AI (artificial intelligence) is starting to play a key role in cybersecurity defence systems for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs). Most businesses are becoming aware of how prevalent phishing attempts, identity theft and ransomware attacks have become in recent years and one of the ways to help businesses put a stop to it, is by sharing the technology industry’s response to more sophisticated attacks.
« Hackers Don’t Break In, They Log In. » Day after day, adversaries connect to their victims’ services and applications using means such as:
In the early days of computing, artificial intelligence was little more than a dream. Scientists and researchers could only imagine a future in which machines could think for themselves and perform complex tasks with ease. But over the past few decades, AI has evolved into something far greater than anyone could have imagined. Today, it plays a crucial role in businesses around the world, and Canada is no exception. In this article, we will explore the evolution of AI and discuss its potential impact on Canadian businesses.
Knowing where your business stores sensitive data is a must for any organization that’s serious about its cybersecurity. Unfortunately, more often than not, that’s just not the case. Alas, what most organizations seem to share is that they don’t actually know where the files are or what’s on them. Storage libraries are set up and share permission handed out for access, but from then on no one pays it any attention.
There has been a lot of hype about Cloud computing transforming the way small-to-medium-sized businesses do business. Proponents of the Cloud say that Cloud computing has levelled the playing field, allowing SMBs to finally compete with bigger companies despite their limited financial resources and staffing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we knew it, in many ways, forever. While its impact on our day-to-day lives has been huge, the impact has been even more severe from a business perspective. The social distancing norms, staggered operating hours so as to limit crowds, the masks, shields, barriers, and whatnot! From the business continuity perspective, companies had to adapt themselves to the new normal fairly quickly.
Undoubtably you’ve heard of Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), or one of the other names, such as Two-factor Authentication (2FA), Two-step Authentication (2SV), among others. Although these are all technically different in some ways, they all are based on the thought that there are three categories of computerized security:
Hardware, software, cables, signals and power are critical IT elements that when done well provide a robust and redundant technical infrastructure from which to operate a business. However, more and more we find organizations that have a solid IT foundation but are struggling with Security, Privacy and Business Productivity challenges related to their IT operations. This should not come as a surprise as our view on IT within small and medium sized business is greatly swayed towards the technology itself. This tunnel vision approach, where technology is the solution, leaves many critical aspects of what the business truly needs untouched.
You have certainly heard about the recent security breaches that affected large Quebec companies such as Desjardins or Promutuel. These companies lost an astronomical amount of money while seeing their operations paralyzed. Small and medium-sized businesses are also affected by various computer attacks, but the media obviously do not talk about it.
For decades, the large metropolitan centres of Canada such as Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary, and many more have been hailed as the epicentre of Business in our country, with an average population of 2.85 million (2021) it’s been difficult to ignore the opportunities available in these growing cities. But over the past year and a half, the shift to a hybrid “work from home” office has disbursed this growth and population to neighbouring urban areas.
Certain events cause upheaval in many aspects of our lives. The pandemic has been one of these events. Many now talk about "the new normal", it’s clear many realities of our daily lives have been altered forever. In business, upheaval is an opportunity to reinvent yourself. So we decided to take a look at the technological changes this pandemic is causing across the Canadian landscape.
In September 2020, The Government of Canada released a bulletin titled “Modern Ransomware and Its Evolution” alerting SMB’s across the nation of a drastic increase in external attempts to extort and withhold critical data / infrastructure from a diverse set of local industries. The ten-page document highlights the evolution of ransomware and the threat it poses on the business community.
For several years, cloud technology has been one of the most talked about subjects in business technology circles. By now, most small-to-medium sized business (SMB) owners have heard that cloud computing is transforming the way their peers do business, and they’ve been inundated with talk of how the cloud enables small businesses to cut IT costs and operate more efficiently.
At some point in your workday, you’ll come across unused computer screens that are in screensaver mode; this could happen when you are going into a conference room or when you are returning to your desk, for example. These idle screens are dynamic communication channels that can be used to send important messages to your employees, whether they are in the office or at home.
Many employers have implemented teleworking since last March, a new reality that comes with its share of justifiable cybersecurity concerns. Does your company allow employees to work from home? Below, you’ll find an overview of the issues to consider while implementing best practices around operational security.
Did you just migrate to Microsoft 365? Whether you are a business owner, HR manager or in charge of IT, managing this kind of project can be a real puzzle. Indeed, when a business changes platform or undergoes a major update, the team and efficiency are often impacted by a longer adaptation period than initially planned. Productivity is strongly affected, and wasted time is common.
So, you are at that stage of your business where you have finally decided and accepted that you need the services of a MSP. Makes sense, considering that bringing a MSP on board can help save you time, resources and money. Plus, having a MSP manage your IT requirements lets you focus on your business and its growth, without worrying about rising IT costs. Having a MSP brings a lot of flexibility and scalability to the table for you.
How many times have you read or heard the phrase, ’the world will never be the same’ this week? For me it has been a dozen times at least, and the thing that keeps bothering me about this idea, to parrot Neil deGrasse Tyson, is that the world is never the same from moment to moment it has always been in flux.
Earlier this year, the Millenium Micro National team received an emergency call from a larger Canadian organization that was the victim of a cyberattack. Through our immediate engagement, we were able to successfully help the client through their crisis allowing them to resume normal business activities.
Small-to-medium sized businesses and large enterprises may seem worlds apart, but they face many of the same cyber-security threats. In fact, in recent years, cyber-criminals have increasingly targeted SMBs. This is because it’s widely known that SMBs have a smaller budget, and less in-house expertise, to devote to protection.
Just about every month now another large company makes the global headlines when they get their doors kicked in by cyber criminals, and we have our personal information stolen. No doubt, you also hear of many local companies and institutions in your area having their security breached, and it seems to be happening more and more lately, even with all of the warnings and extra precautions we are trying to take.
It’s no longer a secret that our country is facing a labour shortage that is confirmed for the next 12 years. We have entered the decade of the talent war where it is becoming increasingly common to see small and medium-sized businesses slow down their growth, restaurants close their doors or retail businesses change their business hours due to a lack of staff. The good news is that there are several options for surviving in this environment and here they are!
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a frequent topic in the media lately; and why shouldn’t it be? The recent advancements of micro-computers and processors that have led us to the age of connected smart devices we currently know has been nothing shy of astounding. More importantly accessibility, familiarity, and ease of use for these devices has helped close the gap between trained professionals and a typical home user.
As we enter a new decade, the workforce is changing drastically, both in demographic and behavioral tendencies. Millennials soon will make up the majority of the workforce and “by 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers, globally, will be a millennial,” (source: TIME Magazine). Millennials and Generation Z have a preference for working remotely and utilizing collaboration enabling tools.
Risks of diminished stock in the supply chain plagued the Canadian channel in 2019. Increased costs due to the threat of U.S. Tariff’s, a continuing Intel Chip shortage, and now, manufacturing delays on hardware due to COVID-19 in China, have all brought unique challenges. Due to these external factors hitting on a global scale, it is critical that organizations have a sophisticated procurement partner that can manage change while staying in front of all threats to supply chain stability.
In IT, as in many fields, it is important for companies and organizations to consult an expert before undertaking a project or a purchase of technology equipment. It is certainly very easy to do an online search to find the equipment and software that will seem to meet all your needs, but it is just as easy to get the wrong products and then end up with a multitude of problems and additional costs.
Friday, June 7, 2019 5:05am, my life changes forever. I receive a call from one of my associates. He informs me that there is a fire in the shopping center where our offices are located. Flames of more than a meter emerge from the door of our warehouse and a dense black smoke escapes from the roof covering more than half of the mall.
A single person responsible for IT, even when specifically trained for the job, is not the same as a full IT department or even an outsourced Managed Services Provider, which can draw on a large pool of diverse technical staff. The small in-house IT group (or person) cannot provide the range of support needed to maintain a firm’s critical infrastructure — critical to daily business activities and critical to long-term revenue streams.
Success comes with objectives! In order to stay on top, one must meet, exceed, re-evaluate and delete those objectives. We’ve seen Microsoft set some spectacular objectives for the technology space this past year with significant ramifications for the business world. They have set the end of Windows 7 support for January 2020 and increased focus on transitioning to O365 as a subscription model replacement for traditional Office solutions. That move is fundamentally changing the way organizations access mission critical productivity solutions. Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, moved to an O365 subscription for the entire campus and this is just one large organization making the switch among many. Objectives will continue to change and it’s crucial to find partnerships that will help with those changes.
Leading providers in unified communications are educating their customers on the recent expansion of bandwidth monitoring and management solutions. Essentially, bandwidth monitoring is the practice and policy of tracking the utilization of company bandwidth between all employees, software applications and desktops. The growth of bandwidth management solutions in recent years is due primarily to growth of company provided and personal devices (smart phones, tablets, etc.) connected to an organization’s network.
A misfortune like the one just suffered by Desjardins is not something any company would want or should have to endure. Unfortunately, the security gaps created by the adoption of new technologies, such as clouds or remote access servers, pose a greater risk than people realize, given the sensitive data that is stored there. The attacks are constantly firing and from all sides. Today, in terms of computer prevention, three important words to remember are: safety, safety and safety!
Three years ago, we would tell our clients that they needed an antivirus. That some were better than others. That’s about it. Three years ago, we would tell our clients an anti-spam system would take care of most of their concerns. Three years ago, we were worry free… Hackers took advantage of our sluggish state to make their comeback. And they succeeded. More than 95% of breaches are related to phishing. Were you ready for this? Not us.
Digital technology has profoundly transformed the way we shop, work, and communicate. Increasingly sophisticated collaborative platforms continue to emerge, integrating different business functions. These multiply the ways professionals can connect, collaborate on projects, and organize new business logistics. A true social and industrial revolution, digital tech disrupts traditional practices, pushing companies to alter their management methods. So how do you embrace digital tools and integrate them into business operations?
Digital signage is probably the most productive tool companies have to communicate effectively with their employees. Digital screens, placed in strategic places, relay almost instantly news of the company, safety messages, and dashboards of analysis of the company’s performance in real time. This is why digital signage and interactive displays are essential for business communication and HR specialists.
It’s Thursday afternoon, things seem to be going well, and then, it happens. You get an email from an employee telling you he found a copy of the HR file using a search engine. You stop for a moment. This can’t be true. Sure enough, you find the same information. There is a document online listing employees accounts, payroll, address, emergency contacts, and details on health benefits. This is bad. Right now, the only thing you know is that you’ve had a privacy breach.
It was a Wednesday after noon this past February when a CEO of one of SIRCO’s clients received a disturbing phone call from one of his long-time customers. His client told him that he received his quote for the products and services but that he received an almost identical quote from another competitor but with only a dollar difference about 30 minutes later.
Thinking about moving your office? Opening a new location? Over the years we have seen and heard stories of small business owners rushing to tell their IT department that they have just signed a lease on a new space. Then they find our there are thousands or hundreds of thousands in unexpected costs. Please remember to ask an IT Professional to review a prospect site with you before you commit. Be aware of all of the costs, complications and timelines required to move your technology.
There are two types of businesses. Those who know they got hacked, and those that don’t. Many business owners are unaware that hackers have likely been in their system for at least six months prior to being detected. Typically, according to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, a hacker is detected not because of the company’s security technology, but rather by a 3rd party reported the breach to them.
Today, simple headsets are bundled as free accessories to any mobile phone, giving them a perception of “nice to have” gimmicks in the consumer market. But in some areas, such as professional office environments, headsets are so much more than mere accessories, having evolved into complex pieces of IT equipment that can transform the business of communication. Jesper Kock, Director of Research and Development at Sennheiser Communications explains why that is and why the right choice of headsets is crucial for businesses.
Entrepreneurs who wish to maintain a competitive advantage must be aware of the latest technological trends in the business world. Not just passing fads, some of these innovations have a real impact on operating costs and even create new business opportunities. Should we embrace them wholeheartedly or be wary? The following are a few examples.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), we saw an explosion in the Internet of Things (IoT) category. These so-called Smart devices are aimed at making your home and business environment more convenient and accessible. From Smart socks and underwear to Smart toilets and showers, there was something for everyone.
Over the last several years a small company in Mississauga, Ontario has been experiencing exponential growth. CNB Computers Inc. was found in 2003 by Prabjeet Chhabra (Bony Singh). The company has its humble roots in a one man start-up that was filling a niche in the reseller market. CNB Computers and Millenium Micro partnered together back in 2015 and the relationship has grown stronger every year.
Festivals are well represented in Québec, and summer is the season when the majority of them are held. The needs are great and so are the expectations of the festival-goers. Organizations are also sensitive to technologies that are increasingly present in our daily lives to attract and accommodate visitors.
La Grande Roue de Montréal: a brand new, gigantic observation wheel. Standing 60 metres high and offering a 360-degree view (equivalent to that of a 20-storey building) from tempered cabins, it is the tallest wheel in Canada, and sister of the Chicago Wheel. Built with a framework normally reserved for oil rigs in the North Sea, it can withstand tsunamis and the strongest of earthquakes.
Many of our clients start out the same way, a small group of core people taking care of a lot of different things. Your best sales person is also helping with ordering, you're busy running finance, as well as the company, and your engineer also helps out with IT. Over time your business grew, you hired an accountant because you recognize the importance of keeping accurate financial information, and you now have a team of sales people and separate shipping receiving staff.
When looking at transforming your business from traditional phone lines to Voice Over IP (VOIP) the greatest fear is quality, the second is reliance on your internet connection. There are excellent, free tests you can use to determine if your internet connection can support your telephone traffic. In addition, your network can be configured to prioritize telephone traffic.
The Domain Registrar is where it all starts. The Registrar is the organization where your domain is sourced (if available!) and ownership is established. They can register and create top-level domains such as .com, .ca, .net, etc. The Domain Registrar creates the domain, (ie. mycompany.ca) establishes the registration and technical contact information (this can be hidden) and points the domain name to a Domain Name Server(s). As a small business owner, you should make efforts to ensure you own the registration record.
At home and at the office we have expensive electronics. The value of the data and productivity offered by those electronics is substantially greater than the equipment price. So why do we often find these electronics protected by the cheapest surge bar or Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)? The answer is usually that no one has explained the difference between various power management solutions to small business managers, IT professionals and home owners.
Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) is a concept that has been taking the IT industry by storm. The philosophy of HaaS is simple; the provider owns the hardware and leases it to the client for a monthly fee. There are many benefits for providers and clients when considering a true HaaS procurement model including tax benefits, standardization, and scalability.
Recent studies have shown that close to 35% of Canadian organizations have been attacked at least once by ransomware in the past twelve months. Of that number, 43% suffered significant loss of revenue and 25% of these businesses had to halt their operations because of an infection of this type. The major problem with ransomware is that it now pays for hackers to attack you.
About every other year, a colleague and I attend the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Yes, we have some fun, but the primary intent is to pick up on industry trends for future technologies coming to a workspace near you. For those not familiar CES, it is the largest trade show in the world, with close to 20,000 exhibitors displaying all manner of devices and technologies to 150,000 industry attendees. It runs for 4 days and if you don’t dawdle, you can just about walk the whole show by the time it ends; sore feet notwithstanding.
Managed Services is a well known term to those within the industry, yet is virtually unknown to those outside of it. Even to those that know the term, it is not always understood or appreciated. With the IT industry becoming more complicated every day, I can understand why one might choose to remain only slightly knowledgeable about IT and how it plays such an important role in todays SMB world. Today’s SMB owner need not be experts in the IT industry nor do they have the time. That is the singular purpose of the Managed Service Provider.
We still encounter small and even medium size businesses that manage their technology internally or are supported by a one person service provider. Despite investing significant resources in IT and other related services these organisations tend to be operating with only “out of the box” setups and frequently are using a small fraction of the capabilities available. Given the complexity of technology today organisations need access to a team with diverse skills and expertise.
If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re part of a small business (according to Industry Canada, 98.2% of businesses in Canada have less than 100 employees). Your business also likely suffers from the same issues that plague many other small businesses: small budgets. You might now be thinking: what does this have to with Virtualization?
If your organization is like many in the Small and Medium Business (SMB) market segment, your core business is providing products or services other than Information Technology (IT), whether on a for-profit or not-for-profit basis. After your initial start-up, your IT expenditures are likely entirely reactionary to breakdowns or new needs that arise suddenly.
So you’re purchasing a new server? Read this before you do!
When choosing between servers in the cloud and local on-site servers, what is the best solution for your business? Which solution is cheaper and would be most effective? These are common issues for leaders of small and medium businesses, and they reoccur year after year. To help you make the right decision, we’ve studied both options.
The cost of I.T. is a very difficult concept to understand no matter the scale of your businesses infrastructure. This cost of any I.T. infrastructure is not limited to the initial purchase of equipment but extends into operational costs that can often be overlooked. Costs such as electricity, maintenance, and equipment age are all examples of what affects the overall cost of ownership for a business.
Is your web site responsive? In order for your web site to be responsive it needs to offer an easy viewing and interaction experience from any device, such as a mobile phone or an electronic tablet as well as a computer. What responsive web design is all about is enabling your web site, its structure and content to modify itself according to the size of screen you are viewing it with to allow for an optimal viewing without losing any content.
Electronic messaging software has become the number one communications application for businesses. Everything passes through it: letters of appointment, requests for information, invoices, payment confirmations, quotations, contracts, etc. If electronic messaging software stops working in an SMB, everything stops working.
Our world is now full of screens; from desktops and smartphones to tablets and digital signage. The ability to harness and distribute everyday operational information, emergency alerts, security and environmental information can not only improve life safety but generate improved customer satisfaction and productivity to boot.
As much as 75 percent of a company’s intellectual property is contained within email and messaging systems, according to Osterman research. And that makes email more than just a vital business communications tool; it constitutes an electronic substitute of legal business documentation. In other words, that message from Phil in accounting could one day be used as legal evidence.
There is ample documentation in the public domain on selecting and sizing UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) capacity for the load it will carry; this article assumes you have already selected and sized yours appropriately, and focuses on a couple of considerations that many small and medium-sized businesses overlook to their peril.
If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re part of a small business (according to Industry Canada, 98.2% of businesses in Canada have less than 100 employees). Your business also likely suffers from the same issues that plague many other small businesses: small budgets. You might now be thinking: what has this have to with Virtualization?
Boardroom, conference room or training room, these spaces represent the apex of an organization’s audiovisual investment. Important decisions are made here, clients are met, contracts negotiated and instruction is delivered. These activities require the presentation of clear, concise information, and everyone in the room needs to get their voice heard.
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM