Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
678-389-6200

The Important Role Tech will Play for your Efficiency in 2022

Efficiency in 2022

We live in an age of constantly evolving technology! These constant changes can bring apprehension about the future. In the following article, we will outline just how important the right tech – and professionals supporting it – are in your quest for efficiency in 2022.  

So, what will 2022 bring?  

Your business may still be feeling the effects of the pandemic, and your workplace could be unrecognizable from what it was a few years ago. You may have gone into survival mode, but as the pandemic is continuing into 2022 – it is time for a more prepared and revised approach. Think long term.

Your employees may have returned to the office, and now, with the omicron variant, you’re considering going fully remote again. If your remote strategy has been for employees to use their home PC’s and laptops, it’s important to understand the risks this brings to your company’s network security, and also the opportunities you may be missing.

What the Wrong IT Can Mean for Your Business 

In the rush to transition to a remote workforce, many businesses ended up equipping their home offices with the wrong tools. Using outdated, unprotected, or incapable software or hardware can have a detrimental effect on your security, as well as business functionality. 

This is referred to as Shadow IT.

Shadow IT is IT that your organization has no control over. If you have no organizational requirements for control, documentation, security, or reliability, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Cyber attacks can cause debilitating effects, which can range from the theft of sensitive information all the way to deliberate attacks on hardware, potentially causing equipment failures. 

Some of the most common forms of cyber attack are Phishing emails, Malware, and Ransomware. Cyber crime is constantly evolving and new methods of attack are being developed and unleashed daily. Your remote workforce may be more vulnerable to attack, especially if they are using their own computers.

It’s important to have security protocols in place in normal times, when everyone is mostly working at the office, but far more important when employees are scattered, and working on their own devices from home. It’s more than worth it to have a professional IT company review your security, show you where your systems are vulnerable, and put a solid plan in place.

Unfamiliarity with the Capabilities of IT  

If you haven’t had the time to keep up with the latest trends in tech, you may not be aware of what tools are now available to make your business run more efficiently. You may have already transitioned to Cloud Computing but are you using its capabilities to the full potential? When used correctly, cloud computing offers a way to have data backups in various locations, allowing you to guarantee business continuity even if a disaster strikes. What about your phone system? A VoIP cloud-based phone system may be much more practical and could serve your business better for less money. An unbiased IT consultant can review your business and recommend technology that works best for your specific company and budget.

mPowered IT – Ensuring You Are Cyber Secure 

mPowered IT is your go-to proactive partner in keeping IT systems secure and defended, and your technology up to date. We never leave things to chance or wait for a problem to arise. We’re protect your systems as if it’s our business on the line.

 

 

Outdated Technology in Small Businesses

Outdated Technology

Most small businesses don’t invest enough in technology, or at the very least they don’t do it often enough. For some this is due to apprehension about spending money on tools they know very little about, and some have the approach of ‘so what, it still works so I don’t care’. Both are fair points to make, but the reality is that outdated tech can cause serious problems in your workplace. Think about it – when was the last time you invested in technology?

Most businesses have a mixture of old and new technology integrated into their workflows. The majority of businesses replace their tech, when necessary, usually when the hardware has become outdated or in the event of system breakdowns. An overhaul of your entire system is perceived as being too disruptive, which is why a slow gradual approach is preferred and recommended.

All businesses have pieces of hardware or software that are aging, the rate at which the technological world is evolving makes this inevitable. But with the right education and IT consultancy you can be well on your way to a modern technological future.

 

The hidden issues of outdated tech in your business

Higher costs

An office full of old technology, can actually cost you more than upgrading to new technology. Most new technology is designed to increase efficiency, and as you know, if your team isn’t able to be as efficient as possible, it’s costing you money. Also, older technology eats more energy. Newer systems tend to run more efficiently, saving you energy costs.

Expensive fixes

Do you allocate part of your annual budget on technology? Like we said earlier, if things are working fine many business owners don’t see the point in making changes. But it’s smarter to budget for technology, and make sure you’re using current systems, rather than have surprise and costly fixes.

Outdated tech is more likely to experience failures. Emergency IT support will be far more expensive than the preventative measures that can be implemented into current, updated systems. The last thing you want to do is to be forced to purchase new technology, and make a snap decision just to get your business back online. It’s always better to plan for what technology you’ll need next.

No flexibility

Work is going to grow ever more flexible as time goes on, and with the unpredictability of the modern workplace, those that are more flexible are set to be the industry leaders going forward. Work doesn’t get much more flexible than when working remotely, working from home, the office, or on the go – without sacrificing productivity or employees wellbeing – is the future of business worldwide.

It is important that you have confidence in your systems, hardware, and devices. You need to be certain that they are secure and functional when working from a remote setting. Outdated tech rarely offers the functionality – or more importantly the levels of security possible with modern tech. Update your tech with remote working in mind and your team will reap the many benefits of remote working.

A loss of customers

Old technology will likely lose you customers. Let’s take a look how.

When working on outdated tech you are for more likely to be the victim of a cyber attack. Your data being compromised will likely cause your customers to lose faith in your ability to protect their data, in turn, leading them to go to your competitors instead.

Modern alternatives are far faster and less ‘buggy’ than outdated tech. This may affect the quality of communication that you have with your customer base and may affect the quality of service you can offer them. This will also cause customers to look for a better experience and quality of service elsewhere.

The relationship you have with your clients is arguably the most crucial element to a successful business. Slow tech can seriously affect the quality of service you are able to offer. The last thing a customer wants is delays, and continuous delays will probably lead you to lose their trust. Slow operations and response times don’t reflect well on your business.

Security risks

We all know cyber attacks are more frequent now than ever before, predominantly due to the pandemic and the increase in our reliance on tech. No matter the size of your business, you are not safe from them, you don’t have to be turning over millions of dollars a year to become a victim. It is, in fact, the opposite. Most cyber criminals target smaller businesses because they presume they won’t have put the resources into advanced cyber security solutions meaning there are more gaps to target.

While your technology evolves, the methods that cyber criminals use to penetrate your systems evolve alongside it. The latest version of any technology is always the best equipped to protect your systems from security threats. The latest tech will have modern preventative measures as standard – this combined with the tools you have purchased will put you in a better position to defend your system.

Vendors eventually stop supporting older systems, making them vulnerable. A lack of security updates will mean that new issues are not remedied. Patching becomes impossible and it’s unlikely that you will be able to prevent breaches until it is too late. Using modern technology will have the opposite effect – a secure productive technological environment.

 

mPoweredIT – Ensuring You are Cyber Secure

mPowered IT can be your proactive partner in keeping IT systems secure and defended. We never leave things to chance or wait for a problem to arise – predicting and preparing for the threats of tomorrow will help ensure your valuable data is protected and your business continuity maintained.

 

 

How to Protect against Phishing email scams

Being Protected from scams

Phishing scams are one of the most popular tools in a cyber criminal’s arsenal today, given the ease with which they can deliver their attack through the relatively undefended route of email.

Email breaches come in a variety of forms, but predominantly involve the use of a false identity – creating trust between the recipient and the hacker – with the intent of duping the victim into unknowingly sharing sensitive information or opening a malicious file on their computer.

Deception is, of course, the key to a successful phishing attack – this trust is used to draw the victim into clicking on a link embedded within the email, which will often load a website posing as a brand entity or company likely known to the email recipient. The scammers go into extensive detail to impersonate individuals and entities that you or your team are likely to trust, so that you’ll comply with their requests. Familiar names such as Netflix, your bank or governmental departments will often be used – with a message requiring the user to act urgently in updating their credit card information or sharing their login credentials.

While most cyber criminals want to gain access to your systems or to compromising and sensitive information for financial gain, some do it for the pure goal of causing chaos.

Methods of the Phishing Scammer

There are technical solutions designed with the intention of blocking phishing attempts, but the most important and first line of defense is ‘the Human Firewall’. Your team needs to know what to look out for if a scammer slips through the net into their inbox.

Your team’s first reaction to any and every email they receive must be to distrust it, until they can verify its legitimacy.

Deceptive Phishing, as described above, not only impersonates an organization you trust, but it urges you to take immediate action. The email may contain a message along the lines of: “Click link to verify identity” or “Unverified account log in, click link to identify.” Or, it may seem to be helping you avoid something bad, when actually they are the bad thing to avoid. Messages such as these will often be accompanied by a redirect to a login portal designed to  harvest account details.

Spear Phishing is a more targeted technique whereby the cybercriminal performs background research on the victim in order to pose as an individual or entity known to them personally. These criminals are not lazy – they will do whatever research they need before beginning an attack. Fraudsters can gather an extensive amount of information from social media profiles so you’ll believe it someone you know and trust. Scams of this nature have a higher chance of success as victims may not think they’d be targeted personally.

CEO Fraud is where the scammer impersonates a company CEO or other other high-status person. Armed with publicly-sourced information about the CEO they’re impersonating, they communicate with company employees asking them to perform tasks and transactions that would normally be unauthorized. The cyber criminals invent stories as to why the requests are valid in the hope that your team complies. Would you disobey and slow down the boss’s workday? You wouldn’t think twice if the source seemed genuine.

Cloning involves creating an identical copy of a previously sent email from a legitimate sender. This time, however, any of the links contained within the original email will be replaced with malicious ones.

Pharming involves directing users toward fake websites set up to steal login credentials and other forms of sensitive information. Cyber criminals may use viruses to direct individual users towards the rogue site – but this method does involve infecting the user’s computer beforehand, which can be difficult.

 

3 Ways to Avoid Phishing Attacks

With their techniques getting more sophisticated by the day, their manipulative talents, and their clever tricks, anyone can fall prey to Phishing scams. You must always proceed with care, examine links closely, and if you are in doubt, delete.

Pay close attention to URLs. If you find yourself redirected to a site from an email, take a moment to look at the URL to compare it to what you would expect. Look out for anything out of the ordinary, slight misspellings, extra words, or unnecessary hyphens in the domain name for example. Also look to see if the ‘top-level domain’ is as you expect. For example, if you expect ‘.com’ but you see ‘.fr’ then something is not quite right. As we said, if in doubt, just close your window and if you need to visit that site, enter the correct URL manually.

Know your bank and the way it operates. Do some research – or even contact – your bank to learn how they will contact you in the event of an emergency. Any financial establishment worth its weight will let you know exactly how they will get in touch so that you distinguish between legitimate communications and the fraudulent ones.

Do not reveal too much! A massive, publicly available social media presence is a goldmine to fraudsters, and they will use it to gain access to sensitive information. Apply privacy settings and keep things like your friends list, phone numbers and your date of birth viewable only to people you know and trust.

 

mPowered IT – Ensuring Cyber Security for Your Business

mPowered IT is your go-to proactive partner in keeping IT systems secure and defended. We never leave things to chance or wait for a problem to arise – predicting and preparing for the threats of tomorrow will help ensure your valuable data is protected and your business continuity maintained.

 

6 Things You Should Have In Place to Protect your Systems

Protecting what matters

In the modern digital age, our businesses need the security and reliability of our IT systems and infrastructure. Any outage or loss can seriously disrupt the efficiency and security of business operations, potentially creating financial loss, and breaching industry compliance obligations.

Where to begin

The security of your IT should be a priority but how do you achieve it? You should start with these six key tools that give your business the best chance of preventing a cyber-attack.

Six tools to help protect your systems

Firewalls

A firewall protects the perimeter of your network by sifting inbound and outbound traffic. It looks for open ‘doors’ that could leave your system vulnerable to exploitation or take over from cyber criminals. A well configured firewall, (hardware or software) will allow or disallow permissions to enter your network for both people and data traffic. Perhaps most importantly, it monitors and protects information and data, making it much more difficult for data to be stolen. But a firewall alone, especially without continuous updates, will not serve you well for long.

Secure configuration

To achieve a secure configuration, you must implement a series of security measures when building and installing your computers and network devices. By doing this, you reduce your risk of becoming a victim of a cyber attack. Criminal hackers look to exploit your security misconfigurations to gain access to your system. Apply best practices to the way your network and systems are configured to prevent misuse and exploitation.

Access control

Between cyber security and company best practice access protocols, you should limit system access permissions on a ‘need to know’ or ‘need to access’ basis. Restricting access will stop staff from accessing files and folders that do not pertain to their role, while simultaneously limiting the potential reach should a cybercriminal successfully breach your system. Administration rights are seen as the `master key` for cyber criminals. Losing that key could have serious consequences for an individual computer or in the worst-case scenario, your entire network.

Malware protection

Malware protection comes in the form of software that is designed to protect IT and individual computers from malicious software. Malware is the umbrella phrase used to explain malicious software, or what is more commonly referred to as viruses. A virus is essentially designed to cause disruption or steal information from your network. One of the most common forms of malware is ransomware. Ransomware is used by the criminal as a means of locking out your access to your files & folders, sealing them behind the criminal’s own encryption key, only allowing you access after you pay a considerable ransom.

Patch management

Hackers are constantly working to exploit vulnerabilities within the software applications and operating systems you use every day. By employing patch management, you will keep your software up to date and secure by rolling out critical updates as they become available.

Education

There is absolutely no point in implementing all the above tools in your quest for cyber security without educating your staff. Everybody should be aware of best practices when it comes to navigating their cyber environment. Think of it like this — the tools you implement are the armor and the person inside is the soldier that uses them all. They are all there to help as best they can, but ultimately the quality of their defense comes down to the capabilities and knowledge of the person behind them.

How to begin your implementation

If you have an IT person, ask if all the above has been implemented. A lot of businesses just get a firewall and some form of malware protection installed and feel their security is covered. It’s not. Cybercriminals do nothing but look for new ways to attack. Your business cannot passively protect itself against an active, motivated, stalking, evil predator. So start with a conversation with whomever is responsible for your network security to get an idea what measures are in place. If that falls short, or you’re not sure, you need a good IT partner who will work with you, and your IT person, to ensure you have real, up-to-the-minute security measures in place, that are appropriate for your business and budget. The ideal partner will adopt a customer-first approach while having the technical knowledge and competency to see things as they apply to real world solutions and your business.

mPoweredIT – cyber security experts

At mPoweredIT we are proactive in keeping systems secure. We never leave things to chance or wait for a problem to arise. We take care of your business systems with the attention and care as if it were our own network on the line.

 

Is Your Data Backup Appropriate for the Way You Work?

appropriate data backup

As you know, running a business is full of uncertainty – anything could happen at a moment’s notice to change the way your team works. Covid-19 forced previously thriving businesses to replace some of their most reliable and long-standing work processes with solutions that were implemented overnight. As your workforce may have gone partially remote, your backup systems need to remain secure. Your backup plan needs to be solid regardless of how and where your employees access their files. Let’s look at the options available to you, and the pros and cons of each.

The Cloud is based offsite and is used on an access basis. You pay for it as a service as opposed to paying for it and the entire infrastructure it resides in. As part of this service your Cloud provider will manage it for you, too. Most business owners have found this revolutionary for their organization, as it frees them up to do what they are good at, manage their team, and make critical decisions for the good of the business. This functionality and convenience has rapidly made it the most popular option on the market.

So, the Cloud has become widely used, but it isn’t for everyone. Some need their on-premise IT infrastructure in order to continue completing vital business functions. Others may need a hybrid of the two.

One factor that diverts some away from the Cloud is that a constant Internet connection is required. For some businesses, continuous access to Internet is not possible, so the Cloud becomes unreliable.

The Positives of the Cloud

Backup

The Cloud keeps your data safe at levels that simply cannot be achieved with on-premise IT. On-premise IT is vulnerable to a variety of threats, and can even fail because of them. If you don’t back up all of your sensitive data it could be lost forever – potentially meaning the end of your business altogether. The Cloud is safe and automatic.

Collaboration

The Cloud allows for levels of collaboration that were simply unfeasible a few years ago. With the Cloud you can communicate with the rest of your team and share from anywhere on the globe – all you need is a stable internet connection. Whether you are on the train, the bus, or sitting on a park bench, whatever you may be doing, you can still work as normal and your clientele will have no clue that you aren’t behind your desk in the office. The collaborative abilities that the Cloud makes possible are revolutionary, enabling your team to work on documents at the same time from different locations – your team could be spread out around the planet and still work together on a document as if they were in the same room.

Scalability

The Cloud allows you to scale as and when your organization needs to. You never know when you may need to change the size of your  business. With the pandemic, a lot of businesses went from a busy office with 25 employees to a restricted workforce of the most integral 5 overnight. Now that a lot of organizations are going back to a ‘new normal’, those same businesses may bring all 25 back and be looking to employ another 5, for example. Whatever the outcome, you must be certain that you can always meet the demands of your business and the Cloud makes this possible. Having the ability to scale overnight ensures that things stay affordable.

Business continuity

The Cloud makes it possible for you to access your mission critical data after a crisis. This – paired with your other backup options – means there is no reason why you can’t be operational again in a very short amount of time.

Affordability

Managing and maintaining your own IT systems can be extortionately expensive. The Cloud completely eradicates this. Most Cloud providers include all system upgrades, new hardware, and software in your contractually agreed monthly payments – whereas traditionally these would all be additional expenses. Another particularly good thing about the Cloud – and the right provider – is that they monitor and are alert to upgrades for you. You never have to think about potential upgrades on the horizon – who has time for that? The Cloud can save you money in other ways too. You may be paying a lot of money for a team of IT professionals that manage your traditional systems – with the Cloud your provider will do this for you.

The Negatives of the Cloud

Internet dependency

The biggest red flag for business owners when it comes to the Cloud is the reliance it has on an uninterrupted internet connection. By being in the Cloud it is safe to assume that you wouldn’t have much – if any – data stored locally, meaning that, for your team to be able to access the business-critical data that they need to complete their jobs, a constant, uninterrupted internet connection needs to be guaranteed. If you were to suffer a drop in internet connection the downtime could be disastrous.

Handing over control

It is in a business owner’s nature to want control. With the Cloud, you are handing almost all control of your technical landscape to someone else, and they will be handling your data (which they must do lawfully and according to the compliance obligations that they must abide by). When choosing a Cloud provider, you must know where they are storing your data and that it’s secure both technically and physically, because your compliance to regulations could depend upon its safety.

Traditionally, when there was a problem you had to handle it, make the right decision on a technical solution, implement it, and maintain it (no matter how technically able you may be) – now you can place your trust in your provider. Being powerless is difficult for anyone, especially business owners, but unfortunately you have no choice other than to place your trust in the hopefully capable IT team from your hosted provider. Note that the majority of providers don’t run 24/7 services so if your business operates all night and you know there is a chance you are going to need support, be sure that your provider’s operating hours mirror your own.

Do the Positives Outweigh the Negatives?

That depends entirely on your organization’s needs. But, for the majority of businesses, the positives of the Cloud clearly outweigh the negatives, and once having guaranteed that the migration was completed correctly with all your needs and wants met, the negatives will fade away.

Take your time, do as much research as possible on potential providers, their ability to cater to your needs and wants, their approach on continuity plans and risk mapping, the level of support they will provide you with to navigate potential cyber threats, and what they have planned for the future of your IT landscape. Doing so will ensure you that the provider you choose is capable of offering a service that will benefit your organization.

By far one of the hardest things for business owners to get used to – as we explained earlier – is the lack of control you have with Cloud computing. But another way of thinking about that is, you’re putting that control in the hands of experts who may be better suited for managing your data and backups. Talk to representatives from different providers and quiz them on your concerns, plans, and vision for the future of your business IT – only in this way can you be certain that you are making the right choice. A good provider will take you step by step through the details of your plan, the cyber security measures they have in place to protect your data, and what they have in mind for the future of your IT landscape.

Who are we?

mPowered IT provides a full range of IT Support, including secure on-premise and Cloud backups, with real 24/7 monitoring. We customize solutions for every business and treat your data as carefully as we would our own.

 

 

Web Analytics