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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!

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

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

Are You Sure Your Data is Being Backed Up?

Most people don’t think about data backup until they’ve lost valuable information that could be impossible to recreate.  Then it’s critical and everyone wants to know now when the server will be running.   IT professionals, for the most part, install sound backup technology and let the process run until they get an error in the daily log. Then they take a look and correct.  However, this is incomplete and gives a false sense of security.  Is the right data still protected as your needs change? Don’t assume data backup is someone else’s job.

It’s not a question of if but when you will lose data.  If you don’t have a sound business continuity solution in place, then be prepared to lose your most critical data.  Accounting, customer information, trade secrets, and more can all be lost via many avenues including hardware failure, malware, viruses and even simple mistakes.  Here are some steps to take to ensure your critical data is protected.

  • Back up the business solutions, not just critical data  A good business continuity solutions provides for rapid return to production measured in minutes, not hours.  Of course you can reinstall Exchange or other software from a backup and reload data, but it is a lot of work to load Windows on the server first, patch it, then make sure it’s connected to the domain correctly, and reinstall the application. Only after all these steps are complete, can you reload the database and get back to operation.  This can take hours or even days!  You’d also have to find all the installation software or have an extremely fast Internet connection to download them and then take time and employee cost to reload and restore while end-users are calling constantly asking “where are my email and documents!?!”
  • Make sure your IT department has it covered!! Let’s say you are satisfied that you have competent professionals safeguarding your data. But when was the last time it was tested in a real world environment?   Do a dry run and ask IT to restore the most recent version of a document as well as another copy a few days old so you can see the changes you made to the file.  Can they do it?  How quickly?
  • Get a great, documented and tested plan developed by professionals that addresses the needs of the business. One of the primary questions is to determine your acceptable mean time to recover?   Can IT recover a database running your customer relationship software in minutes?  Have they done a recent test restore for all critical servers?   Ask yourself honestly how long you can be without certain critical IT functions while the restore is happening.
  • Constantly test everything and review the results You know business continuity is critical and demands your IT staff pay close attention to this crucial aspect. Here’s one more question: Who is determining what data gets backed up?  IT pros are great at their jobs, but they may not know which data should be classified as critical. Management should be involved in the decisions regarding critical data.  Are all departments protected?  What about critical PC’s?  A one hour quarterly meeting to review and provide your IT team direction can prevent disaster.   It takes time to do it right, but should you have a disaster, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.

Are you sure your data and processes are protected?  Check the status of your current backup solution. If you’re not satisfied or would like to learn more about our full solutions , give us a call at 330-750-1428. ECMSI is here to make IT easy!

Partner With A Managed Service Provider – It Just Makes Sense!

The world of IT is constantly evolving. Regardless of business size or complexity, at some point, assistance is needed. Innovations, such as cloud computing, have significantly impacted the IT landscape for businesses of all sizes. For SMBs, these changes can be daunting. That’s where managed services come in – to give your business all of the new tools without a significant investment in new equipment and talent.

By using an IT Managed Service Provider (MSP), a business has the opportunity to hand over all day-to-day IT tasks and maintenance so they can focus on growing their business. There are numerous ways a MSP can help keep your business productive – check out a few of these benefits below:


The daily maintenance of servers and desktops, from software patches to reboots, can all be outsourced by a MSP. The biggest benefit of outsourcing IT support is the advantage of expecting a fixed cost and freeing up internal business to focus on the core of your business.

A MSP is almost always equipped for advanced remote monitoring that keeps tabs on internet traffic, performance, software patches and more. The resources required for constant monitoring, both in technology and personnel, can be prohibitively expensive for a small business, and removing that load makes good fiscal sense.


An IT managed service provider can easily function as the internal help desk for a small business. Everything from basic troubleshooting of desktop PCs to restoration from major server crashes can fall within the purview of an outsourced IT firm.

In most cases, the external company will have greater support resources available than the IT department of its client. Services like 24/7 support and troubleshooting of highly specialized software are fixed, predictable costs included within a standard service plan without the need to rely on just one or two people within an organization or invest time and money on staffing up internally.

Cloud and Hosting Services

The cloud is here, and it has changed the modern workplace. Cloud services allow the workplace to extend far beyond the office with safe, secure access to files and documents from home or on any mobile device. Cloud-based collaboration software increases employee productivity and satisfaction, leading to a happier and more profitable business.

However, the multitude of cloud software packages available today is daunting, to say nothing of the cost and expertise required in building a private solution. A small business is often in the position of knowing what it wants to achieve, but not having the time or resources to spare in devising and implementing a workable plan.

An outsourced IT firm has been there before, and maintains the breadth and depth of knowledge to select the right platform for any use case. Allowing internal IT to spec out custom software and then outsource the nuts and bolts of development to an external firm helps maintain forward momentum. The freedom to move on to the next strategic target without being bogged down in routine help desk tasks is a boon to a small IT department.

At a fraction of the cost, partnering with an MSP can help businesses achieve the same end result as adding an entire IT department.  Offloading IT tasks to an MSP means more time and energy to spend on real progress, improvement, and ultimately, growth.

ECMSI is the area’s leading Managed Service Provider with the most proactive IT approach and quickest response time in the industry. To learn more about ECMSI and our services call Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, at (330) 750-1428

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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

Coronavirus Phishing Emails: How to Protect Against COVID-19 Scams

Email phishing campaigns and malware through emails are nothing new, but when combined with something like a global coronavirus spread, the risk can be even higher—adding significant digital risk on top of the physical risk of infection. It’s common for phishing email and malware creators to capitalize on a current issue. After all, their job is to pique the interest of an end user enough to get them to open the email.

How do you spot a COVID-19 phishing email?

Coronavirus-themed phishing emails can take different forms, for example, “CDC Alerts”. Cybercriminals have sent phishing emails designed to look like they’re from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The email might falsely claim to link to a list of coronavirus cases in your area. “You are immediately advised to go through the cases above for safety hazard,” the text of one phishing email reads.

So, what do the emails look like? Here’s an example of a fake CDC email:

Continue reading Coronavirus Phishing Emails: How to Protect Against COVID-19 Scams