Virtual Business Solutions Blog

Virtual Business Solutions has been serving the Metairie area since 1999, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

What is IT Consulting, and How Can It Help My Business?

Modern day computers and online technology have completely revolutionized the way we do just about everything. They change the way we eat, from how we get food on our plates, to what we do while we are eating. They change the way we think, from forcibly keeping our attention at every moment to giving us the freedom to look up just about anything. And they change the way that we work, whether it’s the ability to work remotely from home on online systems, or even just how companies and businesses collaborate to serve their clients. While the effects of modern computers and online networks have affected everything, they have especially affected the way that businesses operate, as well as the way employees can contribute to their company. 

From remote working to cloud data servers, this technological evolution of computers and online systems has led to incredibly complex but highly effective online systems and structures that work in tandem to do everything for your company, from organizing to communicating to analyzing and more. But with so many moving parts contained within an already complex system that is all working under the incomprehensibly massive umbrella of the internet, it can be pretty hard to understand these intertwined online systems. And for a business owner that relies on the efficacy and efficiency of these online systems to not only thrive, but even survive. Additionally, understanding and managing these online networks and servers can be very frustrating, not to mention that the time spent figuring them out can be detrimental to your overall business operation.

That's where a company like Virtual Business Solutions comes in. Any business operator is juggling a wide variety of things on their plate, and oftentimes, these cloud-based data centers or network servers require a lot of knowledge and experience in order to troubleshoot and optimize them effectively. Instead of wasting valuable time trying to figure out these complexities, Virtual Business Solutions offers you an affordable way to have these systems managed, protected, and optimized in order to help your business grow. Whether it's IT consulting, security concerns, or larger-scale data integration, our team at Virtual Business Solutions can help, as we have been to folks in the Metairie area for more than two decades. Keep reading to learn more about IT consulting and how IT consulting from Virtual Business Solutions can help your Metairie business.

What is IT Consulting? - IT Consulting in Metairie 

Ultimately, the modern day company relies so heavily on it’s online communication, storage, and work platform systems, that any issue or inefficiency within that system will lead to an issue or inefficiency within the business operation as well.  And even for the savviest of business owners and most dedicated of employees, finding issues and fixing them within your online communication, storage, or work platform systems is not very easy at all, especially without proper knowledge and experience. There are hundreds of settings hidden behind a wide variety of menus, as well as different ways to approach certain technological issues, and sometimes even coding experience or other technical skills are required to find the solution or optimize the system. All in all, the average business owner or business employee will not be able to simply troubleshoot these issues, or optimize these systems, and any missed opportunity for efficiency can really hurt a small to medium-sized business.

 

An IT consultant like the ones we offer at Virtual Business Solutions does have that knowledge and experience. With a trusted IT consultant there for your business, you don't have to worry about online or networking issues limiting the potential and functioning capacity of your company. An IT consultant essentially provides a road map for you as a business owner, giving you awareness about how your setup of online networks function, as well as what you need to know to optimize them to get the most efficiency out of these networks and online systems, both for your employees, and your clients. Not only do we adapt our roadmap and our solutions to your company's specific system and needs, but we work to provide a solid technological infrastructure and infrastructure that can help you build your company for the future. 

IT Consultants in Metairie with Virtual Business Solutions

An IT consultant isn't just your “tech person”; with the right it consultant from the right company like Virtual Business Solutions, you can revolutionize the way your business utilizes its online system, and wholeheartedly improve the services you provide to your clients, as well as the systems your employees work within. And when you work with a “swiss-army knife” company like Virtual Business Solutions, you can get a wide variety of other technological and online infrastructure services that will optimize just about every technological piece of your company's puzzle. 

 

From IT security system setup to cloud data optimization and integration, Virtual Business Solutions has the selection of technological services that can take your business to the next level. IT consultation is just one of the many services we offer. Although it is a very popular service because it provides such a grounding direction and support system for any business trying to find their feet in the online world. And the best part is that our IT consultants will work with you to determine the best approach for your business’ online strategy and how our services can optimize or restructure your online system or network to achieve those strategized goals.

IT Consulting for Metairie Businesses - Virtual Business Solutions

Any business owner is looking to not only help their company survive, but cultivate it and help it thrive as well. And for any business owner in this modern technological era, online efficiency and presence is crucial to achieving functional business growth. So don't wait until you're out of date; get the professional IT and online network consultation services you need to improve your business operations. Contact the IT experts at Virtua Business Solutions today, and see how we can support your business in Metairie.

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5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs Cloud Computing Services

For any small to medium sized business owner, a large portion of managing and operating your business is juggling resources, expenses, and how that all plays into the bigger picture. Resources include everything you could ever need to operate and maintain your business, from hardworking employees, to effective and durable equipment, to the money that your business generates, as it almost certainly is going directly back into the improvement and operation of your business. 

One resource that isn't thought of very often but it is equally important is online computing and data storage resources. From managing a large network of interconnected and remote computer systems, to storing all of your company data in a nice and orderly fashion,  the capacity you have to manage your computer resources is another important factor in your business is ability to operate. The resources your business has access to is a massively determining factor in its size, its reach, and oftentimes, its success. The biggest and most successful companies out there have an incredible amount of resources, both in terms of personnel, money, high-end equipment, and computing power and data storage. For small to medium-sized businesses, it can be hard to even compare your resources and success to larger and more successful businesses.  

But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your business resource capacity and capabilities, especially when it comes to online data storage and computing power.  That's why companies like Virtual Business Solutions exist. We understand how important online data storage and computing power is to any business, especially a small to medium-sized business, which is why we make it our goal to provide as many IT and cloud computing services to our customers as possible, giving them the leg up they need to keep their business going. Our cloud computing service is just one of many services we offer, but a crucial one that can support your business where it needs it most. Keep reading to learn why your business needs cloud computing services, and how Virtual Business Solution can help.

Take Advantage of The World Wide Web

When the internet was first created in the late 1990s, no one really could have predicted how massive and reaching it would be for the entire world. No one could have predicted how incredibly integral it has become to every step of Our Lives. But now that it exists with the importance it does, it's crucial that small to medium-sized businesses take advantage of the interconnectedness and power of the World Wide Web. Cloud computing services offer a variety of software, data storage, and computing power that can all be done over the internet, or “the cloud”, which is a modern way of describing the vast computing resources and storage space that the internet can offer to anyone. For any small to medium business, you are doing yourself a disservice by not utilizing this incredibly innate power of the internet to optimize your business operation. 

SaaS

You may have seen this acronym before, but you might not be sure what it means. SaaS  stands for “software-as-a-service”, which essentially entails any sort of operating software that can be used online in exchange for some sort of subscription or licensing fee. These types of softwares utilize the computing power of the internet to handle the resource capacity needed to  effectively operate the software. That means for a small-medium sized business, instead of trying to upgrade your equipment and it’s computing power (which can be expensive and not always effective), you get to take advantage of the computing power of the “cloud”, giving you access to very powerful software that can improve and optimize your business operations, without requiring a massive drain on your resources or time. This is just one example of the power of cloud computing services for your business. 

Reduced Costs

For any small to medium-sized business, utilizing the storage and operating capacity of the cloud or the internet is much more cost-effective than doing anything localized. Maintaining any sort of data center or expensive online system from a localized position requires a lot of resources (time, money, and highly trained employees). And as we mentioned earlier, effective business operation is all about resource management. So for any business operator looking to get the same level of data storage and interconnectedness without paying an arm and a leg for it, cloud computing services are the only way to get that level of reliability at a price that fits your budget. Especially when you work with Virtual Business Solutions, as we offer a variety of cloud computing packages that will cater to your specific needs and your budget. 

More Flexibility

Just like the explosion of the internet in the late 1990s defined how businesses grew and adapted in that time, the quarantines due to the coronavirus might have done the same thing in 2020. For the businesses that survived this period, many of them had to employ social distancing precautions,  and oftentimes, these precautions led to a majority of their workforce, remote working or working from home. Any small to medium-sized business is looking to stay ahead of the game, and currently, the game revolves around being able to offer your employees total flexibility, including where they work from.  Cloud computing services offer the flexibility and access that you need to offer these types of benefits to your employees. By utilizing the cloud for a variety of your online business computations, your employees can take advantage of this interconnectedness too, working from wherever they want, and being happier and more effective employees for you in the long run.

Security

Cloud computing also offers improved security standards for your businesses information, data, and proprietary knowledge. You may think of “hackers” or other online criminals who might try to break into your “cloud”, but in reality it would be much easier to break into the physical location of your business, and steal your information that way. Cloud computing services like the ones we offer at Virtual Business Solutions are oftentimes providing state-of-the-art cybersecurity, giving you the confidence you need to rely on cloud computing services for your business. These systems also provide full control over your data and information, allowing you to remove or relocate sensitive information, either taking it out of the cloud completely, or putting it in even a more secure location within the cloud.  Either way, you can rest assured that your data will be safe, giving you the freedom to help your business improve and grow, all with the computing and storage support of the cloud. 

Cloud Computing Services in Metairie - Virtual Business Solutions

As you can see, cloud computing services offer a level of power and resources that can be incredibly beneficial to small to medium sized businesses. The computing power and storage capacity of the cloud can give your business the breathing room it needs to not only survive in this difficult economy, but even thrive, on an online platform that caters to your customers and employees. That's what we strive to do at Virtual Business Solutions; offer our clients high quality online solutions that support their business and help them maintain their infrastructure.  Contact us today and see how our cloud computing services can help your business in Metairie.

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What You Need to Know to Manage a Remote Workforce

What You Need to Know to Manage a Remote Workforce

There are many reasons that your team may want (or need) to work from home, and there are many reasons to allow them to do so. A 2019 survey by OwlLabs indicated that 71 percent of remote workers are happy with their job (as compared to 55 percent of on-site workers); remote workers responded that they are 13   percent more likely than onsite workers to stay in their current job for five more years than onsite workers will; and when respondents claimed to be working longer than 40 hours per week, onsite workers were doing so out of necessity, while remote workers did so out of desire and enjoyment.

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The Employee’s Guide to Working Remotely

The Employee’s Guide to Working Remotely

It’s not uncommon where a situation arises and you will find yourself working from home. To make this work, it is important that you keep a few additional issues in mind so that you can make the most of it. We have put together a few simple best practices that you should keep in mind as you operate remotely.

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Why (and How) SMBs Should Strategically Adopt Technology

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There is no question that a small business can benefit from technology, as has been proven time and time again. However, an issue can arise if a business bites off more than it can chew, so to speak, and ultimately creates a spike in costs. A responsible business owner will resist this temptation and prioritize the solutions they need over the ones they want - building profitability and generating capital needed to make other improvements.

In this blog, we’ll examine some of the implementations that can deliver a good return on investment to a small business.

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Is Your Cloud Solution Actually a Money Pit?

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The cloud has proven to be an extremely useful tool for the modern business. Not only does it provide anywhere-anytime access to applications, processing, storage, et al; it also delivers those products as a service, allowing you to budget for recurring costs rather than major upfront ones. This provides your organization with functional, supported, and secure computing environments that eliminate a lot of the support costs that traditional computing environments require. It sounds like a perfect scenario for small and large businesses alike, but things aren’t always what they seem, as a lot of cloud users have found that they have incurred several hidden costs by using cloud platforms. Today, we take a look at these hidden costs.

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How to Avoid Becoming the Next Data Security Cautionary Tale

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Data security isn’t a matter to be taken lightly, as too many businesses have found out the hard way. Unfortunately, there are far too many simple ways to correct common security issues - enough that it’s foolish not to do so. We’ll review a few ways to fix security issues, after discussing one of, if not the, most egregious security failings in modern history.

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When it Comes to Security, Two Factors are Better Than One

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The password isn’t nearly as secure as it used to be. Hackers have begun to take advantage of extremely powerful solutions designed to brute force their way into accounts by using software to rapidly guessing thousands of passwords per second, making it extraordinarily difficult to prepare yourself for them.

What’s the best way to guarantee that passwords aren’t going to be the downfall of your company? A great start is by taking a close look at password best practices and two-factor authentication.

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4 Ways a Managed Service Provider Can Help Your Business

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How much does your business rely on technology to keep your organization running forward? As business technology becomes more complex, it’s becoming increasingly popular for organizations to have their own internal IT departments to manage and maintain it. Yet, small businesses don’t often have the necessary funds for such a feat. How can your company afford quality IT service? You can start by pursuing managed IT solutions from a managed service provider.

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Knowing, and Planning For, Your Organization’s Compliance Burden

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Despite what detractors say, regulations are in place for good reason. They typically protect individuals from organizational malfeasance. Many of these regulations are actual laws passed by a governing body and cover the entire spectrum of the issue, not just the data involved. The ones that have data protection regulations written into them mostly deal with the handling and protection of sensitive information. For organizations that work in industries covered by these regulations there are very visible costs that go into compliance. Today, we look at the costs incurred by these organizations as a result of these regulations, and how to ascertain how they affect your business.

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A Look at Business Computing Costs: Cloud vs. On Premise

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Profitability is less the measure of being able to turn a profit, and more the measure of how much profit you can make. For the successful small business, the integration of technology can dictate what kind of annual margins you are looking at. For the new company, however, it can be something even more critical: the difference between setting a course for success, or wallowing in failure. Today we analyze the cost difference between hosting your IT in-house, or choosing to host it in the cloud.

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Strategizing Your IT Leads to Better Business

Strategizing Your IT Leads to Better Business

Business technology continues to grow in importance for the small and medium-sized business, especially as many prepare for 2019. Where enterprise-level companies have long been using technology to bring people together and drive overall productivity, many SMBs are new to these opportunities. The availability of cloud resources, coupled with shifts in security, mobility, and other core technologies, makes it important for every organization, no matter what size, to have a comprehensive technology strategy.

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Investigating the Value of Managed IT Services

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Managed IT services can present a lot of benefits for small businesses. Since not many smaller businesses can afford to staff expert IT technicians, managed IT services are an attractive alternative that allows an organization to get the IT support and management they need to keep their business running efficiently. Today, we’ll go over all the benefits a managed service provider can present a small business,and just how a MSP delivers significant returns on your IT support investments.

The first thing that should be mentioned is that, with all the threats out there, every business needs dedicated IT management. Many small businesses have tried to keep their crucial IT working properly through what is known as break/fix. The basic strategy of this is: when a part of your company’s IT infrastructure breaks, you get it fixed. This strategy has some merits for companies that don’t necessarily use enterprise-level, or complicated, IT solutions; but, no matter what their position is, when they rely on the break/fix strategy, downtime is going to end up being an issue. The average small business owner may not even consider this costly as much of the technology management services that you would call when your IT breaks (or starts acting up) is done onsite and only takes a short time to fix. However, it typically costs a pretty penny, and there is no telling if the problem will cause others, or come back again frequently.

The problem with this is that every minute that your IT is down, your organizational profitability is hindered. Say you run a small retail store and your point of sale computer goes down. You make the call to the computer repair company and they come within an hour and your computer is up and running in two. That’s two whole hours where you are scrambling around trying to figure out how to service your customers’ needs without the use of your most important computing system. If you are lucky, you will be able to keep your business open during this time, but often you simply cannot as many businesses not only have their register through their POS system, they also have their inventory system through it. When dealing with IT downtime your service will inevitably be hindered, and you may actually lose repeat customers because of the outage as word of mouth carries further than ever before as a result of social media.

IT Services

With Managed IT services, you’ll never have to shut your business down or deal with long stretches of downtime. This is because it is handled much differently. With an MSP looking after your business’ computers and computing network, you will know in advance if one of your computers is going to fail. Virtual Business Solutions’s brand of IT services proactively monitors your computers and network; and, using state-of-the-art software, is able to leverage its built-in and extremely innovative automation options to your advantage, effectively reducing your IT costs by keeping your systems up and running efficiently. The fact is that most of the problems the modern PC has can be remedied with dedicated monitoring and management.

It’s easy to see how our proactive monitoring service can present value. Your return is properly functioning technology, boosting profitability, and effectively cutting your IT support costs; but that is just the beginning. An MSP provides several other services that are designed to deliver value. One such service is our Backup and Disaster Recovery service. You may be thinking, “how could backup produce a significant return?” Not only is it part of the value-based approach, it also protects your business from data loss, a major problem for any business that depends on its data.

Data loss doesn’t just happen when a disaster hits your business, it can happen any day in a multitude of different ways. In fact, most data loss is a result of employee negligence. Many businesses also have to deal with strategic hacking and social engineering attempts that put data at risk. A majority of small businesses that deal with an event where they lose large portions of their data are out of business within the next fiscal year. This scenario is especially problematic when the data that is lost belongs to vendors and customers, since, for a small business, reputation damage is hard to rebound from.

MSP-offered backup and recovery typically comes in the form of a network attached storage device that is expanded with the use of cloud computing. All the data you need will be backed up initially. After your data is redundantly stored in multiple places, snapshots of the changes made to your organization’s data will be taken periodically to ensure that, if you are forced to restore, that you aren’t losing much data. Data snapshots can be completed as little as every 15 minutes, preserving your data and immediately boosting the potential effectiveness of your business’ continuity strategy.   

The value doesn’t stop there. MSPs typically also offer thorough network security practices to ensure that your network is protected. Outside of the comprehensive management you get with network and endpoint monitoring, you also will be outfitted with security solutions designed to ensure that if they don’t have access to the network and infrastructure, that they don’t get in, period. This is where the years of experience managing and maintaining business networks comes in. By knowing what to look for, and knowing where to strengthen security measures, your organization will deal with less downtime, essentially presenting you further opportunities for profitability.

Most MSPs also offer a vendor management service that is designed to keep clients from wasting time trying to juggle all their vendors. By handling your vendor relationships we are able to be a single point of contact for anything that you could need, saving you a lot of time. You can then focus on your business and not your vendors, which are relationships that tend to take up a lot of time. Moreover, with vendor management, you will get the solutions, services, and products you need at a price that works for you.

Additionally, most MSPs will also offer 24/7/365 help desk, so that if your organization does have problems, that it can get in touch with a remotely-connected technician immediately. Moreover, many MSPs also provide training resources that delivers information about industry best practices designed to keep security top of mind. If your staff is repelling threats instead of accepting them, it will go a long way toward securing your organization’s IT infrastructure and network.

Calculating Value

There is a lot a value in rolling out managed IT services, but how valuable is it to you? Well there is no simple algorithm for this particular service. You could produce ROI totals for every service that your MSP provides for you then add them up, but that algorithm would get pretty long. Between the monitoring and maintenance, the network security, the vendor management, the backup and recovery, the around the clock support, the consultation, and the onsite support, you’re looking at a pretty significant amount of value from your monthly service agreement.

While it is hard to put a ROI on managed IT service delivery, people do try. There are managed IT ROI calculators all over the web. One of the easiest ways to do this is to estimate the revenue you generate by uptime and successful IT outcomes and compare it by the cost you pay for managed services. That will give you a rough idea about the value of your managed IT service.

Typically, the variable that most companies focus on when partnering with a managed services provider is downtime. As stated above, downtime is a business killer. Our strategy to deploying managed services is pretty simple: stop downtime from costing our clients’ money and marginalizing their success… and this strategy works! It takes committed and knowledgeable technicians, today’s best technology solutions, and clients that aren’t afraid to trust that we can deliver a valuable resource.

If yours is one such company, contact the IT professionals at Virtual Business Solutions today at (504) 840-9800 ext 105.

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Is Data a Commodity? Maybe Not, but It Is an Asset

Is Data a Commodity? Maybe Not, but It Is an Asset

The late American author Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become.” Written in the 20th century, it has been put in practice by 21st century businesses. As the Internet has grown, the amount of companies expanded, and the amount of data that those companies collect has grown exponentially, especially now that there is a market for such data.

Today, many of the largest and most lucrative companies in the world, Google, Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Verizon, Facebook and Microsoft are all, more than manufacturers of computer-based goods and services, data brokers. These data brokers create services that they then sell to advertisers that allow them to target you based on the information these companies have of you, which can accurately tell how and what to sell you.

Since nearly everyone has a near-ubiquitously-connected experience there is a lot of data collected, bought, and sold every year and it’s big business. Facebook, a company whose main revenue stream is from selling advertising, made a net profit of nearly $16 billion in 2017. This tells us that if you have people’s data, you have people’s hopes, fears, and dreams, which means you can pretty easily get someone to pay you for access to that information.

For small businesses it’s much less lucrative. In fact, all the data your organization needs to keep, is probably necessary to simply do business, not to sell to advertisers. Facebook voluntarily gets a lot of personal information from every one of their users, as where the typical small business often has to strategize to just get a name and a phone number. The information that is sensitive (mostly customer information that you collect) has a lot of value to the people looking to steal it. So while you aren’t making billions of dollars selling consumer profiles, it is still a mightily important part of doing business, and needs to be secured.

Is Data a Commodity?
Technically speaking, it isn’t. Since a commodity’s value is based namely on its scarcity and the amount of capital that needs to be put up to create it, in both resources and labor, the data that is being purchased isn’t really a commodity. In lieu of the dissolution of the U.S. Net Neutrality laws, this has created the argument in the U.S. that since now it’s up to the telecommunication companies how they want to manage (or more accurately bill) data consumption, that they would throttle and tier service, something that isn’t possible with a true commodity, where there are laws prohibiting those types of practices.

On the other hand, Internet access is something that a majority of the commerce requires, and delivering data is in itself an expensive endeavor (infrastructure spending, development, utility costs, etc.) so telecoms, who are seeing their would-be profits syphoned by over-the-top content providers, and publicly demonized as a result of a very public lobbying effort to gain control of the ability to implement some sort of prioritization strategy, have to find a strategy to sustain their ability to get a workable return on their investments.

Securing Your Organization’s Data
Regardless of what your view of data is, it’s an important resource for your organization, and as mentioned above, it needs to be secured. For one of your company’s most important resources, data can be lost relatively easily, so there needs to be a concerted effort to keep your network and infrastructure free from the threats that could put your data at risk. At Virtual Business Solutions, that’s what we do. We ensure organizations like yours get the professional IT expertise you need to work efficiently, effectively, and securely in what is the most turbulent time in computing history. With the litany of threats your business faces everyday, you need experts that have your back. We offer:

  • Backup and disaster recovery: With a comprehensive backup and disaster recovery system in place, all of your organization’s data is safe, redundant, and able to be restored on demand.
  • Proactive monitoring and management: By keeping a dedicated eye on your network and infrastructure, our technicians can be proactive.
  • Patch management: By keeping all of your organization’s software up to date with the latest threat definitions, you can ensure that your software isn’t going to be a problem.
  • Access control and threat detection: By having full control over who can access what, and a complete view of the entire network, we can keep people who aren’t supposed to see certain information from accessing it.
  • Training: Most times, your own staff is responsible for data breaches and malware. We can train you all on what to look for to ensure that you are doing your best to keep your network and infrastructure free from threats.
  • Around the clock support: If three out of every four businesses deal with phishing emails, and over 95 percent of all phishing emails deliver ransomware, chances are that if a mistake were to be made, you will need immediate IT support. Our support and help desk can remediate a lot of your security issues to keep downtime to a minimum.

With data such a major part of doing business today, ensuring you have the right solutions and support in place to be confident that any situation you face will be managed before it becomes a problem is in itself a benefit. Call Virtual Business Solutions at (504) 840-9800 ext 105 for more information.

 

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Virtual Business Solutions
3000 19th Street
Metairie, Louisiana 70002