Data is everywhere, in the cloud or on your phone. Data is kind of like your uncle, he’s just around and sometimes you don’t know why. One of the main differences between your uncle and data is that normally your uncle can’t be infected by ransomware. If this does happen here’s what you can do to try and prevent having to lose your data.
Having all of your data backed up in the cloud or on a physical device is great so you can retrieve your data if your machine breaks down or is infected. This is especially helpful in the event of a natural disaster. Another great reason to back up your data is in case of a virus or malware attack. You can easily erase your device without having to worry about losing data or having your files become corrupted. There is a stigma of backups being difficult, but they are a lot easier to deal with than they were 4-5 years ago. If you would like to learn more about backups or if you have any questions please call or email us at Nice Guy Technology.
Ransomware attacks are a constantly growing form of malware that threatens to wreak havoc to your finances. Business owners are suddenly finding the entirety of their data locked behind a virtual safe, only accessible once a ransom has been payed. Here’s some tips to think about if you fall victim to this cyber-crime.
Hopefully we’re helping you grasp just how detrimental an affliction this can really be for your livelihood. So, the most important thing to talk about is how to avoid dealing with this in the first place. Taking preventative action can help guarantee that an attempted attack will not cripple your productivity. Backing up your data is a sure-fire way to protect yourself. You can back up your data to the cloud, which we highly recommend. It will keep your data protected and updated so that no matter what happens to your hard drive, you’re safe. You could also back up to an external drive, but for total security, we recommend doing both! That being said, if your business is looking for comprehensive cyber-security in qualified hands, contact Nice Guy Technology to hear all about our services!
When it comes to business technology, around 75% - 80% of companies use Windows computers. May I share a few statistics with you?
• Microsoft's latest operating system is Windows 10
• Windows 7 is 10 years old!
• As many as 43% of businesses are still running Windows 7.
• 17% of IT departments don't know when the Win 7 support deadline is.
• 16% of IT departments admit to still running Windows XP or Vista. 🤯😯
Even though Windows 10 has been out for quite some time now, I completely understand why some companies haven't wanted to upgrade. Change is hard for humans. We get used to the way our computer looks, feels and operates. Even small changes require time and training.
Another issue is software compatibility. When your business has paid a hefty sum for line of business software that isn't yet compatible with Windows 10, it's tough to justify upgrading.
Here's the rub. After January 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide technical support, software updates or security updates for Windows 7. Those first two might cause minor inconveniences but the lack of security updates leaves you and your business extremely vulnerable.
New viruses, malware, and cyber threats are being created and sent out every day. Microsoft, Apple, all the big software companies, have people creating regular software updates to patch security holes and keep your devices protected from these threats. Without these regular security updates your data, your customers' data, your network and ultimately your entire business are left completely exposed.
You do have some options.
1. Do nothing - take your chances (not recommended)
2. Upgrade your current computers to Windows 10
3. Purchase new hardware/computers with Windows 10 already installed
The good news is you have some time to make a plan. Check with specialty software vendors as well as your IT provider about how this change affects you and your business.
If you have questions or need some guidance, give our office a call (614) 233-1648 or send an email. We're always happy to help!
How to Securely Dispose of Old Computers
Getting new computers for your business is exciting, but what happens to the old ones? Depending on the age, some people sell them, others throw them out. That’s the easy part. The problem is the sensitive data on them. There are passwords, account numbers, license keys, customer details, medical information, tax returns, browser history… the works! Each computer, whether laptop, tablet or desktop, contains a treasure trove of sensitive information that cybercriminals would love to get their hands on.
Unfortunately, hitting delete on your files doesn’t actually make them disappear, nor does waving a strong magnet over the drive. These mistakes have cost businesses millions of dollars over the years.
Most businesses are unaware that specialized data cleanup is necessary, others think calling someone to collect the computers will cover all the bases. A 2016 experiment proved just how dangerous the situation can be when they bought 200 used hard drives and found 67% held unwiped, unencrypted sensitive data, including sales projection spreadsheets, CRM records, and product inventories. Frighteningly, they didn’t need any special hacking skills to get this data, it was all right there and helpfully labelled. It’s also not surprising that with simple data recovery tools, people have also been able to access British NHS medical records and missile data, all waiting patiently on a discarded hard drive.
Why hitting delete doesn’t help
Data on a hard drive works like a book with an index page. Every time data is written, it pops a quick entry into the index so when you need it again, it knows where to look. The index is used for files you create as well as system files you can’t even see. Sensible, right? Except if you delete a file it’s more like changing the index to say nothing is on page 10 and you can write something else there when you’re ready. But if you manually flip to page 10, you’ll find the information is still there - the file still exists until it’s been written over - it’s the index reference that got deleted.
Wiping data before disposal
There are software tools you can get to do it yourself, as well as dedicated security firms, but your best option is to choose an IT business you know and trust. With that in mind, a methodical approach is required to ensure not a single drive is left untreated. You don’t want to leave data behind, or even clues that a motivated person could extrapolate any private information from. The approach might include using checklists to maintain security, or dedicated processes to guide each step in decommissioning. Careful records should also be kept, including who signs off on completion of the retirement, and where the computers are sent afterwards. A proper inventory and auditing process may slow the rollout of the new computers slightly, but it’s always better than having your old data come back to haunt you.
We can migrate any needed data, back up the information to your server or external drive, then wipe or destroy the hard drives for you. We can assess the age of your old computers and either dispose of them for you or point you in the right direction of computer recyclers. Plus, the quicker you dispose of your old computers, the easier the process will be. Recyclers will be able to send less of your equipment to landfill, and you’ll be less likely to forget how valuable the drive contents are.
Upgrading your business computers should be a happy time for you and your employees, so with a little forward planning, you’ll be able to keep everyone smiling and all your data secure.
Need help with your old business hardware? Call us today at 614-233-1648!
Who knows what evil lurks in the dark recesses of the Internet? As the old radio show warned, “Only the Shadow Knows.”
It’s time that you see what hackers already know about your business.
At Nice Guy Technology, we’re so committed to protecting the security of your business that we’re offering you a complimentary Dark Web Scan. This is part of our celebration of adding a Cyber Security Expert to our team and our recent designation as a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP). As a MSSP we can offer an advanced level of security monitoring and protection for your business. Together, we’re on a mission to keep your business compliant, keep your data secure and keep hackers out!
Only 33% of businesses are taking the proper steps to protect themselves from a cyber attack. In fact, 60% of small companies are out of business within six months of a breach.
Are you doing all you can to prepare your business for the inevitable? Show your business some love and get started with a complimentary dark web scan. ❤️
Business owners, learn from my mistake. Be careful where you try to save money!
Hey there, it's Mary from Nice Guy Technology. I'm going to tell you a little story. So lately I've been trying to watch my personal spending, cut out some things that could save a few dollars here and there. So the last several months I've skipped a few trips to the salon so my bangs have been down in my eyes and you know, gray hair is peeking out a LOT.
So last night I got all fed up with it. I grabbed a drugstore box of hair color (it was half price with a coupon) and some scissors I found in the drawer. Seemed like a great idea at the time. I don't know what color this is but it's not mine. Well then I guess it's mine for a while.
So what I did with my hair is exactly what lots of businesses do with their technology. They slap some antivirus on the computers and hope for the best. Why spend money if you don't have to, right? Think about this though. If all of your company's computers were wiped out today, how long would it take you to become operational again? How quickly can you replace that equipment, your software, your customer data, logins, passwords? How much would that downtime cost your business? Or even worse you experienced a data breach. What's the worst that could happen? You face fines, lawsuits, you lose customers and your great reputation that you've built over the years.
Here's a scary statistic: 60% of the companies that experience a cyber attack are out of business within six months. They don't last six months after that attack! So eventually my bangs will grow out. The color will fade. But here are some lessons I've learned and I hope you do too. Do what you're good at. Hire a skilled professional for everything else. And you get what you pay for. (half price with a coupon)
I'll see you next time.
Join us for our January lunch & learn - Cyber Security: Is Your Business Prepared?
Presented by Nice Guy Technology and Grandview Insurance
When talking about the risk of a cyber attack on your business, it’s not a matter of "if" but "when”. Join us for lunch as we discuss the critical topic of cyber security and how to protect your business.
During this lunch & learn we'll answer these questions:
Each attendee will be entered to win one of several door prizes including a Google Home Hub, Google Home Mini, and various Gift Cards (must be present to win).
When & Where?
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 from 11:30am to 1:00pm
Smokehouse Brewing Company, 1130 Dublin Road, Columbus, OH 43215
What's included in the cost of my $10 ticket?
Lunch and beverage, Dark Web Scan, Presentation and Materials
What's for lunch?
Check out the Smokehouse Brewing Company Menu
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 614-233-1648
Top 5 Cloud Advantages for Small Business
Cloud technology has created a revolution for small business, changing the way you store, share and backup files. While ‘the cloud’ is often hard to understand because it’s neither in the sky or in a single location, there’s no arguing that it’s driving growth across the board. Storage concerns are a thing of the past as small businesses like yours embrace the flexibility, cost savings and protections of cloud solutions. We’ve done the research for you and identified 5 ways small business in particular benefits from making the move.
Budget is always a limiting factor for businesses, many of which are further constrained by pressure from higher up. Some regard investing in cloud solutions as a large expense that can be put off indefinitely. In most cases though, making the switch to cloud storage costs a fraction of the price. Compared to maintaining and powering servers, scaling to keep up, and repairing in emergencies, cloud storage offers extraordinary savings. With one decision, you get access to high-end infrastructure and dedicated support, plus a healthier bottom line. Cloud solutions were specifically created to meet your needs, which means you only pay for what you use. Costs remain capped while the benefits continue to rise, a clear advantage for the budget-conscious business.
A lot of people like having their data where they can see it. But that’s not always the safest option. Natural disasters seem more frequent than ever, break-ins are a worry, and employees are always losing laptops and phones, or have them stolen. More often though, someone simply makes a mistake and deletes important files, or accidentally infects the system with malware. Cloud storage mitigates every single one of these risks, with storage in ultra-secure locations, protected against disasters, and committed to robust backup systems. In recent times particularly, we’ve seen many small businesses survive ransomware attacks purely because their critical data was secure in the cloud with clean backups available.
We know medical businesses and services need to follow certain regulations when it comes to patient data. This includes security as well as data integrity, plus backups and auditing. Many cloud providers acknowledged this need early on and made sure to offer compliance guarantees. They therefore keep abreast of changing regulations, often implementing new requirements before you’ve even heard about them. With cloud storage systems, you essentially slash your compliance workload and let your provider do the worrying.
One of the key benefits of cloud storage is your ability to collaborate remotely. In the past, this would have involved multiple file copies that need to be merged back together, often confusing employees as to which is the ‘right’ file. With cloud storage, your staff can work on the same file, using the same interface and real-time updates. Even having different versions of software is no longer an issue. Employees can work on a file in the office and then securely access the same file from their smartphone, laptop or other location, without needing to buy additional software or worry about version corruption. Sharing and collaborating becomes easier, more desirable and more secure, which helps puts your business firmly on track to reach goals in record time.
It’s Easy to Migrate
One of the biggest concerns we hear is that it will be too disruptive to migrate to cloud solutions all at once. That’s okay. We don’t have to do it all in one day, we can migrate it in parts. For example, you can move your email to the cloud, or just remote file storage. As your various servers and systems age out or need repair, we can help you move each to the cloud, which means your downtime is minimal to non-existent. You can also actively choose a hybrid approach to keep your legacy applications, with no pressure to move them to the cloud. Our technicians can help ensure smooth integration across your entire business, making sure all your systems work seamlessly together, whether in-house or in the cloud.
Call us at (614)-233-1648 if you have any questions regarding the cloud. You have a business to run. Managing your IT is our business
Why Periodic Security Assessments Should Be Your New Normal
By now you know that building up your cyber security is just as important as building up your cash flow. Both are essential to your success, but while most businesses keep an eye on the financials, they tend to think cybersecurity is something they can set and forget. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new methods of attack and the security you had in place yesterday may not be sufficient today.
Instead of reacting to breaches and taking on the costs of downtime, lost files and destroyed trust, a periodic security assessment can identify blind spots that place you at risk. Once you know about these problems, you’re able to proactively setup adequate protection before cybercriminals strike. It’s best to use independent IT experts who can audit your security from an outside perspective, often seeing risks that would otherwise be missed.
Regulations change - Are you affected?
Many businesses are kept to strict government regulations around the way they store, process and protect data. Their operating license depends on staying as secure as possible. All regulations require regular security assessments but they vary in scope and timeframe. As regulations change, so do the security assessment requirements. You can imagine how much stricter they are now compared to just 5 years ago. Our team can ensure your business is meeting the relevant regulations, diving deep to be certain you’re safe.
Security patches and updates are vital
It’s so easy to fall behind on your security patches, after all, it seems like there’s a new update every week and each one takes precious time to apply. What we’re seeing though, is that cybercriminals are targeting any business running late, and it’s basically easy pickings for them. If you’re unpatched where it counts, it’s like inviting them in. When we conduct your security assessment, we take a look at your history and see if your business has a robust patch plan in place and make sure you’re up to date. If there’s an issue that’s placing you at risk now, impacted you in the past, or will in the future, we’ll find it.
Viruses are always evolving
Just like the human variety, computer viruses are nothing to welcome into your workplace. They’re constantly evolving to skip past anti-virus scans and do damage in new and interesting ways. Cybercriminals know people are more aware of the traditional infection methods like downloading an attachment or inserting an infected USB, so they’re getting more and more creative. Your security assessment doesn’t just include ticking that you have the latest anti-virus, it includes identifying where you’ve had the most breach attempts and where your biggest vulnerabilities are. This type of precise awareness has a lasting impact on reducing your risks.
Your business may have changed
As your business has grown over the years (or shorter if you’ve experienced a recent surge), your entire setup has changed. More employees, expanded remote access, additional vendors, supplementary locations... the list really is endless. With each change has come a new risk, particularly if your security has been growing around you. It might be that your password policies haven’t been updated since you began, or that you still have the old voicemail system even though phones are within easy reach of customers. This is perhaps one of the most useful areas a security assessment can help with, as you and your employees are accustomed to the business working in a certain way, whether that way leads to risk or not. Our experts will be able to see things from a different perspective, particularly as we make sure to think the same way a cybercriminal would.
What to do with your assessment results
While many experts might present you with a long list of problems and leave you feeling overwhelmed, our team ensures you have a benchmark for progress. You’ll know exactly what you need to do, how we can help, and perhaps most importantly, which actions take priority. Moving ahead, future security investments will be smarter as you focus on the high-payoff areas. You’ll also know exactly what you’ve done well and where your security strengths lie. Employees will see how much you value security, which helps to create a stable culture, and you’ll be able to report your commitment to customers, confirming they’re making the right choice by staying with you.
Curious how your business is doing with security? Schedule a complimentary Security Assessment with Nice Guy Technology.
You may have noticed many business websites now have a green padlock in the address bar next to the letters ‘https’. Until recently, you’d only see that on shopping or banking sites, but it’s now become the expected norm for all business websites - even if you don’t ask people to log in or enter credit cards. Simply put, the ‘s’ in https stands for secure and means any data sent/received by the visitor is encrypted. Clearly, it’s an essential feature for e-commerce sites, but why have all the info-only websites started using https too?
The New Google Rule
As of July 2018, Google will mark your page as insecure unless you’re using https. It’s a movement they started a few years ago to make the internet a more secure place by default. Since Google pretty much rule the internet search and increasing security is always a good idea, businesses have been gradually switching over. Without https protection, someone with access to your internet connection, whether from digital eavesdropping or hacking, could intercept the information. They could also place malware onto otherwise legitimate sites and infect innocent visitors. That’s why eighty-one of the top 100 sites online have already switched to https and a strong majority of the web is following suit.
The Browser Bar Says It All
In the same way a green padlock in the browser bar indicates a trustworthy site, you can expect non-https sites to be marked with a “not secure” warning. Previously, users had to click an information symbol to actively investigate non-secure sites. The shift to plain sight markers will be most noticeable on Chrome, however it’s expected that other browser developers will follow suit. Visitors may then be alarmed by landing on your site and seeing that the connection isn’t secure.
The fact that you may not be asking them to log in, enter personal details or payment is irrelevant. You may not be asking them to enter anything at all, but perceptions matter. Eventually that warning will be changed to an alarming red as Google declares war on unsecure sites. As the common understanding is that a warning = bad, you may get more visitors bouncing away within seconds or even contacting you to report that your site has a problem.
Boosts for Secure Sites
Google is taking its commitment to safe web browsing further by favoring https. That means the search algorithm is taking your site security into account, preferring to display results that it knows will protect users from hackers. Since https status gets the nod, you may find yourself climbing in the ranking while other businesses scramble to catch up. It really is a win-win situation.
What to Do Next
In an ideal world, your site would have a secret switch on the back-end you could flick over and suddenly be https, but it’s a little more complicated than that. In fact, you may have already noticed some sites experiencing trouble with the migration. When the setup goes wrong, users don’t see your website with a little warning in the corner, they’re blocked by a full page error and offered a return to 'safety' (away from your site). The easiest way to make the move to https is to contact your IT technician or web developer, as they’ll be able to make sure you’re keeping Google happy and rolling in the green.
If you need some help, we can migrate your site to https - call us today at 614-233-1648.