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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!

When Looking for Reliable I.T. Look for a Manged CIO

How Can You Find A Reliable IT Support Company That Will Customize Their Services To Meet Your Business Needs?

This isn’t a fairy tale. It’s a true story. 

 

Once upon a time, in a story that might sound awfully familiar, there was a business owner who wanted to find a trustworthy and reliable technology support provider. First, she tried this IT company.But they never returned her phone calls.

Then she tried another IT company.  But their prices were way too high.

 

Finally, she found an IT company that would customize their services especially for her business. And it was just right.  Now, what’s the moral of the story? Don’t put your trust in just any IT company. But, how do you begin your search?

 

How long have they been in business?  How large is their IT company?

 

Don’t use any company with less than three years of experience in the solutions you use. This will weed out a few right away.

 If it’s a small IT company, your business will probably be higher on their priority list, although, large IT companies can offer a broader base of experience and knowledge.  Their resources will be more expansive as well. It’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons here according to your organization’s requirements.  

What are their IT staff’s qualifications and certifications?

A reliable IT provider should have lots of info regarding the certifications their technicians hold. Why are certifications important?

According to CIO magazine, using certified professionals is beneficial to your business:

 

“44 percent of IT decision-makers say certifications result in employees performing work faster, 33 percent said it results in more efficiency when implementing systems and 23 percent say it helps deploy products and services faster with fewer errors.” 

 

If you use both Apple and Microsoft solutions, make sure they are certified on both. 

 

Also, ask if they provide continuing education for their techs. Do they attend industry events to update their skillsets?

 

Have they served businesses in your industry? Can they support the applications you use?

 

Ideally, your technology support provider should have experience in what you do. Find out if they’ve worked in industries and with businesses of the same size. Ask them for a reference list of customers from your industry to be sure.  If not, determine if the work they’ve performed for others may align with your needs.

 

Also, think about your employees, the type of work they do, and which applications they access in the typical workday. Can the IT company support these applications?

 

You may use specially-built applications to handle workflows. Your IT provider should understand how your business works, the technology you use, and be able to support it.

 

How will they help you grow your business with technology? Do they offer outsourced CIO services?

 

Ask how they’ll help to support your growth goals. Just as you have a one-year, three-year, or five-year business plan, they should provide strategic IT planning that aligns with your business objectives.

 

An Outsourced CIO will ensure that your technology meets your growing business demands. 

  • They will develop a thorough understanding of your company and technology infrastructure.
  • Offer suggestions for new IT solutions that can promote your success.
  • Develop an IT Strategic Plan that aligns with your goals and your budget.
  • Perform ongoing evaluations and performance metrics to ensure your business stays on track with your tactical technology plan.

 What kind of service can you expect? 

  • Do they offer 24/7 service with a live person on the other end of the phone, chat, or email?
  • Is their help desk staff qualified to address your issues right away?
  • Will they remotely monitor and maintain your IT system 24/7?
  • If they can’t fix your problems remotely, how long will it take for a technician to come to your site? Is this backed by a written Service Level Agreement?

What is and isn’t covered in their contract?

 

Do they provide fixed-fee services? What’s included? Find out what they don’t offer that you might require. 

 

Are there extra costs for services, and if so, how much are they? You deserve a reliable IT partner who will work to provide an IT system that’s secure, efficient, and increases your staff’s productivity.

 

What about cybersecurity? How will they protect your IT assets and data? 

  • Be sure they provide a layered cybersecurity solution to protect all of your computers and network from unauthorized access, malware, spam, viruses and other forms of cybercrime.
  • Will they provide Security Awareness Training for your employees to ensure they don’t fall victim to hackers and phishing emails?
  • Will they remotely monitor your network for security threats on a 24/7 basis, block these threats and eliminate them?
  • Do they provide vulnerability assessments?
  • If you are in healthcare, are they HIPAA compliant themselves? As a business associate, they must be. Will they provide HIPAA or other industry regulatory compliance support?
  • What about your mobile devices? Do they provide Mobile Device Management?

With the increase of more sophisticated cyber-attacks today, make sure you’re educated about cyber threats. Your IT company is responsible to ensure that you are armed with the best protection available to safeguard your data and IT infrastructure against cyber-crime.

 

Ask about Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery – and the Cloud

 

Do they provide a secure cloud-based backup service?  How often do they test the disaster recovery plan? Will they perform tests to estimate the recovery time and the impact of potential failure?  

 

Speaking of the Cloud, do they have Cloud Consultants on staff who can help you choose the right solutions for your business? Can they migrate your technology to the Cloud?

 

Finally, ask them how much everything will cost. 

Make sure their IT Service & Support Plans align with your budgetary requirements.  

If they won’t customize their services to meet your needs, the story’s not over yet.  Keep looking for the reliable IT Support Company that’s right for you.

Call Today 570-634-5350

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How To IT Budget

Email Wrapped in Bacon(Security)

Yes you are seeing this correctly it is Office 365 wrapped with Bacon. Why? Bacon makes everything better and here at Underdog, all our services are wrapped around security so what better way to illustrate this.

OK, Everyone knows you can buy Office 365 for roughly the same price where ever you go – the price is set by Microsoft. In fact you can purchase directly from Microsoft.

Then why don’t you do that? Well some places do those that do not want to deal with an I.T. company. But if you have ever tried to compare Microsoft plans you nearly go blind looking at all the fine print. So how do you know if you got the right plan for your business? Well if I want email I pick office 365 essentials, if I want desktop apps I can pick Office 365 Premium. If I want Email Security maybe I pick e3 or e1 or on and on and on and you get the Idea.

When starting Underdog Computer and Network Support my main goal was that every service we provide will be wrapped in security. Why? I don’t want my customers to choose a plan because it was cheaper and the reason it was cheaper was because it didn’t include any security options. The internet is a scary enough place already and everything we do these days involve the internet in some way. I want my clients protected! After 25+ years of doing this I hate the 12 am or 5 am panic calls.

We put together a pricing structure that is built around Office 365 Email. Even if you have Office 365 already or you have professional email addresses the @yourdomain.com) that is fine you can still take advantage of these packages. We can convert them over to our system. However if you are still doing business as @ptd.net @gmail.com @yahoo.com @comcast.net or any other public email provider. You should seriously consider changing. 

You can purchase these bundles in increments of 1 pack or 5 pack. So how does it work? If you have 15 employees you would purchase (3) 5 packs. This gives you 15 email addresses. If you have 16 employees you could purchase (4) 5 packs or (3) 5 packs and (1) 1 pack. We would advise you what is best for your business.

So what is included with your Business Bundle:

Professional Email addresses @yourdomain.com

1 Email Address for every user with unlimited aliases and groups

1 subscription to Microsoft Office which includes Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, One Note and Access for every user

Ok so far that is not any different than anyone else offers. Here is where it gets interesting

We add email SPAM filtering both inbound and outbound

For added security 2 form authentication

Email Encryption (Email Encryption is when you want to send sensitive information such as bank account numbers and social security numbers etc. You encrypt with a special lock that only the intended recipient will have the key)

If that wasn’t enough we added Office Protect which includes security policies for email, monitoring and alerts of suspicious mailbox activity like logons or questionable messages being sent or received. If your email is being forwarded which is a sign of someone hijacking your email account.

Email Archiving, Web access so you can access your account from anywhere and also Mobile email so you can send and receive email from your phone with all the protections you get from a desktop. Remember I said all our services include security. This is no exception on top of the email security we have built in we are adding in desktop security. We have included Patch Management which applies critical and security updates to your computer 1 per user . We have included PC Antimalware/Antivirus and PC Remote Monitoring and Remote Remediation 1 per user. And to round it all off we have provided up to 1 GB shared space online and 1 GB of pooled backup space.

Ok so if you were to price this all out separately

Office 365 with Desktop Apps is $18.95

Office Protections which includes the monitoring and threat protection of the mailbox is $15.00

Total Protection Gold which includes Antimalware/Antivirus, Website Protections, Unlimited Remote Support is $50.00.

These items alone would come to $83.95 – for a single bundle its $65 23% savings and if you purchase the 5 pack bundle it is $50/user which is a 41% savings.

Call Today 570-634-5350 to get started!

 

Underdog Computer and Network Support – Never Fear, We Fix I.T. Here.
















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We all like to save money in our homes. An entire industry revolves around the “Do It Yourselfer” the weekend warrior. Some of us are good at working on cars, we fix our own and as a favor for a pal and maybe a little cash we do it on the side. Lots of people have Side Gigs because they are better at certain things that aren’t their main vocation. Of course there are people who fix computers on the side. 

As Humans we must know when we are over our heads, when a particular project might need the touch of an expert. When it comes to businesses that rely heavy on computers you need to think twice when letting your cousins son work on your computer because “He built a gaming computer” or The guy who works for UPS during the day but moonlights working on computers because he knows a few things. 

I know on the surface computers appear to have gotten easier to work with. Everything has moved to the cloud, networks and networking has gotten a lot less complicated. The couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is things have gotten more complicated and dangerous. There are more hackers, viruses, and cyber crimes then ever before. Every day you hear about a companies data breach. At the time of this writing Wells Fargo one of the biggest banks had a major outages. 

If you are saying well those are big businesses what does that have to do with my small business. Consider this Example. Small Fictitious company Jones and Sons a construction company with about 15 employees. Jones and Sons has a file server, uses cloud based emails and has 15 computers networked together and some networked printers. Jones Sr used to use a dedicated IT company for all their computer needs but since retiring and leaving the business to Jones Jr. they do a lot more themselves. Jones Jr grew up with computers so he knows a lot about them. He maintains the computer network. 

But now he is running the company and he doesn’t have a lot of time to put into the computers. But they seem to be running ok so he isn’t concerned. 

One day they get hit with a Crypto Virus which encrypts all their data! How did it happen, well their commercial grade firewall went bad so Jones Jr went to Staples and bought a residential firewall. All the commercial grade antivirus expired so he installed one of those free antivirus solutions(The ones that say it is illegal to install in businesses). 

Most of the computers are still windows xp “Because it doesn’t matter, all their stuff is in the cloud so these are just dumb machines” and the more modern computers are running the home version of the operating system and have never been patched. 

Ok what about backups? Someone has been swapping out the tapes everyday surely we can restore from those. NOPE, they havent been working in 3 years. All the financial data, documents are all gone.

For Jones and Sons the cost of downtime is going to be HUGE! Of course this is an exaggeration but it is not uncommon. 

Similarly there are business that still engage with I.T. companies on a Time and Material Basis(Break/Fix). They only call when somethings broken to get it fixed. While these companies are a bit smarter because they at least recognize they need a professional(sometimes) – they still waste time and money. Because they anticipate having a unexpected cost they try to do whatever they can to avoid it. They may have an “Internal I.T. person because they know more then everyone else” . Because they don’t have an ongoing relationship with an I.T. company it may take a while to get someone to respond meaning if the problem is effecting your entire business you are out of business until someone responds. 

Managed I.T. Services is more than paying a monthly fee. It is about letting you get back to the business of your business. Letting us handle your Technology. Your are an expert in what you do, we are an expert in Technology. 

  • Because you pay a monthly fee there are no unexpected costs.
  •  Because you have ongoing relationship downtime is actually reduced 
  • Because we have an active ongoing role in your business we can advise you on how to steer your technology
  • Reduce Downtime, Reduce Wasted Employees Time – Save Money!

Contact us Today for a Free No Strings Business Technology Assessment Valued at $950.00










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Understand the Difference Between
Firewalls and Modems

Hello Everyone! Carmine Corridore of Underdog Computer and Network Support. Back with another Video Blog!

We will be discussing Firewalls, Routers and Modems, Let’s get started!

Ok so these days there is a big blur between Routers, Modems and Firewalls. Understandably so, Many ISP(Internet Service Providers) provide a modem with both router and firewall capabilities to make things easier for the end user. However, easier doesn’t mean safer. Let me explain.

In the early days of the Internet, the Modem was the interface or the handoff from your internet provider. It carried the signal from the provider and that was it. What you did with it from there was your responsibility.

The next device after the modem was the Router. Its job was to take the signal from the ISP in this case the modem and “ROUTE” the traffic to the local network translating to whatever language the local network could speak. Sometimes it would “Route” to multiple networks. It would then use rules setup to determine where and how the traffic is sent and received.

Ok so think of it this way, the road you live on is the internet. The driveway is your router. Your house then becomes the local network. Back in those days, your house would not have any doors or windows in other words no privacy. Therefore, everyone was able to see you and as a result, nothing was secure.

Firewall were created to provide a level of security similar to how industrial building firewalls prevent the spread of fire or damage to a building. A firewall added not only windows and doors but also curtains to your proverbial home. The role of the firewall has evolved but for the purpose of this video let just say firewalls at the basic level provide a masquerade of your network or NAT (network Address Translation). In using my original analogy. From the outside, all someone knows is your home address but it does not know which person inside the house is actually communicating. In addition, there are access rules for traffic inside going out and outside coming in. Most firewalls have restrictive ruleset coming in then they do going out.

Today the modern modem you get for your home or small business combines the modem, router and the most basic firewall component NAT. When ISP first started doing this, businesses were advised by their IT provider to purchase firewalls because it was understood they needed more than just masquerading how data was sent. Over the last few years I have seen a shift in this trend and many small business usually ones without a dedicated IT team will use what the ISP provided modem. It worries me because they are under a false sense of being secure.

For one I would never consider ISP modem a business class device. This device used for both residential users and commercial accounts and provides a simplicity level of setup that the nonprofessional can use. Because of this, many controls are hidden or not available to the end user. Many security risks like UPNP and WPS among them are open by default. The ability to remote operate your modem is open and EVERYONE KNOWS many times the default username and password for your modem!  In short, it is easy to compromise it.

Business Grade Firewalls have levels of controls you can granularly control what comes in and goes out of your network added services such as intrusion detection and prevention, application control and even antivirus are growing as key service of these devices.

Yes, it is true most modern computers come with software firewalls, the problem I have with them is simple. The software firewall is dependent on your computer operating in an uncompromised state. Meaning it has all the proper patches. You are free of malware and your system is running normally. We have all seen where a patch screws up a computer. Good time to compromise your firewall. You download a malware, good time to compromise your firewall.

With a hardware firewall, this is a bit harder to accomplish. Underdog Computer and Network Support provides quality services, patch management and business class firewalls to all our clients. Give me a call today 570-634-5350. Don’t forget to ask about our Network Assessment valued at $950.00 but is yours free. Remember Never Fear, We Fix I.T. Here!

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