October 29, 2010

M&A Whitepaper Now Available

Even as the world economy begins to show signs of rebounding, many organizations may be considering the merger and acquisition process. In a whitepaper now available on GraVoc.com, the GraVoc information security team analyzes the M&A process and the role of IT and information security considerations within the M&A due diligence step.

In order to access the whitepaper, it is necessary to enter a limited amount of information. GraVoc assures your information will remain confidential and will not be disseminated to any third parties.

Also available on the information security page is more detailed information in PDF files detailing the scope of services provided by the GraVoc team. An additional whitepaper addressing operational risk assessment is also available from this page.

GraVoc Associates, Inc, a full-service consulting firm based in Peabody, MA, is dedicated to providing solutions for businesses through the use of technology. To assist clients in an M&A process, GraVoc would leverage the knowledge of its staff spanning several of its practices. GraVoc provides consulting services in the practices of information systems, IT & professional services, information security, and media production. For more general information about the company and the services offered, please visit GraVoc.com.

October 20, 2010

"New Set of Eyes"

Every Wednesday, including today, you can check out GraVoc's new advertising spot on Banker & Tradesman's website. This spot features GraVoc's information security services as "a new set of eyes" for regional banks and credit unions looking to verify their compliance with laws such as the Massachusetts Privacy Law and GLBA.

Many regulatory examiners encourage financial institutions to perform due diligence on their risk management and audit vendors, essentially encouraging another set of eyes. Obviously, with three ISACA-certified professionals on staff, we would like to be that set of eyes. Furthermore, we find it to be troubling that many audit firms find no problem performing risk management work and then auditing their own work. GraVoc can be there on either side of the equation, providing true impartiality.

GraVoc is aware that many financial institutions are currently feeling pressure to complete certain projects by the end of the year. With ten weeks left before the new year, we strongly encourage firms trying to accomplish such a task to contact us sooner than later so that we can initiate, perform, and complete risk management and information security projects in a timely fashion.

Among the services offered by GraVoc's information security team include testing of your network perimeter, evaluation of controls within your network, risk assessment services, and business continuity plan development and training. The Peabody, MA-based consulting firm, featuring individuals with the CISA, CRISC, and CISM designations from the Information Systems Audit and Controls Association, also has practices dedicated to information systems, professional & IT services, and media production. For more information about GraVoc, we strongly encourage you to contact the offices at 978-538-9055 or visit gravoc.com.

October 18, 2010

One Shot

The latest news from GraVoc Associates and their staff:

-On Wednesday, GraVoc was the "Champagne Sponsor" of an untraditional Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce event. The event was a scotch tasting hosted by Scottish comedian Sir Jeremy Bell, who provided an entertaining presentation on three whiskys, featuring toasts and frequent PG-13-rated humor. President/CEO David Gravel, in return for the champagne sponsorship, was subjected to wearing a kilt and plaid hat, and had the opportunity to open a bottle of champagne with a saber. He was given ten attempts, but successfully sabered the champagne bottle in one shot. Photos of the event will be available on GraVoc's Facebook page shortly.

-If Matt Wilkins looks especially tired on his next service call, he has a good reason. On October 5th, Matt and his wife Danielle's first daughter Molly Catherine was born. Both mother and daughter are doing well back at home in Peabody.

-On Friday October 8th, GraVoc was represented with a booth at the Massachusetts Association for Behavioral Health's Annual Provider Celebration.  GraVoc showcased its GHR product - a comprehensive software solution that enables inpatient behavioral health and substance abuse rehabilitation centers to manage their bed capacity, client history, and insurance provider billing in one centralized application.

GraVoc Associates, Inc. is a Peabody, MA-based consulting firm helping business solve problems through a wide variety of technological solutions. GraVoc, in business since 1994, performs services in the practices of information systems, technology & professional services, media production, and information security. For more information about GraVoc, please visit http://www.gravoc.com/.

Dave Gravel, pictured in kilt, sabers a
bottle of champagne on his first try.

October 11, 2010

Celebrating 100 Posts

The GraVoc News Blog is proud to announce that since its inception on November 7, 2008, it has recorded 100 unique blog posts.  This is an exciting milestone to reach, as a common trend is for an organization to start a blog, publish a dozen posts, and either run out of content, interest, or time to continue posting with any frequency.

Over this time, GraVoc has acquired DivergingSoul Media Production, who set up the original architecture of the blog as a service.  Presently, DivergingSoul's blog services are encompassed under GraVoc's media production services that leverage creative media, including social media, to enhance other businesses' web presence.  GraVoc and DivergingSoul have helped several clients with services such as the establishment of their own blogs.

A key to a successful blog is consistency in post frequency, something we have preached slightly better than practiced while customer projects take priority.  However, GraVoc has published two blog posts in each month since the blog's inception except for two.  We hope, however, that as the blog enters triple digits in post count and as it enters its third year of existence, it can be used as a forum to exchange ideas.  No matter your relationship with GraVoc, we strongly urge you to utilize the comments section.

As we mark this milestone, we would like to thank you for your readership.

GraVoc Associates, Inc, based in Peabody, MA, is a full-service consulting firm serving Greater Boston, New England, and beyond since 1994.  Specializing in the practices of media production, information systems, professional/technology services, and information security, GraVoc's goal is to enhance its customers' operations and profitability through leveraging technological solutions.  In 2010, GraVoc acquired DivergingSoul Media Production, who has been on top of innovation in the fields of social media, blogging, and web development since their inception in 2006.  For more information on DivergingSoul, please visit divergingsoul.com, and for more information on GraVoc's other services, please peruse the previous 99 posts or visit GraVoc.com.

September 29, 2010

GraVoc featured in MassBanker's e-News

GraVoc is pleased to announce that it was recently featured in MassBanker's e-News.  The article addressed several security risks and changes that the banking industry is currently facing and will have to address in 2011.  Some of these topics included new delivery channels, laptops and mobile devices, virtualization, e-discovery, social networking, and new regulatory stipulations.  To read the full article visit the following link
If you'd like to learn more about GraVoc's risk assessment and information security services, please contact Nate Gravel at 978-538-9055 ext. 129 or visit GraVoc' Information Security page at www.gravoc.com/information_security.html.

The Twitter Business Decision

Within the last two years, social media services such as Twitter and Facebook ceased to exist as solely a medium for the computer literate to broadcast themselves publicly. became increasingly popular as free marketing tools for businesses of all sizes. The challenges for businesses to embark onto this frontier were (and still are) the following:

-Maintenance time
-Risk tolerance
-Knowing one's audience

The first two are rather self-explanatory. The first goes off the adage of "time is money." Even if a business is leaving the social media responsibilities to low-cost labor, the time spent keeping the pages current can become significant on the aggregate. This time can be used on other projects. If the business decides that diligent maintenance of their social media outlet is a more productive use of this employee's time than the next-best option, it is a good decision.

The second is slightly trickier. Many of GraVoc's clients, including many who operate social media outlets, are in highly-competitive markets where reputations and corporate images must be finely manicured and maintained. If an unhappy customer were to post a complaint on the business's social media outlet without it being monitored, edited, and administered, significant reputational risks arise. Many financial institutions with Facebook pages assign a person to check the page every 30-60 minutes during the business day.

The third point is perhaps the most intriguing. A recent Boston Business Journal article drove this point home: Individuals who use Twitter prefer businesses who use Twitter. On the flip side, individuals who do not use social media don't care whether the business they use are using social media. Your business, before deciding whether it's worth investing a portion of your employees' time, should consider its typical customer. It is someone who is interacting with social media sites? If so, it might be a smart business decision.

GraVoc Associates, Inc, based in Peabody, MA, is a technology consulting firm serving Greater Boston, New England, and beyond since 1994. GraVoc's business is divided into four practices of media production, information systems, professional services, and information security. GraVoc maintains a Facebook page and the GraVoc News Blog partially as a way to keep customers updated, but perhaps chiefly as an example of how a business can leverage social media to its advantage. GraVoc has declined to expand into Twitter partially due to the effort required to update frequently. To discover more about the company and the ways it can help your business, please visit gravoc.com.

September 22, 2010

GraVoc in the Community

GraVoc and its staff have historically devoted a lot of their time to making a difference in the community. Within the last month, GraVoc has lent a helping hand in several different projects in Peabody, MA and beyond. A few highlights:

-Peabody Education Council: A few GraVoc employees donated some of their time and effort toward the PEC's late summer/fall activities. Projects included assisting in the design of the 2010-2011 calendar and volunteering at the Welcome Back Extravaganza at the Higgins Middle School. This upcoming Saturday, President/CEO David Gravel will be pulling the winning raffle ticket for the Red Sox Dream Day raffle. Tickets are still available, and you can indicate your interest in purchasing raffle tickets by clicking here.

-Race for Research: GraVoc sent an informal team of five to the 9th Annual Race for Research in Peabody, presented by the Progeria Research Foundation. Information security associate Dan Vassallo took first in the 5K race, narrowly defeating co-workers Connie Leaver, David Gravel, and Michael Roma. Vice President Cathy Gravel took second in her age group. It has not yet been determined whether the company will participate in the 2011 JP Morgan Corporate Challenge in Boston, but there is interest in forming a championship-caliber team if it is aligned with business goals.

-Torigian Golf Classic: Monday, GraVoc put together a foursome at the Torigian Golf Classic presented by the Peabody Area Chamber of Commerce, Peabody Rotary Club, and Peabody City Council. By all accounts, the team was carried by Jason Vlacich of the Information Systems practice. Unfortunately, the team struggled slightly and only birdied one hole. However, the hole they did birdie was the one the firm sponsored.

GraVoc Associates, Inc, an active business in the North Shore community since 1994, is a full-service consulting firm dedicated to helping small businesses leverage technology to improve their profitability. Divided into the four practices of professional services, information systems, information technology, and media production, the firm operates out of an office in Peabody, MA and employs 18 full-time staff, many of which have earned MCSE and/or MCP certifications. For more information regarding the company and the services offered, please consult the archives of the GraVoc News Blog or visit http://www.gravoc.com/.