The Key Features to Look for In Your Firewall

Keeping your front door locked is the first step in keeping intruders out of your home. Keeping your network’s front door locked is the first step in keeping intruders out of your systems. A firewall provides that first line of defense for your business; here’s what to look for.

Technical Features

It used to be relatively simple for firewalls to offer protection. They blocked or allowed access based on rules regarding ports, protocols, applications, and IP addresses. It could be administratively challenging to keep track of the reasons behind the rules, making maintenance difficult, but the overall idea was straightforward.

Today the protection offered by firewalls needs to be much more technically robust and flexible. Threats come in so many varieties and are created and modified so frequently that limits based on lists of ports don’t offer enough protection. Instead, firewalls must:

  • protect applications regardless of port. Applications today aren’t always run on standard ports, so application-based controls need to be able to identify applications no matter which port they’re using.
  • control applications at the feature level. The firewall also should offer fine-grained controls to ensure application usage conforms to corporate policies. Many online services offer multiple functions, only some of which may be allowed.
  • identify users appropriately. IP addresses aren’t enough to determine who’s accessing your network. Where possible, user-based policies ensure access is limited appropriately no matter where a user connects from. Remote users need the same access and same limitations as on site users.
  • inspect encrypted traffic. It’s ironic that encryption keeps traffic safe as it travels over external networks but hinders safety once the data reaches your network. SSL inspection is critical to protecting you from dangerous traffic, but needs to be performed rapidly with minimal performance impact on end-users.
  • cope with the unknown. It isn’t enough to scan the traffic you expect; your firewall needs to be able to inspect and manage the traffic you know nothing about, including unknown applications and atypical ports. Blocking unknown traffic may prevent users from accessing needed services, but allowing unknown traffic presents a high risk to your systems.
  • minimal performance impact. We mentioned above that SSL inspection can potentially cause performance issues users notice; that’s not the only possible performance impact. Since all your network traffic goes through your firewall, even if all your firewall did was automatically say yes to everything, it would be a potential bottleneck due to volumes. Firewalls need the appropriate amount of ports, CPU capacity, and network in order to do their job without keeping other systems from doing their own jobs effectively.

Operations Features

Firewalls require oversight, but a solution with an easy to use dashboard and minimal routine administrative work eases the impact on your team. It’s also important that your firewall logs capture detailed information that can flow into analytics programs to identify possible attacks on your network.

Pricing

Finally, the cost of your firewall needs to fit your budget, but balance that investment against the potential costs of doing nothing. The estimated cost of a data breach is $150 per record stolen, according to the latest Ponemon report. With malicious attacks the main cause of breaches, the value of a firewall is obvious.

CCS Technology Group offers security services that guard your sensitive data with firewalls and other protective technology. Contact us to learn more about implementing an effective cybersecurity strategy.

Additional Security Resources

7 Common Mistakes That Place Your Data in Danger

Different Kinds of Malware Need Different Kinds of Defenses

6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure

5 Risks of Poor Collaboration in the Workplace

Collaboration sometimes comes across as a soft subject. It’s in the “nice to have” category, but somehow removed from serious business matters. If this was ever the case, it no longer is. Collaboration is at the heart of many critical business processes, especially as business grow more virtual and geographically spread out. Strategy execution relies, in large part, on effective collaboration. It’s how earnings grow. Poor collaboration comes with business risks. Solutions like Microsoft Teams help you avoid the consequences of poor collaboration.

Briefly, What is Collaboration in the Modern Business?

In simple terms, collaboration refers to two or more people working cooperatively on the execution of a project or task. It’s a familiar process, something most of us have been doing since nursery school. In the modern business context, however, collaboration is a much richer and involved activity.

Collaboration today means people working closely with one another, regardless of whether they are in the same physical space. It encompasses file sharing, collaborative document editing, task management, project tracking, phone/video/chat and web meetings. It the process that leads to the realization of team- and business-wide objectives.

5 Risks of Poor Collaboration

Poor collaboration can have a number of negative effects on a business. Some are (expensive) nuisances. Others could actually threaten a company with legal problems or security risks. Here are five major risks of poor collaboration, based on our experience working with many clients on collaboration technology projects:

1. Wasting time

This may not seem like such a big deal, but it is. Employees are expensive. Every minute wasted with sub-optimal collaboration tools nips earnings from the bottom line. For example, a few minutes wasted searching for the most recent draft of a document, across every team in the company, hundreds of times a year, can really add up. Microsoft Teams solves this problem by embedding enterprise search right into the collaboration interface.

2. Poor project management

Teams frequently use collaboration tools to manage projects. The better the tool, the more smoothly the project management process will go. The reverse is also true. If task assignments, follow ups, document sharing, scheduling and so forth are difficult, team members may abandon the tool and work through email and chat. This is sub-optimal and may impair project execution. Microsoft Teams provides extensive project management and tracking functionality.

3. Poor execution of strategy

In the aggregate, projects and collaborative work roll up to overall business strategy. Without the right tools, your teams cannot execute on strategies. The negative effects of this collaboration risk will appear in results at the end of the period.

4. Negative impact on morale and team cohesion

Employees may spend a great deal of their time inside the collaboration interface. If the experience is challenging or counter-productive, this can affect morale and team cohesion. People get stressed out when their tools can’t help them get their jobs done or meet their personal career goals.

5. Security risks

Collaboration often involves sharing confidential information and access to internal systems. Hackers may try to exploit vulnerabilities in the collaborative ecosystem to access data and digital assets. Microsoft Teams mitigates this risk with countermeasures like encryption for data in transit and chat.

The right collaboration software can make a difference when it comes to avoiding these risks and related problems in getting teams to work together productively. Get a head start with the Teams Quick Start Program from CCS Technology. In just 2 to 3 weeks we will get you up and running on the Microsoft Teams Platform, which can enhance productivity–translating into more effective meetings, greater revenues, and profits. Click here to learn more.

Learn more in Improving Collaboration With Microsoft Teams.

Choose Your Cloud Provider Without Going Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo…

Once you’ve decided to use cloud, the next big decision is choosing a cloud provider. There are three major providers—Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure—along with numerous other providers, including Oracle and IBM.

All of these reputable cloud providers offer a range of cloud services that can meet your business needs. How do you choose among them? Consider these factors:

Security and compliance

Because security is one of the biggest reasons companies hesitate to adopt cloud, take a close look at how the cloud providers you’re considering handle security of the cloud environment. Some security tools and services may be free while others are additional cost, so check the details, not just availability. You should also look at whether the provider is certified as meeting the compliance standards that apply to your industry.

Learn more in 6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure.

Cost

Cost is of course a major reason companies choose to adopt cloud, so analyze how much you’d spend at each provider. Be sure to account for usage-based spending, along with options such as reserved instances and spot instances that can offer lower costs. You’ll need to have a good grasp of how much CPU and storage you’ll use in order to do a reliable cost evaluation.

Learn more in Calculating the ROI of Moving to the Cloud.

Technical features

Even if you intend to “lift and shift” your existing workloads to the cloud, explore the range of software and application development tools offered by the provider. Your applications evolve over time, and having libraries, APIs, and services available can make development significantly easier, faster, and cheaper. Because you probably won’t completely eliminate your on-site data center, at least for a while, also review what’s needed to integrate the cloud into your existing workflow.

Cloud management capabilities

Explore the orchestration and other monitoring tools each potential cloud provider offers. The switch to the cloud is challenging, so make sure the provider’s tools will make it easy for you to keep your new infrastructure under control.

Cloud location

While one of the points of cloud is that location doesn’t matter, there are times that location does matter. You may need data in a specific location to meet data residency or other compliance requirements; you may need applications near end users to meet performance requirements.

Service level agreements

All the major cloud providers offer SLAs above 99%. Nevertheless, you may want to read the fine print to understand how this is measured and how you’ll be supported and compensated in case of any problem.

Support

Getting your systems and data into the cloud can be a major undertaking, so find out how much help the cloud provider offers. They’re likely to be much less accommodating when you want to take data out of the cloud, so it’s a good idea to look at what that will entail (and cost), too. The level of day-to-day support you can access, how it’s delivered, and what it will cost should also be considered.

Have you made the cloud decision yet? Get help evaluating your cloud options and making the transition with cloud services from CCS Technology Group. Contact us to get started with cloud.

Learn more in The Advantages of Working With IT Pros

Effective Backups Need to Address These Challenges

Backups are conceptually easy, but implementing an effective backup process isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. Making a backup process that really works has to address these challenges:

Long backup windows

Creating backups that are consistent and usable means related files can’t undergo any changes during the backup process. This may require shutting applications down for the duration of the backup process. As businesses become 24×7 operations, this downtime becomes an unacceptable impact on the business. Even a backup process that’s acceptable now may not scale effectively as the volume of data increases.

Unmonitored backups

Backups often run unattended and unmonitored. Problems with the backup may never be discovered until it’s too late to correct them. Even if backups are monitored and the support team responds to an alert, rerunning the backup after the problem is corrected can take too long and impact business operations.

Inability to restore data

The whole point of backups is to be able to restore data and get systems up and running again. Backups stored offsite may take too long to access when needed. In addition, the restore process is often untested and unfamiliar to the support teams so they struggle with it in a crisis. Even when performed smoothly, the restore process may take too long. When trying to restore older data, changes in data models or applications may cause the restore process or application to fail; successfully accessing this older data may require restoring an older version of the application as well.

Unprotected backups

Backup data media is exposed to several vulnerabilities. First, in order to be accessible, backups may be stored at the primary data site. This means any physical damage at the data center—flood, fire, or other problem—may damage the backup media or make it unavailable. The second big risk is that backups are often not encrypted. Anyone who has access to the media can access any of the data it contains.

Expensive backups

Backup media, backup storage, software licenses, and support staff all cost money. Although backups are vital, they’re also infrequently used, so managing costs and the ROI of your backup process is important.

Complicated backup management

Backups can’t always be centrally managed and tracked; depending on your backup tools, they may need to be installed, monitored, and managed on every system requiring backups.

CCS Technology Group helps our clients develop comprehensive business continuity strategies that provide backup and disaster recovery solutions to protect your critical data and applications. Contact us to learn more about how to implement a backup solution that addresses these backup challenges.

Additional Backup Resources

Craft An Effective Disaster Recovery Plan

The Differences Between Backups, Disaster Recovery, and Archiving Matter

Understand the Different Cloud Options for Your Backup and Disaster Recovery Strategy

Whatever Your IT Problem, There’s a Managed Services Solution

Can managed services solve your IT problem? Chances are, it can: managed services are available to help you address almost any IT need. The scope of managed IT services available includes:

Infrastructure support

Designing, provisioning, monitoring, and supporting all your IT equipment is a time-consuming effort. Desktops, servers, storage, and networks all require ongoing monitoring and maintenance. Managed services provide the routine care plus problem resolutions services needed to keep core infrastructure functioning.

Information security

Every business holds both customer data and intellectual property that’s valuable outside the business. Protecting data effectively requires staying up to date with using a wide range of tools including antivirus, firewalls, data loss prevention software, and encryption to keep data secure. Managed services help you design an effective information security strategy and implement, configure, and support the tools that keep you protected.

Desktop support

Unlike your data center staff, your business folks aren’t IT specialists, and they need ongoing support to use their desktop applications. Managed services can address their needs, including user management, patch management, and help desk services.

Backups and disaster recovery

The burden of day-to-day support can prevent in-house IT teams from focusing on issues like effective backups and disaster recovery solutions. Managed services can make sure your backup process is efficient, in terms of time and storage required. Managed services can also make sure your disaster recovery process is able to take those backups and get your business operational again after a disaster shuts down your primary data center.

Cloud support

Cloud has made all kinds of technology more available and less expensive, but using the cloud requires both an underlying strategy and ongoing monitoring and support. In house IT teams lack familiarity with the cloud’s new way of doing things. Use managed cloud to ensure your cloud provides the services and security your business needs.

Storage management

Storing data effectively requires making multiple choices about storage technology and allocating the space available, as well as maintaining the equipment and dealing with any failures. Managed services can take care of all these issues for you.

Why are managed services so effective?

Managed services are effective because they provide you with a team of experts who can focus on your technology while your own team focuses on your business. Managed services teams develop expertise and insight from working with multiple clients, giving them deep exposure to technology, its uses, and the potential problems it may develop. They know the best practices and design patterns that support effective use of the selected tools and technologies, along with workarounds and quick-fixes that get you going until permanent solutions are in place.

Ready to learn more about managed services?

Download our guide or contact us to learn about how managed services from CCS Technology Group can help your business solve your technology problems.

Additional Managed Services Resources

Overcome the Challenges of Hybrid IT With Managed Services

5 Tips for Getting the Best Results from a Managed Services Provider

5 Benefits of ERP for Accounting and Financial Management

Many businesses have separate systems for accounting and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Depending on its size, a company may not even have ERP. Or, as is common, they acquired these applications at different times and implemented each for its primary purpose: an accounting package for the books and financial management, and ERP for operations management. This separation is not longer necessary, nor even a good idea. In fact, there are at least five benefits to using an ERP solution’s accounting functionality.

The Value of Integration

We will outline some of the reasons it’s wise to use ERP for accounting. At a high level, though, most of these benefits relate to one core issue, which is integration. Accounting systems require data inputs from a variety of sources. These include manufacturing management, warehouse management, logistics, billing, HR and so forth. ERP-based accounting automatically integrates these multiple data sources.

5 Benefits of ERP-Based Accounting

Having worked with many clients on ERP and accounting software implementations, we have found the following benefits arise from using accounting in an ERP suite:

1. Richly detailed financial reports

Standalone accounting packages offer basic financial reports like income statements, balance sheets and so forth. In contrast, ERP offers many more varied types of reports. Examples include cash flow projections based on inventory management and order statuses and accounts receivable aging overlaid with customer order pipeline. These reports give you more than just financial data. They help you manage your business more effectively.

2. More automation

Automation helps with productivity. By having ERP and accounting linked, it’s easier to automate workflows that cross between the two systems. When you use ERP for accounting, many accounting and financial tasks can be completely automated. For instance, you can streamline accounts receivable and accounts payable management and cash management. Automation also lets you track financial transactions more quickly.

3. Freedom from duplicate data entry

Having separate systems usually means manual re-inputting of data from one to the other. Integrating ERP and accounting removes this tedious process of data entry by hand. ERP makes data entry fast and consistent.

4. Not so many errors

Manual data entry is notoriously prone to error. These include transposed digits and incorrect client names, etc. These can cause calculation mistakes, which then take time to unwind. You can also see who did what, for each transaction, in case you need to track down someone who made a mistake.

5. A higher degree of control

Using ERP for accounting gives you more control over your business. You can see the bottom-line impact of events and decisions in real time.

Financial Management With Acumatica Cloud ERP

We have experience setting up customers on ERP-based accounting. For a going concern, this means migrating off of a legacy standalone accounting package. It’s a process. There doesn’t have to be a lot of complexity or challenge, but it does take focus and some effort. We provide the expertise. If you want to learn how we can help you run your business better by taking advantage of accounting in ERP, let’s talk.

Acumatica Cloud ERP delivers, providing adaptable, feature rich, and integrated enterprise resource planning software that streamlines your processes and facilitates your decisions. The core of your ERP, Acumatica delivers powerful business finance software – simple enough for small shops and comprehensive enough for complex multi-nationals – that can support your needs today and in the future.

Additional ERP Resources

Qualities to Look for in a Cloud ERP

How to Select an ERP Solution

Improving Collaboration with Microsoft Teams

The drive for better ways to collaborate in corporate life never stops. As organizations grow more geographically spread out, virtualized and matrixed, workers need to be able to work together with as few obstacles to productivity as possible. A team with members on different continents might convene to complete a task. How will they get their work done efficiently? This is partly a matter of culture. People have to want to collaborate. But, assuming the desire is present, effective collaboration is mostly about having the right software.

Collaboration Tools: An Ongoing Story of Evolution

The history of online collaboration tooling parallels the development of networked computers. At first, the mere ability to send an electronic mail (email!) message from on PC to another was nothing short of a revolution. From there, the industry has produced a long series of increasingly advanced collaboration products.

Early on, teams collaborated using a variety of solutions at the time – chat in one app, web meetings in another, document repositories in a third place and so forth. Now, with Microsoft Teams, we have one collaboration solution that unifies the most common functions required to enable people to get things done productively.

The Collaboration Advantages of Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams represents a significant advance in a long line of Microsoft collaboration tools. It combines chat, voice and video calling, online meetings and integration with productivity applications like Word and Excel. As a native component of the Microsoft Office 365 ecosystem, Teams offers an intuitive, natural fit with the way people work today.

A typical collaborative use case for Teams might look like this: Bob video calls Sally in Teams to discuss a document they’re both assigned to write. To resolve an issue in the writing, Bob pulls up the document in Teams. With Sally and Bob both able to see the document, they can collaboratively edit it in real time. In the process, they realize they have questions for Joe and Betty. Through Teams, they can see Joe and Betty’s presence. They then kick off a web meeting where all four of them can talk about the document.

Teams adds a powerful search capability to collaborative mix. This helps solve a problem that has vexed the collaborative process for years: the difficulty finding the most recent and relevant material. Teams enables search for content, tools, contacts and conversation threads. The search feature connects with SharePoint, OneNote and Planner. Team members can instantly find what they’re looking for. Documents shared in Microsoft Teams are automatically saved to the cloud. Team members are always working from the latest version without the need to search for it.

Users of Teams have the ability to tailor workspaces with any specialized content or apps they need. For instance, a Team user could add a tab for a Word document or Power BI dashboard. He or she could also add Jira or Trello if those are required to keep people working together productively.

On the back end, Teams gives IT managers sophisticated security and configuration controls. This is a sometimes-neglected aspect of the collaboration story. A collaboration tool must be easy to administer. It has to be subject to security policies.

Interested in Microsoft Teams? Achieve Ultimate Collaboration in Just 2-3 Weeks

Get a head start with the Teams Quick Start Program from CCS Technology. We can get you up and running on the Microsoft Teams platform in 2-3 weeks so you can transform productivity and translate into more effective meetings, greater revenues, and profits. Click here to learn more.

5 Reasons Distributors Need ERP Software

If you’re a distributor, what business are you really in? On a day-to-day level, your business sources product from suppliers, stores it until it’s sold, and then transports it to customers. In its essence, though, a distributor is in the money management business. You’re taking cash and turning it into inventory. Tick tock – the longer it sits there, the less of a return you’re earning on that cash. Any operational or customer relationship issues that further stretch out the payment for a sale is lowering your return on capital even more. If you borrow to finance a distribution business, you’ll understand this problem deeply.

Software has long assisted distributors in making their businesses run right. Today, though, modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions give you new ways to cut costs and shorten that all-important cash cycle. Here are five reasons you need ERP software if you’re in the distribution business:

1. Be able to improve customer satisfaction and cut costs at the same time

A modern ERP suite allows you to be efficient in the management of distribution processes. You get real time visibility into available inventory and inventory costs, inventory in transit and reorder quantities. This visibility translates into low operating costs and clear, productive communications with customers. You can cut down on misunderstandings and delays that negatively affect customer satisfaction.

2. Reduce order times

Automated sales order processing, which is available in ERP solutions, eliminates delays in order fulfillment and shipping. The suite usually also enables you to set up rules to handle credit, returns, drop shipments and so forth across multiple warehouses.

3. Run an efficient warehouse

The more efficiently your warehouse(s) run, the more profitable your distribution business will be. A Warehouse Management System (WMS), which comes with many modern ERP suites, lets you streamline your distribution processes. The system covers workflows across receiving and inventory management as well as the operation of tools like barcode scanners and mobile devices.

4. Stay on top of your supply chain

ERP enables you to ensure a steady supply of goods to distribute. It accomplishes this by automating and optimizing purchasing processes, purchase order management and supply chain management.

5. Know your true costs

A modern ERP suite gives you the ability to determine profitability by warehouse as well as by product line or business unit. Reporting and data visualization tools help you spot cost overages and other drags on profitability that may elude standard financial reports.

Control Your Inventory and Increase Customer Satisfaction with Cloud ERP Built for Distribution

Those are just five big reasons distributors can benefit from modern ERP. You can also push up your profitability—through a better cash cycle as well as more efficient operations—by means of advanced inventory software, requisition management and advanced financial reporting tools.

Distribution is all about logistics. Without the right tools, distribution companies simply can’t compete. We have considerable experience in the distribution vertical, equipping clients with industry-specific tools, like Acumatica, that ensure a smooth process, top-notch security, and consistent reliability.

Acumatica Distribution Edition delivers, giving your business control over their supply chain and logistics activities, including warehouse management, inventory management, and order management. Built in the cloud and customized for your needs, Acumatica helps companies improve customer satisfaction, reduce order times, and control costs across the entire supply and distribution chain.

Click here to learn more or request a demo.

Check out these other articles for more ways to improve your distribution business:

How ERP Software Can Promote a Sustainable Supply Chain

Benefits of Inventory Management Software for Your Distribution Company

ERP for Distribution Companies

Don’t Overlook These Information Security Basics

The reason companies fail at information security isn’t because they aren’t installing the latest high-tech defensive software. It’s because they aren’t taking care of the security basics, like installing patches on time. What are some of the other information security basics you might be overlooking?

Managing employee access

Employee access rights shouldn’t be permanent. As job functions change, you should review and revise their access to match the responsibility of their roles. While ideally you’ll do this as soon as they take on a new role, at least review access privileges annually. Even more important, when employees leave the business, you should be sure to disable their access immediately.

Changing default passwords

Admin/admin? Everybody knows that login and password, including the bad guys. It’s easy to overlook changing passwords after you install new software, but it’s necessary in order to keep your systems secure. Use a unique admin password on all your systems in order to ensure you’re protected.

Reviewing security logs

Don’t just review log files after a breach occurs. Log files should be reviewed on an ongoing basis in order to spot breach attempts before they succeed. This doesn’t have to be a purely manual effort; there are good analytics tools to help identify suspicious behavior.

Enforcing secure mobile device usage

It’s convenient to have employees use their mobile devices to conduct business, but it also can be risky. Develop your “bring your own device” policy, teach employees safe mobile computing practices, and consider using mobile device management software to enforce your policies.

Protecting the cloud

Relying on your cloud provider for security of your data in the cloud is a mistake. Information security in the cloud requires both your organization and your cloud provider to take steps to protect your data. In addition, employee “shadow IT” usage of cloud resources can lead to security risks you aren’t aware of; consider using tools that help you detect unauthorized usage of cloud services.

Learn more in 6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure.

Verifying configuration settings

Many security vulnerabilities, especially in the cloud, are the result of incorrect system configuration. Don’t rely on default settings, but make sure you explicitly set them to the values you need. Limit the ability to modify configurations to authorized employees, and use tools to detect configuration changes so they can be reviewed and verified. Use automation to ensure configurations are deployed consistently across all your resources.

Performing risks assessments

There are too many potential security threats to address all of them at once. In order to get the most value from the actions you take, it’s important to assess the risks you face so you can prioritize your responses.

Securing information resources requires implementing basic and advanced controls at multiple levels, including the network, the cloud, and endpoints. CCS Technology Group offers IT security services to help you comprehensively address your information security needs. Contact us to learn how our services can help protect your critical systems and data.

Additional Security Resources

Closing the Most Common Cybersecurity Holes

Is Your Network Safe From Cyber Attacks?

Ransomware 101: Keeping Your Organization Safe

6 Ways to Keep Your Cloud Secure

The simplest way to migrate to the cloud is to lift and shift your applications, migrating them exactly as they are. That doesn’t work for security, though. To make sure your cloud resources are properly protected, you need to review the security features offered by your cloud provider and make sure you implement them properly. You should check out the following:

1. Cloud provider compliance certifications

Meeting your own security standards is easier when the cloud provider offers a strong base. If the cloud provider offers infrastructure certified to meet the compliance standards relevant to your industry, be sure you deploy to that environment.

2. Encrypt your data

Store data in an encrypted format to keep it protected. You can usually easily turn on database encryption in the cloud. It’s simpler to allow the cloud provider to manage the encryption keys, though you’ll gain additional security if you manage them for yourself. Depending on how encryption is implemented, encrypting stored data may not require any application changes, making it compatible with a lift and shift migration.

3. Use identity and access management controls

Identity and access management (IAM) lets you limit access to your cloud resources. You may be able to use the same IAM tools in the cloud as in your data center, allowing you to lift and sift this security control as well. In either case, make sure privileges are set properly.

4. Don’t adopt default cloud configurations

The default configurations established by many cloud providers are not security conscious. Don’t assume they’re set the way you need them. Make sure these settings are appropriate for your applications and modify them when they are not. Where possible, use templates or base cloud images that have the settings you need built in to create all your cloud instances.

5. Separate production, test, and development environments

Because cloud lets you create and shut down instances as needed, you may see recommendations to speed production deployments by turning the “test” instance into production and creating a new test instance the next time you need it. The problem with this is that test environment configurations are often not as secure as those needed in a production environment. You’ll lose a little deployment speed but gain a lot of additional security by keeping the distinction between environments.

6. Don’t forget about the devices that access cloud

Securing your cloud resources requires more than just securing the cloud; it requires securing the devices that access the cloud. Don’t forget about tools such as firewalls to protect your network, and consider mobile device management software to protect your cloud from mobile device risks.

CCS Technology Group’s cloud services ensure your cloud provides a cost-effective, efficient, and secure environment that meets your IT needs. Contact us to learn more about building and using cloud safely.

Additional Cloud Security Resources

Closing Common Cybersecurity Holes

7 Common Mistakes That Place Your Data in Danger

Protecting Your Business Against Phishing Emails