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How to Respect Data Privacy in 2023

How to Respect Data Privacy in 2023

Data Privacy Week is an annual expanded effort from Data Privacy Day — taking place from January 22 – 28, 2023. The goal of Data Privacy Week is to spread awareness about online privacy among individuals and organizations. The goal is twofold: to help citizens understand that they have the power to manage their data and to help organizations understand why it is important that they respect their users’ data.

As a Data Privacy Week Champion, EstesGroup recognizes and supports the principle that all organizations share the responsibility of being conscientious stewards of personal information.

Data Privacy Week Champion

Data Privacy in 2023: The Story of You that You Wish to Tell

All of your online activity generates a trail of data. Websites, apps, and services collect data on your behaviors, interests, and purchases. Sometimes, this includes personal data, like your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. It can even include data about your physical self, like health data – think about how a smartwatch counts and records how many steps you take. If you are a company owner, you hold the responsibility of protecting your employees and customers by keeping your business data private with the help of cybersecurity solutions that follow compliance regulations.

While it’s true that you cannot control how each byte of data about you and your family is shared and processed, you are not helpless! In many cases, you can control how you share your data with a few simple steps. Remember, your data is precious, and you deserve to be selective about who you share it with!

How Businesses Can Respect Data Privacy

Respecting the privacy of your customers, staff, and all other stakeholders is critical for inspiring trust and enhancing reputation. According to the Pew Research Center, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. By being open about how you use data and respecting privacy, you can stand out from your competition.

Be transparent about how you collect, use, and share consumers’ personal information. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used. Design settings to protect their information by default. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization, as well as the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.

About Data Privacy Week

Data Privacy Week began as Data Privacy Day in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. NCA, the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness, leads the effort in North America each year.

About the National Cybersecurity Alliance

The National Cybersecurity Alliance is a non-profit organization on a mission to create a more secure, interconnected world. We advocate for the safe use of all technology and educate everyone on how best to protect ourselves, our families, and our organizations from cybercrime. We create strong partnerships between governments and corporations to amplify our message and to foster a greater “digital” good.

Learn how a private or hybrid cloud strategy can help your business with data privacy management today. Please fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation with our ERP, IT or Cloud Services experts, and we’ll do all we can to help your business run better!

Data Center Strategy: How To Cloud Up For Uptime

Data Center Strategy: How To Cloud Up For Uptime

A Cloud is a Data Center and a Data Center is a Cloud?

Cloud applications ultimately sit upon the foundation of a server stack. You can view a cloud-based server as someone else’s computer, and picture these servers housed in a data center, which is their most likely location.

A data center can be simply described as a specified space within a building designed to securely house computing resources.
Data Center Considerations

Servers

Power

Communication

A large data center normally involves an extensive open area, which is divided into racks and cages, to hold the servers themselves, as well as the power and communication connections used to link each individual server with the rest of the data center network. This network would reside in a building with sufficient architecture to allow for rapid data communication, and similarly high-performing connections to the outside world.

The building itself is normally a large and highly secure edifice, constructed from reinforced building materials, as to prevent physical compromise. It is often located on a campus that is itself physically guarded with high fences and rigid gates.

Server

PHYSICAL SECURITY 

DATA CENTER HARDWARE

Cloud Security

CLOUD-BASED SECURITY

DATA CENTER STRATEGY

The Servers Themselves: What Is In Your Data Center?

Inside the building (the data center) exists a complex cooling and ventilation system, to prevent the heat-inducing computing devices from overheating. The campus is supported by redundant power systems, to allow the network to run, even if the main power grid experiences interruption or shutdown. The inner workings of the data center are designed to prevent downtime, but the materials used in construction can vary. Consider a pencil made from wood vs. a pencil made from plastic. Consider further a pencil manufactured from metal built to protect a thin and fragile graphite fragment. 

The ways in which end users can attain access to the resources in a data center can vary due to the fact that cloud provisioning can occur in many layers.

Option A: Cloud Provider = Data Center

Sometimes the cloud provider is itself the data center. Most often this is the case when you want to use server space from a data center, or else wish to collocate your hardware in a data center. For instance, as a customer, you might procure new hardware and move it to one of US Signal’s data centers in a colocation arrangement. This allows you to benefit from US Signal’s physical security, network redundancy, high-speed fiber network, and peering relationships, to allow for a broad array of high-speed communications. 

Option B: Cloud Provider = Data Center Management Firm

Sometimes the cloud provider is an organization that manages the allocation and management of cloud resources for you — they serve as an intermediary between the end customer and the data center. For instance, EstesGroup partners with US Signal. We help customers choose the right server resources in support of the application deployment and management services that we provide for ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) customers.

Moreover, not all data centers are created equal. Data centers differ in countless ways, including (but not limited to) availability, operating standards, physical security, network connectivity, data redundancy, and power grid resiliency. Most often, larger providers of cloud infrastructure actually provide a network of tightly interconnected data centers, such that you’re not just recruiting a soldier — you’re drafting an entire army. 

As such, when choosing a cloud provider, understanding the underlying data centers in use is as important as understanding the service providers themselves. That said, what are some of the questions that you should ask your provider when selecting a data center? 

Is the provider hosting out of a single data center or does the provider have data center redundancy?

Geo-diverse data centers are of great importance when it relates to overall risk of downtime. Diversely-located data centers provide inherent redundancy, especially beneficial when it comes to backup and disaster recovery.

But what defines diverse? One important consideration relates to the locations of data centers relative to America’s national power grid infrastructure. Look for a provider that will store your primary site and disaster recovery site on separate power grids.

This will bolster you from the potentially of an outage to one of the individual grid locations. Think of the continental divide. On separate sides of the divide, water flows in one of two directions. When it comes to national power grids, support comes from different hubs. Look for a provider who has redundant locations on the other side of the divide to protect you in the event of a major power outage.

Are they based on a proprietary data center, collocated, or leveraging the state-of-the art technology of a leading data center? 

A provider of hosting services may choose to store their data in one of many places. They may choose to leverage a world-class data center architecture like US Signal’s. Conversely, they may choose to collocate hardware that they already own in a data center. Or they may choose, like many managed services providers do, to leverage a proprietary data center, most often located in their home office. 

Colocation is not uncommon among first steps in the cloud. If you own hardware already, and would like to leverage a world-class data center, colocation is a logical option. But for cloud providers, owning hardware becomes a losing war of attrition. Hardware doesn’t stay current, and unless its being procured in large quantities, it’s expensive. These costs often get passed along to the customer. Worse still, it encourages providers to skimp on redundancy, making their offerings less scalable and less robust in the event of disaster events. 

Proprietary data centers add several layers of concern to the colocation option. In addition to the hardware ownership challenges, the provider is not responsible for all the infrastructure responsibilities that come with data center administration, such as redundant power, cooling, physical security, and network connectivity.

Moreover, proprietary data centers often lack the geo-diversity that comes with a larger provider. Beyond infrastructure, security is a monumental responsibility for a data center provider, and many smaller providers struggle to keep up with evolving threats. In fact, Estes recently onboarded a customer who came to us due to their Managed Service Provider’s propriety data center getting hacked and ransomed. 

Is the cloud provider hosting out of a public cloud data center? 

Public cloud environments operate in multi-tenant configurations where customers contend with one another for resources. Resource contention means that when one customer’s resource consumption spikes, the performance experienced by the other customers in the shared tenant will likely suffer. Moreover, many multi-tenant environments lack the firewall isolation present in private cloud infrastructures, which increases security concerns. Isolated environments are generally safer environments. 

Is the cloud provider proactively compliant?

Compliance is more than the adherence to accounting standards — it is a means to guarantee that your provider is performing the necessary due diligence in order to ensure the business practices of an organization do not create vulnerabilities that can compromise the security and reliability assertions of the provider. What compliance and auditing standards does your cloud provider adhere to?

Is your cloud provider compliant according to their own hardware vendor’s standards?

Hardware providers, such as Cisco, for instance, offer auditing services, to ensure their hardware is being reliably deployed. Ensure that your provider adheres to their vendor’s standards. How about penetration testing? Is your provider performing external penetration testing to ensure PCI security compliance? In terms of industry standard compliance frameworks, such as HIPAA, PCI/DCC, and SOC I and SOC II, ensure that your provider is being routinely audited. Leveraging industry standards through compliance regulation best practices can go a long way to make sure they are not letting their guards down. 

What kind of campus connectivity is offered between your data centers and the outside world?

Low national latency is of utmost importance from a customer perspective. Efficient data transfer between the data centers themselves and from a given data center to the outside world is fundamental to a cloud customer. Achieving transactional efficiency is achieved in multiple ways.

For a network to be efficient, the data itself must take as few “hops” from one network to another. This is best achieved through tight partnerships between the data center and both the national and regional ISPs that service individual organizations.

Within the data center network, an efficient infrastructure is helpful. US Signal, for instance, has a 14K mile network fiber backbone connecting its data centers and connecting them to regional transfer stations. This allows US Signal to support 3 ms latency between its 9 data centers, and to physically connect with over 90 national ISPs. This results in an extremely low national latency.

What kinds of backup and disaster recovery solutions can be bundled with your cloud solutions?

Fundamental to a cloud deployment is the ability to provide redundancy in the event of a disaster. Disaster recovery is necessary to sustaining an environment, whether on premise or in the cloud. But a disaster recovery solution must adhere to rigorous standards of its own if it is to be effective. Physical separation between a primary and secondary sight is one such baseline need. Additionally, the disaster recovery solution needs to be sufficiently air-gapped, in order to hit your desired RPO and RTO targets, while avoiding potential cross-contamination between platforms due to an event of hacking, viruses, or ransomware.

What kinds of uptime and reliability guarantees are offered by your data center?

All of the above aspects of a data center architecture should ultimately result in greater uptime for the cloud consumer. The major public data center providers are notorious for significant outages, and this has deleterious effects on customers of these services. Similarly, smaller providers may lack the infrastructure that can support rigorous uptime standards. When choosing a provider, make sure to understand the resiliency and reliable uptime of the supporting platform. EstesGroup can offer a 100% uptime SLA when hosted in our cloud with recovery times not achievable by the public cloud providers.

Uptime has a planned/unplanned component that must also be considered. Many larger cloud providers do not give advanced warning when instances will be shut down for upgrades, which can be extremely disruptive for consumers, and result in a loss of control that conflicts with daily business initiatives. Ensure that planned downtime is a service that is communicated and understood before it happens. 

How scalable is the overall platform?

Scalability has to do with flexibility and speed. How flexible can the resources of an individual virtual machine (VM) be tweaked and how quickly can these changes be made. Ideally, your cloud provider provides dynamic resource pool provisioning — this allows for dynamic allocation of computing resources when and where they are needed.

Some provider environments support “auto-scaling,” which can dynamically create and terminate instances, but they may not allow for dynamic resource changes to an existing instance. In these cases, if a customer wishes to augment resources of any instance, it must be terminated and rebuilt using the desired instance options provided by other providers. This can be problematic. Additionally, provisioning, whether to a new VM or an existing one, should be quick, and not require a long lead time to complete. Ensure that your cloud provider specifies the lapsed time required to provision and re-provision resources.

What are the data movement costs?

The costs associated with the movement of data can significantly impact your total cloud costs. These are normally applied as a toll fee that accumulates based on the amount of data that moves over a given time. So these costs can be unpredictable. But what kinds of data movements occur?

  • Data ingress: data moving into the storage location, as it is being uploaded.
  • Data egress: data out of the storage location, as it is being downloaded. 

Data centers rarely charge for ingress movement — they like the movement of data into their network. But many will charge for data egress. This means that if you want your data back, they may charge you for it.

Sometimes these fees even occur when data is moving within the provider’s network, between regions and instances. If you’re looking for a cloud provider, check the fine print to determine whether egress fees are applied, and estimate your data movement, to understand your total cost. EstesGroup gives you symmetrical internet data transfer with no egress charges, so your data movement does not result in additional charges. This means that your cloud costs are predictable.

Does the cloud provider offer robust support?

Downtime can come from one of many situations. Your ISP could experience an outage, and may need to fail over to your secondary provider.  Or you may encounter an email phishing scam resulting in a local malware attack.  Or you may experience an outage, due to a regional power grid issue. In these extenuating circumstances, you may find yourself in need of contacting your cloud provider in a hurry.

As such, you’ll want a provider that offers robust pre-sales and post-sales support that is available 24/7/365. Many providers offer high-level support only if you subscribe to an additional support plan, which is an additional monthly cost. Wait times are also an issue — you may have a support plan, but the support may be slow and cumbersome. Look for a cloud provider that will guarantee an engineer in less than 60 seconds, 24/7/365.

Are you ready for a tour of one of the best data centers in the world? Meet with the EstesCloud team to get the right cloud strategy for your business.

Staff Security Training Tips: What You Get Is What You Click

Staff Security Training Tips: What You Get Is What You Click

Security Training for Your Employees is Critical in Times of Pandemic and Political Unrest

Do you have a “get this spam away from me” approach to digital communication management? It can be tempting to be strict, to set privacy and filtering settings at the max and limit online interactions from strangers. However, our email boxes often lead us to opportunities and relationships that will ensure future business success. With this in mind, we’d like to help you understand how staff security training allows you to keep your business open to outside communication while preventing a data breach.

Staff Security Training Secure Network Secure Server Grid

Digital Stranger Danger

Clicking on links is often something we do without thinking, so it’s important to provide staff security training that truly tests an employee’s impulsive online behaviors. Business owners can incorporate fraudulent link prevention strategies into routine security assessments, testing, and training by hiring a cybersecurity firm to randomly test users. This provides real data about user behavior in both the traditional office and in remote office settings.

Fake Link Identification and Education

Training your staff to know how to see a hacking attempt is considered a proactive cybersecurity strategy. Some business owners out there are comfortable with risk and choose a reactive strategy to security breaches.

Proactive Security

  • Backup and disaster recovery planning
  • Staff security training
  • Network assessments and testing

Reactive Security

  • Paying a ransomware fee to recover business data
  • Issuing a cyber incident alert after a breach
  • Testing backups and live system data for malware after a breach

If your goal is to prevent a security breach, then you need a proactive strategy, and this should entail staff security training.

Malicious Link Monitoring

To some business owners, a “bad” link is anything clicked that threatens privacy. In a world of email communication and marketing (often invited through a subscribe button), it’s best to train staff to recognize fake links, rather than to broadly and strictly limit communication to the outside world. However, robust endpoint security options might be your best option if you own highly sensitive data. You wouldn’t want a potential customer to end up in a spam folder, but you don’t want to risk losing compliance certifications, either. If you give your employees the tools and training needed to recognize hacking attempts, then you can safely do business online without the worries of ransomware.

URL Verification

Our top recommendation is to train your employees to observe all web addresses, or URLs. Phishing attempts often use recognized brands to trick you. With security training, your staff learns how to quickly recognize imitation URLs. Once you recognize the common patterns of cybercriminals, you can easily recognize links posing as legitimate companies. A URL might include an underscore or other symbol that doesn’t appear in the original web address.

Website verification falls into a spectrum of risk — like anything else in the world of cybersecurity. You might decide to train staff to be more aware of common edits hackers make to URLs. You might go further and train users how to right click on the address to gather more information about the hyperlink. You might use tighter measures in order to meeting compliance regulations for handling sensitive data:

  • Anti-phishing software
  • Virtual isolation protocols
  • Outsourced managed IT security

Education is readily available for your staff. The Phish Scale, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is an excellent example of free training available on their website.

Even the most careful clickers can fall into a hacker’s trap. This frequently happens when the name of a legitimate company is used as a malicious hyperlink.

Email Monitoring

How full is your “Junk Email” box? Smart mailboxes usually send suspicious, or unknown, emails to a junk folder. Some programs go one step further and prevent a user from opening a “junk” or “spam” email unless it it first moved to an inbox. Email monitoring software often comes with a free trial period, so you can gauge how effective the solution is at preventing security risks through a spam filter for incoming emails.

How can you prevent your staff from opening junk email? Phishing scams result in more than 90% of security breaches in some geographical areas, with around 3 out of every 4 American businesses falling prey to an email-based cyberattack.

Because of the prevalence of phishing attacks, email monitoring needs to include a human. Software is a step in the right direction, but staff security training makes your cybersecurity solution more effective. 

  • Employees gain email monitoring skills that complement antivirus and malware monitoring solutions
  • Employees learn how to identify the authenticity of websites and URLs, email addresses and emails, phone numbers and text messages, as well as other contact information sources that could be altered to trigger malicious attacks
  • Employees develop intuition for recognition of a cyberattack and learn how to launch a proactive security alert to coworkers 
  • Employees learn how to train and test one another, creating a self-monitoring environment conducive to productivity

Email boxes are a common information security risk for unauthorized access to company information, as well as personal information. View your mail server as a data security risk, and see your junk email folder as a soft problem-solving step toward more robust protection like full server monitoring intrinsic to a private cloud hosted environment.

Cyber threats are getting smarter and can take advantage of an operating system that needs to be patched or of a user mindlessly clicking on a “junk e mail” posing as a junk email. Small edits can help phishing attacks get through even the best software, and can trick even the most suspicious and judicious humans. If you need more robust technical support than your internal IT team can offer, then partner with a managed service provider (MSP) like EstesGroup for expertise when you need it.

IT Support and Staff Security Training Services for Your Business

EstesGroup is a leader in the fusion of cutting-edge enterprise resource planning (ERP), business software solutions, and human talent. If you are concerned about the rise in successful phishing attacks and other malicious cyberthreats, then you should sign up for a free technology assessment today. You are a short phone call away from knowing if you need a more advanced security audit or even a penetration test. For more security tips, please register for one of our virtual events. Do you have an immediate cybersecurity concern? Talk to an IT support specialist now.

Who Knows What You’re Doing For Data Privacy Week?

Who Knows What You’re Doing For Data Privacy Week?

The EstesGroup 2022 data privacy initiative focuses on educating businesses on best practices for collecting data and promoting transparency, respect, and security.

Every second, EstesGroup cybersecurity experts work to protect the data of our customers, our employees, our partners, and our friends. In this spirit, we are once again a Data Privacy Week Champion. As one of the leading cloud providers in the nation, we know full well how important it is to recognize and support the principle that all organizations share the responsibility of protecting information.

Data Privacy Week 2022 Champion

Data Privacy Week Raises Awareness Within Organizations

The COVID-19 pandemic has blurred private environments, like bedrooms and living rooms, into corporate offices, given our increased dependence on remote workforces. A universal respect for privacy has never been more important: the pandemic has also increased international attacks on American businesses, and this has left the homes of remote workers vulnerable to cyberthreats most common in traditional office settings.

EstesGroup helps businesses manage data through advanced cloud-based solutions that offer the protection levels trusted by medical record keepers, law offices, manufacturers, distributors, and more. We promise to guard our clients at every level possible:

We protect online data, and we secure offline data with the same robust approach to risk management that makes even the most sensitive information safe in the hands of our IT staff.

We prevent unauthorized access and ensure that compliance regulations are not only met, but exceeded.

We secure employees wherever they are and train them to protect themselves against the perils of digital harm.

We educate our customers so that they handle their data wisely and keep everyone in their networks and supply chains safe from cyberthreats.

Data collection is only increasing, and the risks are following suit.

The Pew Research Center reports that 79% of adults in the United States are worried about the security of their data as it is handled by organizations. Here are a few tips to earn the trust of your employees and customers by deploying secure privacy management strategies:

  • Save now, secure now: There is no room for procrastination in cybersecurity. If you save the data, protect it.
  • Go now, know now: Choose your cyber pathways wisely, and know who in your company is traveling where and ensure that you are documenting digital tracks so that a breach can be traced after disaster strikes.
  • Collect now, share now: If you are collecting information, inform your employees and customers about how you are saving, using, and sharing information through clear and concise policies that abide by privacy laws.
  • Behave now, train now: Know how to behave and train your employees to do likewise.

Understand Data Privacy

  1. Get a free cyber health check from EstesGroup.
  2. Sign up for a full security audit at least once a year.
  3. Enroll in educational programs at least once a year so that you’re fully informed about how the digital landscape is changing.

Manage Data Privacy

  1. Distribute and post current policies to all employees.
  2. Delete unused applications and move vulnerable data offline using secure backup plans.
  3. Use firewalls, encryption, cybersecurity solutions, and disaster recovery planning services.
  4. Move operations into a private or hybrid cloud environment for the most control over your data, ensuring cybersecurity and privacy at every endpoint.
  5. Ensure that your partners and vendors have up-to-date privacy measures in place so that your employees and customers are also protected in your extended network.

For more information regarding adoption of a robust privacy framework to meet industry compliance regulations, please learn more about NIST. If you would like help understanding the details of NIST Privacy Framework, AICPA Privacy Management Framework, ISO/IEC 27701 – International Standard for Privacy Information Management, please contact the EstesCloud team.

As privacy management champions, we have your back — and can manage your backup, too.

Two Sides to Every Cloud ERP Adoption Story

Two Sides to Every Cloud ERP Adoption Story

Understanding Your Move to the Cloud

Cloud adoption is often as unique as your company culture. However, the common benefits of cloud adoption abound. You can save time and money while increasing security, availability, and scalability. If you choose a cloud-based ERP deployment, what do you need for a successful cloud migration? Do you need to have a Shakespearean team ready to write the future story of your company? Once on the stage, will your cloud adoption tale be a tragedy or a comedy? Let’s try to understand the people behind your move to the cloud to better write your cloud adoption plan.

  • Cloud experts (consultants, migration specialists, engineers)
  • Enterprise resource planning experts (ERP consultants, trained employees)
  • Decision makers (steering committee members, owners, leaders)
  • Cloud ERP users (internal staff, external support)
  • Data center staff (consultants, architects, engineers, help desk team members)
Cloud Adoption Cloud ERP Adoption Plan

Do you need cloud-savvy ERP experts on your team?

Make better decisions when moving your business applications to the cloud by balancing your decision-making team with your hands-on enterprise resource planning (ERP) talent. You can save even more time and money by supporting your in-house managers with ERP and cloud ERP consultants or experts when needed.

Quick Cloud ERP Adoption Planning Tip

An independent ERP consultancy can offer you an unbiased view of your decisions ahead, especially when it comes to newer technology and software releases. 

Who will write your first line of cloud code?

Choosing a cloud for an ERP system might begin with someone on your IT team who has a progressive vision for the technological management of your company. Or, an ERP system, like Epicor Kinetic or Epicor Prophet 21, might be purchased simultaneously with cloud ERP project team formation and then guided by key players, such as company owners, CEOs, CIOs, and onward.

Understanding Your Business Cloud Requirements

A cloud ERP vendor might try to convince you that Software as a Service (SaaS) is your best, even your only, option. However, before you sign up for a data migration to a public cloud, consider private cloud or hybrid cloud platforms

An ERP solution adapts to your unique cloud strategy. Once you understand your cloud ERP solution options and decide that your project plan should indeed migrate away from on-premise infrastructure, it’s time to solidify teams and team strategies. Your ERP implementation team needs both thinkers and doers.

The Thinkers

Your steering group will monitor the progress of your project ensuring it stays on track to complete on time and on budget. This group also will provide support for the project making sure needed resources are available to the project as needed and helping to backfill when those resources are taken from another part of the business.

The project manager is part of this group. Regularly the project manager will provide status reports and predictions for the immediate future of the project. An executive sponsor represents top management and is part of the steering group. That person will report project status to the C-level team. 

When there is a champion who was instrumental in moving the software acquisition along and likes their role keeping the business excited about the prospect the software will bring, that champion should be on the steering group. Some representation from departments and functions that will use the new software might also have a seat in this group.

The Doers

Your cloud ERP implementation team should include leaders from departments across the business. They are directly involved in the overall implementation of this software and its IT infrastructure and, in most cases, they and their peers will use the new software daily. Most of the people in this group will be full-time talent serving on the software project but will keep in contact with their former co-workers in the functions they came from.

Often people who were group managers get assigned to this group, but there is no reason to limit the team to managers or former managers. Team members should be passionate about the new ERP system, its infrastructure, and the benefits expected. They should be very knowledgeable in their particular function and have some expertise in the use of the ERP software and process flows throughout the business. 

Members of the cloud ERP implementation team will coordinate work in sub-teams that will test transactions related to their functional area. As testing progresses, cloud ERP team members will coordinate testing that extends to more than one function.

This group of people must keep in contact with their previous functional groups ensuring they know about any new changes or challenges. Managers of those functions will want to know the progress of the software implementation and will want to make choices when options in the implementation arise.

This team will help set up training and the training processes that will be used to share knowledge developed during implementation with the users who will need that knowledge to do their work with the new system.

Implementation team members do not need to be information technology gurus. They should understand some basic concepts related to IT and databases. This team will be directly involved in capturing legacy data and moving that data to the new software and, ultimately, to the cloud infrastructure of your choosing.

Look for the following indicators of a successful cloud adoption plan execution when choosing your cloud provider, your data center, and your cloud ERP implementation partner:

  • Is this a vendor trying to upsell you? Can a vendor-managed SaaS ERP system support your growing business?
  • Can your cloud provider meet your budget needs while adapting to your project timeline?
  • Does your cloud provider have a strong history and good reputation?
  • Does your cloud provider’s data center meet your needs for uptime and security?
  • Does your potential cloud ERP partner provide staff that will fit into your ERP culture?
  • Will the cloud provider understand your enterprise resource planning methodology and serve as a source of expertise for your ERP software and the full spectrum of its deployment options?

Will cloud ERP adoption improve your business today?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software implementation is a long, challenging commitment that involves dozens of people working together toward a common goal. Your go-live in the cloud will be one of the most rewarding and promising days in your company’s story. You can expect immediate results as soon as your team is empowered by both the software and its underlying technology.

To begin work as cloud ERP implementation team members, training is key. Your cloud provider will enroll your team in an in-depth training for your new cloud-based ERP system. Your team will learn how cloud computing works, especially from the cybersecurity aspect, and will quickly become astute through real-time support for the new business processes. Part of the training will be introductions to developers and system support personnel at your cloud provider. Implementation team members will not need to solve every problem but will know where to look for the answers.

EstesGroup provides on-premise ERP expertise while also fully supporting cloud migrations to private clouds, hybrid clouds, and SaaS projects. Are you ready to take advantage of internet connectivity to move beyond on-site servers? Do you need help building a cloud ERP plan for 2022? We have Epicor Kinetic ERP hosting, Epicor Prophet 21 ERP hosting, Sage hosting, and Syspro hosting experts standing by, ready to answer your questions about cloud migrations for both new and old ERP systems. Our experts can help you meet your business requirements so that you stay competitive while reducing cost across your infrastructure.

5 Signs Your Business Needs Cybersecurity Training

5 Signs Your Business Needs Cybersecurity Training

Cybersecurity Education Begins With Ownership

Small and medium sized business owners beware! 65% of attacks that originate in cyberspace are aimed at companies that think they’re too small to be of interest to cybercriminals. If you think you’re at low risk, read on and see why our IT security consultants recommend cybersecurity training for everyone.

Cybersecurity Training Hacker in Network Security Lock

Are you a small business owner? Or are you a once-small company now grown into the medium range of corporate presence? When it comes to cybersecurity solutions for businesses, you always have to structure your services and behavior to prepare as if you’re bigger than you are. This involves a comprehensive security solution that covers your entire company network, from suppliers to employees. Do you have an enterprise-level cybersecurity strategy that protects every connection and end user from digital harm?

If you own a business, you know how precious your data is to daily operations. Profitability depends on good data management behaviors. Because all companies are vulnerable to hackers, your data should be presumed insecure. Cybersecurity should be a proactive approach to cybercrime, rather than a reactive (disaster recovery) move.

Are you on a cybercrime watchlist?

Breaches happen, even to the most prepared companies. Therefore, your risk management policies should be revisited frequently. Business owners should be part of this process. A board of advisors might be beneficial, and it can be cost-effective to outsource this high-level cybersecurity work to a virtual CIO or to a firm with the technology skills that guarantee security for your data.

What happens when a hacker is watching your business?

It takes about a half of a year for business owners to become aware that a hacker has breached the network. It also takes about two months to react to a cyber attack. 

Here are five signs your business is at risk and in need of cybersecurity training:

1. You are a small or medium size business.

Far less likely to report cybercrime to the authorities, small and midsized companies are viewed by hackers as a low-risk target. Manufacturers and distributors are often looking to scale, and maintaining a good reputation is key to a successful future. As a growing business, you wouldn’t want your reputation to include a history of victimization by way of ransomware.

2. You think it’s a small problem or that someone else is addressing the issue of cyber safety.

Fear of expense often prevents small and midsize manufacturers and distributors from securing the technology solutions and services they need to protect their data. A good backup solution isn’t enough, even though this is what many company owners depend on for risk management. When planning your IT department budget, price out outsourced help, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. Often, the experts at an IT managed services provider (MSP) will be more friendly to the budget than on-site technology staff.

3. You think you need to cut the IT budget… but IT costs are actually decreasing.

Firewalls and phishing filters are a necessity these days. Due to a mix of popularity and availability, technology cost trends show that business owners can get enterprise-level technology services with affordable pricing. Cloud-based IT services, such as SECaaS (Security as a Service) look at the unique needs of your business and adjust pricing accordingly. Only pay for what you need.

4. Your employees don’t know what they don’t know.

Cybersecurity training might be the most important activity you schedule for the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. The time is now. Hackers take advantage of poorly trained employees on a daily basis. 95% of security breaches are successful because of human error. Train, train, and train again. Technology is an ever-evolving field, and this ripples into the dark web as cutting-edge malware. Protecting your talented staff from the dark web is key to employee retention in today’s culture.

Fortunately, cyber education is often free online. Formal training is easy on the budget. If you have a million customers relying on your manufacturing operations to maintain uptime, your cyber security plan needs to defend more than credit card numbers and social security numbers. You need an IT solution that comprehensively protects the countless connections along your supply chain, right down to the home offices of your remote workers. 

Sign up for a ransomware simulation attack today to see if your employees are ready for disaster. Employees are eager to learn security breach mitigation strategies because their personal information is at risk in the event of a data leak. Information security begins with security training.

5. You’re likely to pay the ransom if you are attacked.

More than half of small businesses pay a ransom. Reasons revolve around damage control: you definitely don’t want your data or your reputation harmed by a ransomware attack, so in the moment you are likely to pay the attacker. If you think you’d be likely to pay a ransomer to get your data back, then you stand unprepared. Once you have a solid cybersecurity plan in place with a crew of talented IT staff to support your solutions, you’ll know that you’ll never pay a hacker a dime of your earnings. In the event that you experience a breach, you’ll know that you have an incident response plan that won’t involve a ransom payment.

Today’s cyber landscape is riddled with massive corporations hitting the news for million-dollar ransomware attacks. When was your last security audit? It’s better to act as a big little company in a technology culture in which the hackers are frequently more skilled than even the best IT staff.

  • Empower your workers with the best solutions so that they can use their talents to their full extent.
  • Prevent identity theft of employees by securing personal data and corporate data.
  • Bring in a white hat hacker to test both onsite and remote cybersecurity solutions and services.

Can your staff respond properly to a data breach? Do you have an incident response plan clearly delineated so that all employees understand your disaster recovery process? Have employees been thoroughly trained to recognize cyber threats lurking in their email accounts as phishing attempts?

Cybersecurity training involves both on-premise and cloud-based breach mitigation techniques. EstesGroup offers coast-to-coast onsite and cloud IT services, including everything from project and budget planning to education and monitoring.