Understanding NIST Compliance & Its Benefits

From small businesses to large corporations, cybersecurity remains a top priority. Security protocols are not the exclusive interest of government agencies or international companies. The risk to sensitive information and business interests has developed into a wide-reaching concern. For these reasons, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a non-regulatory government agency, has developed various resources to support public and private organizations.

Although a US-based initiative, NIST guidelines have been adopted by organizations throughout the world. Notable organizations utilizing the direction of this agency include JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, Intel, Bank of England, Telephone Corporation, and the Ontario Energy Board. One of the primary resources developed by NIST is the Cybersecurity Framework. As of 2020, it is projected that 50% of US organizations use the Framework to inform and guide their cybersecurity efforts.

According to NIST, “The Framework integrates industry standards and best practices to help organizations manage their cybersecurity risks. It provides a common language that allows staff at all levels within an organization…to develop a shared understanding of their cybersecurity risks.” In addition to understanding risks, the Framework also supports organizations in reducing these risks through customizable measures.

Many businesses are exploring how to comply with NIST guidelines. They are also exploring what this means to their operations and security. In this article, we discuss an understanding of NIST compliance and its importance to businesses.

Summary of NIST Compliance

Compliance with the directions and infrastructure of NIST ensures that federal agencies also remain in compliance with various other federal regulations. As a result, it is endorsed by the US government, functioning as a standard for the highest level of cybersecurity.

Therefore, the high standards and broad reach of NIST guidelines have been adopted widely by businesses in the US and around the globe. Companies have developed an interest in complying with NIST standards because they represent security best practices applicable to a far-ranging set of industries.

The most widely recognized and adopted strategy is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. These security guidelines are rooted in improving an organization’s ability to prevent, detect, and respond to diverse cyber threats. Each of these guidelines is customizable to the requirements of a company. The Framework is made up of three parts: Framework Core, Implementation Tiers, and Framework Profile.

The Framework Core is a set of co-occurring functions that a business can follow for its security infrastructure. It is comprised of five core functions: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Implementation Tiers provide a range of four tiers representing how well the Framework is exhibited in an organization’s cybersecurity risk management practices. And the Framework Profile is offered to assist organizations in determining their progress based on their specific requirements and needs.

Making NIST compliance work for your business

NIST offers numerous resources that can be applied flexibly to your business based on your specific requirements. The Cybersecurity Framework, NIST’s most widely used resource, is a set of guidelines that can be sifted to determine what works best for your business’s needs. You can use each function of the Framework or identify which parts are most ideal. For example, the third part of the Framework focuses on developing a target profile for your company.

These target profiles are comprised of categories and subcategories that can be applied based on your circumstances. In addition to establishing your goals using the Framework Profile, you can also work through the Framework Core. These Core measures are the active procedures your company can take to identify, detect, and respond to cybersecurity incidents.

The final function of the Framework Core is a measure to recover from these incidents. While your company is engaging these co-occurring functions, the Framework will also assist in identifying how well you are implementing the guidelines. The Implementation Tiers portion of the Framework will support your business in identifying where gaps in your efforts exist and how to install strategies to address the shortcomings. Beyond the Framework, NIST also offers further resources for your company to expand, which they have identified as NIST 800-53 or an ISO standard.

The Benefits of Complying with NIST

Ultimately, complying with NIST guidelines offers your business confidence against cybersecurity threats. You will be provided a way to identify and assess your risk, and you will gain clarity on how to respond and bounce back from incidents. The immediate benefits are protection against cyberattacks, malware, ransomware, and various other cyber threats.

However, your business can also avoid the severe costs associated with security risks. This may result from avoiding direct theft, or it may result from the time saved to eliminating the risk altogether. A business also stands to diminish the impact of lost or compromised data. Securing sensitive information is critical to the operations of a business, but it also maintains a favorable and trustworthy reputation with your customers. NIST compliance can also assist in thwarting the legal trouble that can be associated with cybersecurity incidents.

Compliance with NIST and the Cybersecurity Frame cannot offer complete assurance of security. They are guidelines for developing a sounder strategy. But the NIST resources are only one step. Companies still need to develop comprehensive cybersecurity programs involving constant web monitoring, security policies, and ongoing training for employees.

Resources

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework has developed into a viable asset for numerous types and sizes of public and private organizations. However, it can be a complex system to understand or integrate into your operations.

Also, there are many factors to consider for the security and protection of your company’s data. An organization must determine what security measures will be optimally designed for your specific needs.

Network Coverage understands the reality and challenges facing today’s most vulnerable industries. This is why Network Coverage has assembled a set of technology and business solutions to support your organization in maneuvering through this complex and critical environment.

Set up a consultation with Network Coverage for experienced advice and support.

Understanding The NIST Cybersecurity Framework

During the past three decades, since the advent of the internet, our technological evolution has witnessed dramatic development. This shift has permanently altered the landscape of our communication, economies, and business operations. Across this changing environment, businesses have consistently encountered cybersecurity threats.

And in this past year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, these cybersecurity threats have morphed once again. Much of the global focus has been on the biological threat of the virus. Still, businesses around the world have also been exposed to a heightened cybersecurity threat.

Our technological advancements have allowed us to respond to the challenges of the pandemic in ways never seen. Communication, business, and individual interactions have been able to move to digital alternatives, foregoing many of the negative impacts from the pandemic. However, these same transitions online have also presented newly found threats to our cybersecurity. It is a reality many experts have identified as a “cyber pandemic.” The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a 500% increase in cyberattacks in late April 2020 alone. Cybercriminals have been able to exploit the extraordinary shifts of people and processes to online resources.

In short, the need to prepare and respond to the advancing threats in the cyber world is pressing. Developing an understanding of the ongoing threats to your business has rarely been more critical. A step in the right direction is to assess better your business’s preparedness and ability to manage and reduce threats.

This article covers a vital resource for responding to cyber threats. We discuss an understanding of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and the role it can play for your business.

What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework?

NIST is an acronym for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Developed at the US Department of Commerce, this framework was designed to help public and private organizations better assess, manage, and minimize the risk of cybersecurity threats—protecting data and networks. The framework is a set of guidelines that assist organizations in determining how their focus is best suited and where to invest in protection for cybersecurity. Ultimately, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework supports organizations toward making proactive strategies to mitigate risk.

The purpose of the NIST framework

The US Congress passed the framework in 2014, and numerous organizations use it. Prominent corporations using the framework include Intel, Microsoft, and Boeing. Originally a US-based initiative, the use of the NIST framework is also gradually being adopted by international organizations to address cybersecurity threats that remain a global issue.

Regardless of where it is applied, the framework has a few common goals in mind. For one, it is intended to provide an integration of industry standards and best practices that assist various types of organizations in managing the risks associated with cybersecurity. Secondly, the framework is intended to offer a common language to promote general understanding amongst staff members. Third, NIST strives to provide a guide on diminishing cyber risks. And lastly, the framework aims to provide education on responding, recovering, and learning from a wide array of cyber occurrences.

Primary functions

To achieve its intended purposes, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework sets out five primary functions that the developers identify as the Framework Core. Each of these functions is proposed to co-occur, and they represent an overall cycle for security efforts. The five primary functions are labeled: identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover.

Below are further explanations on each of the Framework Core’s areas of emphasis:

  • Identify: This first function of NIST is to take inventory of vital facets within an organization that could be at risk. Essential to this first step is recognizing current risks, existing digital assets, and critical roles within the organization. The primary function of this phase is to examine essential functions and management of sensitive information and capabilities, including risks to systems, assets, and data.
  • Protect: This second function is meant to define relevant safeguards towards developing strategic structures. Following the identification phase, an organization can institute structures of priority to assign the correct efforts. Overall, the effort is to minimize any potential impact from a cybersecurity occurrence.
  • Detect: NIST’s third function is the implementation of monitoring protocols. An organization will monitor computers for unauthorized access, company devices, and active software. The detection phase also involves a deep dive into any suspicious activity on the network and ensuring the network is clear of unauthorized users or connections.
  • Respond: The fourth function of NIST is to implement response strategies once cyber concerns are detected. Organizations will want to develop various plans for the response phase. Methods may include notifying customers, employees, and others with data at risk. Further responses may involve contacting law enforcement or other authorities while investigating the attack and containing it. And any response should concern itself with maintaining business operations during the assessment and response to a security incident.
  • Recover: As an extension of the Response phase, organizations should develop a strategy for restoring compromised operational capacities or data. Critical to this recovery phase is implementing improvements that can occur because of the education and review that is made following a cyber incident.

The Cybersecurity Framework is also comprised of Implementation Tiers and a Framework Profile. Implementation Tiers represent the degree to which an organization’s security practices are exhibited in the Framework Core. And the Framework Profile represents Categories and Subcategories within the core functions of the Framework. For in-depth reading on the Framework, you can visit NIST website.

Resources

The NIST Cybersecurity Framework has developed into a viable asset for numerous types and sizes of public and private organizations. However, it can be a complex system to understand or integrate into your operations.

Also, there are many factors to consider for the security and protection of your company’s data. An organization must determine what security measures will be optimally designed for your specific needs.

Network Coverage understands the reality and challenges facing today’s most vulnerable industries. This is why Network Coverage has assembled a set of technology and business solutions to support your organization in maneuvering through this complex and critical environment.

Set up a consultation with Network Coverage for experienced advice and support.

 

Everything You Need to Know About IT Consulting

Businesses and organizations often hire IT consultants to help manage and improve their IT services. An IT consultant works with information technology systems to help companies manage, optimize, and automate tasks through technology.

Is it worth investing in an IT consultant? Improving your IT services can help streamline your business and may add value; allowing you to focus more in-depth on your business while pushing to increase your profit.

Before deciding whether an IT consultant would be right for your business, it’s essential to understand the role of an IT consultant. Let’s look at what an IT consultant can offer your business.

How Does IT Consulting Work?

How IT Consulting WorksIT consulting offers various [managed] IT services to companies that aim to improve internal processes and streamline operational systems. An IT consultant helps clients implement changes in these systems. They can also focus on developing or installing software that responds to a specific business need.

When you invest in IT consulting, you may be given advice about which technologies to invest in or which architecture to set up. An IT consultant may advise your business on the type of skills and experience necessary to upkeep systems, operate new software, or manage day-to-day technical tasks.

An IT consultant will also work through several steps when working on a project for a client company. A consultant may elect to conduct interviews with the company’s c-suites, directors, and managers to discover pain points within your existing infrastructure. This will allow the IT consultant to collect data and information designed to find out more about a company’s needs.

The IT consultant will then analyze the information collected and have a discovery meeting with stakeholders to discuss their findings. This information and analysis can then be used to develop a plan of action.

The IT consultant will then be able to create a solution that meets the needs of the company. Software may be installed and systems developed that will improve how effectively the company is run.

What Does an IT Managed Service Company Do?

IT Managed service companies employ IT consultants, project managers, and specialized experts who work with various businesses.

What Managed IT Service Companies Do

On a daily basis, managed IT providers use data analysis tools to compile complex information and report it back to stakeholders. They analyze a company’s key performance indicators and look at ways that software or systems can be used to improve the efficiency of the operation of the business.

An IT service company can help companies to develop in many ways. For example, they may help businesses to develop in order to prevent disaster. They can put measures in place to ensure that a business’s network remains secure. They may also be able to create a disaster recovery plan. This type of strategy will outline how your business’s infrastructure will recover in the event of an attack or a natural disaster.

Companies often come to an IT consulting agency with very complex problems. The job of the IT consultant is to help the business to develop solutions and then set them up. An IT consultant must possess many versatile skills in order to be successful.

Skills used by IT consultants

In general, IT consultants are very analytical thinkers who are also very creative. They need to have good investigative skills as they often have to filter through sophisticated networks and/or technical ecosystems.

IT consultants are also required to be proficient in using many different technical tools and software. Critical thinking and comprehension of industry trends is vital. If you decide to work with an IT service company, you will also have access to a team of professionals who can combine their skills and provide unique and innovative solutions. Professional tools and specialized software may be needed to deploy just the right solution.

Contact Network Coverage

A Managed IT Service company or IT consultant can handle the complex technical needs of your business as it grows. You and your employees can continue to work towards your goals while the technical experts at Network Coverage work to create and maintain your technical systems behind the scenes.

How Does Outsourcing IT Help Improve Network Security?

Network security is crucial if you’re running a company that uses computers, software, or technology. In recent times, there has been rapid advancement in technology, allowing businesses to streamline their operations and improve their production. While technology is a great thing, it also brings security risks such as hacking (e.g. denial of service attacks) or spamming (e.g. phishing exploits).

Outsourcing IT to an IT security consultant can help your company improve network security.

IT Network Security

IT Network SecurityWhile many businesses have a dedicated IT department, it’s an excellent idea to employ an IT consultant as this will help your company improve network security. Professionals such as IT security consultants specialize in making your software, computer systems, and networks secure.

IT security consultants can check for vulnerabilities in business networks. They can then design security solutions that will meet the organization’s needs and stop cyber attackers in their tracks.

IT companies can view your networks from the perspective of both the attacker, as well as the victim. This will help them to locate vulnerabilities accurately. The business IT systems can then be improved to make it harder for hackers to gain access, thus making the network more secure.

Why businesses need to keep their networks secure

Many businesses find that it’s better to outsource IT to improve security. This allows you to employ a professional company that may have more skills, knowledge, and experience than your existing IT staff. You may also find that some IT security service companies employ top experts with first-hand experience of how to find security threats.

It’s crucial to invest time and money into improving your business’s network security. If you were to suffer from a cyber-attack, it could result in a substantial monetary loss. Most companies agree that making an initial investment to outsource IT security is better than spending money after an attack has happened.

Attackers, hackers, and spammers target various businesses or organizations, so no industry is safe. Whether you’re running a government department, financial institution, or another enterprise, you’re still prone to attacks.

Crippling losses can occur in only minutes if a hacker was to break into your business accounts. Businesses also need to protect their intellectual property and ensure their customers’ data is always secure.

How to Improve Network Security?

Managed IT service providers like Network Coverage employ experts that follow the latest security trends and design solutions to keep companies’ steps ahead.

IT security consultants have vast expertise in many different applications, including databases, software, and hardware, networks and firewalls, encryption, and more. They combine all their skills and experience to help companies prevent attacks. Network security can be improved by allowing an IT security consultant to assess the existing systems and infrastructures, find any weaknesses or vulnerabilities, and create a plan to improve upon after the initial assessment.

An IT specialist will then be able to develop and implement security solutions that will prevent unauthorized access. Experts can not only recommend network or software upgrades, but they may also recommend upgrading network hardware. Technical tests such as malware analysis can evaluate whether or not a business’s information is at risk.

Working on new projects

Improving Network Security If your business is working on a new project, it may be a good idea to outsource IT work. An IT security consultant will be able to recommend best practices that will help you create a secure network from the beginning. They can continue to advise your business on the best way to protect security over the long term to protect your software through its development life cycle.

Network security is vital to all businesses, and outsourcing your IT can help make your business more secure. It’s a wise idea to outsource IT security to a dedicated company even if you have your own IT department. An IT security consultant or IT service company will have the right skills and experience to find vulnerabilities in your network and make changes to eliminate the chances of your business being the victim of a cyber attack. Using an IT security consultant will likely help your business to save money in the long run.

Tips for a Smooth Cloud Computing Transition

You might have heard about “the cloud,” but do you know what it is and how to use it as a business tool? Cloud computing is a great way to save your business money and scale business solutions with the growth of your company.

Unfortunately, transitioning to the cloud can be tough since so many business owners don’t know the first thing about cloud computing. Even if you don’t know much about the cloud, following these tips can help your business make a smooth cloud computing transition.

Understand Your Goals

The first step to ensuring your business makes a smooth transition to the cloud is taking the time to clearly outline your goals with cloud computing. The cloud can be used for lots of different purposes when it comes to business, so knowing what you want to achieve and how cloud computing can benefit your business is important.

Once you’ve decided on your goals, you can start mapping out a plan to achieve those goals. You need to consider what sort of functions and features you need from cloud computing, as well as what sort of infrastructure is best for achieving those goals.

Clearly outlining your goals with cloud computing allows you to focus your transition around those goals. When you design your cloud computing strategy around what you want to achieve through the cloud, your business will have a much better success rate in terms of making the transition.

Choosing a Cloud Platform

Choosing a Cloud PlatformOf course, you also need to choose the right cloud platform if you want the transition to be easy. There is no “best” cloud services provider. Instead, there are a handful of things you should look for when you’re choosing a cloud platform:

  • Scalability: Ideally, you want a cloud service provider who can scale services with your business as it grows. This saves you money early on and ensures your cloud services can grow with your business.
  • Customizability: Good cloud services can be customized to fit your needs, no matter what kind of business you run or how experienced you are.
  • Accessibility: The best cloud services are accessible with no more than an internet connection, meaning team members across the globe can easily access the cloud.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Cloud computing can already save you money, but looking for cost-effective services is a great way to increase cost savings.
  • Management and Support: Having expert-managed cloud services means less downtime and more help learning to use and troubleshoot the products that are essential to your business.

Choosing a cloud platform based on these factors will ensure you get quality cloud services that are backed up by professionals. This means less downtime and a smoother transition for your business, which in turn means more cost savings.

The Six R’s

When talking about transitioning to cloud computing, the six R’s are often brought up in conversation. The six R’s—rehost, replatform, refactor, repurchase, retain and remove—are potential cloud migration strategies. Each strategy offers different pros and cons, so it’s important to look at all the options to figure out what’s best for your company.

Rehosting, also known as lift-and-shift, is when you move your existing physical or virtual servers to an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform. This is a small step that’s fairly simple, but it can still save your business a lot of money.

Replatforming involves taking your existing solutions and upgrading them to another platform. This is a great way to maintain functionality while upgrading to better cloud services.

Repurchasing is when a company switches to another product, often ending existing licensing. An example of this is switching from a self-run email system to an online email service.

Refactoring is generally the most expensive and involved transition method, but it’s a great way to add features or scale that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.

Retiring is the process of deciding which parts of your IT portfolio are no longer needed and turning them off accordingly. Turning these parts off can save your business money.

If you still need a particular IT service or server, you might want to consider retaining it. This is a good strategy for hybrid cloud deployment.

Prepare for Security Challenges

When you’re transitioning to the cloud, it’s not uncommon to deal with new security challenges. Make sure you know what you’re up against and have a plan of action for detecting, securing, and preventing breaches. Fortunately, a good cloud service provider can help you create a more secure cloud computing environment.

Get Help from the Experts

At the end of the day, there’s a reason you run a business instead of offering cloud services to businesses. You may not be an expert on the cloud, but you can always hire somebody who is. If you’re not sure how to handle the transition to the cloud, how to prepare for security challenges or even which cloud services you need, consulting with an expert is a smart way to make the transition easier.

Cloud services aren’t just diverse and effective, they also scale with your business and make it easier to operate in the modern world. However, making the transition from physical servers and traditional services to cloud computing can be tough. If you want your business to make a smooth cloud computing transition, NetCov can help.

Benefits of Hiring a Top IT Company

Navigating the modern business world can be difficult, especially without experience in tech. Like it or not, technology is a critical part of running a business in today’s world no matter what you do. Unfortunately, many businesses fall short due to a lack of IT consulting.

Having somebody to help you navigate the technology of today’s business world is important. From cloud computing to business networks, there are a lot of things you can utilize to grow your business. If your business could use a boost in the tech department, here’s why you need to hire a top IT company.

Savings

Hiring a company to assist with business operations may seem like a costly venture, but you can actually hire an IT company and save your business money. There are several reasons an IT consulting company can help your business save money.

Though hiring an IT consulting company is an expenditure, your company also gets the benefit of having a more stable infrastructure. This means less downtime, which in turn can save money that would have been spent recovering from said downtime. Plus, flexible payment options such as paying per project or per hour mean you have options when it comes to hiring IT consulting.

Increased Availability

The internet never stops, especially when it comes to cyber threats. A cyber attack can happen at any hour of the day, so having an IT consulting service that’s always available means you can do a better job of securing your business online.

IT consulting companies can also help secure your business by providing monitoring services that can help prevent cyberattacks and downtime. When you consider how much productive work time you can use due to IT problems, hiring a company that can sort your IT out seems like a no-brainer.

Professional Training & Expertise

One of the biggest benefits IT company outsourcing offers is the fact that you get better trained and more experienced employees. Just because you have an employee who’s good with computers doesn’t mean they have the knowledge and tools to be responsible for your important business operations.

Benefits of IT Consulting

An IT consulting company can help train your employees to better understand the technology they’re using and when they’re facing a cyber threat. While this little bit of training won’t make your employees IT experts, it will give them a solid foundation that will help protect your business from cyber threats and other IT problems.

The fact that hiring an IT consulting company means you’re actually hiring several experts is another benefit. The collective knowledge of this team of experts is always going to be better than your single in-house IT employee or team. Here are some of the things an IT consulting service can offer:

  • Experienced IT professionals who work in several different fields
  • Up-to-date knowledge about IT and how it affects various industries

Focusing on Your Business

Focusing on Your Business As a business owner, it can be difficult to find time to focus on the big picture of your business. This problem is made even worse when you have a significant amount of downtime due to an IT problem, which means you have to spend more time trying to make up for the time you lost.

When you can trust a talented IT consulting company to prevent downtime and other IT problems, you have more time to spend on more important business operations. This also saves you money in a sense, since you don’t have to spend your valuable time working out a minor IT problem instead of dealing with other important business operations.

Having an in-house employee learn and handle IT for your company can also be a big ask. This added stress can lead to lower productivity levels in some employees. While in-house IT may seem like an affordable option, you’re almost always better off hiring a top IT company.

Better Data Management

“Big data” is an important term in the business world today, but most business owners don’t know how to properly utilize data. One of the benefits IT company outsourcing offers is the ability to tap into this big data to gain insights that can help you boost sales and improve customer relationships.

Minimize Downtime

Even if it didn’t cost you money, you wouldn’t want to deal with downtime due to IT problems as a business owner. The fact that downtime can cost your business a significant amount of money means it’s even more important to prevent.

When you hire an IT consulting company, you don’t have to worry about downtime because you have continuous professional monitoring and a team of professionals who can fix any problems that may arise. By minimizing downtime, you can save your business money, improve your reputation with customers and spend more time focusing on core business operations and growing your business.

Running a business isn’t easy, especially if you don’t know a lot about tech. Fortunately, hiring a top IT company can get you the help you need at an affordable price. If you’re looking for a better way to handle IT for your business, hiring an IT consulting company like NetCov is a smart choice.

 

Move to the Cloud or Stay On-Premises?

Organizations and businesses of varying sizes are asking the critical question about whether to move to the cloud or remain on-premises. Smaller or newer companies may be wondering how to invest early capital. And more established companies may be considering if it’s worth the effort to transition their infrastructure to a new set of operations.

There are upsides and downsides to moving to the cloud or remaining on-premises. An organization must assess its current needs and potential changes in the future. To assist with this decision, we explore the differences between these two sets of resources and summarize the benefits or limitations that can be expected.

What are the differences?

For many years, the only offering for organizations and enterprises was to perform operations on a server that was housed internally. This internal server is also known as “on-premises.” However, a proliferation of new options has become available. Broadly, these options are servers hosted external to an organization, generally referred to as “the cloud.”

The most fundamental difference between on-premises and cloud computing is the location in which the server is housed. Generally, cloud services are offered by third parties that provide storage, computing, and applications for clients. In contrast, on-premises computing occurs when a client performs these same functions on a local server. The third-party providers will manage and maintain their servers on behalf of the client. Whereas on-premises computing requires that the client execute their management and maintenance of the server.

We explore both options’ advantages and disadvantages. A client can use this summary to determine if it is the right time to move to the cloud or remain on-premises.

When to move to the cloud

An organization or enterprise must assess its current operations to determine the proper type of computing. Making that decision will be assisted by understanding the various benefits or shortcomings of cloud or on-premises computing.

Benefits of cloud computing:

  • Fewer IT costs: By outsourcing infrastructure management and maintenance to a third-party, organizations can reduce the costs of in-house IT teams. Further cost reduction can be found with the elimination of hardware or software assets.
  • Fewer capital expenses: Moving to an external resource for cloud computing eliminates capital investments in equipment, installation, and software updates. Instead, an organization can transform the capital expense into an operational cost with a subscription-based model.
  • Flexible budgeting: Many cloud-based computing solutions are offered with tailored subscriptions that can fit numerous budgets. This provides advantages for organizations that are scaling up or scaling down.

Limitations of cloud computing:

  • Heavily reliant on the internet: Accessing remote servers requires a reliable and quality internet to perform all core functions. A slow or unreliable internet connection can result in difficulty accessing files or a poor user experience. In the case of an internet outage, access to files will be completely cut off.
  • Concerns with security: Moving data and computing to external servers removes the ability to control or manage security risks. Third-party cloud providers may also be more highly targeted since they store large amounts of data.
  • Long term costs: An organization must consider whether it’s a priority to have the most updated software. Costs for these updates are reflected in the price of the cloud subscription and may not be necessary for every organization.

Staying on-premises

Despite the proliferation of cloud resources, many organizations still find on-premises solutions preferable. The summary of advantages and disadvantages below may help an organization to determine if remaining on-premises continues to be the best fit for their needs.

Benefits to staying on-premises:

  • Internet operations: This benefit is two-fold. For one, on-premises resources do not rely on the internet to access data, removing the risks of slow or lost connections. Secondly, costs associated with more significant internet usage are reduced. Even further, organizations may be able to operate without paying the higher price for high-speed connections or fast downloads.
  • More security: On-premises operations are restricted exclusively to authorized personnel. Even more, they are commonly less accessible to or less targeted by digital crime threats.
  • Customization: Software offered by third parties is likely to be less customizable to an organization’s specific needs. However, deploying software on-premises can commonly provide an organization the ability to tailor resources to niche goals or operations.

Limitations to staying on-premises:

  • Fewer remote or mobile options: On-premises computing is more limited than cloud computing for remote employees or mobile work. Further, adding network or carrier services to on-premises resources will drive up costs to achieve more flexible access and the ability to work off-site.
  • Initial set up: Challenges are presented to the deployment and costs of setting up on-premises operations. Purchasing and installing the necessary hardware and software takes more time than cloud-based alternatives, and the price for these resources is higher upfront.
  • Scaling: There is commonly less flexibility for organizations to scale with on-premises infrastructures. When an organization adds users, the IT department must manually install the necessary hardware and software to meet higher demands.

Choosing to go hybrid

In some cases, an organization may consider a combination of cloud services and on-premises resources. This is commonly known as a hybrid deployment. Such circumstances involve using private or third-party cloud solutions for certain operations. But the hybrid approach continues to use on-premises resources as well.

A hybrid dynamic allows a client to collaborate in the cloud while keeping records or data on-premises. This permits the flexibility of a cloud’s mobile functions while retaining higher levels of control over data. Even more, organizations can maintain security protocols for on-premises data with the added benefit of scaling according to business needs.

Resources

There are many factors to consider for migrating to cloud solutions or maintaining on-premises infrastructures. An organization must wade through many critical decisions to determine the correct fit for the circumstances.

Network Coverage has assembled a set of technology and business solutions to support your organization in maneuvering through this complex and critical environment.

Set up a consultation with Network Coverage for experienced advice and support.

 

Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud

The landscape of technology is continuously evolving, and the realm of cloud-based solutions is no exception. Emerging options for cloud technology are diverse and complex. A core question in this context relates to how the public cloud is distinct from a private cloud.

Structures and deployments for the cloud are now diverse, including hybrid and customized options. Each can serve a different purpose and provide various advantages and benefits.

We explore one of the core areas of interest for considering cloud services. This article offers an introduction to cloud technology, a summary of the differences between private and public versions, and a list of considerations on advantages and benefits.

A brief introduction to cloud technology

The ‘cloud’ initially started as a slang term in the tech industry. It has been around since the early days of the Internet. A broadly accepted name today, the cloud is a set of servers within a more extensive networking infrastructure on the Internet. The Internet is made up of servers, clients, and an infrastructure that connects them all. Commonly, servers receive requests from clients and offer a response. Computations in the cloud happen differently. This type of computing does not merely respond to clients; the cloud also runs programs and stores data for a client.

What are the differences?

An understanding of the differences between a public cloud and a private cloud can begin with a parallel to apartments and houses. A private cloud is similar to a privately owned home, where space is not shared with any other tenets. In contrast, a public cloud functions similarly to an apartment building, in which multiple tenets share a larger space.

The private cloud serves a single client. This is commonly a client that wishes to create a private place to store data, process requests, and isolate usage. A private cloud can be managed by a third-party cloud provider or developed internally within an organization. Access to this cloud is limited to the one client that can issue permissions to various users. For instance, an enterprise may develop a private cloud to serve numerous departments or offices in multiple locations.

In comparison, a public cloud is accessible to a diverse set of clients or users. Each client’s usage and data are kept hidden, but they use shared servers for storage, computing, and applications. Management and maintenance of the cloud’s infrastructure are performed by the cloud service provider rather than the client.

Like renting an apartment or owning a home, there are numerous pros and cons to public and private clouds. Determining which cloud is the best fit depends on the circumstances and goals of the user. Below is a summary to help distinguish the two types of cloud technologies.

Public cloud: Advantages and disadvantages

Public cloud services can offer benefits for a wide range of clients, but they may not be bested suited to specialized needs.

Advantages:

  • Reduced costs: Public cloud services offer a reduction in hardware and maintenance costs. Clients can determine how much cloud usage they need for their purposes and find payments that fit their economic needs. There is no need to purchase physical hardware or hire IT support.
  • Flexibility: The infrastructure of the public cloud allows a client to scale up for growth on-demand quickly.
  • Easy installation: Since public cloud infrastructures are already assembled, it is easy for a client to initiate an account and begin operations without the requirement of building a unique and new infrastructure.

Disadvantages:

  • Less security: Public clouds rely on a third-party to handle computing and storage. Although public cloud services are highly regarded for safety, organizations handling sensitive data—government, financial, or others—may find it preferable to rely on a dedicated cloud’s extra security and privacy.
  • Higher traffic: Because public cloud services host a broad audience of clients, they are more vulnerable to an increased user base’s lack of control and latency issues.

Private cloud: Advantages and disadvantages

Private cloud options offer customized benefits for certain clients, but they come at a higher price and extra effort.

Advantages:

  • Security: Private cloud infrastructures serve a dedicated client. This is commonly an enterprise or organization. The client’s data, hardware, and connection receive a higher security level because they are hosted and designed for internal use and do not permit multitenancy.
  • Improved performance: Fewer users making requests in the infrastructure ensures more reliable and faster connection. Because the connection remains on the network’s private intranet, it is also less vulnerable to security risks that diminish performance.
  • Customization: An internal IT team that manages the private infrastructure can provide designs tailored to a single client’s priorities using the private cloud. This allows the team to better scale storage and computing specific to the client.

Disadvantages:

  • Increased costs: With the added expense of hardware, maintenance, and extra IT support, a private cloud is more expensive than public cloud alternatives. Operating systems and licenses for applications also drive up costs.
  • Ongoing management: Building a private infrastructure for cloud services requires that the client is responsible for maintenance. This necessitates ongoing support from an internal IT administration that is time-consuming and more expensive.

Choosing the right cloud

In some cases, choosing the correct cloud service is regulated. For instance, government, medical, or financial industries may be under regulations to protect data and users with more significant security measures.

However, small or medium-sized companies and startups commonly prioritize efficiency and the ability to scale quickly. For these purposes, a public cloud solution is often an optimal fit. Yet, enterprises or larger organizations with the resources to invest in their own servers and infrastructure may find value in the added security and customization of private cloud solutions.

Resources

There are many factors to consider when deciding on and implementing cloud services. An organization must wade through the various options for cloud services to determine the correct fit for the circumstances.

Network Coverage has assembled a set of technology and business solutions to support your organization in maneuvering through this complex and critical environment.

Set up a consultation with Network Coverage for experienced advice and support.

Sage Software: A Global Brand

Within a vastly expanding digital world, the options for software providers can seem endless. It often feels as though new software companies and solutions spring to life every day. However, this is also precisely what makes individual software companies feel as though they have been with us forever.

Sage is one of those software providers. Formed in 1981, the nearly four decades that the company has been offering its services gives them a firm hold as a legacy software company. It has become difficult to imagine a marketplace without this global brand. Servicing more than 6 million users worldwide, Sage has come a long way since its start in the UK. Now employing 13,000 employees, the software company first made its move to North American in 1998. Yet, it has continued to grow and expand. Sage’s customers are now spread across 23 countries around the world.

Having grown a software empire, Sage is now sought after by diverse industries. This article explores who uses the ubiquitous services of Sage’s diverse portfolio of products.

Who Uses Sage Software?

Sage was founded on the principle of automating accounting processes. Founder David Goldman developed software for these automated functions for his own business and realized it could be a viable resource for other companies.

Having become an industry leader in offering enterprise resource planning (ERP), Sage has expanded to include multiple services and platforms. The company’s primary focus provides services focused on accounting, payroll, and human resource management. Even more, Sage’s growth now encompasses software solutions for payment support and business management.

The suite of Sage products is useful for diverse industries, including retailers, contractors, human resources, project management, and any company requiring efficient payment for products or services.

Retailers

Retail and hospitality operations are using Sage solutions in practical and varied ways. For one, Sage is now offering a fully functioning point-of-sale (POS) system. Numerous retailers and hospitality providers adopt the customizable and straightforward layout of Sage’s POS, including integration capacities with other Sage software solutions.

The capabilities of Sage solutions for retail and hospitality range from integrated account solutions to native apps for sales and purchasing. Other features in use by these industries include the ability to source products globally while importing and exporting inventory management. A host of Sage integrations—including varied cloud platforms—also offer the capacity for real-time monitoring and optimized inventory. Monitoring of exchanges with suppliers has again proven to be a useful resource for maintaining quality and compliance. Retailers and hospitality companies are also using Sage for customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing.

Contractors

Sage has specially designed software products for contractors and construction companies. A quickly growing global construction market is projected north of $12 trillion by 2022. With such a vast opportunity, contractors are turning to robust technological solutions for maximizing revenue and profits. Sage builds on nearly four decades of expertise in the world of software to meet demands from contractors.

Cloud-based solutions have been centrally utilized by contractors from Sage’s robust suite of products and services. Contractors are using the innovations to boost efficiencies, increase the agility and productivity of a business, and build on their ability to generate collaboration between teams.

Many contracting businesses are witnessing the emergence of mobile workforces. Such a development has produced a growing need for services that provide accessibility from numerous locations. Contractors are readily utilizing Sage’s cloud-based solutions to meet this demand and achieve or maintain expansion and competitiveness in the highly valuable industry of contracting for construction and building.

Human Resources

Human resource companies and departments are widely using Sage products. Human resource providers use Sage to find and hire the ideal applicants for various positions within their company. With a vastly more competitive job market, HR services rely on the most advanced innovations to gain an edge while also reducing the strain of errors involved with ineffective recruitment.

Beyond searching and employing recruits, HR services also use Sage to optimize employee training and retention. Utilizing Sage’s Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), HR services gain various capacities. HRIS is being used to create online forms and reports while gaining access to personnel data that informs management decisions. HR providers are also using the Sage software to guide employee onboarding and enrollment. In addition, Sage is being accessed for support with secure databases of employee information and simple reporting that encourages necessary compliance standards.

Project Managers

Project managers in diverse fields are also turning to Sage to assist with their endeavors. Many project managers have identified the need to integrate accurate and reliable financial data to make rapid decisions that directly impact a project. To reduce the costs associated with delays, project managers use Sage software to integrate financial and project teams for real-time collaboration and data access.

Integrating accounting and project management systems is being used to reduce risks while saving time and money. Project managers can synchronize data that improves decision making and provides consistent information across the entire company. Improving contract management has also proven to be a valuable benefit for project managers using Sage, in addition to better managing and forecasting project costs.

Resources

The benefits of integrating Sage software solutions can be beneficial for diverse industries and purposes. A company or enterprise stands to improve productivity, increase security, and ensure critical data is accessible.

For experienced advice and support on implementing and managing useful software integrations, you can explore expert technology solutions for business strategy by setting up a consultation with Network Coverage.

Integrating Sage with Microsoft Programs

A vast expansion of markets for software solutions entails an ever-diversifying landscape of opportunity. But it can also present individuals and businesses with an overwhelming array of decisions. Deciding on how to upgrade or transition to new software platforms can present challenges. At the same time, new software solutions are also evolving as add-ons or integrations with legacy software platforms.

One of the most highly valued integrations exists between software giants Sage and Microsoft. These two technological companies account for millions of users around the globe. With such a large share of the global market, it’s no surprise that businesses of many sizes and industries recognize a need for integrating the two platforms. Many companies have built their operations on the legacy of Microsoft products. But Sage offers a unique set of specialized functions that have also become integral to more effective and refined business operations.

Integrating the two sets of solutions has presented a critical opportunity for numerous businesses. Ditching a legacy system to build anew can be onerous for business operations. However, by integrating rather than replacing existing software systems, companies are seizing newfound ways to develop.

Sage offers various products that can be seamlessly integrated with existing Microsoft programs for a more specified approach to business functions such as accounting, payroll, and human resource management.

In this article, we explore how a company can integrate Sage software with various Microsoft programs.

Integrating your Sage software with Microsoft programs

Sage and Microsoft have been developing on similar timelines. Founded in 1975, Microsoft rose to dominance in the 1980s, while Sage was founded in 1981 and witnessed rapid growth. In 2015, the two brands began direct conversations about an integrative relationship. Sage recognized the vast expansion and flexibility of cloud-based technologies and understood Microsoft to be a suitable partnership in staying tuned with these more mobile innovations. Integration capabilities for the two software solutions has existed along the way, but 2016 produced the first active partnership between the two software moguls with creation of Sage 50c.

Sage 50c

Perhaps the most notable and celebrated integration between Sage and Microsoft resulted from the creation of Sage 50c. This partnership’s mainstay is the integration of Sage’s popular desktop interface with Microsoft 365 and OneDrive.

Sage 50c can continue to be used without Microsoft, but Sage’s software can be integrated with existing users of Microsoft’s cloud services or new customers. Although the Sage 50c interface remains the same, there are many new integrative features. For example, users can integrate a scheduled backup option for automatic upload to Microsoft’s OneDrive. Sage 50c can also integrate accounts data to synchronize with Excel documents in the cloud, accessible through Office 365 applications and Sage add-ins.

For Sage’s existing Intelligence Reporting feature, there is now no required setup. The intelligent reporting functions can be accessed through the Sage Intelligence app within the Microsoft 365 options folder. Reports can be replicated for storage in OneDrive, allowing users to access the data remotely while permitting non-Sage users’ editing capacity through Excel. These reports can also be generated in reverse, originating in Excel and saved for access through the OneDrive storage.

This overview of integrating Sage 50c with Microsoft 365 is not intended to be exhaustive. Instead, it highlights how a core Sage solution can be seamlessly integrated with existing Microsoft platforms. Both Sage and Microsoft offer further information on the subject.

Sage 300

Another widely used product is the Sage 300 software. This solution works in combination with Sage Contact and integrates with Microsoft 365. Using Sage 300 and Sage Contract allows users to view customer information through Microsoft’s Outlook. An integration of these Sage solutions with Outlook permits a business to overview customer’s credit data, contact information, salesperson, and price level. A company can also view customer history, communications, and notes or comments entered in Sage 300.

Integration of the Sage and Microsoft’s platforms is a simple process. The process begins with verifying your existing or new Microsoft Office 365 account with Sage for compatibility with Sage 300. Following an activation email, the integration starts by logging into Office 365 while also adding users and granting them access to Sage apps. The integration proceeds by installing the Office 365 connector on the Sage 300 server. The connector and necessary components can be downloaded from the Sage Business Center. A Sage 300 Office Configuration Wizard will be added to the Start menu that can be clicked for further installation steps.

Sage 100

Beyond the many integration opportunities with Office 365, Sage 100 offers another of the plentiful options for integrating with Microsoft products. Sage 100 may be integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Combining these two solutions can assist in preventing data entry errors or duplicating data entry.

Integration of Sage 100 involves the vast financial information of Sage services in tandem with Microsoft’s ability to manage data related to customer relations. A variety of third-party options can further elevate the integration of Sage 100 with Microsoft’s Dynamic CRM to track updates, automate tasks, and log data.

Resources

This article highlights a few ways a business can integrate Sage solutions with Microsoft programs, but there are further opportunities available. Exploring these integrations can be an exhaustive effort. Many companies will find that a technology expert can vastly simplify and expedite implementing these viable integrations.

Even further, the benefits of integrating Sage with Microsoft programs can be critically beneficial. A company or enterprise stands to improve productivity, increase security, and ensure critical data is accessible.

For experienced advice and support on software integrations, you can explore expert technology solutions for business strategy by setting up a consultation with Network Coverage.