You Need Better Network Security. Here’s Why:

As a business owner, you may not understand all that much about network security. You know it’s important, and you know that a breach can be bad for business, but do you understand why network security should be one of your main priorities? Network security is about more than just safeguarding corporate data, it’s about helping your business to thrive — and you can only do that with the right security in place and the right measures to stay protected.

Your network secures your business

Modern businesses keep and share all of their most important documents, records and data on interconnected workstations and servers both inside and outside your company. If you don’t sufficiently protect your network, it’s as good as sending an invitation to hackers to come and help themselves to that critical information. ECMSI knows how today’s hackers are constantly probing the network security of companies, looking for weaknesses they can exploit to gain access. With our help, you can safeguard confidential data such as customers’ personal details, corporate secrets and more, ensuring that hackers can never compromise it.

Regulatory requirements

Depending on your industry, you may also be subject to regulatory requirements that specify how your network security must be protected and maintained. These policies designed for the safety and security of trusted organizations are compulsory for any company that stores customer data electronically. ECMSI will help ensure to your organization is always one step ahead in meeting these requirements, meaning you avoid any crippling fines that might derail your business progress.

Increased network performance

One symptom of being hacked or otherwise threatened is a slowdown in network traffic that can also hurt your business. With strong network security in place that quickly resolves any disruptions and proactively prevents future intrusions, your network will always be ready to perform. ECMSI can ensure less downtime and reduced lag, leading to better productivity today and bigger profits for you in the long run.

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. Call us now! (330) 750-1428

Looking to Speed Up Your PC? Check out these 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 Prevent Cyber Attacks and Data Breaches

Today, for every business to run efficiently and keep up with the competition, they must utilize various technologies such as databases, 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

Cyberattacks and What You Need to Know!

Cybersecurity  is an increasingly trending topic in the news. The most popular stories seem to be with large companies who have had major data breaches with over millions of consumers personal information being compromised. However, what the public sees less often is when small businesses fall victim to hackers because it is not public record. This leads to the misconception that SMB’s aren’t as vulnerable to cyber attacks like other big corporations are.  Small businesses account for over 61% of all malware victims according to a report by Verizon. It is important that every type of business owner knows about cyber attacks and is proactive to ensure their business will not fall victim.

There are a variety of end goals hackers have when deploying a cyber attack. Many times, these attempts are financially driven, leveraging sensitive online data to get some type of monetary gain. The list below are just some of the most popular methods hackers use, but with an ever changing digital landscaping more new methods are emerging at an alarming rate. Here are some of the most recent attacks every business should be aware of:

Inside Attack

This is someone with administrative privileges from within an organization purposefully uses their credentials to access confidential company information. Usually this issue arises with former employees that have left on bad terms. Fixes include updating your users consistently within your organization.

Password Attack

There are three main types of password attacks: a brute-force attack, which involves guessing at passwords until the hacker gets in; a dictionary attack, which uses a program to try different combinations of dictionary words; and keylogging, which tracks a user’s keystrokes, including login IDs and passwords.

Zero-day Attack

Unknown flaws in a software and system discovered by a hacker before the developers and security staff even know of the issue. These loopholes can go undiscovered for months or even years until they are repaired.  Patch management is an extremely important practice to ensure you have the latest software with the latest security updates.

Ransomware

This type of malware infects your machines and locks up your data. The hacker responsible holds your data hostage for some type of ransom. The usual payment is in untraceable digital currencies like bitcoin. Ransomware is the fastest growing cyber attack today.

Phishing

The most commonly deployed form of cyber theft, phishing involves collecting sensitive information like login credentials and credit card information through a legitimate-looking (but ultimately fraudulent) website, often sent to unsuspecting individuals in an email. Spear phishing, an advanced form of this type of attack, requires in-depth knowledge of specific individuals and social engineering to gain their trust and infiltrate the network.

Malware

This is an overall term for “malicious software” that covers any program that intent is to target a computer and intent is to cause damage. Malware can include worms, trojans, ransomware and spyware.

APTs

Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are longer term attacks in which the hacker attacks a system in phases and makes sure to target devices across a network. If a breach is detected and repaired, the attackers have still secured other routes into the system.


As always, ECMSI offers top-of-the-line layered security to keep their partners and their customers safe. Our security suite provides the skilled IT resources, domain expertise, centralized monitoring and management facilities, and proactive approach to ensuring the protection of your desktops and laptops against the ever-present threat of viruses, spam, and malware attacks. Call today (330) 750-1428 or visit our website at www.ecmsi.com/security!

Best Practices for Password Management

Stolen or weak passwords are still the most common reasons for data breaches. It’s important to pay close attention to the password management and security polices to create an effective passwords and provide a stronger barrier of protection against unauthorized access.

We’re here to provide a list of best practices to help your business strengthen security against current threats.

Embrace Long Passphrases

By using passphrases, you’re keeping your account more secure and harder to crack due to it’s longer character count. Unlike passwords, passphrases contain spaces between words and function as a string of randomized letters or a sentence.

The longer you make your passphrase, the more difficult it’ll be to crack. Base your passphrase off of your work culture, to help employees remember for easily. Most passphrases should be longer than 10 characters and include punctuation and symbols.

Don’t Repeat Passwords

We all understand that passwords are hard to remember and we’re often having to change or reset them. It’s easy to want to repeat the same passwords for all logins to easily switch between platforms. But do you ever wonder what’ll happen if your password is stolen? A hacker can log into all of your accounts, work and personal, with one single piece of data. This can be avoided by creating different passwords or passphrases for each account.

Implement Two-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.

Avoid Storing 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 Vigilant About Cyber Safety

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. Follow the link below to schedule yours today!

Schedule Your Free Network Health Assessment Today!

Benefits of Proactively Monitoring Your Network

There’s nothing worse than getting the call that your network is down. Business owners often find that their IT lacks the visibility to notice performance issues before they become bigger problems. It’s simple to understand that when you have a network outage, the clock starts ticking and the longer it takes to resolve, the more it costs in productivity, staff time and customer satisfaction.

Keeping tabs on all of your network technology means that you can spot issues before they get worse. Having a proactive maintenance of a network will not only improve your productivity but also increase the reliability of your systems and could save you money in support costs.

Below, we’ve listed some of the top benefits in proactively monitoring your network:

Stay Ahead of Outages

There’s many reasons a network outage could occur; configuration issues, environmental factors and even human error. By implementing a proactive network monitoring approach, you’re giving yourself the visibility needed to stay one step ahead of potential issues and can prevent your business from experiencing these outages in the first place.

Identify Security Threats

You can’t assume your information is safe. It’s important to have at least one level of security but more proactive to access more. A network monitoring tool can provide that first level and give you a big picture of your typical performance. By monitoring your security, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to notice unfamiliar changes and find you best proactive approach to minimize your risk.

Save Money

Time = Money  and when your network is down, this is especially true. By monitoring your network, you’re able to make problem solving faster and easier and get back to the important day-to-day tasks that keep your business in the position for optimal growth.

Improve Reliability

If you had the chance to identify and correct small issues before they became bigger problems to provide the best customer satisfaction, wouldn’t you? By proactively maintaining your network, you’re able to bridge the gap between standard customer service and exceptional customer service by no longer worrying about downtime or errors in communication.

 

ECMSI offers top-of-the-line proactive monitoring and a layered security suite to keep your business running at the highest level of efficiency. Find out more today by giving us a call and scheduling your Free Network Health Assessment! (330) 750-1428

 

What Are The Differences Between Two-Step and Two-Factor Authentication?

If you find that you and your business spend most of your time online, cybersecurity should be your top priority. If you find that your information is vulnerable, you should consider taking a look at your authentication process. Two of the most commonly used authentication options for cybersecurity are two-step and two-factor authentications.

You’re probably finding yourself thinking, “What’s are authentication tools and what is the difference between the two?” Two-step and two-factor authentication are often used interchangeably, however, there are slight differences.

What is two-step 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.

What is two-factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication, often referred to as multi-factor authentication is considered significantly more secure than the aforementioned two-step authentication. Two-factor requires the user to have two different types of information to verify the user’s identity.  For example, your authentication could be a combination of a fingerprint as well as a password or code. Since a two-factor authentication requires these types of information, it would require a hacker a great deal of effort to obtain your information.

So, what’s the difference?

Bottomline: Every two-factor authentication is a two-step authentication but the opposite is untrue. It’s important to research the security measures available and make sure you’re using the authentication process that is right for your business.

As always, ECMSI offers top-of-the-line layered security to keep their partners and their customers safe. Our security suite provides the skilled IT resources, domain expertise, centralized monitoring and management facilities, and proactive approach to ensuring the protection of your desktops and laptops against the ever-present threat of viruses, spam, and malware attacks. Call today (330) 750-1428 or visit our website at www.ecmsi.com/security!

How to Boost Staff Efficiency

Technology empowers businesses to work to their full capacity. They are capable of working remotely, collaborate more efficiency and effectively manage the time of its employees. These are benefits that every business strives to obtain, however, to achieve them requires you to implement technologies that compliment the needs of your employees. Here are some technology tips to boost staff efficiency in your business:

Update Office Communication

We all know effective communication is crucial for team productivity. Often, some businesses find themselves on the fence about investing their time and efforts into the software that improves team communication.

Fortunately, the market offers a plethora of advanced technological solutions for businesses of all sizes, such as: team messengers. This is not to eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings to discuss the big-ticket projects or issues your company is facing but to decrease the time spent with trivial conversations

Stay Organized With Cloud-Based Project Management Software

Have you ever experienced a project delay while you scramble to search for a needed document? Have you needed some assets sent but your teammate is working offline? Or better yet, has your laptop crashed while holding all of your important files?

No matter the size of your business, using cloud-based project management tools will tremendously enhance your team productivity and streamline collaboration. Having your projects, document assets and project management in sync and easily accessible will not only improve overall team performance but also create a competitive advantage for your business.

Implement ERP Software

Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, is a business process management software that allows businesses to automate their processes and centralized their data to aide collaboration. ERP software reduces repetition and the number of spreadsheets needed to record business data due to their easy to use centralized database.

Make Time Count with Tracking Tools

You want to improve the time management of your employees, yet you don’t know how to measure it. The best way to increase performance and productivity is to implement a time tracking tool. By using a time tracking tool, you will be able to make the most of your time and become more efficient.

It’s important to partner with a knowledgeable and reliable managed service provider to ensure you’re maximizing the return on your IT investment. ECMSI is the area’s leading managed service provider and ready to speak with you today! Learn how we can implement technology to help your employees become more efficient and productive: (330) 750-1428

5 Signs Your Network Security Needs Updated

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.

“Help Me. My Internet is Down!”

If you worked in an office environment before, this situation may seem very familiar to you. You’re sitting at your desk when all the sudden you hear a fellow coworker complain that their internet is down. You then log into your computer and notice that your internet is not functioning either. The initial thought is always, “oh great another problem with this place.” If the people in your office are not the most tech savvy, which seems to be the case in many offices the first call to action is to ask, “your designated IT person” to see what they may know about why the office internet is not working. So, what do you do in a situation like this? Let’s look at some of the things you should consider.

1. Are you getting power?

Most issues can be resolved by checking your modem and router. If you see that no LED lights are being displayed, the next step should be to turn the modem and router off and wait several minutes before restarting the systems. On most routers, this should be green and may be flashing. If your router doesn’t have status indicators, look around back to see if the Ethernet port lights are flashing. If there is no activity, turn the router off. Unplug and reconnect each cable, making sure each cable is seated correctly in the appropriate port. Wait a few minutes before rebooting the router.

 

2. Is everything plugged in?

Checking the cable connection is very important. This could be something as simple as the cable being loose to a cut in half cord. If so, this is something that would need replaced immediately if you want your workplace to get up and running.

 

3. Check to see if your firmware is current. Do you know what that is?

Firmware is embedded software, installed at the factory on a read-only memory (ROM) chip, which allows the router hardware to implement network and security protocols. Many vendors provide downloadable firmware updates that resolve performance issues, add new features, increase performance. Look for the firmware update in the System section of your router’s management system and follow the instructions carefully to make sure that you are installing the correct firmware version. Stay away from firmware from a third-party site.

While these are some of the basic actions you can take, other more serious issues can involve performing a ping test, changing the channel or frequency in which you receive data, and finally contacting your ISP, which is sometimes the last thing you want to do because of the long wait times, and you need your business to keep on moving. NOW!

If your business is lucky enough to have their own internal IT person, they may be able to figure it out, through going down the same checklist that we just mentioned that may take a while to figure it out, all while your business is at a standstill. The best measure would be to have systems in place that do their best to prevent issues like this from ever happening. Making sure your employees have reliable work tools is super important to the vitality of your business and even a small problem such as losing internet connection temporarily can lead to huge losses in productivity. And we wouldn’t want to see that happen. So, let’s discuss some ways that we can prevent this from ever happening… Or from ever happening again.

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. We have a guarentted response time of 19 minutes or less – to keep your productive!

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