March News:

On The Calendar We're excited to announce The Fulcrum Group's recognition in 2018 as a Digium Pinnacle Partner!  Bringing exceptional ongoing support and service to our Digium customers has helped us maintain this distinguished honor for the 6th year. The Fulcrum Group is hiring!  If you know anyone that fits the bill for our open positions - Inside Sales Executive, Service Desk Engineer or Social Media Intern - please feel free to forward them the details on our Careers 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.
6 Backup & Disaster Recovery Tips for Business Owners  In today’s business environment, businesses rely more than ever on IT systems to run their operations. Most businesses would not survive a major disaster that wipes out their IT infrastructure without an effective Backup & Disaster Recovery plan and system in place. Here are 6 quick tips for business owners to make sure that your Backup & Disaster Recovery plans and systems are aligned to your business goals. Tip 1 – Perform a Risk Assessment on your various IT Systems
  • Step 1 – Inventory all of your discrete IT systems
  • Step 2 – Ask yourself what the cost would be for an outage (1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, or pick other timeframes that you prefer)
  • Step 3 – Focus your Backup & Disaster Recovery planning, system, and budget on the most critical IT systems that have the highest cost for an outage
Tip 2 – Determine the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO) for each critical IT system
  • Recovery Time Objective – How long can you afford to be down?  This will inform your Backup & Disaster Recovery planning process.
  • Recovery Point Objective – How much data can you afford to lose?  This will also inform your Backup & Disaster Recovery planning process.
Tip 3 – Create or update your Backup & Disaster Recovery Plan based on your Risk Assessment and RTO/RPO determinations
  • Your Backup & Disaster Recovery Plan should be a policy document that plugs right into your IT policies
  • It may also be a part of a bigger overall business continuity plan for your business that may cover other processes outside of IT
Tip 4 – Choose Backup & Disaster Recovery solutions that can make your plan a reality
  • Typically, you will need backup software, local and off-site (or cloud) backup targets, and possibly spare server computing power for quick recovery
  • You can also consider managed, cloud-based solutions that allow you to outsource backups to an expert
Tip 5 – Regularly update your Backup & Disaster Recovery system and plan
  • On at least a quarterly basis, you should be reviewing your IT systems and data for changes (new servers, new shares, new software/apps) that might be added or deleted to your backups
  • On an annual basis, you should evaluate your Backup & Disaster Recovery plan (has anything changed in the business), and determine if you need more backup resources (software licensing, backup targets, cloud storage, etc.)
Tip 6 – Keep your management team involved – don’t let IT drive the requirements
  • The management team of your business should be setting the business requirements for backup and disaster recovery
  • IT should be aligning technical solutions that meet your business requirements
Business owners and managers who follow these steps can ensure that their business is prepared for a disaster. Feel free to reach out to us at The Fulcrum Group if you'd like more information or assistance ensuring your business is prepared.
SPOT Shield Dark Web Assessments   Hackers, thieves, and organized criminal organizations are stealing, selling, sharing, and accessing stolen information on the dark web.  This information can be used to perpetuate phishing, hacking, ransomware, social engineering and other attacks against your own company and employees.  Unfortunately, you likely don’t know how many employee accounts can be found on the dark web. The Fulcrum Group's SPOT Shield Managed IT Security Services include a dark web breach assessment service.  SPOT Shield scans the dark web looking for all accounts associated with your email domain.  Once we find these accounts, we show you which accounts were found, and which breaches they were involved with. We then show you the level of risk to your organization.  This information will open your eyes to the real risk to both your business and your employees.  If you're wondering what steps you can take to protect yourself against this kind of cyber security risk, contact us here at The Fulcrum Group to learn about SPOT Shield.
SPOTlight On: Standards And Technology Alignment Review (STAR) Visits - Evolved Service Delivery From The Fulcrum Group Important "WHOs and WHENs" For our fully outsourced clients please be aware of a service improvement The Fulcrum Group has rolled out, beginning Q1 2018. In January, we began compiling a list of network and security standards that we believe to be best practices. We will be visiting each outsourced client site in a regular rhythm to ensure not only do we setup things at onboarding, but we keep checking over time In February you may have already been contacted about a Standards & Technology Alignment Review (STAR) visit.  With 10 under our belt already, we come out to your site and spend an entire day. The Scoop on "WHAT WE DO"  Depending on your user seat count, we'll schedule a STAR visit anywhere from once a month to once a quarter. During the visit, a dedicated resource will spend the day double-checking system settings versus our standards, to report back to you during your QSR (Quarterly Strategy Review). Most technologies and applications work as intended from initial installation. But over time, things stop working, updates cause changes and failures happen. Rather than just respond to issues, we dedicated a process and a role to be able to see the big picture and invest time and effort to consistently reduce risk. These guidelines contain over 50 year’s experience from our senior engineers to help you get the outcomes you deserve. HOW DID THIS START? As part of our annual planning exercises, we conduct an anonymous survey of our team members using a start-stop-keep exercise. If you know anything about Verne Harnish and Scaling Up, the exercise simply asks three questions in an effort to dehassle our associates lives.
  • What should we start doing?
  • What should we stop doing?
  • What should we keep doing?
Based on all the feedback we receive from our team, we prioritize into groups of ideas for viability and impact and power through as many as we can. This process highlighted the fact that even though we invested heavily in new tools to monitor and alert us to new issues and a documentation platform to track all assets, passwords and settings, that we hadn’t reduced the daily number of support tickets in our queue. The challenge we discovered was that if we reduce the number of incidents our clients experience, it is good for both of us. WHY DID WE TAKE THIS APPROACH? Many regular book readers make up our leadership, and several people referred to the DevOps book The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win. Referring to the chart below, a core learning from the parable book explains why the Parts Unlimited organization struggles with so many IT issues.   While organizations desire to be in the upper left or top half of the grid, the books company wastes so much labor, money, time and focus responding to lower right issues, they almost fail. We believe by driving standardization and business alignment more often we will reduce unplanned work. Then, we will both have more thought and resources to apply to business strategy and a more direct impact on reducing risk and improving profitable outcomes.   Feel free to reach out to our President Steve Meek if you have any questions.  
  More Than Tech Tips: Hacker High School Business Tips From The Fulcrum Group Have a child or friend interested in learning more about cyber security? Steer them towards Hacker High School to pitch to their teachers or form their own group. If you or a kiddo you know is interested in hacking-related stuff, I hope you caught NPR's recent piece on "All Tech Considered" - a really interesting interview with Samy Kamkar, Kamkar is one of the most famous hackers in America, becoming notorious at age 19. Carving a career out of working his way into networked devices, Samy now functions as a "gray hat hacker." When succeeding in compromising internet-connected things, he lets the world know so the vulnerability can be fixed. Forward this article to your tech-savvy kid!
  Did You Know...Cloud Options for Offsite BackupThe Fulcrum Group Dallas Fort Worth IT Outsourcing Managed Services Did you know...that The Fulcrum Group offers multiple Cloud options for offsite backups?  Reach out to your Fulcrum Group Account Manager for assistance. .