The IT Support Learning Hub
The most educational business technology blog for Southern California executives, featuring insider tips, articles, and videos on how to get the best IT results.
Castle builders in medieval times knew that they needed a layered defense to keep marauders out. They built structures with thick walls, towers and battlements. They surrounded themselves with moats or ramparts, and had built-in attack positions. Doors were the most difficult part of the castle to defend, so they had as few doors as possible, and they often reinforced them with metal. None of these defenses did any good, however, when a castle occupant unknowingly opened the door to an intruder.
I got a call from a client recently asking, “Why are emails from my customers getting caught in my spam filter instead of sent to my inbox?” Fair question. The emails he was referencing were from a customer that he communicates with all the time. And to make matters worse, he didn’t even know the emails had been sent until a customer called to ask why he hadn’t been responding. He was understandably frustrated.
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Not a day goes by in the IT world without talking about cyber security. IT professionals are constantly discussing protection methods, access controls, new and existing threats, and ways to reduce risk. To most people who use technology, security measures just get in the way of being able to use or access whatever you’re trying to access. Things like complex passwords, password expirations, and multi-factor authentication are complex ideas that frustrate and confuse people who are just trying to log in to a website or system. In fact, a significant percentage of support calls to manufacturers are related to passwords and system access. Yep, security is a nuisance that gets in the way, and we don’t like to be bothered with it. Nevertheless, cyber security and IT security are crucial.
Cybercrime and ransomware attacks have become commonplace in society today. The impact is worldwide, causing headaches and financial troubles for many businesses and consumers. So, how do you stay safe from these threats? Here are a few tips to keep your personal information out of the wrong hands.
Do you ever have trouble finding the time to push a big project forward? Despite the project’s importance and your desire to do the tasks involved, it just never gets off your back burner. Because the project never gets your attention, you don’t move forward towards your goals. That’s what it’s like in your business when your internal IT team gets locked into day-to-day tasks and responsibilities that completely take over their time and attention. Unfortunately, in this situation, the technology innovations you envision never see the light of day, and no matter how determined you are to reach your goals, they remain out of reach.
Trying to keep up-to-date on how to stay safe from cyber criminals these days can be nearly impossible. Most have no idea how or where to even begin. There are plenty of security measures to consider, but a good place to start would be to run the suggested updates on your computers and mobile devices. I know it’s tempting to push the “Maybe Later” button when they pop up, but these updates are for your own safety. Sometimes they add software features, but many times, they’re fixing bugs and plugging security holes. Installing these updates when they come out can help avoid major security problems, such as the one Microsoft is doing its best to fix right now.
Do you have an Alexa or Google Assistant at home? How about a fitness tracker? Does your doorbell have a security camera that lets you know when someone's on your front porch? Will you get an alert if there’s a water leak in your basement? Will your window shades automatically close when the sun reaches a certain intensity? Does your car parallel park by itself? All of these technologies are a part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and, as consumers, we’re jumping on the IoT bandwagon because of the conveniences and new capabilities this emerging technology provides. It’s only natural that we want to utilize IoT technology in our businesses, too. Before you start plugging a myriad of devices into your network, make sure that IoT fits into your IT strategy to ensure it's a good investment.
I got an email the other day from a friend in one of my networking groups. The subject line read, “Please sign - You have received a secure document via DocuSign.” Alarm bells went off in my mind because I was not expecting an email like this from her. Further investigation revealed that this was a “phishing” email – a kind of scam where unscrupulous individuals try to capture information by pretending they’re someone they are not.
For most of us Jan. 1 to April 15 is just tax season, but for hackers its “prime hunting season” to steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting taxpayers and businesses. Each year, hackers roll out new phishing scams -- fake emails used to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, financial information, credit card details, etc. They fool the user into clicking links or attachments by posing as a trustworthy source.
In business, information is everything. Without your client database, financial records, documents, or email, serving your customers would be nearly impossible. You need continuous access to your system to keep your business running smoothly. So how do you ensure that your data will be protected against fires, floods, earthquakes, viruses, and human error? It’s all about backup.