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Protect Against Cyberattacks When Working Remotely

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs

How to Spot Phishing Attempts

How to Prevent Malware

When Should I Update My Passwords?

How to Improve Your Computer’s Speed

How to Recover Deleted Files

What You Need to Know About an Unexpected Computer Shutdown

How to Secure Your Business Mobile Phone

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Protect Yourself Against Cyberattacks When Working Remotely - WesTec

Protect Against Cyberattacks When Working Remotely

As business continues to shift towards long term remote work practices, our tendency to fall for phishing scams has risen exponentially. While many businesses used to have one or two locations, workers are now spread out all over the country, working from their home phones and computers. While we now see more screen sharing services and video conferencing, a lot of these newer services are still perfecting their security measures. Here are a few changes businesses can make to protect company security during remote work conditions:    

Use video conferencing passwords Protect Yourself Against Cyberattacks When Working Remotely - WesTec

    Video conferencing apps such as Zoom or WebEx have had security breaches in the past, random people joining a call without invitation and “bombing” it. Many of these services have already made improvements to prevent this, but when possible, enable a meeting password and share it only with those welcome on the call.    

When possible, protect equipment and increase security 

  Many employees do not have the necessary equipment at home, such as computers and monitors, to work as efficiently in the office. By allowing employees to bring home computers from the office or providing them with security for their home computers, the business can feel more confident in the security of their data. It is also common that home computers lack the security measures of work equipment, making them easier for hackers to access and leak valuable information. Whether you are using company equipment or your own, talk to your company and discuss how to best protect sensitive company data from your home.     

Be cautious opening emails 

    With basically all office communication occurring now through email, employees are much more active, and most likely responsive, on their inboxes. This provides more opportunities for phishing scams to sneak in and imitate legitimate people or companies.Use caution when opening emails from unknown addresses, and if it seems unsafe, never click on a link or download. While transitioning to remote work may be difficult, the security of your data does not have to be. WesTec Services have been providing technology services for over 20 years. To discuss your IT, business telephone, or video security needs, contact WesTec today.
Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach

A Password meter is an indicator of the strength of a password entered by a user on a website. In most cases, meters estimate the amount of tries necessary for your password to be guessed by an attacker by factoring in password length and complexity. A University of Plymouth study tested 16 of the most encountered password meters on the internet to test their effectiveness. Based on the results, here are a few tips on how to keep your passwords secure, regardless of an “approval” given by the password meter:  

Do not always trust the password meter

  Just because a password meter says “strong password” does not mean it is. The meters can be helpful but are also extremely flawed, giving you a sense of false security. When deciding on a password, do not base it solely on the rating given by the website.   

Avoid using keyboard patterns

  On many password meters, passwords such as “querty”,  “abc123”, and “Password” sometimes cannot be detected as problematic. Common letter combinations, such as going down a row of the keyword or commonly used words, are easily guessed and not always flagged on the meters.   Misleading password meters could increase risk of data breach - WesTec Services

Make passwords complicated and personal

  The most secure passwords are those with a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols. Choose combinations that seem difficult to guess by an outside person or computer. The more complicated and seemingly random the password, the stronger it will be.
  In addition to character variation, do not use the same password for all of your accounts. Change up your passwords so that if one is discovered, not all of your information is at risk. 
  Secure your valuable data with the protection it deserves. Do you part to protect your information with a strong password, WesTec is here to do the rest. WesTec Services is dedicated to providing the highest quality of IT consulting as well as backup disaster and recovery planning. Give WesTecCall a call today to discover more about our available services.   
Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs? - WesTec

Why Should I Outsource My IT Needs

Does your company have its own internal IT department? Do you feel that there is a misuse of time and resources due to inefficient practices within your company? Consider outsourcing your needs to someone with knowledge and focus on how to benefit your organization’s current technology needs. There are four main reasons why you should consider outsourcing your IT needs:

Reduce Costs

Outsourcing to someone who specifically handles and is knowledgeable about technology is cheaper than hiring and training someone to handle it internally.

Avoid RiskWhy Should I Outsource My IT Needs - WesTec Services

Having on-call technicians with training in the technology field will help avoid problems and system failures. The outsourced IT company will usually be knowledgeable in information backups and recovery in the case of a disaster. In addition, outside companies can more easily avoid the bad situations all together by being prepared specifically for them.

Increase Productivity

You decide how involved or not involved the outsourced company is in your day-to-day operations. Your company sets the pace and the outsourced support caters to your needs. You create the plan that best suits your business, allowing for the most optimal levels of business productivity and desired interaction between business and IT.

Remain Focused on Business

When delegating technology services to someone else, you are able to focus time and effort on the business side of things. No need to worry about the technology when you have a more knowledgable third-party source to handle it. Focus on what you know to optimize your time and efforts   and allow for the best use of company time. WesTec Services is skilled in handling all our outsources IT needs. We offer a full range of services and plans to handle your office technology. To learn more, contact WesTec Services today.
How to Spot Phishing Attempts - WesTec Services

How to Spot Phishing Attempts

Are you sure that email came from a real company? Individuals are commonly targeted by cybercriminals claiming to be a large organization, copying the format legitimate companies and phishing for personal information. This poses a real security threat to recipients but thankfully, there are steps you can take to spot phishing attempts:  

Recognize

When it comes to identifying phishing attempts, there are a few important things to learn. Scammers are constantly switching tactics and creating new ways to trick email recipients. Upon receiving a possible phishing email, check the sender for a domain email. If you have received an email from the person before, check to make sure alterations have not been made to the spelling of the name or email domain. Many scammers adjust a number or letter in the email to trick the recipient. Real companies will not ask you for sensitive information over email. Most legitimate companies will call you by your name in the email, redirect you to a secure webpage, and ask you to log in before asking for or updating sensitive information.   How To Spot a Phishing Attempt - WesTec Services

Protect

Install proper security measures on your personal computer. While spam filters attempt to sort legitimate emails in your inbox, cybercriminals try new methods to slip through the cracks and outsmart this system. If your email account or other websites offer a multi-step authentication option to prove your identity before accessing your information, always take advantage of this. Take any extra opportunities to better secure your data and ensure it cannot fall into the wrong hands. In cases where you are unsure about the legitimacy of a message and files or hyperlinks are included, do not click on or open them. These often contain malicious software that attack your computer and gain access to information.  

Report

If you find yourself in a situation with what you believe to be a phishing scam, contact the company using an email or number you know to be real. The company could confirm if that email was truly sent by them or not. If you have received a phishing email, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at reportphishing@apwg.org. You may also report the phishing attack to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. For your business technology needs, WesTec Services is here to provide the security and support you need. Contact us by phone at (713) 682-4000 or by email at sales@westecservices.net to discuss what we can do for you.
How to Prevent Malware - WesTec Services

How to Prevent Malware

When your computer slows down or begins acting in an unusual way, it may be infected with a virus or malware. While most malwares are annoying, others may be malicious and hijack your computer’s information. Here are some tips to keep your hardware safe and prevent your computer from becoming infected.

Install Anti-Virus Software

Installing an antivirus or anti-malware software is the first step to protecting your computer. Without some type of protection software, your computer is an easy target for hackers. It is important to make sure the software stays up to date as well. For the best protection, install updates regularly as they alert you on your computer.

Run Regularly Scheduled Scans

You should be scanning your computer regularly with the anti-virus software you install. To best protect your computer, schedule your scan one night every week. Make sure your computer does not shut down automatically or go into hibernation mode to ensure the scan completes.How to Prevent Malware - WesTec Services

Use a Secure Network

Always use a secure network for computers to connect to files, printers or internet. Using an open network makes it easier for hackers to access your information. This means you should avoid using your computer at places that offer free WiFi. If your business likes to offer complimentary wifi to customers, consider offering a guest wifi with a different password than your main network for added protection.

Think Before You Click

Good protection software will automatically scan any links or unusual emails on your computer. However, it does not hurt to always be cautious when opening an email from an unknown sender or making sure a link is taking you where it says it is.

Use Multiple Strong Passwords

Finally, never use the same password for all of your important accounts. We often use the same email address or username for all accounts. Knowing this, it becomes crucial to use multiple strong passwords to prevent hacks. Your passwords should be easy to remember, difficult to guess, and always avoids dates or names.

Following these tips can help protect your computers and information from viruses and malware. For more information on how WesTec’s IT experts can help your business keep its information safe from hackers, contact us.
When Should I Update My Passwords? - WesTec Services

When Should I Update My Passwords?

Sometimes, accounts will ask you to update your passwords for security reasons. This often feels like an unnecessary task meant to make your life more complicated. However, in a world full of hackers and online predators, one must regularly update their password to protect valuable information.

Change Your Passwords Regularly…

When Should I Update My Passwords? - WesTec ServicesBy regularly changing your login information and passwords, you make it harder for someone to steal information. This is increasingly important for accounts without two-factor authentication. Communication accounts, like email and chatting apps, should also be updated every so often for increased protection.

…But Don’t Change Them Too Often

Traditionally, experts recommended you change passwords every 30 to 60 days–this is no longer the case. Mandatory password updates lead to money loss and lack of productivity with minimal security payoff. Now, changing your password doesn’t hold near the protection it used to. Because cybercriminals continue to learn more advanced hardware and software, they can typically discover your password if they look hard enough.

As humans, we tend to create patterns. This is no different in password creation. Typically, we use similar letters, numbers and themes when updating a password. Updating your password too often leads to confusion with little added benefit.

Keep Your Data Secure

As a rule of thumb, update your passwords when there is proof of some sort of security breach or online attack. This includes unauthorized use of an account or evidence of malware. By doing so, you’re preventing a hacker from gaining access into your personal accounts and obtaining sensitive, private information or data.

There are other ways to protect your data. Contact the experts at WesTec Services for more information about our cybersecurity services.

If you’re not sure how to create a secure password that will outsmart the online hackers, read our recent article for tips.
How to Improve Your Computer's Speed - WesTec Services

How to Improve Your Computer’s Speed

Doesn’t your computer always seem to lag when you have a rapidly approaching deadline? A slow computer can decrease productivity and increase frustration. To help eliminate frustration, try one of these tips to increase your computer’s speed and performance.

Uninstall Unused Programs

Programs take a lot of space on your computer. Over time, you accumulate programs that might run in the background without your knowledge. Uninstalling the programs you don’t use on a regular basis may increase your computer’s speed and response time.

How to Improve Your Computer's Speed - WesTec ServicesDelete Temporary Files

Every time you download or install a file on your PC, it keeps a temporary file. If your computer is running slow, you can delete these files to free up space. To do this, find the “Temp” folder in your drive. Select older files and press the delete key. Make sure you empty the recycling bin to completely wipe files from the computer.

Invest in Hard Drive Storage

Sometimes you might need to have easy access to many files. However, keeping them all in once place will affect your computer’s speed. To keep your computer tidy, you can purchase an external storage drive to store thousands of files.

Increase RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM) acts as your computer’s short-term memory. It quickly loads items it thinks it will need to access soon. But, if your RAM can’t handle several applications at once, your computer will lag. Increasing the RAM can be an easy and cost-effective way to improve your computer’s speed.

Work with Our IT Professionals

Our trusted IT professionals at WesTec Services can help diagnose why your computer is slow and offer solutions to improve its speed through our managed IT and IT consulting services. Contact us for more information.
How to Recover Deleted Files - WesTec Services

How to Recover Deleted Files

Have you ever accidentally deleted a file and then realized you need it back? Unfortunately, it’s happened to most of us at least once–and we’ve all experienced the headache that follows.

Here are a few tips that can help you try to recover a deleted file from your device:

  1. How to Recover Deleted Files - WesTec ServicesMake sure the file is really deleted – If you’re not sure whether you permanently deleted a file, be sure to look for it before making an assumption. When attempting to recover deleted files, check the Recycle Bin or Trash on your computer. Typically, you can choose the filter “Date Deleted” to make your search easier. If your file was stored in a cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive, check your deleted files there–it may still be recoverable.
  2. Check your backups – Making regular backups of your most important files on your device can prevent you from losing critical data when you need it. If you do have a backup, you may be able to recover your deleted files. if you don’t have a backup, now may be the time to implement one.
  3. Try to recover the file – If you deleted a file on a magnetic hard drive, shut down the computer immediately. With the computer shut down, you should remove the hard drive from the computer entirely and place it in another computer as a secondary drive. Use file-recovery software to scan the drive. If you deleted the file recently and haven’t written to the drive much, you have a fairly good chance of recovering it.
  4. Professionally recover the file – If all other methods were not successful in recovering the deleted files, you may want to consider a professional data recovery service. Professional data recovery services deal with everything from deleted and overwritten files to dying hard drives that need to be disassembled and repaired.
To continually ensure the security of business data and important files, it is recommended to perform regular data backups to your computer. If you feel that you don’t have the time or expertise, WesTec Services performs data backup and recovery services provided by our expert IT consultants.

For more information on our data backup or recovery services, contact the experts at WesTec today.
What You Need to Know About an Unexpected Computer Shutdown - WesTec Services

What You Need to Know About an Unexpected Computer Shutdown

An unexpected computer shutdown can potentially harm your computer and its data, which is why it is important to properly turn off your computer by selecting shut down, restart or sleep.

Turning your computer off properly allows the computer to make sure that any running programs are closed. To avoid losing files or program corruption, it is best to cancel the computer shutdown and close the programs manually.

An unexpected computer shutdown can be caused by power outages, brown-outs, depleted battery or removed power cord, accidentally hitting the power button, or the computer may be experiencing some What You Need to Know About an Unexpected Computer Shutdown - WesTec Servicesother internal technical issue.

Because of the issues that can occur with an improper shutdown, the only time to hold the power button until the computer turns off is if the computer freezes. Sometimes turning a computer off and on again will allow it to reset itself.

So, how does an unexpected computer shutdown affect your device? Even if you don’t have any programs running, there are other processes going on in the background. When a computer is performing an update or correcting device bugs, an unexpected shutdown may cause the files to download as incomplete and they will then be unable to perform their assigned tasks.

If software files or the operating system become corrupted from an unexpected shutdown, a professional may need to repair the files or reinstall the entire system.

Before making any major changes to your system, be sure to perform a backup of any important data. In fact, regular data backups are always recommended.

WesTec Services performs data backup and recovery services provided by our expert IT consultants. Our services include a free report, which will outline common mistakes that many business owners make with their computer network.

To avoid any worry during an unexpected computer shutdown, contact WesTec today.
How to Secure Your Business Mobile Phone - WesTec Services

How to Secure Your Business Mobile Phone

Business mobile phones can be used for a range of commercial operations, including inventory control, customer relations, advertising, marketing, banking and more.

Here are few ways to ensure your mobile phone and its valuable data is protected against hackers and malware:

1. Update your phone.

Most of us are guilty of ignoring operating system updates on our business mobile phones. However, the longer you wait to update your phone, the more out of date your systems are, making you an easier target for hackers who can easily identify and exploit system vulnerabilities.

How to Secure Your Business Mobile Phone - WesTec Service2. Lock your device.

If your business mobile phone contains private information about you or your business, it is important to always engage the four- or six-digit passcode on your device. Don’t use the same password for all your accounts and be sure to change your password occasionally for good measure.

3. Manage app permissions.

On your mobile phone, you can grant apps permissions, like access to the camera, microphone, your contacts, your location, your pictures, and more. Be sure to keep track of which permissions you’ve given to which apps, and revoke permissions that are not completely necessary.

4. Back up your data.

Things happen, but you can always be prepared. When you back up the data on business mobile phones, you are able to protect your important documents and images in case of any loss.

5. Ignore spam and phishing emails.

One of the easiest ways for hackers to access your information is through email. Be sure you don’t click on links in promotional emails, open suspicious attachments or run updates that are promoted through emails. If you need to access sensitive information, report directly to the organization’s website to login.

Connecting the dots with business mobile phones can be confusing, time consuming and costly. For a reliable business mobile phone provider in Houston, contact the experts at WesTec today.

Mission: WesTec will be a “turn-key” solution for all of its clients’ business connectivity needs. It will offer efficient and effective solutions, directly and with strategic partners, that create tangible value for its clients at every point of contact. Westec will serve all people and entities with a servant’s heart.

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2916 West TC Jester Blvd., Suite 104

Houston, TX 77018


(713) 682-4000

sales@westecservices.net

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