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How to Make Sure You are Outsourcing Your Help Desk Services to the Right Organization

The difference in the types of calls that can be fielded by a help desk can vary widely depending on the business model as well as the target market of each company. One of the keys to successfully outsourcing your company’s help desk is to make sure that the people who are answering the phones are fluent in the different nuances that can exist between one category of customers and another.
Here are two additional steps that can help to make sure that the outsourcing solution you choose is the best one for your business:
* Define the types of people that will be contacting your help desk – If you don’t have an onsite IT department, one category of caller could likely be your own employees. Additional categories will depend on whether your products are targeting business to business (B2B) customers or retail consumers (B2C). Be aware that outsourced help desk providers may be much stronger at catering to the needs of one type of category versus another.
* Define exactly what you want from your outsourced help desk – Again, some outside providers will be better at certain activities than others. One example of an activity that might work well with one group and not so well with another would be the ability to upsell products and services. While this strength could result in additional sales in a B2C model, a strong upseller will likely be the wrong choice for B2B or internal calls. On the other hand, a help desk that specializes in one-call solutions might be the ideal choice for B2B and internal support.
These two steps can put the right people on your outsourced help desk. That, in turn, can improve your business’ productivity and your bottom line.

Upgrading Network Infrastructure: 4 Common Mistakes

One of the primary requirements for growing businesses is that their network infrastructure must be continually upgraded to keep up with additional demands for storage, increased traffic, and processing. It is often during these upgrades that 4 common mistakes are made that can result in increased downtime, security risks, and/or poor performance. These mistakes include:
* Staying with old equipment – While the constant increases in computer processing speeds have slowed somewhat from those defined by Moore’s Law, advancements in both hardware and software will eventually render old equipment as obsolete. Considering that one of the primary objectives of an upgrade will be to optimize the utility of the network, dragging down its performance with aged equipment doesn’t make sense.
* Buying substandard equipment to save a couple of bucks – This is not to say that searching for the best deal is a bad thing, but make sure you’re looking for the best deal on the best infrastructure components for your network. Making initial purchasing decisions based on price alone will virtually ensure that subsequent purchases will have to be made to bring the network up to speed.
* Building a patchwork network – A network that is built in a randomized fashion will eventually run into two problems; interfaces that perform poorly or don’t work at all and a convoluted path to fixing network problems. Instead, upgrade your network with new equipment that will integrate efficiently with the existing infrastructure. 
* Forgetting about network security – The weakest security aspect of a network that is being upgraded is often the new equipment. Each time a new piece of equipment is added to a network, be sure to change default settings, particularly for access points and other components that may be used by outsiders to gain entry to the network.
In the rush to upgrade network infrastructure, mistakes can be made that can result in a variety of issues. Instead, take the time necessary to assess the components that will integrate with your existing system, replace aging gear, and make sure that the new components match the security profile for the rest of the system.

3 Security Assessment Steps that Enterprise-Sized Businesses Should Take Now

Enterprise-sized businesses have been targeted by hackers since the early days of the web, but with the exponential growth of valuable assets that are being virtualized on a daily basis, attempts to compromise and gain entry to these networks are becoming more frequent and increasingly sophisticated. Due to the constant threat of risk to their networks, enterprises need to appraise rapidly evolving security issues both inside and outside their operations. Here are three security assessments that should be taken now as well as on a regular basis to stay ahead of the latest threats, block intrusion attempts, and minimize the damage of a successful attack.
* Develop an inventory of online assets – Building an inventory of online assets, as well as their location, storage and transmission profiles, can help to define what needs to be protected, network weaknesses, and actions that must be prioritized if a breach occurs. 
* Develop an assessment of risks to the network – This assessment should include risks that exist beyond the scope of cyber attacks by outside parties. Additional assessments should include “Bring your own device” (BYOD) security measures, encrypted communications, data recovery, etc.
* Develop a series of action plans – After assessing online assets and inherent risks, develop the action plans necessary to address network weaknesses as well as the protocols that will be followed for specific types of breaches, loss of data instances, and other network-related issues.        
This three step security assessment will yield benefits both in terms of addressing the weaknesses of an enterprise’s network and in mitigating the losses in the event of a breach. By developing a cache of intelligence on where a network is most vulnerable as well as detailed protocols for taking action, an enterprise can both fortify defenses and react to an intrusion, should one occur, in the most efficient manner possible.     
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