5 reasons you’re likely to get audited

auditThere’s no way around it – your organization will face a software audit at some point. A few years ago, Gartner found that 65 percent of organizations were audited by at least one publisher in the previous year, and there’s no reason to believe that figure has decreased.

Organizations, especially enterprises, deal with thousands of licenses from dozens of publishers, with millions of dollars in fines, fees, and penalties at stake if an audit finds an organization under-licensed. Continue Reading…

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Pump up productivity with these Office 365 add-ons

improve performanceNo doubt, Office 365 (O365) is a powerful productivity suite. O365 turned five years old in June, and it has become the cloud service of choice for enterprise users.

Still, some organizations have more specialized needs that fall outside the scope of O365. There’s an entire marketplace of add-ons and extensions that take the already powerful set of cloud applications to a higher elevation for individual needs.

Some of the more common areas where we see organizations looking to customize are single sign-on tools, security and compliance, and email support. There are a lot of options that build on the cloud suite’s offerings, so let’s break down what these add-ons can do and which ones might be best for your O365 environment. Continue Reading…

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Here’s how to build a cost-effective network and maximize E-Rate funding

1-1 initiativeArmed with E-Rate funding, schools and libraries are bolstering their wireless networks by upgrading routers and adding access points. Many schools use the funding in preparation for a 1:1 initiative, where each student is paired with a tablet or mobile device. Libraries can enhance their patrons’ experiences by improving wireless access.

However, schools and libraries shouldn’t just measure performance of their network, but also must balance those benchmarks with cost-effectiveness, affordability, and overall return on investment (ROI).

In preparing for a 1:1 rollout and wireless LAN overhaul, maximize your investment by laying a groundwork that optimizes your network’s capabilities while remaining affordable. Pursue improvements that maximize your funding. And in some cases, look into monetizing your Wi-Fi for a greater ROI. Continue Reading…

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Keeping IT equipment safe from power outages

CyberPower on uninterruptible power suppliesSummer is power season, as demand for electric power spikes. Air conditioning and other power demands strain utilities, making brownouts (temporary drops in voltage) and blackouts as common as mosquito bites. Not to mention severe weather events like thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes that can knock out electricity.

For many, these outages are mere inconveniences. But organizations risk losing sensitive data when a sudden power outage knocks computers and servers offline, especially if the power remains out for hours. A surge protector won’t save you from these outages, no matter the time of year.

The first line of defense against brownouts and blackouts is an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which provides continuous power during an outage. But different organizations and different hardware will need different power protections. By understanding power requirements and the types of UPS that are available, you can give your organization the protection it deserves. Continue Reading…

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Here’s how a company patched up its crumbling IT foundation

colocation 2The company had a problem: Its IT environment was so disjointed and outdated, it was a proverbial house of cards, teetering on collapse. The outdated infrastructure was unreliable and slow, which caused delays in sales and inventory reporting. If one system failed, it could shut down the entire IT infrastructure and paralyze sales management and order fulfillment.

For small and medium-sized businesses with more pressing budgetary priorities, it’s easy to see how such a situation could arise. When an external audit found that the company had severely underfunded its IT department for years, management took notice. Continue Reading…

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The SIEM-ple way to spot a data breach as it’s happening

logLast July, the Office of Personnel Management announced it had discovered a huge data breach: The background check records of current, former, and prospective federal employees and contractors were stolen, including 21.5 million Social Security numbers. Like many security breaches, this one could have been averted with the right tools in place.

In its 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report, Verizon found that 84 percent of organizations that suffered a security breach the previous year had evidence of that breach in their logs. Every action your employees — or nefarious outsiders — take generates a kernel of information, which can become evidence of unusual behavior, or a trail of crumbs to follow after an attack to see how it was carried out.

But with so many logs and so much information to sift through, most organizations don’t tap the information these logs contain. Continue Reading…

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4 must-see technologies at Cisco Live 2016

SHI-Cisco-Live-2016The holy grail of IT might be the single pane of glass, but it eludes many IT professionals because of all the segmented technologies and platforms they have to manage. How can an organization get there? Two words: visibility and control.

Which is why those topics will be major themes at this year’s Cisco Live, which kicks off next week in Las Vegas.

Cisco’s many acquisitions in the last year, including Internet of Things (IoT) platform Jasper and a plethora of security-oriented companies, all weave around the common threads of visibility and control. These moves highlight the industry trend toward tools that provide more insights into an IT network and answer the call for stronger asset management. Continue Reading…

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Here’s why unstructured data is putting your organization at risk

dark dataBig data seduces us with potential. Industries from retail to health care collect untold terabytes of data in hopes of finding correlations and connections that drive sales and improve patient health.

But beneath the depths lies dark data, or data whose value hasn’t yet been identified. We’re talking about documents, images, PDFs, videos, and other data that often aren’t work related, include sensitive information, or duplicate files many times over.

Many organizations do the right thing by regularly backing up their data (everything from email servers to file shares to individual user folders), but this process amasses tons of unnecessary unstructured data. It clogs up storage arrays and hard drives, creating big bills and unknown risks.

Is your organization hoarding this kind of unstructured data without realizing it? Let’s shine a light on dark data to uncover how you can move your organization toward better storage and improved efficiency. Continue Reading…

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