Everyone uses email as the central hub for their personal internet activities, but this also makes it an attractive target for cyber-attacks. The importance of email security is vital to your company’s survival, so applying these simple tips can dramatically reduce your exposure to hackers and malware.

Use separate email accounts

Most people use a single email account for all their personal needs. As a result, information from websites, newsletters, shopping deals, and messages from work get sent to this one inbox. But what happens when someone breaks into it? There’s a good chance they would be able to gain access to everything else.

Having at least two separate email accounts will not only boost your security, but will also increase your productivity. You can have a personal account to communicate with your friends and family, while another is used solely for work-related communications.

Set strong passwords

Too many email accounts have predictable passwords. You might be surprised to learn that email passwords like “123456,” “qwerty,” and “password” are still the most common around. For the sake of security, set longer passwords (or passphrases) that contain a good mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Make sure these passwords are unique to that account to keep all your other password-protected accounts safe.

You should also consider enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA). This creates an extra layer of security by requesting for another method to verify your identity like a fingerprint scan or a temporary activation code sent to your mobile phone.

Beware of email scams

When you see a link in an email, don’t click on it unless you’ve assessed its authenticity. You never know where those links might lead you. Sometimes they can be safe, but other times they can infect your computer with malware.

If you’re expecting a file from your friend or family, then go ahead and open the attachment. It’s always good to know the person sending the file. But be wary of attachments in emails from strangers. Even if the file name looks like a JPEG image, you should never open it. Attached files may seem harmless, but they may actually be a malicious program ready to latch itself onto your computer the moment you click on it.

These types of attacks are known as phishing and they can be remarkably clever. For example, cyber-criminals may masquerade as high-profile companies like Amazon, Facebook, or the Bank of America to catch their victims off guard. They might even create a sense of urgency by claiming that there’s an issue with your account, and that you should send them information or click on a dangerous link to “confirm” your personal details. Even if there was a genuine issue with your account, these companies would never ask something so suspicious over email. If you get these messages, contact the company directly through a verified website or phone number — not the contact details on the email.

Monitor account activity

Periodically watch over your account activity. Make sure to limit access privileges to apps if you want to ensure maximum privacy and security. Also, check for any suspicious activities in your logs like unusual devices and IP addresses that have accessed your account. This indicates that hackers may have successfully broken into your account. If this is the case, sign out of all web sessions and change your password as soon as possible.

Encrypt emails and update your software

Email encryption ensures that any message you send won’t be intercepted and viewed by unauthorized users. Meanwhile, installing the latest updates for your anti-malware, firewalls, and email security software filters potential email scams and fixes any vulnerabilities hackers can exploit.

Protecting your email accounts from various threats can be a daunting process, but with the right support, it should be effortless. Talk to us today for all your cybersecurity needs.

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

Technology enables businesses to work remotely, collaborate more efficiently, and manage their time more effectively. But to achieve these benefits, you need to implement technologies that align with your business’s needs. Here are some things to consider.

Change office communication

To increase efficiency, set up instant messaging software such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. This allows employees to communicate anytime, anywhere instead of having to get up from their desks to see whether the person is available.

Of course, if you need to discuss big projects or issues, face-to-face communication is likely the best choice. But you can simply send a quick message for more trivial conversations, saving precious minutes and allowing you to get more work done.

Install video conferencing

Traveling to offsite meetings and training sessions takes time. Rather than commuting for hours outside your office, opt for a networked phone solution that offers video calls and conferencing. This way, you can hold a video conference to discuss business matters from the comfort and convenience of your office. You can also take things up a notch and equip the conference room with tools to pull up documents and have them displayed on a big screen so that everyone in the meeting can follow the conversation with ease.

Upgrade workstations

Outdated technologies and workstations limit your business’s progress and are a hindrance to developing clued-up, efficient employees. Aging systems and slow networks can frustrate your team and bring productivity to a standstill. That’s why it’s important to take the time to assess your current workstations, applications, hardware, and tools. This doesn’t mean that you have to buy a set of entirely new workstations. But you should replace obsolete equipment with more up-to-date machines. In addition, make sure all software and applications are up-to-date to ensure maximum efficiency and employee satisfaction.

Implement ERP software

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business process management software that allows organizations to automate processes and centralize data in order for employees to collaborate more efficiently. ERP software provides employees with up-to-date business information that they can easily access and use. What’s more, ERP also eliminates redundant data entry and reduces the number of spreadsheets that are used to record critical business data, by storing information in a centralized database.

To get the maximum return on your technology investment, it’s also important to partner with a knowledgeable and reliable service provider. Get in touch with our tech experts today to find out how we can implement technology to help your employees become more efficient and productive.

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

 

 

 

Office 365, the cloud-based version of Office, is one of the most popular software suites used by small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) today. With an ever-increasing number of companies migrating to this solution, it’s not surprising that many others are considering making the move. However, there’s always a chance of migration failure. Learn how to avoid this by knowing the five most common ways that Office 365 migration can fail.

1. Slow internet connection speeds

To avoid this, ask an Office 365 provider to test your existing network connections to ensure that your internet connection can handle the migration and day-to-day operation of Office 365. If not, they should be able to offer you a more efficient solution.

Because Office 365 is primarily cloud-based, you are going to need a connection with a solid bandwidth. When migrating your files and system over to Office 365, you will likely need to consume a large quantity of bandwidth. This demand will often be enough to tax most small business lines, resulting in slower internet speeds all around during the process. Employees might struggle to do their jobs properly if they’re reliant on the internet, so it is recommended to do migrations during off hours.

Beyond this, Office 365 is most often delivered over an internet connection, rather than in-house servers. This means that the day-to-day demand for bandwidth will increase. If you are already noticing slow speeds and service interruptions before implementing Office 365, you will likely see these issues compounded after implementation.

2. Mailboxes and files are too big

While the business versions of Office 365 come with 100 GB of email storage and over 1 TB of file storage per user, getting your emails and files online could take a while, especially if you have users whose inboxes are approaching the storage limit.

As a general rule of thumb, larger files will cause the migration of files to take longer. If you don’t prepare for this, then you could see migration affecting work or even causing recurring issues of unavailable data when it’s needed.

To avoid this, encourage your staff to archive their email inboxes and either delete or remove emails with large attachments that aren’t necessary.

3. Uninformed users

The average Office 365 migration takes around one to three days, depending on the size of the business and the amount of data being carried over. If you start migration without informing users that some files and emails won’t be accessible during this period, or that some systems may not be working, you could end up with employees unable to do their jobs and creating resentment for the new platform.

Instead, inform your employees about how the migration will run and what they can expect during the process. Beyond this, you should run training sessions on how to use the new systems to ensure that everyone is briefed before they start to use them. This will increase the overall chance that the platform migration and subsequent use will be successful.

4. Older, less compatible software installed on systems

While many versions of Office 365 do come with subscriptions to the latest version of Microsoft Office, there’s built-in support for systems that are running slightly older versions of Office. If your business is using a version older than Office 2010 (e.g., Office 2003), you won’t be able to properly use Office 365.

Beyond this, you’ll also need to use the latest version of your internet browser. If you use Chrome or Firefox, this won’t be a problem. However, if you use Internet Explorer, you may run into issues, as Microsoft has already discontinued the program in favor of Microsoft Edge.

The good news about Office 365 is that actual systems requirements are low, so almost every business will be able to integrate it. We recommend that in order to be able to use all of Office 365’s features, ask your provider to ensure that your software and systems are compatible with it.

5. DIY migrations

On paper, migrating to Office 365 is a fairly simple and straightforward process. What many companies find when they do the migration themselves is that the process is much more difficult than expected. They come across unexpected issues that require an IT expert to solve.

In order to ensure a smooth migration, it’s a good idea to work with an IT provider like us. We can ensure that your systems are ready and the migration is smooth.

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

The IT hardware issues your business experienced in previous years should, ideally, be a thing of the past. Although some minor issues may remain, they can be avoided by taking care of your computer hardware. The following checklist can help you better manage your hardware.

✓ Clean up your computer components

Wipe your monitor with clean, static-free fabric; remove excess dirt from your mouse’s exterior; and tidy up your keyboard with compressed air. Don’t forget your computer tower! Dust buildup can block your computer’s air vent and affect its performance. Ensure that your workstation is getting adequate ventilation and isn’t directly exposed to sunlight and other heat sources.

 

✓ Manage your cables

If you’re not giving your computers’ cables the attention they deserve, now’s a good time to do so. Other than wiping the thick coat of dust off of computer cables, consider using cable management solutions that unclutter and untangle messy wires. These don’t just organize and secure your cables, they also help ensure your PCs run quieter and are less prone to overheating as a result of blocked air vents.

 

Planning to relocate or upgrade in the near future? Organizing your computers’ cables now makes future relocation and upgrading processes much easier.

 

✓ Review and update your inventory

Keeping an inventory of all your hardware helps you manage hardware life cycles and purchases, identify items that are near their end of life, and ensure you avoid duplicate purchases of items already in stock.

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Your inventory list should include all owned and leased devices: PCs and laptops, printers and scanners, tablets and smartphones, and modems and other network hardware. Update all your assets’ serial numbers and keep track of their respective users and location.

 

✓ Printer maintenance

Clean the interiors and exteriors of your printers, including paper trays, which are sure to have accumulated dirt from years of use. You should also repair and/or replace parts and accessories such as print heads and cartridges that are no longer in good condition. Should you decide to do a complete printer maintenance, check for the latest software updates for your printers and install them immediately.

 

✓ Implement a hardware policy

This is also a good time to create a technology guideline that your employees can follow to ensure they work efficiently. These guidelines reduce the need to spend on unnecessary repairs, keeping the succeeding year’s checklist shorter. With clear instructions on the proper use, replacement, and storage of your hardware and devices, you’ll be better able to manage your hardware for years to come.

 

With a more organized IT hardware inventory, you have one less thing to worry about. Want to get more in-depth hardware management advice? Call our 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

In the digital age, cybersecurity should be one of the top priorities for anyone who goes online. One way is to vet those who are trying to access your systems. But when it comes to verifying users’ identity, many are unaware of the two kinds of authentication measures available. Read on to know the differences between two-step authentication and two-factor authentication.

If you want to improve your business’s cybersecurity for you and your customers, you should look at your authentication process. Two-step and two-factor authentication are two of the most commonly used options in cybersecurity. Many businesses use the terms two-step and two-factor authentication interchangeably. There are, however, subtle differences between the two.

Two-step authentication

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

Two-step authentication adds an extra step in the verification process, making it more secure than single-step authentication (i.e., just the password). However, if a person or business is hacked, it won’t be enough to stop hackers from getting a hold of whatever they are looking for.

Two-factor authentication

On the other hand, there is two-factor authentication (sometimes referred to as multifactor authentication), which is significantly more secure. This type of authentication requires two different types of information to authenticate a user’s identity. 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.

The difference between the two

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

Your network needs the best security technology has to offer. The type of authentication you should use 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.org SOURCE

 

 

It’s not enough for small businesses to have a beautiful-looking website these days. Small business owners must also adopt web design trends that not only attract more visitors but ultimately increase sales. Consider the following web design ideas to achieve just that.

Scrolling

Scrolling is a convenient method to navigate a website. Instead of clicking on confusing menus and drop-down tabs, you can just scroll through a one-page site that has a cleaner look and is usually more intuitive to users. This web design style is definitely more important now that people have grown more accustomed to mobile web browsing.

You also have to decide how far visitors will have to scroll to get to know your company. While a long scrolling page gives you more white space and content to work with, a short scrolling page can quickly convey your company’s message and encourages action.

Animations

One way businesses have been setting themselves apart from others is by adding customized animations to their pages. This doesn’t mean you should overload your site with flashy effects that take forever to load. If you want to use animations on your site, give it a subtle twist. For instance, Slack’s loading animation features their logo.

Additionally, animations can be used to increase user interaction and engagement. Hover animations will allow your users to position the mouse over your content and get an immediate response without having to move between pages. Slideshows on your homepage can also showcase what your company is about without throwing too much information at the audience. When deciding to add animation to your page, figure out how a specific effect can enhance the user experience while showcasing your business.

Flat design

To achieve an optimal viewing experience for users, many companies have adopted a flat design for their websites. The flat design style replaces the elements that give an illusion of depth, like shadows and textures, with minimalist typography and colors. For example, Google employed this style to get content to viewers more effectively. The company added flat-design colors and used a sans-serif font. This allows the logo to load faster and makes it easier to read, as well.

Full-screen forms

More websites and apps are using full-screen forms to increase user interaction. Rather than being redirected to another page where your visitors decide to register or login to a website, they are welcomed by a full-screen form right on the home page. This is also especially useful for mobile users since they are less likely to misclick sections of the form.

Customized photos

The next time you want to use photographs to highlight your company, forget about using stock photos. Business websites that exhibit the company’s own photographs on their homepages look more personal and stand out from the competition.

While these trends are popular at the moment, don’t blindly adopt them all because it might end up looking messy. Instead, use the trends that are best suited to your company.

Ask yourself what your website is doing for you and whether it’s aligned with your business needs and objectives. The GCInfotech professional web design team is here to help.

 

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. SOURCE

It may seem as if Office 365 is merely Microsoft’s way of joining the online subscription bandwagon, but that’s not the case. O365 is Microsoft’s way of upgrading its ubiquitous Office suite by augmenting it with cloud features.

Office apps and the files you create with them are accessible wherever there’s an internet connection, but that is actually the bare minimum that O365 offers. If you go for either the Premium or Essentials bundle, you’ll gain access to communications and collaboration apps that you can use to increase your organization’s productivity. Here are some of the specific ways you can do this:

Build an engaging intranet using SharePoint

Unlike the internet, which is a megalithic network spanning the entire world, an intranet is basically a private network built for your employees’ exclusive use. It began as a repository for basic company information, then it evolved into a document management system, an HR portal (where staff can file leaves of absence), a platform for knowledge-sharing and discussion forums, and a social media platform where users are both consumers and pushers of company-centric content.

If you use Microsoft Word and Excel to create work files, SharePoint is the platform where your team can keep and share such files. Build forums that bolster collaboration, information libraries that help staff leverage collective knowledge, and message boards that inform and invite staff to engage with the goings-on inside the company.

Enjoy continuous collaboration with Teams

Microsoft brings collaborations up a notch with Teams, a tool that allows you to build shared workspaces. In a Teams workspace, each team member can share files as well as comment on and work on one another’s files. Imagine doing all of that via email — you’ll most likely weave a nightmarish tangle out of multiple threads and attachments.

Additionally, Teams has communications facilities such as web conferencing, group chat, and live online meetings. Since Teams can be used on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices, workers can share information and connect frontline staff such as factory machine operators and sales clerks.

Coordinate your efforts with Planner

If Teams is O365’s communications hub, then Planner is its Kanban board — a project workflow visualization tool that lets you categorize tasks according to their progress status. A physical Kanban board is limited by the size of sticky notes used, but with Planner, you can assign tasks to team members, attach relevant files to them, and discuss tasks without leaving the app.

Automate tasks with Flow

There are tasks that promote critical thinking, but there are also tasks that are tedious and repetitive. An example of such a task is preparing an income statement. This usually involves emailing a finalized income statement to your superiors and archiving it. Automating the archive step alone would significantly ease this workflow.

With Flow, you can easily create detailed workflows that accomplish tasks automatically once you fulfill certain triggers. You can also make different apps “talk” with one another (e.g., have new OneDrive files be copied to your Dropbox account), provided that integrations allow them to do so. Imagine not having to shift between so many apps anymore — this will save your staff plenty of time and mind-space to do more worthwhile tasks that add more value to your company.

Let your staff step up from being mere individual Office suite users to being members of synergistic teams! Contact us to learn more about how you can squeeze every drop of value from your Office 365 subscription.

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

 

Cloud computing marketing can be deceiving. When you see an image of the cloud, it’s often a happy, bubbly, white puffball floating delightfully in front of a blue sky background. Its presence is both calming and reassuring, which makes you believe that anything is possible. Security would never be an issue, right? Ask one of the nearly seven million Dropbox users who had their accounts hacked, and they’ll give you a definitive answer. Sure, not every cloud provider has had security breaches, but that doesn’t mean we can take cloud security lightly. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself as a business owner.

Ask your IT provider what cloud security policies they have in place

This is probably the single most important security measure you can take. Find a trusted IT provider and have a candid conversation with them about their cloud security policies.

Ask where the physical cloud servers are located

When you have “the conversation,” don’t forget to ask about this. Believe it or not, some cloud servers may not even be located in your own country. Wherever they are, it’s wise to make sure they’re located in a safe data center with proper security afforded to them.

Create unique usernames and passwords

Your login credentials represent one of the cloud’s main security vulnerabilities. Think of a better password than “12345” or “football.”

Use industry standard encryption and authentication protocols

IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) is a reliable technology choice.

Encrypt data before it’s uploaded to the cloud

Encryption is a must, and can be done by you or your cloud service provider. Should hackers manage to access your data, they’ll find it useless because they can’t make heads or tails of it.

When it comes to trusting the security protocol of a cloud service provider, transparency is key. They should take security seriously, be able to explain their security policies clearly, and be willing to answer any questions. If they can’t do one of these, that’s a red flag telling you to find another vendor.

Are you ready to talk cloud security and transition your business into the cloud? Call us today. We’re happy to answer all your questions.

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 small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) think cybersecurity is impossible to manage now, just think about what it was like before the internet provided a way to receive IT support remotely. Today, enterprise-level solutions and security can be delivered from almost anywhere in the world. Read on to find out why that’s even safer than you realize.

Hands-on management

Unless you have an overinflated budget, relying on local copies of data and software means your IT staff is forced to spread themselves across a bevy of different technologies. For example, one or two in-house tech support employees can’t become experts in one service or solution without sacrificing others. If they focus on just cybersecurity, the quality of hardware maintenance and help desk service are going to take a nosedive.

However, cloud service providers (CSPs) benefit from economies of scale. CSPs maintain tens, sometimes thousands, of servers and hire technicians who specialize in every subset of cloud technology.

Fewer vulnerabilities

Cloud security isn’t superior just because more technicians are watching over servers. When all the facets of your business’s IT are in one place, your technology is more susceptible to a slew of cyber incidents.

For example, a server sitting on the same network as workstations could be compromised by an employee downloading malware-infested files. And this exposure extends to physical security as well. The more employees you have who aren’t properly trained in cybersecurity, the more likely it is that one of them will leave a server room unlocked or unsecured.

CSPs exist solely to provide their clients with cloud services. There are no untrained employees and there are significantly fewer access points to the network.

Business continuity

The same technology that allows you to access data from anywhere in the world also allows you to erect a wall between your local network and your data backups. Most modern iterations of malware are programmed to aggressively replicate themselves, and the best way to combat this is by storing backups in the cloud. In the cybersecurity world, this is commonly referred to as data redundancy, and nowhere is it as easy to achieve as in the cloud.

The cloud doesn’t only keep your data safe from the spread of malware; it also keeps data safe from natural and man-made disasters. When data is stored in the cloud, employees will still have access to it in the event that your local workstations or servers go down.

The cloud has come a long way over the years. It’s not just the security that has gotten better; customized software, platforms, and half a dozen other services can be delivered via the cloud. Whatever it is you need, we can secure and manage it for you. Call 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

You may think that you’re not online enough to risk your safety, or that you never visit unsafe sites. However, the world wide web is a vast network where the exchange of information is often difficult to track. Here are some good reasons to “go incognito”.

With the headlines about data breaches and cyberattacks greeting you every time you go online, it seems impossible to have a surefire, foolproof way to keep your information secure. Sometimes cyber predators are relatively harmless, but oftentimes, their goal is to steal identities and financial information. Virus scanners and firewalls can definitely help, but here’s an added layer of protection when you go online.

What is private browsing?

Your web browser — whether it be Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, or Opera — stores the addresses of the sites you visit, cookies that track your activity, passwords you’ve used, and temporary files you’ve downloaded.

This can be convenient if you frequently visit certain pages, can’t remember your login details, or if you’re trying to recall a website you visited a few days ago. But if someone else uses or gains access to your computer, your most private (and embarrassing) internet activities are exposed for anyone to see.

With private browsing — also called Incognito Mode in Chrome and InPrivate Browsing in Edge — all the information listed above does not get recorded. In fact, all the websites and information you accessed during a private browsing session is discarded without a trace as soon as you close the browser. This can come in handy when you’re using a public computer because you’re instantly logged out of all the accounts after closing the window.

Private browsing also prevents cookies from being stored on your computer. In a normal browsing session, sites like Facebook will inundate you with highly targeted ads based on the sites and pages you’ve visited. But in private browsing mode, your internet activity won’t be used against you by marketing companies.

Another benefit of private browsing is you can use it to log in to several accounts on the same site, which is useful if you need to log in to two different Google accounts at the same time.

Limitations of private browsing

Although private browsing does prevent your web browser from storing your data, it doesn’t keep your online activities 100% private. If your computer is connected to the company network, system administrators can still keep track of what you’re browsing, even if you’re in Incognito Mode. Also, if spyware or keylogger malware is installed on your computer, hackers will still be able to see what you’re doing online.

A keylogger malware records every key you punched in and may send this information to a predefined email address without you knowing. This means passwords, answers to verification questions, account numbers, credit card details, or even the words you type in a chat can be emailed to someone spying on your online activities.

Even though private browsing has quite a few benefits, you shouldn’t solely depend on it for online privacy. Your computers and mobile devices must be equipped with Virtual Private Networks that encrypt your internet connection and prevent anyone from intercepting your data. And don’t forget to scan your computer for viruses with a strong anti-malware program to keep spyware and other malicious web monitoring software at bay.

If you want to know where you can get these solutions or learn more about web browser security, call us today. We have the tools and expert advice you need to prevent anyone from snooping on your internet browsing.

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