Information technology (IT) is of the utmost importance in every business type, regardless of size, as it plays a critical role in driving growth, increasing efficiency while minimizing risk and lowering costs. An IT set up involves hardware, software, services and network resources. When developing an IT set up, it needs to be sustainable and scalable. This is where the expertise of outsourced IT service provider can be beneficial to help navigate. 

We recently connected with Chris Noles, President of Beyond Computer Solutions, Inc. (BCS), an IT expert with 20+ years of experience. Noles joined Qualia on a webinar to share strategies for improving IT set up and leveraging it as a competitive differentiator. Joining Noles for the discussion was Marty Landers, Industry Relations Team Lead at Qualia, and Sylvia Morrow-Nocon, owner of Sentinel Law Group, LLC

Regular review of your IT set up 

It’s more critical than ever for title companies to regularly review their IT set up to help ensure that their systems are fully ALTA Best Practices Pillar 3 compliant and can stand up to evolving security threats. BCS helps businesses assess their IT systems to keep them up-to-date on best practices as well as to help mitigate security risks. Noles noted there’s sometimes a misunderstanding between hosting and using cloud-based software for certain business activities.

As part of their overall technology portfolio, Noles recommended that businesses consider cloud-based software solutions like Qualia for title production software, vendor management, and client communications for a number of reasons:

  1. Efficiency & Cost Reduction: Cloud-based title production software doesn’t need to be hosted on in-house servers or via third-party hosting service providers, which helps reduce the total cost of ownership. An IT support team or an IT solutions provider, like BCS, can instead focus on setting up other non-title applications like Office 365, PC and/or Mac, and the office’s physical network security. 
  2. Scalability: Cloud-based software solutions are great for title & escrow companies looking to scale operations. There’s no need to install additional servers or software for a new team member, staff will simply log in to the system as a new user with a web browser. 
  3. Mobility: Users can access their work from any device, in any part of the world, with an internet connection. Plus, upgrades and updates are rolled out automatically and without disruption by the software provider.
  4. Data Security & Control: Qualia is automatically backed up by ISO 27001 and SOC-2 certified data centers managed by Amazon (AWS). It’s one of the largest and highly protected cloud hosting providers in the world with clients including military, global banks, and other organizations that maintain highly sensitive information. Millions of individuals and businesses spanning every industry of every size from startups to public companies rely on AWS to securely store their data in a cloud accessible remotely. 

Morrow-Nocon, the owner of Sentinel Law Group, echoed the importance of regularly reviewing your business’ IT set up. She shared the experience of a security incident they experienced prior to switching to Qualia that exposed vulnerabilities within the third-party email service provider that her firm was using. The security breach quickly prompted Sentinel Law Group to re-evaluate its entire IT set up. Finding a trusted IT solutions provider to support all of its day-to-day IT services like its email communication system, business applications, and devices became crucial to its survival. 

5 technology and people training tips to protect your business

As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the participants also discussed the importance of employee training as it relates to the security of one’s IT strategy. It is reported that 85% of data breaches involve a human element. However, there are ways to protect against human-led security breaches. Noles recommended a combination of tools and training to mitigate risk and shared these 5 actionable tips to consider as standard security practices: 

  1. Train employees on how to recognize malicious emails. A trained employee is like a human firewall.
  2. Turn on multi-factor or 2-factor authentication for all accounts, including email and social media websites. This is a very simple step that materially helps to further protect your system even with password compromise.
  3. Instruct your clients to verify over the phone a request anytime they receive an email from someone asking them to send money or confidential information, even if it’s from a well-known source.
  4. Assign one clean, low-cost computer dedicated to performing wire transfers and not to be used in any other way.
  5. Update written company policies and procedures to include password changes for onboarding and offboarding employees.

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