IT Consulting: Creating the Most Reliable Business Information Systems

Technology is constantly advancing and expanded to include vast amount of options for businesses. The capacity and performance of various technology components has increased by leaps and bounds alone. Computers are now the lifeline of most businesses. Web business is not only common, but makes up a large part of business income. Computer systems are used to keep track of products, customers, financial activity, and other daily business functions. Businesses find it hard to manage all of their technology needs while making use of the most current and beneficial applications, components, and services. Common areas that need to be monitored and kept current are web services, network setup and management, real-time performance options, and desktop management. A common solution for many companies involves employing the services of a company that specializes in IT consulting. Consulting has many sub categories. Some examples are software, hardware, web, and business intelligence solutions. Not one company can normally cover all of these areas. Most specialize in a select few as a way to provide the best services to their clients. The main goal of a consulting firm is to analyze your business requirements and current setup to offer the most cost effective and optimized solutions.

Is it More Effective Hiring a Large IT Consulting Staff?

It is a dilemma that has been around since technology started booming. Do you employ an internal staff to manage technology or go with a consulting business? Many companies find that this is a very gray area that requires a little thought and planning. Employing an entire staff can be very costly and have unsatisfactory results. The people hired learn the current system and maintain it, but they may not have the knowledge, experience, or resources to perform routine evaluations for improvement. Hardware components can end up mismatched resulting in down time. Networks may not be as secure as they should be. Web services could result in lost data or dissatisfied customers. Every area of IT in a business often handles or involves customer or business sensitive information. This information must be secured and handled properly at all times. Businesses accomplish this task by creating a sound and stable information technology system. A trained consulting staff is the best way to ensure this happens.

Combining a Small, Dedicated IT Staff with Consulting Services is the Best Solution

Hiring a consulting business to handle every aspect of the business technology including maintenance can be costly and difficult as well. The most common solution for businesses is to hire a small staff to manage the business technology components regularly and then employing technology consultants for system improvements and changes. This choice provides all the advantages. A staff is on hand to manage everyday system issues and ensure all daily business processes are completed. The consulting staff manages the more time consuming and detailed job of implementing system changes. Once a valuable solution has been offered, it can be put in place. The regular IT staff is then trained to manage the new system and its components. This solution puts your business data, processes, and customers in the best hands at all times.

Cisco Data Center Security: Taking the Next Step in Business Information Safety

As technology has advanced, information can be found everywhere as it travels fast and in various mediums. People manage a large majority of their personal data online. Companies must provide Internet conveniences which were not always a part of doing business. Every company has a web site, handles web transactions, stores large amounts of customer information, and relies on many forms of technology to operate successfully each day. With these business advances comes the increasing responsibility of meeting customer demands and keeping their trust. A secure data center is growing in importance as companies process larger amounts of information. Network hardware providers such as Cisco have recognized this growing need. Products are being continually updated to match the security requirements of these business systems.

The new technology age has also unearthed complications along with the many benefits people utilize through doing business online. Viruses are a threat to every desktop, server, and business computer system. They can take down the entire system in a matter of minutes causing loss of information as well as security breaches. Hackers are constantly trying to gain access into business systems to obtain personal customer information such as financial information. System obtrusions can result in customer identify theft or access to sensitive company information. Cisco data center security helps companies prevent attacks from viruses, firewall obtrusions, and other threats. Many offered products provide multiple features designed to reduce the chances of customer data being compromised.

How Has Cisco Enhanced Network Safety?

The business data center has become a prime objective for individuals who desire to gain or destroy sensitive information. Cisco has integrated many solutions to attempt reduce the risk of a system being attacked. The key is a more counteractive systems approach where threats are controlled, data loss is prevented, and compliance standards are easier to meet. Their solutions are designed to allow for faster deployment of data center technologies while at the same time not compromising threat detection or enforcement of company policies.

Many providers are improving their products to accomplish these same goals. Cisco has included full network visibility, easier policy management, and proactive protection methods. Their Security Intelligence Operations include a firewall, methods for preventing intruders, securing content, and central management of policies. To avoid information reaching the wrong hands when being passed between multiple sites, they have added what is called data leakage protection. Services assist in preventing loss over the Internet as well as protection of backup storage devices. Cisco data center security services also offer further protection of consumer credit card information. Designs are PCI compliant and solutions ensure all connections are secure.

Data security should be a goal of every company. Cisco has many products designed to increase the safety of every piece of data passing through a network. Of course, they are not the only provider stepping up to the challenges of innovative technology. Any company wanting to increase the reliability of their system should always weigh the advantages of each available component on the market. Data loss prevention, intrusion reduction, and policy enforcement must be deciding factors when selecting these components.

Protecting Confidential Business Information – An Important Intellectual Property Strategy

Every business has confidential and proprietary knowledge that must be managed properly. This includes internal business procedures, customer lists, research and development records, inventions, product development plans and marketing plans. Access to this type of knowledge should be controlled to protect the interests of the company. Carefully monitored company policies and procedures are useful in protecting company assets.

Confidentiality Document. An important method of protecting sensitive data involves the diligent use of a written agreement, sometimes referred to as a Confidentiality or Proprietary Information Agreement. These documents are signed by every person who has access to any confidential information of the company. People who may access this type of data include: employees, contractors, vendors, advisors, investors, board members and prospective customers. Establish a company policy that requires individuals to sign this agreement before any confidential data is disclosed.

Assignment Requirement. Additionally, employees, contractors and similar personnel should sign a written agreement to disclose all innovations, creations and related information developed as part of their employment or contractual obligation with the company. This document also requires those individuals to assign their Intellectual Property rights in any innovation to the company. The requirement to assign innovations can be included in an employment contract, assignment document, or the Confidentiality document mentioned above.

Control Access. Another method of protecting sensitive data includes controlling access to that data. For example, only those employees, contractors, advisors, or other individuals that need access to this sensitive information are given appropriate access. Be careful to keep confidential items away from public areas of the company or areas that non-employees visit regularly.

Business Information – The Double Dip Dilemma

We keep hearing that the economy is still in trouble, there’s even talk of the dreaded double dip recession. So if that’s what we facing, of even if we’re just in for a slower recovery, does that mean that you have to put your plans on hold?

The simple answer is no. But be smart about what you do. A downturn, or even a period of very slow growth, can present real opportunities for the smart business owner.

Whether you’re running a business now, or just thinking about getting started, these tips can help you make the most of the economic climate.

1. Look for the opportunities.

Some of the weaker businesses will fail. Those that don’t take the right actions to keep afloat, and that means there is a market share up for grabs. Look at how you can benefit from that. What new products can you introduce to take advantage? What new market areas could you move into? If you’re just starting up in business how can you position yourself to move into these gaps in the market?

2. Rethink your offering

Is what you’re selling, or planning to sell, still right for what your customers want today? If not what can you do to change it? Sometimes it’s just a case of changing how you sell the same product, or stating the benefits in a different way.

3. Seek out alliances

Look at other businesses around you and see if you can enter into a mutual arrangement to refer business to each other. Many other businesses will also be looking for ways to get more customers and this can be a great way to do it.

4. Do more networking

Make the time to find people who either could be your customers, or who could put you in touch with your potential customers, and spend time developing a relationship with them. You can do this at formal networking events or at social and sporting occasions, or at any other opportunity.

5. Increase your marketing

One of the first things many businesses cut back on when the belt has to be tightened is marketing. But actually it’s one of the last things you should sacrifice. Your business depends on income; your income depends on customers. You get new customers by marketing. If you increase your marketing efforts while your competitors are cutting back you will be able to increase your share of the market.