5 Common IT Mistakes To Avoid

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

IT Security

The average business is evolving to accommodate online communication, remote employees, and rapidly advancing technology. With this in mind, it is important that the average IT department is evolving as well. When analyzing your IT strategy, make sure that you are not making any of the following mistakes. Even small errors can lead to IT security breaches and other technological issues.

  1. You are only focusing on external threats. A shocking 57% of small businesses reported security breaches by their own staff in the past few years. This stresses the importance of monitoring your new and existing employees for potential cyber threats. Be sure to educate your staff about how to handle suspicions of internal threats.
  2. You haven’t hired enough IT employees. Computer maintenance needs are unpredictable, so make sure you have enough staff to handle these issues in a timely manner. While the perfect number of IT employees depends on the size of your organization, make sure that you are not overwhelming your staff with too many pressing tasks at once. You want them to be thorough in their repairs, so make sure that you are not stretching their skills too thin.
  3. You aren’t backing up your data enough. As your business continues to store data and produce content electronically, make sure that you have the best possible backup server in place. More businesses are turning to cloud computing to achieve this goal, so see what type of service is best for you. Have your IT staff set this system to back up important data frequently.
  4. You are keeping the same strategies. Your business’ IT support and services should be evolving with the technology you use. This can easily slip through the cracks as your company continues its busy schedule, so hire an IT consultant to analyze your IT department’s knowledge.
  5. You are forgetting about personal devices. If you have remote employees, or allow your in house employees to bring their personal devices to work, you will need to add another layer of IT security and services. To account for these personal devices, be sure to add security measures to your office WiFi.

While IT department shortcomings can be detrimental to your business’ productivity and security, they are also simple to avoid. By equipping your IT department with the best tools and knowledge, you can ensure their preparedness for handling any tech problem.

Need Computer Support? Let IT Wizards Take Care of It For You

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

business computer support

Every office these days is mostly run with the help of technology like computers, phones, tablets, the cloud, and other digital storage. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone in the office is as tech-savvy as one hopes. And even for the co-worker in the office who’s always on top of the new trends, there are some problems that only IT services can assist with. For any new system introduced to an office — whether it’s something like two-step verification or a total overhaul of how information is transmitted or stored — having business computer support and IT support is important for any office to run smoothly. Business computer support can also often extend to IT security, which is another necessary feature, with increased hacking and viruses being spread digitally.

Why Do We Need Business Computer Support?
Modern employees spend almost eight to 10 hours a day on their computers. Whether they’re a marketing firm employing social media, blogging, or new SEO tactics to promote a brand or service or someone simply entering a query into a search engine, we use the Internet and computers in almost every facet of our lives. Much of our data is saved on the cloud or on a server and if those systems should, for some reason, go down or become inaccessible, business computer support can be a lifesaver.

If something should go wrong with the computer itself, IT services are available to help troubleshoot. For new processes or systems, technical consultants can help walk first-time users through it and answer any questions as employees adjust. They can help reduce a great deal of frustration and negative feelings in the office and help a company conduct “business as usual” even when undergoing significant structural changes.

What’s the Deal With Cyber Security?
Cyber security continues to be a growing concern, as more of our personal information makes its way online. There are compliance mandates out there like PCI, HIPAA, and FISMA that make it a requirement for businesses to protect, keep track of, and control access to sensitive information, but accidents happen. For example, the federal government, which ought to have the highest levels of security, has suffered an almost 680% increase in cyber security breaches in just the last six years. And a recent survey showed that almost 90% of small businesses had a security breach in 2012. Around 97% of the 60 billion emails sent every day are spam and nine out of every 1,000 computers wind up being infected with spam.

Where’s the threat coming from? Unfortunately, between 75% and 80% of all malicious attacks actually come from the inside, not the outside. IT services can help keep companies stay on their toes with security auditing and penetration testing to see how the current IT infrastructure is working against cyber attacks. They can also advise new strategies for businesses to take to keep their information safe. For example, almost 80% of breaches are because of weak administrator passwords — if passwords can be made more secure and changed every few months, it could help slow down or stop the rate of cyber attacks. This is especially important if you have a high rate of turnover in your office — almost 60% of employees steal corporate data when they quit or if they’re let go.

As our world becomes ever more digitally oriented, the need for IT companies will also continue to grow. We need experts in the field advising us on the best security options, introducing new systems that can help us expand our businesses and improve our efficiency, and who can help keep staff up to date with new systems and protocol. Let an IT company take the wheel so that you can focus on the other aspects of your business.

Debunking 3 Common Myths About IT Compliance

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

it compliance

When it comes to IT compliance, many times, it’s not as easy as one might think. Compliance mandates such as PCI, HIPAA and FISMA require businesses to protect, track and control access to sensitive information. Despite all that we know about IT services, there are still a surprising number of misconceptions being spread. Here are some common myths about IT compliance.

  1. Myth: Informing customers or patients about information breaches solves IT compliance problems.
    Recovering from a data breach is complicated and time consuming, especially considering that between 75% and 80% of all malicious attacks come from within an organization, not from an external threat. This makes it all the more necessary to use ethical hacking services such as IT consultation, security auditing, and penetration testing to evaluate your IT infrastructure thoroughly. It’s not uncommon for data breaches to cause businesses to lose thousands of dollars, but more importantly, data breaches can cause your business to lose valuable customers as well. That’s why it’s important to work with credit monitoring agencies, identity repair services, and other IT support services to help the affected parties recover from the damaging breach.
  2. Myth: Compliance=security.
    It would be nice if this were true, but in reality, just because your business is compliant does not mean it’s secure. Compliancy is more than simply checking off boxes on a list of rules and requirements. Security should always be treated as a priority and an ongoing process to protect data and information. A multi-layer defense is often the best approach for a business’ network security needs because it offers more than one level of protection. Once your full audit is completed,, you should schedule frequent scans to assure that your network is secure and that you’re still keeping up with compliancy regulations.
  3. Myth: Free scan tools can determine whether or not compliancy has been reached.
    While there are many websites available to assist in determining IT compliance, simply filling out a survey doesn’t actually do anything to protect you. You should strive to work with a vendor that employs a structured Information Technology Audit Framework, which CISAs (Certified information system auditors) follow when they conduct audits. The structural framework encompasses objectives, a process of validation and outcomes, and any corrective actions that need to be taken.

Ultimately, IT compliance is complicated, and you should consult a reputable IT consulting company if you have concerns. For more information about IT compliance, contact ITS Cares.

Staying Linked In — Why IT Professionals Are Needed More Than Ever

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

marketing techniquesIt can often seem like the world has gotten a lot more confusing when it comes to doing business. There are so many different types of technologies to keep the vast stream of information somewhat organized and ready for use. From email, to cloud computing, to different types of software for accounting, data tracking and storage, and organization, it can seem bewildering. And now, there’s the additional hazard of our information not being secure with the rise of cyberhacking and malware. IT services have never been more in demand to help with all our technological questions and to keep our systems up and running smoothly. Their help allows us to focus on what’s most important — improving our business, getting sales up, and focusing on refining marketing techniques and brand strategies.

The Importance of IT Support
Practically every business today has a form of IT support. For smaller businesses, they may outsource to a larger firm to help them manage their IT. Larger businesses may have an entire IT department at their disposal as part of the company. Not only do IT professionals troubleshoot what might be going wrong with current services and help employees adapt to new software or technology, they’re also on the lookout for new software or technology that can help the business they work for run better and more efficiently.

They may introduce stronger security systems to keep sensitive information protected, update a company’s database for bigger and better storage capacities, and ensure that everything is running smoothly. Most employees would agree that they would be lost without the assistance of their IT colleagues and often rely on them for support and troubleshooting.

How Are IT Services Keeping Our Businesses Safe?
The Internet has provided many advantages to businesses and individuals, but has also presented us with a unique set of problems. A recent survey showed that almost 90% of small businesses had some kind of security breach just in 2012. The government has issued new compliance mandates in recent years (PCI, HIPAA, and FISMA) that make it mandatory for businesses to protect, track, and control access to confidential information. Yet, the government itself has had a nearly 680% increase in cyber security breaches in the last six years and nine out of every 1,000 computers are affected by spam.

About 80% of all breaches are because administrators don’t have strong enough passwords — and around 60% of employees are actually guilty of stealing proprietary corporate data when they quit or get fired. Out of the 60 billion emails sent every day, the majority (97%) are spam. So how to get around this massive problem?

IT security is here to help. Hopefully, IT professions will encourage the use of stronger passwords, and frequent changes of those passwords or login techniques, to avoid previous employees from being able to gain entry to the system. Better firewalls and malware detectors can help employees from opening spam in the first place and detecting threats or breaches before they happen.

They may also brief employees on what to do if a breach should occur and the steps that should be immediately taken if an employee suspects that one has happened.

What are the Best IT Marketing Techniques?
If you’re running an IT company, there’s probably no shortage of clientele — but how do you make yourself known to them? Even an IT company needs good marketing techniques to get ahead. Your online presence is important and you need to stay on top of current business trends, such as the rise of C-suite opportunities and how social media is evolving.

Building a good website, increasing your search engine optimization, and generating useful and smart content on a regular basis can all help your IT business grow. Indeed, content marketing is one of the best marketing techniques out there today and can help boost the notoriety of your experts as well.

If you’re a business owner, stay on top of your game and make sure you’re investing in a high quality IT department that knows their stuff. As an IT professional, remember to keep expanding your online presence and focus on marketing techniques to success.

Network Abuse: Don’t Push Your ‘Luck’

Written by Tiffiny Hladczuk. Posted in ITS Blog

Network Abuse: Don’t Push Your ‘Luck’

Look around your office. Isn’t it great to see your team hard at work on their computers? Yet if we take a closer look, let’s see what’s really happening…

 

Joe, your new sales rep, is poring over last weekend’s game stats…

 

Amy in marketing is looking for a new job, surfing your competitors’ websites, chatting with their HR people…

 

Wes, over in customer support, just bogged down your entire network by downloading a video file of Metallica in concert…

 

Guy, your new hire in shipping, is on hotdate.com, viewing questionable photos…

 

Bob in accounting is browsing stock-investing sites, in search of a hot tip…

 

Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad at your company. But this type of behavior will happen to some degree if you don’t proactively prevent it. The real problem is, unfiltered content often links to malware and other threats. Ignore it and you risk productivity losses, legal liabilities, extortion, blackmail and fraud. And not only that, the resulting data loss and corruption can cost your company big-time. Cyberthreats stemming from unfiltered content aren’t something you can count on your lucky leprechaun or four-leaf clover to protect you from.

 

In today’s mobile environment, content filtering has becoming a greater challenge than ever before. Your company may already be doing some filtering at the network level. However, when was the last time you checked the number of mobile devices linked to your network? As your workforce goes mobile, your network is exposed to a rapidly expanding “attack surface.” With BYOD (bring your own device) now the norm, the old rules of content filtering just don’t cut it anymore.

 

Are You Making Any Of These Mistakes?

Old content-filtering models presume your network has a safe “firewall.” But now, with BYOD, you need a different way to protect your data. And that’s where endpoint security comes into play. Endpoint filtering keeps devices on your network safe from infection, no matter where they hook into the Internet.

 

But make ANY of the following mistakes with endpoint security and your network could be a sitting duck:

 

  1. Missing even ONE endpoint. This applies to tablets and smartphones as well as home-based machines that VPN into your network.

 

  1. Skimping on security policies, protocols and training. Believing that tech tools alone will keep your network secure is a recipe for breaches. In fact, no technology can keep a network safe if users cut corners.

 

  1. Leaving endpoint filtering out of your overall security plan. Ad hoc security invites disaster. An improperly designed system exposes holes that hackers love to find.

So, What Exactly Should You Filter?

Forrester Research states that companies whose users access the cloud should:

  • Detect and intercept unusual or fraudulent activities related to data in the cloud.
  • Detect, neutralize and eliminate malware in cloud platforms.
  • Detect and monitor unsanctioned cloud applications and platforms usage.
  • Protect against leaks of confidential information.
  • Encrypt structured and unstructured data in cloud platforms.
  • Investigate suspicious users and incidents.

 

Between BYOD and ever more complex cyberthreats, you simply can’t afford to run around putting out fires. You absolutely MUST proactively defend your network in depth with endpoint content filtering.

 

If you’d like a snapshot of the content your employees are viewing, Setup an appointment for us to come by and run a special diagnostic program that will expose lurking threats due to leaks in your endpoint security system.  ITS provides IT support in the Charleston, SC area.   We are local and have been serving business since 2002. 

 

Call 843-419-6788 or email Service@ITScares.com right now, while you’re thinking of it. The five minutes you invest could save your company thousands of dollars in lost productivity and expensive repairs, not to mention legal liabilities.