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Why Does Your Law Firm Need Managed IT Services?

Your organization needs IT support from professionals with experience in the legal sector. How can your law firm can benefit from Managed IT Services? Are technology-related struggles becoming part of the daily challenges of running your law firm? They don’t have to be.

Why Should technology Be A Priority For Your Law Firm?

The previous decade has proven that managed IT services provide the best model for addressing the IT needs of law firms like yours. Rather than taking a break/fix approach to IT, managed services set you up with a comprehensive stack of proactive solutions, productivity tools, and risk mitigation strategies.

What challenges will arise without fully-managed it?

  1. Frequent support calls

When your IT support charges by the hour, it doesn’t benefit them if your tech is working the way it should. With no motivation to minimize service call volume, you could find yourself repeatedly calling them to help with a problem that never quite gets resolved.

  1. Rapid Escalation

A minor computer problem can quickly turn into a disaster if left unchecked. Take ransomware attacks as an example; What starts out with just one malicious email can spread throughout your entire network, locking down your data, and bringing your operations to a halt.

  1. High Cost Of Downtime

A non-managed IT service will only start working after something has broken — and the clock on downtime has begun.

This is why so many law firms are opting for managed support, which can be best delivered by an IT company with experience in the legal sector. Providers like us are familiar with the needs of law firms, as well as the relevant compliance standards and increased security needs that are involved.

How Will Your firm Benefit From Managed IT Services?

Much of what a law firm does is reliant on technology, whether it be maintaining records, scheduling court dates, or communicating by email. The state of your technology directly impacts your firm’s success. Fully managed IT services are generally considered the best option for keeping your technology working, your staff productive, and your data secure.

In practice, instead of waiting for something to go wrong and stepping in to correct it, an IT company that provides IT services takes on all the responsibilities of a traditional in-house IT department. This means working to prevent issues from happening in the first place.

  1. Protect Your Firm

Security is one of the most important aspects of modern technology. As the role of tech evolves and the depth of data expands, the number of ways your IT network can be compromised increases. Protective measures must be put in place, and your security constantly monitored.

Working with a managed IT services company, you’ll have access to cybersecurity technologies and best practices that were once only available to large enterprises. Whereas affording enterprise anti-virus solutions, advanced email security software, and end-user awareness training would be cost-prohibitive on an independent basis, doing so with a managed IT services company is extremely cost-effective.

  1. Vendor MANAGEMENT

Your IT system is a complex — and often expensive — investment. From budgeting to installation to ongoing maintenance, operating the hardware and software necessary to support a business is a daunting task. It also involves choosing and managing large numbers of hardware and software vendors.

The research for external service alone is enough to frustrate anyone that would rather just have their IT infrastructure meet their business needs without all the hassle. You also need to communicate with vendors in other areas of your firm (copiers, alarm systems, phones, etc.) to address all of your needs.

As their technologies integrate into your IT environment, you need to make sure they’re being managed properly. Your IT support should make use of every industry connection they have in communicating with third-party vendors on your behalf. Whether they are software developers, Internet service providers, copier or telephone companies, your IT company should work on your behalf to get the best solutions, products, and services for your business.

  1. improved Efficiency and productivity

Downtime is extremely harmful for businesses of all types. Small businesses with up to 50 million in annual revenue reported last year that just a single hour of downtime cost them $8,600. The main cost of downtime is not remediation, it’s the loss in your firm’s productivity. If an IT-related or natural disaster occurs and takes critical systems offline, employees will be unable to complete their tasks, yet your normal business expenses will carry on.

During downtime, you will incur all the expenses of running a firm without the revenue you would usually generate. Even if downtime does not bring your entire operation to a halt, some of your staff will have to divert themselves from their normal work to mitigate the problem resulting in wasted hours. While your systems are down, it’s almost certain you can’t deliver services, conduct research, or communicate effectively with clients.

The fact is that downtime is often the result of poorly supported IT. The best way to approach downtime prevention is proactively – you need to keep an eye out for minor issues that could spiral into total stoppages. You should implement and test backup solutions to minimize losses from outages. You need to enhance your cybersecurity to protect against cybercrime.

Clearly, that’s a lot of IT to handle on your own, especially when you have other work to focus on. This is exactly why Managed IT Services companies have become so popular in the legal space. They’ll provide 24/7 active monitoring of your systems, enact business continuity best practices, backup solutions, and cybersecurity services that will keep costly downtime at a minimum. Managed IT providers are simply the easiest, fastest way to turn your technology into an asset instead of a hassle.

For more information, call mPowered IT at 678-389-6200 or visit mpoweredit.com.

Transitioning to Managed Services

transitioning to managed services

Every business is looking for affordable proactive IT management and support. The managed service approach should provide a range of necessary, proactive services that will keep your technology running and productive. These services include Virtualization, Server Infrastructure, Data Management, Operating Systems, Security, Unified Communications, Cloud Solutions, and more.

DATA CENTER/NETWORK ADMINISTRATION

Critical IT infrastructure is our specialty, and our data centers hold the highest level of security certification, verified through regular audits. As well as holding true to various IT compliance standards, we meet the stringent criteria laid out by the banking and payment sector — Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) — and healthcare — HIPAA. Our flexible end-to-end data center services can help to accelerate your business growth and satisfy any number of data management needs.

CLOUD SERVICES

The right mix of private and hybrid cloud solutions can meet your needs while cutting your overall IT expenses. With the continued and accelerating move to cloud computing, notably IaaS and SaaS, we are focused on providing a managed services-led solution that makes transitioning your business to the cloud a snap.

CYBERSECURITY SERVICES

Our managed cybersecurity services are designed to supplement or replace in-house security staff. As a true managed security service provider, we provide solutions for today’s most complex information security challenges. Through active monitoring and live remediation, our services help eliminate blind spots and minimize your risk profile.

APPLICATIONS MANAGED SERVICES

Our team delivers world-class applications management, customized for your specific operational needs. Drawing on extensive expertise across a wide array of enterprise applications, our application support and maintenance services include enhancements, 24×7 support, production support, service help desk, monitoring, and more.

ENTERPRISE SYSTEM MANAGEMENT

Enjoy the benefits of hosting, consulting and support services, and proactive monitoring all from a single provider. You gain access to a systems management operating system, as well as a host of support functionality to keep your systems productive through the power of the cloud, and offer you an integrated view of your entire infrastructure.

END USER COMPUTING SERVICES

Our team can evaluate your computing needs to align them with best-practices, giving you an environment that delivers consistency and reliability at all times.

For more information, call mPowered IT at 678-389-6200 or visit mpoweredit.com.

Is your law firm as secure as it could be?

Research shows that most law firms are confident about their cybersecurity — but are they really as safe as they believe?

Cybersecurity and Your Law Firm

The legal sector is facing truly challenging opponents outside of the courtroom – cyber criminals.

The stakes have never been higher.

These rising threats are why cybersecurity is becoming a more common topic of discussion in the legal industry. And while surveys have shown that 80% of legal organizations consider their cybersecurity to be sufficient, that may not be the case.

“[…] cybersecurity practices at law firms are generally not very strong,” says Eli Wald, author of Legal Ethics’ Next Frontier. “[…] lawyers in general tend to delegate cybersecurity concerns and responsibility for infrastructure to others, usually the IT group, and so they may not know how vulnerable they are.”

Why Are Law Firms Targets For Cybercriminals?

The short answer is that law firms store lots of private data about their clients. “Law firms present a tempting target for cyber crime,” says Jason Rorie, CEO of MSP Overwatch. “Their servers hold incredibly valuable personal information.”

“Cybercriminals tend to focus on targets that are rich in personal or financial data,” adds Rorie. “They gain access to the data through ransomware or a breach, then sell it on the Dark Web to other criminals who use it in a number of ways.”

Stolen private data is used for everything from voter fraud to opening credit accounts. This activity often happens months after the initial theft of the data.

How Are Legal Firms Addressing Cybersecurity?

Recently, a third of in-house counsel respondents in “The State of Cybersecurity Report: an in-house perspective” reported that they had experienced a data breach. Cybercrime is only expected to grow from here, with the occurrence rate of data breaches estimated to increase by 22.5% each year up to 2023. According to a recent study by the American Bar Association (ABA):

  • 75% of firms are using some anti-virus software.
  • 58% of responding firms are using a firewall or anti-phishing software.
  • 33% of firms are using email encryption software.
  • 25% are using device encryption software.
  • 17% of law firms have some directory security in place.
  • 25% of firms train their staff on cybersecurity best practices.

5 Ways to Improve Your Cybersecurity Posture

1. Two-Factor Authentication

Two-Factor Authentication is the current standard for adding an extra layer of protection to existing system and account logins. 45% of polled businesses began using 2FA in 2018, compared to 25% the year prior. Biometrics like fingerprints, voice, or even iris scans are also options, as are physical objects like keycards. Complete security usually demands multiple authentication methods: something you know (like a password), something you have (like your phone for 2FA), and something you are (like a fingerprint or other biometric).

2. Data Encryption

Encrypted data is formatted using a key, storing or transmitting it in such a way that it would be meaningless if intercepted. It is one of the most efficient ways to secure a database given that decryption can only take place with the correct key.

3. Access Monitoring

In addition to encryption, the client data you store should be protected from unauthorized access:

  • A firewall is a particular type of solution that maintains the security of your network. It blocks unauthorized users from gaining access to your data. Firewalls are deployed via hardware, software, or a combination of the two.
  • Intrusion Detection. One of the only surefire ways to protect your network and data is to actively watch over it. A Security Operations Center (SOC) can monitor your network traffic around the clock and respond to any intrusion attempts in real time.

4.Password HYGIENE

  • Length and Complexity. The easier it is for you to remember a password, the easier it’ll be for a hacker to crack.
  • Personal Information. Password recovery systems use personal details to verify a user’s identity – unfortunately, with widespread use of social media, it’s not difficult for hackers to research a target through Facebook to determine when they were born, information about their family, personal interests, etc.
  • Numbers, Case, and Symbols. While it may be easier to remember a password that’s all lower-case letters, it’s important to mix in numbers, capitals, and symbols in order to increase the complexity.
  • Avoid Patterns and Sequences. “abc123”, or the first row of letters on the keyboard, “qwerty”, etc., are extremely easy for hackers to guess.

5. Avoid Dangerous Emails

Always exercise caution when it comes to clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. Be careful even if the email seems to be coming from a known source or even from within your organization as email addresses are often spoofed:

  • Be wary of links and attachments in email messages. They may contain malware that can infect your computer.
  • Confirm the real sender of the message. The company name in the “From” field should match the address. Also, watch for addresses that contain typographical errors or lookalike domains like “janedoe@microsofthelp.com”.
  • Hover over the URL in the email to view the full address. If you don’t recognize it, or if all the URLs in the email are the same, phishing is likely.

Cybersecurity is as complex as it is essential. Most law firms don’t have the resources (or the desire) to handle everything on their own. A knowledgeable IT services company can make all the difference. An IT provider with a proven track record of cybersecurity success can help you develop a cybersecurity plan capable of defending your law firm and your clients against hackers.

For more information, call mPowered IT at 678-389-6200 or visit mpoweredit.com.

Your Own Employees are Your Biggest Threat

Your Own Employees are Your Biggest Threat – and Last Line of Defense Against a Ransomware Attack on Your Business

Major ransomware attacks are on the rise across the country, not just taking down single businesses, but entire infrastructure systems. The cybercriminals are gaining in sophistication, finding more clever ways to hack into your network. They hold your systems and data hostage and demand payment.

What can your business do about it?

Train Your Employees!

In the past, cybercrime was easier to notice and avoid. Today, the criminals are savvy and can fool even those who are watching and aware. Your employees are answering phone calls and emails all day every day, and they need to be well trained and hyper aware of the dangers around them. All it takes is one employee responding to a bogus email, or providing a bit of information on a phone call, to allow a cybercriminal access to your network.

Most employees already know to ignore emails from people they don’t know, and never click a link from an unknown sender. But increasingly bogus emails are looking exactly like real ones. Phone calls can seem to be from legit sources, and the person on the other end knows exactly how to gain trust and extract information.

mPowered IT CEO John Mamon is a huge advocate for training employees to protect the employer’s business. “We have extensive technology to protect businesses from all kinds of security threats, and they work extremely well,” he explained. “But one employee can innocently give a hacker enough info to get into your system and hold your data hostage. The employee won’t even know they did anything wrong.”

Small businesses are ripe for ransomware attacks

Most small business don’t have real security measures in place, or the security they have is outdated and ineffective. Security measures have to keep innovating to stay ahead of cybercriminals, who spend all day every day thinking up more devious ways to get your data, take your money, or both.

To stay ahead of the criminals, you need an MSP who focuses on security, stays ahead of security technology, and can train your employees to be the last line of defense.

For more information, call mPowered IT at 678-389-6200 or visit mpoweredit.com.

How to Choose the Right IT Provider

There is no one-size-fits-all solution in the world of business technology. That said, the best IT providers will approach your situation with fresh eyes and develop a plan tailored to your unique needs.

Your IT provider should start by asking discovery questions that will inform them about your business. Only by understanding what you do and how you do it will the MSP be able to properly serve you.

Do you want to scale production? Improve customer service? Improve fulfilment? On the surface, it might not seem like technology can affect so many aspects of your business. In truth, an IT provider knows that technology can support — or hinder — every part of your business. A technology plan must address this and holistically support your plans for the business.

Your IT provider should be fully versed in business technology. Having skills that go beyond setting up basic hardware is crucial. Maintaining an entire network of computers, servers, peripherals, and devices requires many years of experience and high-level knowledge. MSPs need to have a deep understanding of business processes and industry best practices. This is especially true when cybersecurity and compliance come into play.

When interviewing a potential managed IT service provider, ask about scalability, staff with specific skill sets, proactive versus reactive support methods, and what they hold as general best practices in IT management. These questions tend to be far more important than those regarding the size of their support staff or their software certifications.

Choose a managed service provider that knows how to leverage technology to improve your business and has the expertise to make it happen. Avoid the provider that will only fix issues as they occur rather than helping you maximize your investment.

A good managed service provider should have your back 24/7/365. They should monitor your systems around the clock and resolve any problems regardless of the time or date. IT problems don’t take holidays off.

While remote monitoring and service can handle many problems, there are situations where an IT provider needs to come on-site for a fix or audit. These visits should always be accounted for in your plan, either built into the invoice or defined through blocks of prepaid time. Ensure that you know what you’re paying for and that you won’t be surprised with additional charges down the road.

For an IT company, maintaining consistent results and delivery is critical. Your IT company should be able and willing to share examples of their documented policies and processes, and show how they would be applied to your business. It’s a red flag if they can’t explain what they do, how they do it, and why it is effective. This also applies to current partnerships. Trustworthy MSPs are happy to share details of their value and can demonstrate how they justify their cost.

In addition to the above, make sure your prospective IT provider offers:

  • Proactive monitoring to detect and prevent problems before they cause downtime, data loss, or other catastrophes.
  • Modern detection and alert solutions, good response times, scaling potential, automation, and a comprehensive web-based user portal.
  • Regular audits of your technology, tests of backup and recovery systems, and comprehensive cybersecurity solutions including training.

The IT infrastructure of today has changed considerably since a decade ago. The typical office will have many desktops, laptops, servers, mobile devices, IoT gadgets, and software — and just as many different vendors.

An IT provider should design a support plan that encompasses all of your business’ technology. They must be able to handle all of the different software companies and vendors that make up your tech ecosystem. An MSP who has good relationships with multiple leading vendors is ideal, as is an IT provider who is familiar with your industry’s proprietary software.

On the other hand, you should seek out an IT provider who is vendor neutral. If they are contracted or partial to using only certain vendors’ products, you could end up with solutions that aren’t exactly right for your needs. A good MSP should always focus on selecting the technology that provides the best results for you.

HAVE QUESTIONS? The team at mPowered IT will be glad to answer any questions you may have about how managed IT services can transform your business. Call us at 678-389-6200 or contact us here.

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