The Top IT Services Blogs to Follow in 2019

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We share our most bookmark-worthy IT blog sites for 2019

While there is no shortage of IT-related information on the web, not all that information comes from credible sources.  Yet now more than ever, business owners and other professionals need reliable, data-driven information they can trust.  This is especially true since 89 percent of companies expect their IT budgets to grow or stay steady in 2019.

Statistics like this make it clear that IT services remain in demand, and that businesses recognize the importance of remaining ahead-of-the-curve when it comes to IT-related decisions and strategies.  In fact, 85 percent of enterprise executives believe they have only two years to integrate digital initiatives before falling behind their competitors, which goes to show just how red-hot the tech market is. If you aren’t leading the pack, you’re at risk of fading to the background— a disadvantage that savvy business professionals want to avoid.  So, where can entrepreneurs and other professionals go to find the latest, most trustworthy IT information?  

We’ve decided to point you, our valued readers, in the right direction.


Here are the Top 5 I.T. Service Blogs To Follow In 2019:


1.Information Security Buzz

Information Security Buzz was an easy choice when deciding on our favourite information technology blogs. The site is a completely independent resource that focuses on all things “security”.  From the latest vendor announcements, to cyber attack updates and the latest industry research, this is a website that delivers quality content and actionable tips that business owners can implement to protect their data and systems.  We encourage you to check out their list of contributing authors, a great majority of whom have substantial experience in the IT security industry.



2. I.T. World

ITWorld was created as an IT service blog where technology decision makers, business leaders, and other IT influencers could share information easily and conveniently, but it’s also an excellent place for business professionals from outside the IT industry to gain valuable insight into the latest techniques, tips, and methods.  Since the site is an online hub for IT experts who are highly proficient at what they do, readers can be sure they are getting top-notch content and information every time they visit this site— making it one of the most recommended IT blogs to follow in 2019.  As the site explains, all contributors to the site “have no other agenda except to share what they know, help you solve a problem and put context around recent news, a product announcement or the latest tech trend”.  It doesn’t get much more useful than that!



3. Recode – Enterprise

Recode is a technology news website that focuses on the business of Silicon Valley, and is a great place to go if you want to get the latest tips and information from some of the greatest thought leaders in the tech industry.  The enterprise section of their website, specifically, looks at the latest tech developments and focuses on how the impact these developments will impact businesses.

Contributors to Recode include Kara Swisher, who formerly co-hosted the Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” (a major high-tech and media conference), and Peter Kafta, the former managing editor of Silicon Valley Insider.  With such noteworthy experts at the helm, there’s no question that the team at Recode knows what they’re talking about, making them a great addition to our list of information technology blogs we check daily.



4.MSP Business Insights

MSP Business Insights is a managed services blog where MSP business peers and MSP services vendors can provide IT marketing commentary, share tips and tricks, and discuss the latest industry trends.  The site is ran by Johannes Beekman, the Digital Marketing Director at MSP SEO Factory— a leading company providing IT marketing to businesses in the United States.

While the site is intended for MSP professionals, it is also a great place for business owners to familiarize themselves with managed services trends, and to learn more about the solutions their MSP should be bringing to the table. It truly provides an inside look at the managed services industry, and gives entrepreneurs a look at how MSPs should be engaging their clients.  After all, it’s difficult to hold your managed services provider accountable if you don’t fully grasp what they do or how they should be managing your company’s IT systems.



5. Laurie McCabe’s Blog

Laura McCabe has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry to her name, and is currently co-founder and partner at SMB Group— one the world’s most reputable technology industry research, analysis and consulting firms.  Her blog is dedicated to the small-to-medium-sized business market, and discusses all the latest trends and developments that SMB entrepreneurs should be aware of.  McCabe likes to jam-pack her articles with straight-forward, easy-to-digest tips, and always provides her knowledgeable perspective, ensuring her readers get a no-nonsense version of the latest, most relevant tech topics.  Without a doubt, this is one of the most valuable IT blogs to follow in 2019, and one that we advise clients and professional contacts to browse regularly.


We hope you find the resources as helpful as we do.  And, of course, if you haven’t already, we encourage you to read more of our blog posts on the ARC Business Solutions website.


Why Canada is a Prime Target for Cyber Attacks (And How Canadian Businesses Can Protect Themselves)

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We discuss what makes Canada vulnerable to cyber crimes and provide our best prevention tips

According to a study released by Risk Based Security last month, Canada was number three on the list of countries with the most cyber attacks in 2018— being surpassed by the United States and the United Kingdom only.  But what’s even more concerning than our world ranking is the fact that 12,551,574 Canadian records were exposed as a result of cyber security breaches last year alone.  That’s a massive amount of sensitive data that has been compromised and accessed by cyber criminals.  Yet many Canadian businesses (and individuals) still continue to underestimate the likelihood and the potential severity of cyber crime incidents.

For example, in Canada, the total downtime caused by a cyber attack was 23 hours on average in 2017.  That’s a significant amount of time to spend away from the day-to-day operations of your business.  Yet 41 percent of companies have more than 1,000 sensitive files that are open to everyone and vulnerable to being hacked.  Statistics like these highlight the complicated nature of cyber crimes in Canada, and shine a light on the fact that Canadians must become more proactive if they want to protect themselves from cyber crime incidents in the future.


Prevention Must Be A Priority 

Moving forward, Canadian businesses will face added pressure to invest in more advanced forms of IT security— with a specific focus on deterring cyber crime before it happens.  Some recommended methods of preventing cyber crime include:

  • Hiring a Managed Services Provider who is experienced and can address your IT concerns with a thorough knowledge of industry best practices.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Conduct security audits on a regular basis.
  • Routinely train employees on security best practices and implement clear policies on how information should be protected.
  • Update your browsers, operating systems, and anti-virus software regularly.


How ARC Managed Services Can Help:

At ARC Business Solutions, our Managed Services team offers 24/7 proactive support for businesses who require added manpower.   Essentially, when you hire us, you get an entire IT department that you can depend on at any time.  Our dedicated and qualified IT professionals are trained to handle technology issues of any magnitude, and always come prepared with proven innovative solutions that work.

Some of the ways we can strengthen your cyber defenses include:

  • Identifying your riskiest files and data
  • Providing real-time, automated security testing
  • Conducting a full inventory of all authorized and unauthorized devices that access your network
  • Implementing automated anti-virus and anti-malware software
  • Conducting vulnerability assessments

And more.


The Current State of Cyber Security (And ARC’s Predictions for the Future)

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We take a comprehensive look at the threats and concerns associated with cyber security today

2018 was an eventful year for cyber security.  Major brands like Under Armour, Ticketfly, Uber, and British Airways were all victims of cyber attacks that exposed sensitive client data, and posed a serious risk to overall business operations.  But large corporations aren’t the only ones who are susceptible. One out of every five Canadian businesses experienced some form of cyber security issue in 2018.  And when you consider how prevalent cyber attacks are becoming, it becomes easier to understand why businesses are now investing more than ever before in cyber crime prevention strategies.

For example:   Did you know that the average user receives 16 malicious spam emails per month?  Or that there was a 88 percent increase in new malware programs from 2016 to 2017?  Security trends like these prove that there is a valid reason for concern, and emphasize the importance of making cyber security a top priority— especially for businesses and other organizations.  But what can business owners do with this information? And what cyber security predictions for the future should they be paying attention to?

Well, to start, it’s essential that business owners and organizational leaders understand that cyber attacks are only becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect.  Thus, the time to invest in cutting-edge cyber crime prevention strategies is now— not later.  Speaking to a professional and reputable managed services provider is always a smart place to start, since they come armed with years of industry experience, knowledge of the most powerful and insightful crime prevention tools, and the hands-on skills required to address issues in a timely manner.  But as for what to expect from the future— that’s where things get a little more complicated.

Since cyber criminals are continuously fine-tuning their craft, releasing increasingly dangerous versions of malware, it’s impossible to know exactly what’s to come.   With that being said, there are some data-backed predictions that can provide a general idea of future cyber security threats and their potential impact.


Here Are ARC’s Top 3 Cyber Security Predictions for 2019:


1. Multi-Factor Identification Will Become A Must

Unfortunately, due to the advancement of malicious software, the traditional username and password no longer provide the level of security most business owners want to maintain.  Even the most complicated of passwords can be hacked.

Thus, it is highly likely that multi-factor identification will become a standard. Whether it’s being asked to enter a PIN (as well as a password), or having employees scan their finger using their mobile device, there are many forms of multi-factor identification that businesses can use.  And since 81 percent of hacking-related breaches are successful because of stolen and/or weak passwords, this is an excellent way to reduce the likelihood of becoming the victim of a cyber attack.


2. Payouts Could Result In A Ransom Ban

It has become increasingly popular for businesses who have experienced a cyber attack to financially compensate online criminals in exchange for the safe return of their data and systems.  Unfortunately, however, paying cyber criminals rarely benefits anyone other than the victim. More often than not, the online criminal will simply re-invest the money they receive from a ransom, using it to improve their malicious software and better target their next victim.  Additionally, paying a ransom doesn’t guarantee that the attacker won’t strike again. 

For these reasons, governments are seriously considering placing a ban on ransom payments associated with cyber crimes, as a means of preventing extortion.  Thus, it’s more important than ever for businesses to educate themselves on detection and prevention, and have solid response strategies in place.


3. The Rise Of Measurable Managed Services

As cyber security becomes a fundamental part of operating a business, more and more entrepreneurs are turning to qualified professionals for protection. But they don’t simply want someone to rely on— they want proof that the services they are paying for are delivering results.  Thus, managed services providers must be prepared to meet the desired outcomes of their clients, and to be accountable for those outcomes throughout the working relationship.  By taking this approach, businesses are able to more closely monitor their IT spend, as well as identify opportunities for improvement. Plus, it comes with additional peace of mind, since key metrics can be used to better inform team members when IT-related decisions must be made.

3 Cyber Security Concerns That Were Unheard of Just a Few Years Ago

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Everything you should know about the progression of cyber crime

A lot has changed since the emergence of malicious hacking in the 1970’s, when tech savvy criminals began manipulating phone systems as a means of making free long distance calls.   Personal computers began hitting the market, and the world wide web gained traction, becoming a momentous commercial success.  In fact, in 1995 there were just 16 million internet users worldwide.  Today, there are 4.2 billion.

With such dramatic growth, it was to be expected that cybersecurity would become a pressing concern. Just like in the real world, criminals look for opportunities, and the digital world offered plenty of them.  Cyber crime cases like the Datastream Cowboy and Kuji attacks, as well as the Melissa Virus, made businesses, government agencies, and other organizations aware of how devastating computerized crimes could really be.  Fast forward to the present, and 230,000 new malware programs are being produced each and every day, while ransomware attacks grow by more than 350 percent per year— proving that the evolution of cyber crime should be a concern for everyone.

In a nutshell? It has never been more imperative for companies to understand cyber security best practices, and have expertly-conceptualized strategies in place to combat these computer-based attacks.  So, what are some of the most concerning cybersecurity developments that have occured in recent years? And how can business professionals protect themselves and the organizations they work for?  These are the questions we’ll be answering in today’s blog.


Here Are 3 Cyber Security Concerns That Were Unheard Of Just a Few Years Ago: 


1. Steganography Attacks

Steganography is the practice of replacing portions of data within files like images, audio files, and graphics with different, infected code. This method is particularly worrying since it completely hides the fact that malicious code is being uploaded or downloaded, leaving computer users vulnerable, unaware that a virus is lurking within the file.  Additionally, many anti-virus programs and security tools are unable to detect the code, due to the clever ways cyber criminals embed the code within the file.

Security researchers reported a 600 percent upsurge in steganographically-based attacks in 2017, which is highly problematic.   Thus, it’s crucial that businesses and organizations invest in cutting-edge technologies and prevention strategies to ward off these types of threats. Speaking with a reputable and experienced managed services provider is always a great place to start. 


2. IOT (Internet Of Things) Attacks

The Internet of Things is a term used to describe all of the various device types available today that can connect to the internet— from refrigerators, to vehicles, televisions, e-readers, and more.  All of these devices (as long as they are connected to the internet) can be hacked, and once they are, any of the information stored on the device is up for grabs.  Additionally, once a hacker has found their way into one of the devices on your IoT network, it becomes easier to gain access to the others.

Some recommended ways to protect your devices from IoT attacks include:

  • Always changing the default username and password on your devices, and using password best practices when creating your new login credentials.
  • Updating and installing IoT firmware regularly.
  • Disconnecting IoT devices from the internet whenever they aren’t in use.
  • Deleting apps that you don’t use or that look unfamiliar to you.
  • Do your research— read up on your new device and see if other customers have experienced security issues when using the device.

Remember, approximately 50,000 IoT attacks were documented in 2017, and that number is expected to rise.  Hiring a managed services company is an excellent way to ensure your business is guarded against these threats.


3. Spear Phishings

You’ve probably heard of phishing, or fraudulent email campaigns that do their best to seem legitimate, as a means of obtaining sensitive information about the receiver. But this classic online scheme has taken on a whole new level with the emergence of spear phishing.  It’s the same concept, but hyper-focused, with cyber criminals focusing on one individual instead of casting a wide net and seeing what turns up.  These cyber criminals will use extreme measures to gain whatever information they can about their target— and then ultimately use that information to execute better, more difficult-to-detect attacks.

The key here is that the criminal focuses on getting to know their victim, observing their online behavior and using tactics that are targeted towards the victim’s habits, interests, and vulnerabilities.  This detailed and methodical approach is a recent development, proving that the evolution of cyber crime has been shaped by criminals who are willing to use whatever means necessary to infiltrate their targets.  More often than not, spear phishing is done via emails, so being highly aware is essential if you want to combat these types of attacks. Employees need to be educated on email safety and should always secure their accounts by making use of spam filters and screening their inboxes for viruses.

Again, a seasoned and established managed services provider can ensure you have the right preventative strategies in place, and ensure your system is up to date and secure.


Managed Services Trends for 2019

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We discuss the most compelling managed services trends businesses can expect to see for 2019. 

If we’ve learned anything in 2018, it’s that businesses are turning to managed services providers (MSPs) more than ever before, looking to outsource their IT needs to knowledgeable experts.  In fact, the managed services market is expected to grow from $180.5 billion in 2018 to $282 billion by 2023.

At ARC Business Solutions, we believe this projected growth is a direct result of the benefits managed services providers can offer the businesses they work with.

These benefits include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The improved efficacy and reliability of IT systems
  • A preventative approach to IT maintenance
  • Calculable monthly costs
  • Guaranteed compliance with privacy laws and legislative policies
  • Increased scalability of IT systems
  • Access to industry expertise whenever required

Because business owners are pressed for time and constantly bombarded with operational tasks, having a dedicated team of professionals they can trust their IT maintenance with is not only convenient, but incredibly relieving.  But how can business owners be sure they have hired the best MSP available to meet their needs?  Well, to start, they can read up on these managed services trends and present them to their potential MSP, allowing them to gauge how innovative and informed the vendor really is.  So, let’s get to it.


Here Are The Top Managed Services Trends For 2019:


1. Cloud Computing

According to Microsoft, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more—over the Internet.  Businesses are often drawn to the idea of cloud computing because of the associated cost savings. In fact, average entry-level cloud computing pricing has declined by some 66 per cent over the last two year period to November 2015, and it has been forecasted that average public cloud pricing will fall even more, by a predicted 14 per cent by the year 2020.  Additionally, most cloud computing services are offered on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning that businesses only pay for the services and features they use, and none of the extras.  A bonus that most businesses simply can’t refuse.


2. Cyber-Security

One only needs to look at some of the cybersecurity statistics available online to understand how essential it is for modern-day businesses. For example, from 2016 to 2017 alone there was a 22.7 percent increase in cybersecurity costs, and the average cost of a data breach is expected to exceed $150 million by 2020.  To prevent these devastating financial losses, business owners are turning to managed services providers with the intention of strengthening their IT security.  And it works!

Hiring a MSP actually results in a 50 percent reduction in the possibility of having a data breach caused by some of the most common external threats.  This is because MSPs are qualified and highly trained to offer only the most up-to-date security solutions, and know how to protect data using methods like backup processes, access control, and encryption.


3. Managed Services For Developing Technologies

As you most likely already know, computer systems and software solutions are constantly evolving. Recently, the increasing popularity of technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain have completely transformed the way people process and transfer data.  Eventually, these new technologies will be subjected to data, security, and privacy regulations, putting added pressure on businesses to comply with legislative policies and protect their operations from potential threats.

For business owners who want to remain ahead of the curve, discussing these emerging technologies with a managed services provider is essential. The most cutting-edge and industry-leading MSPs will already be aware of these technologies, and will be proactively brainstorming ways to address them.  It is to be expected that many business owners will be unaware of these new technologies, or will experience a significant learning curve as they become more popular.  Having a dependable, skilled managed services company on your side is the ideal way to reduce confusion and protect your venture during these technological advancements.

By researching and familiarizing themselves with these managed services trends, entrepreneurs and business professionals can better prepare for what’s to come, and implement the advanced solutions they’ll need ahead of time.  At ARC Business Solutions, our managed services team is continually evolving, learning, and advancing. It is our priority to offer top-tier network security, response services, and troubleshooting support to our clients, at all times.