Top New Additions To Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 has rolled out an impressive array of new features that business owners will appreciate. These range from handy mobile-to-PC interactions to intuitive, behind-the-scenes IT integrations to keep a business running smoothly. Here are some of the standout new additions to Office 365 that were specifically created with business managers in mind.
1. New Digital Pen Features
The Microsoft digital pen has some new tricks up its sleeve that make it easier than ever to edit your important documents. It’s like having an entire editing suite rolled into a single device, and it all but eliminates the need to type or use the mouse while editing. The digital pen lets you insert words or line breaks, split or change words, cross out paragraphs, circle text and leave detailed comments.
2. Embedded 3D Animations
3D animations can now be embedded directly into Word documents and PowerPoint slides with no coding required. Microsoft made this extremely easy to use: Insert a 3D model into the slide, select from a list of pre-built animations, click ‘Apply’ and the animation does its thing.
3. Blurred Background on Video Calls
Business managers who use a remote workforce will appreciate this feature. Video callers can now automatically blur out their backgrounds to minimize distractions and increase meeting productivity. No more worrying about video calls from the home office or a busy workplace — just blur it out.
4. Powerful PowerPoint Upgrades
This is a really cool feature for managers. Need a PowerPoint slide in a hurry? Office 365 now lets you draw your slides by hand on a tablet and convert your “chicken scratches” into a professionally-designed PowerPoint presentation in just a few minutes. PowerPoint now has digital design recommendations that it will make to recreate your sketches. This includes layouts, text suggestions and icons. The end result will look like you had the graphic design department laboring over it for hours.
5. Publish-to-Web Upgrades
Microsoft Office has allowed users to publish documents as web pages for years, but this feature just keeps getting better. Office 365 now allows users to publish docs as Sway websites by clicking ‘File’ and ‘Transform.’ It’s a big time-saving feature. It can also be used for publishing training documents, newsletters, pitch decks and product pages.
6. Compatibility Checks
This Office 365 addition allows you to make system upgrades without suffering any downtime from incompatibility issues. Microsoft’s most recent desktop application lets you check compatibility of apps before you run a system upgrade. Managers can save time and money, and keep things running smoothly by using this upgrade.
7. Robust Data Compliance
Office 365 has a long list of compliance certifications that are now directly integrated with the software. This is an incredibly helpful feature for public-private businesses, government organizations and non-profits that deal with a lot of regulatory compliance issues. For example, Office 365 now offers HIPAA and HITRUST CSF Certification for medical organizations, which allows them to remain security- and privacy-compliant in their documentation. Other certifications include AICPA Service Organization Control Reports, FedRAMP authorizations, FIPS 140-2 Cryptography, and much more. Microsoft also maintains a dedicated compliance team that monitors regulatory changes and quickly recommends changes to keep data compliance up-to-date.
8. Increased IT Management and Resolutions
Microsoft’s SharePoint Admin Center has some upgrades that IT departments will truly appreciate. The system now allows easier management of Office 365 group-connected sites and hubs. IT admins can now restrict access from non-compliant devices, automatically kick idle users out, and restrict or allow access from known IP addresses. The latest iteration also has a number of security upgrades and compliance upgrades.
These Office 365 upgrades were clearly designed from a business manager’s perspective. Microsoft has made the latest additions intuitive and simple to integrate in order to keep your business running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

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What Is A Business Continuity Plan?

Creating a business continuity plan is one of the most important things a company can do.
Business continuity ensures that your business is back up and running after a critical disruption, such as a natural disaster or cyberattack.
What Is Business Continuity?
Business continuity is a big-picture approach that ensures normal business operations are continued during an emergency. It’s designed to identify and mitigate risks, assign roles and provide clear communication to key parties.
Why Is Business Continuity Important?
Business continuity allows your business to keep running during or soon after a crisis. Not having a business continuity plan carries great risks, including:
• Loss of customers
• Extended downtime and subsequent revenue loss
• Reputation erosion
• Regulatory non-compliance
Creating a business continuity plan helps you maintain control and calm in what may otherwise be a chaotic environment.
What Are the Components of a Business Continuity Plan?
There are several core components of a business continuity plan:
• Identify the team
• Understand data
• Assess and rank risks
• Prioritize essential services
• Price and build solutions
• Develop policies and communicate
• Test and refine
Each of these steps helps to create a broader understanding of both the threats and how the company addresses them should they materialize.
How Do You Build a Continuity Team?
Business continuity needs to begin at the highest leadership levels and buy-in needs to be built at every level. Every department or business unit should be involved in order to provide perspective on what’s most important and critical across the company.

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A New Whaling Schemes: CEO Fraud Continues to Grow

In previous years, the first clue that your corporate email has been compromised would be a poorly-spelled and grammatically incorrect email message asking you to send thousands of dollars overseas. While annoying, it was pretty easy to train staff members to see these as fraud and report the emails. Today’s cybercriminals are much more tech-savvy and sophisticated in their messaging, sending emails that purport to be from top executives in your organization, making a seemingly-reasonable request for you to transfer funds to them as they travel. It’s much more likely that well-meaning financial managers will bite at this phishing scheme, making CEO and CFO fraud one of the fastest-growing ways for cybercriminals to defraud organizations of thousands of dollars at a time. Here’s how to spot these so-called whaling schemes that target the “big fish” at an organization using social engineering and other advanced targeting mechanisms.
What Are Whaling Attacks?
Phishing emails are often a bit more basic, in that they may be targeted to any individual in the organization and ask for a limited amount of funds. Whaling emails, on the other hand, are definitely going for the big haul, as they attempt to spoof the email address of the sender and aim pointed attacks based on information gathered from LinkedIn, corporate websites and social media. This more sophisticated type of attack is more likely to trick people into wiring funds or passing along PII (Personally Identifiable Information) that can then be sold on the black market. Few industries are safe from this type of cyberattack, while larger and geographically dispersed organizations are more likely to become easy targets.
The Dangers of Whaling Emails
What is particularly troubling about this type of email is that they show an intimate knowledge of your organization and your operating principles. This could include everything from targeting exactly the individual who is most likely to respond to a financial request from their CEO to compromising the legitimate email accounts of your organization. You may think that a reasonably alert finance or accounting manager would be able to see through this type of request, but the level of sophistication involved in these emails continues to grow. Scammers include insider information to make the emails look even more realistic, especially for globe-trotting CEOs who regularly need an infusion of cash from the home office. According to Kaspersky, no one is really safe from these attacks — even the famed toy maker Mattel fell to the tactics of a fraudster to the tune of $3 million. The Snapchat human resources department also fell prey to scammers, only they were after personal information on current and past employees.How Do You Protect Your Organization From Advanced Phishing Attacks?
The primary method of protection is ongoing education of staff at all levels of the organization. Some phishing or whaling attacks are easier to interpret than others and could include simple cues that something isn’t quite right. Here are some ways that you can potentially avoid phishing attacks:
• Train staff to be on the lookout for fake (spoofed) email addresses or names. Show individuals how to hover over the email address and look closely to ensure that the domain name is spelled correctly.
• Encourage individuals in a position of leadership to limit their social media presence and avoid sharing personal information online such as anniversaries, birthdays, promotions and relationships — all information that can be leveraged to add sophistication to an attack.
• Deploy anti-phishing software that includes options such as link validation and URL screening.
• Create internal best practices that include a secondary level of validation when large sums of money or sensitive information is requested. This can be as simple as a phone call to a company-owned phone to validate that the request is legitimate.
• Request that your technology department or managed services provider add a flag to all emails that come from outside your corporate domain. That way, users can be trained to be wary of anything that appears to be internal to the organization, yet has that “external” flag.
There are no hard and fast rules that guarantee your organization will not be the victim of a phishing attack. However, ongoing education and strict security processes and procedures are two of the best ways to help keep your company’s finances — and personal information — safe from cyberattack.

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Your Guide To Microsoft’s End Of Support

In an ideal world, you’d never have any technical issues, and you’d never have to call Microsoft technical support. Everything should work perfectly, without bugs, slowdowns, crashes, or corruptions. Of course, technical issues are inevitable, and when you experience difficulties, you call technical support to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible. The only thing worse than experiencing the frustration of Microsoft technical issues is when you call and go through the whole rigamarole of what is wrong only to hear, “Your product is not supported.”
What does it mean if a Microsoft Windows product is not supported?
In the most general terms, “not supported” means that Windows is no longer eligible for the downloadable bug fixes, security patches, and other updates from the Windows Update service. It means that the product has exceeded the standard lifecycle support services. Each Microsoft product and service pack will fall into different support schedules, but you can also track the overall support lifecycle as well, so that you can plan for the inevitable end of a product for personal and professional use.
If Windows is not supported, is it still functional? Can you use it?
When Microsoft no longer supports a version of Windows, and your install is no longer protected from known security risks, compatibility issues, and other bugs, you can still use the operating system. In most cases, you will still be able to start and run your version of Windows Vista, XP, 7, 8.1, etc.; but you will experience increasing instances of software incompatibility and likely security risks. You may also experience error messages or other support issues related to your hardware and software. The compatibility issues can be frustrating, but you will likely still be able to use the product. For those individuals and companies who love the “old” product, and don’t want to change, they don’t really have to, at least not yet.
Why would you use Windows when it is no longer supported?
There are a number of reasons why you might need to use a version of Windows that is no longer supported. For example, your hardware may not support a new version of Windows, or your software may not be compatible. Another reason to stay with a deprecated version is because you just prefer it, because you don’t want to upgrade, or even due to security restrictions from your company. Some companies still use Windows 7 for security reasons, or because there are rumors

(often well-founded) of issues with the new release. There’s always a trade-off when you decide to use a deprecated or unsupported product. You probably won’t be able to install or access new programs, websites, or other more current functionality; but you also may not need all those bells and whistles. If you prefer the old system, and you don’t want to change, then nobody can force you to upgrade. You have options to keep your system and programs in the exact same, stable state you’ve always enjoyed. What is the timeline for service packs and the Microsoft lifecycle? When a new Windows (OS) service pack is released, the previous service pack is on a 2-year cease-of-support updates countdown. While that timeline would seem to give you a general sense of how long you have before your product is no longer supported, there are caveats. Microsoft sometimes extends the length of time for support services, or just allows the support timeframe to inexplicably continue. It can be welcome news for the general Windows user, but it’s not something that is promised or assured. So, the consensus is that you should take support when and if you can, but expect that it could end. How do you make sure Microsoft will be supported? With the Modern Lifecycle Policy, you can pay for Software Assurance (SA), a subscription that offers additional licensing and professional services. For professionals and business owners, SA offers peace of mind that they will receive support services even when the standard product is no longer supported. Some companies also rely on the additional licensing rights and professional services, including: • Dedicated support services • Training or online certifications • Access to Microsoft partners For companies who need help with additional training or services, the SA solution can more than pay for itself. The alternative (or additional) scenario is to hire or use existing IT infrastructure to support your Microsoft support or training needs. Even with your paid support services (for SA), Microsoft can still end all support for a product with a 12-month notification of support cessation.

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Depending on their scope and impact on your workday, tech issues can take hours to resolve, if not days. In some cases, you may spend far too much time tracking down a problem, only to come up empty-handed in the end. In others, such as security breaches, you may not even know there is an issue until the damage has been done. If you and your team have been handling any tech issues that arise on your own, you could greatly benefit from partnering with a managed IT service provider. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from this partnership.
Increases Speed of IT Repairs
When you acquire managed IT services for your company, you can report any and all tech issues as they arise and receive a prompt response. Upon receiving your call, your managed service provider will immediately look into the problem and find the most effective solution. With their years of experience in this realm, their IT experts have likely come across the problem before and already know how to fix it. This makes for very speedy service that helps keep your business operations moving forward without disruption.
Prevents Tech Issues
Managed IT services prove extremely valuable in the prevention of tech issues of all kinds. From malware attacks to hardware failure, your IT service professionals can stay ahead of the leading issues and potentially keep them from cropping up at all. Through these preventative actions, you can avoid unnecessary downtime that could otherwise derail the work efforts of your entire staff.
Improves Employee Productivity
When your employees can hand off tech issues to a dedicated, outsourced team, they can remain on task in fulfilling their daily work duties. This keeps their productivity high, so you can meet your daily business goals and continue to push the annual growth of the company. With your employees on task, rather than dealing with IT issues, your business operations can continue running smoothly day after day.
Boosts Data Security
Computer software and hardware issues can have a detrimental impact on the security of your business data. Especially since most of these problems remain hidden from view until a catastrophic loss of data occurs. Therefore, your company and client information likely remain at risk without help from a skilled IT expert. These professionals specialize in optimizing security at the network, server and workstation levels, so you can focus on running your business without worry.
Ensures Regulatory Compliance
With improved data security, you can rest assured that you are not breaching regulatory compliance rules for your industry. Your managed IT service professionals stay on the cutting edge of security to ensure their clients always remain in compliance. You can customize your service plan with the right level of protection for your company and its associated industry regulations.
Decreases Equipment Upkeep and Repair Expenses
You can decrease the amount you spend on upkeep and repair of your equipment with oversight from skilled IT professionals. These pros will only perform the necessary tasks that are required to maintain your daily business operations. Their ability to track down the problem and fix it the first time around will likely prove invaluable as you work on minimizing downtime and boosting employee productivity. These professionals can also help you time and plan your equipment upgrades perfectly to avoid wasting money on unnecessary items or overspending on parts.
Works Well for Any Budget
With your managed service partnership, you can build your custom IT plan around the exact needs of your company. You can select the items that will benefit you the most and leave the rest. If you only need computer and cloud support, for example, you can leave all server-related services off your plan. You are not locked into the services you select in the beginning either. You can also make adjustments to the scope of your managed IT service plan as you expand your operations.
Ability to Easily Expand
As your business achieves phenomenal growth, you will likely need to add computer equipment and make other key adjustments to accommodate your team and their needs. Your managed IT service provider can help you develop a plan that supports your current and future levels of growth. You can build a stronger network, upgrade your software and add computers to your workplace, for example, in support of your company’s continued success.
Peace of Mind
When you sign up for managed services, you will give yourself true peace of mind in knowing that all your IT needs are handled. You can call for service any time that your computer equipment acts up or software programs fail to operate as expected. You will receive support and oversight in the prevention of problems that would otherwise cause much downtime for your employees. Through all the managed IT service benefits, peace of mind comes out on top as it allows you to focus on what really matters –accelerating the success of your company.
Setting Up Your Managed IT Service Plan
With a look at these managed IT service benefits, it is clear that there are many ways this arrangement can boost the success of your business. You can get started in building this partnership by calling your preferred managed service provider. With this call, you can share the network, equipment and other IT needs of your company to start building your plan.
If you are uncertain of your company’s IT needs, that is okay. Using their skills and expertise, your service provider will assist in identifying the areas that will help your business grow and thrive. Your IT pros will also take a close look at your industry, including all regulations, to help you find the appropriate level of service for your company’s success through the years.

With the ever-increasing rate of digital interconnectedness and accessibility, IT systems are more at risk of attack by hackers and spies than ever before. Yet, many companies still haven’t seriously addressed the issue of cybersecurity in their organizations. If you have concerns about the preparedness of your business, now is the time to start taking steps to protect your data.
A Growing Threat
The last few years have seen the largest data breaches in computer history. Billions of people have been affected by having their personal and financial information exposed and in many cases, used in criminal activities. The Equifax breach in the fall of 2017 compromised the data of over 143 million Americans. Attacks skyrocketed in the first half of 2018, with 765 million occurring from April to June alone. Many other large breaches have been reported since then. Almost every individual has been affected in one way or another, and businesses have lost hundreds of millions of dollars to cybercrime. It’s become so common that people have become complacent and fatalistic about it, accepting that their information is out there somewhere, or soon will be. Nevertheless, despite such a high risk, in 2017, a major survey revealed that more than 58% of companies failed to effectively measure their vulnerability to cyberattacks. Businesses simply can’t afford to be so indifferent.
Addressing The Risk, Finding Solutions
Decision-makers and leaders in the top echelons of every organization need to make identifying and addressing their cybersecurity needs a top priority. You can begin by starting a conversation between your IT team and managers and employees at all levels of your company about information security and how best to protect sensitive data, but you need to know the right questions to ask. Here are four questions to ask to get the discussion started and moving in the right direction.

  1. How informed is your team about the vulnerability to and potential impact of cyber attacks on your company?
    It’s important to assess the current awareness of everyone in your organization about cyber threats and the potential damage from data breaches. It’s likely that everyone has heard of the many well-publicized breaches that have occurred over the last several years, but possibly haven’t considered them within the context of their own organization. This is the first step to developing an educational initiative to get everyone up to speed on the problem and identifying the at-risk areas in your system. After that, you can begin to develop a chain of communication to take immediate action in case of a breach and set protocols and expectations for response times. A fast and effective response is critical to limiting data exposure.

Each year, around 61% of small businesses become the victims of a malware attack. While many small businesses may think no one would ever come after them because of their size, know that over half of the total global attacks hit small businesses and, for thieves, getting access to your systems is becoming increasingly lucrative.
We’re collecting more about customers than ever before: medical history, financial records, consumer preferences, payment information, and other confidential information. Some of this information could be used in malicious ways to either harm your business or directly harm the customers, so we all understand that we must protect it from cyberattacks.
Creating a human firewall is the best way to keep your system and data safe, but what exactly is a human firewall, why do you need one, and how can you build one? Let’s take a look!
What is a Human Firewall?
You already know about a “normal“ firewall that acts as a technology shield, protecting your primary systems and sensitive customer data from outside threats like viruses, malware, ransomware, and the like. Protecting your systems with a technology firewall is an important major step to protect your business and customers, but even the most advanced firewalls can be breached because people you trust, your employees, need access to that data in some capacity, putting customer data at risk.
For a timely example, we can look the public relations nightmare that Facebook has endured over the past two years with scandal after scandal related to how they protect the massive amounts of data they collect on users. In some cases, the data breaches have been related to flaws in the technology; in other cases, people who were in positions to legally access that data made what some consider poor decisions that put Facebook user data at risk.
A human firewall addresses the second part of this. It focuses on risk awareness, training, and monitoring among employees. It ensures that people and technology effectively work together to safeguard critical systems and consumer data.

How Do Humans Increase Your Risk?
If you have a firewall, you may be wondering, how can your employees put data protected by a firewall at risk? Several types of malicious hackers exploit the weakest link in these scenarios and the weakest link, in this case, is the human. They employ strategies that innocuously coax employees into helping them breach your firewall.
How do they do it? Let’s look at six common strategies.
Scenario One: Basic Phishing Scam
You get an email that appears to be from your boss’ boss and it sounds urgent. They say that your boss is not available to help them and they ask you to click on a link and log into a work program that gives you access to customer information. You click the link and it takes you to a page that looks exactly like your workstation login page.
An employee is caught between a rock and a hard place. It sounds urgent and they could be fired if they don’t help their boss’ boss. Because they’ve been told their own boss is not available, they can’t check this out. How many of your employees do you think would comply to avoid getting in trouble? That’s exactly why this scheme or something similar to it is so effective.
Scenario Two: Spear Phishing Scam
You get an email that says, “Hi, {your name}, here’s the file I promised I’d send you earlier this month. I know you’ll find these reports invaluable as a {Job Title}. Let me know how they work for you.“. It comes from someone who appears to work in your company or a company that your department often works with, making the email seem valid and trustworthy.
Do you open the file? If you decided to open the file, it just downloaded malicious key-tracking software onto your computer which can now see everything you type, including all of your passwords or it may go further, infecting your computer and those of your co-workers, overtaking your network and stealing data.
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In 2018, Dropbox announced it was shifting away from cloud-based services in favor of managing some of its data storage and application hosting itself. The company noted that while Amazon Web Services (AWS) initially allowed Dropbox to delay the purchase and maintenance of its own infrastructure, there were limitations and obstacles that prompted the switch.
In its IPO filing, Dropbox noted that the company has no operational control or access to the AWS or other cloud facilities that host its content. If there were to be an issue with that data, Dropbox, which hosts information for its customers worldwide, would have little control of the situation.
Why is it that Dropbox and other companies are moving away from the cloud, which is touted as a service that alleviates the burden of monitoring, maintenance and upgrading what’s stored there? Are there times when it makes more sense to move away from the public cloud?
How Many Companies Are Moving Out of the Public Cloud?
In 2018, IDC reported that 81 percent of companies surveyed reported migrating applications or data that had been stored in the public cloud to a different environment, including a private cloud host, a hybrid cloud and local solution or a complete on-premises infrastructure. The companies that repatriated data and apps reported doing so the following solutions:
• Hosted private cloud (41 percent)
• On-premises private cloud (38 percent)
• On-premises non-cloud (22 percent)
The survey also reported that 85 percent planned to migrate services in 2019.
Why? The most-cited reasons were:
• Security (19 percent)
• Performance (14 percent)
• Cost (12 percent)
• Control (12 percent)
• Desire to centralize or reduce shadow IT (11 percent)
What’s Behind the Cloud Repatriation Push?
Munish Manrao of Belmont, California-based ePC Solutions noted that there can be many factors that influence a decision to move to the cloud or move back.
“Every IT decision should be based on a combination of factors: security, cost, compliance, stability, productivity, and compatibility,” Manrao said. “In some instances, a company may move an application to the cloud and then decide to pull that application out of the cloud and return it to an on-premises data center. Although this can be disruptive, any one or more of the reasons listed above could be the determining factor.”
Jason Simons of Houston IT solutions company, ICS, agreed, noting that control, performance and regulatory mandates are often the key factors to move away from the public cloud.

What’s Behind the Cloud Repatriation Push?
Munish Manrao of Belmont, California-based ePC Solutions noted that there can be many factors that influence a decision to move to the cloud or move back.
“Every IT decision should be based on a combination of factors: security, cost, compliance, stability, productivity, and compatibility,” Manrao said. “In some instances, a company may move an application to the cloud and then decide to pull that application out of the cloud and return it to an on-premises data center. Although this can be disruptive, any one or more of the reasons listed above could be the determining factor.”
Jason Simons of Houston IT solutions company, ICS, agreed, noting that control, performance and regulatory mandates are often the key factors to move away from the public cloud.
He cited specific issues that may prompt, or force, the decision for businesses:
• Poor performance of the application once it was virtualized in the cloud
• A desire for ultimate control of the software or data, including upgrade
management, outage scheduling and access management. Because the public cloud is a shared resource, there are often limitations and restrictions on what a company can do and when.
• Concerns about regulation. If a company finds out that its cloud provider is
no longer certified to meet the security standards of regulatory agencies, the business is responsible. Companies take on great financial risk for non-compliance.
• The wrong provider. Companies may choose a smaller provider initially that
cannot meet their business needs. Instead of moving to a larger provider, some businesses prefer to bring apps and data back in-house.
Speed is a frequent reason for moving away from the public cloud.
“Businesses that rely on public cloud servers often run into trouble if local bandwidth is unreliable, or if internet access is lost resulting in downtime or data loss,” noted Andrew Schira with Oklahoma City IT service provider, Easton Technology.
Another is the cost.
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Cyber Hygiene is Important for your Business's Overall Security

Oh hello there! I am currently taking care of some personal hygiene! That’s better, Hello this is Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support with another Video Blog! This week we will be talking about Cyber Hygiene!

Let’s Get Started!

Everyone understands what it means to use personal hygiene and why we do it. Let’s take a quick peak at Typhoid Mary

In the early 1900’s Mary Mallon worked as a cook for many wealthy NYC families. In 1906 she took a position with an Oyster Bay family and within 2 weeks 10 family members were hospitalized with Typhoid. She changed jobs and in three more households similar occurrences.

In late 1906 one of the families hired a Typhoid researcher named George Soper to investigate. What he discovered Mary Mallon was present at each and every outbreak from NYC all the way to Oyster Bay. She went on to infect several more people before she was captured and confined to quartantine for the rest of her lift.

It was discovered by washing hands with soap before touching and preparing food. Washing dishes with soap and water. Frequently bathing with soap and water and clean clothes were all ways to reduce the risk of typhoid. They developed personal hygiene habits that not only protected you from typhoid but lowered your risk of then spreading a virus that caused death to others.

How does that relate to Cyber Hygiene? Cyber Hygiene is a good practice to keeping your computer systems clean which will reduce the risk of you being hacked, getting Viruses and spreading viruses to others. So what is considered Good Cyber Hygiene?

  • Patched Systems, a system that has all their security updates, software holes patched, drivers up to date. Make it much harder for hackers to find a way into your system

  • Computer Monitoring and event monitoring – a consistent watching of logs and behaviors of your computer can help you predict when something is not normal

  • Next Gen Business Class Antivirus. Antivirus is good but it’s your fathers antivirus and most are signature based antivirus which is an old and ineffective way of staying secure. Next Gen Antivirus uses machine learning to predict when something is a virus

  • Next Gen Business Class firewalls. All firewalls are not made equally, there are consumer grade firewalls that are not built to handle sensitive business traffic. Next Gen firewalls like the antivirus uses machine learning and go hand in hand with the antivirus to predict unwanted traffic and thus turning it away

This is just a start to good cyber hygiene, if you are not an IT professional you can’t possibly dedicate the time necessary to making sure you have good cyber hygiene. This is not a once and done practice, it needs to be done constantly. You need to have a professional that understands and practices Good Cyber Hygiene.

I hear all the time; we have “throw away computers” everything we do is in the cloud so the computers don’t really do anything. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is your computer is the weakest link. If your computer is not up to date with everything hackers can compromise your system get in and then have an open door to your cloud based system.

Furthermore if you have customer data or worst if you connect directly with customers system you are in fact opening them up to risk.

I just recently heard the story of the Target store crash. They determined the root cause of the problem was their HVAC vendor had a compromised system and when he connected to their network he infected them. He basically became Typhoid Mary!


Cyber Threats need to be taken seriously especially in the day of “Throw away computers” and cloud based systems. You need a Cyber Security Partner that not only understands but practices good Cyber Hygiene.

Underdog Computer and Network Support is such a partner and as the areas only Managed CIO we specialize in CyberSecurity.

Don’t be Typhoid Mary, call Underdog Today and Never Fear, We Fix I.T. Here!

The Future of Big Data and the Legal Industry

Is your Law Firm ready for the future?

There’s no doubt that Big Data, Data Mining, and Machine Learning have changed every industry on the planet. Recent political campaigns were won by experts who knew how to use all data available regarding key factors. Many were surprised to learn how certain types of information could guide a political campaign down the pathway to a big win.

Data analytics now used in many industries

Data analytics has been used in the field of sports for many years. This is perhaps one of the first industries to fully embrace this concept. All professional sports organizations use volumes of data to understand past performances of rival teams. They analyze every bit of the information available to discover a competing team’s weaknesses. Then they use that information to build an arsenal of both offensive and defensive strategies.

It’s natural that the legal profession would want to gain the upper hand in this same manner. And, that is exactly what’s taken place in the last few years. Now we have teams who are experts in both technology and the law. Using the most sophisticated tools available, they decipher every morsel of legal information, including trial outcomes, court decisions, witness testimony, precedents and much more. This gives their side the competitive advantage.

However, the issues that the legal system faces differ a great deal from those of other industries. A sports team analyzes things like various plays and the results of those actions. In the legal field, every trial generates huge amounts of data. From the trial transcripts to the expert witnesses, the sheer volume of data sets the legal field apart from most other industries.

How legal data differs

Last year, in the US alone, there were over 350,000 cases brought to court. And legal data is highly complex. It contains legal nuances that are hard to explain to most people, much less a computer program. Trial outcomes typically occur as a result of hard evidence, but sometimes they are a result of emotional juries. Since juries are made up of human beings, it’s very hard to predict with accuracy what they will do in any given situation. That’s the goal of trial science.

In the past, America has held very public trials for popular athletes accused of crimes like assault or even murder. All the evidence might point to the suspect being guilty. And yet, the jury had a previous emotional connection with the athlete because they enjoyed watching him play sports. Even with overwhelming evidence of guilt, the jury ruled that he was innocent.

How do you explain that type of irrational thinking to a computer? How will artificial intelligence deal with anomalies like this? These are just a few of the questions facing today’s data-driven attorneys. Though big data offers a world of opportunities, it also represents a substantial challenge even to the best legal researchers.

How to produce the richest data

Today’s legal technology experts are continuously adding new information to their databases. Every trial and verdict is a new piece of information that the AI will use to build its intelligence platform. In fact, millions of pieces of data are added daily to the repository. These massive blocks of data require high-speed processors. Much of this is accomplished using data-parsing technology.

This process cleans raw data, refines and enhances it, and structures the data so it offers maximum insight to users. For instance, one program allows searchers to look at the decisions specific judges made in the past. This helps them build a profile of that judge’s legal philosophies. With great accuracy, these programs can predict how a judge will rule in a certain type of court case. Imagine being able to know with some degree of certainty, how a judge might rule on a specific case before the trial even begins.

Endless possibilities

The possibilities this technology provides are endless and offer a wealth of valuable information to attorneys. As the future unfolds for the legal field, experts believe that advanced technology will be used in every part of the law.

Of course, today it’s being used primarily by legal teams that want to win cases. There are often substantial financial reasons for wanting to win a big case. Today’s attorneys understand that clients are looking for the best team of lawyers. They want to work with the brightest people–winners. But, there’s more than just money on the line; a law firm is building its reputation as well. They want to build their brand to the place where their name is a byword in the legal world.

Refining the legal world

These are natural reasons for wanting to win at anything. However, many experts believe the future of legal technology holds much more than this. They believe the legal field can evolve into a much more fair, accurate and profitable industry. As a society, we can begin to get things right when it comes to verdicts in big cases. We can move past the place where known murderers are freed over a technicality. This is not a pipe dream for many in the legal field, it’s a destiny that must be achieved for our legal system to continue moving forward.

Perfecting a complex legal system

From making new laws to enforcing old ones, data mining and machine learning have the potential to show us where our society’s legal system has failed in the past. We can clearly see what has worked and what hasn’t. We can use this knowledge to move forward in a better direction. Unfair laws could be changed, and unfair verdicts could be a thing of the past.

That’s the hope of every reputable attorney. Today, we may use data mining and AI to gain a better advantage in a trial. Tomorrow, we may use them to mold our legal system into a fine-tuned instrument that delivers correct verdicts every time, and at a third of the cost

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