Managed Services: Your ticket to a growing and productive business

Running a business is no easy feat. Succeeding involves overseeing many initiatives and facing many challenges on many fronts. In short: you have a lot going on. When it comes to the overall health of your business, managing your IT network should never be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Unfortunately, that’s exactly how it can feel for a lot of business owners and employees. Managing your IT network is a full-time job (sometimes many) and you already have a full-time job. In this eBook, we will illuminate the many reasons for foregoing self-management of your IT network in favor of partnering with a managed services provider to meet your technology goals.

There’s a lot for you to manage. Try managed services.

Surgeons perform surgery, accountants handle our taxes, and pediatricians take care of our children. No matter what kind of business you have, chances are that you’d rather focus on your actual business than the intricacies of running a modern IT network. So, who do you turn to when it comes to properly running your network? That would be a managed services provider (MSP). A managed services provider is any company that performs a contract service associated with your network or your infrastructure. While the specific services offered will vary from provider to provider, there are a few that we believe are most valuable, including:



One of the most essential managed services offerings is a full-scale and, most importantly, ongoing cybersecurity plan. The best cybersecurity solutions will address all the modern threats to your network, including cyberattacks, insider threats, and user error, as well as helping you keep up with the frequent changes and advances in network technology and malware.



In the USA, approximately 140,000 hard drives fail every week. If your personal computer or main server stopped working today, how much of your data would survive? If your machine crashes, or if you are hit by a cyberattack that compromises your data, you want to make sure that everything you’ve worked on can be retrieved from a secure location. To do this, make sure to speak with your MSP about a data backup plan.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery

If disaster strikes, you need to have a plan in place to not only survive but continue to thrive. A recent example is the onslaught of hurricanes that impacted the Gulf Coast in 2017. Many businesses went under because they were unprepared to continue business in the face of a natural disaster. A disaster recovery plan is something you and your MSP design together to function as a guide for recovering your data and network systems to continue working outside of your normal operations.



No matter how reliably or smoothly your network runs even in normal working conditions, issues will still pop up from time to time. Your employees can be more productive when they are able to quickly solve IT issues. For this reason, we suggest utilizing a 24/7/365 helpdesk. The helpdesk is particularly beneficial when you consider that many industries and key roles are becoming increasingly mobile, working extended office hours from a variety of devices and locations. Working with a dedicated helpdesk means you can benefit from a larger pool of expertise and assistance at any time.

Network Monitoring

Network Monitoring

The pinnacle of managed services for your business involves a hybrid of network monitoring and remote services. While the help desk ensures that your employees can quickly solve problems on their end, network monitoring provides a 24/7/365 overview of your network from the inside out. With network monitoring, technicians on your MSP’s team can not only maintain a real-time view of any possible intrusions, threats, or other network anomalies but also complete steps to mitigate and resolve issues as they arise.

Which managed services do you need?

The secret to choosing the right MSP for your business is in identifying the areas that need improvement and finding an MSP that provides a managed services package that fits those needs.

Guard your business with managed cybersecurity.

A cookie-cutter virus protection program just won’t suffice in a world where cybercrime is projected to cost $6 trillion annually by 2021. The attacks are coming. When they find your network, you want to be ready. $6,000,000,000,000,000 is an astronomical number and it can be hard to picture what that means to the average business. Let’s zoom in.

Cybersecurity is one of the most important services provided by MSPs. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, an experienced MSP’s approach to cybersecurity involves analyzing your strengths and weaknesses and maintaining complete and constant oversight of your network security. From creating best practices for your employees to implementing important software and maintaining patches and updates, your network is never safer than under the watchful eye of a managed services provider. The best cybersecurity solutions should address all types of threats. Here are the ones we find most common:

1. Sneak attacks

Your business should maintain a constant defense against cyberattacks. Modern cyberattacks are increasingly clever, relentless and evolving, and cybercriminals exercise an unprecedented lack of prejudice – they target anyone and everyone.

There’s sometimes no escaping the attacks, but there can still be preparation and fortification to minimize the effect. With so many types of sneaky cyberattacks, here are two you can recognize and avoid:


You’ve probably had this happen before… You type in the URL for a website and the site opens but looks slightly different than the homepage you access most other days. The resulting page is asking not just for your username and password but also for other personal information like your credit card number or social security number to “verify your account.” If you’re a real quick-draw, you’ll wonder about the extra requests, check the URL and notice that you entered the wrong address. This cyberattack called phishing involves intruders pretending to be a trusted entity in an attempt to steal your personal information. They rely on their victims to be in a hurry, unobservant and willing to share far too much.


Downloading malware is as simple as opening an unknown attachment from an unfamiliar or questionable email. Something as simple as “You’ve won a free coffee, download certificate here” can turn anticipation and excitement into a compromised network. Malware can release unwanted code into your network, consuming your computer’s processing power and causing programs, or even the entire system, to crash. This is why we stress user education and training. It’s not enough to say never open an attachment from an email address you don’t recognize. Even a seemingly familiar sender can turn out to be a phony. Helping users become more vigilant is the key – including watching for suspiciously named attachments or URLs, plus emails using bad grammar, misspellings, incorrect personal references, or even incorrect information in the company footer or signoff.

2. Ransomware

Think of how this scenario would ruin your morning: You open your browser or desktop program and a message pops up: “Pay us $1,077 or we will delete the information on your computer/server.” $1,077 is the average amount of money lost per ransom attack. And these attacks are very common.

Avoiding ransomware is tricky. This type of malware can be delivered through emails, fake ads and malicious websites. It leaves behind code that blocks user access to the machine and demands payment to restore control and release data. Besides training your team to recognize the risky situations, extra tools can help with filtering and monitoring network and email traffic and unsafe URLs. It’s critical to remain aware of new and more convincing approaches emerging all the time. Ask your MSP to detail a plan for analyzing and safeguarding your network against cyberattack vulnerabilities.

3. Insider threats

You might be asking, “Where do all of these attacks come from?” Well, some are from malicious outsiders seeking to cause financial harm to your business and make an easy buck. Others are from within your own ranks.

Of that number, three-quarters were intentional and only one-quarter were accidental – meaning 45% of all cyberattacks are perpetrated by malicious employees. Your MSP should be able to work with your team to minimize insider threats with network checks and balances that involve access control, device registration, network monitoring, and assigning roles and permissions only to valid individuals.

Why Cybersecurity as a managed service?

With attacks coming in more variety and greater frequency, cybersecurity as a managed service is more important than ever for protecting your mission-critical business network. Partnering with professionals ensures your team gets the consistent, comprehensive and expert attention and protection to unify your cybersecurity efforts across channels, devices, users and systems.

Plan your backup to weather the unexpected storms.

With professional network monitoring and a solid cybersecurity plan that evolves with the times, your MSP will help you drastically reduce the chance of significant setbacks for your network. Even so, disasters do happen – and usually without much warning. The secret to surviving the unexpected or worst-case scenario is a backup and disaster recovery plan. A backup and disaster recovery (BDR) plan is a practical guide to maintaining the integrity of your network and restoring its operation in the face of critical failures. The ideal BDR plan will include a hybrid of preventative measures and practices that will secure and replicate your key systems and data, along with action points to focus on at the time of the disaster. Of course, your first questions might be, “Why bother? What are the chances that I will really need this?”

Data loss dangers

A recent industry report found that only 51% of business users back up their data to on-premises computers or external drives, and only 35% back up their data to the cloud. Almost a third of organizations surveyed don’t perform daily backups of their data. And worse, more than two-thirds don’t back up critical customer data. Ignoring the risk of data loss is dangerously negligent for business. A study by Verizon found that a small data breach where only 100 records are lost would most likely cost an organization between $18,120 and $35,730 – but as much as $555,660. Besides the potentially fatal financial loss for businesses, data loss creates a breach of trust that can also contribute to the loss of client relationships.

You get the point: Data loss is bad news. So, what causes data loss? Usually, data loss happens because of one of the following reasons:

Hardware failure

Computers aren’t built to last forever. They will all eventually break down. And that’s okay. As long as you don’t lose data when your computer shuffles off to the ethernet in the sky. Working to regularly copy your data to redundant physical servers, cloud servers will give you peace of mind that you can meet customer demands and regulatory standards like HIPAA standards.

Human error

If you haven’t had one of those “Did I just completely destroy my computer?” moments, consider yourself very fortunate.

Human error – a mistake as simple as spilling coffee on a server, clicking the wrong setting, or dropping a laptop down a flight of stairs (it happens!) – accounts for a massive amount of data loss. So, it pays to be prepared for the show to go on.

Natural disasters

Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and related electrical storms, floods and fires, can all have a catastrophic impact on your business. If you don’t back up your data, you’ll lose more than just your physical property, you’ll lose vital customer information, operational files, and the ability to serve your customers. The truth is, data backup not only saves you from unwanted downtime, it keeps you running. Ultimately, you can think of BDR as a parachute. You wouldn’t jump out of a plane without making sure you have one, would you?

About Disaster Recovery

Once you have a plan to make sure all the right data is backed up for a rainy (or coffee-covered) day, you want to deal with the network operation issues surrounding a disaster. That’s when a disaster recovery plan becomes priceless. The recovery aspect of BDR will cover everything from the steps to relocating your network to accessing your data offsite backups to activating the services you will need from vendors supporting you in the continuation of IT operations. To survive and thrive after any disaster, you need to be able to get back to business as soon as possible. The disaster recovery plan will contain delegation of key IT recovery functions, a mandatory checklist, and security protocols to guarantee your employee and customer data is safe. Just like data backup, your recovery plan will have to adhere to both your professional standards and industry standards. Make sure to trust an MSP that has knowledge of your industry.

Your helpdesk keeps your network healthy.

The ideal goal of managed services is to create a network that minimizes the occurrence of significant IT incidents. Since we’ve established that many IT incidents are due to user error, addressing user IT issues is critical to maintain a functional network for your business. So, the best reason for having a helpdesk is explained by Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. And that’s okay. The important thing is to have procedures and experts in place to handle issues as they arise. Notice that the key words there are as they arise. Your business operates in real time. Which means every minute, hour and day that an issue isn’t resolved is just more time that your employees can’t complete their work. A helpdesk will take care of those issues on the spot. What types of user support can a helpdesk provide?

Weekend Access

Example 1:  Weekend access

Dr. Rivera is a general physician working from a secondary office over the weekend. While attempting to access patient records for an upcoming appointment, he notices that the network has locked out his laptop and he doesn’t have the correct network password. Solution:  Dr. Rivera contacts their 24/7/365 helpdesk and they are able to securely verify his identity and reset his password. His preparation is completed, and the appointment goes on as scheduled.

Bandwidth barriers

Example 2:  Bandwidth barriers

Kit Harlowe is home health provider. She is completing a regular patient visit with updates to their charts and treatment plan, when the internet speed suddenly slows to a crawl. Solution:  Kit contacts her managed helpdesk and they are able to walk her through the settings to run a network diagnostic. Through remote services, the helpdesk technician realizes she has downloaded a computer worm that’s sending an overflow of traffic to the network. They filter out the false traffic, which gets the network running faster and keeps Kit working.

In both examples, we address some of the most common reasons businesses choose to incorporate a helpdesk into their managed services


Incidents and errors don’t clock in at 8 a.m. and leave at 5 p.m. They show up all the time, anytime, killing your team’s productivity. The only way to help your employees handle issues during their working hours is to have a knowledgeable team on hand.


For many businesses, it has become imperative for employers to accommodate a workforce that has become both more mobile and more reliant on a variety of devices.

When your team is working on their own devices, they need someone who not only knows their network but has knowledge of these individual platforms.

Experienced and knowledgeable

When you have an entire helpdesk team working for you, you benefit from the combined knowledge of multiple technicians. Now consider all the other services we have spoken about. Who could possibly understand the intricacies of your network better than the team who builds them every day? Whether your team is facing normal issues in day-to-day operations or the more complicated incidents that crop up in the evolving mobile workplace, you can count on a helpdesk to provide superior and timely solutions.

We really enjoy chatting about ways to improve your network.

With expertise and experience in all of the above-managed services, RWA will work to build a custom solution that fits your specifics business needs. Contact us at your earliest convenience and we’ll share as much info about the above-managed services as you’d like.

HIPAA compliance in the cloud? 3 things you need to know.

We often hear from clients that they have concerns about maintaining their HIPAA compliance mandate should they want to transition their IT to a cloud-based approach. And, of course, many of their concerns are valid. HIPAA compliance matters.

The cost of non-compliance includes steep fines and potential legal penalties. And, what’s more, a huge drop in confidence from the consumers who trust your company with their Protected Health Information (PHI).

Here are 3 things you need to know about maintaining HIPAA compliance in the cloud.

Related: 3 steps to HIPAA security rule compliance

Business associates have mandates too

There are a variety of cloud solutions: public, private, and hybrid. And each will have their own unique set of characteristics. But no matter what solution a HIPAA-regulated company decides to leverage, one thing doesn’t change.

Any potential partner who will store PHI is considered a business associate by HIPAA. This means you’re required to execute an agreement with that associate that outlines permitted uses and disclosures.

Likewise, should that business associate sub-contract out to another entity such as a third-party data center, they must also execute an agreement with that entity that outlines the same permitted uses and disclosures. Both entities are then liable for maintaining HIPAA compliance.

The good news is, when a company’s data is stored in a third-party data center, that center will likely have military-grade security that massively restricts physical access. What this means in terms of remote access to said servers depends on the specific type of cloud solutions the healthcare provider engages.

It’s likely that the right cloud services provider already has systems and policies in place that meet HIPAA compliance.

Related: HIPAA omnibus rule

You still need to restrict access

Moving your clients’ PHI into the cloud doesn’t relieve you of your liability to protect that data. That includes the electronic protected health information (ePHI) the cloud service provider handles.

You still need to instate proper levels of password complexity to control access to ePHI on the cloud servers. Also, you need required standards on how often employees update their passwords. This should include policies on logging out of unattended devices. Basically, any policies you kept in place at the office-level need to remain in place using the cloud. This is key to maintain your HIPAA compliance in the cloud.

Related: Medical ransomware attacks on the rise

Periodic audits should be standard to your approach

This one is not only mandatory to maintain your HIPAA compliance in the cloud, it should also be obvious to your business associate. As part of the business associate agreement you create, you need to be sure that your cloud service provider and their subcontractors perform periodic audits of their systems and approach to ensure compliance.

Such audits have the power to save both you and your business associates from expensive violations.


HIPAA compliance in the cloud may sound complex. But with the right partner and the right approach, you can enjoy the conveniences of cloud computing and maintain HIPAA compliance at the same time. If the subject sounds like a lot to take on, consider seeking out professional advice and help.

5 Foreboding Reasons You Need a Disaster Recovery Plan

Disasters happen. The sheer scope of potential disasters is enough to send any company’s leadership into worrying fits. In spite of this, companies often overlook the importance of developing an extensive, tested disaster recovery plan to prepare for the inevitable.

Waiting until disaster strikes to deal with the fallout generally doesn’t end well. There are countless reasons why developing and implementing a disaster recovery plan before things go wrong is the right move for your company.

Here are our top five.

Mother Nature is Unpredictable

We don’t have to tell you that. Chances are, if you leave your house more than twice a year you’re already aware that Mother Nature does what she wants, when she wants. With so much technological convenience and urban infrastructure around us, it can be tempting to ignore nature’s potential threats.

However, the threats are real, and recent history has shown they can have huge financial impacts on businesses.

Whether winter storms, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, or any of the multitude of natural disasters that hit every year, Mother Nature brings with her a smorgasbord of ways to bring your business operation to its knees.

By developing a disaster recovery plan that takes into account the multiple regional and natural threats to your business, you instantly limit the amount of potential harm they can cause.

Humans and Machines Malfunction

Humans make mistakes. Machines malfunction. While you probably can’t avoid these mistakes and malfunctions in every scenario, you can develop an organized and specialized approach to dealing with them when they occur.

How will you respond when servers and communications systems go down? What happens if an employee falls victim to a phishing email and unleashes malware or ransomware into your system? A good disaster recovery plan takes these very plausible scenarios into account. It provides a step-by-step process for dealing with them.

In fact, the process of developing a recovery plan can even lead to seeking out new solutions – like cloud services and security management services – to minimize the chance of falling prey to these problems in the first place.

Related: 4 Signs Your Business Needs Managed Services

Poor Response Damages Reputation

Customers notice when you’re not prepared for problems. And, like it or not, many customers expect perfection. Downtime alone can cause a loss of confidence from your client base.

But when a disaster happens and your company is unprepared, it can alienate customers to extreme degrees. Many of these customers may choose not to do business with your company again.  

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Creating protocols to get your business back online is only a part of good disaster recovery. A thorough disaster recovery plan includes actionable details such as which employees will be responsible for customer communication, and what channels will be used to communicate.

This ensures a smooth response to disasters that gives customers maximum assurance that your company is capable of continuing to meet their needs.

Downtime Destroys Financial Stability

Downtime does more than damage your reputation. It can also destabilize your finances.

Waiting until a disaster event occurs to determine your response extends downtime and increases the costs. The right plan will cover the bases and determine the technologies you need to minimize downtime and minimize losses in the process. It helps get your business back online and back to serving your customers ASAP.

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

You probably don’t approach a single aspect of your business without a strategic plan for success. So why would you handle your response to potential disasters – whether man-made, technological, or natural – without a plan to act?

A good disaster recovery plan takes into account as many threats as possible. It then organizes your strategic technological and human responses. This forethought minimizes the potential for damage.

Maybe after reading this you’ve come to realize the importance of a disaster recovery plan for your business, but you aren’t sure where to start. That’s where a qualified managed services provider is like an ace in the hole.

They can provide expert advice that’s crucial to your ongoing business success.

By selecting the right partner to advise, consult, and provide ongoing IT support for your business, you can turn your worry about potential chaos into the assurance that you’ve got the right tools and response to meet any challenge.

Related: The Prescription for a Perfect Managed Services Provider

5 Signs You Need Telemedicine in Your Office

Telemedicine (also interchangeably called “telehealth”) is revolutionizing the healthcare industry and it shows no signs of slowing down. In one recent study, 77% of people said they would consider seeing a provider virtually. Such a high demand does not go unnoticed. 44% of medical practices made introducing and improving telemedicine their top priority in 2017.

We’ve identified 5 signs that you need telemedicine in your office. If any of these signs sound familiar, it’s time to seriously consider integrating telemedicine soon.

1. Your Practice Needs Some Growing Room.

Let’s look at the benefits of telemedicine from a business perspective. Without telemedicine, your practice is greatly limited by geography. You might be the most knowledgeable and capable expert in a certain specialty or condition, but you may very well miss the opportunity to work with a patient just because you operate in a different zip code.

Telemedicine eliminates geographical boundaries and enables your practice to expand organically to serve the patients that most need your assistance.

2. Your Customers Need to Reach You.

Sometimes, patients become critically ill, or even die, because they can’t readily access their healthcare provider’s office. Whether at-risk patients happen to be elderly, disabled, isolated or impoverished, they can benefit from telemedicine visits as an alternative to ignoring or suffering potentially serious medical issues.

Telemedicine makes medical assistance just one internet connection away. Patients who can’t travel or have accessibility issues would now be able to connect to your office and receive assistance with minimal effort.

3. You Have Patients Who Could Benefit From Ongoing Support.

Telemedicine really does have a life-or-death impact on patients, especially with the availability of remote monitoring. With the right tools, doctors can constantly follow up on patient analytics.

A recent report found that using remote monitoring technology to keep tabs on a patient’s blood sugar or cardiopulmonary disease can reduce the risk of patient mortality by up to 45%.

4. You Want to Streamline Operations and Satisfy Customers.

It turns out that making life more convenient for your practice, and saving more lives, makes both your employees and your customers extremely happy to work with you. The satisfaction rates for telemedicine are remarkable.

86% of doctors and 83% of patients have reported that they were satisfied with the level of care given/received. That’s good for keeping your patients and your practice healthy.

5. You Want More Cost-effective Tools.

Incorporating virtual capabilities into your business almost always comes with cost savings. For instance, if you perform 30% of your business via telemedicine, you can increase your volume without extra expense for office space and equipment to accommodate those patients.

You and your customers will also save time and money with reduced travel and schedule disruption. Some routine appointments, such as prescription refills for example, can be handled over a patient’s (or provider’s) lunch break.

Telemedicine is typically covered by insurance plans at the same rate as an in-office visit, so you can apply that savings over a quarter/year to see the quantitative benefits.

Do You Need Telemedicine in Your Office?

At this point you probably know that you’ll need to incorporate telemedicine in one way or another. Not only do you want to remain competitive, but, more importantly, you also want to embrace any opportunity to improve your business and the lives of your patients.

RWA has experience providing network solutions specifically suited for telemedicine and HIPAA compliance. If you are interested in learning more about telemedicine for your practice, please give us a call or send us a message and we’ll be happy to chat with you.

4 IT Consulting Projects That Will Make Your Business Better

For your business to succeed, your business needs to grow. One way to elevate your business is to modernize and streamline your IT solutions.

Most decision makers jump at the chance to increase productivity and collaboration, but more often than not you are too busy with the actual business of your business to research and implement impactful changes to your network and infrastructure. That’s when IT consulting becomes a powerful asset to your team.  

ConsultingWhether your business currently utilizes a managed service provider (MSP) or you are working your way up to a full-scale IT solution, you will often find yourself in need of professional services. IT consulting becomes handy when you are dealing with the type of projects that don’t require monthly maintenance, but still require professional assistance. 

Here are four IT consulting projects that will make a noticeable difference in your business: 

1. Workflow Automation

In order to actually finish out the workday, employees often find a workflow process and stick with it as long as they can. While consistency is better than having every day be a crap-shoot, consistency doesn’t always mean efficiency or productivity. 

What we’ve noticed is that sometimes people in business become so busy; so stuck in a routine, that they can’t see the forest for the trees. 

A workflow automation consultation can help to pinpoint the weaknesses in your day-to-day operations. Something as simple as eliminating a few steps from a daily routine can translate to huge savings in time and money when you look at the bird’s-eye view. Projects are 250% more successful when proven project management practices are used.

A professional IT consultant will then go a step further and help you find the tools necessary to streamline your workflow, and offer metrics to study your progress. Real-time data can reduce an organization’s operational expenses by as much as 23%.

 2. Hardware Refreshes

Technology keeps getting smarter — and it keeps getting smarter faster — every day. In order to keep up with the competition in your market, you need to be able to provide a higher level of productivity and efficiency. 

Take for instance the medical field. In many modern offices, doctors are utilizing video conferencing to perform remote consultations. This requires hardware processing that can keep up with the high bandwidth required for HD video conferencing. 

Mobile and Desktop Devices

An IT consultant can work with you to discern which hardware you need to support certain goals now and into the future. Hardware refresh consulting helps integrate new hardware with your ideal IT network. 

Many IT consultants will also procure the hardware and implement it at your business, providing a seamless transition from the old to the new system. 

3. Cabling 

You know what the worst part of getting a new TV is? Connecting the wires to all of your new devices. New computer? Connecting the cables to new devices. How about a brand new IT network connecting multiple servers to every single one of your employees across multiple rooms/floors/etc? You guessed it…connecting the wires. Or, in this case, mostly cables. 

Cabling consultation will not only suggest ways to optimize your cable placement, but will also optimize your cable type, how much to order, and color coding for the best possible network design and strength.

4. Wireless Infrastructure

As your business grows, you’ll notice that your Wi-Fi speeds are degrading as more and more devices enter the day-to-day mix. Creating a collaborative environment in today’s mobile business place often depends on real-time interactions. The only way to offer this is with a steadfast and strong Wi-Fi network that can securely support both your employees and your guests.  

Collaboration Pull Quote Graphic

An IT consultant will be able to assess your office and use signal heat mapping to identify the best placement for your wireless access points (AP),  and tell you if a different model device would be better. Soon, you’ll have an office that stays connected, and employees that spend more time working and less time searching for a signal. 

How can we help you? 

RWA offers a number of IT consulting services on top of our managed services offerings. Most of the time, the best IT solutions will combine a monthly plan that covers the day-to-day management of your network, with the more sporadic, yet impactful, elements like hardware refreshes and other focused projects. 

Please give us a call or send us a message to find out more about how our managed services may fit your needs. 

5 Throwback Videos That Teach You About Modern IT Concerns

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Satayana

One of the great tragedies of humanity is that we often seem incapable of learning from past experiences. The only way to remedy this is take a look back in time. When it comes to creating a solid IT network, these old commercials offer some surprising lessons.

1.  Make Way for a Mobile Workforce

1977 was a good year that brought us Star Wars, Elvis Costello’s “My Name is True”, and the birth of Shakira. Time flies, but even back then, businesses knew that it was time to adapt to a mobile workforce. The answer? Check out this no-frills, 1977 commercial for the first portable laptop, the IBM 5100.

Today, supporting a mobile workforce is an increasingly important aspect of any IT solution in every industry. Employees who believe their workplace effectively uses mobile tech are more creative, satisfied, and productive at work. And customers always appreciate more responsive service.

2. Plan for Disasters

Many of the physical components of your business are connected to your network. This means they are subject to cyberattacks, natural disasters, and human error, just to name a few network disasters. They might even be turned into a cutting board and/or baking sheet like this gentleman’s Lenovo Thinkpad…


Grandma-proofing isn’t the preparation we most often consider, but it certainly represents the risk of “human error.” Part of creating a killer IT solution is including a backup and disaster recovery plan. This ensures that however you happen to lose your hardware, you don’t lose your data.

3. Get Ahead with Video Conferencing

One in three CXOs agree that video conferencing is essential for operations. Businesses increase productivity and reduce costs when they eliminate travel time in favor of video conferencing. Also in situations like this one, you might just save yourself from a nasty concussion.

Make sure your managed services provider is prepared to accommodate network speeds that support superior conferencing and effective communication.

4. Don’t Forget Physical Security

In order to truly keep your business safe from intruders and insider threats, you’ll want to include physical security solutions in your overall operations. Video cameras, for instance, will enable you to capture theft and, apparently, even the occasional spring shower.

Physical security, including cameras and entry control, has been known to assist in identifying and prosecuting employees for illegal acts, not to mention in deterring theft in the first place. Most people don’t like being caught on camera when they rob someone blind. And your business doesn’t like being caught by surprise by damaging deeds that compromise your data.

5. The Security Is in the Network

Not all perpetrators waltz into your office to do sketchy things in person. Some prefer to work the cyberattack angle. So, on top of creating access control and installing security cameras, you need a hardcore security plan for protecting your network from the inside out.

That’s right. Your network is a target for some of the most heinous activity imagined. If the bad guys had it their way, your network would look something like that cantina in Star Wars where all of the worst specimens in the galaxy tend to congregate, looking for trouble.

You probably cannot imagine all the varieties of digital threats cruising around your network. So, you need to incorporate the right mix of regular maintenance, monitoring, updates and testing to ensure your security plan keeps the “wretched hive of scum and villainy” far, far and away.

What would your video say about IT?

If someone shot a film or commercial about your IT environment, what kind of lessons would it offer? Would it be a laughable farce complete with slapstick tomfoolery, or would it be an insightful mini-documentary portraying the most excellent of practices in modern business technology? If you lean toward that first commercial, then it’s time to have a real chat about your IT solutions.

Give us a shout and we’d be glad to share more. No strings attached.

5 Reasons You Need a Managed Service Provider with Experience in Healthcare Industry

The best way to avoid HIPAA violations in your IT network is to consider your managed service provider the same way your patients consider a medical specialist.

For instance, if your patient catches a bad viral infection, they probably won’t visit their accountant for medical advice The principle is the same for managed service providers. Because many specialize in certain markets, you will want to be sure to work with an MSP that has a proven record in the healthcare industry.

Without the guidance of an experienced MSP, you may find your data breached and your customers walking out the door.

By September 2017, more than 221 major HIPAA breaches were reported to federal authorities, which was a 66% increase from 2016. 84% of these incidents were reported as hacking issues. With that seemingly unstoppable upward trajectory, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your managed service provider (MSP) has experience creating HIPAA-compliant networks.

While HIPAA compliance is a major priority in healthcare systems and medical practices, sometimes the facts are overshadowed by all of the stress of adhering to the rules. The most important fact: HIPAA is designed to protect your patients. Other than the obvious goal of protecting their privacy, there are 5 very important business reasons to shore up your efforts to remain HIPAA-compliant.

1.  The Fines

First, there are hefty fines associated with HIPAA violations, with up to $1.5 million dollars per violation, which can then be multiplied by how long the violation has taken place. Major breaches like the Anthem hacking incident are estimated to cost over $100 million.


2. Patient Retention

Second, and just as important, you run a high risk of losing your patients if their data is breached. 31% of consumers surveyed by the Ponemon Institute said they discontinued their relationships with the breached entity following a data breach.


 3. Authentication

Human error and insider threats continue to play a huge role in data loss. One recent report showed that 74% of organizations feel vulnerable to insider threats. This is right in line with another industry report, which found that 70% of data center incidents were caused by human error.

Any person in your business that accesses medical records should have a unique user ID. This will ensure that a.) only the right people have access and b.) you can track who has accessed documents. Taking these proactive measures will help minimize human error and/or intentional threats.


4. Encryption

Your employees might be doing all the right things, but that may not matter if your data isn’t protected when in transit.

It’s a common activity to send a patient’s medical records to another office, for example. This is a pain point where you can be exploited. Encryption will ensure that data is safe moving across and beyond your network.


5. Cloud Solutions

If your MSP works with cloud solutions (as 90% of companies surveyed currently do), it’s important to make sure that the cloud setup meets the same standard as your network compliance. For this reason, RWA suggests working with a cloud-based program that is proven to be HIPAA-compliant.

What’s next?

RWA has a proven track record working with medical and healthcare practices. We offer HIPAA compliance assistance, and we’ve partnered with an excellent company offering a complete and very affordable cloud-based compliance program for large and small practices, including a “BA-Specific” program for their business associates as well.

Looking for more info on securing your network to meet HIPAA standards? Give us a shout and we’d be glad to share more. No strings attached.

Network Security: I’m Sorry, But You’re Not on the List

Often, people are curious about how susceptible their networks might be to cyber attacks and other intrusions. Think of it like this, your network is the biggest New Year’s party of 2018. Everyone wants to see what’s going on inside and they’ll do whatever it takes to get in. To keep the party safe and fun, you’re going to need proper network security.

The alternative is not pretty. Your party crashers can cause astronomically high financial losses (think over $40,000 per cyberattack), and your reputation will go down the drain, too. 31% of customers will leave a healthcare business if their data is compromised, for example.

One way to ensure that the bad element stays out of the network is to apply category-based content filters. These work by analyzing individual websites and placing them in specific categories based on their safety level.

Here are a few of the different categories of sites and content that you can filter out. This will help prevent undesirable people from crashing your network and from inviting others to do the same.

Not Safe For Work (NSFW)

Your business has a lot of leeway in this category. The primary distinction for NSFW is websites or emails that contain either written or visual sexual content, drug use, or gratuitous violence.

The nature of these sites will often put them in direct violation of company sexual harassment and/or morale policies. On top of that, NSFW content is very often riddled with viruses, malware, and other cyber threats.

Social Networks

Social Network filters can be customized to fit your specific business needs. For instance, if you find that your employees are spending far too much time on Facebook or Twitter, you can easily block it from employee access. Social networking isn’t intrinsically dangerous, but the platforms often allow an enormous amount of dangerous content to be featured on their sites.

This has been explored to some depth in studies of the recent impact of falsified news on Facebook. In your business, what it means is that your employees can click into a click-bait website (one designed to peak interest without any actual valuable content) and it might lead to a site filled with phishing links or malware.

Phishing Scams

Phishing is one of the most detrimental web scams. Dangerous phishing emails and sites are designed to look like legitimate pages so that you trust them enough to volunteer sensitive personal and financial information.

A phishing filter will examine all the identifying background code and eliminate these sites to keep your employees from accessing these fake pages.

Malicious URLs

When you access a malicious website, you end up involuntarily downloading ransomware, malware, and other cyber attacks onto your network. Filtering for malicious content helps to spot and track these dangers to prevent your employees from accidentally damaging their hardware and your network.

Peer-to-Peer Sites

If you’ve ever had a friend who talks about owning a movie the day it came out in the theater, he’s probably using a peer-to-peer torrent site. Think of the early days of Napster on this one. These sites operate so that people can share information without regulation. They are horrible for network security.

If someone accesses a peer-to-peer site on your business network, they might download a file thinking it is the new Taylor Swift album and end up with computer virus that wipes out your network and costs you up to $100,000 an hour of downtime while you replace equipment and get things running.

Ready to add filters to your network?

We really want your network to feel the most fantastic party of the year in 2018. If you feel the same, it’s probably a good idea to put together a plan to filter out the unsavory cyber elements. Just give us a call or shoot us an email and we’d be happy to share more about network security filters.

4 Signs Your Business Needs Managed Services

Often you are so busy doing the daily activities that are most important in your business, that it’s easy to under-prioritize IT solutions. The good thing is that managed service providers have the focus and expertise to consult with you and find and anticipate any possible weak spots in your infrastructure and network. Together, you can prevent cyberattacks, monitor possible anomalies, save money, and be prepared for any worst-case-scenario.

If you can relate to any of these 4 warning signs, then it might be time to work with a managed services provider.

1. You don’t know how to prevent cyber attacks.

One of the primary benefits of working with a managed service provider (MSP) is the ability prevent and combat cyber attacks. Cyber attacks come in many forms, including viruses, ransomware, worms and more. The one thing they all have in common – besides everyone thinking it won’t happen to them – is a potentially disastrous effect on businesses.

The proliferation of cyber attacks on businesses is downright alarming. One recent study found that 75.6% of organizations encountered at least one successful cyber attack within the past 12 months. If your business is one of the 3 in 4 that is attacked, you risk suffering an extreme operational, reputational and even financial burden. A report by Data Center Dynamics concludes that cyber attacks cost the victims $40,000 per hour.

When you work with an MSP, you benefit from professionals experienced in and dedicated to preventing and combating cyber attacks on your infrastructure. Your MSP does this by creating a network protection plan with up-to-date security protocols, education for your employees, and monitoring for anomalies and intrusions.

As cyber attacks grow exponentially, creating and maintaining a dependable defense against network intrusions is paramount for staying a step ahead of the threats.

2. You don’t have around-the-clock monitoring.

When your managed services solution includes a help desk or network operations center (NOC), you’ll be able to eliminate downtime and keep your business running smoothly.

In ITIC’s latest survey, 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000. 81% of respondents indicated that 60 minutes of downtime costs their business over $300,000. And a record one-third of enterprises report that one hour of downtime costs their firms $1 million to over $5 million.

Good network health demands steadfast observation. Cyberattacks and network incidents don’t follow the same timetable as your business. When employees or customers encounter a problem in your network, it needs to be handled immediately or it could cost you significant losses.

This means you’ll need flexible, expert support.

If you use a network operating center (NOC), you will have dedicated professionals monitoring your network strength and performance. For instance, one sign of a computer worm is a massive network slowdown on as it consumes memory and resources.

At the NOC, your MSP will be able to filter out negative traffic and manage performance to allow the valid activity that keeps your business operating.

Your business could also benefit from a help desk. Whereas the NOC monitors and prevents  network issues, the help desk can directly assist employees and clients with all of their technical and network needs.

3. You’ve yet to fully embrace the cloud.

Cloud services have made a phenomenal impact on businesses in every industry. With reports revealing that 90% of organizations use the cloud in some way and 50% use cloud services as their preferred solution, the chances are that you already use the cloud somehow in your office.

A qualified managed services provider will create a cloud solution for your business that saves you money and streamlines your workflow and processes. Moving to the cloud is beneficial for any company wanting to improve efficiency, flexibility or collaboration.

First of all, cloud services make scalability easier than ever. If you need to set up a new employee to the company, you just add another user to your current roster and extend permissions to the right resources. There’s no installation or licensing to plan for and they can work from any device in the office or on the road with their network credentials.

Another benefit of cloud services is the money saved on hardware. When you rely on a cloud server, you save money on physical components.

Additionally, if your MSP includes a cloud solution, you cut down internal payroll expenses by minimizing the cost of an in-house IT team. Forbes reported in one case study that cloud solutions provide a 37% savings over 3 years when compared to a self-managed, on-premises solution.

4. You have no solid backup and/or disaster recovery plan.

Data backup is an essential, yet often overlooked facet of a healthy infrastructure. Nationwide reports that 75% of businesses have no disaster recovery plan. Whether your data loss occurs due to a cyber attack or a natural disaster, you want to be up and running ASAP.

Managed service providers are experts at providing backup and disaster recovery solutions for your business. The goal is always business continuity.  If you’re closed for business, you will experience financial and reputational losses.

One study shows that 54% of companies report experiencing downtime from a single event, lasting more than 8 hours.

A proper disaster recovery and data backup solution will help you avoid downtime at your business, and keep records safe so you can continue doing business.

We’re here to help.

Here at RWA, we are dedicated to helping you make your business the best it can be. We have experience working with our clients to design and implement technology solutions that achieve their goals and strengthen their operations.

Please give us a call or send us a message to find out  more about managed services for your specific needs.

Virus vs. Worm: How to Identify and Slay Your Network Monsters

The glossary of adversaries to your network security will continue to grow so long as cyberattacks continue to happen, and the various cyber-monsters can be difficult to differentiate. That being said, two of the most prevalent security threats are easy enough to remember when you compare them to legendary monsters. Enter the virus and the worm.

What they have in common…

Viruses and worms are both cyberattacks that are detrimental to your business. They are also both financial blackholes. In 2016, viruses and worms contributed to $450 billion in financial losses due to cybercrime. On an individual level, cyberattacks can cost businesses up to $40,000 per hour.

The end result for both a virus and a worm is to damage your network and cost you money and time. The primary difference is in their approach.

A virus is like a vampire…

One easy way to conceptualize a computer virus is to think of it as a vampire.

If a vampire wants to infect you with vampirism and turn you into a member of the nocturnal undead, it will require some human error. Just like you might encounter a vampire if you take a shortcut down a dark alley, you might catch a computer virus by visiting a harmful URL or downloading software that isn’t secure. There’s always an element of human participation.

And we all know that a vampire can’t come into your house unless it is invited. That’s exactly how a virus works.

Many times, it’s easy to spot a computer virus. It’s just a little bit out of place. Just like when a vampire comes over to your house wearing his best 1970s “date night” outfit. There’s just something that’s a bit off. Viruses are often given away by emails or URLs that don’t look quite official – anything from misspellings to unfamiliar names to complex Web addresses to simply uncomfortable requests to share or exchange information. If it strikes you as strange, it probably is.

If you fail to see the signs and unwittingly invite a vampire into your house, he/she/it will probably give you a bite, infect you, and you’ll soon be investing a lot of money in sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and umbrellas.

When you open the door to a computer virus by opening attachments or downloading certain files or programs, it will use that program to overload your system and eat up your random access memory, freeze certain resources or take over certain functionality. This in turn leads to slower computing, crashes, and total destruction of the computer system.

One recent example is the “Bad Rabbit” ransomware virus, which spread from Russia to the USA. Ransomware will famously extort money from users in exchange for data, and the average ransomware attack has risen to $1,077.

Computer viruses act just like the vampire virus. They both require a host to infect their victim, and they both greatly alter the health of their prey.

A worm is like a werewolf…

If a virus is like a vampire, then a worm is like a werewolf.

When werewolves want to attack, they have no intention of waiting for you to invite them inside the house. They enter and they either eat you or they bite you and turn you into a werewolf. This is exactly how a worm works on your network.

Worms are cyberattacks that disrupt your network by exploiting weaknesses and self-replicating. One famous example is the recent WannaCry ransomware attack, which infected more than 300,000 computers in a few days, by using worm techniques to infiltrate Windows and spread across LAN and WAN connections.

Unlike the computer virus, they require no human error. Worms can piggyback in on websites or attachments, and then spread exponentially across your network to other files.

While a virus is dangerous, it is typically isolated to a certain program or system resource. A worm, however, will discover any weaknesses and exploit them.

How to slay your network monster…

The best way to win a fight against a vampire or a werewolf is to a.) avoid inviting them in, and b.) fortify your home against them. Hanging garlic on the windows and carrying a silver sword just in case is always a good idea.

For your business to fight a computer virus or worm, you need to invest in solid preparation and protection for your network. This means having a virus protection plan, training your team and downloading all of the relevant patches on an ongoing basis.

When you work with RWA as your managed service provider, we’ll create a comprehensive solution that will help prevent and combat cyberattacks of all kinds.

Reach out to us to learn more about different cyberattacks and how to stop them.