On Cloud 9.0

Cloud Technology

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 have no idea what it is or what it does. So, let’s start with the basics.

1. How the cloud got its name:

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:

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 and analysis
  • App/service creation
  • Website hosting
  • Media streaming
  • Software delivery

4. There are three main types of cloud services:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Basic cloud computing services. For a set fee, rent IT infrastructure (servers, storage, networks, etc.) from a provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Geared toward 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.

On the Radar

The future of this technology is in multi-clouds (specifically, hybrid clouds). Innovation, efficiency, and flexibility are the driving factors behind the multi-cloud movement.

Multi-cloud computing is a cloud strategy consists of two or more cloud deployments that typically span multiple vendors. This type of cloud strategy can be made using all public clouds, all private clouds, or a hybrid.

The optimization of a multi-cloud environment requires strategy and coordination, but with the right team, can visibly affect business results.

Cloudy with a Chance of Hybrid Clouds

As mentioned above, hybrid clouds mesh public and private clouds, allowing data transfer between the two. This strategy is being adopted as a management strategy to enhance business innovation and to avoid putting all of the eggs into one cloud’s basket.

By utilizing a mix of several cloud deployments, companies have the ability to strategically implement specialized cloud technology for different internal departments based on their individual needs.

Another benefit to hybrid clouds is the ability to tap into additional resources when there is a spike in demand (i.e. Cyber Monday). This feature is known as “cloud bursting” and allows the system to run an application or resource within the private cloud and then burst into the public cloud as needed.

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.

If your company’s technology could use a facelift, or if you’re just getting started with the cloud and need some guidance, let’s talk tech to see how we can help your business transform results with technology.

Bytes Over Barrels: Cybersecurity in Oil and Gas

energy industry technology

Cybersecurity in the Oil & Gas Industry

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.

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.

THE SCARIEST PART?

A study was conducted to evaluate how the industry is addressing security risks to operational technology and an average of 46% of cyber attacks went undetected.

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.

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.

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.

SECURE SUCCESS

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.

amshot has a specialized focus on managed IT services and custom 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.

If your company does not utilize managed services, contact us 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 IMPACTS

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 are 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.

The Supported Ascent: Cybersecurity and Data Management For The Growing Business

A small business seeking growth has a lot to consider. Obtaining and managing data now can affect decades of market presence, and swift management can mean meeting goals in months instead of years, but as with any organism, a business is at its most vulnerable when it is in its earliest stages. Security breaches are only becoming more common, and it is easy for a single software vulnerability or user error to compromise entire systems. That’s why reliable IT support, secure data management, and strong IT training for staff are essentials for directing growth and protecting company data regardless of company size or structure.  

 

The Techno-Interpreter 

What are your hardware and software needs? What software packages work best for your budget and goals? What specially designed applications could increase productivity and enrich user experiences? How do you gather and apply user and market data to direct company growth? Where are your vulnerabilities within your desktop ecosystem and IoT (Internet of Things) devices? How do you ensure that essential company data isn’t lost? These can be daunting questions that are relatively simple ones to experienced IT personnel, and lead us into our next point: 

 

Knowing Yourself Through Client Data 

This one is no secret: In many ways, applying gathered consumer data is the only real way to keep your feet planted in a chaotic, competitive environment. But what information matters? How do you gather only the important pieces in a sea of endless data? Specialized software allows you to identify trends, demographics, and observable curves in the market and apply them to your goals. Predictive analysis is an art that, when finely honed, can make an estimated guess into a confident statement that ensures success.  

 

A Watchful Eye 

Software vulnerabilities are always a concern, but user error is almost a certainty at one point or another. While you may trust your employees, nobody is exempt from making mistakes 100% of the time. Because everything is connected, one click on a phishing e-mail or the use of a less-than-savory external application can compromise your entire infrastructure. That’s where attentive administration and software procurement is key. Augment this with IT training for staff and you significantly lower your risk of technological catastrophe.   

 

Back It Up 

So let’s say the worst case scenario happens and your data is lost. This can happen either by cyber attacks or physical destruction of on-site storage systems by something such as natural disaster. This is where data backup services such as Datto save the day. Keeping your data in the cloud allows it to flow efficiently and securely throughout your company. 

Succinctly, the companies of tomorrow are being built today, and without harnessing new standards and technologies they will likely be overshadowed by their peers who have, and also are at increasing risk of digital breaches from outdated hardware, software, and practices. At amshot, we work with businesses who are ready to grow – that means providing technology training, developing software and applications, managing IT services, and more. Questions, concerns, or big dreams for your company’s data? Schedule a free consultation by emailing consult@amshot.com or calling us at (405) 418-6282. 

The Empirical Elegance of Data

Our modern lives have been built on the back of unwavering certainty. Steam engines allowed us to spread out, trade, and communicate across vast distances. Modern medicine is built on guaranteed biological reactions within us. That’s the kind of definitive cause and effect we’re finding in big data and data analysis. Couple that with the computational prowess of machine learning, capable of sifting through billions of business variables in seconds, and suddenly you have a resource that is not simply additive, but multiplicative, and free to shift and scale according to any demand.

Business Driven Data/Data Driven Business

A company is comprised of every decision made at every level by management and staff. We can only make decisions based on the information we digest, and in the past the direction of a business was driven by obvious bits of information that most people could interpret. 10,000 products sold is an effective indicator that there’s a market for that product, but what about the unseen, mercurial undercurrents that drive a consumer economy? That’s what a data driven business model employs to insure success and profit. With data, you don’t have to take a single step without knowing the ground on which it will land.

The Internet of Things and Data For Customers

Computers are a part of everything now, and everything is communicating. We’re able to draw statistics about how products are being used by utilizing consumer input. The context of this usage can be extracted to form a perfect picture of a consumer’s relationship with a product. It’s not just for the business, either, because making select information available to your consumer enriches their experience with a product or service. Examples of this include exercise watches that track your progress and shows how you compare to other users, and a streaming service that makes suggestions based on what others with similar viewing histories also watched.

Information, Learn Thyself

The most world-changing aspect of data is its ability to build on itself by way of machine learning and automation. With little input from the user, systems can gather, sort, and interpret data at speeds and in ways that a human could never fathom. With the inclusion of products capable of obtaining data by themselves, what we find is that a well-nurtured, but more hands-off approach to data is becoming increasingly prevalent. To put it simply, it’s the difference between picking fruit and planting a seed.

One Size Fits All

Data is flexible, too. Data analysis can be a panorama or a microscope, depending on business needs. A small company cannot afford to miss any scrap of usable information, like recurring complaints, common user issues, or simply what color of product consumers in a particular region are more likely to take home with them. Likewise, a large company receives such an incredible amount of information that interpreting patterns and trends from this chaos is the only way this company can stay mobile and ensure growth.

The beauty of data is not from form, but function. The form that data takes is increasingly massive heaps, growing into mountains, of information that make increasingly less sense to decision makers concerned with the broad, immediate path. The function, however, is an assured honesty, an empirical statement that can be the answer to any question a business may have. That’s what makes data beautiful.

There’s so many sides of data, so many angles from which to extract, and this only grows with our ability to collect it. Every day at amshot we are devising new ways to make this process seamless for the end user, be it business or consumer. Get in touch with us and start your way down the certain path that data can lay before you. Give us a call at (405) 418-6282 or send an email to consult@amshot.com for a free consultation.

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Big Data and Predictive Analytics: The Competitive Edge

How does using data/business intelligence give businesses an edge over those who don’t utilize customer or company data?

Data is the most valuable commodity for any modern business. Small bits of information — such as customer age, consumer habits, and location — all add up to a bigger picture. Minute, seemingly disposable data accumulates to form what we call “big data”, an ocean of information gathered by a company’s day-to-day interactions with a consumer. Business intelligence is the practice of forming this bigger picture, making vast quantities of information easily digestible and actionable. Here are a few questions that data analysis can answer for you and your company.

Who is our customer?

Millions of people are regularly engaging with millions of products and services. Each and every day, a single consumer interacts with dozens if not hundreds of businesses by way of advertisement, digital applications, brick and mortar establishments, and subscription-based services. Add in what they’re not partaking in and you’ve got a much more vivid picture of who your customer is. By knowing the habits of your consumer, and by way of predictive analysis, a business can know how the market will respond to an idea before it’s even rolled out.

How are customers interacting with our product or service?

People’s personal relationship with and perception of your brand can make or break your business. Do you find that more of your sales come from older people or younger? Do they sell especially well at a certain time of day or time of the year? Do customers frequently pair another product or service with yours? These details can seem like minutiae, but they form the trends that will completely determine your success.

What is our public image and what do consumers expect from us?

Data analytics aren’t just important for the direct interaction consumers have with your brand. They also help summarize how those customers are responding after those interactions take place. Posts and digital reviews — across social media platforms and Google listings — give you the most honest, unfiltered representation of how your brand is perceived. Be it positive or negative, this data allows a company to self-reflect and apply tweaks to their image that will foster a positive relationship with consumers.

Who are our competitors?

Mistakes are the growing pains of any business, but data analysis of the mistakes of others is a much more painless experience. In today’s world everything is shared, and deep in the data trail are the reasons why others have failed or succeeded. For example, if a similar company’s product failed, look and see if the mistake wasn’t in targeting the wrong demographics, or casting too broad a net when choosing an audience to advertise to. These are the foundation of what is called competitive intelligence, and it is a vital practice. If you aren’t learning from others’ mistakes, they are most certainly learning from yours.

Knowing your customer, how they perceive and interact with your brand, and how you compare to your competitors are some of the answers that can steady a business during turbulent times or take profits to the next level for even the most successful business. Information is the single most important asset, and it’s just waiting to be taken.

That’s what we at amshot aim to do for your company. We know where to look, and our expertise is in creating custom programs and applications that make it possible for this data to be gathered, deciphered, and interpreted for easy understanding by decision makers within a business. If this sounds like something your company needs, email consult@amshot.com or give us a call at (405) 418-6282 to set up a free consultation.

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Beyond the Five Percent Rule: When Outsourcing IT is the Best Option for Businesses

In our previous blog, we discussed the need for businesses and organizations to devote at least five percent of their overall personnel budget to information technology. However, reaching that five percent threshold can be difficult for some startups, sole practices, specialized small businesses and even larger organizations. So what’s a business to do? As with any major decision, businesses should consider current and future security and support needs as well as the potential cost for in-house IT versus partnering with a consulting company.

Here are five things to consider when weighing options for your information technology:

1. Cost – Let’s be honest, in-house IT can be expensive. Some start-up costs for a new department can include infrastructure, software, planning, and updates, not to mention training and competitive salaries for dedicated personnel. In fact, cost is often cited as one of the primary reasons businesses make the switch to an external consulting company.

2. Risk reduction – Another major benefit of outsourcing your IT over building an in-house department is that companies which specialize in information technology have a greater grasp on best operational practices and new trends as well as current threats and how to overcome them.

3. Additional resources to focus on growing your business – Most organizations have limited resources, whether it’s time, materials, or even human capital. As a result, there are limits to what an internal IT department can accomplish on its own, making problem solving a more lengthy process. By outsourcing IT support, you can spend less time troubleshooting computer glitches and more time concentrating on what your business does best.

4. Access to a wider variety of IT knowledge – For many small organizations, an internal IT department may only consist of a single person, who (no matter how experienced) is not a replacement to a panel of specialists who are proficient in IT solutions for a variety of industries. In addition, by outsourcing IT, your company can gain access to higher levels of technology and resources that can give you an edge against other small businesses.

5. Improvement to company focus – An ongoing IT problem can impact your whole business if not handled quickly and thoroughly. Unfortunately, when you’re handling all of your IT support internally, your focus is split amongst the different technical priorities needed to keep your site, products, and applications up and running. An outsourced IT partner, on the other hand, can address those worries and often solve problems more quickly, allowing you and your employees to focus more fully on achieving your company’s goals.

In today’s technology-driven world, IT infrastructure and support are essential to any successful enterprise, regardless of size. And while no company wants to be the patient zero in a data breach, the fact is that launching and maintaining an in-house IT department can be costly and not always the best choice for every organization.

If it’s starting to seem clear that outsourcing IT is the best option for your company, or if you have questions about what a partnership with Amshot would look like, email consult@amshot.com to set up a free consultation or give us a call at (405) 418-6282.

The Five Percent Rule: Creating the Perfect Staff Equilibrium

In chemistry, equilibrium is created in acid-base combinations by using the five percent rule. Achieving chemical equilibrium in the products and reactants is akin to reaching an important state of balance. Though most businesses are far removed from the world of chemistry, five percent is still a useful measure to remember when balancing your IT requirements with staffing needs for other departments.

Although the number can fluctuate depending on your company’s focus and unique technology needs, five percent is often an excellent place to start when considering how to allocate personnel to the IT department. To put it in simpler terms, if you have 100 employees, at least five of them should be responsible for the IT needs of your business.

So, where exactly do you start? The first part of building an IT department of any size is to create a plan that accounts for both current needs and future growth. This can usually be done with the help of an IT consulting company or an in-house Chief Technology Officer.

Duties of Information Technology staff encompass a wide range of areas, all of which enable a company to store, receive, and send information. In some companies, the department’s role can include network management, software development, and database administration in addition to overseeing electronic communication tools, such as telephones, internal and external websites, and even email.

IT specialists may also provide technical support to a business or an organization’s employees and train non-technical workers on the business’s information systems. Advanced specialists may design systems and assess the effectiveness of technology resources already in use or new systems that are being implemented.

Additionally, a company’s IT specialists often work with external partners, including consultants, agencies, and vendors to develop the best systems for your business. They must always keep abreast of emerging technologies and how these advancements could be integrated into a business’s current systems.

Staffing for any role can require balancing current requirements with future needs. By incorporating the five percent rule into your staffing strategy, you can keep your company’s technology running smoothly.

What do you do if you only have 10 employees? It’s hard to hire half a person. That’s where outsourcing comes in. Working with an external IT company means that you’ll have a team of people monitoring your account, handling the day-to-day, and helping you achieve your technology goals. In fact, that’s exactly where Amshot comes in – we specialize in working with companies to transform and optimize their IT through Managed Services, Software Consulting, and Web Development. Are you ready to take technology off your plate so you can focus on running the rest of your business? Shoot us an email to set up a consultation and get on track to implementing a technology plan that meets your needs and helps your company – and vision – grow.

Avoiding the Perils of a Bad Backup Plan

One of the world’s largest source-code hubs, GitLab, has spent years building a business that not only caters to small and medium-sized businesses, but also marquee clients including IBM, NASA and Macy’s. In February, however, this powerhouse company almost lost its long list of clients due to a temporary, accidental data loss and a backup failure that took their services offline for several hours.

Fortunately, GitLab was able to correct the problem in a few hours, and in doing so, save many of its customer accounts. This incident could have been avoided with a robust disaster plan and a system that embraces Intelligent Business Continuity (IBC). The IBC standard – along with minimal downtime, cloud protection, redundancy for image-based backups, and minimal risk of corrupted backups or data loss  – is one of the main reasons we choose to partner with Datto when building solutions and data backup plans for our clients.

As GitLab’s experience shows, traditional backup methods, such as tape, disk or online only, are no longer sufficient for most business owners. These methods are unable to recover data quickly, have slower backup speeds, and often store files in only one location, raising the risk for potential theft as well as the consequences of losing data if those files become corrupted. An IBC solution, on the other hand, is a higher standard that ensures data protection, continuity, data security, and instant recovery, all of which help to mitigate downtime.

Here are some good questions to ask when selecting a backup solution for your data.

What risks do traditional methods present? Traditional backup systems carry a high risk of failure due to manual administration. In fact, 58% of downtime is a result of human error.

What common issues does a business face with data backup? Some of the usual backup concerns include accuracy, backup and retrieval times, encryption capability and data security.

What are the advantages of using an IBC data backup solution over traditional methods? There are many advantages to adopting a system with IBC, including a higher level of encryption and data redundancy in several locations and a fully automated backup process, meaning that very little manual management is required. This method also helps businesses avoid risk of downtime from local disasters, as backups are stored in multiple locations on both the local device and the secure cloud.

Why is it important for business owners to find the best backup system? Customer data has become one of the most important assets a business can have, regardless of size. Whether it’s customer names and addresses or confidential files, it is essential that electronic information is stored securely and backed up often.

At Amshot, we realize how vital data is to our clients’ daily operations, which is why we only select the best solutions. If you would like to learn more about our partnership with Datto or are interested in discussing the best solutions for your company’s data backup systems and disaster planning, contact us at 405-418-6282 or consult@amshot.com.

IT Security

The Verdict: Law Firms Should Invest in a Comprehensive IT Plan

Popular culture loves to highlight the hard work that goes into creating a good legal strategy. From “Law and Order”, “Boston Legal”, and more recently “Suits”, viewers get a sneak peek into the client meetings, research and even courtroom performance of law firms. What is not often shown is the work that goes on behind the scenes, especially when it comes to creating a comprehensive information technology plan and securing client data.

Certainly, a well-researched, secure information technology strategy is a necessity for any business. Law firms, however, face a higher bar for security due to the elevated ethical requirement for client confidentiality. While some law firms can support an in-house IT department, many small firms don’t have the resources for this. Fortunately, there are many benefits for outsourcing IT service to an outside vendor, such as a more sophisticated level of security, data storage at multiple sites and greater workplace efficiency.

According to the American Bar Association, there are a few things legal firms should do before designing an IT strategy, including:

Creating high-level policies regarding the privacy and security of firm data. Policies should address the use of encryption, remote access, mobile devices, thumb drives, laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, cloud storage, Web email accounts and social networking sites.

Identifying points of contact with law enforcement, Internet service providers, the communications companies that service the firm and cyber forensic experts.

Working with your IT staff or vendor, conducting third-party vulnerability scans, penetration tests and malware scans. Antivirus software is essential, but it detects only a small percentage of new malware. Specialized services that detect sophisticated attacks may be required.

Performing software code reviews on Web applications and custom code to detect vulnerabilities.

Developing contractual security requirements for outsourcing vendors, cloud providers or other entities that connect to the firm’s network, including notification in the event of a breach.

These are things that we can help you with as we work with you to establish your IT strategy. Further, your IT solutions and software should be tailored to your unique needs – not just your needs as a legal firm, but strategies that further your individual tech goals. At Amshot, we offer a wide range of products and services to help law firms of every size create a robust, customized IT plan to fit their individual needs. A few of the legal sector-specific services we provide are:

  • Capturing of Billables
  • Case Management Software
  • Data Backup
  • Minimize Downtime
  • Mobility
  • Process Efficiencies
  • Stability

To learn more about how we can help your law firm create a strong, consistent IT strategy, contact us here or give us a call at 405-418-6282.

Sam Washburn art