In This Evolving Tech Landscape, People Are The Only Fixed Entity

In This Evolving Tech Landscape, People Are The Only Fixed Entity

Advancement demands evolution and adaptability. With technology changing by the day, the only certainty is that this ain’t your mama’s IT landscape. Gone are the archaic machines of the past in favor of systems that grow and develop with your business. In today’s IT ecosystem, people are the only single-fixed entity.

Exploring Tomorrowland

Business technology systems previously focused on creating self-sustaining machines and processes that supported minimal tech support. These dinosaurs of the past were high input in terms of initial costs based on an anticipated low future input in tech support costs. Because the knowledge base required for IT management was thought to be stagnant and relatively manageable, companies would previously allocate a greater budget towards training employees to troubleshoot and become proficient in technology systems on their own. 

This model inevitably failed to withstand the test of time due to one fatal flaw; technology is no dinosaur. Business technology systems are dynamic interfaces that require continued adaptation to meet new goals and outcomes. This changing landscape has lead to a shift in focus from self-taught amateur techies to full service IT professionals. According to CompTIA, a whopping 64% of businesses now use managed IT services.

In short, IT has taken on a “service model” approach to meet the needs of today’s professionals. Where past technology management focused near exclusively on troubleshooting and minimizing disruptions, managed IT services take on a holistic approach to anticipate needs and identify opportunities for growth. To put it in geek terms (our favorite language), think of it as the difference between a band-aid and a shiny, new cybernetic arm.

The Anchor in the Storm

As business systems advance in complexity, tech experts are the standard you can rely on. WheelHouse IT offers professional management services for business models of all types. We recognize that changes means growth. More and more businesses are expanding the way they manage data, with SaaS platforms and Managed Cloud EnvironmentsSharepoint and One Drive offer new avenues for streamlining collaborative processes in both large and small environments. Our knowledgeable tech gurus engage businesses at each step — from compliance and firewall management to protect your valuable assets, to on-site training and VOIP services to elevate your staff. With co-managed support options, clients are in control of the level of consulting.

Today’s managed IT services are so much more than troubleshooting — we’re the forward looking and solution focused constant in a world of changing dynamics. Get started today and check out our knowledge center for more business technology insights.

Microsoft Office 2019 Server: Blend of Positives and Limitations

Microsoft Office 2019 Server: Blend of Positives and Limitations

Cloud or on-premise? It’s a question that companies continue to face, and likely will for years to come. Cloud services and applications are now viable alternatives to their local counterparts, yet many companies still hesitate to embrace them fully. Whether it’s through a lack of understanding, fear for security, or pressures within the organization, there remains significant resistance to the cloud.

Recent news about Microsoft’s on-premise Office 2019 Server would seem to indicate that the software giant “gets” the situation and is going out of its way to back something other than its seemingly ubiquitous Office 365.

According to the article, however, shortcomings in Office 2019 Server and, what’s more, a not-so-subtle push within the product toward cloud features makes for a product that’s not as extensible or powerful as it might have been.

The Shortcomings

Starting with Exchange 2019, users will no longer have access to the Unified Messaging role. Also, support for existing Skype for Business Server and third-party PBX is no longer available in the Exchange 2019 mailbox, requiring companies to migrate to Skype for Business Server 2019 or Office 365.

Speaking of Skype for Business, there aren’t many shortcomings; rather, services like Cloud Voicemail, Cloud Auto Attendant, and Cloud Call Data Connector all have one thing in common. You guessed it – reliance on the cloud.

Additionally, Office 2019 installations require the user to be running Windows 10, while server products are supported on Windows Server 2016 and (preferably) 2019. While the article doesn’t go into detail, Office 2019 users will not see the same breadth of features in their applications that counterparts using Office 365 do.

What’s the Verdict?

The article is certainly down on the offering by Microsoft, and there are legitimate reasons for it. Still, it’s not all bad for the on-premise crowd. Exchange 2019 gets support for 48 processor cores and a beefy 256GB RAM, with enhanced indexing and search.

SharePoint Server 2019 is probably the most positively affected, with an increase to 15GB file size limits (opposed to 10GB in SharePoint 2016) and a bump to maximum URL lengths of 400 unicode characters (up from 260 characters).

There’s enough positives sprinkled throughout to make Office 2019 products an alternative to Office 365, for companies bent on using on-premise solutions. It’s clear where Microsoft’s heart is, but they haven’t abandoned on-premise quite yet.

Do you need help navigating your cloud and on-premise computing needs? Contact us to find out how we can help your company put the right technology in place for your unique needs.

Tip of the Week: Two File Storage Solutions That Work for Personal Use, Too!

Tip of the Week: Two File Storage Solutions That Work for Personal Use, Too!

We generally cover tips that help business owners get the most out of their technology, but even the best business owner has a personal life, as well as technology that helps them stay connected with those they love.

How can you share files with people you are close to without leaving them wide open to attack? We’ll discuss some possibilities for personal file sharing.

As it stands, there are a lot of solutions out there that are leveraged by businesses that work just as well for the average user. The majority of them take advantage of cloud storage to make them more accessible for collaboration or sharing. We’ll go over some of the more popular storage systems at a consumer level.

Google Drive

Google Drive is quite a useful cloud service in its own right, but it’s even better for sharing files. All you have to do is select a user from your contacts or enter in their email address and you can share a document, image, video, or other file with them. You can even control what people can and can’t do with the files. For example, you can create a text document in Google Drive, share it with users, and determine who can and can’t edit the file. It’s great for collaboration or simply sharing a file.

Google Drive is free for the average user up to a certain storage point, but you can purchase additional space for a modest fee.

Microsoft OneDrive

Much like Google Drive, Microsoft’s flagship cloud storage system OneDrive provides access to both Microsoft Office applications and OneDrive cloud storage at a whim. The cool thing about this is that Microsoft OneDrive can also sync up with Microsoft Office to create a solution that keeps everything up-to-date. Like Drive, OneDrive can be a great collaboration tool for a business in need. Microsoft OneDrive has plenty of plans available.

Ultimately, it’s up to you which solution you would want to go with. How do you store and share files in your personal life? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe for more details on the latest technology tips and tricks.

The Cloud Firewall: An Important Defense Against the Experienced Hacker

The Cloud Firewall: An Important Defense Against the Experienced Hacker

Cyber criminals use a variety of techniques and tools to perform their “trade”, but the cloud firewall can stop them in their tracks.

Successful hackers follow a well developed organized process that usually consists of these five steps:

  1. Reconnaissance
  2. Scanning
  3. Gaining access
  4. Maintaining access
  5. Covering tracks

This process parallels that used by a thief who is after valuable items such as art or jewels that are kept in a secured building with multiple security systems in place.

The hacker too, is after valuable items in the form of data such as user names and passwords that might provide access to more sensitive data.

Reconnaissance

In the reconnaissance step, the hacker cases the target by gathering information in order to put together a plan of attack. This might include the target IP address range, domain name, network, DNS records, and mail server. The attacker might also visit the target’s website and use search engines to extract more information that might prove useful.

Scanning

Information gathered during the reconnaissance step is used to direct the hacker’s scanning efforts, which employ various tools such as port scanners, vulnerability scanners, and network mappers. The information gained in this step is more narrow in scope (focused) than that acquired during reconnaissance. The probing is more concerned with the target’s systems.

Gaining Access

When the information gathering reveals a vulnerability, the hacker exploits it and gains access. Perhaps an SQL injection is performed if the information revealed such a vulnerability. Or a phishing campaign is conducted after learning about multiple new employees of the company who would likely be unfamiliar with security protocols.

Maintaining Access

In this step, the hacker secures the accessed environment against detection by the security staff. She might do this by acquiring high level privileges or setting up her own user account complete with credentials. Once secured, the hacker then steals data or perhaps uses various devices in the business to launch other attacks.

Covering Tracks

In the last stage, the hacker removes all evidence of his presence or makes it appear as though the hack never took place. This causes the company to continue with business as usual (and doesn’t strengthen defenses), which allows the hacker easy future access by exploiting the same weaknesses or using a backdoor.

Preventing this from happening to your business starts with using an “industrial strength” cloud firewall.

Firewall as a Service allows increased visibility into applications, users, and content and helps determine which applications are traversing the network, who is using them, and the associated security risk.

To learn more about our cloud firewall options, please contact us.