Organizations across industry types benefit from the use of information technology. Being able to communicate and share files has never been easier. That being said, IT can also be your downfall if not handled properly. When cyber attackers get their hands on your and or your clients’ data, it can be bad news for your reputation. Your team needs to invest the extra effort in encrypting data, both in transit and in storage. But you certainly don’t have to do this alone. It might be time for you to partner with a managed network services provider.
We live in a highly competitive business landscape, so you can’t simply have an adequate network. If that’s the case, you aren’t achieving your full potential when it comes to productivity and usability. Your network needs to be optimized in order to function at peak performance. Network optimization is an ongoing process that involves managed network services providers monitoring it and making sure that it stays at the desired level of performance. This will mean that all services and systems are reliable, at any hour of the day. Regardless of whether your employees work 24/7 or five days a week, you need your network to stay live. With your provider being on top of anything that could threaten that uptime, you can rest easy at night.
Just because you think you are safe on your network doesn’t mean that you are. For those that don’t actively monitor their networks, you could be blind to suspicious traffic. This traffic could quickly turn into a costly problem, seeing as how the average data breach costs $4.24 million. The average ransomware breach, specifically, costs $4.62 million. Don’t risk it. Managed network services providers are available to keep organizations of any size, in any industry, secure. Unlike with break/fix services, you don’t have to wait until something goes wrong before you hire them. Instead, you can benefit from their responsible work ethic all year round. Consider making them part of your team if you are interested in growing strategically, lack effective security policies, or aren’t getting the most out of your current IT staff.
The goal of network security is to keep your organization away from threats, that can massively disrupt your productivity and damage your reputation. To come across as legitimate and trustworthy, adopting a robust security architecture is your best bet. These are four protections that managed network services providers will take.
Only the people who are supposed to have access to a system should be able to get into the system. This is the principle that access control follows. Access control depends on authentication and authorization of credentials and IP addresses to limit the number of users. By paying attention to the source, it combats potential cyberattacks. Today, it’s an important component of the zero trust model, which businesses are leaning further into as their application use expands. As the name implies, you aren’t to trust any user right off the bat. Zero trust is a framework that continuously validates users, combining robust cloud workload technology with identity protection.
Managed network services providers are able to monitor for malicious activity. An intrusion prevention system is a tool that does this, as well as takes action to prevent the activity from happening. They are able to block or report the suspicious user. The two primary ways it goes about this are signature-based detection and statistical anomaly-based detection. Signature-based detection uses identifiable patterns within the code of an exploit. Later on, it will be able to find matches or similarities in the traffic stream. Statistical anomaly-based detection, on the other hand, involves the random sampling of network traffic. It then compares the samples against the baseline performance to determine whether an action should be taken.
Only work on Wi-Fi that you are sure is secure. There are major differences between public and private Wi-Fi, in terms of data protection. Your organization may decide that you want to provide access to both, in which case you would need to separate them. Whatever the case may be, if you want to have more control over your network traffic, segmentation is the way to go. This technique divides a network into sub-networks to make them more manageable. The reason why managed network services providers do this is that your cybersecurity efforts are only as strong as the weakest link. Should a hacker make their way into one of the sub-networks, they won’t be able to gain access to all of your sensitive information.
Between 2019 and 2020, phishing incidents rose by 110%. These are emails that appear to be from a reputable source but are actually targeting your personal information. When an employee attempts to access something from that email, such as a link, they are in for a world of trouble. Once they are met with malware, those that don’t have the right cybersecurity measures in place across their systems will take a hit. Your organization needs to have procedures for how the team conducts themselves over email, if you don’t want to end up in this situation. Traditional approaches include email encryption, spam filtering, and login security.
The modern network is incredibly complex. Businesses of all types have been forced to act accordingly to the growth and adoption of the cloud. However, with the right technologies and support system, it can be easy to manage. Here are four things that managed network services providers are mindful of.
There are regulatory requirements for a reason. As more and more security threats occur toward network resources, you need to keep your industry-specific compliance policies in check. Two major ones include HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). HIPAA sets the standards for protected health information (PHI). It reduces fraud and abuse within the healthcare industry through mandates on electronic processes and the handling of PHI. PCI DSS does a similar thing for credit card information. In order to maintain a secure environment for transactions, it ensures that the cardholder’s data is protected as it moves through multiple channels.
For many businesses, it’s the case that employees are allowed to use their personal devices. This includes their smartphones and laptops. But something that you must keep in mind is that you aren’t going to be able to trust every device that attempts to connect with your network. Managed network services providers need to keep track of them all, even those that the company doesn’t own. Manual device tracking is time-consuming, so they can achieve this by using a network device tracking tool that automatically discovers and maps them. They can see which ports the devices are connected to, and determine where the root of an issue is.
All organizations need consistency and efficiency. If you want to be able to measure your performance and stay on top of your organization’s competitors, you need repeatable processes. This makes it easier for managed network services providers to determine whether they are meeting your agreed-upon goals. Without repeatability, there isn’t a constant to compare against and you could be at a higher risk for vulnerabilities. To harden your network against cyber attackers, every quarter, the members of your team should have a discussion with your provider to discuss ongoing needs. Based on their experience with you in recent months, they will be able to give recommendations to improve your business processes.
It’s highly unlikely that your organization is going to stay at the exact same level of productivity for several years. Managed network services providers won’t let you down even if you have a big spike in business. They will have done sufficient planning to give you the right processes and tools. So, while they are maintaining your network resources, they are also keeping in mind how they need to scale according to your business growth. After all, this scalability is necessary for their own tasks. Your work goes hand-in-hand. That is precisely why you should regularly take a look at and update your service level agreement.
You may believe that you have been safe without a managed network services provider. While that could be the case, having your data protected now doesn’t mean it always will be. Keeping someone at your side who proactively works against the growing abilities of hackers ensures that your organization will be secure for many years to come. Texas Systems Group is able to provide this sense of peace for healthcare practices, small businesses, and non-profit organizations alike. Have a talk with our team to learn more about what we can offer.
When the concept of urgent care began, it was a suburban phenomenon. Despite it still being a relatively new undertaking, the expansion of the healthcare industry has drastically increased the number of urgent care options and changed how they run. However, it continues to be the case that these facilities are located primarily in the suburbs and large cities.
Small cities deserve to have the same level of attention and quality of service that anyone else in the country does. This is precisely why directing our attention toward freestanding emergency centers (FECs) is so vital. To ensure that they can remain up and running for entire 24-hour periods, investing in IT support cannot be overlooked. Consider how managed IT service providers can improve the overall performance of an FEC or Microhospital.
Generally speaking, managed IT service providers in smaller cities don’t specialize in a specific industry. This is because it limits their client pool. In order to accommodate more local facilities, they provide basic and scalable support that will fit the facility’s needs. Of course, a big part of this is guaranteeing that their IT infrastructure has no downtime. Systems need to work fast, both in terms of treating critically ill patients and allowing for rapid staff transitions. Good managed IT service providers will be available for on-demand services at all hours of the day in case something goes wrong. That being said, their proactive approach to monitoring will mitigate the chances of disruption due to technology, to begin with. Other key support elements that should be provided include backup solutions, workstation tools, and network maintenance.
The healthcare industry has undergone a massive transformation in terms of technology. One advancement that has been especially beneficial in the modern age has been remote capabilities. Not only has this helped healthcare providers to more efficiently communicate with their patients, but it has helped IT teams be able to manage their systems from miles away. Managed IT service providers are well-equipped to serve clients remotely, on account of their experience with remote desktop support and cybersecurity best practices. So, FECs don’t have to only choose from local IT support companies alone. At Texas Systems Group, we offer services at a national level. Even if an emergency care facility is located in Arizona or Arkansas, for example, they can partner with managed IT service providers in Texas.
Hardware can be preconfigured and then shipped to an FEC or Microhopsital. Or else, it can be drop-shipped and remotely configured. All the FEC staff needs to do is plug it in and get to work. With that in mind, managed IT service providers take away the staff’s burden of having to deal with IT vendor management themselves. They have established vendor relationships, as well as have a strong understanding of healthcare technology. This makes them an excellent candidate to be the single point of contact. As an FEC or Microhopsital in a small city, this gives greater access to upgraded technologies, at a lower cost. This is due to managed IT service providers bundling the latest and greatest tech with the rest of their support services. Having the right hardware and software in an FEC is vital because the goal should always be providing excellent patient care and management.
There are several problems that emergency centers can potentially face. Data breaches due to unauthorized access are one of them. Memorial Village Emergency Room in Houston, Texas was hacked in February 2022. As many as 80,000 individuals had their private information exposed. Similar stories have occurred across the country, demanding healthcare facilities to enhance their security efforts. Managed IT service providers should have the expertise to set an FEC or Microhopsital up for success from the beginning, as well as be able to maintain its HIPAA-compliancy over time. To keep an FEC in a small city away from the threats of cyberattackers, managed IT service providers will take the time to train staff members. End-user education on how to handle technology and respond to incidents is just as necessary as patient treatment.
Patients across the United States are leaning toward FECs instead of hospital emergency rooms. When they have the technology to back them up, they are convenient and efficient lifesavers. That means it’s all about locating competent IT support teams. FECs and Microhospitals have unique IT needs that set them apart from other healthcare practices. Managed IT service providers like TXSG are able to provide them with systems that keep their efforts seamless. Come have a talk with a member of our team to learn more about what we do for your remote FEC.
The healthcare industry in the United States has made great strides to get where we are today. In fact, facilities are relying more and more on information technology and big data. Because of this, our treatments and ways of communicating with health professionals have vastly improved. However, with millions of dollars going into tech investments, this should also mean that practices are actively protecting the private information of their patients.
If a practice were to ignore the need for healthcare IT services, they could find themselves at a much greater risk of cyberattacks. Data breaches could bring about lawsuits from patients, as well as fines from the government for not following regulatory standards. But how did we get to this point, where IT has become so critical to our healthcare operations? Walk with us through the past 100 years to see the journey of the industry.
Before we had Electronic Health Records (EHRs) like we have today, Health Information Management (HIM) began with just the idea of documenting patient care. It would go on to be foundational for healthcare IT services. With the early version of medical records, all of the details could be laid out for physicians and patients to determine any treatment outcomes for illnesses, injuries, and disorders. This quickly gained popularity across the country’s healthcare practices. People recognized what an integral part of the patient experience documentation is, for both quality and safety of care.
But, following World War I, the cost of healthcare was on the rise. Many patients weren’t able to afford it. Despite the new non-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, it was expected that prices would only continue to increase. With the Great Depression going on in the United States in the background, this was seen as especially problematic. This is precisely why the Social Security Act of 1935 was enacted. It became the first public financial support system for the elderly and disabled, as well as surviving families.
Great milestones were being achieved in health information technology. It included magnetic resonance, which was the principle behind MRI machines. This is a non-invasive technology that provides detailed images of structures within the body. Although the first machine would not be built during this timeframe, modern healthcare IT services would be set up by this accomplishment. Vendors and providers must regularly monitor and manage medical imaging technologies. Other medical breakthroughs during this span consisted of kidney dialysis machines, cardiac pacemakers, and fetal ultrasounds.
There also came work in healthcare informatics, otherwise known as the use of computer and information sciences in the healthcare industry. This is a range of professional scientific studies, including bio-engineering and clinical documentation. In 1958, the International Society of Cybernetic Medicine was founded to focus efforts on exactly this. Medical cybernetics is an interdisciplinary approach that works with information and communication technologies. It has influenced healthcare IT services by recognizing the hybridity of technological and human systems, which is key to the industry today. It wouldn’t be until 1964 that the United States created its own organization for the advancement of cybernetics—the American Society for Cybernetics.
Technological innovations resulted in paper records gradually being pushed away from the forefront of healthcare. After a long history leading up to the invention of the modern computer, developments encouraged the link between computers and medical records. In their current state, computers were found to be a faster way to document and capable of servicing multiple users. Ultimately, they became more accessible. Interest in computers continued to increase, not just in the healthcare industry, but in the world at large. The 1970s showed two types of computers. One was a large, costly build, while the other was mass-produced for personal use.
Computers within the healthcare industry were first quite restricted in terms of their records. Known as Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), these digital representations of a patient’s medical and treatment history could only be held at one facility at a time. This arguably made them not much better than paper, which may have been the reason why so many physicians weren’t buying into EMRs. That being said, they did allow for easier access to data tracking over time so that physicians could better keep up with their current patients.
The expansion of healthcare informatics continued with strides in software development. Early EHR software rose in the 1980s because healthcare leaders became interested in the widespread use of Protected Health Information (PHI). They wanted to be able to share the information to better coordinate treatments. Initially called clinical information systems, EHR software would be the next step in improving productivity and reliability across practices. While it wasn’t immediately widely adopted, it did make moves towards being more available and affordable. It would go on to be recommended across practices by medical professionals and healthcare IT services alike. They are beneficial in that they provide accurate and complete information about patients to the point of care.
You may not remember a time when privacy standards were expected to be met. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) wasn’t signed until 1996. This federal law went hand-in-hand with medical records because it guaranteed that PHI was, in fact, protected. Its rules cover healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and business associates. Without an individual’s authorization, their sensitive data will not be disclosed. Healthcare IT services are expected to fall in line with these standards.
It has become critical to have full transparency between a patient and their physician. This was seen to be achievable with the use of advanced technology. Finding a viable EHR system became a major concern during George W. Bush’s presidency. His goal was for all healthcare practices to adopt EHRs. The intention behind this was to simultaneously enhance care and avoid dangerous mistakes. From the perspective of the patient, they would also be able to make better decisions for themselves. Under Barack Obama’s presidency, physicians were incentivized to make EHRs their primary way to store and share data. Now, healthcare IT services expect this of the facilities they work with so that they can better help with cybersecurity and compliance.
However, something to be aware of is that, as medicine was transforming, the dark web was growing alongside it. More doors were opened up for criminals to take information from vulnerable populations. In the past couple of decades, it has become necessary for healthcare IT services to keep an eye on the dark web. That way, they can determine if anyone has already got their hands on a facility’s PHI. Even if you feel that your data is safe, you could be at risk. To mitigate that risk, providers also train healthcare staff with best practices so that they know to be careful every step of the way.
Is your lack of IT support affecting your patient care? With the expert healthcare IT services at Texas Systems Group, that never has to be a problem. For over 20 years, we have proved that we will keep your data protected and your systems running smoothly. Today, we are the #1 managed service provider for freestanding emergency centers. Our work includes notable facilities like Athena, AdvancedMD, Greenway, and many more. No matter where you are in the country, contact our team to start improving your healthcare practice’s IT infrastructure.
As the internet has improved and cloud technologies have been more widely adopted, remote work has grown. Even now as we are pushing past the restrictions of the pandemic, so many of us are able to accomplish tasks from our homes. For this reason, remote desktop support has become increasingly important. Businesses want to ensure that their employees are safely accessing files and applications.
Remote Desktop from Microsoft is a very useful tool that your managed IT service provider can use to control your device from miles away. They can perform maintenance work, troubleshooting, and system configurations. Even if a small team of IT experts can deal with large amounts of employees through remote desktop support. That being said, your team also has to actively care about cybersecurity. Here are seven IT best practices that any business would benefit from following.
Don’t ignore software updates. You may see the notification on your device and decide that you’ll just deal with it later. Perhaps you even click that button that says to remind you. Yet, when “later” comes around, you forget about it or push it off again. Next thing you know, it’s been several days or weeks and you haven’t patched the issues that your device is at risk for. Failure to keep up with these updates could result in legacy systems running unsupported software. A major advantage of having a remote desktop support team behind you is that they can actually handle your patch management. They scan for vulnerabilities and deploy patches on your systems to keep things going smoothly.
Did you know that the average total cost of a ransomware breach is $4.62 million? IBM reported that this number doesn’t even include the cost of the ransom itself. Instead, it consists of escalation, notification, lost business, and response. Essentially, ransomware is more than capable of taking down your business, so you need to be careful with what you are sending and where. Even if your team is separated by oceans, you must have a way to communicate. There are countless messaging applications available, but not all of them will be as protective over your shared sensitive data. Remote desktop support experts recommend encrypting your sensitive data and correspondence. Make sure that the only people who can access your conversations are the ones who need to be able to.
We have all experienced the frustration of not remembering a password. There may have been a time when you kept trying to input a password, only to be locked out of your account due to suspicious activity. But that isn’t the only problem that we can face when it comes to passwords. Sometimes, it’s the passwords themselves. Just because you seemingly have the best password in the world doesn’t mean a cyber attacker won’t be able to figure it out and get into your accounts. This is why a best practice by remote desktop support providers is to use multi-factor authentication (MFA). It will serve as better protection if someone attempts a data breach because there is an extra step that must be taken on your end. Encourage your employees to use MFA across their accounts.
Our smartphones, tablets, and laptops store a significant amount of our day-to-day lives. If you are allowing your staff to use their personal mobile devices, they need to receive formal training from your managed IT service provider on how to use them properly. Not only will this help out in terms of keeping your business safe, but it will teach them security practices to take with them off the clock. We do recognize that it’s a challenge to ensure that devices are receiving the same level of security remotely as they are in the office. You can’t know what your employees are doing every second. However, if you provide company-owned devices, Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions could be very helpful. This way, your remote desktop support team is able to monitor and handle any issues that could arise with those devices. Remember that most data breaches are caused by insiders!
Shield your device from hacking incidents with another layer of protection. Firewalls can often be used on both software and hardware. They are network security devices that block traffic that isn’t supposed to enter your systems. Trusted destination addresses can be added so that your employees are able to access data from their homes. Pre-established rules about what kind of activity is suspicious lead to better attack prevention. You are also able to limit the users who log into Remote Desktop, thanks to the Windows Firewall. For those that are working with remote desktop support for their IT needs, contact them for assistance in setting up your administration accounts and lockout policy.
When you work remotely, you may not stick to your home office. There might be a coffee shop down the road that offers you a quiet place to get things done. You just have to grab your drink, connect to their Wi-Fi, and get started with your morning. The issue is that, once you connect to public Wi-Fi, you may not be secure. Something to be aware of is that, while free Wi-Fi is so desirable to consumers, it’s also desirable to cyberattackers. So, if you do end up in a situation where you need to use the internet in public, don’t access any important documentation. On the other hand, when you are working in the office, you still want to be sure that your network is secure. Let managed network service providers take care of it.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s necessary to point out. Physical security is just as important as cybersecurity. While the best choice is to not leave your devices out in the open, sometimes we have to step away from them. During that time, if left open, someone could gain access to your files. Have your employees enable automatic locking. That way, they don’t even have to think about it, should they forget to turn the device off. The shorter the amount of time it takes to lock, the safer it is. Some other IT practices that you should include in your business’s policy are using codes on all devices and limiting the number of attempts to get into them.
Where are your employees working from right now? No matter the answer, Texas Systems Group is capable of providing your business with remote desktop support that keeps everyone on track. Your success is our success. So, we want to hear from you! Get started with our cost-effective IT solutions, from anywhere in the world.