9 Steps To Take Now To Be Certain Your Finances Are Protected Online

Why Should You Migrate Your On-Premise Email System To The Cloud?

Moving Your Office Next Year? DON’T… Until You Read This First

It’s Obvious You Need to Backup Your Files, But Are You Doing It Right? Here’s Some Advice That Can Help You Avoid Disaster…

Just Released: Our Aureus Connections Fall 2015 Newsletter!!

5 Easy Things You Should Do To Protect Your Business Now

Let’s face it: no one likes to think about bad things happening to them, much less plan for them. So, we want to give you a quick “brush-up” on some simple things you can (and should!) be doing to protect your business.

 

  • 1. Review Your Business Insurance Carefully.

    Most businesses carry some type of general liability insurance that would pay them if their building and the things in it were damaged. However, many businesses do not have enough coverage to replace all the computer equipment and devices, desks, art, supplies and other things they’ve accumulated over the years that are housed in their office. Make sure you review your policy every year and keep in mind new additions and assets you’ve accumulated during that year.

  • 2. Consider Cloud Computing.

    One of the biggest advantages of cloud computing is that your data and assets are stored off-site in a highly secure, high-availability data center, with failover and redundancy built in. That means that if your building were destroyed and you had to evacuate, or if your server melted down due to an unexpected hardware failure, everything you’ve worked so hard to create over the years is safe and not a sitting duck in your unsecured closet or server room.

  • 3. Secure Your Data.

    Making sure that your data is protected from theft is a never-ending battle you don’t want to lose. Companies that get hacked and expose sensitive client and employee data can face severe penalties, lawsuits and massive loss of credibility in the marketplace. Make sure you never have to send an e-mail to your customers explaining the bad news that a hacker accessed their info through you. Further, if you keep any sensitive information (even passwords to portals containing sensitive information) on portable laptops, phones and other devices, make sure you have a way of controlling and safeguarding that information.

  • 4. Write A Simple Disaster Recovery Plan.

    The key word here is “simple.” If your plan gets too complicated or difficult, you won’t do it. But at a minimum, think of the disaster that is most likely to happen and that would have a severe and negative impact on your company’s survival.

  • 5. Review Your Employee Internet Policy.

    With so many people “addicted” to Facebook and Twitter, it’s important that your employees know where the line is in what they can and can’t post online. We also recommend content-filtering software to block content and web sites you don’t want employees visiting during work hours.

about the author

ashleypic01

Ashley Smith-Jenkins

Ashley has vast experience in the information technology field relating to computer and network services, including web development. For the past 20 years, Ashley has provided computer consulting and implementation for his customers. Ashley’s educational experience includes a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the California State University of Fresno, as well as a being a Fluke Networks Certified Cabling Test Technician (CCTT), and CompTIA A+ Certified. | LinkedIn

 

Fill Out The Form Below To Schedule Your Network Health Check.
This service (normally $197) is FREE if you act TODAY!!

 

Our FREE Network Health Check will look for any problems in your IT network and make recommendations. At no charge, a senior technician will come to your office to perform a thorough 27-point network audit to look for security loopholes, hidden viruses and spyware, and other lurking problems. During the health check, we will:

  • PINPOINT ANY EXPOSURE OR RISK

    to potential lapses in security, data backup, power outages, and system down-time.

  • REVIEW YOUR CURRENT BACKUP TO MAKE SURE THE DATA ISN’T CORRUPT.

    It’s not uncommon for backups to fail, or for the data to be corrupt without any visible signs.

  • RECOMMEND WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR COMPUTER NETWORK

    while cutting support costs.

  • OUTLINE A POWERFUL AND COMPREHENSIVE LINE OF DEFENSE

    against even the most evasive and deadly computer viruses, hackers, and spam for your specific network.

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Your Computer Network Is Being Hacked!

Your small business is under attack. Right now, extremely dangerous and well-funded cybercrime rings are using sophisticated techniques to hack into thousands of small businesses to steal credit cards, blackmail you to recover data and swindle money directly out of your bank account.

82,000 NEW malware threats are being released every single day and HALF of the cyber-attacks occurring are aimed at small businesses just like yours. You just don’t hear about it because it’s kept quiet for fear of bad PR, lawsuits and sheer embarrassment.

The National Cyber Security Alliance reports that 1 in 5 small businesses have been victims of cybercrime in the last year and this number is growing rapidly as businesses continue to move to cloud computing and mobile device, and to store more information online.

 

Here are 7 critical security measures your business must have in place to have any chance of fending off these criminals:

  • 1. Train Employees On Security Best Practices.

    The #1 vulnerability for business networks is the employees using them. If they don’t know how to spot infected e-mails or online scams, they could infect your entire network.

  • 2. Create An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) And Enforce It!

    An AUP outlines how employees are permitted to use company-owned PCs, devices, software, Internet access and e-mail. Having this type of policy is critical if your employees are using their own devices to access company e-mail and data.

  • 3. Require STRONG passwords throughout your company.

    Passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and at least one number.

  • 4. Keep Your Network Up-To-Date.

    New vulnerabilities are found almost daily on common software programs you use all the time; therefore it’s critical you patch and update systems frequently.

  • 5. Have An Excellent Backup.

    A quality backup can foil even the most aggressive ransomware attacks, where a hacker locks up your files and holds them ransom until you pay up. If your files are backed up, you don’t have to pay to get your data back.

  • 6. Don’t Allow Employees To Download Unauthorized Software.

    One of the fastest ways to access your network is by embedding malicious code in seemingly harmless apps.

  • 7. Don’t Scrimp On A Good Firewall.

    Your firewall is the frontline defense against hackers, so you need a really good one, with monitoring and maintenance done regularly.

about the author

ashleypic01

Ashley Smith-Jenkins

Ashley has vast experience in the information technology field relating to computer and network services, including web development. For the past 20 years, Ashley has provided computer consulting and implementation for his customers. Ashley’s educational experience includes a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the California State University of Fresno, as well as a being a Fluke Networks Certified Cabling Test Technician (CCTT), and CompTIA A+ Certified. | LinkedIn

 

Fill Out The Form Below To Schedule Your Network Health Check.
This service (normally $197) is FREE if you act TODAY!!

 

Our FREE Network Health Check will look for any problems in your IT network and make recommendations. At no charge, a senior technician will come to your office to perform a thorough 27-point network audit to look for security loopholes, hidden viruses and spyware, and other lurking problems. During the health check, we will:

  • PINPOINT ANY EXPOSURE OR RISK

    to potential lapses in security, data backup, power outages, and system down-time.

  • REVIEW YOUR CURRENT BACKUP TO MAKE SURE THE DATA ISN’T CORRUPT.

    It’s not uncommon for backups to fail, or for the data to be corrupt without any visible signs.

  • RECOMMEND WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR COMPUTER NETWORK

    while cutting support costs.

  • OUTLINE A POWERFUL AND COMPREHENSIVE LINE OF DEFENSE

    against even the most evasive and deadly computer viruses, hackers, and spam for your specific network.

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3 Basic Tips for Limiting Your Exposure to Malware Infection

It’s happened to everyone at some point, so don’t feel like you are the only person that ever had to deal with it. At the office or at home, you notice your computer is taking forever to boot up then (when you finally see your beloved desktop on your screen) you might be waiting another five minutes before your browser actually starts working because your computer is running really slow – and just forget about trying to navigate multiple tabs on your browser because the next thing you see is a lot of pop-ups or various ads that are embedded, and possibly the “blue screen of death”. It’s more than annoying, it’s absolutely frustrating! This can only mean one thing: your computer has just been infected with malware.

What is Malware? How can I tell if my PC is infected?

The term “malware” refers to any type of malicious software, or program that can do damage and/or unwanted actions on your computer in a particular way. They can be just annoying or they can actually do some harm. Different types of malware include viruses, adware, spyware, Trojans, or worms – really anything malicious that can infect your computer. But, just like the common cold or flu, you should be able to recognize the symptoms early so you can take care of it before something goes seriously wrong.

Adware, for example, usually installs a program that contains ads and then embeds those ads in your web browser. You may notice your default search engine change from Google or Yahoo to some obscure website, like Conduit.com or Safesearch.com. This type of malware won’t necessarily delete any of your files but it can be extremely annoying and difficult to get rid of. In addition, when you start using the search engine that’s been embedded, it will actually continue to infect your machine with more and more adware until it’s so infected that you can’t really use your computer at all.

Spyware, on the other hand, refers to programs that run in the background and collect information from you, like your email or browsing habits, usernames and passwords, and even your credit card number. In most cases, if you’re not running an anti-spyware utility, you won’t even know the software has been installed on your computer. The problem is, if spyware is left to run unchecked, it will eventually transmit all your sensitive identity information to some criminal half way around the globe via the World Wide Web.

Viruses, like worms and Trojans, can do real harm to your PC and can especially wreak havoc with your operating system, causing you to lose your files to the point you have to re-install Windows from scratch. There are several types of viruses, including some that will encrypt your personal files so you can’t access them anymore, or others that hide in the background and log your keystrokes every time you enter a username and password, so some criminal can now pretend to be you and do some online banking of their own – leaving you holding the bag.

How Do I Limit My Exposure to Malware?

 

  • Install an anti-virus program.

    The first thing you should do is install an anti-virus program on your computer, if you don’t already have one. There are several available that are free to download on the Internet (Microsoft, AVAST, and AVG are a few examples) but the one you choose really depends on your own preference. If you’re not sure which one is the best for you, ask your local IT expert for some advice. Even so, one antivirus program is not going to solve everything or give you 100% protection, especially if you’re running your PC as an Administrative User.

  • Use a Standard User Profile.

    You have to have an Administrative User profile on your computer so you can install or uninstall programs and make preferential changes to your system, but one mistake that I see all too often is people running this type of administrative profile as their main user profile. The problem with that is that you are potentially giving administrative rights to install software and make other system changes to a hostile malware infection. When you setup your user profile as a Standard User on your PC, the system will not let you install programs or make changes unless you enter an administrative password. Viruses can still get on your system but they won’t be able to infect it without administrative rights. That means you can run your antivirus utilities and safely clean them out before they get a chance to do any real damage.

  • Change Your Behavior.

    The biggest thing you can do is be more mindful of what you click on when you’re surfing the net. Anything you click online is a risk for infection, let me repeat that: ANYTHING YOU CLICK ONLINE IS A RISK! You know the type of websites that have a higher risk of infecting your system with malware, sites like online gaming or other gossip sites for example, even links you click on in Facebook; bottom-line, just don’t go there. It’s that simple. And, if you keep getting infected by the same type of virus that means one thing: you keep going to the same website(s). As a business owner, you can actually create some type of content filtering so you can block these types of websites which are known to get your computer infected. Or, just use your smartphone or tablet to browse those sites because the viruses and other malware programs are made to infect PCs – not mobile devices.

Things to Consider

When you look at it, these days it’s very easy to get infected but those are some basic ways that you can limit your exposure to malware. Everybody’s got to surf the net, install programs, and answer emails but exposure to malware increases every year and becomes more difficult to remove. It’s very easy to get a virus on your PC. Just remember that anything you click online is a risk for infection and always be mindful of that because there’s no 100% protection against malware infection.

 

about the author

ashleypic01

Ashley Smith-Jenkins

Ashley has vast experience in the information technology field relating to computer and network services, including web development. For the past 20 years, Ashley has provided computer consulting and implementation for his customers. Ashley’s educational experience includes a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the California State University of Fresno, as well as a being a Fluke Networks Certified Cabling Test Technician (CCTT), and CompTIA A+ Certified. | LinkedIn

 

Fill Out The Form Below To Schedule Your Network Health Check.
This service (normally $197) is FREE if you act TODAY!!

 

Our FREE Network Health Check will look for any problems in your IT network and make recommendations. At no charge, a senior technician will come to your office to perform a thorough 27-point network audit to look for security loopholes, hidden viruses and spyware, and other lurking problems. During the health check, we will:

  • PINPOINT ANY EXPOSURE OR RISK

    to potential lapses in security, data backup, power outages, and system down-time.

  • REVIEW YOUR CURRENT BACKUP TO MAKE SURE THE DATA ISN’T CORRUPT.

    It’s not uncommon for backups to fail, or for the data to be corrupt without any visible signs.

  • RECOMMEND WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR COMPUTER NETWORK

    while cutting support costs.

  • OUTLINE A POWERFUL AND COMPREHENSIVE LINE OF DEFENSE

    against even the most evasive and deadly computer viruses, hackers, and spam for your specific network.

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Why Are You Still Running Windows XP? You’re Sacrificing More Than Just Performance

One thing everybody knows about technology is that it is always changing, and keeping your network and computer systems up-to-date sometimes means making changes that take you out of your comfort zone. For many local business owners, their comfort zone means still running Windows XP on their computers because it’s reliable, it’s what they know, it had been out for a long time, and everything just works. So, why do you need to ditch Windows XP and upgrade your systems in the first place? The truth is, if you’re still running Windows XP in your business, you could be sacrificing more than just performance.

Not Supported by Microsoft

Since April of 2014, Microsoft is no longer supporting the Windows XP operating system platform and that means you are not getting the latest in security and other critical updates. For this fact alone, hackers are targeting machines like yours that are running outdated Windows XP software. This could be a big problem for you if you keep sensitive data (like patient records, case files, or QuickBooks) on your computer because you are an easy target for hackers that are looking for vulnerabilities in your network that they can exploit. In fact, it could lead to a huge disaster for your company that not only ends up costing you a lot of money, but might even end up costing you your business.

Not Supported by Vendors

You might find out that you can’t get support from certain third-party vendors that you need to use in your business. An outside vendor may choose not to install their software, such as a critical Line of Business application, on your machine because it is running an operating system that is no longer supported by the manufacturer. This is because your outdated software may not be compatible with an application designed for the current platform; and, let’s face it, you’re just not getting the latest updates, features, and safeguards that you would with a supported operating system.

Not Supported by IT Consultants

As an IT consultant, I can honestly tell you that it would be difficult (if not impossible) for you to find a professional IT support firm that is willing to provide support for computers that are still running Windows 98, or even Windows 2000 for that matter. That’s because systems that are running these outdated formats are highly vulnerable to cyber-threats and can act like an open doorway to hackers that are looking for a way to crack your network. In my professional opinion, if you’re not upgrading your operating system from Windows XP, you’re just asking for trouble.

Things To Consider

Okay, so now that you’ve decided it’s in your best interest to keep your systems up-to-date, what should you upgrade to? First, I’d recommend that you upgrade to Windows 7 for every computer that you use in your business, and stay away from Windows 8. But buyer beware, a big mistake that I see all too often is business owner’s going down to a local computer retailer and picking up a new machine with the wrong version of Windows 7 pre-installed. If you are using Windows 7 Home Premium, or another non-commercial version of this operating system, you will not be able to connect to your business server and you are also missing out on some other commercial features. So, make sure that you install the Windows 7 Professional version if you are a business, and find an authorized vendor online (like Dell or Hewlett-Packard) if you don’t have an IT support company that you’re already working with that has computers with Windows 7 Professional pre-installed. That’s your best bet, so if you’re still running Windows XP in your business, please make the switch over to Windows 7 Professional.

 

about the author

ashleypic01

Ashley Smith-Jenkins

Ashley has vast experience in the information technology field relating to computer and network services, including web development. For the past 20 years, Ashley has provided computer consulting and implementation for his customers. Ashley’s educational experience includes a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the California State University of Fresno, as well as a being a Fluke Networks Certified Cabling Test Technician (CCTT), and CompTIA A+ Certified. | LinkedIn

 

Fill Out The Form Below To Schedule Your Network Health Check.
This service (normally $197) is FREE if you act TODAY!!

 

Our FREE Network Health Check will look for any problems in your IT network and make recommendations. At no charge, a senior technician will come to your office to perform a thorough 27-point network audit to look for security loopholes, hidden viruses and spyware, and other lurking problems. During the health check, we will:

  • PINPOINT ANY EXPOSURE OR RISK

    to potential lapses in security, data backup, power outages, and system down-time.

  • REVIEW YOUR CURRENT BACKUP TO MAKE SURE THE DATA ISN’T CORRUPT.

    It’s not uncommon for backups to fail, or for the data to be corrupt without any visible signs.

  • RECOMMEND WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR COMPUTER NETWORK

    while cutting support costs.

  • OUTLINE A POWERFUL AND COMPREHENSIVE LINE OF DEFENSE

    against even the most evasive and deadly computer viruses, hackers, and spam for your specific network.

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Does The Thought Of Your In-House Computer Expert Leaving Scare You To Death?

Here’s an scary question most businesses don’t think about: what would happen if your computer guy suddenly quit? Most business owners think it would only be a temporary inconvenience when, in fact, the opposite is usually true. Want to know how much you are at risk? Ask yourself the following 6 frightening questions:

 

  • 1. Do you have written network documentation about your computer network?

    What software licenses do you own? What are the critical administrator passwords to your systems and devices? How is your computer network structured? What hardware do you own and when do your equipment warranties expire? Are there cloud vendors for email, online storage, hosted line of business applications, etc. that you don’t currently have? You should NEVER allow a single IT person or company keep this information under their full control over your network and company. If they suddenly left for any reason, this could lead to huge consequences for your company.

  • 2. Do you know where your backup files are stored and if they are being stored properly?

    If you are like most business owners, you’re too busy dealing with the “crisis of the day” to think about system backups and probably leave tasks to your internal expert. If your database gets fried and your tech is nowhere to be found, you might be in a lot of trouble.

  • 3. Do you have a written plan for restoring your network fast in the case of a disaster?

    If you don’t have a fully tested disaster recovery plan for your office, you could be at serious risk without ever knowing it until something happens.

  • 4. Do you know where all of your software is stored?

    Bad things can happen to computers and servers, and the situation can be made worse if you are not prepared. Taking a minute to organize and store your software in a secure place can save you a considerable chunk of money in the event that you need to restore a program on your systems. If you don’t have access to the software or don’t know where it is located, you might be forced to buy the software again.

  • 5. Do you know what routine maintenance is being done on your network?

    I know that the very idea of learning about and keeping track of all the servers, workstations, and peripherals on your network is about as welcome as a black cat crossing your path, but it is important information to maintain. If your in-house expert leaves, who will take over?

  • 6. Do you know how to protect yourself from an ugly security breach if your in-house computer expert leaves?

    What happens if your in-house expert splits with no warning AND has access to your company’s network? As soon as humanly possible, you should disable his or her access, including remote access to your network and all cloud based applications.

So how did you do? If you answered “NO” to even one of these questions, you need to get the answers now before it’s too late.

 

about the author

ashleypic01

Ashley Smith-Jenkins

Ashley has vast experience in the information technology field relating to computer and network services, including web development. For the past 20 years, Ashley has provided computer consulting and implementation for his customers. Ashley’s educational experience includes a Bachelor’s in Business Administration at the California State University of Fresno, as well as a being a Fluke Networks Certified Cabling Test Technician (CCTT), and CompTIA A+ Certified. | LinkedIn

 

Fill Out The Form Below To Schedule Your Network Health Check.
This service (normally $197) is FREE if you act TODAY!!

 

Our FREE Network Health Check will look for any problems in your IT network and make recommendations. At no charge, a senior technician will come to your office to perform a thorough 27-point network audit to look for security loopholes, hidden viruses and spyware, and other lurking problems. During the health check, we will:

  • PINPOINT ANY EXPOSURE OR RISK

    to potential lapses in security, data backup, power outages, and system down-time.

  • REVIEW YOUR CURRENT BACKUP TO MAKE SURE THE DATA ISN’T CORRUPT.

    It’s not uncommon for backups to fail, or for the data to be corrupt without any visible signs.

  • RECOMMEND WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR COMPUTER NETWORK

    while cutting support costs.

  • OUTLINE A POWERFUL AND COMPREHENSIVE LINE OF DEFENSE

    against even the most evasive and deadly computer viruses, hackers, and spam for your specific network.

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