Industry News

Overcoming Your Hesitation to Moving to the Cloud

November 18th, 2018 by Julie Lough

If you haven’t moved your business to the cloud – partly or completely – you aren’t alone. Business owners in many industries have been reluctant to make the move. But that’s starting to change. Rapidly.

More and more, business owners are realizing the productivity and security improvements they can achieve using cloud and hybrid cloud solutions over relying on their solely on-premises technology infrastructure.

What is “Moving to the Cloud?”

We hear and read the phrase “moving to the cloud,” but what does it actually mean?

Some people seem to believe it’s when you store your data in the cloud – that is, taking advantage of the scalable, predictable expense of having their data redundantly stored in geographically dispersed data centers protecting it from natural or manmade disasters. Indeed, that is one way of “moving to the cloud.” But that’s not all.

To really “move to the cloud,” a business must virtualize its entire IT operation. Essentially, all employees’ workstations would be running cloud-based applications like Word, Excel and others on a cloud provider’s servers rather than their own. Instead of multiple hard drives on site, your data and software solutions would be remotely hosted – allowing you to access them anywhere, any time and on any device with an internet connection.

Reluctance to Move to the Cloud

Business owners’ hesitation in adopting the cloud – whether for data storage or full virtualization – has many understandable bases.

  1. Cost. There can be steep upfront licensing fees when first moving to the cloud.
  2. Security. Many business owners believe if they don’t have the data in their office, it’s not safe.
  3. Location of data. Related to the above, many are concerned about where their data will be located.
  4. Employee disruption. They think the process of moving to the cloud will be too disruptive to their employees and productivity.

Those are a few worries we’ve often heard expressed. Certainly, there are others. And, there are some businesses for which the cloud isn’t a good solution. But the vast majority of businesses can achieve significant benefits by moving at least part of their operation to the cloud.

Planning & Overcoming Reluctance

Usually, it’s not until a catastrophic failure takes place or significant limitations in current IT solutions confront the business before business owners really consider moving to the cloud. If owners plan ahead to prevent failures and limitations, they’ll see that moving to the cloud – despite its upfront costs which are reduced by savings in office electricity and real estate – is the answer to protect them from future failures. They can put off the migration, but it’s coming sooner or later.

An increasingly mobile workforce with needs to access company data and use company software solutions from anywhere will ultimately drive the adoption of cloud computing, along with the security improvements offered by large cloud storage and cloud computing providers.

Asking the right questions can make the process of moving to the cloud easier.

Questions to Ask When Moving to the Cloud

Moving your business to the cloud can be done successfully with an experienced and trusted IT provider.

When considering IT providers to help in cloud migration, here are a few questions to ask:

  • What information should move to the cloud? My files? My backups? My whole environment?
  • How do I know my data is secure?
  • How do I know terminated employees no longer have access?
  • How does this integrate and interact with mobile and other devices?
  • Are you recommending this cloud solution because it’s the best one or because it’s the one with which you’re most familiar?

Getting answers to these basic questions from your IT managed service provider should help reduce your worries about making the move to the cloud.

Micro Visions Moves You Forward

Micro Visions has years of experience moving clients from on-site to cloud-based solutions like Microsoft Office 365. In fact, Office 365 is a great way to begin your business’ move to the cloud.

Micro Visions will listen to your wants and needs, help you make an objective decision and take care of your move to the cloud. Ready to get started? Give us a call at (616) 776-0400 or contact us.

Claim Your Victory: 5 Defensive Strategies to Prevent Cyberattacks

October 3rd, 2018 by Julie Lough

Prevent Cyberattacks

Listen here for a radio interview about this article on WGVU public media.

Is it defense or offense that wins the game? While debate continues around whether defense or offense is key to victory, there is certainly no doubt about the importance of a solid defensive strategy. Similar to a game of football, creating a defensive strategy for your team is crucial to winning against the opponent, a.k.a. the data hackers.

Experienced hackers and sophisticated phishing schemes have affected all organizations, regardless of size. Consider this alarming statistic – 64% of companies have experienced web-based attacks and 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses. Small businesses are easy targets due to their minimal security and moderate amount of data, and because the chances of attack are high, setting up a strong defense is critical to avoiding big issues in the future.

Small businesses are at risk when unprepared for a cyberattack. Hackers can steal employee emails, client data, financial records and all the information that’s on your server – Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, etc. Reputation damage and permanent financial damages are just two of the repercussions small businesses face when unprepared for a cyberattack. Going out of business is an extreme fallout that far too many organizations have experienced. Winning in business is very difficult if you get hacked.

With football season right around the corner, we created 5 defensive strategies for your business to consider for preventing cyberattacks.

5 Defensive Strategies to Prevent Cyberattacks

  1. Train your team
    Your employees must be an essential part of your defensive strategy. It is important to educate them on security standards and prevention so they know how to identify and handle threatening situations. Teach your employees basic cybersecurity practices so they know when they’re presented with a threat or are vulnerable to intrusion.
  2. Establish your line of scrimmage
    Define your line before you play. An information security policy outlines the actions and behaviors expected to avoid risks to the company, its clients, vendors, and other stakeholders. Examples of policies include acceptable use, access control, change control, disaster recovery, physical security, and many more.
  3. Implement double coverage
    Double up on your defense. Two-factor authentication verifies user identities with a required temporary passkey or verification code sent to the user’s mobile device. This will help keep your data safe because even if credentials were hacked, hackers can’t access your data without the required passkey.
  4. Blitz the hackers
    Don’t let your opponent find unnecessary opportunities. Seal the corners and rush directly toward the data hackers by securing the network with a business-class firewall featuring unified threat protection. By installing firewall protection, you can prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet.
  5. Set up a defensive scheme
    With users accessing the Internet from multiple devices in and out of the office, it is crucial to protect and manage those devices. Setting up cloud security defenses to block known malicious destinations and implementing mobile device management to protect corporate data are two highly recommended solutions.

Establishing your business’ defensive strategy is crucial, and choosing the right IT partner can make the process much more seamless. Some IT providers fail to address security because they become complacent and forget to make sure everything is operating optimally. What it took to secure your business one year ago would look considerably different than it does today. It is important that your IT provider is well-versed on the latest developments to maintain ongoing security and to keep your company educated. You may be approaching the fourth quarter, but it’s not too late to secure the win.

Need to Declutter? Recycle Old Tech

September 6th, 2018 by Jennifer Lough

Let us suppose, just for a moment, that you’ve just treated yourself to a haul of new gadgets. You probably have a stack of old ones to dispose of. What to do?



Read the rest of this entry »

Going Smishing

August 26th, 2018 by Jennifer Lough

Fun, but very important, fact: your smartphone is not immune to the various hazards that attack computers. You’ve heard of phishing, which typically works through email. Smishing  is similar, but it relies on text messages to reel in victims. Like phishing, a smishing message looks like it comes from someone you trust, like a bank, or a family member. The goal is to get personal information from you, such as your social security number, passwords, and other things the attackers can use. Often, they will then try to steal your identity or your money, but sometimes there will also be malware in the message that gives them access to your phone.

There are a few reasons smishing can be more dangerous to you than phishing. Read the rest of this entry »

Click Fraud: When Clicks on your Advertisements are Bad Things

April 18th, 2018 by Jennifer Lough

If you’re running a small business, you’re probably interested in the revenue that comes from successful advertising. Unfortunately, there’s this pesky thing called click fraud, which causes you to overpay for advertising. So how does this work, and how do you avoid it? Read the rest of this entry »

Types of Malware and How to Beat Them: Part 2

March 12th, 2018 by Jennifer Lough

This is the second part of a multipart series on common types of malware and other computer hazards. For those who have managed services with Micro Visions, we’re keeping an eye on threats for you. However, there are always small things you can do to further protect yourself.

Part 2: Spyware Read the rest of this entry »

Oh My Gs: A Brief History of Prehistoric G, 3G, LTE, and 5G

February 12th, 2018 by Jennifer Lough

The latest cellular technology that mobile phone companies are touting is 5G, due for release in the next year or two. If you’re wondering what that means and why it’s going to be better that whatever you have now, read on. Read the rest of this entry »

Cryptocurrency and You: What Is It, and Why Do You Care?

February 4th, 2018 by Jennifer Lough

Cryptocurrency: online currency based on a peer-to-peer network (as opposed to any central entity, like a bank for traditional currency). The system is decentralized, so no single entity controls exchanges. To prevent corrupted transactions, the currency exchanges use blockchain technology. This means that multiple machines host data (as opposed to one central server). As a result, data are completely public, similar to a Google Doc.

How does cryptocurrency work? Read the rest of this entry »

CPU Security Flaw Update

January 17th, 2018 by Jennifer Lough

If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you may have heard about Spectre and Meltdown, which exploit vulnerabilities in the processor chips in both devices and cloud infrastructure. These vulnerabilities almost certainly apply to you. They are in modern processor chips made by Intel, AMD, and ARM Holdings. For those who are not aware or need a refresher, Meltdown and Spectre work by accessing computer memory and stealing data from other programs or applications. Meltdown compromises the separation of application and operating system. An attacker could use one program to access other parts of the operating system and find sensitive data. Spectre breaks the separation between applications or programs. In this exploitation the attacker can access other programs from one unrelated program. Normally, all programs would be isolated from one another and from the sensitive data in the OS. Read the rest of this entry »

Firefox Quantum: Quantum like Physics, but Way More Fun

December 29th, 2017 by Jennifer Lough

For those who have been following Micro Visions blogs for a while, you may be familiar with some of my adventures in jacking up my browser. If not, see this experiment and that other one. For no reason in particular, I’m a consistent Firefox user (except when it jams up and frustrates the ever living daylights out of me, at which point I move to Chrome). Happily for me, Mozilla released its latest update, Firefox Quantum, several weeks ago, and I’ve been quite thoroughly enjoying it. Read the rest of this entry »