Tag Archives: IT Company

Spooked About Your Network’s Security?

13 Oct 16
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You should be, unless somebody’s keeping a vigilant eye on it for you…
Not too long ago, in a place not so far away…when ancient hordes attacked your city, a single breach in the wall could mean certain death – or at least the end of life as you know it.
Yet times change…or do they?
Attacks by today’s cybercriminals on your network, while perhaps not physically life-threatening, can inflict severe damage to the life and health of your business.
FACT: The odds of a successful cyber-attack against your business today are one in five. And, at a typical cost of $300,000 or more, a full 60% of smaller businesses that suffer a breach shut their doors for good within six months, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance.
So, who’s “guarding the gate” at your company’s network?
The problem with keeping your network safe today is that these attacks don’t just happen randomly – they are constant and unrelenting. Ever more sophisticated “robot” software is making it easier than ever for attackers to stalk the Internet, probing for vulnerabilities 24/7.
Here are just a few of the ways these vigilantes can penetrate your network’s defenses:
An SQL Injection can destroy your database, steal e-mail addresses, usernames and passwords, gain access to sensitive client management and billing data, deface your web site and defraud your business. It’s also now the most frequent mode of attack.
Open Ports – An open port is basically a channel for Internet data to connect with devices on your network. A firewall normally filters data, but hacker “web-bots” constantly probe for vulnerabilities. When they find an open port, and if they have installed malicious code inside your system, they are then able to control your devices.
In a DDoS attack, a network of computers attacks a single server with a surge of traffic, forcing it to crash. They most often target political organizations and banks; however, small businesses are also at risk. To avoid getting shut down, you need a defense plan in place and around-the-clock monitoring.
Malware and Viruses – Unfortunately, anti-malware and antivirus software programs in reality often fall short of claims, leaving many SMB networks highly vulnerable. The problem is twofold: First, they only detect a breach after the malware or virus has infected your system. Second, detection solutions often lag behind the latest threats by days or even weeks, leaving a big window for them to inflict heavy damage.
Targeted E-mails – Cybercriminals seem to get better each day at creating enticing e-mails that innocent readers will click on without a moment’s thought. If that reader happens to be on your network, you now have yet another hidden attacker to deal with.
“Drive-By Downloads” are a client-side intrusion where a person in your network innocently picks up a nasty bug…
Credit Card Theft – How would you feel if one of your customers’ credit cards got hacked due to a flaw in your security? Now imagine how you would feel if that incident turned into a lawsuit… Yet that is exactly what can happen if your DLP (Data Loss Prevention) system isn’t up to snuff. As you’ve no doubt seen in the news, credit card data theft is now epidemic. To keep customer data safe and maintain PCI compliance, it’s absolutely crucial to make sure your DLP is on duty 100% of the time.
As cybercriminals hone their evil craft, we must now be on guard, as our businesses grow ever more web-dependent. Yet how do you find the time to keep up with it all, much less make sure your network is safe?
Lucky for you, there’s a silver dagger…our Techno Pros can help you find and install the right protection.  Contact us.

 

 

 

Backup

Will Your Backups Be There When You Need Them?

06 Jul 16
lverbik
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When the livelihood of your business depends on data stored in your computer network, you simply cannot afford to leave anything to chance. Data preservation and the ability to retrieve it at any point in time is the foundation of business continuity.

Yet the facts about backup failures are shocking:

  • According to the Boston Computing Network, 31% of PC users have lost data due to events “beyond their control.”
  • Analysts at the Hughes Marketing Group found that 40% of businesses that experience a critical IT failure go out of business within one year.
  • In a recent Gartner study, only 35% of backup tests were successful.

Some of the more common reasons for backup failures include unintentional formatting of a hard drive, accidental data deletion, malware or virus attack, firmware corruption, natural disasters, logical errors and continued computer operation when the hard drive is starting to fail.

So how certain are you that your backup system is 100% reliable? Could a false sense of security be preventing you from taking actions that will insure your backups will really be there when you need them?

7 Ways to Avoid Data Disaster Due To Backup Failure

Without proactive measures in place – and Murphy’s Law being what it is – the odds of a successful restoration when you need it most may not be as great as you’d like to think… So what can you do? Here are seven ways to avoid a damaging loss of data due to backup failure.

  1. Insist on regular, remote and redundant processes. A good rule of thumb is 3-2-1. That means three copies of your data stored in two off-site locations, backed up a minimum of one time per day.
  1. Don’t go too cheap on disk drives. Less expensive arrays that save money by doing without features like redundant power supply and hot spare disks may leave your data at risk.
  1. Guard against human error. Make sure people performing backups and restores know exactly what to do – and what not to do. Take people out of the loop and automate wherever possible. And be especially cautious in situations where backups aren’t a part of someone’s regular duties.
  1. Are your backup software settings being checked routinely? When new software or updates are put into service, a change in the way the settings are configured can cause incomplete backups, or backups that fail completely. Do the people who maintain your backups include this on their regular to-do list?
  1. Could some files be getting left out? As resources are added and priorities shift, files and folders can get misplaced or accidentally left off the backup list. Insist on a quarterly or annual meeting with your backup management team to make sure all mission-critical files are included in your organization’s data recovery systems.
  1. Address network issues immediately. Any component in your network that isn’t working properly can introduce another point of failure in your backup process. Every juncture in your network, from a misconfigured switch to a flaky host bus adapter, can hurt your backups.
  1. Ask for help with your data backup and recovery system. You cannot be expected to be an expert in all things. Yet data is the backbone of your business – its protection and recovery should not be left to chance. Why not leverage the knowledge, skill and experience of an expert in the field?

Even with all these measures in place, the best way to keep your organization safe from harm due to data loss is to verify your backup system by performing regular test restores. This will help identify any problems in advance so they can be fixed – allowing you to avoid getting hit with an ugly surprise when you least need it.

The Smart Way To Assure Backup Success

Unless your team has all the time and expertise required to consistently close all open loops in your backup system, your organization may be at risk of serious harm due to data loss.

Contact us today at 317-857-0150 – before disaster strikes.

New ad blocker technology means faster page loads—but what about us?

06 Apr 16
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If you’re doing business online, then you probably know about ad blockers and have accepted the fact that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And, as if there aren’t enough obstacles to selling online, there’s a new beast on the horizon that takes ad blocking to another level: It’s called Polaris and it’s a new ad blocking technology embedded in its own Opera browser.

Unlike what we’ve faced in the past with ad blocking extensions in Chrome, Firefox and other popular browsers, Opera’s new ad blocking technology is native—at the web engine level—meaning that it’s more powerful and insidious to get around. Developed by techxperts at Harvard, the technology maps out a sequence for downloading a web page’s info bits, resulting in fewer network trips for the browser, and thus, faster page load times. For businesses that advertise online, it is a little worrisome.

Why is this happening, why!? It’s about improvements to page loading speed. We all know there’s nothing more exasperating than waiting for a page to load. We will sit patiently for about 2 seconds and if it goes beyond that, we’re freaking out and writing complaint letters to the technology companies—or cussing out the computer and getting up to grab a sandwich so we don’t have to deal with watching the spinning “page loading” icon.

Even more than that, people are sick of the bloated online ads that not only suck up bandwidth to load up, but oftentimes obstruct the content you’re reading and refuse to close down when you X them out. Or the ads with the unsavory DOWNLOAD buttons that, if clicked, could send you a virus. Tracking and privacy are also concerns.

So you can’t blame the world if it wants to block ads. Remarked one spokesperson for Opera: “Ad-blocking technology is an opportunity and a wake-up call to the advertising industry to pay attention to what consumers are actually saying.” This means that it might be time for businesses to create better ads—relevant, engaging, non-annoying ads. They might be the only ads that get through if the future of ad blocking is anything like Polaris.

Opera boasts that, with its Polaris ad blocker, their browser runs, on average, 45 percent faster than Google Chrome with Ad Block Plus extension, and 21 percent speedier than Firefox. That makes it enticing enough to worry about.

You probably don’t need to worry about Opera blocking your ads yet since it is a relatively unknown and unused browser compared to Chrome and the other top names. But as it is the way things are going to increase internet speeds, one should take heed and begin to look at the types of ads you’re creating—making them sleeker and smoother and more unobtrusive. And possibly at other avenues that don’t rely so much on ads, such as inbound marketing.

PCWorld has a more detailed techy explanation on the story…

Getting Your Tweet On: What Businesses Need To Know

28 Oct 15
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Part of using technology to your advantage includes having a social media presence where your customers are. And that may mean Twitter is a part of your mix. Even if you’re uncomfortable with (or fearful of) this environment, you need to push past that if you want to be a player.

So the primary question now isn’t really Should my business be tweeting? But rather How often? And to follow up on that: What do I tweet?

There are no perfect answers to these questions. The best approach is to just go for it—develop some sort of plan and implement it and see what feels right for your business and your audience. Then keep tweaking it.

The plan might include:

  • Set days you will tweet. Example: Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • A balanced mix of tweet types: stories, news, case studies, offers, “asks”
  • Relevant posts—not posting just to post. Don’t blast the universe every day with meaningless tweets. Think about whether you’d engage with it. Is it interesting? Are you helping someone? Are you offering something?
  • Engage with what is happening. If you tweet but never keep an eye on the responses, you won’t know if your audience is being engaged in our message. You should check Facebook and Twitter every day, and respond to your customers in real time.
  • Be flexible. Try posting tweets at different times of the day to determine when your customers are most active. Test different types of tweets to see what gets attention. Keep refining your strategy.
  • Research your audiences’ tweeting habits. While Facebook offers analytical tools to determine customer activity, Twitter does not, unfortunately.

There are many third-party resources out there to help you, including:

  • Tweriod: This free Twitter tool will tell you when the best times are to tweet as well as analyze your tweets and your customers’ tweets.
  • SocialBro: Helps you optimize your Twitter strategy by analyzing your top 100 twitter followers and producing a report to help you engage specifically with that audience. It also has expanded Social Marketing and Listening and Insight services available at reasonable cost.
  • HootSuite Auto-schedule: Use this tool to schedule tweets to post automatically for you at the prime times when past tweets have performed well.

We give a tweet about your business and keeping it lively and engaging for your customers, using technology to your advantage. For more ideas, contact Techno Advantage today!

 

Is Cryptovirus back as a worm?

03 Sep 15
lverbik
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19798163_s (2)Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does—it seems likely there is a new variant to the Cryptolocker virus—that insidious virus known to encrypt all your files and hold them ransom for $300. This new strain may or may not be Crypt, but it was reported recently to have been able to replicate to other workstations and begin encrypting user folders, though many IT peers do not believe that capability exists as yet.

Whether it is possible or not, it’s something to watch out for. The affected business not only was infected across multiple workstations, but also its server by way of mapped drives. The victim in this case saw a web page open at the workstation with a threatening hijack message and links to download the solution that unlocks the user’s data.

Its evil authors no doubt immediately began working on this new poison once researchers from FireEye and Fox-IT were able to reverse-engineer the virus and provide a solution to Cryptolocker’s victims in May of this year. Of course, half a million people had already been affected and 1.3 percent had paid cash to free their files from the criminals—to the tune of $3 million.

Following the forum discussion about this new case reveals that the most likely source of this virus may actually be a flash-based ad on a compromised site that many people in the office could have accessed. It is possible that someone shared a link containing the virus, or perhaps everyone had a program installed already that popped up an embedded ad that was clicked on.

No matter whether the new strain is able to actually replicate to other stations or not, this is a good reminder to take every measure available to safeguard your files. Number one, add this virus’s file names to your file screens: *.aaa and restore_. Two, backup always! Three, get legit anti-virus and monitoring software. Four, patch your workstations. Five, contact the team at Techno Advantage for help selecting the right cloud-based or on-premise backup and storage solutions.

Need more help deciding how to protect your business from a malware attack? Contact a Techno Pro today! And watch this blog for updates on any new malware. We want to keep you informed.

The Legal (And Smart) Way to Spy on your Competitors: Business Intelligence

04 Aug 15
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It used to be that Business Intelligence (BI) was reserved only for large corporations with IT budgets to match. But with the advent of the cloud, the growth of software-as-a-service and more competition overall, BI is now within reach for small businesses too, and they’re reaping the benefits.

One 2013 study done by Oxford Economics reported that more than half of firms having sales under $100,000 planned to use BI within three years—representing an increase of 43%. While that offers optimism, you should be careful before embarking on a BI plan. In an article published by Computer World, Gartner research stated that between 70% and 80% of business intelligence projects fail.

So take your time to find out some key indicators of its advantages for your business. Understand, first, what it means, second, what it can do for your business, and third how you can execute it successfully.

What is Business Intelligence? Sounds very James Bond, but a little less thrilling. BI is a software technology that focuses on finding trends in varied sets of data to deliver intelligence you can use to make smart business decisions. It’s facts, figures, data analysis generating reports and charts and other helpful insights you can put to work for you.

Some larger software giants like Microsoft and Intuit have developed solutions for small businesses, giving you the opportunity to leverage this market without a huge investment—and without employing a full-time data expert to use it.

Three top solutions you’ll want to explore and compare are Tableau, Birst, and QlikView. All have user-friendly platforms and each has nuances you’ll want to discover for yourself. But know that BI is an involved process no matter what software you use. So before you step into it, it’s best to define the business need you’re trying to solve, and then determine if you have the operational data required to pull from.

Ready to gather more intelligence on taking advantage of IT in your business? Contact TechnoAdvantage today!

The New Windows 10 Cometh! Are You Ready?

09 Jun 15
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As operating systems go, Windows 7: a sturdy workhorse. Windows 8: not so great. Windows 9: no you’re not crazy, there isn’t one (don’t ask). Now comes Windows 10, and all eyes are on Microsoft to make it work and make it good in order for them to remain a major player and help us forget our sadness from Windows 8. From all reports, this may just be the ticket.

Windows 10 is coming July 29, 2015. So you need to plan.

 Should I upgrade? When?

If you’re a Windows 7 platform, you’ve got a good thing going but you should still plan on taking advantage of the free upgrade sometime within the first year.  You don’t want to miss out on it.

If you’re a Windows 8 or 8.1 user, upgrading to 10 will be like satisfying that itch that never got scratched when you upgraded to 8.  Upgrade within twelve months, for free. After that you’ll have to pay to upgrade, but then you’ll receive free updates beyond that. Why not right away? Bugs, that’s why. Wait a bit and let those pesky critters get discovered and worked out before you take the plunge.

What’s are some great things about it?

Unlike its predecessors, Windows 10 will be standardized to work across-platform, which means the same code will work on all your company’s devices–computers, tablets, phones, and even Xbox when everything is said and done. This is huge in terms of simplifying the user experience, allowing employees to sync up and manage all their communications. And making everything smoother for programmers—no separate PC version, mobile version, etc.

This standardized platform means it’s going to be easier to get all the benefits from its new features. And the truth is that most people probably only use about 20 to 30% of any business applications’ capabilities. You could likely be taking advantage of some pretty cool features that can make your people more productive. One of these features is the enhanced, voice-drive Cortana tool. Or the new Edge browser, designed to let you search right from the address bar. Or the Hub where you can keep all the things you collect on the web. And Web Notes, that lets you write, doodle, take notes and highlighting directly on webpages.

We’ve got a good feeling about Windows 10 and will be reporting more on it as we go. This upgrade goes hand in hand with the new CEO at Microsoft, Satya Nadella—I don’t think it’s coincidence. He’s making big changes at Microsoft; some cool innovative things are happening and he’s putting Microsoft back on the map as a company that helps customers work and play better. Let’s keep our eyes on this.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.  Connect with us on social media using the icons below!

 

New VoIP Phone Solutions for Your Business

06 May 15
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The team at Techno Advantage is excited to announce a new VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone solution by Grandstream.

Our fearless leader Jay, recently attended an extensive training program hosted by Grandstream and became a certified partner.    We’re thrilled to bring this flexible new system and potential savings to our clients.

Here are three reasons why you’re going to love our new VoIP phone solution:

  • Cost effective – Clients may experience a substantial cost savings in the hundreds of dollars per month over traditional phone service with fewer features.
  • Feature rich – Finally, enterprise level corporate phone solutions are now available to the small business market. Some of our favorite features include: direct dial numbers, auto attendant, personalized screens, ring groups (with forwarding to mobile phones), intercom and paging.
  • All inclusive – Some VoIP systems have a fee per feature structure…but not Grandstream. Re-licensing fees…?  Nope, not with Grandstream.  All inclusive means that there is no separate monthly fee.  Once you’ve paid for the equipment you need, you’re done.

No monthly fee to Grandstream.  The only ongoing fee you would have is your already established data connection.

There are two primary means of connecting a VoIP system – a SIP trunk or a landline.  What is a SIP trunk you ask…well, it is an acronym for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).  It is a communications protocol for signaling and controlling multimedia communication sessions (AKA internet phone lines).  One of the benefits of this option is that it consolidates your onsite communication expenses into a single utility – your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

The other route would be for one of the major phone carriers to install landline phone lines and the VoIP system runs though those.  With the phone carrier option, you would pay a monthly service to them, but the VoIP technology and its features are purchased one time only.

Does your business need to use fax?  Grandstream has the protocol for internet faxing.

Need to be able to call from your cell phone and have the call appear to be from your office? It’s possible!

We can even use a combination of landlines and internet lines to meet the growing needs of your business.

Contact us on our Grandstream phones today for more information.  317-857-0150