3 Reasons to Keep Your 3rd Party Software Up-to-date

Posted by Nick Stevens on May 8, 2018 8:14:00 AM

Most businesses are used to installing software patches, however most of the installed patches only relate to Microsoft products such as Windows or Office Suite.  Third party software applications like Adobe Acrobat, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Java, are often over looked or ignored.  

Here are 3 reasons to ensure your 3rd party software is fully: 

1.  Security:  According to a study from 2014, "third-party applications are the most important source of vulnerabilities with over 80% of the reported vulnerabilities in third-party applications. Operating systems are only responsible for 13% of vulnerabilities and hardware devices for 4%."  Patches for third-party software often include security enhancements and fixes for known vulnerabilities.

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Topics: third-party patches, applications, updates

Password Best Practices

Posted by Nick Stevens on May 3, 2018 8:22:00 AM

 It’s simple. Make sure that your passwords are strong and unique.

Don’t use your birth date, phone number, social security number, family members name or your pet’s name – these can be easily guessed by a cyber-crook usually just by looking over your social profiles.

It’s also important that you don’t reuse passwords between your accounts or change them too often. A good password should last a year. Although this may sound counter-intuitive, frequent updates to passwords often result in “password1”, “password2” patterns and these are easy to uncover.

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Topics: security best practice, Password security

Get More Leads By Knowing Who Visited Your Website

Posted by Nick Stevens on May 13, 2016 9:00:00 AM

The Website Lead Problem

If your business is anything like ours was, you put your website out hoping it will attract new customers and then you wait...and wait...and wait.  Maybe you do get some leads, in the form of folks calling in after visiting your website, or filling out a contact us form on your site.  However, it's really difficult to accurately tell how productive your website really is at attracting businesses interested in your products and services.  The problem is Google Analytics is telling you that hundreds or thousands of people are visiting your website, but that doesn't seem to be turning into leads to grow you business.  

If this sounds familiar, you should know you're not alone.  We frequently found ourselves making changes to our website, resulting in an uptick in visits according to Google Analytics, but still no increase in prospects contacting us.  Google Analytics is great and provides a wealth of information, but it's not something you just look at and pull out a bunch of useful data from.  Using our love of technology we started researching ways to better understand who was going to our website.  Here's what we learned...  

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Topics: website, leadfeeder, hubspot, marketing automation

Phishing Scams Target You and Your Employees, Will You Take The Bait?

Posted by Nick Stevens on Apr 12, 2016 10:00:00 AM

What is a phishing scam?

Phishing scams are an increasingly popular method criminals use to steal your sensitive information either via emails or phone calls.  These scams use social engineering to trick you and your employees into providing sensitive and private information, such as banking information, login credentials and even access to your computer.  The concept is the same as actual fishing, a piece of bait is presented to the prey, in this case the you or your employees, in hopes that you'll bite, by taking the action the attacker wants.   This could be clicking on a link, downloading software, or even just providing a little information that might be used in a more targeted phishing attack later on.  Often these emails and phone calls are made to appear as if they come from legitimate contacts and businesses like Google, Microsoft, the IRS, your bank, or even people you know.  

Types of Phishing Scams

Spear Phising:  Attacks that target specific individuals, often using personal information that was previously stolen or that is available via public records or social media.

Whaling:  An attack that targets a high level executive or official that has greater access within their organization giving the attackers greater access to the organizations confidential information if the attack succeeds.  You can read more about a recent example of Whaling here, when Russian hackers targeted senior lawyers and management at large law firms, intent on stealing information that could be used for insider trading.

Clone Phishing:  Attacks where legitimate emails from companies like banks (Chase, Bank of America, etc.), delivery companies (UPS or FedEx), or tech companies (Google, Microsoft or Facebook), are cloned to make them appear identical to a real email from one of these businesses.

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Topics: Business Continuity, it security, phishing

Advantages of Using Outsourced IT Consulting for Your Business

Posted by Nick Stevens on Apr 11, 2016 2:25:42 PM


It’s no secret that businesses large and small must effectively leverage technology to be productive, efficient and remain competitive.  For most businesses under 100 employees it’s simply not reasonable to have a dedicated IT department in-house.  In fact, most small businesses have no in-house IT resources forcing them to either manage their technology themselves, or perhaps to look at an IT consulting firm.  For those small businesses that are a little larger, with say over 50 employees, there might be a small IT department of 1-2 employees.  However it’s often difficult or impossible, for this department to fully support the needs and requirements of the business.  There simply isn’t a large enough budget, enough manpower or resources to manage day-to-day operations, as well as take on new major initiatives.

The answer to this quandary is to partner with a professional business IT consulting firm.  Now these types of firms come in a lot of different names and forms, including Managed Service Providers and Outsourced IT Consultants, but I’ll hold off describing those differences until another time.  The choice to use an outside IT consultants isn’t always an easy one, many businesses have gotten by without an IT consultant, or using one only when they absolutely have to, instead trying to perform the work themselves, or have employees untrained in IT, perform the work in the hopes of reducing costs.  This is not only inefficient and prone to numerous other problems, but stops your business from taking advantage of the many benefits a great IT consultant can deliver.

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Topics: outsourcing it, managed it services, it consulting

Proper IT Management May Have Avoided the Recent Apple v. FBI Feud

Posted by Nick Stevens on Mar 1, 2016 10:00:00 AM


Like many others, I've been following the recent story about the US Government's request that Apple unlock an encrypted iPhone, for a very important investigation into the San Bernardino tragedy.  However, it was a recent development that caused me to write this post regarding IT Management.  

I was curious why San Bernardino County, had such powerful mobile device management (MDM) software at their disposal, but didn't have it installed on a phone the county owned.  This type of software, also known as enterprise mobile management (EMM), would have allowed authorities to easily bypass the pin code and encryption on the device.  
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Topics: mobile security, IT Management, Mobile Device Management

The Rise of Ransomware Hits Hollywood Hospital

Posted by Nick Stevens on Feb 23, 2016 10:00:00 AM
On February 5th, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center was the victim of a increasingly common malware attack, also known as ransomware.
According to hospital CEO Allen Stefanek, "The amount of ransom requested was 40 Bitcoins, equivalent to approximately $17,000. The malware locks systems by encrypting files and demanding ransom to obtain the decryption key. The quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions was to pay the ransom and obtain the decryption key." 
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Topics: it security, antivirus, firewall, backup, ransomware

All Those Meetings Could Be Costing Your Business

Posted by Nick Stevens on Feb 22, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Time, it’s the one thing we all wish we had more of, yet it’s the one thing we can’t create or buy.  A poll of business owners showed 38% felt time, was the one resource above all others, which they wished they had more of.  To make the most effective use of our time we have to be efficient and productive, but that isn’t always easy. 

To learn the top 4 time wasters impacting your business, check out our our Improving Productivity to Save Time & Money whitepaper.

So what was deemed as the biggest time waster by most business owners and executives?  (hint: it's in the title of this blog post)

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Topics: Productivity, video conferencing, meeting management, productivity tips

Business Computer Buyer's Guide

Posted by Nick Stevens on Jan 19, 2016 1:00:00 PM

In need of a new business computer, but not sure what exactly to get?  Here’s our business computer buyer's guide, with details on what we recommend and why!  We help businesses buy a lot of desktops and laptop every year and we hope this guide will help you make the right decision.  If you’re interested in having us help, or purchasing a computer through us please go here.

First, it should be noted that we always recommend replacing business desktops and laptops after 3 to 4 years of use, as they can slow down considerably by this point.  Our friends at WarrantyMaster did a great write up on The True Cost of Slow Computers.  

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Topics: Buying a new computer, business laptop, business desktop

McAfee Email Security End-of-Life, What Now?

Posted by Nick Stevens on Jan 15, 2016 2:00:00 PM

In a surprise announcement, Intel Security (formerly McAfee) has decided to discontinue it's popular email security solutions and services.  McAfee's Email SaaS services (formerly MX Logic) include...

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Topics: email security, email continuity, email encyption, email archiving

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