Remote Work Phishing Threats Aren’t Slowing Down

remote work can lead to exposure to phishing threats

The World May Be Settling Down, But Remote Work Phishing Threats Aren’t Remote work phishing threats have become a big factor to be calculated into every company’s cybersecurity plan. In 2020 we saw exactly how a perfect storm of circumstances that lead to a tsunami of cybercrime, especially phishing. This included the public’s desire for new information about COVID-19. The mountain of Dark Web data increased. We experienced a sudden shift to remote work. Add to these factors economic challenges and inadequate remote security. Bad actors got to work to capitalize on this opportunity. They did so by sending out record amounts of phishing email designed to ensnare the unwary. And many remote workers got caught up in their nets. COVID-19 and Remote Workers MadeRead Full Article

Are Your Cookies Safe?

reminder about cookies

The holiday season is upon us and we have many things to look forward to — even if this year will be a little bit different than others. This time of year the things that come to mind include: family, holiday festivities, and of course cookies! As a Managed Service Provider, people often ask us, are cookies safe? But we’re not talking about the kind that your grandma bakes for you. In technological terms, cookies typically pop up on your internet browser. They track and store data in the deep corners of your hard drive. With lots of controversy surrounding cookies, many people don’t know if they’re a good or bad thing. You probably have seen notices regarding them on most major sites you visitRead Full Article

Holiday Phishing Scams Can Wreck Your Business. Here’s How.

Every year around this time, our thoughts turn to great gifts, holiday shopping lists, and other seasonal fun. Cybercriminals are thinking about their seasonal fun too. And they’ve picked out some exciting gifts. Except you don’t want what they’ve got for you – a great big sack of holiday phishing scams to deliver to your door. Alas, these don’t just prey on your employees, they also endanger your business. Your a mean one, Mr. Grinch. While we all like to think that during the workday our staffers are so focused on their jobs that they wouldn’t even think of doing their holiday shopping. We also know the truth. Many employees are online shopping at work. They’re doing even more online shopping this year with COVID-19Read Full Article

Is It Time for a Server Upgrade?

Time to update your servers

While many of us may not physically see our servers as often as we see our personal terminals, we interact with them directly or indirectly daily. Within your office network, the server is the heartbeat of the entire system. Since we rely on them without directly interacting with them we tend to forget that they’re there. However, just like with any other type of computer, servers can expire and need replacing from time to time. Have you checked your servers lately? It may be time to upgrade them. Section 179 Deductions For those who read our blog last week, you’ll recall that our topic was Section 179 tax deductions. As a quick recap, this is a section of the tax code that not only allowsRead Full Article

Tax Deductions: Writing Off Major Purchases for 2020

IRS Section 179 Tax Deductions

Managing a business this year has had its unique challenges, to say the least. But some things remain a constant. And that includes the IRS Section 179 tax deduction for the cost of tangible equipment. As a disclaimer, we are not tax advisors. Any planning or decisions should be reviewed or undertaken by your company’s CFO or accounting professionals. If you and your staff are still working from home, even just part of the time, you should seriously consider improvements to your technology infrastructure. Look at this as an overview to motivate you to take advantage of this law. What Are Section 179 Tax Deductions? When we talk about 179 deductions, these are the classic “write-offs,” but with an extra benefit. With many write-offs, youRead Full Article

Internet of Things: Why Should You Care?

The Internet of Things

You probably have heard of the Internet of Things. But do you know what it means? It describes the network of physical objects that are connected with other devices and systems over the internet. Your home is probably full of them. And you are probably working, at least some of the time, from home. Here are some examples: light bulbs, smart appliances, cars, thermostats, and speakers The list goes on. But why does that matter? A Plethora of Devices Equals a Plethora of Danger for Your Data This year’s theme for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month was “Do Your Part.” We were encouraged to own our role in protecting our part of cyberspace. We did our part during the month of October with blogs regarding variousRead Full Article

Be Cyber Aware: If You Connect It, Protect It

become cyber aware

In today’s age, we all must be cyber aware. The average American today has access to more than 10 Internet Connected Devices in their household. Most have at least 2 computers and 2 smartphones. Across the world, an estimated 30 billion+ devices connect to the Internet. This connectivity generates massive potential for advancement. But in turn, this creates a paradise for hackers. This is nothing new. Hacking has been on the rise since the dawn of connected technology. And here’s the problem. Most businesses have maintained the same security protocols for just as long. The theory is that what they’ve done so far has worked. So why is there any reason for change? Here are the seven reasons why technology is more dangerous than everRead Full Article

COVID-19 Phishing Scams Exploit Online Rumor Mill

COVID-19-phishing-scams

There is an explosion of extremely believable COVID-19 phishing scams. They are precisely targeted spear phishing. This shows how cybercriminals exploit Dark Web information and the online rumor mill for profit. Months into the global pandemic, cybercriminals are still using COVID-19 messaging. They do this by taking advantage of the worldwide fear and uncertainty around the disease, what causes it, and relief efforts for those affected by it. Scams grow more imaginative and more believable. This is because bad actors fashion bait that capitalizes on the rumor to create COVID-19 phishing scams that look more genuine than ever. COVID-19 phishing scams are everywhere. Phishing scams are by far the biggest type of attack threat based on exploitation that businesses face. Phishing is up more thanRead Full Article

2020 Ransomware Statistics

randsomeware-cybersecurity

If you ask a cybersecurity professional what threat keeps them up at night, the majority of them will tell you it’s ransomware. If you’re unsure of what ransomware is, it’s a type of a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. It has been a problem for years. But it peaked during the current pandemic. This increasing threat takes down organizations of every size every day. And it’s only getting worse. Here are ten of the most important 2020 statistics to take into account as you consider how your organization plans to prevent ransomware from taking your data hostage. Here Are the 2020 Statistics Regarding Ransomware 1. 65% of ransomware infections are deliveredRead Full Article

Passwords – Outdated and Dangerous, But Necessary

my-password

It’s important to continually use best practices when creating passwords because hackers are constantly trying to obtain your credentials to be sold on the Dark Web. Are you protecting your data? Here’s a quick test. What do these seemingly random alphanumerical groupings have in common? 123456 password 123456789 12345678 12345 111111 1234567 sunshine qwerty iloveyou That is a list of the top ten passwords used in 2018. Recognize any of these? If you don’t, you’re not necessarily in the clear. However, your chance of becoming compromised or hacked is far less than someone who uses one of these. If you do recognize these, you’re certainly testing your luck. These days, it is increasingly challenging to create and remember so many passwords. If we had onlyRead Full Article

Can VoIP Phones Help Your Business?

VoIP-phone-system

We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz lately about Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP is just fancy jargon for an internet phone system. People are hearing from friends or business acquaintances who are using VoIP phones that, not only are they saving money, but this “new” technology has added a lot of flexibility to their daily operations. It is true that VoIP systems will save you money over landlines or cellphones. Additionally, there are even more benefits to utilizing the right VoIP set-up for your business. Here we take a look at how this technology works and visit some of the strengths and weaknesses of Voice Over Internet Protocol systems. VoIP Basics You can make and receive calls through the internet rather than hardwiredRead Full Article

10 Facts about Cybersecurity

facts-about-cybersecurity

Get the facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 to protect your business. Emergency preparedness is essential for smooth emergency response – and the faster you respond to an emergency, the better. September is National Preparedness Month. Thus, as you’re reviewing the other disaster preparedness plans in your life, it’s time to make sure that you’ve got the facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 to plan for 2021. No two cybersecurity disasters are exactly the same. But most of them share certain characteristics. It’s important to learn the facts about today’s biggest threats. This can help you make an effective plan. You could be impacted by phishing, ransomware, insider threats, credential stuffing, or other Dark Web dangers. These basic facts about cybersecurity disasters in 2020 can helpRead Full Article

The Benefits of Using VoIP Technology

voip-technology

VoIP technology (Voice over IP) is yet another tool to utilize in creating an ideal virtual office. You should opt for a VoIP system because it will also trim expenses, as well as make the most of technology. More and more businesses are implementing VoIP technology. That is because of its versatility, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. ViOP allows you to bring your office phone system wherever you and your employees are. This means you will have a state-of-the-art business telecommunication system whether you are in your brick and mortar office or working remotely. Versatility/Flexibility of VoIP Technology: All modes of communication such as voice, fax, video, web conferencing, and emails can be utilized, using a single software application. Yep, fax is still used frequently in theRead Full Article

Why the Break-fix Model Doesn’t Work

break-fix

So, you may be wondering why the break-fix model doesn’t work. Grandpa always said, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While we love Grandpa, that truism isn’t always true. Just like the customer is always right and other similar expressions, simply because people have been saying something forever doesn’t make it correct. Still wondering why the break-fix model doesn’t work? Break-fix fails: waiting to take action when something breaks before you fix it can end up being costly and disastrous in the long run. Where do we find the balance between upgrading routinely and only replacing when you have no choice? Also, what does this have to do with this series’ theme of hiring an IT tech? Break-fix Model: Let’s Break the Cycle When a company grows andRead Full Article

IT Professional Job Description – What do they really do?

it-professional

So, you’re working on drafting an IT professional job description. This series covers the most important factors to consider before you hire an in-house IT tech or team. Our last article reviewed the hidden costs of hiring an IT Professional. Now, we’re talking about what IT actually does besides ask if you turned your computer off and back on again. Depending on the size of your organization, work in IT can be complicated and time-consuming. Let’s go over the major job responsibilities of IT professionals beyond tech support and equipment maintenance. Vendor Management Outside organizations most often provide your Internet, copy machine, phone system, and computer equipment. When they break, need maintenance, or require warranty replacement, the IT professional interacts with the vendor. Oftentimes, they’re responsible for communicatingRead Full Article

The Hidden Costs of Hiring an IT Tech

hiring-it-tech

If your business is at the point where you’re thinking about hiring a fulltime IT tech, congratulations! Having enough consistent needs to fill this role means you’ve worked hard and made good decisions that drove business growth. Our best advice? Don’t stop now! Moving forward with hiring requires a lot of analysis to avoid major consequences down the line, though. One of the biggest decisions whether you’ll hire someone directly or use a third-party MSP (Managed Service Provider). In this article, we’ll get into the specifics of both scenarios. Why Do You Need an IT Tech at All? In the past, business people and tech people were two different breeds. Over the years, the gap has gradually shrunk to the point that many people areRead Full Article

Facts You Should Know About Cybersecurity Education

cybersecurity education

Why should businesses be concerned with the state of cybersecurity education? Because it brings unexpected risks to the table. As the world continues to evolve in the wake of the global pandemic, every aspect of life has changed. Students are headed back to school and most will be attending virtually at least some of the time. With many parents still working from home, that means that everyone is sharing a network – and the underwhelming state of cybersecurity education for kids creates unexpected cybersecurity risks for businesses. Cybersecurity isn’t a priority in most K – 12 curricula. But cybercriminals have learned that kids are easy targets for social engineering attacks, and schools are generally way behind the curve in internal cybersecurity, creating openings for themRead Full Article

Beyond a Basic Disaster Recovery Plan

disaster-recovery-plan

You’ve invested in a disaster recovery plan and now sleep more soundly at night, but the hardware itself is really only part of the solution. You want to ensure your technology provider does preventative maintenance, periodic testing, multi-location storage, and staff training. Having these things in place will help avoid downtime if the worst happens. Preventative Maintenance In addition to the hardware itself, a solid disaster recovery solution also has its own backup including generators, backup batteries, cooling systems, fire detection, suppression systems, and redundant cloud storage. You can’t necessarily head to your provider’s office to see for yourself, but you can read the fine print on your contracts as well as have meaningful conversations with potential providers. Periodic Testing Consistently ensuring everything is runningRead Full Article

A Backup Disaster Recovery Plan

backup-disaster-recovery

No New Orleans business owner needs to be told that having a disaster recovery plan is crucial, even before the pandemic made it glaringly so. A Backup Disaster Recovery plan is one of those things that all businesses need to have in case of disaster. Whether it’s a natural disaster such as a hurricane, a hardware failure, or even an attack from a hacker, any of these could permanently disable your business if you aren’t prepared or have a proper backup plan. First of all, a data disaster is more common than you might think. Currently, 58% of small and mid-sized businesses are not prepared for data loss. Even worse, 60% of these businesses that lose their data will shut down within six months. SomethingRead Full Article

Why do we still worry about Work from Home policies?

work-from-home

If you have been in the workplace for a few decades, you may remember that the idea of telecommuting began to appear in the late 90’s as internet access from home began to become more common. Telecommuting was often poorly received, as it carried the onus of being a “trick” to avoid working a full eight hours. Then, with the arrival of residential broadband access a decade or so ago, successfully conducting a large majority of your work tasks in real-time, from home, became very realistic for a large swath of office workers. And now, months into a pandemic, many of us are still telecommuting. So, then why do we still worry about work from home policies? Here are some of the concerns that businessRead Full Article

5 Bad Technology Habits

bad-tech-habits

Now more than every, you are probably practically attached to one device or another. Bad online habits can leave you swimming in malware, hackers, and leaked data – none of which is fun or pleasant. But on the other hand, bad technology habits can leave you in bodily pain, unproductive, and desperate for more time – none of which is easy to come back from. Here are a few bad technology habits to be on the lookout for. Do you check social media every 60 seconds? I get it. There is so much going on these days. The urge to read about the latest news and scandals is real. Or you may just want a break from everything and just want to look at picturesRead Full Article

A Work From Home Policy Can Help Your Business

In the last several years, the concept of creating a work from home policy has become increasingly more popular. Though some still remain skeptical, it has been gaining in popularity and become more widely accepted among management circles. That said, the current pandemic essentially set the debate entirely aside, at least for the time being, because work from home (WFH) became the only choice between working and shutting down. Aside from mandatory quarantines, why have organizations been adopting WFH policies? There are several factors that are motivating companies to select WFH. Employee satisfaction: Many, but not all, employees like the freedom to work from home at least part of the time. Offering WFH opportunities can increase levels of employee satisfaction. This ties in to theRead Full Article

Who Makes Your IT Decisions?

Do you feel qualified to make the IT decisions for your business? We’ll use medical offices as our example in this blog, but in reality, this information is important to all small businesses. It’s easy to substitute engineering firm, accountant, attorney, and many other professions, really anyone who does not have a background in technology. As we’ve discussed in our last blog, now is the time to upgrade your technology so that you’ll be ahead of the game when businesses pick up. Let’s assume that everything we’ve said about upgrading your technology resonated with you, and you agree 100% — now what? Well, decisions have to be made. What kind of hardware will you be using? What about the software? When do you plan toRead Full Article

The Importance of Business Continuity

The world is battling a crippling crisis today. The global economy is in peril and businesses have taken radical measures to mitigate the adverse impacts of economic decline. Companies have had to leverage the technology at their disposal to allow their employees to work remotely in order to attempt to achieve business continuity. Although technology has made remote work feasible, the unexpected magnitude of the situation has caught most small and midsize businesses off guard. One of the challenges most companies face right now is ensuring business continuity with minimal loss of productivity of their remote workforce. While this unprecedented crisis has certainly transformed the way businesses around the world operate, it has also provided companies with an opportunity to reinforce their IT infrastructure toRead Full Article

10 Things to Do Before Business Picks Back Up

things-to-do

While businesses are opening back up and we are starting to see a slow uptick in activity, now is the time to take the opportunity to do those things that you never have time to do. Here are ten things that you should do now for your business so that you’re ready to excel when this crisis is over. 1. Maximize your security protocols. New security threats pop up every day. Especially amidst COVID-19, hackers developed phishing attempts to prey on peoples’ thirst for news surrounding the virus, PPP grants, stimulus checks, and plenty else. What happens when a hacker gains personal information from one of these attempts? Often, the value isn’t in the initial data theft or financial potential therein. Hackers really don’t careRead Full Article

Identify and Defend Against COVID-19 Email Scams

Covid-19-email-scams

COVID-19 email scams are on the rise and more clever than you’d expect. Don’t be fooled! We all know that opening strange email can have dangerous consequences, right? Unfortunately, that message hasn’t connected with many people as it pertains to enticingly designed new COVID-19 email scams. Here are some of the most devious scams we’re seeing right now, and recommendations for how to keep these scams from giving cybercriminals an open door into your data and systems. Training is essential to ensure that your staff isn’t endangering your compliance with data privacy laws or putting you in danger of a breach, and it’s ideal for combating the increased phishing attack danger that comes from a remote workforce. Attachments with “official information” about relief programs or health information from a government agency or the UN The fastest way to defendRead Full Article

Working from Home: Some Considerations

getting-back-to-work

In the last several years, the concept of working from home (WFH) has become increasingly more popular. Though some still remain skeptical, it has been gaining in popularity and become more widely accepted among management circles. That said, the current pandemic essentially set the debate entirely aside, at least for the time being, because WFH became the only choice between working and shutting down. Aside from mandatory quarantines, why have organizations been adopting working from home policies? There are several factors that are motivating companies to select working from home. Employee satisfaction: Many, but not all, employees like the freedom to work from home at least part of the time. Offering WFH opportunities can increase levels of employee satisfaction. This ties in to the increasingRead Full Article

Is the Dark Web all bad?

is-the-dark-web-all-bad

Dark Web: (noun) Part of the world wide web that is only accessible by utilizing special software, allowing users and websites to remain anonymous or untraceable. It exists on an encrypted network that uses masked IP addresses to maintain anonymity for users and site owners. This way, people who use the Dark Web for illegal purposes can’t be traced. As you can see by the above definitions, the Dark Web can be a shady place where illegal transactions take place. Things like drugs, guns, counterfeit money, and credit card numbers can all be found, bought, and sold. And you can bet there are groups and chatter about the current crisis in the U.S., from those seeking to stir up unrest to those who need aRead Full Article

What is the Dark Web and Why Should We Care?

what-is-the-dark-web

You’ve probably heard about the Dark Web more recently than ever before, especially considering the pandemic, protests across the country, and the conspiracy theories related to both. But what do you know about it? You can navigate your way around Google, Facebook, Amazon, and news sites. Did you know that you’re actually only visiting four percent of the internet. There’s a whole world  hiding beyond these safe surface-level sites, it’s a much less hospitable place. What exactly is it? The Dark Web is a conglomeration of websites that cannot be found on search engines or accessed via traditional web browsers because their location and identity is hidden through encryption tools such as TOR. TOR was originally created to protect military communication but now has aRead Full Article

Four Tips for Getting Back to Work during this In-Between

getting-back-to-work

We’ve reached an in-between status of this quarantine as many are eager to get back to work. Businesses are starting to open back up (with restrictions), but a lot of employees are finding themselves in an awkward spot between working in the office and remaining at home. Doctors are utilizing video and teleconference appointments but are holding office hours to see patients and perform “elective” surgeries. Companies are requesting that their employees work from home, if possible, but they’re relaxing requirements for coming back into the office. Other organizations are welcoming people back from teleworker status to full in-office expectations. With “in-between” operations, we’ve helped our clients through a few technology hiccups and wanted to help you avoid them too. Here are the top fiveRead Full Article