Don’t let hackers fool you with these tricks

Don’t let hackers fool you with these tricks

The volume of malicious cyber attacks is increasing every year. Although many companies use the latest network security systems, they aren’t immune to the hackers’ favorite strategy — social engineering. Unlike malware, social engineering tricks people into volunteering sensitive data. Here’s what you should know to protect your business.

Phishing

This is the most frequently used social engineering attack, especially against small businesses. Check out these frightening statistics:

How is phishing carried out? Criminals make use of emails, phone calls, or text messages to steal money. Victims are directed to phony websites or hotlines and are tricked into giving away sensitive information like names, addresses, login information, social security, and credit card numbers.

To protect yourself, be wary of emails from people you don’t know that offer you a prize, come with attachments you didn’t request, direct you to suspicious sites, or urge you to act quickly. Phishing emails usually appear to come from reliable sources, but they are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

One of the most infamous and widespread examples of phishing was during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, where victims received fraudulent emails for fake ticketing services that stole their personal and financial information.

Tailgating

What’s the fastest and easiest way for criminals to enter a secure office? Through the front door, of course! Tailgating happens when an employee holds the door open for strangers and unauthorized visitors, allowing them to infiltrate an organization. This simple act of kindness enables fraudsters to enter restricted areas, access computers when no one is looking, or leave behind devices for snooping.

Quid pro quo

Here, scam artists offer a free service or a prize in exchange for information. They may lure their victims with a gift, concert tickets, a T-shirt, or early access to a popular game in exchange for login credentials, account details, passwords, and other important information. Or hackers may volunteer to fix their victims’ IT problems to get what they want. In most cases, the gift is a cheap trinket or the tickets are fake, but damages from stolen information are all too real.

Pretexting

Fraudsters pretend to be someone else to steal information. They may pose as a telemarketer, tech support representative, co-worker, or police officer to fish out credit card information, bank account details, usernames, and passwords. The con artist may even convince the unsuspecting victim to apply for a loan over the phone to get more details from the victim. By gaining the person’s trust, the scammer can fool anyone into divulging company secrets.

In spite of the many security measures available today, fraudsters and their social engineering schemes continue to haunt and harm many businesses. Thus, it’s best to prepare for the worst. To protect sensitive information, educate yourself and be careful. Remember: If anything is too good to be true, it probably is!

To shield your business from social engineering attacks, don’t take chances! Get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

How to choose the right mouse

How to choose the right mouse

If you’re tired of using an uncomfortable mouse or struggling with your laptop’s trackpad, it’s time to buy a new one. But with so many brands and models out there, where would you even start looking? Here are a few tips that will help you decide on the right mouse.

Cable or wireless?

Choosing between a wired or a wireless mouse is a factor you have to consider if you’re planning on purchasing a new mouse. Wireless mice are generally more comfortable since your range of movement isn’t limited by a cable and they’re usually travel friendly. However, they tend to be less responsive, which can be frustrating.

In some cases, wireless mice can also interfere with other wireless devices nearby, and most require batteries, which can create problems when they run out of juice. And, if you use the same mouse for both work and home, you run the risk of losing the tiny USB receiver for your wireless mouse when you travel.

On the other hand, wired mice are cheaper and easy to plug-and-play. The only problem you’ll have to worry about is dealing with tangled wires. So when you’re deciding on a new mouse, think about whether you’re looking for comfort or convenience.

Ergonomics matters

You’re going to be using the new mouse for a while, so it’s important to choose one that feels comfortable in your hands. When deciding on the right mouse, focus on the size and the grip of the device. The size of the mouse usually comes down to hand size. For example, someone with smaller hands might find larger mice quite unwieldy.

Certain mice can also accommodate different types of grips — fingertip grip, palm grip, and claw grip. Users who want high-precision control of their cursor should opt for a mouse with fingertip grip, those needing comfort should get a palm grip mouse, and if you want both control and comfort, the claw grip mouse is the way to go.

DPI (dots per inch)

Higher sensitivity is necessary for precise mouse movements, especially if you’re editing images, videos, or audio files. Mice with 1200 DPI or greater guarantee finer control.

Although mouse specifications like DPI might be the last thing on your mind when it comes to buying new hardware, your comfort is important. A good mouse with the right fit can make you more efficient and reduce the risk of injury.

If you need assistance setting up the best hardware for your company, give us a call. We’re happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Which web browser is perfect for you?

Which web browser is perfect for you?

The battle of the web browsers has raged on for years. While the classic rivalry between Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer has long passed, we are now facing a broader field of competition. There are currently four web browsers competing for space in your hard drive, and we’ve drawn up this list of their advantages and disadvantages to help you choose.

Google Chrome
By just about any metric, Google Chrome has been the browser of choice for most internet users over the last couple years. It’s easy to use and its graphics interface has a low profile. However, if you want to customize Chrome with extensions and apps, there are more than enough options. The bottom line is: this is the best browser for users who spend a lot of time in G-Suite documents, or want the security benefits of frequent patches and updates.

Apple Safari
We might as well start off with the one, glaring drawback of Safari: It’s available only to Apple users. However, if you are working on a macOS or iOS device, Safari has a lot going for it. Ad blocking is built right into the browser, as well as RSS support for aggregating lots of information in one place. And because tabs can be automatically synced across all your Apple devices, we highly recommend Safari for anyone in a Mac environment.

Microsoft Edge
Note that Edge is a different browser than Internet Explorer. The latter still exists, but we’ve decided to skip it for various reasons. Although Edge works only on Windows 10 systems, it has two things going for it. First, Microsoft has announced a feature that will incorporate virtualization into Edge to quarantine downloads for testing before they’re opened on your computer. Second, the Windows 10 browser comes with some fantastic Office 365 integration. We highly recommend Edge for users working in a business enterprise environment.

Opera
We’ve saved the most controversial for last. The Opera browser isn’t one of the most popular browsers around, but it does deserve consideration. Although it requires more customization and under-the-hood-work than its competitors, its privacy settings are unmatched. With a built-in virtual private network feature and some of the most robust ad blocking on the market, Opera is a great way to take a break from cookies and targeted advertisements.

Choosing a web browser may seem like such an inconsequential thing, but just think about the rate of cloud adoption. If you plan on utilizing more software-as-a-service solutions in the coming years, one tiny feature in a browser could make all the difference. Contact us today about planning your cloud deployment over the coming years.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Boost user productivity with MyAnalytics

Boost user productivity with MyAnalytics

Machine learning is all the rage nowadays, and few vendors are providing as many solutions powered by this new technology as Microsoft does. Office 365 includes “intelligent” functionality for analyzing your employees’ time and coaching them on how to use it more efficiently.

What is MyAnalytics?

MyAnalytics apply machine learning technology to your employees’ Office 365 data. By utilizing extremely powerful computing processes to analyze huge blocks of information, MyAnalytics can uncover trends and correlations that may be too complex for human discovery.

Every day, Office 365 users create several thousand new data points across Microsoft’s productivity suite, and there’s a lot of potential to rearrange meetings, project goals, and employee tasks to increase efficiency.

The most obvious improvement is with Outlook calendar. MyAnalytics tracks how much time you’re spending with each person in your office as well as the time you’re investing in specific projects. After sufficient information has been gathered, your Office 365 dashboard will begin coaching you on how to organize meetings and project goals based on your habits and past successes.

How can it improve your office?

Have you ever worked on a huge project that required multiple contributors? Did you all meet regularly to update each other? Users who add contacts — from both inside the company and out — and projects to MyAnalytics get reminders to stay in touch with co-workers most vital to project completion.

Every metric tracked by MyAnalytics can be shared with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page. So MyAnalytics is more than just a motivational tool, because sharing these metrics allows your team to identify bottlenecks and trends to smoothen the workflow process.

Response time is another key metric your employees are probably only vaguely aware of. MyAnalytics calculates average email response times — both from you and from contacts — to identify what time of day you’re best at communicating, and how you can adapt your schedule to get more work done in the same amount of time.

Privacy concerns

One of the greatest things about MyAnalytics is that it doesn’t introduce any new privacy concerns for business owners. All the data it uses to create customized coaching and advice is publicly available to everyone at your business — via calendar appointments, email content, and message timestamps. The only difference is that Microsoft is lending you the previously prohibitive computing power to sift through all of it.

Availability

This wonderful new tool comes with any Enterprise E5 plan, but can also be added on to E1 and E3 Enterprise plans for just a few dollars per month.

Increasing employee productivity is never as clear cut as it is with MyAnalytics. Install a solution, follow its advice, and start brainstorming about what to do with all your extra time. We’ve got plenty of other great solutions for streamlining your business processes — call us today to find out!

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

3 Microsoft Excel tips to master

3 Microsoft Excel tips to master

Every computer user must be well-versed in various office programs, including Microsoft Excel. If you only know a few basic commands, you haven’t fully mastered Excel. Here are a few features that can make your life easier.

Pie and Sunburst Charts

Everyone knows that bombarding stakeholders with endless numbers and decimal points is the wrong approach. You need to compile data and develop comprehensive pie or sunburst charts to make life easier for clients and investors.

Here’s how to create a pie chart:

  1. Select your data.
  2. Click on the Recommended Charts tool to see different style chart suggestions for your data.
  3. Click on the Chart Styles, Chart Filters, or Chart Elements button in the upper-right corner of the chart to personalize its overall look or add chart elements, such as data labels or axis titles.

Steps to create a sunburst chart:

  1. Select all your data.
  2. Click Insert > Insert Hierarchy Chart > Sunburst.
  3. Go to the Design and Format tabs to tailor its overall look.

Pivot Tables

Pivot Tables might be one of the most powerful yet intimidating data analysis tools in Excel’s arsenal. It allows you to summarize huge chunks of data in lists or tables without using a formula. All you need to do is to:

  1. Select the data, which must only have a single-row heading without empty columns or rows.
  2. Click Insert > PivotTable.
  3. Under Choose the data that you want to analyze, click Select a table or range.
  4. In the Table/Range box, validate the cell range.
  5. Under Choose where you want the PivotTable report to be placed, click New worksheet, or Existing worksheet and enter the location where you want to place the PivotTable.

Conditional Formatting

This tool highlights essential information within your dataset. For instance, you’re presenting the latest numbers on project efficiency and you use Conditional Formatting to highlight any number lower than 80%. The highlighted data will capture the audience’s attention, allowing them to identify the bottlenecks in your projects. To customize how the data is displayed, simply:

  1. Select the cell.
  2. Click Home > Conditional Formatting.
  3. Click Format.
  4. Change your formatting preference in the Color or Font style box.

Excel is one of the most commonly used business software on the market, yet not everyone knows how to fully utilize it. If you want to learn more about other handy Excel features, give us a call today and we’ll elevate your user status from beginner to pro.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

6 tips for SMB Facebook pages

6 tips for SMB Facebook pages

Facebook isn’t worth over $480 billion because people use it for just selfies and political rants. Businesses of all sizes and from all industries are using it to attract and engage customers, and yours should too. Aside from purchasing targeted advertisements, there are a host of free strategies to generate business with your SMB’s Facebook page.

Focus on getting comments

In the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced broad changes to what it shows to users. Notably, the social platform now prioritizes posts from friends and family over those from businesses. Zuckerberg says the aim is for users to engage with their connections more often, and going forward, the number of comments a post has will be the biggest factor in how many newsfeeds it shows up in. Posts from businesses lost a lot of visibility, but the ones that generated the most conversation weren’t hit as hard.

Facebook-only promos

Another great strategy for boosting user engagement is to offer product or service discounts that are only available through Facebook. You want users to see value in your page, so avoid copying and pasting a special, such as a discount code, from another marketing channel. One popular option is to promise the release of a new promotion in your next live video broadcast. Announce the details during the broadcast and tell viewers to leave a comment if they want to be included. Then, you can send them a direct message with a confirmation and a thank you.

Facebook CTAs: Update them often

Businesses have several text options for the ‘call to action’ button on their Facebook page. Would ‘Contact Us’ get more clicks than ‘Learn More’ for your page? Experiment with the different options and where they link to until you find the most successful combination. You probably spent more than a few minutes working on the CTAs for your website — why wouldn’t you do the same on Facebook?

Don’t just post about yourself

If a user has already liked your page, they know you exist and they have a decent idea of what you sell. Occasionally take a break from posting links to your site and include news and information that relates to your products or services. Remember, Facebook places the most value on social posts, and limiting yourself to company updates and promotions will bore your followers.

Pin posts to the top of your page

When a post generates lots of engagement and holds users’ attentions for a long time, don’t let it get buried underneath less popular posts. Click the arrow in the upper-right corner of the post and select Pin to Top to make it one of the first things people see when they visit your page.

Be personal
Most importantly, always look for ways to make your company’s Facebook page more personal. Stiff and formal posts are a dime a dozen and rarely catch anyone’s attention. If you share fun, behind-the-scenes photos of your business, respond to comments in a conversational tone, and make jokes, your page will stand out from the rest.

A Facebook business profile may be free, but generating engagement will take some effort. We can help by installing and supporting communication and customer relationship management solutions that simplify the engagement process. Contact us today to find out more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

5 Cybersecurity measures anyone can master

5 Cybersecurity measures anyone can master

Avoiding malware and online scams takes a lot of work. You have to treat every email with suspicion, manage a long list of convoluted passwords, and avoid public WiFi networks. Ideally, you follow several other cybersecurity best practices, but many users don’t believe they’re worth the time. If you’re one of those people, here are five ways to stay safe that won’t eat up all your time.

1. Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

This tool earns the number one spot on our list because it can keep you safe even after a hacker has stolen one of your passwords. That’s because MFA requires more than one form of identification to grant access to an account.

The most common example is a temporary code that is sent to your mobile device. Only someone with both the password and access to your smartphone will be able to log in. Almost any online account provider offers this service, and some let you require additional types of verification, such as a fingerprint or facial scan.

2. Password managers

Every online account linked to your name should have a unique password with at least 12 characters that doesn’t contain facts about you (avoid anniversary dates, pet names, etc.). Hackers have tools to guess thousands of passwords per second based on your personal details, and the first thing they do after cracking a password is to try it on other accounts.

Password manager apps create random strings of characters and let you save them in an encrypted list. You only need one complex password to log into the manager, and you’ll have easy access to all your credentials. No more memorizing long phrases, or reusing passwords!

3. Software updates

Software developers and hackers are constantly searching for vulnerabilities that can be exploited. Sometimes, a developer will find one before hackers and release a proactive update to fix it. Other times, hackers find the vulnerability first and release malware to exploit it, forcing the developer to issue a reactive update as quickly as possible.

Either way, you must update all your applications as often as possible. If you are too busy, check the software settings for an automatic update option. The inconvenience of updating when you aren’t prepared to is nothing compared to the pain of a data breach.

4. Disable flash player

Adobe Flash Player is one of the most popular ways to stream media on the web, but it has such a poor security record that most experts recommend that users block the plugin on all their devices. Flash Player has been hacked thousands of times, and products from companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google regularly display reminders to turn it off. Open your web browser’s settings and look for the Plugins or Content Settings menu, then disable Adobe Flash Player.

5. HTTPS Everywhere

Just a few years ago, most websites used unencrypted connections, which meant anything you typed into a form on that site would be sent in plain text and could be intercepted with little effort. HTTPS was created to facilitate safer connections, but many sites were slow to adopt it or didn’t make it the default option.

HTTPS Everywhere is a browser extension that ensures you use an encrypted connection whenever possible and are alerted when one isn’t available on a page that requests sensitive information. It takes less than one minute and a few clicks to install it.

If you run a business with 10 or more employees, these simple tips won’t be enough to keep you safe. You’ll need a team of certified professionals that can install and manage several security solutions that work in unison. If you don’t have access to that level of expertise, our team is available to help. Give us a call today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

The benefits of Hardware-as-a-Service

The benefits of Hardware-as-a-Service

Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) takes care of all your hardware-related issues, including upgrades, maintenance, and management for an affordable subscription fee. It’s a solution that offers small- and medium-sized businesses numerous benefits, and here are a few of them.

Big savings
For SMBs, cash flow is a crucial matter. HaaS is essentially like leasing hardware equipment so you don’t have to pay for all of it upfront. What’s more, you pay a fixed monthly cost for all the maintenance and upkeep you need. This allows you to turn a big capital investment into a small, manageable operational expense that leaves you money for more important projects.

Advanced tech
It’s not easy for small businesses to catch up with the latest technology since they have limited funds. By using HaaS, your MSP gives you cutting-edge hardware and ensures they get the most recent upgrades so you can run resource-intensive applications and work efficiently.

Expert maintenance
Hardware must be managed and maintained, but small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) often lack the proper expertise, labor, and time to do so. Fortunately, HaaS providers have a team of hardware specialists on staff, ready to fix and proactively manage your equipment for you around the clock.

Flexible service
As time progresses, your organization grows and changes, which means your IT needs will also evolve. HaaS makes it easy for you to add or decommission hardware when your operation grows or scales down.

Robust security
Software isn’t the only thing that needs to be up to date to defend against the latest cyberattacks — your hardware does, too. HaaS providers update hardware that may be susceptible to cyberthreats. For instance, they may upgrade outdated WiFi routers to make sure hackers can’t infiltrate your network and steal information.

Thinking about switching to Haas but not sure where to start? Why not contact us today? We provide a variety of HaaS solutions tailored to suit any business’s needs. Tell us your IT requirements and let’s see what we can do.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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Source: Pronto

Hybrid clouds make SMBs more flexible

Hybrid clouds make SMBs more flexible

Cloud computing has become an indispensable component in business IT because it’s cost-effective, flexible, and secure. Thanks to hybrid cloud solutions, organizations have access to even more agile computing resources.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public clouds. In the former, data and applications that require tighter controls are hosted either internally or privately in an offsite facility. Public clouds are managed externally by third-party providers with the express purpose of reducing a company’s IT infrastructure.

A recent study indicates that 75% of companies have adopted hybrid cloud solutions, mainly because of their numerous benefits. Here are the four most significant advantages of moving to a hybrid cloud environment.

Adaptability

Having the ability to choose between on-site/privately-hosted cloud servers and public ones let you pair the right IT solution with the right job. For example, you can use the private cloud to store sensitive files, while utilizing more robust computing resources from the public cloud to run resource-intensive applications.

Scalability

The hybrid cloud allows you to “scale up” or “scale down” computing resources on an as-needed basis. So if there are last-minute computing demands that your hardware can’t support, or if you’re planning for future expansion, hybrid cloud solutions allow for on-demand increases or decreases in capacity.

Cost efficiency

Does your business struggle to meet seasonal demands? With a hybrid cloud solution, you’ll be able to easily handle spikes in demand by migrating data from insufficient on-premise servers to scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud servers whenever needed, without incurring extra hardware and maintenance costs.

Security

Last but not least are the security advantages of a hybrid cloud solution. You can host sensitive data such as an e-commerce details or an HR platform within the private cloud, where it will be protected by your security systems and kept under close watch. Meanwhile, routine forms and documents can be stored in the public cloud and protected by a trusted third-party.

Here’s how SMBs can set up a hybrid cloud model based on their requirements and the providers available to them:

  1. By employing one specialized cloud provider who offers comprehensive hybrid solutions
  2. By integrating the services of a private cloud provider with those of a separate public cloud provider
  3. By hosting a private cloud themselves and then incorporating a public cloud service into their infrastructure

Our experts can help you transition to a hybrid cloud solution without interruption and without the huge costs. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits that a hybrid cloud can bring to your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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How To Make Sure You Never Fall Victim To Ransomware

How To Make Sure You Never Fall Victim To Ransomware

Late last March, the infrastructure of Atlanta was brought to its knees. More than a third of 424 programs used nearly every day by city officials of all types, including everyone from police officers to trash collectors to water management employees, were knocked out of commission. What’s worse, close to 30% of these programs were considered “mission critical,” according to Atlanta’s Information Management head, Daphne Rackley.

The culprit wasn’t some horrific natural disaster or mechanical collapse; it was a small package of code called SAMSAM, a virus that managed to penetrate the networks of a $371 billion city economy and wreak havoc on its systems. After the malicious software wormed its way into the network, locking hundreds of city employees out of their computers, hackers demanded a $50,000 Bitcoin ransom to release their grip on the data. While officials remain quiet about the entry point of SAMSAM or their response to the ransom, within two weeks of the attack, total recovery costs already exceeded $2.6 million, and Rackley estimates they’ll climb at least another $9.5 million over the coming year.

It’s a disturbing cautionary tale not only for other city governments, but for organizations of all sizes with assets to protect. Atlanta wasn’t the only entity to buckle under the siege of SAMSAM. According to a report from security software firm Sophos, SAMSAM has snatched almost $6 million since 2015, casting a wide net over more than 233 victims of all types. And, of course, SAMSAM is far from the only ransomware that can bring calamity to an organization.

If you’re a business owner, these numbers should serve as a wake-up call. It’s very simple: in 2018, lax, underfunded cyber security will not cut it. When hackers are ganging up on city governments like villains in an action movie, that’s your cue to batten down the hatches and protect your livelihood.

The question is, how? When ransomware is so abundant and pernicious, what’s the best way to keep it from swallowing your organization whole?

1. BACK UP YOUR STUFF
If you’ve ever talked to anyone with even the slightest bit of IT knowledge, you’ve probably heard how vital it is that you regularly back up everything in your system, but it’s true. If you don’t have a real-time or file-sync backup strategy, one that will actually allow you to roll back everything in your network to before the infection happened, then once ransomware hits and encrypts your files, you’re basically sunk. Preferably, you’ll maintain several different copies of backup files in multiple locations, on different media that malware can’t spread to
from your primary network. Then, if it breaches your defenses, you can pinpoint the malware, delete it, then restore your network to a pre-virus state, drastically minimizing the damage and totally circumventing paying out a hefty ransom.

2. GET EDUCATED
We’ve written before that the biggest security flaw to your business isn’t that free, outdated antivirus you’ve installed, but the hapless employees who sit down at their workstations each day. Ransomware can take on some extremely tricky forms to hoodwink its way into your network, but if your team can easily recognize social engineering strategies, shady clickbait links and the dangers of unvetted attachments, it will be much, much more difficult for ransomware to find a foothold. These are by far the most common ways that malware finds it way in.

3. LOCK IT DOWN
By whitelisting applications, keeping everything updated with the latest patches and restricting administrative privileges for most users, you can drastically reduce the risk and impact of ransomware. But it’s difficult to do this without an entire team on the case day by day. That’s where a managed services provider becomes essential, proactively managing your network to plug up any security holes long before hackers can sniff them out. The bad news is that ransomware is everywhere. The good news is that with a few fairly simple steps, you can secure your business against the large majority of threats.

Published with permission from TMT Technology Times. Source.

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Source: Pronto