Managed IT Services Help Businesses Cope With a Crisis

The Covid-19 crisis is forcing many businesses to operate in a modified disaster recovery mode, with limited on-site staff. For businesses that rely on IT consulting or managed services, coping with this challenge will be easier due to services such as:

Remote support

When managed services include remote support, you’re already prepared for COVID-19 or any other disaster that prevents normal operations at your data center. Managed services can ensure your virtual desktop infrastructure is capable of supporting the load and provide help to employees who need assistance accessing their applications remotely.

24×7 monitoring

Coping with outages is tough at any time, worse when there’s chaos outside. The around-the-clock monitoring provided by managed services means problems are detected and correct before they impact end users. This is especially important when users are already stressed by the unfamiliar situation of remote work or reduced on-site staff

Experts on call

When teams lack technical expertise, they stumble through problem resolutions. Managed services mean you’ve already got experts assigned to keep your business running; you don’t have to scramble to find help in the middle of a crisis.

Staffing support

When in-house staff are unavailable, the service provider’s team provides a supplement, ensuring you’ve got adequate resources to perform key technology operations.

Backup and disaster recovery support

Managed services ensure your backup and recovery solution work properly. During the crisis, this is important for two reasons: 1) you may be relying on your disaster recovery strategy for day-to-day operations. 2) because of the existing staff disruptions, responding to any new disaster will be more difficult than usual.

Security when you’re most vulnerable

There’s been an increase in hacking efforts targeting remote workers. In addition, staffing limitations mean businesses are finding it harder to monitor networks and respond to potential intrusions. Managed services mean your systems are protected with all current patches, automated alerts ensure that potential threats are not missed, and security experts are prepared to respond to problems.

These benefits of managed services help protect businesses when they’re stressed during a crisis, and they also help companies function more smoothly during routine business operations as well. With managed services handling IT support, companies can remain confident of their capacity to operate no matter the situation in the world outside the office. Contact CCS Technology Group to learn more about the benefits of our managed services.

Additional Managed Services Resources

Solve Shadow IT Problems with Managed Services

The Metrics That Mean You Need Managed Services

5 Reasons Managed Services Are Good For Your Business

Don’t Let Cloud Costs Keep You from Experiencing Cloud Benefits

The most challenging part of cloud may not be technology. Cloud providers usually offer lots of support to help their customers migrate to cloud and leverage cloud solutions. That’s in their best interest. But they may not offer as much support to help you manage your cloud spending. After all, the more you spend on cloud, the more they profit.

Easy to Spend Too Much on Cloud

It’s easy to spend too much on cloud:

  • Unneeded services cost money. There are often free trials of cloud services, and those are a great way to test out cloud offerings. However, if you don’t properly turn off those trials, eventually you end up with real charges. In addition, there are many environments that you need only for a short time, such as development and test servers. Forgetting to disable them after a project completes results in unnecessary expense. Even production servers lead to unnecessary charges; systems that don’t process 24 hours a day continue to accrue expenses when they’re left up overnight.
  • Everyone has access to cloud services. Cloud is a self-service environment, which means it bypasses traditional approval, purchasing, and provisioning processes. Anyone can spin up a cloud service, meaning unapproved and uncontrolled spending is common.
  • Scalability is ignored. Because cloud is highly agile, systems can scale on demand, so they should be sized to meet current requirements without additional spare capacity. This is in contrast to traditional IT approaches that keep excess capacity available in advance of need. If systems are migrated as-is to the cloud, or old planning methods aren’t updated, businesses end up paying unnecessarily for this unused capacity.
  • Spending doesn’t leverage discounts. Cloud providers often have different pricing models that can provide discounts. These can be in the form of reserved instances, where you commit to a specified level of cloud utilization, or by bidding for spot instances, where you use capacity when the provider has unused resources.
  • Workloads are migrated “as is.” In the rush to migrate to cloud, “lift and shift” is a popular, fast approach; this approach doesn’t attempt to rearchitect workloads to take better advantage of cloud capabilities but simply duplicates them in the cloud. If workloads aren’t analyzed properly before the migration, lift and shift can result in migrating spare capacity from the data center to the cloud, as well. Learn how to calculate the ROI of moving to the cloud.
  • Monitoring and managing costs is difficult. Cloud projects are often initiated at the departmental level rather than at the corporate IT level, so costs are difficult to track. In addition, multicloud infrastructure means there is more than one cloud and it’s difficult to get an overall picture of cloud utilization and cloud costs.

Get Cloud Costs Under Control

In order to keep cloud from consuming the entire IT budget, companies need to keep an eye on their cloud spending. Tools can help companies through features such as:

  • Size calculators and cost estimators. Almost every cloud provider has calculators and estimators available to help you select the most appropriate and cost-effective technology. These tools help choose the right-size instance and evaluate whether reserved instances would lead to savings.
  • Automation. Automation can help ensure that cost-saving policies such as end-of-day shutdowns are consistently applied across the entire cloud infrastructure.
  • Cost analytics. Analytics tools collect cloud spending from all your platforms and provide a consolidated view of usage and utilization, along with tools to drill down into the data to understand usage.

Cloud services from CCS Technology Group help you keep an eye on both your cloud infrastructure and your cloud spending. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of cloud services from CCS Technology Group.

Additional Cloud Resources

6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure

Choose the Right Approach for Moving Applications to the Cloud

Why SMBs Should Upgrade to the Cloud

ERP Evaluation Checklist: 5 Important Things to Consider

What kind of ERP solution should you get for your business? Or, if you already own ERP software, the question may be more along the lines of “How should I upgrade my ERP?” To help you in your decision making process, Acumatica has devised a useful ERP evaluation checklist. We highly recommend it. If nothing else, you will find it thought-provoking as you assess your business management software options.

The checklist suggests looking at ERP from five separate angles:

  1. Productivity, i.e. how an ERP solution can make you and your staff more productive
  2. Functionality, i.e. what the solution actually does regarding daily accounting and business management functions and beyond
  3. Technology, i.e. how the product leverages technology in terms of usability, customizability and maintainability
  4. Value, i.e. how the product maximizes features and functions versus cost for the usable lifetime of the product
  5. Risk, i.e. how the product minimizes risk and facilitate security

Each of these angles translates into a detailed focus area on the checklist. Under productivity, for instance, the checklist contains nine questions. They touch on subjects like how easy the solution is to learn and whether it offers Wikis. Here are a few highlights.

Productivity

The checklist asks if the solution provides true universal availability. Is there access to the ERP system from any device, anytime? Does it enable employees to work from home, or on late/weekend shifts out of the office. Can personnel in the field use it on mobile devices? These have been good questions for some time now, especially given how limited certain legacy ERP solutions can be when it comes to mobility and universal availability. However, in the current moment, when virtually every American is working from home, it’s absolutely essential.

Functionality

The Functionality section of the checklist raises the issue of multi-entity accounting. This won’t be a big issue for some businesses. However, if you operate more than one corporate entity, multi-entity financial management and reporting functionality can be big time-savers. The checklist asks if a proposed ERP solution can support multi-company, multi-warehouse and international companies. It probes whether the solution can deal with financial consolidation between multiple entities, intercompany eliminations and reconciliations. These are all time-consuming and error-prone workflows if they have to be done by hand, toggling between separate accounting systems.

Technology

Business managers who evaluate ERP options may relegate the technology questions to the IT department. This is sensible, up to a point, but it’s wise to  understand as much as possible about the technology you’re buying. The checklist poses questions that are certainly relatable to a non-technologist. For instance, it asks if all functionality of an ERP solution is accessible through the Internet. This is natural for a cloud ERP like Acumatica, but it is not guaranteed by every ERP vendor. If a solution requires a separate software installation on the user’s device, that’s a reason to be circumspect about adopting it. That software will be something to maintain for all time.

These are just a few of the interesting details contained in the checklist. If you’re interested, we can walk you through the checklist and address the inevitable questions that arise. That’s the whole point of the checklist, in any case. It’s meant to make everyone smarter about their ERP choices. We can help fill in the blanks and point out where certain features and functions could benefit your unique business situation. Contact us to learn more or see a demo of Acumatica.

Additional ERP Evaluation Resources

Compare the Top 14 Cloud ERP Solutions

6 Signs Your Business Has Outgrown QuickBooks

Why Growing Companies Need ERP Software

Acumatica Cloud ERP: Distribution Case Studies

As an Acumatica partner, we have worked with many clients on the implementation of Acumatica Distribution Management Software. It’s a cloud-native ERP solution purpose-built for companies in the distribution business. The software helps companies manage supply chain and logistics activities, including inventory and warehouse management, procurement and order management.

Clients can add modules for Requisition Management, Purchase Order Management and Advanced Financials. They can also integrate fully with Acumatica Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Field Service, Manufacturing, Finance and Accounting and Project Accounting.

International Pipe Gains CRM, Boosts Productivity with Acumatica

Acumatica has racked up an impressive portfolio of customer success stories for its Distribution Management Software. For example, a pipe and supply business found the software’s ability to manage distribution data to be helpful in running the company. As their Chief Strategy Officer put it, “Acumatica allows my focus to be more on the business rather than wondering where I go to find the information I need. Knowledge is power and the quicker you can get to the knowledge, the better off you are.”

Key Results: 

  • Saved hours and greatly increased productivity with easy-to-use software
  • Gained sales lead tracking and CRM
  • Reduced time to close monthly books from 15 days to 3
  • Achieved visibility throughout three companies and 15 pipe yards
  • Built custom dashboards and reporting functionality to make better data-driven decisions
  • Replaced manual Excel spreadsheets, saving time

View the full case study here.

Rapid Field Service Growth Demands Flexible, Affordable ERP

An IT Manager at an oilfield services company echoed this sentiment, saying, “Acumatica allows us to concentrate on the business itself while not worrying about the software. All the data goes into one database, so it’s one version of truth.”

Key Results:

  • Gained a high-value, affordable foundation that can handle rapid growth
  • Gained transparency into operations, finance and inventory
  • Streamlined operations and processes
  • Avoided $175,000 in user-fee costs and about $250,000 in customization charges
  • Acquired foundation to scale operations including field services

View the full case study here.

Superprem Industries Moves to the Cloud to Gain Insights and Empower Employees

Other business managers praised Acumatica Distribution Management Software for its usability. A Chief Business Development Officer at a furniture and fixtures business remarked, “I am constantly amazed with how Acumatica seems to just ‘work.’ Anything we seem to imagine the system could do, we’ve been able to make happen without the assistance of external modifications.”

Key Results: 

  • Gained deeper insight into warehouse distribution operations
  • Improved inventory tracking and invoicing
  • Saved hours by streamlining and automating accounting tasks
  • Provided fast mobile access to financial data
  • Improved and streamlined company-wide communication

View the full case study here.

Indonesia’s OneMed Gains Affordable Foundation for Rapid Growth

Users also value the solution’s efficiency. According to a Co-Owner & Development Manager at a healthcare equipment company, “Acumatica will speed up our business process and make us more efficient, benefiting our business as well as the clients we serve.”

Key Results:

  • Gained an affordable system for rapid growth with unlimited user licenses
  • Eliminated computer crash delays that hindered staff productivity
  • Recouped days wasted waiting for financial reports
  • Collected crucial information previously uncaptured
  • Saved money by not outsourcing report creation
  • Achieved peace of mind by not worrying about system crashes

View the full case study here.

Fast Growing Global Beauty Care Unleashes Growth with Acumatica ERP

Other customers liked Acumatica’s licensing model. A Director of Operations & IT at a beauty supply business commented. “Almost every other ERP software charges monthly per user, which inevitably has executives trying to limit how many people really need simultaneous access. Acumatica’s novel way of charging based on transactions is well-suited for future growth.”

Key Results

  • Process data faster with fewer workarounds and errors
  • Gained a real-time financial view of the entire operation
  • Revolutionized the way they paid factories, eliminated potential invoicing errors
  • Avoided additional headcount needed with increased transactions
  • Saved money and avoided expensive per-user licensing enabling more users to access the system
  • Achieved easier to access data through use of generic inquiries and dashboards
  • Increased productivity so the Director of Operations could grow sales rather than worry about IT

View the full case study here.

Learn More About Distribution Management

These are just a few examples of customers expressing their success stories with Acumatica Distribution Management software. If you think your company could follow this path to operational improvements using Acumatica for distribution, contact us for a free consultation and product demo.

Additional Distribution Resources

Optimize Your Quote-to-Cash Process and Improve Customer Service

Top Reasons for Installing a Warehouse Management System (WMS)

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

Why Every IT Executive Needs Cloud ERP Software

If you’re an IT lead for a business, should you want cloud ERP software? Setting any knee-jerk “love-the-cloud” vs. “hate-the-cloud” responses, the question is worth some discussion. In our view, every IT executive needs cloud ERP. The way you look at it may depend on how you envision your role in the business.

What we mean by “Cloud ERP”

First, let’s define what we mean by cloud ERP. In this article, the concept of cloud ERP refers to full-featured enterprise resource planning software, hosted in the cloud, with a complete range of business operations and financial functionality. It is not “ERP light.” Cloud ERP also means cloud-native software, built from the start to work in the cloud. Legacy ERP solutions that get ported the cloud have a number of innate difficulties that affect how well they can support the C-level IT exec’s mission.

Bear in mind, also, that cloud ERP might easily be part of a hybrid cloud strategy. It’s not all or nothing. Many companies are taking this approach. They’re adding cloud ERP functionality incrementally, phasing in new features while methodically phasing out on-premises systems as time and requirements permit.

What is your job?

This is not a trick question. The issue of whether you need cloud ERP will depend on your role, especially as it seen by senior management. If your job is to run a data center and support desktop machines, then cloud ERP might seem like an abstract concept or even a threat to your job security. If it isn’t hosted on-premises, what will you do all day?

However, if your job is to deploy technology for maximum business impact, then it shouldn’t matter where ERP is hosted. In that case, you will find a lot to like with cloud ERP. Cloud ERP enables you to get the most out of ERP without extensive IT support required. It takes many management and support hassles off your plate while providing a more flexible and quickly adaptable business management solution.

Plus, if your job involves managing IT as a cost center, cloud ERP can be transformative. There is a little to no Capital Expenditure (CapEx) with cloud ERP. As legacy ERP comes out of the data center or co-lo facility, you put those racks to new uses or stop using them altogether.

Reducing pain

Where does it hurt? Being an IT lead is a high-stress job. Cloud ERP can be a pain reliever, eliminating the difficulties that arise with disparate business systems, e.g. unsupported technology, proprietary application integration interferences, rigid architectures and poor analytics.

Acumatica cloud ERP, for example, is relatively easy to customize with standard development tools like Microsoft .NET and C#. It can integrate with other software products using standards-based APIs and Acumatica’s web services. Cloud-native ERP solutions like Acumatica also make it simple to deploy their full functionality to mobile devices and responsive webpages.

Cloud ERP then provides a streamlined path to sophisticated, organization-wide data analytics. If your job description includes helping the company make more strategic use of its data, cloud ERP is a great resource. The cloud makes it possible to ingest and store large volumes of data from multiple sources and deliver high-performing data visualization and reporting. You can give the people in your organization access to the data and tools they need to develop deep insights.

We have worked closely with many senior IT leaders on assessing the suitability of cloud ERP for their organizations. If you want to learn more about Acumatica cloud ERP and how it could help your business, let’s talk. Contact us for a free consultation and demo.

Additional ERP Resources

6 Signs Your Business Has Outgrown QuickBooks

How ERP Software Can Save Your Business Money

How ERP Software Solves Your Business’s Top Financial Management Challenges

3 Ways Technology Will Help Pull Us Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Many businesses and people are struggling as the COVID-19 Pandemic closes restaurants and bars, cancels events, and forces people to practice social-distancing. Technology on our side allows us to maintain productivity and ensure life will continue at a somewhat normal clip. We believe there are three key reasons why technology will pull us all through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

1) Remote Work Capabilities

You may have never dreamed you’d be writing up your next big report with your child sitting next to you playing their online educational game, but here we are. Many employers have sent their employees to work from home in an effort to quell the spread of COVID-19. With strong remote access or VPN, work continues without a great deal of interruption.

Learn more: 

2) Virtual Events/Streaming

Events organizers across the country are cancelling, postponing, or moving events online. Technology allows these events to continue without major hiccups. Artists taking to Facebook Live to perform, speakers moving to platforms like Microsoft Live Event, Zoom or YouTube, and church services across the world streaming only, reveals the tip of the iceberg when it comes to streaming technology.

3) Communication

Video chat, online messaging, email, and phone communication will keep the world connected through this difficult time. We’ll quickly see how important it is to connect with our fellow man for work, pleasure, and sanity.

It is unknown how long drastic measures stemming from COVID-19 will last, but with technology thankfully the world will continue to progress.

Learn more in How big tech is taking on COVID-19.

Advancement in technology is transforming how people communicate and collaborate in ways that were previously not possible. Learn more about Microsoft Teams here.

5 Tips for Successfully Working from Home

COVID-19 has forced event cancellations, school closures, and a consideration for remote work where possible. As more companies are sending their employees to work from home, we compiled this list of tips to be successful away from the office.

Reliable Internet

Nothing is more frustrating than having spotty Internet, especially when you’re trying to work on a big project through a remote access connection to your work computer. Most Internet packages available today will be fine. However, you might need to curb ancillary access of the Internet, like streaming and gaming, if you’re trying to do something more than upload and download documents. If your Internet seems slow, shut down and restart your router/modem. This can sometimes speed things up for a while.

Good Computer Hygiene

You know that “It’s time to update” pop-up that you’ve been avoiding for weeks? Take the time to update. This is most likely handled automatically by your IT team at the office, but your home system may be woefully behind, curbing your speed, as well as opening up unnecessary security holes. We recommend applying security patches as they are released, and keeping your computer up to date. Not sure if there are updates available? You can check in your computer’s control panel. You can also try simply restarting your system. Often, the updates will kick into gear.

To maximize effectiveness, watch the number of programs you’re attempting to run and browser windows you have open at any given time. Computers are not great multi-taskers, instead regularly switching between a multitude of processes (the instructions behind your applications) to complete commands. In fact, the number of processors in your system is the maximum number of things your computer can be “working” on at once, so if you’re seeing a drop-off in performance, take a moment to close a few programs not actively in use.

Connect Securely

In order to protect your business, don’t just install Microsoft Outlook on your personal computer and proceed to work as usual. Instead, connect through remote access software or VPN. This will allow you in to your traditional work desktop without risking business data in an open atmosphere. Consult with your IT team to review their plan for remote access as well as enterprise-grade antivirus before beginning remote work.

Establish Routine

When you go into the office, you have a clear routine. You come in, grab a cup of coffee, banter with your co-workers for a few minutes, sit down at your desk, and get to business. While it may be appealing to work in your pajamas, try to maintain as much normalcy as possible. Stick with a clear starting time and work schedule. Create an office space so that you’re not just piled up on the couch. Plan to get dressed and ready for the day, just like you’re going into the office.

Over-communicate

You may find yourself feeling isolated pretty quickly when working from home. This is likely because you’re missing out on the short interactions and general banter with your colleagues. We highly recommend setting up a daily touch-base with your team in order to discuss priorities, work through sticking points, and to simply connect with other human beings. Don’t be afraid to send more progress emails than normal. Utilize messaging apps liberally, and don’t underestimate the power of a video chat or meeting. If an email exchange is getting too longer (more than three replies back and forth without solving the problem) pick up the phone.

Working from home can be an extremely powerful tool. When done right you can be as productive, if not more so than at the office. Enjoy the opportunity presented by COVID-19 concerns to establish a new work normal, at least for a short period of time.

Additional Resources

7 Necessities Before Sending Your Workforce Remote

Improving Collaboration with Microsoft Teams

3 Ways Technology Will Help Pull Us Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

7 Necessities Before Sending Your Workforce Remote

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies are considering work from home options to facilitate social-distancing and keep their workforce healthy. However, it’s not as simple as sending your employees home, firing up personal laptops and getting back to work. Here are seven things you need to have lined up in order to successfully deploy your remote workforce.

  1. Secure Remote Access: Employees should not have open access to everything on their work systems from their personal computers. This keeps company data protected. In order to be productive through this pandemic, however, employers will need to provide a secure connection utilizing VPN or remote access software. These solutions will mirror the employee’s work desktop without housing all of the data on the individual’s personal system, allowing them to seamlessly continue work.
  2. File Sharing Capabilities: While people will be working in isolation, they must still be able to collaborate. File sharing/group editing software will be critical to moving forward creative or documentation projects through real-time editing, commenting, and versioning. Tools like O365 Microsoft Teams/Sharepoint fill this need securely.
  3. Enterprise Level Antivirus: Basic home-level antivirus is not sufficient, particularly in secured industries. Extend your enterprise-level antivirus to home systems that will be accessing your network to create an added layer of protection. You may also consider deploying firewalls on top of individual’s home networks to create the same secure connection employees experience in your office.
  4. Video Conferencing: Meetings must go on while people work remote; however, voice-only leaves much to be desired in terms of tone and context. We highly recommend implementing video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams.
  5. Messaging Software: You can’t just spin your chair around to talk to your co-worker when working remote, yet it’s not efficient to always pick up the phone. We recommend implementing a messaging software like Microsoft Teams to open communication channels and allow employees to continue to interact quickly and accurately. Utilizing these tools, you can set up one-on-one conversations or set up channels to facilitate team communication.
  6. Phone: A strong VoIP solution will allow employees to take their phone numbers remote to their cellphones without giving out their cellphone numbers. Office calls will transfer seamlessly to the employee’s cellphones, voice mails will be sent via email, and the employee can dial-out using a phone application to maintain office functionality.
  7. Remote Access Policy: Prior to providing access to your employees, put in place a clear access policy that acknowledges that your company monitors whatever they do while connected. Employees should be encouraged to act as if they are on site even while working remote and reminded that punishments for doing something illegal/against company policy will apply.

The COVID-19 situation is ever-changing. Schools across the nation have been closed and events have been cancelled. While it may make sense to keep your employees on-site for now, we believe it’s important to have a plan should you need to close your physical offices. Getting these seven pieces of the puzzle in line will prepare you to take your workforce remote. Get a head start with the Microsoft Teams Quick Start Program from CCS Technology.

Additional Collaboration Resources

5 Benefits of Better Collaboration for Businesses

Improving Collaboration with Microsoft Teams

3 Ways Technology Will Help Pull Us Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

Solve Shadow IT Problems with Managed Services

“Shadow IT” is both a management and security problem. Leveraging managed services offers a potential solution to bringing it under control.

Shadow IT Problems

Shadow IT is any IT service that is accessed without the oversight of company information technology teams. It can be in the form of spending approved by business departments or it can be accessed by individual employees without the knowledge of their supervisors.

While the motivations behind this unapproved IT usage are generally good—employees or departments are trying to access the best technology to help them get their jobs done—it presents several risks from an IT management perspective.

First are the management risks. By definition there’s a lack of visibility into shadow IT. You don’t know what technology you’re using, you don’t understand your dependence on it, and you are vulnerable to outages if the service becomes unavailable. You don’t know the demand these shadow services place on your networks and other resources. In addition, you can’t manage licenses and usage properly, potentially leading to audits and penalties.

Second are the security risks. You don’t know if the technologies being used comply with the regulations relevant to your business. Because the technologies haven’t gone through any official approval process, you don’t know where their vulnerabilities are. Access isn’t being controlled properly. You can’t monitor for breaches because you don’t know where to look.

To resolve the challenges of shadow IT, you need to identify where it’s being used and then understand why employees are going around the official IT procurement processes.

Limit Shadow IT Usage

Network monitoring can help identify new hardware devices and new software services being accessed, as can employee surveys (that don’t impose penalties for admitting to such use).

Then you can take steps to block unapproved technology. Both policies and firewalls can help limit access to unapproved cloud services to prevent shadow usage. Data loss prevention tools and cloud access security brokers can limit the unauthorized movement of data to cloud services.

Eliminate the Need for Shadow IT Through Managed Services

Surveys can identify the reasons employees use unapproved services, but may not be necessary. The big reason for shadow IT is that conventional IT teams are a roadblock, offering limited choices of technology and slow approval and implementation processes. Other common reasons employees opt for shadow IT include frequent outages and poor problem support from the internal IT team.

That’s why managed services offer a solution to the shadow IT problem. With a dedicated team of expert IT personnel dedicated to proactive systems maintenance and support, the routine IT problems that frustrate employees are reduced. Managed services can also speed up procurement and deployment, allowing you to deliver better technology to your employees faster. In addition, managed services free up your own IT team to focus on business-specific IT solutions rather than routine maintenance, allowing them to provide forward-looking technology.

Contact CCS Technology Group to learn more about how managed services can help you solve your shadow IT problem.

Additional Managed Services Resources

The Metrics That Mean You Need Managed Services

5 Reasons Managed Services Are Good For Your Business

6 Big Benefits from Using Managed Services

The High Cost of Falling for Phishing

Any employee can fall for a phishing scam. When the employee who falls for the scam is authorized to access and transfer large sums of money, an honest mistake can have significant costs.

$400,000 Sent to a Phisher

That’s what happened to Barbara Corcoran, of “Shark Tank” fame. A phisher changed one character in an email address and reached out to Corcoran’s bookkeeper. The email requested nearly $400,000 to be sent to a German company.

Of course, the bookkeeper didn’t just hand over the money. She replied back to who she thought was Corcoran’s executive assistant, and there was a legitimate-sounding reason for sending money to what appeared to be a legitimate business. The money got sent out, and it was only a later email to the executive assistant—not sent by hitting “reply” to the phishing message—that discovered the scam.

Business Email Compromise

The FBI calls these targeted phishing schemes business email compromise (BEC), and they’re a major risk to businesses. Once the money is wired, it is extremely difficult to get it back.

The scam Corcoran’s assistant fell for required some knowledge of how her business operated, in order to have a reasonable response when the bookkeeper questioned the request for the funds, but hackers don’t need to be sophisticated to implement the scam. Criminals can simply purchase templates that allow them to send these messages or break into an email account using passwords stolen in an earlier breach; if they’re not sure what they need to do, they can buy a phishing tutorial to learn. The overall costs of BEC in 2019 were close to 1.8 billion dollars, according to the FBI.

Defending the Business Against BEC

There are multiple types of phishing attacks, so there are multiple defenses needed, too.

Not all the attacks are as targeted as the one that hit Corcoran. Some attacks send generic messages to thousands of targets. Email filters can help block the messages from reaching employees, and training can help employees learn to report them rather than responding to them.

The more targeted attacks need to be handled through business procedures as well as technological fixes. When there are unexpected requests for large sums of money, businesses can require confirmation through a phone call in addition to an email paper trail.

Learn more about protecting your business against phishing emails.

To make sure you have effective phishing protections in place, contact CCS Technology Group. Our IT security services include employee training as well as the latest in technology to keep your business secure from phishing and other IT security threats.