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Here at Sensible, we are devoted to delivering “Sensible” IT advisory and support services while continually identifying improvements. So, you have improved business operations, more productive staff, confidence in your technology, and predictable costs.

We use the same process and strategy to help improve our own business that we do for yours- that is how we know it works, and now others know it too.

We are proud to say that the program we have worked so hard on to create has landed us a spot on Channel Future’s 2020 MSP 501 list.

The success we can bring a client by providing them with IT business consulting and solutions is what drives us, so we are thrilled to be recognised for that work. In that spirit, we wanted to share with you the steps we take in analysing our client’s and our business’ technological opportunities. If your current provider is not helping you do this assessment or isn’t asking you these questions, your investment in them isn’t paying off as much as it could. You can book a call with us anytime here.

 

Identifying Technological Opportunities In Your Business

1. Get into the details.

The first thing we do with a new client is to sit down and learn as much as we can about their business’s goals, their current technological utilisation, and where their processes snag. We look to:

  • Understand the step by step of their workflows
  • Review the time it takes for tasks to be completed, and identify bottlenecks
  • Review historical trends for workloads, efficiency, profitability, etc.

The most important part about this step is that it needs to be repeated regularly. Businesses change and evolve and implementing data points you can track over time help keep us in-tune with how things are going.

Example: Every quarter we review our budget and ask ourselves, “how did we improve profitability this quarter”. This prompts us to analyse what we were able to implement to improve our efficiency and profitability and encourages us to find tweaks or new technology that can help us continue to improve.

2. Complete a SWOT analysis on your current technology solutions.

SWOT is a great organisational framework we use to take what we have learned and categorise it into a helpful and actionable format. We use the questions provided below to help organize our information into each category.

S- Strengths: What does the company do well, what resources does it already utilise well, and how is the company making the best use of information technology?

W- Weaknesses: What processes or services could the company improve, in what areas does our competition have the technological edge, and what technology should the business actually avoid?

O- Opportunities:  Think about new market opportunities and how technology is changing. Are there interesting trends in technology that you would like to try, are there industry-specific solutions that could elevate business operations?

T- Threats: What information security threats should the business be most concerned about, how would their business fair if the technology went down?

3. Identify high impact areas for growth.

We then take our SWOT analysis and pinpoint opportunities that play to the company’s strengths, reduce weaknesses, and we note potential threats to plan for. Then we do our research to find the perfect technological solutions, create an implementation plan, and budget out the project and any ongoing service necessary.

We would love the opportunity to learn more about your business and help find you technological solutions meant to help automate and improve your business, and thus your profitability. Book a call with our CEO, Katherine Spanner, and let’s get started.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT), has become a hot topic in the technology field. The exponential sophistication and adoption of devices have experts comparing this to the third industrial revolution from steam and power to computers, referring to this wave of new device usage as Industry 4.0 or the fourth iteration of industry as we know it.

IoT is already bigger than you might expect - from doorbells, security cameras, weather stations, smart workout gear, baby monitors, and even coffee pots are streaming data and connected to the internet. As with any cutting-edge technology, IoT does have its kinks that still need to be worked out. The biggest being the security threat that adding IoT devices poses to your network.

To read more on what is IoT: click here.

The Security Threat Posed By IoT Devices

The problem with IoT device security is that they are easily hacked, gateways to your entire network, and can't truly be protected by just a firewall.

In the first half of 2018, Kaspersky IoT honeypots detected 12 million attacks aimed at IoT devices coming from 69,000 IP addresses. By 2019 that increased to 105 million attacks from 276,000 IP addresses. Attempting to block all malicious IP addresses would be a huge and ineffective feat. Just recently, a Senior Researcher with Avast hacked into a WiFi-enabled coffee pot, devised a ransomware attack, and deployed it, causing the coffee pot to spew coffee and make noise until it was either unplugged or the ransom was paid.

The old castle-and-moat approach to cybersecurity - building an effective and strong firewall perimeter around your network, hasn't proven to be effective since smartphones and mobile devices have made working from home or on the go so easy. The more devices you connect, the higher the risk of a breach becomes.

How To Upgrade Your Security Approach For IoT Devices

Here at Sensible, we encourage the usage of IoT devices. They can be substantial productivity boosters, excellent solutions for your business needs, and can help your business scale. However, whenever introducing new devices to a client's network, we have to be cautious and mitigate the additional risk they pose to security. These are the steps we take to do so:

1. Evaluate the current security approach

As mentioned, only having a firewall isn't enough anymore. If we encounter a client that has not yet shed the castle-and-moat approach, we start by shifting their security to a more policy-based approach. Basically, this means we are adding extra security on the drawbridge over the moat. For every attempt to access the data, we put policies in place to prompt the user to verify they are who they are and that they should be accessing that information.

2. Be selective

With the addition of every IoT device, the security risks increase. We caution our clients against adding devices that they don't necessarily need. You shouldn't have to be accommodating for threats posed by your office coffee pot!

3. Research your options 

As the need for IoT devices increases, the market is being flooded by tons of new products. Just like in purchasing a new computer, you should do your research to understand if the device is good quality, has the features you need, is compatible with your existing systems, and can be secured. Working with an IT partner like us, we can make informed recommendations on what you should be looking for, and even source the devices for you.

4. Configure the IoT devices adequately

Once you have settled on the device you would like to add, make sure you have technical support when configuring it. The majority of devices do not come out of the box set up to be secure. We can help add additional security or enact the devices existing security measures to ensure it doesn't become a liability.

Client Success Story: Recently, we helped a medical research company implement video cameras in their lab so they could adequately observe and record sample changes 24/7. We were able to help them evolve their security approach, determine the necessary devices required to achieve the solution they needed, source cameras that were compatible with their existing network, could add necessary additional security and featured the live streaming and recording options the lab required.

If you have a business need, we can help you find a sensible solution. We love to help businesses improve by crafting and offering informed technology solutions. Book a call with us anytime, and we'd be happy to lend you our expertise.

We are all ingraining ourselves into an Internet of Things (IoT) world that, for the most part, benefits everyone – improving efficiency and keeping us connected to the devices and people that are important to us.

With the advancement of technology, almost every aspect of our lives generates data and sends us infromation over the internet. Smartwatches track our steps, smart doorbells keep us safe, smartphones know our location, video streaming services know what we like to watch and make recommendations, social media puts ads and posts in front of us that it knows we will like, our coffee pots even know when we would like our coffee made in the morning.

IoT is emerging as a powerful tool in the business world as well. IoT devices record and transfer data, and this can be applied to monitor important processes, give us new insights, boost efficiency, and allow companies to make more informed decisions. They can tell you what is really happening, rather then what you assume is happening.

 

So, what really is the Internet of Things?

IoT is a system of interrelated, internet-connected devices that can collect and transfer data over a wireless network. By combining these connected devices with automated systems, you can gather information, analyse it and draw conclusions to inform decisions better or take action to help someone with a particular task or learn from a process.

 

How can IoT help my business?

Here at Sensible, we have had great success in improving our client’s efficiency, security, and profitability with the correct implementation of IoT devices. Having the ability to monitor, track, and analyse important data easily has given our clients the visibility they needed to make better-informed decisions and take productive action to improve their businesses.

Whether it’s as standard as finding a better way for employees to clock in and out of work, or as niche as monitoring and controlling the temperatures of food shipments while they were in route to their destinations, IoT devices can help. We can help you by making recommendations and vetting devices that could make an impact.

 

How do I know what IoT devices to get?

IoT devices are great, but you don’t want to overdo it. When working with a technology professional like ourselves, we can help pinpoint areas of your business that could be optimised with the help of IoT devices, and then research the best model of that device for your business.

There is a lot to consider when adding any device to your business’s network:

1. Is it compatible with your existing devices?
We help find a quality device that will function within your existing environment and won’t require a ton of additional work to get it to “talk” with your existing systems.

2. What security threats will it pose?
Unsecure devices that are connected to your network can create massive holes in your cybersecurity. Many IoT devices are insecure out-of-the-box and should be reconfigured properly immediately. Recently, a WiFi-enabled coffee pot was proven hackable and exposed the rest of the corporate network to a ransomware attack. We make sure that any devices that will be connected to your network have been configured to the security standards necessary to keep your information protected.

3. Does your network have the strength to support additional devices?
The more devices you add to your network, the more strain you put on it. There is a breaking point where your network connection will slow and no longer be reliable. Depending on how many devices you add, you may need to upgrade your network capacity. We can help you evaluate your existing network and determine what it would be able to support.

 

I’m ready to talk about taking a more Sensible approach to our IT, who do I talk to?

We would be delighted to talk further and discuss how we can help you implement IoT devices, or simply examine your current IT approach and offer advice for improvement. You can book a call with our CEO, Katherine Spanner, via the button below.

 

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