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Cyber Security When On Vacation

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!

World Password Day: How to Celebrate

Purpose

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. 

 

Password Mistakes

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. 

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The Key to Disaster Recovery: Preventing Data Loss

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.

 

The Situation

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.

 

Prevention

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.

 

Conclusion

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!

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National Flash Drive Day

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.

 

Conclusion 

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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Keeping Cloud-Based Email Secure

 Introduction

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.

 

Potential Threats

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. 

 

Conclusion

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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How to Protect Your Business from Ransomware 

What is Ransomware? 

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!

 

 

 

 

Data Backup: Risks of Not Backing Up Your Company’s Data

 

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 MalfunctionsMalware

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.

 

Human error 

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. 

 

Natural disasters

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.

 

Computer, Data BackupWhile 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! 

 

 

 

The Importance of Location in Surveillance System Installation

If you own a business, protecting it is probably on the top of your priority list. Surveillance systems and cameras can help you do just that. When making the decisions about CCTV or IP cameras, there are a few different factors to consider before mounting them.

Purpose

Surveillance System Camera

The first thing you want to identify when deciding on the  location(s) of your security cameras is, what are you trying to protect? Is it one building? All the doors to the office? Outdoor equipment? Employee workspaces? Thinking about these questions will help you narrow down exactly where you need cameras and what type.  The whole purpose of a security camera is to protect your business from numerous different threats.  Making sure you are capturing the correct areas is the first step.

Power Source

Cameras need a power source to operate. Is there access to a power connection or can new wiring be installed in the areas you are wanting to place the cameras, or do you want to go with a battery powered or solar panel option.

Mounting

Thinking about the places you are installing the cameras and the material that the surveillance cameras will be mounted to. There are many different brackets and methods for mounting security cameras. Our professionals can help you decide what would work best for your needs.

Environment

There are many all-weather or weather resistant cameras. Thinking about what kind of environment your security system will need to operate in will help you decide the location and what type of camera you will need.

Lighting

Are there lights in the area you want to cover? Is it natural or artificial lights? At night is the space well lit or will you need a camera with night vision?

 

There are many factors that go into deciding the location of your security cameras and the type of system that would be best for your business. Surveillance cameras help protect your company from a range of hazards from theft and crime to workplace accidents. WesTec Services can help make sure you are getting the most out of your surveillance system and assist with answering those questions about camera placement. 

Contact us today if you have any questions about adding a surveillance system to your business or learn more about installing a WesTec Guardian CCTV/ Video Surveillance System here.

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WesTec Cabling Services

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 Cabling

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 Cabling

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.

What is a Network Health Check?

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!

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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

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