Inbox Security And Protecting Your Data

Take a second and imagine what would happen if you suddenly lost all of your emails. What if an employee clicked a link that, in literally less than a second, wiped the data from all the computers on your network? Talk about a pull-your-hair-out nightmare. The good news is that protecting your inbox and your data can cost as low as $5 a month!

Every day, hackers wind up in the inboxes of people and businesses, and their emails are getting more and more difficult to spot. Our CEO, James, has recently received phishing emails disguised as emails from RBC, Amazon, and Canada Post – and even he had to admit they were good attempts at mimicking the real thing.

 

phishing attempt email

These emails contain links or attachments that download viruses that work incredibly quickly. By the time someone clicks the link and sees a screen pop-up, the damage is already done and it’s possible the entire office will be infected.

But it’s not just hackers sending in viruses via emails that land in your inbox. They’re also breaking into email accounts and wreaking havoc by encrypting everything or adjusting settings. We’ve seen cases where hackers have created a rule that forwards your emails to someone else, or sends everything directly to the Trash folder – and all you know is that you’re not getting emails!

It’s crucial to have two-factor authentication set-up to help prevent scenarios like this. Hackers are not sitting at a computer manually entering passwords hoping something works, they have programs that cycle through combinations at incredible rates.

Luckily, there are systems we can put in place to help you reduce the risk and keep your data and inbox protected. We focus on three main tactics:

 

  • Filtering: First things first we recommend putting a filter on your inbox to keep the spam and phishing attempts out of your mailbox to begin with.

 

 

  • Protecting: Setting up two-factor authentication requires the user to confirm on their cell phone that they are in fact the person attempting to log-in. It can be a hassle sometimes, but the inconvenience is by far less than that of a hacker successfully getting into your inbox.

 

 

  • Back-up: If you lose everything in your inbox, Microsoft and Google can sometimes get you back the last 30 days of emails. But, it’s not their job and if they can’t, they aren’t too bothered about it. We can put recovery systems in place that get you back your emails – worst case scenario, we can at least get you back to the day prior.

 

For about the price of a Starbucks latte, you can have peace of mind that your inbox is protected and your data is safe. Give us a call today to chat about getting this set up: (514) 634-INFO (4636) x 101

 

Antivirus Software and an Expert to Monitor it – the Perfect Combo

Antivirus software has come a long way – but then again, so have viruses! Even though PCs are no longer as susceptible to attacks as they may have been in the past, it’s just as important as ever to have antivirus software running on your computer. Here’s why.

 

Viruses aren’t the only threat anymore

We may feel like we have better control over viruses these days, but viruses are no longer the only threat to our computers and cyber security! Ransomware often enters our computers through phishing emails, and can stop you accessing your files or even disable the PC altogether (and free antivirus software doesn’t protect against ransomware!)

Spyware and Trojans are other modern forms of malware that can severely disable your computer.

 

Why do I need an Expert monitoring things if I have antivirus software?

Even though software has come a long way and is sometimes smart enough to detect and fix any issues that arise on its own, that’s not always the case and that’s when we would take manual control of things to remove whatever virus or malware found its way onto your computer.

At Info-Tech, we have a dedicated specialist (Harry!) whose first task every morning is to ensure all client systems are in as good of shape as they were when we left the day before.

 

What about laptops?

Previously, any off-site computer could only be scanned once it was back in the office. However, with our solution, every single computer is monitored as soon as it comes online – including laptops, and including those that are off-site (for example, for salespeople or those who work from home). This way everyone is protected and monitored all day, every day.

 

How do I choose the right software for my needs?

We have chosen a software that is good for corporations or individuals, with a console management interface that we monitor for you – ensuring you’re always protected without even realizing it.

There are a lot of options, but we ultimately choose ESET for our clients because of its monitoring capabilities, ease of installation and removal, as well as the fact that the software takes into account available resources on your computer – so it protects, while still maintaining speed and performance of your device. You won’t even know it’s there!

For less than your daily lunch spend, we can have your business protected with a top-of-the-line antivirus software – and monitored by our own in-house expert! The risk of losing all of your data because of a virus or malware is just too great to rely on the free antivirus software pre-installed on your computer. If you’re ready to take the next step and protect your data and your device, send us an email or give us a call today at 514-634-INFO (6436) x 101.

Getting Hacked Isn’t Something That Only Happens to ‘Someone Else’

With the ongoing pandemic affecting almost all businesses, we’ve been talking a lot about cyber security and the importance of ensuring your data is protected to help prevent you from being hacked. Cyber attacks typically increase during chaotic times, so it’s important to ensure your security systems are up-to-date.

It’s also common to think it won’t happen to you and your business. That attacks like that happen to large companies in the states or overseas, or to those dealing with sensitive information. But in early March, the City of Châteauguay, Quebec was the victim of a cyber attack.

Hackers often target municipalities or other organizations by sending phishing emails and using them to gain access to their systems, holding it hostage until they receive a financial payout.

Given that this pandemic is ongoing and there is likely to be more attempted attacks, we thought it was a good time to remind everyone of our top security tips to keep your business from getting hacked, especially with employees working from home.

Ensure All Employees Understand Company Policy

If you read our February blog, you’ll have seen our recommendation to implement an Employee Policy for Safe Use. If you’ve recently made changes to or if it’s been a while since you’ve unveiled yours, now is a good time to have all employees re-read the policy and ensure they are aware of what is expected of them. Your policy should include things like mandatory strong passwords and not opening files sent from emails you don’t recognize.

Ensure All Staff Are Working on Devices With Proper Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Software

While staff are in your office and working on company computers, it’s easy to ensure data is being accessed and shared across secure devices, but it’s more difficult to manage if employees are working from personal computers at home, making them more susceptible to being hacked. Make it mandatory for all staff to have up-to-date virus and malware protection on their home office equipment.

Ensure Proper Back-up and Recovery Systems Are in Place

You absolutely must have a cloud back-up solution that saves data for you at frequent, regular intervals; this is a minimum for protecting your business. Ideally, you should have a Back-up and Disaster Recovery Device (BDR) with a cloud component. This is the best way to ensure your business is protected in the event of an attack or damage.

Some places are slowly beginning the process of reopening, but it will be a while before it’s ‘business as usual’ again. Take these steps to protect your business from cyber attacks and hopefully we can all get back there sooner rather than later. If you have any questions, give us a call at (514) 634-4636 x 101. We’re always happy to help.

Protect Your Business from a Data Breach With These 5 Tips

If you think the risk of a data breach or cyberattack is low, think again. According to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report by Verizon, every industry is at risk: last year, attacks were present from manufacturing to retail and from healthcare to administration, and everything in between. The worst part is, not all attacks are from external sources – some are internal, and of course sometimes viruses get through accidentally due to employee mistakes.

No matter your industry, you have a lot to lose: your data, customer base, industry secrets, and proprietary information are all targets for attacks. We’ve put together five easy tips you can implement right away to help protect your business.

 

Implement an Employee Policy for Safe Use

 

Many businesses do not have any type of policy in place that sets boundaries for what employees can and cannot do on the internet and in e-mail accounts. Each company should create a formal policy which all employees (current and future) need to sign which details information like e-mail best practices, rules for internet browsing, accessing social media sites, and completing personal tasks (like banking) on company time.

 

Remote Monitoring and Management Agents

 

Having Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)  on every computer and server allows your business to be in a proactive rather than reactive position with security. RMM can automatically advise your IT team that there is an imminent disk failure, low disk space, overutilization, and more to ensure it is fixed before you face an IT emergency that prevents your staff from getting work done. Depending on your anti-virus software, RMM can also alert your off-site tech experts when malware is present. Which leads us to…

 

Install Proper Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

 

When you have a team of IT experts monitoring your network, a proper business class anti-virus solution will have the ability to alert a central web portal when a virus or malware is present. Because we are monitoring that portal, we’ll be able to tell when a machine has any kind of problem before you or your employees notice. We can then push commands to that computer to clean it of the virus, and update the anti-virus software if needed. In the case that a virus can’t be cleared through a command sent via the portal, we’ll be able to notify you and your employee, connect manually, and remove it that way.

 

Have a Proper off-site or Cloud Back-up of all Data

 

At the absolute minimum, your business should have a cloud backup that can safely copy your data for you at regular, frequent intervals. This way, you have access to a backup in case of a ransomware attack, hardware failure, computer damage, or theft.

 

Install a Backup & Disaster Recovery Device

 

Hands down, the best thing you can do to make sure your business is protected in the event of any kind of attack or damage, is to install a Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR) device with a cloud backup component. If you have onsite servers, this is especially important. In fact, in our opinion here at Info-Tech, it’s crucial. Read our blog on BDR devices for more info, or contact us today to ask about protecting your business.

Cyber Crime Stats from BroadbandSearch

Check out these 19 stats on cyber crime to protect yourself in 2020.

Windows 7 Dies Today: Here’s What You Need to Know

“Microsoft released Windows 7 in October 2009. Now, more than a decade later, it’s being retired. Your Windows 7 PCs will keep working, but Microsoft is no longer issuing security patches as of January 14, 2020.

Windows 7 will keep working normally, just like Windows XP does. If you have a PC running Windows 7 or Windows XP, you can use it on January 15, 2020, just as you could on January 13, 2020. Microsoft won’t stop you from using your PC. You may see some nags informing you that “Your Windows 7 PC is out of support,” but that’s it.

We recommend you avoid using Windows 7. If you do keep using this operating system, it’s now especially important that you have security software (like an antivirus) installed and take steps to secure your PC.”

Click on the link below for more information.

 

Why A Back-Up Disk Alone Isn’t Good Enough to Secure Your Business

If you’re like most business owners, you likely have a back-up disk to restore your server data in the event of an emergency. But did you know a back-up disk isn’t enough to keep you fully protected and minimize downtime? This type of backup is referred to as a ‘data-based’ backup and is simply not good enough anymore. Whether you experience a total loss or repairable damage to your server, having an ‘image-based’ backup device that saves data to the cloud every hour is your best opportunity for getting your team back to work quickly. Here’s why.

Even With A Back-Up Disk, A Total Loss Could Have You Down for 10 Days or more!

If your server is housed in house, you probably have your back-up disk stored in a different location to protect against incidents like theft or water damage. Theoretically, this keeps your data safe in the event of a total loss of the server. However, even if your back-up disk survives the incident that took out your server, it could take as many as 10 business days to get a new server – then we’ve got to re-install everything and THEN restore the data; and without a server, the back-up disk isn’t any help!

We know you can’t be down for that long, but unfortunately that’s how long it takes to:

  1. Receive your new server
  2. Reconfigure the server
  3. Restore/reinstall all the software
  4. Restore the data
  5. Reconnect all of your business’s computers

Even if your server isn’t a total loss, if it isn’t working properly for one reason or another a technician will need to visit your workplace to address those issues before installing the back-up disk. Depending on the problem, this could take a couple days to complete.

Downtime is Expensive

Even if we can fix your server quickly, copying data from the backup disk to your server can take hours. During this time, no one on your team can do anything. That’s time that you are paying your employees while no work is being completed.

According to IBM, the average infrastructure failure costs businesses $100,000 an hour! Talk about a real pull-your-hair-out nightmare

Protect Your Business With An Image-based Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) System

At Info-Tech Montreal, we always recommend that our clients move away from a data-based disk backup solution to an image-based BDR solution.

This BDR device creates images of your server – not just the raw data! – and stores it in on the device itself AND in the cloud. If your server goes down for any reason, we can simply ‘startup’ your server with the image we have of it. It is also able to copy images of the server each hour, as opposed to the back-up disk which usually only backs up each evening, sometimes only each week.

This means if, for example, an employee accidentally downloads a virus that affects everything, we can restore everyone’s files up to the most recent hour.

If you have questions about your disaster recovery plan, need to know how much it would cost you to be down, or if you’re simply interested in learning more about our services to help minimize your downtime, contact us today! We’re always happy to chat and find a solution that works best for you.

How to Use One Drive’s “Personal Vault” to Secure Your Files

“Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service now includes a “Personal Vault” for your sensitive files. These files are encrypted and protected with additional two-factor verification, even when they’re synced to your Windows 10 PC.

OneDrive’s Personal Vault became available worldwide on September 30, 2019. It works on Windows 10, Android, iPhone, iPad, and the web.”

Click on the link below to learn more.

 

customized solutions for your business

How to Tighten all your iPhone’s Privacy Settings

It is always a good idea to review your privacy settings on any device. Most often with apps, when you download them, they always need access to something before being able to work. You would almost always grant the access to use the app properly, but there are ways to control your data and how it is shared. Here is a detailed article on how to review and change your privacy settings specific to iPhone. Click on the link below.

Desjardins Files Leaked

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