how they visualize, manage, and optimize all components of their network and IT spend. They need to identify cost reductions, process automation, and cost allocations, as well as inventory their telecom and equipment assets – all with a reliable contract management system.
You can achieve all these objectives by choosing the right partner with the right tools. You need a partner who uses advanced systems that automate all these processes with customized checks and balances, validated through advanced algorithms. Payment files can also be automated and fully mapped to your specifications, all centrally stored for easy collaboration through business intelligence tools and custom dashboards.
The right trusted partner will reduce your carrier and cloud spend by an average of 18-35%. You also need your partner to provide you with the right tools to manage your telecom and IT projects through a secure, cloud-based inventory management solution. Payments files and single-funding payment processing can be 100% automated to eliminate human error, dramatically reduce personnel time, and avoid unnecessary late fees.
In this short video, you’ll learn what the right partner can do for you. Now let’s look in more detail at key process steps for optimizing your IT spend.
8 Steps to redefine your IT spend…
Document all existing services and expenses across the existing telecommunication footprint, including but not limited to, existing circuit ID’s, ESN’s, device types, service descriptions, features, IP addresses, software, Cloud, hardware, licenses, and telephone numbers (landline and mobile).
- Document Existing Services
- Analyze utilization report.
- Establish service baseline.
- Validate Status of Existing Voice Line
- Document Existing Contracts
2. Auditing Baseline
Contrast existing invoice to contracted rates Business Intelligence portal.
- Compare Invoices to Contracted Rates
- Document Billing Errors
- Generate Business Intelligence Reports
3. Market Analysis
- Perform Market Analysis -Perform Market Analysis to understand pricing and technology available in today’s market with existing and potential carriers. We will help the customer to understand pricing and service options with existing and prospective service providers.
4. Monthly Bill Auditing
Reviewing invoices on monthly basis for accuracy by duplicating the Audit Baseline steps monthly.
- Review Invoices for Accuracy
- Prepare Cost Allocations
- Prepare Monthly Billing Intelligence Reports
5. Payment Solution
Procuring approved monthly payments to end user’s providers or end user’s AP system depending on end user request.
- Process Monthly Invoice Payments
- On-demand Financial Reporting
6. Wireline Help Desk
- Provide wireline and wireless help desk and project management services to manage moves, adds, changes, and disconnects on end user’s network after the initial assessment. Additionally, we will centrally support billing tickets. We will work with your service providers to assure all relevant Service Level Agreements for changes and disputes are handled in a timely fashion.
7. Cost Savings Analysis
- Savings recommendations are based on the initial inventory and audit findings and monthly invoice audits. We will make cost savings analysis available via the business intelligence portal.
- Audit & Cost Recovery Savings
- Monthly Cost Savings
8. Additional Services
Provide training to end user on how to navigate and operate the portal.
- Audit & Cost Recovery Savings
- Monthly Cost Savings
The Top Ten features and benefits that make Cloud Business Phone systems more agile.
2020 forced businesses around the globe to work remotely. Everyday employees were joining via video, chat, text, and traditional phone calls on multiple apps and platforms. One day companies realized that their employees were spending too much time going from app to app. Because of that productivity decreased and cause more stress. Because of that customer satisfaction hit an all time low. Until finally business executives realized all the functionality of their video, chat, contact center, SMS/MMS, phone calls and even document sharing could be hosted in an app they already owned. Microsoft Teams can not only be used for meetings, but we can also integrate it into your phone systems as well as a contact center solution for a better customer experience.
Not everyone is interested in picking up the phone. Some employees prefer text or live chat. Some still would prefer to use email and today video calls are at an all-time high. When you integrate your phone system with teams it allows for you to connect your employees and customers in new ways of doing business face-to-face. Integrated systems allow you to use the app to send and receive business and MMS text messages. Live chat lets you answer customer questions quickly and easily. Conference calling lets you host calls with multiple participants at one time. Call forwarding, CRM Integration, voicemail transcription, call recording, the ability to integrate the system with hundreds of apps in addition to Teams – and the list goes on. Traditional phone systems just do not come close in comparison.
As the demand for moving to a cloud-based system like Teams grows at a fanatical pace due to low upfront cost and ongoing cost of a cloud business phone system, organizations around the globe are discovering that they can save big on local calls, international calls and operationalize cost by switching to a cloud-based system.
But cost is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of switching. Thanks to the range of features, businesses that switch to a cloud PBX business phone system do not only pay less for their communications – but those very communications are also enhanced for a more productive experience for both the employee and the customers they are engaging with.
With greater flexibility, reduced costs, a wide range of tools and features, and improved performance to consider, the benefits of cloud PBX business phone systems can no longer be ignored.
Here is a list of features and benefits on how cloud business phone systems can make your business more agile.
- Conference calling
- Free up funds
- Find Me/Follow Me
- Reallocate resources
- Remote work
- Simplified management of phone calls and messages
Prevent Cyberattacks from Phishing Emails
60% of Organizations Are Hit by Cyberattacks Spread by Their Own Employees
The “unwitting participant” appears to be alive and well, based on new data from security vendor Mimecast. With employees being the source of attack surface expansion, what’s an org to do?
When you think of cyberattacks, the assumption is that it’s a simple matter of “the bad guy sends an email, the user gets fooled, the user clicks malicious content, and the badness happens.” But the State of Email Security 2020 report from Mimecast sheds some light on some of both the how and why attacks are still successful.
According to the report:
- 51% of organizations have been impacted by ransomware in the last 12 months
- 58% saw phishing attacks increase
- 60% have seen an increase in impersonation fraud
- 82% have experienced downtime from an attack
These numbers aren’t good. Way too many organizations are feeling the pain of email-based cyberattack, despite knowing the problem is only getting worse. So, why are organizations proving to be such easy targets for email-based cyberattacks?
According to the report, it’s a problem-riddled combination of issues involving your people, processes and technology. In essence, the lack of sufficient presence of all three play a role.
From the report:
- 60% of orgs have experienced their own employees being responsible for spreading a malicious email (People)
- 55% of orgs don’t provide security awareness training on a regular basis (Process)
- An average of 41% of orgs don’t have a system in place to monitor for and detect malicious content in emails (Technology)
With 60% of orgs believing they will be the victim of an email-borne attack in the coming year, organizations need to be taking steps to protect themselves with a security strategy that addresses all three issues. Putting a layered security strategy in place that detects malicious content before it ever reaches your users is imperative.
But, because 7-10% of malicious emails make it through your filters, it’s equally as important to ensure users are continually educated using security awareness training. By doing so, you will improve your organization’s security posture, and keep users from participating in the spread of malicious emails.
Don’t have a security awareness training program for your staff? GET ONE! Virsage is here to support you with implementing a security awareness training program to protect your business and data!
Digital Security Best Practices
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
Hi everyone! Each of us need to exercise healthy security habits to keep our systems and information safe. To help, we put together some tips for you and your team. I’ll keep them short and sweet; I promise.
The bad guys are out there: ready to take advantage of any vulnerabilities they can find. Trying to trick you into giving out your password. Thinking they can fool you into providing an entry point for our company’s critical data. Exploiting any openings.
The good news is that no one expects you to be a security expert. I’m here to help, and we’re all on this journey together.
In this post, we’ll be reviewing some good security habits and signs of danger to watch for. But anytime you aren’t sure about what to do, reach out and ask your IT group. Whether it’s an email that seems a bit off or a link that took you to a web site that looks sketchy, reach out and ask about it.
If you see something, say something!
123456 or Password1?
Silly passwords like the ones above are favorites for those who don’t know a better way to protect their online accounts. Weak passwords like these make it easy for someone with bad intentions to break into your accounts and steal your identity and data.
It’s not difficult to create and use a strong password. Mix upper and lowercase characters and mix in special characters and numbers. Avoid choosing personal references that others can easily discover, such as your birthday or the names of pets or relatives. Don’t select a word from the dictionary.
Keep your password safe. Make sure you use a unique password for each system. Never tell anyone else your password. Don’t store your password on a sticky note attached to your device or an unencrypted file.
You know how to keep yourself protected. Be safe out there!
Email is the most common way that cybercriminals try to break into accounts and systems. Almost 500 million phishing emails are sent each day. Every 60 seconds, 250 computers are hacked.
A phishing email pretends to come from a friend, colleague, or familiar organization. The email may ask you to click on a link, open an attachment or go to a specific website. You will probably regret taking the action requested, as it may allow download of a malicious program that can do all sorts of mischief and badness to your data and computer.
We have controls in place to spot and stop these mails before they get to you. But that doesn’t mean we can catch them all—and here’s where you come in. Be suspicious. Be especially suspicious of any email that is not a response to one you’ve sent. Hover your mouse over any links to verify a link’s actual email location, even if the link comes from a trusted source. And if the mail contains an attachment, all your alarm bells should sound. Do not open it. If in doubt, call the person you believe sent it to you, or check with our team before opening it.
You know how to keep yourself protected. The more you know.
Not only is there no free lunch, there’s no free, safe, password-free public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are a quick and easy way to get online when you’re out and about. Unlike your Wi-Fi at work or home, not all public hotspots are password protected. That means anyone, even hackers, can connect to the hotspot and use it to infect your device with malware, steal your online usernames and passwords, access files on your computer, and even steal your financial details.
There are ways to access the internet more safely using public Wi-Fi. Configure your devices to connect to prompt you before connecting to any unknown Wi-Fi networks. Don’t install updates or programs on your devices while using public Wi-Fi. Verify with the provider that you are logging onto the correct network. Use a trusted VPN service to secure your traffic. Double check that no one can see your screen or “shoulder surf” when you work with sensitive information. Wherever possible, avoid public Wi-Fi altogether by using mobile data services such as 5G.
Hackers are clever and they’re always coming up with new ways to fool us. Malware—or malicious software—comes in many shapes and sizes. A common form is ransomware, which encrypts the victim’s data storage drives so data is inaccessible to the owner unless the owner pays a ransom for the encryption key. There are also many other kinds of malware: worms, trojans, rootkits and other similar evils.
You have the power to head off malware with some good habits that are already familiar. Start by installing software updates and security patches promptly. Back up your data regularly. Maintain strong passwords and change them frequently. Be smart about email. Be savvy about entering information only on secure sites (look for the closed padlock next to the address and an address that begins with https://) Log out at the end of the day.
Questions? Reach out to me or any member of our team. firstname.lastname@example.org
Cloud adoption continues, and it’s easy to see why.
According to a recent Microsoft study,* there are three key reasons small and midsize businesses consider cloud services:
1. Cost savings
2. Improved security
3. Easy access to documents and applications from multiple locations
Many of the same companies in the survey are already using Microsoft cloud services for file sharing, storage, online meetings, and chat. These services are bundled into Office 365 along with best-in-class productivity apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and enterprise-grade security. With Office 365, you can work from anywhere, on any device. You can add and subtract users as needed, and migration is simple.
Now is the time to explore your options if you are running Windows 7 or Office 2010, which face end of support deadlines starting in January, 2020. Talk to us about Office 365 migration offers, which help you transition to modern tools easily.
Customer Story: Jack's Diving Locker
When Jack’s Diving Locker (JDL) was founded in 1981, its team members worked out of a Volkswagen van. Now JDL has expanded into a company with two retail stores and five boats in two harbors, and they rely on a Microsoft 365 Business platform to manage their growing business. Since adopting Microsoft tools to streamline communication and ensure that all company data is protected, JDL has expanded into a global ocean outreach and conservation company. With cloud-based tools designed to protect valuable data and keep employees connected, JDL is able to grow their business and preserve the environmental integrity of one of our planet’s most valuable assets: our oceans. Check out their story to see how they’re using Microsoft tools to protect company information and change how business gets done.
We’re on a mission to modernize IT and increase security with predictable budgets for the SMB. Virsage helps businesses ensure their employees, IT systems, and data are secure and productive. We can support your entire IT organization, augment your in-house team, or provide expert professional services to ensure your IT projects are a success.
IT Security - A Three Legged Stool
Watching the number and complexity of cybersecurity threats increase over the last few years has changed the landscape of the IT service provider market. When I got into this industry over 25 years ago, the prevailing strategy for IT security was to turn off the fax machine and lock the door on our way out at the end of the day. Until recently, security for most small and mid-market companies has historically been a “nice to have” or “wait until something happens” issue. As an IT provider we have to shift our focus from a user experience first stand point to a security first perspective. This has caused more than a few “energetic” conversations with some customers who are still struggling to get their arms around accepting something as simple as multifactor authentication (MFA) – if you don’t know what MFA is you should shoot me a private message ;).
I look at IT Security today as a three legged stool. An organization needs three separate components to ensure they have a sustainable approach to protecting their infrastructure. If you only have two of the elements, you fall on your butt. Too many companies look for a fix it and forget it security solution.
The First Element: Audit
The Audit is required to give a baseline of your current IT security profile. This should be done by a third party and not your IT staff or IT provider to eliminate any conflict of interest in the findings and recommendations.
The Second Element: IT Management
IT Management is responsible for the remediation of any issues identified by the audit as well as the on-going process of patch management and vulnerability assessments. This is the day to day activities that take place to keep systems and network up to date.
The Third Element: Security Monitoring
Security Monitoring is the equivalent of ADT for a business’s IT infrastructure. If companies are not analyzing and responding to events on their network 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, a hacker could have access to systems months before they are identified. Small and mid-sized businesses do not have the resources to do this effectively and should look for a third party provider.
As companies look to the future, they should put IT security at the front of their plans. Don’t look for a quick fix or easy approach. Security is a pain – there is no doubt about it. A security breach today is a much bigger pain that hurts much more than falling off of a stool.
Windows 7 Support Ends January 2020
Ensure that your computers continue to receive security patches from Microsoft by upgrading to Windows 10. After January 14, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support PCs running Windows 7.
Simplify Your Upgrade with Microsoft 365
Virsage can help make the process smoother with Microsoft 365 for Business. Microsoft 365 combines Office 365 (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc) with Windows 10 Enterprise to provide all of your core Microsoft licensing in a monthly subscription. Microsoft 365 can eliminate the need to purchase expensive hardware or licensing while improving your organizations security and productivity.
Upgrading all of your computers to Windows 10 can be a daunting project. The Virsage team can help by conducting a detailed discovery of your current environment, identifying any potential obstacles and creating a plan that meets your schedule and budget requirements. Our engineering team’s experience working with both Microsoft and 3rd party tools provides our customers with the assurance of a successful project.
Don't leave your computers unprotected
Contact us to get started