July News:

On The Calendar July at The Fulcrum Group Reminder to Save The Date - Thursday, August 2nd - Get ready for Grow Successfully 2018 this August, B2BCFO's annual summertime ballpark event  for business owners. Get more scoop about this on our Events page! We'll let you know about any upcoming 2018 special events through our social media pages, which we'll update on our Events page as they occur. Quick links to our social media pages are accessible right from our website and in every monthly newsletter email you receive from us. If you're new to our newsletter and you'd like to subscribe, let us know.
8 Technical Considerations When Upgrading Your Call Center Digium Call Center Solutions From The Digium Blog For more details, read article in its entirety. Moving to a VoIP-based call center phone system can bring substantial savings for organizations. Beyond saving money, it is also important to have a general idea about technical requirements of this decision from a variety of perspectives. If you are in the process of upgrading your call center phone system, read these 8 technical considerations to help your transition go as smoothly as possible. 1. Network Requirements Understanding your existing network as well as your future needs will play an important part in your call center phone system project. There are a few essential questions you need to ask to help determine if your network is ready or if there are any improvements you should make. 2. Deployment Options One of the absolute most important decisions you can make when upgrading your call center phone system is how you want to deploy it – in the cloud, on a dedicated appliance, or in a virtual environment. Many factors can play a role in determining the right deployment option for you, and it’s imperative to understand the technical pros and cons of each. 3. System Integrations IT team members know how hard it is to keep up with the many business systems their organization requires. Adding a VoIP-based call center phone system to your existing technology stack shouldn’t make your life more difficult. Being able to integrate your phone system with other business applications should be a top priority. Look for a call center phone system with Microsoft Active Directory or LDAP integrations to minimize the stress of keeping up with passwords and to make your system more secure. Also, ensure the phone system can integrate with CRM systems, like Salesforce, or customer service software, like Zendesk, to help your dedicated call teams do their jobs more efficiently. 4. Vendor Lock-In Assessing vendor lock-in is two-fold. When researching your call center phone system platform, make sure that your vendor does not force you to purchase every component of the system from them. Oftentimes, vendors who do not make their products compatible with those from other manufacturers will upcharge certain products, making the system ultimately more expensive. Or, if the product is discontinued or the vendor goes out of business, you will have a difficult time finding replacement parts. 5. Setup and Maintenance Setting up and maintaining a call center phone system can be a time-consuming process. The longer it takes to migrate to a new system or to make changes as needed, the greater the impact it could have on your business. To minimize downtime, it is imperative to select a phone system that is easy to install and configure. 6. Logs & Reports Selecting a call center phone system with reporting capabilities gives you access to historical information, allowing you to make data-driven decisions about your telephony needs. Monitoring usage trends and call volume allows you to make necessary adjustments and ensures you are giving your callers the experience they want and need. 7. System Backups Many organizations enforce backup policies, and having a call center phone system with the ability to schedule automated backups is imperative. Consider a solution like Switchvox that lets you set up an automated backup schedule with file transfer to the FTP server of your choice and that also allows you to create an immediate backup as needed. 8. 24×7 Technical Support Choosing a call center phone system vendor with an excellent support plan is essential. Many contact centers have call teams operating 24×7. If something goes wrong in the middle of the night, waiting until the next morning to resolve the issue could have serious repercussions on your business, so it is imperative to select a vendor who offers around-the-clock support. Next Steps Upgrading your call center phone system to VoIP can have many positive benefits for your organization, but it is important to understand all of the technical requirements. From your existing network to configuration needs to support, each piece of the technical puzzle should be evaluated to ensure your transition is a smooth one. Reach out to your Account Manager at The Fulcrum Group for assistance.
  Mid-Year Update:  2018 SonicWALL Cyber Threat Report David Johnson of The Fulcrum Group brings you a quick 60 second spot on highlights of the 2018 SonicWALL Cyber Threat Report Mid-Year Update. This report provides detailed threat information and intelligence, industry analysis, and cyber security guidance.  It comes from information collected by the SonicWALL Capture Labs Team, and allows SonicWALL customers and partners to follow what’s happening in the cyber security threat landscape. Please feel free to download the entire report from our Media page.  Here's the highlights:  
  • On-Going Battle Between Cyber Criminals & IT Security Professionals There is an on-going battle of innovation and advancement between cyber criminals and IT security professionals.  That means IT security professionals and IT security vendors need to provide customers with in-depth understanding and insight into the cyber security threat landscape.  The modern cyber arms race – against governments, businesses, and individuals – is comprised of a series of attacks, counterattacks, and defensive countermeasures.
  • Malware Attacks Bounce Back – After a record year of attacks in 2015, malware attacks declined in 2016.  But 2017 represented a major increase in malware attacks. There was also a corresponding 101.2 percent increase in new ransomware variants — a key indicator that attack strategies are shifting.  Attack volumes are on the rise, and so are attacks with SSL encrypted traffic.
  • Ransomware Attack Volume Declines - Full-year data shows that ransomware attacks dropped from 638 million to 184 million between 2016 and 2017.  Regionally, the Americas were victimized the most,   receiving 46 percent of all ransomware attack attempts in 2017. Europe saw 38 percent of ransomware attacks during that same time.
  • IoT and chip processors are emerging battlegrounds - Cybercriminals are pushing new attack techniques into advanced technology spaces, notably the Internet of Things (IoT) and chip processors.  In January 2018, a processor vulnerability, known as Meltdown, was published by Google’s Project Zero security team.  Variants of this issue are known to affect many modern processors.
  • 2018 Trends – Processor threats are predicted to exploit password and information stealing.  Microsoft Office threats are expected to increase, leveraging users’ trust in PDFs and Office applications.  There is a surge in malware attacks using encrypted traffic to covertly infiltrate organizations.
  • Best Practices & Final Takeaways – Each year presents new and interesting developments that define the state of the cyber arms race and cyber security industry.  While threat actors and cyber criminals are more sophisticated, IT security professionals and IT security vendors are turning the tide in the cyber war. Below are few Best Practices that you can utilize in the cyber war:
    • Take a Layered Approach to Cyber Security – The best cybersecurity strategies are layered, automatic and dynamic. Security-conscious organizations will deploy a cohesive mix of devices and controls to serve as the fabric of their security posture. This includes next-generation firewalls, email security solutions, real-time cloud sandboxing, secure mobile access controls and wireless access points.
    • Intelligence – Deploying strategies that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence can help make intelligent real time decisions on how to respond to cyber attacks.  Use automated cloud sandboxes to analyze and identify unknown zero day cyber threats.  Bolster cyber security via shared intelligence from cyber security vendors.  Educate employees about cyber security risks such as malware and phishing attacks, and routinely test awareness.
    • Integration & Automation – Get cyber security systems to communicate and work together.  Deploy next generation firewalls that leverage shared intelligence and real-time mitigation.  Implement responsible SSL/TLS decryption and inspection capabilities.  Utilize additional security features on your next generation firewall such as gateway antivirus, web filtering, and intrusion prevention.  And use email security to block email-borne threats.

Download the full SonicWALL 2018 Cyber Threat Report Mid-Year Update

Download the complete SonicWALL Cyber Threat Update from our Media page now and always feel free to reach out for assistance or give us a call at 817.337.0300.            
SPOTlight On: Jeremy Adams Say hello to Fulcrum Group Business Connector, Jeremy Adams. "Creating positive experiences with technology" pretty much sums it up, when it comes to Jeremy Adams' mission, assisting business leaders in achieving results that reach beyond "good." A natural encourager, seeing things open mindedly and a willingness to serve people round out some of the important skills Jeremy brings to the Fulcrum team and our clients, every day. 3 fun facts to bring up next time you chat with Jeremy:
  • Jeremy went to Australia on a football program to play in the Down Under Bowl on the Texas All-star Team.  
  • He enjoys cooking - "steak griller" is his claim to fame - and spending time with his two teenagers.
  • Jeremy was in One Act Play in high school and was awarded District Best Actor and All-Star Cast.
Welcome, Jeremy!
  Vistage Executive News - Choosing the Optimal Business Entity For Your Start-Up Business Vistage Executive News Choosing a business structure isn't a cut-and-dried issue. What's right depends on various factors, including whether you expect your venture to 1) be profitable, 2) distribute or retain income, 3) acquire assets that are likely to appreciate, and 4) pay shareholder-employee salaries. The new deduction for qualified business income also factors into your decision. Check out this great article on some key issues that may affect entity choice.
  Did You Know...Telecom and VoIP Solutions Did you know that The Fulcrum Group offers a full array of Telecom and VOIP solutions, including on-premises and cloud phone systems, call center solutions, and mobility solutions.  Contact your Fulcrum Group Account Manager for more information on our Telecom and VOIP solutions.