KMicro is your Expert Partner in Dynamics 365

Are you ready to take charge of your business?

Today more than ever, companies are moving their businesses to the cloud. KMicro helps companies establish performance and efficiency by bringing state-of-the-art solutions that covers every aspect of your business. KMicro offers Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to our customers to offer one the most promising technology for businesses of all side coupled with complete integration across all of the Microsoft products and services.

The Full Microsoft Cloud including the Dynamics 365 business applications brings no code or low code solutions that can be rapidly implemented. As James Phillips mentioned in his article, “Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and the Power Platform on top of what we’re doing with Azure is the core of what we are doing as a company vis-à-vis I would say our commercial customers – businesses of all sizes, whether it’s small business, large business, whether it’s in an emerging market or in a developed market.”

Microsoft allows partners to easily build bridges between technology and business requirements.

How KMicro compares to other partners?

KMicro is one of the first partners to offer Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform and Cybersecurity internationally. KMicro wants to assure that when you need a solution, it is not only integrated with your other systems but also that is the most secured to used.

KMIcro offers D365 Sales, Marketing, Field Service, Project Operations, Business Central, Supply Chain Management, Finance and Commerce. Not only KMicro sell D365, they also implemented it. We use D365 Sales with opportunity and partner portal. They use D365 Marketing to send emailing and social media. They also implemented D365 PSA for their project management and time entry.

It’s not all to talk the talk, you have to experience it.

To learn more about Dynamics 365 business application, click here!

If you feel like talking to one of our solution specialists, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you so much for you interest. One of our solution specialists will be in contact with you shortly.

Managed IT Services Pricing: How Much Should You Expect to Pay for IT Support?

Constantly running into tech problems? Outsourcing your IT support to a managed IT services company can be a lifesaver.

Depending on the type of IT services you need, your contract amount can vary drastically. Managed IT services pricing models are always expanding and becoming more complex. The price you pay depends on multiple factors, such as the size of your business, the type of support you need and how many devices you need to manage.

In this blog, we’ll break down the different managed IT services pricing models, the pros and cons of each and how much you should expect to pay.

How Much Do IT Services Cost?

Different levels of IT support vary in cost because IT services companies understand the need for flexibility.

If you need help desk support, for example, you might wind up paying a flat monthly fee. If you need help with a server migration or other large project, you’ll have to pay a significant upfront cost. For general security monitoring, you might pay a small monthly fee that increases when there’s a breach.

As you evaluate pricing models, one thing you’ll want to look for is scalability. As your business grows, how affordable are these pricing models? How much does a flat monthly fee increase with new users or additional devices, and how easy is it to add new members?

Common Managed IT Services Pricing Models

Here are the five most popular types of managed IT services pricing:

1. À La Carte Pricing Model

An à la carte pricing model is just what it sounds like. Instead of paying for all-inclusive or bundled managed IT services, you’ll pay only for what you need.

Pros: You create your own package of IT services by picking and choosing what your business needs. You only pay for what you get, and there’s no risk that you’ll be paying for additional services you aren’t using.

Cons: If you aren’t sure what you need, you might wind up with the wrong contract or take longer to design the right package of services. And if you need IT services immediately, then taking too long to decide which à la carte services you need could hurt your business.

À la carte IT services also tend to be pricier because managed services providers mark up the prices to achieve a profit margin.

Pricing: À la carte pricing models will vary from business to business, so the best way to see the pricing for these will be by asking for a proposal.

2. Per-Device Pricing Model

Per-device pricing models allow you to pay for a range of services based on the number of devices your company manages. This includes everything from desktops and laptops to printers and mobile phones.

Pros: Per-device pricing models are easy to understand, and managed IT services companies don’t need a whole lot of information to offer an accurate quote. Plus, per-device models can scale with your business as you add new devices.

Cons: People work on multiple devices these days. Pricing can add up quickly if you don’t recognize which services you’ll need for each type of device. It can also become more complicated as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies come into play more and more.

Pricing: Typical pricing can range from $5 to $100 per month per device.

3. Per-User Pricing Model

Similar to the per-device pricing model, the per-user pricing model requires you to pay for services based on the number of users at your company. The flat fee covers each user no matter how many devices he or she may be using.

Pros: The per-user pricing model is easy to manage when it comes to finances. As you hire new employees, you’ll already know how much to tack onto your IT budget. And no matter how many users you add, the service level you have access to shouldn’t change.

Cons: If your team members don’t require 24/7 network connectivity and don’t need to use multiple devices, this pricing model can rack up unnecessary costs quickly.

Pricing: Typical pricing for this model can scale from $125 to $200 per month per user.

4. Full-Service Pricing Model

A full-service pricing model, also known as the all-you-can-eat pricing model, is a flexible pricing model offered at one flat fee each month. You’ll gain access to a complete package of remote support, onsite support and IT planning services for your entire organization.

Pros: The flat fee allows you to budget your IT support costs for the entire year. You won’t experience any massive billing changes like you might with per-user or per-device pricing models.

Cons: You can still be billed for additional services rendered if you need something outside of the scope of the contract. You also won’t be able to see what each of the individual services costs on its own as a flat-fee model will lump everything together. Lastly, since you can’t pick and choose services, you might wind up paying for services you don’t need.

Pricing: Similar to the à la carte model, pricing will vary from business to business, so it’s best to ask for a proposal.

5. Tiered Pricing Model

The tiered pricing model is the middleman between à la carte and full-service. A managed IT services company will create package tiers that provide different levels of services. For example, a tier-one package might include basic support during business hours, virus removal and monitoring. Tier two could include everything in tier one plus onsite visits and 24/7 support.

Pros: Similar to the à la carte model, you get a choice in what you pay for, but you won’t be overwhelmed by so many options that it’s hard to decide. Tiers are structured based on resources and cost, so you can also easily pick your price point and budgeting based on what you need.

Cons: It’s easy to flock to the cheapest option, which might not be the best decision. It’s important to evaluate what’s offered in each tier so that your company gets everything it needs.

Pricing: Pricing will vary from business to business. It’s best to ask for a proposal or check the company’s website (many businesses will list tiered pricing online).

Find a Managed IT Services Plan That Works for Your Budget

You already have a full-time job, and that’s to focus on your business goals. Evaluating all the different managed IT services pricing models out there shouldn’t be one of them.

If you’ve determined that a tiered package or à la carte services could work for you, then contact KMicro. Our managed IT services experts can help with everything from network monitoring and management to disaster recovery to emergency onsite response. The important thing is that you gain the support you need at an affordable price for your organization.

8 Steps for Creating a Foolproof Data Backup Strategy

Disaster can strike at any moment. Viruses or malware could attack your system, your hardware systems could fail or a natural disaster could strike.

In a worst-case scenario, that disaster could mean the end of your business.

According to FEMA, between 40 and 60 percent of small businesses fail to reopen after a natural disaster. And 90 percent of small companies fail within a year if they can’t resume operations within five days of a disaster.

And it’s not just natural disasters that can close your business. The average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, according to the Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Study. These costs include everything from loss of productivity and customers to legal and public relations fees. Most businesses can’t afford these costs — 60 percent of small- to- medium-sized businesses close within six months of a breach.

Creating secure data backup guidelines is essential to protecting your valuable assets and getting your business back up and running in the event of data loss or cybercrime.

Steps for Creating a Foolproof Data Backup Strategy

With the right data backup plan in place, you won’t have to worry about becoming one of the businesses that close following a disaster. Here are the eight steps you need to follow when creating secure data backup guidelines:

Step 1: Assess Your Company’s Backup Needs

Before you can do anything, you need to take inventory of your assets. There’s a lot to think through, so here are a few questions to consider:

  • What information must be kept safe? Quite honestly, you need to protect everything. You don’t want to lose something permanently and find out later that it was more important than you thought. What information do you need to restore immediately? Will you need to recover data? What data will be necessary for reinstating services for clients?
  • Are you prone to disasters? Think about how easy it would be for your system to be at risk. Do you live in an area at risk for natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires or earthquakes? Beyond natural disasters, it’s also necessary to consider hackers. Have your computer systems ever been hacked before? Do your customers have to log in to your system to access applications or services?
  • What type of backup infrastructure do you need? Once you’ve determined your data risks, it’ll be easier to assess your backup infrastructure. For example, if you live in an area with weather-related risks, it might be best to have an off-site backup solution. If you need to recover data quickly, an on-site physical backup could come in handy during an internet outage. And a remote cloud disaster recovery site could help you get back online as if nothing ever happened. No matter what you choose, having a backup infrastructure will help you stay online without losing money along the way.
  • How much storage do you need? Data adds up quickly, so you need to determine how much data you’re going to store and how long you’ll want that data kept on file. If you need to store most of your data long-term, you’ll need plenty of space. One thing to keep in mind is what regulations your company has to follow — many have storage requirements that you’ll need to know and follow.

Step 2: Figure Out the Best Backup Strategy

Once you know what your backup needs are, you need to determine which options are available to you. Here are four common solutions:

  1. Hardware solutions. With a hardware backup, you keep a hard drive onsite. Hard drives are easy to attach to your network, but if they fail, you’ll lose the data. As a result, many companies have multiple backup systems in place.
  2. Software solutions. Software solutions are typically installed directly on your system. You might not need a separate server for it, or you might need to install it on a virtual machine. Backup software is often less expensive than a hardware solution, and it can keep up if your infrastructure changes frequently.
  3. Cloud solutions. Cloud services are, essentially, offsite backup. You’ll be able to run the backup and store it in your vendor’s cloud. Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS), another name for this solution, is secure and affordable. The drawback is that companies that house sensitive data may not be able — or allowed via regulations — to use it.
  4. Hybrid solutions. Some companies choose to combine physical and cloud solutions to store their data. Hybrid services allow you to not only have an on-site backup for quick recovery, but also keep data in the cloud should anything happen on-site.

Once you understand which solution is best for you, you’ll need to determine where to store your backups.

  • You can back up your data to tapes, which will be kept at a secure location offsite. They help restore your entire system, but you’ll have to wait for them to be shipped back to you before you can retrieve your information.
  • You can use local or USB disks for individual files and software, but they’re not ideal for networks. If the drive is lost or broken, you’ll lose your backup.
  • You can use Network Attached Storage (NAS) or Storage Area Networks (SAN) for your network data. They typically make it easy to recover your network data unless a disaster destroys your hardware.
  • You can use the cloud. The cloud requires you to have an internet connection so that your data can be backed up. And some clouds provide options for transmitting large quantities of data if needed. The best part about the cloud is that you’ll be able to access your data anywhere as long as you can connect to the internet.

Step 3: Set Your Budget

As with anything in your business, you need to set a budget. Some backup options are pricier than others. New hardware is going to be pretty expensive, while cloud solutions are more affordable and scalable. Backup-as-a-Service options often allow you to pay monthly instead of up-front, which might be easier on your company’s wallet.

Consider the maximum amount you want to spend on backup expenses, and don’t forget training costs if you need someone in your company to manage the backup.

Step 4: Choose Your Backup Platform

Now that you’ve determined your budget, you can choose which platform solution will work best for you. Since you’ve already evaluated what’s on the market, you might already know what you want or if you’d prefer multiple options.

If you know you’ll have an internet connection if a disaster occurs, a cloud backup might be ideal. You’ll be able to access your data almost anywhere. But if you need a more comprehensive solution for sensitive data, you might not want to rely on the cloud. Regulations might even prevent you from using the cloud due to the security needs of your industry. Instead, you might want a physical off-site backup option in case your office is damaged.

Step 5: Select a Vendor to Assist With Your Backup

Choosing a vendor isn’t always easy. You might want a vendor who can provide all your backup and security services, or maybe you prefer to pick and choose vendors for various needs. And some companies provide training for your employees, which could be helpful should you choose an option where your team is maintaining the system.

Make sure to request a data center proposal from every vendor you consider. Read through each quote and ask for references to find out which services they include, how long the implementation will take, the cost and the vendor’s reputation.

Step 6: Create a Timeline

Whichever vendor you choose should provide you with a data backup strategy timeframe. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a timeline of your own. A timeline will help your company prepare for implementation and ensure your teams are ready to support it.

Think about these tips as you create your timeline:

  • Work with your vendor to determine what resources they might need before jumping in.
  • Determine how long budget approval might take before you begin if needed.
  • Add in additional time for vendor completion. You don’t want a delay to throw your entire timeline off.
  • Schedule hardware installations during off-hours, if possible, to avoid any interruptions to your business.
  • Come up with things you can do to shield your clients from potential delays or create a communications plan so that customers are prepared.

As you create your timeline, build some extra time into each deliverable. If your budget approval is supposed to take a week, allocate a week and a half. That way, if anything unexpected should occur, you’re prepared for setbacks. And if everything goes perfectly, you’ll be ahead of schedule.

Step 7: Create a Recovery Plan

Once your infrastructure is in place, you need a disaster recovery plan checklist. Work with your vendors and team members in charge of backups to create the plan. It might change as your work evolves, so you’ll also need to re-evaluate it every six months or so.

Here are a few things your recovery plan must have:

  • Who must be involved in the disaster recovery
  • What hardware and software must be recovered, and in what order
  • When you must return to normal business operations
  • Where your disaster recovery sites are
  • What outline response procedures to follow
  • How to communicate with customers during the disaster

Step 8: Test Your Backup System

Create a schedule for testing your backup systems. It can be based on a set time (such as every quarter) or take place after specific events, such as after an upgrade or when you add a new application.

You should test how well you can recover an individual file, get your physical servers and databases back online and recover any applications. During testing, you’ll want to watch for any glitches and ensure the restoration process runs smoothly.

Get Expert Data Backup Assistance From KMicro

If you’re not prepared for a disaster, you can lose customers, money and even your business. To keep your company running in top shape, you need secure data backup guidelines to ease your concerns about data loss.

Contact our team at KMicro to learn how we can help you keep your business up and running no matter the type of interference.

Office 365 Vs. Microsoft 365: Comparing Prices, Features and More

It’s easy to get Office 365 and Microsoft 365 confused with one another. And it gets even more confusing when you learn Microsoft 365 includes Office 365. Understanding the differences is essential for determining which capabilities, features and pricing your business needs.

Office 365 is a platform that holds Microsoft’s most sought-after applications, such as Word, Outlook and SharePoint. Microsoft 365, on the other hand, consists of a few different products packaged together under one license.

Microsoft 365 meant for mid-size businesses and enterprises because it includes not only Office 365, but also Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise Mobility + Security to round out all the needs an organization might have.

But these aren’t the only variances. The rest of this blog will break down the products, prices and features of Office 365 vs. Microsoft 365 so you can make the best decision for your organization.

What Is Office 365?

Office 365 is a cloud services platform that combines Microsoft products into a monthly or annual subscription plan. You can use the products online, on-premises or a combination of the two, depending on your needs.

You’re most likely familiar with the productivity-based applications included with Office 365. Here are a few that you’ll find with your subscription:

  • Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher and Access
  • Outlook and Exchange
  • OneDrive and SharePoint
  • Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business
  • Yammer

Depending on the plan you choose, you may also have access to additional products — it all depends on your organization’s specific needs. As a monthly, per-user subscription, prices range from $5 per user per month up to $35 per user per month. You can also mix and match plans, and you can change your plans when needed.

Office 365 is ideal for small businesses on a more modest budget.

What Is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 is a bundle of services that includes Office 365, along with Windows 10 and Enterprise Mobility + Security. It also has some machine learning capabilities that make combining the separate licenses more appealing than purchasing each one separately.

Similar to Office 365, you can choose from multiple plans depending on your company’s requirements. Microsoft 365 is split up into different licenses — Microsoft 365 Business, Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 Education. The per user, per month subscription plans start at about $20.

Here are the main differences between Business and Enterprise, the two most popular licenses:

Microsoft 365 Business is designed for SMBs with less than 300 users. It’s comprised of:

  • Office 365 suite
  • 1 TB of storage
  • Device management capabilities via Microsoft Intune
  • Fundamental data and app security

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is meant for larger organizations that desire more robust security and device management functionality. It’s broken into three tiers:

  • F1 (for Firstline Workers): Includes Office 365 (minus Access) and basic threat protection
  • E3 (Basic tier): Includes Office 365, basic threat protection and Office 365 Data Loss Prevention
  • E5 (Premium tier): Includes Office 365, advanced threat protection, Office 365 Data Loss Prevention, audio conferencing/phone system, advanced compliance tools and analytics tools

If you’re unsure whether Office 365 or Microsoft 365 is right for you, first ask yourself: do you need all the components included in Microsoft 365? It’s a bundle of existing services, so if you don’t need everything in it, you may be better off buying the services you need separately.

Need Help Moving to Your New Office 365 or Microsoft 365 License?

The more Microsoft comes out with new features and platforms to help businesses thrive, the better off your organization will be. That doesn’t mean choosing the best platform will be easy, however.

Moving to Office 365 or Microsoft 365 isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. You need to consider setup costs, migration requirements and the time it’ll take to make the move.

If you’re not technically savvy or don’t have the resources to handle a migration internally, give KMicro a call.

Our team has the expertise to help you determine which Microsoft products and platforms work best for you. Once you’ve made your decision, we can also step in to help your company migrate to the platform so that you can focus on running your business.

Schedule a meeting with us or dial our number now for more information: 949-284-7264.

What Are the Benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Businesses dream of ways to combine customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) capabilities into one, easy-to-use management system.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based CRM and ERP solution that offers a full suite of tools to streamline business communication. Its features and functionality are continually improving to meet the needs of sales, marketing and customer service teams.

In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the top benefits of Dynamics 365 and how you can use the platform to improve business processes and gain powerful insights about your customers.

What Is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps mid-market companies facilitate business relationships with customers, prospects and team members. It includes a collection of cloud apps to help manage a variety of business processes, from sales to operations to accounting.

Dynamics 365 gives employees the practical tools they need to be more productive, improve customer relationships and win more business. It also offers executives valuable insights into performance and opportunities through its business intelligence platform.

Because Dynamics 365 combines CRM and ERP capabilities, organizations can effortlessly streamline the way they communicate both internally and with customers.

7 Benefits of Using Dynamics 365

There are tons of CRM products out there – so how do you know whether Dynamics 365 is the right move over competing products?

To help you decide, we’ve compiled seven of the top benefits of Dynamics 365:

1. Easy to Use and Deploy

You can use Microsoft Dynamics 365 in the cloud or in a hybrid cloud environment. It’s simple to manage and deploy in whichever way you need based on your budget and infrastructure.

Since Dynamics 365 is cloud-based, it’s ideal for companies with a BYOD policy. Employees can easily access their Dynamics 365 apps from Outlook, a web browser or any mobile device.

2. Fully Integrates With Microsoft Products

Dynamics 365 easily integrates with other Microsoft products, including the full Office 365 suite. These integrations allow companies to move from Dynamics 365 to Outlook for communication, to Power BI for data analytics or to SharePoint for documentation.

The easier it is to work and move between apps, the less time employees have to spend transferring data between applications and learning new platforms.

3. Reduced Sales Cycle

Dynamics 365 gives sales teams access to a wealth of insightful customer data – whether they’re working in the field or taking a call in the office.

Your team will be able to craft fast responses and deliver information without having to say, “Let me get back to you on that.” And companies gain a complete picture of each prospect’s journey, allowing them to create more targeted selling experiences.

4. Customizable

Dynamics 365 features a variety of modules and built-in workflow tools you can use to automate tasks across sales, marketing, customer service, field service and project service.

If the pre-built tools don’t fit exactly what you need, there’s no need to worry. Dynamics 365 also allows you to modify workflows to meet your needs. Use the customization tools to define additional fields and new objects in the system.

That’s not all you can customize, either. Dynamics 365 has flexible architecture, deployment options and pricing tiers so you can tailor the platform to your budget, team size and KPIs.

5. Enhanced Customer Service Experience

Dynamics 365 collects massive amounts of valuable data on each customer. It analyzes the websites people visit, how they interact with brands, which communities they are a part of and more. Its BI tool can also identify customer sentiments, buying patterns and brand loyalty – data points that can’t be measured quantitatively but are highly relevant to the sales process.

This information helps customer service reps handle each customer interaction on a case-by-case basis. With all this data housed in an accessible location, your reps can connect with customers on a human level and recommend personalized solutions without skipping a beat.

6. Scalability

Dynamics 365 can easily scale up or down depending on your current team size, budget and workload. Dynamics 365, like most other Microsoft cloud products, is based on an easy-to-change monthly subscription.

7. Increased Productivity

Your employees can access just about any kind of data they need with Dynamics 365, so they can work more efficiently and cut down time searching for information. Employees can make better, more informed decisions, and they have all of the tools and insights they need at their fingertips.

Instead of having to access ERP, CRM, data and Office applications separately, users can find everything they need on one platform.

Get the Most Out of Microsoft Dynamics 365 With KMicro

If you’re ready to learn more about your customers, streamline your sales process and improve company-wide efficiency, Microsoft Dynamics 365 might be the right solution for you.

But adding a new platform to your existing infrastructure can be tricky. As Orange County’s #1 IT support provider, KMicro can provide the resources you need to adopt Microsoft Dynamics 365 without a hitch.

From configuration and setup to workflow automation, we’ll teach your organization how confidently leverage Dynamics 365 to improve business relationships and become more productive.

Have questions about Microsoft Dynamics 365? Schedule a meeting with one of our IT experts or call us here: 949-284-7264.

Understanding IT Compliance: Which Regulations Apply to Your Business?

Remaining compliant has always been a top concern for organizations. But thanks to new trends like BYOD and the Internet of Things (IoT), businesses are facing a whole new set of laws. New regulations are cropping up in every industry to combat security threats and protect customers’ personal information.

It can be confusing to figure out which regulations apply to your business — and whether you’re already compliant or need to make some serious changes. Failing to meet IT compliance can cost companies millions of dollars.

In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the most critical IT compliance regulations that may impact your business and what you can do to mitigate security breaches, legal issues and potential fines.

Why Is IT Compliance so Important?

While compliance has always been important to maintain, modern technology shifts have increased the need for stricter IT compliance. And refusing to follow regulations will not only cost you millions of dollars in fines – it can also put your customers’ and employees’ sensitive information at risk.

Four significant shifts are making it harder to stay compliant:

  • BYOD: Allowing your employees to use their personal devices for work could save you a lot of money. But without a proper BYOD policy in place, you also lose some of the necessary oversight to stay compliant.
  • Third-Party Vendor Management: Outside vendors help your business run — you can’t do everything on your own, and vendors can do everything from helping you with marketing to handling HR to maintaining your HVAC system. But transferring data to a third-party vendor can also introduce vulnerabilities, and many major data breaches occur for this reason. Any vendors you work with should also follow regulations to a T.
  • Software Updates: Today’s technology is constantly improving. As such, software companies release new updates frequently, and most of these are meant to resolve a vulnerability rather than add a cool new feature. Staying current with software updates will ensure your organization is safe and up to date with compliance.
  • IoT: The Internet of Things connects smart devices together, which can include everything from utilities to your security system for walking through the door. But security in IoT is a bit behind, so you need to make sure to frequently test the devices for breaches or connect the devices to a network that doesn’t have access to sensitive data.

7 IT Compliance Laws Your Business Should Be Aware Of

Now that you know why regulations are becoming more important — and more strict — you need to know what IT compliance laws exist and which ones will impact your organization. Here are the top seven regulations you should know about:

1. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR was implemented by Europe in mid-2018 to help regulate how companies use customer data to uphold privacy.

  • What Does It Regulate? The GDPR specifically regulates how companies manage personal data. It asks companies to have enterprise-wide data mapping and inventory, ensure third-party vendors are also compliant, regularly assess their privacy compliance programs and ensure data is only being accessed after an individual has “opted in.” It requires all companies to keep a record of data processing activities.
  • Which Industries Does It Apply to? Any industry that collects, processes or stores personal data about European citizens or EU corporations and companies that offer goods or services in Europe.

2. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA was signed into law in 1996 in the United States, with updates and extensions being added over the years.

  • What Does It Regulate? HIPAA covers how healthcare organizations handle the transition of electronic data and the privacy of individual patients. It also safeguards the healthcare of people who are between jobs or who have been laid off.
  • Which Industries Does It Apply to? HIPAA specifically covers the healthcare industry, but it also affects any organization that deals with healthcare data. It includes employers and business associates who would have access to medical records for any reason.

3. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council is an individual body consisting of the major payment card brands (i.e., Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Discover and JCB). It was founded in 2006 to maintain its own security standards, known as the PCI-DSS.

  • What Does It Regulate? PCI-DSS manages and protects consumer payment information. It consists of 12 regulations that attempt to reduce fraud, especially during the transaction process.
  • Which Industries Does It Apply to? Any company that accepts, processes, stores or transmits credit card information.

4. Sarbanes-Oxley Act

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was implemented to prevent the next Enron or WorldCom scandal from occurring. It was signed into US law in 2002.

  • What Does It Regulate? The Sarbanes Oxley Act requires organizations to keep financial records on file for seven years.
  • Which Industries Does It Apply to? Any US public company boards, as well as management and public accounting firms.

5. Federal Information Security Management Act of 2002 (FISMA)

FISMA was also signed into law in 2002 as a way to protect government information, operations and assets.

  • What Does It Regulate? This act made it necessary to see information security as part of national security, so it directs federal agencies to create methods for protecting that information.
  • Which Industries Does It Apply to? Every federal agency.

6. Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)

Also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, the GLBA was created to allow commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies to operate within the same company. It also requires financial companies to tell customers what information they share and why.

  • What Does It Regulate? The GLBA regulates how financial services companies maintain and secure their customers’ and clients’ private data.
  • Which Industries Does It Apply to? Financial institutions, including any company that offers a financial product or service to individuals — whether it be investment or financial advice, insurance or loans.

7. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

FERPA was enacted in 1974 in the US as a way to protect student education records.

  • What Does It Regulate? FERPA protects student records from the time they enter school to the time they leave — including post-secondary universities and colleges. It also regulates who is allowed to receive the individual’s records. For example, parents can request access to school records before a student turns 18, but those rights transfer once the student is of age.
  • Which Industries Does It Apply to? Any school that receives funds through the U.S. Department of Education.

How to Ensure Your Business Is IT Compliant

If you don’t meet IT compliance, at best, your organization could receive some hefty fines. But regulations are put in place for a reason — and that’s usually to protect consumers from having their data stolen. A data breach could not only cost you a lot of money, but it might also violate your customers’ trust, making it hard to keep your business afloat.

Compliance isn’t easy, especially when you’re already focused on everything else that comes with running a business. To keep these regulations from hanging over your head, partner with KMicro to manage your IT compliance.

We’re experts in helping businesses keep up with their IT compliance requirements and avoid fines and breaches. Whether you need help with software patches, implementing a BYOD policy or managing your third-party contracts, our team of IT security experts will help you meet all the necessary regulations and put your mind at ease.

Schedule an appointment with one of our IT experts or call us now for more information: 949-284-7264.

In-House Vs Outsourcing IT: How to Make the Right Choice for Your Business

Every modern business depends on technology to maintain a productive work environment – and technology requires expert IT staff to maintain, manage, deploy and secure.

Choosing whether to outsource your IT department or keep it in-house is not an easy decision. You have to consider cost, convenience, reliability and more. So which option is right for your business?

In this blog, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of keeping your IT department in-house vs. outsourcing it to a managed IT services company.

Benefits of In-House IT

Hiring a dedicated team or staff member who knows the ins and outs of your IT infrastructure has a few advantages.

1. They know your business inside and out. In-house IT staff understand how your team members use their computers and know your infrastructure in and out. They’re invested in your company’s success and have relationships with your employees, so they’ll be driven to create solutions that work for everyone.

2. They can respond quickly. When a disaster or problem strikes, time is of the essence. An in-house IT team can respond immediately when technical issues arise. With a simple tap on the shoulder or call to an extension, a staff member can start working on the issue quickly. Quick response times can reduce downtime and remediate potential damage before they cause more damage.

3. You have more control. You have more control over response times and the quality of work when IT is under your management. You can ensure your team is trained on the exact IT solutions you need and keep costs under control with a budget for that department.

While an in-house team might work slower than an outsourced IT company, that team can also come up with comprehensive solutions and the documentation that will go along with them, while an outsourced IT company might charge extra for additional projects.

Disadvantages of In-House IT

While keeping IT staff in-house has obvious benefits, you have some significant downsides to keep in mind.

1. It’s expensive. When you hire an IT staff member, you have to consider the cost of their payroll, benefits and onboarding. You also need to factor in the costs of continuous training and certification to keep your team current on the latest technologies.

According to PayScale, the average salary alone for an IT manager is more than $85,000 per year. IT professionals have very competitive wages because of their in-demand skills – so if your salary doesn’t match what they’ve seen online, you’ll have a hard time retaining talent.

2. It’s not always available. You won’t only need IT support during the regular nine-to-five work week. Emergencies can arise on weekends or after hours when your employees might not be available. And you will probably be expected to pay time-and-a-half for work during the holidays.

3. It will fall behind. Support tickets and critical software patches can pile up quickly — especially if your internal department is small or a staff member takes time off. As a result, instead of spending time keeping up with new trends and technologies, your staff is constantly putting out fires and addressing low-level support issues for non-technical staff members.

Benefits of Outsourcing IT

Outsourcing a portion or all of your IT department to an expert managed services company has many benefits.

1. You gain a team of experts. As mentioned above, hiring expert internal staff and keeping up with evolving IT needs is expensive and time consuming. Managed IT services providers offer a team of experts in every area of technology, from cybersecurity to system administration and data management.

Outsourced IT companies also have the equipment and technology partnerships needed to modernize your infrastructure, which keeps you from having to purchase assets that may become outdated in a few years.

2. You can access them 24/7. An in-house team might have faster response times, but that’s usually only the case during a typical workday.

A managed IT company will provide you with 24/7 support and emergency services, so even if you do experience downtime, you can get back online quickly. And you won’t be limited to — or have to pay extra for — nights, weekends and holidays.

3. The quality of service is high. An outsourced technology partner is invested in your business because it wants to keep your business. They typically only have as long as the initial contract to keep you engaged, so they have to continue proving their benefits to your company.

You can also hire an IT company with proven experience in your industry so you don’t have to stress about industry regulations or compliance.

4. They’re typically more cost-effective. While it might seem cheaper to hire one or two staff members on the surface, you still have to consider all of the costs of maintaining employees, such as hiring replacements, raises, benefits, training and sick leave.

An outsourced IT company typically has a fixed monthly cost, and you don’t have to pay extra to maintain training or address a data outage after hours.

5. Your internal resources can grow the business. When you offload the daily burden of technology to another company, your staff can dedicate more time to growing your business and creating innovative solutions.

Disadvantages of Outsourcing IT

Outsourcing IT can save you tons of time, money and stress – but you still need to consider the potential downsides.

1. You have less control. You won’t be able to control your IT functions as well as you could with an in-house team. While you can work closely with your managed IT company to set goals and priorities, you won’t be able to monitor what they’re doing or change direction as easily.

Scheduling frequent meetings with your managed services company will help keep them accountable and help you maintain visibility.

2. You might have difficulty with communication. Because outsourced IT companies operate off-site, you may run into communication challenges.

You won’t see your IT team members in person very often, and you may not receive responses as quickly as you’d like. However, if you prefer a hands-off approach and fully trust your IT company to make the right decisions, communication shouldn’t be a major issue.

Outsource Your IT Services With KMicro

When it comes to managing IT, you need a solution that allows you to focus your energy on reaching your business goals without having to stress about technology.

If you think outsourcing your IT will provide the peace you’re looking for, contact KMicro. Our managed IT services experts are committed to helping your business fully embrace the potential of your technology – without any of the stereotypical downsides of outsourced IT.

Whether your IT guy needs a little extra support or you’re looking for a fully outsourced IT department, we’ve got your back. We offer proven top-notch service, 24/7 support and affordable monthly costs to keep you stress-free and running in top shape.

Ready to learn more? Set up an appointment with one of our IT experts or give us a call now for more information: 949-284-7264.

What Is Shadow IT? 5 Risks of Shadow IT and How to Avoid Them

The popularity of cloud computing is driving rapid growth of application use in the workplace. It’s easier than ever for employees to download cloud applications that will help them be more productive and efficient.

Unfortunately, some of these applications operate as shadow IT.

In this blog, you’ll learn what shadow IT is, why it exists and the common risks your business should watch out for.

What Is Shadow IT?

Shadow IT refers to IT applications, hardware and software that are managed without the knowledge of the IT department. Shadow IT has become most prevalent in the form of cloud applications because of how easy they are to download and the increasing number of productivity applications available.

The average company uses 1,083 cloud services, but the IT department only knows about 108 of them. Many employees feel comfortable downloading any application or cloud service as long as it makes their jobs easier.

And it does make their jobs easier. Modern software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications help employees hit their stride with tasks, manage their time and interact more efficiently with coworkers – but at what cost?

Shadow IT Risks and Challenges

When the IT department doesn’t have visibility into the SaaS apps that employees and departments are using, security and compliance risks arise. Here are five of the biggest shadow IT risks every business should be wary of:

1. Security Gaps
Shadow IT introduces security gaps to an organization. Because it hasn’t been vetted by the IT department, shadow IT doesn’t undergo the same security procedures as other supported technologies.

While some unsupported SaaS applications seem harmless, others might encourage sharing sensitive data between groups or recording calls for transcription services. IT staff needs to know what apps are in use and how they might put your company at risk of data breaches and other liabilities.

2. Compliance and Regulations
To protect consumers and other businesses, governmental organizations have created regulations and standards, such as Software Asset Management (SAM) and ISO/IEC 20000.

SAM compliance helps businesses manage the procurement of software licenses, but shadow IT prevents an organization from having proper documentation and approval of such licenses. Discovery of unapproved software can force government entities to audit a company’s infrastructure, leading to hefty fines or even jail time.

Organizations also adopt ISO/IEC 20000 to demonstrate quality and security to their customers and service providers. But these efforts are wasted if system documentation doesn’t reflect reality.

3. Configuration Management
It’s important (and necessary) for IT departments to create a configuration management database (CMDB) to help identify how systems work together. When an unauthorized application or piece of hardware is introduced, it likely won’t be supported or added to the CMBD because IT is merely unaware of its existence. Shadow IT can disrupt the delicate workflows the IT department has spent months or years configuring.

4. Collaboration Inefficiencies
When employees rely on different applications from department to department, collaboration becomes inefficient.

For example, if one department uses Google Drive for file sharing while another uses Box, what happens when the two teams need to work together on a project? How many times will one document get uploaded, edited and downloaded between the two services?

The average organization uses 57 different file-sharing services. Imagine how much easier collaboration would be if your company reduced that number to two or three enterprise licenses.

5. Poor IT Visibility
Lastly, while SaaS applications don’t seem like they take up too much space, the wrong one can severely impact bandwidth and efficiency. If one team relies on a shadow IT application that breaks down, the IT department won’t have the knowledge or documentation to fix it. Think about the chaos of having to get a time-sensitive project out that might ensue.

Many third-party applications were never meant to be part of your infrastructure in the first place — at least not without IT’s knowledge — so when a major update occurs that doesn’t mesh with your infrastructure, your IT team could be sent scrambling.

How to Manage Shadow IT

The best strategies for managing shadow IT include creating policies to oversee and monitor new applications.

While third-party applications can introduce serious security and compliance concerns, you also don’t want to stifle your employees by preventing them from downloading a product that could make them more productive.

Instead, embrace the idea that seeking out new technologies that can make their jobs easier. Establish policies that encourage employees to go to IT when they want to request a new application. It’s imperative that you keep the relationship between IT and the rest of the company open and honest.

Creating this open relationship between your IT department and your company isn’t the easiest thing to do. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone.

KMicro offers a host of cybersecurity solutions to help businesses gain control over and visibility into their shadow IT. We can help you identify the applications your employees are using without your knowledge, consolidate your cloud services and get everyone back on the same page.