As our society leans more on technology, the opportunities for threats to interfere continue to increase. Safe computing requires more user awareness than ever before as well as maintenance of passwords and data security.
Here are a few tips on how you can keep your information safe online:
Secure your passwords.
Password hacking is the easiest way for anyone to access your information and cause damage. Switch up your password on each website you use, store them in a safe place, and be sure to change them frequently for the most security. Include both uppercase and lowercase, symbols, and numbers for the most difficult-to-guess passwords.
Automatically download important updates.
Updates such as MacOS are critical to the integrity of your computer and should therefore be completed as soon as they become available. Adjust your updates in settings to download automatically.
Never access sensitive websites on public WiFi.
Your data could be easily copied or stolen on a sensitive network. In addition, do not access or share sensitive data on unreliable networks.
Be aware of phishing attempts.
Never open an email from someone you do not know. If there is a link or document attached in the email, absolutely do not open it. Hackers often use this to automatically download malware onto your computer when opened and to access your information or ruin it altogether.
Back up your important information onto an external drive.
Whether it be a full backup hard drive or a flash drive, secure sensitive data onto a protected drive in case of emergency and for extra protection.
Don’t let yourself become the next hacked credit card or identity theft. Practice safe computing and protect your valuable information with the security it deserves. WesTec Services is a trusted and experienced IT services provider located in the Houston area. Allow us to keep your data safe by giving us a call today or visiting our website.
With every year that passes, we make more and more advancements in technology. Here are a few technology trends in 2021 that you can expect to see:
Robotics, Drones, Vehicle Automation
In recent years, we have seen a steady increase in the use of robotics in the
care and living sectors. This is meant to cut down on the need for human labor and to make jobs easier for people to complete. We expect to see a rise in robots and drones as a tool used by humans to streamline processes, not to replace human jobs altogether.
With 5G, our opportunities for connectivity and internet use continue to expand. Services could include increased usage of cloud technology, making technology including virtual reality and gaming networks available from anywhere. This removes the need for stationary consoles and could make our world even more mobile than ever before.
While virtual reality is known to be when a user enters a completely virtual environment through technology, augmented reality is when it is used to view the real world. Both of these make up the category of extended reality and are expected to become even more prevalent in 2021. ER tools have been used mainly for recreational purposes in the past but can also be used in medicine and education to solve problems in creative, new ways. As more data becomes available, we will make use of this new technology to sort out new solutions and information within it.
Lastly, AI is and will continue to be one of the biggest trends we see follow us into 2021. The use of Big Data will continue to increase as information is collected from more sources, requiring the use of artificial intelligence to process and sort out the solutions within them.
Artificial Intelligence allows us the ability to visualize and understand patterns in customer behavior and other activities that take place online. As we progress, we expect an increase in the number of tools and our ability to analyze this data and pull better insights and conclusions.
With all of these possibilities for technology trends in 2021, you need an IT Support Team that can keep up with the changes. Here at WesTec Services, our professionals are trained and tested to ensure we can meet the ever-changing marketplace and advances in technology. Give us a call today or learn more on our website to see how WesTec can help you.
VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) has revolutionized the way so many people do business! VoIP allows users to make voice calls over a broadband internet connection, converting voice into digital signals. Businesses everywhere are ditching their traditional phone systems and adopting a Switchvox VoIP system. Here’s a few reasons you should too:
Switchvox VoIP is dependable
Business can be unpredictable – you need a system you can rely on all hours of the day! With Switchvox, IT professionals will host, monitor, and maintain your system 24/7. If you encounter issues with your system or have questions, professionals are ready to assist and troubleshoot.
Switchvox VoIP is economical
Switchvox is not only more affordable than most traditional phone systems, but there are no additional costs for set-up, installation, or maintenance.
Telecommunications shouldn’t break the bank! Unlike traditional phone systems, Switchvox boasts a variety of features for an all-inclusive price. With Switchvox, you can spend less on telecommunications and allocate funds elsewhere.
Switchvox VoIP is simple to use
Navigating a new system can be intimidating. The learning curve that comes with adopting a new system is often the reason many people are hesitant to make the switch. However, this isn’t a concern with Switchvox!
Your employees will love their new system, as Switchvox boasts a user-friendly, instinctive interface.
Switchvox VoIP is flexible
With Switchvox, you can make calls any time anywhere. VoIP systems are cloud-based, meaning all data is stored and hosted on a cloud server, which is accessible anywhere in the world — as long as you have server credentials.
Traditional phone systems do not offer this flexibility. However, VoIP supports remote work — and as the demand for remote work increases, more people are making the switch.
WesTec Services offers a wide range of Switchvox systems. Our team will help you decide which system best suits your business and its needs. With our streamlined and rapid set-up process, you’ll be making and receiving VoIP calls in just a matter of minutes. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!
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With the advancement of technology over time, new types of cybersecurity threats emerge for consumers and businesses to worry about. Lately, deepfake cybersecurity breaches have become more common. According to Tech Beacon, deepfakes are defined as “synthetic media in which a person in a video or audio is replaced with someone else’s likeness or voice.” This type of threat can ruin businesses quickly due to how convincing the synthetic media are.
Due to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, cyberhackers and criminals can create false audio and images pretending to be you or another coworker. Hackers are so precise, they can perform flawless impersonations. The frustrating part of the process is that if you don’t know this is a false video call or audio, hackers can easily obtain the information they need. Once financial details or unreleased company information falls into the wrong hands, it can be disastrous.
Experts found that deepfake hacking methods have increased by 84% between December 2018 and October 2019. Research estimates $250 million in losses, as a result of deepfake hacking for the 2020 fiscal year.
Why It’s Popular Among Hackers
Businesses still struggle with high-level email phishing scams, making deepfakes harder to prevent. Due to the lack of knowledge surrounding this threat, deepfakes are becoming a new favorite method for cybercriminals who have the time and patience to implement this method. Deepfake hackers attack businesses in these ways:
- Impersonating clients or suppliers asking for payments
- Pretending to be supervisors and business owners, asking for fund transfers or sensitive information
- Using fake blackmail audio and videos for extortion
- Presenting fake pictures, videos, and audio files on social media to create slander campaigns
The first step in preventing deepfake attacks is to be aware it is a method of cybersecurity destruction. Once you are informed, the next question is how you can protect your business. There are a few available solutions, like Deeptrace or Cogito. These software programs can be expensive for small- and medium-sized businesses. For those on a limited budget, here are some things to consider executing immediately:
- Educate staff members about deepfakes, reporting odd situations before proceeding with any actions asked
- Add two-step verification to your system for emails, phone calls, and video sessions, ensuring none provided over these communication methods are used over existing ones
- Strengthen security measures for cybersecurity, adding systems if you currently have none or looking into upgrades for your current system
- Add additional steps for fund transfer verification — this helps ensure the transfer is supposed to occur and can save your business thousands of dollars, if not.
Taking action now is the best thing you can do for your business. Employees and business owners should also periodically check in on the issue to see if better methods of protection are discovered.
As new threats arise, you must be proactive! At WesTec Services, our IT professionals want to help you safeguard your business and its assets. If you’re unsure how to get started, contact us today.
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With the rise of COVID-19, cloud-based remote work has become increasingly popular and necessary. With new and emerging cloud-based technology comes new cybersecurity threats, like “cloud jacking.”
What is cloud jacking?
Cloud jacking occurs when a hacker steals the information of a cloud account holder and gains access to the server. Hackers often use this act as a means to conduct criminal activities, such as identity theft.
Because businesses often store confidential, sensitive information on cloud servers, they are major targets for cloud jacking. When it relates to sensitive information, these kinds of security breaches can be devastating for a business’ clients, partners, and reputation. Cloud jacking is not simply a one-time offense, as it creates a web of victims.
How do I protect myself against cloud jacking?
There are several things you can do to protect your business, clients, and partners from falling victim:
- Require strict, multi-factor user authentication
- Limit internal access to your cloud server
- Perform background checks before granting anyone access to your cloud server
- Backup all data stored on the server, in the event that there is data loss
- Use encryption to secure all data before storing on your server
- Require all users to create strong, secure passwords
- Here are the properties of a strong password:
- The longer, the better
- A combination of lowercase and uppercase letters
- Numbers and symbols
- Avoid words or terms that could be easily linked to your identity
The professionals at WesTec Services want to help you protect your network and business. We provide vital business technology and consulting services that can be tailored to your needs and budget. Interested in learning more? Contact us today!
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As we make new advancements in internet technology, hackers are getting smarter! Therefore, it is crucial that you stay informed on emerging cybersecurity threats. WesTec Services has compiled a list of cybersecurity threats to be aware of:
As remote work has become more popular and necessary as a result of COVID-19, cloud jacking has become more prevalent. Cloud jacking occurs when a hacker gains access to your cloud server. Often, hackers will hijack cloud accounts to steal identities and conduct unauthorized or illegal activities. Cloud jacking should not be taken lightly, especially if you store sensitive, confidential information on your cloud server.
In the past, centralized security measures were enough to protect a network from security breaches. However, the introduction of mobile phones and laptops posed new security threats — and brought awareness to security vulnerabilities (or “endpoints”). Using encryption, endpoint security seals any vulnerabilities in a network’s connection. This additional layer of security protects against threats if an infected device connects to the network. However, with the rise of remote work, we are seeing an increase in endpoint interception, as many are using mobile devices and laptops on networks that are not secure.
Phishing is still alive and well in 2020! Hackers are now targeting small businesses with spam emails. These emails will appear to be from companies that sell a product or service that may be of interest to small businesses — and of course, upon the user clicking a link or downloading a file, their computer has been infected. Furthermore, some emails will provide a link that prompts the user to enter their log-in credentials for a familiar website, while even displaying a reCaptcha security pop-up to appear more credible and secure.
It is important to use the internet with care. Cybersecurity threats can cause a variety of issues for your business, ranging from system failure to productivity loss. At WesTec Services, we believe there is power in educating yourself. As a business owner, you should familiarize yourself with potential threats and educate your employees on internet safety. Have questions about cybersecurity? Contact us today!
You have likely seen the acronym “HTTP” while navigating the internet. HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) appears at the beginning of a web address and supports data transfer between the web browser and website.
You may have also seen the acronym “HTTPS” and wondered, “What’s the difference?” Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) derives from HTTP and is an encrypted security certificate that protects sensitive information in data transfer. HTTP refers to a standard, unencrypted server, while HTTPS indicates a server is secure. HTTPS is a necessary extension if your website requires log-in credentials or the entry of private information. Without HTTPS, hackers can easily extract sensitive information.
As the need for internet security increases, web browsers like Google and Yahoo! take HTTPS quite seriously. If you do not have this security certificate, your website will be flagged “not secure” – and who wants to enter their credit card information on a website that isn’t secure? Don’t fall victim to a security breach. Educate yourself on how HTTPS works and why it’s important:
How It Works
HTTPS simply takes HTTP and adds a layer of SSL protection. SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a connection that encrypts and decrypts a user’s requests and responses. SSL ensures that communication occurring between the user and the website server cannot be read or extracted by hackers.
Why It’s Important
Since its inception, the internet has changed life as we know it. With the introduction of e-commerce, we no longer have to leave our houses to shop for the items we need – we simply fill up our “cart”, enter our credit card information, and wait 5-7 business days for our items to arrive. We no longer have to mail a check or pick up the phone to pay our bills – we can conveniently pay our bills online! When we create a social media account or fill out a job application online, we are surrendering information like our full names, addresses, social security numbers, and more.
Because HTTP websites are more susceptible to hacking, it is imperative that we make the transition to an entirely HTTPS web. We can have peace of mind, knowing that our personal information is safe. Additionally, HTTP does not protect against malware infection. When a website is infected with malware, its users are at risk of being infected as well.
A cybersecurity threat can cause data breach, system failure, and ultimately impact your reputation and productivity as a business. Therefore, it is important that you educate yourself on internet safety. The IT professionals at WesTec Services can answer any questions you may have about cybersecurity. Contact us today!
As a business, you have assets to protect. Therefore, you need a high-quality security system that protects against external and internal threats, and provides peace of mind. Here are a few ways an access control system could benefit your business:
Restricts access to certain areas
Transitioning from using traditional building keys to key cards with an access control system allows you to control the flow of traffic within your facility. Key cards can be customized to each employee and their needs. With key card customization, you can control who has access to certain areas. This is especially beneficial for offices or rooms that store personal and confidential information.
Monitors and tracks who enters the building
With an access control system, you are able to monitor who enters your facility. When one of your employees scans their key card, the system creates time stamps and records the location of entry and details about the entrant. If an issue arises, you can easily reference this information.
Provides flexibility and convenience
Business can be unpredictable. With deadlines to meet and last-minute projects to complete, working overtime may be necessary. With an access control system, employees can work outside of regular business hours. With customizable key cards, your employees can access the facility at all hours of the day. Additionally, key cards can be deactivated at any time. If an employee is terminated or loses their key card, you can deactivate their card with ease.
Access Control Systems allow a building owner to have complete control over their Houston-based facility, using technology such as ID key entries, fingerprinting scanners, and video monitoring. Interested in learning more about these systems? Contact WesTec Services today!
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For businesses, security threats of any kind can disrupt productivity and ultimately result in costly repairs or damage control. Video surveillance (CCTV) offers many benefits for businesses, including theft deterrence and employee safety. Here are a few reasons you should consider investing in video surveillance technology:
Installing CCTV technology internally and/or externally will allow you to monitor who comes and goes on a day-to-day basis – this includes guests, vendors, contract workers, and even employees. Additionally, if there is ever internal conflict that requires investigation, video surveillance allows for easy reference with timestamps.
According to Cornell University, the use of video surveillance has shown a 51% decrease in crimes committed in parking lots. Installing visible security cameras will establish a presence of security and deter crime, as criminals will want to avoid high-security facilities. Visible CCTV sends a message: “stay away!”
Though CCTV technology decreases your chances of security threats, it cannot guarantee you will never fall victim to theft or other crimes. However, if an incident does occur, you have video evidence for insurance and the police.
Video surveillance also allows you to monitor the safety conditions of your employees and overall workflow and productivity. If an accident occurs on the job, you may verify the incident and eyewitness accounts with CCTV records. If an employee is injured on the job and files for worker’s compensation, these records will benefit you when filing a claim. Having video surveillance technology for the purpose of employee safety may also lower your insurance costs.
At WesTec Services, we believe it is always safer to implement preventative measures and solutions before there’s a need for them; after all, prevention is key to maintaining productivity and cash flow. Interested in learning more about how video surveillance may protect your valuable assets? Contact us today!
Modern technology is a huge asset for businesses across all industries. However, with implementing new technology comes a major learning curve. So how do businesses properly execute new technology implementation in order to achieve the maximum sustainable results?
As a business owner, outsourcing your technical support is not only cost-efficient, but will allow you to prioritize your business objectives. Here are a few benefits of IT consulting:
With IT consulting, you can rely on the expertise of seasoned IT professionals. When an IT mishap occurs or you simply require guidance, IT professionals can assist you in making decisions and producing solutions that will allow you to optimize your technology in order to support the growth of your company.
In an effort to cut costs, many companies are hesitant to invest in quality IT consulting. However, IT consulting can actually save you money! Without proper guidance on how to optimize your new business technology, you will be left to find solutions to problems you may not know how to address – and a simple human error can end up costing you a lot of money! Reduce unnecessary spending and consult with an IT professional.
With limited knowledge, you will likely encounter issues navigating your new business technology – and searching for solutions can take hours or even days! An IT mishap can put you behind schedule or even cause you to miss major deadlines. IT consulting is convenient, as you can team up with a professional to develop quick solutions that will put you and your business back on track.
WesTec Services offers customized IT consulting for small and large businesses. Our professionals are trained to effectively guide clients in positioning their strengths so they can properly utilize their technology to meet the constantly changing marketplace and the influence of technology. Interested in learning more about IT consulting? Contact us today and schedule a call with one of our professionals!