More than 60% of small and medium sized businesses are hit each year by cyberattacks, and this percentage has been increasing for a while. They can be a debilitating obstacle for your business and your wallet. If you’ve already suffered one of these unfortunate attacks, one of the ways to fight back is to share your story with the community. It can feel embarrassing to share with others what happened at your company, but if you can help another by talking about the mistakes that your company made than it’s more than worth it. One of the most commonly used tactics cyber attackers use is phishing emails. Phishing emails look like they’re emails sent to you by someone you know or from a service you may use, such as UPS. It prompts you to click on a link, and then takes you to a malicious website. There are lots of ways to fight against and avoid phishing emails and if you’d like to hear more about it and other methods to keep your company safe from hackers please feel free to reach out to us here at Nice Guy Technology.
Imagine it’s dusk, there’s a man hunched over his keyboard typing frantically and he’s about to gain access to your bank accounts. All he has to do is click enter and they are his for the taking. Then he gets stopped by something so simple to set up: two-factor authentication.
Having extra protection can always be more helpful than having less or no protection. Two-Factor Authentication is that extra part, it asks you to put in a code on top of entering your password correctly. You will either be given the code through text, phone call, email, or an app that can hold these codes for you. So, if someone you didn’t want to access your account got a hold of your password they would be stopped by the two-factor authentication. Another option for two-factor authentication is a device that cycles through those codes and is not connected to the internet so it can’t be hacked into. But, if you would like to hear more about two-factor authentication and how to implement it in your business, feel free to reach out to us here at Nice Guy Technology.
Everyone has them and most of them are known or not as complex as they should be. Obviously, I’m talking about bio-metric safes to store our consciousness for the zombie uprising. Either that or passwords. It can be very hard to want to make multiple passwords or even have long passwords because it’s a pain to take all that time to type it. And don’t even get me started on multiple passwords, it is very difficult to remember the passwords you use and the correct one you use for that account. However, I’m about to let you in on 2 little secrets; how to easily make complex passwords and how to manage them.
Starting with complex passwords, for whatever reason, people have the idea that having so0me long string of random characters is the best way to have a complex password. But that is FALSE. Using a phrase or a couple words joined together is stronger than using random letters and numbers. For example, using Coleslaw is gross with capital letters, numbers and symbols thrown in for your password would be stronger than a random string of numbers, letters and symbols for your password. But having complex passwords is only half of the battle.
Now that you’ve got all those complex passwords, what do you do with them? Post it notes are not the answer! An easy way to organize and remember your passwords is to use a password manager app, like Passportal or OnePass. These apps hold all of your important passwords and some account info in a vault and you only have to remember one, single password. At Nice Guy Tech we use PassPortal in our own office and for our clients. If you’re interested in us helping you wrangle all your passwords, let’s talk. You’ll be amazed how easy it is! By using password management software you can now rely on it to remember your passwords and you can use the extra brain power to worry about the zombie uprising.
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