All posts by a4zz1c

Signs That It’s Time to Upgrade Your Phone System

We’re preoccupied with the speed, storage, and software of our computers – but how often do you think about your phone system? If you’re like most, it rarely crosses your mind. However, it’s important to keep your phone system up to date before it becomes too expensive to repair or becomes obsolete. We don’t consider the risks to a failing phone system: lost calls, panic of finding a new system as soon as possible, disrupted business operations which results in decreased revenue, to name a few.

Now that you’re thinking about it, let’s look at the most common ways to identify an aging phone system.

1. You’re having to reboot your phone system more and more often due to intermittent quirks and delays, but you can never find a specific issue.

2. You’re experiencing more frequent hardware failure.

3. The software used for your phone system won’t work, even when you do the latest updates – or there are no updates available.

4. You have someone who services your phone, only they don’t service your system any longer and you’re having difficulty finding a qualified provider who does.

5. Replacement parts don’t exist any longer or you can only find used/refurbished parts that cost a fortune.

The above signs are indications that your system is outdated. Experiencing a decrease in productivity are more likely to become apparent to you as time goes on. To avoid the risk of sudden hardware failure, you might want to start researching into upgrading your phone system before it becomes too costly.

ECMSI has teamed up with Allworx® to provide one of the best-in-class phone systems to all of our partners. If you are a current partner, find out how ECMSI can help implement Allworx® in your office to deliver the best phone experience that includes the following:

  • Real-time sharing of contacts across mobile devices (via Reach), Outlook (via Interact Professional), and Verge IP phone
  • Remote control of Verge IP phone using your mobile device (via Reach)
  • Instant handoff of calls to and from your mobile device and Verge IP phone (via Reach)
  • Bluetooth® hands-free

ECMSI and Allworx® power an easy-to-use voiceover internet protocol (VoIP) phone system, whether in the cloud, onsite or hybrid, and will improve your business’s processes and boost staff and client communication. Let’s talk today: (330) 750-1428

https://www.ecmsi.com/voip-phone-systems.html

Ransomware Attacks: How are you protecting your business?

While you may be hearing that the total number of ransomware attacks declined in 2018, that doesn’t mean your data is safe.

How do you truly protect your business? Here’s our checklist:

  • A major vector for an attack is an attachment in an email. You can do a couple things to safeguard from this vector. First, scan all attachments with a good anti malware solution and make sure the definitions are up to date and your solution provider has some protection from zero day attacks. Secondly, and maybe most important, is to train your staff to be weary of attachments –even if they come from a trusted source. If it looks suspicious, do not open it. If it is something that you feel may be important or it appears to come from someone you know, contact them and ask if they sent it. Another related vector is malicious websites that are a conduit for malware. Be sure your anti malware solution can block suspicious websites and web links.
  • Have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and a solution of managing and mitigating the impact these devices have on the security of your environment. You need control over the notebooks, mobile devices, and tablets that enter your network. Your solution must provide you with sufficient visibility into what’s connected to your network and what those devices are doing. You need to be able to enforce policies that prevent users from accessing compromised websites or downloading suspicious files.
  • Run modern operating systems. Systems like Windows 7 may be user favorites and may support some legacy applications, but they are the cyber criminals’ dream. They lack the sophisticated built-in defenses found in operating systems like Windows 10. If your business uses Macs, you are not immune. Be sure to get users on the latest version of Mac OS as quickly as possible.
  • Patch every server, network device and endpoint with the latest security patch. This is critical as it can be an effective vector for attack and many IT departments are lax about patching.
  • Secure your network by deploying a layered approach; protecting your endpoints, network, email, and DNS layer. Do not ignore IoT devices. They are vulnerabilities too! They’re often ignored or even unknown to the IT department, but by removing simple points of vulnerability, you can effectively block the attack before it enters your infrastructure.
  • Protect your assets by segmenting your network to prevent an attack from being able to spread. Segmented networks will limit the number of resources that that can be attacked from a single entry point. This also allows you to deploy the strongest defenses where the highest value services and data reside without burdening the entire network with the expense and complexity of these defenses. This is all intended to ensure that your entire network is not compromised in a single attack and any damage that does occur is in the lowest value portions of the infrastructure.
  • Closely monitor network activity. This allows you to identify patterns of attacks before they can cause real damage. Deploy a good Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) tool and use it.
  • Most importantly, have a business continuity plan that details how to respond in the event of an attack. Carefully choreograph all the steps you need to take and what your users need to do to be sure they do not make the situation worse and are ready to resume work once your systems are back online. Core to this plan is a disaster recovery solution that is designed to restore your critical business functions quickly enough to avoid the effect of a prolonged outage. This is your life vest when all else fails and the criminal gains sufficient access to your systems to cause major damage. It is the only option available today that can foil every known attack.
  • Orchestration eliminates the panic by allowing you to rely on a pre-planned, automated, and tested recovery. To be effective, the business continuity solution needs to continuously protect your data and has orchestration that automatically restores your entire infrastructure, including servers, network devices and storage to an offsite virtualized environment. The automated orchestration is a key element because it translates to speed and predictability of the restore process when your team is operating under the pressure of an outage.

As we know, ransomware is on the rise and it is clearly here to stay. Ransomware is doing some real damage to businesses, and increasing in its sophistication to better target vulnerabilities. All businesses are at risk unless you take action to lower your susceptibility to an attack. The true fix is an effective business continuity plan that restores your systems and gets users back online as quickly as possible. For more information: Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant – (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

should you switch your it company?

When you realized you’re not getting the most out of your IT investment with your current provider, you might just stick around – dreading the idea of having to switch companies. You’re probably thinking that changing IT companies is a daunting process but it’s important to consider the way your business is being affected.

While intimidating, switching IT companies can be a necessary activity. By switching, you can save your business from IT support frustrations and working with a company that does not help you achieve your objectives. Transitioning between companies is completely manageable. So, now you’re wondering, “How can this process be simplified?” Let’s discuss what to look for:

Characteristics of a Successful IT Company Switch

  • The IT company understands the risks and takes the appropriate steps to mitigate the risk
  • There’s a strict plan to follow to ensure a transition with minimal complications to your company
  • You gain more from your new IT company such as, more IT professionals, faster response times, increased productivity, and strong security, to name a few

Signs of a Good IT Company

  • The IT Company Prioritizes Cybersecurity: An IT company prioritizes cybersecurity by having protocols that will protect your network from changing cybersecurity threats. You can check their cybersecurity protocols with other clients and see if they have cybersecurity experts. A company that pays attention to cybersecurity reduces your vulnerability to cyberattacks. It saves you from the effects of network breaches, such as downtime, financial losses, data loss, and damage to your reputation. 
  • The IT Company Is Reachable: An IT company is reachable if they provide active communication channels, such as telephone numbers, ticket system, and email support. The company should also listen and act on your complaints or requests. Your organization may need to reach the IT company for clarification or during emergencies. You will have frustrations and avoidable losses if you cannot contact the IT company. 
  • The IT Company Ensures Compliance: An IT company can help you comply with regulations if they have the relevant certifications, hire professionals, and know the essential rules of your industry. For example, IT companies offering support to medical institutions should know and comply with HIPAA Rules and Regulations. Dealing with an IT company that helps you comply with rules can save you from penalties, such as hefty fines and suspensions of your licenses. 
  • The IT Company Provides Proactive Support: An IT company that offers foresighted support helps you identify IT opportunities and problems early. For example, they can have frequent maintenance of your IT infrastructure. These checks ensure your network works well, and you identify and fix IT issues early. Working with a proactive IT company helps you enjoy IT opportunities and deal with situations before they cause substantial losses. 
  • The IT Company Has Excellent Reviews: An IT company offers reliable support if its clients are saying good things about them. You may check for reviews on search engines, social media, or other platforms. Knowing what past clients say can inform your expectations and decision on whether to work with a company. 

Steps to Follow When Switching Providers

  • Don’t cancel your current IT Support just yet. Wait until the new company gets everything, they need to ensure a seamless transition.
  • Get administrative privileges from your current provider for everything on your network. It’s important to have a master list of all credentials and settings for your new provider.
  • Request that your new IT company does a comprehensive security review of your network, that way they can identify missing information and fix backdoors that could be putting your network at risk.
  • Communicate support changes with your staff. It’s important to keep communication open to help them understand new protocols, processes, and other important information.

Ready to Switch IT Companies?

ECMSI is here to help make that process as easy as possible At ECMSI we make a point of helping our customers thrive. By creating an effective network security system, we’re providing you with a competitive edge. Let’s talk today: (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

Don’t Push Your Network’s Luck

Look around your office. Isn’t it great to see your team hard at work on their computers? Yet if we take a closer look, let’s see what’s really happening…

Joe, your new sales rep, is poring over last weekend’s game stats…

Amy in marketing is looking for a new job, surfing your competitors’ websites, chatting with their HR people…

Wes, over in customer support, just bogged down your entire network by downloading a video file of Metallica in concert…

Bob in accounting is browsing stock-investing sites, in search of a hot tip…

Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad at your company. But this type of behavior will happen to some degree if you don’t proactively prevent it. The real problem is, unfiltered content often links to malware and other threats. Ignore it and you risk productivity losses, legal liabilities, extortion, blackmail and fraud. And not only that, the resulting data loss and corruption can cost your company big-time. Cyberthreats stemming from unfiltered content aren’t something you can count on your lucky leprechaun or four-leaf clover to protect you from.

In today’s mobile environment, content filtering has becoming a greater challenge than ever before. Your company may already be doing some filtering at the network level. However, when was the last time you checked the number of mobile devices linked to your network? As your workforce goes mobile, your network is exposed to a rapidly expanding “attack surface.” With BYOD (bring your own device) now the norm, the old rules of content filtering just don’t cut it anymore.

Are You Making Any Of These Mistakes?

Old content-filtering models presume your network has a safe “firewall.” But now, with BYOD, you need a different way to protect your data. And that’s where endpoint security comes into play. Endpoint filtering keeps devices on your network safe from infection, no matter where they hook into the Internet.

But make ANY of the following mistakes with endpoint security and your network could be a sitting duck:

  1. Missing even ONE endpoint. This applies to tablets and smartphones as well as home-based machines that VPN into your network.
  2. Skimping on security policies, protocols and training. Believing that tech tools alone will keep your network secure is a recipe for breaches. In fact, no technology can keep a network safe if users cut corners.
  3. Leaving endpoint filtering out of your overall security plan. Ad hoc security invites disaster. An improperly designed system exposes holes that hackers love to find.

So, What Exactly Should You Filter?

Forrester Research states that companies whose users access the cloud should:

Detect and intercept unusual or fraudulent activities related to data in the cloud.

  • Detect, neutralize and eliminate malware in cloud platforms.
  • Detect and monitor unsanctioned cloud applications and platforms usage.
  • Protect against leaks of confidential information.
  • Encrypt structured and unstructured data in cloud platforms.
  • Investigate suspicious users and incidents.

Between BYOD and ever more complex cyberthreats, you simply can’t afford to run around putting out fires. You absolutely MUST proactively defend your network in depth with endpoint content filtering. We offer content filtering that is customizable to your business while still offering the highest level of protection. We can also help segment your wireless network, so those who do BYOD won’t ever touch the network that your critical business data is on. With a complete proactive managed service provider like ECMSI, you can sleep better at night and stop relying on “luck” to keep your network stable and secure. Let’s talk today: (330) 750-1428

Best keyboard shortcuts for your windows pc

In this day and age, we’re working on multiple projects at once, sorting through all of our open tabs and trying to stay on task while working as quick as possible. So, why not use keyboard shortcuts for everything on your PC? Key combinations are not only easier to hit, they’re more accurate. Let’s take a look at a few of the best keyboard shortcuts to make your life easier on you Windows PC!

CTRL + F: To Search Text

Ever want to find something quickly in an online article or your WordDoc? It’s as simple as hitting “CTRL + F” to search keywords and find exactly what you’re looking for.

CTRL + Click or Shift + Click: Select Multiple Items

Whether you’re selecting rows in an Excel spreadsheet, blocks of text in Word or files in File Explorer, you may want to highlight a number of different items. If the times are all adjacent, rows 10 to 30 in worksheet for example, you can simply “Shift + Click” the first one, hold down the shift key and then click the last one

CTRL + A: Select all items

Similar to “CTRL + Click”, if you want to select all of the content in a given window, just hit “CTRL + A” and you can select everything in one stroke.

Shift + Arrow: Highlight Text

To highlight text with your keyboard, simply hold down the Shift key as you move the cursor with the arrow keys. If you also hold down CTRL, you can highlight whole words rather than individual characters with each arrow press.

ALT + Left Arrow: Back in Web Browser

How often do you hit the back button on your browser daily? Let’s make it easier – Just hit “ALT + Left Arrow” instead. Hitting “ALT + Right Arrow” takes you forward.

Alt + F4: Close Any Windows App

Are you closing your windows by scrolling to the upper right corner of the window and hitting the “X” button? Here’s a tip: “ALT + F4” will close all programs in Windows 10.

Windows Key + M: Minimize All Windows

Often times, we have way too many windows open and it’s difficult to sift through all of them. Hitting “Windows Key + M” minimizes all your windows so you can see everything that’s on your desktop.

CTRL + D: Bookmark a Webpage

Bookmarking webpages doesn’t seem like it can get any easier, right? Guess again, by hitting “CTRL + D” in your PC browser pops up a dialog box which lets you bookmark the current page, edit the name of the bookmark, and even select a folder to store it in. 

F2: Rename Files­­

It’s as simple as: highlighting all the files you want to rename (Shift + click lets you highlight many files at once), hit “F2”, type the new name and press Enter. All the files will have the same new name plus a number in parens (ex: starfish (1).jpg).

CTRL + P: Print Out

Looking for the quickest way to print? Just hit “CTRL + P”. From there, you can choose a printer or save it as a PDF.

F5 / CTRL + R: Refresh Web Page

Hitting “F5” or “CTRL + R” will refresh any Windows web browser at your convenience.

If you’re concerned about your business’s network, call ECMSI for a FREE Network Health Assessment today! (330) 750-1428

IT Woes? We’re here to help.

As businesses struggle with the same old IT issues, we question – Should you have an expert guide you? Let’s review the most common IT woes that businesses face and the ways ECMSI can help!

Can You Related To These Questions?

Q: Are you experiencing computer slowness?
A: ECMSI supports 24/7 network monitoring and patch management. ECMSI ensures that your software is patched with the most recent updates and that your employees benefit from these performance enhancements. By staying up to date on your computers, we directly reduce operating costs by increasing business productivity. Computer slowness is daunting – wouldn’t total peace of mind be better?

Q: Are response times to IT issues increasing?
A: ECMSI guarantees an average response time of 19 minutes or less. We’re fully staffed and local with 20+ technicians who will become like employees to your business. If there’s an issue we can’t handle remotely, we will come directly to your office. It’s because of our response time that we’re able to increase business productivity and reduce downtime for all of our partners.

Q: Out of date computers, servers, and software?
A: ECMSI is dedicated to the security, productivity, and efficiency of its’ partners networks – this includes all hardware and software. If a partner has a large network to upgrade, we work with them to schedule the best solutions possible – we will not let out of date equipment and software put your business at risk.

ECMSI Is Here To Help!

No business is too small or too old to start implementing managed and professional services. Whether your venture is new and you want to start off on the right foot, or you believe your business needs a boost in productivity, our team at ECMSI is here to help! ECMSI is the area’s leading managed service provider with a track record of continued success with their proactive approach for over two decades. If you have any questions regarding MSP’s and how one can help your business, please feel free to give us a call at 330-750-1428 . ECMSI, Making IT Easy!

ARE YOU PROTECTING YOUR CRITICAL DATA AND ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?

Backing up your data has become one of the most important things to do in the 21st century. We hear about it more and more each day. Backing up your phone, computer, photos, email, this list can go on and on. But their is a reason that backups cannot be stressed enough. Statistics show business that do not protect their critical data and processes will fail when disaster strikes. It is a question of when, not if your data will be lost. Proper planning is required, along with testing and verification for both Cloud and physical based solutions.

Businesses spend a lot of time making sure that customer’s data is protected. It is important to regularly check backups to ensure data can quickly be restored after a disaster. Here at ECMSI we always want to make sure our partners are protected and ready to recover from any disaster in the quickest most efficient way possible. But it is not enough to just backup the data. There must also be a tested plan that examines the following:

  1. Am I backing up the right data?
    • Who determined it was the right data?
    • Has that decision been reviewed and verified recently?
  2. Am I protecting entire servers?
    • Do I have all the install software I will need in an emergency?
    • Do I have all the software licenses ready to re-install?
  3. Have I attempted a full server restore from my backup solution?
    • Have I documented the entire process?
    • Do I have access to this documentation at all times both electronically and in print?
    • If I have failed hardware, how do I replace it?  Do I have service contracts?

Cloud storage gives some excellent options to any on site backup solution. It is common thought that the cloud is sage and backed up automatically. However, there have been instances where cloud corporations simply decide to stop operations and only give 30 days warning to those using the service. This leaves companies scrambling to migrate to other solutions. It is a must to have copies of the cloud data stored physically or in a different data center.

Be sure to ask these important questions to your internal IT team or MSP. Make sure they can prove to you that they have the ability to quickly get you up and running in the face of any disaster.

If you would like to learn more about how to protect your data and take proactive steps to secure your critical information, let’s talk: (330) 750-1428

Work Smart with an IT Consultant

Technology should allow you to work smarter, not harder. However, if you’ve never heard of a server, think beating your computer is a good repair practice, or believe the Cloud is some mysterious thing in the sky, chances are your technology is putting you to work instead of the other way around. But there is hope that won’t break your bank and leads to increased productivity: an IT consultant.

Your Local IT Consultant

It’s no secret that expensive products and services, while often beneficial when properly used, flood the market and can affect a small business’ bottom line. As a result, most business owners’ scam meters are on high alert. It doesn’t have to be this way with your technology.

With so many IT solutions available, the market is rich with engineers capable of making your company a productive machine. While not all of them have your best interest in mind, think of a good IT consultant as a friend concerned with your well-being. The best always consider your individual needs; however, since it’s still about business, their goal is to not only make you happy, but save you money, time, and generate more revenue by optimizing your technology.

IT’s not a Hard Choice if It’s a Smart Business Decision

IT consultants have a unique solution for having your back 24/7: Managed Services. As Managed Service Providers (MSPs), industry professionals’ primary goals are to optimize your company’s infrastructure, protect your business’ private information and digital assets, and work to automate your technology workflow.

What does this mean for you in a nutshell?

  • Fewer computer/server breakdowns and repairs, which translate to time saved.
  • Less chance for security breaches and loss of private and proprietary data, a challenge too large to overcome for some businesses.
  • Less time wasted on menial tasks by allowing automated technology to work for you.

These add up to less time spent trying to make your technology work and more time doing your real job. This translates to money saved and the potential for increased revenue.

Put Your Faith in an MSP You Can Trust

The most productive companies use technology to make things easier, not to add more work when their systems fail. The only businesses that should work hard to ensure your IT runs smoothly are ones that specialize in the industry – let your trusted friends at ECMSI help. We believe IT and your business is a relationship, one that we nurture together.

Contact Shane Nesbitt today: (330) 750-1428

Network Monitoring: Get Better Security and Performance

Your business productivity is dependent on the performance of your employees and with consistent downtime, your business can lose significant time and money. If your network is experiencing downtime due to security issues, there’s a lot more at stake. Network monitoring could save your business reputation, company data and your bottom line.

Network Monitoring

Network monitoring is the use of a system that continuously monitors a computer network for slow or failing computers and notifies the network admin in the case of outages or malicious trouble.

So, what are the benefits of Network Monitoring from an MSP?

It’s becoming increasingly more popular for small to midsize businesses to trust their IT infrastructure to an MSP, including their network monitoring. Most MSPs offer 24/7/365 network monitoring and are prepared to solve issues before they become major problems. So, what are the benefits of Networking Monitoring from an MSP? Let’s check out the list below:

1. Secure and Consistent Network Connection

A secure and consistent network connection is the key to increasing up time and productivity. An MSP is responsible for monitoring your network and making sure it’s consistently running and secure. They’re also responsible for checking into network errors, and monitoring any new equipment entering your IT environment.

2. Network Health Protection

When partnering with an MSP, their highly skilled technical staff provides monitoring services for your network that tracks all equipment and tools used. Your MSP has their own tools to oversee the health of your network and keep your system running smoothly. Your MSP is responsible to addressing network issues before they become major problems, avoiding impact to your business productivity.

3. Network Security

Network security is of the highest importance in keeping your critical business data safe. Your MSP should deploy a layered security approach to your network while insuring all updates are running to keep your devices up to date.

Competitive advantage

At ECMSI we make a point of helping our customers thrive. By creating an effective network security system, we’re providing you with a competitive edge. Consumers place great importance on how companies treat their data – they want to know it’s safe and secure from hackers and other threats. That’s exactly what we do, because we know that when you ensure your customer’s data is always protected, you’ll quickly build a reputation as a trustworthy brand they can rely on.

We didn’t become one of the leading managed services providers of network security by accident. We are leaders because we care about our customers and we know how to protect them. Talk to us today, and we can work together to protect your business and take it to the next level.

Find out if your network is vulnerable. Get a Free Network Health Assessment from ECMSI today.

Looking to Speed Up Your PC? Here’s Some Tips!

Slow computers seems to be a problem everyone has run into at some point in their life, and it can definitely be frustrating. For an employee, a slow PC could mean hours lost in productivity which is not good for employee moral, or business operations. Whether you want to make your PC faster for personal use, or get right back to work (which we all know you’re super eager to do), lets dive into some settings you can change in order to speed up your PC.

1. Change your power settings

If you’re PC is running on Windows 10 it will come with options in which you can enable a Power Saving plan, if this is configured you are drastically slowing down your PC’s performance in order to save energy. Typically, every PC , even desktop PC’s come with a power saver plan. Changing your power plan to a higher performance will give your computer a huge boost in power.

2. Disable animations, shadows and visual effects

Operating Systems now come with a a variety of nice graphics that enhance user experience and make functions seem more natural and fluid. On faster and newer PCs these effects usually do not affect system performance, But on slower and older PC’s they can cause a huge loss. Going into the system properties and looking into your performance options you will see a huge list of different animations and special effects. If you have the time you can play around with the different effects and keep what you like and don’t like. However, the easiest way is to click on the option to adjust for best performance and let Windows optimize your settings to get the most out of your system.

3. Disable programs that run on startup

A reason your computer may be running slow and sluggish could be on account of all the programs you have running in the background, programs that you don’t even necessarily use. Stopping them from running will help your PC operate more smoothly.  Launch Task Manager, if it launches as a compact app with no tabs, click “more details” at the bottom of your screen. Click the Startup tab. You’ll see a list of the programs and services that launch when you start Windows. To stop a program or service from launching at startup, right-click it and select “disable.” This doesn’t disable the program entirely; it only prevents it from launching at startup.

4. Get rid of bloatware

What is bloatware you ask? Bloatware is all of the pre-loaded programs and software that all windows PC’s come with and while you expect a brand new computer to be clean and ready to go, that is not always the case. While bloatware is mostly not harmful at all, having your PC clogged up with all that information could seriously affect your computers speed. Upon purchase of a computer most retail sellers will offer optimization at an additional cost in order to clean out the PC. Or you could tackle the issue yourself and use software that could help you slim down your PC.

5. Check for Malware

If your PC is still running sluggish, their could be an even more underlying problem or even some malware that is affecting your system. Running a systems check from your anti-virus or internet security software and having it scan and get rid of problems could help get your PC up and running as fast as it should be.

If you’re concerned about your business’s network, call ECMSI for a FREE Network Health Assessment today! (330) 750-1428