Newsletter Articles

Who’s watching your network – Part 4 Unified Collaboration

While you were enjoying summer break, who was watching your network? Just because you were on vacation, doesn’t mean you’re free from security breaches, system errors, and more. Read our six-part series to learn how you can ensure your data is safe while you and your employees take time off from your business.

Over time, businesses have slowly added more and more communication tools to their arsenal. What started as in-person talks, turned to phone conversations, email, and now many other options including video chat and communicating within the same cloud-based document. In order to keep it organized, you need unified collaboration. This is especially important during the summer months, as employees take vacation or work remotely.

Managed unified collaboration services help find the right solution for your business, including massively scalable Over The Top (OTT) and cloud-based unified communication tools. You can enjoy around-the-clock infrastructure monitoring including voice/IP telephony, voicemail, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), instant messaging, multi-media conferencing, telepresence, and contact center, as well as support for connectivity and business analytics. Thanks to the cloud, communication doesn’t have to stop when someone leaves the office.

Maybe your business needs an innovative video call center to seamlessly connect employees, customers, company representatives, support staff, and more. This can streamline communication and keep the team together, even while operating in different parts of the world.

Managing your communication options can become overwhelming. You need a reliable team to maintain and organize your unified collaboration, so your employees are educated on the latest technology and processes.

With unified collaboration, you aren’t restricted if an employee needs to work remotely, or someone else takes a vacation. An organized system helps your business operate as usual, wherever and whenever the team needs to work. The cloud allows these services to work in synchrony, with an effortless suite of communication tools to help grow your business.

Updated communication tools allow you to empower everyone in your business, no matter where they are located, anywhere in the world—by giving them all the same powerful communications assets. Support remote, mobile, and traveling workers by providing them all with powerful streamlined tool sets and avoid the risk of losing a sale due to communication errors with a customer. Custom solutions allow you to connect every time, using the customer’s preferred communication methods.

As a business owner, you don’t want to worry that everything will fall apart if you take time off. Managed unified collaboration services offer network diversity, routing fail-over, 24/7 network monitoring, proactive notifications, dual provisioning and load balancing so you can enjoy peace of mind. Should an error occur, your team will know who to contact to get things up and running again.

Technology is constantly changing, and it can be a challenge to stay up to date on the latest innovations. Your business can stay on the cutting edge when you rely on the experts to update your communication tools as necessary. Plus, you can enjoy a system that grows with you, as your needs change. A team of experts can easily adapt your conferencing network for high-quality, reliable communication applications.

With unified collaboration, you can stay in communication with your team and your customers all season long. No longer are you restricted to traditional methods, which can be difficult to use if employees are traveling or out of the office. Everyone can work seamlessly toward the business’ goals with the latest collaboration services. Enjoy your summer while growing your business by updating your communication system.

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Who’s watching your network – Part 3 Data Backup & Business Continuity

While you’re enjoying summer break, who’s watching your network? Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you’re free from security breaches, system errors, and more. Read our six-part series to learn how you can ensure your data is safe while you and your employees take time off from your business.

Does your business have proper data backup policies in place? Infrequent tape backup and other traditional methods are becoming outdated and are no longer secure enough to keep your system protected. Secure copies of your important business data act as your last line of defense against attacks and massive data loss. Even if you have some type of backup system in place, it likely is not robust enough to support your business in the event of an emergency. In addition to data backups, it’s recommended that all enterprises have a business continuity solution.

Managed business continuity and disaster recovery services can alleviate the pressure business owners face in identifying the best cloud strategy for their needs as well as making sure they are following all required regulations. A dedicated team helps by conducting research to identify the best hardware and software solutions, as well as executing all of the technical components needed for continuity. These managed services allow businesses to focus on their own goals and not worry about IT.

Businesses need a dedicated team and system to keep data constantly backed up and stored properly. This can take a lot of time, both in updating the backups and finding the right storage solution. No in-house team can work 24/7, which is why managed backup and continuity services are a necessity.

Even if you are diligent with backups, accidents happen, and data loss is unfortunately a common occurrence for businesses of all sizes. These errors occur due to a variety of circumstances, including human error, server failure, and network outages. Maintaining the right system to prepare for these incidents can mean the difference between keeping your business in operation, and costly downtime.

Data loss is not the only thing businesses need to be worried about. These disasters can put more than just data at risk, especially if there is no business continuity solution in place. A security incident can cause a chain reaction with your data, impacting productivity, profitability, and your ability to serve customers.

If you’re relying on tape backups, you may want to find another solution. Unfortunately, over 50% of tape backups fail, leaving over 50% of businesses who count on these backups left with nothing when the worst occurs. Tape backups are particularly vulnerable because they are stored in a single location. If something happens to that storage site, nothing can be done for the data.

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Who’s Watching Your Network – Part 2 Security

While you’re enjoying summer break, who’s watching your network? Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you’re free from security breaches, system errors, and more. Read our six-part series to learn how you can ensure your data is safe while you and your employees take time off from your business.

Missed Part 1 on Managed IT? Click Here.

 The number of cyber threats and attacks is growing, and as a result, it is crucial that businesses prioritize IT security. It’s time to stop living in denial about an attack and start taking proactive measures with managed security services. As a busy owner or IT employee, it can be difficult to feel you have control over all aspects of your network. Instead of stressing about a possible security breach, bring in the professionals for non-stop monitoring and management of your security systems.

Managed security services offer remote monitoring that allows a business to operate at full capacity with minimal intrusions. Functions of managed security service include 24/7 monitoring and management of threat detection systems and firewalls, overseeing patch management and upgrades, performing security assessments and security audits, and responding to emergencies. The IT experts always update the business with the status of security issues, audits, and maintenance, so the organization can focus on security governance and not administrative tasks.

It’s very difficult for a small or medium-sized business to keep an eye on their networks all the time. Managed security services offer continuous monitoring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This sort of monitoring is just not feasible to do in house and doesn’t provide opportunities for employees to ever take that much-needed time off.

Instead, business owners can rest easy knowing they have a team updating their security, adding the latest firewalls and patches, and keeping their system running smoothly. When it comes to security, it always pays to be proactive, and constant monitoring is the best way to ensure protection.

Managed security services help your business stay prepared for potential cyberattacks. Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and it’s less a matter of if an attack will occur, but when. Unfortunately, even small businesses are falling victim to attacks, as hackers know a weak security system is easy to infiltrate. If an incident is detected too late, recovery can take a big toll on your business, putting your data, customer privacy, and sales at risk.

A security contract helps your network keep up with evolving threats and address issues as they arise. Working with a professional IT company ensures your network is as protected as possible from attacks. Their team helps eliminate blind spots with firewalls, anti-virus software, and other management tools, and should something occur, they’ll do everything possible to stop it or keep it from spreading further. Their team can determine which threats are the most dangerous and critical to your network. They provide real-time notifications, enabling everyone to take fast action.

Keeping your business up-to-date on the latest security threats and measures can feel impossible. A professional team made up of highly educated experts, skilled in monitoring the threat landscape, provide a distinct advantage. With early threat detection and protection, you can minimize security risks and prevent your business from going offline. An experienced team will always alert customers when something needs to be addressed.

During the busy summer season, it’s important that you and your team have the opportunity to take time off for relaxation and recharging. With the threat of a security breach hanging over your head, you’ll never really be able to unplug. Managed security services put your network in good hands, so you can finally take time off. Trusting a professional team of experts keeps your data and your business protected around the clock.

Want to know more how LammTech can help secure your network? Click Here

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Who’s watching your network – Part 1 Managed IT

While you’re enjoying summer break, who’s watching your network? Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you’re free from security breaches, system errors, and more. Read our six-part series to learn how you can ensure your data is safe while you take time off from your business. managed IT

If an emergency occurs with your system, who is looking after it? The web is a 24/7/365 structure, and you need eyes on your network at all times. A managed IT contract can ensure you have a team of dedicated tech experts serving your network around the clock. This summer, take the opportunity to actually enjoy a vacation and take a much-needed break from the business and outsource your IT management. Your system will be monitored with a proactive approach to errors, as well as go into defense mode should an attack occur.

Managed IT is a smart solution whether or not you have your own IT team. These services can remotely manage your entire system which is perfect for small or medium-sized businesses that aren’t ready to hire their own IT employees. Skilled technicians can also work side by side with your staff to provide support and expert advice should errors occur.

The last thing you want is to receive emergency phone calls from your business while you’re on vacation. Whether you’re off the grid or just trying to enjoy quality time with your family, it can be hard to solve system errors when you’re away. Not to mention it can be stressful for you and your employees at the office as precious minutes of downtime slip by, costing your business money and productivity.

Managed IT contracts provide 24/7 network monitoring with a proactive approach to managing your IT infrastructure. This constant monitoring can help eliminate small problems before they becoming debilitating to your system. Remote monitoring and management of servers, desktops, and mobile devices ensures that nothing ever slips under the radar. Managed IT identifies and fixes problems before they create downtime.

 Whether it’s a software update, harmful virus, hacker, or spyware, your system can’t afford to wait until your IT team gets back. If a problem gets out of hand, your website or primary applications could go down, causing you to lose business. With managed IT services, you get peace of mind at all times should an attack occur. This is perfect for the busy summer season, when you and your employees are hoping to enjoy family vacations and unplug for a while.

Unfortunately, businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk of a cyber-attack. Managed IT providers also offer security services by partnering with trusted vendors to provide cybersecurity solutions that keep your business protected. They install components such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and anti-virus software to reduce risk. Should an attack occur, constant monitoring means threats are proactively detected in real time and automatically mitigated.

With managed IT, you can spend more time building your business, not learning how to take care of your IT infrastructure. A team of experts takes care of your system and suppliers, including giving strategic advice on how technology can help support your goals. Whether your expertise is in something other than tech, or you want someone else to take the reins sometimes, managed IT is a smart business decision.

Consider managed IT this season, so you can enjoy peace of mind while you and your team spend days by the beach, pool, or exploring a new city. Proactive monitoring keeps your system updated and running smoothly, and the team is ready to snap into action should an error occur. With a team of IT experts on your side, you can trust your network is safe and your business is growing. When we work together, we can achieve more for your business.

Learn More about our Managed IT

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How To Protect Yourself From a Future Email Attack

This is Part 3 in our series on email hacking, click for -> Part 1 or Part 2

Whether you’ve been hacked or not, everyone can take stronger efforts to protect their accounts. In the modern age, it’s no longer if you get hacked – it’s when. There are measures you can take, however to make it more difficult for hackers to gain control of your accounts. Follow these steps to keep your data and identity safe online.

Use Secure Passwords
Change your passwords on all accounts frequently, and they need to be strong, with at least 12 characters, including numbers, letters, special characters. Avoid any common information about you, or things that could be learned from your Facebook account, like address, kids’ names, pets’ names, birthday, etc. You should have a different password for every online account you have. A unique phrase that is creative and unpredictable is best, something like, il0veTr@vel, would be a good option.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication
You can set this up on your email, Facebook, banking sites, and other accounts as well. Every time you login, you’ll be sent a unique temporary code via text or to another email account, and you’ll need to input that to access your account. Hackers would have to also take your cell phone in order to login to your accounts if you set this up, so it gives a good layer of protection.

Use Secure devices
If possible, only access online accounts from your personal computer or device, while using a secured internet connection. Avoid accessing personal accounts from public computers, which could have been infected with malware, or might use an unsecured internet connection. If you do use public computers, always log out of every account when you are finished. It’s also advised to use your phone’s cellular data if you need to access a secure account, as opposed to public internet.

Protect your financial information
Though it’s convenient to have your credit card or banking info saved on accounts or websites you use, if your account is hacked, they now have all that information. Whenever you need to enter financial information on a website, make sure it is secure, so the URL starts with “https://”—remember that the “s” is for “secure”). And always log out once you are finished.

Never open suspicious emails
If you get an email from your bank or PayPal that looks strange, don’t open it. If you’re unsure if it’s real, call the office before opening it. Hackers have been known to impersonate banks, the IRS, and more to try and get your information. If you get a weird email from a friend with a link that you weren’t expecting, don’t click it. Call them to see if they sent the email before you open it. It is best to delete spam or dubious-looking emails without opening them.

Get account alerts
Some accounts give you the option to sign up for an email or text alert when your account is accessed from a new device or unusual location. This will instantly update you if an unauthorized person is accessing your account. As a result, you’ll minimize the amount of time they have in your account. If you get a suspicious alert, change your password immediately.

For your computer & devices:

  • Update security software
  • All internet-connected software and operating systems should be updated regularly, like email programs, web browsers, and music players. Sometimes an attack could have been prevented if your system was updated to the latest security measures.
  • Install antivirus software
    If you don’t already have security software, it’s a good idea to install a firewall and antivirus software and keep them up-to-date. If you need recommendations for software, let us know. These programs will help identify threats and help you remove any malicious software. Beware of scam software that may get you to download programs that actually contain malware.

Getting your email hacked is a scary prospect, but if you know how to keep your account secure and what to do if it happens, you can minimize the impact. If you have any further questions about protecting your accounts from hackers, please contact us.

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What to do if your email gets hacked

If you missed part 1, you can click here to read it.

This is Part 2 of our 3 part series on email hacking.

Now that you’ve determined if your email has been hacked, what do you do? You definitely shouldn’t ignore it. You don’t have to be a celebrity to have valuable information in your email that hackers want. They aren’t looking for gossip – they want your data. Some will keep passwords or logins to government departments or large companies they may want to ’target’ to hack them. But the more sophisticated ones will sell your details including name, telephone, email address, and credit card details and cash in on The Dark Web.

Here’s what to do to clean up the mess the hackers left behind.

  1. Change your Password
    If you still have access to your account, change your password immediately. Always use at least 8-10 characters with a variety of upper and lower case and throw in some symbols and numbers. Avoid using any information a hacker could easily find, like maiden name, address, kids’ names, birthdays, pets’ names, etc.
  2. Report It To Your Email Provider
    Most likely, your email provider has seen this type of hack before and may be able to give you more details about the nature and source of the attack. They may also have specific tools to help you protect your information and get you up and running. If your work email was hacked, also inform your IT professionals for additional guidance.
  3. Inform Your Email Contacts
    Many email hackers will send emails to your contacts, posing as you, with links to then remotely hack your friends as well. Let your contacts know they should not open any emails or click any links from you that look suspicious. Also, if they did open anything from you, encourage them to check their own accounts for hacking.
  4. Change your Security Question
    It’s not enough to just change your password. If your email provider uses security questions, change those as well. Pick the most obscure questions, with answers that only you would know. Or better yet, come up with lies for the questions (as long as you remember them). If hackers get access to your answers to the questions you already had associated with your account, they could use them to log into other accounts.
  5. Add Multi-Factor Authentication
    If your provider has the option, add multi-factor authentication, which requires use of a one-time code to log in. It does add another step to your login, but you’ll be extra protected.
  6. Check Your Email Settings
    Hackers might have changed your email settings so they get a copy of your messages forwarded to them. Look to make sure there’s nothing suspicious hidden in your settings. Don’t forget to check your email signature, ‘reply to’ email address, and your sent folder. Eliminate any weird links or email accounts you don’t recognize.
  7. Scan Your Computer for Malware and Viruses
    Your hackers may have gained access to your entire computer. Scan your computer for any viruses, and get them taken care of as soon as possible. You may need to take your computer in to a repair shop so they can remove any that might be present.
  8. Change Other Passwords
    First, update any accounts that use the same password as your previous email account. This includes social media, banking, Amazon, Netflix, wherever you commonly login. Then, think about any other accounts associated with your email address where you may have sent recent “change password” requests, or have passwords that were shared in your email. Change those accounts as well.
  9. Consider Creating a New Email
    If you continue to get hacked, and your email provider isn’t helping, you might need to start a new account, but don’t delete your old account! Hackers could then recreate the account and spoof the old account causing unknown issues for yourself.
  10. Monitor Your Information
    The hacker may have been able to access your Social Security Number or other pieces of valuable personal information from your email. If this is the case, you need to monitor your credit and other financial accounts for suspicious activity. Check your credit report through the free sites to make sure nothing suddenly changes. You may want to contact the fraud department of these financial institutions or other organizations to let them know that you were hacked to ensure that they investigate and protect you from further issues.

Read part 3 of our series to learn how to protect yourself from further email hacks.

If you missed part 1, you can click here to read it, or Read part 3

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How to See if Your Email Has Been Hacked

Whether it is a personal email or a business account, getting your email hacked is a scary possibility. Hackers can quickly gain access to anything you’ve sent – like passwords, account numbers, or bank information – plus, they could use your account to send viruses to other computers, and then hack them.

In this three-part series, we discuss how to determine if you’ve been hacked, how to report the hackers and get them out of your accounts, and finally, how to protect against them in the future.

To start, how do you know if your email has been hacked? A first hint is if someone in your contacts informs you that they received a strange email from you. Ask them to send you a photo of it. If you don’t recognize it, you’ve been hacked.

Let’s do some detective work. Has your password been changed but you don’t remember doing it? That’s a problem. The first thing a hacker typically does is change your passwords and change the contact email so you can’t get back into your account.

Open your email app and look over your messages. Pay attention to the read/unread status to see if any messages have been read that you don’t remember reading. Look in the sent folder to see if there’s anything you did not send. Deleted emails can also give you clues. Also, look to see if there are any password reset request emails for different websites that you don’t remember sending. The hacker could be trying to get into your other accounts.

If you have any other unexpected emails from your bank or other official business, it may be a hacker attempting to get you to reveal more information about yourself. Call your bank and ask about the message before responding.

You can also check the recent activity of your account (if you have a service including Yahoo!, Google, or Microsoft). They will have a record of who has been accessing your email, including date, user’s operating system, mobile device type, and the Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you’re seeing unrecognizable information on there, that could be evidence of outside hacking.

A third-party website can also do a final check to see if your email has been compromised. Have I Been Pwned? will inform you (for free) if your email has ended up in a database due to a data breach. But don’t get too alarmed right away. Make sure to check the dates –it could be reporting an old breach for which you’ve already changed your password.

If you’re not seeing any suspicious information on these sites, but you still believe you’ve been hacked, it might be an inside job. If an outside computer isn’t doing the hacking (which would be indicated by someone accessing your email from a different IP), then someone is directly logging into your computer to hack it. This could be someone in your home or office, or a public place you may have left your computer unattended. Always log out when you step away from your computer, and don’t leave it out if you leave the room.

If you’re seeing these signs, unfortunately, your email has likely been hacked. Depending on the severity of the attack, you might be able to rid yourself of hackers and clean up your accounts in just a few days. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we discuss how to report the hackers and how to get your accounts up and running again.

Questions about email hacking or internet security? Browse our blog for more topics, or contact us to see how we can help your business stay protected against hackers.

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3 Tips to Make Your Backup Ransomware Ready

While all this may look like a lot of bad news, the upside is that there are some quick tweaks you can make to your backup strategy that will make it more effective against ransomware.

  1. Embrace 3-2-1 backup: 3-2-1 backup is a backup strategy that requires you to have three copies of your data in two different locations, one of which is offsite. Making your backup 3-2-1 compliant ensures that even if one copy of your backup is encrypted by ransomware you’ll still have at least one off-site copy that can’t be touched.
  2. Use both image and file backup:  Image backup creates a snapshot of your computer that allows you to restore your computer to a state it was in at a previous point in time.

A single image file is easier to easier to manage and quicker restore than thousands of individual files which will help reduce your RTO. However, a file-based backup will allow you to recover single files more quickly than a whole system image. So, if your user needs a critical document right away you can recover it for them while you restore the rest of the image.

  1. Test, test, test: As a best practice, testing out how long it takes you to restore an individual endpoint from backup is a great way to help understand the cost in resources and time from a ransomware attack.

LammTech hopes you enjoyed this email blog and will follow along with the additional segments in the weeks to come.  The next installment will be “3 Things to Rely on for Ransomware Protection Before You Resort to Backup

Want to know more? LammTech is always available to discuss your data back up and data protection needs.  Call us at 660.827.9944 to discuss your needs and if you are protected.

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Using Backup to Recover from Ransomware: 4 Things You Must Consider – Part II

 

While it’s true that restoring from backup is the best option when you’re hit with a ransomware attack there are several things to think about when you use backup as the core of your ransomware protection strategy.

Recovery point objective (RPO): Recovery Point Objective is the timeframe dictating how often backups are created. It also informs the dates and times you can recover from. If you take weekly backups and you suffer data loss you can restore that computer exactly as it was a week ago. If you take daily backups and suffer data loss you can restore your computer as it was the day before.

It’s important to understand what your RPO is and how much data you could stand to lose if you were hit with ransomware and had to recover from your backup.

Ex: If your RPO is a week and your backups occur on Sunday, a ransomware hit on Saturday is going to wipe out a week’s worth of work. If your RPO is 24 hours, on the other hand, at most you’re going to lose a day’s worth of work.

Recovery time objective (RTO): Recovery Time Objective is the rough amount of time it will take to restore a computer from backup and get it back up and running. RTO is typically used to help your IT team estimate how long it will take to recover from any data loss.

However, you should keep in mind that this is an average. Depending on the type of data loss the time to recover the data might be longer than you anticipated.

The better the backup, the bigger the price tag: While it is possible to keep your RPO and RTO very low and improve your ability to recover more data faster, the price tag on those types of backup systems can go up very fast.

In most cases, it can be more cost effective and time efficient to invest in endpoint protection designed to identify and disrupt evolved threats in real-time rather than looking to upgrade your backup solution. You’ll stop more attacks and not be as reliant on backup.

Local backups can be encrypted by ransomware, too: If your backup solution is local and connected to a computer that gets hit with ransomware the chances are good your backups will be encrypted along with the rest of your data.

Ransomware such as CryptoFortress and Locky can encrypt connected network drives, so it’s crucial to have a backup that isn’t directly connected.

LammTech hopes you enjoyed this email blog and will follow along with the additional segments in the weeks to come.  The next installment will be “3 Tips to Make Your Backup Ransomware Ready

Want to know more? LammTech is always available to discuss your data backup and data protection needs.  Call us at 660.827.9944 to discuss your needs and if you are protected.


 

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Just Because you have a backup – Part 1

When faced with a ransomware attack the current wisdom is if your computer gets infected and it encrypts your files you have three basic options:

  1. Pay the ransom
  2. Restore from a backup
  3. Cut your losses and nuke the computer

Of those three choices, backup is obviously your best option. Assuming everything goes well, you’ll get your data back and you can get back to work knowing you dodged a bullet.

But remember, just because you have backup in place doesn’t mean you’re protected from ransomware. Recently, members of the Spiceworks IT community shared their experiences with ransomware in a brief survey. While most reported backing up their data, only 42% could fully recover everything that had been compromised or encrypted.

Relying solely on a backup as ransomware protection is like using your emergency brake for everyday driving: it may get the job done but it’s going to be messy.

The truth is, restoring from backup isn’t always going to go smoothly. There’s also no guarantee it’s going to be comprehensive. It’s a much-preferred option to paying the ransom, but to make sure it’s a viable option there are several things you need to prepare for and consider. Otherwise, if or when ransomware does hit, you may unfortunately find out you don’t have that choice after all.

LammTech hopes you enjoyed this email blog and will follow along with additional segments in the weeks to come.  The next installment will be “Using Backup to Recover from Ransomware: 4 Things You Have to Consider”

Want to know more? LammTech is always available to discuss your data backup and data protection needs.  Call us at 660.827.9944 to discuss your needs and if you are protected.

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