Category Archives: productivity

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.

“It is important to regularly check backups to ensure data can quickly be restored after a disaster.”

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, give us a call at 330-750-9412 or fill out the form below.

 

Why Slackers Love Tech

You just gave your staff an extra 6-week paid vacation to check in with friends on Facebook, expose your company’s valuable trade secrets from smartphones, watch cat videos, and send résumés to your competitors  – all on your time, and your dime… That’s right: if a full-time employee wastes just ONE measly hour each day, it equals 250 hours burned – 6 weeks of paid time – on non-work-related activities.

 

Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a constant source of distraction to people who feel like they need to keep in touch at all times.

Not only is work time being frittered away, but crucial company secrets slip through the cracks more easily. And sites being visited on your network expose your whole system to malware, hackers and online theft.

So, what are you going to do about it?

Face it – you rely more than ever on mobile technology. And you want to have faith in your team… But how do you know they aren’t secretly taking advantage of your good nature when they’re online?

You don’t. The only way to know what’s really going on at work is to monitor their on-the-job online activities.

Celeste O’Keefe, CEO at DANCEL Multimedia, a Biloxi, Mississippi, marketing firm, started monitoring her employees when she noticed some of them attempting to cover their computer screens as she walked by.

Since then, she’s fired four people for digital infractions. One was a man doing side deals with clients that should have come into the firm. She also fired a woman doing schoolwork on the clock.

Your rights as an employer to track web and e-mail activities of employees using company computers are well-established. But should you? And if so, how do you do so legally, and without damaging company morale?

Several good things happen when you check your team’s online behavior. For one, it can help your company avoid theft, embezzlement or other financial harm. Monitoring can also prevent gathering information about your employees’ religion, political views, sexual orientation or medical history. This could expose your firm to discrimination lawsuits.

Disciplining an employee for making negative comments about you online could result in trouble with the National Labor Relations if you have well-founded suspicions and documented agreement with your attorney and top managers.

Set clear policies. Document your corporate policy on Internet and device usage to make rights and responsibilities clear to everyone – and to protect you in the event of a legal challenge.

Inform and gain consent. It’s not enough to simply let your employees know you’ll be watching them. By being fully transparent and explaining the risks to the business from improper use of digital assets, you’ll steer clear of legal issues without putting a damper on morale.

 

Don’t Let a Tech Disaster Ruin Your 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.

With some of the most infamous breaches being Target, who had over 70 million consumers credit and debit card information compromised. Or the Equifax breach recently in 2017 that could have potentially hit over 143 million Americans. These major companies take a huge hit in PR and get an overall bad stigma associated with them for a long time after.

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.

But there’s another reason to get serious about disaster recovery – your reputation. As CSO put it, “. . . a data breach is a PR and financial disaster. Companies often spot the intrusion too late, and respond inadequately . . . Customers, for one, will often vote with their feet.”

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.

The very same article from CSO quoted above goes on to argue that the damage is often only temporary. After all, Target is still a viable brand. They bounced back from a massive breach, due in part to their disaster recovery plan.

When things got rough, they responded quickly.

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’d be honored 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.

My Coffee Machine Got Hacked

In today’s world it seems like anything can fall victim to a cyber attack. We all know that a computer, wireless network, server, (etc.) can be compromised. Now imagine that you’re at work and you see a ransomware message on your coffee machine’s screen. That’s right… a COFFEE MACHINE. This may sound ridiculous but it did happen and could happen to any workplace. Bet you didn’t know ransomware is now a part of the new continental breakfast.

A chemical engineer with a degree in computer science posted this instance on Reddit and explained exactly what happened that led to this attack on their workplace coffee machine. It all began when a factory worker encountered a ransomware message on his computer, he then called the help desk to get the issue resolved and stepped out to grab a cup of coffee. The worker then noticed the same message on the coffee machine’s screen. Now, this ransomware did not just shut down the employee coffee supply and hold it for ransom (which, that would be a whole other nightmare),this ransomware spread throughout the factory and shut down factory systems. So how did this all happen?

Coffee machines are supposed to be connected to their own isolated WiFi network, the person who was installing the network made the mistake of connecting it to the internal control room network, when they noticed the coffee machine still wasn’t getting internet they then connected it to the isolated WiFi network. While a hacker was poking around in their systems they noticed that huge security fall and managed to squirm their way into the system and gridlock the entire factory network.

A coffee machine is not the only issue, practically any computer- implemented or computer enabled device can be compromised, this then leads to a wild search for what else is connected to that same network that could also become infected? Network vulnerability is like a screen door. If you do not pay attention and their is the tiniest hole in the screen somehow at least one fly will manage its way through and get into your home.

Being proactive and making sure your systems are always being monitored for any issues is very important. Implementing the right security precautions and making sure your network is sealed tight is the only way to prevent malware from grid locking your network. Finally, please make sure your office coffee machine is installed properly!

Forgot Your Password? The Future May Help.

Probably one of the most annoying things about technology today is trying to remember all your passwords, from your desktop login, social media sites, down to your online financials, a combination of words and numbers can really start to all blend together. If you’re like most of us, you probably have the same password for everything. This practice is EXTREMELY unsafe, and not recommended by any IT technicians or service providers. So, is there any end in sight to the madness? Well, current trends in biometrics may just make passwords obsolete.

Today, many cell phone users are logging onto their phones and entering all their apps with their fingerprints. Apple’s “Apple Pay” on iPhones are becoming ever more popular and allows for users to pay with their cards at retail locations using their fingerprints to authenticate the purchase. The Samsung Galaxy S8 phone has an upgraded retinal scanner that can be used to unlock the phone and can be used as a second factor in authenticating any number of online services. Microsoft’s Hello is allowing Windows 10 users to login through facial recognition and a patent for the company indicates they are trying to develop ways to pair a touchscreen with gestures made on the screen to authenticate. Some ideas out there are even hinting at using brainwaves for authentication to unlock computers!

What will this mean for the future of passwords? Maybe soon all you will have to do is think about unlocking your Facebook page and like magic, it would work. While that may seem farfetched, who knows what the future can hold? Much of this research to eliminate passwords is being supported. In the U.K. the National Cyber Security Center is looking for proposals that will do away with passwords and is offering $32,160 in research funds per proposal.

However, while things are still in the works we will have to still stick to the “old-school” way of keeping our information safe, with your first pets name and your birth date numbers (did we get some of you??…). Until then, we recommend creating strong passwords (using capital letters, numbers and symbols) and using different passwords for each account you have.

 

Call ECMSI today for a free consult!

330.750.9412

 

The benefits of Skype for Business

As soon as we were able to access email via our phones, the idea of a work day ending at 5pm pretty much went out the window. Add to that our laptops and a decent internet connection, office workers across the globe can now do their job virtually anywhere. But what happens when you need to collaborate on a project, have a face to face meeting or just need a quick answer?

Waiting on a reply to an email can be soul crushing if you are on a time crunch and the time involved with traveling back and forth to a client site or satellite office for a face to face meeting is less time you have to do actual work. So what’s the answer? I imagine these were the types of scenarios Microsoft were throwing out during the pitch meeting where they came up with Skype for Business.

This multi functioning tool isn’t just an IM service. Within its code, this application allows you to make phone and video calls, hold large conference calls, share data quickly, present desktops for easy presentation, coordinate schedules and so much more.  Plus, it works across platforms! Desktop, Laptop, Tablet or Mobile Device, Skype for Business can be installed and used, just as if you were sitting at your desk.

So if you have been thinking that you need a tool to help bring your team together again, Skype for Business maybe just the thing you’ve been looking for!