5th August 2022
Safeguard your mobile devices with these tips
Mobile devices are generally less secure than laptop and desktop computers. While there are available anti-malware applications for smartphones and tablets, they aren’t as comprehensive as those for laptops and desktops. Additionally, some mobile devices aren’t compatible with certain security applications or measures implemented by businesses. That’s why it’s even more important to keep track of and manage all the mobile devices your staff uses to access sensitive company data. Here are a few helpful tips to do so. Ensure mobile OS is up to date The updates to Apple and Android operating systems (OS) improve overall user experience, but their most important function is to fix security vulnerabilities. Reduce your business’s exposure to threats by installing updates for all devices as soon as they become available. Don’t delay updates, as doing so gives cybercriminals ample time to exploit vulnerabilities on devices that run on an outdated OS. Install business applications only Downloading apps seems harmless. However, lenient policies on what should and shouldn’t be downloaded on company mobile devices could lead to staff installing non-business-related apps, many of which are notorious for malicious advertising codes and other threats. It’s imperative that employees download and install only business applications necessary for their work on their company-issued mobile devices. Be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks Emergencies may compel your staff to use password-free Wi-Fi networks in hotels, airports, cafes, and other public places. Connecting to an open network can expose your confidential information and sensitive company data to cybercriminals connected to the same network. You can avoid this by providing a practical internet data plan, preferably one that includes roaming services, for remote workers. And if connecting to a public Wi-Fi network is really necessary, using a reputable virtual private network (VPN) can help protect your sensitive data. A VPN creates a direct, secure connection for data from your end to your intended point on the internet. Enable phone tracking tools Losing a company-issued mobile device is unfortunate. Devices can be misplaced or stolen, but enabling Find My iPhone for iOS devices, GPS Phone Tracker for Android, or any device-tracking app helps users locate lost phones. Some also have the option to delete data on stolen devices. Downloading and setting up such an app takes only a few minutes and it will give you peace of mind knowing that even if your phone is lost or stolen, its contents will not be compromised. Screen SMS carefully SMS phishing can be used to trick you into clicking malicious links. Cybercriminals send messages purporting to be from someone you know, asking you to urgently disclose confidential information. Should you encounter such an SMS, you can either delete it or alert your IT department. You can also block unknown senders without even opening their messages. Mobile devices are becoming more critical to operations. And with more devices open to attacks, businesses must bolster their cybersecurity efforts. Malicious actors will exploit every possible vulnerability and that includes those in unsecured smartphones and tablets. Get in touch with us if you need comprehensive security solutions for your business.
22nd July 2022
The Easiest Way To Disaster-Proof Your Cyber Security
Though no one would dispute the increasing prevalence of cyber-attacks on businesses in recent years, many small-business owners believe themselves and their business to be immune to such attacks. Broadly speaking, many small-business owners are likely to think that cybercriminals will go after the bigger fish. However, the fact of the matter is that cyber-attacks are crimes of opportunity, and small businesses often have access to a good amount of sensitive data without many major safeguards. In other words, they’re low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking. Back in 2019, two-thirds of respondents to a survey about cyber security didn’t believe that their small to mid-size business (SMB) would fall victim to a cyber-attack. Consequently, only 9% of respondents said cyber security was a top priority for their business, and 60% didn’t have any sort of plan for deterring a cyber-attack. All of this, despite the fact that, according to a report from CNBC, SMBs endured 43% of reported cyber-attacks, and according to data from the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security, 76% of SMBs in the U.S. alone reportedly endured a cyber-attack within the previous year. Every small-business owner should have some plan for deterring cyber-attacks so they don’t end up as another statistic. Here are a few strategies for keeping the cybercriminals at bay. Boost Your Cloud Security Storing data in the cloud is easy and cost-effective, but you should take care to find the most secure cloud storage platforms. Not all cloud platforms make security a priority, but some do. Secure All Parts Of Your Network Our computers and the many smart devices hooked up to our network can become weak spots for hackers to get in. Taking steps to safeguard each device in your network with strong passwords and robust authentication measures will go a long way toward keeping the hackers at bay. In fact, one of the most basic security measures you can take for your network is to restrict access to your WiFi with a strong password. Invest In Extra Security Measures Virtual private networks (VPNs) and firewalls are tools that are highly effective in protecting against cyber-attacks, even if they can’t prevent 100% of them. Pay Attention To Updates And Upgrades When you get notified that one of the technological tools that you use has a new update, it’s easy to ignore it. However, you should commit to regularly updating and upgrading these tools because developers will often add patches to their programs that make them more secure against attacks with each update. So, it behooves business owners to regularly install updates for their tech tools. Back Up Your Data With one of the most common forms of cyber-attacks being ransomware attacks, where hackers will hold your company data hostage until you pay them a ransom amount, having your company data stored on multiple backups can ensure that your business won’t crumble due to your data’s inaccessibility. Limit Employee Access To Your Network As much as we’d wish it were true, many cyber-attacks don’t come from outside of your company. Instead, they originate from within. If you want to limit the amount of damage that someone inside your company can do in a cyber-attack, the best course of action is to limit their access to different parts of your network. Train Your Employees At the same time, just as many cyber-attacks occur not because of an employee’s malicious intent, but because of their ignorance. They click on a link in a sketchy e-mail and fall for a phishing scheme, volunteer their password info without thinking about it or choose a weak password for their computer. That’s why you need to dedicate time to training your employees on best practices when it comes to security. Set Up A ‘Security Culture’ At Your Workplace You need to make cyber security a top priority, not just for your IT department, but for every department at your business. When everyone works together to protect their workplace from a cyber-attack, you have a better chance of actually succeeding. Will protecting your business from a cyber-attack require a good amount of time and money? Absolutely. Can you afford to ignore the prevalence of cyber-attacks any longer? Statistically, no. The sad truth is that 60% of SMBs that fall victim to a cyber-attack end up shuttering within six months. Don’t put yourself in that kind of position. Instead, take your business’s cyber security seriously.
8th July 2022
What Are Managed Services, And Why You Should Demand This From Your IT Company
We all want to protect our businesses. They’re a part of who we are, and it would be devastating if anything bad happened — including an unexpected cyberattack. But it happens. Businesses are attacked every single day. Some businesses are left in ruin. Some can pick up the pieces, but at great cost. Then there are businesses that are back up and running in a matter of hours, almost as if nothing happened at all. These are businesses that said “yes” to managed IT services and made the commitment to protect their business, employees, and customers. If your business lacks managed IT services and you haven’t yet embraced total IT security, it’s time to say “YES!” and give your business the top-notch IT support it needs to be protected from the countless IT threats that exist in the world today. Managed IT Services essentially offer complete IT support without having to hire dedicated in-house IT support staff. You get full-time access to network and technology experts without having to pay a full-time team. In other words, you save money and you have someone keeping a close eye on your network. The good news is, the IT company you already work with may already offer managed services — you just have to ask for it! (If you don’t work with an IT support company or managed service provider (MSP), it’s highly recommended that you do!) Here are a few reasons why managed services should not be ignored: It’s a proactive service you can’t find anywhere else. Proactive IT support is HUGE. You have to be proactive because, guess what? Hackers and cybercriminals are proactive. They’re smart people and they’re relentless. Managed services will give you access to your own outside team of exceptionally smart people and systems that can identify IT problems before they actually become problems. On top of that, proactive managed services ensure your network — and everything connected to your network — receive regular updates, security patches, and routine maintenance. Basically, they help keep your business protected while minimising downtime which can cut into your bottom line. It helps you save money — and you know how much you’ll be spending month-to-month. Hiring in-house IT experts is expensive. It’s one of the most common reasons why many small to medium-sized businesses don’t invest in good IT support. The payroll shock is too much. But managed service takes away the payroll shock. Instead, you get the exact support you need and you pay a set fee every month. It makes it MUCH easier to set a quarterly or yearly budget. And because managed services are customisable, you can put together a specific plan for your business and pay only for those specifics — there are no fluff or padded fees. Managed IT is also scalable, so as your business grows or changes, your managed IT services can change as well. It protects you in many different ways. You can count on your MSP to minimise malware, spyware, ransomware, even phishing scams and exploitative hacks. You’re protected by advanced software, hardware, and old-fashioned human knowledge and experience. But the protection doesn’t stop there — far from it! Managed service providers can also protect you against potential natural disasters, such as fire or flood, or hardware failures — things that are impossible to predict yet possible to prepare for. They can also protect you when it comes to compliance. There are many industries where compliance is a big deal, from banking to health care. If you operate in one of these industries, you know how important this is. Having a managed IT service means your network is up-to-date with all the fine print. You don’t have to worry about anything slipping through the cracks or breaking compliance, which can lead to all kinds of costly headaches. It gives you TIME. This is the most precious commodity of all. If you’re running around dealing with network issues yourself — or trying to — you’re spending a lot of time doing everything you DIDN’T want to be doing when you started your business. Wouldn’t you rather be focused on taking care of the things that you intended to focus on, like growing your business and taking care of customers? When you bring managed IT into the fold, you have so much less to worry about. No, it’s not set-it-and-forget-it, but it’s close. Your MSP handles your IT, while you handle your business — and you collaborate when you need to. You can rest assured that someone is keeping a close eye on your network and that your MSP is a quick phone call or email away (should you have any questions or concerns). These few points only scratch the surface of why managed services are so important. Stop putting it off and make the phone call. Tell your IT company you want managed services and you’re ready to protect the future of your business!
24th June 2022
Protecting Your Business From Data Disasters
Data is everything to a small business in this day and age – which means if you lose access or control of your data, you lose everything. As dramatic as that might sound, the data backs that up. According to several sources, 93% of companies, no matter how big they are, are out of business within one year if they suffer a major data disaster without having first formulated a strategy for combating it. And since 68% of businesses don’t have any sort of plan for that worst-case scenario, that means losing data would be a death knell for most of the businesses in the country. Fortunately, your business does not have to be one of them. By taking the following steps, you can ensure that you have a rock-solid disaster recovery plan in place. Step 1: Know How A Disaster Recovery Plan Is Different From A Business Continuity Plan The main difference between these two types of plans is that while business continuity plans are proactive, disaster recovery plans are reactive. More specifically, a business continuity plan is a strategy by which a business ensures that, no matter what disaster befalls it, it can continue to operate and provide products and services to its customers. A disaster recovery plan, on the flip side, is a strategy by which businesses can back up and recover critical data should it get lost or held for ransom. So, now that we have a clear, concise understanding of what constitutes a disaster recovery plan, we can dive into the steps necessary to create one. Step 2: Gather Information And Support In order to get the ball rolling on your disaster recovery plan, start with executive buy-in. This means that everyone, from the CEO to the entry-level employees, needs to be brought in on executing the plan in case your company suffers a data disaster. When everyone is aware of the possibility of a data disaster, it allows for cross-functional collaboration in the creation process – a necessary step if you want to prevent breaches in all parts of your systems. You need to account for all elements in your tech systems when you’re putting together your disaster recovery plan, including your systems, applications and data. Be sure to account for any issues involving the physical security of your servers as well as physical access to your systems. You’ll need a plan in case those are compromised. In the end, you’ll need to figure out which processes are absolutely necessary to keep up and running during a worst-case scenario when your capability is limited. Step 3: Actually Create Your Strategy When everyone is on board with the disaster recovery plan and they understand their systems’ vulnerabilities, as well as which systems need to stay up and running even in a worst-case scenario, it’s time to actually put together the game plan. In order to do that, you’ll need to have a good grip on your budget, resources, tools and partners. If you’re a small business, you might want to consider your budget and the timeline for the recovery process. These are good starting points for putting together your plan, and doing so will also give you an idea of what you can tell your customers to expect while you get your business back up to full operating capacity. Step 4: Test The Plan Even if you complete the first two steps, you’ll never know that you’re prepared until you actually test out your disaster recovery plan. Running through all the steps with your employees helps them familiarize themselves with the steps they’ll need to take in the event of a real emergency, and it will help you detect any areas of your plan that need improvement. By the time an actual data disaster befalls your business, your systems and employees will easily know how to spring into action. So, to review, these are the quick actions that you and your employees will need to take in order to make a successful, robust disaster recovery plan: Get executive buy-in for the plan. Research and analyze the different systems in your business to understand how they could be impacted. Prioritize systems that are absolutely necessary to the functioning of your business. Test your disaster recovery plan to evaluate its effectiveness. Complete these steps, and you can ensure that your business will survive any data disaster that comes your way.
10th June 2022
Advantages of call recording
Even the most attentive customer service representative can make mistakes; after all, he or she is only human. If your business uses VoIP as its telephony solution, errors can be lessened through call recording. Find out how this helpful VoIP feature can benefit your organization. #1. Improve customer service One of the most important reasons why businesses should always record their calls, no matter its significance, is to ensure high-quality customer service. By reviewing calls, managers can understand how their agents have been dealing with customers, find out whether or not they’ve followed company protocol, and pinpoint any aspects that can be improved on. Without call recording, managers would have to listen to each call in real time, which is a time-consuming process. By recording each call, not only will your managers save time, but your employees will also be motivated to perform at their best every time they’re on the phone because they know their calls can always be reviewed. #2. Upgrade employee performance According to Edgar Dale’s Cone of Learning, people only remember 10% of what they’ve read, 50% of what they’ve seen and heard, and 90% of what they’ve done. By providing your agents with actual recordings of good and bad calling examples during training sessions, and have them simulate calls afterwards, they’ll be able to learn better and provide high-quality customer service faster. #3. Retrieve missed details and prevent litigation With hundreds of phone calls daily, it’s understandable if your employees don’t catch every single detail. And for companies that require their agents to manually input information during calls, there’s always a possibility that they’ll forget or miss certain information. Needless to say, this could lead to disgruntled customers. If not properly handled, this can harm your reputation, reduce work opportunities, and if things escalate, proceed to litigation. VoIP’s call recording feature lets you replay saved audio files to make sure you haven’t missed any details, ensuring that all customer demands are met. And if you ever get into a dispute with your clients regarding who said what, you can always retrieve the exact audio file and have both sides listen to it, saving you thousands of dollars in legal fees. #4. Understand customer preferences Have you ever received an inquiry about a product or service that’s not included in your offerings? While your agents usually jot these requests down and pass them on to the relevant personnel, if numerous calls are being made that day, they may end up forgetting some. Tiny issues like this can lead to potential huge losses. With call recording, you can review all your calls at the end of the day. You’ll have a better picture of what certain customers are looking for so you can address them better. VoIP allows businesses to make on-demand calls affordably, and its call recording feature helps companies improve their customer service and prevent litigation. If you think business VoIP is right for you, or if you have any questions, give us a call today.
30th May 2022
Why you should sync your Android device with Google Chrome
Among Google Chrome’s many productivity-enhancing features, the ability to sync across devices is one of the most helpful. This feature allows users to access their Google accounts and all related apps and data from anywhere, at any time, enabling them to work efficiently and conveniently. For more of the benefits of syncing Android with Chrome, read on. View recently opened tabs on your Android device This is especially useful when you need to bring your work outside of the office. Here’s how to do it: Open the Chrome app on your Android device. Tap the three-dotted menu icon on the upper-right corner. Tap Recent tabs. You’ll see all the tabs you’ve opened recently while logged into your Google account regardless of device. Use your Android device to access your computer For this to work, you need to install the Chrome Remote Desktop app from the Google Play Store on your Android device and the Chrome Remote Desktop extension app on your computer. This will work regardless if your computer runs on Chrome OS, Windows, macOS, or Linux. Each device you want to connect must have Chrome installed, and each Chrome browser must be signed into the same account. With everything in place, you can remotely control a system that’s turned on, such as your desktop, via your phone. You can move around your desktop, open and edit files, and run programs from your mobile. You could also allow one-time access to give or receive remote support. Set reminders via Google Assistant or Google Keep You can use voice commands on your Android phone to set reminders. Simply say “OK Google” or “Hey Google,” or press the mic icon to activate Google Assistant, then say “Remind me to buy milk at the grocery store” or whatever it is you want to be reminded of. Once the “Add a reminder” screen appears, you can edit reminder details, such as when and where you want to be alerted. For instance, you may want your device to remind you of your grocery list when you enter a grocery store. Alternatively, you can install the Google Keep extension app in Chrome or the Google Keep app on your Android. To do this, open the app, click the “Take a note” field, type in your reminder, and click the “Remind me” icon. Then click on either Pick date & time (to set when you want to be reminded) or Pick place (to set where you want to be notified). As long as you have syncing turned on for your Google account, you can use Google Calendar, Google Assistant, or Google Keep on one device to set and get reminders across all your devices. Send directions from your computer to your Android device To send driving, walking, or commuting directions from your PC to your Android phone or tablet, do the following: Click on a specific location on Google Maps, or enter a location in the search field and click on the desired result. Click on the “Send to your phone” button in the pane on the left side of your screen. Choose to have the directions sent to your mobile device via text or email. Find your lost phone As long as the Wi-Fi or data on your smartphone is turned on, you can find the device by entering “find my phone” in the Google search bar, which will then display the phone’s current or last known location. Click on that to bring up the Android Device Manager interface, from which you can lock or wipe your phone. On top of that, you can also use the Device Manager to ring your device for five minutes — even if it’s set to silent — in the hopes that a kind soul answers it and tells you where you can get your phone back. Having access to Google Chrome across all your devices boosts your productivity and efficiency. If you want to learn more about how to get the most out of Chrome and your Android device, contact our experts today.