The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Server Edition

Why does your business still own a server? With the accessibility of cloud technology, having a physical on-premises server represents a point of vulnerability and liability for your business.

The Good

The benefits of cloud-based servers and desktops are endless: anytime and anywhere access, predictable operating expenses, worry-free IT maintenance, high level digital and physical security (the CIA uses it!), and the list goes on. What wins special attention in this issue of GBU though is Amazon’s introduction of the WorkSpaces product. Access your desktop from anywhere without that clunky and finicky remote desktop setup.

The Bad

After factoring in “hidden costs” such as storage costs, labor, and lost productivity (from server outages and communication with your IT team), the average monthly cost of maintaining a physical server is $1,476 per month. Gross, right? Have you ever stopped to think how much are you paying in hidden costs?

We put a lot of trust in our IT providers. We lean on them to provide us with business continuity. Sometimes that trust backfires when on-premises servers are in the mix. Hancock Regional Hospital’s operations were crippled in recent years by a ransomware attack targeting their physical servers through a security hole introduced by their IT partner, costing hundreds of thousands in recovery costs. They have since begun moving their operations to the cloud.

The Ugly

Quotable

“Cloud computing is often far more secure than traditional computing, because companies like Google and Amazon can attract and retain cyber-security personnel of a higher quality than many governmental agencies.’”

- Vivek Kundra, former Federal CIO, speaks to the security of cloud server technology.

So what's next?

At Stickboy, we leverage our software development knowledge and background to bring our clients into the twenty-first century. Our unique Technology Partnership focuses on divesting our clients of the liability of physical hardware. Contact us today and let’s talk about true business continuity!

239.206.1193 | hello@stickboy.ai

The Dirty Secrets Your IT
Provider Isn’t Telling You

Spoiler Alert: If your company’s technology budget is going exclusively to IT and MSP services, you’re wasting money. But we’ll come back to that.

Managed Services Demystified

What is an MSP? Simply put, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is responsible for maintaining and improving your business operations through the strategic application of software technologies. From your email to your backups, to your wireless Internet: many things can fall under the umbrella of “managed services”.

The bigger question: Does your MSP really want to help you transform your business or are their recommendations actually holding you back?

Dirty Secrets From The IT World

Secret No. 1: MSPs are selling you the wrong software.
Let’s be real: You’re not a technology expert. Unfortunately, many MSPs recognize this and are taking advantage of that fact. Let’s look at a quick list of software and services. Do any of these look familiar?

  • ConnectWise
  • Webroot
  • ShadowProtect

What we’ve listed out above are a remote device manager, an antivirus, and backup software. Pretty innocuous, right? Not so much.

These services and many others, offer MSP incentives (also known as kickbacks) for your IT provider to use them. What that means is that your trusted technology partner is putting together a plan that leads to higher bills and poorly executed solutions.

When building out your technology plan, the focus for many MSPs is more on their bottom line than your needs.

Secret No. 2: MSPs are selling you dangerous software.
Cost isn’t even the primary concern here. Even more alarming: many of these technologies are downright dangerous! (Go ahead and click on some of those links. It’s scary out there!)

Did you notice an uptick in strange, potentially worrisome communication from your MSP in 2019? Perhaps long rambling emails, discussing cybersecurity. Were you subjected to surprise “security audits” without any context or followup? Or worse, were you the victim of a data breach?

In 2019 alone, ConnectWise (a device management software used by many MSPs) was subject to at least three separate cybersecurity attacks. These attacks compromised thousands of businesses, large and small, leading to spikes in data leaks and ransomware.

The average cost of a ransomware attack is $84,000. What damage could this mass-market device management software be doing to your business?

Secret No. 3: MSPs are inflating your bill with unnecessary hardware.
Let us ask a sensitive question: Why do you own a server? Seriously, what purpose does your server fulfill? Your firewall? That rat’s nest of USBs and cords?

Chances are, you didn’t ask for all that equipment. Many MSPs are keen to recommend hardware that a) you’ll purchase from them at a nice markup, and b) you’ll pay them monthly to maintain.

The secret they don’t want you to know? There’s a better solution.

We Do Technology Smarter

Stickboy started its life as a software development company, driving innovation within each business it touched. We’re bringing that same mindset to IT.

We don’t believe in funneling your technology budget and dollars into more and more hardware. You won’t catch us selling you lackluster services just because it puts a few more pennies in our pocket. That’s a gross way to run your business.

Instead, here at Stickboy we strive to downsize your IT and hardware needs. Fewer hardware costs means you can put those savings towards smarter technology investments, including software and cloud-based infrastructure. That expensive dark web monitoring package your MSP tried to sell you? We include that free of charge. Cybersecurity? We have it on lockdown, with artificial-intelligence powered protection software keeping you safer.

At Stickboy, we’re crazy about making your business run smarter.

So What Now?

The world of IT and managed services can be a confusing one, but Stickboy specializes in emerging technologies that focus on taking businesses to the next level. It’s easier than ever to take action and innovate for your business and your team.

First, ask yourself whether you are paying too much for outdated technology.

Then, bring in the bill from your current IT provider and let’s see how much money you could save every month!

Contact us today.

239.206.1193 | hello@stickboy.ai

Experiments in Artificial Intelligence:
Stickboy Makes ‘Game of Thrones’ Predictions

The innovative minds at Stickboy Creative in Fort Myers, FL, have developed an AI to generate predictions about your favorite “Game of Thrones” characters! Will your favorite character be dead or alive at the end of GoT Season 8? See what our deep-learning model thinks along with predictions from the Stickboy development team.

AI Data Profile

  • Characters Profiled: 916
  • Book Pages Analyzed: 4,244
  • TV Episodes Analyzed: 67
  • Total Result Confidence: 70%

How We Did It

The Stickboy team fed the AI extensive character and plot data to profile the various GoT characters. This data set was piped through a K-Mean clustering algorithm to group characters (both living and dead) based on perceived patterns and traits. These groups were then fed into a Bayesian inference algorithm to determine the probability of a character dying prior to the close of Season 8. The final AI model was tested against known dead and known living characters to generate predictions and confidence scores.

You Versus The AI

The Stickboy team had fun during development and would like you to join the game! Please post your own predictions and see how you stack up against the AI!

More Than Money:
Is Blockchain In Your Future?

Spoiler Alert: If your company’s success hinges on the accuracy and credibility of the data you collect, blockchain is in your future. But we’ll come back to that.

Blockchain Demystified

At its simplest, blockchain represents an append-only ledger. But what does that mean? Let’s use an analogy: pencils versus pens.

Pencils

  • Information is recorded, same as with pens.
  • Pencil marks can be erased, leaving room for fraud or unsolicited edits.
  • Mistakes can be resolved with a simple erasure, but no record of the adjustment is kept.

Pens

  • Information is recorded, same as with pencils.
  • Pen marks cannot be erased, leaving no room for fraud or unsolicited edits.
  • Mistakes must be resolved by appending additional data to the erroneous mark. The original mark is maintained, keep a record of the mistake.

In the analogy above, blockchain is the pen. Traditional database methods are the pencil. You wouldn’t complete a form with a pencil, would you?

Blockchain renders your data immutable through the clever use of hashing algorithms. Every data entry in the “chain” is compared against the previous entries, ensuring at every step that the data still “adds up”. If any manipulation to previous data is detected, the chain is compromised and the administrator is notified. That data is no longer credible.

With blockchain all edits are transparent (to those with privileged access to the data), allowing you to report on your data with 100% accuracy.

Use Cases For Blockchain

There is a misconception that blockchain is just for cryptocurrencies or other monetary transactions. That’s simply not true. Blockchain has a place in any industry where performance and income is judged on the credibility of the data coming into and out of a business.

Blockchain is exciting because it offers both transparency and agility in any contractual or reporting relationship an organization has.

Some great use cases include:

  • Healthcare — As consumer demand for an increase healthcare transparency and accountability increases, healthcare is ripe for a blockchain revolution. From patient records to prescription changes, to in-home visitation; any data collected on a patient or client should be recorded in a permanent, immutable fashion.
  • Agriculture — Sustainable and fair sourcing of food products is a hot topic for today’s consumer. Blockchain allows food providers to track a product from source to shelf. Fairtrade is getting re-imagined!
  • Service-based Anything — You only get paid when your technician shows up to the customers’ house or business. What if they’re not home? What if they claim your tech never came? A blockchain-secured timeclock system provides your billing and legal team a verifiable activity record. Your clients can’t dodge the invoice, and your techs can’t game the system.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So What Now?

Blockchain adoption can be a tricky bit of development, but Stickboy Creative specializes in developing exactly these sorts of solutions. Contact us today. Chances are you’ll get to talk to me!