Shopping online has many risks that some shoppers fall victim to. Whether it be personal information stolen, wifi breach or virtual viruses, it is important to know how to become a smart shopper and prevent these risks from becoming a reality. Here are some tips to be a smart shopper:
Know What You’re Buying
Popular smart devices can easily help us and make our lives easier, but it is important to know exactly what you want and what risks might be present. Things to know are:
Who makes it?
What is its purpose?
Do you trust the company?
Have you read the reviews?
All of these things can prevent negative things from happening and make you more aware of what devices you are potentially bringing into your life or home.
Buy Familiar Brands
To limit the risks of buying alone, it is a good idea to buy from familiar or well known brands. These top brands are more likely to have stronger security on devices that hackers will have a hard time getting into and less likely to have any security breaches. Also, top brands are constantly updating their system and creating a safer place for the devices. Rarely hackers get into the system but when they do, these big companies are quick to fix it and will most likely send out a message to customers making them aware of the threat. It is important to be able to trust the brand or company and feel confident is how they handle these risks.
Are you having issues with becoming a smart shopper and protecting your information? Westec services can help! Schedule a callwith one of our professionals today!
With holiday’s right around the corner, this makes for a scammer’s perfect opportunity to conduct phishing scams. Researchers have stated that this year, phishing scams are going to increase significantly. More phishing scams are done via mobile devices, making it easier than ever to have your information stolen. But how do we protect ourselves during this vulnerable time?
Phishing scams are intensified during the holiday season due to the high traffic of online shoppers and the urge for people to look for deals. One popular way scammers do this is by sending emails or text messages about an offer that is too good to be passed up. For example, they list a popular technology device for cheap. Most people would just look at the price and proceed with the scam. Another scam is when they mimic bigger companies online to get credit card information or being able to log onto the device when a certain URL is clicked. These mainly happen through emails. They might send an email about a recent fake purchase to get you to click on the URL. These scams are going unnoticed and can do lots of harm. It is important to know how to prevent these scams and protect your information.
It is inevitable that these scams will make their way to you. One way to identify a scam is to check the grammar of the message. Usually scams will be misspelled or the message came from a third party source. This is the easiest way to quickly identify the scam.
Be cautious about providing personal information such as phone numbers or credit card numbers. Make sure before you provide information that it is a reliable and trustworthy source.
If a phishing scam is sent to you, it is best to not respond. A response to these scams lets the scammer know you are a ‘real’ person and will likely be targeted again. If this does happen, there is an option to report the scam to the Spam Reporting Service.
Holidays make for a great time to buy gifts for loved ones, but this also means it is more likely to come across a phishing scam. It is important to know how to identify the scam and how to prevent and protect yourself.
Scams can be irritating and hard to effectively prevent them. WesTec services can help you in any way. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on phishing and how to protect yourself.
Blockchain technology is one of the most effective ways to have secure and connected information. It stores information and then ‘chains’ it with more databases linking them together. This creates an irreversible timeline of data that can be beneficial.
How Does it Work?
The main purpose of a blockchain is to send information that can be sent to other databases but cannot be edited. This is important when distributing important information. The first step in this process is the transaction. This is when the information is first introduced to the database. As more information is entered, it creates a chain that can spread to other systems.
How Secure is it?
The main question regarding blockchain technology is how safe it is. Due to its inability to edit any information, this makes this one of the safest ways to spread information. Not only that, but it stores everything chronologically and linearly. Even if hackers try to interrupt a chain, it wouldn’t line up with the rest of the block, immediately notifying users.
Ways to Use Blockchains
This technology can be used in many ways including banking, currency, healthcare, smart contacts, supply chains and voting. Since this system is secure and easily distributed, many companies find this the most effective way to store their information. Big companies such as Walmart and Pfizer actively use blockchains to distribute their records or important documents.
Blockchain technology is finally making it’s way into modern life. From its effectiveness and security, more companies are finding ways to incorporate this technology into their businesses.
Have any questions about the right technology services for you or your business? WesTec services can help. Contact us with any questions you may have and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
In the era of technology, some have concerns about their privacy. In schools, the top priority is to protect students and their information. With students constantly engaging in technology, whether it be submitting homework, emails with teachers, or saving documents, state and federal internet security laws protect all this information.
FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is one of the most widely known federal laws regarding student privacy. It applies to every educational institution or those of a similar rank. This law protects the education records of all students and sets boundaries between what information students’ parents have access to when the student becomes 18 years of age. If educational records are needed by another school, parent, or in medical cases, there must be a written permission letter from the student or guardian to release that information. Details such as name, birthdate, phone number and school attendance is not under this law and does not require a written permission.
COPPA: Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
Different from FERPA, COPPA: Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act is specific to the online services used by children 13 years and younger. This act controls what personal information is collected from young children. Applications and websites all have to abide by this act and schools can intervene as parental consent if needed.
CIPA: Children’s Internet Protection Act
In addition to protecting the privacy of students, it prevents them from seeing unwanted information while on the internet. CIPA: Children’s Internet Protection Act uses a filtered web system that schools and libraries use. This system blocks and hides harmful information or acts such as chat rooms and cyberbullying. CIPA also sets a curriculum on how to protect minors on the internet. This curriculum is required to use this program. Schools and libraries must implement these guidelines addressing a new internet safety policy.
These three acts and laws are a preventative measure from harmful internet activities and exploitation. With the main goal of protecting students’ privacy and engaging them in new internet safety protocols these acts are required by law.
Technology can be confusing, and it’s important to know your rights! Have any further questions on internet privacy? Contact WesTec today! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
In recent years, we have seen cloud computing become the industry standard for computing and storage resources. Cloud computing uses four different models, indicating how services are made available to users. Learn more about the 4 Cloud Hosting Models:
Public clouds are available for anyone who would like to make use of the resource, from low security application development to file and email sharing. One example of this would be Google applications such as Gmail and Google Drive. These are available through the use of a public cloud, accessible by any user with an account at any time.
Just like it sounds, a private cloud is a private network typically used by a single organization for security. The cloud can be easily managed onsite or offsite by outside groups or third party organizations. While much more costly than its public counterpart, private clouds are the better option for organizations that require the extra security and privacy.
In a hybrid cloud, organizations make use of a combination of private and public cloud infrastructure. The most common use is when an organization needs to quickly scale up their IT infrastructure to provide the necessary cloud capacity, like an online retainer during the busy holiday season.
A Multi-cloud is any combination of public, private, and hybrid clouds. Within an organization, there might be multiple private clouds in addition to private clouds. These clouds can be interconnected or separate. The multi-cloud category is a catch-all for any mixture of clouds, therefore allowing for the most flexibility and customization.
Having cloud hosting trouble? We can help! WesTec Services is a trusted and experienced IT services provider located in the Houston area. Give us a call today or visit our website to see what WesTec can do for you.
Summer is right around the corner. If you haven’t tackled Spring cleaning yet, now is your opportunity! Here are a few ways to clean up your system and improve its overall performance with regular maintenance:
Dust with compressed air and wipe down the monitor
Starting with the outside of your system, dust the keyboard and mouse with a can of compressed air. Compressed air is strong and will clean out any built up dust particles and other grime. You may also consider wiping down your keyboard and mouse with an antibacterial solution, to rid the surfaces of germs and bacteria. Avoid spraying the keyboard and mouse directly — instead, lightly spritz a rag and wipe. Wipe down your monitor with a microfiber cloth to remove fingerprints and anything else that may be crusted to the monitor.
Clean hardware system
Once you have dusted the outside of your system, you should focus on cleaning your hardware. Before you begin, close any active programs/files, shut your computer down, and unplug the computer from the wall. Unscrew the hardware casing and use compressed air to dust all the nooks and crannies of your system. Compressed air is safe to use on hardware and should not cause any damage.
Turn your computer off or restart regularly
Simply putting your computer to sleep while it is not in use will cause your system minimal damage. However, you should make a habit of restarting or shutting your system down every now and then — especially if you use an older system. Rebooting your computer will prevent overheating and will allow your system to refresh its settings and resources. Allowing your computer to reboot and refresh will improve its overall performance.
Clear up drive space
One thing that will slow your computer’s performance is a full drive. Improve your computer’s performance by clearing up drive space regularly — there’s no reason to hold on to files and downloads you no longer need! Delete any unnecessary files and consider moving files you wish to keep to an external harddrive.
Remove malware and viruses
Malware can affect operability and cause data loss or theft. There are a number of ways your system can be infected by malware and other viruses. Therefore, it is important that you use antivirus software to protect your computer and remove any potential threats. This software will run diagnostics, identify viruses, and resolve these.
It is important that you install program updates regularly, as to ensure all programs are running efficiently. Failing to install new updates can affect the speed and performance of your programs. Most programs have regular updates that will address security holes and minimize unnecessary features.
At WesTec Services, we believe regular maintenance is crucial for maintaining the health of your system. With regular maintenance, you can prevent the worst from happening — and prevention is key!
Most IT consultants simply put band-aid fixes on computer network problems and react to problems instead of looking for ways to prevent them from happening in the first place. As with most things in life, prevention really is better than cure — and it’s no surprise to find that prevention is the secret of good IT support too. Interested in learning more about our IT services? Contact us today!
If you work on a computer all day long, you’re likely to encounter tech issues. At WesTec, we believe knowledge is power. Therefore, we have compiled a list of a few quick fixes to common tech issues:
For a number of reasons, you may receive a dialogue box stating that the application you are trying to use is unresponsive. This issue will prevent you from using the application and will likely slow the performance of your system. Fortunately, there’s no need to call IT support, as this issue has an easy fix!
On PC, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete in order to access your Task Manager. From this dialogue box, you can end specific tasks. Your Task Manager will indicate which applications are unresponsive, and you can hit “End Task” to close the application.
On Mac, you can achieve the same result by pressing Command + Option + Esc. You will receive a pop-up displaying active applications. Select the unresponsive application and click “Force Quit.”
Slow or poor internet connection
There’s nothing more disruptive than a slow or poor internet connection. When you encounter this issue, minimize downtime with this quick fix.
Your wireless internet connection is supported by a router. Restart your router by unplugging its power source for 30 – 60 seconds. Then, plug the router back in. You will notice it may take a few minutes before you have a stable internet connection. If this does not work, try restarting your computer and checking your connection again.
You may also consider clearing your browsing history and cache. A collection of cookies and cache could be slowing specific sites. Every internet browser is different, but you can easily clear your cache in your general settings.
Slow computer performance
Is your system underperforming? There could be several reasons for this! Before calling IT, there are a few things you can try in order to improve the speed of your computer.
If you have too many windows or programs open and running at once, this could be affecting your computer’s performance. Close any windows or programs you are not using. If your computer is full of downloads, try deleting any files you no longer need and empty your trash bin. This will likely improve your computer’s performance, but it also wouldn’t hurt to restart your computer.
If this issue persists, we recommend calling IT, as you may have a virus that is affecting your system.
Struggling to troubleshoot your tech issues? Minimize the downtime spent searching for solutions and outsource IT support with WesTec Services! Interested in learning more? Contact us today!
Even the “smartest” devices fail sometimes, and when this occurs, your business is at risk for data loss. This can be catastrophic for productivity and revenue. Therefore, it is crucial that businesses implement a data recovery strategy. Here are five facts you need to know about data loss and recovery:
78% of data loss is a result of system failure or malfunction
You heard that right — well over half of data loss is a result of system failure! System failure is unpredictable, meaning that it is beyond human control. The only safe way to prevent data loss of this kind is be proactive and prepared for the unexpected.
60% of companies that experience data loss will go out of business within six months
In 2021, we rely on technology for almost everything. Businesses often store important or confidential information in their computer systems with no physical copies for backup. When disaster strikes, companies have a lot more to lose than just their data. In fact, 60% of companies that experience this loss will go out of business within six months.
50% of backup restores fail
Backing up your files is one of the best ways to ensure your data is safe if system failure were to occur. However, data backup is not as simple as backing up your files one time! Half of all backup restores fail. Therefore, you must regularly backup your files on several devices and servers.
1 in 5 businesses do not have a recovery plan
In an effort to cut costs, many businesses have no data recovery plan in place — as many as 1 in 5! However, not having a plan can actually be more costly, as data loss often results in downtime and even closures. Preparation and taking preventative measures is the only way to safeguard your systems and business.
96% of businesses with a recovery plan fully recover
It’s no surprise that businesses that develop and implement a data loss recovery plan are far more likely to recover after disaster. Are you prepared?
WesTec Services wants to help you safeguard your data! The professionals at WesTec Services specialize in data backup and recovery, and serve firms all across Houston. Don’t put your business at risk by being ill-prepared — schedule a call with one of our professionals today!
Most technology users are aware of the need to protect their devices but fail to understand that the mobile device can be a much bigger, and different, risk than a work desktop computer. Learn more about mobile security threats and how you can avoid them:
Is mobile security important?
While many people choose easy passwords or fail to password-protect their phone at all, mobile devices are a host to some of our most personal and sensitive data. Most users keep passwords, credit cards, and personal information all in their phones, a gold mine of information for any cyber-criminal. Protecting your cell phone is more important now than ever due to the increase of valuable data we store on it as well as the increase in mobile security breaches and cyber-criminals.
Mobile Security Breaches
Mobile security breaches are completely different from desktops. On mobile phones, there is not much need to log on, especially if the user does not have a password. Furthermore, most times apps are constantly running in the background and do not require passwords to access all of your different accounts.
Secondly, most mobile users are less likely to check the validity of a link before it is clicked on. The small phone screen makes it difficult to see an entire link and pages often show up differently or incorrectly on mobile. This makes it much easier for fake links and phishing schemes to attack your phone and threaten your security.
How to Protect Your Information
A key part of avoiding mobile security threats is understanding what apps are tracking your information and which information they are using. Many apps use information such as pictures, contacts, and internet data to make decisions about what to show you. It is important that users understand how their information is being used.
Another security recommendation is to avoid malicious apps. There are third-party app stores available on the internet with many different offerings but it is recommended that you only buy from official app stores like Apple or Google Play. These app stores are much more closely monitored and therefore safer than apps downloaded from deep in the Web.
If possible, avoid using public wifi networks. Using unsecured public WiFi can give people the opportunity to intercept your information and easily gain access to it. If you must use public WiFi, download a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, creates a private network from the public internet, allowing you to establish an encrypted and secure connection while accessing the public internet.
Mobile security threats are very real and can very dangerous to the privacy of your personal information. Choose a business technology provider that you can trust. WesTec offers many different services, from IT consulting to smartphone support. For more information, visit our website or contact us today.
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.
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