Cyber Liability Insurance

One of the biggest stories of 2017 has been the cyber-attacks that have hit 74 countries bringing business activities to a halt.  Also think back to 2013 when Target was infiltrated and card information for more than 70 million people was at risk.

Luckily, Target had over $100 million of cyber liability insurance because the nightmare could have been worse.

 

Cyber attack liability insurance

 

As technology becomes increasingly important for successful business operations, the value of a strong cyber liability insurance policy will only continue to grow. The continued rise in the amount of information stored and transferred electronically has resulted in a remarkable increase in the potential exposures facing businesses. In an age where a stolen laptop or hacked account can instantly compromise the personal data of thousands of customers, or an ill-advised post on a social media site can be read by hundreds in a matter of minutes, protecting yourself from cyber liability is just as important as some of the more traditional exposures businesses account for in their general commercial liability policies.

Why Cyber Liability Insurance?

Commercial property and commercial theft policies can cover damage to your tangible property, none of these will provide coverage for loss of data, which is considered intangible. Intangible property values often far outweigh tangible property, making cyber liability coverage a no-brainer if you maintain a strong online presence or handle a customer’s private information.

A typical cyber liability policy can help protect you from costs associated with a data breach, copyright or trademark infringement, data loss due to natural disasters or hacking and business interruption.

Cyber liability insurance is specifically designed to address the risks that come with using modern technology; risks that other types of business liability coverage simply won’t. The level of coverage your business needs is based on your individual operations and can vary depending on your range of exposure.

Branch Benefits Consultants, Your Coverage Guide

this guest post provided by Branch Benefits Consultants.

As reliance on technology continues to increase, new exposures continue to emerge. As your business grows, make sure your cyber liability coverage grows with it. Branch Benefits Consultants is here to help you analyze your needs and make the right coverage decisions to protect your operations from unnecessary risk. Contact us @ 702.646.2082 or qbranch@bbc-ins.com for a customized consultation.

The Cloud- Hosted, Hybrid, On-Prem, as a Service (aaS), What does it all mean to your business?

Business owners are presented with an increasingly broad set of business solutions, and decision-making, for technology and tech services. Understanding the basics can create clear parameters, even for non-technology decision-makers.

First, the cloud is simply someone else’s computer. If you learn nothing else from this article please understand that when you hear someone talking about the cloud, all they are talking about is renting the use of someone else’s computer on a monthly, per-user, or a resource basis.

What is the cloud?

Secondly, a program that your business may have run entirely from a server or servers sitting in your office (or not run because it is too expensive for you to run yourself), is now running in a data center on someone else’s server. This means, a company who in years past may have been a software provider, is now a cloud application provider. They are responsible for making sure the software runs, and the servers are up and working.

For more than a decade we at PC911 have provided information technology advisory and consulting services to small businesses, and have seen tremendous change during that time. For example, ten years ago, there was no such thing as “the cloud”–and just five years ago Microsoft was offering a license for software called “Small Business Server”. This bundle took some otherwise unaffordable software–including most importantly Microsoft Exchange–and made it very affordable for a small business owner. Microsoft Exchange was, and is, THE STANDARD when it comes to email. In fact, before the world of Gmail, if you were in business, and you had your own domain for email, i.e. Me@mybusiness.com, it was on Microsoft Exchange.

Fast forward to today, and Microsoft has stopped selling Small Business Server–under the theory that small businesses had better things to do than run their own Exchange servers–and, also, Microsoft happens to be really good at running Exchange servers, since it’s their software. This means that now, instead of buying that license, you pay Microsoft to run Exchange on their server every month, per user, paying for only what you use, and they do all the “stuff” to keep it running for you. This service is one piece of a complete business cloud package that Microsoft calls “Office 365”. Properly evaluating your business’s needs, installing, and maintaining a customized suite of products is an important to maximizing the utility of the products and generating the highest return on this important investment. Some businesses will want to find outside support for this, and the best choice is often with a certified third-party provider.

PC911 is a Microsoft certified CSP, or Cloud Solution Provider, this means our team has passed certification and has a sufficient depth of understanding of Microsoft’s Cloud products that they Microsoft feels confident that we can help a small businesses with their Office 365 options.

To help understand the cost and pricing shifts resulting from moving Exchange to the cloud, consider this: Microsoft Exchange online via Office 365 costs $4 per user per month, while back in 2010 you could get a well configured Dell Server with a 3 year warranty running Small Business Server, for 15 users for between $4000-$5000. Running Exchange is not the only thing that would necessarily run on this server, but this gives us a frame of reference.

Microsoft/Office 365 is just one example of thousands of software providers who have moved their businesses to the cloud. In the software/application/cloud business world there are four very common terms that business owners need to understand as they describe some basic functionality of the software or service that are being purchased. They describe where the application is resting, and may also describe the method of billing that will be employed.

 

types of cloud services

Here are the 4 terms and some basic definitions:

On-Prem, or On-Premise:

This is an application or program that runs from a server or computer sitting in your office. Most often it is a case where a program is running on a server and a piece of client software is used to connect and access the data on the server. A great example of this is QuickBooks, most people know QuickBooks as a piece of software that runs from one computer or server in their office, that is then accessed from a desktop using QuickBooks software. This allows multiple users to access and modify the QuickBooks information at the same time. Quickbooks Pro is approximately $199 and that is for one-user using the software. Intuit, the maker of Quickbooks also offers an online version that is comparable, however is lacking some features, that is called Quickbooks Essentials Online that is sold for $40 per month.

Hosted:

A hosted application, program, or service is a true cloud solution and means that all application and data are in the cloud. These services are connected to, and used, either directly through a web browser such as Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer or through an application, or app, designed to give you an interface to the data/program.

One great example of a hosted app for businesses is Docusign. Docusign is a company that provides a service where you as a business upload a document you need a client to sign, the Docusign service sends an email, the signer reviews the document in a browser and signs the document–all on their screen. It has the same legal force as signing a document with pen and paper, and eliminates printing/signing/faxing/scanning/emailing back. All of this is done through a browser window or app, the users never have to set up a server, or manage one. Docusign offers their services for anywhere from $10-$40 per month depending on what type of user you are and what type of business you are in.

Hybrid:

A Hybrid Cloud solution is where an application or data is available both locally on the computer without an internet connection and available online as well. One of the most common hybrid solution providers that people use is Dropbox. Dropbox is amazingly convenient for storing files as well as sharing those files and collaborating with others. As any Dropbox user will tell you, one of the coolest features of Dropbox is that it keeps copies of all your files on all of your devices, and ensures the files have the latest versions. Dropbox for Business runs anywhere from $12.50-$25.00 per user per month depending on the length of service you choose, as well as how much storage you need.

as a Service (aaS):

One of the biggest buzzwords sweeping technology and IT service providers is ITaaS, or Information Technology as a Service. With the advent of cloud services, IT service providers all across the country like PC911 have begun to offer a different business model to their small and medium business clients. ITaaS is a new business model that takes all of your combined IT expenses, including hardware such as computers, printers and monitors as well as all of your expenses for cloud, user support/help desk, and maintenance and roll them into one all-inclusive fixed price. This gives you as a small business all of the IT services you need for every employee at a predictable price every single month. Pricing on a per-user basis makes this model easier for businesses to know what an employee costs them every month, and how much it will cost to add an employee.

The great thing for a small business is that these plans can be customized to include as little or as much of your IT business support needs, as you want. This means that if you want new computers for your employees every three years, with all the software and support you need, and you don’t want to own the computers at the end of three years, you don’t have to. At one fixed monthly per user cost your employees can have brand new desktops or laptops every three years without any up-front capital expenses.

Ultimately, one of the key things that can help a small business owner the most in navigating the cloud, and their own individual IT needs, is having an informed, and well-trained technology advocate in their corner helping them to evolve their business in today’s digital age. In Las Vegas and Henderson, PC911 has trained technicians and business consultants standing by to help you make sound decisions, maximize your business’s potential, and lower your costs, while leveraging the technological advancements like the cloud.

Give us a call today (702) 309-1911 so we can help you navigate the promise, and perils, of technological change and let us be your technology advocates!

Why your Small Business Needs a Technology Advocate

The Las Vegas and Henderson business markets are very tough on small and medium businesses. There are a 1001 pitfalls out there everyday that a business owner or manager can run into that can cause delays or loss in revenue.  From someone up the street crashing into a pole and taking your power and internet with it, to a weekend flood from a toilet that turned into a major disaster because it wasn’t discovered until Monday. You receive emails everyday promising everything from free money, to cheap money, to better service for a cheaper price.

As a system integrator we get calls everyday for an “IT guy in Las Vegas” or “a low voltage wiring person in Henderson”, and people have come to expect just one thing from one company. They expect those things because frankly, that is what every other company has offered them service-wise. When we get those calls, we try and take a different tact; we try to send out a technology advocate.

Technology AdvocateWhat is a Technology Advocate?

What is a technology advocate you might ask?  A technology advocate is someone who understands the entire breadth of a problem. For example when you send a technology advocate out to do a demarc extension, he will investigate all the wiring and the conduit at the location and ensure that a demarc extension needs to actually be run, he will ID the wiring in the closet, to make sure that you don’t already have the cabling in place to hook up your T-1 or router.

Or, for instance what if you are an out of town IT company who needs someone to be hands-on for you because even though you manage 95% remote you need someone to touch and feel. Wouldn’t you want that person to be educated about wiring and routers and switches and how they function and interact?

A technology advocate not only replaces your IT company, they also serve a teaching role. Their job is to make sure your employees and you as the owner are safe and secure with all your technology everywhere you go.

Examples of Technology Training

So, when you hear all the time, “don’t use public wifi,” if there is not an educational component that goes along with it, it is meaningless. This is where a technology advocate can step in and give you the full picture. No you should never use public wifi, it is dangerous. Other people on the wifi, as well as the provider of the wifi can potentially see anything you do on public wifi. However if you use a VPN that is set to go back to your office you can generally ensure that your data is safe and secure. A VPN setup to your office is inexpensive, and a sure way to keep yourself digitally clean when you are on the road.  If you don’t have access to a VPN a better way than using public wifi is to turn your hotspot service on your smartphone on and use the wifi from that to do what you need to do.

A digital advocate is definitely not a break/fix service, or even a common IT company. A digital advocate will learn about your business, and the more they learn the more they can teach you about how technology can safely make your company and employees more efficient. Technology advocates can suggest  helpful ideas from what business router is best, to software shortcuts, or even cloud services that can really impact a small business’ bottom line.

Do you need an “IT guy” or “IT Company” in Las Vegas or Henderson? Maybe you really need a technology advocate give our offices at PC911, a call and at (702) 309-1911 and lets talk about what technology can do for you.

What Can An IT Service Company Really Do For Your Business?

What can a Small IT Service Company like PC911/Las Vegas Low Voltage do for your business?

Be Your Technology guru for both office and home

A small business owner’s home is really just an extension of their offices. Everyday when you go home you bring your work home with you. So, firstly ensuring that you have all the connectivity to your offices that you need is a must. There are many ways to handle that, but a VPN is critical to ensuring that the communications between your home and office are completely private. Now that the essentials are covered, a GREAT IT service company will also handle what others may consider the little things, your home security and surveillance, your home theater and TV systems, making sure you have Wi-Fi available in ALL parts of your house. These are the things that make your life easier when you are trying to relax and enjoy and any good IT service provider will not only cover these things, they will be licensed contractors to make sure they can legally do them for you.

Help educate you and your staff

With the way technology is changing you and your staff need someone who keeps current with everything going on with networking, computers, telephony, and technology over all. Just telling you and your employees not to use public Wi-Fi is not enough, our job is to educate you how to be mobile and secure, to make doing the things you need to do more convenient. Your IT service company should be contributing to the knowledge of all aspects of your small business.

Learn about your business so we can make processes more efficient

Sometimes lost in the shuffle of being an IT company for small businesses is the doing the most basic job you were hired to do, help make the business more efficient.  How does your IT service company make your business more efficient? By first learning about your business, how it functions, the processes that make you work.  We can then suggest software, changes in hardware, or even just tweaks to how you use your existing software. For example, we recently had a new client who had an employee who spent half of their day scanning and emailing documents to the same three people. They were using an older multifunction scanner, scanning the document to a drive, then going to that drive in a computer and sending an email. We helped them get an inexpensive dedicated document scanner, configured it to scan to email and save in the proper folder at the same time, and the employee gained a full hour in their day to work on something else.

Above all else, help make sure your business is running everyday

The more we learn about you and your business, the more we understand what makes your business tick. Understanding pain points in your processes will ensure that we can make sure every critical system is up and available for you 24/7, and making sure that a backup plan is in place so all of your critical IT infrastructure is available when and how you need it.

All of the above is what large businesses EXPECT out of their IT departments, as a small business every dollar you spend is critical so getting all of the IT services you need, whether you have 2 or 20 employees is equally critical. Your location doesn’t matter either, whether you are in Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, or Pahrump, practical, friendly, and reliable IT support service is just a phone call away.

Give PC911 a call today at (702) 309-1911 and let us exceed your expectations for what an IT service company can provide.

Business IT in Las Vegas – Bridging the Business IT Divide

The Business/IT divide is real for some Las Vegas businesses. Their operations are not streamlined and optimized to make full use of all the benefits of the information technology available to make their businesses more efficient, and ultimately more profitable. This is an important aspect of business operations that should be mastered and it does not have to mean additional staff. The system of attaining a competitive advantage through the development and sustaining of an interdependent and reciprocal relationship between business and IT is business IT alignment.

This means that your business goals and objectives should be aligned to with your IT solutions and each working together with the aim of achieving the businesses goals. Las Vegas businesses need to understand and appreciate the value of Business-IT alignment. The necessity of having your business IT solutions corresponding and aligning with your business goals and objectives cannot be overstated. Without this, your IT solutions (even if you have just the basic requirements) will not be working in tandem with your business to achieve your ultimate goals of success and profitability.

In some businesses, it is a matter of survival to have their business and IT aligned, otherwise, they are setting themselves up to fail. The associated costs of having an IT department or dedicated IT personnel deters business owners from making the investment necessary to align their business and IT functions. For those who do understand the importance of this alignment, but who do not have the resources for a dedicated department, they attempt to train staff to carry out their IT functions. This can lead to disastrous results.

Even some businesses with dedicated internal IT departments are looking externally for resources to have their IT solutions aligned to their business goals and objectives. Outsourcing for aligning your Business and IT in Las Vegas can come with its associated risks if the company does not understand your business and cannot connect the IT solutions to your goals. These have to be articulated by the business owner and understood by the IT service provider.

Together, you and your service provider will strategically outline and decide the best options for your business It’s a gamble you take choosing other IT Business solutions in Las Vegas.

With PC11 you get a sure thing with:

  • Responsive service
  • Accessible technicians and support
  • Cost effective solutions
  • Efficient solutions geared at your business needs

Why Do Business With a Las Vegas IT Services or Security Vendor

In today’s marketplace with the sweeping technological changes taking place at an almost alarming rate it is becoming even more critical that you, as someone who owns or manages a small business, have a reliable competent IT and security vendor.  Keeping up with technology is an impossible task for someone who doesn’t have a passion for it, and almost all business owners I have met, have a passion for their families and businesses.

Having long-term IT employees on-staff, is a huge advantage for us as a local provider over a national company. All of our employees are full time, provided health care and benefits, and ongoing education. We believe that investing in our employees means we are investing in our customers, that is a culture and a philosophy that is hard to come by in a nationwide company and to us it means our employees are happier and more productive and they deliver a better experience to our customers.

Most nationwide IT/Security providers do not have a local presence outside of a few major markets.  What they do is bid on jobs, then when they receive the job they call a whole bunch of local companies to get the job done.  How do I know this, well I am on the receiving end of that phone call at least once a day.

This means they do not understand the different challenges associated with each building type and/or neighborhood within the local market.

For instance, I read the local paper the Las Vegas Review Journal every morning, and I receive crime statistic emails by neighborhood from both the Metro Police Department, as well as the North Las Vegas Police Department.  When we get a client call asking for a security survey for their business, whether it be surveillance, alarm or access control, we understand everything that has gone on and is going on in their neighborhood, and therefore we can make informed recommendations based on the customers security level needs.  It would be impossible for me to realistically do that for more than our own market here in Las Vegas, and frankly I do it as a concerned resident as much as I do it from a business standpoint.

Most nationwide providers in say the alarm business have a system, that is the system they sell to all their franchises and it is what their franchises are allowed to sell under their franchise agreement.  So the job of the employee at that provider is to fit you into their system.  At PC911/Las Vegas Low Voltage, we work with three different alarm system manufacturers, and at least 10 different alarm accessory providers, this makes it easy to build an alarm system around our customer’s needs.

The above examples make it easy to see why going local, with local knowledge and expertise can be the key to a successful project. Whether you are a local small business owner yourself, or a larger company with a branch office here in Las Vegas,  the combination of PC911 and Las Vegas Low Voltage is the right choice for your commercial security or IT needs in the Las Vegas Valley.

Covert Surveillance Kit a Success for Aria

Looking for an on-the-go covert surveillance solution for your company or security department? The Investigations Department at Aria Hotel and Casino was having the same problem.

We spent time with their staff talking to them about their needs, sketching out possible solutions, testing on-site to ensure the solutions would work in the real-world environment that Aria presented, and here are the results:

Aria-results

The C.R.A.W.L. kit was designed in-house as a special project of our very own Surveillance Custom Shop and is now available for order as a production item. Here is a sample video from one of our cameras:

 

Full Spec Sheet below:

Spec-Sheet

 

Spec-Sheet-2

Las Vegas Network Cabling

3 Questions to Consider When Choosing Your Las Vegas Network Servicing Company

When thinking about your business, what do you consider as the most important factor when it comes to its success?
The customers? Your work force? The quality of your products or services? All of them work together; but for the above to come together to the success of your business you need to get one thing right – communication.

You have it in sales, your meetings, and your conferences and in the digital age we’re in you need to have your communication done right because we can reach a higher volume of customers from further distances than before. And this is where a solid network setup will help you.

  • Have you been looking for companies in Las Vegas providing network cabling services?

  • Do you want a network upgrade or relocation?

If so, there are a few things to consider before choosing your networking cabling service providers. Below we’ll look at some of these crucial points.

Will they cater to your specific needs?

Some companies use the cookie-cutter approach to installing network cabling services regardless of how big or small they are. You want to make sure they first get to know your aims and needs beforehand so that they can build the right setup.

  • Will you have a call center?

  • Will there be heavy internet usage?

  • Do you plan on expanding where you are?

These are a few questions we consider before setting up your network. But the best way a company can find out what you REALLY need, is by actually going to your job site. If they don’t offer this for FREE then start looking for another company.

Will their customer support be efficient?

Your network cabling system is the back bone of your business, and you want to have a company that will be easily accessible and reliable when you need them at crucial times – not just for the installation. Instead of wasting time calling them to your offices for small problems ,they need to know what you’re talking about when you ask them specific questions relating to minor network issues that come up. Some companies are good at either the technical side or the customer service side; you want to have one that’s good at both.

Are they certified?

Low Voltage is a Nevada State Licensed Contractor. Unfortunately this isn’t the case with many other networking companies.

Professional Installation, Maintenance Services Can Rely On

Besides doing installations and relocations, we also do maintenance work even if we didn’t do the first setup for a company. And what we sometimes find is a messy and unprofessional setup which stunts business growth. Bad network connections can result in: your internet crashing too often, transmission delays, ‘cross-talk’ between cables, and poor Signal to Noise ratios all of which disrupt work productivity and communication with customers.

Know who you’ll be working with for success

Many of our customers who chose the wrong company the first time could’ve side-stepped making expensive mistakes had they known what to investigate before hand. By keeping these tips in mind you’ll filter out the dodgy companies and have better clarity in choosing the right one.

VoIP Las Vegas

Ready to Slash Your Phone Bills? Switch Over to VoIP

As a Las Vegas business owner, are you tired of giving away your hard-earned money to your phone company? Do you hate it when you get charged excessive fees for calling relatives or friends overseas? If so, then you should consider calling using phone-billVoIP to slash your phone bills!

“Wait. . .But What Is It?”

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It’s a form of telephony which takes your voice in the form of sound waves (analog form) and converts into a digital format which is then sent over the internet to be received by an end user (with an internet connection) in any part of the planet.

It’s been shaking the traditional telecommunications industry since it’s inception in the mid 1990’s and, although the first major VoIP company – Skype – was launched way back in 2003, it’s only been in the recent years that VoIP has started to gain popularity.

“How Can I Get Started?”

Well you have three basic routes you can take to take advantage of VoIP to start making cheap local and international calls.

  • P2P – Peer-to-Peer is the cheapest option you can get. All you need to get started is a microphone, headsets, soundcard, a good internet connection and software that you and the other person will use to connect to each other, such as Skype (which is free). This option also allows you to make video calls.

  • ATA – Getting an Analog-Telephone-Adapter is another option. ATA converts your voice signal into data and acts as an interface between your normal home telephone and a VoIP service. So, instead of connecting your telephone to a landline, you connect it to the ATA which is linked up to an Ethernet which in turn sends your voice (in the form of data) to someone else, through an IP Network.

  • IP Phones – This is the mostly costly option amongst the three. These phones look like normal handsets with only difference being that you connect them directly to your computer or internet connection to make calls. The phone has all the hardware and software built in it to make calls over the internet.

In all instances it’s always good to have a high-speed internet connection to ensure that you don’t experience any latency which could make your calls sound choppy and delayed.

internet-telephone-services“VoIP Plans?”

Multiple phone companies have now included various service packages for VoIP services. There are many variables that affect how much one could pay locally and internationally, but the fact is in almost all cases you’ll be saving a heck of a lot more money compared to your normal telephone charges.

VoIP is also a great tool businesses can leverage to cut calling costs between international offices or employees that travel often who, instead of constantly switching numbers (with varying call charges), can use a single number for contact.

Choose The Cheaper Solution – VoIP

VoIP has been around for years and more and more people are converting to it every day so don’t be left behind. You can get started right now by downloading free software such as like Skype so you can catch up with friends and family around the world!

Preventing crime against your business pt.1

Being a business owner in today’s day and age is tough and can drive any normal, sane person straight to the loony bin.

 

Picture this:

Do_Not_Cross,_Crime_Scene

You woke up early to head to your building, the sun is just starting to rise as you drive down I-15 as the sun peeks out you glance at the Strip. You exit on Tropicana, turn onto industrial and pull into your parking lot. As you pull into your space you swear you notice the front door swing just a hair. That’s not right, when it’s locked that door doesn’t move. Turns out the last one out swore he locked the door and set the alarm, but… I think you get the picture.

With all the great things that technology does there must be something that can help a business owner prevent being victims of crime. First, let’s quickly discuss two types of crime that a business owner/commercial property can fall prey to.

Crime of Intent:A crime of intent is defined as a crime that is forceful and requires the criminal to do something to gain entry, such as breaking a window, or using a crowbar to break open a door.

Crime of Opportunity:A crime of opportunity is defined as a crime where the criminal stumbles across or is looking for an easy theft. Examples of these are- leaving a door unlocked after hours and they are going through your complex and tugging on doors one-by-one, or you leave your doors on your van open as you are unloading and you come back and a bag is gone.

Deterring crimes of intent against your property is actually a lot easier than preventing crimes of opportunity. Here are a few very simple tips to preventing crimes of opportunity:

    • LIGHTING LIGHTING LIGHTING- The first and most important thing in preventing crimes against a property is making sure that the property is well-lit all around. Lighting should be verified every two weeks to ensure that it is functioning. If you have a surveillance system installed at your Las Vegas business, it should be easy to remotely view the cameras at night and verify your lighting is functioning.

Commercial Surveillance Systems

  • Surveillance Systems- A properly installed

    commercial camera system on a building is not only a deterrent from crime, but additionally provides evidence should a crime occur. Important things to note when designing your surveillance system:big camera

    • Keep cameras out of reach of at least a 1.5 person height if not higher.

    • Make sure the cameras can be seen well. Discretion is not the better part of valor in this case. It is likely that the $20 camera from your local superstore will not fit the bill.

    • Keep those cameras clean. A dirty camera is a useless camera.

    • Have your cameras set to send you pictures when motion occurs after hours

  • Alarm System- Just having an alarm is not good enough. You also need to work with your alarm company to make sure that they understand how your business works. For example:

    • Make sure your alarm company knows your business hours and when employees regularly leave the offices. The alarm company can then alert you when the alarm has not been set after a certain time.

    • Tie your alarm system into your access control so that when someone breaks into your facility the doors can all be remotely locked.

These are just a few things that a business owner can do to help prevent crime against their business. I will cover more tips and advice in the upcoming parts. If you live in Las Vegas, give us a call at Las Vegas Low Voltage (702) 309-1911 and we can help you with a security evaluation.