Why you should hire ActiveCo as your Managed Services Provider

Organizations without a team of trained IT professionals or a very small department, often look to outsource to a Managed Services Provider. However, choosing the right MSP is one of the most important decisions a business leader can make for their organization. So, with many MSP’s offering almost identical services, how do you differentiate between them to choose the right one for your company? We can sway the decision in our favor!

Since 1999, ActiveCo specializes in providing Managed IT Support, IT Consulting, Managed IT Security, Disaster Recovery & Backup Management, Cloud Services, Office 365, Professional and Compliance services all over North America.

Like a 5-star restaurant, ActiveCo will always go that extra mile to provide you with premier service. We pride ourselves on being a service-oriented company first and foremost. Our actions and decisions are always guided by our core values of teamwork, honesty & integrity, first-class customer service, continuous improvement and there’s always a way.

We understand that it can be nerve-racking to change IT providers, especially since it can involve a lot of work for you. To make the transition as seamless as possible, we have developed a process that lets us do most of the heavy-lifting while you focus on what matters the most – your business.

  • Consultation: Our first consultation focuses on understanding your major pain points, providing you with information about ActiveCo’s services and reviewing your business plans.
  • Proposal: We will review your IT infrastructure and then present you with a proposal that is detailed, easy to understand and cost-effective. We aim to address all your technology needs within a budget that works for you.
  • Onboarding: We have an extensive onboarding process that does not just last a day or two, but rather several months. This is to ensure that we understand the pain points in detail, understand the systems and networks, the IT budget, the employees and how to work with everyone.
  • On-going Support: In addition to our 24/7/365 help desk, we will proactively monitor and update your IT systems to prevent issues before they begin. Your dedicated vCIO will work closely with you to establish an IT budget and technology roadmap. We understand that your business environment is dynamic and IT resources will need to be reassessed and re-aligned on a regular basis to ensure the support of new goals, users and applications.

ActiveCo Technology Management strives to give our clients peace of mind with the knowledge that they have a team of experts working alongside them. Our services are built to manage the hassle so that you can focus your attention on running your business.

Convinced? Or maybe half-way there? Give us a shout and we’ll take you the rest of the way!

  1. Send us an email
  2. Book a FREE consultation
  3. Book a FREE demo

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9 Resolutions For Work Life Balance

9 Resolutions For Work Life Balance

New Year, New Resolutions!

With the start of the new year, it’s time to look forward to everything that can be accomplished. For many, that means looking for New Year resolution ideas and setting new goals.  At ActiveCo, one of our Core Values is Continuous Improvement, and we take it to heart. We’ve compiled some ideas to help motivate you to create some fun and measurable goals that you can track and achieve!

After speaking with 80,000 business managers for their book, “First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently“, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman discovered these three key questions helped define happiness in the workplace:

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?

1) Do something you love to do every single day. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it can be something as simple as reading a couple of pages of a new book, painting, riding your bike and.. you get the idea.

2) Do something just for you everyday, even if it’s that just means enjoying your morning coffee without any distractions. Try to make it a goal to wake up 15 minutes earlier so that you have a few moments to sit down and enjoy your activity getting caught up in the madness of the day.

3) Give yourself credit and a pat on the back when you deserve it. Doing so will boost your confidence and make you feel accomplished, leaving you wanting to continue on the high.

4) Learn a new skill. No matter what field you are in, there are hundreds of new skills that could benefit your career. If you have something in mind, set it as a work goal for the year and get it done.

5) Listen more than you talk. It’s hard to do, but has many benefits like knowledge gathering, the person doing the talking will feel understood and cared about, you won’t say anything dumb and so on.

6) Practice “professional courage” by stepping out of your comfort zone. In order to grow, you need to feel uncomfortable and will never happen if you don’t step out of your comfort zone. It’s going to be hard at first but once you’ve broken out of your self-imposed barriers, you’ll realize that you’ve survived and it’ll just get easier to do.

7) Develop a method to track your life goals, your daily engagements, and your to-do-list. Using a planner, whether its Google Calendar, Outlook or an app on your phone, will allow you to automate the process and in turn you don’t have to keep a track of it.

8) Take yourself a little less seriously. Seriously. Pretty sure this one explains itself!

Canadian Compliance Fact vs. Fiction

On November 1st, 2018, the Breach of Security Safeguards Regulations come into effect for Canadian organizations from coast to coast. At least, for those who have personal data, commercial transaction or customers across Canada. Is that most of you? Thought so!

ActiveCo has worked directly with the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Office of Canada (the writers of the incoming legislation) throughout our entire compliance preparation process, and we have tailor-made software to streamline navigating the new requirements.

Quick Fact Check: only 4 in 10 Canadian organizations have a post-breach plan in place.

To ensure business owners know where to begin, ActiveCo encourages you reach out to have your Security Posture Assessment completed as soon as possible. This helps establish the framework for pursuing compliance, giving you specific guidance on how to meet the requirements.

Start your assessment today! – Click Here

When ActiveCo first heard rumblings of the November 2018 deadline, and became entrenched in learning of the legislation on behalf of our clients, we were often came up with the same questions and assumptions many others are. Well, we have already spent well over 500 hours working on this process for our clients, so we have posted a quick FAQ on some questions we have spot-checked on your behalf: Enjoy!

Fiction: There will be a grace period.
Fact: the grace period actually started back in 2015 and ends on November 1st, 2018. When the government introduced us all to the Digital Privacy Act, their expectation was that organizations would begin taking steps towards compliance. Most did not. If you are still reading, you probably did not.

Fiction: “We budget for fines”.
Fact: Not this kind of fine. Infractions could cost up to $100k per record. That means if one record of personal data (that means any personal information that is not Name, Title, Business Contact Info) is breached, that one record is $100k. Hackers rarely work as hard as they do to obtain one, single record. Therefore, multiply 100 by however much data you have and there’s your magic number.

Fiction: We have security, anti-virus, we’re all good.
Fact: The security safeguards required to be in place for the new legislation is far above and beyond what many businesses are used to. Simply having a firewall will not cut it (actually, it doesn’t cut it before the legislation, so, maybe you should call ActiveCo..?). If your organization is ever found to have not taken steps to have appropriate security put onto your business networks, you may be subject to these very fines, regardless of whether or not a breach ever happened.

Fiction: We don’t collect information, so there is nothing at risk
Fact: Every business has information on individuals beyond their Name, Title, Business Contact Info. That “personal information” includes home addresses, birthdays, pictures posted online and way more.

Fiction: We’re too small to bother
Fact: No organization is too small to bother, so long as you have personal data (described above) and perform commercial transactions within Canada, you will want to take steps to pursue compliance prior to November 1, 2018.

Fiction: We’ve never been hacked (…and we never will be hacked!)
Fact: The opposite of that statement. Odds are good that a breach of some kind has occurred, be it an email that was clicked on, or someone in Department A knowing information from Department B that they shouldn’t be privy to. The base expectation of the new compliance legislation is that organizations must have proper security safeguards in place, as well as consistently monitoring all breach attempts.

The incoming regulations will be impactful for the rest of our lives, requiring organizations everywhere to take a new, hard, look at how they transact business and treat their data. Other organizations will want to ensure they are working exclusively with those who also took the time and energy to pursue compliance. Job-seekers will want to work with companies that respect and protect their personal information. Governments will continue to spot-check to ensure organizations are providing those environments for their clients, prospects and employees.

Need more information? Reach out at 604.931.3633 or book a consultation today!

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How to Fire Stress from Your Business

How to Fire Stress from Your Business

Many of the things we allow to stress us out are universal, and the way we each react can either be equally universal, or completely unpredictable. Some of the biggest sources of stress can be found in the workplace. Business owners regularly hire individuals who’s sole role is to ensure their culture cultivates happy, content and (therefore) productive staff. Here, we’ll review some of the biggest sources of stress to be found in an office environment, and what some of the effects of this stress can be.

(more…)

How to Nurture a Business Culture of Compliance

With legislation that came into play in November, 2018, it’s important to note the most important aspect to your staff: a culture of compliance.

A culture of compliance is about accountability awareness as a core mindset for all your team members. Holding themselves, and one another accountable, helps maintain a consistency that protects your network, data and company reputation.

As the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s office has described to us at ActiveCo, a scenario as simple as someone from one department seeing private paperwork on a desk of another individual….that would be considered a potential security breach. Another would be writing down your password on a sticky note. Another is taking home a hard drive for a company backup, the potential for it to be lost or stolen is too great to be considered within compliance.

These changes may seem slight to some business owners but highly impactful to others. There is no organization too small or too big to avoid compliance requirements.

How to Establish the Culture:
Once your organization has an assigned Compliance & Security Officer (a requirement of the new regulations), it will be a large part of their duties to work with your HR department in ensuring the staff are educated from their first day on the job what your culture of compliance looks like and how they are expected to behave and maintain that strategy for their fellow team members.

How to Celebrate the Culture:
It’s great when your team members are able to hold one another accountable, helping to publicly maintain the proper procedures on a day-to-day basis. It is important that individuals are not made examples of or shamed. A culture of compliance means that everyone has the ability to “call each other out” but the company sets the tone of the dialogue. Clearly, most would agree a positive tone will work best.

The Role of the Compliance Officer:
Your compliance officer would be key in engaging the company with ongoing training, awareness of risks and reminders of “best practices”. At ActiveCo, we have helped our clients create an atmosphere of compliance.

Want to learn more? It’s as simple as clicking here!

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Why Canadian Businesses Cannot Ignore Compliance Legislation

Why Canadian Businesses Cannot Ignore Compliance Legislation

It’s a bold new world with digital compliance being a necessary form of protection for businesses worldwide.

Why compliance and why now?

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, spoke before the U.S. Senate in April. This highly publicized event ensured that “cybersecurity” became a household name (if it wasn’t before).

Get ready for a slew of new regulations and policy requirements to keep track of (literally, see below), as well as new rules for social media pages and websites you like to visit.

Summary

When do new regulations come into effect?
November 1st, 2018.

Who will enforce these new regulations?
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (The OPC).

What’s changed…?
New security requirements for businesses on how they handle their data; new rights and restrictions around access to personal information; new fines established for non-compliance; organizations who don’t have a tracking mechanism for their security breaches will need to acquire a program to put in place; proactive reporting to the Privacy Commissioner under certain scenarios.

Does this effect my business?
Indeed. Every business in Canada will need to review their business procedures to be able to establish and provide proof that they have taken (and continue to take) steps to remain secure and compliant.

Much like the E.U.’s “GDPR“, these new regulations will impact every business in the country.

The Business Impact

…this requires (Canadian) organizations to revise internal privacy policies and procedures to ensure compliance with these significant legislative
changes.
Lisa Lifshitz,
Partner @ Torkin | Manes

Businesses are required to ensure their networks are protected beyond a standard firewall. Security layers must be part of your security business process, as well  having an assigned, inhouse, security officer who will be the main point of contact in maintaining compliance.

The main concern, however, will be the new legislation asking all businesses to track (and report when necessary) all successful breach attempts. The definition of a “successful breach attempt”, according to the government today, is broad and business owners need to consider if the risk of being fined for non-compliance are better than having a monthly, managed system of compliance in place.

The fines, by the way? Could be up to $100,000 per incident (an “incident” being a single individual’s information being potentially compromised) and that could include multiple instances in a single breach, bringing the tally to a potential 7 digits!

Additionally, a businesses’ reputation would be at stake were they to not comply with the regulations. It is not out of the question to consider the OPC to make examples of random businesses for the first few years, impacting them financially, lowering the company reputation, and establishing themselves as a business that does not perform their due diligence. This would be a revenue and HR disaster for any business.

How Does This Stuff Impact Me Personally?

Your rights as a digital user are in the spotlight, protecting individuals, businesses and other organizations from data breaches. This will help you decide which companies to do business with, purchase from online and trust overall. Think of it as visiting a website today who’s URL has a big, red, “Not Secure” next to their www address. Would you stay on that website, or enter your credit card information?

In Canada, you can currently have online information about yourself updated and corrected, but not removed (at the time of this writing). You can also find out what websites, apps and social media have under your name, how they got it, and what they do with it. In Canada, this has already been established as “de-indexing” and “source takedown”, which you can review online.

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