IT Security Tip #1: Bookmark the LEGITIMATE web sites you frequently

Here’s a sneaky trick used by many hackers: they purchase and set up a fraudulent web site that is a close misspelling of a legitimate one. Example: www.faceboook.com instead of www.facebook.com. All you have to do is accidentally fat-finger ONE letter in the URL and up pops a very legitimate-looking fake copy of the site you were trying to get to – and the login and links are full of key-logger malware and virus landmines waiting for you to click on them. This is particularly important for any social networks you belong to.

Security rules to keep your SMB safe

How secure is your firm’s network? If your organization lost access to all data for 48 hours due to a cyber attack, could you still operate? Today, small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly targeted by hackers. If your security isn’t up to par, you could suffer a drop in profits, a damaged reputation, and could even potentially go out of business. To prevent this from happening, here are a handful of rules to keep in mind when securing your SMB.

Recognize where your most critical data lies

Is it in the cloud? Hard drives? Backup disks? Mobile devices? Whether or not you have the budget and resources to adequately secure all of your data, the critical data that your business relies on must be sufficiently secure. If you’re unsure of what that is, ask yourself which data you would need to access within 24 hours of your business suffering a major disaster in order to ensure your operations remained up and running. Once you’ve answered this question, talk with your IT managers/company to determine the security measures that need to be implemented to protect your most vital data.

Learn the basics

After you’ve bulletproofed your critical data, it’s time to arm your network with the basics. If you haven’t already done so, ensure that you have anti-malware protection on servers and endpoints and firewalls for both wireless and wired access points.

If you have the budget, it’s worth seeking outside counsel from an IT expert fluent in today’s security best practices. They’ll ensure your firm is protected from the latest cyber threats. However, if you don’t have the budget, then it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Read up on security trends, join technology networking groups, and ask your fellow law firms about their own IT security policies.

Cash a reality check

Bad things happen to nice people. Tornadoes, fires, thieves, and faulty technology couldn’t care less about how your business donates to local charities and supports your community’s youth sports clubs. What’s more, hundreds of small businesses across the country suffer severe data loss each year. Ignorance and turning a blind eye will not protect you, so make a wise decision and automate your data to be backed up at the very least once a day. This allows your firm to remain in operation if you’re hit by a security breach.

Dispose of old technology properly

Whether it’s a computer, server or tablet, any device that stores data on it must be properly disposed of when it conks out. Specifically, the hard disk must be destroyed completely. And remember, proper data disposal is not only limited to technology, as critical information is also revealed on paper files. So if you’re migrating the content of physical documents to the cloud, make sure to shred the paper versions too.

Mind your mobiles

The mobile age is here, and along with it come employees who may access your business’s critical information via their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Recognize that many of these devices have different operating systems that require varying security measures. You and your IT manager should be aware of this, which leads to our last point…

Think policy

Have a policy for all your company’s devices. If you don’t inform your employees they shouldn’t access company information via their phones or tablets, then they’ll likely assume it’s okay to do so. But thinking policy doesn’t pertain only to mobiles. You should also determine acceptable online behavior for your employees, as well as how data should be shared and restricted. Put this in writing, and then have your employees read and sign it.

Of course, it’s not always wise to be overly restrictive. Rather, the point is to have policies in place and make everyone in your organization aware of them because if you don’t each staff member will make up their own rules.

Are you concerned your business’s security isn’t up to par? Need the guidance of a seasoned IT provider who specializes in security? Get a complimentary Security Audit by filling out the form on the top right of this page.

Things to consider when buying a new computer

Purchasing a new computer can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with its components. You’ll want to make sure you make the right choice so you don’t end up buying one that becomes obsolete within just a few months. How much money should you spend? Which model is the best for you? What about the specifications? While there is no fixed formula when it comes to buying a new computer, these guidelines will help you make an informed decision.

Desktop or Laptop?

This depends on your working style and environment. The rule is quite simple: if you rarely work out of the office, get a desktop PC. If you need to work at home, on the go, or at client meetings, then go for a laptop. It’s worth noting that desktops are generally cheaper than laptops at similar specifications, have a longer usage life, and make for easier changing or upgrading of components. Laptops, on the other hand, are very portable due to their compact size, they consume less energy, and they offer a more flexible user experience.

Processor

If you want a computer that loads programs in a flash, completes tasks almost instantly, and runs smoothly at all times, then we recommend you invest in the strongest processors available. The performance of a processor is determined by its number of cores and speed, so the bigger the number, the better.

RAM

Random Access Memory (RAM) allows your computer to perform multiple tasks at once without a hitch. Just like processors, the amount of RAM your computer has will determine how fast it will run when you work on several programs simultaneously. Nowadays, standard computers come with 1-2GB of RAM. However, we advise you to get at least 4GB, or even 8GB, of RAM so that you can navigate smoothly between tasks such as email browsing, Internet surfing, and working on word processing documents and spreadsheets.

Hard Drive

The bigger the hard drive, the more space you have to store files. If you plan on using your computer with no peripherals, you’ll want to choose a computer that offers the biggest hard drive. But remember that you can always purchase an external hard drive to transfer or store files if your current hard drive is running out of space. Another thing to consider in a hard drive is its spin speed. Modern computers usually have 5400rpm or 7200rpm drives, the latter being more efficient. The faster your hard drive disk is spinning, the quicker data can be transferred to and from it.

Operating Systems

Picking an operating system is a big decision when it comes to choosing a new computer. You’ll probably want to stick with an operating system you’re already familiar with, since it can take some time to adapt yourself to a new OS. Here are some of the popular options available on the market:

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • Linux
  • Ubuntu

Most people will just go for either Windows or Mac OS, because the complexity of Linux and Ubuntu mean they are are not popular among everyday users.

Want more hardware tips and tricks? Get in touch with our technology experts today.