Should You Outsource Vendor Management?

Without a way to manage vendors, track vendor performance, and control costs, organizations have no way of making strategic decisions necessary to ensure productivity and efficiency.

Don’t let your organization make the same mistake. Many companies have difficulty assessing their third-party vendor contracts and management at any given point in time. Think back to the last time you may have carried out an audit on your third-party supporters or contracts (if you’ve ever done one since the start of the engagement.)

Chances are, you found significant issues such as expired contracts, discontinued services, or workers who no longer work at the company but still have access to your systems and more.

Being able to optimize the vendor management process means being able to access relevant data and analyze it for potential gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Outsourcing Vendor Management

By outsourcing the vendor management process to a team of experts, you can drive the most value from your vendors without having to do more work. These services help businesses select the right vendors, ensure the right contract, mitigate vendor risk, and establish metrics to track vendor performance.

That way, you can stay focused on your responsibilities while having peace of mind that your vendors are doing their jobs.

The Business Value of Vendor Management

Outsourcing vendor management also enables organizations to better meet their business objectives as well as avoid service delivery failure.

Without proper management in place, it’s impossible for you to know whether or not a supplier it meeting quality standards. When you don’t have the time or resources to measure and track vendor performance, then you should consider outsourcing this role.

With a vendor management solution, you’ll always get the quality services you deserve. Your outsourced provider will perform objective assessments of deliverables and provide actionable feedback to encourage vendor efficiency all-around.

Additionally, with the right vendor management software, you’ll have access to metrics and reports that show you whether or not your vendors are keeping up with their end of the deal. This will allow you to provide input on future projects and deliverables for continual improvement.

At IT Authorities, we act as your dedicated infrastructure management and support provider. That means we ensure the reliability and efficiency of your systems from every possible angle. If you’re ready to keep your vendors held accountable to you at all times, give us a call today!

Using Drones to Ensure Regulatory Compliance

Regulatory compliance is gradually becoming crucial in many industries such as healthcare, clinical research, maritime, and manufacturing. The term refers to the programs that organizations create to meet safety regulations, environmental regulations, and other specifications necessary to the business.

Because violations of compliance regulations often lead to costly fines and complex legal punishment, organizations continuously find tools that will make regulatory compliance as easy, cost-effective, and fault-free as possible. This is where drones come in.

According to Goldman Sachs, the UAV market will reach $100 billion within 5 years. The largest use of commercial drones will be in the construction industry. But how will drones be used to ensure regulatory compliance?

Construction

Large construction projects are costly, complicated, and labor- and time-intensive. Drones can fly above the construction job site to monitor safety standards and document compliance with environmental laws quickly and cheaply.

With drones, you won’t need the more expensive helicopter service to get the job done. Drones are a much more convenient, safer, and cheaper alternative when you need aerial photography.

Agriculture

Agriculture is but one of the many industries that emit greenhouse gas. Drones that carry optical sensors can help the industry comply with Greenhouse Gas Reporting. They can provide accurate measurements of methane and nitrous oxide gas emissions. Drones may also be used to ensure streamlined regulatory compliance in the following key areas:

  • Oil Pollution Prevention
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
  • National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP)
  • Facility Response Plan (FRP)
  • Clean Air Act
  • Risk Management Program and Plan (RMP)

Mining

Drones can be used by the mining industry to ensure regulatory compliance through landslide zone assessment, no-go area surveys, pipeline and conveyor belt monitoring and surveillance, and fleet management.

In Poland, the Geoprojekt Company used a Pix4D Mapper and drones to take photogrammetric measurements of the Obora mine near Lubin City. This allowed accurate calculations of dump and pit volumes. Drones are, therefore, useful in evaluating the volume of minerals mined to make sure that a mining company is not exploiting mineral deposits.

Maritime Industry

Maritime transportation is one of the dominant sources of nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide emissions, two global environmental issues of today. Due to this, authorities enforce maritime sulphur regulations.

While the coastguards and port authorities can test ship emission levels before sailing, they lack resources in terms of catching transgressors. That is until the emergence of the sniffer drone. These drones can hover above Emission Control Areas (ECAs) to make sure ships comply with the international Sulfur emission regulations.

Right now, more than 450,000 drone owners registered themselves to the Federal Aviation Administration. Drones are one of those digital disruptors that businesses need to pay attention to.

From real estate videography to industrial inspection and regulatory compliance, drones are now being integrated into business operations. They offer a great promise to all industries. It is no wonder the concept of “drones as a service” is rapidly catching fire.

The Latest IT Solutions to Combat Network Security Risks

Network security is a key element in every organization’s IT infrastructure. The terrifying series of data breaches that affected the world’s largest organizations like Target, Home Depot, and Anthem means that it is time to take your organization’s IT solutions to the next level.

Using the latest IT solutions makes it easier to deal with security threats, which are getting more frequent and more severe. Network security and risk team leaders need to equip themselves with these latest technologies if they want to define and maintain an effective risk management plan.

Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs)

A cloud access security broker is a software that acts as a guard. It allows organizations to use both their on-premises infrastructure and cloud-based infrastructure to enforce security policies while the cloud-based resources are being used. This is in response to the extensive use of software as a service (SaaS) by many enterprises.

SaaS apps provide insufficient security options, which can be frustrating for security teams. CASB IT solutions were created to fill the many gaps present in cloud services. CASBs are a chief information security officer’s (CISO) newest weapon to make infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) safe for an organization.

Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)

An effective network security management program detects potential breaches and reacts to the threat quickly. To make this possible, the CISO needs endpoint detection and response applications. EDRs are IT solutions that record events and store them in a database. They use machine learning techniques, behavior analytics, and indicators of compromise (IOC) to constantly search for data breaches, allowing the system to deal with potential attacks before they happen.

User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA)

User and entity behavior analytics analyzes user behavior to monitor security around endpoints, applications, and networks. They use big data such as Apache Hadoop to detect anomalies which could be signals of potential threats. Some UEBA app vendors include Microsoft ATA, Veriato, Preempt, and Darktrace.

Micro-segmentation and Flow Visibility

Once an enterprise system has been attacked, the invaders can move to other systems. To prevent this, micro-segmentation IT solutions are put in place. They make communication flows visible for easy monitoring. Flow patterns can be understood easily using the visualization tool, which also makes policy setting and deviation monitoring effortless.

Deception Technologies

These are IT solutions that are made to thwart a breach by disrupting the attacker’s tools and processes, thereby delaying his activities or stopping the attack altogether. Deception technologies create fake resources, such as cookies, systems, and shares. Once an attack to these fake vulnerabilities is detected, the security team can then take measures to stop the attack.

In 2015, security breaches were up 38% more than in 2014, according to the 2016 Price Waterhouse Coopers Global State of Information Security Survey. The results showed that 91% of enterprises follow a risk-based cybersecurity plan, 69% use cloud-based security solutions, and 59% use big data in their network security efforts.

For your peace of mind, don’t deny your organization these latest IT solutions for combating network security threats. Give IT Authorities a call to see how your network security plan holds up.

3 Reasons Why Managed IT Services Makes Sense

As a business owner, there’s no question you want to play it safe when it comes to making new investments for your company. That means weighing the pros and cons of everything before taking on new endeavors or implementing change. In the business world, everything is a risk whether or not we want to believe it. It’s your job to do the right amount of research before making an investment in order to truly get the most bang for your buck.

In this day and age, your IT support and services shouldn’t be among the investments you put on the chopping block. Technology, when used strategically, can drive businesses to greater efficiency and make it possible to accomplish more with less.

With managed IT services, you get around-the-clock monitoring and support to ensure your business is always running smoothly – without any technological bumps in the road to distract you from your main mission at hand. Here are three reasons why managed IT services is worth your investment:

Cut Costs with Managed IT

Managed IT service providers (aka MPSs) offer businesses an alternative to cutting IT support or increasing overhead to keep up with production and service demands.

Organizations may partner up with a managed service provider and get unlimited support at a fraction of the cost of employing their own IT department. And if your company already has an internal IT department, MSPs act as valued partners rather than replacements by freeing up your technicians and IT staff to focus on more strategic projects.

24/7 Support for a Headache-Free Work Life

It’s important to remember that IT support isn’t just about technology; it’s about streamlining your business and simplifying work to make your company more efficient than ever.

The ultimate objective of your MSP is to make your business operate better and faster – with less chaos and confusion slowing you down in your tracks.

Managed IT services includes 24/7 server and system monitoring, hardware upgrades, real-time backups, business continuity, and other services that let firms focus on their core operations.

Faster Problem Resolution to Free Up Time

Nobody likes being stuck at work longer than they really have to. Instead of wasting away precious minutes and hours of your day whenever a technology malfunction arises, you can rely on managed IT services to help your company handle its IT support needs.

At IT Authorities, we act as your fully dedicated outsourced IT team. We’re ready to take on the responsibilities of your IT woes or simply assist your existing IT department. Give us a call so we can prove what our special skills and knowledge can do for you.

5 Possibilities of Working Remotely

Are you heading to the office today? By 2020, three out of four workers will say, “What office?” Working remotely will become the default option for most U.S. workers within the next few years, according to a recent report by the IDC. Already more than 96.2 workers spend at least part of their time working remotely. This practice will become SOP (standard operating procedure) for 72.3 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020.

Why is the traditional office structure fading away? Reason number one is competition. The IDC found that over two-thirds of companies (69.1 percent) lowered their Opex and Capex by switching to remote work.

The second key driver rests with productivity improvements from new technologies like the cloud, wearables, voice-activated devices, near-field communications (NFC), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). That’s how innovative companies are taking their businesses in new directions.

Here are five ideas on how remote working options can help you drop expenses, streamline operations and expand into new markets.

1. The Home Office

The typical business saves $11,000 per person per year by allowing employees to work from home at least 50 percent of the time. Companies attract better talent by offering flexible schedules, and their workers tend to be far more productive. There are many studies that show a more engaged workforce is positively correlated with higher profitability. Recent advances in mobile applications, distributed IT infrastructures and Wi-Fi have converged to become a win-win for enterprises and their employees.

2. Coworking Spaces

Setting up an office has always been considered a costly but necessarily barrier to entry for startups, while also being a symbol of success. These factors are fading away as the sharing economy makes coworking spaces more practical; the popularity of these spaces has lead to a major expansion of coworking spaces in 2016. In addition to lowering costs and strengthening local business networks, these spaces offer benefits that normal real estate can’t offer, like business concierge services, free event space and group discounts to local retailers.

3. Virtual Offices

The best way to boost revenues is to go where the customers are. What’s new is that business travel no longer has to slow down operations. Cloud-based applications and secure access to the company intranet put essential business data on the screen of any mobile device. Documents, presentations and even ERP data can be just a mobile screen away for instant decision support.

4. Opening Up Your Business to the Customer

What if your customers did some of your work for you? Customers today want solution portals that help them resolve issues independently, and if they have to contact someone, 90 percent say speed is their top concern. For 86 percent of callers and 55 percent of customers on social media, they expect their problems to be resolved in less than four hours. To meet those expectations, companies are transitioning to cloud-based infrastructures that grant customer access to essential business applications, such as scheduling or inventory databases. This transition also requires more intricate security safeguards, but the rewards are stronger customer loyalty, less resources spent on problem resolution and healthier profits.

5. International Collaboration

One of the biggest technological advances in the past few years doesn’t get a lot of press: intelligent logistics. However, the impact on business has been vast, making it possible to reliably work with longer supply chains, smarter sourcing and mass personalization. Collaboration tech can now put a virtual presence nearly anywhere on the planet without the expensive travel costs.

Working Remotely: Dreams Made Real

These ideas are not just dreams for large enterprises. They are technologies making life easier right now for enterprises of all sizes. Let IT Authorities help you nvestigate which factors are limiting your business, and you’ll see how remote working options can take away your limitations.

Expand your Capabilities with a Remote Desktop Connection

Working remotely has always been an attractive idea that carries some serious inconveniences when it comes to application. Being separated from the physical office often means giving up the ability to share files, communicate effectively with coworkers, and keep your ideas organized and streamlined on a single device.

But now that new digital solutions are becoming more and more feasible, working remotely is no longer an intimidating prospect. Instant messaging and video conferencing goes a long way towards streamlining communication so that distance isn’t the hindrance it once was, and file sharing services have made sharing data between coworkers a breeze. Still, in a world where working exclusively from a personal device hasn’t been fully accepted, there are challenges to working remotely. The solution may surprise you: a remote desktop connection.

What is a Remote Desktop Connection?

A remote desktop connection is an interesting concept. The idea behind it is that a user working remotely can control what is happening on one desktop computer by using a different computer as the control interface. In other words, a replica of your exact office desktop can be displayed on a different computer, such as the one you’re working off of from home or on-the-go. As you interact with the remote desktop, the original computer will perform all of the operations that you tell it to, giving you full control of your line-of-business applications remotely. Obviously, this is more effective with simpler operations – graphic design and video streaming may suffer from significant input lag and be inefficient from a remote desktop.

Remote desktop connections have been around for a while but were never user-friendly enough to warrant extensive use. Now that that’s changing, they’re amazing tools to help your business grow beyond the office.

Why are Remote Desktop Connections Useful?

Simply put, remote desktops greatly increase the effectiveness of your business when one or more team members are unable to be physically present in the office. Even though cloud storage is hugely popular nowadays, many employees still keep works in progress or less-used files stored exclusively on their office computer. When working remotely, this is just one of several hurdles employees can encounter that hampers efficiency outside the office.

A remote desktop connection allows employees to access functions that only their office computer can fulfill regardless of their location. This solution is an essential part of any plan to mobilize your workforce as well as institute remote days, bring-your-own-device plans, and other modern-day solutions.

Remote desktop connections can also make it easier to handle emergencies that arise while out of town on business or vacation.

When enabling remote desktop connections, it’s often best to call a professional who specializes in such technology so that you can implement it as quickly and effectively as possible. Technology with unpredictable quirks is inconvenient for everyone, and your business should always be at its best. If you’re interested in equipping your employees with the ability to access their desktop remotely, look no further. Give IT Authorities a call today, and we’ll sit down with you and discuss how we can work together towards building a modern, mobile evolution of your business.

An IMSO is Like a Robin to Your Batman

You may not be responsible for the safety of all of Gotham City, but as a business owner you’ve definitely got a lot on your plate, and sometimes you may even think that the Caped Crusader has it easy. After all, he just has villains to deal with; managing an entire staff and client base singlehandedly is much more stressful.

The good news is that every successful superhero has a sidekick to share the load. Some stay back at a secret base and design new suits or hack computers; others do whatever is necessary to preserve a hero’s secret identity. The best sidekicks, however, are on the front lines fighting battles with their companions. When a problem is too big for Batman himself to handle, Robin is always his first call. It’s a wise decision on Batman’s part, given Robin’s tendency to bail him out of tough situations.

When it comes to running your business, it pays to have a trusty Infrastructure Management and Support Organization (IMSO) always watching in case disaster strikes. It’s not unlike Batman’s ability to call in Robin when things go south.

Reliable Help is Never More Than a Phone Call Away

You might not be held captive by the Joker, but being the hostage of an IT fiasco can be disastrous for your business, leading to lost work, wasted time, and serious financial losses. Robin would crash through a skylight and cause a distraction, but an IMSO will be by your side whenever your network is compromised or one of your devices fails.

IT Authorities is ready 24x7x365 to help your company defeat its IT woes, we’ll be beside you every step of the way with our own moves, our own arsenal, and our own specialized knowledge of all your problems.

An IMSO Can Focus on A Specific Problem

The Dark Knight can handle a few bank robbers or a corrupt politician on his own, and you have all the know-how to carry your business through most everyday problems, but the worst villains don’t always strike at a convenient time or place; your business may be faced with an IT crisis at the most inopportune time, such as a period of high demand or just before an important meeting with a client. When the Bat-Signal lights up the sky and you’re confronted with a supervillain rather than a petty crook, you’ll be glad to have a sidekick that knows what to do. When the real trouble begins, even the best in-house IT services can get overwhelmed juggling multiple responsibilities. An Infrastructure Management and Support Organization like IT Authorities will be ready to suit up for you no matter how daunting the challenge.

The world of business can be a tough and intimidating place, especially when the villains hide behind firewalls instead of masks and makeup. Every successful business has an IMSO at their side, just like Batman has Robin. If you’re looking to partner up with a reliable Infrastructure Management and Support Organization who’ll always have your back, give IT Authorities a ring today!