Most businesses have now gone digital, taking their processes online and storing data in the cloud and whatnot. While speedier transactions and greater portability make this technique very convenient, it also poses some risks. One of these is the risk of digital disasters and possible security breaches from all directions. In other words, if you aren’t vigilant, all of your company’s data can be stolen or encrypted. Do you have a disaster data recovery plan in place that meets all of your requirements?
Unforeseen Disasters And Breaches In 2021
In recent years, there have been numerous disasters that have affected global companies in different industries. Most of the attacks in 2021 came in the form of ransomware that took advantage of human gullibility.
The electronics company Acer took a hard blow in cyber-attacks in 2021. Overall, they ended up dealing with a $50 million ransom demand that a notorious hacking entity called ReEvil supposedly asked for in exchange for the return of a massive amount of stolen digital data.
In April of this year, Facebook suffered a security breach that exposed the personal information of over 530 million users. Screen scraping is a technique used by hackers to get information from websites. It’s how they were able to access the data files of almost 92% of LinkedIn members and obtain personal details like emails or phone numbers!
Because of the lockdowns and work-from-home setups, previously protected information became exposed in the digital world. Luckily, most companies had reliable security policies that protected data coming in and out of their office networks. However, with most individuals working remotely and using devices, it is difficult for a corporation to keep control over their security network, necessitating an upgrade.
The Importance Of Proper Preparation And Safeguarding Your SMB
Business owners often make the mistake of believing that something like this will never happen to their company. They like to believe that because they are a tiny firm, no hacker would be interested in attempting to compromise them. As a result, many don’t even bother to take precautionary measures to protect their small or medium-sized businesses from potential threats.
Unfortunately, small and medium-sized businesses are easy to crack and are typical targets of these hackers. Many companies lack the appropriate infrastructure and security tools to protect themselves from cyberattacks. To keep from being a victim, you must partner with a managed services provider that can provide you with an ironclad disaster data recovery plan.
Creating A Good Disaster Recovery Plan
Disaster data recovery is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. The process of developing this plan entails a great deal of deliberation and decision-making.
Begin by defining a sensible recovery time objective (RTO). This process is the amount of time you expect to be fully back on track after disaster strikes. The shorter the RTO, the more expensive the disaster data recovery will be, so you need to consider this.
Also, make sure to clearly outline the duties and responsibilities of each individual employee in your organization. In addition, establish a clear communication plan as well as security protocols.
Of course, the most crucial parts of disaster data recovery are having offsite data backup and installing dependable and updated anti-spyware tools on all the devices used for business procedures. You should also test your disaster recovery plan with your staff. That is the only way to find out if it works.
Hire A Professional MSP For Disaster Recovery
As you can imagine, disaster recovery is a complex matter. If you want to know that your plan can protect you, the best option is to have a fully managed disaster data recovery solution from a reliable MSP. 2021 slammed us with a plethora of serious security threats for SMBs, and it’s scary to think of what 2022 might bring.
Ensure the safety of your company now before it is too late! Contact us today, and we will show you how.
A Brief History of AIIt’s not clear when or where the concept of artificial intelligence first began. Research started in 1956 in Dartmouth College, where millions of dollars funded what would turn out to be costly dead ends due to the unforeseen complexities of the project. AI research and development went on a rollercoaster ride after that, with investors alternately getting excited and then losing interest because of the lack of progress. It was after the turn of the century that AI began to see real-world usage. Not just in academics, but also in practical applications. New technology has enabled the integration of AI in research, education, as well as industry. Areas such as e-commerce, gaming, automobiles, healthcare, even agriculture.
AI as a Crucial Element in Businesses of TomorrowAs of today, artificial intelligence has already permeated several of the crucial processes that are part of the regular management of any kind of business in the form of AI SMB automated business processes, procedures, and functions. It has made possible countless forms of advancement in the areas of online selling, inventory, and cybersecurity. All of these are vital to the successful operation of any business. Many AI SMB automated business processes are generic and apply to many businesses across different industries. Some examples of these are order processing, purchasing, quality assurance, and billing. Some are more industry-specific, like medical assessment or drug approval for the healthcare industry or trip booking and agent billing for the travel industry.
Common Automation Processes for Small and Medium BusinessesLet’s look at some simple and useful automation processes that can increase productivity and improve revenue for your small or medium business.
Email Auto-ResponderWhen a customer reaches out to your business and receives no reply for months, it can be very frustrating and could give them an unpleasant impression of your business. An auto-responder feature with a personal touch prevents this. The automation process can also direct the email to your sales team, letting them take over as soon as possible.
Marketing AutomationMany Customer Relationship Management or CRM systems include a marketing automation feature that allows you to execute an email campaign to all relevant contacts and turn them into actionable sales leads for your business.
Scheduling SoftwareThis type of business automation eliminates a lot of wasted time when booking appointments. The system will automatically schedule your meetings and let everyone involved know by updating the calendar.
Chat BotsA chatbot is a perfect tool for providing your clients with answers when customers have questions for you. Setting up a chatbot might require some time and effort. But once completed, AI will take over, and the process will be fully automated.
Keep up with the Latest AI Features with MSP ServicesWe are continuing to move towards a future where AI SM automated business processes are a part of daily life. Incorporate the latest Artificial Intelligence features that will help you grow your business. Contact us now and upgrade your system before the New Year begins!
In the last two years, companies worldwide have transitioned from a traditional office setup towards a hybrid workforce model as a part of a solution to the pandemic situation. While many employees are going back to the office, physical capacity in the workplace is still limited, and many companies need to make adjustments to accommodate everyone. Many businesses are finding that using a hybrid workforce is a solid long-term solution.
Connecting Everyone through Teams
In a hybrid workforce environment, employees get divided into teams where some complete work at the office while others do their job from remote locations, usually from their homes. It lets work get completed while allowing social distancing.
The challenge for management is unifying their team and getting them to work as a unit, despite having employees working in separate physical locations. This setup is where a hybrid solution comes in. A working system comes with tools like stable network infrastructure and reliable and organized features that boost productivity. And, at the same time, the tools allow employees to coordinate seamlessly with other team members in the company for a consistent and coherent workflow.
Benefits of the Hybrid Workforce System
The main objective of a hybrid system is to create balanced work productivity and to maintain consistent team effort regardless of the location of the workers. Besides the obvious benefit of allowing companies to continue operating in the face of the pandemic, a hybrid workforce also provides multiple benefits to both the employer and the employees. In fact, because of these benefits, many employers have decided to utilize the hybrid system as part of their permanent work setup.
Reduced Physical and Emotional Anxiety
While it has been going on for almost two years, the pandemic is still far from over. Many people are still hesitant to take public transport. Many also avoid taking their work to public, nonsecure Wi-Fi settings. With a hybrid system, anxiety from these issues is eliminated for everyone.
For the employer, a hybrid setup will dramatically reduce expenses with rental space or office maintenance. This will help free up funds for other aspects of the business. For the employee, there will no longer be a need for a daily commute. The cost will also reduce, helping you control the budget.
More Access to Resources
In a hybrid setup, employers can also hire international talents and not just local ones. Employers can easily employ services from workers from any part of the world. With the wide availability of online IT management services, it is easy to keep your technology ahead of the competition.
Taking a Cue from Microsoft’s Approach in Hybrid Workforce
Migrating any business into a hybrid workforce environment is a lot of work. The process is not overnight. Microsoft came up with an approach that we could follow and developed powerful tools that we could all use to navigate the challenges of the transition.
If you have not yet taken any steps to shift to a hybrid system, now is the perfect time to go through Microsoft’s Hybrid Work: A Guide for Business Leaders. You’ll learn more about the need to make the transition. How it can benefit your company and your employees, and how to make the shift successfully.
Microsoft Teams Rooms is one of the many innovative tools Microsoft has developed to support hybrid workforce environments. It will connect remote workers in the office using tools that are powerful, flexible, secure, and easy to use. If you do not use the Microsoft Suite, you can always use ZOOM or similar programs.
Up Your Hybrid Workforce Game with our Help
Working with an MSP is the most efficient way to achieve the highest productivity out of your new hybrid workforce. We can provide you with all technical advice and security as you shift your business to online usage. We use state-of-the-art tools to keep you ahead of the competition. Also do all kinds of assistance in terms of hardware, software, data storage, and online support. Contact us today to learn how to flawlessly integrate your existing work setup into an efficient hybrid workforce system.
Section 179 – the basics for SMB Tax deductionThis law applies to deductions for property depreciation. It doesn’t increase how much you can deduct overall, but it does give smaller businesses the option to act more quickly. The use of assets by some businesses can last up to 39 years. Section 179 means that a company can declare the deduction of this asset in one year alone instead of spreading over a longer time. Let’s say, for example, that Urgent Care buys a new $4000 television. Based on a TV’s life of 10 years, straight depreciation would allow the business to deduct a percentage every year for ten years. With Section 179, the entire amount is deductible the first year.
How is this useful to small and newer businesses?When you set up a new business, you have a lot more going out than you do coming in, and there are a lot of assets that need to be purchased. Section 179 tax law means that new business owners can take advantage of deducting their purchases straight away. Smaller but established businesses can also take advantage of buying new assets to help grow their company. Buying things upfront is costly, so with Section 179 tax law this outgoing is less burdensome. In addition, you don’t have to wait many years to benefit from tax deductions when you purchase assets.
What assets qualify for Section 179 tax law?You can claim tax deductions for assets that will last over one year (as determined by the IRS). This list includes:
- Office furniture
- Business equipment
- Business vehicles
Tax 179 Write-off MSP – How can they help?An MSP can help you maximize your tax savings from Section 179 tax law. In addition, they will be able to guide you through the options for your hardware and software needs. Finally, they can help forecast your business’s future needs in terms of technology, including finance or lease services, equipment, and purchases.
So, are you eligible? Answer the questions below to see if your business qualifies for a Section 179 Tax Law deduction.
- Is the asset tangible? (i.e., physical property like computer software, equipment, furniture)
- Have you purchased the asset, or is it on finance? (not leased)
- Is the asset used more than 50% for your business?
- Have you started using the asset?
179 Tax Deductions technology explainedSection 179 is an incentive for smaller businesses to finance, lease or purchase equipment by allowing up to $1,050,000 each year, deducted from taxable income for qualified business equipment purchases. There are limitations on types of equipment and the amounts that they deduct. The Section 179 allowances mean that small and medium-sized businesses can make significant savings.
179 Tax Deductions and limitationsThe max we can deduct is $1,050,000, and we can purchase for the full deduction at $2,620,000. Therefore, if purchased equipment costs more than $2,620,000, then the Section 179 deduction decreases at a rate of dollar for dollar and will reach zero when the cost of equipment reaches $3,670,000.
Types of property that qualify for 179 Tax DeductionsTangible property by the IRS use The Section 179 tax deductions . The equipment must last over one year for the business. Possible purchases include:
- Office equipment
- Computer software
- Computer hardware
- Qualified improvement property
- Some listed property
Bonus depreciation – an explanationThis tax law is an incentive for small and medium-sized businesses to have a deduction on qualified purchases for their first year. For the year that the business buys and uses the equipment, they can deduct 100% of the expense and depreciation too. Businesses are allowed to take both Bonus Depreciation and Section 179 allowances. However, you must apply Section 179 first. After the Section 179 limit of $1,050,000 has been reached, the rest is taken as bonus depreciation.
Time to upgrade?If you’re considering upgrading your business technology through the 179 tax deduction, now is a perfect time. You can use these purchases under Section 179.
- Laptops, tablets, workstations, and smartphones
- Printers, servers, and server upgrades
- Network switches, network security appliances, and routers
- Microsoft Dynamics and Microsoft Office
- Other software off-the-shelf
Benefits of upgrading your business technologyBy upgrading business technology, small and medium-sized businesses can save a lot of money while staying ahead of the competition. Upgrading technology will help your computers run faster. Work time is lost when computers take time to boot up. Smaller businesses feel this time lost much more than bigger companies. With upgrades in technology, productivity increases resulting in less downtime. If it’s been a while since you invested in new technology, your devices might be wearing out. With older computers, any new software you purchase might not run correctly or may run much slower than it should. So investing in new technology and making the most of the Section 179 deductions is a huge opportunity.
How we can helpAs an MSP, we believe it’s important to let you know how your business can make the most of IT infrastructure and services to achieve outstanding business performance. The Section 179 tax deduction is an example of how your business can help its bottom line while improving its IT infrastructure. Contact us for a Business Technology Audit today to see how we can help you and your business.
Save money with HaaS from an MSPEstimates suggest that businesses that successfully deploy managed services reduce their IT outgoings by up to 45%. One of the ways in which businesses can save is by choosing HaaS (Hardware as a Service).
Reducing upfront capital expensesThe benefit of HaaS is that you reduce your upfront capital expenses. This means businesses can shift their budget allocations around and free up their cash flow. Essentially, it means that expenses come out of the operating expense budget (OpEx) instead of the capital expense budget (CapEx). As a result, managing monthly payments instead of large, upfront amounts is much more suitable for budgeting purposes. Businesses that use HaaS have an advantage when it comes to paying taxes. With HaaS listed as a service rather than a capital expense, it reduces the liability that tax causes. This means that businesses can get the equipment needed without running the risk of getting into debt.
Access to newer technologyWith limited finances, it’s hard for businesses to stay up-to-date with the latest technology. When using HaaS, Tax deduction MSPs have the responsibility to be sure the hardware will handle all your tasks efficiently. In the case that the hardware is no longer capable of delivering what companies need, the MSP will replace or upgrade the equipment.
Access to maintenanceOne of the benefits of HaaS is that businesses have their IT systems maintained and looked after by experts. Often, smaller businesses don’t have the knowledge or expertise to deal with complex IT problems. Therefore, when they encounter a big issue, it tends to come with a large price tag to fix. With HaaS, the MSP maintains and manages all hardware for a fixed monthly sum.
Tax deduction MSPs – reducing costs with Section 179Working with an MSP not only benefits your business’ IT, but it also comes with great financial perks. When tax season rolls in, Section 179 allows businesses to gain tax benefits for purchasing tangible goods, including IT hardware and services.
Final thoughts about tax deduction MSPsUsing an MSP has so many benefits, it’s no wonder so many small and medium-sized businesses are now choosing this way of working. With HaaS, businesses can save money, have up-to-date and well-maintained equipment, and increase their tax deductions. Contact us to see how we can help your business do the same today!
When you’re a small business, it’s critical to get your taxes right. Many small business owners look for ways to maximize deductions to minimize how much tax they pay. One tax-saving loophole not everyone knows about that could help is the tax code Section 179 deductions. If you’re unaware of what Section 179 deductions is, this blog will help define it for you. We’ll explain tax 179 deductions and how you can take advantage of them with the help of your MSP.
As usual, we need to let you know that these offers may not apply to your business. To get the most out of this government program, we recommend consulting with your tax advisor. Now let’s learn how to save some money!
What are Section 179 Deductions?
When we talk about 179 deductions, these are the classic ” tax deductions,” but they offer extra benefits. With many write-offs, you can only take partial deductions over a few years. Suppose you buy a car for your business, but you can only write off a portion of the value over the next five years. By definition, Section 179 deductions in the tax code allows a business to deduct the value of a property purchased for the business against any profits (or losses) that happened during the year it was purchased and implemented, thus lowering the total tax burden. This “property” falls into the following categories:
Business Personal Property: This would include anything purchased for business use that isn’t bolted to a floor or wall. This includes furniture, computers, software — even paper and pens!
Machinery and Equipment: This includes items purchased for businesses that are too large to move or are bolted in place. An example of this would be a printing press or conveyer belt.
Business Vehicles: These are cars or trucks with a gross weight of more than 6,000 lbs and are used exclusively for business purposes.
Listed Property: This is property used for business purposes. In this case, you don’t have to use it entirely for business purposes, but you can only deduct the portion used for business proportionate to the time used. For instance: if you have a home office and work for eight hours a day for five out of seven days a week, it means you use your home for business purposes about 23.7% percent of the time, and therefore you could write off 23.7% of your mortgage.
Capital Improvements: When you improve a building used for your business, you can write off that expense. This section also includes items like air conditioning or alarm systems.
Section 179 – the basics for SMB Tax deduction
This section applies to deductions for property depreciation. It doesn’t increase how much you can deduct overall, but it does give smaller businesses the option to act more quickly. In some cases, an asset may be usable for up to 39 years. Section 179 means that a company can declare the deduction of this asset in one year alone instead of spreading over a longer time. Let’s say, for example, that a bar buys a new $4000 television. Based on ten years of the TV’s life, straight depreciation would only allow the business to deduct a percentage of the cost every year for ten years. With Section 179, the business owner deducts the whole amount the first year.
Why is this useful to small and newer businesses?
When you set up a new business, you have a lot more going out than you do coming in, and there are a lot of assets that need to be purchased. Section 179 deductions means that new business owners can take advantage of deducting their purchases now. Smaller but established businesses can also take advantage of buying new assets to help grow their company. Buying things upfront is costly, so with Section 179 deductions, this outgoing is less burdensome. In addition, you don’t have to wait years to benefit from tax deductions when you purchase assets.
What assets qualify for Section 179 deductions?
It is possible to deduct taxes for business assets that will last over one year (as determined by the IRS). These include:
- Office furniture
- Business equipment
- Business vehicles
Of course, more groups apply, so talk to your tax advisor for more info.
MSP – How can they help?
A Managed Service Provider can help you maximize your tax savings from Section 179 deductions. In addition, they will be able to guide you through the options for your hardware and software needs. Finally, they can help forecast your business’s future needs in terms of technology, including purchase, finance, or lease services for equipment. Contact us before time runs out!
In our world of constantly evolving and varied cyber threats, many organizations consider cyber insurance to help them get back on their feet should they fall victim to a cyber event. Data breaches and ransomware attacks can also require specialized expertise and funds to deal with. For these reasons, many business owners choose to purchase cyber insurance for financial protection should an incident occur. Here are some reasons why you get denied cyber insurance
Cyber security insurance used to be either very expensive or a cheap add-on to an existing policy. These days, it has its niche market and has become a critical need for many businesses.
It’s worth noting, however, that cyber insurance does not solve all cyber-related problems, and it won’t ever prevent a cyberattack or data breach. Just like businesses with physical property need to put appropriate measures in place for security, so do companies with intellectual property.
Unique cyber insurance for a unique business
Generic business insurance doesn’t cut the mustard. It rarely even mentions data loss. Of course, there are overlaps in many cyber insurance policies, but businesses should have coverage that is as unique as their business.
Beyond the basics, there are various additions and enhancements that policies can offer. As a result, you won’t know what to watch out for unless you’re aware of them. There are enhancements such as social engineering coverage (for employees who get duped into doing things), reputational harm coverage (often related to a security breach), and technology bricking (replacing technology equipment that is no longer usable after malware infection). Make sure you cover everything important to you.
Cyber insurance prequalification
Even if businesses prequalify for cyber insurance, it is still possible to get denied. Even if you have had cyber insurance in the past, it can still happen to you. There are many reasons for this.
Poor plans for business continuity and disaster recovery
Cyber insurance providers want a return on investment. If a provider believes your business cannot recover from a disaster, they may deny your application. Disaster recovery doesn’t just mean having backups. Businesses need adequate disaster recovery plans to make sure they’re able to survive after a cyber event.
Poor account security – multi-factor authentication
Businesses are often denied cyber insurance coverage due to the lack of multi-factor authentication. Many providers focus on account security before they offer a policy.
Poor cybersecurity awareness
Training employees is essential for maintaining appropriate cyber security. It’s no secret that employee involvement is one of the weaker aspects of business security. Training for employees is vital – and it needs to be updated as cyberattacks evolve.
Inadequate endpoint security
Many policies require more than antivirus software. Businesses often need endpoint detection and response tools that combine several security measures covering a range of detection and prevention techniques.
Using an MSP to assist even if you have cyber insurance prequalification
Being denied cyber insurance is a daunting prospect, and when a business gets rejected once, it’s even harder to get a policy. This roadblock is where your Managed Service Provider comes in.
By using an MSP to help with cyber insurance prequalification, you’re making sure you have experts looking into everything with an experienced eye. Your MSP can help rectify the areas that need improving if you do not qualify for a cyber insurance policy.
Even if you have a prequalification for cyber insurance, you can still get denied coverage. MSPs can help you secure cyber insurance and cyber insurance prequalification by assisting businesses to meet the necessary criteria. For more information, get in touch with us to schedule your free cyber security business review.
Cybersecurity insurance, also referred to as cyber insurance or cyber liability insurance, is insurance that your business can buy to reduce risks to data loss. A cybersecurity insurance policy will transfer some risk to the insurance company for a fee.
While all types of insurance have been around for decades, cybersecurity insurance is relatively new. Businesses that chose to buy cybersecurity insurance were early adopters. Given how cyber risks fluctuate, cybersecurity policies must change and adapt frequently. Underwriters have access to data that helps them calculate risk and set policy rates, premiums, and coverage. For cybersecurity insurance, it’s not that simple. This hurdle is because cybersecurity insurance is new, and the data is limited.
1. It is an Extra Layer of Protection.
Losing data through theft or compromise has the potential to harm an organization. It can mean customers go elsewhere and cause your business a loss in revenue. What’s more, without cybersecurity insurance, your company could be liable for any damages that stem from third-party data being stolen or compromised. Losing client data without a backup plan in place could be a disaster.
Cybersecurity insurance is essential if businesses want to protect themselves against cyber event risks, including threats linked to terrorism. In addition, coverage for cyber threats can help remediate cyber incidents quickly and could save your business.
2. Anyone can be hacked!
Back in 2011, the PlayStation Network suffered a breach by hackers. This breach exposed the personal data of 77 million users. It meant that PlayStation users were unable to access the service for over three weeks. In terms of cost to Sony, there were over 171 million dollars lost due to this breach. Sony could have saved themselves some of the $171 million had they secured a cybersecurity insurance policy – but they didn’t. A subsequent court case ruled that their insurance policy only covered physical damage, which meant that Sony had to pay the costs of the losses from the cyberattack.
3. How It Works.
Many insurance providers that provide coverage like commercial property insurance or business liability insurance will also provide cybersecurity insurance. Most cybersecurity policies cover the first party (losses that impact a company directly) and third-party losses (losses by other people caused by a cybersecurity incident, depending on their relationship to the organization).
Cybersecurity insurance will help cover any losses resulting from cyber incidents and events. What’s more, it can also help with costs linked to remediation, such as paying for legal assistance, crisis communicators, investigators, customer refunds, and loss to customer accounts.
4. Who should get Cybersecurity Insurance?
Companies who manage, store or create electronic data like contacts, sales, or credit card info will benefit from cybersecurity insurance. E-commerce companies can also benefit from cyber coverage. Besides losing money, downtime from a cyber event can potentially lose customers and sales.
In a similar vein, any company storing client information online will benefit from cybersecurity insurance and its liability coverage. But be forewarned that not every business will qualify for this type of insurance. You’ll need to prove that you are doing everything possible to secure your data. If you’re not sure if your cybersecurity is the best it can be, that’s something we can help you figure out.
5. What doesn’t a Cybersecurity Insurance Policy cover?
Whenever a business purchases a cybersecurity insurance policy, check the policy documents carefully. Depending on the policy type, you may lack some coverage you wanted, or you might have coverage for things you weren’t aware of. Examples include paying legal fees, costs of notifying customers, meeting ransomware demands, costs of recovering data, etc. Make sure you’re happy with your coverage before you sign on the dotted line.
Since it hasn’t been around very long, policies and prices vary between providers. Therefore, businesses need to think carefully about what they would like covered in their cyber insurance policy. Depending on the industry, different organizations will need different types of coverage. If you need help figuring all of this out, you can book a complimentary Cybersecurity Business Review with us. The Review has a value of $2,500, so you’re already saving money.
Having your Managed Service Provider help you through the application process is a good idea. After all, we can help define what coverage your business will need. The bottom line is, if you don’t have it, look into getting it. Without it, you may risk making the same mistake as Sony did. If you have any questions, contact us for a cybersecurity consultation.