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The Ultimate IT Security Audit Checklist

it security audit

In life and business, many tasks can be divided up into things you can control and things you can’t control. In the search engine optimization world, you can’t control when Google may release an update and tank your rankings. In sales, you have a level of preparation over your sales pitch. You can’t control what the client will say to you (unless you slide them a couple of front-seat tickets to the upcoming concert).

Your IT security, however, is one area that you need to be in complete control. You don’t want to leave your business’ security up to chance or hope. Attacks can happen at any time and they can be costly. Even if they weren’t costing you six figures (or more), can you afford to spend lots of money on something that shouldn’t have been an issue anyway?

In order to make sure that you are safe from any potential breaches or attacks, you need to be performing regular IT security audits. Today, we’re going to go over what an audit is, how often you need to perform one, and the important items you need to make sure are on your checklist.

What is an IT Security Audit?

security audit reasonsWhen it comes to your business, there are plenty of audits you can (and should) be running. SEO audits, content audits, network audits, and of course, the ever-fun third-party financial audits. All of those are important but perhaps none are more important than your IT security audit, usually performed by a professional security auditor.

Within an IT security audit, there are two primary assessments. The first of which is the review of automated assessments. This involves an examination of system-generated reports, software reports, server changes, and file settings.

The second part, and the more laborious of the two, is a manual assessment of well, just about everything else. That involves physical hardware examination, vulnerability scans, access control review, resource overview, and even interviewing employees.

An IT security audit is a large process and is not something that can be done within a week. For some businesses, it’s a multi-day and even multi-week undertaking.

Why is this Assessment Important?

You can probably guess that one of the most important parts of such an audit is finding security issues and patching them quicker. However, there are also a number of other benefits that come with regularly-performed audits.

#1-It Helps Streamline IT Work

After an audit is complete, the report can tell you which areas need improvement or closer examination. This lets IT personnel make proactive decisions to their network and security instead of always responding to attacks. If everyone has their work set for them ahead of time, maintaining security and dividing up tasks will be more efficient and boost productivity.

#2-It Helps Explain IT Costs

The financial auditors aren’t due here for another month, why are we talking about money?

Hopefully, your company hasn’t experienced a data breach or security issue. If this is the case, there might be others in the company wondering why so much money is being spent on network infrastructure security. We haven’t had an issue in a decade, what’s the point of allocating X amount of dollars to our security? Would that money be better spent in another area?

These audits can show that such expenditures and justified and necessary to safeguard an organization. Plus, they can show the potential of what might happen if such measures were taken away.

#3-It Promotes Teamwork

While your IT staff is in charge of everything from setting up people’s emails to network security, they cannot always be a watchdog ensuring that everyone is adhering to security guidelines. In order for implementation to be successful, everyone needs to buy into the basic ideas of security.

An audit can help show workers in various departments the primary areas of risk and what actions they should be mindful of. While they might be tired of hearing warnings and advice through company emails, an audit will give them something a bit more tangible to see.

How Often Should a Company Do IT Security Audits?time for security audit

Generally speaking, you should be conducting this type of audit at least once a year. Some may prefer to do it more, such as every six months or even once a quarter. If you do decide to do them on a more frequent basis, then you’re going to find possible security holes or other issues quicker.

More often than not, the size of a business is what will determine the frequency of such audits. Large companies with thousands of employees may take weeks while a small company with a handful of employees can be completed in a matter of days.

The IT Security Audit Checklist

Alright, we’ve covered the basics of an IT security audit, let’s move onto the checklist. Dust off your clipboards, notebook paper, and #2 pencils, let’s get started!

Start at the Beginning

Before you jump right into solving security threats, you need to get a bird’s-eye view of the company’s security plan. Read over what the security policies are, how employees are trained on them, and how often they are reminded of such policies. You should review business processes such as disaster recovery plans, restoration paths, and response plans for a cybersecurity attack.

You’ll also want to have a comprehensive list of what software and hardware a company has and who has access to these devices.

Going through the policies and framework first will ensure that security measures are in line with business objectives. The last thing you want to do is go through with an audit only to have it hinder business efficiency. Your objective should be to make things more secure without disrupting everyday activities.

If this is the first time you’ve performed such an audit with this company, you’re going to want to see the last audit and its findings as well as actionable steps the company took.

You can consider this as a “Step Zero”. It’s quite important, however, so you can layout a plan of attack and gauge which areas you will have to focus your efforts on.

Discussion with Management

One might think that a security audit is simply testing systems and interacting with computer software and hardware, but there is a personal element to the whole process. Part of this goes hand-in-hand with Step Zero above, but it’s also necessary to find out the goals.

  • Is there one area of particular concern?
  • What do they expect the audit to find?
  • Have there been any significant issues in the past?
  • Are there any current threats out there?

This way, you uncover many issues before they pop up and surprise you later. You might also find out if there have been recent employees who have left that never had their credentials revoked or a former disgruntled employee who has access to sensitive data (like a certain Bruce Willis film).

Remember, management may not be IT experts and what seems like a harmless issue to them could be such a huge red flag.

security audit threatsFind Potential Threats

There is no shortage of threats, but there are some major ones that you need to keep your eyes out for.

One of the most common threats is malware. This includes your spyware, viruses, worms, and ransomware. One of the biggest recent attacks was WannaCry, ransomware which infected thousands of computers worldwide. The vast majority of computers affected were ones that had not been updated to Microsoft security patches or were end-of-life machines.

You should also be on the lookout for DoS (denial of service) attacks. DDoS attacks (targeted at multiple systems instead of one), are on the rise and some of the larger-scale attacks have brought down the internet across the country.

Other areas of concern include data leaks, social engineering, and account hijacking. These are often the result of negligence or poor decisions by users, showing just how important it is for all members of an organization to be on the same page when it comes to security.

Additionally, you’ll want to perform a physical check as well. Make sure server rooms are locked, rooms are safe from unauthorized users, and items such as shredders and dumpsters are secure to prevent divers.

Security Performance Evaluation

There are a few things you should be checking out when it comes to security performance. The first one is the most basic: password testing. While long, super complicated passwords aren’t a necessity anymore (the guy who invented them even apologized), they do need to be unique.

Make sure users are using long and unique passwords for their log-ins. At the very least, ask them to ensure their personal and work passwords differ.

The second, a security framework review, is used to identify the security measures currently in place. That means first checking out which devices need protection. Typically, that involves checking devices, emails, software, and the network people are working on. If your company is remote, this presents a bigger challenge. Workers may be using their own personal devices and their home internet.

One of the most important parts of the evaluation is what we like to call “rockin’ the boat” (not just because we’re big fans of Stubby Kaye’s rendition of the song in Guys and Dolls).

stubby kaye

“The security specialist said sit down, you should delete that obvious phishing attempt. The security specialist said sit down, you should delete that obvious phishing attempt.”

You need to carry out penetration testing and a security awareness assessment. You should be testing how current employees respond to email scams, carrying out simulated attacks on the system, and testing employee security knowledge. Sometimes, this involves an actual white-hat hacking attempt. Just beware, however, that this could end with serious repercussions.

Plan a Defense Strategy

Now that you have identified threats and performed a successful evaluation of your security, it’s time to set up a defense plan in the audit report.

At the top of your strategy to-do list should be monitoring tools. Set up a monitoring schedule and testing for all aspects of security. Having these in place will make future audits that much easier.

What your defense strategy will look like is going to differ on the threats you’ve found. If DoS attacks are becoming more frequent, then you should look to strengthen your network infrastructure. If devices are being infected with malware, then look at how to upgrade your virus protection.

Lastly, part of your defense strategy should be planning future security audits. Will you be doing them quarterly? Bi-annually? Annually? Whatever your plan is, stick to it and keep detailed records of your findings and changes. Track progress over the year as well to make sure your recommendations are having their desired effect.

What About Special Audits?

Sometimes, even with the most diligent of preparation, a security breach can occur. When that happens, should you perform an audit right away or simply investigate the issue?

It’s highly recommended to perform a full-scale audit as the breach may have uncovered an issue that wasn’t obvious during the first audit. In addition to sporadic or new attacks, you should also make sure and perform an audit if one of the following occurs:

  • System upgrade
  • Sudden business growth (more than 5+ employees or contractors)
  • Loss of multiple employees (especially if those employees had sensitive information)
  • Business acquisition or merging
  • Business re-branding
  • New software implementation

You want to make sure your security is not compromised when there are big changes to your business. Start off with the right foot.

Conclusion

One of the most important things you can do for your business is to perform routine IT security audits. It can be hard to look at our flaws but by being diligent about internal performance, you can catch errors, resolve issues, improve security, and educate employees on the best practices.

A security audit is not one area you want to take lightly. While you should be performing internal audits, the best way to make sure you’re getting the results you need is to hire an expert. Here at Atiba, we have been helping companies with technical and IT audits for years. We have an experienced team ready to help you make your business more secure.

Reach out to us today for a free project quote. We look forward to hearing from you!

Hiring the Right IT Services Company for Your Business

it-services-company

As a small business, you are always making difficult decisions about when to do things in-house, and when to outsource certain processes or projects. When it comes to IT work, there is often a steep learning curve. Sure, you can do the work yourself but it may take precious time and resources to train yourself, and even then, it might be done wrong. That’s even before we get into regular maintenance and troubleshooting.

From creating secure and reliable networks to digital marketing plans and collateral, there is so much to consider when building the IT side of even a small business. But investing in proper IT services can have fantastic dividends.

Holding back on properly investing in IT services may lower your productivity, reduce efficiency, and see you fall behind your competitors. Nobody wants to miss out on any of that. So let’s talk about why small businesses hire IT service companies to hire experts.

What are IT Services?

IT Services is a broad term for the contracted development of custom software for business. So just like you might hire a cleaning service to vacuum your office, you might hire an IT Service company to manage the development and management of your services and systems.

What Services are included?

There are many kinds of IT Services and each company is going to have its own unique options. Let’s talk about some of the most common IT Services that small companies contract out:

  1. Website Design and Hosting
  2. Network Services
  3. Custom Program Development
  4. Digital Marketing

popular-it-services

Let’s run through each one and check them out a bit more.

Website Design and Hosting

It seems almost unimaginable that you could have a business without a website these days. You might be surprised to learn that around 40% of businesses these days don’t have a website. If you find yourself in that camp, then it’s time to get on board.

website design

And people’s expectations for how a website should look and function are higher than ever before. But building and hosting websites takes skills and knowledge a small business owner might not have. And even those who do may find their time is better spent running the business than the website.

Building a great website goes hand-in-hand with online marketing and SEO (search engine optimization). You want your website to be mobile responsive, load quickly, and look nice. You can reach your target audience better having solid marketing and SEO tactics.

Your website might be the first interaction a customer has with your business and the value of that first impression is huge. Ensuring that customers see your business in the best possible light is worth investing in experts.

Network Services

Even small companies find they need their various devices to connect and talk to one another. Plus, they need all of their tech protected from intruders. But sometimes setting up reliable, secure networks can be complicated and is often time-consuming.

We’ve all had fights with printers or faulty internet. Who hasn’t ever wanted to toss their laptop right out the window?

network-services

Fighting with tech is exhausting and frustrating. Bad IT setups can leach time and efficiency out of business. You want your tech and devices to be reliable so you can spend more time working and less time troubleshooting.

Businesses who’ve hired high-quality IT services contractors often find the experience worth the investment. Network services often expand from basic services to more comprehensive services like emergency help desk support, data backup, disaster recovery services, and more. Hiring professionals can expedite the process and ensure that it facilitates work instead of making more of it.

And it might keep you from throwing a laptop out a window. 

Custom Program Management

Custom software can create fantastic opportunities for businesses to optimize workflows and services. In her article on Technology Advice, Tamara Scott says, “The software that provides the highest value to companies is often the hardest to implement.” 

We know this to be true from years of experience. When software is built for your business it provides the biggest return on investment. And when there is so much value to be had from custom software, it’s worth hiring a company with knowledgeable and reliable experts to help you along.

Digital Marketing

Marketing has grown into a living part of business. The days of brochures and billboards doing the majority of marketing are long gone. Social networks, blogs, video, email, and many other forms of digital marketing are becoming common, trusted forms of building a customer base and communication channels.

digital-marketing

In his Business.com article, Don’t Go It Alone: The Case for Hiring a Marketing Expert Ryan Ayers says, “Modern marketing is complex and requires a wide variety of skills and breadth of knowledge that can take years to acquire. Your business can’t limp along until you’ve learned everything you need to know about digital marketing.” That’s a powerful endorsement for the value of hiring an experienced digital marketing team.

How to Choose a Great Service Provider

How do you go about choosing the right service provider?

Just because a business is large doesn’t necessitate the need for a large IT services company. The company you hire needs to be able to make you a priority. You’ll be able to identify over-extended and bolstered promises from IT Service companies pretty quickly.

it-services-hire

 

So, what do you look for?

  • Clear and reasonable SLAs (service-level agreement). If the company has experience in solving tech issues, they’ll know how long a service should take and what you can expect to spend. Make sure they can offer service agreements that are created before the work begins.
  • Specific services and areas of expertise. A great IT Services company will have individuals who are experts in specific parts of IT Services. They’ll offer years of experience and knowledge that only a focus can offer.
  • A company that wants to understand what you do so they can provide what you need. Are they asking you a lot of questions about what your needs are, or are they only talking about what they do?
  • Look for references! Who have they worked for and who was happy with the job they did.

Contact Atiba for IT Hosted Services

Atiba has a talented and knowledgeable crew ready to help you get the most out of your IT. Our team of IT professionals over 20 has years of experience in focus areas to ensure that the work you need is done properly, quickly, and meets your needs.

We’ve helped many businesses just like yours grow their IT capabilities to better serve their business (check out our Case Studies).

We’re part human and part geek and we’re excited to help you! Contact us today for a free project quote.

Zoom Etiquette in the New Norm

5 Commandments of Zoom Etiquette

We all know those coworkers, clients, and even family members who struggle to adhere to basic Zoom etiquette.

A couple of weeks ago the homebound cast of Saturday Night Live pulled off a classic skit that made fun of quarantine life via a Zoom video conference call.  There was the “too close to the camera” lady who was 2 inches away from her webcam.  They had the “forgot to mute in the bathroom” character and the Zoom office jokester who did the already old “you only want to see me from the waist up” quip.

 

Zoom Etiquette - Nashville IT

Working remote etiquette…

The funny thing, of course, is that their portrayal of the new norm of video conferencing from our living room couches rings true to life.   For most people, Zoom and similar services are new.  The world has had to adopt a new way of communicating almost overnight.

In normal times, new technologies take a while to catch on.

They usually start with the “early adopters” (aka ‘”gadget geeks”) who, when it comes to tech, want to be first in line.  Often a younger crowd, these are the tech adventurers who bought cell phones when they were the size of bricks and spent big bucks to get the early version of the iPod.

If the early adopters are all-in, next comes what is often termed the “early majority.”  This is where most of us fall—the users who are willing to dip their toe in the water, but only after someone else has jumped in to test the temperature.  They may not have been the first ones to try out Uber or buy a Prius, but they are the ones that will collectively take an innovation from underground to mainstream.

And finally, the “late majority” and the unfortunately named “laggards” get into the mix.  Some are older and others are just set in their ways.  These Luddites are the users who resist until it’s futile, the old schoolers who prefer paper maps to GPS and would rather not have to learn yet one more invention.

This “technology lifecycle” that is well known in the startup and marketing worlds is predictable and repetitive.   New tech products usually take years to become mainstream.

But these are not normal times.

In the midst of a global pandemic, we have had to learn and embrace what is for many a new communication platform almost overnight.   Who would have thought just a few weeks ago a Zoom meeting would become the new default for business communications?

With this rushed mass adoption of video conferencing, as the SNL skit portrayed, social norms, best practices and etiquette are works in progress.  Everyone knows that when the phone rings you answer it by saying “Hello” and that emails should never be typed in ALL CAPS.   And (most) people know that it can be awkward to show up to a meeting at the office in your pajamas.  These unwritten rules are less defined for video conferencing.

Nevertheless, as the weeks of never leaving your house continue, ideas are starting to take hold about which behaviors are deemed acceptable and which are frowned upon.

5 Tips for Proper Zoom Etiquette

        1. Mute yourself when you’re not talking
          Unbeknownst to you, your mic might be picking up your washing machine or a car driving by. Be courteous to the speaker(s) and mute yourself when it’s not your turn.
        2. Pay attention to your background
          Your background can make you look either professional (like a bookshelf or cabinet) or slovenly (like an unmade bed).
        3. Limit distracting noises
          Dogs barking or babies crying in the background are cute and even humanizing, but a pair of teenagers arguing is distracting.
        4. No multitasking
          It’s oh, so tempting, but multitasking during a call is more obvious to viewers than you think. Again, be courteous and give the speaker(s) your undivided attention.
        5. Eat and drink with caution
          Drinking coffee is fine, wolfing down a sandwich is not.

The technology around video conferencing is nothing new.  But the speed at which it’s replaced phone calls and in-person meetings has been head-spinning.  Until our collective understanding of the etiquette of video conferencing takes shape, we all need to be patient with one another (and never do a video call from the bathroom).

 JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba, a Nashville IT consulting and custom software development firm.  Visit Atiba.com or AtibaNetworkServices.com for more info.

 

Is Remote-Only the way of the future?

A day in the life of a Nashville computer geek:   Remote-Only

Published April 12, 2020, in The Tennessean – JJ Rosen

It was just a few short weeks ago that a day-in-the-life at work meant shaking hands with people, meeting over coffee, flying places, and grabbing an occasional beer with some co-workers.   Online meetings were not uncommon, but face-to-face was always preferred and often needed to be efficient.

Flash forward to today.

With an ongoing global pandemic, everything about work has changed.  This change from our daily norms has not only been drastic, but it’s also been sudden.  For most of us, the transition to being  100% isolated at home, doing all meetings virtually, and having work and family-life become one and the same has been challenging to say the least.

For me, a creature of habit (for better or worse), I was completely out of whack for the first couple of weeks of this new life.  But as time has gone by, new routines and work habits have formed. Although it’s taken a bit of getting used to, I’ve started to settle in and somehow feel comfortable.  The whole situation is still weird, but I guess I’ve managed to adjust.

But what’s been interesting and unexpected is that some of the friends and co-workers I talk to are not just feeling more comfortable working only at home, but they’re also beginning to feel more productive working only at home.

I don’t think there are any silver linings to a global pandemic that is causing so much suffering.  But in the context of work, the situation we all find ourselves in these past few weeks is presenting some alternative ways of doing business.

Virtual meetings over Zoom, Slack, or Microsoft Teams, have cut down on the amount of time it takes to physically gather.  All of a sudden, it’s become acceptable to video conference with co-workers and clients in faraway places rather than to deal with the time, expense, and hassle of travel.   And even meetings that you would normally have face-to-face in your office have become faster and more efficient when they are moved online.

Commutes have alternated from 30 minutes of driving to 30 seconds of walking from the kitchen to the quietest place in the house to get some work done.   There is now more time in the day to manage as each person sees fit.

Business phone calls have become less formal and less stressful.   Who would have thought I could take care of several business calls while simultaneously walking around my neighborhood getting some exercise?   Where it used to be embarrassing to have your kid crying or a dog barking in the background of the conference call, it’s now no big deal.

Will these new ways of working stick?

No one knows how long we will need to stay home.  But, if working this way makes employees happier, more productive, and more efficient, we may be in for a transformation from the way business has always been done.  At least for some sectors, fancy conference rooms and corner offices may become obsolete in favor of simply working in an old chair at the dining room table.

There are some companies, especially in the tech world, that we’re already seeing the upside of being a completely remote workforce before the pandemic was forced upon us.  Studies of these early-adopters have revealed that ditching the office and making an entire company remote-only does indeed increase employee happiness and productivity.   Which in turn increases retention and profits.

As technology advancements make it simpler and easier to keep us connected no matter where we work, we can expect our new norm to become a permanent change to the way many of us work.

 

While you’re here, be sure to check out our blog on how to stay safe as a remote worker or head to our services page to learn more about what we do.

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba, a Nashville IT consulting and custom software development firm.  Visit Atiba.com or AtibaNetworkServices.com for more info.

 

What is Technical Debt?

Does technical debt actually exist?

“Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt.” — Benjamin Franklin 

The thought of debt can be a scary one that conjures up images of credit cards, mortgages, car payments, and sleepless nights.  To most of us, it’s simple to define:  an amount of money you owe someone else. 

But, the concept of debt is not always related to dollars and cents.   

This was weighing heavily on my mind last week as I was looking at my end-of-year-calendar. 

In the IT field, the term “technical debt” is often used to describe the habit of taking technical shortcuts that, over time, accumulate and cause more work down the road.  Because it’s hard to quantify and often hidden from management until it’s out of control, the buildup of technical debt on a project is sometimes even more dangerous to a company than money owed on a balance sheet. 

Delaying IT infrastructure upgrades to save money, not testing software thoroughly because of a tight deadline, blowing off doing a disaster recovery plan—these are common examples of shortcuts that build up technical debts that will always come back to bite you if not paid off at some point. 

There are other types of debt as well.    

Some of us (me) eat too much and build up an “exercise debt” that we must pay off at some point if we want to maintain a healthy weight.   Some work too much, building up a “sleep debt.” Others play too much and amass a “work debt.”    

These non-financial “soft” debts are more difficult to measure than what we traditionally think of as debt, but they have real costs nonetheless.  And just like money debt, if you’re not careful, you can spend all your time and resources paying the interest instead of paying down the principal. 

Proactively managing different types of debt is an often overlooked but critical skill that determines the long-term viability of every business.  Soft debts should be tracked and managed in much the same way that financial debts are. 

In tech, we call it a “backlog.”  It’s simply a list of any tech-related shortcuts, band-aids or items we skimp on because of deadline or budget constraints, along with estimates of how much work (debt) it will take us to fix them down the road.  Some technical debts are intentional – a conscious choice to save time or money. Others are accidental, discovered in the form of bugs.   

As the backlog list grows, the key is to treat each item as a debt owed, the same way you would as if you were making payments on a bank loan.   This involves planning your “savings” (in the form of time) so that you can eventually make your “payments” (in the form of future work).    We basically mark off time on our calendars for every project to pay off our backlog debts. 

Earlier this year we began to explore this simple backlog approach to managing other areas of debt in our company.   As expected, just like tech, the constraints of time and budget created a backlog in everything from HR to marketing.  Things like updating our employee handbook and standardizing our email signatures made it to our backlog.  And just like tech debt, we have marked our calendars for our end of year payments to clear out the backlogs. 

Thinking of debt as something that is beyond a purely a financial metric has changed the way we operate.  It’s forced us to justify any shortcuts we take company-wide, because we are now tracking them as real costs rather than forgotten to-do lists that will inevitably come back to haunt us. Sleep well. 

JJ Rosen is the founder of Atiba.  A Nashville IT consulting and custom software development firm.  Visit www.atiba.com or www.atibanetworkservices.com for more info. 

 

 

Your email is an easy target for hackers — here’s how to secure it…

In this week’s USA Today / Tennessean column, Atiba founder JJ Rosen provides tips on how to secure your email.

http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/tech/2017/05/15/email-easy-target-hackers-dont-make-easier-them/319953001/

Contact info@atiba.com as needed for your security needs.

Nashville Google Fiber

Nashville Google Fiber

Google announced yesterday that they have chosen to expand their Google Fiber gigabit Internet service to Nashville. This is big news for Nashville and all of Middle Tennessee.

Gigabit Internet service translates to connection speeds of 1 Gbps, or 1000 Mbps. This means some user’s speeds will increase up to 100 times faster than their current, basic broadband service.

History has shown that with increased bandwidth comes increased productivity.  As we have moved many of our clients to the cloud over the past few years, bandwidth has become more important than ever.  Connections of this magnitude will change the landscape of what we use and view on our laptops and PDAs. Faster Internet speeds will translate to greater convenience, more flexibility, seamless collaboration, and open the doors to using technology in brand new ways. That equates to gaining efficiencies and building economic growth. All good news for our fair city and surrounding areas!

The city is buzzing with excitement

“It’s exciting to see Nashville recognized as a high opportunity, high growth technology market. The ubiquity of online content and data will affect businesses of all sizes in a positive way.  The future is now even brighter for Nashville.  Atiba is excited to be a part of that growth.” says JJ Rosen, CEO of Atiba.

Mayor Karl Dean added after Google’s announcement, “I am happy to announce that after almost a year of anticipation, Google Fiber is coming to Nashville… There was a lot of competition, and I think they’ve made a very wise choice.”

Google has already successfully launched the service in Provo, Kansas City and Austin. In the second wave of roll-outs, Google will launch the new, subscription-based service in several Nashville neighborhoods beginning in 2015, along with other areas of Atlanta, Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte.

The Atiba Team is excited about the future and embraces Nashville Google Fiber as part of that mix.  We are already exploring ways our clients can leverage this new service. If you have a question or idea of how to leverage gigabit Internet or another service, give us a shout by emailing us at Atiba.Team@atiba.com

Unified Communications: The end is near for desk phones

By J.J. Rosen
For The Tennessean

“Mr. Watson, come here — I want to see you.”

With those famous words that Alexander Graham Bell uttered in 1876, the telephone was born. It was an amazing technical advancement that changed the future.

Virtualization, Storage Solutions and Unified Communications Joins Half Geek-Half Human Family

Atiba Network Services, LLC (www.atibanetworkservices.com) has announced the hiring of Sr. Network Engineer Brian Coulter. He joins the Atiba family from NFIB where he worked as a Sr. Systems Administrator on a variety of projects such as: server virtualization, datacenter optimization, Microsoft Exchange migrations and Cisco administration. Coulter joins Atiba’s strategic IT team that delivers customized managed services solutions to clients.

Mobile Devices Present Challenges for Employers

Your phone is having an identity crisis.

Not unlike us humans, our smartphones (and for that matter, all of our mobile devices) are swamped juggling both our work and personal lives. This is presenting some interesting challenges for employers and employees alike.

Multiple research reports show that almost 70 percent of employees use their personal smartphones and tablets to access corporate data and applications. Despite resistance from IT departments, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is clearly what employees want, allowing them to manage work, home and fun on their personally owned mobile devices.

From the employer side, BYOD has both pros and cons. On the upside, employers can save tons of money on mobile hardware and services while enhancing productivity by giving employees the convenience to work more from anywhere at any time. However, this productivity boost and savings comes at the expense of security and control. Allowing personally owned devices on multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone) to access corporate networks and data can be a security, operational and, in some cases, compliance nightmare.

So what is a CIO or any business owner to do?

One popular way to manage company mobile devices is to implement Mobile Device Management software (MDM). MDM allows a company to manage all aspects of an employee’s mobile device remotely. While this is a great option for company-owned devices, it can be a bit awkward and downright intrusive on employee-owned devices.

Fortunately, there is a new breed of tools coming out that support a hybrid approach, keeping both employees and employers happy with respect to the BYOD movement. This new approach focuses on managing and securing just the applications and data on your phone rather than the phone itself. So instead of your IT department managing your entire device, it is able to manage only the applications and data that the company really cares about.

There is little need for a company to manage your Words with Friends app in order to allow you to use corporate email or SharePoint or work on a spreadsheet on the company’s network. Look for these new Mobile Application Management solutions (MAMs) to make the BYOD approach increasingly popular over the next couple of years.

While there is no current market leader or industry standard in the BYOD market, major players like Symantec, AirWatch, Citrix and many other smaller companies are all vying to establish a foothold around BYOD. This competition will eventually create a win-win for employees and employers by solving the unique challenges of your phone’s identity crisis in the workplace.

Give us a call today to discuss MDM solutions for your business: 615-353-1921 ext 200