Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face numerous challenges when it comes to managing their IT. Limited resources (both human and money), lack of expertise, and the need to focus on core business operations often make it difficult for SMBs to understand and manage technology needs. This is where Managed Service Providers (MSPs) come in. In this blog article, we will explore the reasons why SMBs should consider partnering with MSPs to enhance their IT capabilities and drive business growth.
Cost-Effective IT Solutions:
One of the primary reasons why SMBs need MSPs is the cost-effectiveness they offer. By outsourcing their IT needs to MSPs, SMBs can avoid the high costs associated with hiring and training an in-house IT team. MSPs provide a range of services, including network monitoring, data backup and recovery, cybersecurity, and software updates, all at a predictable monthly cost. This allows SMBs to allocate their resources more efficiently and focus on their core business.
Access to Expertise and Advanced Technology:
MSPs are experts in providing IT services and have a team of highly skilled professionals with expertise in variety of technology. By partnering with MSPs, SMBs gain access to the depth of knowledge and experience from IT experts who can handle complex tasks and provide strategic guidance. Additionally, MSPs stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends and can recommend and implement solutions that can help SMBs stay competitive in the market and safe from hackers.
Proactive IT Support and Maintenance:
MSPs offer proactive IT support and maintenance, which is crucial for SMBs. They monitor networks, identify potential issues, and take preventive measures to avoid downtime and disruptions. MSPs also provide regular software updates, security patches, and system maintenance, ensuring that SMBs’ IT remains secure and up-to-date. This proactive approach helps SMBs minimize the risk of costly IT failures and ensures smooth business operations.
Enhanced Data Security:
Data breaches and cyberattacks pose a significant threat to SMBs. MSPs play a vital role in safeguarding SMBs’ sensitive data and protecting them from potential security breaches. They implement robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, and encryption, to ensure data confidentiality and integrity. MSPs can also conduct regular security audits and vulnerability assessments to identify and address any potential weaknesses in the IT infrastructure.
Scalability and Flexibility:
As SMBs grow, their IT needs evolve. MSPs offer scalable solutions that can adapt to changing business requirements. Whether it’s adding new users, expanding storage capacity, or integrating new software, MSPs can quickly and efficiently accommodate these changes. This scalability and flexibility allow SMBs to focus on their growth without worrying about the limitations of their IT infrastructure.
If your company could use the cost-effective solutions, access to expertise, proactive support, enhanced data security, and scalability that come from using a MSP, then contact us for assistance.
Businesses are face an increasing number of cyber threats. To protect sensitive data and prevent hackers from gaining access, implementing stronger security measures is crucial. One such measure is 2-factor authentication (2FA). Let’s look at the importance and security benefits of 2FA for businesses.
Enhanced Account Security:
2FA adds an extra layer of security to the traditional username and password login process. By requiring users to provide a second form of authentication, such as a unique code sent to their mobile device, it significantly reduces the risk of hackers from gaining access. Even if a hacker manages to obtain a user’s password, they would still need the second factor to gain access.
Mitigation of Password-related Risks:
Passwords are often the weakest link in security systems. Many users tend to reuse passwords across multiple accounts or choose weak and easily guessable ones or re-use the same password while incrementally changing a digit or two. With 2FA, even if a password is compromised, the additional authentication factor acts as a safeguard, making it significantly harder for attackers to gain access.
Protection Against Phishing Attacks:
Phishing attacks, where attackers trick users into revealing their login credentials, are a common threat to businesses. 2FA provides an additional layer of defense against such attacks. Even if a user unknowingly falls victim to a phishing attempt and enters their credentials on a fake website, the second authentication factor would prevent the attacker from accessing the account.
Compliance with Industry Regulations:
Many industries, such as finance, healthcare, government contractors, and e-commerce, are subject to strict data protection regulations. Implementing 2FA helps businesses meet compliance requirements and avoid potential penalties. It demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding sensitive customer information and builds trust with clients.
Cost-Effective Security Measure:
Implementing 2FA does not require significant financial investment. Many 2FA solutions are readily available and can be easily integrated into existing systems. Considering the potential financial and brand reputation damage caused by a security breach, the cost of implementing 2FA is minimal compared to the benefits it provides.
In an era where cyber threats are constantly evolving, businesses must prioritize security measures to protect their valuable data. 2-factor authentication offers a simple yet effective way to do so.
If your company is interested in implementing 2FA across the entire organization, then contact us for assistance.
As you know, we take cybersecurity and the protection of your accounts and data very seriously. That’s why we are always striving to provide you with tools and resources to help keep you and your employees safe from cybercrime.
The most common threat we are seeing is phishing messages delivering malware or stealing credentials. Even though your company might be protected with spam filtering, there are instances where these malicious messages could still appear in your employee’s inboxes. And it’s important we both arm them with as much education and resources as possible to understand and identify these phishes.
We have a new tool that we’d love to demonstrate for your or talk more about. It’s called Catch Phish, and it’s an email analysis and training tool. It connects right to your employee’s Outlook as a clickable application on every message. When clicked, the tool quickly, but safely, scans the important details of the message to find potential threats such as suspicious links or attachments, sender details, or message details such as threatening language or deactivation scares.
This tool is included in our cybersecurity training packages and can help provide the much needed cybersecurity education to all levels of staff.
Do you have 30 minutes to talk about reducing your risks with Catch Phish and our other cybersecurity awareness training tools, then contact us for assistance.
Worked with a client lately to help them Automate a workflow, but you may be wondering what does that even mean. Let me explain. We all have tasks in our workday that are repetitive and consume little bite size pieces of our time. Depending on the steps needed to accomplish these tasks, they can be “delegated” to a computer process via scripting aka we automate them. In the case of the client we helped, they received emails from an eFax service which included attachments. These attachments had to be manually saved into a shared folder for the rest of the staff to access as needed. This process probably took about 30 to 60 seconds each, but multiply this by the 30+ faxes they received each day you have 15 to 30 minutes of wasted time each day (65-130 hours per year). This does not take into account the time taken to stop doing one thing, accomplish this task, and restart the original thing they were doing.
Automate to Freedom
What if we could automate this little task and keep them employee free to do other more important things? We did. They customer uses Office 365 which includes a service called Power Automate. We scripted this tool to look at incoming messages, find ones from the eFax vendor, strip out the attachment, and save it to a SharePoint folder. This can then be shared with other employees and even synced via OneDrive to their Desktops for viewing, etc. That is just the tip of the iceberg as there is so much more that can be done with this technology.
If your company wasting little bite size pieces of time in repetitive taks, then contact us for assistance.
A company named Arctic Wolf, a leader in enterprise security operation centers, published a report that states that the number of corporate credentials with plaintext passwords on the dark web has increased by 429% since March.
There are also startling statistics on the increase in email phishing attempts and the use of unsecure public wireless connections. These numbers are like due to the Work From Home employees using their own insecure computers and cyber criminals trying to take advantage of the trend. It appears that security measures that are used in the office need to be extended to the Work From Home network as well.
If your company is currently or is going to have Work From Home users, then contact us for assistance.
Many of our customers have been experiencing some of their users having Outlook crashing immediately after opening. We even had other tech companies call to find out how we were fixing it, so we investigated and found the following known issue from Microsoft:
Users experiencing Outlook connection issues and crashes EX218604, Exchange Online, Last updated: July 15, 2020 10:12 AM Start time: July 15, 2020 9:18 AM User impact: Users may experience crashes or may be unable to access Exchange Online via Outlook. Current status: Our initial review of the available data indicates that recently deployed updates are the likely source of the problem. We’re performing an analysis of all recent service updates to isolate the underlying cause of the problem and to determine the most expedient means to restore service.
We will be keeping our monthly clients up to date on this issue.
Have to admit that I get a ton of email. In fact I have received 30+GB over the almost five years Farmhouse Networking has been in business. I decided that it was time to archive some of the older messages and checked into what Office 365 has for options. Here is what I found:
“Unlimited” Archiving Office 365 now has what is called “auto-expanding archiving” that is now available for all users. The old archive feature only allowed 100GB of additional space for free, but the new system is different. Users who get close to the old limit then their account changes to the auto-expanding type and additional storage is added as needed. The new maximum is at 1TB of storage, which even at average maximum size per email (10MB) that is 100,000 emails. To put that in perspective that is one maximum size email per hour, eight hours per day, five days per week, for almost 42 years before email archives would be full.
If your company is gets a bunch of email and likes to save it all, then contact us for assistance.
A recent briefing from the FBI’s Internet Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) detailed current best practices and industry standards for cyber defense. Here is a summation:
Cyber Defense Best Practices
Backups – Regularly back up data and verify its integrity. Backups are critical in ransomware; if you are infected, backups may be the only way to recover your critical data.
Training – Employees should be made aware of the threat of ransomware, how it is delivered, and trained on information security principles and techniques.
Patching – All endpoints should be patched as vulnerabilities are discovered. This can be made easier through a centralized patch management system.
Antivirus – Ensure anti-virus and anti-malware solutions are set to automatically update and that regular scans are conducted. Centrally managed is even better.
File Permissions – If a user only needs to read specific files, they should not have write-access to those files, directories, or shares. Configure access controls with least privilege in mind.
Macros – Disable macro scripts from Office files transmitted via email.
Program Execution Restrictions – Implement software restriction policies or other controls to prevent the execution of programs in common ransomware locations, such as temporary folders supporting popular internet browsers, and compression/decompression programs.
Remote Desktop Protocol – Employ best practices for use of RDP, including use of VPN, auditing your network for systems using RDP, closing unused RDP ports, applying two-factor authentication wherever possible, and logging RDP login attempts.
Software Whitelisting – Implement application whitelisting. Only allow systems to execute programs known and permitted by security policy. This one takes careful planning.
Virtualization – Use virtualized environments to execute operating system environments or specific programs. No physical access to servers makes hacking harder.
Network Segmentation – Implement physical and logical separation of networks and data for different organizational units. Keep guest traffic out of your business network.
No Saved Passwords – Require users to type information or enter a password when their system communicates with a website. Better yet use a password management tool.
If your company is going to use full disk encryption or has compliance requirements that you need consulting for, then contact us for assistance.
Got a call a couple weeks ago from a local church:
“we came in and open the computer and we have ransomware on there. We can’t even get to any of our stuff. It’s telling us to email somebody and so that they can free up the computer.”
How does this happen?
Generally these things happen because people click on things they shouldn’t. Whether in an attachment in email from someone they don’t recognize, a link in social media that sounds too good to pass up, or an advertisement for something they can’t live without. Once the user gives permission for something to open or run on their computer the game is over and the hacker wins.
What to do when it happen?
Stop using the computer.
Leave the computer alone! Do not carry out any further commands, including commands to Save data.
Do not close any of the computer’s windows or programs. Leave the computer alone.
Leave everything plugged in and do not turn off the computer or peripheral devices.
If possible, physically disconnect the computer from networks to which it is attached.
Call us immediately. Write down any unusual behavior of the computer (screen messages, unexpected disk access, unusual responses to commands) and the time when they were first noticed.
Write down any changes in hardware, software, or usage that preceded the malfunction.
Do not attempt to remove a suspected virus! Let the professionals do the dirty work.
How to prevent this from happening?
Layers of protection is the simple answer. A good antivirus installed to stop the bad programs from running, DNS filtering to keep users off of bad sites / advertisements, a good backup of all data to recover when this does happen, and most important of all EDUCATION – teaching users what safe internet usage looks like and having policies in effect to train them can mitigate 60-70% of infections.
If your company is would like to discuss the layers of security you have in place, then contact us for assistance.
And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. - 2 Corinthians 9:8-10