Benefits of Proactively Monitoring Your Network

There’s nothing worse than getting the call that your network is down. Business owners often find that their IT lacks the visibility to notice performance issues before they become bigger problems. It’s simple to understand that when you have a network outage, the clock starts ticking and the longer it takes to resolve, the more it costs in productivity, staff time and customer satisfaction.

Keeping tabs on all of your network technology means that you can spot issues before they get worse. Having a proactive maintenance of a network will not only improve your productivity but also increase the reliability of your systems and could save you money in support costs.

Below, we’ve listed some of the top benefits in proactively monitoring your network:

Stay Ahead of Outages

There’s many reasons a network outage could occur; configuration issues, environmental factors and even human error. By implementing a proactive network monitoring approach, you’re giving yourself the visibility needed to stay one step ahead of potential issues and can prevent your business from experiencing these outages in the first place.

Identify Security Threats

You can’t assume your information is safe. It’s important to have at least one level of security but more proactive to access more. A network monitoring tool can provide that first level and give you a big picture of your typical performance. By monitoring your security, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to notice unfamiliar changes and find you best proactive approach to minimize your risk.

Save Money

Time = Money  and when your network is down, this is especially true. By monitoring your network, you’re able to make problem solving faster and easier and get back to the important day-to-day tasks that keep your business in the position for optimal growth.

Improve Reliability

If you had the chance to identify and correct small issues before they became bigger problems to provide the best customer satisfaction, wouldn’t you? By proactively maintaining your network, you’re able to bridge the gap between standard customer service and exceptional customer service by no longer worrying about downtime or errors in communication.

 

ECMSI offers top-of-the-line proactive monitoring and a layered security suite to keep your business running at the highest level of efficiency. Find out more today by giving us a call and scheduling your Free Network Health Assessment! (330) 750-1428

 

What Are The Differences Between Two-Step and Two-Factor Authentication?

If you find that you and your business spend most of your time online, cybersecurity should be your top priority. If you find that your information is vulnerable, you should consider taking a look at your authentication process. Two of the most commonly used authentication options for cybersecurity are two-step and two-factor authentications.

You’re probably finding yourself thinking, “What’s are authentication tools and what is the difference between the two?” Two-step and two-factor authentication are often used interchangeably, however, there are slight differences.

What is two-step authentication?

Two-step authentication is a process that requires a user to have a single login, such as a password, as well as an additional similar type of login that is sent directly to the user. For example, you may have a password for your first step and then receive a one-use code on your cell phone or to your email as the second step. A two-step authentication just adds as extra step in verifying your identity and keeping your information more secure. However, this is not to be meant as a means of keeping hackers out.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication, often referred to as multi-factor authentication is considered significantly more secure than the aforementioned two-step authentication. Two-factor requires the user to have two different types of information to verify the user’s identity.  For example, your authentication could be a combination of a fingerprint as well as a password or code. Since a two-factor authentication requires these types of information, it would require a hacker a great deal of effort to obtain your information.

So, what’s the difference?

Bottomline: Every two-factor authentication is a two-step authentication but the opposite is untrue. It’s important to research the security measures available and make sure you’re using the authentication process that is right for your business.

As always, ECMSI offers top-of-the-line layered security to keep their partners and their customers safe. Our security suite provides the skilled IT resources, domain expertise, centralized monitoring and management facilities, and proactive approach to ensuring the protection of your desktops and laptops against the ever-present threat of viruses, spam, and malware attacks. Call today (330) 750-1428 or visit our website at www.ecmsi.com/security!

How to Boost Staff Efficiency

Technology empowers businesses to work to their full capacity. They are capable of working remotely, collaborate more efficiency and effectively manage the time of its employees. These are benefits that every business strives to obtain, however, to achieve them requires you to implement technologies that compliment the needs of your employees. Here are some technology tips to boost staff efficiency in your business:

Update Office Communication

We all know effective communication is crucial for team productivity. Often, some businesses find themselves on the fence about investing their time and efforts into the software that improves team communication.

Fortunately, the market offers a plethora of advanced technological solutions for businesses of all sizes, such as: team messengers. This is not to eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings to discuss the big-ticket projects or issues your company is facing but to decrease the time spent with trivial conversations

Stay Organized With Cloud-Based Project Management Software

Have you ever experienced a project delay while you scramble to search for a needed document? Have you needed some assets sent but your teammate is working offline? Or better yet, has your laptop crashed while holding all of your important files?

No matter the size of your business, using cloud-based project management tools will tremendously enhance your team productivity and streamline collaboration. Having your projects, document assets and project management in sync and easily accessible will not only improve overall team performance but also create a competitive advantage for your business.

Implement ERP Software

Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, is a business process management software that allows businesses to automate their processes and centralized their data to aide collaboration. ERP software reduces repetition and the number of spreadsheets needed to record business data due to their easy to use centralized database.

Make Time Count with Tracking Tools

You want to improve the time management of your employees, yet you don’t know how to measure it. The best way to increase performance and productivity is to implement a time tracking tool. By using a time tracking tool, you will be able to make the most of your time and become more efficient.

It’s important to partner with a knowledgeable and reliable managed service provider to ensure you’re maximizing the return on your IT investment. ECMSI is the area’s leading managed service provider and ready to speak with you today! Learn how we can implement technology to help your employees become more efficient and productive: (330) 750-1428

5 Signs Your Network Security Needs Updated

Network security should remain a top priority and constant concern for all businesses. When a company’s cybersecurity infrastructure is weak or their security software is out of date, that company is open to cyber threats. They could lose access to the data they need to keep operating and allowing the theft of sensitive data.

What are the warning signs that you really need to update your network security? We discuss the top 5 below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. You don’t remember when your last network security assessment was.

The first sign that you need an update to your network security is that you don’t remember that last time you check your security infrastructure! A critical part of ensuring that your business is protected is to perform routine network security assessments. If you can’t remember the last time you has a network security assessment, chances are you have major security gaps that need closed immediately.

2. You experience abnormal information access requests.

The goal of cyber attacks? To steal your company’s most sensitive information. If you’re noticing a sudden influx in requests to access your sensitive data, you already have an attacker inside your network.

If you’re getting an increased amount of unusual requests, it could be a sign that you have numerous attackers making their way into your network. It’s a surefire sign that you need to update your network security – software, tools and protocols.

3. You notice your software hasn’t been patched in what feels like ages.

One early warning sign that a company desperately needs to update its network security is whether or not any of that company’s software has had a security patch applied in the last month. It’s important to proactively identify out-of-date software and patch it. This is one of the most basic ways for a company to prevent any

4. You’re finding more employee user accounts than you do employees.

A core part of maintaining your network security is keeping up with your user account management by performing  cleanup on old employee user accounts.

Companies with well-maintained security infrastructures will quikcly remove an employee’s user account and access immediately at termination. If you notice you have more user accounts than employees, you fall in one of the following categories:

  • Old employee accounts aren’t being deleted
  • Fake employee accounts are being created

In the first case, it’s important to update your security policies and procedures to close the gap on this vulnerability. In the second, it’s important to discover the means used to create accounts and eliminate the gap. Keeping your network security current is crucial for eliminating openings that allow attackers to create user accounts in your network.

5. Your network has been breached before.

The final major warning sign is the one you want to work the hardest to avoid – network security breach. Once you’ve let your network security  be breached, you need to immediately gather network security information and update your security measures to avoid this in the future.

In order to identify a cybersecurity breach, you must have some kind of network security tool – such as a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software. These tools help identify the methodology of the attack, where it came from, what was targeted and how successful the attack was.

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 to an attack. Get a Free Network Health Assessment from ECMSI today.

“Help Me. My Internet is Down!”

If you worked in an office environment before, this situation may seem very familiar to you. You’re sitting at your desk when all the sudden you hear a fellow coworker complain that their internet is down. You then log into your computer and notice that your internet is not functioning either. The initial thought is always, “oh great another problem with this place.” If the people in your office are not the most tech savvy, which seems to be the case in many offices the first call to action is to ask, “your designated IT person” to see what they may know about why the office internet is not working. So, what do you do in a situation like this? Let’s look at some of the things you should consider.

1. Are you getting power?

Most issues can be resolved by checking your modem and router. If you see that no LED lights are being displayed, the next step should be to turn the modem and router off and wait several minutes before restarting the systems. On most routers, this should be green and may be flashing. If your router doesn’t have status indicators, look around back to see if the Ethernet port lights are flashing. If there is no activity, turn the router off. Unplug and reconnect each cable, making sure each cable is seated correctly in the appropriate port. Wait a few minutes before rebooting the router.

 

2. Is everything plugged in?

Checking the cable connection is very important. This could be something as simple as the cable being loose to a cut in half cord. If so, this is something that would need replaced immediately if you want your workplace to get up and running.

 

3. Check to see if your firmware is current. Do you know what that is?

Firmware is embedded software, installed at the factory on a read-only memory (ROM) chip, which allows the router hardware to implement network and security protocols. Many vendors provide downloadable firmware updates that resolve performance issues, add new features, increase performance. Look for the firmware update in the System section of your router’s management system and follow the instructions carefully to make sure that you are installing the correct firmware version. Stay away from firmware from a third-party site.

While these are some of the basic actions you can take, other more serious issues can involve performing a ping test, changing the channel or frequency in which you receive data, and finally contacting your ISP, which is sometimes the last thing you want to do because of the long wait times, and you need your business to keep on moving. NOW!

If your business is lucky enough to have their own internal IT person, they may be able to figure it out, through going down the same checklist that we just mentioned that may take a while to figure it out, all while your business is at a standstill. The best measure would be to have systems in place that do their best to prevent issues like this from ever happening. Making sure your employees have reliable work tools is super important to the vitality of your business and even a small problem such as losing internet connection temporarily can lead to huge losses in productivity. And we wouldn’t want to see that happen. So, let’s discuss some ways that we can prevent this from ever happening… Or from ever happening again.

If you’re an small business owner and you’re serious about getting the IT service desk support you need when you need it, ECMSI is ready to help. Our service desk support is unparalleled. This is one of those business tools that can truly set you apart from the competition. We have a guarentted response time of 19 minutes or less – to keep your productive!

If you’re ready to focus on growing your business and alleviate the stress of IT, contact ECMSI today.

Should You Be Afraid of The Deep/Dark Web?

The internet is a vast network of information and social platforms that connects everyone around the globe. It has become a daily part in our lives and changed the way we work and the way we communicate. However, there is more under the surface of the regular internet we use every day.  Beyond the familiarity of sights such as Google, Facebook, and Wikipedia, there lies an unreachable part of the internet that can only be accessed through certain browsers, this is known as the Deep Web, or Dark Web.

While we have all heard of the bad websites and suspicious activity that could go on in the Dark Web, there are also some misconceptions the everyday person does not know. Let’s start shedding some light on the scary “dark” corners of the internet.

What is the Deep Web?

Deep Web and Dark Web are commonly used interchangeably, but they do not necessarily mean the same thing. The Deep Web refers to all web pages that search engines cannot find. This includes the Dark Web; however, it also includes all user databases, webmail pages, registration-required web forums, pages behind paywalls. If you use an online bank account, the password-protected bits are stored in the Deep Web. The common mistake news outlets make is that they confuse the Dark Web with the much bigger and generally harmless Deep Web.

Then what is the Dark Web?

The Dark Web is a subset of the Deep Web in which suspicious, illegal or dangerous websites could be created and used. This is solely due to the nature and anonymity to how these websites can be created and accessed. Almost all sites on the Dark Web hide their identity using the Tor encryption tool. Tor is software anyone can download and is known for its ability to hide your identity and activity. You can use Tor to spoof your location, when a website runs through Tor, it has the same effect.  Just as the end user’s IP address is bounced through several layers of encryption to appear to be at another IP address on the Tor network, so is that of the website. Thus, sites on the Dark Web can be visited by anyone, but it is very difficult to work out who is behind the sites. And it can be dangerous if you slip up and your identity is discovered.

Now there’s a Dark Internet too?

Yes, there is one more subset to the Deep Web, and that is usually defined by the term Dark Internet. This is used to describe further examples of networks, databases or even websites that cannot be reached over the internet. The typical stigma behind the Dark Internet is that it is a boring place where scientists use to store and share all their raw data for research.

So, is it Safer?

The internet, whether you or on the surface or in the dark, is well, the internet and hackers are lurking in every corner.  While the dark web can provide anonymity on a level the surface web could never, it is not necessarily safer. Hackers have been known to go in, take passwords and other information from data in the deep web and use it for ransom or other harmful purposes. The Dark web particularly is a free-range host of illegal and wrongful activities and it is not recommended by anyone to visit or take part in.

How Can I Protect Myself?

There is a new wave of Dark Web monitoring that is hitting the market. Many of these tools scan the dark web for your website/company/email domains to see if there is a potential for a password or data breach. These monitoring tools can also alert you and prompt you to change your passwords so your digital life on the surface web remains safe.

ECMSI is happy to help with any questions you may have about the Dark Web. With our new Dark Web ID, we can scan your domain to find out if any of your information or passwords have leaked in the Deep Web. Call us at 330-750-1428 for any questions you may have or fill out the form below to get in contact with us.

Tips for Safe Mobile Device Use

If you’re planning on heading out of town – or simply to the coffee shop to work – here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Protect your devices from thieves.

All mobile devices should be pass-code-protected and loaded with apps that will help you track and find them in case they get lost or stolen. These apps allow you to remotely wipe the device if it falls into the wrong hands; you definitely don’t want to expose yourself to identity theft or allow someone access to your company’s network and client data. Also, never leave your device anywhere you wouldn’t leave your wallet.

Backup.

Mobile devices get lost and destroyed more often than desktop computers because you’re dragging them around from place to place and exposing them to non-gadget-friendly environments; therefore, make sure you are backing up all the data to the cloud. All it takes is a spilled cup of coffee to erase those precious family photos and videos; and most people don’t think about backing up their phone.

Take caution when connecting to free public WiFi.

Hackers with routers and readily available software set up rogue hot spots for spying and serving you fake websites. They often name these hot spots something generic such as “Coffee Shop” or “Linksys” to fool you into thinking they are safe. You think you’re connecting to the coffee shop’s WiFi, but you’re actually accessing the web through their portal. If you are going to use public WiFi, simply use it for general web surfing, not shopping, banking or accessing critical data.

Turn off sharing.

If you use a laptop, you might have it set to share files and folders with other computers at work or home. However, you don’t want those settings “on” when connecting to a public network. When connecting to a public hotspot for the first time, Windows will ask you for a location type; choose “public” and it will automatically reset your settings to turn off sharing.

Carry your own connection.

If you’re going to access your bank account, go shopping online or retrieve critical data when traveling, invest in your own personal Mi-Fi connection. If you don’t have one and you need to make an emergency balance transfer or an immediate purchase to save a significant amount of money, it’s safer to use your cell phone. When banking, use your bank’s official app and sign up for any extra security they offer. For example, Bank of America’s SafePass program sends a text message with a 6-digit code to authorize a transaction. The code expires as soon as you use it.

ECMSI, Making IT Easy! (330) 750-1428

What To Look For When Choosing A MSP

Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) should result in a measurable return on your investment, make IT operations nearly invisible and increase the productivity of your business. A MSP offers a more cost effective way to manage your IT department while giving you a chance to address process gaps and other roadblocks in your business.

Finding the right MSP doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Below are the top five (5) suggestions to consider when narrowing your search to an MSP who can help you immediately while fostering a strong business partnership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. A Solid Track Record

When searching for an MSP, it’s important to consider the healthiness of their success. You want to find a provider who has the know-how and skill set to increase the productivity of your business and perform at the highest capacity. Bottom line: Understand who they are, what they do, who they do it for and don’t be afraid to ask for references.

2. A Knowledgeable, Experienced Staff

When you being evaluating MSPs, ask about their own internal training programs, the certifications of their staff and the education of their IT staff. Also keep in mind, certifications are in no way a replacement for tenure. Ask about the experience of their staff.

3. Technology Focus and Competency

Once you decide to outsource to an MSP, it’s important to find a partner that closely identifies with the core competencies that align with the requirements of your business. Take a deep look into their tools, systems, processes and resource to really identify if their technology stack has the solutions you’re seeking.

4. Well-Established Process

We all understand that keeping on top of your day-to-day IT operations while maintaining your core business is chaotic, to say the least. When seeking a MSP partner, look for a provider with well-established procedures for everything.  Gain insight on how they stay on top of processes from security issues to managing and controlling the changing environment.

5. The Ability to Innovate

Technology is always changing, and rapidly. You need to make sure the MSP you pursue is well-versed in both reactive, and most importantly, proactive problem solving. The MSP you choose should have innovative solutions and have the foresight to implement technologies to help your company thrive now, and in the future.

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!

Five (5) Reasons to Choose an MSP

It’s nearly impossible for most companies to conduct business without some form of IT in place. Computers and servers don’t appear on their own and they certainly don’t fix themselves when things go awry. Today, many businesses are recognizing the benefits of engaging experts in their IT operations.
While a typical start-up may be limited by their cash flow, they can often experience the growing pains of building and maintaining their systems on their own.  The key to digital success for businesses of any size or stage is to hire IT professionals for both managed and professional services.

What is an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

An MSP is an experienced team of experiences who provide IT services to businesses by delivering ongoing  monitoring and management of client applications and IT infrastructures remotely.

Small to mid-sized businesses often outsource IT operations to ensure all their business systems and networks remain running. Instead of waiting for an issue to arise, an MSP ensures a client’s IT can avoid most issues in the first place by taking a proactive approach.

5 Reasons to Choose an MSP For Your Business

 1. Save Money

It’s expensive to employ competent IT professionals to run your operations. Most small to medium sized businesses are finding that outsourcing their IT services is not only cutting down on cost but providing a more predictable monthly budget.

2. Proactive Support and Quick Response Time

When you select an MSP, those specialized professionals are 100% dedicated to your IT systems. These professionals offer a quick, timely and proactive response in the case your IT network has an issue or fails.

3. Ready Infrastructure

When working with an MSP, you have the peace of mind in knowing they come prepared.  The experts can deploy solutions for your IT issues quicker by saving you a lot of time and money. By outsourcing your IT, you’re opening your business up to the option of using better equipment such as, more powerful servers.

4. Access To A Team of Experts

The teams put in place when using an MSP are highly qualified and posses a wide range of IT experience. Your business is promised the best service possibly provided without having to do the hard work of recruiting.

5. Focus On Your Business

Choosing to partner with an MSP lets you focus on what’s most important – growing your business. By having your IT infastructure handled by experts, your core competencies and strategies can finally become your top priority.

Considering an MSP?

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! If you have any questions about how an MSP can help your business please feel free to contact us at 330.750.1428 or visit our website here!

4 Signs Your Company Has Document Management Compliance Issues

There are a multitude of benefits in using a documentation management system, but with those benefits come challenges such as compliance issues. It’s becoming more complicated for companies to ensure that their documentation management systems follow industry regulations. Think your company might have significant gaps in your documentation management practices? Here are four (4) signs that your company needs assistance.

1. Everyone in your company uses the same login to access all records

If your document management system  is an open book to all, you’re risking confidential information in the wrong hands. The key to maintaining the necessary internal controls by setting appropriate levels of access to your electronic documents. It’s critical that your sensitive files are not accessible by everyone.

2. Your documents are stored on a standalone, on-premise computer

Unsecured document storage is still one of the most common issues with small to mid-size companies, usually due to one of the following:

  • Limited funds
  • Lack of understanding associated risks
  • Staff shortages
  • Lack of understanding which practices are available

These issues not only create confusion as to who accessed records and when but also put your company at risk  for potential altered or lost data.

3. No audit trail

An audit trail allows your organization and customers to have a sense of assurance around access to data.  It puts everyone’s mind at ease when there is a detail record of who accessed, modified, moved or deleted records. The purpose of audit trails is to safeguard the integrity of the information stored and the processes around data accessed.

4. Few people know or understand your organization’s document management policies and procedures

If your employees don’t know or recognize the policies and procedures of your organization, you’re running the risk of open data and creating loopholes where anyone can obtain and even leak sensitive documents. This opens your company up to legal issues without an repercussion for the person who accessed the documents due to no formal policies or procedures in place.

 

At ECMSI, we’re one of the most trusted managed service providers in the area, we manage your IT needs, allowing you to focus on your business. Our Network Security Suite is an all-encompassing service that provides you with peace of mind, knowing that you are stable, secure and standardized. Call us today to find out more: 330-750-1428 ECMSI is here to make IT easy!