With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to select a new PC or laptop that will meet your needs and perform reliably over the next few years. You may be familiar with the terms “business class” and “consumer grade” hardware but are not entirely certain of the differentiators. We have provided an accessible list that will help you and your users identify which choice is better for your organization.

Business Class Hardware

  • Business class hardware is built to withstand the rigors of a full work week. PCs and Laptops are built using the same components throughout the lifecycle of each model.
  • Laptop battery life is optimized to last throughout the workday. 
  • Business class hardware is highly configurable and built to last, including 3-year on site hardware warranties. 
  • Laptops are fully compatible with business class docking stations, providing access to dual monitors, additional ports, and charging.

Consumer Grade Hardware

  • Consumer grade hardware is designed to meet a specific price point set by the manufacturers marketing department. 
  • Components will vary based on availability. and configurations are limited to a few specific options (price points). 
  • Often loaded with unnecessary applications, trials, and demos (bloatware), these models will require additional setup time to remove those sometimes dozen or more unrequested applications. 
  • Consumer grade hardware typically includes a 1-year “mail-in” warranty vs 3-year onsite service.

While selecting a consumer grade product can appear more practical for your budget, it can end up costing the company more in the long term. If you are looking to buy new hardware for your company and are unsure which models will work best for your users, Go West IT maintains partnerships with Dell, Microsoft, Lenovo, and other business class hardware vendors. Our account manager and procurement team are here to ensure that your company acquires the right tools for your specific needs. Please reach out with any specific questions or hardware requests. Acquiring the proper equipment will help to ensure lower support costs over the lifetime of the hardware.

August 1, 2022 – Go West IT is pleased to announce the promotion of Tom Hynek to the role of President. In this new role, Tom will oversee daily operations, service and product development, as well as facilitate continued collaboration and growth of the Go West IT team.

Since joining Go West IT in 2017, Tom has quickly advanced through positions with progressively more responsibility. He has demonstrated strong leadership skills, excellent character and is poised to guide Go West IT into this next phase.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first 5 years at Go West IT and I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to watch our talented team evolve and seek out challenges in an ever-changing cybersecurity landscape,” said Hynek. “I’m proud to work with a team that truly lives and breathes our core values, while supporting and protecting our customers.

Tom succeeds David Lewien, Go West IT’s founding President, who will shift into a new role as CEO, focusing on strategy and business development. David will remain deeply involved in stewarding Go West IT into the future.

I am appreciative of what Tom has already done for Go West IT and excited for what he will bring as our President,”  said Lewien. “I look forward to continuing work as our CEO, shoulder to shoulder, with our leadership team to make Go West IT the very best MSP, period. This is an incredible group of people focused on empowering people, solving problems, and protecting livelihoods.

At Go West IT, our mission is to guide customers through secure digital transformation by providing access to industry leading platforms and highly skilled technical resources. We succeed at this mission by embracing constant improvement, a willingness to tackle tough challenges, and caring about our people and customers.

With that, please join in congratulating Tom on this new role.

Did you know that every business is at risk for a cyberattack? The only difference is how much risk and what impact it will have to your customers and employees.

No matter the extent to which your business is at risk, all organizations should be aware of the potential dangers and take measures to mitigate these dangers. Many business owners know they are at jeopardy but are unclear on what steps they should take. Refusing to act leaves the business, employees, and your customers vulnerable.

Even if the possibility that your business experiences a cybercrime is low, we encourage you to not take it lightly. Attacks are increasing in efficiency, sophistication and spread. Cyber criminals are rarely pursued or caught, due in part to both the sheer volume of crimes relative to criminal justice resources, and often the lack of awareness from businesses that they have even been attacked.

At Go West IT we help our customers mitigate these attacks every day and have firsthand knowledge of the fallout some organizations experience. Executives, managers, and even IT professionals often discount the risk, or decline to address it further.

This article identifies the top 5 reasons why businesses ignore their cyber risk, along with actions that your business can take despite these barriers.

Download the full article here.

Contact Go West IT today to learn more about how our team can assist your business tackle cyber risk.

It was not that long ago that cyber insurance was something only purchased by large companies with a heavy reliance on data processing. Today, cyber insurance is something that many small businesses carry, and every small business should consider. If a business has the support of a cyber insurance carrier it creates a safety net in the wake of a cybercrime incident.

Cyber insurance claims most often result from a business falling victim to cybercrime such as ransomware, data theft, or payment fraud. In these situations, the cyber insurance carriers should be brought to the table as soon as possible. Cyber insurance carriers create policies to include resources in the form of services to help minimize potential losses. These services include incident response, forensic investigation services, remediation, business resumption services, and even ransomware negotiation services. They do this because they understand that the manner in which a business responds to an incident can help minimize potential loss.

Cybercrime events can take a heavy toll on business operations, along with a substantial mental toll on business leaders, most of whom do not possess the skills and tools required to deal effectively with a cyber incident. Go West IT has experience dealing with cyber events both with the aid of an insurance carrier and without and have seen the difference that having an insurance company in your corner can make. It can turn a stressful and potentially costly event into a manageable business obstacle.

Check out Go West IT’s full article regarding cyber insurance.

Cyber Insurance article thumbnail

Contact Go West IT for more information.

Incident Response

What is an incident response plan?

Cyber incidents are on the rise.  This has been true and will continue to be true for the foreseeable future.   It is important to have a solid incident response plan, regardless of the size of your organization. 

An incident response plan includes six key components:

  1. Preparation
  2. Identification
  3. Containment
  4. Eradication/Remediation
  5. Recovery
  6. Lessons Learned – Review & Improve

An incident, in the context of Information Technology (IT) & data security, is any event that threatens the security and preservation of systems, data, people, and ultimately businesses.  An incident is most often thought of as event perpetrated by a threat actor (criminal) in an attempt to disrupt a system, gain  unauthorized access to systems and data, to change systems, to alter or destroy data, or to disrupt the legitimate intended use of systems and data.

Preparation for an incident requires that a business accept that an incident may occur and plan for how to deal with this eventuality.  The result of preparation is the incident response plan.  Preparation amounts to considering the various types of incidents that might occur and contemplating what resources, information, and planning might be necessary to deal with an incident, and then staging resources and planning so that you can call up the resources and refer to the plan in the event of a real incident.  Preparation saves valuable time and may mitigate the actual damage or cost incurred to recover from an incident.  

Identification is becoming aware of the fact that your business has experienced an incident.  Most cyberattacks start long before a business is aware of the incident.  Identification typically starts with an indication of breach (IoC) which can come from MANY sources.  An IoC might be:

An indication of compromise may lead to identification of an incident that will kick the incident response plan into action.  Businesses should seek to move from identification to containment as quickly as possible.

Containment is the effort and actions taken to keep the incident from getting worse.  This stage often requires the help of an IT expert to quickly gather details, determine the best course of action and taking action to neutralize the threat while preserving data and evidence.  Containment also requires a good communication plan that includes keeping key personnel informed while limiting dissemination of information to those who DO NOT have a need to know.  For example, an IT expert might determine that certain systems need to be disconnected from networks or that certain accounts or services should be disabled to contain a threat.  At the same time, leadership personnel may need to quickly establish who needs to know what is happening and perhaps as importantly, who should not be informed so that proper consideration may be given to the nature of the communication that should occur between the business, vendors, customers, and even the public or media.  Communication during the containment stage is typically limited to only those individuals who play a role in containment or in managing communications.  Disclosure of the incident to affected parties typically comes during the remediation or recovery phase.

The Eradication and remediation stage is when a business endeavors to eliminate the threat.  This stage often includes validating data integrity, validating access controls, restoring systems and data to a known good state, and preparing for the resumption of business operations.  The duration of eradication and remediation will vary based on the nature of and impact of the incident.  When the duration is prolonged, this stage may also require significant a communication component to keep stakeholders informed.  This is also the stage where insurance carriers are notified if the business has cyber insurance.  Cyber insurance carriers often bring significant resources to the table during this stage to include forensic investigations, remediation recommendations, legal support, and incident response resources.  This stage often includes frequent status meetings with stakeholders and IT professionals.   

It is important to consider preservation of evidence prior to eradication if the incident has the potential for data privacy, contractual, or other legal implications.  Forensic evidence most often requires full backups of effected systems and preservation of any log files.

Recovery is the process of resuming business operations.  Resumption of operations should not occur until eradication and remediation is complete.   Recovery duration will vary based on the nature and extent of the incident and additional monitoring and support is typically employed to prevent recurrence of the incident and/or early detection of unintended consequences that results from the original incident or the containment and eradication stages.

Recovery will also include notification and/or disclosure of the incident to affected parties.  Legal counsel is often involved if disclosure is required and insurance carriers play a key role in the recovery stage if cyber insurance coverage was in place at the time of the incident.

Lessons learned is the process of reviewing the incident with an eye to prevent reoccurrence and to improve the response process.  Eliminating 100% of the risk associated with cyber incidents is not possible.  The objective should be to continually mitigate risk when and where feasible.  Looking back at cyber incidents almost always reveals a control or action that may have prevented or at least mitigated the likelihood of the incident in the first place.  It is important to leverage the valuable and often expensive knowledge a business gains as a result of responding to an incident.

Go West IT prides itself on our “security-obsessed” culture, with a focus on providing services and tools to allow our customers to better protect their business. As many organizations are facing the long-term shift to a remote work strategy, the need for more advanced security services only deepens further. That’s why our Cybersecurity in Colorado provides elite-level solutions for all sizes and types of businesses.

Safeguard your employees, strengthen controls, and reduce organization risk through supplementary layers of protection.

DEFEND | EDUCATE | CONTROL

Targeting the protection of users and data, the Go Secured family of managed security service plans (MSSP) provides additional software, tools, and user training to increase the overall security posture of an organization.

Cybersecurity in Colorado

Go Secured equips an organization with solutions to educate and protect users against phishing attacks, implement advanced email filters, leverage tools to increase the complexity and safeguards for user credentials, as well as protect critical corporate data and communications platforms with increased backup and disaster recovery features. These fully managed plans include labor for configuration and ongoing administration, providing organizational leaders peace of mind.

Go Secured | Vault – enterprise-class password manager

Go Secured | Phish – simulated phishing attacks & ongoing training

Go Secured | 365 – advanced threat protection, email filtering & backup services

More details on Go Secured and our Cybersecurity in Colorado, visit this page here: https://www.gowestit.com/managed-services/#gosecured

Most businesses have a business continuity plan (BCP). These plans range from well documented and routinely tested, to rough ideas about how a business will cope with unforeseen circumstances. Every single business in America has now grappled with how to continue operations during the COVID-19 crisis and it has changed BCPs forever. I now challenge business owners to stop thinking in terms of business continuity and start thinking in terms of operational adaptability.

The distinction between business continuity and operational adaptability is important. Continuity is “uninterrupted duration or continuation especially without essential change,”1  while adaptability is the “ability to change or be changed in order to fit or work better in some situation or for some purpose.”2  Businesses did not continue without essential change through this crisis. Rather, they adapted to work better in some situations or for some purpose.

Go West IT worked alongside many businesses to guide them through rapid adaptation in response to COVID-19 and resulting public policy. I saw very little evidence of businesses opening their BCPs and working through the thoughtfully developed steps and processes. I witnessed rapid troubleshooting and change with a focus on taking care of employees and customers. What I saw was operational adaptation.

Today, as businesses come to grip with “the new normal,” I worry that the real lesson is being missed. The lesson is the value of operational adaptability. Continued pursuit of our purpose requires that we adapt. Our purpose at Go West IT is to empower people, solve problems, and protect livelihoods.  Adaptation is necessary so that we may achieve our purpose on behalf of our staff and customers.

The result of adaptation necessitated by the lockdown may prove to have been a huge operational advance. While there is likely still much short-term pain ahead of us, I believe the business community has learned that:

  • work from home strategies are viable; and
  • business travel may not be essential; and
  • cloud technologies and their scalability (up and down) is more valuable than the delta of a simple CapEx vs. OpEx calculation.

We have also learned that people can adapt, and that they do so quickly when in pursuit of a worthy purpose.

Focus on adaptation to continue in the pursuit of your purpose.

P.S.  I understand that many businesses have a regulatory requirement to develop, test, and maintain BCPs. Do that. However, note the lessons learned and think in terms of adaptability rather than continuity, just as I seek ways to adapt our new, larger, and mostly empty office space to better empower people, solve problems, and protect livelihoods.

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/continuity
  2. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adaptability

Go West IT started business ten years ago today. I remember the day very well. The similarities between then and now are striking. We were faced with many unknowns. We watched cashflow very closely. We innovated and adapted quickly. Most importantly, we focused on taking care of customers and employees. We knew there would be challenges and we knew we would rise to the occasion and thrive. We have and we will.

Ten years is an important benchmark. In late 2019 we began talking about how to celebrate. We are moving into new office space this July and decided to combine our anniversary celebration with an open house in our space. That was pre-COVID-19. I am embarrassed to say that we have not talked much about our anniversary internally since then and to be honest, the date caught me by surprise this week.  

We are, once again, intensely focused on our core purpose to empower people, solve problems, and protect livelihoods. Despite the worry that accompanies uncertainty, I believe we are doing some of our best work ever to improve our solutions and systems with the objective of helping our customers through secure digital transformation. It is truly energizing in the same way it was when Go West IT started ten years ago today. 

I want to express my sincere thanks to our customers, many of whom started with us on May 15, 2010. I want to thank the many friends, vendors, and trusted advisors who have helped Go West IT. I want also to express my sincere thanks to our people at Go West IT, past and present. This is simply the best team I have ever worked with, period. 

For Immediate Release April 21, 2020 – Go West IT

Go West IT has joined with IT service providers across America to commit to strong economy and job protection values when using stimulus funds.  The MSP Stimulus Pledge (www.mspstimuluspledge.com) is a collective of peers and competitors in the IT Services industry committing to using government assistance, including PPP funds, as intended: to keep team members employed and keep the economy moving.

“We have a responsibility to use stimulus money for the purpose it was intended and this aligns perfectly with our purpose to empower people, solve problems, and protect livelihoods.” says David Lewien, President of Go West IT, a managed service provider based in Colorado.  “Our purpose drives everything we do and extends the impact of our dedicated team of professionals to our customers, their employees, their vendors, their employees, and so on, and so on.  The work we do every day protects livelihoods and we are pleased to take the MSP stimulus pledge.”

The MSP Stimulus Pledge brings regional and national competitors together for the greater good of employees, the industry, and the business community.

Learn more, sign the pledge, and see the pledging companies at www.mspstimuluspledge.com.

The Pledge

The MSP Stimulus Pledge asks organizations to use stimulus funds to commit to:

  • Avoiding layoffs of staff and pay reductions
  • Paying bills on time
  • Providing no increase in owner’s compensation
  • Working as partners with our vendors without demanding concessions simply because we can use the leverage of economic conditions
  • Running our businesses in a manner that creates a strong foundation for our employees and clients into a new future