While in office, cyber safety should always remain a huge priority. With the summer months quickly approaching, more people will clock out of the office for a vacation. Though you won’t be working for the time being, it doesn’t mean that you should take a vacation from protecting your sensitive data. Here are some ways to maintain strong cyber security when on vacation.
Beware Of Free Wi-Fi
You might think you’re not at risk while away from the desk, but this is not the case. If you decide to bring along a work laptop or work phone, pay attention to a few helpful tips to avoid a cyber attack. Starting off, make sure to not use free Wi-Fi. Having the option to connect to free Wi-Fi can seem great, but it can also expose your devices and any personal information that resides within them. A good way to avoid hackers accessing your data is to use a strong VPN or use your phone as a hotspot. Sometimes our devices connect automatically, so be sure to disable this feature before traveling.
Keep Track Of Your Devices
It is important to never leave your devices unattended for a number of reasons, but especially if your device holds important data. Make sure to keep track of items such as USB drives or tablets, even if it’s your toddler’s ipad. Any device you own will possess some kind of valuable information such as saved passwords and banking information. This is what hackers are looking for and will not hesitate to steal your devices if they are not held closely.
Refrain From Using Community Computers
Depending on your trip and where you plan to stay, refrain from using shared computers of any kind. Some hotels or vacation rentals will provide computers for guest’s use, but should never be trusted for remote assignments. Purchases, checking emails, or social media can also lead to cyberthreats if not careful. To protect you or your company, it is best to work on your own personal computer to avoid risk.
People go on vacation to enjoy time away from the office and with their families, so be prepared before clocking out. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!
Passwords are used to protect your devices, finances, health records, and so much more. We rely on them to prevent unauthorized users from accessing devices and accounts, which is crucial for most companies. Passwords are meant to change frequently to properly fulfill their purpose, as no password is unbreakable. Alas, World Password Day was born to act as a reminder to everyone that maintenance is required to retain account security.
Why It’s Celebrated
It is imperative that everyone has a strong password to ensure privacy. Before the internet and all of its glory, passwords were used as a method of entry for secret societies and clubs. Today, passwords are used a little less loosely to avoid cyber hacking. As the world becomes more advanced, cyber threats evolve as well. This means it is crucial to maintain the security of your passwords by updating them regularly. Falling on the first Thursday of May every year, World Password Day serves to encourage users to protect their data by maintaining their authentication methods.
Many people see their passwords as a way to get into their accounts rather than a way to keep others out. With this, many people try to make their passwords short, easy to remember, and personally relatable. Hackers are well aware of this, and will likely guess a password based on this criteria. Users have a habit of using the name of a pet, child, hobby, or profession when creating a password. A way to make passwords more difficult to guess is to use one that is irrelevant to the user. People also commonly use the same passwords across different platforms. This makes it easier for a hacker to access all accounts with one successful attempt.
With data being as precious as it is, it is up to you as the user to pay mind to your level of security. Celebrate this World Password Day by updating all your passwords for any account that holds value.
In today’s world, everyone relies heavily on technology to do just about anything. We use it to communicate with one another, to work and pay our bills, and purchase goods at the click of a button. We expect our devices to work without error, and can often forget that electronics can fail us at any point without any warning. It is important to remember that computers, phones, and other devices are not to be depended on for everything, and lost information can sometimes be the fault of the user.
Imagine walking into work one morning to find a great mechanical failure has occurred overnight. This could have been caused by a number of events such as a virus, a natural disaster, a human error, or a system failure that has erased all of your company data. Nevertheless, the recovery system you had failed and your business could be facing serious risks. This disaster can happen at any moment, which is why it is crucial to install a more trustworthy IT recovery system to ensure proper data backup.
The best steps to take to make sure your plan is safe is to manually back up data and information regardless of the trust you have for your recovery system. It is also wise to perform a full system restore once a month to make sure that the recovery system you have actually works. The single most expensive mistake most small business owners make is related to protecting their company data, so it is better to be safe than sorry. All businesses should document their IT recovery plan as part of their business continuity plan, and should not neglect testing it periodically.
It can be easy to forget that electronic devices are not without their flaws, and can fail you and your business any day of the week. In order to retain all those irreplaceable files, make sure your recovery plan has your back. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today!
USB flash drives have been a practical and reliable way to transport valuable files to and from different computers. Since the year of 2000, they have been a viable trinket to businesses and students when needing to back up data. Over the years, their storage capacity has reached a whooping 512GB, when it only started at 8 MB. For something so small to become so powerful is a huge deal, which is how it came to getting its own national holiday.
Benefits of the Flash Drive
In respect to the flash drive’s infamous reputation, let start by noting reasons why they come in handy when storing data. A flash drive is very simple to use, and can be easily stowed away because of its size and weight. It is a relatively fast way to transfer files over to different devices, as well as having plenty of storage options. While all these things make the flash drive great, security should remain the biggest concern and priority.
Is it Secure?
Flash drives can be secure if they have advanced enough features. Some are equipped with a passcode, preventing users from accessing private material if your flash drive becomes lost or stolen. The problem is that hackers utilize this nifty object to help invade your personal information to spread attacks. It’s important to be aware of what you insert into your computer, considering that a flash drive is capable of carrying dangerous malware. This kind of threat can rupture your IT infrastructure, creating various amounts of issues. These threats can be so serious that in certain situations, the damage is irreversible. Plugging a drive into the USB port can record and gather the information it needs. This information could include access passcodes, sensitive data, and business owned files. Attackers can also use flash drives to maliciously damage your PC all together, completely destroying anything it’s electronically attached to.
While it may seem far-fetched to assume something as tiny as a flash drive can wreak all this havoc, you must consider the importance of your or your business’s data to ensure proper security. Backing up digital data can be simple and secure with the right form of integrated security. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today!
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Something as simple as sending an email may seem like normal task, but every email sent out holds precious information that thieves prey upon. Whether it’s for personal or company use, any information can be utilized to expose any confidential details you may not wish to share. These details can be used to perform cyberattacks, which is more than ideal to avoid. With the use of email security, your or your company’s cloud can be protected from potential cyber threats.
Why is it Important?
Having cloud-based email security is important for a number of reasons, especially since email is the most vulnerable line of communication. This is because hundreds of emails go out each day depending on the size of your company, raising the overall probability of getting attacked. Since most employees are busy working, the chances of them noticing a suspicious link attached to an email may be slim. Clicking on this link could result in attackers collecting precious credentials or installing viruses to employee computers. To prevent this from happening takes a lot less exertion than trying to reverse it, so consider taking action before it’s too late.
Companies and personal users of email face potential consequences everyday when without cybersecurity. But what types of threats are there to look out for? Phishing emails take a hefty 90% of the blame for attacks for their talent of deception. These emails are sent to employees and usually consist of believable scenarios such as:
Changing payment methods for certain services (Netflix, Amazon, ect.)
Changing a password for an account under their name or company’s name
Alarming notices regarding unwarranted purchases
There are other ways for phishing emails to trick your employees, and they continue to evolve every single day. Phishing emails are the starting point of cloud-email exploitation, which happens through the use of document sharing. Many companies rely on Google Drive and other document sharing tools, so a recognizable email may not strike anyone as suspicious. Without proper cybersecurity, attackers can access these private documents and other data found in the cloud.
How Can I Improve it?
Applying integrated security to protect company data is the best way to prevent cyber attacks. Email encryption prevents data leaks wherever there is vulnerability in the server. Adding this extra step to ensure security between emails will definitely help. It is also beneficial to educate employees of these scams and how to identify them before moving forward. Thieves become more intelligent with every passing day, so learning how to specify what to avoid will benefit you or your business greatly.
As a company, it is a great responsibility to make sure your data is protected. As it’s been said before, prevention is a lot easier than finding a cure. Preparing for the worst scenario and staying aware of cyber threats will save you a lot of time and concern.
To learn more about our services, contact us today!
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What’s better, Gmail or Outlook? These are the two leading platforms when it comes to business email. Both are great options and come with good features and security. They also cost about the same. The one you choose will be based on your business’s specific needs.
While Outlook has about 7 years on Gmail, the email platform offers some great features for business. The apps that are included with a Google Workspaces subscription allow your team to work on projects at the same time. You don’t have to download and send the document. You can share the Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides within the apps. You also don’t have to worry about making sure you’re working on the latest version.
Outlook’s interface is a little bit more confusing than Gmail’s but the program offers advanced management features and allows you to manage other users’ inboxes and calendars. There is also the ability to set more advanced rules. It may be a better choice if your company is sending a large number of emails.
When comparing costs, both programs are very similar. Both have a free version that comes with 15GB of storage. Note that the free versions would not have your domain connected and would not be the best option for businesses.
Starter Plans – Gmail and Outlook both have a starter plan that cost $6 per month per user. Google’s plan comes with 30GB of storage and the ability to work offline. Outlook’s plan comes with 1TB of storage but includes only web and mobile apps.
Standard Plans – The standard Gmail plan is $12 a month per user. It includes 2TB of storage. The Outlook standard plan is $12.50 a month per user and comes with 1TB of storage. It also includes the downloadable desktop apps that are not included with the starter plan.
While both email platforms offer top security which is included in all plans. Outlook has more security features in its highest tier and allows users to encrypt emails. This would be a good option for hospitals or businesses that needed to send medical information or other confidential messages. Gmail’s security is also good and offers excellent malware and malicious software detection.
Both Gmail and Outlook are good options for business and offer great features. If you have any questions about setting up your business email or switching platforms, contact us today!
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If you are starting a business or need to update your server, you might be wondering if you should go with local or cloud-based servers. There are benefits and drawbacks to both.
A cloud server is a virtual hosted storage place for your business’ data. It is stored with other companies’ data. There is security in place that ensures that other people with the same cloud server do not have access to your data. Cloud servers are easy and quick to implement. If your company is growing and you need more space in the future, it is easy to scale. With a cloud server, you only pay for what you use. You also save money on maintenance and labor costs because it is the vendor’s responsibility to manage the server and is often included in your plan. The cloud service provider will handle updates and security. Backing up your data on a cloud server can also be done with ease. This is a valuable feature of cloud servers because your data can be recovered with a proper backup plan in place. Cloud servers are a good option for most businesses.
An On-Site Server is physical hardware either on your property or housed at an outsourced IT provider’s facility. On-site servers often require a larger upfront investment because you have to purchase the hardware for the system. Security and maintenance also require more time and cost because the server will be managed by you. These can be outsourced but this does allow you more control over the server. While cloud-based servers are always innovating and updating their systems, upgrades to a local server fall to you. Setting up the server will also take more effort on your part than a cloud server. With an on-site server, you do have more control over features and customization. Cloud servers limit you to what the vendor provides but local servers are fully customizable only limited by your cost and time investments.
Cost – If your company has a large amount of data, the upfront cost of an on-site server may be worth the investment. With a cloud server and the pay-for-what-you-use model, this can be a cost-effective option for most businesses.
Security – With a physical server, the responsibility of security falls to you or the third-party company you chose to house your server. Cloud-based server providers are often constantly updating their security measures as a perk to gain more customers and are often very secure. That said, both systems can be very secure and keep your data safe with proper management and maintenance.
Overall: What’s better for your business?
The answer to this question is, it depends on your needs. Every company is different and has different needs when it comes to a server. Large businesses with medical information might benefit from investing in an on-site server and may be required to do so for security purposes. Other companies that plan on growing would benefit from the ability to scale with a cloud-based server.
If you need help with server management and maintenance or want to understand what server type would best suit your needs, contact us today. One of our team members can go over options and help you decide which would be the best fit for your business.
To share information, important files, and connect throughout the day, your company will need an effective computer network. This will connect all of your computers through a configured network. If you already have a network set up, but struggling throughout the day to access the correct files because your current network is glitching or having loading issues, we can help. Our team can help with network installation and maintenance.
When you have a network that isn’t up to par or just not upgraded enough to serve your company efficiently, you and your employees are the ones that suffer. A slow, glitchy network not only hinders a person’s ability to get a task done but also lowers morale among your staff.
Our team can help you decide which network options are best for you and your company. To see where your network stands, we offer free computer network health check audits. We come to your business and test your network and security and see if we could improve your network. We’ll provide you with a report of our findings at the end of the check.
Reasons for Installing
Installing a company computer network allows your employees to work and communicate seamlessly with each other. If it is not up to date, it could mean that your employee’s workflow isn’t as efficient as it could be. Having a failing network could also mean security risks. Spyware, loss of data, and failing drives could all be possible on a network that does not have the right security measures in place.
A key component to a company network is maintenance. Updates for the network will need to be done regularly to keep the network operating as efficiently as possible. This will help make sure all security measures are up to date, the network is operating at maximum speed, and your company is able to be productive without network downtime.
A company’s computer network is one of the most important aspects of modern businesses. Without an adequate network, your company and employees could be suffering and work could be hindered.
Ransomware is a type of malware (malicious software) that takes your files, data or computer hostage until you pay money. When a ransomware attack happens, your computer or browser may lock up and you may see a ransomware note or your files will be encrypted, leaving you not being able to access them.
How does your computer get it?
There are a few ways ransomware and other types of malware can infect your computer.
Opening links on emails from unknown sources
If you get an email from an unknown email address with a link attached, it’s better not to open it. It could be disguised as a coworker or trusted company. If something about the email seems off, check to see if there are typos in the name or email address. This can be an indicator that the email is fake. These types of emails are called phishing.
Opening links or websites from social media messages
Like the messages that come to your email with a malware virus in them, these are often sent by people you don’t recognize or fake accounts. If a link looks suspicious, do not open it, even if it is from a family member or friend. Their accounts could have been hacked. It is better to check with them to make sure the file is safe.
Using unsecure sites
Sites have their own protection on them. If this has been breached or it is a site set up for malicious purposes, it could put your data and computer at risk. Your browser will usually give you a warning before entering the site. If this happens, it is best to back out of the site.
Steps to protecting your computer against ransomware
– Making sure your computer and software is up to date
– Check emails addresses and look for signs that a website could be fake before downloading anything
– Backup your files and data
The number one way to make sure your data is secure and protected is by having a good backup system in place. If a ransomware attack does happen, you don’t want to pay the money to get your files back, because there is no guarantee that you will get the data back. When you have a good backup system in place, you know that even if something does happen, your data is secure and can be redownloaded onto your computer.
If you need help setting up a backup system for your company, contact us and one of our WesTec reps can go over the options and help you decide what is best for your company. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!
Think of how much of your company’s work is done on a computer and all of the programs, files and information that is stored. If your company does not have a data backup system, you’re at risk of losing it all. That could be detrimental to your business.
So what could cause your systems to go down and experience data loss? There are a few different scenarios where your company could be at risk.
Hardware, Software or System Malfunctions
If you work on a computer, you know they’re not always perfect. Sometimes systems fail or malfunction. If this happens and your data is not backed up, you lose all of your files. If you had a data backup system in place, you could simply load up the backup and restore your information that was lost.
We’ve all made the mistake of accidentally deleting something we weren’t supposed to. It could be that an employee thought the file was something else or accidentally clicked the delete button. Without data backup, those files would be lost forever and the work would have to be redone. With backups, you’ll be able to restore the file and continue the workday.
Malware or Ransomware
Malicious Software, malware for short, is what people refer to as computer viruses. There are different types of malware, with some having the ability to delete everything on your computer system. Ransomware is a type of virus that holds your data captive unless you pay a dollar amount. If you have a good backup system in place, you won’t have to pay the ransom and you will still have access to your data.
In Houston, there are many things that could happen, in particular, flooding. If your computer and hard drive were to be destroyed in a flood or fire, you could lose your data.
While many things could happen, the risk associated with losing your data and files can be mitigated by properly backing up your data. There are different types of backups and data protection. If you would like to start protecting your company’s data, contact us and one of our WesTec reps can go over the options and help you decide what is best for your company. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook!
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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Houston, TX 77018