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20 Personal Cybersecurity Tips

Social media can do wonders for you as an individual, as well as if you are running your own online business. It can help you build a loyal following, spread word and awareness about your brand, and reach out to other like-minded people, as well as customers. And the best about it is that it’s incredibly easy to do, since everyone you are looking for is already there.

However, because the power of social media is so easy to utilize, most people let their guard down when it comes to cybersecurity, which can come back to haunt them at some point in the future, in a number of different ways. In order to avoid that, let’s take a look at 20 ways in which you can prevent a cybersecurity issue on social media sites.

Cybersecurity Tip #1 – If You’re Online, You’re At Risk – If you have money (doesn’t matter how much), data (usernames, passwords, documents, emails, etc.) or a place to work, you’re going to be targeted.

Cybersecurity Tip #2 – Shop Online Safely

  • Always use trusted (private) networks
  • Use strong passwords
  • Don’t shop on shady websites
  • Never save credit card to an account
  • Verify your transactions weekly to look out for suspicious activity

Cybersecurity Tip #3 – When In Doubt, Don’t Plug It In – Never use a USB flash drive from an unknown source. External media can be infected with malware.

Cybersecurity Tip #4 – If There’s 2FA, Use It – Use two-factor authentication everywhere you can. it’s one of the simplest and most effective security layers you can employ.

Cybersecurity Tip #5 – Lock Up Your Device – Never leave your laptop, smartphone, or tablet unlocked.

Cybersecurity Tip #6 – Trace Your Steps

  • Make a list of your online accounts
  • Set strong passwords for all of them
  • Delete the accounts you haven’t used in the past 6 months

Cybersecurity Tip #7 – Keep Everything Updated – Always keep your operating system and applications up to date. Updated often patch security vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity Tip #8 – Don’t Overshare On Social

  • Remember that nothing posted in public forum is ever truly private
  • Think about what is being posted and who can take advantage of these posts

Cybersecurity Tip #9 – Keep It Clean – Never install software or apps from shady sites. Stick to trusted sources and approved app stores.

Cybersecurity Tip #10 – Avoid Bad Neighbors – Torrent sites? Adult sites? Yeah. They’re often loaded with malware.

Cybersecurity Tip #11 – Check Before You Click – Never click links in an email until you’ve verified their legitimacy.

Cybersecurity Tip #12 – Watch For Red Flags – A few common ways to scam people through email or SMS:

  • Free Offers
  • Creating Urgency
  • Shocking “News”

Cybersecurity Tip #13 – Don’t Wait Until It Happens – A lot of people wait until they become a victim of cyberattack before taking the risk seriously. Don’t be one of them.

Cybersecurity Tip #14 – Trust No One – Cliché? A little, but it’s really good advice when you’re talking about the internet.

Cybersecurity Tip #15 – Cover Your Webcam – Any camera that’s connected to the internet can be hacked, and yes, it’s actually -really- easy to do.

Cybersecurity Tip #16 – Stop Checking In On Your Phone – Real-time check-ins give anyone who’s online detailed information about your location, habits, and vulnerabilities.

Cybersecurity Tip #17 – Remove Geotags From Your Images And Posts – Even if you don’t think you need hide your location from anyone now, that might not always be the case. Someone with malicious intent could easily track you or find your home address by looking through your public images.

Cybersecurity Tip #18 – Paid Antivirus Is Worth It – Get protection for your connection. Free antiviruses work, but paid solutions are well worth the investment. (Don’t forget to add antivirus to your mobile devices, too!)

Cybersecurity Tip #19 – Look For The “S”… – …In “https://”, that is. This denotes a secured website, and you should only input important data into secured websites.

Cybersecurity Tip #20 – Use Multiple Email Accounts – It’s wise to have a “throwaway” account for social media that’s separate from the email you use for things like banking. This limits the potential access that hackers will gain with a single breach.

At mPowered IT, we have the experience and solutions needed to keep you safe through this year’s challenges and beyond. To learn more reach out to us at 678-389-6200 or schedule a free zero obligation consultation here.

20 Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

Protecting your small business against cyber crime should be your top priority. If you don’t have proactive security measures in place to protect your IT network, it’s only a matter of time before it will be attacked. Below are 20 cybersecurity tips for small businesses. Continue reading to ensure your business has the protection it needs to avoid a devastating data breach.

Security Tip #1 – Use Strong Passwords – The most commonly used method for hacking accounts is password spraying, which only works when passwords are weak.

Security Tip #2 – Don’t Feed The Fish – 64% of businesses experienced phishing and social engineering attacks in 2019.

Security Tip #3 – Train For Awareness – 32% of breaches involve phishing – phishing awareness and education are some of the best ways to decrease risk.

Security Tip #4 – Scan The Dark Web – 64% of Americans have never checked to see if they were affected by a data breach.

Security Tip #5 – Be Wary Of Mobile Apps – In 2018, an average of 10,573 malicious mobile apps were blocked per day.

Security Tip #6 – Use Two-Factor Authentication – 2FA can stop the vast majority of current account hacking attempts.

Security Tip #7 – Focus On Cyber Hygiene – Most cybersecurity issues can be addressed by correcting the fundamentals.

Security Tip #8 – Think Before Clicking– Any email or SMS link could be hiding malicious code.

Security Tip #9 – Create A Training Plan – Staff cybersecurity training should begin at onboarding.

Security Tip #10 – Bring In Experts – IT security professionals bring the tools and expertise needed to lock down your business.

Security Tip #11 – Recognize And Reward – Acknowledge employees who report phishing emails or other attacks.

Security Tip #12 – No Business Is Too Small – Breaches affect organizations of all sizes.

Security Tip #13 – Encrypt Your Data – This adds an extra layer of security should your data ever be compromised.

Security Tip #14 – Test Your Backups – Make sure you can rely on your recovery solution.

Security Tip #15 – Verify Financial Transactions – Check with the CFO or manager before sending funds or changing payment arrangements.

Security Tip #16 – Stick To Trusted Networks – Restrict business devices from using public wifi networks.

Security Tip #17 – Purge Stale Data – Data that’s no longer needed adds unnecessary risk to exposure or breach.

Security Tip #18 – Stay Up To Date – Follow cybersecurity trends and breaking news so that you can stay prepared.

Security Tip #19 – Monitor Personal Devices – If employees use them to access company data, they need to be monitored, protected, and kept updated.

Security Tip #20 – Get A Cyber Audit – Only a cybersecurity expert can truly evaluate your business’ cybersecurity posture.

At mPowered IT, we have the experience and solutions needed to keep you safe through this year’s challenges and beyond. To learn more reach out to us at 678-389-6200 or schedule a free zero obligation consultation here.

 

10 Cybersecurity Threats to Watch in 2021

Cybercrime affects everyone, but business owners tend to have the biggest targets painted on their backs. Contrary to popular belief, small businesses are often more heavily targeted than large enterprises. Why?

Because they’re usually easier targets.

Recent research suggests that most small companies have unprotected data and poor cybersecurity practices in place, making them vulnerable to data breach or ransomware attacks. Small business owners are usually too busy trying to manage their day-to-day operations to worry about things like IT defense, cybersecurity awareness training, or a staff-wide culture of cyber safety.

Hopefully, you’ve already begun taking a more serious stance toward cybersecurity. As you do so, take note of the ever-evolving nature of the cyber threat landscape and what new dangers are out there.

The following is a list of growing cybersecurity threats you’ll likely hear more about this year both inside and outside of the business world:

1. Deepfakes

Deepfakes are created with “deep thinking” artificial intelligence technology creates fake images, videos, or sounds that appear to be real. These are often used to mislead the public by making it appear that a politician or celebrity said or did something that never actually happened.

Deepfake voice technology allows people to spoof the voices of other people — often people in power. The potential of issuing fake orders to subordinates or making fraudulent statements to the press is very high and could be used in all sorts of manipulation ploys.

2. AI-driven cyberattacks

As with any new technology, AI is a double-edged sword. Although it’s being used to help with cybersecurity, AI has also been co-opted by bad actors to create and execute cyberattacks.

Using artificial intelligence, cyber criminals are able to create programs that mirror human behavior or carry out large-scale cyber attacks through automation.

3. “Poisoning” Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence learns new models or systems over time. Usually, an AI has to pore through large amounts of data to establish patterns and learn a specific behavior.

During this learning period, cybercriminals can feed the AI program bad data in what’s known as a poisoning attack. The goal of the attack is to teach the AI something that benefits the hacker.

For example, if AI is supposed to be learning how to spot spam emails or network intrusion attempts, hackers can feed in data that teaches the AI to ignore something that should be a red flag. If carried out fully, these attacks can create backdoors through any number of AI-driven systems.

4. Disinformation in social media

Spreading disinformation has been a manipulation tactic for as long as people have been communicating. The challenge we’re facing in the information age is that disinformation can be spread very quickly with almost no chance of stopping its momentum.

Although this is largely blamed on social media, many believe that a lack of critical thinking skills in the general population is not helping the matter. Bad actors know that this is a human weakness and are using disinformation to great effect.

5. New cybersecurity challenges that 5G creates

New technologies always bring about new cybersecurity challenges, and most experts agree that 5G is no exception.

A 2019 study by Information Risk Management said that survey respondents worried that 5G technology will result in a greater risk of cyberattacks on Internet of Things (IoT) networks.

Cybersecurity is a constant back-and-forth, so cybersecurity experts aren’t so much worried as they are getting themselves prepared. If new threats or vulnerabilities emerge, they will respond to eliminate them.

6. Vehicle cyberattacks

Connecting cars and trucks sounds like a great idea from a standpoint of technological progress, but doing so opens up the possibility of cyberattacks which directly target vehicles.

Even with current vehicle-borne technology, hackers might be able to access or manipulate travel data, engine management, and onboard cameras and entertainment devices. Many worry that in the future, vulnerable computers will also be linked to safety or driver control systems.

7. Cloud jacking

More businesses are moving to the cloud, and more of the world’s most commonly used software is doing the same. Cloud jacking seeks to take advantage of this migration by infiltrating these programs and systems and using them to mine for cryptocurrency, leak data, or send out spoofing attacks.

8. Election security

Experts are concerned that hackers from other countries might target the voter-registration databases for state and local governments, with the intent to either destroy or disrupt this information. This could corrupt an election through fraud, or prevent large groups of people from voting at all.

This risk doesn’t just apply to the United States, but threatens any nation with a democratic process.

9. Ransomware attacks on the public sector

Hackers are ramping up attacks that target government bodies, including municipalities, public utilities, and fire and police departments. Using ransomware, these attacks hijack their computer systems until these government agencies pay a ransom. Since this method creates significant — and often dangerous — interruptions in public services, the ransoms are often paid without question.

10. Breaches in hospitals and medical networks

2020 saw what was reported as the first human death officially linked to a cyberattack. This occurred after cybercriminals hit a hospital in Düsseldorf, Germany with ransomware, resulting in treatment delays that led to a woman’s death.

Hospitals and other medical providers are prime targets for cybercriminals due to their importance and the sheer quantity of private information they access. The personal and financial information is extremely valuable on the dark web, and hospital administrators are often left with no choice but to pay ransoms to avoid human suffering.

Cyberattacks will only get worse as our reality becomes more intertwined with technology. What steps are you taking to ensure your business can face these new challenges?

If you’re like most, you’re wondering how your organization can handle it all yourself. That’s where MSPs like mPowered IT can help. Rather than taking on new staff, you can place the security of your network and data in our capable hands.

We have the experience and solutions needed to keep you safe through this year’s challenges and beyond. To learn more reach out to us at 678-389-6200.

9 Cybersecurity Best Practices For Your IT Team

There are ways to protect business data against ransomware attacks. Here are 9 tips to help your IT team boost your business’ resilience to cyber attacks:

1. Renew your security risk assessment. Things change over time. If it’s been a while since your IT team has thoroughly assessed your information security posture, be sure to clear up some time on your schedule to get that taken care of!

2. Train your employees. Because cyber security threats are constantly evolving, an ongoing training plan should be implemented for all employees. Your IT provider or internal team should be able to arrange such training.

3. Get password hygiene under control. Implement a password policy that requires strong passwords and check for leaked employee accounts through dark web monitoring. For more comprehensive security, consider mandatory multi-factor authentication, ongoing network monitoring, and hard drive encryption.

4. Keep all devices updated. Your IT team should already be taking care of patching and updating the devices — but that may not include all of your staff’s personal devices, laptops, phones, or even smart devices in the office. Be vigilant about patch management for these devices, and speak to your IT team about adding coverage as needed.

5. Create straightforward cybersecurity policies. If your IT team hasn’t created internal information security policies, doing so should become a priority. Strict, documented policies are a critical part of an overall security strategy.

6. Consider your data backup policies. You should already be running a data backup solution as part of your IT strategy. (If not, now would be a good time to start!) Review how your data needs may have changed since first implementing this solution and determine if you need more frequent backups or other recovery options.

7. Conduct a practice restore. The best way to know if you have the right Backup and Data Recovery solution in place is to test it in a real-world scenario. If your IT team hasn’t conducted a practice restore to get a complete picture of what lies ahead in times of disaster, make it a priority.

8. Know where your data resides. The more places data exists, the more likely it is that unauthorized individuals will be able to access it. Your IT team should help you use data discovery tools to find and appropriately secure data and implement Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications that allow for corporate control of data.

9. Control access to computers. Use key cards or similar security measures to control access to facilities, ensure that employees use strong passwords for laptops and desktops. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted staff.

Your IT department or IT provider should be your source of up-to-date, reliable cybersecurity information. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and always err on the side of caution.

To learn more, book a free, zero obligation custom consultation with the CEO of mPowered IT. You can also give us a call at 678-389-6200.

6 Things Your Insurance Agency Can Count On With mPowered IT

Get the mPowered IT Experience for Your Insurance Agency

We’re better equipped to support your insurance agency’s IT needs because we already know your systems (most MSPs do not). We understand the agency workflows, agency management, and document management systems you count on to run your insurance agency. Why waste time getting a Managed Services Provider up to speed, when you can have mPowered IT who already has the expertise?

Six things your insurance agency can absolutely count on with mPowered IT

1. INSURANCE AGENCY KNOWLEDGE of software and systems
2. PROACTIVE MONITORING 24 / 7 / 365 to prevent problems – We provide true proactive monitoring, constantly checking over 2,000 service points in your insurance agency’s network. When we see an alert, even if it’s in the middle of the night, we address it right away. So when the business day starts, everything is functioning. Your employees can get right to work without even knowing there was an issue.
3. RESPONSE IN 15 MINUTES OR LESS to every service request – We believe a help desk should be easy for any employee to use. We hire only American IT engineers, who know how to explain things in simple terms, and want to help you solve the problem. One of our core values is providing our customers with an excellent experience with every call. Think of our help desk as a frustration-free zone!
4. FIXED RIGHT THE FIRST TIME so you don’t have the same issue again 
5. FAIR & PREDICTABLE PRICING with no ugly surprises
6. THE BEST IT EXPERIENCE or we will find you another provider – We work as a key member of your management team, guiding you on technology decisions that are in the best interest of your unique business. We don’t have an incentive to sell you on any system or technology – we are not in business to sell technology. We’re free to advise on the technologies that will keep your costs aligned with your agency’s needs and budget.

To learn more, book a free, zero obligation custom consultation with the CEO of mPowered IT. You can also give us a call at 678-389-6200.

Why DaaS makes sense for your small business

Why Embrace Workspaces Make Sense for Small Businesses

Workspaces – a cloud-based virtual desktop service – improves your security, makes backups automatic and reliable, and keeps you in compliance if your business has specific regulations. It’s ideal for remote or work-from-home employees as they can work from your systems and share information from anywhere. All of the benefits of Embrace Workspaces come with lower operating costs.

Best Collaboration – Embrace Workspaces is redefining virtual office collaboration. You get unified management of all endpoints, built-in sharing, and the ability to transfer files of any size.

Best Performance – Our cloud virtual desktop service is typically three times faster than alternative systems and you will barely notice that you are using a cloud desktop since the performance is equivalent to that of a physical computer.

More Security – Our team of security professionals completely manages the defense and back up of your Embrace Workspaces with daily backups (in redundant multiple locations for disaster recovery), and behind the scenes data security. In the event of a local disaster, your fail-safe system will be up and running within minutes following the incident.

How Embrace Workspaces Works Better for Your Business

More Affordable – Most cloud desktop services are built for large corporations and enterprises, and priced that way too. Ours is built and priced to meet the needs of small and medium sized businesses.

No Additional Software Required – Other services require a “Virtual Private Network” (VPN), additional applications for sharing files, screen sharing, and presentations. We don’t have that as a main requirement, nor the expense that goes with it.

Better Speeds – Many virtual desktop vendors use older technologies that are not as snappy to load or run. We provide new, faster running technology to meet or exceed your needs.

To learn more, book a free, zero obligation custom consultation with the CEO of mPowered IT. You can also give us a call at 678-389-6200.

Your Business Can Save Money By Using DaaS (Desktop As A Service)

Spend Less Capital on Computers, Servers, and Software

The number one reason why many businesses consider switching over to a desktop-as-a-service model has to do with the immediate cost savings they get to enjoy on the technological assets they depend on so heavily each day. In fact, part of the reason why DaaS works so well is because it frees an organization from the restrictions of physical hardware assets in the first place.

With desktop-as-a-service your ability to run your mission-critical applications is no longer dependent on the quality of the computer you’re using — it’s dependent on the speed of your internet connection instead. Desktop-as-a-service resources are usually delivered as a cloud service by a cloud service provider like mPowered IT, right along with all of the apps needed for use on your virtual desktop infrastructure.

Why our Embrace program will better your business.

Pay as You Save – You get the latest generation of computer systems for your business and only pay for what you need. This eliminates the unnecessary expenses on software upgrades and hardware purchases that you can’t take full advantage of. Embrace Workspaces scale seamlessly without having to re-install anything when you need more space or users.

Multi-User Resource Sharing – You can add several users on one instance with every user having a private desktop. No more one to one computers, because hardware resources are shared among the users so the total hardware/software requirements are much less.

Software Updates for All Users – Since all the end users are on one cloud virtual desktop system, you update the software once and every user gets the latest version instantly, making software upgrades and maintenance quick and easy.

No Capital Investment – Embrace Workspaces doesn’t require you to make any initial capital investments and is available for a single person or thousands of users.

To learn more, book a free, zero obligation custom consultation with the CEO of mPowerd IT. You can also give us a call at 678-389-6200.

What is Daas?

The world of cloud computing seems to be a bottomless well of new and exciting acronyms. You may have heard of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS — but here is one you might not be as familiar with, Desktop-as-a-Service or DaaS.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a cloud computing offering where a cloud service provider like mPowered IT delivers virtual desktops to end users over the Internet, licensed with a per-user subscription.

What is Daas?

The world of cloud computing seems to be a bottomless well of new and exciting acronyms. You may have heard of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS — but here is one you might not be as familiar with, Desktop-as-a-Service or DaaS.

Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a cloud computing offering where a cloud service provider like mPowered IT delivers virtual desktops to end users over the Internet, licensed with a per-user subscription.

So, what are the advantages of Desktop as a Service?

Desktop as a Service offers some clear advantages over a traditional desktop model. Deploying or decommissioning active end users with DaaS is much faster and less expensive.

1.Faster deployment and decommissioning of active end users: The desktop is already configured, it just needs to be connected to a new device. For seasonal businesses that consistently spikes and drops in demand or employees, DaaS can save a lot of time and money.

  1. Cost savings:Because the devices that run DaaS require much less computing power than a traditional desktop machine or laptop, they are less expensive and use less power.
  2. Increased device flexibility:DaaS runs on a variety of operating systems and device types, which supports the trend of users bringing their own devices into the office and shifts the burden of supporting the desktop on all of those devices to the cloud service provider.
  3. Enhanced security:Because the data is stored in the data center with DaaS, security risks are considerably lower. If a laptop or mobile device is stolen, it can simply be disconnected from the service. Since none of the DaaS data lives on that stolen device, the risk of a thief accessing sensitive data is lower. Security patches and updates are also easier to install in a DaaS environment because all of the desktops can be updated simultaneously from a remote location.

The benefits of DaaS include simplified management, increased flexibility, and lower cost of ownership compared to traditional models. Businesses that aim to offer remote work options and personal device flexibility can use DaaS to quickly and easily create a digital workspace. Users may log in to their virtual desktop from anywhere, via many different kinds of devices, and their desktop will look exactly the same as when they last visited from a different location. All they need is an internet connection. Since the data lives in a centralized, remote location, it can be constantly backed up – no need for users to manage back-ups on their own or worry about data existing on a computer at the office but not at home.

To learn more, book a free, zero obligation custom consultation with the CEO of mPowerd IT. You can aslo give us a call at 678-389-6200.

What is Microsoft 365 and Azure?

Microsoft 365 and Azure are phenomenal tools for your business, but installing, integrating, learning, setting up security practices, troubleshooting…is that how you want to spend your time? We’re a Microsoft partner, who can provide easy, reliable support and consultation.

Microsoft 365 is the productivity cloud designed to help each of us achieve what matters, in our work and life, with best-in-class Office apps, and intelligent cloud services. Always have the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook wherever you go, with email and calendaring services to meet every organizational need. Get business-class email on phones, tablets, desktops, and the web. Manage your calendar, share available meeting times, schedule meetings, and get reminders. Easily schedule meetings

Microsoft 365 – Management and Support

The mPowered IT team manages and supports your 365 applications and tenant, while offering the necessary security add-ons to make sure your 365 environment is safe and efficient. Our team creates an outstanding support experience for you and your 365 environment.

Optimize Use of Microsoft 365

Your company may not be taking full advantage of what Microsoft offers. The mPpowered IT team can review how you are using (or intend to use) 365 and can help you use the platforms most appropriately for your business.

Microsoft Azure

Get security from the ground up, backed by our own team of experts, and proactive compliance trusted by enterprises, governments and startups

Monitoring and Support

Regardless of where your data lives, you need fast, efficient, friendly support and proactive monitoring and management. mPowered IT provides both. We keep Azure working for you, so you can focus on your business.

Setup and Migration

Understanding Azure and how to leverage cloud resources can be a confusing, daunting task. mPowered IT takes the mystery out of the cloud and helps guide you to secure, appropriate solutions for your business. We can migrate your environment, and support the solution once it is in production.

 

If you’re looking for better IT support, give us a call at 678-389-6200. Or schedule a free 30 minute, no obligation consolation by completing the form here.

mPowered IT Recognized as 2021 Partner of the Year by Calyptix Security Corporation

Roswell, GA – 3/18/2021 – mPowered IT, Comprehensive IT Service & Support for Business and Medical Practices, today announced its recognition as a 2021 Premiere Partner with Calyptix Security Corporation. mPowered IT provides its small and medium-size business customers with network security and management services using Calyptix’s all-in-one AccessEnforcer® cybersecurity solution.

“We are very proud of once again being named a Partner of the Year. Cybersecurity is so very important to organizations of all sizes and being able to lock down a customer’s network with the Calyptix solution is one of our key tools. Winning an award like this affirms our dedication to keeping our customers’ networks secure.”

 

mPowered IT’s partnership with Calyptix offers network security protecting clients from threats such as hackers, spam, and malware. Additional network management services also enhance the safety and reliability of clients’ networks.

 

The Partner of the Year designation is earned with more than a strong sales record, said Calyptix Security CEO Ben Yarbrough. “Our selection process includes consideration by all different departments of the company with feedback from sales, support, training and fulfillment,” he said. The award also recognizes “a strong commitment to customer service, integrity, perpetual learning and security.”

 

About mPowered IT

We deliver the mPowered Experience throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. We will keep your systems running and proactively fix issues before you are even aware of them. When things do go wrong, we will respond to your service request in 15 minutes or less. You will never be left hanging wondering if issues are being addressed, and you will never worry about your systems again. You can finally focus on your business, trust your network, and your IT partner.

About Calyptix Security

Calyptix Security (http://www.calyptix.com) is dedicated to helping small- and medium-size organizations secure their networks so they can raise profits, protect investments, and control technology. The company’s all-in-one device for network security and management, AccessEnforcer, makes it easy to protect SMB networks so companies can forget about security and focus on winning.

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