Information Technology

Technology is constantly changing, so how can you be sure your systems are up-to-date?  We can help you learn how to manage and use the technological tools you need to operate efficiently.  You'll also find easy and affordable ways to outsource your information technology needs, ensuring the security and optimal effectiveness of your systems.  Because let's face it ... unless you are in the IT business, you probably need some help.

Cyber Security Resources

cyber threatsThe threat of a cyber attack on your small business is very real.

SBAM has put together a variety of resources to help you become informed. Click here for details.


Managed IT Services

NUWAVEAre your IT systems operating efficiently?

With the proper technology and implementation team, your company can realize dramatic productivity and profitability gains. NuWave Technology Partners' unique approach provides clients with a single point-of-contact for all their telephone and data needs, and covers the spectrum from servicing existing phone systems to complete new installations.

Related News

Do you really need a technology policy for your employees?

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner AdvanceHR

There are many reasons why lawyers encourage employers to establish policies governing employee use of company computers, e-mail systems, the Internet, social media and related technologies. But the fact is, you may already have a "policy" in place without even realizing it. If so, you could be at risk -- depending on the specifics.

Who needs an employee technology policy? Only companies that want to be clear about the boundaries of acceptable behavior - including what constitutes theft - and desire some legal protection if employees step over the line.

But you may already have a policy in place by default, warns Lisa Guerin, J.D., employment attorney and author of Smart Policies for Workplace Technologies. "If everyone in a company… uses the company's e-mail system for personal messages, that's company policy, even if the company has no official written guidelines saying it's okay to use e-mail in this way," she warns.

It's far better to take control of the situation by consciously creating a clear set of policies. Here are a just a few of the benefits of doing so:

Why Have a Policy?
  • To protect trade secrets: A clear policy leaves no doubt in employees' minds about the ground rules with respect to customer lists and other proprietary information. But even if the threat of punishment doesn't bother a determined thief, having a policy in place gives you a stronger legal foundation to recover damages should a theft occur.
  • To gain marketing benefits: Your company "lives" on the Internet, to some degree, and potential customers and employees form opinions about it through what they read online. Therefore, you should have policies that draw clear lines about what employees should and shouldn't say online, whether in company-authorized content or in personal posts. That way, you can can help make sure that your company is being represented in the way you want.
  • To avoid misconceptions about employee privacy: It may be necessary for you to review employee communications. Employees who are aware of this prospect may therefore be deterred from using e-mail or Internet postings inappropriately, and won't be able to accuse you of violating their privacy should you need to take action.
  • To reduce liability for employee misconduct: An example offered by Guerin is a ban on employees' placing cell phone calls while driving. Should an employee violate the policy, have an accident and injure someone, the company is less likely to be held responsible.
  • To lay the groundwork for employee discipline and termination: Although you probably already have the right to terminate employees at will, a clear set of policies on technology issues -- as with policies on any other expectation of employee behavior -- eases the path to taking decisive action when appropriate.
Once you decide to take action, you will obviously need to choose which policies to adopt. Employers need policies to reflect their culture and human resources philosophy. Consult with your attorney and HR advisers about your situation.

Philosophical Foundation

The basic philosophical issue is how restrictive do you want to be -- and how intrusive? That's because sophisticated electronic monitoring tools give employers the opportunity to monitor employee communications assiduously. Here are two key questions employers need to address in setting a policy that illustrate the issue, according to Guerin. Will the company:
  • Actually read every employee e-mail -- or just reserve its right to monitor e-mail if it needs to?
  • Block access to particular websites and monitor employee Internet use -- or simply warn employees to avoid certain categories

SBAM disappointed that Supreme Court orders union bosses proposal back onto November’s ballot

SBAM is a key member of the coalition of business and taxpayer groups (Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution) that opposes the union bosses/collective bargaining proposal.
 
SBAM President and CEO Rob Fowler calls the proposal "unprecedented" and says that SBAM will work hard to educate its members and the general public about the very negative impact that passage would have on Michigan's constitution and economic future.

For more 2012 election news and insight, please visit sbam.org/engagenow.

Consider deploying a red team at your business

Article courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner AdvanceHR

"Red teams" are often used in the military and in government agencies to expose areas of weakness and to improve effectiveness. They are also utilized in private businesses to help protect information technology systems. The idea is for a team to uncover security issues that can expose trade secrets, customers' personal information and cause operational disruptions. This article describes how to set up a team, manage it and gain valuable feedback that can improve your business.

Protecting a company from attack by third parties intent on stealing money, data -- or both -- is a constant challenge. Companies must anticipate where the threat is the most severe and defenses are the weakest and dedicate the appropriate resources there.

However, given the complexity of a company's information technology environment, as well as its physical footprint, it is often a challenge to identify and prioritize which areas in the organization pose the greatest threat.

Understanding how the enemy views your company's infrastructure is critical to deploying a robust defense. Companies of all sizes are asking "red teams" -- a covert team of experienced professionals -- to launch attacks against their infrastructure and report back on the findings. For example, companies that are interested in assessing their network security can engage a team of network intrusion analysts who have experience penetrating corporate and government networks.

Regardless of the exact makeup of the teams deployed, the primary goal of a red team is to find the weaknesses in your company's IT and/or physical environment. Simply put, if the red team can uncover vulnerabilities, so too can attackers. Before your company deploys a red team to probe its defenses, think about the following elements of the team's responsibilities and feedback process:

  • Where do you find a red team? Since red teams are frequently used in the government sector, companies that hire former government employees regularly deploy the red team approach. Although some very large companies have internal red teams, most businesses engage a third-party firm to conduct the testing. Many professional service firms provide red team services to their clients. Ask your CPA or attorney for more information. Ideally, the firm selected should have experience in both the public and private sectors as best practices can be uncovered in either arena.  
  • Start with the end in mind. The end result of the team's work must be actionable intelligence that places the company in a better position to combat attacks. To that end, ask the red team leader to provide an example of the report that your company will receive at the conclusion of the exercise. Unfortunately, despite the best intentions, companies can sometimes be overwhelmed with the results of the red team exercise and fail to implement a plan to bridge gaps uncovered during the process. While selecting a professional services firm to conduct the red team exercise, take time to ascertain how much experience they have helping companies address the gaps uncovered during the process.
  • Test the red team's defenses. Given the highly sensitive nature of the work that red teams conduct, it is important that members of that team treat the information uncovered as highly confidential. The professional services firm must have processes and technology in place to prevent unauthorized access. Before engaging a firm, ask them how it protects customer and client data. For example, is client data shared on a central server within the company's offices -- or placed on a third-party cloud server? How will the firm ensure that only those with a "need to know" will be granted access to the data?
  • Convene a

Small craft brewers are thriving in Michigan. Learn why today on Business Next!

Today on Business Next, Ron Jeffries,  founder of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and Northern United Brewing Company, talks about the business of craft brewing and his plans for business expansion. Jolly Pumpkin was recently highlighted at michiganjobsinsight.com. Also on today's program, how to sell your products and services to government agencies. Advice from Sue Schweim Tellier of JetCo Solutions. And, can small employers consider arrest and conviction records when hiring potential employees? Advice from Tom Brady, attorney for Clark Hill, LLC.

Listen today at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on the 
Michigan Business NetworkSBAM members can log in and listen to archived programs anytime on a PC or mobile device by going to the Business Next show page.   
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