3Qube Consulting


Questions to Ask When Selecting a Virtual CIO

So you’ve decided that outsourcing your technology management to a virtual CIO or IT consultant is the right choice for your business, and you’ve made some initial decisions about what kind of partner you’re looking for, but now you’re unsure how to select the right company for your needs? 

Don’t worry — we’re here to help!

The best way to choose an IT partner is the same way you’d hire an employee: narrow your list down to a few top choices, then interview them all thoroughly, so you can make the most informed decision. 

Just like an interviewee, your virtual CIO will work for you and also with you, so you need to assess the value they can bring to your business but also how well they’ll fit in with the rest of your team.

Once you have a list of consultants whose fees fit your budget and whose services fit your needs, set up a time to connect with a representative from each company and get a feel for whether their style is a good fit for you. 

Make sure you ask all of the companies the same questions and take notes on their answers, so you can compare apples to apples when it comes time to make your final decision.


Here are some questions you might want to ask during the conversation:

  1. What’s your preferred communication style?
  2. Do you collaborate with clients or do you work independently once the contract is signed?
  3. What would you say are your company’s specialties when it comes to IT? What sets you apart from the competition?
  4. What’s your take on the latest cybersecurity breach [identify it by name if you can]? Is there anything the victim could have done to prevent it?
  5. Can you tell me about a time when you disagreed with a client as to how they should proceed, and how you handled that?
  6. What’s your confidentiality policy? How much access do you need to our (potentially sensitive) data?
  7. What does the process look like if I sign with you? Can you walk me through the initial steps?
  8. How often do I pay, how are your fees structured, and does the fee ever change? If so, how much lead time will you give me before an increase in fees?

Other questions you might ask could touch on company culture, number of CIOs employed, and customer service policies. Feel free to ask a lot of questions — this is an important decision, and the more information you can get up front, the easier it will be. Give the consultants a chance to ask you questions, too, so they can gain a deeper understanding of your needs.


Remember that whichever consultant you choose should meet your business’s IT needs, but ideally they’ll also align with your communication style and your team culture. This is a partnership, after all!

If you’d like to chat with one of our virtual CIOs at 3Qube Consulting, we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at info@3qubeconsulting.com or give us a call at (713) 857-6442.


How to Choose a Virtual CIO

There’s a reason so many businesses turn to virtual CIOs and external IT consultants to manage their technology needs. In addition to the often unrealistic cost of sourcing, hiring, training, and growing an in-house team, outsourcing your IT management makes sense from a customization perspective.

There are definite benefits to hiring an in-house IT staff, but it’s not a reasonable expense for every company. Often, SMBs (and even enterprises) hire entry-level IT administrators just to keep things running, a bandage approach, but these junior-level employees don’t have the subject level expertise to help businesses beef up their defenses, and are unlikely to make proactive suggestions and implement the right level of technology for your business needs.

A virtual CIO like 3Qube Consulting, on the other hand, can provide flexibility and cost-savings that vastly outweigh the benefits of in-house staff in the early years of a new company — plus, as you scale up, you can adjust your IT service to flex with your business.

Benefits of Working with a Virtual CIO or IT Consultant

Outsourcing your IT management to a virtual CIO or consultant has many benefits, chief among them ease of use and cost savings. These contract professionals can: 

  • Save your business money by tailoring your contract to your precise needs and sparing you the overhead of in-house staff.
  • Provide niche expertise on a wide range of IT issues, rather than offering either a broad understanding or a single specialty (as an entry-level IT administrator might).
  • Scale with your business, adding services or personnel to align their offerings with your changing business needs.

Once you’ve decided that outsourcing your IT management is the right choice for your organization, the next step is to figure out which consultant or virtual CIO is right for you. 

How to Choose a Virtual CIO

In order to reap the benefits of this business relationship, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with a partner who understands your unique needs and has the necessary experience to meet them.

The first (and arguably most important) thing you’ll need to decide is whether you want to go with a local consultant or an offshore one.

An offshore consultant is based in another country from the one where your business operates. Offshore partners are often considered to be cheaper than local services, but prices in common offshore locations like China and India have actually been going up in recent years. 

Still, you may find that an offshore virtual CIO or consultant is a better fit for your budget — but be prepared to make certain trade-offs for those cost savings. Culture, language, and infrastructure differences between their country and yours can cause consistency issues, and the politics of some offshore locations can also lead to problems.

Plus, if your chosen consultant breaches your contract or doesn’t fulfill the terms of the service you’ve already paid for, getting recompense will likely be more expensive and difficult than it’s worth.


So-called ‘nearshore’ locations — countries that are closer to the U.S., or wherever you’re doing business — are gaining in popularity, currently accounting for 40% of global IT consulting services, because they’re less likely to come with timezone issues or political strain. But many of the drawbacks to offshore outsourcing still apply.


Local or onshore IT consultants, on the other hand, are located within the same country as your business, operating on the same or or a close-by timezone, under the same regulations and practices, and in the same language. In addition to the communication benefits and ease of contact, local consultants (especially those in the same city as your business) offer the ability to meet in person or visit your company to assess your infrastructure.

Because communication and collaboration are so much easier, projects often take less time to finish, as they don’t need to go through as many clarifying iterations, and adjustments to service levels are often more straightforward. 

And, perhaps most importantly, onshore partners are all beholden to the same laws and oversight, making it much easier to pursue legal action if something goes wrong — and less likely that it will. 


The decision, like most choices, will come down to a cost-benefit analysis. Research some IT partners around the world and see who fits your budget best. You might be surprised to find that some onshore consultants aren’t so expensive after all. Once you have a handful of options, consider the pros and cons of outsourcing locally versus offshore.

When you’ve narrowed your search down to a handful of consultants who are all within your budget and seem likely to be able to meet your business’s technology needs, you can dig a little deeper into the more nuanced differences between them. 

The best way to find the right fit is to interview each candidate. For help deciding what questions to ask, check out our upcoming blog post, “Questions to Ask When Selecting a Virtual CIO.”


Five Common IT Issues Businesses Face

As a business owner or C-suite leader, you don’t need to know everything about IT to ensure your technology is benefiting your business — but you do need to know a little bit. Even if you have an in-house IT team or a great consultant on your side, it’s worth having a basic understanding of the issues you might face and your options for solving them.

In this blog post, we’ll go over some common issues and help you get “IT literate,” so that you can ask the right questions and make sure your internal staff (or vendor) is working to benefit your business.

Five IT Issues to Know About (Even if You’re Not an IT Professional)

1. Unscalable Infrastructure 

Just like buildings and transportation systems, technology systems need infrastructure to function. In the case of IT, ‘infrastructure’ refers to the hardware, software, and any other equipment or processes required to keep your business running smoothly. As a business owner, you need a technical advisor who can help you decide which applications can be moved to Public Cloud (AWS, Microsoft Azure) and what to keep on premises. The right decision is typically driven by a combination of business requirements and financial considerations. 

The most common infrastructure management issue for businesses (just like for cities) is scalability: as your business grows, your infrastructure can become overloaded, and the functionality, speed, and reliability of your system can suffer. In some cases, this overload can cause frequent outages that affect a business’s bottom line. 

That’s when you know it’s time to bring in an experienced consultant to help you manage, monitor, and scale your infrastructure. 

3Qube’s methodology takes a crawl, walk, run approach, setting your business up with scalable management solutions that meet your current needs (crawl) but can also be optimized to scale with you as your business grows (walk) and to layer in the necessary additional security when it reaches enterprise status (run).  

2. Unexpected (and Expensive) Downtime

Whether it’s an email outage or a retail website crash, a single hour of downtime can cost a small or medium business (SMB) anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $50,000. In addition to any directly-linked sales losses, there are financial implications to the loss of employee productivity and the damage to a company’s reputation when systems go down.  

One of the most frustrating aspects of these outages is the difficulty pinpointing exactly what’s caused them, and perhaps more importantly devising a preemptive solution that can help you avoid them in the future. This is especially crucial when your business supports emergency services, as in the case of Mach Alert — when their customer base outgrew their system, they knew they had to enlist a solution that was both secure and reliable, so they could keep helping their clients save lives. 

No matter the industry, your business can’t afford any downtime, which is why we architect your IT infrastructure with high availability from the ground up, build robust processes to avoid a single point of failure, and deploy proactive monitoring tools to take the right action when there is a potential for an issue. Our targeted assessments can identify the bottlenecks in your current system and predict and solve failures before they occur.

3. Difficulty Recovering from Disasters

Disaster recovery is one of the key elements of any solid business strategy. Disasters — anything from cyber attacks to natural disasters — happen more often than you might think, and they can have a severe impact on business continuity, costing an average of $9,000 in data recovery fees.

Even businesses that have backup centers can be at risk, as in the case of one financial institution that located their backup site too close to their main production site, leading to significant data loss when the business experienced several disasters in a row.

Your best protection against irreparable damage and loss is a robust backup paired with an actionable disaster recovery plan. 3Qube’s consultants can help you build an executable plan that’s customized to your business’s data management system, so you’ll never have to scramble to retrieve lost information.  

4. The Wrong Cloud Migration Strategy

Most business leaders know that, if they’re not making use of the cloud, they should migrate soon — cloud computing enables users to access shared files, store huge amounts of data, and collaborate with colleagues from across the globe in various time zones, all online. But the question of how to migrate, which strategy is right for your business, has no one right answer.

Different strategies call for different levels of investment, both financially and in terms of time and effort. In most cases, businesses should adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, moving or migrating a few applications to the cloud while keeping some legacy applications onsite. The pros and cons of each approach need to be clearly discussed and analyzed before making a final decision.

We can help you assess your current information management system and your business’s hosting needs, then compare that against various cloud migration strategies. We’ll advise you on the best cloud solution for your unique needs, whether that’s public or private, or a hybrid cloud model.

5. Cybersecurity Threats

As more and more elements of our businesses (and our lives) move online, cybersecurity threats have been ramping up as well. Whether it’s an entire city shut down by ransomware, your next-door neighbor falling for a sophisticated phishing scam, or malware infecting an entire hospital’s network through one employee email, the threat is real.

In the case of one construction company, hackers managed to install malware onto the business’s computers through their connected network, and from there they were able to capture the company’s online banking login details via a keylogger software. In the seven days it took for the business to hire a cybersecurity consultant, the criminals stole $550,000. With the help of the cybersecurity firm, the money was recovered, but the cost of the damage control was not.  


Our team can work with you to develop and implement a strategy for proactive monitoring of your business’s IT infrastructure against all kinds of cybersecurity threats, and help you close any loopholes before the cybercriminals hit. And if you do get hit, a robust backup and recovery policy will be a lifesaver, minimizing downtime significantly. 

Even if IT isn’t your area of specialty, it can be useful — especially if you’re in a leadership position — to have a basic understanding of the most common problems businesses face when it comes to tech.

With this crash course, you’ll be better prepared to lead your company through future challenges and mitigate loss and damage with the help of qualified IT professionals.


How Does SAP Activate Methodology ensure faster Implementation?

Accelerated SAP Implementation Methodology (ASAP) was widely used as SAP Implementation methodology. But, with advent of S/4 HANA, SAP Activate methodology is introduced which ensure agile project implementation. ASAP used to include five project implementation phases i.e. Project Preparation, Business Blueprint, Realization, Final Preparation, and go-live & support; mapping existing business processes done in blueprint , and assessing fit-gap analysis used to take anywhere from few weeks to months in ASAP.

In SAP Activate, business blueprint phase is not conducted, instead fit-gap analysis is conducted and leveraging from SAP best practices and rapid deployment framework to assess the feature & functionality gap if any. In addition, Activate uses four project implementation phases instead of five in ASAP.

1.      Prepare:

In this phase, business users explore SAP best practices along with standard SAP Business Processes such as order-to-cash, procure-to-pay or hire-to-retire in HR module. Sample scenario is executed in SAP Sandbox server for business users to evaluate how closely standard system meets their respective company’s process

2.      Explore:

Here the business & SAP implementation team agree on different configurable objects related to organizational structure & transaction data i.e. company code, plant and sales organization. A complete fit-gap exercise is carried to identify gaps that standard SAP is unable to offer. In this context, a fit-gap strategy is devised in which it’s decided if a system enhancement, a customized application or activating business add-in will address the gaps.

3.      Realize:

In this phase; agreed configurable objects in explore phase are configured. In addition, company-specific scenarios are created for testing business processes. All custom-developed objects are also tested in this phase.

4.      Deploy:

A detailed integration testing is done between various SAP modules/components to see data/information flow is complete & correct. User trainings are also conducted in this phase followed by cutover activities in which company transitions from legacy system to SAP.

Thus adopting above four implementation phases; project implementation timelines are greatly reduced.


Preventing Supply Chain issues with EWS

Early Warning System (EWS) is built on SAP logistics information structure that allows you to monitor & receive alerts for specific configured exceptions. It can help various logistics departments personnel’s like production manager, procurement manager, material planner & Quality supervisor to optimize their business processes & have better decision making.

In real world; due to lack of coordination & availability of data at real time, numerous supply chain problems rises. Following and numerous other business processes can be avoided if simple functionality of EWS is implemented:

1.      Negative sales trend for particular group of products lasted for couple of weeks; however; senior management only got aware of this trend in quarterly sales meeting.

2.      The scrap quantity of high value product never exceeded more than 3% but yet it already crossed threshold value of 7%. Production manager only came to know about it long after the loss already incurred.

3.      Procurement of certain raw materials shows a decreasing trend but procurement manager was unware of this due to which he was unable to take advantage of falling price by ordering more.

4.      A vendor repeatedly misses delivering target which in turn effected inventory of raw material. Management only came to know of this development once significant production/procurement losses had already incurred. Timely information would help management find other source of supply.

Configuring EWS is fairly simple with absolute no involvement of ABAP; the first step is identification of key figures (Production Scrap, Delivery date etc.) you want to monitor for any deviation, monitoring of key figures can be configured as trend (positive or negative) or by threshold value. You can then group these exceptions based on color-coding, the last step is to define periodic analysis in which we set the frequency based on which the user will be informed if any deviation has occurred (E.g. Daily, weekly or monthly)

As you can determine it’s fairly easy functionality that can be implemented and high benefits can be reaped out of it.

For more details about our company services please visit (https://3qubeconsulting.com/)


The 2020 Guide to Small Business Cloud Migration

3Qube Consulting IT Services in Houston.When your small business is preparing for a 2020 cloud migration, start with the premise that savings, efficiency, and adaptability aren’t attainable without proper planning. The foundation of the  migration process is about how best to navigate changes to how people, processes and technology work within your small business. That’s why the steps to a smooth cloud migration hold the key to understanding the deeper challenges of cloud migration.

Proper Migration Planning and Execution

This crucial planning process starts with having a detailed understanding of where you are now, which will determine where you want to go. That means understanding your infrastructure costs today to calculate and compare the costs of operation in the cloud tomorrow. That should start with an audit to give you a solid understanding of the network, storage and database capacity you need to run the applications you want to migrate to the cloud.

Cloud providers have simplified pricing structures so they can be more easily understood. Each of the major providers makes cloud cost calculators available to help in this process:

When it comes to evaluating which workloads are suitable for moving off-premises you must assess them based on the criteria of speed, sensitivity and scale. If an application that you rely on is changing fast, it may be a good candidate for cloud migration since the costs of keeping up with those changes can be lower through software as a service (SaaS).

2020 Cloud Migration Planning

Many small businesses get in over their head with unseen costs, time delays and downtime when they don’t start with less sensitive workload cloud migrations. It may be best to start with small-scale applications that will need to grow quickly. 3Qube Consulting IT Services in Houston Cloud consulting services give you the chance to control the entire process and adjust as you go without hurting the business in big ways.

The idea is to identify and carefully plan the migration process needs for those applications requiring low latency/high bandwidth and extreme interdependence with other workloads, applications and databases. Determining whether cloud migration targets can be part of a shallow migration (lift and shift) hybrid (some aspects in the cloud and some remain onsite or an all-in approach are highly dependent on business needs, timetables budgets. Having the proper strategy is crucial to regulating costs, identifying process challenges and meeting KPI outcomes.

 There are also fees attached to the migration process that you must understand and calculate before starting the process including:

  • Fees associated with transferring data to the provider’s systems
  • Potential bandwidth needs to accommodate cloud workload and application access
  • Costs associated with running and synchronizing on-premise and cloud data for system checks before cutover

Migration Support Benefits

Even when it seems like a cloud migration is very basic, your business may lack the necessary people and expertise to execute it on your own. By enlisting the support of an experienced provider of cloud migration services you gain access to strategic approach mapping, cloud architecture development and the expertise needed for the actual migration and post migration process. This support brings the following benefits:

  • Experience and knowledge from migrations across numerous businesses and sectors
  • The ability to quickly identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Support for determining what workloads will bring the biggest benefit from cloud migration Identifying any additional migration costs
  •  Putting tangible and intangible benefits into business terms that make sense for you

This can range from growth potential and the ability to deal with seasonal business spikes through cloud auto scaling measures and bandwidth planning needs. To remain competitive, small businesses will need to integrate cloud computing into their organizational and IT structures in 2020. One thing that is certain is that your business needs will change over the course of the coming years.

Cloud SaaS providers like Microsoft Office 365 are responding to those needs with new capabilities such as integrated artificial intelligence (AI). While this opens even more possibilities for your small business, you’ll likely benefit from skilled and experienced support to make 2020 cloud migration cost effective, efficient and beneficial.

Need help with cloud migration for your small business? Reach out to our team at 3Qube Consulting IT Services in Houston today for more information!


5 Cybersecurity Risks Business Need to Consider for 2020

Although cyberthreats carry over and intensify every year, there are always new and evolving risks businesses must be prepared to repel. Many threats will be rooted in the most common cybersecurity challenges all businesses face with new branches designed to exploit operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) convergence ,IT Services in Houston. The latest 2020 cybersecurity risks are a blend of next generation and virtually new threats so here are 5 risks you need to consider in the new year.

1. Evolving Cloud Security Risks

Although SMBs are at different points in the journey, most have begun the move to the cloud through software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings that have increased access, versatility and management simplicity for their IT teams and workforce. But every advance can bring challenges with security as organizations misinterpret the shared responsibility model between cloud providers and businesses. This leads to businesses overlooking gaps in the security approach to their cloud infrastructure.

Office 365 instances are an example where many organizations are unprepared to address the changing threat landscape that attackers see as the gateway to the business’s most sensitive data. This has given rise to IP theft, data leakage, credential cracking, and O365-specific attacks.

The challenge is more than an offshoot of the lack of clarity regarding the shared security model between cloud providers and businesses.

A recent Barracuda Networks report showed 40 percent of IT organizations aren’t doing enough to protect Office 365 data, which was detailed in a Dark Reading article. These challenges will continue to evolve in 2020 and beyond with emerging O365 phishing and malware attacks that are the next generation of attacks like KnockKnock.

2. An Evolving Phishing Landscape

While phishing and whaling threats have been around for some time, attackers are constantly evolving their methods of attack. A cybersecurity risk that will surely grow in 2020 and beyond is known as voicemail phishing schemes. Often considered an offshoot of AI-driven deep fakes, these business email compromise (BEC) attacks occur via voicemail phishing scams. They are prevalent with business email systems where fake audio files are used to prompt a user to give up their passwords to retrieve what is in reality a fake voicemail message.

A recent McAfee report shows how these combination of phishing and whaling scams targeted organizations from many industries like finance, IT, retail, insurance, manufacturing, healthcare and others. A wide range of employees were targeted, from middle management to executive level staff.

There are also evolving phishing threats via SMS (smishing) and over the phone (vishing). While 2-factor and multi-factor authentication can provide an effective bulwark against these voicemail phishing scams, far too many businesses have yet to implement effective identity management across cloud services.

 3. Mobile Malware

As BYOD and mobility have become ubiquitous across SMBs mobile attacks have begun to evolve with 2020 cybersecurity risks now growing among the countless devices connected to the network. The potential for any mobile device accessing the network without being properly secured is a potential attack vector. Cyberattacks are poised to take advantage of this and will continue to evolve different means to do so in 2020 through malware. 

4. Reruns of Old CVEs

January 2020 saw the end of life for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 and many businesses are still using devices with this operating system. This will result in many new vulnerabilities which can only be overcome through patching or replacement of the OS.

These make for an easy asset attack vector for threat actors to be able to exploit old vulnerabilities and new threats that take advantage of a lack of patching. The major concern for businesses using this OS is many will find the cost of replacement difficult. Others will be dealing with small IT teams without enough time to undertake such a complex project.

5. Internet of Things (IoT) Threats

Businesses of all sizes are incorporating more IoT devise for monitoring tracking and collaboration just to name three areas. But IoT is still in the evolutionary stage so many devices are still not designed with security in mind. A recent report revealed a 55% hike in the number of IoT threats from 2018.

This will become a growing problem in 2020 and beyond as these devices are added to the business network. Every device connected to the network poses a potential vulnerability that bad actors will seek to exploit and gain a stronger foothold and access within the business.

As the year progresses, businesses will have to adapt to evolving forms of cyber attacks while preparing to defend new attack vectors that come with emerging technology. With endpoints constantly growing beyond the edge of the network, 2020 cybersecurity risks will require holistic security solutions that are innovative, resilient and adaptable. for more detail visitsIT Services in Houston


6 Qualities to Look for in a Project Leadership Partner

While every small business understands they must keep up with information technology to stay competitive in the digital age, how best to do that can be more elusive. While project management best practices are the foundation of technology implementation success, few small businesses have the in-house IT, IT Services in Houston and project leadership expertise. In fact, only 58 percent of organizations fully understand the value of project management according to the latest Project Management Institute (PMI) Global Survey.

Your small business is focused on business relevance and return on investment (ROI) of information technology projects. While you may be considering outside expert IT project support, it’s all about understanding what to look for in a partner. Here are six qualities to look for in a project leadership partner as you begin your journey.

1. A Focus on ROI 

One of the most important qualities to look for in a project leadership partnership is a focus on ROI. That translates to an ability to quickly assess the current state of your business technology and how you use it. This approach enables your partner to determine what technology upgrades, management, or monitoring would bring the biggest operational and bottom-line return.

2. Strong Technology Provider Relationships

While some manufacturers like Microsoft are very important across nearly all small businesses, the right partner takes a generally agnostic view of technology manufacturers. They are then in the best position to review, vet, and choose the best solutions to solve real-world business problems in a cost-effective way.

The right partner will also develop strong technology provider relationships across all product and system categories geared to the needs of businesses like yours. They base this on deep experience across countless successful projects and business needs.

3. Experience, Certifications, and On-going Training

It’s a given that any partner you consider would have deep experience in common systems and technology. But they should also be highly experienced with the latest technologies and have the certifications to back it up.

They show this by bringing a mix of IT specialists and generalists that are cross trained in different systems, platforms, hardware and software. You want to make sure your partner brings the business-critical competencies based on your IT infrastructure today and what you will need tomorrow.

4. Strong IT Strategy Approach 

Regardless of the size of your business, every system and piece of hardware and software must be the most efficient that it can be. It must also fit into a holistic technology approach focused on business outcomes and processes. The right partner can make these assessments because they are driven by a focus on IT strategy development. This ensures they will integrate any new technologies at the right time and in the right way to fulfill the present and future needs of the business. 

5. Data Security Expertise

Every small business must have strong data security in the age of growing breaches and cyber threats. This need encompasses every technology you use and every part of your business. The right partner should make security a part of every decision they make in conjunction with your business.

They show this by bringing data security expertise and the ability to craft a security plan to fit your needs and your budget. The right approach should encompass everything from regulatory compliance, and hosted backup to patch management, hardware/software life cycle and emerging best practices for cloud and network security.

6. Change Management Expertise 

Any IT Services in Houston implementation or project will mean changes to how people, processes, and technology interact to fulfill business needs. The right project leadership partner understands how to avoid change management challenges. This ultimately comes down to knowing how to work with leadership and the workforce across departments and disciplines. The result is an ability to ensure a smooth transition to new and potentially different processes or technologies.

 To accomplish this, they will provide training and education. They also understand that your workforce is the best source for knowing the most about what needs to be done and the source of process pain points. The right partner will start each project by getting input from the staff to make them part of the process of change and get their buy-in. This will help to shape everything from technology maintenance and upgrades to new implementations today and tomorrow. 

This is only the beginning of what the ideal project leadership partner brings to the table for your small business. The goal is to start with these six qualities as the foundation of what to look for in terms of project leadership services. They will naturally lead you to other important qualities in a partner that best positions every project for success as the business grows and changes. For more info Visit 3Qube Consultancy IT Services in Houston


Everything You Need to Know About Identity Management

Identity management is at the heart of every business’s ability to be productive and secure in the digital age where data breaches are escalating an evolving. Almost two-thirds of organizations believe they’ve had a breach due to employee access according to the Beyond Trust 2019 Privileged Access Threat Report.For more visit IT Services in Houston

This shows the importance of identity access management (IAM) for users across business assets like applications databases, communication and collaboration tools, the network and cloud assets. This includes even third-party vendors and every employee from the moment of onboarding through permission changes in role needs to when they leave the company.

IAM systems give administrators the ability to change user roles and permissions as needed while enforcing policies going forward. This includes the ability to simplify reporting and compliance auditing for any government regulations.

The tools and software supporting identity management must be flexible and robust to meet complex access needs for network systems, applications and the cloud. This can range from  Microsoft SharePoint and the wireless network to Office 365, ERP and CRM systems. Administrators need a simple, flexible, and scalable way to manage different user access privileges including:

  • On-site and branch office employees
  • Third party, off-site contractors
  • Hybrid compute environments (on-premise computing, software as a service (SaaS) applications and BYOD users)

 The Importance of Identity Management

Lost or stolen passwords can provide bad actors with the means to gain access to the network and data. Identity management is the first line of defense against cyberattacks from ransomware, hacking, phishing schemes, and other malware attacks.

Even small businesses struggle with providing access to only the systems that individual users need to do their jobs. That’s why IAM systems must accommodate consistent access rules and polices across an organization while enabling administrators to assign specific access permissions for each employee. By having central management capabilities, administrators have transparent control and flexibility over identity management.

Regulatory compliance

Nearly every small business has regulatory compliance needs that they must meet for personally identifiable information (PII) data of its customers. That can translate to electronic personal health information (ePHI) or payment card industry compliance (PCI).

Identity Management Synchronization

Identity management is one of several common cybersecurity challenges for small businesses and enterprises. Success in this area requires forethought and collaboration across human resources, IT, security and other departments. 

Identity information often comes from multiple repositories, such as Microsoft Active Directory (AD). Microsoft developed AD as a user-identity directory service for Windows domain networks, so it requires a cohesive configuration and management strategy.

An identity management system must be able to synchronize the user identity information across a variety of systems and applications while providing administrators with a single source of truth. But not all users need or should have the same access, which has given rise to different methods and tools for identity management.

Identity Management Methods

There are several methods for identity management that are both necessary and prevalent to aces security and operation. These are just a few of the most important methods.

Risk-based authentication

This system analyzes each login by looking at the device, location, and network origin and applies different levels of strictness based on the current risk profile. The higher the risk, the more restrictive the authentication process becomes for a user.For more visit IT Services in Houston

Context-aware network access control

This policy-based method looks at the current context of a user’s access request. That may mean blocking user access requests that come from an IP address that hasn’t been identified and authorized as safe (whitelisted).For more visit IT Services in Houston

Federated identity management

Federated identity management lets you share digital IDs with trusted partners. It’s an authentication-sharing mechanism that allows users to employ the same username, password or other ID to gain access to more than one network.For more visit IT Services in Houston

Identity Management Tools

An identity access management system is often comprised of one or more tools that fulfill their function via software or are code-based protocols that enable functionality.

Single Sign-On (SSO)

SSO enables users to carry over their identity authentication status from one network, website or app to another using the same access credentials.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

This open standards-based protocol is used for managing and accessing a distributed directory service, such as Microsoft Active Directory.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

 MFA goes beyond usernames and passwords to add additional authentication levels. More that 70 percent of businesses today are using as many as four authentication methods according to the Okta 2019 Business at Work Report.


Identity management requires a management strategy to decide on the right tools, processes and rules, which can be a time consuming and complex process. Many small businesses lack the IT support or the security expertise to create, implement and test that strategy to ensure it’s truly secure. 

The small IT budgets for many businesses requires identity management solutions and support that are cost effective but still provide the latest tools, approaches and expertise. By working with the right identity management partner, small businesses can create and implement scalable, flexible and comprehensive IAM strategies. This helps them to keep systems, applications, and data safe while providing the user access needed for optimum business productivity.For more visit IT Services in Houston


5 Reasons Your Business Should Have Hosted Backup in Place

Hosted Backup that looks after the entire backup process of a small business relieves the pressure of existing in a threat-heavy business landscape where downtime can be crippling.For More Visit IT Services in Houston

According to a National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) small business survey, 41 percent of businesses back up their business data daily while 21 percent do it multiple times per day. Those figures are still far too low which means it leaves many of these businesses are left with no comprehensive recovery strategy. 

But beyond giving business owners a solution to outages and disasters, backup and disaster recovery services provide many more benefits to organizations. Here are 5 reasons your business should have hosted backup in place.

#1. Avoid Downtime and Data Loss

While your workforce is the number one resource contributing to business success, your data is a close second. The work produced through application access cuts across every aspect of the business from sales and marketing to HR, engineering, customer service, accounting and more. The downtime that could come from losing access to this data or losing it all together could lead to loss of business, clients, and even legal complications among others.

While the answer is to have a data backup system in place, it’s imperative to have an offsite backup as well to be secure from downtime. With hosted backup, the hosting provider maintains the backup equipment and monitors the backup process. They have the expertise and systems to ensure that the data is faithfully backed up day after day and can be restored when needed.

#2. Improved Speed of Data Recovery

Having a disaster recovery plan in place with the ability to get your small business back up and running fast can have far-reaching consequences for the business as we’ve discussed. The right hosted backup provider can support nearly instant restoration of the data and files regardless of the location. They can help you to determine how much data you can afford to lose between backup points (Recovery Point Objective) and the duration of time the business can be down before it negatively impacts the business. This varies based on the business needs and the sector.For more details please visit IT Services in Houston

#3. Maximize Workforce Productivity and the Bottom Line

Downtime means your workforce cannot work, and that means a loss of clients, customers and income. Having 24/7 backup and support can ensure that business operations can remain virtually uninterrupted so that productivity, communication and customer service are unaffected.For more details please visit IT Services in Houston

#4. Ensure Data Security at Rest and In Transit

It’s not safe to leave on-site backups without encryption. The process of backing up data to the cloud can be even more problematic without the best encryption. In a cloud backup solution, the hosted backup provider handles the encryption of data at rest and in transit while making sure that you are the only one with the encryption key that provides access to that data. This can be vital for every business but is particularly important for small businesses with regulatory compliance considerations that require the protection of digital data governed by HIPAA, SOX or PCI.

#5. Better Use of IT Resources

On-site backup storage has finite space and increasing that storage comes at a cost. There are maintenance and monitoring needs with on-site backup which can strain IT resources from personnel to budget. Hosted backup brings the expertise, technology and scalable cloud storage They can set up, monitor and make sure that only the new data is backed up every day, which minimizes storage costs and the need for IT support for monitoring.

Backing up data to a cloud-hosted environment can accommodate any small business’s needs whether they are simple or complex. Knowing where and how to build on the benefits of the cloud that go beyond hosted backup requires a sound cloud strategy. The right cloud consulting services partner can help your small business to plot your strategy for today and tomorrow’s growth, security and disaster recovery in the digital era.

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