Shaking IT Up

Shaking IT Up

amshot is redefining the expectations for IT

 

When most people think of IT, they think of long email chains asking for a simple fix, scouring Google just to understand what’s going on, and cheesy on-hold music that you practically memorize. We understand that can be a reality when working with traditional IT service providers, but those practices do not align with our office culture.

Here at amshot, we hold ourselves to a higher standard and strive to be pioneers in a new era of innovative software development and frustration-free IT. Our team works to empower our community, think outside the box, communicate effectively, and to be honest while having fun every day. To show that these are not just empty words, we’ve broken down the key elements we use to define amshot’s IT and software development services.

NOT IT

Outsourcing your technology needs is supposed to make it easier for you to focus on what you do best, but often times we hear that it has the opposite effect. Nowadays, IT and software development has been characterized as a hassle, a headache, and a stressor for most companies. It seems that, more often than not, services meant to streamline business productivity have become confusing and time-consuming.

Traditionally, outsourced IT and software development services were meant to create efficiencies and promote in-house productivity, but many of the systems and solutions used by most tech companies today are more cookie-cutter than customized. Unfortunately, break-fix IT is often the norm, and IT simply becomes “the people you have to call everytime something breaks.” However, the bad practices and norms we’ve described were the foundation for what NOT to do at amshot.

YOUR BUSINESS IS WORTH IT

At amshot, we are invested in the growth and success of our clients, our community, and our team. Furthermore, we are dedicated to customizing and enhancing each client’s business experience. Technology is our tool to accomplish these initiatives and achieve the amshot standard of services. We believe IT and software development should do the following:

Simplify, not complicate, your business. Imagine your job if all of the technology worked as it should. We specialize in taking care of all things tech so you can focus on the next goal.

Help your business grow, not slow you down. Our team uses cutting-edge technology, the client’s industry best-practices, creative problem solving, and effective communication to visibly improve measurable business results.

Proactive tech solutions > reactive tech services. Outdated networks and tech are time-consuming, malfunctioning software and security threats are disruptive, and dealing with these issues keeps you fighting fires instead of getting down to business. Properly functioning IT and software can prevent fires before they start, and being proactive instead of reactive is our specialty. Simply put, proactive IT anticipates and actively avoids issues—fighting the vicious cycle of break-fix IT.

Make it easier to do the right thing and harder to do the wrong thing. We firmly believe that outsourcing your technology needs should improve productivity in-house. No more confusing tech talk. No overly complicated systems. Our team strives for user-friendly and reliable services.

Provide business insights with reporting, various metrics, and thorough analytics. As we mentioned earlier, our team is invested in each client’s success, so providing comprehensive reporting is a key element of our services. The metrics and analytics delivered offer an overview of the current systems as well as any opportunity our team identifies for your business tech to be optimized.


That, in a nutshell, is what we think IT and software development should be. Over the next few weeks, we’ll give a behind-the-scenes look at the team members and tasks that make amshot so uniquely successful. Stay tuned for the first piece of our blog series: Organized Chaos.

If you would like to hear more about amshot’s office culture and our fresh take on tech services, contact us or set up a free consultation.

 

Can Lawyers Handle the Truth?

Can Lawyers Handle the Truth?

Forget the filing cabinets and invest in the benefits and innovations in legal technology

 

Technology is changing the culture of the legal system. Before a reliable alternative was available, lawyers were toting around bags filled with hundreds of sheets of paper— but with the customizable software and accessible technology available today, it is time for the legal industry to upgrade their technology.

As masters of IT and software development, we like to understand all things tech, and our clients in the legal industry have allowed us to gain valuable insight about attorney’s technology needs. We know that protecting your documents, communicating via secure channels, and tracking billables in an easy, manageable way are all important aspects of your profession. Let’s talk about how amshot can streamline your legal workflow.

EVIDENTIARY SUPPORT

Technology has increased productivity in the workplace, and that applies to law firms, courthouses, and cubicles too. In the recent past, legal technology has replaced the filing cabinets filled to the brim with paper and provided a way to simplify the life of a lawyer. Here are just a few more advantages to utilizing technology in the legal industry.

  • Ditch the bulky briefcase. When you utilize digital case management software and data storage services, there is no need to dig through filing cabinets to find that one document you had in your hand the other day…
  • In the business of billables. Keeping track of all the time and energy put into a case can be difficult on a spreadsheet. amshot specializes in custom software to save you time and keep your billables error-free.
  • No eavesdropping. Speaking with your clients in secure channels is a crucial part of the legal industry. Upgrade your whispered asides to secure communication and document sharing 24/7.
  • Discovery made simple. Leading up to a trial, lawyers handle tons of documents and read countless amounts of relevant information. Instead of sifting through stacks of paper, how about a custom-built database where everything is a simple search away?
  • Minimize malpractice. Most legal malpractice claims are due to errors that could be solved by simply using technology. Digital docket management, data back-ups, document security, and software that handles all mathematical calculations are all easier than trying to follow a paper trail to prove due diligence.
  • Free time. This is a concept that most lawyers are unfamiliar with, but the benefits are obvious. Instead of spending time doing tasks that legal tech could do in seconds, new-found time provides the ability to achieve efficiencies and promote professional development around the office.

SETTING A PRECEDENT

While the law might not change on a daily basis, technology does. At amshot, we are always up-to-date on the latest and greatest in legal technology to make sure our clients only operate with the best tech available. Some things come and go, but here are a few trends we will be watching this year.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI will have the ability to assist with things such as contextual analysis, predicting legal outcomes, proactive analysis of data that will lead to litigation prevention, and contract/legal document analysis. Although AI could significantly help your law firm, it has been reported that around 66% of law firms do not use it. It is normal to have your guard up when it comes to new technological advances, but AI is looking very promising.
  • Legal Project Management Software: With the rise of formal legal operations within corporations, legal processes need to be considered business processes. Legal project management software provides one place for all cases and teams. This software will give you the ability to talk to teammates, mark tasks and deadlines, and keep organized—losing the paper and pen method and saving a lot of time.
  • Unified Platforms: In the past, the best-of-breed e-discovery approach was the popular system. However, this trend will start to vanish in the future. Unified platforms are more efficient, more productive, less costly, and less risky.

It’s time to hop on the technology train, lawyers. The benefits of a technology upgrade would impact your day-to-day routine as well as your bottom line. If your firm is interested to see what legal technology could do for your office, see what amshot can do to help by scheduling a free consultation.

Virtually Official

Virtually Official

What is a vCIO and why does your business need one?

 

As a company that started as a small business, we know how much work goes into running a successful start-up. Cultivating leads, handling business technology, hiring the right employees, executing client work, managing policies and benefitsit’s exhausting just thinking about it. With all the tasks a growing business is responsible for, you shouldn’t have to worry about how your daily technology needs will be handled.

amshot can do that for you.

A Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO) is an outsourced IT service that provides your company with the skills and capabilities of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) without the cost of staffing the position full-time. Keep reading to find out the perks of having a vCIO.

TIME IS MONEY

Efficiency and productivity go hand-in-hand at the office. By utilizing a vCIO, you free up time and resources, previously dedicated to managing the company’s IT needs, which can be reallocated to promote various aspects of business development. Additionally, without having to micro-manage IT internally, your sanity gets a bit of a break as well.

SECURITY GUARD

We have said it before and we’ll say it again: cybersecurity is not to be taken lightly. Every day, hackers are becoming bolder and smarter, so you should not leave your company’s security up to chance. Securing business data and information against cyber attacks is one of the vCIO’s most important roles in an organization. A vCIO works to keep all of your tech up-to-date along with creating security policies and implementing security patches.

CUSTOM > BASIC

When it comes to reporting and recommendations, it is far more helpful if business analyses are tailored to your business instead of made with a widely-distributed template. With the various functionalities of business technology, it can be difficult to keep track of what is working and what isn’t while also trying to make sense of the mountains of data produced. A vCIO can provide customized reports of your current IT setup that showcase metrics and trends. Based on the reports and findings, the vCIO can also make recommendations for new software or technology to utilize at your business. The vCIO is an invaluable resource when considering new technology to invest in for your company.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

While hiring a full-time CIO does free up time dedicated to your company’s IT needs, it would also come with a hefty price tag. The average salary for a CIO in the U.S. is more than $140,000 plus paid time off, insurance, and other benefitsnot something a growing business can easily afford. Since a vCIO is an outsourced IT service, you will not have to pay an annual salary nor provide a benefits package. The increase in productivity is comparable when considering a CIO versus a vCIO, but the financial savings of utilizing a vCIO are huge.

 



Utilizing a vCIO can have a big impact on your company’s bottom line. Not only does this service allow you to focus on what you do best while we handle your IT needs, but it also implements a technology strategy that is proactive, not reactive. Too often we hear about huge IT issues and data breaches that stall productivity in an office. Luckily, we specialize in stress-free IT. amshot conducts regular maintenance to prevent issues and keep your business running smoothly instead of scrambling to fix problems as they arise.

If you want to find out if a vCIO is right for your company, set up a free consultation with amshot.

amshot Eats OKC

amshot Eats OKC

amshot’s favorite local eateries, from breakfast to breweries

 


Typically, we do a lot of tech-talk around the office, but there is more to amshot than IT and software. As a local business, we are big supporters of the Keep It Local vibe in OKC and we like to get involved around the city as much as possible.

In fact, one of our favorite ways to empower our community comes around mealtimes. We like to consider ourselves foodies, and we have tried more restaurants around the city than we are proud of, so our office took a poll on our favorite local spots. It was not easy to narrow the list down, but the winners are listed below.

RISE & SHINE.

We might not all be morning people, but we are all big fans of breakfast at Sunnyside Diner.

LUNCH BREAK.

Within walking distance from the office, the Thai Kitchen OKC never disappoints and we highly recommend it.

WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

The Tokyo Japanese Restaurant is the tastiest way to get out of doing the dishes. It is perfect for date night or for a family dinner.

SWEET TOOTH.

If you have not tried Pie Junkie yet, stop reading and go now! The pies are out-of-this-world and always welcome at amshot.

AMSHOT AFTER 5.

Our team is more than just work associates, so when quitting time comes around we often relocate to The Flea for drinks, games, and maybe even karaoke.

GOOD FOR WHAT ALES YOU.

The brewery scene in OKC has exploded and made us craft-beer-drinkers very happy. However, this category was an easy pick for us. We are loyal to the Stonecloud Brewing Co.

PARTY OF 10?

At amshot, we do a lot of team lunches, and it can be hard to find a place to accommodate our crew. For this category, we had a tie between a Bricktown favorite Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and the famous Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in Stockyard City.

 

While these are the winners of our office poll, we still had team members campaigning for their favorite joints and decided to make a separate section for the ones that narrowly missed the list.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Empire Slice House, N D Foods, Old School Bagel Cafe


Our team is always looking to try new restaurants, so feel free to comment with your favorite local eateries!

It’s Kind of a BIg Deal

It’s Kind of a BIg Deal

The importance of Business Intelligence (BI) to companies of all sizes


We all want to know where our business is going, what we can expect for the future and, better yet, the margins of success we will see in the upcoming months. But in order to see the future, we need to know “the now” of said business. Business Intelligence (
BI) provides us with that knowledge whether your business is small, medium, or large—BI is a one-size-fits-all tool.

At amshot, we focus strongly on being able to customize software to meet the individual needs of our clients—and that includes BI. Keep reading for a crash course in all things BI and why it’s worthwhile.

BREAK IT DOWN NOW

The formal definition of Business Intelligence refers to tools, technologies, applications and practices used to collect, integrate, analyze, and present an organization’s raw data in order to create insightful and actionable business information. Basically, Business Intelligence is a system for turning your business data into info that can help you make informed business decisions. BI allows us to pinpoint areas of weakness and strength in real time to gain further insights and tackle any opportunity to enhance business output.

That was a lot of loaded words, so think of it as an update. Updates to a cellphone let users see what Apple or Samsung or Google have been working on to make their experience better. Each upgrade has new benefits such as new gadgets, faster loading speeds, increased battery life, etc. All of those changes were made by looking and analyzing the current, ongoing issues within the software. Business Intelligence is like a non-stop, ongoing update to your business that leads to more overall success.

HELP YOURSELF

There are numerous benefits of using BI. As we mentioned, it provides real-time feedback that allows businesses to identify and achieve efficiencies in their organization, but that’s not all. Our team looked at the ways BI helps businesses, and here are just a few that stood out to us:

  • More accuracy when reporting, analyzing and planning – No matter how much you do something, it won’t matter unless you are accurate on every account. BI allows you to organize data without the potential for manual error and make decisions in real time.
  • Faster analysis, planning, and reporting – Efficiency plays a big role in business profitability. BI allows companies to make business decisions in a more timely matter, especially under pressure. It consolidates a lot of data and gives us a single perspective.
  • Improved data quality – You know the saying “quality over quantity”? With BI, businesses have access to both. It gathers the entire quantity of big data and transforms that into accessible figures in a high quality way.
  • Increased competitive advantage – It is important to understand that Business Intelligence is not the same as competitive intelligence. BI scans internal data within your business, which leads to a competitive advantage, while competitive intelligence looks at other people’s business. Knowing everything about your current state of business and tackling the issues that arise puts you ahead of competitors on its own, even if you don’t know the ins-and-outs of your competitors’ business.
  • Reduced costs and increased revenues – Of course, this is the ultimate goal for any business. BI lets you determine who your customers are by collecting data at high speed, which allows businesses to know them inside and out. Understanding their consumer behavior can result in a faster point of sale in a more accurate way.

USE IT OR LOSE IT

The ability to focus on the current state of your business becomes increasingly easier when utilizing everything BI has to offer. Every company want to be aware of where they stand as an individual part of the larger market, and BI helps companies analyze their systems, employees, and functionality. While this type of technological support may be new to some industries, the opportunities for growth and profitability that BI provides should be considered by any business looking to upgrade.

No two businesses are alike—we know that. BI helps us make your business more successful by blending this cloud of big data with the individual needs our software can provide. BI is the overhead macho-man of business analytics that can help companies grow and succeed, and amshot can help implement it. Contact us for a free consultation.

Buy It or Customize It

Buy It or Customize It

Evaluating your company’s current software and the advantages of using custom software/applications

 

Off-the-shelf or tailor-made? The choice seems easy when it comes to clothes—Why would I wear something that just fits when I could wear something custom made for me?—but what about in terms of business software?

Originally, software allowed businesses to transition from manual to digital. Now in the digital age, most businesses couldn’t function without their applications. The business world uses a lot of software, but how many of those applications interact with one another? And when is it time to ditch the off-the-shelf software in favor of tailor-made software?

At amshot, we like to say we use technology as a tool to improve business results. Our software development services specifically focus on achieving efficiencies that promote profitability and business growth. Is custom software the right choice for your business? Read on below.

WELL-OILED MACHINES

Efficient business is good business. Software applications have streamlined many aspects of business and numerous options are available to be purchased off-the-shelf, but these generic versions of software aren’t a cure-all. In fact, they are often limited in their functions and rarely interact with other applications. This is where custom software comes in handy—it can bridge the gap between two applications or between what your software does and what you need it to do.

Custom software can help your business in many ways, but our team has determined that these are the biggest advantages of tailor-made applications:

  • Most efficient system possible: Custom software provides functions specific to the business that generic software simply isn’t capable of doing. Instead of using several off-the-shelf applications, custom software can do it all more efficiently.
  • Custom software grows with your business: Often times, generic software cannot keep up with a growing business because it isn’t flexible or scalable. Custom software is made to fit your business and is constantly maintained and adjusted as needed. Furthermore, businesses with multiple locations can be interconnected with software that communicates and shares data instead of stuck jumping through hoops with off-the-shelf products.
  • Say goodbye to repetitive tasks and manual entry: Humans aren’t perfect, and it may only take one typo to bring payroll to a screeching halt. Utilizing custom software allows applications to be created that replace monotonous tasks and are specific to the business, industry, and/or functions needed.
  • Up-to-date and secure: Outdated software might seem harmless, but it can actually leave your systems vulnerable to hackers. Custom software is ever-evolving and minimizes cybersecurity threats.

EENIE-MEENIE-MINIE-MO

While there are many advantages to utilizing software tailor-made to your business, it’s not always the right choice. Several factors can determine whether or not a company would benefit from custom software, so we have outlined how to evaluate your current software to see if customization would be a good fit for your business.

  • What does your company do, and how is it accomplished? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel if off-the-shelf software fits your business needs. For example, restaurants don’t need a complex custom application, but companies in the oil & gas industry might. Consider how many steps or applications are involved in daily tasks, how long it takes to finish them, and if there are any holes that off-the-shelf software can’t fill.
  • What size is your business? How many employees do you have? How much do you currently spend on software? Does your company operate locally or internationally? Is your business growing? These are all important questions to consider when deciding if custom software is right for you. Smaller businesses might not have the budget or need for custom applications, but if it’s in the cards for your business, they can seriously improve profitability.
  • Who will be using the software? Ask employees about your current software’s performance. Ask them if it makes jobs more efficient. Ask them how easy it is to use. The answers to these questions can help identify what your business is lacking and possible options for new or custom software.
  • What are your competitors using? If all of your top competitors are utilizing custom software and are out-performing your business, then it might be time to leave the generic software behind. However, if custom software wouldn’t improve the quality of your service or profitability, then it’s probably best to stick with off-the-shelf.

GOT SUPPORT?

Already using custom software, but need support + maintenance?
Your program doesn’t have to be amshot-built to be amshot-supported. Our development team has experience providing support and maintenance for existing applications.

Our software development services specialize in identifying opportunities for efficiencies and creating applications specific to your business needs. We can modify applications your business already uses, build your dream program from scratch, or keep your existing solution up and running. If you still aren’t sure which option is right for you, our software development team would love to schedule a free consultation and give you our professional opinion.

The Internet of (all) Things?

The Internet of (all) Things?

IoT leaks top the list of cyber threats to small- and medium-sized businesses in 2018

 

Technology is more accessible than ever and can control everything from your business transactions to the lighting in your home, but all of this interconnectivity comes with a risk. Hackers are becoming bolder by the day, and they don’t discriminate who they are attacking based on the size, industry, or location. The only thing they care about is the Internet of Things (IoT)—a term that encompasses all devices and objects that are connected to the internet—and the plethora of digital intelligence it contains.

As a managed IT service provider, amshot takes pride in protecting our clients from hackers. In the past, we have blogged about the necessity of cybersecurity and some steps that can be taken to protect your business data, but today we’re breaking down the single largest threat to small- and medium-sized businesses in 2018.

CONNECTING THE DEVICES

We mentioned that the Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the billions of devices worldwide that are connected to the   internet,but let’s explore the scope of this definition and what an IoT leak could mean for a business.

There is no limit to what could be considered a part of the IoT because any object that can be connected to the internet is considered an IoT device. Here are a few examples of commonly used personal IoT devices: GPS, pacemakers, web cameras, Amazon’s Echo, and home security systems. With wireless networks and cheap processors readily available, the digital and physical worlds continue to mesh. The IoT is already huge, and getting bigger, but why should you care?

An IoT leak could be disastrous for any business. Since these devices, especially in businesses, are interconnected and share data amongst themselves, access to one would mean easy access to any affiliated devices. Furthermore, once inside an IoT device, hackers can easily install malware and take control of the entire system.

No matter the type of breach, the financial costs are high and reputation impacts are long-lasting to any business. The best way to stay ahead of these cyber threats is to be aware of how they can occur and take steps to protect your business. Don’t worry, we will walk you through both.

WORLDWIDE WEB OF HACKERS

The internet has provided us with live updates, real-time data collection, immediate international communication, instant access to a multitude of information, and hackers. Many small- to medium-sized businesses have trouble seeing themselves as a target to these cyber criminals, thinking, what could they possibly want from me?—but that’s precisely what makes them easy targets.

While the Internet of Things was initially most appealing to business and manufacturing with its machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, nowadays, IoT devices are being used in almost every industry. However, these devices lack built-in security and can leave a digital backdoor open. Hackers prey on IoT devices because they can locate them through automated programs and can usually gain access by using default admin credentials.

To deter these types of cyber attacks, we recommend a few things.

  1. Change the password(s) on any new devices immediately after setup.
  2. Make sure all admin and user settings are updated and that no default credentials can be used.
  3. Finally, if you would like a second opinion on your cybersecurity, contact us to arrange a free consultation.

On Cloud 9.0

On Cloud 9.0

The ins, outs, and next big trends in cloud technology

 

Just 25 years ago, floppy disks were the standard for data storage and any self-respecting tech professional had tons of them in various colors. Now, it’s all about the cloud. We use it at home, we use it at work, and we use it on the go. Cloud technology has streamlined businesses by providing access to new capabilities at the click of a mouse and increasing server efficiency, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Because amshot utilizes cloud technology all the time in our office and while executing services, we decided to take an in-depth look at all aspects of the cloud and where it’s heading.


“Nobody understands the cloud, it’s a mystery!” – Jason Segel


The idea of the cloud is abstract, to say the least. You can’t see it and you can’t touch it, but it somehow has seemingly endless amounts of storage and can be accessed anywhere. Generally speaking, everyone knows it exists, but most typically have no idea what it is or what it does.

So, let’s start with the basics.

  1. The cloud got its name because, historically, when a diagram was drawn that included the internet, it was typically represented by a fluffy amorphous shape that closely resembled—you guessed it—a cloud.
  2. The technical definition of cloud computing is: The virtualization and central management of data center resources as software-defined pools.
  3. The most common uses of the cloud include, but are not limited to: data storage, app/service creation, website hosting, media streaming, software delivery, and data analysis.
  4. There are three main types of cloud services:
    • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Basic cloud computing services. For a set fee, IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networks, etc.) is rented from a provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
    • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Geared towards software development. Provides on-demand access to the resources needed to quickly develop, test, launch, and maintain software without IT infrastructure to worry about.
    • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): Used to deliver/maintain software applications over the internet. Typically highly customizable apps, with some of the most notable examples being Google’s G Suite and Office 365.
  5. There are three types of cloud deployment:
    • Public: Owned and operated by a third party. Account and services access is done via web browser (i.e. Google’s AppEngine, Windows Azure Services Platform)
    • Private: Owned by one business/organization. Third party providers can still be paid to host these private clouds, but all private clouds are on private networks.
    • Hybrid: Combination of a public and a private cloud that utilizes technology to share data and software applications between the two. Provides businesses with more flexibility.

Cloudy with a Chance of Multi-Clouds

With so many uses and applications, it’s hard to believe that cloud technology can evolve any further—but we thought the same thing about telephones when the original iPhone was released.

The future of this technology is in multi-clouds. Not to be confused with hybrid clouds who mesh public and private clouds, multi-clouds computing is made up of two or more public clouds that typically span multiple vendors. This strategy is being adopted as a management strategy to enhance business innovation and to avoid putting all of the eggs into one public cloud’s basket.

Innovation, efficiency, and flexibility are the driving factors behind the multi-cloud movement. By utilizing a mix of several public clouds, companies have the ability to strategically implement different cloud technology for different internal departments based on their individual needs. The optimization of a multi-cloud environment requires strategy and coordination, but with the right team, can visibly affect business results.

If your company’s cloud technology and IT services could use a facelift, or if you’re just getting started with the cloud and need some guidance, schedule your free consultation with amshot to see how we can help your business transform results with technology.

 

Bytes Over Barrels: Cybersecurity in Oil and Gas

With hackers becoming bolder and more destructive, many industries have taken steps to better secure their business information. However, the oil and gas industry remains arguably the most vulnerable to cyber attacks—or at least one of the most heavily targeted. Granted, this industry has not experienced a crippling data breach yet, but that does not mean they are not at risk. As the industry becomes increasingly digital and interconnected, the need for strong cybersecurity also grows.

amshot has a specialized focus on managed IT services and software development for the oil and gas industry. Our extensive knowledge of this industry has led to the development of a unique and effective approach. In this week’s blog, we’ll share our breakdown of cybersecurity in the oil and gas industry and why it’s crucial for businesses to be prepared.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT

In the past, the remote operations and intricate data structures provided a natural defense against cyber attacks. When cyberterrorism was the ultimate goal, there was a general consensus that hackers weren’t targeting oil and gas data. However, hackers are constantly evolving, and so are their strategies. Today, many hackers are profit-focused with strategies like disrupting operations, espionage, and stealing sensitive field data.

The oil and gas industry can be slow to adopt technological advancement. In fact, many companies are utilizing outdated software and systems leaving them vulnerable to attack— even though one of the unique aspects of the oil and gas industry is the potential magnitude of a data breach. Imagine a hacker was able to access operational technology for wells. With that data, an entire company could be shut down, and a breach of operational technology would have a ripple effect throughout the industry. The scariest part? A study was conducted to evaluate how the industry is addressing security risks to operational technology and an average of 46 percent of cyber attacks went undetected.

MISSION IMPENETRABLE

It’s no longer a question of if a data breach will occur in oil and gas, it’s simply a matter of when. Significant technology developments have been made to increase efficiency in operations, data collection, and exploration. Now, these advancements provide companies with the time to focus on protecting their assets. Cybersecurity has been put on a backburner for the oil and gas industry, but it’s time to make it a priority—and amshot can help.

A comprehensive cybersecurity plan begins with assessing the risks and vulnerabilities of your company. Then, potential risks can be prioritized and crisis management plans created. While these initial steps allow you to prepare responses for a data breach, consulting with IT professionals is a necessity in this industry. The interconnectedness of industry practices requires network security, data encryption, and vigilant monitoring. By establishing a data breach response plan and secure IT practices, the risk of cyber attacks is significantly reduced.

If your company does not utilize managed IT services, schedule a free consultation with amshot and discover how our specialized approach to oil and gas cybersecurity can help you.

 

Breach Don’t Kill My Vibe

In our last blog, we mentioned how important encryption has become in protecting your company from hackers, but what happens when you suffer a data breach? More importantly, why should you take it seriously? As a full-service IT provider, amshot knows how serious data breaches are and how to protect your business from hackers, so we’ve put together a cheat sheet on data breaches and why they matter.

Breaching the Subject

A data breach occurs when a third party exploits a company’s cybersecurity weaknesses to access to company information. Nowadays, even the smallest businesses work online to some extent, leaving them more susceptible to hackers seeking everything from employee information to financial records and intellectual property. Whether your company is completely digitized or only uses computers to log sales information, you are vulnerable to a data breach.

Big Impact

To some, the idea of a stranger accessing their business data is no big deal because they “don’t have anything THAT important online”—but data breaches of any kind can have a big impact. For example, data breaches typically affect the reputation of a company. Why? If you ordered something online your information was stolen in the process, you probably wouldn’t shop on that website anymore. A data breach can make any credible establishment seem unreliable and deter potential customers, even if the breach is contained.

However, a company’s reputation isn’t the only way data breaches can impact business. Customer information is just one example of data that can be accessed. Hackers look for any data that could be valuable to them, like financial information and intellectual property. With financial information, hackers can drain a bank account or crash a website. If intellectual property is stolen, a hacker would have access to ideas, proposals, designs, and reports that could set you back further than any other type of breach.

The Best Defense

Every business is at risk for a data breach and the consequences can be severe, but amshot believes the best defense is a good offense. The first thing any business needs to do is assess their vulnerability. Certain industries are more susceptible than others—for example, healthcare is the most targeted industry—but establishing your company’s risk will determine how much time, effort, and money you should allocate to cybersecurity. From there, look at your business data and assess your need for external help. We all like to be hands-on in a crisis, but when it comes to IT and cybersecurity, sometimes it’s best to rely on professionals.

amshot provides managed IT services—including protection against data breaches—for businesses in a multitude of industries. If you think your company could benefit from beefing up your cybersecurity, reach out to consult@amshot.com to schedule your free consultation.

 

Encrypting is the Key to (Secure) Success

The threat of a digital security breach has never been more prevalent, and encryption is one of the best ways to defend your data from hackers. When it comes to protecting your growing business, having a secure network ensures the safety of servers and databases, but encryption protects the data within your network. Business data is shared across devices, web browsers, often the cloud, providing a multitude of opportunities for hackers. While data encryption is not an impenetrable defense (as demonstrated in The Imitation Game), it renders the data useless to any third party and has been widely successful in deterring hackers. Since the smallest vulnerability can lead to the compromisation of an entire network, having reliable IT and secure data management is crucial to a company’s success. Keep reading for a crash course on encryption and why it’s so important in this day and age.

Cryptography to Encryption

Data encryption has been a standard practice for hundreds of years, and prior to the digital era, was synonymous with cryptography. Cryptography (also referred to as cryptoanalysis) is the study of writing and solving codes. The earliest use of cryptography has been traced back to ancient Egypt and was a very popular method of military communication in WWII. Once computer technology became available, encryption developed its own definition within the field of cryptography as a practice that utilized computer-generated algorithms in the writing and solving of codes. Today, data encryption is one of the most effective tools against security breaches and can be applied to data, email, and even devices.

Encryption 101

The purpose of encrypting your data is to make information accessible to authorized users and useless to any unauthorized users. In the encryption process, computers and algorithms convert data into an unreadable code that can only be deciphered with the encryption key. An encryption key is crucial in this process as it translates the data from plain text to code and vice versa. Without the key, any data retrieved by hackers becomes obsolete. There are many types of encryption and various algorithms used, but the use of these practices will depend on the data being encoded. For example, encrypting a server would require a strong encryption and could maybe even several rounds of encryption. Deciphering that data would be a lengthy process to decipher, which is appropriate for information accessed infrequently. Understanding the basics of encryption will only help any consulting or training required to secure your company’s data.

Why Encrypt?

The threat of a security breach has never been more imminent. Today, no one thinks twice about sharing information across devices, accounts, or browsers, but the increased connectivity also increases your data’s vulnerability. Not only does encrypting your data provide a significant deterrent to hackers, but it also protects the growth of your business. Whether the data’s on devices, servers, emails, or the cloud, encryption is the best defense available.

Combating these potential hackers is a significant part of the Managed IT Services we provide to our clients. Ready to get your business on track? Send us an email at consult@amshot.com and let’s set up a free consultation.