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What is HTTPS?

What Is HTTPS? - WesTec ServicesYou 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.  

What Is HTTPS? - WesTec ServicesWhy 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!
Benefits of an Access Control System for Your Business - WesTec Services

Benefits of an Access Control System for Your Business

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!   Do you find our blog posts to be beneficial and informative? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so you don’t miss an update!
Why You Should Invest in Video Surveillance - WesTec Services

Why You Should Invest in Video Surveillance

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:  

Day-to-day security

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.  

Crime deterrence

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.   

Safety

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!
3 Crucial Security Solutions to Employ as a Business Owner - WesTec Services

3 Crucial Security Solutions to Employ as a Business Owner

A security threat of any kind can disrupt productivity and impact business. What precautions are you taking to ensure your company does not fall victim to these disruptions? Here are 3 security solutions you should employ as a business owner:  

Backup Disaster/Recovery

System failure can occur for a variety of reasons, such as virus infection, human error, and natural disaster. Regardless, system failure occurs without warning and could easily put you out of business if you are not prepared. Therefore, it is crucial you implement some sort of backup and data recovery software to protect your network. If you store important or confidential files on your computers, you simply cannot afford to be without backup and data recovery.  

Access Control Systems

Another way to protect your business against security threats would be to implement an access control system. With access control systems, facility owners may install security technology such as ID key entries and finger-printing scanners in order to track who enters the building. This technology can also record the time and date guests arrive and leave.   

CCTV or IP Security System

Video surveillance is another great solution for businesses looking to increase security efforts, especially when paired with access control systems. Installing cameras at key entrances and exits will allow a facility owner to better monitor who enters the building. Unlike backup disaster/recovery, access control systems and CCTV protect against external security threats.   Why wait until you need a solution in order to implement preventative measures? Most IT consultants simply react to problems instead of looking for ways to prevent them from happening in the first place. At WesTec Services, we believe prevention is better than a cure; prevention is key to maintaining productivity and cash flow. Protect your assets – call WesTec Services and schedule a meeting with one of our IT professionals to discuss what security solutions are best suited for your business!
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.
How to Protect Customer Data

How to Protect Customer Data

We place our information online every day. We’re more than happy to hand over our email, phone number, address and credit card information to purchase a product on the internet. In a world where ecommerce is becoming the standard, businesses must do what they can to protect customer data.

Follow Current Encryption Practices

Encryption practices change regularly to evolve and combat cybercriminals. Often, organizations who failed to stay up-to-date with the latest data protection trends fall victim to cyberattacks. To help protect customer data, create a recurring reminder to analyze your company’s security practices and make updates as necessary.

Limit Access to Customer Information

For additional protection, limit who within your business can view customer data. Not every employee needs access to customers’ personal information. When only necessary employees have access to customer information, hackers have a harder time finding a weak point to break into company databases.

Don’t Ask for Unnecessary Information

As a company, it is important to only collect the information you need to complete a transaction or service to your customer. Customers get weary when a business asks for unnecessary information. By only collecting necessary information, there is less for a hacker to steal. This protects customers and their livelihoods.

customer dataEducate All Employees on Security Policy

While you may limit who can view customer data, make sure every employee knows and understands the company security policy. Even though an employee may not have access to the customer database, their actions could affect the privacy of customers. For example, if someone were to take a company laptop to a coffee shop and used the open wifi, a nearby hacker could potentially break into the company’s database through the network and steal personal information.

Let Consumers Know Their Information is Protected

The best way to build consumer trust is transparency. Let customers know you value their privacy. Take it one step further by detailing how you work to keep customer information stored safely in a privacy policy. If you’re unsure of how your business should protect customer data, or if your company wants information on the latest encryption practices, contact the experts at WesTec Services. We can help you create strong security protocols and install encryption software for data security.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is defined as a cyber attack that uses disguised emails as weapons. Hackers try to trick email recipients into clicking links or attachments they designed to steal personal information.

What is Phishing?

Here’s an analogy to better understand: Imagine a fisherman baiting a hook and tossing it into a lake in hopes of getting a bite. If a fish bites, the fisherman reels it in. But, if it doesn’t, the fisherman fails and the fish keeps swimming. Phishing is the same way. A cybercriminal can only gain access to your accounts or information if you fall for the bait. For example, a hacker might design an email disguised as your bank telling you your account has been compromised. They ask you to click on a link to verify your identity. If you click on the link and fill out the information, you have now provided them with the information to access your finances.

Types of Phishing

Hackers attempt to get victims to do one of two things to get what they want. Some cybercriminals try to trick you into giving up your information. This is similar to the bank example above. Other hackers prefer to have you download malware. Often, these types of emails will include a download attachment, often a .zip file or Microsoft document, embedded with malicious code.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks

If you know how to spot a phishing attempt, you can avoid compromising your data and report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Here are the steps you can follow to confirm the identity of an email sender:
  • Always check the spelling of URLs in email links before you click
  • Watch out for URL redirects, where hackers sent you to a different website with identical design
  • If you receive a suspicious email from a source you know, contact them with a new email, rather than replying
To learn more about how you can protect your data and sensitive information, contact the experts at WesTec.

How to Avoid Online Scams this Holiday Season

This holiday season, experts expect cyberattacks to rise by 60 percent. Retailers and consumers will see a spike in cybersecurity alerts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with heightened risk for the remainder of the year. Below are practices WesTec recommends to avoid online scams this Christmas.

Analyze Email Advertisements and Deals

Most attacks are a result of commodity malware. Scammers send phishing emails, often posing as your favorite brand, to try and steal your financial information. These emails often include misspelled words and misused grammar. If you suspect any email you receive is a scam, avoid clicking any URLs. This is how scammers steal your data or install malware on your computer. Instead, to verify the email came from the true brand, visit their website and see if they are offering the same deal.

Shop from Established Brands

Sometimes deals look too good to pass up. If an unknown website is offering a seemingly impossible deal, you could be looking at an online scam designed to steal your credit card information. Shoppers can look for the https in a retailer’s site URL, compared to http. The ‘s’ stands for secure and ensures all communications between the browser and website are encrypted. 

Avoid Public WiFi

If you plan to shop online, avoid purchasing on public WiFi. These networks are often unsecured, meaning anyone with a computer acumen can view what you are browsing and steal your personal information.

Use a Credit Card

Pay with a credit card when making gift purchases. A credit card offers the best liability protection against potential fraud, unlike debit cards. If scammers gained access to your debit card information, they could drain your accounts.

Make Sure All Passwords are Unique

It’s easier to use the same password for all accounts. But is it safer? If a hacker discovered your login credentials, they could easily hack into other accounts and steal your information. To best protect yourself, your data, and your financial information, make sure each account has a random and unique password. For more information about password security, visit our recent blog post. With the holiday season quickly approaching, be proactive in identifying online scams. For more information about cybersecurity and avoiding attacks from scammers, contact us.

Hack the Hackers with Password Security

hacker attempting to steal passwordsHave you ever been the victim of a cyber attack? Do you use the same password for all of your accounts? Follow our guide to outsmart the hackers with increased password security.

How Hackers Get Your Passwords

Before you can better protect your accounts, you must understand how cybercriminals access steal your information. Typically, a hacker will compromise your account in one of three ways. 
  • Personal attack: Hackers target your account specifically. They will typically guess your email password and use password recovery options to access other accounts.
  • Brute-Force attack: Hackers systematically check all possible passwords until the correct one is found.
  • Data Breach: Hackers attack large companies, resulting in millions of compromised accounts.  

What Makes a Good Password?

Ideally, your password should be at least 16 letters and contain a combination of numbers, symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters. Passwords should not include any repetition, dictionary words, usernames, pronouns or IDs. Make a strong password by thinking of a phrase and then use the initials of each word, as well as the numbers and symbols, to combat potential attacks. For example, if your phrase is “Do you think a hacker will guess my 16 character password for Facebook?!”, your password might be: Dytahwgm16cp4F?!

Enable Two-Step Authentication When Possible

If any sites or accounts offer two-factor authentication, take advantage of it. This system works to limit hacking attempts by making a user authenticate their identity with a second method of verification. Check out our recent blog post about two-factor authentication for more information.

Use a Password Manager

The best thing you can do for your accounts is have a different password for each one. However, if you follow this one cardinal rule of password security, keeping up with all passwords can be difficult. Using a password manager allows you to save all of your passwords in a secure spot with a strong master password.  WesTec offers consulting for any individuals or businesses wanting more information about password security, network installation, or managed IT services. Contact us for more information.
two-factor authentication benefits

The Benefits of Two-Factor Authentication

As technology continues to advance, additional security measures become necessary. Until now, single-factor authentication has been the standard. Single-factor authentication requires a username and password to enter an account. Consumers need additional security measures as cybercriminals become smarter. This is where two-factor authentication helps protect sensitive information and log-in credentials.  Two-factor authentication (2FA) isn’t a new concept, but is a necessary additional layer of security. It usually works by requiring the submission of a username and password, then asks for something additional to prove you are who you say you are. For example, some businesses will send a pin number to your cell phone you must provide for entry into a site.

Improved Security

With a second form of identification needed for verification, two-factor authentication makes it harder for an attacker to impersonate a user. In the event a cybercriminal gains password access, they can’t produce the additional element required to authenticate.

Increased Productivity and Flexibility

Employees can work remotely when their employers implement a second factor of authentication. They can securely access important applications, data, documents and back-office systems from any device or location with little risk.

Lower Security Management Costs

Approximately 40% of all help desk calls are related to password resets. With secondary authentication, businesses can expect less of the budget to be spent on security needs. It provides a safe way for employees or consumers to reset their account password by using the additional element to prove their identity, meaning they can handle the issue without contacting an IT professional.

Reduce Fraud

Identity theft is a common goal of cybercriminals. With two-factor authentication, businesses add extra mobile protection for customers, the site and the transaction. Adding a second element in your authentication process builds a sure brand consumers trust.  Ready to add two-factor authentication to your website? Contact your Houston IT experts.

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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