Developing New Habits During COVID-19: Data Backup Essentials

Running your business during COVID-19 is hard, period. The last thing you need to experience during this crisis is a devastating loss of data—in fact, there’s a chance that a significant breach could damage your reputation or even put you out of business. Now is the time to make sure you have a plan in place that handles data backup for your employees and ensures information on your devices remain safe no matter where they are.

It’s time for secure and affordable data backup services. Contact us today.

Here are four ways to improve your data backup strategies during COVID-19:

  1. Get into a New Routine – Default settings might be good enough most of the time, but not during COVID-19. If you want to ensure you never lose data again, you’re going to need to optimize your parameters for automatic backups, making specific adjustments to the settings that suit your business needs. While you’re at it, you might want to revert to backing up some of your most important personal and professional files outside of the cloud.
  2. Adjust Your Settings – As your digital footprint grows, your data backup strategies should become more sophisticated, too. Everyone has experienced a time when they’ve lost something important, but honestly thought that they’d backed it up correctly. Whether you want to admit it or not, there are probably some default settings that your employees have never even looked at on their work devices. Failing to adjust your default settings could cost you time and money, so be sure to update them as your company’s needs change.
  3. Train Your Team Members – Chances are you’re going to experience some turnover in the next few months due to circumstances outside of your control. While some employees are used to working remotely and can operate with little-to-no tech supervision, others will need education about best practices for storing and backing up information in a way that is both secure and accessible. Setting aside time to educate your employees about some data backup essentials now could prevent you from suffering the pain of a major disruption down the road.
  4. Encrypt Your Data - By now, you’ve probably guessed that backing up your data is only one piece of the puzzle. If you want to make sure that your data is not only stored properly, but that it couldn’t be accessed even if it was lost or stolen, it’s time to invest in better data encryption. Being able to retrieve and restore your sensitive information is important—but making sure it stays secure is another story. It’s time to start asking questions about where your data is stored and how it is being protected.

In a time of crisis, your staff will be turning to you for direction—and your customers might, too. Don’t get caught off guard by something you can easily avoid, like losing data due to human error or a failed automatic backup. That’s why, as a managed services provider, we’re prepared to guide you through the COVID-19 crisis with trusted IT advice that will help you back up your data today and keep it secure well into the future. Contact our team of experts today to learn more about data backup essentials that support your business continuity plan.


How to Define Security During COVID-19

COVID-19 and social distancing have quickly forced a change in how we conduct businesses. With many organizations shifting some – or all – of their business to a remote workforce, people are facing unprecedented challenges. Business IT departments realize this is their moment to shine by putting together a continuity strategy that will keep fundamental business objectives functioning. In order to do so, organizations need to rethink how they’ll conduct business outside of four-walls. Here are four areas of IT that you’ll need to consider:  

  1. Remote Access – Remote access is how your team accesses company information, documents, applications and more when they’re not connected to the company Wi-Fi network. You want to make sure your employees have seamless access to the information they need, but more importantly, that information needs to be secure, too.  Those who fail to secure remote access leave their systems vulnerable for cybercriminals to get their hands on customer information, which they can hold for ransom. The best way to protect your data is with a secure virtual private network.   
  2. Endpoint Security – Endpoints are your laptops, tablets, mobile phones and wireless devices that connect to your networks. With endpoint security software, you’ll gain a better view of all user-devices to monitor and block risky activities and security threats. Endpoint security also includes making sure your firewalls, antivirus and other applications are up to date.
  3. Day-to-Day Operations – The best way to keep business running as usual when you’re working from a remote environment is to make sure your employees can do exactly what they do in the office, at home. Have a few employees take their laptops home to make sure they have access to the VPN, business documents, email and more. Ask them what worked and what didn’t – you’ll want to make sure you get everything sorted out before a potential disaster or crisis occurs.
  4. Awareness Training – Cybercriminals like to take advantage of weaknesses. As more and more businesses transition to remote workforces, not all of them are taking the security precautions they should be, and cybercriminals are at the ready to steal information. There’s no better time than now to revisit security awareness training with your team. Let them know what’s appropriate and teach them about how to spot suspicious emails and warn them about malicious email links.

A business continuity plan covers all these security tactics and more to ensure your business can get back up and running as quickly – and securely – as possible. We know these past months have been difficult. We don’t want you to have to face these challenges on your own. Our expert team knows all the ins-and-outs of business continuity and we want to help. Contact us today to learn more.


Preparation Is Key

Your employee just opened an email that looked like it was from you and clicked an attached link. Your data has been infiltrated, and you are under a cyberattack. According to CSO Online, 92 percent of malware is delivered by email. Considering that email is a major tool for your business, you may have an attack waiting to happen right now. If this scenario seems a little too plausible, then you need a digital risk management plan.

Don’t wait till after the attack, start building a plan now.

Digital Risk Management

You may be asking yourself, what is digital risk management? It is a security solution made to fit each unique business. You may have threats specific to your industry. There may be certain local, state and federal regulations to follow. You may even have certain budgetary restrictions. An MSP will create a digital risk management plan that addresses each of these concerns, along with creating an action plan that changes as your business does. By being vigilant of threats to your system and having a plan in place for an active attack, you can rest easy knowing that your MSP is there to protect your business.

Evolving Technology, Evolving Threats

You know that technology is evolving at an incredible speed. With that comes the evolution of threats to that technology. Email phishing scams, cybercriminals, ransomware and good old-fashioned human error are just a few of the risks your business faces every day. By assessing your vulnerabilities, an MSP can provide your business with the specific security solution your business needs. If you can invest in new technology, why not invest in a protection plan that grows with your business.

Invest in Your Future

We know that you want to spend your money wisely. From improving your employee's workspaces to a new coffee maker in the breakroom, every decision has been carefully thought out. Why not devote that same energy into a security solution? Your MSP will work with you to make a tailored action plan for your business, that’s within your budget. They will guide you through what is necessary in a plan, and what types of protection your business may or may not need. Investing in a quality digital risk management plan now will save you money later.

We’re Here to Help

Running a company can be overwhelming. Let us take something off your plate. With our expertise on your side, you can rest easy knowing that your information is protected. Contact us today to start building a plan and be one step ahead of the hackers.


Every Second Counts: What to Do Following a Cyberattack

Nobody wants to think about the worst-case scenario, but if a cyberattack hits your business, every second counts when it comes to figuring out the extent of the damage and stopping it from spreading and costing you more in damages.

According to the National Small Business Association, from phishing scams to data breaches, the average attack costs $9,000. This number can get a lot higher the longer your network remains down. One of the ways to help minimize the damage is by having a technology service provider (TSP) working with you. Let’s break down the essential steps you and your TSP will do following a cyberattack.    

Stop wasting time. Get your network safe and secure. >>

Contain the Breach

The very first step you and your tech team need to take after confirming a cyberattack occurred is isolating the compromised servers. Figure out which servers are affected and quarantine them. You can do this by disconnecting the servers from the internet, disabling remote access and changing all passwords.  

Determine the Extent of the Cyberattack

Once the hacked servers are isolated from your network, it’s time to figure out what’s compromised. Also, find out who was affected by the breach, including the personal data of your employees, customers and professional partners.

If You Have Data Backups, Use Them

After completing your assessment of what data and pieces of your infrastructure are affected, you need to use your backup data to keep your business operational. The longer your IT is down, the more money your business will lose. However, check to make sure the hackers haven’t compromised your backups before turning them on. Otherwise, you’re back to square one. 

Inform Everyone Affected

When things start to settle down, you need to let people know your business was hacked. This step can be difficult for many business owners because sharing bad news is never easy. However, you must inform your business partners, customers and everyone else on what happened because trying to cover it up will only make things worse. Also, keep in mind that you should also inform your local authorities and governing bodies within your industry to stay compliant with any regulations. 

How We Can Help

Now that you know what to do during a cyberattack, hopefully, you never have to follow these steps. The best time to stop a cyberattack is before it occurs. If you realized while reading this that you don’t have data backups, a contingency plan or a disaster plan in place, then we can help save your data. Our team of cybersecurity experts can audit your network and determine what you need to meet and exceed industry data compliance regulations. Keep your essential data safe.

Don't Wait Until After the Hack

Get your network protected with the latest cybersecurity tools. Contact us today >>


4 Tips for Protecting Your Business from Ransomware Attacks

Cybersecurity attacks are becoming more common as the business world continues doing more online. It can seem like every time you turn on the news, there’s another major company announcing they were hit by a ransomware attack or data breach. 

These stories of high-profile companies being the victim of hacks can give small business owners a false sense of security, thinking criminals only go after big fish. However, small businesses need to be on the lookout for ransomware attacks, too. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 43 percent of breaches involved small businesses. 

While the thought of trying to defend your business from hackers can feel overwhelming, there are ways to reduce the risk of becoming a victim. Here are four tips for keeping your small business safe from ransomware attacks.   

1. Educate Your Employees

All it takes for a hacker to gain access to your network is one employee opening a phishing email and clicking on the wrong link. By teaching your employees safe web surfing practices, they’ll be less likely to open those unsolicited emails or download software from shady websites.   

2. Limit Administrative Access

How many employees have administrative access to your entire network? If that number is more than a select few, then you need to start limiting privileges. No users should be granted admin access unless they need it.  

3. Keep Your System Updated

Don’t ignore the prompts to update your software. Hackers often target vulnerabilities in older versions of computer programs. The easiest way to prevent that from happening is to keep your system patched and updated with the latest program version. 

4. Audit User Access

Whenever an employee leaves your company, it’s good practice to remove their user accounts from your network. Many businesses forget to clean up their user account lists. Develop a routine of deleting user accounts on the employee’s last day. This will help prevent hackers from using these accounts to spread malware or cause data breaches. 

By following these four tips, you can immediately reduce the risk of your small business being affected by a cybersecurity attack. However, keeping your network safe can be a time-consuming task. If time is an issue, then let us take care of your tech.

How We Can Help

We are the IT experts you need to keep your essential data safe from digital threats now and into the future. We’ll create a customized security package that best fits your needs while staying within your budget. Don’t wait until you’ve lost your data in a ransomware attack. Call us today to find out how we can keep your business safe.


Top Tech Blogs | 7 Ways to Prevent a Data Breach in your Business

7 Ways to Prevent a Data Breach in Your Business

Don’t think you’re vulnerable to a data breach? Think again. In 2018, businesses reported 1,244 breaches – and small businesses accounted for 58 percent of victims. In honor of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, here are seven ways to prevent a data breach in your business:

Take Inventory of Your Risks 

Conduct a complete audit of your systems, including on-premises, cloud and third-party IT assets that could lead to your network. Think about not only obvious points, like your servers and applications, but also your employees’ devices, Internet of Things-enabled devices, and industrial control systems.

Once you’ve taken stock of your infrastructure, prioritize any issues you find. Likely, you’re dealing with limited resources, so decide which problems are putting you at the most risk, like unpatched software or weak passwords.

Control User Access

When possible, employees should only have access to the data they need for their positions, and sensitive data should only be accessible to authorized users. It’s unlikely that all of your employees need access to all of your data, all the time.

Think also about how to handle departing employees and temporary employees like vendors and contractors. Provide the necessary passwords, key cards, laptop access and more that those employees need, but make it a priority to rescind access as soon as their work with your company ends.

Keep Software Updated

Many high-profile data breaches, including the WannaCry ransomware attack in 2017, are a result of hackers exploiting a weakness in older software. In the case of the WannaCry attack, Microsoft had already released patches to close the exploit, but many companies had failed to apply the patches or were using out-of-date Windows systems that no longer had support.

Fortunately, the fix for this is fairly simple. Patch and update your software as soon as the developer releases those options, and upgrade your software when it’s no longer supported by the developer. This is especially timely now with the end of support for many Microsoft products starting in January 2020.

Enforce BYOD Policies 

Your employees are probably using laptops, tablets and smartphones for at least some of their work. Unsecured endpoints can lead hackers straight to your network, rendering your other security measures much less effective and making your sensitive data vulnerable to a breach.

To combat this threat, you need a dedicated mobile device management program. Whether you provide the device or employees use their own personal devices, implement data security measures to ensure that employees are handling, retrieving and sending data safely. If a device is lost or stolen, create a policy to protect your data, such as remotely wiping the device.

Strengthen Credentials 

No one likes managing their passwords, but unique passwords are critical to preventing a data breach. Don’t leave password strength up to chance. Require your employees to use complex passwords that are changed frequently, at least every 90 days. Employees should not write passwords down where others can find them.

A password management tool such as LastPass or OneLogin can store and remember multiple encrypted passwords to reduce the hassle of employees forgetting complex passwords. Another security best practice is multi-factor authentication, where passwords are supplemented by passcodes, challenge questions and other identification measures. Even if an employee accidentally gives their login information away in a phishing attack, two-factor authentication will minimize that damage.

Educate Employees 

Security-wise, employees are your weakest link; 95 percent of cybersecurity breaches are due to human error. Train your employees to identify and report signs of a data breach, but more importantly, train them to prevent a data breach. When your employees fully understand and support initiatives such as BYOD security or password management, your security will be stronger across the board.

Perhaps the most crucial area for employee training is email. Since the majority of malware, ransomware and phishing attacks stem from illegitimate emails, training your employees how to spot and report strange senders, links or attachments can drastically minimize the chance of a breach.

Back Up Files

Our last tip is to back up your files. While this is always a best practice for all businesses, it can especially pay off when your business suffers a ransomware attack. When your files are securely backed up to an off-site or cloud location, you won’t have to debate whether or not to pay the hacker. You’ll simply clean your systems, retrieve your data and continue your day.Unfortunately, backups are no longer a set-it-and-forget-it measure. Hackers are disabling backups and then waiting 30, 60, 90 days to take systems down, leaving companies with no choice but to pay a ransom to retrieve their data. Regularly testing your backups to ensure that they’re working as intended is key to protecting yourself.

How We Can Help 

Implementing all of these security procedures can be time-consuming and costly, especially for a small or mid-size business. We assess your security needs and implement procedures to help you minimize the chances of a data breach or quickly identify and contain a breach in progress. Don’t ignore the threat of data breaches – contact us today.


Top Tech Blogs | Follow these 5 Steps to give your Business the Best Gift Ever

Follow These 5 Steps to Give Your Business the Best Gift of All

As the year comes to an end, business owners are keeping an eye on the latest holiday deals to purchase new items for their companies. Ergonomic keyboards, dual monitors and stand-up desks are great ideas to consider, but there’s one gift that should be at the top of your list — cybersecurity.

Hackers are targeting small and mid-size businesses in addition to big corporations. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, 43 percent of victims are small businesses.

How Is My Business at Risk?

Phishing has emerged as a popular way for hackers to inflict damage. A phishing attack typically comes in the form of an email that appears to come from a trusted source but contains a fake link or attachment that installs malware on your network. This malware can come in many forms, but most notably, ransomware. Ransomware is when hackers block access to your data, then give it back after you pay the hacker money. However, there is no guarantee you’ll get your data back after you pay. According to the Hartford Courant, less than a quarter of people who pay the ransom get their data back.

Fortunately, there ways you can improve your cybersecurity. Here are five steps you can take to give yourself the gift of peace of mind this year.

Invest in Employee Training

Can your staff recognize a phishing attack? According to Tech Radar, 90 percent of data breaches are caused by human error. Consider investing in cybersecurity training so your team can work smarter by avoiding blatant hacking attempts.

Move to the Cloud

It’s time to say goodbye to only saving your data on your local drive. When your information is in the cloud, you can rest easy knowing that all your data is being protected with automatic backups while being flexible enough to scale with your company.

Create Multiple Forms of Backup

Always have a backup plan ready. If your business runs on a local server, it may be time to consider getting a cloud or offsite backup. That way, if your local server ever gets compromised, you’ll still have access to your data.

Install Two-Factor Authentication

It’s harder for hackers to break through two levels of protection instead of one. With two-factor authentication, an access code will be sent to the corresponding user’s phone or email after entering a program password. If someone tries to break into your network, you’ll know right away.

Replace Outdated Tech

Money can be tight for some small businesses, and using older tech may seem like a cheaper solution, but that can be shortsighted. Microsoft is planning to end its support of many popular hardware and software solutions — including Microsoft Server 2008 and Windows 7 — in January 2020. If you’re using tech without continuing support, then you won’t receive any security patches in the future, opening the door for hackers to expose weaknesses in your system. When you update your software, you’re protecting your business and increasing office morale. Your employees will appreciate working with the latest tech.

How We Can Help

Don’t let a Grinch ruin your holiday season by wreaking havoc on your IT network. Let our cybersecurity specialists help you protect your business so you can get some peace of mind heading into 2020. Contact us today today to find out how


Top Tech Blogs | 2020 in Tech 5 Trends to Keep an Eye On

2020 in Tech: 5 Trends to Keep an Eye On

The technology industry moves in one direction — forward. As more companies continue to use advanced programs to run their businesses, knowing what the technology forecast looks like can help companies stay ahead of the competition. So, which ones do you need to know? Here are the five tech trends to keep an eye on in 2020.

AI as a Service

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues making advances across the technology spectrum, you can expect to see more applications for business purposes. Some prominent companies are already experimenting to see how they can use AI to streamline business functions to help their companies run more efficiently. Google, Amazon and Microsoft already offer machine-learning solutions, but 2020 may be the year where AI business solutions go mainstream as part of a monthly subscription service.

Subscription Model Supremacy

Speaking of monthly subscription services, don’t expect this model to go away any time soon. With cloud solutions growing in popularity, the everything as a service (XaaS) model will become commonplace. Businesses are showing they’d rather pay a flat monthly fee instead of the expensive and unpredictable break/fix model of service.

Faster Mobile Data Networks

The next generation of wireless internet connectivity is expanding. 5G made its debut in 2019, mostly in limited areas or major cities. However, 2020 looks to be the year that coverage extends, and data rates become affordable to more people. This advancement means people will be able to upload and download data at lightning speeds, and businesses will be able to work faster on the go than ever before.

Older Products Reach End of Life

Some of your favorite business programs and solutions are about to bite the dust. Microsoft is ending support for several programs and services beginning in January 2020. Some of the more notable names on the list include Windows 7 and Microsoft Server 2008. When tech is no longer supported or patched by its developer, it opens the door for hackers to exploit weaknesses. If you’re still using any of the products on this list, then it’s time for an upgrade.

Improved Smartphone Security

As smartphones continue to replicate the features and computing power of desktop PCs, businesses need to be ready to provide the same data security standards for mobile devices. Many small companies and startups are adopting the BYOD (bring your own device) model as a way to save money and cut down on the number of hardware devices employees need. This trend means employee-owned smartphones will need security programs in place to meet your business requirements.

How We Can Help

As the new year approaches, all we have are predictions as to what will happen. Nothing is certain as trends may change, going in a new direction. Your business needs to be ready, and the best way to do that is by having a trusted tech consultant in your corner. We help businesses like yours with their IT needs, making them more resilient to the tech headaches of the future. Contact us today to find out how we can help get your company ready for a productive 2020.