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By the DynaSis Team

With bad news about cybercrime appearing daily, many small and midsized business (SMB) owners may be wondering, “How vulnerable am I?” After all, most of the news accounts of data breaches and other attacks relate to major companies, governmental entities, and other very large targets.

Unfortunately, the reason SMBs aren’t making headlines is because they don’t make great news, not because they aren’t favored targets. A quick Internet search will turn up dozens of stories about the vulnerability of SMBs, as a group. In 2011, Symantec’s annual Internet Security Threat Report found that companies with fewer than 250 employees constituted 18 percent of targeted attacks. In the 2016 report, that figured had risen to 43 percent, with SMBs being the most heavily targeted group.

Why are SMBs so attractive? Major corporations have big security budgets, and they can afford to implement the latest techniques to protect their networks. Many have teams of security specialists whose primary tasks are to keep cybercriminals at bay. SMBs don’t have these types of resources, and hackers know that.

Nevertheless, the vulnerability of SMBs wouldn’t be enough, by itself, to make them targets. If hackers had to expend days, or even hours, finding and attacking a vulnerable SMB in exchange for a handful of proprietary information, they wouldn’t do it. Fortunately for the hackers, they don’t need to.

An entire ecosystem of cybercrime tools now exists, and many of them are freely available. Hackers have also learned they can turn groups of vulnerable systems into “botnets.” Here, multiple computing devices are interconnected and used to scan the Internet, looking for compromised websites to hijack, open corporate network connections to infiltrate, and other inadequately protected resources. Making matters worse, cybercriminals continue developing new attack tools and approaches, and even large organizations have a hard time keeping up.

For SMBs, becoming a victim at some point is a near certainty. In fact, most experts no longer counsel organizations that they can completely prevent a breach. Rather, the goal is to mitigate the damage when one happens.

Fortunately, it is neither expensive nor complicated to secure your firm and its resources and substantially reduce your odds of attack. It is also possible to implement automated mechanisms that will detect penetration and stop it, quickly. However, these tools are sophisticated and it is usually neither practical nor cost effective for in-house IT support teams to manage them.

For most SMBs, contracting with a managed services provider or an IT solutions firm is the most effective way of implementing and managing stringent IT security. However, not all IT consulting or IT support companies are created equal. Some are more security focused than others, with certified professionals and the latest technologies at their disposal.

To help organizations better understand cyber security and the considerations for hiring outside IT security assistance, DynaSis has developed two white papers: Cyber-Security 2016 and Managed IT Security. Both are complimentary downloads on our site. In future blogs, we will drill down into greater detail about cyber security, so stay tuned!

Selection of an IT outsourcing company is a very important business decision. For almost a quarter century, Atlanta’s small to mid-sized businesses have relied on DynaSis’ for managed IT services, internet security, and 24 x 7 x 365 helpdesk support. Today, with cybercrime becoming an ever-increasing threat, DynaSis has become an industry leader in network protection and ransomware prevention. Please take a tour through our website at or speak with a technical expert at 678.218.1769.


By the DynaSis Team

Several recent reports have highlighted the growing importance for small and midsized businesses (SMBs) of outsourcing their IT functions. There is also new evidence that SMB owners are actively embracing the use of managed services.

Per a 2015 report from the MSPAlliance, an international association of cloud computing and managed services providers (MSPs), North American firms spend approximately $154 billion annually for managed services. The MSPAlliance also reports that SMBs are at the top of the list, in terms of adoption. Benefits cited by the SMBs contracting for managed IT services include increased operational performance, decreased operational risk, reduced IT costs and accelerated innovation.

The IT solutions offered as managed services range from computing, storage and networking resources to mobility strategy and management, expert, 24/7 support for users, and even telephony services. Some IT support companies offer ongoing monitoring, management and maintenance of the underlying infrastructure (with service guarantees).

The most engaged MSPs also offer IT consulting and strategic planning services to help organizations create roadmaps of upgrades and improvements, maximizing budget while minimizing downtime. With all of these options potentially—but not necessarily—available, SMB decision makers considering managed services must both identify their own priorities and vet their candidates carefully. Following are a few issues to consider.

In the long run, many organizations find that contracting with an MSP for all IT services is the most cost-effective solution. This is especially true when the provider offers proactive monitoring and problem resolution, which is proven to reduce outages significantly. With virtually all SMB staff requiring computing resources, IT outages quickly become costly based on wasted staff resource alone. When the cost of lost sales and goodwill are factored in, the price tag is even higher. For even the smallest providers, the new reality is that uptime is no longer optional.

Selection of an IT outsourcing company is a very important business decision. For almost a quarter century, Atlanta’s small to mid-sized businesses have relied on DynaSis’ for managed IT services, internet security, and 24 x 7 x 365 helpdesk support. Today, with cybercrime becoming an ever-increasing threat, DynaSis has become an industry leader in network protection and ransomware prevention. Please take a tour through our website at or speak with a technical expert at 678.218.1769.

By the DynaSis Team


IT consultants for many firms, whether they promote themselves as IT support companies or managed service providers, will tell you they are going to “monitor and manage” your systems and/or network. Others may say they specialize in “network and systems administration.” As a business owner seeking the most protection for your IT systems—and value for your investment—you likely wonder, what does this mean? Are all these types of services the same? How do they protect me and my company?

These are important questions you should ask of any current or prospective IT provider. To help you evaluate the answers you receive, here is some background.

From a generic perspective, network and system monitoring and management means keeping an eye on your network (and potentially its devices) and your servers or other IT hardware, to enable intervention before or after problems arise. Network and systems administration, generically, means the same thing, although some providers who “administer” do not “monitor.”

For a reactive IT solutions provider, this could mean looking at weekly or monthly logs (reports) of system “error codes” to see if anything might be going wrong. If the provider notes any obvious problems, they might notify the customer and ask if they want follow up (often for an additional fee). Alternately, they might not report the aberration but instead will note it, in case problems occur down the road. Neither of these approaches is cost effective in the long-run, and they also don’t promote system stability.

A proactive managed IT services firm, on the other hand, will likely provide remote monitoring. The service will scan the network and systems for problems, analyzing traffic and other information using advanced processes to identify signs of impending trouble. It will also create alerts for changing conditions, such as the need for system updates. The IT provider’s staff will have access to real-time performance data and can intervene to troubleshoot, respond to alerts and more, which helps to avert serious trouble before it occurs. (We call this issue avoidance.)

Proactive versus reactive IT service is an important distinction, as the examples above show. Some IT providers follow what we call a “break-fix” model—“If it breaks, we will come fix it.” Firms like this are at the far end of the reactive spectrum. They rarely have the ability to perform any automated monitoring or proactive troubleshooting and issue avoidance. Providers such as these may try to minimize the value of proactive services, asserting they are not worth the expense. Some will even mislead potential customers with obscure service descriptions.

In our experience, proactive network and system monitoring can dramatically increase system uptime, more than paying for itself in productivity gains. For small and midsized businesses hoping to grow and thrive, it provides another benefit. Per a study conducted by IT automation firm Kaseya, using remote, automated monitoring tools for both routine tasks and problem avoidance enables personnel to spend more time on strategic projects that drive productivity—and the success of the business.

DynaSis has been providing managed IT support services to Metro Atlanta’s small to midsized businesses since 1992. We provide Availability – making sure your network is up and running; Mobility – allowing your employees world-wide access to your network; and Security – as an Internet security company, we resolve “issues” before they grow into problems. If you want to learn more, please visit, or call us at 678.218.1769.

By the DynaSis Team

When we speak with companies for the first time, one activity we always suggest is an IT Assessment. Unless a firm has recently had an assessment—or is so well organized and disciplined that it’s systems and network are always up to date and running at peak condition—an IT Assessment can be an instrumental planning tool.

Yet, some business leaders don’t understand the value of an IT Assessment, or they are worried it will be too disruptive to their business. Others are concerned that the true purpose of the assessment is to sell them expensive upgrades they cannot afford.

If you have refused an offer of an IT Assessment for these or other reasons, and you have never experienced the benefits of an IT assessment, we hope you will read this article. In the rapidly evolving world of technology, firms simply cannot decide where they want to go, and then plan to go there in a cost-effective, practical fashion, until they have had an IT Assessment.

Many companies work with technology every day without any idea of the condition of their IT networks and whether their systems are functioning at an optimal, or even an acceptable level. Most do not fully know what IT assets (hardware and software) are in use. Without this information, a business decision maker cannot possibly prioritize and manage the technology initiatives that minimize downtime, security holes and other operating problems. An IT Assessment provides exactly the insight and visibility that organizations need to gain this knowledge and prepare for a brighter technology future.

As was pointed out in a recent article on IT complexity and reliability (an interesting, if fairly high-level read): “Since it is impossible to avoid failures in IT systems, modern IT operations strive to minimize the impact of failure by increasing the responsiveness of systems (i.e. automatic failover) and people (i.e. incident response) when problems arise.”

There is no better way to start the process of increasing system responsiveness, and to gain beneficial insight into the problems that affect people (and are caused by them), than with an IT Assessment. Best of all, the most proficient Managed IT Service providers can conduct an IT assessment with minimal disruption to the workforce or corporate operations. Much of the information gathering can be handled by running an assessment tool that only collects system and inventory information and does not collect any company data, causing little to no system impact.

DynaSis recently released a white paper entitled “The Value of an IT Assessment.” It offers more information on how organizations benefit from IT Assessments and details what they should expect when they engage in them. We invite you to read it at your convenience.

DynaSis has been providing managed IT support services to Metro Atlanta’s small to midsized businesses since 1992. We provide Availability—making sure your network is up and running; Mobility— allowing your employees world-wide access to your network; and Security—as an Internet security company, we resolve “issues” before they grow into problems. If you want to learn more, please visit, or call us at 678.218.1769.

By the DynaSis Team

In looking at disaster recovery options, we recently came across an interesting article on “future proofing a colocated data center.” It offers suggestions for how companies can make the right choice when hiring another company to “colocate” their data (replicate it to a second location). It focuses on companies that are moving away from  maintaining their own data centers, and it’s an interesting read.

Didster recovery options you should considerIt made us think about the specific questions business leaders should ask an IT service provider regarding off-site data storage, not only for backup but also for disaster recovery. Increasingly, business decision makers are realizing that creating and storing physical backups, whether onsite or offsite, is a tedious task and often not the most practical choice. Especially in the case of a true disaster, like the tornados that swept through the south last week, being able to access business data quickly, if not immediately, rather than going through an arduous restore process with new equipment, can truly be a business lifesaver.

Three top issues in disaster recovery

Today, let’s consider three top issues that business leaders should never take for granted when purchasing hosted disaster recovery services—and yet, they often do.

Availability: Does the provider own or lease data center space at a location that is geologically, politically and economically stable? Many business owners know that weather is a consideration, but what about data centers hosted outside the U.S., or even data centers in economically challenged areas within the U.S.? Before you purchase data storage and retrieval services, make sure you are comfortable with the location where your data will be stored.

Resource Continuity: Does the facility have multiple independent power sources, on-site power generation that is reliable and can run for a long time (preferably, a week or more), and redundant Internet connectivity options, such as both Internet service and telecommunications providers? If the data center relies on a local water source for cooling, is the water source stable, year-round? A data center is only as reliable as the resources that service it.

Stability: How about the stability of the company running the data center? Does the firm have a long history of stable operation, or has it recently changed hands? Does the firm that will manage your data stores (whether they own their data center or lease it) have in-house personnel working for you, or do they rely on independent contractors or offshore assistance?

Furthermore, are you comfortable with the escalation process if a disaster occurs, or if you have a question or problem? It does little good to have your data stored in a safe, available facility if you cannot get anyone to help you in the middle of the night. Remember that during a true disaster, the provider’s staff may be the only team that's available to keep your business in operation.

All of these details, and more, should be spelled out in your SLA—Service Level Agreement. Don’t take anyone’s word or assurance that a feature or function is guaranteed. Get it in writing.

Specializing in managed IT services and network security, Atlanta based DynaSis has been supporting small to midsized business for almost a quarter century. Among the services we provide are cloud computing through the DynaSis Business Cloud, 24 x 7 x 365 helpdesk support, and real-time monitoring enabling us to deal with “issues” before they become problems. For more information, please call DynaSis at 678.218.1769 or visit


By the DynaSis Team

Of the many sources of organizational risk that business leaders envision, printers likely aren’t one of them. Admittedly, one could run out of paper or toner/ink right before printing a major presentation for a customer. But other than that, how much risk can a printer pose? In today’s connected environment, the answer is “a lot.”

If your printers are networked, which means employees can send jobs to them from their desks or devices, then your printer is tied in with your network, and anyone who can access your printer can access your network. If you are thinking, “but my printer isn’t connected to the Internet, so how could someone gain access?” think again.

If your personnel connect to the Internet, and they connect to your printers, then the two are tied together. Furthermore, some printers automatically send and receive information, such as driver updates, across the Internet without anyone’s knowledge. That creates an additional layer of vulnerability.

Another way your printer can expose you to risk is through storage. Do your printers have the ability to store jobs for later printing? If so, they can (and likely do) retain information after the fact. Most printers have a “cache” for storing information, if not a designated hard drive, and unless someone clears it, the information is there for the taking.

Even assuming no one steals data from the printer while it is at your office, what happens when you sell or trade the printer? Even if the drives and caches are wiped, in some cases it is possible to lift data images off drums and other printer components.

Protecting your printing transmissions and data is beyond the scope of this article, but we can refer you to a few good tips. Rather, our objective here is bigger. Your office printer is a concern, but it is just one example of how “risks” are all around business owners today, often in the most unexpected places. Savvy cybercriminals know this, and they are learning how to penetrate companies in odd ways, such as through a printer-driver update link that may not be detected by the “average” firewall.

We are not suggesting that business owners be cognizant of all these risks, themselves. We’re not even suggesting that they should take action to avoid all of them. Rather, business owners must be keenly aware that business risks can be anywhere and everywhere, and they must take prudent, considered action as risk relates to technology. That means:

To do anything less is to admit defeat. In that case, we recommend the business owner start planning an exit strategy, because that’s what he or she will need, next.

DynaSis has been Atlanta’s premier IT support services provider for more than 23 years. As an IT company working with small to midsized businesses (10 to 150+ users), DynaSis has developed a unique 12-layer approach to network threat protection, ransomware prevention and crypto virus threat elimination. The DynaSis Business Cloud functions through a highly secure environment with full real-time data backup. Please contact us at 678.218.1769 or visit our website at


By the DynaSis Team

As a company focused on IT solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), we generally think of risk reduction in terms of technology―either reducing the risk to the business if it experiences IT outages (for any reason) or reducing the risks if its security is breached. Nevertheless, we have always assumed that most businesses―and business writers―consider technology risk a part of the general topic of risk reduction and management.

While perusing the Internet recently, we were surprised to learn that many general risk reduction articles do not address technology, at all. We found discussions of a wide array of topics, from reviewing internal controls to practicing better worker safety. We also found numerous IT-related risk management articles, but most of them centered around either cyber security or disaster recovery.

Both of these discoveries were unsettling to us. The reality for SMBs is that technology risk is part of their general business risk, and it is a function of daily operation. It does not take a cyber attack or a major storm for a firm to be hobbled by inadequate IT risk management.

Consider the consequences if an employee accidentally spills coffee all over the back of his PC (or even worse, one of your servers) and it shorts out the internal logic boards. Alternatively, if one of your departments suddenly suffers several PC failures because you have not been able to plan for appropriate replacement cycles. Even something as minor as a mild summer storm can cause an IT mess if lightning hits your building, and you are not properly prepared.

Many companies lose business―and potentially customers―if they suffer an IT outage of even a few hours in a single department. Some that rely on the Internet can lose thousands of dollars in minutes if their site―or its connection to their inventory database―goes down.

Technology has enabled SMBs to do more with less―to look and operate like the “big guys” without having a global network of locations, warehouses all over the country, and other criteria that used to separate large enterprises from small ones. However, when technology replaces traditional operating methods, it also requires more attention.

Solid IT planning and administration can mitigate many of the “non-specific” risks associated with technology―the ones few people consider until they hit home. Working with IT experts to plan for replacement of aging equipment before it fails, for example, or planning for and implementing a remote access solution for your personnel to access corporate data and assets, are just two examples of how businesses can plan for and mitigate IT risk easily and at a reasonable cost.

At the end of the day, IT risk mitigation is a cost of doing business. Companies that embrace this reality and proactively work to achieve it save money, time and headaches, in the long run. As part of our IT support services, DynaSis has been helping its customers mitigate all nature of IT risks in their business. We’d be happy to help you create a workable plan to bring all your IT risks under control. We’ll begin with a simple technology assessment, which will pinpoint risks you did not even know you had. To learn more or get started, please give us a call.


By the DynaSis Team

Savvy business owners recognize that newer technology is faster and more efficient than outdated PCs, cellphones, and other hardware and devices. Nevertheless, for cash-strapped businesses seeking to maximize IT budgets, the question then becomes, is modern technology so much of an improvement that it is worth the expense? Short of replacing hardware when it dies, how can you calculate the value of replacing old hardware and devices with modern ones?

We’ll talk about that in a minute, but first, we wanted to share an interesting fact. During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Bob O’Donnell, program vice president for research firm IDC, noted that workers waste up to three days, per year, waiting for older devices to boot up or load web pages.

This is a metric that is easy for anyone to calculate. For example, if you are paying an employee $52,000 a year, plus benefits and paid time off (traditionally considered to add one-third to the labor cost), your labor expense is nearly $70,000 a year. That equates to roughly $266 per day.

If that person is working on an older PC, you are wasting as much as $798 a year in the time he or she waits for an outdated PC to perform these processing operations, compared to the time it would take on a new machine.

That factoid surprised us, and it exemplifies how the hidden costs of using outdated technology really add up. Of course, faced with small budgets and daily pressures, it is still easy for business owners to put upgrades off.

Allocating IT budgets effectively requires balancing between end-user costs, direct technology costs and the value of turning productivity losses into gains. That’s why we recommend that organizations not make upgrade decisions without considering the business use case and support model—for the duration of the lifecycle—of every system they currently own and will someday replace.

When an organization comes to us, we also urge its decision makers to order a DynaSis IT Assessment before making upgrade decisions. This non-invasive exploration maps and evaluates the company network, hardware, devices and other IT elements and returns suggestions for urgent and recommended improvements. Sometimes, the worst performers in the company—the machines that are destroying productivity or even causing damage to corporate operations or public reputation—aren’t obvious to the untrained eye.

When evaluating the benefits of upgrading to modern technology, companies should also consider the negative impacts of machine/device age, including performance (not only processing speed but also ability to run modern software), availability (downtime concerns) and security. Other considerations include usage (why and how employees interact with the system for work purposes) and mobility (whether or not the current hardware supports remote productivity).

By understanding all these factors, firms are in a much better position to recognize the single most important distinction in developing ROI—the difference between cost and value. Armed with that information, they can establish refresh cycles that not only eliminate the three days of wasted time we mentioned earlier but also reduce outages, increase worker satisfaction and increase competitive edge.

DynaSis offers on-demand CIO services, where virtual CIOs can give you as much assistance with evaluation and planning as you need. We also offer affordable IT design services and installation services. To learn more, we invite you to give us a call.


By the DynaSis Team

In last week’s blog, we introduced you to Shellshock, the software bug that has the entire technology world reeling due to its potential implications. Many firms, especially those with web servers, may have affected (but not necessarily infected) machines on their network and not even know it. Those with UNIX/Linux and Apple OS machines are at the highest risk level, but any network that connects to the Internet could be compromised by it.

As promised in last week’s article, this week we’ll talk a bit about network assessments and software audits. A network assessment is a process by which an in-house technical expert or a third-party provider evaluates all the devices running on a corporate network, including servers, desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones and all other connected devices. It’s an important preventive measure against Shellshock.

At a minimum, a network assessment should be able to scan and see all the network hardware and determine whether it is protected by security software and/or devices. It should also be able to determine if the network and its devices are properly configured for optimal performance. An advanced assessment will also include a software inventory (audit) of all the software running on every machine. This level of assessment is needed to give companies a total picture of their vulnerability to the Shellshock bug.

Equally important to corporate productivity, the individuals or company performing any network assessment should be able to conduct their exploration in the background, with no impact on network resources. If software-based “discovery agents” are used, they should transmit no sensitive data out of the network. They should also be virtually undetectable by system users and should leave behind no traces of their process.

Once complete, the results should be outlined in easy-to-read reports about the network, its security weaknesses and its performance issues, as well as in an overall “score” that gives management a solid, at-a-glance idea of how their network performs. The assessment package should also include suggestions for urgent, recommended and optional improvements, with details about the issues these changes will resolve and/or benefits they will provide.

At DynaSis, we perform network assessments using a custom-built, secure solution that meets all these criteria. However, we have worked with many organizations who ordered network assessments that did not meet some―or any―of these standards.

As a comparison for your own evaluation, here’s a list of what our network assessment findings include:

Even if your network assessment and software audit reveal that Bash isn’t in use on any of your machines, it will undoubtedly root out performance and/or security problems you didn’t realize were there. After all, nine out of 10 corporate networks have network issues that are hampering worker or company productivity.

To learn more about network assessments or to ask us questions about the current threat landscape, please fill out our inquiry form or give us a call at (770) 569-4600.


By the DynaSis Team

There’s an old adage that says, “You can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” With technology, we think it’s more accurate to say, “You can’t decide where you want to go unless you know where you are, right now.” Many companies work with technology every day without any real idea where they are―how well their networks are working, whether their systems are functioning efficiently or even what IT assets they have in the building.

Not knowing this information makes it impossible to prioritize and manage technology initiatives cost effectively, and it also opens the door to downtime, security issues and other problems, big and small. A great way to address such a knowledge gap is with a variety of IT assessments. Following are a few that we recommend to our customers.

Network Assessments: This procedure incorporates network performance tests to benchmark how efficiently and securely your network is running. The test is (or should be) followed by reports that identify network issues and weak spots and provide recommendations for resolving urgent network security and performance issues. Network assessments should also include a “risk score” and recommendations for better server and device configuration and management. They should be secure and invisible to company personnel when they are running (little to no effect on network performance.)

Asset Inventories: This process gives you a clear picture of what devices are operating in your business― and what applications are running on them (which also helps you explore whether or not you are in compliance with licensing requirements). In many cases, your network assessment will include an inventory of network-connected devices such as routers, printers, PCs, servers, etc. as well as an inventory of installed applications, which is why we recommend it, first.  (DynaSis’ network assessment includes this inventory.) Depending upon how many devices you have that are not network connected (and what their condition is), a second, physical assessment might also be appropriate.

Strategic Assessment: With this process, you explore and adjust (or develop) your current IT approaches and plans to ensure they support your business objectives. Usually conducted with a “CIO” level resource (either in-house or third-party), a strategic assessment moves beyond operation conditions to such considerations as optimal replacement cycles, anticipated challenges, future business plans and other aspects of business operation that involve technology. The result should be a comprehensive IT strategy that will reduce unplanned equipment downtime and replacement, boost productivity and keep budgets in check.

Would you like to explore where your company currently is, in terms of its IT solutions? Do you need help developing a workable yet proactive vision for the future? DynaSis offers all these assessments (and more), and we’d be glad to help. To learn more, fill out our inquiry form or give us a call at (770) 569-4600.

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