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A year ago, no one could have predicted that countless businesses would shift to a remote work model. The pandemic hit hard and fast, and small businesses had to think on their toes. Many had only a few weeks to adapt. It was stressful and extremely challenging.

Looking back on it, many SMBs wish they’d had a plan in place that would have made things easier. When the pandemic hit in February/March 2020, SMBs had to absorb the huge cost of getting their employees up and running off-site. Not only was it costly, but it also took a lot of coordination and on-the-fly planning. This meant things slipped through the cracks, including cyber security.

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. You may wish you had a plan in place or had more time, but you didn’t. A vast majority didn’t. However, you can still plan for the future! While you never know when disaster is going to strike, you CAN be prepared for it. Whether that disaster is a pandemic, flood, fire or even hardware failure, there are steps you can implement today that will put you in a better place tomorrow. Here’s how to get started.

Put Your Plan Into Writing.
First and foremost, you should have a standard operating procedure to call on should something go wrong. For example, in early 2020, many SMBs didn’t have a security plan in place, let alone a remote work security plan. They had to make it up as they went, which just added to the challenges they were already experiencing.

To get over this challenge, work with an experienced IT services company or managed services provider (MSP) to put together a plan. This plan should include a cyber security protocol. It should define what malware software employees should be using, what number they should call for 24/7 support, who to contact when they receive suspicious e-mails, how to identify suspicious e-mails and so on.

More than that, it should outline exactly what needs to happen when disaster strikes. Pandemic? Here’s how we operate. Fire? Here’s what you need to know. Hardware failure? Call this number immediately. The list goes on, and it can be pretty extensive. This, again, is why it’s so important to work with an MSP. They’ve already put together plans for other SMBs, and they know where to start when they customize a plan with you.

Invest In Security And Backups.
While every business should have network security already in place, the reality is that many don’t. There are a ton of reasons why (cost concerns, lack of time, lack of resources, etc.), but those reasons why aren’t going to stop a cyber-attack. Hackers don’t care that you didn’t have time to put malware protection on your PCs; they just want money and to wreak havoc.

When you have IT security in place, including firewall protection, malware software, strong passwords and a company-wide IT security policy, you put your business and all your employees in a much better place. All of this should be in place for both on-site employees and remote workers. With more people working from home going into 2021, having reliable IT security in place is more important than ever before.

On top of that, you should have secure backups in place. Investing in cloud storage is a great way to go. That way, if anything happens on-site or to your primary data storage, you have backups you can rely on to restore lost or inaccessible data. Plus, having a solid cloud storage option gives remote employees ready access to any data they might need while at home or on the go.

Where Do You Begin?
Some SMBs have the time, money and resources to invest in on-site IT personnel, but most don’t. It is a big investment. This is where partnering with an experienced IT services firm can really pay off. You may have employees in-office or you may have a team working remotely – or you may have a mix of both. You need support that can take care of everyone in your organization while taking care of the data security of the business itself. This is where your IT partner comes into play. They are someone you can rely on 24/7 and someone who will be there for you during a pandemic or any other disaster.

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

Although a majority of ransomware attacks usually target Windows PCs, this doesn’t mean Mac users are completely safe. Ransomware attacks for Macs have occurred before, and are growing more widespread over time. So how can you prevent ransomware from infecting your Mac? We’ve compiled some helpful security tips for you.

What is Mac ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that holds computer systems hostage until a ransom is paid in gift cards, or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Ethereum. It’s typically distributed using phishing emails, but it can also spread via unsecured networks.

When Macs are infected by ransomware, users won’t be able to access their data since it’s encrypted. Ransomware messages may also threaten to release the information to the public or destroy sensitive data if victims don’t pay within a certain deadline. Healthcare and finance organizations, in particular, are more likely to pay the ransom because these organizations tend to have a lot of valuable assets, including money, and can’t afford to lose access to their critical data.

Types of Mac ransomware

In 2016, the KeRanger ransomware was distributed through the popular BitTorrent app Transmission. KeRanger was signed with an authorized security certificate, allowing it to evade macOS’s built-in security measures and infect more than 7,000 Mac computers.

Patcher was another strain of Mac ransomware that was discovered in 2017. This type of ransomware disguised itself as a patching app for programs like Microsoft Office. When launched, Patcher would encrypt files in user directories and ask for a ransom paid in Bitcoin. But the ransomware was poorly built, so there was no way to retrieve the decryption key once the ransom was paid.

In 2019, the EvilQuest ransomware encrypted files and tried to trick users into paying a Bitcoin ransom. Much like Patcher, however, there was no feature to decrypt files after paying, leaving those who paid the ransom with nothing.

Ransomware attacks like these can make a resurgence at any time, which is why you need to be prepared in case of an attack.

An ounce of prevention goes a long way

Preventive measures are the best way to keep your Macs safe from ransomware. This involves updating your software regularly to defend against the latest threats and only installing programs from the official App Store.

Since ransomware initially infects computers using phishing emails, make sure to avoid suspicious links and email attachments. Always be on alert even if the email appears to come from a legitimate company or someone you know.

You must also maintain offline backups and have a disaster recovery plan to keep your business running in the off chance that ransomware successfully infiltrates your systems.

Responding to ransomware

If your Mac is infected with ransomware, do not pay the ransom fee, as there’s no guarantee that hackers will provide a decryption key and release your data even if you give in to their demands.

Instead, use an up-to-date anti-malware program to remove ransomware from your computer. Cybersecurity experts may also release free ransomware decryptor tools to remove the infection, so keep an eye out for these on the internet. If these programs and tools don’t work, contain the spread of the ransomware by disconnecting from the network and run data recovery procedures, provided you’ve backed up your data in an external hard drive or the cloud.

Mac ransomware attacks may not be common, but they still pose a great threat to your business. If you need more guidance, contact our team of security experts today. We stay abreast of the latest Mac security threats and know just how to keep your business safe.

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

Windows 10 backup

Business owners are becoming more aware of the damaging effects of data loss. Companies now realize that without safe and reliable data backup, important business information can fall into the wrong hands or be lost forever. Fortunately, Windows 10 offers easy-to-use tools like File History and OneDrive.

File History in Windows 10

Serving as the main backup utility, File History enables users to regularly schedule backing up of files on their PC and store them on an external drive. That means you can connect your PC to a network or USB drive and make backups as needed.

However, be sure to regularly connect the external drive if you intend to use File History for backups. Otherwise, Windows will prompt you that your files have not been backed up every day. You can ignore this warning at your own risk. If you back up to a mapped network that is unavailable, File History will commence backup in the local disk until the network drive becomes available.

Setting up File History

Anyone can set up File History. After all, it was designed to make data backup and recovery easy for users. By default, File History backs up the main file folders, but you may also pick which folders you want to back up and bring in folders from other parts of the PC to do this.

From the Start menu, click on Settings > Update & Security > Backup.

Once in Backup, you can connect to an external drive. Click on Add a drive to see a list of external hard drives hooked up to your PC and choose one.

When you return to the Backup section, you will see that the Add a drive option has changed to Automatically back up my files (by default). This allows backups to be created at periodic intervals, which you can set to anywhere from every 10 minutes to once a day (the default option is once every hour). You may also set how long to keep the backups.

Restoring files that have already been backed up is just as easy as setting up backups. Simply type “File History” in the search bar. Then, you will see the “Restore your files with File History” folder. Selecting this opens a new window showing the folders backed up onto your external drives.

Setting up OneDrive backup option

If you have access to a network drive or the cloud, back up to it instead of locally. One such cloud option is OneDrive. You can prompt OneDrive to automatically back up your files. Just click on the cloud icon in the Windows notification area, then select More > Settings > Backup > Manage backup.

Not only will selected folders sync in OneDrive, but new and existing files will also be backed up to OneDrive, so they can be accessed using other devices in case something happens to your PC.

Making system image backups

A system image is an exact replica of your entire operating system, along with all the programs, settings, and files. If you created a system image backup using the Windows 7 Backup and Restore tool in Windows 7, it will still work in Windows 10.

To use this feature, access the Backup and Restore (Windows 7) option from the Control Panel. Click on Create a system image, choose where to store the backup (i.e., an external hard drive, network drive, or DVD), and which drives or files to back up. You will then be asked to make a system repair disc, which you can use to start a PC and restore the image backup.

Never worry about losing files in Windows 10. For more tips on how to successfully back up and restore data, contact us today.

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

Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to steal data and make a buck at the expense of someone they’ve never met. They don’t care if they ruin someone’s life or destroy a business in the process. This is why it’s so important to stay up-to-date with the latest technology.

Cyber security threats are constantly evolving. If you let your software or hardware – or both – fall behind the times, then you put your business at serious risk. Five years ago, your malware protection might have been the best on the market. If you haven’t updated since then, you need to change that. Here’s what you can do right now to protect everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Stay updated. After a while, developers and manufacturers stop supporting their old hardware and software. Many of them simply don’t have the resources to keep updating older products. They need to make sure their current products are supported and secure. After five years, they may stop sending out security patches for their software. Or they might not offer help-desk support for a seven-year-old router.

If you run into this situation, you may need to invest in new equipment or software. It can be a tough pill to swallow, but it doesn’t compare to the cost of dealing with a hack or data loss. Data loss can be devastating for a business. Some never recover and have to close their doors because the cost is so high – and customers don’t want to give their money to a business that isn’t going to keep their data secure.

At the same time, you need to update your existing equipment and software. Make sure everything has the latest security patches. Most hardware and software come with an option for automatic updates. If you’re concerned that you’ll miss an update, then keep this option on. It is a good idea, however, to check everything periodically to make sure the updates are being applied, just in case.

Say yes to proactive monitoring. Proactive network monitoring can be your best friend in the fight against cyber-attacks. Many IT security firms now offer proactive services. Basically, they watch your network 24/7. If a threat is found, they can stop it before it does any damage. They act immediately to stop those threats.

You can sign up for real-time reports or just get updates once a week to stay informed so you know what’s going on with your network. Proactive monitoring can also make sure your systems are up-to-date (coming back to our first point). If they detect a vulnerability, then they can work to patch it. This means you have so much less to worry about so you can focus on what really matters: growing your business and taking care of customers!

Back up everything. If you don’t have data backups for your business, it’s time to change that. Setting up a data backup system – whether it’s local or cloud-based – can sound like a lot of work. You might have a ton of data, especially if you’ve been in operation for long. But not having a backup system can tear your business apart.

If a piece of hardware fails or a hacker gets into your data, you may have to dig deep into your pocket to recover it or you may just lose it all. There are a lot of scenarios where data can be lost.

Investing in a backup system, like a secure cloud backup, solves this. You can set up a secure system that backs up data daily (or nightly), weekly or whenever you need it. It’s good to keep backups off-site just in case anything happens on-site (electrical surges, flood, fire, theft, etc.). If data is lost or your network falls victim to ransomware, then you can restore your data and continue operations!

These tips can seem like a lot, but when you partner with a dedicated IT services company, you can overcome a lot of hurdles. Working with IT specialists is how to keep your business safe in a world where cybercriminals are actively trying to break in. You want someone with the expertise to secure your network watching over your shoulders.

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