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How to Optimize Your IT Spend


With the difficult year we had in 2020, reducing costs throughout the organization is on everyone’s minds.  Reducing costs in the IT realm can be challenging, as most of the spending is for software and hardware deemed essential and necessary.  One area of IT that promised savings is migrating workloads to the cloud.  This savings is supposed to be realized after the migration, but the costs seem to increase steadily, from month to month with no end in sight. 


The challenge most IT organizations face is determining the reason for the increase.  Cloud providers such as AWS have many options when it comes to saving money in the cloud.  AWS in particular has over 1.5 Million different SKU’s to choose from, which makes it very difficult and confusing to decide what is best for an organization.  There is also a lack of billing information, a single month’s invoice could have over a million different line items all summed up into a two-page invoice.  There is just not enough information provided by the cloud providers to know what an organization is paying for.  


Another challenge most companies face is the lack of expertise and bandwidth to tackle cloud cost optimization or reduction strategy.  Sure, there are many options when it comes to software that can shine some light on the spending, but going out and actually modifying the resources being used requires knowledge and time.  There is also a human nature aspect and the mindset that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.


Lastly, there is no silver bullet that can fix everything.  A truly optimized solution requires many small changes that require an extraordinary amount of time, knowledge, and tools. 


The basic formula for calculating saving is taking the quantity multiplying by the price per unit and then subtracting any discounts that are reached through negotiation, achieving a certain spend or longer-term contracts.  The reality is that most companies focus on getting the best discount, but lack the resources and knowledge to reduce the actual quantity of units or the price paid per unit for selecting the correct size units.  This leaves a lot of savings opportunities.


So what is the best way to optimize cloud spending in 2021? 


Consider the main options available today:

  • Cloud provider native tools
  • 3rd party software
  • A managed service provider


Each of these have their pluses and minuses.  The cloud provider native tools are typically included at no additional charge, but they often lack functionality and do not provide a lot of details of how to optimize the cloud environment.  3rd party software provides details and some strategies for optimizing, but they still require a trained user to perform actions to achieve the savings.   A managed service provider typically has the knowledge, tools, and time to optimize the environment, but there is a fee involved in using one that may not pay for itself.


In our next blog, we will discuss some of the main strategies for optimizing cloud environments.

 

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Blog

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. Unfortunately, it’s not just big business who faces the hackers wrath, SMBs get hit 70% of the time.

“In 2020, Emsisoft said ransomware groups have threatened to: sell stolen data to competitors; use stolen data to attack victims’ business partners; and publicize victims’ “dirty secrets” on the clear web for all to see. Some attackers took advantage of COVID-19 to coax people into opening malicious emails and attachments, while other ransomware groups agreed to an ad-hoc ceasefire on healthcare vendors.

Victims of the 11 biggest ransomware attacks (so far) have spent at least $144.2 million on costs ranging from investigating the attack, rebuilding networks and restoring backups to paying the hackers ransom and putting preventative measures in place to avoid future incidents.”

Because there is no rhyme or reason as to what industry they target, it’s crucial that your business is proactive in preventing ransomware and prepared in the event of an attack. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Be Wary of Clicking on Links

This is cybersecurity 101! Think before you click. Don’t click if you don’t know the source.  One of the main ways that cyber attackers gain access to your accounts through ransomware is through malicious links on websites or phishing emails. 

        2. Get a Secure Backup Plan

Backing up your data significantly reduces risk and  prevents ransomware from destroying your business infrastructure. Remember to schedule regular backups so your data is constantly being updated and maintained. The best and most protective backup method is the 3-2-1 strategy. The 3-2-1 strategy is to guarantee that you have 3 backups, 2 different media formats, and 1 of the copies offsite.  If a bad actor was able to penetrate your server, you would still have access to information before even having to consider paying the ransom. 

  1. Don’t Pay Pay the Ransom

Some countries in Europe are actually mandating this as law so as not to encourage hackers. Paying off the ransom doesn’t guarantee the return of your data, and it encourages the cyber attacker to keep coming back for more. If you ever encounter a ransomware attack, disconnect from the internet, restore your backup, and call your IT service provider ASAP. 

Still concerned with protecting your business from ransomware attacks? Micropac can assist you with a secure plan. Contact us today at: IT Solutions and Hardware | Micropac(micropactech.com)


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Blog

A healthcare practice only grows through high quality patient care, so keeping up with both compliance and technology can be a challenge. If you haven’t made the jump yet, consider your cloud options because healthcare  is an industry where cloud computing really shines. It helps busy practices provide reliable, secure and convenient solutions that patients can utilize at home and in office on an internet connected device.


Here are a few reasons cloud makes sense:


Convenient information access


Healthcare staff used to pull patient records out of a file room every time the patient needed care. It was a slow process at best. In the past, doctors had dragged around paper files or spent hours glued to a desktop to retrieve health records. But with cloud applications for managing electronic medical records (EMR), doctors can easily access medical records from anywhere, at any time.


HIPAA compliance


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) mandates certain rules and regulations to protect patient health information. Whether you use a browser-based tool or a mobile app, cloud computing makes it easy to adapt to HIPAA regulatory updates and changes. For example, a vendor can update its data encryption standards in the cloud and the changes will automatically take effect on all accounts and devices — no new installs or configuration necessary.


Lowers Cost


The cloud also reduces the need for on-site hardware, maintenance fees, and expensive one-time software licenses. It’s also beneficial from a time management perspective, to have the ability to access work files from anywhere, boosting productivity and making your IT department more efficient.


Scalability


In contrast to in-house computer hardware, you can scale cloud storage solutions in the amount of time it takes to get a latte. Beyond the benefit of organizational simplicity, web-based EMR software gives you more storage than you can ever need and retrieves records in a few seconds.


Secure data backup and recovery


Data loss is huge concern for healthcare practices. Will your business continuity be safe if your office IT suddenly becomes inaccessible? Even a couple of days of downtime can have serious repercussions for your organization.


Healthcare practices that store data in the cloud do not have to worry about this. Almost every cloud solution stores files in more than one location so backups can be restored quickly if there is an interruption.


Want to learn more about the ideal cloud computing solutions for your practice? Get in touch with Micropac today for personalized recommendations.

 

 

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Blog

Phishing attacks depend on the hacker getting the user to trust the sender. The best way to gain trust is to pretend to be a company that average users trust. Statistically, most often, that trusted company is Microsoft.

 

According to new research from anti-phishing software provider INKY, Microsoft is the overwhelming choice for hackers running phishing attacks.

 

In their analysis of over 600 million emails, Microsoft impersonations led the way. 70% of impersonation-related phishing emails leveraged the name of Microsoft to lure users into sharing critical information. While it is not surprising to see a large portion of phishing attacks using the Microsoft name, it is interesting to see such an overwhelming preference for impersonating the company. While Microsoft has held strong name recognition for a long time and has a massive user base, some would expect companies like Zoom, Amazon, and others to be involved in a larger percentage of attacks. However, Zoom was impersonated in under 10% of the emails and Amazon in under 7%.

 

Vade Secure’s Phisher’s Favorite Report states, “We continue to see a variety of Office 365 phishing attacks, including suspended account claims and links to OneDrive/SharePoint documents, voicemail recordings, and even faxes,” the report stated. “Recent examples were found using free online tools like Typeform to create and host fake forms for harvesting credentials. We’ve also seen emails using exotic character sets—such as Russian Cyrillic in the subject, ‘Closing Your Office ƷбƼ’—to bypass basic content filters looking for exactly ‘Office 365.'” 

 

It is hard to know for sure what drives hackers’ preference for Microsoft. With so many corporate users using Office products and the Office 365 products, continued training is needed to ensure that credentials and data don’t end up in the wrong hands.

 

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