Cybercrime & Your Employees

cybersecurity, cybercrime, employee breaches

Your employees are the # 1 cause of data breaches, just ask us. It’s true. Don’t let negligence ruin your business.

Cybercrimes are on the rise, yet most companies do not enforce or even provide employee Cyber Security training programs regarding how to protect themselves from being victims. In addition to the lack of training, most businesses have not allocated additional funding in their budgets to help with combatting cybercriminal attacks.

“More than 90 percent of security breaches can be traced back to employee errors.”  Art Gross, CEO, Secure Now! 

Of the many ways of being victimized by cybercriminals; the most common breaches are phishing attacks and spam emails, employees accidentally emailing sensitive information to someone outside the company, and unauthorized personnel stealing your data. We see the above mentioned scenarios happening more frequently and offer training programs for businesses and groups.  We educate you on the evolution of crime, the thriving dark web, breaches and what they cost you, identity theft, anti-virus strategies, and all the dangers social engineering.

In addition to training, we provide actionable intelligence to help protect against potential data breaches.  We will help to identify compromised credentials that can be used to exploit your business and employees.  An initial dark web scan helps to obtain lists of stolen or compromised personally identifiable data.  Once detected, we can proactively monitor for breaches linking back to your organization and receive real-time alerts when data is discovered on the dark web.  We offer the latest, most comprehensive, protective services available.

If you would like to join forces to take on the fight of cybercrime, contact Char Ferguson, and chat with her about how she can help your business or group become cyber-awareness experts.

backup and business continuity

Backup is Not Enough: You Need a Business Continuity Plan

Most companies are greatly improving how well they backup their critical data. Whether it is by using the cloud, encrypting USB drives or off-site storage, it is important to have your data backed up in a secure way. Unfortunately, since you cannot 100% guarantee cyber- attacks won’t affect your business, and we can’t control the weather, having backup is not enough. Would your employees know what to do if there was a flood due to a hurricane, a fire, or an online breach that reaches sensitive data? Would you be able to access your backed up information from another location? If your company does not have a business continuity plan in place, you run the risk of losing millions, and even a complete shutdown of your organization. Below we discuss further the importance of a business continuity plan and tips for putting one into place.

Why a Business Continuity Plan is Important

Recent studies have revealed that more than 70% of the American workforce surveyed does not feel well prepared for a disaster. If a disaster strikes, even your best employees cannot be expected to know what to do. This leaves each worker to respond in his or her own way, adding confusion to an already chaotic event. When you have a well-documented business continuity plan in place, your employees can be trained on how to follow it and practice it, ensuring a timely and safe recovery.

Key Components to a Good Business Continuity Plan

There are several parts involved in an effective business continuity plan:

  • Business Impact Analysis: Identify the consequences, effects and fallout of disasters on critical business operations and assets.
  • Identify Critical Operations: Reveal which functions are the most crucial and make a plan to keep them running in the event of a disaster.
  • Organize a Recovery Team: Designate a team who understands their duties during a disaster to help avoid confusion and give directions to others.
  • Practice: Routinely practice your business continuity plan so you will know if it is good at protecting company assets.

Data Recovery as Part of your Business Continuity Plan

One of the biggest and most important parts of your business continuity plan is data recovery planning. This plan gives your company the ability to run enterprise software and office productivity, so you do not lose customers and can continue seamlessly. No longer can you protect your mainframe from a fire by shutting it down before the sprinklers come on. Today’s enterprise systems are too large and complex to simply dry out their circuit boards with a hairdryer. Companies need a way to protect and access their data after a natural disaster.

Offsite archiving will keep your data safe if your main office is hit, but you need to be able to access it quickly when the data is suddenly required. This is why more and more businesses are moving to cloud service providers to backup their important data. With paperless storage and frequent backups to the cloud, your information is safe, even if your physical building is inaccessible. You are also able to get to your information from any location that has Internet access via the cloud, with your customers not even knowing you suffered any damages.

Contact us today if you have any questions about setting up a business continuity plan to access your data. Our team members are knowledgeable and here to help you!

cell phone for voip

Can You Use Your Cell Phone for VoIP?

Can you use your cell phone for VoIP? Absolutely. In fact, your smartphone is an excellent companion for your VoIP services. One of the biggest draws to VoIP is its mobility, and your cell phone is your daily companion. You actually spend more time with your cell phone than with anything or anyone else. Use your cell phone to maximize your VoIP reach with a few popular apps.

What do You Need for a VoIP Call on Your Device?

All you need to make a free VoIP call on your cell phone is a secure WiFi connection, an app and a smartphone. VoIP allows you to make calls on your cell phone when you are roaming, it allows you to receive office calls directly on your cell phone, it allows you to make phone calls from your phone with the company phone number, and it allows you to save serious cash on your phone bill if you pay for minutes.

How do you know it is a VoIP call versus a regular incoming call to your cell phone? Many of the apps to which we will introduce you have special screens and dial pads that give you a visual cue. From the VoIP apps you can make calls, forward calls, hold a video call, and transfer from the mobile carrier to a Wi-Fi connection without an interruption in the call. Before you download an app, make sure you read the reviews, features, and ratings.

What are the Best VoIP Apps?

Now that we have established that you can use your smartphone, which app is the best? Should you pay for a VoIP app or can you safely rely on a free download? We looked at apps for Android and iOS to discover with apps are the best, which ones consumers love, and which ones carry a price tag.

The top VoIP smartphone apps are:

  • Google Hangouts

Many users claim the Google Hangouts app is their top app for video calls, group messaging and voice calls. The app is free and it allows for up to 100 people on a group chat.

  • magicApp

The magicApp calling and messaging app allows users to turn devices into mobile phones. It is important to note that services are $1.99 a month or $14.99 a year for domestic calls.

  • Vonage Mobile

When we think about calling over the internet, many of us think about Vonage. It was one of the first household names for VoIP before we even knew what VoIP was. It is fitting that Vonage would create a mobile app that permits users to use their cell phones. Vonage is available for Apple and Android devices. Users can use up to five devices.

  • Viber

The app is available for both Android and Apple devices. The average rating is 4.5 stars out of five. Favorite features include group messaging, video calls, and Wi-Fi or 3G talk.

  • CSip Simple

The app is an Android product. It has fewer than 15,000 reviews and a 4.3-star rating. A few notable features include easy configuration, voice audio detection, calling options and video messaging.

Customer Communication

4 Ways to Improve Customer Communication

Strong and effective customer communication is key to running a successful business. When customers feel that they can reach you and you can reach out to them easily and in a variety of ways, it is going to give you an edge over the competition. Technology must be embraced for customer communication if you are going to stay on top in this digital era, and it simply needs to be a priority for your company.  Here we discuss 4 ways to improve customer communication for your business.

  1. Text Messages

Text messaging is an excellent way to get word out to customers and keep them informed about current happenings in your business.  One example is if they have an appointment with you that needs to be cancelled due to an unforeseen circumstance.  The customer will get the message quickly via text, and can get back to you to reschedule in a timely manner. It is also a great way to keep them updated if you have a power outage or something that affects them or their business.

  1. Switch to VoIP

Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that delivers your voice communications over the Internet.  It comes with many advantages and features that will improve customer communication. Your calls will be perceived locally, even if you are answering them remotely from halfway across the country. Calls can be routed based on hours of operation so that you offer round-the-clock service.

VoIP allows you to return customer phone calls that have reached voicemail quite easily, with functions like voicemail-to-email that alert you to calls immediately. Automatic call forwarding can direct a customer to an employee that is best suited to take the call, and it will reach their smartphone, desktop, laptop or tablet so they get the call the first time.

  1. Use Social Media

Most people are using some form of social media today, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or all of the above and more. Use these sites to serve your customer base. You can get out the word about new products and sales, but don’t limit it to promotions. Social media is a great way to put out information, images and related links that your followers may be interested in. Be sure to keep up on your sites because when a customer sees a Facebook page that has not been used for quite some time, it gives the impression that you don’t care enough to communicate with your customers.

  1. Make Communication a Priority

Before you can get started with any of these suggestions, you have to commit to quality customer communication within your business.  Take the time to make sure that you and your employees are all on the same page. The first step can be to create communication guidelines for your company, such as, all emails and calls must be returned within 24 hours, and that you regularly follow-up with customers to make sure they are satisfied.  It is important that you involve your staff in creating these guidelines, because they will be more likely to put in the effort to help your customers on a daily basis if involved in the process.

byod

What Everyone Needs to Know About BYOD

Today, virtually everyone is connected to the World Wide Web via some type of electronic device. Whether it’s a Smartphone, a laptop a tablet or some other device, the wealth of knowledge available on the Internet is readily available.

Given that so many people are connected, a new practice has surfaced in the business world – Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, as it is affectionately called. With this trend, businesses allow their employees to bring their own devices to work in order to conduct work-related tasks. This practice can greatly cut overhead costs, as business owners don’t need to invest in devices or software for their employees, which naturally boosts the bottom line.

However, before you jump on the BYOD bandwagon, there are some things that are pretty important for you to know.

Not For Everyone

What works well for one business may not work well for another. That goes with all aspects of business, including BYOD. Just because one business has great success utilizing this program in one way doesn’t mean that all businesses will have success using the same method. BYOD is definitely not a cookie cutter model. You’ll need to assess your business and adjust your standards and practices regarding BYOD according to your needs.

The Productivity Debate

There’s no denying that BYOD can increase productivity. It makes sense that workers will be able to perform more tasks with ease when they are using their own devices, which they are already familiar with. However, use of their personal devices can also become counterproductive. For example, employees may be tempted to use their devices in ways that are not related to work, which could definitely impact levels of productivity.

In order to keep productivity in check, you may want to limit the types of apps that your employees are able to download to their devices. For example, you may want to ban the installation of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Potential Security Issues

There is the possibility that security could become an issue. Vital data can become lost or stolen. In order to limit the risk of such issues, certain policies can be implanted that will protect information. For example, you could limit the use of data that involves sensitive information to be used in the office only, or you could have all business data removed should an employee no longer work with the company.

Training is Necessary

Though your employees will already know how to use their devices, that doesn’t mean that training isn’t necessary; you’re employees need to be trained on how they are supposed to use their devices at work. They also need to know how to implement the best security practices so that valuable information is not compromised. This training should be comprehensive and on-going so that employees can stay abreast of BYOD.

If executed properly BYOD can certainly enhance the success of your business.

printer ink

7 Tips for Using Less Printer Ink

You would think something that costs so much would go a little farther, but that is not happening anytime soon. Ink and toner are budget busters. If you consume a lot of ink at home or work, you can adopt a few habits to help you cut costs and ink use. There are seven ways […]

cloud computing security

Cloud Computing Security Myths

Many companies are turning to cloud computing to replace in-house servers and storage. While many are taking advantage of the benefits cloud computing has to offer, there are still some myths that keep business owners from making the switch. Here are some cloud computing myths about security to help you feel more confident in cloud computing:

Cloud Computing: Secure or Susceptible?

One of the major myths about cloud computing is that there are major security loopholes. Considering the recent celebrity photo leak from their iPhone cloud accounts, it seems obvious that the security is lacking, right? On the contrary – the software and hardware that major cloud computing companies use and offer to their clients has a higher level of security.

How can this be? If hackers can get to celebrity accounts then aren’t we all at risk? The short answer is no, we are not all at risk. The iPhone cloud is a large medium specific to the cell phone accounts you use for the pictures you take on your phone. You might have a few documents or videos, but no one is going to be storing 10 years of tax returns on their iPhone cloud accounts. Most people aren’t really interested in what your iPhone cloud account contains, unless of course – you are famous.

Cloud Computing Offers Higher Security

Since iPhone cloud accounts don’t house things like your social security number, there isn’t too much worry about your identity getting stolen that way. Which is exactly why cloud computing companies deploy high end commercial grade security measures to the businesses they serve. It is important for cloud computing companies to take into consideration the sensitive nature of the files that their client’s may be storing. Cloud computing companies deploy multiple layers of protection, not only to safeguard your information for being shared but also to ensure that the files are safe from corruption and can be easily recovered.

Another major myth about cloud computing is that clients who share the same cloud are at risk of being attacked or infiltrated by each other. This is a basic idea that on the surface seems like a clear threat. Thankfully, the cloud is more complex than most of us might imagine. Clients who share the same cloud have no ability to gain access to anything outside of the cloud account that a business has been assigned. Just because your house is on your street doesn’t make it easier for you to rob your neighbor – and this same idea applies to security regarding cloud computing.

Cloud computing continues to be one of the most secure options available today for businesses. Still have questions about the cloud? Ask Just Call the IT Guy for answers!

Kinect Technology for the office

Xbox Kinect Technology is More Than a Video Game – 5 Ways it’s Transforming Business

When you hear Xbox you immediately think of video games, but did you know that businesses are now integrating this gaming technology? Specifically, they are using Kinect technology for business, which allows you to use gestures and motion instead of a video game controller. Here are some examples of how integrating Kinect has transformed business:

1. Better Demonstration: Kinect allows companies to develop more meaningful presentations. By engaging the viewer, companies are able to demonstrate detailed information and provide a more comprehensive understanding of their subject matter. For example, car companies have used Kinect to showcase cars, enabling buyers to experience the vehicle without needed to provide a full lineup of cars. This is especially helpful in instances where there is limited space.

2. Move with Ease: The use of Kinect allows businesses to conduct video conferences during which they can move around the office and never be out of sight. Kinect tracks your movements and adjusts the camera while you walk. This proves important for companies that utilize teleconferencing to conduct every day business.

3. Share Information: Many businesses have several office locations and communicate with video conferencing. It can be burdensome trying to video conference with someone and they can’t read information from your white board, leaving you to attempt at sharing desktop information. With Kinect you can zoom right in, preventing interruptions.

4. Training: Employee training is an exhausting task that every employer must provide and every employee must suffer through. By using Kinect, new employees can get an in depth understanding of your company and the products you sell. Additionally, by using Kinect you can also develop simulations of daily duties to ensure that they are up to the task or identify areas of weakness.

5. Customized for your Needs: Many businesses are turning to Kinect to develop in house applications that serve their needs. For example, physical therapy applications have been created which serve a therapeutic purpose. In the education field, developers have designed interactive learning programs. This is extremely useful, as in both cases it is likely if that by making the activity fun, the user will engage more frequently. Clothing companies have designed Kinect programs which allow the user to virtually try on clothing without the hassle of undressing. How can Kinect transform your business?

Clearly, Kinect is a versatile product. By integrating Kinect in your business you can transform your business and boost productivity.

it support

Why You Should Switch to Proactive IT Support Instead of Reactive Support

If you are like most small businesses, you don’t think about technology maintenance until there is a problem that prevents your ability to use the technology. Waiting until something breaks or is simply working inefficiently before you fix it is called Reactive IT Support – and chances are it’s costing you a lot more than you need to pay for your technology maintenance. Not only will you spend money calling in IT support teams to find and diagnose the problem as well as figure out how to fix it; but you will typically experience downtime that prevents you from working and making money. Reactive IT environments cost a lot of time, money, and lost revenue. Here’s how a proactive IT support approach can help you:

Proactive IT Support Prevents Most Problems Before They Happen

When you switch to a proactive support environment, you are actively monitoring your network and technology systems all the time for any sign of trouble. You will keep software and hardware updated, and notice an issue before it causes downtime in your organization. Most major problems are prevented before they even happen – meaning your employees are able to work and continue generating revenue without delays in service delivery due to a malfunctioning network or computer.

Proactive IT Support Ensures Business Continuity

One of the advantages of turning your workplace into a proactive IT support environment is the assurance of a business continuity plan. Part of proactive IT support is ensuring your data is reliably backed up, from your email and contact lists to documents and files and even the configuration of your network and phone system. Most reactive IT environments don’t even think about the need for backup and recovery until after a disaster wipes out their office or network. Between 80 and 90% of businesses experiencing a natural disaster or major data loss will go out of business, but being proactive eliminates that risk.

Reduce Technology Expenses

It is really difficult to budget for IT expenses in a reactive IT environment – you simply have no idea when things are going to need to be fixed or how much it will cost. In a proactive IT support environment, you pay the same amount each month to keep everything up to date and maintained.  You can easily budget for your IT expenses and eliminate many of the extra expenses associated with calling vendors to come and fix your technology when it breaks, or even reduce your own IT department payroll costs.

No business or organization is immune to the possibility of technology problems. Being proactive can eliminate downtime for your company, save money, time, and even ensure your business continues to operate after data loss or disaster. Why wouldn’t you want to be proactive? Ask us about our Managed Services (Flat Rate IT) solutions.

cloud computing

3 Ways Cloud Computing Increases Office Efficiency

Minimizing costs while increasing efficiency is the goal of just about every business owner. When you transition to cloud computing, you can achieve both reduced expenses and increased efficiency. When you streamline your operations and minimize operational expenses you have the ability to achieve higher levels of profitability.

Here are three ways cloud computing can increase the efficiency in your office:

  1. The Cloud is Both Scalable and Flexible

When your business grows, one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face is keeping up with the growing expenses required to outfit additional employees and technology requirements. The cloud makes it easy and more affordable to add new employees to your network. When you require more bandwidth to meet the growing needs of your business, a cloud-based service can automatically recognize the need and meet the demand. The flexibility of cloud-based programs like Microsoft Office 365 help businesses remain organized and flexible in industries of constant change.

  1. The Cloud Provides a Competitive Edge to Businesses of All Sizes

It used to be only large enterprises with seemingly limitless marketing and technology budgets could compete with other large businesses. With the cloud, businesses of all sizes have access to the same technologies and can compete on a level playing field. Businesses of all sizes can remain competitive with a business continuity plan, ensuring the business remains operational even when faced with disasters or data loss.

  1. The Cloud Reduces Your Overhead Expenses (and Your Carbon Footprint!)

Cloud computing uses only the required amount of server space, therefore reducing your commercial energy consumption. Not only does this reduce your overhead expenses, but it reduces your corporate carbon footprint, which is in line with changing consumer values and their preference for working with environmentally friendly businesses.

Integrating Cloud technology into your office has the ability to reduce expenses, increase productivity and efficiency and make you more competitive in the process. For any business owner looking to grow their business cloud technology is a solution that can meet the needs of your business where it is right now – and grow alongside you as you begin reaching your goals.