Implementing a “Bring Your Own Device” Policy

Can your employees bring their own laptops, tablets, and cell phones to work and join the corporate network? If you answered yes, implementing a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy just became an essential security move. If employees are bringing their own devices, it means they have the potential to fill portables that can easily be lost or stolen with terabytes of corporate data. Creating and implementing BYOD policies is new territory for most. If you’re wondering how to get started, follow these basic rules from Syndeo Communications, a leader in IT support in San Diego.


The first step to implementing a BYOD policy is finding the right software to manage devices. All policies will grow from how finely you can to control data on portables. Using something simple like Activesync may not satisfy anyone, as data can’t be managed at a per-item level and the only option when an employee leaves is to remote wipe their device. Instead, companies should go with purpose-build Mobile Device Management solutions like Good Technology or Airwatch, which allow “sandboxing” of corporate apps. Here, company applications run in a separate space where they can be secured and even deleted without affecting personal data.

Get Employees On Board

Enacting a policy that dictates how an employee uses his or her own device is a tough sell. You can go the “my way or the highway” route and lay down the law, telling employees if they don’t like it, they can’t have access—although that never goes over well. Instead, try a slow implementation with plenty of user education. Be transparent. Explain what is changing with the BYOD policy and how the MDM solution works. Most importantly, explain what data the company has access to on their device (corporate data) and what you don’t (personal data).

Get Upper Management to Buy-In

As with any new policy, having the support of the higher-ups is crucial. This is especially important with this sort of rule change, which affects employee property. Get your legal department involved as well. Aside from the aforementioned issue of controlling personal devices, there’s the liability aspect of allowing remote access to sensitive data. Company executives and legal can help build a policy that is airtight and covers the company’s interests.

When all is said and done, the BYOD policy you implement will have to reflect what you feel comfortable with as an employer, manager, and business owner. If you still have questions or want to make sure all your bases are covered, speak with an experienced IT consultant in San Diego who can ensure you’ve got the right measures in place in case of a data breach. To discuss your company’s specific business security needs, don’t hesitate to call Syndeo Communications at (760) 650-3300 and speak with an IT specialist.

How Small Businesses Can Improve Network Security

Network security has become an integral part of any organization, large or small. If networks aren’t secure, businesses are subject to major security issues within their organizations and risk losing customer, client, or consumer trust. This is why it is important to always be thinking of new ways to improve security at all levels. Here are some ways that small business can improve network security, brought to you by Syndeo Communications, a leading provider of IT support San Diego businesses trust.

Security Software

Malware and antivirus software can significantly reduce the number of threats that users may face on a daily basis. Firewalls and other network devices can also protect against unwanted activity. Security as a service (SaaS) is also a good option when trying to manage a large number of workstations. It allows central management of software and can help make sure that antivirus programs are always up to date.

Permission Control

If your organization uses a domain infrastructure, it is possible to assign detailed permissions to each individual user and to groups of users. This feature is useful as it can lock down sensitive information and make sure that only those who need access to information will be able to access it. You can also restrict who has privileges to install software on office workstations. Since lots of third-party software comes loaded with malware and other malicious items, it is important to restrict who has permission to install software.

Wi-Fi Security

One of the most common access points on any network is Wi-Fi connections. As a greater number of users start using Wi-Fi devices, the need to have good Wi-Fi security increases. Wi-Fi networks should be password protected and default settings should be changed to make it more difficult for people who are not familiar with the network to access it. Configuring routers to not broadcast network names can make a wireless network “invisible” to most mobile devices. Only those who know the exact name of the network will know where to look.

Hire a Professional

Staying up to date with emerging threats is a constant battle between security and those who would like to get through it. This is why companies cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to securing their networks. Even if you have the best security system in place today there is always someone trying to figure out a way to break into it tomorrow. Keeping an IT professional on hand or hiring trusted San Diego IT consultants can help make sure that threats are avoided as best as possible and that they can be recovered from in the event of a breach.

Hopefully by following these steps you will be able to keep better security on you network and make sure you are secure from both internal and external threats. For more information about network security, reach out to Syndeo Communications. We proudly offer comprehensive managed IT services in San Diego, including remote desktop management, cloud computing, and 24/7 support. Give us a call today at (760) 650-3300 and request a complimentary consultation.

Why You Need an IT Partner, Not Vendor

If your IT provider doesn’t know anything about your business (and doesn’t want to) you probably have a vendor that wants to take your order and your money, not join efforts to create mutual success. An IT partner, on the other hand, sincerely wants to make your company work better, so together, the two of you can be more profitable. The following are just a few reasons why a partner is better overall choice than a vendor when it comes to Managed IT services in San Diego.

A partner wants your company to succeed.
A partner knows that when you form a relationship, you will want to stay together as long as you both succeed. Such a win-win philosophy motivates your partner to learn about your business goals and work with you to achieve them.

A partner in IT services will watch your back.
Your IT partner stays up-to-date on industry news and innovations and guides you toward solutions that work and away from those that won’t. Similarly, a partner can alert you to obsolete technology and help you choose systems that have a clear migration path when new technologies emerge.

A partner will refer you to valuable resources.
A vendor is typically interested in the bottom line. Whereas a partner can help your business stay competitive and relevant in today’s changing business landscape. This means the San Diego IT consulting company you work with does more than take orders and ship products. Your partner will look for educational and technical opportunities that will strengthen and grow your business. 

An IT services partner knows it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
You might find some vendors have a wealth of information and solutions, until you have a concern outside their wheelhouse. You can trust your IT services partner to make the effort to provide customized solutions that fit your business, rather than pressuring you to change your business to fit shrink-wrapped solutions.

Do you want a vendor or a partner when it comes to IT services? If you answered partner, reach out to Syndeo Communications, a leading provider of IT support San Diego businesses trust. Give us a call today at (760) 650-3300 to learn more about our services, including on-site and remote desktop support, Apple and Mac support, network security, data backup, cloud storage, and network design and setup.

Business Continuity Mistakes in the IT Department

Historically, the IT Department is the best prepared branch within a business. They are already tasked with backing up data, offsite storage, virus protection, keeping software up-to-date and ensuring a smoothly running infrastructure. In a perfect world, this ensures a comfy level of continuity.

However, along comes some type of interruption. It could be a natural disaster: a fire, flood, hurricane or earthquake, or even a tree falling on the roof. Or it could be a manmade threat: robbery, terrorism or a car using your business as a drive-through.

How does a business recover quickly and continue to do business? Some very careful planning needs to be done, along with a willingness to take the time and spend the money.

Sometimes, SMBs don’t have an IT Department, per se. There may be one or two people who have the added responsibility of scheduling back-ups, updates, and servicing. This scenario is an open invitation for letting things fall into the cracks — assigning responsibilities and rigid enforcement of scheduling is a must.

In larger companies, especially ones with a good amount of square-footage, off-site storage may not be far enough away from the main location, i.e., in another building nearby. In the case of a widespread disaster, the best bet is to have back-ups and cloud storage as far away as possible, so that if your city, county, or state is affected, your data is safe.

What if your business location is deemed unfit after an interruption? Do you have an alternative (temporary) location for IT infrastructure? You may have to lease network connections and phone lines. Oftentimes, network facilities offered by hotels or empty offices are inadequate for voice and simple IT services.

Even if your location is intact, or repairable, if you have a large company with a lot of equipment to replace, you may have to outsource IT needs just to set it up. We also need to think how quickly we can replace destroyed equipment. What is the turn-around time for vendor shipments, even “rush” orders?

Getting back into full swing might also be hindered if software hasn’t been consistently updated (why fix it if it isn’t broken?). If we allow it to become obsolete, there will probably be some loss of data when having to reinstall a newer version.

What if your area has no power? Does your company have a back-up generator? Should the telephone circuits be down, do you have an employee cell phone “network” in place? Depending upon the severity of the interruption, what other modes of power and communication are available?

Sometimes, IT relies so much on modern devices there is no concrete documentation. If you are unable to use customary equipment, is there a written password log or a backup log in place? Procedures also need be tangibly documented. Additionally, we might need client or employee information stashed somewhere safe (or with a trusted person).

To ensure continuity in the event of a disaster or other interruption, careful forecasting needs to be part of your overall business plan. The future, with all of its uncertainties, might be a bit less worrisome if we take an assertive approach to it and give ourselves much-needed coping mechanisms.

You’ve put countless hours into building your business. Make sure you have the right plans and procedures in place to maintain continuity—even in the worst circumstances. To learn more, call Syndeo Communications at (760) 650-3300, a trusted San Diego IT Consulting company who can ensure your business is ready for whatever comes its way.

Information Security Best Practices

What are information security best practices? Best practices are steps and guidelines that are accepted as being correct in most circumstances and found to be most effective. They are often used as a reference point for administrators while setting up anything from a new network infrastructure to a new workstation. As with many other industries, information security has its own guidelines when it comes to setting up a secure environment for users.

If information security experts had it their way, they would just lock everything down and not let anyone in or out of the network. Unfortunately, users need to be able to access information and databases which are stored on and off the network they are operating in. This means there needs to be a set of security guidelines that must be followed to keep a network and servers safe and at the same time not interfere with business operations.

One thing businesses can do to limit exposure to possible security threats is to introduce a policy of acceptable use guidelines. This should be a list of acceptable use of company property such as workstations and network resources. It should also include explanations of risks that may be associated with downloading games and other software. It should explain to employees that streaming YouTube videos all day can interfere with network speed and affect other user’s productivity.

Keeping a network secure from both internal and external threats is a 24-hour job. To be successful, there must be security in every aspect of a network. Everything from physical security, such as keeping a server in a locked room to prevent direct access, to wireless network security should always be considered when designing a network. A single breach in security can be catastrophic for any sized company. Remote data backups and encrypting sensitive information can also be considered a part of data security.

Running regular updates on workstations and servers is another best practice that should be followed when it does not interfere with other computer software. Operating system updates often contain security updates that can help secure any native vulnerabilities that exist within a Windows environment. Firmware updates for other devices such as firewalls and printers can also improve security and stability. Generally speaking, it is always a good idea to make sure that the latest updates are being applied on a regular basis.

Security best practices are not always required but are the generally accepted settings and policies that have been shown to be effective in most circumstances. Ultimately, it is the network administrator’s responsibility to do what is necessary to secure the network. Since each network is different, there is often good reason to steer away from best practices for a more precise and individualized security protocol.

For help keeping you network and business secure, call Syndeo Communications at (760) 650-3300. We’re a trusted San Diego IT Support company offering a wide variety of services, including network security, cloud storage, Apple and Mac support, remote desktop, and data recovery.

Security Mistakes Small Businesses Can’t Afford

Don’t think of your business as being too small for anyone to notice—whether you have 10 or 1,000 clients—your customer data is valuable to hackers. SMBs can be more ruthlessly affected by security mistakes than larger businesses due to the revenue and staff ratio. If there were to be a security breach, recovering and/or recreating data could be expensive, challenging, and time-consuming.

Small companies often have employees who wear several hats, but a layman in charge of security could be a disaster waiting to happen. There are excellent San Diego IT consulting companies available who can set up, update, repair and monitor your infrastructure at very affordable rates.

Lack of proper compliance is a common tendency of SMBs. Start out with a strong security mentality and become familiar with PCI, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and other regulations. Having to track down lost data, in the case of an audit, would be no fun at all.

Don’t forget customer credit card protection. All businesses, no matter the size, need to comply with Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards to accept credit card payments. This way, you will be protecting your customer’s information safely and securely.

Don’t be too generous with access to your wireless network. Outsider and staff devices could be infected, and without proper security, could un/knowingly spread to your network. Work with your IT support company in San Diego and create a separate private network that outsiders can access without exposing your main network.

Don’t overlook storage security. Improper backups and unencrypted cloud storage can really hurt your company. Remember, they are an SMB’s best protection against attack and loss of data.

Don’t let the casual ambience of a smaller business lead to a lax approach to policies. Password policies are often ignored or non-existent. Have staff change their passwords for critical resources every 90-180 days and don’t allow “weak” passwords. There should be minimum number of characters and alphanumeric requirements. Also, failure to change key settings upon staff departure is a huge oversight.

Don’t forget rules for BYODs. If an employee’s personal phone, tablet or laptop is lost or stolen, outsiders can gain access to your company IP and customer data. Create an encryption policy, including hard disks and flash drives, and enforce it on your staff.

Don’t skimp on Anti-Virus Software and Firewalls. Choosing cheaper anti-virus software in place of higher end software is a true crime for a small business. You get what you pay for, and it’s important to keep your software updated as well, using the latest version so that security updates work, (think of Windows XP, which is now obsolete).

Don’t delete. Remember, if you’re tossing old equipment wipe the hard drives (or physically destroy them), deleting files doesn’t make them disappear. You may want to work with a reputable company who can help you with this.

There are multiple issues for an SMB to consider when it comes to security. Take the time to examine your infrastructure and policies. Remedy any weak spots and enforce new rules as soon as possible. A company that fails to set up suitable security procedures, may as well send out invitations for a cyber-attack.

Digital Business: Evolving Companies, Evolving IT Needs

What’s a “digital business?” A quick search yields many definitions and opinions of what makes a company “digital.” It’s easier to think of “digital business” less as a strict definition and more as a range. Company A might just be testing the waters with a few outsourced applications while Company Z is so digital they don’t even have a physical office, while every company in between is using technology in varying degrees. All can be considered “digital businesses” with their own characteristic technologies and needs. As companies become more digital, IT support challenges evolve as well.

Knowledge as a Service

One way companies can become more digital is by outsourcing specific aspects of their IT departments, saving money and freeing up IT staff to be more proactive and forward-thinking. Specific IT needs, like firewall administration, DBA and security consulting can be handled by third party San Diego IT consultants with specific expertise. Some companies even offer remote desktop support, allowing a digital business to move their helpdesk to the cloud.

Specific Applications

Software as a service (SaaS) allows companies to become more digital and more agile. Digital businesses can replace difficult application rollouts with a simple sign up and monthly fee paid to a cloud software provider. Daily-use software like office apps and CRM products can be switched out overnight far less painfully than typical enterprise-wide installs. Infrastructure-level applications, such as mail security, backup and even hardware as a service are all available from consulting firms and help aspiring businesses transition to the digital model.


Another are of support that digital businesses often need is in the area of consulting. Some companies want to “go digital” but don’t know where to start. Others may already be heavy into software-, infrastructure- or platform-as-a-service but may need direction of where to go next. Still others may be having difficulty with their current outsourced solutions and may need guidance to figure out better options. San Diego IT consulting companies can help businesses in all these cases by assessing their needs and matching them with digital solutions.

However digital your business is, make sure it’s protected and well-equipped to handle everyday IT challenges with help from Syndeo Communications in San Diego. We are San Diego’s trusted IT support company, offering free consultations to help prospective clients learn more about our services. Give us a call at (760) 650-3300 and speak with an IT specialist today!

Data Breaches Will Cost Trillions by 2019

With recent news of Ashley Madison and the Office of Personnel Management being hacked, data breaches continue to dominate headlines. It’s only going to get worse, it seems, as a recent report by Juniper research predicts the cost of data breaches will pass two trillion dollars by 2019.

Breach Costs Now and in the Future

Breaches cost an average of $3.79 million per attack. Numbers vary depending on industry, but the cost per record in a data breach averages about $154, up six percent from last year. However, $3.79 million per breach sounds low when you look at this year’s two big ones. The Ashley Madison hack, with its massive loss of 37 million records, could cost up to roughly $5.7 billion, and the OPM breach exposed 21.5 million records for an estimated loss of $3.3 billion. Though these are two notable outliers, they speak to a growing boldness by hackers that will assuredly create bigger and more costly losses in the future. According to Juniper, the cost per organization will grow from $3.79 million to an incredible $150 million per breach in the next five years.

Who Does it Hurt the Worst?

Aside from the flashy raw numbers, the Juniper study points to a more worrisome statistic: the kind of company that is hurt most by these breaches. The study suggests that smaller and mid-size businesses are damaged far more than large companies. This is because larger organizations have the funds to absorb the cost of breaches that smaller companies do not. A breach that would be a nightmare for JP Morgan is a killer for your local credit union.

What Can You Do? 

The best defense against a data breach is a multi-tiered approach to corporate security. Hacks don’t just happen because of a focused approach on corporate firewalls. They can happen when an employee gives out their password or loses their smartphone. Security begins with employee education and carries all the way through to better technology and periodic vulnerability assessments by outside IT consultants in San Diego. Only by approaching security in a layered fashion can companies defend themselves against being just another number in this growing statistic.

Schedule a Free Consultation

If you’d like to learn more about protecting your business from cyber crimes, call Syndeo Communications in San Diego at (760) 750-3300 and schedule a free consultation. We are a leader in IT support in San Diego and offer comprehensive managed IT services, helping businesses with everything from Apple support to data recovery.

Do You Have a Replacement Plan for IT Hardware?

IT hardware is some of the most important equipment that a company uses on a day-to-day basis. It is required to perform critical tasks and relied upon in almost every field of work. Unfortunately, not all businesses have a hardware replacement plan for upgrading outdated equipment. Here are some things you should consider when making a plan to replace IT hardware.

Why a Replacement Plan is Necessary

As you probably already know, most computer software is only supported for a certain amount of time before it is discontinued. Once software such as operating systems and database applications are discontinued, they no longer get regular security updates and can become less stable and have compatibility issues. This can also open the door for hackers and viruses to infect an outdated network. Once software is upgraded, hardware must also be upgraded to meet increased system requirements.

Generally speaking, most IT hardware will become obsolete within 4-5 years. This is due to advancements in computer technology and evolving software solutions. With older computer hardware it becomes increasingly difficult to adapt to new software that is needed to conduct business operations. Staying up to date with competition and being able to meet the needs of customers, while important, are not the only reasons for upgrading hardware. Network security, functionality, and system stability are the most important reasons for performing regular upgrades.

Creating a Replacement Plan

San Diego IT consultants recommend creating an IT replacement plan for every 5 years to replace all hardware that is expected to become obsolete. An IT replacement plan should include items such as hardware that will be replaced and the estimated cost of new hardware. That way you will be able to budget material costs ahead of time to make sure there are enough resources to purchase replacement hardware when the deadline is reached. The plan should also include how the replacement will be executed. Since most businesses will not want to shut down their operations to put in new hardware, there should be a plan for how new hardware will be integrated with the existing infrastructure. Will the workstations be upgraded and replaced first, or will the servers be replaced first? How much downtime should be expected for each phase of the upgrade? How long will it take to configure software and settings? These are all things that must be determined carefully.

Keeping your business technology up to date and working efficiently is not an easy task, but having a schedule for hardware replacement and planning ahead can often save time and energy in the long run.

For more information on replacing hardware without disrupting business, call Syndeo Communications at (760) 650-3300. As a leading IT support company in San Diego, our IT consultants can speak with you over the phone or schedule an in-person meeting to discuss your individual business needs.

6 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Small Businesses

“The cloud” is the hot tech buzzword that’s not going away, and with good reason. Cloud computing isn’t a fad. It’s a new way of managing IT needs that is revolutionizing how we do businesses. The benefits of taking it to the cloud are especially relevant to small businesses.

Hardware cost savings

Infrastructure spending is a major up-front cost for any business but is especially impactful a smaller company’s bottom line. Infrastructure as a service (“IaaS”) lets businesses utilize storage, networking and even hosted servers on a third party platform on a “pay as you go” basis through a San Diego cloud service provider at a much more affordable rate.

Save on software, too

As expensive as hardware is, software licensing and support is no slouch when it comes to hitting companies right in the wallet, either. Software as a Service (“SaaS”) vendors offer important business applications like productivity software, email, CRM and antivirus on a monthly per user basis that can be far less expensive than standard licensing and support.

Save on staffing

It’s not just about hardware and software. Businesses need people to manage all those systems and troubleshoot problems. Using a third party for even a few select systems can greatly reduce IT staff costs.

Freedom to grow

As a small business grows, it will need more technology resources to keep up. Cloud services let smaller companies stay agile and grow quickly, effortlessly adding infrastructure and software as needed with just a few clicks.


With onsite hardware and software, employees are tied to their desks. SaaS solutions afford workers with the flexibility to work from home or on the road with nothing but a computer and a connection.

Disaster Recovery

Coming up with contingency plans for all systems is time consuming and expensive, and then you may not even know if the plan works until something breaks. Cloud solutions put the responsibility of backup and disaster data recovery on someone else, saving time and money.

If you’re thinking about adopting cloud computing for your business, call Syndeo Communications in San Diego at (760) 650-3300 for more information or answer to your questions. We offer complimentary consultations and are here to help your business run at an optimal level at all times.