Tag Archive for: IT support

Your Policies and Security Systems are Only as Good as Your People

After a murderous GPS led him into a lake, famed Dunder Mifflin boss Michael Scott said, “People will never be replaced by machines. In the end, life and business are about human connections.”

We all know companies depend on their employees to forge and nurture relationships with customers, potential clients, and other coworkers. But what we don’t often realize is how important employees are in helping your company protect its technology and sensitive internal data, too.

It’s estimated that approximately 74 percent of companies have experienced a security breach due to employees violating established security rules.

Find out what it would cost you to be down because of a security breach with our Free Downtime Calculator.

To make sure your internal systems and data remain safe and secure, it’s essential to train your employees on best practices for keeping your business and data safe. We encourage you to put the following policies in place and ensure your staff follow them consistently.

Adhere to Guidelines for Strong Passwords

A strong password isn’t optional; hackers and criminals are much more likely to breach an account with a password that’s easy to guess.

Employees should follow these guidelines when creating their passwords:

  • Use a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters
  • Incorporate special characters and numbers
  • Use phrases
  • Avoid passwords that include birthdays, student IDs, the names of pets or children, hometowns, vacation spots, or other personal information that’s easy to guess or find

While conventional guidelines state that passwords should be a minimum of eight characters long, it’s better to use passwords that are at least 15 characters long.

Follow Security Group Naming Conventions

Your security groups should use secure naming conventions that adhere to a set of guidelines that standardize the names and creation of future names. This will make it easier for you to identify your host names, user accounts, and other resources and assist you with managing and monitoring the security of your various accounts.

Secure Your Equipment When You’re Away

Even if they’re only stepping away from their equipment for a moment, employees should make it a habit to secure their devices. It only takes a quick glance from the wrong person (yes, sometimes it can be a fellow colleague!) to access and misuse confidential information.

This also applies to equipment that employees may temporarily use with their unique logins. When they’re done, they should always log out and multiple individuals should never share or use the same login credentials.

Declutter Old Files

Employees should regularly declutter their old files and permanently delete files they don’t need anymore. Files are a potential source of valuable information that hackers would love to obtain – not only that, but a drive that’s full of unnecessary files can slow down your computers.

Make sure employees take steps to confirm that the files are permanently deleted, like using special software that removes the file from the device’s hard drive.

Be Vigilant When Sending Emails

Email consistently serves as one of the main vectors for security breaches. While email is convenient for providing employees with a rapid, reliable means of communication, it also gives hackers the opportunity to steal your company’s information within seconds via a harmful link or malicious attachment.

Employees should follow strict usage policies to prevent an email-related security breach:

  • Implement a Filing System for Emails

An email filing system isn’t only useful for organizing messages or quickly finding a specific one, but also for increasing the security of an email inbox.

For example, with a filing system, employees can quickly identify if they’re receiving a lot of emails from outside entities that pose a security risk. Organizing their emails also allows them to determine what messages have been dealt with and can be deleted, and makes it easier to spot incoming spam or phishing emails.

  • Know What Not to Click On

Employees should never click on attachments from unknown users and should only click on attachments when they’re expecting to receive an attachment.

If they do need to click on an attachment, they should ensure that they’re using a device with tools that scan attachments for malicious files, like an antivirus software.

  • Avoid Sending Internal Attachments

If your company doesn’t send internal attachments, employees will have little reason to click on a potentially harmful attachment from a trusted sender. Instead, encourage employees to use shared file storage to share files.

  • Know How to Safely Send Files Externally

Employees will likely need to send files to external recipients at some point. In these instances, encourage employees to use password-protected links and add expiration dates that ensure the link isn’t accessible after a stated period. These guidelines make it more secure to add files and save valuable inbox space.

How to Bolster Your Company’s Security

All of the policies in the world won’t protect your company’s data if your employees don’t follow them. If you’re not sure of the state of your company’s security, contact us today to schedule a comprehensive network security assessment



How to Fix When Wi-Fi Won’t Connect

With Wi-Fi being such an important factor of our day to day lives it can be frustrating when it will not connect as we rely on it for work, to stay connected with family & friends as well as entertainment. 

The below article will walk you through several different methods to rectify that lost Wi-Fi connection. 


Stop Closing Apps on Your iPhone

Did you know that closing apps on your iPhone does more harm than good in the long run? Each time you switch from one app on your iPhone to the next that app enters an unresponsive state. When relaunching an app from the closed state it is using more of your battery life each time. Read the article linked below for other reasons why to you should stop closing apps on your iPhone.


The Five I.T. Things You need when starting a business

You’ve done the research; you have come up with the Next Big Thing and you are ready to launch – but what do you really need for your business when it comes to information technology? There are so many conflicting opinions on this, but we have narrowed down the 5 most important things you will need for your business, whether it is online or in person.

Today we rely more on I.T. services than many other things and starting with these five items will ensure you are well on your way.

Domain Name

  • Your business name is a huge part of its identity, and often when starting out people realize that what they thought was entirely unique may be one of many identically named enterprises. It is important to note that the name you choose may not be linked to the purpose of the business, and therefore there is so much crossover with domain names.
  • Having your own domain name sets your business apart from those who provide a similar service or product, but do not have their online presence set up properly or completely.
  • A domain name is the identification string, or address, of your website – not to be confused with the website itself. You can purchase a domain name through numerous different online companies, and all it takes is the click of a button and ‘swipe’ of a bank card.
  • It is wise to research how to make your domain name easy to access, as well as to avoid choosing a bulky, clunky name that is difficult to remember.
  • Beware of ‘add-on’ sales from domain name websites – you only need the name, unless you are planning to also host your website with the domain provider. Look out for hidden fees, increased rates after time, additional costs for future changes, and potential transfer fees which may be incurred should you sell your business in the future.
  • Be careful which suffix or TLD (top-level domain) you choose for the end of your website URL – the most common are .com, .org, or .net – along with country-specific TLDs. While some may argue that there is no difference, a .com may really come across as more credible than a. site or a. shop. In addition, a .org is often associated with a non-profit, a charity, or a similar organization.

Web Hosting Service

  • A web hosting service is a company that provides the technology required for you (the business owner) to publish your website on the Internet.
  • Your hosting service typically requires you to purchase your domain prior to hosting the website, but in some cases, they will assist you with this as well.
  • In addition, the Web Host will also cover the following aspects:
    1. Email Accounts – this way your business email account will be personalized to the domain name. i.e., If you have purchased ‘www.mybusinessname.com’ then your email will be ‘username@mybusinessname.com’ as set up by the Web Host.
    2. FTP Access – File Transfer Protocol allows you to upload files from your computer to the webserver.
    3. Website support – your Web Host will also provide you with back-end access to your unpublished website, so you can make minor changes should you need to. If you are happy with the host making all changes this may not be required but may also carry an additional cost per change made.
  • Another benefit of using a Web Host is that they have technicians who will make sure that your site is up and always running – you do not need to worry if the server crashes at 3:00 am and your online shop cannot be seen by potential clients.
  • When you are ready to engage a web host you will need to make sure that the service also includes antivirus support and that the monthly maintenance fee is manageable and within your budget.
    1. Antivirus may not be automatically included, and all it takes is for one person to log in to your website, release a ‘Trojan’ and your beautiful page is gone!
    2. The monthly maintenance fee should cover all the above services with no hidden extras – this needs to be made transparent in the initial service level agreement.

Build the Site

  • Once you have chosen your domain, and you have secured the services of a web host, what is left for the website is to create the content and build the site. This is something that you may want to do yourself, or alternately sub-contract out to a professional web designer, content creator, and/or copywriter.
  • Content is key – if your content is not eye-catching, appealing, or relevant to the business you are setting up, then your website is far less likely to ever be seen. This is where we start to talk about SEO – Search Engine Optimization.
    1. Using SEO is the way you ensure your site is found when a user enters certain keywords into a search engine such as Bing, Google, or Ask.com, amongst many others.
    2. Your domain name is the first step in SEO – choosing the right name makes a lot of difference!
    3. SEO is more than just researching the correct keywords – it is about placement, as well as the right percentage of repetition. You need to research the titles of the pages within your website, as well as the descriptions on each page.
    4. Using anchor images and alt text is the next step.
    5. Ensure your site has a structure by using the right headers, sub-headers, and body text. SEO scans ALL the text within your website, so if your keywords are lost in a sea of spam, the user will not see them as easily as if it is kept simple and structured.

Email Host

  • Once you have set up your website, and are ready to launch, you will find that using an email host like G-Suite or Microsoft will make your life easier. These hosts bring everything to one place – you may have more than one email address that you would like to register, perhaps for other employees, or for different purposes (admin, sales, etc.), and the email host can act as a server for all these addresses.
  • An email host also provides the following:
    1. Security – they will filter out spam and potential viruses.
    2. Support – there will be 24-hour assistance should anything go wrong.
    3. Flexibility – ensuring that your emails are accessible on all devices.
    4. Storage – there should never be any issues surrounding space and the number of emails you can keep in your Inbox folders.
    5. Maintenance – your email server should never be ‘down’, and you want to choose a host that provides at least 99% ‘up time’ to ensure that your business never loses out due to lost messages or missed appointments.
    6. Calendar management – you should be able to sync all your calendars so that all appointments are available on all devices, and you can separate work from personal items.

Work with a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

  • By working with an MSP, you are at an advantage because so many issues surrounding viruses, malware, and spyware are often overlooked by even the most comprehensive antivirus software. The software on its own is not enough, this also needs to be monitored and consistently updated.
  • Along with antivirus software, your hard drive, business software, and licensing certificates need to be monitored, checked for expiration, drive space, and potential failures. By working with an MSP, this is taken care of for you!
  • This, in combination with some basic training for your staff, can save your business thousands of dollars, as well as time, data, and critical information. No one needs to go looking for an important file only to find it was affected by a virus or deleted in the latest hard disk backup.
  • Info-Tech Montreal offers Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) services that ensure that there is someone watching at all times, working in the background, making sure that your business runs smoothly.

For more information on any of these points or our RMM services please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

5 reasons your business needs a Managed Service Provider (MSP)

A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that remotely manages a customer’s IT infrastructure and/or end-user systems, typically on a proactive basis and under a subscription model. InfoTech Montreal provides managed services, and we believe this model can provide value and peace of mind to our customers.

Our Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) services ensure there’s always someone watching over your network, quietly working in the background so your business can continue running smoothly.

Top 5 Reasons You Need an MSP


      Budget: All businesses whether big or small are concerned with their bottom line. With the MSP business model, there’s a set fee paid for our monitoring services – no surprise invoices or unexpected costs at the end of the month.
      You know what you’ll be paying, and you know what you’re paying for. We deliver better services more efficiently by reducing costly on-site visits with remote access and monitoring tools. That’s music to an accountant’s ears.
      Proactive Problem Solving: With our remote monitoring and management it services we’ll discover any issues before they become problems. Without monitoring you may be stuck in a reactive cycle, dealing with issues after they have wreaked havoc on your systems.
      Preventing a problem before it impacts your daily business is our job. We’ll focus on monitoring and maintaining so you can focus on the tasks at hand.
      Constant Support: Even with constant monitoring issues may arise from time to time and when they do, we’ll be there to help you through it. You can call on us for support whenever an issue pops up. No need to frantically google IT Support in your area.
      Simply open a support ticket and we’ll work through the problem together. Best of all we already know you and your business like the back of our hands.
      24/7 Monitoring: Even if you have a traditional brick-and-mortar business with set hours, there is constant activity going on behind the scenes. Your HR systems, websites, financial applications, and email management systems never stop working, and neither do we.
      Many issues with viruses and spyware; e-mail delivery and spam in our inboxes can be remedied with proper monitoring and management software put in place by a qualified managed services provider.
      Automated Updates: We’re all guilty of ignoring our systems when it comes time for updates. They never seem to come at a convenient time. But updates are critical to patching known vulnerabilities and for fixing bugs and making improvements to your software. Antivirus solutions need to be monitored like an alarm system at your home or office.
      Disk space and failure alerts need to be set for hard drives, expiry, and end of life notices of business-critical software support and updates, renewals for domain names, and security certificates all fit into managed services. With an MSP by your side – you don’t have to worry about whether your systems are updated. We’ll do it for you. No more pesky update reminders for you to ignore until later.

Have we convinced you yet? Contact us to discuss your individual needs.

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.

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