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Essential Cybersecurity Practices for Small Businesses

The Importance of Regularly Backing Up Data

How to Protect Data in Remote Work

The Importance of Password Variety

How to Recognize Phishing Attempts

What is Cloud Technology?

Spyware: How to Protect Yourself

3 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Surveillance

The 4 Most Vulnerable Industries to Cyber Attacks

VPN Security Risks: What to Look Out For

Posts Tagged ‘#ITConsulting’

Essential Cybersecurity Practices for Small Businesses

Small businesses are an essential and often beloved part of communities. However, their size and statistically weaker security measures put them at risk for cyber attacks. Read on to learn helpful tips to protect small businesses from losing important data or customer information.

Limit Access to Information

As a business with a small number of employees, it can be easy to provide everyone in the organization with access to all data. However, it is essential to keep track of who has access to what information to reduce the risk of hackers preying on employees. Employees should only have access to data that is essential to their role and should not be able to install software without permission. This ensures that employees do not accidentally install software that contains malware or mistakenly fall for a phishing attempt.

Secure Wifi Networks

Having an encrypted and password-protected wifi network is essential for protecting any business from attacks. If your business has a public wifi network for customers, consider having a second protected network for things like cash registers or computers that store important data. Wifi networks can even be hidden from the public in instances like these, so taking this step can further reduce the risk of someone unknown connecting to the network that powers computers with sensitive data.

Training Employees

Creating data protection guidelines for employees to follow is essential in protecting important data. This can be password regulations, anti-virus software on computers, and training sessions to ensure employees know how to spot various cybersecurity threats. Protecting data in a small business is everyone’s responsibility, so it is important to ensure that everyone in an organization is properly trained and educated about cyber risks.

Consult with Cybersecurity Experts

Consulting with experts in the cybersecurity field is essential in protecting businesses. There are many cyber threats beyond the obvious phishing and hacking attempts. 41% of small business owners believe that cyber-attacks only happen to larger businesses, but 41% of small businesses have been victims of cyber attacks. Small businesses are much more vulnerable than larger businesses, so consulting with professionals is essential to ensure the security of a small business’ data.

The world of IT is evolving at an unprecedented pace and being driven by the rise of emerging technologies. Businesses that embrace these trends stand to gain a competitive edge, unlocking new possibilities and efficiencies. As we navigate the future of IT, staying informed and adapting to these transformative technologies will be crucial for organizations and individuals alike. Learn about which of our IT services may suit your business’s needs the best. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

The Importance of Regularly Backing Up Data

Backing up data is important for every business. About 30% of businesses have lost data in the past five years due to an outage. Making sure data is backed up properly and often is crucial for a business’s continued success and seamless operation.

Many businesses report that backing up data is “on their to-do list,” but seldom actually follow through. Backing up data is not something that a business should procrastinate on, especially since today’s hard drives store 500 times the amount of data than hard drives did a decade ago. Losing an immense amount of data can be devastating for a business and may take time to fully recover from.

Backing up data is important, but how often does it need to be done? WesTec recommends backing up data every night and performing a full system restore once a month to ensure a backup system is working.

Many computers have this feature built-in and can be set to automatically backup files at a certain time every day. An optimal time for this may be at the end of the work day when computers are still on and can go into sleep mode when the data backup is complete. If backups are done every night, it is very easy to spot when files become corrupted because it will be front and center the next morning.

A large portion of the time, data loss occurs from a hard drive or software malfunction. While malfunctions are not preventable, and all drives will eventually fail at some point, being prepared by having backup data stored is essential. Data loss can mean loss of business, time, and money.

WesTec offers a free report for small business owners on the health of their network. We will outline three critical checks: the most expensive mistake small business owners often make, six critical security measures, and how to greatly reduce computer crashes. Our IT consultants will offer free advice in this simple report.

Additionally, WesTec offers stress-free data backup and disaster recovery solutions. We will be the liaison between any technology vendors that may be required, taking all of the frustrating communication out of the picture. We offer a variety of data backup solutions. Contact us today and our IT consultants will gladly help find the option that works best for your business.

The world of IT is evolving at an unprecedented pace and being driven by the rise of emerging technologies. Businesses that embrace these trends stand to gain a competitive edge, unlocking new possibilities and efficiencies. As we navigate the future of IT, staying informed and adapting to these transformative technologies will be crucial for organizations and individuals alike. Learn about which of our IT services may suit your business’s needs the best. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

How to Protect Data in Remote Work

Data protection is more important than ever as data leaks and hacks are becoming more and more common. As remote work has risen in popularity, the job market has proven that this form of work environment is here to stay. It can be difficult to keep track of a company’s data when employees are in different locations, but having proper standards and procedures in place can help ensure data is protected.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Working from a public location through public wifi, such as a cafe, has more risks involved with security. A VPN connects through a secure server and adds another layer of security, especially when working through an open network like public wifi. Even though a VPN is most useful for public wifi networks, it can also be a good idea to err on the side of caution and use one while working from home.

Keep Work and Personal Separate

Setting clear boundaries and using a work-designated computer is one of the best ways to ensure that sensitive company data is protected when working remotely. If this isn’t an option, having separate profiles on a computer for work and personal can help achieve this separation as well. Additionally, if using a personal device is necessary, keeping it up to date is vitally important.

A personal computer isn’t connected to a company’s network so it likely won’t have the same antivirus software and other safeguards. Additionally, companies are able to push updates onto all company-owned devices, but it’s often not possible to do this with an employee’s personal computer. Ensuring that software is up to date is an important step in ensuring that data is protected when an employee isn’t physically in the office.

Employee Training

Ensuring that employees have adequate training is important in all aspects of a business, especially data protection. Some employees may not know the importance of these policies, so training is important when working remotely because they no longer have IT nearby.

These regular training sessions may include things like how to spot phishing emails, how to use a password manager, and how to set software to automatically update. Adequate employee training is essential to ensure that a company is safe from cyber threats.

Reliable Network

Ensuring that employees have a reliable network, whether in-office or remotely, is important. WesTec offers free computer network health check audits to see if a network is properly maintained for maximum speed, security, and performance. We can also provide guidance on remote access technology as well as upgrades of a computer system.

The world of IT is evolving at an unprecedented pace and being driven by the rise of emerging technologies. Businesses that embrace these trends stand to gain a competitive edge, unlocking new possibilities and efficiencies. As we navigate the future of IT, staying informed and adapting to these transformative technologies will be crucial for organizations and individuals alike. Learn about which of our IT services may suit your business’s needs the best. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

The Importance of Password Variety

A strong password is the key to protecting your business’ information. However, it is also important to not use the same password for everything in an organization. If one password is guessed, that could allow access to an entire system.

An easy way to have password variety is to have different passwords for different programs or systems. Each computer should have a different password, and the more sensitive the information is, the more complex the password should be. Using common words is also a sign of a weak password and should be avoided.

It is important to not leave passwords on notes in an office where they are easily accessible. If passwords are difficult to remember, consider saving them to a computer browser but keeping the password to the computer hidden. Additionally, using the strong password that a browser or other program recommends may be a good option. A password manager is also a very helpful tool that stores passwords with the input of a primary password. However, in using a password manager, be sure that the primary password is also strong.

If using a password manager is not an option and remembering a password is an issue, consider using abbreviations for something memorable. Replacing letters with numbers or special characters in a common phrase is an easy way to have a complex yet memorable password.

A good password is usually within 8-12 characters and has plenty of special characters such as a hashtag, question mark, or an exclamation point. A complex password is the safest because hackers generally cycle through simple words to gain access to a system.

All in all, having password variety is a great practice to protect your business’ important data.

The world of IT is evolving at an unprecedented pace and being driven by the rise of emerging technologies. Businesses that embrace these trends stand to gain a competitive edge, unlocking new possibilities and efficiencies. As we navigate the future of IT, staying informed and adapting to these transformative technologies will be crucial for organizations and individuals alike. Learn about which of our IT services may suit your business’s needs the best. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

How to Recognize Phishing Attempts

 

Phishing is a strategy that scammers use to gather personal information and attempt to insert malware into computers. Scammers commonly pose as a major company or an individual within a user’s company. Phishing can be harmful, but there are common signs to look out for to avoid theft of personal information. 

Misspellings

Phishing emails can impersonate major companies or individuals within an organization, but there will usually be obvious misspellings. These mistakes can range from improper grammar within the body of the email or a slight misspelling in the person’s email address. At first glance, it may look like a company email address, but be sure to double-check the address before responding to an email from someone unknown.

Links

Additionally, phishing emails rely on users clicking links within the email to steal personal information. The links could be for invoice numbers, “suspicious login attempts,” or requesting confirmation of financial information. These are all prime ways to steal financial or login information. Be wary of links and only click them if it’s from a trustworthy sender.

No Personalization

Generally, if a company sends an email requesting confirmation of some kind, it will probably be personalized for the recipient. Scammers don’t know personal information unless it’s given to them so emails will generally have generic greetings without any identifying information. Real companies will not request financial or login information via email, as it is not secure.

The world of IT is evolving at an unprecedented pace and being driven by the rise of emerging technologies. Businesses that embrace these trends stand to gain a competitive edge, unlocking new possibilities and efficiencies. As we navigate the future of IT, staying informed and adapting to these transformative technologies will be crucial for organizations and individuals alike. Learn about which of our IT services may suit your business’s needs the best. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

 

What is Cloud Technology?

“The cloud” is becoming an increasingly popular term, but what exactly does it mean? Utilizing cloud technology means accessing data and programs via the internet rather than a physical hard drive. Cloud storage allows users to save physical space that a traditional hard drive would take up in addition to freeing space on their computer.

Cloud technology differs from traditional hard drives because it offers “redundant storage,” meaning data is stored on multiple servers. This lowers the costs of having servers on-site and saves an organization time from having to troubleshoot since redundant storage ensures no downtime if one server goes down. If data needs to be restored, the recovery process is quick and seamless. Additionally, businesses usually do not have to manage their servers, as they are oftentimes held in data centers. 

There are several different types of clouds, including public, private, and hybrid. There is a cloud type suitable for every business.

Private

A single business or organization usually uses a private cloud. It can be managed by a company’s on-site IT team or a third-party data center.

Public

Public clouds are owned by third parties, which are generally major companies. These are managed by the major company and accessed via the Internet.

Hybrid

A hybrid cloud is a combination of both public and private clouds. Companies tend to store more sensitive information on the private cloud and utilize the public cloud for less sensitive data.

Having good data storage and backups is crucial to the success of every business. Cloud storage provides peace of mind that your business’ data is protected.

The world of IT is evolving at an unprecedented pace and being driven by the rise of emerging technologies. Businesses that embrace these trends stand to gain a competitive edge, unlocking new possibilities and efficiencies. As we navigate the future of IT, staying informed and adapting to these transformative technologies will be crucial for organizations and individuals alike. Learn about which of our IT services may suit your business’s needs the best. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

Spyware: How to Protect Yourself

Have you ever got the feeling that someone is watching you? That feeling might not be completely out of pocket. Whoever is watching you may not be outside your window or monitoring your physical movements, but are viewing your activity on your electronic devices. Anyone is vulnerable to spyware, and can be a victim of theft or hacking at any moment. Here’s how to detect it and what to do to protect yourself.

 

What is Spyware?

Spyware is a type of malicious software designed to secretly gather information from a user’s computer or device without their knowledge or consent. This information can include sensitive personal data, such as login credentials, financial information, browsing habits, and more. This malware is hidden from the user’s naked eye and is used without their awareness. This is then followed by sending the collected data to a remote server or third party. Types can vary, but can derive from email attachments, downloading pirated software, and clicking on questionable links.

 

Detection & Prevention

Detecting spyware on your computer or device can be challenging because it is designed to operate discreetly. However, there are several signs and methods you can use to detect the presence of spyware such as installing antivirus softwares. These programs are designed to detect and remove spyware and other malware, ridding your device of potential threats. Run regular scans to check for any infections and be sure to keep them updated. Be vigilant for any unusual behavior on your device such as sluggish performance, crashing, freezing, pop-ups, or suspicious browser settings.

 

Spyware can be unpredictable at times, but it’s important to stay aware and look for any signs of malicious behavior. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

3 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Surveillance

In today’s world, cameras can be found all around us. Whether they’re hidden in doorbells, on the side of buildings, or even in the hands of smartphone users, they can be found just about anywhere. Though, not all company owners choose to invest in surveillance cameras, and can pay the price because of it. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider adding video surveillance to your business.

 

Prevents Theft

Without surveillance cameras, there is a high chance that theft will commonly occur within your business. Installing visible cameras will deter most people from stealing when they know they’re being watched. This way, you can monitor both your customers and employee’s activity throughout the day. It can also be useful to have in case of an emergency or robbery, having the ability to provide visual evidence to police or insurance companies.

 

Increases Safety 

Safety should be everyone’s number one priority in the workplace, especially in industrial type businesses. Having a surveillance camera can be the quickest way to reach an employee or customer who is in need of help. It’s a sense of security for those operating heavy machinery, walking alone to their car in the evening, or for any other unexpected accident. This will make those who work for you feel more comfortable with their surroundings, which is critical as a business owner. 

 

Saves Money

It might not be well-known to everyone, but having surveillance cameras can typically call for a discount. When it comes to insurance, premiums can be quite expensive when covering commercial properties. Some insurance companies will lower your premium when you invest in video surveillance, which can lower the chances of criminal activity.


Adding surveillance to your business is like adding an extra layer of protection to your assets. Give yourself the piece of mind and install surveillance for the sake of your company. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

The 4 Most Vulnerable Industries to Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks have become a large issue and concern for many businesses. Since technology continues to change and develop everyday, it has revealed vulnerability in protective digital software. The result of this being the significant rise of security breaches, with any and all industries being at risk. However, there are those who are at a greater risk than others, and are commonly targeted by cyber attackers. Here are the 4 most vulnerable industries to cyber attacks, and why they require higher level security.

 

Healthcare

The healthcare industry is specifically targeted based on the amount of sensitive and personal data they handle. Ransomware poses a great threat to healthcare companies, with cybercriminals making their data inaccessible unless a payment has been made. With healthcare industries possessing multiple patient files, personal information, and payment statements, the attackers are aware that the organization cannot bear the expense of losing data. 

 

Government Agencies

When it comes to government data, there’s no surprise as to why cyber criminals would desire access. Government agencies contain personal identifying information, classified documents, and military secrets. These agencies face threats such as cyber espionage, which is the spying and installation of spyware to government devices. They also must look out for insider threats, which is the leaking of confidential information through their own employees. This can be both accidental and deliberate. Phishing can also trick employees into sending sensitive information to the wrong recipient.

 

Financial Institutions

Due to the large amount of money and financial information banks and other financial services manage, cybercriminals have all the reason to target them. Money has become extremely digital, which has created new ways to exploit any weaknesses in the system. Thieves will phish, use mobile malware, and hack into banking accounts and commit fraudulent transactions. 

 

Retail

Shops in-store and online are vulnerable to the theft of valuable data. They struggle with the issue of credit card fraud, online data breaches, and identity theft. Credit card fraud can cause all kinds of unwanted trouble for retailers, and can lose profit at the hands of fraudulent purchases. Identity theft poses a threat because of thieves that steal other user information to create credit card accounts to make purchases. Customer credentials are at risk at the expense of data breaches, so security software should always be stable and secure.

 

These industries might be commonly targeted, but any company of any size can be at a risk of cyberattacks. Taking preventative measures will protect your company, your employees, and those who keep you in business. If you have any questions about our IT services, contact us today! Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our latest blogs!

 

VPN Security Risks: What to Look Out For

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.

VPN Risks

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!

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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