Tag Archives: tech

4 Must-Have, Low-Risk Cloud Solutions

05 Apr 17
lverbik
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Let’s face it, your business has more competition than ever. And they’ll eat you alive if you fall behind in today’s technology “arms race.”

Maybe your network needs greater security. Or you haven’t yet taken advantage of new cloud-based apps that help your team get more done in less time. Today, the action is in the cloud. And if you don’t know what’s out there, it’s just that much easier for competitors to pull ahead.

To help you stay on top, here’s a quick survey of four ways to put the cloud in your corner, along with examples of each.

Network Security

As devices on your network become more diverse and mobile, monitoring them in real time is absolutely critical to averting cyber-attacks. A good network-security tool probes for weak points and alerts you to potential threats. It can employ both hardware and software technologies. And today’s environment demands a bevy of checkpoints, from access control to WiFi-intrusion monitoring.

But how do you protect against threats that evade your monitoring efforts? Due to the recent spread of “fileless” malware, no antivirus program is 100% “bullet-proof.” However, you should be able to find basic software protection for around $40 per user. Look for features such as e-mail security, data loss prevention, network segmentation and behavioral analytics. And ideally, it scans quickly, takes up little space on your devices and may even be able to recover files encrypted by ransomware.

Collaboration

Giving your team the right cloud collaboration tools can be almost as good as giving them steroids… (Except, of course, it’s legal.) With the wide array of apps available today, the trick is finding the best one – or the best combination – for your company. Top contenders include Asana, Slack, Teamwork, Trello and Google Drive. These and similar apps can improve efficiencies in areas like project and task management, team communications and collaboration, brainstorming, document processing and storage, and more. And with cloud collaboration, you’re no longer restricted to bringing aboard talent from your local area alone.

Contracts & Accounting

Contracts and proposals that get bogged down in logistics can hurt monthly revenues. Is your sales team still asking customers to sign and fax back important documents? If so, they’re losing precious minutes every day. Then there’s the cost of storing and managing physical files. It all adds up. It’s no wonder so many companies now use electronic signature apps, such as DocuSign, Adobe Sign and RPost. They’ll let you manage the signing of important documents entirely online, and will encrypt and store files for you. Some are even court-approved and create a full audit trail.

For small business accounting, industry veteran QuickBooks, now with an online version, and upstart Xero can help you keep the books with relative ease. They both offer a clean, intuitive UI and affordable pricing with a comprehensive set of features. And, of course, being cloud-based, they can be accessed from a variety of locations, adding flexibility to your workforce.

If you’d like to know how well your company is (or isn’t) taking advantage of today’s cloud, contact us.

The One Attack No Tech Can Stop

22 Sep 16
lverbik
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You can defend your data with all the latest and best technology. But if just one team member gets tricked into giving away the keys to the castle, it’s game over. Hackers know this. And that’s why so many use social engineering to break in.

And it’s not just the big companies you hear about on the news. On February 3, 2016 a suspect posing as the CEO of Magnolia Health Corp. obtained a spreadsheet with sensitive data about their employees. On February 23, someone posing as an employee of Central Concrete Supply Company obtained confidential W2 records and disappeared with them.

In a 2011 survey, Check Point Software Technologies found that nearly half of the companies surveyed reported one or more social engineering attacks resulting in losses ranging anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 per occurrence.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t any whiz-bang tricks or tools that will automatically prevent a clever “social engineer” (SE) from breaking in. The keys to protection are awareness and vigilance. To help you know what to watch for, here are five common ploys – and how to deflect them:

Familiarity – In this type of scheme, the hacker becomes familiar to an employee. Social networking sites can reveal an employee’s schedule and favorite hangouts. The hacker might then frequent the same bar or restaurant. After a drink or two, some key fact may slip out… The best way to bust this ploy is to be careful to not get lulled into a false sense of security around people you haven’t thoroughly vetted.

The Consultant – A social engineer poses as a consultant for hire. Once they get the gig they can scoop up all the info they need from you and your team because of their seeming authority. Watch for this especially with IT consultants. Do NOT trust blindly. Vet every consultant, and never give all the keys to the kingdom. Just because someone has the skills to fix your server or network doesn’t mean they won’t steal your data. Vet thoroughly, and, as Ronald Reagan said, ‘trust but verify’.

Piggybacking – The SE waits by a secured door for someone to use their passcode and enters right behind them. Or the SE struggles with a heavy box and asks a legit employee to hold the door open for them. Being kind and helpful, the employee helps the SE right into the building… free to do as they please. To foil this one, never forget the dangers of allowing a stranger in without proper clearance.

The Interview – Key information often escapes during interviews. A smart social engineer will gain an interview and deftly pick up all the information they need to hack into your network. Make sure any data provided during an interview offers nothing in the way of secrets. Keep the conversation light, or even superficial to avoid leaking critical data.

Angry Man – You may have seen this on TV… Somebody has an angry tone on the phone, or is grumbling to themselves as if they’ve just had an argument. We all tend to avoid people like that. Enough people avoid them and the way is cleared into the heart of the company – and your data. Don’t go along with it. When you see this exploit unfolding, call security.

The key to preventing social engineering attacks is a well-trained workforce. You and your people may be your company’s greatest asset. Yet without regular, proper training, human beings can be the weakest link in your company’s data defenses.

Contact a TechnoPro for more information.

Do you Have a Good, Trustworthy IT Guy?

13 Jan 16
lverbik
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Whoever it may be—guy, girl, company—whoever holds the keys to your IT kingdom had better be someone you can trust, and someone who is doing a good job. You just can’t afford to get this wrong.

Your IT guy is the one with the most access to your valuable network—the heart of your business—and thus the most power to wield for good or evil.

Think about it—if this person were to disappear, would you know where all your passwords, software license, disks, etc., are stored? Do you have complete network documentation should you require another person to step in? Scary. Don’t leave yourself vulnerable.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your IT provider. You should have all YESes. If you answer NO to any of these, you might want to think about finding someone who can do a better job for you.

  • Are they available for live phone consultation? Do they respond in an hour or less when you’ve got emergency tech support issues?
  • Are they keeping your network remotely monitored nonstop, and up to date on security settings, patches and viruses?
  • Are they vigilant about offsite and onsite backup monitoring, or do they not care if you are still using unreliable tape backups?
  • Do they periodically conduct test restores of your backups to make sure they’ll work in the event of a real disaster?
  • Have they give you full documentation of your network, including network passwords, software licenses, and hardware info, or are they the sole keeper of the secrets?
  • Are they always looking for ways to improve your operations, offering suggestions and new ideas? Or are they only there when you have a problem?
  • Are the timely and proactive it responding to your inquiries, providing status reports and progress without you having to hunt them down?
  • Do they explain things in regular people language and not tech talk? Or do they sort of enjoy keeping you in the dark about what they do?
  • Do they bill you at a fixed rate or is it open ended to cover their time and materials?

If you can say NO to any of the above, we’d like to give you a free IT assessment to set your mind at ease. It’s your right and freedom to get the best IT service possible, with someone you trust. We’ll check the “health” of your current operations and look for any places where improvements can be made to help you avoid data loss or other costly errors. Contact Techno Advantage today, and rest easy.

Service & Support – They Do Exist!

21 May 15
lverbik
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Do you ever tire of picking up the phone for customer service or tech support and reaching any number of auto attendants and prompts?   You wait patiently for that friendly and knowledgeable voice, but instead the call leaves you with unanswered questions and piles of stress and frustration?

You called because you need help with something…but it seems that no one’s home.   Wish you could just talk to a person? Like the good ol’ days….when people used to answer the phone.

Maybe you need to replace some equipment but you’re not sure what’s out there, perhaps the server is down, you might suspect malware or viruses on your computer. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a problem or question and there was a real, live IT expert just a phone call away? Of course it would!

Well, there’s good news. It does exist and it’s on display everyday at the Techno Advantage offices.

Recently, I spent some extra time with Jay and Matt and it really opened my eyes to the value of the monitoring packages and service plans they offer. On a given day, many calls come and go from the Techno Advantage offices, and each one is handled efficiently, honestly and with the client’s best interests in mind. Questions range from, “Can you help me find my file?” to “What steps should I take to migrate to a new operating system?”

Having a monitoring plan with Techno Advantage means that there really is a qualified professional standing at the ready to support your business IT needs. The team at Techno Advantage can monitor your system daily for storage issues, error messages, updates and all those things that you don’t have time to worry with.   If need be, a friendly technician can log-in using the Techno Advantage support portal to see what you’re seeing and walk you through a solution. Now that’s targeted help, when and where you need it!

The GOLD, SILVER and BRONZE packages cover servers, networks, devices and applications, as well as disaster recovery. Click here to see our monitoring plan packages. Techno Advantage has just the right monitoring and service plans to fit your unique tech support needs.