Cyber Attacks Are on The Rise. Here Are Just A Few.

Network security and cyber attacks are typically not at the top of most peoples minds.  This isn’t unique to small business or even business owners.  Every person that uses a smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc. has some vulnerability to being attacked or defrauded by malicious actors with well-designed software.

Cyber attacks come in a seemingly infinite number of forms.  From email phishing scams to installing ransomware that shuts people and businesses down if they don’t pay a ransom to an anonymous criminal and everything in between.  You have probably seen a few of them come to your phone as odd text messages with links in them. (Don’t click them. ever.)

A recent report from the Dailywire.com even suggests that cyberattacks have climbed in frequency already in 2021.  These conclusions are substantiated by the following recent incidents:

Colonial Pipeline Attack – May 2021

JBS (Meat Packaging Company) – June 2021

Steamship Authority Martha’s Vineyard – June 2021

None of the leaders in these businesses likely troubled themselves everyday worrying about their network security or back up protocols.  Why would they?  None of them have probably ever experienced something like a major ransomware, so there was no reason to consider the possibility of being attacked.  But that is the fundamental problem.  You never consider yourself a target until you’ve already been targeted and fallen victim.  But by then, it’s too late.

Here is another list of entities that hold vital data but were also victimized by ransomware:

Durham, NC County Clerks Office (2020)

Baltimore, MD City Offices (2019)

Atlanta, GA City Offices (2018)

City and county offices are growing in popularity as targets for phishing scams and ransomware too.  Again, not typically the kinds of offices you would expect criminals to exact ransoms from but that is what makes them vulnerable.

What is even more scary is how quickly we all collectively forgot about the indiscriminate “WannaCry” ransomware attack of May 2017.  That ultimately hurt thousands of businesses and people from over 150 countries.  The World Health Organization (WHO) was attacked during the COVID-19 pandemic.  PlayStation was hit back in 2011.  North Korea attacked Columbia Pictures in 2014 over the release of the film “The Interview”, which made satirical jokes about the North Korean government.  Equifax was breached in 2017 which resulted in the exposure of hundreds of thousands of confidential records about people’s credit.

What we see here is a pattern of indiscriminate but very damaging assaults on a diverse and varied number of networks, verticals, and computing parameters.  The point is that nobody is really safe or an unlikely target.  Anyone can get attacked at anytime.

The other thing that all these incidents have in common is that all of them have occurred in the last ten years, and all but two have happened in the last four.  Furthermore, once the incidents were investigated, it was very common to see that people working within these organizations had bad security practices or none at all.

It would be foolish to claim that all of these attacks could have been avoided with network security and standard backups, but it is fair to say that regular backups and thoughtful security protocols would have greatly minimized the pain, damage, and cost.  It is also fair to say that some of the incidents could have been avoided altogether.

What the takeaway should be is that security matters.  But people don’t have that epiphany until it’s too late.

If you have questions or think your network could benefit from better security protocols do not hesitate to contact us at CBS or your current I.T. service provider and have your network assessed.  This process doesn’t take long and could do a lot to help ensure your business and personal information remains safe.

3 Ways Network Assessments Protect Your Business

Getting a regular network assessment for performance and security is rarely at the top of a business owner’s mind.  With a million other things that are typically more pressing and time-sensitive bombarding company employees from the CEO to the I.T. administrator, it’s not uncommon to see regular network assessments go by the wayside.  As a result, it is quite easy to set aside important network maintenance issues in preference for focusing on more pressing or urgent tasks.

However, as business has evolved and other factors have led to more and more remote-working habits, the relationship with the internet and business networks has rapidly and greatly evolved in a relatively short period of time.  As a result of this evolution, it is more important than ever to audit and regularly assess your network for a myriad of reasons.  Since it would take a great deal of time to discuss each potential error or challenge that can arise from a vulnerable or inefficient network, we will focus on the most important three.

1.  Security

Network security may seem like an obvious talking point but there is more complexity to this issue than people realize.  First of all, security is not just as simple as having firewalls and spam filters.  Proper security measures also include other elements such as login protocols, cloud access, maintaining current and updated hardware and software, remote access, and more.

Since the last year has drastically changed how people access work information and interact with business documents online, it is quite common to see network security that worked great one or two years ago have unpredicted vulnerabilities due to an adjustment in regular working habits.

Performing quarterly or yearly network assessments is a simple and easy way to get a top-down view of your network and how you and your team interact and operate on it.  Despite working habits continuing to change, you can keep your security and network performance in line with this evolution.

2.  Efficiency

Similarly with network security, business and employee efficiency can be directly linked to your network performance.  The most obvious example is when an employee can’t access work documents remotely due to dated or poorly designed network access protocols.  Having your team consistently be able to access work documents quickly and efficiently is more important than ever with a growing remote workforce.

This breaks down into two parts.  Hardware and software.

Having current and reliable technology may be an obvious suggestion, but technology is evolving faster than ever so people need to understand that hardware more than a few years old could present potential challenges with regard to network access and performance.

Software performance and integration is the second part of the equation.  Even if you have the best tech money can buy, it needs to properly integrate and function with your vital business software.  With more employees moving from the office to remote work, it is common to see a loss in average efficiency due to slow performance or regular network access problems.

By doing regular network assessments, you can easily identify what hardware and software is potentially slowing you down and make adjustments accordingly.

3.  Overhead Cost

Last but not least, regular network assessments offer valuable feedback that allow businesses to streamline their internal functionality and minimize fiscal waste.  Knowing what hardware and software is working is only part of the conversation.  The second thing to consider is whether or not there is an opportunity to simplify or remove potential hardware, software, or processes that result in wasted time, resources, or both.

Analyzing network assessment data is very much a process where you get back what you put in.  If your I.T. team or manager is not regularly looking through reports to find areas of loss or inefficiency, then it is very possible and likely that you could be spending extra dollars for literally no reason.

Taking a moment to audit a network is not a terribly time consuming process and if done regularly can really help a business in several manners including employee performance, business expenses, and network security.

Is Your Remote Connection Slowing You Down?

One of the most frustrating challenges facing remote workers today is having inconsistent or slow access to business files and networks.  While there are a multitude of ways to connect to your business network, not all of them are as reliable or fast.  Below is a list of the three most common problems facing users that depend on remote access to do work.

Speed

The first and most common challenge faced by remote workers is inconsistent or regular slow connection speeds.  The main reason is many remote connections have minimal bandwidth so if the user is trying to work inside of a large application like Quickbooks, it is difficult and time consuming for the information to get through to the end user.

The best way to work around this potential hurdle is to use a cloud-based solution like Microsoft Azure.  The single sign-on feature coupled with more dedicated bandwidth offered in the cloud makes it very easy to directly access your network and applications without being bottlenecked through slow network connections.

Reliability

The next issue that users face is more focused on reliability.  Due to the same reasons that speed and performance is slowed, connectivity and reliability are also a challenge.  This can really be a problem for people that need consistent access to their files.  Getting kicked off or dropped from the network could be very frustrating as files and adjustments could be lost without being properly saved and updated.

Cloud based solutions can be set up and formatted to make sure that users have consistent access and reliable security features.  However, the best way to manage these applications and platforms is with a certified and trained partner.  Since all businesses operate in their own unique way, it takes specialized and nuanced expertise to maximize the value and efficiency of these platforms.

Design Limitations

Lastly, it is important to understand and appreciate that not all remote access platforms are designed for large file transfers or simultaneous multiple users.  Since much of the working landscape has changed so rapidly in the last year, it is not unusual to see some businesses struggling to find solutions that allow them to work to their full operational potential.

What is important is identifying what is most important for your business.

Do you work with financial or confidential information?

If so, you may put security as your highest priority.

Do you have a large company and need hundreds of users to have reliable access to your network? 

In that case you may need a solution that is more focused on single sign-on access with a large amount of bandwidth to support your workforce

Are you getting disconnected from the network all the time? 

This could be as simple as bandwidth or dated software.  This could be quickly fixed by moving to a cloud based network.

These are just a few of the potential questions that someone might consider when thinking about ways to improve access and performance for remote users.  However, there are many more variable and details to consider so if you are dealing with problems or headaches accessing your business network, give us a call to set up a network audit!

Maximize Your Technology Investment With Our Tiered Color Program

It is no secret that even in remote working times like these, documents still need to be printed.  Everything from standard black and white documentation to colorful promotional banners advertising the latest meal delivery service promotion.  Furthermore, as we continue to push through these challenging times and restore a sense of normalcy and order to daily business, the demand for printing will likely increase dramatically.

With all the financial strain that has come with the last year of pandemic related social struggles, it is important now more than ever to ensure that you aren’t wasting important dollars on easily overlooked investments.  One of the heaviest costs that companies tend to overlook is the amount of time and money they invest in printing systems and supplies.  This is an easy error to make since waste happens in very small increments.  Perhaps printing a document with color more often than normal or printing different assets that use different amounts of color.  Each print job will only cost a few cents but once you factor in volume, that small amount can turn rather large quite quickly.

With challenges and circumstances like these in mind, CBS has developed a 3-tiered managed printing program to help minimize your overall investment and minimize waste.  The philosophy is quite simple.  Since you know what you print and have an idea of how much, we have put together flat-rates based on your colored ink usage.  The tiered design allows for flexibility and forgiveness with respect to printing practices.  Here is how they break down:

Tier 1 – Business Color/Low Coverage – This is perfect for standard business applications such as letterheads or standard financial statements.

Tier 2 – Creative Color/Medium Coverage – This tier is more for offices that create a lot of printed presentations with visuals like colored graphs or charts.

Tier 3 – Full Color/High Coverage – This is for businesses that design or produce large marketing pieces with high resolution imagery.

These optional printing programs are offered as part of any standard copier agreement.

Ever since rolling out the 3-tiered printing platform, CBS has saved overhead expenses for numerous clients and that list continues to grow.  With more and more clients using creative platforms like this, they can maximize their output without spending extra.

There simply is no good reason to waste dollars on printing anymore.  To learn more about rates or getting the platform started for your business please get in touch with us today!

E-mail Security in a Work From Home World

Moving from the office to working from home has brought with it more than a few changes to how we all do business.  Shifting environments means we have had to shift our practices regarding a multitude of processes, ranging from security protocols, to e-mail to basic network user access.

How can employees access private business information without losing security?

How can we make it easy for employees to access, use, and share vital information easily and efficiently?

How can we make data and vital business applications available anywhere to remote users?

These are just a few of the questions that business owners and I.T. specialists were facing virtually over night.

The good news is that most major service providers have already been developing and considering new ways to support these working environments for some time.  So the questions no longer surrounded if the necessary protocols and security measures could be implemented, but instead:

How many platforms, applications, and protocols were needed?

How/if could they be properly integrated?

What would it look like for each independent business?

How is the remote user affected and what measures need to be put in place to have them work properly?

While these may seem like simpler or easier problems to be faced with, they actually aren’t.  Security solutions and access protocols are very much customized around the unique needs and internal processes of each business.  So there is no simple, or one-size-fits-all solution regarding security.  Technical expertise is essential when developing and implementing a cloud platform like Microsoft Azure.

By using Office 365 or Azure you can allow for simple, single sign-in access to your network that has fully functional data backups and security in place.  Files that are being used and accessed remotely are being done so within the safety and security of a managed cloud service.  Furthermore, by setting up the platforms to integrate properly you allow remote employees easy and quick access to their active directory and files without losing or altering established access parameters.

Having these platforms implemented by experts creates a work from home environment that allows users to enjoy the access, functionality, and security of a fully functional business network.  However, due to the multitude of different functions and applications with platforms like Azure, it is very easy to make a mistake in setup that compromises performance.  So make sure you are working with an expert when you go through the setup process or you could mistakenly allow for potential vulnerability regarding security or performance.

One of the places where businesses are most vulnerable is through e-mail access and bad practices.  Since it is very easy to bounce information in and out of e-mail, many businesses could find themselves exposed to phishing scams, ransomware, and other digital threats that they didn’t face when they were working within their own on-premise networks.

E-mail is being used more and more maliciously now than ever before.  Security breaches can easily happen if employees are not properly trained on how to use e-mail appropriately.  Creating protocols for securely accessing e-mail and data that are simple to use, yet still extremely protective, can help prevent breaches that can cripple a business.

From local government offices to small privately owned business, everyone was targeted and many were victimized by phishing scams, ransomware, and spam attacks in 2020.  Most trends like this tend to get more malicious and brazen over time so it is important now more than ever to ensure that your employees are not making simple mistakes that can compromise vital information.

Here are a few examples of bad e-mail practices that compromised networks, private information, and destroyed businesses:

  • E-mailing company files to personal e-mail for easy access.  This takes private data from a secure environment to a potentially exposed network.
  • Clicking malicious e-mails that could have been filtered with proper security.  These e-mails often look safe an convincing and typically seem like they are from a trusted source.  It only takes one mistaken click to compromise a wealth of information.
  • Working as a remote user outside of the network opens up the potential for gaps to arise within the disaster recovery or backup protocols.  If your business network is regularly backing up your e-mail data, you will lose that the moment someone migrates files off the business network.

These are just a few of a growing list of examples where people and businesses were victimized over mishaps in e-mail.  There are plenty of steps and pre-emptive measures available to help mitigate and avoid these potential security pitfalls.

CBS has an experienced and certified team of I.T. network specialists that are ready to assist you in both setting up and optimizing your cloud network.  Contact us anytime to set up a network audit or simply ask a question.

2020 In Review: New Technology and A New Way of Doing Business

It is no secret that 2020 was one of the most challenging years in the history of the US economy.  Businesses and people from every industry were drastically impacted and almost all of us were asked to alter our way of doing work and conducting business in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  CBS was no different.  But we had the added challenge of serving as a reliable and trustworthy resource for our clients who had to make the same or similar operational adjustments that we were making.

We are proud to say that we rolled out a myriad of solutions to aid in these efforts, ranging from Equipment Dropship Programs to enhanced Remote Working Platforms all the way to a comprehensive suite of “Contact Free” technologies.  Despite the numerous challenges, CBS stayed ahead of the evolving and changing operational demands to keep our clients working efficiently throughout this difficult year.

Below are three of the biggest and most influential products and services that we rolled out in 2020.

Ricoh Dropship and Contact-Free Programs

Back in March, when the initial lockdown took effect, people were asked to work remote in any situation possible.  However, most people lack the advanced printing and copying technology that they make regular use of while working in the office.  In response, Ricoh and CBS rolled out a dropship program to get “plug and play” devices in the hands of people working from home.

Ricoh was not finished though.  As stay-at-home restriction loosened over the summer, more people were making their way back to the office.  But the fear and concerns about COVID were still very much a real problem.  This created a unique challenge.  How could we maximize the value of the technology while minimizing the potential transmission of germs from using a shared device?

The answer was the Ricoh Contact-Free copier functionality.  Ricoh has made it possible to use all the primary features of your device without having to physically interact with the machine.  You can you use your personal wireless device to access your address book to share information.  Copying, scanning, fax, and printing can all now be done with most Ricoh devices without touching the machine.

Phone Services

Microsoft Azure and Cloud Computing

Printing functionality wasn’t the only thing that was potentially lost by moving workforces remote.  People also needed to access their company data and interact with their CRM and other databases.  What is more, people still needed to collaborate and interact so the demand for tools like Microsoft Teams skyrocketed.

The CBS I.T. division made a priority of ensuring that people had access to not only major cloud platforms like Microsoft Azure, but we also guided and helped our clients in setting up and optimizing performance.

Using a tool like Microsoft Azure allows you to streamline your login and access to your suite of Microsoft tools, including Teams, Outlook, and more!  Azure is extremely complex and has a lot of moving pieces though so having experts like the I.T. team at CBS is essential to ensure not only proper setup and functionality, but also security.

With more and more people working remote and accessing company data from numerous locations and networks, it is also vital that you have proper security and disaster recovery protocols established.  With CBS and Microsoft Azure, our clients were able to remain productive and maintain peace of mind with regard to their vital data and operations.

New Wide Format Technology

With regard to some changes that were not directly in response to COVID-19, CBS now offers technology for Vinyl printing and wraps.  Due to a large and growing demand from businesses in Denver, we decided to expand our wide format catalogue to include technology that uses UV, eco-solvent, and solvent based inks.

  • UV – UV based inks are very strong and durable.  This is the perfect type of ink for something that will be outside and exposed to harsh elements on a regular basis.  While UV based printing technology is a bit more expensive, the investment is well worth it if you plan on exposing your work to harsh elements
  • Eco-Solvent – This is a great ink for something that needs to be durable and long lasting but stays inside.  The eco-solvent ink design is to offer a solvent level of print quality without the harsh fumes.
  • Solvent – Solvent ink is great if you need something to withstand the elements but don’t need it to last as long or be as durable as something printed with UV.  However, the chemicals in the ink can be harsh to breathe so these items should not be displayed indoors without good air ventilation.

While there were quite a few other offers and services we rolled out in 2020, these three ranked towards the top with regards to client interest and deployment.  All of these services and new technologies are here to stay as we will continue to grow and evolve our catalogue of products and services.

We may not yet know what challenges will face us in the coming year, but we can all be certain that the shared difficulties and struggles of 2020 will only strengthen our resolve and prepare us for whatever lies ahead.

From all of us at CBS, have a happy holiday season and New Year!

New Wide Format Technology Available!

We are excited to announce that CBS has recently expanded our product portfolio to include printing technology designed for signage, wraps, and other outdoor applications.

This new printing technology comes with a diverse selection of sizes and specifications to ensure solutions that fit the exact desired need of each client.  These printers are available with UV, Solvent, and Eco-Solvent inks and come in a wide range of sizes ranging from 48 to 104 inches.

This technology has largely been used by print shops because in house solutions were hard to come by.  However, CBS now has solutions for those businesses seeking an alternative to outsourcing.  By bringing these types of printing projects in house, businesses can now reproduce what they need, when they need it, at a much more cost effective price point when compared to expensive print shops.

Since this new technology comes with a variety of options regarding size and ink types, it is vital to understand what the different inks do and how they are best utilized.

Eco-Solvent solutions are fantastic since they have less odor and can be used in any space with good ventilation.  Indoor signage and graphics are common places where this style of printing is used.

Solvent inks are not made from mineral bases and tend to be fade proof, water proof, and resilient to scratches and contact.  These inks are more typical for anything exposed to harsher elements or spending long amounts of time outside.  Eco-Solvent solutions tend to be more ideal for indoor environments where Solvent solutions are more suitable for being outdoors.

UV ink is an extremely resilient solution and can last longer than either solvent ink in sunlight.  The UV ink application process actually uses UV lights inside the printer to dry the ink immediately.  Since this ink is made of different chemical compounds it can last longer outside while still remaining waterproof and resilient.

Each of these solutions is now available from CBS and our Wide Format Specialist can walk you through how to select the perfect solution for you or your business.

For more information or if you have any questions about this exciting new technology, contact us anytime!

How CBS Is Helping Businesses Adapt To A Post-Covid Workplace

It is no secret that the last few months have forever changed the way we approach, and do business.  Fortunately, many of these adjustments are helping reluctant business owners find justification in trying out new technology and solutions.  In an effort to make these adjustments as painless and efficient as possible, CBS has been a leader in the Denver market in offering reliable and innovative solutions to help workers and businesses adapt to a changing workplace.

While we are beginning to return to a more normal sense of life and business, some of the services we have rolled out in response to the Covid pandemic will continue to be available.  Three of our more popular service offerings include our in-house printing services, dropship program for plug-and-play desktop devices, and our scalable MNS Gold program.

In-House Printing:

After Covid struck, we noticed that there was an increased need for quick access to printing devices.  While most work and correspondence can be finished and transferred safely via digital mediums, there is still a prevalent need for getting documents printed.

While we do not have the capacity or desire to offer a full-capability print shop, we do want our clients to have on-site access to the solutions and technology they need in a timely manner.   So for projects of an urgent nature, we are still available and happy to assist our clients with their printing needs.  For more information on pricing or how to set up a project please click HERE.

Ricoh Dropshiping:

Another part of people losing access to printing technology was the need for new devices in home offices and remote work spaces.  In response, we started our Ricoh dropship program for plug-and-play devices to keep printing demands properly met.  With this program, we were able to quickly get new machines to home offices fast and without any physical contact.

Since, like most professional analysts, we expect a shift in business to a more remote daily experience, we are going to continue to make this service available.  It allows for us to provide reliable new technology to our clients quickly and with minimal or no personal contact.

Managed Network Services – Gold:

Last but not least, we rolled out our MNS Gold platform.  This allows for businesses to roll out I.T. solutions that are scaled more closely to resemble their daily operations and needs.  Most importantly, these scaled back solutions allow more remote workers to have responsible I.T. solutions and security in place without making a large investment.

Offering scalable solutions that fit the direct needs of our clients is a goal that we aim for on a daily basis.  However, managed network services is complex and unique to every business so our expectation and goal is to continue to further evolve how we approach and offer managed network services to our clients.  Our I.T. division at CBS truly has a very exciting future as we continue to grow and expand the countless ways we serve our clients.

Adjusting back to normal business will come with its own unique set of unexpected challenges.  However, just as we helped support our clients work from their homes, we will be there to help get them back to the office.

CBS Statement Regarding Covid-19

We at CBS consider the health and well-being of our clients and employees the highest of priorities.  As the coronavirus event continues to evolve and unfold in the U.S., we want to share with you what Complete Business Systems (CBS) is doing to service you and your organization.  Our current business plan is to continue providing the best level of support for you as possible, while we responsibly navigate this challenging health situation. Our management and leadership teams are currently meeting regularly to monitor the situation and ensure both employee and customer safety.

In an effort to lower the health risk to everyone, our technical staff and customer service teams are employing an initial “Phone Fix” for your products and services and we will be dispatching technicians only after all other options have been exhausted and with customer approval . In order to reduce personal contact, we are asking our technicians to limit access to our CBS building.  Furthermore, we have suspended our sales representatives from making unwarranted in-person sales calls, without essential reasons to do so or at the request of a customer.

As an added layer of safety, we ask that you share your organization’s expectations to our team members who may come to provide service at your work site. This would include immediately sharing with us if there would be a situation that would put one of our employees at risk… Thank you in advance for this.

Many companies have asked CBS for help in assisting them with their work from home set up.  This includes, but not limited to, computers, phone systems and printing devices.  As always, we are happy to offer any assistance we can in helping you and your business adapt to these challenging times.  Our plan is to remain as fully-operational as possible under these circumstances and deliver the great customer experience you have always counted on.

We want you to know that CBS takes great pride in being chosen to support you and your organization and are wholly committed to working closely with you during these challenging times.

Should you have any questions, please contact your Complete Business Systems representative or call (303) 467-9080.

In closing, we offer our deepest and sincerest thoughts and prayers to all impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Thank you for your continued partnership.

How Can I Improve Network Security (The Basics)

It is no secret that in today’s business marketplace there are malicious and intelligent threats all over the internet.  Some of them are very benign while others have the capacity to completely put someone out of business.

In recent posts, we have explored concepts like disaster recovery and business continuity.  Within that model exists network security practices and protocols.  However, the complexity and detail of network security processes are wholly dependent on the organizations that implement them.

What that basically means is that there is no such thing as a 100% guaranteed one-size-fits-all solution.

The good news is that while such diversity in methodology exists, there are still a handful of best practices that can be applied and implemented across all solutions.  We are going to briefly discuss 5 methods that are easy to implement and can make a big difference in maintaining the integrity of your privacy and professional network.

Keep Software Updated Regularly

This may seem fairly obvious but it is a very easy process to forget about.  Countless businesses and private users fail to update software regularly and do not realize that this enhances their risk for a network attack.  The best way to address this is simply to pay attention to notifications and then set updates to occur automatically.

Many of these software updates include security updates so delaying these regular software enhancements can give a hacker or online threat the opening it needs to access your network or private data.

Use Varied & Complex Passwords With Management Tool

Another one of the more obvious but perpetually ignored facets of good online security is using complex passwords that change often.  Most people, including the author of this blog, get comfortable using the same handful of passwords.  It is easier to manage and you don’t have to worry about forgetting.  It makes sense!

Problem is that the more a password is used, the more likely it is to be compromised.  The dark web offers countless tools to decipher passwords that are used with regularity and then paired to the parent email or account of the host user.  That means if one of your passwords is compromised, you can have security breaches on any entities that use those same login credentials.

So the next question becomes “how can one manage so many different passwords?”

There are numerous different online apps and platforms that are designed to remember passwords and auto enter them for you as needed.  These allow you to use highly complex passwords and change them regularly without ever having to actually learn or memorize them.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

Multi-factor authentication is becoming more and more popular with education, finance, and banking services.  This is the process of verifying a login by sending the stored contact information (usually a text or email) a code to verify that the actual account owner is the one accessing the account.

Many personal and business account allows for this level of security as an option but it is not always utilized since people tend to get annoyed with spending another minute or two to safely login.  However, that extra minute could not be better spent if it means maintaining the security and integrity of a network with confidential and private information.

Understand Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are one of the most popular and common threats to security.  While they are the easiest to avoid, they are also among the most successful strategies to breaking into networks.  The success of this strategy relies on the ignorance of the masses at large.  People are still not careful about opening suspicious emails or clicking links that look like they are real.

Phishing scams are usually emails, texts, or instant messages that have links in them.  The emails can look official and legitimate which is why people continue to take the bait.  The best way to avoid falling for these scams is simply to avoid clicking on any link that doesn’t come from a trusted source.  These links usually look like they are coming from a service provider or institution that you have an account with, banks being among the most common.  However, if you look closely, you can usually find something suspicious.  (For example, the return email may be www.bank.co instead of www.bank.com)

No banks will contact you via email only with account sensitive issues so if you receive correspondence that looks like it could be real, the best solution is to contact the institution directly so you control how the information is passed and who receives it.

In conclusion, don’t click on links that look suspicious in the least.  If ever you have a doubt, you should contact the institution in question directly.

Backup Your Data

Last but not least, everyone should have some kind of backup for their important data.  Whether that is using the cloud, physical storage, or hiring an outside service provider, backing up your data is imperative.

We have discussed the concepts surrounding data backup and the strategies that come into play in previous posts so I won’t go into excess detail here but using a data backup or disaster recovery strategy is one of the most reliable methods to securing the information on your network.

Like other strategies, this process is going to be largely dependent on the type of information you are securing, the complexity of your network, and the associated value.  However, there are numerous strategies and services available to allow you to have backup your personal or business data so it is very easy to find a platform or solution that fits your needs without over investing.

These are just a handful of a plethora of different methods someone can use to protect their data and network.  Feel free to add other strategies that we haven’t covered in the comments section below.

Lastly, if you have questions or are interested in learning more about improving or managing your business network security please contact us anytime to set up a meeting or network audit.