Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

How to Know When to Outsource Your IT

Technology is relied on by every company. As companies continue to grow, the role of technology becomes more necessary – making sure the business has the support they need 24/7. Typically, businesses hire internal employees but more increasingly, they’re outsourcing to a third-party provider. Check out the information below and determine if the benefits of outsourcing your IT is right for your company.

Benefits of Outsourcing Your IT

Prior to making any decision, it’s imperative to understand the benefits of outsourcing your IT functions. Here’s some benefits of outsourcing:

  1. Decreased Expenses: It’s more cost effective to outsource IT, as you won’t be paying for the overhead of full time employese.
  2. Scalability: Your outsourced IT services can be scaled up for down, depending on your continually changing business needs.
  3. Less Headaches: By outsourcing your IT, your business no longer needs to worry or prepare for maintenance, upgrades, repairs or any other technological problems that may arise.
  4. Reduced Downtime: When you outsource your IT, you no longer need to deal with the issues of downtime or other workflow interruptions – your provider is proactively monitoring.
  5. Better Utilization of In-House Resources: Your focus should be on growing your business, not working on IT issues. By outsourcing your IT, you no longer need to split employee focus.

So, Should You Outsource Your IT?

It’s challenging to consider what might be best for your company. Deciding whether to outsource or continue growing an internal team comes with the consideration of many factors. While considering your options, be sure to weigh the pros and cons by ensuring you’re comparing the right services. While it’s important to compare cost and savings, it’s more important to make sure your network is secure and covered across the board.

If you decide it’s time for your business to proceed in outsourcing it’s IT operations, make sure you’re using a checklist that will appropriately compare providers, like this one here! As we’ve stressed before, the cost of outsourced services should not be the most important factor. Reliable, secure and high-quality services are what’s essential to keeping your business up and running.

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!

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.

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.

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
  • 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.

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!