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The Business Guide to Surviving the Next Hurricane Harvey (Part Two)

In Part One of our article, we talked about the devastating impact that Hurricane Harvey had on businesses in the Houston area. We also explained how developing a business continuity plan, complete with how the three essential elements of operational recovery sites, data backup and communications, can help save your business when disaster strikes.

Today, we’re going over more ways to stop business interruption, with a big focus on 3 questions you need to answer when you are working with your managed services provider (MSP) to prepare your business continuity plan.

1. Do you have a cloud solution in place?

Now that you know how important it is to back up your data, you’re probably wondering how to go about doing so. If you don’t already have one or more cloud solutions in place, that should be one of your first steps.

A recent study found that 90% of organizations use the cloud in some way, with 50% using cloud services as their preferred solution. We could write an entire paper on the benefits of cloud services (and we’ll get to that soon), but one of the major benefits you’re looking at is the ability for the cloud to keep your business running as a primary and/or backup server.

Your data should also have a physical backup, but with the cloud, you will be operational in minimal time.

2. Do you understand how important it is to eliminate downtime?

When disaster shuts down your business, you immediately start losing money. A recent ITIC survey finds that 98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000. Even if your business is doing very well, no business owner or decision maker looks at a $100,000 loss with a big smile. And that’s just one hour.

When you extrapolate those figures over the days, weeks, months it sometimes takes an ill-prepared business to become operational, it’s easy to see why 60 percent of small companies go out of business within six months of a cyberattack.

3. Are you prepared for mobile operations?

Over 70% of businesses are permitting, or planning to soon permit, employees to use their own devices for work purposes. The rise of the “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend can definitely work in your favor if you need to shift quickly to operating out-of-office. You must, however, ensure that your data is secure across platforms.

When building your business continuity plan, you also want to work with your MSP to create a network that adapts to a mobile environment. Cybersecurity should never take a backseat to business continuity. There’s no reason these two can’t work hand-in-hand to minimize data loss and optimize productivity.

GB Tech Will Stop Business Interruption in 15 Minutes or Less

Here at GB Tech, we will work with your business to create a business continuity plan that guarantees minimal business interruption, and enables your business to be operational in 15 minutes or less.

We believe in Houston business and we are happy to share more specific information about how to keep your business going in the event of a disaster.

Please reach out to GB Tech to learn more. You can contact us anything, anytime.

Business Guide to Surviving the Next Hurricane Harvey (Part One)

For many people in our great nation, 2017 was a very tough year. That is particularly true of our friends, family and colleagues here in Houston and the surrounding areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. With respect and interest in further helping the professionals and businesses involved, we have created a short guide to stopping business interruption in the event of another catastrophic event.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the Category 4 hurricane did over $125 billion in damage. Thousands of businesses were forced to close temporarily due to the disaster, and many closed permanently. Not only were people out of house and home, but many had no job to return to after recovery got underway.

We would like to share some essential information that will help your business survive in the event of a disaster. Here’s how to stop business interruption in its tracks:

You Need a Business Continuity Plan

A business continuity plan is just that, a plan to ensure that your business continues to operate in the event of a disaster. This internally developed document outlines the key individuals and their roles in initiating a step-by-step procedure to keep your business operational regardless of the series of events that may have occurred. This plan will be the framework for surviving beyond any disaster, and it will provide a reference point for training your employees in best practices and business resilience.

The specifics of your business continuity plan will vary to some degree based on your business, the geographic location of your employees, and the nature of the disaster. Here are some of the key areas that all plans must address.

Operations

Once you are confident that your data is being safely backed up, you then have to address operational procedures to continue serving customers. Your business continuity plan should always include a list of responsibilities and delegations so that you can be up and running as soon as possible.

After connecting with your team to make sure that everyone is safe, you’ll probably wonder how your employees will get back to work once their physical systems are no longer available. Many businesses at this point will create a business recovery site as an official base of operations.

Business recovery sites can range from skeletal offices with basic internet access and a few desks to fully operational offices that basically mimic the original site’s functionality down to computer hardware and amenities.

No matter what type of site you can afford to invest in, you’ll want to make sure that you have some sort of operational backup in mind.

Your recovery site, or even your remote worker recovery plan, can be organized by your managed services professional so that it fits the security standards already in place within your current network configurations.

Data Backup

When something as strong as a hurricane strikes your business, there’s little doubt that the physical hardware within your office will be compromised. If you have not backed up your data, then you will most likely lose all of the data that is essential to running your business, especially if your business systems are located at or below ground level.

Most data backup solutions will include a combination of backing up your data to additional local servers, as well as a cloud solution that will maintain copies of all your data in an off-site location unaffected by current issues to keep it safe from any potential data loss due to physical damage.

You would be surprised how often, even without a natural disaster, business owners lose data due to hardware failure. In the USA, historically about 140,000 hard drives fail every week.

Your physical infrastructure, including your server and other IT-related technology, is important and should always be updated to meet the demands of your business. That being said, it is still the data stored on your systems that is most important to running your business. You don’t want, and can’t afford, to lose that data.

Communications

A successful business continuity plan will always include communication protocols. It’s important that both your employees and customers know who to turn to for leadership and support.

For your employees, make sure that you have a dedicated line established that they can call for detailed business continuity instructions. Don’t rely on live information, because you will find that one person answering the phones is not adequate for the multiple people requesting information.

For your customers, you want to prepare a series of messages and a delivery schedule to make sure that they are alerted, informed and reassured that despite any possible disaster, you will be operational and open for business and they can know what to expect.

Stop Business Interruption in 15 Minutes or Less

Here at GB Tech, we will work with your business to create a business continuity plan that not only guarantees minimal business interruption but also will have you operational in 15 minutes or less.

We believe in Houston businesses and we are happy to share more specific information about how to keep your business going in the event of a disaster.

Please reach out to GB Tech to learn more. You can contact us about anything, any time.

3 of the Worst IT-related Disasters Ever (And What You Can Learn From Them)

Data breaches have, at this point, impacted almost every single person in the USA. These great larcenies of private information via mainstream companies are not only alarming but they are estimated to cost $6 trillion dollars by 2021. But we can learn a lot about how to stop business interruption from these catastrophic data breaches.

Here we share 3 of the biggest breaches of all time and some ways to avoid them.

1. 2013 Target Data Breach

In 2013, Target suffered a catastrophic data breach, leading to the loss of 11 gigabytes of customer data. The stolen data included names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and payment information for 70 million people.

Obviously, 70 million unhappy customers are not good for business, especially when it costs the company $252 million dollars. How does that even happen? Actually, Target was hit the same way many businesses are attacked–through phishing.

Here’s what we now know happened:

A single employee at one of Target’s third-party vendors, Fazio Mechanical, was tricked by a phishing program that allowed a password-stealing program called Citadel to be installed on the Fazio server. From there, attackers breached the Target vendor portal, Ariba, and took over the servers. It was a short trip from there to the POS servers, where the attackers spent weeks stealing and selling customer information on the black market.

Phishing is a cyberattack that works by prompting users into volunteering sensitive information through deceptive emails containing malicious attachments or website links. Compromising corporate data really is this simple sometimes.

One way to prevent damage to your business from phishing scams is to educate your employees. On top of the common cybersecurity practices applied by your managed services provider, informing employees to never enter personal or protected information on strange websites, as well as to “think before clicking,” will help prevent successful phishing scams.

Make sure to combat phishing with a combination of regular education and sufficient cybersecurity measures in case someone forgets.

2. 2014 Home Depot Malware Attack

In 2014, Home Depot suffered data loss of email and credit card information for more than 56 million customers. Home Depot soon learned that the last thing you want to do is compromise data from 56 million people who enjoy swinging hammers and planting things deep in gardens.

The damage? In total, the breach cost Home Depot $179 million dollars, including legal class action. The lawsuit also demands that Home Depot invests in stronger cybersecurity measures.

The Home Depot Breach happened because attackers were able to access a weakness and install malware which stole the consumers’ credit card, debit card, and email information. Like Target’s incident before, the attackers accessed Home Depot’s network through a third-party vendor.

The lesson here is that you need proper cybersecurity so that an anomaly can be recognized and stopped in its track. If you are worried about how accessible your network is, speak to your managed services provider about your current cybersecurity efforts and mention the need for superior access control and malware protection.

3. 2017 Equifax Cybersecurity Breach

You’ve probably heard of Equifax. It’s one of the three big companies that track and analyze our credit activity and scores in the US.

Let’s face it, none of us really like the people who sit in their little rooms pumping out algorithms in a mass effort to rank our financial capability. That being said, we didn’t exactly want hackers to steal the personal and financial information of 143 million people from Equifax.

That’s exactly what happened in 2017. According to Equifax, the attackers “exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files.” Those certain files included credit card numbers, social security numbers, dates of birth, address information and more.

A company like Equifax is required to have cybersecurity solutions in place, but we’ve learned that even they are susceptible to large-scale attacks. The total financial damage is unknown at this time, as various lawsuits against the credit monitoring giant are in progress.

Take Action and Business Protection

According to a study by Verizon, a small data breach where only 100 records are lost would most likely cost an organization anywhere from $18,120 to $35,730, but could cost as much as $555,660. Your business is a constant target for cyberattacks. And just like the three companies we’ve talked about today, you could be hit with major financial losses if you experience a security breach.

The best way to protect your business from cyberattacks is to work with your managed services provider to create your own solid cybersecurity solution. Most of the time, this will involve analyzing your network for vulnerabilities and strengthening those points. Monitoring your network is also imperative for proactive, ongoing protection against incoming threats.

As your IT partner, GB Tech strives to deliver mission-critical support in a dynamic, constantly changing world, and we are ready to help you learn more about your current cybersecurity solutions. You can contact us any time.

How to Stop Business Interruption and Save Your Business

It is 2020 and you are an astronaut on the prime crew of the Apollo 18 Mission. You have just participated in the rigorous NASA training program, and you are preparing to blast off to the opportunity of a lifetime — a lunar landing!

You have finished all of the pre-flight procedures. You’ve practice your landing speech in your head, and even dashes off an email to your sweetheart. You’re totally ready. All you have to do is get dressed. But, in all of the excitement, you manage to puncture a hole in your spacesuit.

You don’t have an extra spacesuit, so your backup on the mission, Carl, gets to do the Apollo 18 Mission and land on the Moon instead, while you stay at home on Earth and take notes. But that’s okay, you can go next time. This is the first Apollo mission to the Moon in 38 years, but they are bound to get more frequent.

Wow. That would be the disappointment of a lifetime, right? Fortunately, NASA has a backup plan for everything. Even for how many spacesuits go on each Apollo mission.

Historically, each NASA Apollo Mission required 15 suits. Three suits each were made for all three members of the prime crew, and two for each of the three members of the backup crew.

NASA has a privilege of including in its ranks some of the most acclaimed scientists and engineers of our time. You can trust that if they believe in the importance of a backup plan, it’s probably a good idea to follow suit (pun, totally intended).

In fact, in much of life, we are often encouraged to have a backup plan. We keep savings accounts, health savings, life insurance, and maybe a few of us hide money in a fake book in our office library. Planning for a possible life changing event or an unexpected disaster to become part of our lives. Unfortunately, people in business often totally forget to plan ahead for the unforeseen.

If you want the primary mission of your business to go off without a hitch, it’s important to have your own backup solutions and data recovery plans.

Data Backup Prevents Data Loss

First of all, congratulations. If you are considering a data backup plan, you are way ahead of the curve. A recent industry report found that only 51% of business users within organizations backup their data to on-premises computers or external drives, and only 35% backup their data to the cloud.

If you are disturbed by those numbers, the figures showing what happens when you don’t backup your data will really floor you. For instance, Verizon found that a small data breach where only 100 records are lost would most likely cost an organization anywhere from $18,120 to $35,730, but could cost as much as $555,660.

Now that you know what a financial beating businesses take when they suffer a data loss, you are probably thinking, “I definitely don’t wanna lose my data! What causes data loss?”

Source: ITProPortal 

Typically, data loss occurs due to one or more of the following:

Hardware failure

In the USA, approximately 140,000 hard drives fail every week. It’s also reported that 60% of small businesses that suffer significant data loss will close within 12 months.

Hardware failure, unfortunately, is more of an inevitability than a possibility. Hard drives are not designed to last forever, and they have a definite, albeit unpredictable, shelflife.

Human Error

Raise your hand if you’ve ever accidentally destroyed a computer. Okay, now look around. Again, you’re not alone. As much as 70% of all data center incidents can be attributed to bad operations/human error.

Natural Disasters

Your business is subject to the destruction of nature. When natural disaster strikes, not only are you unable to work, which contributes to catastrophic losses due to downtime, but your physical components are often destroyed. Without data backup, your business may be unsalvageable.

Cyberattacks

A direct cyberattack can cost businesses as much as $40,000 per hour. Most businesses can’t afford, or would at least prefer not to throw away a full-time employees annual salary on a cyberattack.

Creating a solid data backup plan allows your business to continue if you are attacked.

No matter which of the main categories of a disaster you encounter, you will want to establish a solid data backup plan to keep your business running.

Source: Data Center Knowledge

A Disaster Recovery Plan Keeps You in Business

When we use the word “disaster” what we mean is any significant event that might negatively impacted your business. Data loss, by way of any of the four major categories we’ve discussed today, qualifies as one of the primary disasters your business might encounter.

We’ve emphasized the importance of a data backup solution, because it is the first step in maintaining business continuity. For your business to grow, it needs to stay open. Backing up your data ensures that losing physical components will not mean the end of your business.

Data loss will not be the only impact of a disaster. You may have to purchase new equipment, ensure power supply, and keep your network running.

A disaster recovery plan involves data backup as well as other steps to maintain the longevity of your business. In one study, 75% of business owners reported that they didn’t have any type of disaster recovery plan.

While data backup ensures that you have the information to run your business, a full-scale disaster recovery plan will ensure that you still have the infrastructure to run a business.

Things to consider might be: alternate operation locations, backup servers, generators, and more.

Source: Nationwide

GB Tech Can Help

It’s more important than ever to have redundancies in place to protect your business. At GB Tech, we have a history of creating data backup solutions and disaster recovery plans that keep businesses running no matter what unfortunate situations may arise.

If you’d like to learn more about backup and disaster recovery, please give us a call or shoot us an email. We look forward to hearing from you.

5 of the Most Anticipated Technology Trends of 2018

2017 offered some phenomenal technological advancements that range from the miraculous (as in brain implants that restore movement lost by spinal cord injuries) to the foreboding (as in self-driving semi tractor-trailers). Any year-end-review will also get you thinking about the future. So what’s going to be big in 2018? Here are our predictions for the 5 most anticipated technology trends of 2018:

1. The Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT trends have been on a steady incline for years, with over $6-trillion predicted to be invested in IoT by 2021. The increasing desire to make everything we own “smart” will be a big theme for 2018.

The IoT has already given us the ability to operate our thermostats, alarms, security cameras, and talking toys via our cell phones. 2018 will see IoT incorporated in more businesses, with trends focusing on the importance of IoT security and analytics.

IoT Business News also predicts that 2018 will see an influx of cooperation between different businesses in an effort to improve IoT communication between different devices and brands.

2. Subscriptions

We predict that subscription based services will continue to dominate in 2018. From Netflix to Microsoft Office, we’ve seen the monthly, subscription based model succeed across the board.

In 2018, subscriptions will branch out into even more markets. For instance, in 2018, Lincoln will be offering a subscription model on their automobile line.

3. VR

Virtual Reality has existed primarily as a tool of entertainment for hardcore gamers. Part of this is because not enough content exists to make the VR headsets appeal to a mass market. Things seem to be on the uptake in 2018, with mainstream media companies and bigger companies investing in VR integration.

Take for instance NBC/Telemundo’s plan to introduce VR for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The companies plan to create a program that places VR users on the sideline of the biggest game in the world. In 2018, VR is poised to provide more intimate interactions in sports and entertainment.

As more content comes, so shall new headsets. 2018 will see the premiere of arguably the most futuristic-cool headset yet, the Magic Leap as a competitor for the Rift, Vive, and others.

4. AR

Where VR replaces your world, AR integrates with your current surrounding. Most famously, perhaps, is the Pokemon Go game which was introduced in 2016.

In 2018, AR will become a platform for companies to merge content and marketing into a modern, innovative outlet. Expect to see more companies offering augmented reality programs to accompany their apps and traditional marketing.

The symbiosis of AR glasses, like Google Glass, and new content, like a Harry Potter game by the creators of Pokemon Go, will no doubt help the appeal.

5. Bots

Businesses will continue to utilize chatbots as customer-facing tools, while more time and money will be invested in creating rewarding experiences for the customer.

There already exists a cornucopia of chatbot applications, so the most interesting thing to watch in 2018 is how companies are able to integrate these bots with AI and IoT to operate both more efficiently and personably.

What else should we look forward to in 2018?

2018 looks like it is going to be an awesome year in technology. We can’t wait to share some of our thoughts on emerging IT trends in the months to come.

Did we miss anything? What are you excited about in 2018? Reach out to us and let us know. We’d be happy to hear from you. You can contact us any time. Happy New Year!

Help!: The Importance of a Dedicated Help Desk for Your Business

“You would be surprised how many times an impromptu support call ends up saving the day.”

The thing about technical and network problems is that they never happen when you want them to happen. You don’t really want them to happen at all. But, they will. And when they do, resolutions are much easier if you have a dedicated help desk support. In fact, you would be surprised how many times an impromptu support call ends up saving the day.

Here are a few scenarios that have popped up in the past. They serve to illustrate how help desk support will help your business heighten productivity and avoid financial losses.

Availability

Flexible availability is one of the main reasons businesses hire managed help desks. Just because your office closes at 5PM, doesn’t mean your business does. You need to make sure that after-hours incidents can be resolved quickly.

Often, employees are at a standstill when they have technical issues. This eats up productivity and payroll. One study showed that employees waste as much as 22 minutes per day on technical issues. That’s 95 hours per year, per employee in lost productivity. With help desk support, that time can be dedicated to the actual business of your business.

Around-the-clock is also important when you consider that most workforces are becoming increasingly more mobile, and that 72% of businesses are permitting employees to bring their own devices to work. A managed service help desk is available to assist employees with network issues across all devices without limitation to time. The sooner your employees are connected, they sooner they are working and your customers are being served.

Experience

Another reason we often encourage people to use help desk services is that we benefit from the eclectic experience of covering a full range of technical issues.

When GB Tech works with a business, we’re excited to be there to resolve issues and keep your business running smooth. Often, our potential customers will hesitate on including a help desk in their managed services solution. That’s when we have to show them the numbers and talk about downtime.

The entire point of a help desk is to assist your employees in keeping your business running. The alternative is downtime, which is a big hit to businesses. Just one hour of network downtime can cost $100,000.

When you are trusting your business with an MSP help desk, you don’t want to go in blind. You want a company that has proven themselves.

We’ve been around for more than 30 years, honing our craft since the early days of the IT industry. Our team has worked with NASA, the Department of Defense, and countless other clients that operate in high stress environments with low-risk tolerance.

Are you ready to make one giant leap for your business?

Do you feel like your business could benefit from a managed help desk? Our help desk technicians have proven out-of-this-world success. We’d be happy to bring that experience to your business.

Please contact us and we can chat about how we can put one to work for your business.

Hemingway’s Lost Work and the Importance of a Help Desk

“Anything that can go wrong will, and at the worst possible time.” – Murphy’s Law

“Help me if you can, I’m feeling down.
And I do appreciate you being ’round.
Help me get my feet back on the ground.
Won’t you please, please help me?”
– The Beatles, “Help”

In December of 1922, Ernest Hemingway was a correspondent on assignment in Switzerland. He’d yet to have anything published at the time, but he had written quite a bit and was excited to present his work to new friend and writer Lincoln Steffens.

Hemingway’s wife, Hadley, loaded up everything she could find that her husband had written up until that point. She decided to travel from Paris to Switzerland along with an overnight bag stuffed with Hemingway’s entire body of work. She hoped and dreamed that his early work might spark Steffen’s interest.


Hadley boarded the train, excited for her reunion with Hemingway. While waiting for the train to depart at Gare de Leon in Paris, Hadley stepped aside to get some water and left the overnight bag in her compartment. When she returned, the bag, Ernest Hemingway’s earliest work, was gone.

By the time Hadley got to Switzerland and informed Hemingway, there was nothing either of them could do. The work was, and remains, missing.  

Ernest Hemingway, like most of us, experienced an after-hours, work-related disaster.

One thing that would have really helped Papa is an on-call help desk.

Help Desk

We’ve all had an experience where we needed help and there was nobody available on the other end of the line. Maybe you are working late and encounter a network connectivity issue. Or, perhaps you are one of the 72% of organizations permitting bring your own device (BYOD) policies, or planning to do so, and you need support for mobile employees who keep varied hours.

Adding a help desk solution to your managed services solution will keep your business running around the clock, and can either function as your full-time help desk or supplement your current solution during off hours.

Hiring full-time, in-house experts that understand your network costs a lot of money. And hiring extra experts to stick around for atypical hours costs money, too. Even if you are putting in the kind of hours that would make a Japanese businessman blush, chances are that your support staff might not share your overtime enthusiasm.

When you choose to incorporate a help desk solution, you benefit from technical expertise and proficient assistance.

If your network goes down during business hours, it could cost up to $100,000 per hour. The help desk will be there to assist your employees and your customers, and keep your business running. If your employees open a dangerous file and feel like they need to take immediate action, the help desk can remote into the systems and take the appropriate actions to deliver a swift resolution.

Help desk solutions range from part-time to full-time, from supplemental to 24/7, and it’s up to you and your MSP to decide which range fits best for your business needs.

If Ernest Hemingway had a help desk, they would have called the police, shut down the train station, and hopefully retrieved his work.

The bottom line is, when your employees or clients encounter trouble, you want to take care of it ASAP. The last thing you want to see is your life’s work disappear on the last train to Switzerland.

Help!

Do you feel like your business could benefit from a managed help desk? Please contact us and we can chat about how we can put one to work for your business.

Your NOC Services are Like a Space Station for Your Business

We’ve talked before about how a Network Operations Center (NOC) is a lot like NASA’s Mission Control Center, capable of “zooming in” on your network and tweaking even the smallest processes. This allows you to create an ultra-efficient infrastructure for your business. The cool thing is that NOC  services are also a lot like the International Space Station, this time taking a “zoom out” approach.

In the ISS, some of Earth’s most renowned scientists conduct groundbreaking experiments and keep watch over our planet. From space, these professionals are capable of noticing anomalies that people down on Earth can’t see. This is exactly what you want out of an NOC.

NOC Services stop cyberattacks in their tracks.

From space NASA can monitor asteroid movement and even take action to protect Earth if an asteroid gets too close for comfort. This can even involve re-routing the asteroid and gathering data for future use.

A NOC center does the same thing. For instance, when hackers attempt a cyberattack, they often do so by overloading businesses with traffic. From a bird’s eye view, the NOC can notice if there’s a sudden influx of dangerous traffic and then re-route the data through a filter so that the treasurable data doesn’t get thrown out with the trash.

NOCs provide ongoing protection from an ongoing flux of cyberattacks. And while some companies like AT&T report that “On any particular day, AT&T sees over 1,000,000 attempts to break in or attack their network”, smaller businesses are subject to the same vicious attacks. Entrepreneur has even reported that “a direct cyberattack can cost businesses as much as $40,000 per hour”.

NOC Services eliminate downtime.

When the team at NASA decides to re-route an asteroid, that’s because they understand that an asteroid hitting earth could cause a catastrophic disaster. We’ve all seen the disaster movies. The plot of “Deep Impact” isn’t something you want happening to your planet or your business network.

One of the primary goals of any NOC is to facilitate continuity of your business and eliminate any downtime. Avoiding downtime means big savings in your office, with one ITIC report finding that “98% of organizations say a single hour of downtime costs over $100,000”.

NOC Services optimize resources.

The ISS is a hub for resource allocation. When companies like NASA and SpaceX send resources to ISS, they don’t have a lot of space. In order to make the best use of cargo space, everything must done efficiently as possible.

In a Network Operations Center, the technicians understand exactly which resources to allocate to which issues. For instance, if NOC technicians anticipate consistent network traffic at a given time every night, they can boost speeds during optimum hours to provide better end-user experience.

Mission Countdown 3, 2, 1

At GB Tech, it’s our mission to provide NOC Services that will defend from cyberattacks, notice incoming anomalies, save you money with resource allocation, and eliminate downtime. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to chat more about how NOC services can help your business.

How NASA Can Help You NOC Out Network Problems

Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” – Jack Swigert, Astronaut

When Jack Swigert spoke those famous words (changed to “Houston, we have a problem” for the 1995 feature film Apollo 13), he made what some folks might consider the most famous tech support call of all time. You can actually learn a lot about the benefits of a Network Operation Center (NOC) by studying the Apollo 13 mission.

At 56 hours and 205,000 miles away from Earth, the three-man Apollo 13 crew experienced a catastrophic system failure and radioed NASA’s Mission Control Center (MCC) for assistance. With so many calculations and variables during the rescue mission, it is highly probable that without the collaboration of NASA’s MCC, the crew of the Apollo 13 mission would never have returned home.

This scenario naturally evokes all sorts of feelings of fear and awe. And it should. The oxygen tank that exploded aboard the Apollo 13 is the cosmic version of the worst-case-scenario that all IT providers work diligently to avoid. The NASA Mission Control Center is a model that has been applied to IT services to create a more efficient network and to track any possible anomalies or intrusions that may occur. Here’s how that works…

When you see the big room at NASA with all of the monitors and dozens of people intensely staring at computer screens, that’s the Mission Control Center. NOCs operate in a similar way and can be customized to fit each client’s monitoring needs.

For instance,a financial institution that encountered an after-hours intrusion would be notified by the NOC so that proper corrections could take place to remedy the error. Network monitoring is a 24/7 service that alerts IT technicians of any potential network issues that need to be addressed. The last thing you want is to be one of the “54% of companies [that] reported they have experienced downtime from a single event lasting more than 8 hours”.

The NOC can also be a network security hub. With industry forecasts reporting that cybercrime damage costs [will] hit $6 trillion annually by 2021, it’s more important than ever to spot intrusions early before they have time to do damage.

Picture an Apollo 13-esque IT scenario. It’s the day you run a Black Friday sales campaign and marketing has done an amazing job. The overflow of customers shuts down the site 20 minutes into the sale of the year. It’s 7AM and your IT guy can’t be reached. Let’s look at two possible outcomes:

  1. The website totally crashes. The sale is a bust. You lose out huge in profit. Your customers are angry and an influx of customer service complaints fill the queue.
  2. You decided to engage an MSP who has created a 24/7 NOC to monitor your network. The traffic anomaly is flagged instantly and technicians are able to switch over to your backup servers to handle the increased traffic. The sale is a huge success. You make a lot of money. You renew your MSP contract for another year, NOC included, because you’ve just found out first hand how valuable your NOC service is.

There’s no need to be a lonely astronaut…

Whether floating out in space or streamlining a network, it’s a great idea to have dedicated professionals available to monitor every bit of your progress. Please contact us to learn more about how to get network monitoring for you business.

“Houston, we’ve solved your problem.”

GB Tech’s New Look Reflects Its Commitment to Houston Businesses

As a technology provider, we’ve always understood that our work isn’t necessarily flashy. When your business technology is working well, it’s usually not something you pay attention to. When it goes wrong, you care primarily about results. Ensuring that our work is done quickly and perfectly the first time has always been the top priority at GB Tech, and we think we’ve gotten pretty good at that over the last 30 years.

With that in mind, we set out to make sure that our image is reflective of the quality of our service. Our new website, beyond being a perfect platform with which to present our services, is also a tribute to our history and our ties to Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Importance of Houston

We didn’t just randomly decide to open a business in Houston in 1986. This is the city that built us. It’s where our founders and earliest employees cut their teeth at NASA before heeding their entrepreneurial spirit.

The fact that Houston is the home of NASA is far from the only reason GB Tech calls this city home. The Port of Houston is one of the largest in the country, a logistical and industrial masterpiece surpassed only by the Panama Canal in influence over trade in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a city where nearly every industry has learned to thrive, from aerospace to petroleum to healthcare. We’re proud of our city, and we want to help the businesses that make it great reach their full potential.

The Meaning of the Site

The references to our roots that you see throughout the website speak for themselves. Our early work in the aerospace and human spaceflight markets made us who we are. The repeated allusions to spaceflight aren’t just a tribute to our earliest work, however; they’re meant to convey the sense of wonder that comes with any great journey. When you set a goal, GB Tech’s mission is to help you reach it.

In their own way, the orange and blue that have been a part of our identity for so long carry their own meaning. That blue is evocative of the sky, the sea, and the flag of Houston. The orange brings to mind the ignition of a rocket engine – or the Astros if you’re feeling sporty.

Here to Stay

GB Tech has a wealth of experience we’d love to share, and we aren’t going anywhere. If your business is looking for a stable, knowledgeable, and honest technology provider, we’d love to discuss what GB Tech can do to help you achieve your goals. Hopefully, our new site has already given you an idea of what we have to offer. If you’d like to know more, don’t hesitate to reach out today.