Should Your Company be Using a VPN?

Should Your Company be Using a VPN?

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

should your company be using a vpn?

jim deboer, ESCALATION ENGINEER

 

When businesses want to keep their data safe and secure no matter where it’s located, they often use a virtual private network or VPN. Because of the rise in cyber attacks, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programs and the necessity for enhanced data security, VPN demand is growing, with a projected industry growth rate of nearly eight percent in the U.S. market alone between 2019 and 2026. However, if you’re trying to decide if your company should be using a VPN, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of using one. Here are some important factors to consider:

 

What is a VPN?

A VPN is advanced technology that creates a secure internet connection for your devices via data encryption. It creates a safe way to access corporate data online over networks that are not encrypted or secure, such as free public Wi-Fi networks. VPNs work by creating a “secure tunnel” that can only be traversed by encrypted data. This tunnel “bores” its way to the receiving end by using tunneling protocols that encrypt the data you send and decrypts this information for the receiver. You can use several types of VPNs to enhance your data security, including traditional site-to-site VPNs using a WAN network, clientless SSL VPNs and other cloud-based VPNs.

 

How a VPN Helps Your Company

If you want to keep your information safe and secure from hackers and unauthorized users, then it’s worth considering using a VPN. Businesses use VPNs to enhance the security of their networks and maintain privacy when employees, contractors, vendors and other important stakeholders who have access to their data and networks are traveling, working from home, or otherwise accessing their information remotely.

 

Benefits of Using a VPN

VPNs offer several benefits for businesses, including:

  • Safe remote access. With employees traveling and working remotely, you can have workers or contractors accessing your proprietary information or your customers’ private information from any Wi-Fi connection.
  • Secure data sharing that’s safe to use. You can enhance data sharing by opting for a VPN that encrypts the entire internet connection. This makes a secure connection so that your employees can share data safely, whether uploading or downloading files. You can also use a VPN to avoid censorship when traveling abroad and conducting business in other countries.
  • Enhanced security. Relying on antivirus software programs and firewalls isn’t enough to protect your data. New malware is created as often as every four seconds and research shows that antivirus software programs have a 45-percent cyberattack identification rate. VPNs help to provide an extra layer of security from hackers, malware and viruses.
  • Easier management. VPNs make it easier to manage data access securely for Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) programs. You can also easily grant and stop access to contractors who use your network and database from remote locations.

Drawbacks of VPN

While your business can take advantage of the many benefits VPNs bring, there are a few drawbacks to consider. With a traditional VPN, you can expect the setup and costs to be time-consuming and more expensive than cloud-based VPNs. That’s because the more employees in your company that need VPN access, the larger the technology requirements. Also, it may take longer than expected to set up a conventional VPN if the VPN isn’t compatible with your existing network, or you need an IT team to help set up the VPN.

Deciding whether or not getting a VPN makes sense for your business is a personal choice. But it’s often a smart move to get a VPN to take advantage of its benefits, including enhanced security and safe remote access. Just compare the benefits and drawbacks of using a VPN for your business and consider your needs. By taking these measures, you can decide if getting a VPN is the right move for your company.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.778.7950

jdeboer@lutz.us

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JIM DEBOER + ESCALATION ENGINEER

Jim DeBoer is an Escalation Engineer at Lutz Tech with over 14 years of experience in the technology industry. He is responsible for managing escalation issues, as well as providing onsite technical support to outsourced IT clients.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Outsourced IT
  • Technical Support
  • Technology
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • VMWare VCP
  • Microsoft MCSA
  • Microsoft Certified Professional
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BS in Network Engineering, University of Advancing Technology, Tempe, AZ
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
  • Should Your Company be Using a VPN?

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HASTINGS

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LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

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Lutz Promotes 15 to Senior Positions

Lutz Promotes 15 to Senior Positions

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

Lutz promotes 15 to senior positions

 

 Lutz, a Nebraska-based business solutions firm, has promoted 15 professionals to Senior positions.

Juan Ayala-Roman, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the audit department in Lutz’s Omaha office. He is responsible for providing assurance and consulting services to clients with a focus on employee benefit plans and the non-profit industry.

Jack Boulay, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the audit department. He is responsible for providing credibility to clients through financial reporting. In addition, he will work to maintain a high level of objectivity and confidentiality in all areas for clients in a variety of industries. Boulay works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Matt DeLong has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the tax department. He is responsible for the preparation of individual, business and fiduciary income tax returns, estate and business planning, as well as taxpayer representation on IRS matters. DeLong works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Bryan Frew, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in Lutz’s Hastings Office. He is responsible for providing business and individual taxation services to clients in a variety of industries. In addition, he will provide credibility to clients through financial reporting.

Bryson Henkel, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant. He provides individual and business income tax returns with a focus on the agriculture industry, as well as employee benefit plan audits. Henkel works in Lutz’s Hastings office.

Nate Jones, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the audit department. He is responsible for the preparation and examination of financial records for clients across various industries. Jones works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Kim Kaye, CPC, CEMA, has been promoted to Senior Healthcare Consultant in Lutz’s Omaha office. She provides professional coding assistance, chart audits and chargemaster reviews for clients with a focus on the healthcare industry.

Emily Moore, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the client accounting services department. She specializes in providing outsourced accounting services to clients with a focus on QuickBooks, tax and payroll compliance, small business consulting, as well as software implementation and training. Moore works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Brad Newton, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the tax and operations departments. He is responsible for providing tax planning and consulting for clients with a focus on tax exempt organizations. In addition, he will assist in coordinating Lutz’s internal accounting operations. Newton works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Emma Perry, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the tax department. She is responsible for the preparation of individual, business and fiduciary income tax returns for clients in a variety of industries. Perry works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Robby Renshaw has been promoted to Human Resources Specialist in Lutz’s Omaha office. She is responsible for leading Lutz’s internship program and campus recruiting efforts. In addition, she helps oversee the onboarding, employee retention and performance management processes.

Kris Rutz has been promoted to Senior Project Engineer in Lutz’s Tech division. With over five years of experience in the technology industry, Rutz is responsible for assisting outsourced IT clients with technology infrastructure enhancements. Kris works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Steve Schaffer has been promoted to Operations Lead. He is responsible for assisting the Chief Operating Officer in leading internal operations, gathering and analyzing firm data, as well as consulting with management on internal business plans. Schaffer works in both the Lincoln and Omaha Lutz offices.

Claire Thelen has been promoted to Senior Healthcare Consultant. She provides chargemaster, billing and coding and revenue cycle consulting services to clients with a focus on hospitals and healthcare systems. Thelen works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

Zach Weis, CPA, has been promoted to Senior Accountant in the tax department. He provides tax consulting and compliance services for clients with a focus on individual and business income tax. Weis works in Lutz’s Omaha office.

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VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

What Your IT Helpdesk Technician Wants You to Know

What Your IT Helpdesk Technician Wants You to Know

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

what your it helpdesk technician wants you to know

jessica murray, LUTZ TECH account manager

 

When you need assistance from a professional IT helpdesk technician, you want the experience to be as short and as productive as possible. If you follow these five basic tips, you’ll give your IT technician a fantastic starting position to begin working on your problem.

1: The More Specific And Detailed Your Ticket, The Better

It’s a great idea to summarize your problem in the subject of your email. A few words can go a long ways towards making sure your technician goes in fully prepared.

Properly diagnosing your problem takes information (the more information you provide, the better!). Screenshots of error messages, for example, are incredibly valuable. Don’t worry about overloading your technician with too much information. A detailed description of the issue is a fantastic starting point.

Of course, if you’ve done any troubleshooting on your own, let your technician know. Even if it’s a simple as a basic system restart, remember that information is key! No one likes repeating unnecessary steps.

2: IT Policies Aren’t Arbitrary Rules

Ever roll your eyes at that ‘script’ that call center agents repeat at the start of every call? It’s important to remember that IT policies aren’t arbitrary rules — they are mandated, often by law — and help protect everyone involved.

IT policies help to guarantee the security and privacy of your information. Think of them as a shield: a mandated routine works for the betterment of everyone. Banking and healthcare industries follow very strict IT policies to ensure full compliance with industry standards.

3: Try Some Basic Troubleshooting First

You might be surprised how often a basic solution works! Feel free to turn your computer off and on again — it works more often than you think.

You’ll note that your IT technician will almost always ask you to reboot your computer to start things off. And yes, we can tell if you’ve done it!

If your problem is with a website, try a different web browser. Some websites (especially older ones) may have difficulty displaying on modern browsers. If you’re using Google Chrome, for example, give Internet Explorer a quick test to see if that resolves your problem.

If you’re having difficulty printing, see if your computer will print to a different device. Having error codes or messages appear? Screenshots, pictures, or a good ol’ pen and paper are a great way to mark this important information.

We’d love to be a hero, but nothing beats empowering someone with the knowledge to fix problems on their own.

4: Please Open A Ticket

Emails are great, but opening an official ticket is highly recommended. A ticket keeps your IT technician accountable and ensures a timely response.

Opening a ticket also:

  • Provides a historical record
  • Works to resolve your issue if it returns (or if another user has the same problem)
  • Simplifies documentation for both parties
  • Helps us track trends and develop more solutions

After all, information is everything! We can only fix a problem based on the information you provide – if we don’t know there is a problem, we can’t fix it.

5: We Are On The Same Team

We’re here to help! Remember, we are on the same team.

No one calls their IT helpdesk technician when things are working great. It’s when problems come up that we get a call. Make sure to take a deep breath and remember that everyone wants the company to succeed.

Likewise, if there’s a new IT security policy in place, we know it might seem tedious or unnecessary. Just try to remember that your IT helpdesk technician is not to blame for policies – we’re here to help.

If you follow these five things your IT helpdesk technician wants you to know, you’ll enjoy a faster, more efficient issue resolution experience. Quicker solutions with less stress are what the IT support world is all about!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.514.0000

jmurray@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

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JESSICA MURRAY + ACCOUNT MANAGER

Jessica Murray is an Account Manager at Lutz Tech. She has over 5 years of experience in the technology field. Jessica is a trusted advisor that sees clients through the full sales cycle. Her responsibilities include developing proposals and providing recommendations to clients to assist them in reaching their business goals.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Client Relations
  • Technology
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BS in Management Information Systems, Briar Cliff University, Sioux City, IA

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VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

An Intro to Artificial Intelligence

An Intro to Artificial Intelligence

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

an intro to artificial intelligence

The market for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies is flourishing. Beyond the hype and the heightened media attention, the numerous startups and the internet giant’s racing to acquire them, there is a significant increase in investment and adoption by enterprises. Scott Kroeger leads this seminar, offering an introduction to Artificial Intelligence. The presentation provides a practical understanding of AI core concepts.

 

RECENT POSTS

5 Key Purchase Agreement Considerations

The purchase agreement is a major component of an M&A deal. It is the contract that documents all of the terms agreed upon between the buyer and the seller in a transaction. Without one, it would be…

read more

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Two-Factor Authentication: The New Standard in Online Security

Two-Factor Authentication: The New Standard in Online Security

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

two-factor authentication: The new standard in online security

Steven brabec, it account manager

 

In an age in which cyber threats are more vast and detrimental than ever, finding ways to keep your network secure is a vital component to every business. Given the prevalence of massive security breaches, as well as the costs associated with the fallout after a major attack, stepping up your cybersecurity is necessary for every organization.

Of the various methods of making your system, employees, and customers more secure, two-factor authentication is quickly becoming the new standard in online security. That said, the following is a closer look at the benefits of using this method.

Strengthens Security

Two-factor authentication is becoming the standard for many businesses because it helps strengthen the security of your network overall. By simply requiring an additional form of authentication, for example sending a text to your phone with a special code to verify your login, helps to drastically reduce the probability that cyber attackers will be able to penetrate your system.

In other words, although a potential attacker may be able to uncover your password, they will still not be able to gain access to your account without the information to complete the second form of authentication. This is why two-step authentication is now being widely used by businesses of all kinds.

Reduce Theft of Data

The theft of data has officially become big business. In the wake of some of the most massive cyberattacks (for example, the Experian and Yahoo data breaches, which served to compromise the personal information of over 1 billion people), every company should be doing it’s absolute best to boost their level of cybersecurity.

Not only do data breaches cause mistrust from your customers and employees, but it can also be highly costly depending on the data that was accessed or stolen. Fortunately, two-factor authentication is an easy, inexpensive method of adding another layer of protection against your sensitive data.

Reduces Calls to Help Desk

Yet another benefit of adding two-factor authentication is that it reduces the amount of calls being made to the help desk. The secured simplicity of the two-factor process causes less password resets and can often save users from having to reset the password altogether. Overall, this means less breaches to investigate for help desk members, which is a great thing for all parties involved.

In all, two-step authentication is hardly a new method of protecting your network. What is new is its seemingly sudden and widespread implementation by businesses and organizations of all kinds.

 

The ever-present threat of a cybersecurity breach has caused the world to discover the true value of this invention. Although there are no foolproof methods for protecting your network, taking the time to implement processes such as two-factor authentication is a great way to add another protective layer of security to your network.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.778.7960

sbrabec@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

STEVEN BRABEC + IT ACCOUNT MANAGER

Steven Brabec is an IT Account Manager at Lutz Tech with over eight years of information technology experience. He is responsible for working with clients to develop IT solutions that help them reach their business goals. Additionally, he will be providing account management support and IT consulting services. 

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • IT Consulting
  • Account Management
  • IT Security

 

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BS in Information Technology, Wayne State College, Wayne, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Pinnacle Bank Championship, Volunteer

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Avoid the Profitability Leak + Software Solutions Your Business Needs

Avoid the Profitability Leak + Software Solutions Your Business Needs

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

Avoid The profitability leak + software solutions your business needs

ryan wade, software solutions manager

 

We’ve all felt the pain of software outages, which can virtually paralyze a business. Imagine people sitting around, waiting for someone to “fix” the issue so they can go back to work.  Management and IT jumps into action, doing whatever it takes to bring the system back online.

However, this same sense of urgency does not happen with the day-to-day inefficiencies of antiquated legacy software.  In the end, this issue could have a greater impact on your bottom line.

For example, every spreadsheet that is used to “merge” data between systems or redundant data entry creates a chance for errors.  These errors can result in lost revenue, inefficiency, or incomplete data that impact management decisions.  With that being said, how do you know when it’s time to consider making changes to your processes and systems?

COMMON SIGNS THAT YOUR SOFTWARE SYSTEMS NEED IMPROVEMENT

Identifying the signs that your current systems are candidates for improvement is one of the first steps. 

  • Staff are inputting the same data in several systems
  • Data entry is not consistent
  • Key reports need to be manual manipulated
  • Critical systems and processes are not well documented and maintained by few key employees
  • Management does not have key data to make informed decisions
  • Critical systems developed in-house are built with antiquated technology such as Microsoft Access or Silverlight
  • Competitors that are easily outpacing your present technology capabilities

Quantify the impact of the problems and make a change

Software systems are an asset to the business which means they require maintenance, support and sometimes replacements.  Just like any other asset, you need to determine if there will be a return on investment if you change.  Making a change is costly and painful, so you need to make sure it’s worth it.

The following are areas to consider in determining the cost and return of making a change.

  • Can you generate new revenue or capture more existing revenue?
  • Can you reduce overhead or limit dependency on key employees by automating processes?
  • Can you create a competitive advantage?
  • Will better and timely data allow you to manage the business smarter?

Create a clear business objective

Once you’ve quantified the impact that the new software or a change will make, identity the business objective for the project.  Examples of outcome driven objectives:

  • Create confidence we are billing our clients for all services provided
  • Collect information from our clients faster to increase efficiency
  • Automate work order processing to limit manual entries and errors
  • Replace our legacy system to limit the risk of lost data

Outlining clear objectives will help keep your team focused on the results over processes and systems.  This is critical to the success of any project. 

Identify your options

Once you have set your objectives, you need to determine your options.  In most cases, you will have multiple options including:

  • Maintaining status quo
  • Implementing off-the-shelf solutions
  • Customizing platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics, Microsoft PowerAps, or SalesForce
  • Integrating systems or databases
  • Building a custom software solution

Most small businesses do not have a fulltime CTO to help them determine the best option.  For those who may need assistance navigating their way through the options, it is best to hire a professional. For instance, Lutz Tech. We work hard to guide our clients through the digital transformation process with ease.

No matter how major or minor your software issues may be, we have experts that are willing and able to assist you. Helping clients on each phase of the journey, through strategy, implementation and support, Lutz Tech will make sure the process is efficient from beginning to end. Learn more today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.778.7958

rwade@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

RYAN WADE + SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS MANAGER

Ryan Wade is a Software Solutions Manager with Lutz Tech and has over five years of relevant experience. His primary responsibility is to manage the software solutions team and client relationships.  He also maintains standards and procedures for the department, both internally and externally.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Software Consulting
  • Client Relationships
  • Professional Services Industry
  • Real-Estate Industry
  • Banking Industry
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BSBA, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
  • MBA, Creighton University, Omaha, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Business Ethics Alliance, Committee Member
  • Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Audit Chair

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

VIEW MODIFIED SUMMER HOURS HERE

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

601 P Street, Suite 103

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850