All posts by LindseyPetersen


The Future of Network Security

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For those in the information security realm, the last couple of years have felt like a never-ending stream of cyber threats and data breaches. Retailers, networks, governments, banks, and everyday citizens have all been affected by these breaches.

Heading in to the future, network security is looking at seven security trends that will dominate in the coming years. There’s not a lot that’s new, but what is there will increase in complexity and sophistication. To combat threats and to stay ahead of network security threats, information security professionals need to understand these seven trends.

Mobile Workstyles

Installed mobile devices is set to surpass installed-based desktop and notebook PCs for the first time. As people’s lifestyle’s become more connected, so do their workstyles. When businesses provide the ability to work when, where, and on a device of the employee’s choice, both the employee and the business win.

A word of caution: every day, thousands of mobile devices are lost or stolen. These devices may have valuable company data stored on them. Make sure you have a data recovery process in place in the event a mobile device is lost or stolen.

Cloud Forecast

According to a Voice of IT report from Spiceworks, approximately 60% of small-to-medium sized businesses are utilizing cloud-based services. For the company just getting started, using the cloud is easy. For those businesses that have been around for awhile, expect a transition phase as you go from IT applications and operational systems to the cloud. You may be straddling both traditional IT networks on-site and cloud-based deployments for a few months while you transition.

More Hackers

Cloud computing has many benefits for companies, but as advances in cloud computing and open-source software are gaining ground, the bad guys out there are also keeping up on the technology. Hackers and those who wish to exploit your company data are embracing these technologies to alter the volume, virality, and velocity of their cyber attacks. It’s estimated over 70,000 new malware variants are created each year.

It’s not all doom and gloom for companies utilizing cloud-based technology. In many respects, cloud computing is more secure than traditional IT infrastructures and has the potential to reduce hackers or viruses from attacking your data.

Privacy and Regulation

Many governments have already created regulations that impose conditions on the safeguard and use of Personally Identifiable Information (PII). When organization fail to sufficiently protect users, there are steep penalties. As a result, networks will start treating privacy as both a compliance and a business risk. New processes will help reduce regulatory sanctions and business costs, like loss of customers due to security breaches and damage to the company’s reputation.

Companies are already seeing increasing plans for regulation around the storage, collection, and use of information. This trend will continue to develop. Resources will be put in place to respond to security regulations being put in place.

Managed Security Front and Center

For most businesses, identifying IT network security systems in a timely manner requires 24/7 coverage of the environment. This can be expensive, especially since security professionals require regular training to keep current with new technology.

In the future, companies will start seeing a more proactive approach to managing security networks and incident response. Many businesses will engage the services of a managed security provider, as these providers have a depth and breadth of insight. It’s important to prevent what you can and manage inevitable compromises. This includes optimizing detection and response capabilities.

More Engagement

One of the biggest areas networks will change in future years is more engagement with an organization’s people. After all, a company’s greatest asset, while also a vulnerable target, are their people.

In the past, information security has been built on changing behavior to reduce the risk. The theory was when employees have knowledge, they will know their responsibility for reducing risk to the company. However, this has been a losing proposition. Instead, we’ll start seeing organizations make positive security behaviors as part of the business process, transforming employees from risks into the first line of defense for security. Organizations will start shifting from promoting awareness of the security problem to creating solutions and embedding information security behaviors that affect risk positively. The goal will be for businesses to embed behaviors that will result in “stop and think” as a habit and part of the organization’s security culture.

The era of modern business networks began over 20 years ago. Today, IP-based device are rapidly changing inside and outside the walls of business, making networks increasingly difficult to manage, scale, adapt, and secure. Understanding these new trends will help your company shape the future of network security.



The Cloud is Ready to Transform Your Business

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When most people think about the benefits of cloud computing, the first thing that comes to mind is saving time and money. While it’s true that businesses will save time and money when switching to the cloud, the cloud also has the potential to change the way you do business on a daily basis.

According to a study done by consulting firm Emergent Research and the company Intuit, the percentage of U.S. small businesses using cloud computing is expected to increase by more than double during the next six years. Currently 37 percent of businesses use cloud computing, with projections rising to nearly 80 percent. Widespread adoption of cloud computing is projected to have a transformative effect on not only small businesses, but on large corporations as well.

Remote Employees

One of the biggest impacts cloud computing will have on businesses in the next few years is the ability to employee a mobile workforce. Businesses will easily be able to operate with employees in different locations. This allows companies to have flexible staff levels. What we’re seeing is the cloud in enabling a model that allows a team to form up, accomplish a task, and then de-form. People are able to pool their resources together and work in a shared workspace.

More Productive Employees

Having workspace applications available on cellphones, laptops, and tablets allows mobile workers to remain productive while on the go. Utilizing cloud applications enables employees to respond to business needs in a timely manner and to remain competitive. Providing a mobile workforce with the tools needed to be productive outside the traditional office setting helps them to be more efficient, while helping the company to gain more visibility to better manage costs and activities.

Increased Visibility and Streamlined Processes

Cloud computing services not only benefit workers, but they also support internal departments, such as finance, accounting, and human resources. With cloud technology, accounting professionals gain increased visibility into employee business expenses, facilitating a greater insight into employee spending patterns. This visibility enables companies to take the steps necessary to reduce overall expenses. Cloud services can also help streamline processes such as submitting expense reports and vendor communications, because all of the information is available from any device.

Lack of cloud computing services can also negatively affect the ability to properly staff the business. Having a mobile workforce enabled by cloud applications lets managers complete reports and process approvals during downtime. Normal activities like waiting to board an airplane, waiting for a meeting to start, or riding in a taxi are now turned into uptime, instead of downtime since key administrative tasks can be accomplished on the go.

Conduct Business Internationally

It wasn’t many years ago that only the large enterprises had the capacity to operate business internationally. To run a global business, large network systems were required. Now, even the smallest businesses can conduct business around the world from sourcing parts from China to selling products in Europe. As cloud computing grows, the ability to expand corporations internationally will grow as well.

Better Collaboration

A mobile workforce is beneficial to the company, but it’s also a plus for employees. Going to work no longer means sitting at a desk in an office space with hundreds of other people all day long. Collaborative work, sharing documents, and even holding meetings can all be done via the cloud.

Every member of the staff can save and access important files and work on a project simultaneously, without stepping foot into a physical office. From an administrative point of view, businesses can implement permission controls, to keep processes and policies in place.

Strengthened Security

There are many fears and concerns over security when it comes to cloud computing, but the fact is that cloud services reduce the risk of security failures. Backing up data can happen in real time, instead of at a facility offsite. In many respects, cloud computing is more secure than traditional IT infrastructures and has the potential to reduce hackers or viruses from attacking your data.

To increase your data security odds when using the cloud, keep a few tips in mind:

  • Always use a strong password
  • Employ encryption
  • Know your cloud service provider
  • Read your user agreement

For those not using cloud computing, the lesson is simple. In six years, 80 percent of competing business will adopt some form of cloud computing. Those who don’t adopt cloud computing will put their businesses at risk for falling behind.



4 Reasons Your Company Data is at Risk

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Security breaches have been a popular news items the last couple of years. Despite the headline stories about security leaks and hacker attackers, many businesses are still unprepared and not properly protecting their data from a variety of security threats. According to Trustwave’s 2014 State of Risk Report, 476 surveyed IT professionals said a majority of businesses had no or only a partial plan in place for controlling and tracking sensitive data.

So what can your company do to better protect your data and your customers’ sensitive data from security threats? Take a look at four reasons your company data may be at risk and the solutions to protect your important data.

Risk #1: Careless Employees

A careless employee who forgets his unlocked laptop in a taxi is as big of a risk to a company as a malicious hacker. In addition, employees who are not trained in security best practices, those who have weak passwords, or click on suspicious links pose an enormous security threat to your company systems and data.

The solution: Train employees on security best practices and offer ongoing training and support. Some employees may not know how to protect themselves from online threats, unknowingly putting your business at risk. Training sessions are essential to help employees learn how to manage passwords and avoid phishing scams.

You’ll also want to make sure your employees have strong passwords on all devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Passwords are your first line of defense, so make sure employees use strong passwords. Strong passwords include upper and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. Remind employees it isn’t best practice to use the same password for each registered site. Using a different password for each site and changing that password every 30 to 60 days is essential.

Risk #2: Disgruntled Employees

Right along with carless employees is the risk of disgruntled employees. Internal attacks are one of the biggest threats facing your data and systems. Disgruntled employees, especially those on the IT team with knowledge of how networks work, access to admin accounts, and access to data centers can cause serious damage, both to your data and your company reputation.

The solution: Mitigate the risk of privileged account exploitation by identifying all accounts and credentials and immediately terminate those that are no longer in use or those connected to employees no longer at the company. You’ll also want to closely control, manage, and monitor all privileged credentials. Companies should also implement the necessary protocols and infrastructure to track, log, and record account activity to allow for a quick response if there is any malicious activity.

Risk #3: Unpatched or Unpatchable Devices

Unpatched or unpatchable devices are routers, servers, and printers that have software or firmware as part of their operation system, but a patch for a vulnerability in them was not created or sent. The hardware could also be designed to not enable patches. This leaves your devices vulnerable in your network and giving attackers an open invitation to use your device to access your data.

The solution: Start a patch management process to ensure that devices and software are always kept up to date. The first step is to check your technology and look on your network to see what is, and what isn’t current. You can do this with vulnerability management technology. Then, ensure there’s a policy in place where all employees agree not to use a certain piece of equipment if the patch is outdated.

Risk #4: Mobile devices

While mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, make working remotely easy, data theft is at high vulnerability when employees are using mobile devices, especially their own, to share and access data. According to a BT Americas study, mobile security breaches have affected more than 68 percent of global companies in the past year.

As more employees use their own smartphones and tablets to get work done, companies face a risk of exposure from those devices if the device installs an app with malware or Trojan software.

The solution: Ensure there is a carefully planned policy in place about using personal mobile devices for business operations. With a mobile device policy in place, employees can become educated and companies can better monitor emails and documents that are being downloaded to mobile devices. Monitoring will provide companies with the opportunity to see into their mobile data risk and quickly pinpoint any exposures.

On a similar note, companies should implement mobile security solutions that protect both corporate data and access to corporate systems, while still respecting user privacy. This will ensure that corporate data and configurations stay encrypted and under your IT department’s control, adding an extra layer of defense against hackers.

Don’t leave your important company data unprotected. Get informed about the above risks and then take the steps necessary to ensure your data is safe and protected.


Five Benefits of a Mobile Workforce

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Today’s economy focuses a lot of attention on controlling labor costs and business expenses. It seems natural to extend and bring the functionality of the workspace directly to mobile workers. A mobile workforce offers many benefits, in terms of an employee being able to work anywhere and in terms of mobile technology. Here are the top five best reasons to employ a mobile workforce.

Increased productivity.

Studies show that mobile employees are more productive outside of a traditional office setting. Applications for smartphones and tablets further improve the efficiency and effectiveness by enabling workers to take the office with them. There’s no need to wait for an employee to return to the office to create an expense report or to lose valuable working time while riding in a taxi or waiting for the airplane.

Many managers are faced with the challenge of meeting staffing requirements and getting the right person in the right place, at the right time, at the lowest possible cost. Employing mobile employees can help meet this demand. Virtual services and applications make it possible to approve time sheets on the road, schedule meetings from out of state, or attend a meeting when out of the country.

From a pure productively standpoint, downtime becomes uptime with mobile employees. Key tasks can be taken care of during times that may otherwise be lost productivity. The gain allows employees to free up and utilize more minutes and hours of the day, which results in an increase of revenue, productivity, and company performance.

Real-time access to data.

Having real-time access to data and information gives your company a competitive edge and enables mobile employees to be more responsive. By leveraging wireless devices and the latest software, companies can empower their workforces with access to data when and where it’s needed. Having access to data in real-time improves your ability to respond to business demands, enables managers to gain increased visibility into workloads, and facilitates better customer service.

Increased visibility and streamlined workflow.

Mobile technology not only benefits workers, but it supports internal departments as well. Human resources, accounting, and corporate travel are some departments that benefit from having access to data. Having more visibility into data, especially data from employees, facilitates a deeper insight into employee business expenses and spending habits. In turn, more visibility into specific data will save your company money. Organizations now have the knowledge to take proactive steps to reduce overall costs through faster processes and improved communications polices.

Reduced security risks.

Companies are incorporating mobile devices into their infrastructures to reduce security risks. In the past, employees who traveled frequently did so with a laptop. A laptop is a prime target for theft, leaving your company’s data vulnerable. The real cost when a laptop is stolen is not the amount of the machine, but in the exposure and risk associated with lost data.

Mobile technology can help prevent losing valuable data. Mobile devices have a more secure platform and help protect important data when mobile employees are traveling. Most mobile devices have the ability to store only a limited amount of data. That data can be removed from the corporate network or scrambled if the mobile phone or tablet is reported stolen.

User Convenience.

Employees can benefit from mobile applications by having access to core enterprise systems to get the job done. Mobile initiatives offer opportunities for greater flexibility to an organization’s workforce. This equals greater employee satisfaction, more work-life balance, and increased retention rates. Employees can perform the required tasks for their job whether in the office or at home. There’s no need to wait until he or she is in the office. Both the employee and the organization can benefit from a mobile workforce.

With the modern workforce requiring always-on connectivity, more companies are turning to mobile enterprise applications and a mobile workforce to enable employees to take the office — and access to their critical applications — with them.

The digital revolution has radically transformed what a traditional office looks like. Acres of boring cubiles are long gone, replaced by a mobile, distributed workforce who is no longer tethered to one location. Mobile business applications for mobile employees are not just a nice-to-have, but have become necessities. With the ability to be more productive, creating a better work-life balance, and managing expenses, it’s easy to see the benefits of a mobile workforce.



8 Benefits of Virtualizing Workstations

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Virtualization is quickly becoming normal practice for many organizations. The benefits to virtualizing workstations are many. With so many benefits, it’s no surprise as to why virtualization is catching on.

Before delving into the benefits of virtualizing workstations, let’s define virtualization.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization is imitating a physical machine set-up on an operating system. It’s like taking your desktop and running it on another computer. This computer, called a host, can run many desktops and laptops at the same time, eliminating the need for expensive physical equipment. Virtualization utilizes server hardware to run desktop operating systems and application software inside a virtual machine. Users access a virtual desktop using their existing machine. This eliminates hardware upgrades and enables users to switch between operating environments.

The Benefits

Now that we know more about what virtualization is, let’s take a look at the benefits.

1. Cost

Virtualization lowers administration and operating costs. By some estimates, the costs are lowered by 70 percent. Operating costs include repairs, staff to handle repairs, and replacing outdated equipment. There’s no need to purchase additional office equipment, including larger desks to hold a desktop, which also saves on cost.

Virtualized machines are significantly cheaper to run as well. This helps save on average 97 percent on energy bills. Since you’ll save on energy costs, you’re also being more environmentally friendly. These savings can be reinvested into the business for other projects.

Hardware costs are also significantly reduced with virtualization. Instead of buying a room full of workstations that will be delivered around the office, you’ll only need one system with redundant power supplies, a UPS, high-performance storage, and high-bandwidth networking to deliver hardware to all users.

2. Server Consolidation

It’s not unusual to have a 10:1 virtual to physical machine consolidation. This means that 10 server applications can be run on a single machine. In the past, to run 10 server applications would mean needing 10 machines. Server utilization is optimized and legacy software can maintain old operating system configurations while new applications are running. A server supporting more virtual machines will likely take more memory and other hardware, but it will use little or no more power and no additional physical space, reducing utilities costs.

3. Management and Administration

Virtualized machines are simple to manage from a central server. Policies, security updates, and changes to applications can all be managed in one place. It also reduces the number of issues logged, but decreases the need for more IT staff. The less people touching the machines, the less mistakes are made.

 4. Testing and Development

Using virtualized machines enables rapid deployments by isolating the application in a known and controlled environment. Unknown factors can be eliminated. Server crashes that used to require hours of reinstallation can now be done in moments by simply copying a virtual image.

5. Problem Solving

When problems do arise, they can generally be resolved from the data center. There’s no need for IT staff to run to the actual machine to solve the problem. Images can be accessed from any connected workstation and a user experiencing the trouble can simply go to another workstation to access their data and applications while their workstation is worked on.

6. Bring Your Own Device

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is becoming more popular. Virtualization gives you all the capabilities to support employees bringing their own device to work. A simple extension can allow corporate data to be kept separate from personal data for security purposes.

7. More Security

With desktop virtualization, data never leaves the computer room, unless you give permission for files to be copied to a remote workstation. This helps with reliable backups, protects intellectual property, and keeps data more secure.

8. Centralized Patch Management

Managing patches is an IT nightmare. Some programs and antivirus software can be configured on individual workstations to update. However, there are other applications, like Java, that need to be manually downloaded and installed. With a virtualized workstation, all machines are hosted on one server to make it easy for your IT staff to ensure all patches are updated quickly.

A virtualized desktop environment comes with so many benefits that it’s hard to ignore. The ease of implementing and managing virtual machines reliably and securely is one of the greatest benefits. With virtualization so economical, it’s a viable solution for many companies, large or small.


Top 5 Ways to Increase Employee Productivity

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On average, employees spend approximately five hours every day at their desk. This is time companies are paying for, but often the results of employee’s work verses time spent in the office don’t match up. Even those employees who appear to be the most productive can use a little help in getting more out of each day.

If you’re concerned about employee productivity and are looking for ways to improve efficiency, productivity, and engagement at the office, here are some tips to help. Following these tips can lead to a happier workplace, which results in an increased ROI.

Set Goals

In order for employees to grow, they need to know the expectations. When establishing a measurement system to determine if employees are productive, managers need to set clear rules and expectations. Managers need to have regular check-ins about goals and progress. For example, goals may include a 10 percent increase in sales and five percent less time spent on entertainment websites. There should be a plan in place for employees who may be falling being or not meeting deadlines due to unproductivity. An employee may be spending too much time on non-work related websites or there may be too many distractions. By identifying where the employee is struggling, employers can help individuals work to reach their full potential and grow professionally.

Be sure to offer regular, helpful feedback to employees as well. Feedback should encourage, not discourage. It doesn’t always need to be positive, but feedback does need to be thoughtful.

Loosen Up on Internet Restrictions

It might sound counterproductive, but relaxing on Internet restrictions may help employees be more productive. Many employers overly restrict Internet use at the office. This may be out of fear that company-owned computers and time will be misused. However, there are so many resources available online that can make tasks easier for employees.

Social media is a good example of this. Marketing on social media is becoming increasingly more important to help businesses grow. It’s also a great place to keep up-to-date with competitors. When used correctly, employees can be super productive with social media and Internet use.

Use the Cloud

The benefits of the cloud have been proven to save time and money, while increasing employee productivity. Cloud technologies are faster to deploy, cost less than on premise technologies, and require minimum technical know-how to manage. These benefits let employees focus on growing the business, instead of learning new technologies.

The ability to access files anywhere also increases productivity. The cloud lets people work faster and smarter. Instead of leaving a meeting or rushing back to the office to finish a project, employees can access files and databases on their mobile device.

The cloud also cuts back on endless emails, missed phone calls, and the inevitable frustration that comes from both. Collaborating on the cloud cuts out the need to email pieces of a project back and forth. Employees can collaborate in real time. Employees can also give constant updates to their supervisors and receive immediate feedback, opening up the lines of communication.

Consistently Measure

Measuring productivity to increase ROI is similar to using sales and marketing data to increase sales. For example, if you want to increase sales, you have to understand the source of current sales. You have to measure, experiment, and improve in order to increase ROI.

The same is true about employee performance measurement. You have to see the entire picture. Asking “How has productivity improved from last month” is much more effective than just asking if productivity has improved. The reporting numbers, and the data used to report the numbers, must be clear in order to know where improvements need to be made.

Account for Brain Breaks

Understanding and monitoring employee productivity is important, but it’s also important to remember that everyone is human. It’s not feasible to expect employees to be 100 percent productive 24/7. Acknowledge that everyone is human and we all need a break from time to time. Daily breaks, as well as vacations, have been proven to help the brain function better.

If you’re looking to boost productivity, remember that employee engagement matters. Most employees want to be a part of a team, to feel committed to something. Developing and maintaining a consistent management approach that helps employees feel needed and useful is a key link to the productivity process.



Is Your Workplace Server Safe?

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For most businesses in today’s world, data security is one of the company’s top priorities. With critical business information, client data, and intellectual property all stored on computer servers, it’s easy to see why businesses are so concerned with data security. You certainly wouldn’t leave this precious information just sitting out on your desk or unlocked in a drawer, so you shouldn’t leave it stored on your servers either without proper security measures in place.

According to a nationwide 2012 survey of small businesses by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), 83 percent of small businesses have no formal cyber security plan, and 69 percent lack an informal plan as well. Of those companies surveyed, 71 percent are dependent on the Internet for daily operations. Almost half believe data hacks are isolated incidents that wouldn’t impact their business.

Chances are individual computers are protected with firewalls and anti-virus software, but many people are unsure of how to sufficiently protect their servers. Take a look at a few ideas that will help you know where to start to protect your corporate servers.

Focus on Server Ports

Each port on your server is an open invitation for an unwanted intrusion. This is why it’s so important to turn off all unused ports. This should be your first step in protecting your server.

Install Firewalls

Just like you do with your desktop, you’ll want to protect your server with a firewall. Most servers have built-in firewalls, so check to make sure your server’s firewall is working correctly. In addition, you’ll want to add a network firewall to connect to a network. A network firewall can enforce security policies between networks and control traffic.

Encrypt Your Data

Whenever you deal with sensitive customer data, such as bank routing digits, credit card accounts, or social security numbers, you need to encrypt the data, especially if this data is transported over the Internet.

Properly Configure Your Server’s Security

A tiered permission structure is a great way to give the people who need access to critical information, and block those who don’t need access. You don’t want every employee to have access to information like social security numbers, financial records, salary information, credit card numbers, or social media passwords. A tiered permission structure can keep you safe from both internal and external breaches.

Download and Install Updates

Install updates on your server as soon as they are released. Every update will help your server work more efficiently. Delaying installing updates will leave your server vulnerable to attacks. Regular updates will save you time (not having to download and install a bunch of updates at once), but it’s also a simple way to protect the security of your server.

Get Rid of Unneeded Software

Delete unnecessary programs and you’ll reduce the ways in which your server can be attacked. For example, if you’re running a Web server, delete unneeded office and entertainment software so you aren’t vulnerable to any attacks from those applications.

Get Rid of the Wireless

Wired networks might be less versatile, but they are more secure. That’s because users have to access a wired network by either plugging into physical outlets or hacking modem ports. If you insist on using a wireless network, be sure to disable the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router. This makes your network hidden and invisible.

Don’t Forget the Printers

Many people forget about the printers when they think about server and network security. Printers can pose a big security risk. Printers store document contents in their own on-board memories. A hacker can steal the printer and access the memory to make copies of recently printed documents. Printers, like servers and workstations, should be located in secure places and bolted down so nobody can walk away with them.

Check for Vulnerabilities

After you’ve taken the steps to make sure your server is secure, use an auditing tool to check for any areas you may have missed. The Center for Internet Security is a great resource where you can find dozens of free auditing tools for network devices, applications, and operating systems. These tools will scan your system to find vulnerabilities you may have missed.

Last Words of Advice

Other tips to protect your server include:

  • Not allowing anonymous users onto your network
  • Insisting on stronger passwords
  • Blocking extensions to problematic scripts
  • Quarantining clients until you can scan their system attributes

Talk to your IT professionals about these measures that will help strengthen your server’s security.



Who is Virtual Zen?

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If you are a business owner looking to simplify your IT network, wanting to delve into cloud computing, or simply looking for a better, more cost efficient way to run your company, Virtual Zen can help. With years of computer industry experience and specialized services focused on saving you time and money, Virtual Zen can help you meet your business needs.

Who are the People Behind Virtual Zen?

Virtual Zen began with two men, Iyar and Francis, who wanted to find a simpler way to help small to medium sized companies with their technology challenges.

Iyar Koren has 17 years of experience in the computer industry. In his 17 years, he’s helped small to medium sized companies solve technical challenges. After consulting with companies in various industries, Iyar soon began to understand the challenges that face companies as they grow from a home office to multiple locations. With this understanding in mind, he’s been successful in providing businesses with what they need, when they need it.

Iyar’s interest in computers started early. He completed his high school education at the young age of 16, became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer by 17, and finished college with high honors by the age of 18. Iyar has taken his ambition, and combined his technical knowledge, to bring virtualized services to make companies technical challenges easier.

Partnering with Iyar is Francis Lyman. Francis is no stranger to the computer industry. He graduated top of his class from Brigham Young University with an accounting degree, one of the five best accounting programs in the United States. He’s spent the last 10 years consulting in a controller or CFO capacity, focusing mainly on information systems and technology. In these CFO roles, Francis has been able to see how the right IT solutions can help CFOs to succeed. He’s spent years perfecting his ability to manage his own on-site servers, which eventually led to finding solutions that included hosting servers virtually.

Recognizing the need for hosting servers virtually, Francis and Iyar crossed paths. Francis’ accounting knowledge combined with Iyar’s vast experience with IT solutions seemed a natural fit to solve a problem both men had encountered.

What Does the Company Do?

Simply put, Virtual Zen creates the security, performance, accessibility, and peace of mind companies need by making virtual services a reality. If you need more information, consider that Virtual Zen offers mobility, cloud computing, and security.

Mobility: Cloud computing gives employees more flexibility. With the ability to work from home, while on vacation, or on the commuter train to work, employees can turn down time into productive time. There’s no need to be on-site to access documents or to connect with co-workers in a physical office. With a simple Internet connection, employees can quickly and easily access their virtual office. When employees are given flexibility, they are happier, making a better work environment for everyone.

Cloud computing: Where mobility gives your employees flexibility, cloud computing gives your business flexibility. Instead of storing data and software on a personal computer, information is stored in the cloud, or on the Internet. Instead of relying on accessing data at the office, your important data can be accessed just about anywhere through an Internet connection. Cloud computing can also save your company money. Instead of buying expensive equipment and then paying to upgrade that equipment in a few years when technology changes, you can have all the storage you need, without the investment. Think of it like renting. You can rent capacity (or server space or access to software) from a cloud provider, paying only for the resources you use.

 Services: By now you may be convinced to use Virtual Zen and their cloud-computing options. But there’s still one major question: what about security? Many opponents of cloud services worry that security is sacrificed by allowing company data to exit the internal firewall. Virtual Zen follows the strict security guidelines set forth that cloud providers must adhere to, ensuring your data is safe and protected. That equals greater peace of mind for you as a business owner.

How Will This Benefit Me

Using cloud services, particularly services offered by a trusted partner like Virtual Zen, can save you time, money, and worry. Having a physical office full of employees and equipment is a huge expense for a smaller company. By hiring a virtual services provider, you are only paying for the work that is done. As a small to medium sized business, there are various services you need in order to succeed. Hiring people and buying equipment adds up. Thanks to the Internet, you can get the services you need, without the high price tag that’s come along with those services in the past.

Virtualization is the future. Virtualized, hosted, and managed services will help you harness the technological power you need to be successful. Trust Virtual Zen to help you with your cloud computing needs.


Top 5 Reasons Your Office Should Switch to Virtual Services

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Using virtual office services based on cloud computing is a wonderful way to make your office more

efficient, give employees flexibility, and to save money. With remote workers spread out across the

globe collaborating on projects, virtual services makes it seem as if everyone is in the same building. In

practice, virtual services are a great thing for any business, large and small. However, communicating

exclusively through the Internet will take planning and careful coordination. If you’re ready to jump into

the world of virtual services, take a look at the top five reasons your office should make the switch



1. Cost Effective. One of the biggest reasons many companies are considering using the cloud and

implementing virtual services is to save money. Improvement costs, maintenance fees, office

equipment, and software and hardware can be difficult to set up, hard to use, and expensive.

Costs especially add up when you consider the rate at which technology is changing and

developing. Virtual services can help you lower your monthly overhead by taking the expensive

equipment, maintenance and improvement costs out of the picture.


2. Availability of Online Tools. When you switch to cloud services, you don’t have to worry about

missing out on tools or technology that makes running a business easier. You can take

advantage of online tools to help keep your business running smoothly and efficiently. You can

use Skype or GoToMeeting to eliminate the need for onsite meetings. Instead of driving across

town for a meeting or flying in people from outside your local area for a board meeting, you can

meet online anywhere, at any time. You can access both Skype and GoToMeeting through an

Internet connection.


If you need to collaborate with co-workers in a different state or in another country, use

GoogleDrive. There’s no more need for going through reams of paper or endless email streams

until you get your proposal right. GoogleDrive allows users the ability to work on one document

with multiple people, with changes made in real time. You can share links, transfer files, and

make suggestions in one place.


3. Access to the latest tools and technology. Cloud service providers will be able to offer you the

very latest technology, including big-data mining, analytics, virtual workforce, cloud technology,

social media, and IT support. You can access the most up-to-date technology and services,

without investing in expensive hardware or employing a large in-house IT team. Furthermore, a

cloud service provider will help you know how to exploit all of the technology being offered to

meet your organization’s specific needs.


4. Save space. Another advantage to using virtual services is saving space. Gone are the days

where you have to store all your important documents in large, heavy filing cabinets. With

physical storing capabilities, such as filing cabinet, hard drives, and USB sticks, you’re limited to

a pre-determined storage amount. With virtual services, you can adjust storage space to your

requirements. There are no limits to the amount of data and documents you can save for future

use. Freeing up your physical storage space allows for future growth and expansion, as you have

more room to grow.


5. Improve productivity. Since employees can move and access documents that are stored

virtually at any time, from any location, on almost any device, productivity is bound to improve.

Mobility and flexibility are becoming increasingly more important for businesses of all sizes.

With data and software stored in the cloud, there’s no need for every employee to download a

bunch of programs or to wait while a large application installs. Your employees can simply log

on, find the documents needed, and get right to work, all while saving them for colleagues to

access in the future.


Using virtual services will help support employees who frequently travel, those who work

remotely, and those not in a traditional office setting. Virtual services enable employees to take

the office with them, increasing productivity time and increasing employee satisfaction.

Using virtual services has the potential to make your organization leaner, smarter, and more

profitable. Deciding to move to virtual services must be done with foresight and careful planning.

Make sure you understand all the benefits associated with cloud and virtual services and how the

services will affect your business before making the leap. Chances are, virtual services will only

benefit your company. Be sure to take your time and thing through the decision.