All posts by a4zz1c

How to Prevent Cyberattacks

Today, for every business to run efficiently and keep up with the competition, they must utilize various technologies such as databases, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems and require a good online presence to be seen. In recent years, small business (companies with 250 employees or less) have increasingly been the targets to hackers and cyber attacks. Many of these schemes directly target employees through phishing emails. Cyber attacks and data breaches come in many different types but all have one goal, and that is to take sensitive information and utilize it for some sort of gain or profit all while ruining the companies infrastructure. So what are the most necessary things a business must do to keep their IT safe?

Utilize Antivirus Software

Investing the money in Antivirus can go a long way. These programs are meant to catch any sort of malware entering your systems and stopping it at the gate before it spreads.

Enable Firewalls

Firewalls are a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and decides whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a set of security rules.

Train Employees on Cyber Security

Most issues stem from unaware employees falling victim to phishing emails, in fact an untrained employee is the most effective way for a cyber attack to come through. Education your team consistently and making sure they can spot hacking attempts is crucial to your business.

Utilize Strong Passwords

Making passwords that are easy to guess and typical will only hurt your business, an account can easily be compromised if your password is your birthday or “password123”. Using a combination of uppercase, lowercase letters and special characters will ensure a higher security level.

Use Encryption

Encrypting your emails, or other messages that get sent out will ensure that your information is being sent securely. Without encryption a hacker will be able to see and intercept all data being sent.

Patch Regularly

“Patch” or Update your operating system and software regular. Hackers are always on the lookout for weaknesses within programs and once they are discovered they can gain access to your files. Keeping your system updated ensures that these weaknesses or loopholes are “patched” up and a virus that attempts to enter through a loophole will not be able to go through.

Many small businesses do not have the personnel, expertise or time to put in their IT security and that is when they are put at a high risk for their business or employee data to be compromised. These proactive security steps are an absolute necessity to any modern day business.

ECMSI is the area’s leading IT Management provider who’s goal is to keep it’s partners productive, safe and secure.  Call today for a FREE Network Health Assessment and find where your network is vulnerable and where ECMSI can help! (330) 750-1428

Tips For Improving Password Management

Passwords: You first line of defense. Managing passwords effectively? Challenging, especially if you have a plethora of passwords. Below we share some helpful tips for taking your password management to the next level.

Understand Password Best Practices

  • Ensure the complexity of passwords is set high by including three random words, a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers (3756), and symbols (!#$%)
  • Set your password to at least 16 characters
  • Do not use commonly known names or numbers
  • Schedule passwords to be changed every 90 days
  • Do not store passwords on sticky notes or in Excel spreadsheets

Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

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.

Know How to Create Complex Passwords

Protect your business by using complex strings of passwords. Here’s some tips for creating those complex passwords:

  • Three to four random words (e.g. Lights, Camera, Action)
  • Upper- and lowercase (e.g. LightsCameraAction)
  • Numbers (e.g. LightsCameraAction8)
  • Special characters/symbols (e.g. LightsTechClouds8?)

Automate Password Expiration

It’s crucial to password security to implement password rotations. As users, we hold plenty of logins and often, even more passwords. Rotating, or changing, passwords frequently enhances your network security – but how often should you change them?

  • If you’ve been breached – change your password instantly.
  • Any other password should be rotated at a minimum of 3 months (90 days).

Do Not Store Your Passwords

Whether you’re on your phone, laptop or desktop, you’re almost always prompted to store your password. It might seem too obvious but it’s important to avoid storing passwords digitally (and even on paper!), as such information could be stolen by those with malicious intent.

Be Mindful About Cyber Security

No matter how strong your passwords are or how meticulous you are about safety,  your passwords won’t be safe if you don’t have the appropriate security in place.

ECMSI offers a state-of-the-art, multi-level security suite to ensure your network and critical data is being protected. We offer a free network health assessment to answer your questions, show you where you’re vulnerable, and what our recommendations are to keep your network healthy and productive.

www.ecmsi.com

Don’t Let A Tech Disaster Ruin Your Business Reputation

Anytime there is a major cyber security breach in the news it usually spells out disaster for all those who are involved. Weather it is the customers whose data has been breached or the company involved that has to deal with all the media, it ends up turning into a nightmare.

However, not just massive corporations can deal with this reputation issue after cyber security breaches and downtime. Small businesses that are down because of technical issues could suffer damages to their customer service and reputation locally.

Reputation matters!

Most of the time when you hear about disaster recovery, the focus is on getting your business up and running as fast as possible. The average small business loses as much as 8,600 per hour when its network is offline. It’s expensive to rebound slowly.

When customers feel they can’t trust a company with their financial information, other factors fall by the wayside quickly. Maybe you’re the best in your industry. Maybe you have amazing customer service. Maybe your customer base is insanely loyal the rest of the time.

But lose their trust, and you’ve lost them.

Disaster recovery and your reputation.

Disaster recovery isn’t just about restoring functionality to your system. It’s also about restoring customer faith. If something happens – anything from a natural disaster to hardware failure to a security breach – you need a clear disaster recovery plan.

If you have one, you can weather the storm. Trust can be rebuilt. But only if you show your customers you know how to handle a crisis.

We are Here to Help.

Here at ECMSI, we care a great deal about disaster recovery. We understand the impact downtime has on your bottom line. We also understand the hit your reputation will take if you don’t know how to navigate a disaster. That’s why our managed services are designed to keep you proactive and ready for anything.

It’s our goal to minimize the impact to your customer base and keep your reputation untarnished, even when everything goes wrong.

If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place already, we highly recommend addressing that. And, of course, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us to find out more about how our disaster recovery strategy can protect your network stability and your reputation.

Checklist: Choosing the Right MSP

Businesses aren’t built to be one-size-fits-all. So, why would your IT network be? Without an advanced technical background, how can you determine which vendor offers the best value? How do you know they’ll be able to cover all of your company’s unique needs? As an office manager, these are questions you’ll likely ask as you compare managed service providers . Let’s look below at the IT services you should always consider when looking for a managed service provider (MSP):

1. Network Monitoring

Did you know, your business should always be on the defense against cyber attacks and other disasters? MSPs should offer 24/7 network monitoring to ensure any problems that arise within your system are immediately addressed and resolved. Network monitoring is a necessary safeguard to reduce the risk of downtime and security breaches by identifying issues before they become a larger problem.

2. Cloud Services

By moving you company towards cloud computing, you’ll notice benefits such as enhanced productivity and efficiency. The MSP you choose should be able to host your applications or servers in a secure, off-site data center. This will allow you to access your data and desktop at any time – from any location.

3. Strategic Planning

The MSP you choose should have a clear vision for your company’s IT future.  A strong MSP should monitor trends and continuously update your network where needed. Opt for a partner with a project team – to keep you and your business on-track.

4. 24/7/364 Customer Support

Many network issue are unpredictable, but your MSP should be prepared to handle anything at any given time. If your provider can’t guarantee 24/7/365 support, it’s time to reconsider.

5. Virus & Malware Protection

Hackers are evolving and finding more creative ways to get into your network. Working with an MSP who offers a layered security approach will greatly reduce the risk of security breaches or hacks. Do your research and be sure to compare what you think you’re getting to what’s actually being provided.

6. A Strong and Proven Track Record

Nothing can tarnish an MSP quicker than a bad reputation meaning, the choice you make for an MSP is critical to your company’s success. Ask for records of customer satisfaction and retention. Don’t be afraid to ask for references, too. If you think your provider isn’t stepping up to your needs or they’re not offering the services above, it’s time to reconsider what you’re currently using.

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 is here to make IT easy!

Lower Your Expenses with Co-Managed IT

Have you been thinking about growing your IT staff but are worried about the cost of overhead and training? Lately, more companies are starting to search for alternative resources to supplement their internal IT staff. Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) with co-managed IT support offers a wide array of services to complement your company’s in-house IT staff. By empowering a co-managed IT service, your internal IT team will continue to call the shots but start to experience increased efficiency and reduced downtime. Let’s continue exploring the benefits of co-managed IT and how your business will save on expenses.

1. No Need for Additional Staff

By partnering with an MSP for co-managed IT, you eliminate the need for additional IT staff. By utilizing co-managed IT services, your internal team stays in control and only supplements out tasks that they need help with or cannot get to. In addition, it also still provides all the technological support your company may need. For a fixed monthly your employees gain access to 24/7 IT support.

2. More Time Spent On Important Projects

Does your IT staff have big projects on the horizon but are unsure where they’re going to find the time to work on them? Is their time currently devoted to small tasks such as help desk services? The time wasted on day-to-day tasks is negatively impacting the time that could be spent improving your current infrastructure. By engaging in co-managed IT service, you’re freeing up time for your internal staff to stay up-to-date on the latest technology to keep your company secure and productive.

3. Access to Additional Resources

The technology landscape is ever-evolving and this can make it difficult for your internal IT staff to stay up-to-date with the latest advances. Rather than pay for additional services or hire a temporary consultant, you co-managed IT partner is there to help. Enjoy the assist in resolving endless day-to-day projects and unresolved issues.

4. Vendor Partnerships

When partnering with an established MSP for co-managed IT services, you’re privy to some additional benefits. Your MSP should have developed professional relationships all throughout the tech industry. As a partner, you’ll experience the benefits of these connections – especially for special pricing and products.

Do you think your team could benefit from co-managed services? We’re here to talk about it! Find out what it’s like to have a true partner in IT, and not just another service provider.

https://www.ecmsi.com/internal-it.html

How to Avoid Ransomware

You probably hear about ransomware a lot, but what is it? Ransomware is a form of malware where hackers lock a computer, system or personal files and then demands a ransom payment in order for you to have access to your files. Ransomware can be distributed in several ways:

Phishing Links

Phishing links are a popular method to deploy ransomware. This act involves using malicious links in phishing emails to take the user to a malicious site and infect their computer or network.

Fake Attachments

In these types of scams, hackers typically use a PDF, Excel sheet or Word document that claims to be of high importance. Clicking on these attachments can cause the following:

  1. This attachment will open a malicious web page
  2. This attachment will invoke a ransomware download

Links in Attachments

One of the most common phishing scams that hackers use involve email attachments. These types of phishing emails direct users to open the email attachment. This attachment includes a malicious link that will request the users credentials.

Top Ransomware Email Subject Lines

  • Subject: H¡gh level of r¡sk. Your account has been hacked. Change yøur passwørd.
  • Subject: ***SPAM*** I GOT EVERYTHING!
  • Subject: RE: Take Notice Your Device Was Infected!!!
  • Subject: At Your Notice john.smith@example.com
  • Subject: Mail delivery failed
  • Subject: Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

Email security is essential for the safety of any business, no matter how big or small. So before you have to pursue ransomware removal, take care of your backup solutions. At ECMSI, we can provide you with business continuity that prevents you from ever losing your livelihood to ransomware attacks, system failures, or even natural disasters. Check out our backup solutions and prevent your company from being held hostage by circumstances outside your control.

www.ecmsi.com

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 Strong Reputation

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!

3 Tips to Successfully Work From Home

Working from home can be great! That is, until you find yourself doing so for the first time and realizing you’re not sure how to operate and you’re starting to lose productivity. After all, not all in-office practices translate over to remote work.

Employees who are used to being in the office may start to feel excluded, out of the loop, and struggle with the adjustment to working from home. Below we have some tips to continue successfully working from home:

Communication Strategies

  • Set Expectations: If working from home is new to your team, provide clear guidelines about what’s expected. Share how you’d prefer employees communicate and what processes, if any, have changed.
  • Share Progress: Make sure you have someone to keep everyone on the same page. Share the status of projects often.
  • Be Thorough: Working from home gives employees the opportunity to communicate with their teams through multiple channels: video, phone, team messaging, emails, etc. There’s no excuse for poor communication.

Choose Your Essential Tech Tools

  • Get the Right Platform: Working from home requires the best communication and collaboration tools. By unifying video, voice and messaging into one platform enables employees to communicate and collaborate more seamlessly while maximizing productivity.
  • Choosing Modes of Communication: Make sure you’re selecting most appropriate mode of communication for your team. Whether video, voice or messaging, there’s a communication mode for every instance.
  • Stay in Sync: Choosing a communication tool that allows for both asynchronous and synchronous communication enables your team to work more effectively. Bonus: they never feel out of the loop!

Keep Everyone Connected

  • Use Video: Working from home can cause feelings of isolation and disconnect. By using video interactions, employees are able to continue feeling connected and refreshed. Being able to see your teammates goes a long way when it comes to positive and collaborative working culture.
  • Express Yourself: Have some fun! Incorporate emojis (even memojis), GIFs and memes to your team communications. Adding a little humor can help people feel more connected.

ECMSI has spared no resource to aid in the access of remote workers for its partners by working diligently to ensure easy, same-day secure remote access. For our partners who rely on ECMSI as their trusted phone vendor, we’ve provided a one-stop smooth transition. By providing solutions that support users to connect from their home computer, ECMSI has significantly reduced downtime and offered the superior productivity and support our partners have come to expect. From global pandemics to the increasing risk of hackers, it’s critical to have an IT support plan in place. ECMSI is here to help – learn what it means to partner with us by calling (330) 750-1428 or visiting www.ecmsi.com

5 Signs Your Network Security Needs An Update

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.

Most Common IT Mistakes Businesses Make

The right technology brings value to small businesses, but there are a few common mistakes that negate those advantages. Follow these technology tips to avoid five of the biggest mistakes small business owners make when it comes to business technology.

Mistake #1: Choosing the cheapest option

Everyone wants to save money—especially a small business where every dollar counts. However, when it comes to your business technology, cheaper isn’t always better. It’s smart to establish a budget. But make sure the business technology solutions you choose are capable of providing the support you need. Otherwise, you’re not saving money. Instead, you’re just wasting time.

Small businesses receive almost two-thirds of all cyberattacks. It’s tempting to think that large enterprises make much better targets for data breach, but small businesses are not immune to attacks.

Choosing to go cheaper on your security can be disastrous in the long run. Data loss, especially as a result of a security breach that threatens the privacy of your customers, is painful. You’ll lose time trying to correct issues, and you could lose credibility with your customer base.

“A survey of small-business owners by Nationwide found only 13 percent of respondents believed they had experienced a cyber attack. However, when owners were shown a list of specific examples of attacks, including phishing, viruses and ransomware, the figure of those reporting attacks increased to 58 percent.” – CNBC.

Mistake #2: Investing on an as-needed basis

Being proactive when it comes to business technology is your best option. Waiting until something breaks almost always ends up costing more in the long run. Not only that, but it can lead to downtime and a loss of profits. For example, if all of your customer data is on one computer with absolutely no backups and anything happens to that computer, you face the possibility of losing everything. Take action before you need it to ensure that your business runs more smoothly. Have a backup plan in place before you need it.

Mistake #3: Compatibility

A major factor in choosing business technology is figuring out what’s compatible with what you already have. Even if you have the best IT solutions available, if none of them work together you’re not going to be any more productive or efficient. That’s why with our partners, we make sure to understand each and every one of their unique network environments

Instead, there’s the best mix of solutions for your business.

Another important question when finding the right security-technology solution is to determine how the technology will integrate into current security equipment at the facility. Security technology, whether it’s cameras or real-time location devices, is not a cheap investment. More and more systems across the security technology spectrum can easily be integrated. – Forbes

Mistake #4: No business technology support

One of the most important factors in anything related to business technology is access to the support when you need it.

Partner with a managed IT services provider (MSP) who offers real-time support. That way you have help when you need it, and you won’t have to suffer unnecessary downtime.

Mistake #5: Using under-qualified people

Speaking of managed IT services, making sure you choose a partner who has the experience and background to deliver the kind of support you need. All MSPs are not created equal. Find out the history of any MSP you’re considering. How long have they have been in business? What do their customer reviews look like? Do they know your industry? Can you see their location?

And take every kind of support you need into account, from VoIP to cloud solutions. Make sure you’re working with a partner who is there to actually help you grow your business. Call ECMSI to learn more: (330) 750-1428