It doesn’t matter what the size of your business is when it means everything to you. Small business owners are particularly invested in the companies that they have created with their own imaginations, hard work, countless hours and occasionally, their life savings. Being able to protect your business’s computer network can be vital in maintaining a smooth working environment while protecting your data and your customers.

 

Starting and growing a small business takes massive effort, a willingness to take a chance, and financial capital. Many owners don’t believe that they have room in their already tight budgets to spend on their IT support services company but they may be wrong.

 

When considering the option between hiring an in-house IT person or turning to a service provider, it is important to look at the long-term benefits and expenses side by side. With an in-house employee, you are relying on the expertise and experience of only one person and not a network of highly trained specialists. A monthly salary paid to an onsite employee may seem preferable than dishing out for a more complex team to monitor your systems. In actual fact, the amount that is spent on salary, bonuses and health benefits can cost you more than investing in a tailored security plan that meets your business’s needs.

 

A professional IT service provider will work with you to evaluate the type and complexity of plan that will keep you protected and on budget. Each business has individual needs based on not only the type of commerce you are involved in but what your plans are for future expansion. Having a solid infrastructure and security plan that will not only protect your interests but allow your company to grow is vital to keeping things running smoothly on a daily basis.

 

Some of the benefits and services that are provided by professional service providers, like GCInfotech, are listed below. Consider how these services could be of value to your organization.

 

  • Maintenance of network infrastructure
  • Hardware maintenance and support
  • Security management
  • Anti-virus systems management
  • Network and firewall configurations
  • Software maintenance & upgrades
  • Data backup
  • User setup
  • Documentation of changes
  • Disaster Recovery plan management

 

With new technology firmly entrenched in the business world, many companies are finding that nearly all of their business dealings are done in the cloud or on a private network. The risk of system failure or a breach of privacy is an all so real threat in the marketplace today. Investing to a proper degree in protecting your data, customers and the well-being of your business should be a priority for all entrepreneurs.

 

Putting your trust in a professional company with extensive experience, highly trained experts, and a solid back up team that is ready to help is an advantage that every business owner would like to have in their corner. When you work with the best, nothing can stand in your way.

 

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 TechMoran SOURCE

 

Despite efforts to protect your data, some breaches are beyond your control. When an online company with your personal details gets hacked, you have no choice but to manage your risks on your own. These practical tips can help you reduce risks of identity theft and other threats.

Determine what was breached

Whether its names, addresses, email addresses, or social security numbers, it’s critical to know exactly what type of information was stolen before determining what steps to take. For example, if your email address were compromised, you’d take every precaution to strengthen your email security, which includes updating all your login credentials.

Change affected passwords immediately

Speaking of passwords, change yours immediately after any breach, even for seemingly safe accounts. Create a strong password comprised of alphanumeric and special characters, and make sure you never reuse passwords from your other accounts.

Once you’ve changed all your passwords, use a password manager to help you keep track of all your online account credentials.

If the website that breached your information offers two-factor authentication (2FA), enable it right away. 2FA requires two steps to verify security: usually a password and a verification code sent to a user’s registered mobile number.

Contact financial institutions

In cases where financial information was leaked, call your bank and credit card issuers to change your details, cancel your card, and notify them of a possible fraud risk. That way, banks can prevent fraud and monitor your account for suspicious activity.

Note that there are different rules for fraudulent transactions on debit cards and credit cards. Credit card transactions are a bit easier to dispute because they have longer grace periods. Debit card fraud, on the other hand, is more difficult to dispute, especially if the fraudulent transactions happened after you’ve notified the bank.

Place a fraud alert on your name

Hackers who have your personal information can easily commit identity fraud. To avoid becoming a victim, contact credit reporting bureaus like Equifax, Experian, or Innovis and request that a fraud alert (also called credit alert) be added to your name. This will block any attempt to open a credit account under your name and prevent unauthorized third parties from running a credit report on you.

 

Putting a credit freeze on your name might result in minor inconveniences, especially if you have an ongoing loan or credit card application. Still, doing so will greatly reduce your risks of getting defrauded.

These steps will ensure you don’t fall victim to identity theft in the event of a large-scale data breach. If you want to take a more proactive approach to protect your sensitive information against breaches, contact 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

Virtualization and cloud computing are two technologies that have long been confusing business owners. But that shouldn’t be the case. Understanding the differences between the cloud and virtualization is the fastest way to use these technologies to your greatest advantage.

Virtualization

Imagine a company with five servers, each assigned a single task such as storage, email, etc. If one day there were a spike in email traffic, the email server might become overwhelmed, causing it to slow down. Adding another server would remedy the issue, but it would be expensive and inefficient on days with less traffic.

With virtualization software, you can combine the resources of all five of the servers in our example. So if the email server got bogged down, it could borrow resources from any of the other servers with extra capacity. The process is not as simple as it sounds, and businesses often turn to an experienced IT service provider to set up a virtualized environment.

Because virtualization software can be installed on a server in your office, it is totally independent of cloud technology. Sometimes, people misunderstand the difference because the vast majority of cloud solutions use virtualization to improve their services.

Cloud Computing

With cloud computing, users can edit documents, save files, and interact with apps that aren’t actually on their computer. Instead, they access these items by connecting to a server via a network or internet connection. If your organization can get the information you need when you need it, you already gain a competitive edge.

To carry out its purpose, a cloud platform sometimes uses several virtualized servers to provide users with a simple system that appears to be all their own, even though it’s actually shared with several other users and servers. There’s no need to purchase additional servers, and you can also save valuable office space by not having to deploy bulky equipment in-house.

Obviously, scalability is critical in today’s ever-changing business conditions. What cloud computing does is make it easier to manage business tasks to maximize productivity. What’s more, it helps streamline operations as more cloud services are integrated. Businesses don’t have to worry about infrastructure maintenance because it is covered by the cloud service provider.

Virtualization and cloud computing are both economical technologies that small businesses should take advantage of. If you want to see what they can do for you, give our team of experts a call 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

Blockchain is the rage. It’s on the lips and lexicon of every tech pundit, journalist and tech executive. What is blockchain? You can read all about it yourself here but in short, it’s a database of databases, a record keeping system that is shared by all, updated by all and secure.

Here’s why it’s not relevant for your small business today.

I was at an event recently, and the owner of a karate studio asked one of the expert panelists, how he could use blockchain in his business.

The “expert” said, well if you had a community of karate enthusiasts, you could use Blockchain for the community database. Something like this, the expert explained.

WRONG.

For a small businesses, such as this owner of a karate studio, he doesn’t need blockchain, all he needs is a simple database to keep track of members, hold discussions or etc. SQL or any number of other databases that have been around for years.

Companies such as Salesforce, Netsuite, Zoho, Infusionsoft, Hubspot, SAP, Intuit and Microsoft make all the tools you need to run a great business. With all the other supporting services such as Asana, Monday, and others, you have a full suite of tools and services to help you manage a growing business.

Indeed VERY big companies who want to enhance security, or sound cool, might consider blockchain – banks, Amazon, Walmart, GE and very BIG companies with massive datasets. But for the rest of us, we small business owners we don’t need to think twice about blockchain.

  • Focus on making a great product.
  • Focus on serving your customers.
  • Focus on generating awareness for the problem you solve.
  • Focus on better marketing and advertising.
  • Focus on treating your employees/staff/team well.
  • Focus on making a difference in other peoples lives.

Blockchain is nice, it’s cute, it’s the new buzzword, but you don’t need to worry about it for your small business.

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 SmallBizTechnology SOURCE

 

WordPress (WP) websites play a crucial role in establishing a business’s online presence. One way WP developers keep business owners safe and happy is by providing regular security updates that protect sites from unauthorized access. But why do websites sometimes crash after an update, and what can you do to prevent that from happening?

Be cautious with updates

In 2017, WP issued 21 updates and 33% of these focused on security. Despite their many benefits, these updates caused some sites to crash and caused downtime related plugin incompatibilities. To take advantage of updates without experiencing any drawbacks, our technicians shared the following tips:

Check plugin compatibility

A typical WP site has anywhere from 10 to 50 plugins installed that enable additional functionality. Some are supported by developers who constantly update these plugins while others are not.

For a fully functional website, always choose plugins that are backed by certified development teams, and be wary of error-prone free plugins. We know how difficult it is to designate a portion of your business expenses on improving your site, but in the long run, you’ll realize that relying on free plugins will generate more website crashes than website leads.

Choose how you update

Every time WP releases a new version, you get a notification in the dashboard. There, you are given an option to select a manual or automatic one-click update. Consider the effect of either option before you update.

With manual updates, you can fix incompatible site features, customize plugin update settings, and view your updated website in a controlled environment. Keep in mind that this process is technical and complicated, but gives you more flexibility with the way your update is managed.

 

With automatic updates, you have three options: automate the process with custom programming, click the “Update Now” button, or download an automatic update plugin. Option number three may seem ideal, but sweeping automatic updates will make it difficult for you to single out which add-on caused your site to crash.

 

Unless you’re certain of the best option for updating your WP site, you need a managed services provider to help you navigate this complicated process. We’ll keep your site secure and lend a hand in case it breaks down. The GCInfotech professional web design team is here to help. Give us a call today to get started!

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

Hard drive space is a top priority for Windows 10 users. Techies who use budget computers navigate with limited storage or with Solid-State Drive (SSD). Having little disk space obstructs the free flow and enjoyment of using the hard drive, so you need more storage space. Here are some tips to free up your disk.

Delete junk on Files

Windows 10 includes a feature to help you create more space by erasing unnecessary files. In some cases, this feature can find and remove several gigabytes of unnecessary system files. To use the feature:

  1. Open SETTINGS and click SYSTEM.
  2. Click STORAGE
  3. Scroll down and select CHANGE HOW WE FREE UP SPACE
  4. Under TEMPORARY FILES, select the files to be deleted including temporary files, downloaded files, and items in the recycle bin.
  5. Under the FREE UP SPACE NOW, there is an option that lets you delete an older Windows 10 version.
  6. Click the CLEAN NOW button to free up space.

 

Use Disk Cleanup

This is a similar but slightly different tool for sniffing out unnecessary files that are taking up too much space. To give it a try:

  1. Open any desktop folder.
  2. Right-click on THIS PC in the pane on the left, then select PROPERTIES.
  3. Click the DISK CLEANUP button, then CLEAN SYSTEM FILES.
  4. The Disk Cleanup tool gives you a number of options, many of which you should consult with us before deleting. They include: Windows Update Cleanup, Downloaded Program Files,
  5. Temporary Internet Files, Recycle Bin, and Temporary files, among others.
  6. Click OK, then click DELETE FILES.

 

Delete applications and games

Consider uninstalling apps that are rarely or never even used. These include bloatware or pre-installed programs. You may not even realize certain games or applications are taking up hard drive space. To remove them:

  1. Open SETTINGS, then click APPS.
  2. Click APPS & FEATURES.
  3. Select the apps and games you feel comfortable removing, then click UNINSTALL.

Use “OneDrive Files” On-Demand feature

A new Windows 10 tool, OneDrive allows access to files in the cloud using File Explorer. This means your files will be stored in the OneDrive cloud and won’t take up hard drive space unless you need to download them for offline editing.

  1. Open the OneDrive application.
  2. Right-click the OneDrive icon in your task bar, select SETTINGS, and click the SETTINGS TAB.
  3. Under FILES ON-DEMAND, check SAVE SPACE AND DOWNLOADED FILES AS YOU USE THEM.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Copy and paste your documents to the OneDrive folder (located in the left-hand pane of the File Explorer), select all of them, right-click the selection, and select FREE UP SPACE.

 

Lastly, move apps, games, and other files to an external hard disk so the computer can create more internal space if there is an extra need for more storage on the Windows 10 device. All these tips are user-friendly, but if you need to give your Windows 10 machines a serious overhaul, give us a call now.

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

How Cloud Backup Helps Your Business

New threats to businesses’ precious employee and customer data emerge every day, so the only surefire way to protect your files from viruses, theft, and other unforeseeable disasters is to partner with a leading cloud backup provider. With a basic understanding of how cloud backups work, you can set up a plan that is economical and customized to the needs of your business.

How should you go about choosing a cloud backup provider? Let’s take a look:

Learn more about their storage capacity

Before partnering with a cloud backup provider, ask them where they store their data. Many providers use cloud servers over which they have little control, which could be hazardous as it makes it harder to monitor activity and respond to anomalies. To avoid this fate, choose a backup service that operates their own cloud-based servers.

Next, you will have to determine whether your business assets can be backed up, since some cloud storage providers do not have the capacity to save bigger files like videos or other multimedia files. By asking these questions, you can find a cloud backup service that fits your business needs, and more importantly, can take care of all your files.

Get details on their security

It will be important for the cloud backup provider to explain in no uncertain terms how they will store your files. They should be encrypted and stored on multiple servers because redundant storage ensures your data has multiple copies saved online and can be retrieved at will. Even if an uncontrollable disaster befalls your company or the backup provider’s system, you’ll still be safe.

Compare your budget and backup costs

Before considering any cloud backup provider, you need to know how much the service is worth to you. How much money would you lose if your server crashed and all the data it stored was irretrievable? Compare that amount with the cost of a provider’s service, which could be charged by storage tiers, per gigabyte, or on a flat-fee unlimited plan.

When asking about the price of cloud backups, make sure to clarify any service limitations or restrictions. For example, how quickly can your storage capacity be upgraded? Is it possible to run out of storage? These are not things you want to discover in the middle of hurricane season.

Clarify data recovery timelines

Although storage availability is important, how quickly backups can be created and restored is also an essential factor. Ask providers how often backups will be created (e.g., hourly, daily, weekly), and how long it will take to restore them (e.g., hours, days, etc.). If those timelines are too long, it may be time to look for a better provider.

The most important thing is to know your needs before meeting with a potential provider. Let them know your business needs, budget, and recovery timelines. Our solutions and pricing are flexible and customized to your needs so you’re not stuck in a cookie-cutter plan.

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

When talking about cyberattacks, the first one that usually comes to mind is phishing, a scam that uses email to spread malware or steal personal information. But hackers have a new method to infiltrate your systems, and it’s surprisingly effective. Here’s what you need to know about watering hole attacks.

What are watering hole attacks?
Much like phishing, a watering hole attack is used to distribute malware onto victims’ computers. Cybercriminals infect popular websites with malware. If anyone visits the site, their computers will automatically be loaded with malware.

The malware used in these attacks usually collects the target’s personal information and sends it back to the hacker’s server. Sometimes the malware can even give hackers full access to their victims’ computers.

But how does a hacker choose which websites to hack? With internet tracking tools, hackers find out which websites companies and individual users visit the most. They then attempt to find vulnerabilities in those websites and embed them with malicious software.

Any website can fall victim to a watering hole attack. In fact, even high-profile websites like Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple were compromised in 2013.

You can protect yourself by following these tips.

Update your software
Watering hole attacks often exploit bugs and vulnerabilities to infiltrate your computer, so by updating your software and browsers regularly, you can significantly reduce the risk of an attack. Make it a habit to check the software developer’s website for any security patches. Or better yet, hire a managed IT services provider to keep your system up to date.

Watch your network closely
To detect watering hole attacks, you must use network security tools. For example, intrusion prevention systems allow you to detect suspicious and malicious network activities. Meanwhile, bandwidth management software will enable you to observe user behavior and detect abnormalities that could indicate an attack, such as large transfers of information or a high number of downloads.

Hide your online activities
Cybercriminals can create more effective watering hole attacks if they compromise websites only you and your employees frequent. As such, you should hide your online activities with a VPN and your browser’s private browsing feature.

At the end of the day, the best protection is staying informed. As cyberthreats continue to evolve, you must always be vigilant and aware of the newest threats. Tune in to our blog to find out about the latest developments in security and to get more tips on how to keep your business safe. 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

To bolster users’ safety, Microsoft recently added security features to Office 365. These enhancements give home and business users peace of mind whenever they send an email, share a link, or forward an attachment. There’s no such thing as being too secure, so we recommend staying abreast of them now.

Files Restore in OneDrive

Previously available only to Office 365 business users, Files Restore allows users to conveniently recover files in OneDrive within the last 30 days. Home and personal users can now easily retrieve and restore all their files at a specific point in time, which is useful in instances where files are accidentally deleted, corrupted, or compromised by ransomware or other malware.

Ransomware detection notification for Office 365

You receive notifications and alerts for a variety of things on your PC or mobile devices, but rarely for something as immensely important as a ransomware attack. Office 365’s ransomware detection and recovery feature sends desktop notifications, email alerts, and mobile alerts in case of any possible ransomware attack on your system so you can act fast.

Aside from being notified about a detected ransomware, you’ll also be guided on how to recover your files before they were infected, based on the timestamp recorded by Files Restore.

Password-protected link sharing in OneDrive

Whenever you share a link — whether to a file or folder — in OneDrive, there’s no guarantee that it won’t be shared to unauthorized users. A password-protected feature solves this dilemma by giving you an option to set and require a password for every file or folder you share.

Email encryption in Outlook

Intercepting email has become many cybercriminals’ preferred method of stealing critical information, so it’s more crucial than ever to ensure email safety. With Outlook’s end-to-end encryption, users can rest easy knowing that the email they send won’t be easily intercepted after all.

Email encryption works by requiring non-Outlook email recipients to choose between receiving a single-use passcode or re-authentication to open an email from an Outlook email sender. On the other hand, an Outlook-to-Outlook email exchange — whether Outlook on desktop, mobile (iOS and Android), or Windows Mail app — doesn’t require any further action for the email to be opened.

Prevent Forwarding

This function restricts email recipients (both Outlook and non-Outlook users) from forwarding or copying email. It also provides an option to prevent certain recipients from opening an attachment from a forwarded email, which will come in handy when a person needs to send an email to more than one recipient, but wants to restrict access to an attachment to just a few recipients.

These new capabilities greatly reduce the effort to secure your files and communications, and Microsoft is sure to roll out a few more soon. If you want to optimize these Office 365 security features or explore other productivity tools’ security features, 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

How many times this month have you paid for something online using your credit card? Was each payment page secured by HTTPS? If you’re not 100% certain, you’re a prime target for identity theft. The padlock icon in your web browser’s address bar is immensely important and it requires your attention.

HTTPS Encryption

Older web protocols lack data encryption. When you visit a website that doesn’t use HTTPS, everything you type or click on that website is sent across the network in plain text. So, if your bank’s website doesn’t use the latest protocols, your login information can be intercepted by anyone with the right tools.

HTTPS Certificates

 

The second thing outdated web browsing lacks is publisher certificates. When you enter a web address into your browser, your computer uses an online directory to translate that text into numerical addresses (e.g., www.google.com = 8.8.8.8) then saves that information on your computer so it doesn’t need to check the online directory every time you visit a known website.

 

The problem is, if your computer is hacked it could be tricked into directing www.google.com to 8.8.8.255, even if that’s a malicious website. Oftentimes, this strategy is implemented to send users to sites that look exactly like what they expected, but are actually false-front sites designed to trick you into providing your credentials.

 

HTTPS created a new ecosystem of certificates that are issued by the online directories mentioned earlier. These certificates make it impossible for you to be redirected to a false-front website.

What this means for daily browsing

 

Most people hop from site to site too quickly to check each one for padlocks and certificates. Unfortunately, HTTPS is way too important to ignore. Here are a few things to consider when browsing:

  • If your browser marks a website as “unsafe” do not click “proceed anyway” unless you are absolutely certain nothing private will be transmitted.
  • There are web browser extensions that create encrypted connections to unencrypted websites (HTTPS Everywhere is great for Chrome and Firefox).
  • HTTPS certificates don’t mean anything if you don’t recognize the company’s name. For example, goog1e.com (with the ‘l’ replaced with a one) could have a certificate, but that doesn’t mean it’s a trustworthy site.

 

Avoiding sites that don’t use the HTTPS protocol is just one of many things you need to do to stay safe when browsing the internet. When you’re ready for IT support that handles the finer points of cybersecurity like safe web browsing, give our office a call.

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