Archive for October, 2015

Camping Anyone?

Published by admin on October 7th, 2015

Over the weekend the family and i decided to go camping. Now to begin this story you need to know that i grew up in Wasilla, Alaska ( and yes i went to school with Sara). So camping means something completely different to me. As many of you remember Camping use to be a long trip to the woods with at best a sleeping bag and some minimal rations (and if you were very lucky you had a tent). Long were days where you slept with a bolder or stick poking you in the back! You awoke to a growling belly or at least you hope that was the thing growling. You promptly proceeded to (quickly to avoid shaking in your PJ’s) start a fire and cook your breakfast with the most important being some resemblance of coffee…. camping

so back to the present. After purchasing all the needed luxuries of modern camping (long gone was the tattered sleeping bag, mre’s, and coffee kettle). Now the trunk was full of sleeping bags, tents, coolers, battery operated lanterns, flashlights, charcoal, lighter fluid, lighters and last but not least computers (ill come back to the computer). We Arrived at the state operated campsite with all the luxuries including electric and water right to the campsite….. I soon found myself wrestling with the two three man tents (note only 3 people in the vehicle). After only a mere 2 hours my fiances son and i managed to erect some semblance of a tent. I dont remember camping being so much work. Anyways back to the adventure. We spent the rest of the day starting fires, setting up bedding and cooking dinner (which consisted of opening cans, and grilling store bought hamburgers and hot dogs). Oh i almost forgot we did the try to roast marshmallows which prompting escalated in to a marshmallow throwing war.

After the dust settled (at only 7:00 pm) boredom set in my fellow tent wrestler decided to play on his laptop. I watched with a grin on my face as he proudly pulled his laptop out and chuckled (inside) as the words “hey Jim there is no wireless out here” were spoken.

I guess maybe times have changed or maybe I’m just getting older but camping sure has changed. Because by 10:00 pm we were packing everything back into the car for the hour and a half trip home.


10 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business

Published by admin on October 6th, 2015

  

Broadband and information technology are powerful factors in small businesses reaching new markets and increasing productivity and efficiency. However, businesses need a cybersecurity strategy to protect their own business, their customers, and their data from growing cybersecurity threats.
1. Train employees in security principles

Establish basic security practices and policies for employees, such as requiring strong passwords, and establish appropriate Internet use guidelines that detail penalties for violating company cybersecurity policies. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data.
2. Protect information, computers and networks from cyber attacks

Keep clean machines: having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Set antivirus software to run a scan after each update. Install other key software updates as soon as they are available.
3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection

A firewall is a set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Make sure the operating system’s firewall is enabled or install free firewall software available online. If employees work from home, ensure that their home system(s) are protected by a firewall.
4. Create a mobile device action plan

Mobile devices can create significant security and management challenges, especially if they hold confidential information or can access the corporate network. Require users to password protect their devices, encrypt their data, and install security apps to prevent criminals from stealing information while the phone is on public networks. Be sure to set reporting procedures for lost or stolen equipment.
5. Make backup copies of important business data and information

Regularly backup the data on all computers. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly and store the copies either offsite or in the cloud.
6. Control physical access to your computers and create user accounts for each employee

Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks

If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure, encrypted, and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.
8. Employ best practices on payment cards

Work with banks or processors to ensure the most trusted and validated tools and anti-fraud services are being used. You may also have additional security obligations pursuant to agreements with your bank or processor. Isolate payment systems from other, less secure programs and don’t use the same computer to process payments and surf the Internet.
9. Limit employee access to data and information, limit authority to install software

Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.
10. Passwords and authentication

Require employees to use unique passwords and change passwords every three months. Consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multi-factor authentication for your account.


Break-fix Vs. Preventative Maintenance IT

Published by admin on October 5th, 2015

Break-fix Vs. Preventative Maintenance IT

Many years ago when i first started in the IT field I noticed that spent 90% of my time chasing problems. Seems that when people start out in this field they always try to keep ahead of the problems, But sadly more often then not its day in and day out of putting out fires.  I think for most, including myself back then, we create the perfect problem by having to many customers. who suffers? (besides your IT guy staying up all night either working or sweating when the next disaster will happen)  well the customer does. computer on fire

Here are a few recommendations as that former IT guy i would recommend to any computer user and/or business owner to always have in place.

  • antivirus with updates …avast, trend micro, avg and even microsoft security essentials are all good choices (no brainer)
  • A solid backup program both local and remote (i always recommend Enveloc)
  • spyware/maleware cleaner (spybot, malewarebytes)
  • never use POP email try to set as IMAP.  POP email is not recoverable unless backed up.