The purpose of VPN security is to protect and encrypt sensitive data by masking IP addresses. VPN stands for “virtual private network”, and they are used to conceal browsing activity, personal identity, and current location. VPN’s make users typically feel safer and more secure, but are they capable of posing potential threats? Learn how and why VPNs can strengthen your company’s security and how to avoid a potential breach.
Why Use a VPN?
The benefits of using a VPN can apply to anyone wishing to protect their digital privacy from cyber attackers. It adds an extra layer of security when using public Wi-Fi, which can be dangerous if making online purchases or answering emails. A VPN will hide your banking information and confidential passwords from those who prey on such information. Working remotely has become a popular method of employment, but it can increase the risks of cyber threats when working outside of the designated office. When you are not under the protection of your employer’s provided Wi-Fi or protected network, it can put your company’s data at risk. The use of a VPN can help secure your work-related material when utilizing work devices outside of the office.
While VPN’s are known to help keep data safer, there are also security risks to consider when choosing to use one. The idea that using a basic consumer VPN will retain complete anonymity is a huge misconception that will make you a more vulnerable user. With a VPN or not, no one is likely completely anonymous when using the internet. It’s important to bring this to the attention of your employees to deter them from using social media on work devices or accepting cookies on flimsy websites. Make this known to avoid cyber breaches from occurring and harmful malware from being downloaded. Investing in a secure and specialized VPN can improve security among your company, so avoid using basic consumer VPNs that might feel safe, but are not enough for business level security.
Using a VPN can help protect your users from base-line threats, but it’s crucial to understand that the internet is a dangerous place. Suspicious activity will continue to arise no matter how secure we feel. Awareness is key to limiting harmful threats and keeping your sensitive information safe. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!
As we evolve in the technological world, our demands for more advanced technology grows. With the use of artificial intelligence, we can achieve endless possibilities in both businesses and entertainment as A.I. continues to make breakthroughs. With the amount of beneficial uses A.I. has offered us in our daily lives, it seems appropriate to celebrate it! Artificial Intelligence Appreciation Day is a day to acknowledge the contribution A.I. has made, and how it’s changed the course of how we perform in many industries today.
Where A.I. is Found Today
A.I. has proven itself useful in today’s day and age, but where could we find it most commonly? Today, artificial intelligence can be used to improve customer experience, especially for those who enjoy shopping. The E-commerce industry has found a new and personalized way to engage with their customers, like making recommendations that correlate with a user’s purchase and browsing history. Many companies also refer customers to an A.I. chatbot that can answer frequently asked questions. This provides the customer with a quicker and more efficient fix, rather than having to wait on the phone for a live customer service operator. Education has also utilized A.I., giving administrators and other faculty members the ability to educate more students at a time. This enables teachers to digitize their programs, creating educational content for a larger audience. Healthcare has also made some productive breakthroughs with the help of A.I., used in machines that can detect diseases and analyze lab work much quicker than the average worker.
How To Celebrate
If you want to find ways to celebrate and appreciate artificial intelligence, simply take the time to research it. Where you find A.I. might surprise and fascinate you, and learning about what it does to improve our daily lives is the best way to express gratitude. You may be surprised to learn that A.I. is even found in your favorite video game. Pick up the nearest PC or controller and interact with the game’s NCP characters. If you wish to become more hands-on, create your own project by teaching yourself or others how to program, a skill that could benefit you and your future self later down the line. If you happen to spark up an interest, convince yourself to attend A.I. conventions to gather and converse with other A.I. enthusiasts.
Finding ways to celebrate A.I. are endless, just like the capabilities it continues to accumulate everyday.
It’s common to jump on a website and immediately see a pop-up regarding accepting cookies, and can even be mandatory if you wish to continue to the site. But have you ever truly understood what exactly you’re accepting? Cookies and privacy terms can vary website to website, but here’s what you should know before you make the click.
What Are Cookies?
When To Say No
It can be hard to differentiate between a trustworthy or an untrustworthy site, so always pay attention to what terms you accept. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!
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.
WesTec offers a full line of Houston cabling services including Voice, Data, Fiber, and Coaxial cabling. In this article, we will take you through the specifications of each one, and what makes each of them different.
Voice and Data Cabling
Voice and data cabling are used for just that – voice and data. They are inclusive but not limited to phone system cabling, data network cabling, server room cabling, surveillance cameras, video cabling, and more. Distinctly, data cabling is inclusive to two different types of cables – copper and fiber. The type of cables used define the standards of the method used. Furthermore, these types of cabling make up offices or campus networks, which are able to adapt with new and upcoming technologies; in the long run, allowing businesses to expand.
Fiber cables are able to connect multiple cabinets together and often include a center glass core surrounded by layers of protective materials. This type of cabling avoids electrical obstruction by transmitting light, making them the perfect method for environments with vast amounts of electrical interference. Fiber cabling is now the standard for connective networks across buildings due to their resistance of moisture and lightning.
Coaxial cables are probably one of the most complex types of cabling to install due to their complex infrastructure. These cables have a single copper conductor at the center, a braided metal shield, and a plastic layer in the center which provides insulation. The metal shield is used to block outside interference from motors, fluorescent lights, and other computers. Additionally, coaxial cabling is resistant to obstruction and can handle larger cable lengths between network devices.
Cabling services differ according to your needs, and many beyond just these four exist. WesTec Services is ready to assist you with your cabling needs. For additional information, questions, or comments, contact us or read here.
For a business or home to run successfully, strong network connection in computers is essential. WesTec offers computer Network Health Checks, but what does that entail?
If your computer(s) are running slower than usual, your network is glitching, or there have been security breaches, you might be due for a Network Health Check.
What Are Network Health Checks?
Network Health Check can be defined as a way to test the critical components of a network for performance, reliability, and other security issues. These checks provide security which ensure that your network is sustained to best practices and maximize availability. Because networks can be at risk of security breaches, and malfunction, checking your network health should be done at least once a quarter; some even request that checks are done with more frequency to prevent data loss, poor performance, and others.
Where We Come In
At WesTec, we come to you, on site, and complete a Health Check Audit and check for maximum speed, security, and performance. During the audit, we would also check for any problems such as spyware, failing hard drives, or out-of-date security patches. In addition, we check your computer’s network security, backups, and other issues which could lead to expensive repair bills. At the end of the audit, a report will be provided to you with all information regarding the vulnerability of your network as well as what can be done to fix it.
Now that you have a detailed definition and explanation of a Network Health Check, you might find yourself in need of one. We work diligently to make sure that your network is safe, strong, and reliable. Network Health Audits are only one of the many services we offer. Click here for our services or for any additional questions or requests, contact us. We are more than happy to help!
Now, more than ever, we have to be cautious of our personal documents – whether professional or personal. Information can be easily leaked, lost, or hacked. Follow this step-by-step guide to safely store confidential data:
First, enable full disk encryption. This protects all confidential data if its devices fall into the wrong hands. There is software that does the job for you on Microsoft and Apple devices. It is important to note that said software should not be turned off or deleted once applied – this will assure that data stays safe.
Secure Hard Disks and Flash Drives
Second, important data can be stolen through physical media such as external hard disks or flash drives rather than digitally. Said devices should never be taken out of the place of business or left unattended. In addition, there should always be a backup to your backup, which is where encryption comes into play.
Third, any data that has not been previously stored/encrypted should never be transferred over the internet. Sending important data over programs such as e-mail or file sharing services is sometimes required, but never ideal; however, the easiest way to avoid data theft is to encrypt the data and put it in a password-protected archive. Passwords for the archive should be set through a different channel.
Safely Delete Old Data
Fourth, companies sometimes hoard information that they no longer need. Most times, said information has classified or important data that should not be possessed by the wrong person. The best way to keep the information safe is by getting rid of it once it is of no use to the company. Additionally, never forget to also delete it from the Recycle bin as well; for anything sensitive, use a file-shredder to prevent recovery.
Lastly, any archives or passwords created for data storage should be safely secured. Losing and leaking passwords is not a difficult task. The easiest way to keep passwords secure is through programs such as Kasperski.
To Store Confidential Data is simple, when the right steps are followed. Practice the above, and your data will be protected for years to come. For any additional questions or requests, contact us!
When it comes to your business’ IT, it can be overwhelming and often confusing. Having a managing service run all your IT, it can eliminate any stress associated with it. Many benefits include cost, time, effectiveness and less overall stress.
Most managing service providers work directly with the client to ensure the best pricing options for your IT department. This may include a better way of securing data, sharing documents, communications and more.
One of the biggest benefits of a managed service is that it will give you and your business more time for other things. Handling IT services on your own can take up lots of time, leaving you scrambling to finish projects. A managing service can take everything IT off your hands and ultimately free up some time.
IT can be difficult to understand, so when businesses try to handle all their IT items, they can do things incorrectly. This will decrease your efficiency and often prolong tasks. When you let a service handle everything IT, they will ensure that everything will be correct and allow you and your business to work effectively.
When companies are growing and hiring more employees, they tend to depend on their technology department to be able to provide all necessary information and items needed. When a managing service is in control of IT, they can be ready for your company to continuously grow and change without having to worry about when things will be prepared.
IT itself can be incredibly stressful. This high amount of stress can harm work efficiency and be detrimental to the company. Hiring an IT managing service team will take all the stress off of you and your employees. They will do their job, to ensure that you can do your job.
WesTec Services is your one-stop-source for all things IT support & consulting in Houston! Does your business require network installation, backup & disaster recovery, managed services, consulting, and more? We’ve got you covered! Contact us 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.,
Houston, TX 77018