Why You Need a Security Consultant

There is a growing concern within the IT security industry. According to Forbes, IT Security Industry To Expand Tenfold, “This $60 billion industry researches, develops, and sells firewalls, anti-malware, authentication, encryption, and 80 other categories of products. With each advance in the threat level represented by hackers, cyber criminals, and cyber spies there has been a new batch of vendors which come on the scene to counter threats that bypass previous technologies and spending has increased.” The article goes into further depth about how little attention and investment has gone towards an organization’s security. Security budgets are projected to double in order to make up for the underdevelopment of security measures. This new wave of precautions will shape the way IT security is measured and mapped out. Don’t let your company be exploited – instead, take advantage of the fastest growing industry by investing in an IT security consultant.

Security Consultant Moves You Forward

Make the right move forward with a security consultant. Your IT security consultant will be able to determine the most effective way to protect your company’s networks, software, data, and information systems against potential threats. They will take the much needed precautions in interviewing staff and heads of each department to determine their specific security and authentication protocols. They can prepare cost estimates and identify integrated issues for your project managers, and will also plan, research, and design robust security architectures for any IT project.

Cognoscape Puts You First with Our Security Consultants

The more responsibility you give your IT security consultants, the better they can respond to security-related incidents and provide a successful and thorough event analysis. This is the time to make the right strategic investments in IT security consultants. If you are looking for a better way to protect your company’s technology, contact us today!

Using an IT Managed Services Provider to Assist Your IT Department

In this digital era, it is critical that a business of any size hire IT experts to take care of all their technology needs. When it’s late at night and you’re suddenly dealing with files that won’t open, or there are errors showing up on a black screen, a company needs that IT support in place to keep running efficiently. Otherwise, it is wasted time and money trying to find someone at the last minute to fix the critical problems.

It is always helpful to have an in-house IT team in place, but that situation can be improved upon. Many companies are now supplementing their already existing IT staff with an IT managed service provider (MSP). While initially there can be fear on the part of the in-house team that they are being replaced, the idea is more about forming a partnership to make the business run even better and show more profits. Here are a few of the benefits of using IT managed services to assist your IT department:


Less Risk

Small and medium businesses usually only have the money to hire a small internal IT staff. When the company can supplement with an outside IT Managed Services Provider, it eliminates the dependencies on those individuals. For example, if their in-house IT guy gets sick, the bosses don’t have to panic when a problem arises. Additionally, capabilities and knowledge that are domain-specific can be handled by the MSP who may have more of a handle on them. IT managed services providers deal with compliance and informations security, as well as offer 24/7 monitoring and maintenance of your system, reducing downtime. Your IT staff won’t waste precious time solving every security issue that pops up and your staff won’t have their day interrupted.


An IT Managed Services Provider Helps With Healthy Scheduling 

With an IT managed services provider on board, your current IT team will be able to work a regular, 5-day work week and not get burnt out with calls at night and on the weekends. This is because the MSP will be doing that monitoring during non-business hours and take care of them while the office is closed. This makes for a more productive and happy IT team that can focus on other important aspects of the business.


Save Money

Save money by adding more IT support? Yes, it will happen. If your consider the true economics of IT expenses, (vendor, in-house, hidden costs) they are generally much higher than anticipated. When you transfer tasks to IT managed services with best automation, processes and practices, your in-house IT resources can be unburdened and focus on more important activities that help your company grow and increase profits.


Best of Both Worlds

Whether your company is growing or not, your in-house IT employees have worked closely with your business and have a very good idea of how it runs. You have established personal relationships with them, and they have a firm understanding of your customer base and how you market. That type of relationship cannot be duplicated. It offsets the fact that the MSP team will provide standard IT knowledge, without the personal touch. This lets the company direct their existing IT staff in more useful and necessary directions.


Contact us with any questions you have about adding IT managed services to your company and one of our knowledgeable team members will give you all the information you need.

Special thanks to TriDigital for our custom IT marketing

4 Critical Ways IT Support Improves Your Business

If you’re afraid that IT support is going to be more costly for your business than without it, think again. The ways that companies do business with one another continuously changes as technology rapidly advances. In order to keep up, you need to be up to date with your servers, computers, phone systems, Internet connection and mobile devices. IT support from a company like Cognoscape with their CognoCare services will benefit your business by taking the burden off of in-house tech “experts” so you can focus on making a profit. To understand the benefits better, here are 4 critical ways that IT support improves your business.


Increase Your Profits

IT support will allow your business to make more money in several ways. First, the hardware that is offered with the support services will save you from having major expenses upfront. You will instead pay a flat fee monthly that is affordable, because you will only be receiving what your business requires. Second, your IT team can help your business centralize everyday tasks to one location, making for better economic efficiency. An example of this is to have a department, such as billing, able to work from one location instead of having several areas set up, reducing employee costs. Using email support or online chatting may be cheaper than customer service calls for support. Your IT team will make it possible for your employees’ productivity to flourish and produce more revenue by applying the best technological strategies to increase your company’s efficiency.


Less Stress

Unless your are extremely tech savvy, it can be stressful to try and figure out what has gone wrong when a system crashes, devices are not compatible, or you need a network update. With an IT department’s support, they will handle it all, and make sure you’re current with security and equipment updates. This way, you can focus on your company and making money.


Affordability and Scalability

IT solutions, such as CognoCare will sit down and decide exactly what your company needs, so you’re not paying for any unnecessary extras. If a piece of equipment breaks, you won’t be forking over hundreds or thousands of dollars for a new one. Instead, the IT support team will take care of it for you at no extra cost above your monthly flat rate. As your business grows, you will need your technology to grow too, so that your whole team and company can keep up with the expansion. IT support will be there to help you blossom and give you the technology you need when the time comes so you can keep up with increasing demands.


Less Downtime

Without IT support, you’re stuck wasting your time trying to either fix it yourself, or find someone who can. When you have CognoCare, you know that it will be handled immediately, and you won’t have that down time trying to get it repaired. In business, time is money, and you’ll be increasing your profits when you don’t have to spend it servicing your technology yourself.

Keep Your IT Guy and Outsource IT Services Too

59 Everyone in the office loves Eric. Sporting a different ironic t-shirt everyday, Eric is the one we call when technology spits in our face. Whether it’s a slow system, a bug that needs to be squashed, a website issue, or a crash that results in unexpected downtime and data loss, Eric is right there. Not only does he get to the bottom of any issue but he also rights the ship like he’s some sort of miracle-working captain who just happens to have a pretty wickedly funny Peter Griffin from Family Guy impersonation.

But business is growing and Eric is overworked. Eric has certain skills that you’d love to use to develop innovative applications and revenue-generating projects– but he’s too busy running around fixing things that break. Or he’s performing the most mundane and routine tasks day-in-and-day-out just to keep things secure and running smoothly.

You get a sense that Eric’s overburdened and he’s saddled with too many responsibilities. His demeanor has changed from pleasant to moody. He’s listening to angrier metal and punk music and you’re noticing cracks in his work. You fear Eric is being pulled in too many directions and the reliability of your server, network, and applications, as well as the integrity of your data, are all at risk.

Someone who has watched a bit too much of Donald Trump on The Apprentice might think Eric should be fired. We’re not going to fire Eric. But we’re also not going to hire a full-time salaried Robin to his Batman or Cheech to his Chong. We’re going to help Eric by exploiting IT automation and managed services to handle many of the monotonous tasks making Eric hate his job right now.

Let’s help Eric…..

  • Focus Primarily on Cost-Cutting and Revenue Increasing Projects: First things first, Eric has to realize that he can’t do everything himself. Where are his skills best used? Whether it’s processes that help drive down costs or ones with the potential to raise revenue, evaluate the projects in the queue and rank them by what impacts the bottom line the most. Once that’s done, look at the day-to-day processes designed to keep things running securely and efficiently. What can be off-loaded from Eric? Determine which of those tasks can be automated either through the cloud or managed services.
  • Take to the Cloud: Some IT people fear the cloud spells the end to their job security. Meanwhile, the cloud can actually help them take on a more prominent contributing role in the company’s success. The cloud should be seen as another tool that further eliminates the mundane yet necessary daily drudgery from their workday. Those who work WITH the cloud will find that they have more available time to take on more meaningful cost cutting or revenue generating projects.

Use a Managed Service Provider: Using outsourced managed services not only alleviates much of Eric’s pressure and stress, but also boosts productivity and gives the company a much improved ROI (Return-on-Investment) on their technology investment. While technology has gotten easier for the end user, it has become more complex on the backend with the advent of virtualization, cloud computing, and advanced infrastructure. Using an MSP gives Eric access to a trusted advisor, a 24/7 help desk, remote monitoring and management tools, mobile device management tools, and much better disaster recovery and business continuity solutions. All without the overhead that comes with hiring more help for Eric. MSPs offer a consistency to not just your end-user but also your main IT guy who will certainly appreciate the help.

CLICK HERE for a network assessment.

Prevent Data Loss With IT You Can Trust

7 Small business has changed dramatically within the last decade. No change has been more profound than our dependency on information technology (IT) systems to support critical day-to-day business functions.

In today’s increasingly competitive high-tech environment, it is critical that all business operations run smoothly and efficiently. Business momentum, employee productivity and customer service all depend on an IT infrastructure that must be both accessible and secure at all times. Constant network availability has become essential to most small and midsize businesses (SMBs) today.

This reliance on IT systems has also created a stronger link between data center accessibility and total cost of ownership (TCO). Even minimal amounts of unplanned downtime today will result in lost revenue, productivity and negatively impact overall brand reputation.

Preventing or rebounding from downtime was once deemed the IT team’s problem, however, this unprecedented modern day dependence on technology has made the frequency and costs of downtime more of a business problem. Prolonged or recurring downtime can cripple small businesses and requires the attention and understanding of C-suite management in order to be properly addressed.

Unfortunately, many executives at SMBs are still not as tuned into daily network operations as they need to be. For this reason, they lack a true awareness of the frequency of downtime. This lack of insight and visibility is regrettably putting far too many SMB sat an increased risk for downtime and the costs associated with it.

Prevent detrimental downtime. CLICK HERE for a free network assessment.

The Technology Pains of Small Business

Small business owners are faced with quite the dilemma these days. While a reliable and secure network is a critical component to success, business owners are also being forced to scale back on costs and overhead as a means of basic survival in today’s economy.

Having a fully staffed IT department simply isn’t a viable option for a majority of small business owners. Many small businesses either have one full-time employee devoted to IT services or none at all. Both scenarios are recipes for disaster in an increasingly complex high-tech society.

One IT person, even a very small team, will likely be overworked and burdened by too many responsibilities. This can make a company’s business infrastructure increasingly vulnerable to breakdown, not from technology, but from human error.

13 A recent study conducted by Gartner projected that through 2015, people – not technology, will be responsible for up to 80% of technology failure. This number coincides with findings reported in the IT Process Institute’s Visible Ops Handbook stating that 80% of unexpected outages are due to poorly planned changes implemented by administrators and developers.

The forecast is even stormier for businesses with absolutely no IT support on payroll. These business owners have subscribed to the break/fix model of technology management. While this model can sometimes be out of necessity due to budget restraints, it can also stem from a state of ignorance or denial that their business is truly susceptible to technology failure. The overall health and profitability of their business is directly affected by the performance, reliability and security of its technology systems.

With the break/fix model, there is absolutely no proactive monitoring or management of their network. The only emergency plan for data loss or downtime is to call upon an IT specialist in an emergency 9-1-1 situation.

On average, these IT consultants charge $100 an hour. This doesn’t even factor in trip fees, surcharges, and standard repair costs in the range of $500 to $1000, or the costs of hardware and software upgrades. This method also results in more downtime, lost productivity, lost revenue, and a loss in overall customer satisfaction. Major network repairs require a minimum of 8-24 hours on average and most on-call IT consultants cannot get on site for up to 24-48 hours.

One has to also wonder if these consultants truly have the business owners’ best interest in mind. After all, they make their money when technology breaks down. Are they truly motivated to keep a client’s network running optimally and efficiently?

Well Cognocape is. CLICK HERE for a free network assessment.

Data Security Threats Every SMB Must Be Aware of

Human Error and Employee Negligence

1 Human error, by way of unintentional data deletion, modification, and overwrites, has become much more prevalent in recent years. Much of this is the result of carelessly managed virtualization technology. Virtualization and cloud computing have enabled improved business continuity by allowing entire servers – including all data, operating systems, applications, and patches to be grouped into one software bundle or virtual server and subsequently backed up. The catch is humans must still instruct this technology how to perform, which is why so much of today’s data loss is linked to human error. The complexity of these systems often presents a learning curve that involves quite a bit of trial by error. For example, a support engineer can accidentally overwrite his backup when he forgets to power off his replication software prior to formatting volumes on the primary site.

While most CIOs at SMBs are generally accepting and understanding that mistakes happen, they must be more stringent when it comes to managing risky negligent employee behaviors in this era of mobility and accessibility. Employee negligence puts a company or organization’s critical business data at risk of being stolen by cybercriminals or malicious employees. Examples of this negligent behavior include:

  • Leaving computer systems unattended
  • Weak passwords (“password” or “12345”) or passwords that aren’t frequently changed
  • Opening email attachments or clicking hyperlinks embedded with spam
  • Visiting restricted websites

5 Employee Mobility & Data Exposure

In the modern-day BYOD workplace, more people are doing daily business on their personal laptops, iPads and Blackberrys. They are also carrying around portable media like thumb drives, USB sticks and CDs.

These devices are not always backed up or secured by IT administrators. There is not only the potential for these devices to be lost or stolen but there is also a very high probability that employees using them are also accessing personal email, downloading music, browsing the web, playing games and hanging out on Facebook. This makes sensitive data susceptible to malware, viruses and hackers. All of this substantially ups the likelihood of data loss incidents.

Prevent data loss. CLICK HERE for a free network assessment.

Decreasing Business Costs and Risks of Costly Data Loss

4 We live in a 24/7 global economy that is more dependent than ever on technology. Even the technology of small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) houses sensitive digital data – employee and customer information, internal emails, documents and financial records, sales orders and transaction histories. Not to mention applications and programs critical to daily business function and services. Employees at SMBs require continuous access to the critical business data needed to meet the demands of the customers or clients they service. They even want this access while they’re at home or on the go running errands. To satisfy this demand, many companies and organizations now allow employees to BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) and “do business” using their personal laptops, tablets and mobile phones. The web, Wi-Fi networks and mobile devices with robust memory and battery life have made this constant access to a SMBs back office infrastructure a reality. Regrettably this flexibility and freedom is accompanied by an ominous risk of data loss.

Just a single data loss or breach can be costly to SMBs. Data losses and leaks come with lingering continuous costs that many SMBs cannot easily shake or overcome. Revenue is lost if employee productivity and customer accessibility/service are stalled by data loss. The expenses associated with internal research and investigation, system repair and maintenance, and data security protection are another heavy price SMBs must pay. If cybercrime is involved, affected customers must be notified, the potential exists for litigation, and many customers will likely never return due to mistrust.

While corporate-level data losses are well publicized, many SMBs mistakenly believe their data isn’t at risk. This mistake can prove to be a costly one.

3 Why C-Suite Management at SMBs Can No Longer Ignore Data Loss

  • Following a significant data loss, it is estimated that SMBs can lose up to 25% in daily revenue by the end of the first week.
  • According to the National Archives & Records Administration in Washington, 93% of companies that have experienced data loss, and prolonged downtime for ten or more days have filed for bankruptcy within twelve months of the incident. 50% wasted no time and filed for bankruptcy immediately. 43% of companies with no data recovery and business continuity plan actually go out of business following a major data loss. How quickly can your business be restored if critical data is lost? When was the last time backup processes were tested to ensure all data is recoverable and business operations are quickly restored?
  • A survey conducted by Symantec SMB revealed that fewer than half of SMBs surveyed backup their data each week. Only 23% of those surveyed said they backup data every day and have a business continuity plan in place.
  • The percentage of cybercriminal attacks targeting businesses with fewer than 250 employees doubled in 2012. The vulnerabilities of naïve small business owners have been noted, and hackers have now placed the proverbial bull’s-eye on these perceived weak links.

If sensitive customer data is leaked, SMBs may face overwhelming financial liabilities, which could include reimbursing affected customers and legal fees.


Businesses today are playing on a much bigger playing field than they were two decades ago. Any SMB that trusts the security and backup of critical business data with a limited and overburdened in-house IT team, or forsakes internal IT support altogether for emergency on-call help when things go bad (Break/Fix Mentality), is playing with fire and begging to be burned.

Any disruptive or invasive technological event – even the smallest of incidents – can have an amplified impact on day-to-day business and profitability. Being proactive with data recovery solutions, and having emergency response procedures in place prior to a disruption or data disaster, is the only way to get critical data restored immediately to the data center, minimize downtime, protect customer and client data and soften the impact of such events.

Don’t let this happen to you. CLICK HERE for a free network assessment.

Cognoscape LLC, Dallas based IT Support firm to sponsor 2014 Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Golf Tournament.

Cognoscape is pleased to sponsor the 2014 Dallas Bar Association Pro Bono Golf Tournament to benefit the Dallas Volunteer attorney Program tomorrow May 1st, 2014.   Please join us for a cold beverage when we pull up to your foursome in the beverage cart :-)   The drinks are on us for this great cause and we hope to see you.