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.

Malware and Spyware

How To Protect Your Computer Against Malware and Spyware

What is Malware and Spyware?

The first step in knowing how to protect your computer from unwanted visitors such as malware and spyware is knowing what these harmful programs are. Malware is a software that works to damage computers, often targeting the hard drive and preventing the computer from functioning properly. Spyware is similar in its destructive nature, it allows another user to hack into your computer from their own computer, and obtain personal information that you have stored within your hard drive. The information they have access to could range from search history to important identification details (social security number, address, legal files, and photos).

How do I know if my computer is infected?

  1. Unwanted or unexpected pop-ups – if opening a browser unleashes a fury of new windows opening rapidly then you have a security issue.
  2. If there are new toolbars or bookmarks that you did not download/create, then it is possible a program has done that for you.
  3. Slow or noticeable decreases in internet connectivity – if your ability to search and use the internet is reduced to a crawl because pages are not loading as quickly as they used to, then there could be a bigger problem at work.
  4. If programs start running automatically or unprompted this could mean your hard drive has been infiltrated.
  5. If your computer starts to crash frequently, then there could be destructive software that has corrupted your operating system.

How do I protect my computer?

Natural Defenses:

Your computer is equipped with internal software that is essential to the prevention of both malware and spyware.

  1. The first line of defense are pop-up blockers. It is essential to your computer’s safety that you ensure your pop-up blockers are enabled. These will prevent additional windows that could potentially contain harmful information from being opened when you are browsing the Internet.
  2. The next line of defense is your computer’s firewalls. It is important to make sure that within your settings, your firewalls are enabled. This program acts as a barrier between the harmful software and your hard drive. While you are browsing the Internet, it prevents outside sources from downloading packets of information to your computer.
  3. In addition to this, it is important to keep your system up to date. This means downloading and installing your system’s updates as they become available. The companies behind your computer’s software (Windows, Apple, etc…) provide these new security components periodically for a reason. As time goes on, the programs initially installed within your computer go out of date, which means they will fail to thoroughly protect your hard drive against both malware and spyware. By downloading the newest update, you are making sure that your computer continues to be equipped with the proper tools to prevent attacks from these outside threats.

Being Aware:

After you ensure that all of the programs that your computer is equipped with are up and running effectively, you can further help improve your computer’s defenses by looking out for suspicious activity.

  1. Do not open emails or messages from sources that you do not know.
  2. Do not visit any odd or unidentifiable websites.
  3. Do not allow websites to download any data directly to your computer unless you know it is 100% safe.
  4. Always make sure to keep important information password protected.

In order to prevent malware and spyware attacks, it is important to follow all of the tips and steps listed above. The health of your computer is a direct result of how well you take care of it, and how well you take advantage of the programs that are provided to you. Be a responsible computer owner, use your pop-up blockers, firewalls and keep your systems up to date.

technology kitchen gadgets

Six Must-Have Kitchen Gadgets

Your kitchen is a special place in your home. You and your family spend time together, you craft masterpiece dishes, mix drinks for your friends, and sometimes you just hang out at the counter and chat. Kitchens are no longer the places where you slave away with mixing bowls and whisks or sweat over a hot stove. Technology has infused the modern kitchen with style and flair, all while making cooking, baking, entertaining and serving more efficient. Boost your productivity with these six must-have kitchen gadgets.

  1. Food Prep Pad

The Prep Pad is a digital food scale that helps you determine the best portion size. In addition to weighing your food, the gadget provides nutritional data for your food choice. Input the food you are weighing, or scan the barcode, and review all of the information on your iPad.

  1. Air fryer

You can fry your favorite treats without having to dunk them in colossal amounts of oil. The air fryer has a drawer for your favorite vegetables, fries, and other fry-worthy foods. Once the food is in the drawer, you simply drizzle a little olive oil over the top for the crisp taste you crave.

  1. iGrill

iGrill is a thermometer that remains it the food while it is cooking. The cord extends out of the oven to a digital display screen. Instead of popping open the oven a dozen times, you can glance at the screen or get temperature readings sent to your smartphone.

  1. Wi-Fi Crockpot

Crockpots are awesome, but using one can be stressful. Not too long ago, you could only wish you were able to turn the crockpot on while you were at work. Now you can. The Belkin Crock-Pot WeMo Slow Cooker allows you to turn it on or off, adjust the temperature, and receive reminders with your smartphone.

  1. Ravi Instant Wine Chiller

If you are a wine drinker, you have probably been in a situation when the wine is flowing just as much as the conversation, but when you need a new bottle, it is not at the right temperature. Being the savvy wine drinker you are, you either waited or suffered through, but those days are gone. The Ravi Instant Wine Chiller is a tube that attaches to the top of the bottle and instantly chills the wine as it is being poured.

  1. Whirlpool interactive Cooktop

Okay, it’s a concept that was revealed at CES 2014, but it is awesome! The interactive stovetop accommodates your pots and your Pinterest account. The stovetop allows users to access recipes, social media pages, and email all while they are cooking; the interactive screen is right on the stovetop.

hardware as a service

Benefits of Hardware as a Service

Hardware as a Service, or HaaS, allows a Managed Service Provider (like Just Call the IT Guy) to lease out the hardware needed and install it at a customer’s site. A service level agreement (SLA) lays out the responsibilities of Just Call the IT Guy and the customer, such as whether or not they pay a monthly fee to use the hardware, or it could be that their payment is rolled into the managed service provider’s fee for installing, maintaining, or monitoring the hardware remotely. With HaaS, you reap many benefits and have no worries about your hardware. All the while, you are still keeping control of your network and all aspects of it, and have IT support any time you need it. Hardware as a Service has many advantages and is a rapidly growing service.

 

No Primary Costs with Hardware as a Service

 

By essentially leasing the hardware, Hardware as a Service allows you to get high quality services without initial high costs. You don’t have to worry about forking over a chunk of money to get started with a new setup. Now you can work the monthly fee into your budget instead.

 

HaaS Let’s You Keep Up with the Times

 

With HaaS, you no longer have to worry about using obsolete hardware. HaaS upgrades to state-of-the-art technology in a timely fashion. This eliminates the remorse of buying technology, only to have invested in something that is out-of-date shortly after. You will be able to keep up with other business’s platforms and not fret about trying to make your out dated stuff work with their newer systems. With HaaS, Just Call the IT Guy will also take care of hardware that breaks and needs to be replaced.

 

Scalable Systems

 

Your network will be able to easily handle an expanding amount of work in an efficient manner. Technology needs grow as your business does. HaaS allows you to add any amount of new components, depending on your company’s demands. If your business slows down or you decide to down size, you will not be saddled with extra, unneeded hardware as you only use what you need.

 

Good Maintenance and Troubleshooting

 

With HaaS you receive continuous support from Just Call the IT Guy. Not only do you get the equipment with the SLA, but you get service and maintenance. When you outright purchase hardware, once the warranty runs out, you’re in trouble if there is a problem. With HaaS, that is never an issue.

 

Excellent Security

 

Usually, newer is better when it comes to security and IT hardware. Often it is requires that you upgrade both software and hardware for better security. Sometimes you need to purchase another piece of hardware as a backup system for your improved safety. With HaaS, your continuous protection is included as part of the fee and upgrades are made. Part of the SLA may include destroying hard drives and certifying that used hardware be legally recycled for extra security measures.

Treadmill desk fitness technology

Fitness Technology for the Holidays

We are officially in the season that is loaded with extra sides, creamy glazes, festive confectionaries, wines, beers, and extra weight. On average, Americans gain one to two pounds during the holiday season and don’t necessarily work it off. A traditional Thanksgiving plate alone is roughly 4500 calories with 229 grams of fat. After the holidays, many people feel like stuffed turkeys and swollen Santas. How can you keep the calories in check and maintain a healthy weight over the holidays? Fortunately, Americans love technology as much as holiday festivities and good food. Fitness technology can help keep your waistline in check this season.

 

  • Gaming consoles

Working out does not have to be boring and monotonous; make it fun with a gaming console. You can choose any physical activity game that requires you to get off the couch and get moving. Whether it is dancing, golfing, boxing, bowling or skiing, as long as you are moving, you are burning calories. Gaming consoles are also a great way to get your friends and family involved as well.

  • Online sites

Sites such as ShopWell.com allows users to input their health profiles and dietary needs. The site will come in handy when you are shopping for and eating holiday meals. The site makes suggestions to assist the user with eating foods that accommodate their dietary needs as well as makes recommendations for healthier food alternatives.

  • Treadmill desk

The office is a black hole of holiday calories; they are everywhere. A treadmill desk is a smart way to stay keep moving whether you consume the delectable goodies or not. A treadmill desk may help you get one-step closer to your New Year’s resolution long before the first rolls around.

  • Smartphone apps

Apps such as Lose It! and My Fitness Pal are excellent companions for you during the holidays. The apps allow the user to enter height, weight, goal weight, activity level, and food intake. The apps encourage accountability and makes suggestions to assist the user in meeting his/her fitness goals. When you see your weight increase and the high-caloric foods smother your goals, you are likely to make better decisions about your fitness and food choices.

  • Wireless body monitors

A device does not lie when it is hooked to your side. If you feel as if you might fudge a few fitness, activity and weight numbers at the end of the day, you should consider wireless body monitors such as Fitbit. The Fitbit band monitors your daily activity levels, sleep patterns, and personal health goals. When you are more conscious of how much or how little you are moving throughout the day, it is easier to recognize healthier actions.

 

potentially unwanted program

Here’s a PUP You Will Never Love

A PUP or (Potentially Unwanted Program), can bring you and your entire staff to a screeching halt and they are doggone annoying and potentially dangerous.

It all begins innocently enough with your consent to download a “free” program from a website, but rest assured its likely not free of PUPs. Most of us do not use the Custom Install option that would help to identify the hidden annoyances such as toolbars, unwanted browsers, and popups. When selecting a normal installation, these rarely-noticed accessories ride in with your install even though they are listed in the download agreement that you claimed you read (but really did not) when you added that mandatory checkmark. These conveniently hidden installation options can include spywareadware, and dialers.

Although PUPs are not viruses they can cripple your performance and render you useless. No single program can usually combat this alone, that is why we recommend a program that is a real-time scanner in addition to a second opinion scan.

Our Managed Anti-Virus Program ensures that your network and staff does not suffer downtime due to the inability to work caused by PUPs and viruses that have infiltrated your system, hijacked your browser, and often times embedded themselves in your registry resulting in a lengthy and costly cleanup process. Our program includes virus monitoring through a managed anti-virus program, a second opinion scan, spam filtering, and web security that prevents malicious programs from phoning home and delivering your collected data.

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.

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.

How to Choose a Laptop

When it comes to choosing a laptop, there are so many options to choose from you may not know where to start! Our Wylie IT Support team offers the following things to consider as you get started looking for a new laptop:

When Size Really Does Matter

If you stroll down the laptop aisle of any computer or technology store, you’ll notice that the size of laptops has gotten increasingly slimmer and lighter over the years. Ultrabooks combine a lightweight design with long-lasting batteries and energy-efficient hardware. Ultrabooks have a quick start up, so you can pull it out of your briefcase and resume your work within seconds even after the device has been idle or asleep for days.

If you’re looking for a laptop for a desktop replacement, you may want something a little bigger than the Ultrabook. These laptops typically have 14-15 inch screens and can handle all of your day-to-day computing needs.

Tablet/Laptop Hybrid

If you tend to carry both a laptop and a tablet with you wherever you go, you may want to take a look at the newer Tablet/Laptop Hybrid designs. You can transform a touchscreen laptop into a tablet and back again, using specialized folding hinges to remove the keyboard and body of the laptop or put it back on. Other hybrid models use Bluetooth keyboards to avoid the need for a docking hinge to convert the tablet into a laptop.

Processors and Battery Life

Buying a laptop is a little like buying a car – it’s important to know what’s “under the hood”! Intel makes the most dominate processor chips and have greatly improved energy efficiency and longer battery life with their 4th generation processors, compared to earlier models. These are ideal when you need a battery that can keep up with you throughout the day when you aren’t near an outlet to power up. They’ve also improved graphics processing.

AMD has a line of processors with enhanced performance, although they don’t quite meet the 4th generation Intel processors. Compare battery life hours among different laptops and think about how you will typically use the laptop to help you rule out which models will not meet your needs and find the laptops that will.

Features and Capabilities

In today’s age of “being connected”, connectivity is the key for choosing your laptop. All available laptops offer Bluetooth connectivity for wireless peripherals and internet connectivity with 802.11n Wi-Fi. Some provide mobile broadband options that you can pay for when there is no Wi-Fi available, but they are becoming harder to find as most users are using their smartphone personal mobile hotspots instead of paying for multiple mobile contracts.

USB ports are a necessity, and preferably USB 3.0 for greater bandwidth and faster data transfer than the USB 2.0. Some USB ports will also double as eSATA ports for connecting external hard drives or charging handheld devices when the laptop is powered off.

Most models no longer offer the optical drive because many software and game purchases are taking place online and the cloud is taking over for many local applications. This allows slimmer and lighter designs over all. If you still want to enjoy movies via DVD or Blu-ray, you’ll have to do a little more hunting to find a model offering the DVD drive, or get yourself an external USB DVD player.

Google Glass – What You Want to Know

You’ve probably heard about Google Glass by now – the glasses equipped with a tiny computer? Would you wear a pair of glasses that contain Wi-Fi, a tiny screen, Bluetooth connectivity, a touchpad, speakers, camera and microphone? Right now, the glasses are only available to people who are part of the Explorer program, but there is a very good chance you’ll start seeing this high-tech accessories in stores before you know it. You can sign up to get an invite to try Google Glass by clicking here; but in the meantime, here is what you want to know about these glasses from the future:

Take Photographs and Videos With a Blink of an Eye

Ok, so you can’t just blink and automatically take a photo or video, but you can instantly capture the moment by saying “take a photo” or “take a video”. You won’t have to dig around your purse for your phone or camera to take a photo, so you’ll never miss a photo or video worthy moment again.

Never Get Lost Again

Your Google Glass has built in GPS which is ideal for people who go hiking or bike riding. Instead of stopping to pull out your phone or GPS device, you can see the map right on the glass while you’re moving. It can come in handy when you’re driving to unknown places, too.

Make Phone Calls From Your Glasses

When you connect your smart phone to your Google Glass, you can make phone calls, dictate messages, and attach videos or photos all without ever taking your phone out of your purse or pocket.

Never Miss a Social Media Update

If you are addicted to social media or rely on the social networks for your business, you might end up loving the social network notifications feature of Google Glass. As long as you are using your phone’s internet feature or are in range of Wi-Fi, you will see your social media network updates right on the glass. You can up your game with multi-tasking, since you won’t check your phone or laptop for social media updates – they’ll just flash before your eyes.

 

Technology helps businesses overcome obstacles and reach goals – please call us if we can help you with your office technology. Technology also creates amazing opportunities for entertainment and convenience in our every-day lives. Will you sport a pair of Google Glasses when they become available?