Category Archives: Uncategorized

Backing Up to the cloud is your best option

The cloud is an important and resourceful business tool that can help organization and productivity. However, some business professionals question the security of the cloud – especially in an environment of ever-evolving cyber threats. Rest assured that the cloud is an effective and secure way of storing your business data – especially your data backups!

Your Tape Backup is Outdated.
A tape backup is a data storage device that reads and writes data on a magnetic tape. For most small to medium sized businesses, tape backups are still utilized. If you’re still relying on your tape backup, chances are your system is incompetent compared to new and emerging backup solutions. If your staff forgets to set your backup to occur every night, you’re running the risk of losing your daily critical data – all due to human error and negligence. Take a backup using tape is a very resource and labor-intensive procedure that can’t be done during business hours.

The Cloud is Superior.
A cloud-based backup solution provides several qualities that an outdated tape backup cannot present. Cloud backup solutions are capable of automatic snapshots of your critical business data. Since this completely eliminates the possibility of human error or negligence, you not only save time but precious business resources. Your network can benefit from the reduced strain of a long backup process by taking multiple backups throughout eth day, rather than one huge backup that can cause an increase in downtime and a decrease in productivity. Cloud backups will track file changes and backup new files as they become available.

ECMSI’s Backup Solution
A managed backup service from ECMSI ensures that all files are automatically backed up as frequently as every 15 minutes if needed. And it will likely cost less than your monthly phone bill. So, how much is your data worth?
Call Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, to learn more about ECMSI’s managed services, security services and backup solutions: (330) 750-1428

WILL YOU BE READY WHEN RANSOMWARE ATTACKS?

As a MSP, we’re all too familiar with frantic calls from prospects whose hardware have been infected with Ransomware. You can hear the panic in their voices as they ask for immediate help. Though they want us to rush in like the A-Team of IT and fix their problems, we always make sure we have a conversation first. The reason being? We want the client educated on the probable outcome before they spend any money on ransomware removal. 

Why Ransomware Removal Is So Tough

The newer ransomware is deceitfully very good software. It locks you out of your data and then goes looking for more victims on your network. If you’ve got one infection, you are likely to get more.

Our best solution, rather than ransomware removal, is to restore from a good backup, but then we find out frequently the client was just protecting their servers, not the PC’s data.

Sadly, no one is safe. Large and small businesses get hacked with the same frequency. Even family photos and personal information can get swept up in a ransomware attack. It’s always sad when our clients lose personal memories. Though their business data might be safe on a protected server, their personal files are usually not and are lost when we have to fully wipe an infected PC. Worst of all is this can be prevented.

Avoiding the Threat from Ransomware Attacks

Staying one step ahead of ransomware attacks takes preparation. Backing up your critical data is one of the most important steps you can take. Ask your MSP which tools they use; a multilayered approach is required for security as no single vendor can or should “do it all” when critical data is involved.

Additionally, make sure your staff recognizes there are simply some emails they shouldn’t open. If you get an attachment from an unknown sender, you should delete it. Train your staff to be careful, but also block websites you know are malicious. Since removing ransomware isn’t an option, you can’t take any risks.

There are also solid security tools and business processes to protect your organization. Have a frank conversation with your IT provider. I’ve said it 100 times before, but with data security an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It may be the only thing between you and total data loss.

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.

Email: Is it your business’s weakest link?

Email is one of the most important forms of communication in the business world today. This digital post office gives an organization the chance to communicate not only internally but also to their clients, partners and customers. An organization can use email from marketing, to customer service and everything else in between. Many organizations go to great lengths to protect their email data knowing that there is a lot of company information being exchanged through this medium daily. This makes email the most vulnerable and targeted forms of communication in the cyber world. According to a study done by F-secure, of all hacking attempts, 34% of them are accomplished with phishing and malicious email attachments.

What does this mean for email in the future? Here are what security trends we can expect:

  1. Email based attacks continuing to rise.
  2. The attacks will focus on each company’s network of vendors and customers.
  3. Email authentication will become standard.

Levels of interaction using email is very high, and this always comes with a degree of trust, thus someone targeting a major corporation will attempt to mimic their various clients and vendors. We are already seeing emails that attempt to look like they are from “Microsoft” or “eBay” with fake branding that could make you question and click through. Therefore, we will see an increase in mandatory authentications when accepting an email to be delivered.

Since email is so highly targeted some of the best ways to prevent having your company’s information compromised is training employees to see the malicious activity in their inbox. Most problems can be avoided when your team has the ability to protect themselves and be suspicious as to what they are clicking on. To prevent these emails from ever coming in, companies need to establish a highly secure spam filtering and email encryption service. If spam is consistently infiltrating to your employee’s inbox this could cut productivity and end up costing your business.

Small to medium sized business who have not devoted the time to securing their email will be huge targets and could run into some major issues soon. These firms need to ensure they have proper spam filtering in place that will filter out all suspicious emails with strange domains. Those businesses that may be dealing with important financial or health information will need to ensure their emails are encrypted and cannot be compromised that could potentially even lead to legal issues.

ECMSI is here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your organizations email network. Call today and schedule your FREE Network Health Assessment: (330) 750-1428

UNDERSTANDING CYBER SECURITY THREATS

The rise of new technologies has changed the way organizations operate, compete, and evolve. When deployed strategically, each of these emerging technologies can offer organizations a leg up in a fast-paced marketplace, greater insight into their operations, and more control over their business. However, the changing nature of our digital environment is also providing cybercriminals and bad actors with a larger attack surface—and more dangerous tools—than ever. The evolution of workplace technology has also increased the sophistication of cyberattacks.

Given this reality, it’s critical that managed services providers (MSPs) and their customers understand what cybersecurity issues and challenges they’re up against. As companies increasingly rely on connected technology, the stakes of data breaches are clearly growing.

What are the most important security issues facing companies today?

As companies become more reliant on their digital environment, their vulnerabilities to cyberthreats increase in turn. While this certainly doesn’t mean that organizations should forego critical IT investments to reduce their potential attack surface, it does mean that stakeholders need to stay aware of the specific cybersecurity issues that are most pressing to their companies.

Similarly, greater investment in the cloud means that an increasing number of companies are storing and processing proprietary data offsite. The expansion of cloud computing has enabled numerous benefits, including greater organizational flexibility and cost savings. However, relying on the cloud—whether public, private, or hybrid—requires careful cybersecurity protocol. While third-party providers may be responsible for the security of the cloud itself, customers are generally responsible for the security of the information they store and use in it.

What are the threats in cybersecurity?

With new platforms and capabilities opening companies up to new vulnerabilities, it’s critical that MSPs understand what tactics cybercriminals might use to take advantage of unprepared and unprotected organizations.

Across the board, cybersecurity threats that organizations have been familiar with in the past have become even more dangerous. Phishing—the process through which cybercriminals attempt to lure employees to click on links or download files to extract sensitive information—has evolved and matured. And while new technology like blockchain is specifically designed to be secure, users still have private keys that they use to conduct transactions at their specific blockchain node. Successful phishing operations could put these keys in the hands of bad actors and jeopardize the reliability of the network and the applications that rely on it.

Once cybercriminals have access to an organization’s network, the threats they pose are immeasurable. Bad actors may set up a cryptojacking operation in which they harness the resources of computers across a company to mine cryptocurrency, leading to significantly decreased performance. They may steal proprietary information—trade secrets that have the potential to jeopardize a company’s performance—and extort executives for ransom in return for not releasing it. They may even launch integrity attacks, effectively overwriting information in critical databases and allowing cybercriminals to commit fraudulent acts.

The full range of cybersecurity threats that companies face goes on, but the common link among them is that greater network connectivity across companies heightens the potential damage of cyberthreats. This means attacks that may have crippled one area of an organization in the past now have the potential to devastate the whole organization.

What are the challenges of cybersecurity?

The cybersecurity challenges that organizations face range from the internal to the external. On the one hand, companies need to safeguard proprietary information, protect employees, and earn the trust of those they do business with. This requires a shift in organizational culture that puts cybersecurity front and center and educates employees. On the other hand, organizations increasingly need to comply with government regulations as consumers become more concerned about their personal information. This poses new cybersecurity challenges for companies who will have to go to greater lengths to stay compliant with new regulations.

Internally, organizations need to recognize the importance of cybersecurity. Stakeholders need to be prepared to invest in the type of technology and expertise needed to secure their IT infrastructure and maintain that security around the clock. While cybersecurity may have previously taken a back seat to other business areas, companies now need to take a proactive role in monitoring their network and considering potential attack vectors.

Additionally, organizations need to confront the challenge of educating their employees in the reality of cybersecurity. From phishing attacks to ransomware, today’s workers need to be trained to spot nefarious activity, avoid engaging with it, and alert appropriate stakeholders as soon as possible. By educating employees on what threats the organization faces and what form they may come in, it’s more likely that massive breaches can be avoided and damage can be minimized.

How can MSPs support organizational cybersecurity?

Given the full range of threats your customers face today, it’s up to you as an MSP to secure their IT infrastructure and help protect their business. MSPs should consider how they can best deter cybercriminals, detect illicit activity, and defend customers’ networks.

The key here is having multiple layers of defense:

  • Patch management—Patching helps you ensure that all operating systems and third-party software is kept up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR)—EDR helps you identify potential threats at endpoint level and then respond effectively through automation.
  • Email protection—Since email is still the main vector cybercriminals use to get a foothold in an organization through phishing, being able to filter out potentially dangerous messages and attachments, can help reduce your attack surface.
  • Web protection—The use of malicious websites to get people to inadvertently download malware into their network is prevalent. Being able to stop staff from going onto known malicious sites by blocking access to them is and important layer of defense.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of partnering with ECMSI? Give us a call at (330) 750-1428 or visit www.ecmsi.com.

Improve Password Security with These Easy Solutions

It’s important to understand the role that secure passwords play in protecting your critical business data. As a business owner or manager, you need to consider that your business network contains over 100+ passwords and it’s rare that most employees create unique and complex passwords for every account they have.

In order to improve password security, you must make it a priority across your organization, involving the compliance of all employees through tools and education to create a strong strategy for creating and maintaining strong and secure passwords. Let’s check out some ways you can help your business create the best passwords for your business security.

Understand Password Best Practices

  • Choose passwords that are 8-14 characters long
  • Ensure the complexity of passwords is set high by including three random words, a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers (3756), and symbols (!#$%)
  • Change your passwords every 90 days
  • Do not use a password that can be easily guessed, such as your birthdate, spouses name, pet name, etc.
  • Be mindful not to repeat passwords, make sure each account has its own unique password
  • Do not share your passwords with others or leave them anywhere visible
  • If you suspect your account has been compromised, change your password immediately.

Use A Password Manager

Password managers such as LastPass, are software applications that are designed to store and manage online credentials, so you don’t have to remember them all. Password managers take the hassle out of creating long-unique passwords and having to remember them. These types of password mangers help you stay on top of password best practices by create secure passwords and alerting you when there are duplicate passwords in your account. All in all, a user only needs to remember one master password for their password manager and use a multi-factor authentication to keep their information secure.

Use Multi-Factor 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.

Improve Your Password Security Today

ECMSI offers a state-of-the-art, multi-layered 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. Follow the link below to schedule yours today!

Importance of Data Back Up and Disaster Recovery

The loss of your critical business data can happen rapidly and without notice. Whether your office experienced a natural disaster that ruined your systems, you experienced hardware failure, or your data is compromised or being held ransom. What about human error? You could simply and accidently delete it yourself. Let’s talk about the importance of data back up and disaster recovery.

Data Backup

Data backup is a necessary part of your business and is important for cybersecurity, disaster recovery and business continuity and productivity. While you may not have experienced critical data loss, failing to keep clean and up-to-date backups is putting your business at a higher risk.

Why is it important to back up your data?

  • Simple Recovery. People make mistakes and frequently. Emails containing viruses are accidentally opened every single day. There’s no reason to stress about the issues if you have frequent backups to restore when you’ll need them most.
  • Audits and Taxes. Tax authorities are notorious for audits. It’s important for companies to maintain financial and accounting data for tax purposes.
  • Archiving. Backed up information streamlines the development of archives. With digital information, company history is in the making.
  • Data Loss Prevention. We’ve all heard about or experienced a tragic loss of data. The main reason for data backup is to save important files if a system crash or hard drive failure occurs.

Do you have a reliable backup solution in place?

If you lost all of your critical business data today – could you recover. The most effective way to ensure your business’ data backup capabilities are best is to work with an established and capable IT company. It’s important to check for the following:

  • Comprehensive Backups: Your data should be available for a quick recovery in instances of data loss, depending on the recovery plan you choose.
  • Acceptable Recovery Time Objective (RTO): Not all backups are the same and it’s important to find the right fit for your business. Here’s some questions to ask:
    • How long will it take to recovery files? Applications? Server? Full infrastructure?
  • Regular Testing: As a business owner, you can’t assume your backups will just work when you need them to. An established IT company should test your backups regularly and verify their effectivity if something were to go wrong.

ECMSI’s Backup Solution

A managed backup service from ECMSI ensures that all files are automatically backed up as frequently as every 15 minutes if needed. And it will likely cost less than your monthly phone bill. So, how much is your data worth?

Call Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, to learn more about ECMSI’s managed services, security services and backup solutions: (330) 750-1428

Every Business Should Invest in Cyber Security. Here’s Why:

Cyber security is essential to businesses of all sizes. Learn how to keep your business up to date and protected from the most common digital threats.   Cybersecurity is no longer a concern exclusive to large corporations. Since the infamous attacks on Equifax, Target, and Apple, cybercriminals have started to shift their focus towards smaller businesses. Without proper security protocols, small businesses are sitting ducks even for novice hackers. In recent years, the cost of data theft targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) has risen significantly. The threat has prompted many SMBs to invest more heavily in third-party data security services.

Cybersecurity in A Continuously Evolving Digital Space

Ever-evolving technology makes the world more connected, but also makes data more vulnerable to attackers. Gone are the days when an antivirus, firewall, and email filter were enough to earn a passing cybersecurity grade. As criminals refine and improve their methods of attack, businesses and IT professionals must step up their defenses.

The most recent trend in cyberattacks is a shift towards SMBs, many of which lack the breadth and depth of data security that larger corporations are likely to have. Illicit tactics such as email phishing, direct hacking, and installing ransomware can spell big trouble for SMBs. If your data is compromised, the results can extend to your customers and other members of your supply chain.

Consequences of A Data Breach

The fallout from a data breach depends on the scale of the attack and the value of the data stolen. Hackers may be able to seize control of accounts, drain funds, freeze assets, and access sensitive customer information. If you operate in the healthcare or financial sectors, you may be liable to pay reparations in addition to suffering the cost of stolen capital and the inability to continue operations. The cost of a large-scale data breach can devastate even the wealthiest of corporations and will most certainly overwhelm a small business.

How to Improve Cybersecurity

A common misconception is that only large corporations can afford effective cybersecurity. In most cases, implementing cybersecurity isn’t merely a matter of money, but of proper training and awareness. This includes email phishing, which is often the first step attackers use to conduct large scale theft of usernames, passwords, and other sensitive data.

Educating and training your employees on cybersecurity minimizes the risk of data theft at the point of contact. Your business should have protocols to identify signs of phishing, choose secure passwords, and grant or deny access to information. You can also inform your customers about how to keep their information secure. Taking this two-pronged approach shows customers how committed you are to keeping their data safe.

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 whose goal is to keep its 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

4 Ways Co-Managed It Services Can Lower Your Operating Expenses

Co-managed IT offers a wide array of services to complement your company’s inhouse IT staff. Unlike a fully managed IT service provider, co-managed IT allows you to select which projects to keep in-house and which projects to outsource. A co-managed IT partner also provides additional knowledge and support to help reduce downtime and increase efficiency of your IT infrastructure. Some of the main benefits lie within the cost-saving advantages. Let’s check out how co-managed IT services can help lower your operating expenses:

1. Reducing the Need of Additional It Staff

Depending on your industry, it is recommended to have at least one IT support specialist for every 45-70 employees. A co-managed partnership reduces the need for additional staff members. In addition, it also still provides all the technological support your company may need. For a fixed monthly your employees gain access to unlimited IT support 24/7/365.

2. Vendor Partnerships

An established MSP has developed professional relationships throughout the tech industry. As a partner, your business can benefit from these connections for advantages such as special pricing on software or products.

3. More Time to Spend on Important It Projects

Is your IT department’s time is devoted towards day-to-day tasks such as helpdesk services? Though this is vital towards completing projects and hitting department goals, this inevitably results in lack of time spent on improving your current IT infrastructure. Keeping your IT infrastructure up to date with the latest technology is vital to protecting your hardware from cyberattacks and avoiding costly issues such as downtime.

4. Access to Additional Resources

Due to the ever-changing nature of technology, it can be difficult for your internal team to stay up to date with the latest IT best practices. Rather than having to pay for an additional service or hire a consultant, your co-managed partner can assist your business in resolving tedious projects and unresolved technical issues.

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

What Are Your Business Goals for 2021?

As we approach the close of 2020, businesses are continuing to plan for the new year. In your plan for 2021, have you considered where you’d like to see your company establish a stronger foothold on technology? What about your business goals and how technology can play a big part? When your work with ECMSI as your Managed Services Provider (MSP), you’re getting a true partner in business and in IT.

Technology to Reach Business Goals

It’s established that small to midsized businesses are requiring more than just the lowest level of functioning technology to remain competitive. By partnering with ECMSI, you’ll become accustomed to quarterly strategic reviews, budgeting discussions and evolving services to ensure you have access to the technology needed to achieve your goals. We’re here to help your staff reach peak productivity and reduced downtime to ensure your business can continue to grow.

Cyber Security

Cyber Security should always be on a business owners mind. While this past year has proven how effective cyber security services can keep your business safe, many businesses are not prepared. Ask yourself: Are you protecting your critical data? Do you have current and clean backups? If you lost all of your critical data – could you recover? ECMSI’s robust cyber security suite keeps your business secure and offers total peace of mind.

Get Help Creating an IT Budget

When you establish business goals and the involvement of reputable IT support, ECMSI will help you stick to your budget and even help prepare for it. By being on the same page as our partners, everyone is able to stay on track with planning and expectations. Best part about budgeting with ECMSI? Quicker, more predictable decision making!

Planning for the new year is daunting but your IT strategy shouldn’t be. Want to learn more about how IT fits into your 2021 business goals? Let’s talk today: (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

YOUR COMPANY NEEDS AND IT SERVICE DESK. HERE’S WHY:

Think about it: You’re a business owner. Your company is growing. Your operations are beginning to expand and you find yourself struggling with the growing pains. You decide it’s time to offload your stress and find that there’s an easy way to handle your IT issues and get back on the speeding business track.

Below are Five (5) Reasons Why You Should Utilize an IT Service Desk!

No one has time for the aches and pains of IT issues.

Business is booming – you and your staff are busy.  When your team can’t focus on their work due to pressing IT issues – are they being productive or derailing your potential growth?

An IT service desk gives your team the opportunity to maintain focus on the success of your business and takes the responsibility of your IT issues.

Time = Money.

Again, you’re busy. But did you know you’re losing money the moment one of your employees stops focusing on their work to deal with an IT issue? After an employee tries to fix the issue, they’ve lost time on their responsibilities and trying to regain their focus.  That time would have better been used to continue the momentum of your company.

All these inefficiencies add up. Imagine the potential growth your team could have facilitated if you had the right resources on call.

Temporary fixes do not work!

Many small businesses don’t have an IT expect on staff. This creates a challenge for your other staff members who need to handle these IT issues as they arise. Even if these employees can work around the problem, they may have no idea how to work with technology.

This runs the risk of making things worse! You have the opportunity to solve these problems the first time by utilizing a skilled IT service desk.

Reduction in Operating Costs.

There’s real monetary savings in outsourcing your IT service desk.

When you outsource to an IT service desk, you’re opening your business up to a quality service provider who will address your issues strategically to help you meet your business needs and goals. They’re not just going to fix your issue this time.  They track your network error causing the issues and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

You don’t have to run into the same issues constantly. An IT service desk can provide solutions to better equip your team now and in the future.

Around the clock support.

It’s simply not practical for a small business to staff and internal IT service desk, especially if you’re needing 24/7 support. If you have your own internal IT, you’re limited to your resources by the business hours they work.

When you outsource your IT service desk, they are available all day, everyday.

ECMSI knows IT Service Desk Support

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.

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