The global pandemic hasn’t defeated many hard-working managers and teams. They’re protecting themselves from the virus, meeting deadlines, collaborating on projects, and hitting business goals, all while working from home. In this article, we’ll go through a list of the essentials tools for the new normal that is remote working.

For both employers and employees, a remote working arrangement has attractive benefits. Organizations can tap into a potentially larger labor pool, hiring from just about anywhere and finding highly skilled talent at lower rates.

Fifty percent of remote workers reported increased job satisfaction and had 13.5 percent more calls completed. Being spared the stress of a daily commute and having a better work-life balance are factors to their happiness, and therefore, better productivity.

In the face of natural calamities, outages, and the ongoing pandemic, a distributed workforce becomes a necessary business continuity measure — a means to protect employees and keep productivity up, even as normal facilities remain unavailable.

But all of this was only possible because we have the technologies to support remote work. Barriers to remote working have been brought down by the advancement of remote working tools. With a plethora of software to choose from, we’ve selected the ones that help your remote teams thrive.

Remote desktop applications

Accessing your work computer while on the go or out of the office was once unheard of. Remote desktop apps have made it possible, allowing users to work remotely on a computer through another device and from any location.

Our picks: TeamViewer and Splashtop
Team Viewer has capabilities such as screen sharing, file transfer, wake-on-LAN, and clipboard transfer. Free for personal use, the app is easy to set up and is available for multiple operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Android. Meanwhile, Splashtop has similar capabilities but with the added benefit of “low-latency” transfers or the transfer of a high volume of data and messages with minimal delay.

Real-time communication and collaboration software

Every successful organization needs to communicate. When communication breaks down, productivity and engagement suffer. Given the lack of face-to-face contact, regular, real-time communication is arguably more critical for remote teams and their managers. The following apps make it possible, seamless, and simple.

Our picks: SlackMattermostRocketChatMicrosoft Teams, and Join.me
Deemed the alternative to email, Slack is the leader of the pack, with its robust API that allows integration with countless applications. Its basic functionality enables remote workers to direct message (DM) or create “collaboration hubs” around departments, projects, or any topic. Mattermost and Rocket Chat are open source tools that recreate many of Slack’s capabilities.

Microsoft Teams and Join.me are well-known video chat and conferencing apps. However, as a full collaboration and communication suite, Teams offers more for Windows users. It allows VoIP, direct and group messages, and integration with all the Office 365 apps. Not only is Join.me a free video-conferencing app, but it also allows participants to use a cool brainstorming feature called “whiteboarding” for real-time interaction on a shared document.

Project management essentials

When you’re managing a team of dozens located in different parts of the globe, things can start to fall apart quickly. Time differences and distance can create significant complexity if you lack the right tools. These two apps can help you overcome the challenges and streamline project organization and collaboration.

Our picks: Basecamp and Trello
Basecamp is a web-based management tool for planning and collaboration on projects. There’s no installation needed, just your regular web browser to access its powerful core functions that include task management, messaging, collaboration, file sharing, scheduling, quick search, and reporting.

Trello’s overall shining feature is its simplicity. The web-based tool’s approach to project management is built around one concept: the bulletin board. Users can create boards that represent projects and each board can be populated with cards assigned to specific members and customized with deadlines, comments, and attachments.

With the current global crisis, remote working tools have become even more crucial to sustaining productivity, accomplishing projects, and solidifying distributed teams. It’s important your organization chooses ones that are well-suited to budget, infrastructure, and goals. Our experts can help make a proper assessment and configure the perfect remote working setup. Talk to us today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Lax bring your own device (BYOD) policies are a growing concern for businesses. If not managed properly, these can pose security risks to your organization. How can you mitigate the risks associated with the BYOD trend?

Whether your employees are using smartphones, tablets, or laptops, you need a BYOD security policy. Additionally, you need to be aware of the key BYOD security risks:

  • Loss or theft of device – Employees often bring their personal devices wherever they go. This means there’s a higher chance of devices being lost or stolen, and a greater risk of the company data that’s stored or accessed on these being compromised.
  • Data loss – In the event that a device is lost, stolen, or damaged, any locally stored data may be lost permanently if it’s not backed up in real time.
  • Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks – Public Wi-Fi spots are convenient for getting some work done, but they’re also popular hunting grounds for cybercriminals who use MITM to intercept data being transmitted over public networks.
  • Jailbroken devices – Jailbreaking is the process of removing the restrictions imposed by the manufacturer of a device, typically to allow the installation of unauthorized or third-party software. This increases the risk of an employee inadvertently installing malicious software on a personal device.
  • Security vulnerabilities – Every operating system (and the software that runs on it) has its own unique set of security flaws and vulnerabilities, which means that allowing staff to use any device and operating system increases the risk of a data breach or malware infection.
  • Malware – A personal device that has been infected with malware can spread that malware to other devices connected to the company network and cause data loss and downtime.

To mitigate risks, it’s important to devise a BYOD security policy that works for the needs of your business as well as the needs of your employees. Here are some tips:

Make passwords compulsory on all BYOD devices

Prevent unauthorized access to company data by enforcing the use of passwords on all BYOD devices. Passwords should be long and unique.

Create a blacklist of prohibited applications

Blacklisting involves prohibiting the installation of certain applications on BYOD devices that are used for work purposes. This includes applications such as file sharing and social networking apps. The simplest way to blacklist applications is through a mobile device management platform that enables IT administrators to secure and enforce policies on enrolled devices.

Restrict data access

Adopt the principle of least privilege on both BYOD and company devices. This means that a user is able to access only the data and software required to do their job. This can reduce the effects of certain types of malware and limit the fallout in the event of a data breach.

Invest in reliable security solutions for devices

Protect BYOD devices with reputable antivirus software to identify and stop threats before they can make changes to the device. This is vital for protecting mission-critical data and avoiding downtime.

Backing up device data

A well-thought-out BYOD policy can go a long way toward minimizing the risk of a security breach, but if something manages to slip past your defenses, you need a process in place for restoring your data to its former state. Have a comprehensive backup strategy to ensure that any data stored locally on a BYOD device can be quickly recovered.

Educate your staff about security

The vast majority of BYOD-related security risks involve human error. Educate your employees about proper mobile safety. This includes how to spot apps that could contain malware, sharing security threat updates, and teaching them how to secure their devices by going beyond default security settings.

It’s also a great idea to work with an IT partner like us. As experts, we keep tabs on the latest trends and innovations related to BYOD and will recommend solutions that work for your company. Contact us today to see how we can help.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Once you’ve unboxed that laptop you just bought, there are important things that need to be done. After installing Windows 10, you must unlock its full potential by customizing some critical settings. You can ask a technician for help with this, but here are a few things you can do on your own.

#1 Check for updates 

Your new laptop should check for updates automatically, but you can also check manually. Just click the gear icon above the Start button to go to the Settings, choose Update & Security > Windows Update, and then click Check for updates. (Or, just type “updates” into the search box, and click Check for updates.)

#2 System restore

If something goes wrong with your laptop, you can save a lot of time if you have a “restore point,” which is like a backup of your entire operating system. To set up a restore point, search for “restore” from the taskbar and click Create a restore point. You’ll be taken to the System Protection tab of the System Properties window.

From there you can choose what you want to be included in the backup and then click the Configure button. Select the radio dial to “Turn on system protection” if it’s not already on. And then you can choose how much disk space to reserve, usually no more than 2 or 3 percent.

#3 Power plan

If you want to prolong your laptop’s battery life, one of the best things you can do is switch the Power Saver, High Performance, and Balanced power plans based on your needs. To choose a plan, right-click the battery icon in the lower-right corner of your screen and click Power settings. Next, click Additional power settings to select a power plan.

#4 App installation tolerance level

To restrict which apps can be installed on your laptop, you can disallow anything that isn’t in the Windows Store. Go to Settings > Apps > Apps & features, and you can choose whether to permit installations from only the Windows Store, any app installations (with a warning), or unrestricted app installations.

#5 Remove bloatware

Vendors package new laptops with lots of trial apps, which are mostly unnecessary and unwanted software called bloatware.

Windows 10 offers an easy way to see which apps are installed on your new laptop and a quick way to uninstall those you don’t want. Head to Settings > Apps > Apps & features and peruse the list. If you don’t want an app and are 100% certain your computer doesn’t need it, click the Uninstall button.

#6 Anti-ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malicious software (or malware) that makes all your data inaccessible until you pay a fee to hackers.

To combat it, type “Windows Defender Security Center” into the search bar at the bottom of your screen, click it and go to “Virus & threat protection”. Here, you’ll be able to enable a new option called “Controlled folder access,” which protects you against ransomware attacks. By default, the Desktop, Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos folders are protected, but you can add others too.

Do you know what settings to change and update to optimize your laptop? This article barely scratches the surface of Window 10’s security and efficiency settings. Call us today for a quick chat with one of our Microsoft experts about taking your operating system to the next level.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

While mobile devices cannot equal what desktops and laptops can do, they’re inching pretty close to matching them. That’s why businesses are allowing their employees to use their smartphones and tablets, which help increase productivity and enhance collaboration. But mobile devices have also become the new targets of cybercriminals. Protect your devices with the following tips.

Ensure mobile OS is up-to-date

The updates on Apple and Android operating systems (OSs) improve overall user experience, but their most important function is to fix security vulnerabilities. Reduce your business’s exposure to threats by installing updates for all devices as soon as they become available. Don’t wait for a few weeks or months to update, as this give hackers ample time to exploit vulnerabilities on devices that run on an outdated OS.

Install business applications only

Downloading apps seems harmless. But lenient policies on what should and shouldn’t be downloaded on company mobile devices could lead to staff downloading and installing non-business-related apps from third-party stores, most of which are notorious for malicious advertising codes and other threats.

Be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks

Emergency situations may compel you to use password-free Wi-Fi networks in hotels, airports, cafes, and other public places. Connecting to an open network can expose your confidential information and sensitive company data to hackers connected to the same network.

You can avoid this by providing a practical internet data plan, preferably one that includes roaming services, for remote workers. And if you really have to connect to an open Wi-Fi, don’t use the connection for transferring sensitive data.

Enable phone tracking tools

It’s sad but inevitable — losing a company-issued mobile device happens. Devices can be misplaced or stolen, and enabling Find My iPhone for iOS devices, GPS Phone Tracker for Android, or any device-tracking app helps users locate lost phones. Some also have the option to delete data in stolen devices. Downloading and setting up such an app only takes a few minutes, and it will give you peace of mind knowing that even if your phone is lost or stolen, its contents will not be compromised.

Screen SMS carefully

SMS phishing can be used to trick you into clicking malicious links. Hackers send messages purporting to be from someone you know, asking you to urgently send confidential data. Should you encounter such an SMS, you can either delete it or alert your IT department. You can also block unknown senders without even opening their message.

Mobile devices are becoming more critical to operations. And with more devices open to attack, businesses must bolster their cybersecurity efforts. Hackers will exploit every possible vulnerability, and that includes those in unsecured smartphones and tablets. Get in touch with us if you need comprehensive security solutions for your business.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

 

Smartphones are like palm-sized computers, and they deserve the same protection as desktops and laptops. While you don’t need to install bulky security software to protect against cyberthreats, there are steps you can take to keep cybercriminals at bay.

Mobile malware MO

Mobile malware can be as harmful to a business’s network as infected desktops and laptops. Potential problems include overcharges on phone bills, stolen data, intercepting messages, tricking users with phishing attacks, and sending fake notifications to one’s contact list.

Most malware comes from applications downloaded from third-party app stores and give hackers access to passwords, user account information, and other sensitive personal data. Since many business users link their Android devices to each other, malware could transfer from one device to the next.

Who is responsible?

The burden doesn’t fall solely on smartphone users. App stores such as Google Play Store are responsible, too, such as in the case of the malware-ridden banking and weather apps that were downloaded from the Google Play Store. In these cases, the companies that were affected were urged to provide updates regarding the malicious apps so they could be removed from the store.

How to avoid being victimized by malware

The Google Play Store isn’t 100% secure, but downloading from established app stores — and not from little-known and less secure ones — reduces the probability of downloading malicious apps. In cases when an infected app makes its way to the store and starts getting lots of downloads, Google will be quick to remove it from the store and make everyone aware of it.

Despite app stores’ best efforts, it’s nearly impossible to prevent mobile malware from getting through to the store. That’s why it pays to read user reviews where infected users post detailed warnings. Also, regularly updating your mobile device’s operating system and security software helps prevent infection as the latest versions of those are patched against the latest known threats in app stores and elsewhere online.

Malware doesn’t discriminate, so regardless of your computer or mobile device of choice, it will find a way to infect you if your software isn’t up to date. To find out whether your business devices are safe and fully protected, consult our cybersecurity experts today.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

Phishing scams, whereby cybercriminals masquerade as trustworthy entities to fool victims into disclosing private information, have had a recent surge in popularity. This is largely because hackers realize the best way to infiltrate a system is by exploiting people’s trust. Although these attacks bypass network security systems, there are some tools you can use to defend against them. One is Google’s new anti-phishing feature for Gmail apps on Android devices.

Phishing warnings
The new Gmail app feature uses Google’s Safe Browsing technology to examine billions of URL links per day and identify websites impersonating legitimate ones, like an online store, bank, or social media. It will then check whether these websites are embedded with malware or have elements of a phishing attack (e.g., asking for login credentials, private information, etc.).

If it has reasonable evidence to think that the website is indeed malicious, Gmail will display a warning prompt: “The site you are trying to visit has been identified as a forgery, intended to trick you into disclosing financial, personal, or other sensitive information.”

Keep in mind that Gmail may come up with false positives, and for this reason, Google does not completely block access to using a link but advises that you take extra caution if you choose to proceed.

The tech giant also reported this update is available only for Android users and will eventually reach other devices; so if you have an iOS, be extremely careful when interacting with any links in your Gmail accounts.

Safety for Gmail and Google Docs
In other news, a widespread phishing attack affected thousands of Gmail and Google Doc users earlier this month. The attack uses a spoofed email from a known contact attempting to share a ‘document.’ If opened, the fraudulent link redirects victims into an innocent-looking Google page that asks for account permissions. If users grant access, a worm collects your contact list and proceeds to attack other users. Fortunately, Google quickly responded to the scam, removed the fake pages, and updated anti-phishing detection to account for similar threats.

Security training
While Safe Browsing features are extremely helpful for Android Gmail users, they shouldn’t be a total substitute for good security awareness. Remember, phishing exploits human trust, so make sure to train your employees to have a healthy skepticism of every unsolicited link or file and download security updates whenever possible.

For more information and advice on security training or Android-related news, give us a call today. We’ll make sure your business is completely up to date with shifting mobile security trends and issues.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory.org SOURCE

If you are seeking out a way to improve your business’s cyber security, both for your business itself as well as for your customers, you are likely looking at your authentication process. Two-step and two-factor authentication are two of the most commonly used options in cyber security. And in current cyber security, many businesses use the terms two-step and two-factor authentication interchangeably.

There are, however, subtle differences between the two. A two-step authentication process requires a single-factor login (such as a memorized password or biometric reading) as well as another of the same type of login that is essentially sent to the user. For example, you may have a memorized password for your first step and then receive a one-time-use code on your cell phone as the second step.

Two-step authentication does function to add an extra step in the authentication process, making it more secure than a single-step authentication (i.e. just the password). However, if a person or business is hacked, it will do only a little to stop hackers from getting a hold of whatever they are looking for.

On the other hand, there is two-factor authentication (sometimes referred to as multi-factor authentication), which is significantly more secure. This type of authentication requires two different types of information to authenticate. For example, it could be a combination of a fingerprint or retinal scan as well as a password or passcode. Because the types of information are different, it would require a hacker a great deal more effort to obtain both forms of authentication.

In essence, every two-factor authentication is a two-step authentication process, but the opposite is not true. With this information in mind, you can be certain that you are using the right type of authentication in your business to keep your business and customer information as secure as possible.

Your network needs the best security technology has to offer. What type of authentication that results in is just one of hundreds of choices that must be made to achieve that end. To take the stress out of securing and protecting your network, call us today for all the help you could ever ask for.

To learn more about how to safeguard your business, or if you are looking for an expert to help you find the best solutions for your business talk to GCInfotech about a free technology assessment.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory. SOURCE

Taking work home, or practically anywhere else, has never been easier. With personal mobile devices, your employees can access company files wherever they are. Bringing your own device (BYOD) has become a popular strategy for many businesses to conduct work more efficiently and flexibly. But this strategy is not without its problems. BYOD, if not implemented correctly, can make your system susceptible to a number of risks. So what security risks do you have to account for? Here are 4 Security risks to consider with BYOD.

Data leakage

The biggest reason why businesses are weary of implementing a BYOD strategy is because it can potentially leave the company’s system vulnerable to data breaches. Personal devices are not part of your business’s IT infrastructure, which means that these devices are not protected by company firewalls and systems. There is also a chance that an employee will take work with them, where they are not using the same encrypted servers that your company is using, leaving your system vulnerable to inherent security risks.

Lost devices

Another risk your company has to deal with, is the possibility of your employees losing their personal devices. When devices with sensitive business information are lost, there is a chance that this could end up falling into the wrong hands. Additionally, if an employee forgets to use a four digit PIN code to lock their smartphone or tablet, anyone can gain unauthorized access to valuable company data stored on that particular device. Therefore, your company should consider countermeasures for lost devices like completely wiping the device of information as soon as an employee reports a missing or stolen phone.

Hackers can infiltrate your system

Personal devices tend to lack adequate data encryption to keep people from snooping. This along with the fact that your employees might not have updated their devices can allow hackers to infiltrate your IT infrastructure.

Connecting to open Wifi spots makes your company more susceptible to hackers. Open wireless points in public places can put device owners at risk because there is a chance that hackers may have created that hotspot to trick people into connecting. Once the device owner has connected, attackers can simply surveil web activity and gain access to your company’s accounts.

Vulnerable to malware

Viruses are also a big problem when implementing BYOD strategies into your business. Using personal devices means your employees can access whatever sites or download any mobile apps that your business would normally restrict to protect your system.

Jailbreaking or rooting a device also puts your systems at risk because it removes limitations imposed by the manufacturer to keep the mobile software updated and protected against external threats. It’s best to understand that as your employees have the freedom to choose whatever device they want to work with, the process of keeping track of vulnerabilities and updates is considerably harder. So if you’re thinking about implementing BYOD strategies to your business, prepare your IT department for an array of potential malware attacks on different devices.

So you might be thinking that it would probably be best to just avoid implementing a BYOD strategy in the first place. However, BYOD will help your business grow and adapt to the modern workplace, and should not be dismissed as a legitimate IT solution. It’s just important to educate your company about these risks so that problems won’t occur for your business down the line.

Published with consideration from TechAdvisory SOURCE

Every time a stolen laptop leads to a data breach, you wonder why the business involved hadn’t set up any safeguards. When the unencrypted laptop was stolen from a former physician at the University of Oklahoma, for instance, or when a laptop was stolen from insurance provider Oregon Health Co-op containing data on 15,000 members.

You’d think money would motivate them, if nothing else. In November, EMC and Hartford Hospital were ordered to pay US$90,000 to the state of Connecticut over the theft of an unencrypted laptop in 2012 containing data on nearly 9,000 people. The laptop was stolen from an EMC employee’s home.

The problem extends far beyond the healthcare industry, too—such as the laptop stolen from SterlingBackCheck, a New York-based background screening service. The laptop contained data on 100,000 people.

These types of breaches don’t quite grab the same headlines as major cybercrimes and hacking incidents, if only because a thousand employees affected by a laptop theft is less dramatic than 40 million customers at Target. But it’s a lot easier to steal a laptop than it is to hack into a corporate database, so the theft and loss of laptops, as well as desktops and flash drives, highlight the need for enhanced physical security and employee training.

It’s easier to steal a laptop than to hack a database

The organizations mentioned here have wised up. A spokesperson for the University of Oklahoma said it has launched an encryption program and new training for employees when it comes to handling sensitive data.

SterlingBackCheck said it has updated its encryption and audit procedures, revised its equipment custody protocols, retrained employees on privacy and data security, and installed remote-wipe software on portable devices.

Another threat to your data is the proliferation of Bring You Own Device (BYOD) policies and mobile workers.Gartner anticipates that half of all companies will have some need for a BYOD policy by 2017. Workers will be using their own devices as well as company-issued ones in the office or on the go. This opens up a new risk if devices are lost or stolen.

Security firms like Sophos urge companies to put a robust policy in place for the handling of professional devices, including full disk encryption as well as encrypted cloud and removable media. A strong password is highly recommended too, but it’s not enough on its own.

A greater sense of urgency wouldn’t hurt, either. In Oklahoma, the physician had actually left his position at the university before his personal laptop went missing. He couldn’t say for sure whether it contained sensitive data, but by the time that possibility arose, it was too late.

In another incident, at manufacturer Tremco, an employee lost a company-issued laptop on a plane. It was several weeks before the employee realized that it contained spreadsheets of personal employee data.

Encryption, remote wiping, better data tracking

Companies need to know where their data is at all times—not just what device it is on, but where that device is located physically.

This highlights the need for remote wiping tools, which SterlingBackCheck has put in place. If a laptop is lost or stolen, the company should have an easy way to remotely wipe the sensitive data to ensure it never leaks.

Much like large-scale hacking attacks, it’s the consumer or the patient that really suffers when a data breach occurs. The onus lies with the company to handle this data responsibly, whether it’s in the cloud or on a laptop on the bus.

Published with consideration from PCWorld. SOURCE