10

Dec

2020

The Pandemic is Coming in Rip Tides, Not Waves. Is your Office and Staff Prepared?

 

We are now officially in what is being called the second wave of Covid-19. The reality is that these waves so far are smaller than prior pandemics, in most part to the fast-moving responses of governments and businesses in Canada. The impact when these waves hit can be tremendous though due to these responses (shutdowns, social distancing orders, capacity limitations, localized isolations, etc.). Unlike a gentle wave, these effects are more like riptides and if you are not prepared for it, they will pull your business under.

With the numbers rising again, and new response measures in place, employers are continuing to embrace work from home arrangements. Some smaller companies have returned to the office, and a few have a date set in mind for a potential return, but many want to keep the work from home regime alive and are in no rush to have their employers return to the office, especially with all the remaining uncertainty.

We are going to have to prepare for at least some or all our offices to be in lockdown over the next year. As waves of the pandemic come through your staff may have to self isolate because one of their kids encountered another kid at their school. They may have come into the office and had contact with other staff members. Your local community may be shifted back to a Stage 2 or Stage 1 lockdown to prevent community spread of the virus.

The key to remember is that you will have no control over this, and neither will your staff.

Collaboration tools have moved from “nice to have” to MUST haves, and you must have the right tools for your organization - not just what may be conveniently available at the time. What tools can allow your team to work as seamlessly as they would in the office? Can GoToMeeting sufficiently replace in person meetings? If you need to host a larger event, will you invest in GoToWebinar? Are Jive phone systems, and Microsoft Teams the right tools to allow continuous communication throughout your organization? If so, you need to ensure your team, and organization is equipped with these tools from the comfort of their own home offices.

Having your entire team working from home, or potentially “anywhere” can propose some problems. The biggest problem being security, which is closely followed by bandwidth. With your team working away from the office, your organization is going to have more files moving across the network. This is going to cause a slower and more painful user experience, and because of these users are going to begin taking shortcuts that could potentially compromise security. Creating a Virtual Desktop may be one of the most important things you do for your employees and your organization. Your team will have access to your organization's network so they can safely access and share documents with one another in a protected environment no matter where they are working from.

Lastly, since this pandemic has gone on for much longer than anyone had initially anticipated it is crucial to ensure your team is comfortable in their home-office. Providing your employees with the right tools such as laptops, webcams, printers, phones, and headsets could make all the difference within their day to day duties and allow the work from home experience to not feel so far away from the reality of working in office.

TIG has a team of experts who can help you put together a unique plan for your organization. We will work with you to learn more about your organization, what your goals and needs are, if they have changed, and deliver a full rounded package of products and services that will have you and your team prepared for long-term success.

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31

Jan

2020

The Impact of Digital Transformation on Printing

Few people think about printing as part of a Digital Transformation effort. Here’s why you should. #managedprint #digitaltransformation

The Impact of Digital Transformation on Printing
Increasing customer value by rethinking your print environment

When business leaders talk about Digital Transformation, they often talk about the kind of technologies that generate headlines, like AI, block chain, or predictive analytics. But often the most important transformations feature technologies that rarely make headlines, technologies that most employees use every day. Like printers.

While printing behavior has changed dramatically in recent years, few businesses are getting close to going paperless. From contracts to marketing and sales materials, printed materials remain an essential part of the daily workflow for many businesses. And, like other technologies, printing devices and materials are constantly being improved by manufacturers to incorporate new security features, new networking protocols and new data access and reporting capabilities. Just keeping pace with the changes and opportunities that impact your business can be challenging enough, but Digital Transformation challenges us all to do more.

How Print Network Improvements Deliver Customer Value
If "Digital Transformation" seems like a vague idea, you're not alone. People have used it to mean anything from "moving to the cloud" to deploying whatever the latest and greatest technology is that's being promoted for your industry. But the idea behind Digital Transformation is more fundamental than rolling out new technology. It means streamlining and updating your corporate workflows and culture to utilize technologies that improve the value delivered to customers.

Because every business is unique, Digital Transformation is unique to every business. Depending on how your business uses print in your daily workflows, Digital Transformation for print can generate value in several ways.

1. Streamlining business workflows to serve customers faster. Business processes that rely on print often also rely on distributing printed materials to stakeholders and decision-makers, which takes time. Modern print systems can be leveraged to send print jobs to remote offices, or even just across the building, in ways that can cut decision-making or sign-off cycles by hours or even days.
2. Lower-cost color, size and premium materials. New printing inks, formats and paper types are continually improving the quality and professionalism of customer-facing products, and adding value to customer products. In the Architecture, Engineering and Construction industry, for example, low-cost color printing has been shown to reduce change orders stemming from misread drawings and schematics.
3. Reducing costs that can be passed on to customers. Companies that adopt Managed Print Services are typically saving from 20-30% on the cost of printing. When these reductions in cost can be passed on to customers, you're generating value for customers, which is the heart of Digital Transformation.
4. Safeguarding customer data. It's no secret that customer data has become a high-value target for hackers, and print networks have emerged as a weak link in the corporate fire wall . If your networked printers are out of date, upgrading them to more effectively protect your customer's data is an important improvement in delivering value to your customers.

How Print Network Improvements Deliver Customer Value
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13

Dec

2019

Hyper Converged Infrastructure, 2019

With global hyper-converged sales now accounting for around 47 percent of the total converged systems market, Dell has been innovating rapidly with VMware in the space. VxRail, which is jointly engineered alongside VMware, is the foundation for the company’s Dell’s Cloud architecture. VxRail enhancements this year includes new systems based on the latest Intel and PowerEdge server technologies. HCI is not the right fit for everyone, although facing stiff competition from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell remains the worldwide leader in servers and storage.

The CI/HCI world continues to evolve and do so quickly. This space did not exist as a tangible market six or seven years ago. Now enterprise IT groups are evaluating CI/HCI solutions with almost every new application deployment, VDI deployment, or infrastructure refresh/growth investment. This topic is one that is discussed in almost every meeting. Here at TIG we would to sit down with you and your team to begin the evaluation of CI/HCI and how these technologies could benefit or transform your business. CI/HCI solutions set the stage for massive IT transformation through elimination of silos and creation of green-field environments for IaaS and PaaS platforms.

 

 

Companies storing data on the cloud face multiple regulatory and compliance hurdles. In addition, economies such as Turkey have regulations that require data to be stored locally, in turn, boosting the demand for HCI systems across the globe. Hyper converged infrastructure (HCI) systems allow organizations to keep data safe in their on premise data centers, and provide multiple data protection features such as snapshots, replication, and encryption. These systems also include features such as redundant array of independent disks (RAID) and erasure coding, which helps to keep multiple copies of data in different systems. Some systems also come with built-in disaster recovery features, which aid in preventing business downtime. Such enhanced data protection offered by HCI systems will boost their adoption during the forecast period.

Here at TIG, as a growing solutions provider, we are acutely aware of the ever-changing demographics and needs in our various customer markets and how these changes influence future technology. For the past 36 years, TIG has consistently delivered innovative technology solutions to an expanding diverse customer base in enterprise, government agency, educational and SMB markets. Our ability to stay agile strengthens us and this commitment is a vital part of our business achievements and essential to our customer’s long-term sustainability. From software and hardware procurement to discovery assessments, strategic planning, deployment, data center optimization, IT asset management and cloud computing, TIG offers custom-built IT solutions for our customers around the globe.

,p>Our Mission TIG will earn its place as a trusted partner to our clients providing only the highest level of service, value and advanced technology to power their strategic business goals.

Solutions Architect
Technology Integration Group

https://www.gartner.com/doc/reprints?id=1-1XUE085H&ct=191202&st=sb&utm_source=gartner-launch&utm_medium=email

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13

Dec

2019

Cutting Costs and Increasing Sustainability with Managed Print

Cutting Costs and Increasing Sustainability with Managed Print

Saving Energy, Cut Supply Costs, Reduce Paper and Electronic Waste

It's no secret that printing can be costly for a business, both in terms of printing supplies and generating waste. In an age of increasing concern for sustainable business practices, it's nice to know that going green with your printing practices can also leave more green in your wallet. Advances in energy efficiency, recycling programs and printer management can help you save cash while also helping save the planet.

Over the past decade, printer manufacturers like HP that offer Energy Star certified product and have improved energy efficiency in HP LaserJet printers up to 56%, are passing those savings directly to customers. Reductions in materials used in printers, and an increase in the use of recycled materials, also reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing. Through all phases of development, HP works hard to deliver a high-quality printing system that not only meets the needs of your busy office, but also helps maintain your indoor air quality.

How Printer Upgrades can Save You Money

When it comes time to upgrade to a new printer, recycling programs further minimize the impact of electronic waste. HP offers periodic programs for managing printers at their end of life, including buyback programs for retired devices, recycling programs to manage asset disposal, donation programs for printers that still have some use left, and trade in programs that let you trade any brand of printer toward the purchase of a new HP printer. These programs run for a limited time, but we can help you identify and access available programs when the time is right.

Since every action can make a difference, if you're managing a business with a lot of printing, updating your network can make a big impact. As we discussed in a recent post about the trend toward Managed Print Services, fast-growing businesses routinely find themselves at some point with sprawling printer networks that include a number of outdated, less secure and less efficient printers distributed throughout the business. Taming the sprawl is usually an investment in security and print efficiency, and improved workplace sustainability can be a substantial benefit.

Using Managed Print Services to Optimize Your Print Network

The solution for getting a print network under control with Managed Print Services usually starts with an inventory of print assets, a study of workplace printing needs and practices, and an improved map to allocate the right mix of workgroup, desktop and multifunction printers to maximize user efficiency. To improve security and reduce the cost of management, it typically makes sense to centralize on one brand and printer operating system to eliminate unnecessary complexities.

As these changes are made, the benefits of energy efficiency, improved materials, recycling and trade-in programs across the printer network all add up to a more substantial savings in cost, and in environmental impact. Add to that the use of environmentally responsible papers and paper recycling, and businesses that produce a lot of printing can generate significant savings while also improving network security and workplace efficiency.

If you have an office print ecosystem that has grown out of control, we can help you tame it. We'll assess your current network and work with you to design a system with significant improvements in security, efficiency and sustainability, while helping you cut costs with more effective print management and use of supplies. To find out how to get started

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19

Nov

2019

Eliminating the Weakest Security Link on Your Network

Eliminating the Weakest Security Link on Your Network

How to eliminate printer vulnerabilities as a prime target on your corporate network

When network security breaches hit the news, headlines typically focus on the scale of the breach, the number of records compromised, and the cost of the breach in lawsuits and recovery. What often gets buried in the details is the surprisingly mundane ways hackers find their way into networks to steal data and cause mayhem, including an open door through networked printers.

Until recently, most people would not have considered a printer to be a doorway to their otherwise secure network. But as IT security becomes more hardened, hackers have been creative in finding softer targets. In the last year, attacks on printers as network gateways has exploded, often with dramatic results.

How Networked Printers Can Become an Open Door

Last December, one hacker discovered hundreds of thousands of printers with open network ports on a service called Shodan, which systematically polls every IPv4 address on the internet, tries to log on with manufacturer default passwords, and details any information it can gather including open ports. The hacker selected 50,000 printers with open ports, and sent instructions to every one of them to print a message.

The attack was fairly innocuous--the victims simply saw their printer deliver an unexpected message. But the exploit opened the floodgates for other hackers who would go on expand on the technique to use networked printers as access points to the network. Once on the network, the threats and vulnerabilities become exponential.

Ways Printers Can be Used in Cyberattacks

Using networked printers as an unsecured gateway to a business network is only one kind of vulnerability. Even if hackers aren't able to use your printer as a gateway, there other types of attacks on printers that cause damage and unexpected losses:

  • Printer attacks can be used to intercept documents queued for printing--including contracts, business plans, presentations and personnel matters.
  • Data and documents stored temporarily on printer hard disks can be accessed and stolen.
  • Multi-function printers can be hacked to mail out documents to external sources.
  • Attacks on printers, including mass printing of unexpected documents, can be used to cause a distraction from another kind of attack or crime.

In one recently uncovered case, North Korean hackers regularly disabled the printers used by targeted banks to confirm monetary transfers, while creating transfers of cash into a remote bank account.

Securing Your Printers Against Cyberattacks

The vulnerability of printers has been known for several years, and yet repeated surveys by security firms like Kaspersky show that businesses have been slow to respond with even the most basic security protocols. Here are some of the most important steps to take to secure your printers.

  1. Change the default login credentials.
  2. Monitor security updates for your printers as frequently as you monitor updates for your computers.
  3. Ensure your printers are covered within your network security protocols, including managing open ports.
  4. Disable any networking protocols your employees don't need, like Telnet and FTP.
  5. Isolate your printers on a local network and disable out-of-network connections.
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