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  • 02/22/2021 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Productivity-Boosting Apps That Integrate with Microsoft Teams

    Microsoft Teams is becoming a central portal for the remote workplace. One of the most exciting parts about this is the almost endless opportunities for integration. As adoption increases, integrations will only continue to be developed at a rapid pace, making it possible to bring all of your apps and services right into Teams.

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  • 12/29/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    In The Year 1600, A “Firewall” Was Used To Keep A Fire From Spreading

    The word firewall originally refered to a wall of fireproof material intended to prevent a fire from spreading within a row of buildings in the 1600’s. These walls separated two parts of a building from the basement to the roof. Later the word firewall was used to refer to a metal sheet separating the engine compartment from the passenger compartment of a vehicle or plane.

    In the late 1980s, when the internet was relatively new, the word firewall started to be used to describe network security routers.  These routers were the predecessors of modern firewalls. 

    Today a firewall is a hardware or software device designed to protect your computer network. The firewall does this by monitoring and filtering incoming and outgoing network traffic. It has the ability to block suspicious traffic and it decides whether to or not to do so based on a defined set of security rules. The purpose of a firewall is to prevent outsiders from gaining unauthorized access to the private data on your computer network. Firewalls have been a first line of defense in network security for over 25 years. You can think of a Firewall as a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network. Kind of like a wall of fireproof material made to keep a fire from spreading!  

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  • 12/29/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    4 Ways to Make Video Calls Better in 2021

    Heres a video on how to improve the quality of your video calls:

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  • 12/29/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Annual Breach Report: Incidents That Affected SMBs The Most In 2020

    Ransomware attacks, phishing, breaches of personal information… all of these are incidents that continue to plague small and mid-sized businesses and directly impact their bottom line.

    Just one wrong click on a phishing email by an employee can cause costly repercussions for years due to loss of business and reputation after a data breach. These remediation costs go well beyond just the initial cleanup. One example is the college of DuPage, a community college in Illinois. The college suffered a data breach in March of 2020 that exposed the personal and tax details of 1,755 staff members. This resulted in the college needing to purchase ongoing free credit monitoring for all those impacted. Businesses have begun to move away from the “it won’t happen to me” mentality and realize that everyone’s a target. 73% of SMBs say they plan to invest more in their IT security over the next year. Cybersecurity protections and networks with 24/7 monitoring are now as important as having a working Wi-Fi connection, otherwise the results of an attack can be devastating. 60% of small businesses have to close their doors for good within 6 months of falling victim to a cyberattack or data breach.

    Attack Types That Impacted SMBs This Year

    2020 has been a busy year for cybercrime due to the pandemic. Criminals have been taking advantage of the disruption of normal business operations and distraction of COVID-19. In April of 2020, the FBI reported that cybercrime reports had increased 400% since the pandemic began. Here are some of the major attack types that have impacted SMBs the most so far this year.

    Misconfiguration of Databases & Cloud Services

    The 2020 Mid Year Data Breach QuickView Report from Risk Based Security found that the number of exposed records during the first half of 2020 was 4x higher than any other reported time period prior. The culprit was misconfiguration of databases and cloud services. Misconfiguration is when account owners fail to put the proper settings in place to secure their account and/or databases. If you’re using a platform like Microsoft 365 “out of the box” without any custom security settings, this can leave you at risk of a misconfiguration breach.

    Remote Worker Security

    The pandemic has caused an unprecedented rise in the number of remote workers in Rhode Island and the rest of the country. This had led to multiple security challenges to keep all those remote home networks secure so company data isn’t exposed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 20% of surveyed businesses of all sizes stated they’ve suffered a data breach due to remote workers. 

    Ransomware

    In 2019, it was found that ransomware was the most likely type of attack to cause over 24-hours of downtime for SMBs and enterprises alike. The danger of ransomware has been experienced by plenty of small businesses in 2020 that are a prime attack target. Earlier this year, several new forms of malware have been seen attacking small business networks. Names include, WastedLocker, TheifQuest, Buran, Dargate, and Tycoon. One small business in Kentucky had their network of eight computers completely disabled by ransomware and ended up having to pay $150,000 in ransom. Without a reliable backup and recovery system, most SMBs have no choice when hit with ransomware but to either lose their data or pay the ransom and hope the attacker follows through with their end of the deal. 

    Phishing Attacks

    There’s been an increase in phishing attacks this year of over 650%, which has been a big threat for SMBs. Phishing is the number one delivery method for malware like ransomware, spyware, viruses, and multiple other threats. Phishing attacks target vulnerable employees that can be easily fooled by convincing-looking fake messages. These emails often use the logo and signature of a legitimate company and can even appear to be sent from inside your own company.

    Credential Theft

    With so much of a company’s data now being stored in the cloud in platforms like G Suite, Dropbox, and Microsoft 365, credential theft has skyrocketed. If a hacker has a legitimate employee password, they can often bypass system security protections designed to keep them out. The problem with account security has led to a rise in alternate login methods to passwords alone. This includes things like biometrics, SSO technology, and the use of multi-factor authentication in addition to a password to keep fraudulent users from gaining access.

    Beef Up Your Cybersecurity to Prepare for 2021

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island has dedicated IT security experts that can help your business identify any vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity strategy and implement needed safeguards. Contact us today to set up a consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 12/29/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    LinkedIn Do’s & Don’ts: Keep Your Information Away From Cyber Criminals

    LinkedIn is by far the largest social media platform specifically designed for business networking. The platform has approximately 700 million active users, and in Q1 of 2020, user counts increased 22%.

    The platform has only become more robust over the years, expanding with a leaning center, job search and hiring feature, and the ability to do direct PPC marketing. But like any social media platform, information can be overshared, which can end up with someone being taken in by a scam or having sensitive data breached. Social platforms like LinkedIn are often outside a company’s normal network cybersecurity protections, which means users need to be extra vigilant about protecting their data. If you’re one of the millions of professionals that use LinkedIn for business networking, read on for several important do’s and don’ts you need to know about to ensure you’re not leaving yourself vulnerable.

    Do Protect Your Account with Two-Factor Authentication

    Social media accounts are often a target for credential theft. They give hackers a prime phishing platform to contact other users posing as someone they know. If a breach happens to your account, it can lead to irreparable harm to your business reputation. Visit your account settings to turn on two-step verification, which will help protect your account from being breached, even if the hacker has your password.

    Don’t Leave Sharing Settings at the Default

    You have control on LinkedIn when it comes to the amount of data you share with others. You don’t want to just ignore these important security settings and leave your account at the defaults. Visit your account settings and look at the Visibility settings. These will allow you to control how your information is shared with others on the platform. These settings allow you to change things like:

    • Whether or not you’re visible while on the platform
    • How your public profile appears
    • Who can see or download your email address
    • Who can see your list of LinkedIn connections
    • Who can see your last name
    • Who can see your posts and updates
    • And more

    You want to explore these settings and set your sharing of personal information to be as limited as possible. Hackers often scape LinkedIn to get information they can use in spear phishing attacks.

    Do Be Vigilant About InMail Messages

    LinkedIn’s version of direct messages is called InMail, and it’s not impervious to the same types of phishing scams that you see in your normal email inbox. It’s important to be wary about any unsolicited messages from people you don’t know, especially if they ask you for personal information or try to send you a link. People tend to have their guard down on LinkedIn because they figure that it’s a community of other like-minded businesspeople and are looking to make fruitful connections. But this is just what scammers are looking for in a victim. So be just as suspicious of InMail messages that are unexpected as you do when receiving email.

    Don’t Accept Just Any Connection Request

    Getting connection requests from people you don’t know can be exciting because you’re expanding your business network on LinkedIn, which is a main reason people use the platform. But not all those connection requests are sincere. Some of them could be people that just want to get access to your connections list so they can “leapfrog” you to get to another contact. Others may be spammers using the platform to send unsolicited advertising. Yet another type of connection may be a cybercriminal that plans to target you for identity theft. On LinkedIn (as well as any social media network), don’t just accept any connection request that comes your way. Check out the person’s profile to see if it looks legitimate and look up the company they show online to see if it’s for real. A few minutes of research can save you a lot of grief later!

    Do Change Your Password Regularly

    Do you still have the same LinkedIn password that you did when you set up your account years ago? It’s a good idea to change your password regularly, at least a couple times a year, so you’re not leaving yourself at risk of an account breach. Users often reuse passwords across multiple accounts. If a login you used for your Marriott hotel points gets breached (as Marriott did recently), and it’s the same login you use for LinkedIn, it won’t take long for hackers to realize this and gain access.

    Schedule Cybersecurity User Training with Onsite Techs

    95 percent of all security incidents involve human error, which means that employee cybersecurity training is vital to keeping your business network safe. Onsite Techs of Rhode Island has experts that can train your team on social media security and much more. Contact us today to set up a consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 12/29/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Watch Out For Fake Tech Support Scams

    A tech support scam is a kind of fraud in which the scammer falsly claims to offer legitimate technical support service. Tech support scammers use the following tactics to steal your personal information, your money and access to your files.

    • Scammers may try to lure you with a pop-up window that looks like an error message from your operating system or antivirus software. It could use logos from trusted companies. The message in the window tells you to call a phone number to get help.
    • A scammer could also call you pretending to be a technician from a well-known company. They often ask you to give them remote access to your computer and pretend to run a diagnostic test. 
    • These scammers may also try to get their websites to show up in online search results for tech support. They are hoping you’ll call the phone number to get help. 

    What you need to know to avoid tech support scams:

    • Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number.
    • Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email or text message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer.
    • Never give your password or remote access to someone who contacts you unexpectedly. 
    • If a tech support scammer does contact you, report it to the Federal Trade Commission right away by going to FTC.gov/Complaint.
    • If you’re looking for tech support, always go to a company you know and trust. 

    Training your staff to spot potential scams is the best way to protect your business against this type of threat.  With years of experience in cybersecurity, our team at Onsite Techs can teach your employees to spot scams before any damage is done.  For more information, call Onsite Techs today at 401-773-7766. 

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  • 12/29/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What is Blockchain?

    Blockchain Technology, which began to emerge in 2016 and 2017, is quickly becoming a low cost, efficient way to share information and data between open and private business networks. This technology is currently used for tracking assets and building trust. The use of blockchain has increased dramatically over the last couple of years with the market expected to grow to 2.3 billion dollars by 2021. All data storage is tamper-proof and incorruptible when backed by Blockchain. For businesses blockchain holds the promise of transactional transparency as well as saved time and administrative costs – it represents a new paradigm for how information is shared. Blockchain offers the ability to create secure, real-time communication networks with partners around the globe to support everything from supply chains to payment networks to real estate deals, healthcare, financial technology and  global shipping. For individuals, too much time and effort is currently wasted on identity verification. Using Blockchains, the verification of online identity coulld be much quicker. Archiving enabled by Blockchain will also offer much greater protection of intellectual property than before. Check out the video above for an easy to understand explanation of exactly how blockchain technology works. Can you imagine how this technology could make your life easier?

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  • 12/29/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    BYOD vs. Company Owned: How To Choose A Device Policy

    Considering the current stress on the supply chain of laptops and devices, there has never been a better time to re-evaluate a company’s policy on devices. The two options that most will consider are “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) or providing a standardized device that is paid for by the company.

    Mobile device use is only becoming more prevalent in business, so the mobile use policy that a company chooses can have a big impact on their bottom line. According to Frost & Sullivan, use of smartphones for work boosts productivity by 34% due to the flexibility they offer. Deciding between issuing company-owned devices or having employees use their own personal phones can be a difficult one. While nearly 70% of companies currently use a BYOD policy, cybersecurity is a major concern, especially as more of the workload has been moving from PC to mobile. There are pros and cons of each option that businesses should consider.

    Pros Cons of Company-Owned Devices vs BYOD

    One reason that many businesses in Rhode Island and the rest of the country may be choosing now to revisit their mobile use policy is because mobile device percentage of workload has increased dramatically. According to Microsoft, mobile devices now make up 60% of the endpoints in an average company and they do approximately 80% of the workload. Here are some of the factors that you should consider when revisiting your mobile device policy.

    Productivity

    One of the benefits of a BYOD policy is that there is no learning curve for the employee. They already know their personal device, which can mean higher productivity. A company-owned device may have a different operating system than an employee is used to using. Also, just the fact that they have to switch back and forth between a personal and work device can be a drag on productivity.

    Security

    As of the end of 2019, it’s estimated that approximately 48% of iOS devices were over 4 versions behind the current OS, and 58% of Android devices were over 2 versions behind. Not having devices updated properly can leave them at risk of a security breach. The security issue is a big one for BYOD because companies have less control over the device, what other apps are on the device, and who may have access to it besides the employee. Companies have much more control over the security devices that they own. For example, they can make updates themselves and can lock out other apps that might be considered “risky” from being added to the device. They can also ensure that a device too old to be updated is not being used for work access. One way that companies can get more control over the security of personal employee devices is to use an endpoint device manager, such as Microsoft Intune, which allows automatic updating and more control over the “work side” of a personal mobile device.

    Cost

    Cost is one of the main reasons that companies use a BYOD policy instead of purchasing company devices. BYOD saves companies approximately $350 per year per employee. With company-owned devices, there are generally higher administrative costs because devices have to be issued, replaced if broken, etc. There are also the costs of purchasing the devices themselves and the mobile wireless plan. Even though companies will usually give a stipend to an employee who uses their personal device for work, which averages $36 per month, the cost of issuing company devices is typically much higher than BYOD.

    Efficiency

    How well a device operates will impact how efficiently an employee can do their work. In this case, it’s a tossup between BYOD and company-owned devices, because it depends upon the age of the device and how well it’s taken care of. If companies are reluctant to upgrade devices too often due to cost, then they can end up being less efficient than a personal employee device which may be a later model. The opposite can also be true if companies keep their devices updated, but employees do not, and are using an older personal smartphone. According to an Intel study of tech savvy workers, 50% of over 30-year old workers and 61% of Gen Y said the technology tools they use in their personal life are more efficient and productive than those used in their work life.

    Control of Data/Backups

    Mobile devices can now hold quite a bit of data, which means your company files may be stored on employee devices if you use BYOD but might not be backed up. Companies have less control over data backups on employee-owned devices than they do on company devices in many cases. This is another issue that can potentially be solved by using endpoint device management or managed backup to facilitate the backup of any work-related apps and data on employee devices.

    Get Help for Your Mobile Device Management

    Mobile devices are now a big part of any company’s IT infrastructure, and they need to be protected and properly managed. Get the help you need with mobile device security and management from Onsite Techs of Rhode Island. Contact us today to set up a consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 11/06/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    New Employee Technology Training for a WFH Environment

    Do you have more work-from-home (WFH) employees now than you did last year around this time? For many Rhode Island businesses, the answer is, "Yes."

    The pandemic has changed the way that companies think about remote workers. And while they may have had no choice during lockdowns but to use WFH employees, businesses have seen the cost and productivity benefits and many are planning to keep them. 77% of surveyed companies said that post-pandemic, they will have more employees working from home three or more days per week. One of the unforeseen challenges of transitioning to a remote work environment is the lack of 1-on-1 training with new employees. In order to work remotely, many users are forced to use technologies and apps that they may not be familiar with or have not used at their previous place of employment. The new WFH environment means that companies need to update their new employee cybersecurity and technology training to adopt to the new remote work environment. Not only do employees need to learn new remote working protocols that they may not have had in office before, they also will need more extensive training. This is because employees won’t be under the protection of the office firewall and will have to be responsible for things like Wi-Fi and device security in the home environment.

    What You Should Include in Remote Employee IT Training

    New employee technology training for WFH staff will be a mix of best practices that are taught to everyone (like password security) and new remote work security (like safety of IoT devices). Here are important training topics to cover to ensure your WFH employees are well prepared.

    Password Protection

    80% of data breaches in 2019 were caused by compromised passwords. Employees need to ensure they follow best practices for secure passwords, no matter where they’re working from. Password protection best practices include:

    • Creating strong passwords with a combination of letters, symbols, and numbers
    • Not reusing passwords
    • Using a password manager to securely store passwords
    • Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) with all logins

    MFA is 99.9% effective at stopping account compromise.

    Use a Guest Network for Work Devices

    There can be several less secure devices connected to a home network that can put work devices at risk. These include things like a doorbell camera, children’s electronics, and older home computers or laptops that might not be updated. Employees can reduce the risk to work data by setting up a guest network on their router and then putting only work-related devices on that network. This keeps them separated from all other home internet devices.

    Device Security

    Some WFH employees are using their own personal computers for work and some are using company-issued PCs. No matter which they are using, that devices needs some basic protections that are cybersecurity standards. Device security includes:

    • Antivirus/Anti-malware
    • All updates should be applied in a timely manner (OS, application, firmware)
    • Devices should have screen locks that come on when the PC is unattended

    One way that companies can take the responsibility of updates off their WFH employees’ shoulders is to use managed IT services that can keep those remote PCs updated automatically.

    Office "Clock-in/out" Protocols

    When employees are all working at the same office, it’s easy to know when someone arrives and when they’re at lunch. When employees are working remotely, you need to rely on other ways to keep everyone informed. Train new employees on your protocols for using team collaboration applications and messaging apps (e.g. Microsoft Teams), so they’ll understand how to use presence indicators, if they’re expected to message their manager when they’re at their desk, etc.

    How to Avoid Phishing Emails

    Phishing is the main delivery method for malware. Employees can often get fooled by phishing scams, especially if they don’t have a co-worker next to them to ask for a second opinion. Train employees on how to spot phishing emails:

    • Hover over links without clicking
    • Look for any slight misspellings or grammar errors
    • View source code on emails to see the real sender

    Where to Get Tech Support Help

    When an employee has a technology issue, they can’t just go down the hall to an IT department if they’re working remotely. However, they can get help fast using remote support. Let your employees know how to get tech support when they need it so they’re not struggling with an issue instead of being able to work. A majority of software and computer issues can be handled by remote support, so your WFH team can easily have the help they need to stay productive.

    Cloud Use Policies

    One of the dangers when employees work remotely is that they’ll start using cloud apps that aren’t approved officially by their company. This is called Shadow IT and it can leave business data at risk because those applications are typically outside a company’s cloud security strategy. You should train employees on your cloud security policies and let them know what applications they can and cannot use. Also let them know how to properly suggest an app they think may be beneficial.

    Keep Remote Workers Secure with Help from Onsite Techs of Rhode Island

    We can help you put an IT support strategy in place that extends your office protections out to your WFH team. Contact us today to set up a WFH security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 10/23/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Technology Trends to Watch in 2021

    It’s hard to think about predicting what’s going to happen in 2021 after the unexpected events of 2020 but we decided to give it a try.  Here are some of the technology trends that will have an impact in 2021.

    Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial Intelligence or AI is definitely one of the most notable tech trends of 2020. In 2021 we predict that it will become even more impactful. With digital assistants like Siri and Alexa reshaping the way we interact with technology, AI now plays an increasing role in customer service. Companies will continue to explore ways they can use AI to streamline business and improve the customer experience. The growth of AI will impact our lives from what we do for entertainment to how we shop, how we hire and what we eat. It will be powered by masses of data that use powerful computing capabilities. We will need to monitor AI closely as time goes on to make sure we use it for positive purposes.  This will likely be a joint effort of industry and government. AI has existed for several years, but due to recent developments in machine learning, this technology is rapidly increasing its reach and we will likely see it scale even faster in 2021. 

    Voice Activated Command 

    3 years ago, most people would type their search queries into Google using the keyboard on their computer or phone. Since then we’ve seen a major transition towards voice-activated searches. More and more people are speaking their queries into their microphones because it provides a quicker and easier way to search. This change is transforming marketing strategies when it comes to how queries rank in search engines. Previously, you would type in a few search terms, and digital marketers would simply sprinkle these keywords throughout their website to boost their search engine optimiztion or SEO. Now, people are speaking fully-formed questions and sentences into their device. People who speak are also sometimes searching for different kinds of content than those who type. Often fast answers rather than complex articles. Marketers are going to have to consider different methods of content delivery such as chatbots to remain effective in 2021. As voive activated command technology develops throughout 2021, we will see people utilizing it for more purposes, including making online purchases entirely through voice. 

    Deepfake Technology 

    Another inovation to watch in 2021 is deepfake technology.  This technology uses artificial intelligence to convincingly replace a person in an existing photo or video with another person’s likeness. This technology had gained criticism for it’s use in hoaxes and explicit content without the concent of the people whos likenessed are represented.  It presents a danger because it can be extremely convincing. In this era of fake news, it’s going to be harder than ever to discern fact from fiction. Some positive uses for deepfake technology are to edit movies without needing costly reshoots and to create fictional worlds in entertainment. All the same, it’s a good idea to be wary of this technology as we move into 2021.

     Working From Home 

    Workers have been asking for more flexibility for a while now, but a company allowing remote work at scale used to be considered radical. That all changed this year when the covid 19 lockdowns suddenly made working from home the only viable option for many companies.  Even as the economy reopens and employees are allowed to return to work, companies may find  that this newfound flexibility benifits their employees. Many big tech companies like Google and Facebook have extended their work from home policies through 2021 and smaller companies are following suit. Part of what made this possible was the rapid deployment of work from home technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.  We have also seen growing PC sales as well as more investment in new secure connectivity like SD-WAN. Companies have now successfully equipped their employees with the technology they need to be productive despite physical distance. Although the pandemic caught us off-guard, it also proved that work can still happen effectively with remote employees, and sometimes can result in improvements in productivity and lower operational costs. This is why we predict that we won’t see companies rushing to return to onsite work models in 2021.

    Cybersecurity 

    With the changes the pandemic has brought, cybersecurity will become more important than ever for businesses in 2021. Hackers have taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to increase their attacks against businesses worldwide. We saw a 238% rise in attacks on banks, and a 600% increase in attacks on cloud servers from January to April 2020 alone. We expect software, cloud and hardware makers to be increasing efforts to make their products more secure in order to deal with these growing threats. With fewer employees in the office working on the same secure network, companies increasing their cybersecurity to include home networks and mobile work-from-home devices will become critical in 2021. 

    At Onsite Techs of Rhode Island, we provide cyber security solutions for small businesses.  We would be happy to help you upgrade your business’s cybersecurity strategy. Contact us today to set up a consultation at 401-773-7766 or reach out online.

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  • 10/19/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    “Bloatware:” What It Is & Why You Should Remove It

    One of the biggest reasons not to buy consumer-grade workstations is all the "junk" that comes pre-installed onto the OS. If left un-swept, this can not only drag down the performance of the machine, but also become a security risk. Bloatware, is the technical term given to the pre-installed software on your computer that nobody asked for.

    Bloatware in electronics is a lot like junk mail in conventional mailboxes. It can include software suites installed by the device manufacturer and apps that third parties pre-install on your device. Unfortunately, unless users actively search for and delete these programs, they remain on devices and gradually slow down processing speed. 

    Manufacturers usually include bloatware because they get paid. Imagine that you create a computer game and convince Microsoft to install it on Windows OS. Of the millions of Windows users, a handful will enjoy your game and pay for it at the end of the trial period. After this, the game developers get a new customer and Windows gets a commission.

    You can identify bloatware using third-party programs that detect this software. Two helpful programs are the PC Decrapifier and   Should I Remove It? Both of these products use crowdsourcing information to suggest applications users should keep on their computers and those they should uninstall. Should I Remove It? goes a step further by listing how strongly users feel about getting rid of specific bloatware on it’s website. These utilities can identify bloatware, but they dont automate it’s removal. This means you have to go through the uninstallation process. 

    Removing bloatware on a PC is now fairly easy because Windows 10 has included a bloatware removal tool. Here’s how to use it:

    1. Click the Start menu and type Windows Security in the search bar.
    2. Go to the Device Performance & Health section.
    3. Scroll down until you see a section with the header Fresh start. Click on the additional info link at the bottom.
    4. Click Get Started and accept the user account control (UAC) prompt.
    5. The Fresh start interface should pop up. Click Next.
    6. The tool will present a list of Windows 10 bloatware that will be removed. Click Next.
    7. Click on Start.

    Bloatware not only clutters your PCs, it can also make your business more vulnerable to cybersecurity breaches. Save yourself from headaches down the line and learn more about protecting your computers from bloatware. Call our team of experts at Onsite Techs today at (401)-773-7766.

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  • 10/12/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    How Microsoft 365 Encrypts Company Emails for Complete Security

    Think of all the sensitive information that travels through your company’s email messages every day. There are messages that may contain customer account details, attachments that can include sales figures, and more.

    Many Rhode Island businesses just assume their emails are protected, but in many cases they’re in plain text format, not encrypted, and can easily be read by anyone who may intercept them or receive them accidentally. Part of any good cybersecurity plan includes data security, which extends to the information shared via email. 86% of business professionals choose email as their preferred communication method. Email is the most widely used form of business communication and on average 82% of organizations have reported an attempted email-based security threat in the past year. If your business is not using an email service that has email encryption capabilities, then you’re leaving yourself at risk of having sensitive data compromised either accidentally (e.g. auto-fill selects the wrong person) or through a targeted attack by a hacker.

    Why Microsoft 365 is Your Best Friend for Email Security

    If you use Microsoft 365, then you already have email encryption capabilities to protect your company’s sensitive data.  Users can choose to encrypt any or all messages, and the attachments. What this does is make the message contents unreadable by unauthorized parties. Microsoft offers a few ways to do this, both on a basic user level and an organization-wide level. Here is how encryption works:

    • The message is encrypted, and the plain text is converted to an unreadable ciphertext.
    • The message remains in this encrypted form during transit.
    • When the message is received, the recipient can use a key to decrypt the message or a central server may decrypt it after validating the recipient’s identity.

    How Basic Encryption Works in Outlook

    Outlook users can encrypt any message and its attachments within the program. Just follow these steps:

    • When your message is open, click the "Options "menu item
    • Then click the "More Options" pull-out menu.
    • Click "Security Settings" to get another pull-out menu.
    • Check the "Encrypt message contents and attachments" checkbox.
    • Choose any other desired options, like a security label, if your organization uses these.

    Advanced Company Email Encryption

    Microsoft offers Office 365 Message Encryption that that can be automated and connected holistically to company data security policies. The Office 365 Message Encryption (OME) is built on Microsoft Azure Rights Management, which helps secure email through a few different methods, including:

    • Message and attachment encryption
    • Identify policies
    • Authorization policies

    Email messages can be encrypted using a Do Not Forward or an encryption-only option. Administrators also gain more control over which messages are encrypted instead of relying on users to make the choice. For example, a rule can be set up to automatically require encryption of all messages that:

    • Are addressed to a specific email address
    • Contain certain keywords in the subject line

    The advanced encryption through OME can help companies with compliance and data security by automating encryption and seamlessly incorporating it into company-wide data security policies, such as ensuring any messages classified "sensitive" have a "Do Not Copy" and "Do Not Forward" protection added along with encryption.

    Benefits of Using Encryption with Microsoft 365 Email

    Makes Encryption Easy for the Sender and Recipient

    Encrypted and rights protected messages can easily be sent to people both inside and outside your organization. It doesn’t matter whether or not they use email in Microsoft or another platform, like Gmail. The recipient’s email address can act as the public key used to decrypt the message, which eliminates the need for certificates that can slow down encrypted messages.

    Control Over Encryption of Email Threads

    What happens if you encrypt a message but the recipient replies, quoting your original message, and doesn’t encrypt their email? Office 365 Message Encryption can ensure the security of responses by encrypting each message within and email thread.

    Integration with Data-Loss Prevention (DLP)

    If you’re using DLP in Microsoft, encryption will fold right into any policies you have set up. It’s designed to make compliance management easy by incorporating Right Management Services templates and integration with other security features in Microsoft 365 and Azure.

    Full Control Over Your Message Encryption

    You have the flexibility to manage your own encryption keys. Users have end controls that allow them to quickly manage rights templates and encryption on their end as well. You can also use single-action Exchange transport rules and policy-based encryption. The feature is flexible to fit into any type of message security flow that your Rhode Island business uses.

    Get Help Setting Up Secure Email Encryption

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can help your business set up automated email encryption to protect your data and improve compliance. Contact us today to set up a security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 10/05/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Encryption: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

    Encryption is one form of security that many businesses don’t use enough. It’s a way to make plain text messages or documents unreadable by anyone that doesn’t have the proper decryption key.

    Data encryption is a recommended form of IT security to protect all types of information including:

    • Data located on a laptop hard drive
    • Email messages
    • Files saved in cloud storage
    • Credit card numbers transmitted during an online transaction
    • Data being sent to and from an IoT device

    Information in any form, whether that’s "at rest" when stored in a cloud service or "in transit" between devices, can be encrypted to help prevent it being intercepted by a hacker and compromised. The high cost of having data compromised is leading more companies to look at encryption. For example, there has been a 21% increase in the use of encryption within public cloud services over the past four years. However, 52% of companies still don’t have a consistent encryption strategy (or any at all) to protect their data. Let’s take a look at encryption basics first, then we’ll go through "The Good," "The Bad," and "The Ugly" of encryption.

    How Does Encryption Work?

    What encryption does is apply an algorithm through an encryption key to scramble data and make it undecipherable. The data can’t be made readable again without the key designed to decrypt the data and restore it to its original state. Encrypting emails and cloud storage files can keep them safe in the event that a hacker is able to obtain that data, because the hacker won’t be able to read it. Encrypting laptops is also a popular method of data security used by many firms in Rhode Island and around the country as a protection in case the laptop is lost or stolen. You’ll often hear "end-to-end" encryption mentioned. It’s one of the following three standard terms used for encryption:

    • End-to-End Encryption: This describes encryption that keeps messages locked and only readable by the sender and receiver when in transit. So, the ISP being used doesn’t have access to the decryption key.
    • Symmetric Encryption: This type of encryption uses one key. The same key used to encrypt the data is also used to return it back to its readable state.
    • Asymmetric Encryption: This type of encryption uses two different keys. One is called a private key and the other is a public key. When one key encrypts the data, the other key is needed to decrypt it.

    Encryption: What’s Good, Bad, and Really Bad

    Just like most other things in the technology realm, encryption can have some really great advantages, but also some drawbacks.

    The Good

    Without encryption we couldn’t securely buy anything online. Your credit card details would just be there for any hacker to grab. Encryption helps ensure document security for companies and gives them more control over data privacy compliance and how protected their data is from breaches. For example, using a business VPN for your remote worker security, encrypts the data being transmitted through their internet connection and can help ensure that a hacker isn’t able to tap into their router and spy on all that sensitive data traffic. Basically, encryption is very good for your data security.

    The Bad

    Not all encryption methods are easy to use. They can cause a dip in productivity if users are having to email passwords or decryption keys around. And if a person loses a USB-based decryption key for a laptop hard drive, it can mean major headaches trying to make the device readable again. When encryption methods aren’t fluid or simple, users can stop using encryption on files or email messages altogether, leaving you with a security risk that you may not even be aware of.

    The Ugly

    In their efforts to combat cybercrime and access data and devices that may be needed for a criminal investigation, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and other countries, are seeking a way to have a back door to all encryption algorithms that IT companies (like Apple, Microsoft, etc.) are using. In fact, this is already passed into law in Australia. In 2018, the country passed legislation that allows police to force companies to create the capability for law enforcement to access encrypted messages without a user’s knowledge. This could set a dangerous precedent, because once that back door exists, it’s only a matter of time before it falls into the wrong hands. This could lead to hackers selling those back door "keys" on the Dark Web and rendering encryption much less helpful in the future.

    Get Help with Encryption & Data Security from Onsite Techs of Rhode Island

    Does your business have an encryption policy for your most sensitive data? We can help you put a comprehensive data security policy in place that keeps your information protected. Contact us today to set up a security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 09/28/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Ways Outdated Workstations Cost Your Business Money

    There’s no doubt that effectively managing cash flow is important for the overall health of a company. That being said, technology is one area that shouldn’t be neglected when it comes to spending money on updates. If you’re a business owner, you may think that keeping outdated workstations in use will help your bottom line, "They still work!" you say. What you may not realize is how much old computers drain time and money from your business in hidden ways. In fact, holding on to outdated technology too long often costs your business more than it saves. Below we break down the true cost of maintaining old technology. 

    Increased Security Risks:

    Unfortunately, using old technology in business comes with much bigger risks than just frustration. Running outdated workstations can open your business up to a world countless, constantly increasing security threats. In fact, research shows that over 10,000 new malware threats are discovered each hour. If your technology is not up to date, your risk is constantly increasing at an exponential rate. Older hardware and software simply lack the critical security updates of their newer counterparts. In fact, most malware attacks could be avoided if newer technology was being used.

    If your CRM is outdated and doesn’t receive updates, your business and customer data could be at risk. The cost of a data breach is incalculable. It requires the expense of recovering lost data (if possible) and the cost of contacting affected parties and providing them with assistance to protect their identities. A privacy invasion is also likely to damage your company’s reputation. From a security standpoint alone, companies that cut corners on updating technology stand to lose much more than they gain. 

    Lower Productivity

    The spinning rainbow ball. The constant string of pop-up notifications asking for this or that update. At one point or another, we’ve all felt the frustration that comes with using an outdated computer. Older computers have trouble running multiple applications at once, consume more electricity, and have a shorter battery life. As devices age, they also freeze more often and run more slowly. Even with proper maintenance, older computers still cause a lot of downtime. They lack the power needed for new, efficient software programs that can increase productivity.

    New computers are made to automate non-essential tasks, integrate with mobile devices and access cloud-based apps. Data is shared through integrations, working on-the-go is easy with multi-device accessibility, and automation performs recurring tasks to save your staff time. These upgrades help people work faster and more conveniently. How much time are inefficiencies costing your organization? Don’t miss out on increased productivity levels by sticking with antiquated systems that cant keep up.

    Loss of Customer Confidence

    Companies that choose not to upgrade their technology risk damaging customer confidence. Those who are savy when it comes to privacy and security may leave to work with your competition due to the security risks associated with older tech.

    Is your customer experience seamless across many platforms? Are you offering a mobile app? Do you have a streamlined videochat option? These features create the user experience that customers expect in the post covid landscape where people rely on technology more than ever before.  Cutting cornersin this area can definitely send the wrong message to current and prospective customers. Updating you technology in a timely manner will cultivate cofidence in your customers and help your brand stand out.

    At Onsite Techs we provide IT support to businesses in the Rhode Island area.  Give us a call today at 401-773-7766 to learn more.

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  • 09/21/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    4 Ways Smart Devices Can Improve WFH Productivity

    The reason that the smart device market and IoT has seen a wave of adoption the past few years is because in a lot of ways they make our lives easier. Setting timers in the kitchen, turning on the TV, and getting the perfect lighting to set the mood are all small benefits that appear to be worth the cost. 

    Over the last five years, unit sales of smart home devices have increased more than 40%, and it’s projected that 2020 will see 2.26 billion smart devices sold worldwide. The line between home and work has blurred some, with many people now in a work-from-home (WFH) environment. This changes the technology solutions landscape that many employees have become familiar with and offers them more ability to explore.

    No longer is someone tied to a desk or one specific computer to do their work. There’s a freedom that comes with the ability to work from home and take advantage of technologies to find new ways to get things done.

    Why not take advantage of some of those smart devices you may already have at home to improve your work-life balance even more and improve productivity at the same time?

    How Can I Use My Smart Home Devices in My Workflow?

    In the past several months, remote work has gone from a novelty to the wave of the future. The fact that 5G is being rolled out to further bolster fast internet connections, just backs up the fact that work can be done pretty easily from anywhere. 

    77% of surveyed businesses say that post-pandemic, they’ll continue having more employees working from home three or more days per week.

    This transformation of the working environment is the perfect time to reimagine how WFH looks with the help of smart devices. Here are several possibilities. 

    Make Alexa Your Work Assistant 

    Many homes use Amazon Alexa or Google Home voice speakers to make life easier with instant information access and to control several other smart gadgets. A voice assistant can also be a helpful business assistant when working remotely.

    Multi-task more easily by asking Alexa to do your research on a topic for you and bring you the results. 

    Here are some ideas on how you can deploy your smart speaker as your personal assistant:

    • Add your contacts and calendar, then easily add or access information via voice command
    • Use timers and reminders for breaks or appointments
    • Use Alexa to create a to-do list
    • Play pleasant ambient music
    • Use Alexa Skills, like the one for IFTTT to connect to work apps via voice

    Gain Control Over "Non-Smart" Devices with a Smart Plug

    Are you in the middle of a long video conference but need to turn on the crockpot to get dinner started? Instead of having to excuse yourself for a moment from the live call, you can turn on your appliance from your smart phone app if you’re using a smart plug.

    Smart plugs, like this Wi-Fi Smart Plug on Amazon, turn non-smart devices in to smart gadgets for a fraction of the cost. 

    You simply plug the appliance, lamp, or other item into the smart plug and then you have the ability to turn it off and on via remote control either from a smart app or through voice commands to Alexa or Google Home. 

    Use a Smart Die for Easy Time Tracking 

    If you’re required to track the time you spend on various activities, the tracking activity itself can be pretty time consuming.

    You can make the process as easy as flipping a die by using an innovative smart gadget called Timeluar Tracker. This 8-sided die is designed to sit on your desk (so you don’t have to remember to keep an app open in your browser). Just assign a specific activity to each side and flip to start or stop the timer. 

    Keep Track of Your iPad, Headphones & More 

    When working from home, it’s natural to move around while working. For example, if it’s particularly nice outside, you may work in the back yard. You might be working from the kitchen or living room on any given day. 

    But that moving around can sometimes leave you wondering, "Where did I leave my headphones?" or asking your family, "Did someone move my iPad?". 

    You an save a lot of time searching by using small smart trackers, like TrackR, on your work equipment (laptop, tablet, etc.). This makes any item easily trackable by your smartphone so you can immediately figure out where it’s at and continue your day. 

    Get Help Reimagining Your Workflow from Onsite Techs of Rhode Island 

    Balance, productivity, and optimization are all possible when you reimagine your workflow using technology. Let us help you with the perfect WFH smart environment. 

    Contact us today to set up a consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

    References linked to: 

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/671053/smart-devices-unit-sales-worldwide/ 

    https://onsitetechsri.com/managed-services/ 

    https://onsitetechsri.com/2020/08/26/5g-how-this-new-technology-will-change-the-way-smbs-do-business/ 

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/03/remote-work-will-be-legacy-of-pandemic-conference-board-survey-finds.html 

    https://www.amazon.com/Aoycocr-Energy-Wireless-Required-Compatible/dp/B07RXDHMCY 

    https://timeular.com/ 

    https://www.thetrackr.com/ 

    https://onsitetechsri.com/contact-us/

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  • 09/14/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Pros & Cons of Deploying Smart Speakers In The Workplace

    Here’s a breakdown of the advantages of using smart speakers at work…

    One of the most useful benefits of smart speakers and digital assistanst in the workplace is the ability to create reminders and alerts for important upcoming events. Have a last minute important meeting? Just say, "Alexa, send me a reminder about the conference call at 11 a.m." and Alexa will take care of the rest.

    Another one of Alexa’s most popular features is Flash Briefing, a customized summary of the latest weather forecasts and news stories for your city. Workers can start their day by asking Alexa, "What’s my flash briefing?" and hear only the news that is most relevant to them. 

    Smart speakers and digital assistanst also have the ability to quickly and easily re-orer frequently used supplies by responding to voice commands.  This can be helpful to workers who might otherwise have to stop what they are doing to complete this task. 

    One of the drawbacks of Smart Speakers in the workplace is that they can be disruptive. By its nature, voice-activated technology requires making noise. The average employee is already interrupted every 12 minutes on average, which makes it hard for them to concentrate and get things done efficiently. While smart speakers can be helpful they can also signifigantly add to the distractions.

    Smart Speakers in the workplace may also pose a security risk.  The technology behind smart speakers (language processing, machine learning and artificial intelligence) requires an always-on microphone that collects and transfers conversation data to the cloud.  In healthcare and legal environments, this is a huge privacy concern. Even if your business is not in one of these fields, access to smart devices could provide hackers a huge amount of useful data about your business.

    If the drawbacks of smart speakers turn you off, there are less disruptive alternatives available. Most workplace apps have all the same functionality as a smart speaker—without the distractions. Employees can book meetings, request service, get essential information sent to them via mobile alerts and more.  

    Smart speakers can certainly provide workers with myriad conveniences but device users would be wise to consider the security concerns that come with the presence of an always-on microphone in your workplace.

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  • 09/08/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    5 Security Flaws Commonly Found In IoT Devices

    While programmers and manufacturers of IoT devices likely have the best intentions in mind, hackers are always one step ahead. The minute a new generation of products is connected to the web, there is someone somewhere trying to access them with malicious intent.

    Over 50% of IoT devices are vulnerable to severe attacks and an astonishing 98% of IoT device traffic is unencrypted. At the same, time use of these devices is exploding both in the home and business markets. 

    Between 2020 and 2025, the number of connected IoT devices is projected to rise from 20.4 billion to 75 billion.

    These smart gadgets are just one more complication in the cybersecurity strategy for any Rhode Island business, which has already been impacted by the use of cloud, mobile devices, and a remote workforce.

    Unfortunately, IoT device security hasn’t quite caught up to that of PCs and servers from both the manufacturers’ and users’ standpoints. While companies can control bandwidth priority using Quality of Service (QoS), that doesn’t specifically address the security of any smart gadgets they may be using. 

    To safely take advantage of the Internet of Things and all the new smart home and business gadgets coming on the market, it’s vital to understand how exactly these devices are vulnerable and what you can do to prevent yours from being hacked.

    How Are IoT Devices Accessed? 

    As with any endpoint, an IoT device can be accessed in multiple ways. They also have several inherent issues that tend to make them one of the riskier endpoints on a network. 

    Hard-Coded Passwords

    Many IoT devices have passwords that are hard coded into the firmware of the device. Hackers can easily exploit these, as they’re not hard for them to find. 

    Even manufacturer passwords that can be changed, often aren’t by users. Or at least not before a hacker can exploit them. Some IoT devices are targeted as soon as five minutes after being connected to the internet.

    Failed Encryption

    As we mentioned earlier, as much as 98% of IoT traffic is unencrypted. This is often due to problems with using outdated encryption standards like the Data Encryption Standard (DES), which allows hackers to easily exploit the keys to gain access to any data traffic to and from the device.

    Open Source Software

    While you may trust the manufacturer of an IoT device, what you may not know is that there’s a chance some of the internal coding came from a third-party open source platform.

    Open source code makes it easier for rapid development of new technologies, but it also makes it easier for hackers to figure out how to break in because they can easily get a copy of the code used for a device. 

    Unauthenticated Access

    Many IoT devices come with Plug and Play (PnP) and other features designed to make it easy for the device to connect to others that you may have. 

    Unfortunately, this often means that access to the device isn’t properly authenticated, which leaves a door wide open for hackers to use those PnP protocols to connect to your video camera, router, or other IoT device.

    Hidden Backdoors

    Another way that hackers gain access to smart devices is through hidden backdoors that a manufacturer may code into the firmware of an IoT device. These are typically designed to make it easy for customer support to assist someone remotely but can also leave a door open to a hacker.

     Best Practices for Keeping Your IoT Devices Secure

     Following are best practices for keeping your IoT devices secure.

     Update Firmware Regularly

     Many hackers take advantage of known vulnerabilities in the code of an IoT device. Manufacturers work to close these vulnerabilities by issuing updates with security patches to the firmware that runs a device.

     Many users don’t know to look for updates for IoT devices because they don’t always come with a prompt like the ones on a computer.

     Make sure you regularly check for any firmware updates for IoT devices and apply them promptly to close any potential risk areas.

     Immediately Change the Default Username/Password

     One of the very first things you should do when setting up an IoT device is to change the default manufacturer username and password.

     Use a strong password that is at least 10 digits and uses a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.

     Change the Device Name

    Each device on a wireless network is identified by a name. If you name your security system, "Front Door Security Camera, 111 Elm Street," then a hacker can easily zero in on that device for a hack.

    Make device names non-descript and do not include any personally identifiable information in them that hackers could use for their own purposes.

    Disable PnP & Any Unneeded Features

    Because PnP is one of the popular ways that hackers get into IoT devices, you’ll want to disable this feature to improve security.

    It’s also a good idea to disable any features of the device that you don’t need. For example, some data may be shared with the manufacturer or a community of users without your knowledge through a sharing feature that was defaulted to "on."

    Need an IT Security Strategy that Includes IoT Devices?  

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can help your business with a robust IT security strategy that includes all your standard computers and hardware in addition to mobile and IoT devices.

    Contact us today to set up a security consultation at 401-773-7766 or reach out online.

    References linked to:

    https://threatpost.com/half-iot-devices-vulnerable-severe-attacks/153609/

    https://review42.com/internet-of-things-stats/

    https://onsitetechsri.com/cyber-security/

    https://onsitetechsri.com/2020/08/19/reasons-why-qos-is-critical-for-the-post-pandemic-office/

    https://www.rcrwireless.com/20190806/internet-of-things/netscout-iot-devices-under-attack-within-minutes-of-turn-up

    https://onsitetechsri.com/contact-us/

     

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  • 09/01/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Ways That DIY Business Email Migration Attempts Often Fail

    DIY business email migration attempts will likely cause problems.  Here’s why…

    Microsoft Office 365, the cloud-based version of Office, and Google’s G Suite are some of the most popular software suites used by small- to medium-sized businesses today. One of the biggest advantages when you move to Office 365 or G Suite is that your files, email and data can be accessed from anywhere on a variety of different devices including tablets, phones and computers. With an ever-increasing number of employees working remotely, it’s not surprising that more and more businesses are migrating to web based productivity suites. 

    If you are a business owner or decision maker and you run a Google search for "how to do an email migration", you might find some tools and software that claim you can easily DIY this process.  What most companies find when they attempt to do these migrations themselves is that the process is much more difficult than expected and they often come across unexpected issues that require an IT expert to solve. 

    Blocking issues are common issues causing the migration to be "blocked" entirely and nothing is able to be transferred despite your time and effort.  Non-blocking issues happen when a migration is partially successful, but some messages and folders end up missing on your new server that were available on the old one. 

    In order to ensure smooth migrations to Office 365 and/or G Suite, it’s a good idea to work with an IT provider like Onsite Techs.  We can ensure that your systems are ready and the migration runs smoothly without causig interruptions to your productivity.

    Onsite Techs would be happy to resolve any issues related to your poorly executed migration to get you back on track.  Contact us today at 401 773-7766 to learn more. 

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  • 08/26/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    5G – How This New Technology Will Change the Way SMBs Do Business

    We’ve been hearing about 5G technology for a while now, but it’s yet to have a major impact. As with all transitions like this, it takes carriers time to build their networks and for manufacturers to launch devices that can take full advantage of new 5G capabilities. This is one of the reasons small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) haven’t yet gotten fully excited about 5G. But it won’t be too much longer until they start to see some very real benefits from the technology that will change they way they do business. In 2019, there were approximately 10 million 5G wireless connections. By 2023, that number is expected to grow to over 1 billion.The benefits that 5G promises are going to have a big impact on managed IT services, cloud computing, and the ability to stream large amounts of data in very little time. So, how does this translate to SMBs? We’ll explore what you can expect next.

    How SMBs Will Benefit from 5G Technology

    Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits that 5G is promising, which will help give an idea of where a small or mid-sized business can deploy this technology. Here are some key statisticsfrom Intel on 5G:

    • Speeds are expected to be as much at 100x faster than 4G LTE networks
    • Latency is significantly reduced
    • Network device capacity will be 1,000x more than 4G networks

    While it’s hard to imagine things like 100x faster speed, it’s going to make today’s connections seem as slow in comparison as the AOL dial-up days look to us now. Here’s how business is going to be forever changed once the 5G rollout is completed.

    More Enhanced Remote Connections (Think AR/VR)

    Today, we’re lucky if we can get through a Zoom video meeting without having someone’s image freeze up. That’s going to be a thing of the past once the speeds of 5G reduce the latency that causes those types of problems. 5G is also going to take those remote connections far beyond just 2D video meetings, enabling full augmented reality and virtual reality meetings, where it seems like everyone is actually sitting in the same room. This will further promote remote workers and remote customer meetings as 5G-powered AR/VR meetings will come closer to the real thing than is currently possible now.

    More Use of Smart Sensor Technology

    Smart sensors help businesses track customer patterns in retail shops and can do similar things for manufacturing and packaging processes. Think of building automations that cue off movement – like lights being turned on or HVAC being turned up or down based upon occupancy. Right now, this type of smart sensor technology is typically used in larger organizations that can afford the bandwidth to run all those devices, but with 1,000x higher device capacity, it’s going to allow SMBs to take advantage of the cost savings, automations, and analytics possible using internet-connected smart sensor technology.

    Big Boost to Productivity

    With faster speeds and lower latency, your employees will be able to get their work done faster. Just think if every employee saved 30 minutes a day because they had to wait less on cloud app responsiveness. For a small business with 25, employees, that would mean an additional 62.5 hours per week, without having to hire any additional staff. This gives companies an opportunity to build their company faster and put those extra productivity hours into new projects, new marketing initiatives, and other forward motion.

    Customer Experience Innovation

    You know those small tablet screens that play an advertisement in the supermarket as you walk by? Those will seem completely outdated once 5G expands how you can interact with customers. For example, a small paint and wallpaper shop could offer a 3D "decorate your room" experience, where just a few photos could be overlaid with different colors and styles. Customers could also get greeted as they come through the door with a holographic store directory or an "assistance" button. One of the things holding this type of technology back has been the need for bandwidth, lower latency, and higher device capacity, all things that 5G addresses.

    How to Prepare Your Business for 5G

    You have some time now to prepare to hit the ground running with 5G once it’s fully available and fully implemented by device manufacturers. Here are a few ways you can get ready:

    • Work with an IT consultant to explore ways that 5G could lower costs and expand your capabilities and put a game plan into place.
    • Contact the carriers in your area to see where they are with 5G rollout timing in your area.
    • Research hardware and IoT devices that are 5G compatible, so you can incorporate them into your equipment upgrade process.

    Work with Onsite Techs of Rhode Island to Be Ready for 5G

    Don’t get caught behind your competition when 5G finally rolls out. We can work with you on planning now, so you’ll be ready to take full advantage of the benefits. Contact us today to set up a 5G consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 08/19/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Reasons Why QoS Is Critical for the Post-Pandemic Office

    There are two important ways that the pandemic is forever changing the way offices operate. These have to do with more remote workers and less physical customer contact. It’s been months since the earliest shutdowns first started due to COVID-19, and the world is now realizing that things may never go back to the old version of "normal." This new normal involves running companies with more at-home workers and coming up with innovative ways to serve customers who are more contact sensitive now than ever before. The internet and remote connectivity play key roles in both those areas. 77% of surveyed businesses say that post-pandemic, they’ll have more employees working from home at least 3+ days per week. Quality of Service (QoS) will play a big part in ensuring businesses are able to connect to employees, customers, and cloud data effectively on a daily basis.

    What is QoS?

    QoS involves the quality of network connections. These can include connections during a video conference or the connections of your point-of-sale (PoS) devices customer use to purpose your products or services. To understand where QoS comes in to help improve data transmissions, let’s looks at how two standard protocols for network transmission work. UDP (User Datagram Protocol) is a transmission that streams data in an ordered sequence, like when you’re doing a VoIP or video call. If packets of data are lost during transmission (e.g. a frozen video stream), the protocol just lets those go, it doesn’t go back to try to retransmit the lost data. UDP is faster, which is why it’s used for voice/video streaming. TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is a transmission that DOES go back to retransmit any lost data packets during a connection. This is commonly used for things like cloud storage uploads and downloads. Part of the data won’t do you any good, you need the entire file, so TCP is a better fit than UDP in this case.

    How QoS Improves UDP/TCP Data Transmissions

    What QoS does is look at both the UDP and TCP processes and works to manage data packet loss, delay, and jitter – all things that cause connection and data transmission problems. It will look at the available bandwidth, the transfer protocols being used, and the process priority to identify which activities need to have priority on the network. For example, if you have a remote workforce, you need to ensure that video conference connections are running smoothly as a high priority. Whereas you may put remote connections to your wireless printer on a lower priority, so a large print job doesn’t suddenly ruin an important video meeting.

    QoS for Critical Applications

    Another important area that QoS impacts is application performance. If you have employees logging in remotely to company applications that are running on your server, those connections could be interrupted by other processes taking up bandwidth. If you’re not using QoS on your network to act as a "traffic cop" for your internet connected processes, then you could lost valuable productivity and cause constant disruptions to applications like your VoIP phone system or customer CRM program.

    The Advantages of QoS for Your Business

    QoS looks at your total bandwidth and controls which processes get which slice of the pie. This is crucial in a post-pandemic working environment for a number of reasons.

    Ensures Remote Teams are Productive

    You can prioritize applications like video conferencing and remote connections to your server to significantly reduce lag time, poor video meeting quality, and trouble connecting to office resources while working remotely. Faster connections equal more efficiency and higher productivity because staff aren’t waiting on slow connections.

    Keep Customer Call Quality on VoIP Consistent

    VoIP phone systems have become a necessity in an unpredictable world where companies need to be able to quickly move their operations. But, if you’re not using QoS, then other applications using up bandwidth could impact customer call quality and even cause calls to be dropped. QoS allows you to designate priority and bandwidth requirements for your VoIP phone system to ensure a consistent experience.

    Improves Overall Data Handling

    Without QoS, the devices that connect to your network are in a "free for all" when it comes to bandwidth, making all of them unpredictable when it comes to latency, jitter, and packet loss. By prioritizing devices and which are the most critical to have their data packets delivered first, you put control to the chaos and improve the data handling of all your internet-dependent activities. What this does is allow you to explore new ways to reach and serve customers using cloud processes to reduce physical contact and create a safer business environment into the future.

    Does Your Network Need Help Prioritizing Traffic?

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can work with you to put QoS into place on your network including adding any necessary hardware. This allows you to gain control of your traffic, improving its quality and speed, and reducing connection issues. Contact us today to set up a network consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 08/05/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Common Ways Businesses Fall Victim to Ransomware

    Ransomware is a type of malware that steals a victim’s data and either threatens to publish or perpetually block access to it until a ransom is paid.  Stories of organizations crippled by ransomware regularly dominate the IT news headlines.  Here are some stats on ransomware from Sophos’s The state of Ransomware 2020 report.  The average cost to rectify the impacts of the most recent ransomware attack in 2020 (considering downtime, people time, device cost, network cost, lost opportunity, ransom paid etc.) is $732,520 for organizations that don’t pay the ransom, rising to $1,448,458 for organizations that do pay.  26% of ransomware victims whose data was encrypted got their data back by paying the ransom.  A further 1% paid the ransom but didn’t get their data back.  Paying the ransom doubles the cost of dealing with a ransomware attack.  94% of organizations whose data was encrypted got it back and more than twice as many got it back via backups (56%) than by paying the ransom (26%).  Here is a guide to help you better understand the different types of ransomware attacks and how your business can best avoid them.  

    Emailed Links & File Attachments:  By far the most common scenario involves an email attachment disguised as an innocuous file.  "Phishing" spam refers to attachments that come to the victim in an email, masquerading as a file they should trust. Clicking the malicious link downloads ransomware.  Once it’s downloaded and opened, ransomware can take over the victim’s computer.   Following a malicious link can quickly compromise an entire network.  

    Accidental File Download:  Drive-by downloading occurs when a user unknowingly visits an infected website and then malware is downloaded and installed without the user’s knowledge.  This type of ramsomwawre attack is especially dangerous because it’s difficult to prevent.

    Remote Attacks on Server:  These attacks happen when ransomware contacts the command and control server operated by the cybercriminals behind the attack.  The ransomware gets the server to generate cryptographic keys to be used on the local system.  It then starts encrypting any files it can find on local machines and the network.

    Mis-configured Public Clouds:  This occurs when you have not configured a cloud-related system, asset, or tool properly.  This improper setup may in turn jeopardize the security of your cloud-based data depending on the affected system, asset, or tool.  Such databases can be accessed, downloaded, or manipulated by anyone who finds them including cybercriminals who will then hit you with a ransomware attack.

    Remote Desktop Protocol:  RDP is a protocol that people use to log into Windows boxes from afar.  It connects to Remote Desktop Services, a Windows feature that gives you desktop access on a Windows computer from wherever you are.  Unfortunately RDP has a history of insecurity, leading to attacks either by direct manual hacking or by malware. 

    Here are some tips to help your business avoid a ransomware attack:

    • Look out for potentially dangerous file types like Executable, HTML, Java Script, VBScript, Zip and Batch.
    • Keep your operating system patched and up-to-date to ensure you have fewer vulnerabilities to exploit.
    • Don’t install software or give it administrative privileges unless you know exactly what it is and what it does.
    • Install antivirus software, which detects malicious programs as they arrive, and whitelisting software, which prevents unauthorized applications from executing.
    • Back up your filesfrequently and automatically! That won’t stop a malware attack, but it can make the damage caused by one much less significant.

    At Onsite Techs we believe that having technology that works for you rather than against you is vital to your success.  We hope you found this inf ormation helpful and we are always here to provide dependable small business IT s olutions, so you don’t have to worry about IT. 

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  • 08/03/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Teams – How it can replace your traditional File Server

    Microsoft Team has gained a lot of tractions and interest from businesses in the last 4 months due to businesses having to switch to a work from home environment.

    Mainly for its communication features such as chat and video conferencing capabilities. These features have made it easier for businesses to communicate while being apart, but did you know that Teams if set up correctly can replace your traditional file server or NAS?

    In this blog post I will breakdown how a Teams file share could look like for a business.

    On a regular server you would have shared folders that are then mapped as drives on the employee’s workstation. In Teams we have Teams and then under those teams we have sub channels, in each team and sub channel you can have document folders.

    So, if a company had a folder called "Executive" with "Administration, Finance and HR sub folders those would translate to a team called "Executive" with Administration, Finance and HR sub channels.

    Here is a text breakdown of a full Teams Structure:

    And here is what that could look like in Teams:

    Main folders as Teams and sub folders as sub channels: 

    The Operations, Client Services and Business Development folders as Teams and Sub Channels:

    That is how the teams would look like in the Teams app but we know that mapped drives and the functionality of those drives are ingrained in employees so if an emploee simply do not like to work out of the Teams app then we can sync the Teams via OneDrive and have it look very similar to the mapped drive structure that a lot of employees are used to.

    The synced drive would then look like this:

    As you can see it is very similar to the traditional folder breakdown and employees will feel comfortable using it because it is essentially the same as how they used to work. The difference is that now all the files are in the cloud and not on an on-premise server or NAS.

    A thing worth noting is that Teams can not be used to host line of business software databases so you can share a Quickbooks company file or any database that use SQL, you would still need a server for those although it wouldn’t have to be on-premise as there are many options for hosting a server in the cloud as well.

    For documents, pictures and other common files, Teams can eliminate the need for an on-premise server, you would no longer need to maintain that server or pay thousands  to replace it when it breaks down and since it’s in the cloud, you can access those files fom anywhere with no need for VPN on any device as long as you have the right credentials and a paid Microsoft subscription.

    If you have any questions about Teams and how it can eliminate your server fill out one of the contact forms and we will be happy to assist you.

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  • 07/27/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Password Alternatives That Are Changing How We Log-In

    Are You Reusing the Same Passwords for Multiple Accounts? 

    Chances are the answer is yes.  Back in the early 2000s, we had a handful of passwords that we could remember and use. Today the average person uses  over 100 passwordprotected websites and apps . Every new website and application we sign up for is another password and it’s become literally impossible to remember them all.   This is causing most people to reuse the same passwords for multiple logins and it’s a big problem .  The rates of cybercrime are through the roof  and reusing passwords makes it very likely that you will be a victim at some point .    

    Fortunately, some very effective systems have been developed in response to this problem.  You may have read our recent blog posts about password managers, multi-factor authentication and biometric authentication.  Below we explain 3 more useful solutions.  Don’t be surprised if  you find yourself using one of more of these in the future.   

    One-time password systems or magic links provide a mechanism for logging on to a network or service using a unique password that can only be used once. With magic links , the user is sent an email with a link in it. Clicking this link will log the user in in one easy step.  It’s like clicking "forgot  password," getting an email with a one-time-use code, returning to your app and entering the code,  without having to perform have all the steps.     

    SSO stands for single sign-on authentication.   SSO enables people to use one set of login credentials, for example, a name and passwordto access multiple applications. With SSO, websites use other trusted sites to verify  a user’s identityThese systems work sort of like ID cards. If you get pulled over for speeding, the police officer doesn’t have to know you personally to identify you They can look at your license and see that the State of Rhode Island vouches for your identity.  Similarly, with SSO, each website doesn’t make  you prove your identity. Instead, it asks LinkedInMicrosoft or Google if they can verify your identity.  If they can, the site takes their word for it.  

    Physical Keys are hardware security keys made by various manufacturers to work with hundreds of apps and online services as well as popular web browsers.  They’re easy to use, relatively inexpensive and offer a higher level of protection than  other forms of two-factor authentication (texts, authenticator apps, and notifications) The grid card, for example, is a credit card-sized authenticator you carry with you.  When you  login, you’re presented with a coordinate challenge and must enter information from  your grid card.  Many overseas banks  use grid authentication cardsIt’s an old school version of two-factor authentication because you must be in possession of your card  and know your pin The advantage is that it can’t be accessed by hacking your phone.   

    At Onsite Techs we believe that having technology that works for you rather than against you is vital to your success.  We hope you found this information helpful and we are always here to provide dependable small business IT solutions, so you don’t have to worry about IT. 

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  • 07/27/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What is Biometric Authentication?

    Many tech companies are creating easier-to-use alternatives to traditional username and passwords. Apple’s "Face ID" which uses biometric authentication to unlock your phone is probably the most widely used of these innovations at present.  Biometric authentication is a security process that verifies your identity based on your unique biological characteristics.  Here are some examples of biometric authentication that could increasingly replace passwords in the coming years.

    • Voice Identification: Vocal recognition technologies measure vocal characteristics to distinguish between individuals. Like facial scanners, they combine several data points to create a profile or voiceprint. Voice identification technologies focus on measuring and examining a speaker’s mouth and throat for the formation of shapes and sounds. This process avoids the security failures that could be caused by attempts to imitate a voice, or by conditions such as sickness that might change the sound of a voice. The words a user speaks to access a voice-protected device may also be standardized, serving as a sort of password and making the comparison of voiceprints easier, as well as stopping attempts to bypass voice identification, such as recording an authorized user saying something unrelated.   
    • Eye Scanners: Several types of eye scanners are now commercially available, including iris recognition and retina scanners. Retina scanners work by projecting a bright light into the eye, making blood vessel patterns visible.  These patterns can then be read and compared to approved patterns saved in a database. Iris scanners operate similarly by looking for unique patterns in the colored ring around the pupil. Both types of eye scanners are useful as quick, hands-free verification options, but can still sometimes produce inaccuracies if individuals wear contact lenses.   
    • Fingerprint scanners: These are the digital version of old-fashioned paper & ink fingerprinting.  Fingerprint scanners rely on recording the unique patterns of swirls and ridges that make up an individual’s fingerprints.   
    • Facial recognition technology relies on creating what are called faceprints.  This is done by matching dozens of different measurements from an approved face to the face of a user trying to gain access.  Like fingerprint scanners, if enough measurements from a user’s face match the approved faceprint, access is granted. Facial recognition has recently been added to many smart phones, though it can be inconsistent when viewed from different angles, or when distinguishing between people who look alike, such as close relatives.  

    Although biometric authentication technology has its flaws, it offers more security and a better user experience than traditional usernames and passwords.  Don’t be surprised if you see these technologies popping up more and more in your everyday life.   

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  • 07/20/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    3 reasons why your computer could be so slow

    Here’s why your computer could be so slow

    Don’t you just hate it when your computer slows down, and stops you from getting on with your work?

    Here are 3 reasons why computers slow down. One of them is really bad…

     

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  • 07/16/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Leetspeak May Make Passwords Weaker…

    !F Y0u C4n R34d Th1s, 1t C4n B3 H4ck3d

    Leetspeak is a system of modified spellings used primarily on the Internet.  It often uses character replacements in ways that play on the similarity of letters via reflection or other resemblance.  It’s commonly used to create passwords that are considered memorable and secure.  Unfortunately it didn’t take long for hackers to catch up.  Now Leetspeak passwords are just as easily cracked as the "password123’s" of the world.  At Onsite Techs we recommend the use of a PASSWORD MANAGER to create secrure passwords without the need to remember them all. 

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  • 07/13/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Password Managers

    81% of Confirmed Data Breaches are due to passwordss..

    Password management is the bane of end users and IT administrators, but there are options to get the most out of the experience and reduce the headaches.

    At Onsite Techs we recommend using a password manager as well as multi-factor authentication to combat this problem.

    Companies gain new passwords almost on a weekly basis and with very little control on how theesae are managed. This is far too many to memorize, however duplicating passwords is a huge risk.

    We recommend combating this issue through the use of a password manager and the use of multi-factor authentication.

    Using a password manager encourages users not to reuse passwords and there are plenty of password manager solutions on the market, we use Password Boss,others such  LastPass and Myki are good options as well. 

    Multi-factor authentication in combination with a password manager simply creates an extra step for accessing any account and can be the barrier needed to stopping unwanted access.

    Did you know that the average business employee has 191 passwords!

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  • 07/13/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Which Type of Backups is your Business Using?

    These are the 4 Types of Data Backup and Recovery:

    Full Backup:

    A full backup is when all the data in a system is backed up.  It is the most comprehensive nad basic of all backup types.  The advantage of a full backup is that the process of restoring lost data is much faster.  The disadvantage of a full backup is that it takes longer to execute and requires more space than other types of backups.  

    Incremental Backup:

    An incremental backup only backs up the changes that were made since the previous backup.  With this type of backup, the process of restoring lost data takes more time but the backup process is faster, allowing backups to be carried out more often if needed.  

    Differential Backup:

    Similar to an Incremental backup, each time it is run, a differential backup only saves the data that has changed since the last full backup.  A differential backup is different in that it provides a way of backing up changed data to the same convenient location as all new data.  This allows for faster restore time but also takes up more time and storage space than an Incremental backup.

    Mirror Backup:

    A mirror backup means that an exact copy of your source data is made and backed up.  The advantage of this type of backup is that you are much less likely to be storing old obsolete files.  When you delet files, they are also deleted from the mirror backup every time your system backs up.  The disadvantage of a mirror backup is that if a file is accidentally deleted it can be permanently lost if the accidental deletion isnt discovered before your next scheduled backup.  

    Conclusion:

    Different businesses have different needs when is comes to how your data is backed up.  It’s important to understand the different types of data backup and recovery so that you can be sure you are meeting your businesses unique needs for security and efficiency.  It can help to talk to a professional to learn more about how to best manage your IT support needs.

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  • 07/09/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    3 ways to make your laptop’s battery last longer

    We all love our laptops… until the battery gets down to 5%. And you’re trying to get a piece of work finished.

    Here are 3 ways you can get a bit more juice out of your laptop.

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  • 07/06/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    4th of July Nightmare

     

    Exactly one year ago today we received a frantic call from a locksmith in Providence. They had returned from the long weekend and discovered that they could not access any files on their server.

    We sent a tech to investigate and he found that the server had been encrypted by ransomware and it most likely happened because they left Remote Desktop ports open on their firewall so they could remote into the server from home. The ransom that the hacker’s demanded was $10000!

    They did have Carbonite Server Safe backup that had been installed by a prior IT company and the technician’s plan was to restore the server from that backup.  First, he tried to recover from the local hard drive that was plugged into the server, but that did not work as that had been encrypted by the malware as well.

    He then downloaded the image from the Carbonite cloud and initiated a recovery but ran into an issue with the software not recognizing the flash drive that the image was downloaded to. He contacted Carbonite support and was first helped by their level one support, they could however not help him and escalated him to level 2.  Level 2 could not solve the issue either and he was then escalated to level 4. Now 4 hours had gone by and it was decided that the technician was going to take the server with him to continue the recovery at the shop.

    Once at the shop Carbonite’s level 4 was able to get the software to recognize the drive and the backup could be initiated. The restore was successful but unfortunately it was a lengthy process and we had to bill the company for $2500 once everything was said and done.

    Although the recovery was a success we do not recommend and don’t use Carbonite for our managed clients, we only use Datto’s BCDR solutions, either the Alto or the Siris devices depending on the size of the server we are backing up. The security and the speed of recovery of these solutions are why we prefer and insist on using with all our clients that have on-premise servers.

     So how is your server backed up?

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  • 07/04/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Cyber security – Your employees are your biggest threat

    There’s a lot you can do with software to protect your business from cyber-crime.

     But the single biggest threat to the business is actually your employees.

     Not because they intended to. But because it only takes one person to accidentally click on one bad link, and they can let hackers in.

     Our latest video tells you what you can do to help your team be more aware of phishing and cyber-crime.

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  • 07/01/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Sneaky Ways Hackers Can Get Your Information to Send Phishing Emails

    Phishing emails have gone well past those general "Nigerian Prince" messages addressed "To whom it may concern." Today, they’re much more personal and will include information that you think a scammer shouldn’t know.

    Emails will not only spoof a well-known brand they’ll include your name and the name of the company you work for in the salutation to appear more legitimate. And this personalization tactic often works. With 84% of small and mid-sized businesses being targeted by phishing attacks, these scam emails have become a major problem for any company’s cybersecurity strategy. People aren’t often aware of all the sneaky ways that hackers can get their personal information, so they’re more apt to think a personalized phishing email is legit than a scam. The example below, which has the name and company changed to protect privacy, is one that nearly fooled the recipient because it had their company name included. Hovering over the link to reveal the URL was what saved them from being scammed. How do scammers get your personal information and your email address in the first place? Even the most careful person can have their personal details found and used by scammers who bombard them with phishing attacks. Knowing how they get your details can help you be more aware of where you’re leaving a digital footprint.

    Are You Making It Easier for Phishing Scammers to Attack?

    Protecting against a data breach is a top concern of most Rhode Island businesses because security incidents can have a direct impact on their bottom line. 1 in 3 consumers will stop using a business if they have a security breach. Here are ways that hackers get your company and employees’ information to send phishing emails.

    Your Website

    There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your team and listing them on your About Us page, but how much information are you giving phishing scammers to use against you? If you include employee names, titles, and email addresses, a hacker can easily scrape these and deploy that information in a targeted phishing campaign. They may even spoof the email address of a higher positioned employee when sending phishing to other employees, so they’ll be more likely to respond.

    LinkedIn, Facebook & Other Social Media

    Business and individual pages on social media are particularly information rich when it comes to grabbing data for a phishing attack. Hackers can find past job positions, interests, hobbies, and lists of friends and colleagues, all which can be used for phishing. It’s a good idea to check privacy settings and make individual profiles private to your connections to keep from giving a cybercriminal too much information.

    Database Breaches

    Malware like password dumpers are designed to seek out databases and steal their information. In addition to stealing login credentials, they also gather email addresses. In just one breach, 773 million user records were stolen. These large lists of records are then sold, over and over again, on the Dark Web for attackers to target with phishing emails. Since most people can’t easily change their work email address if it’s been exposed in a breach, one of the ways to cut down on the fallout is to use an email spam filter to block as many phishing emails as possible.

    Your Web Applications

    Web application attacks was the top attack vector in 2019 for reported data breaches. Breaking into one of your cloud accounts can help hackers in two ways. First, they can grab user email addresses, which are typically contained in your account information. The second way is if the hacked web application includes email (like G Suite or Microsoft 365), then the hacker could send phishing emails to your employees or customers from one of your own email accounts.

    Email Scrapers

    Email scrapers are often used by hackers to gather as many email addresses as they can to send phishing. These are automated bots that look for the @ and standard email address format across the internet. Email scrapers can be targeted to look for any emails they can find posted on websites and forums or listed in cloud hosted PDF, PPTs, etc. They can also be targeted to find emails for a specific company, like a multinational that might have thousands of employees.

    From Cloud Hosted Files

    If you search a term like "company directory filetype:lxs" on Google, you’ll see multiple results with Excel files of directories that are hosted online and not secured. This is another hacker trick that can put tons of email addresses, titles, and other personal information at their fingertips to deploy in automated phishing attacks. Ensure that your cloud hosted files are secure, especially those that include a directory of personnel, customers, project team members, etc. There are ways to host these files without having them indexed by Google.

    Keep Phishing Out of User Inboxes with Email Safeguards

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can help your company put safeguards in place that catch phishing and spam before they make their way to user inboxes. Contact us today to set up a security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 07/01/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    SD-WAN vs. MPLS (VPN): Is Now the Time to Future-Proof Your Network?

    When you start talking about network technology that connects multiple sites, it’s easy to get in the weeds with terms like shared nodes and IP subnets. But each of these components plays a part in how solid and secure your internet connections are between offices, cloud apps, and other sites.

    Some of the basics of any good network include IT security, encryption, speed, and reliability. The ability to expand your network easily to add more remote sites is also vital in today’s world. In the early days of networking, you only had to worry about having a good connection between point A and point B. Point A might be your corporate office and Point B, a satellite office. But once the cloud revolution hit, networking became a lot more complicated. Instead of just connecting two sites, you’re now having to additionally connect those sites to cloud services and ensure connections to things like video conferencing, VoIP calls, and Microsoft 365 or G Suite are running smoothly. That change in network connection demand has many companies wondering if they need to upgrade from using MPLS (VPN) to the newer SD-WAN technology to prepare for the future. We’ll take a look at both technologies and compare their capabilities to handle what the future might demand of your technology capabilities.

    What is MPLS (VPN)?

    MPLS stands for Multi-Protocol Label Switching, which describes how this network technology transmits data. A traditional IP network sends data packets through different routers, each one having to stop and look up the IP details to determine where it should go next. It doesn’t get any help from the previous router on where to send that data. Not very efficient and it can cause issues like choppy video streams. MPLS on the other hand uses label switching. The first router does the IP lookup and a label is applied with that information. The subsequent routers use the label to send the data to its final destination, without each one having to stop and do its own lookup. The improved network reliability is why MPLS came into play, but it does have drawbacks, such as being expensive when you need to expand and having security problems. Also… it wasn’t initially designed with cloud use in mind.

    What is SD-WAN?

    SD-WAN is the acronym for Software-defined Wide Area Network. It’s a technology designed with cloud infrastructure in mind and uses a virtual WAN framework to use several different types of data transport solutions, including:

    • MPLS
    • LTE
    • Broadband

    An SD-WAN uses application-aware routing that’s able to identify on-premises and cloud connections and apply proper security. Because it has multi-connection and multi-transport capabilities, it offers organizations more flexibility to choose the most affordable connection technology. The SD-WAN acts as an overlay controlling and securing the communications infrastructure.

    Reasons to Upgrade to SD-WAN to Support Your Cloud Infrastructure

    Use of the cloud has pretty much become the business norm. One thing that the global pandemic confirmed was that unexpected events can occur that require remote capabilities that only the cloud can provide. Companies with up to 100 employees use an average of between 40 and 79 different cloud apps in their business processes. In order to future-proof your business, you not only need to strategically deploy the cloud, you also need to ensure your network can support your use of the cloud. Here’s why SD-WAN beats out MPLS for effective business networking.

    Traffic Encryption

    MPLS is not as secure as SD-WAN. If using MPLS, data can be left accessible by hackers and vulnerable to being compromised. SD-WAN applies end-to-end data encryption to protect your information.

    Shared vs Private Traffic

    Your internet provider plays a part in your network traffic. A PE (Provider Edge) route describes the router for your ISP that you use for your connectivity. If you’re using MPLS, PE route interfaces will be shared between customers (shared nodes). This makes your data vulnerable. With SD-WAN, data packets can be sent over tunnels that use multiple transports, which ensures better security.

    More Affordable to Expand

    SD-WAN is more affordable because you can mix and match the types of network links you use. You’re not stuck with only using one type of connection technology but could choose broadband 4G LTE (or 5G), or even MPLS if you needed it for any connections.

    Cloud Friendly & Adaptable

    Perhaps the biggest reason to switch to SD-WAN network architecture is because it was designed to support cloud use, where MPLS was not. SD-WAN has the ability to recognize the applications on your network and can adapt bandwidth, security, and other needs accordingly. It has much better agility when it comes to load balancing and basically juggling many connections at once and keeping your connection speed and quality reliable.

    Have You Hit a Roadblock with Your Network Framework?

    Your network is one of the backbones of your entire technology infrastructure. Make sure your business has one that can support you today and in the future. Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can make that happen! Contact us today to set up a network consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 06/24/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    3 Ways to keep your PC healthy

    We all rely on our computers everyday. And thanks to a peak in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic, some new devices are currently hard to get hold of (6 weeks or more for laptops)

    So it’s really important you look after your computer properly. In this week’s tech tip, we’ve got 3 ways you can keep your PC healthy.

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  • 06/16/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Why You Shouldn’t Blindly Accept LinkedIn Invitations

    A short video of some of the reasons why you shouldn’t blindly accept LinkedIn Invitations.

    Hackers are know to profile scrape social media and LinkedIn is a prime target.

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  • 05/30/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    5 Reasons Security Is Even More Important in a Work from Home Environment

    In a few short months, telecommuting has become the norm for many companies and their employees. The "stay at home" orders of the COVID-19 pandemic meant rethinking how business could continue when the office itself was closed. Some of the things that companies learned during this time included:

    • The cloud is indispensable
    • Costs are lower when employees work from home
    • Without office interruptions, productivity increases
    • Data security is a bigger issue when employees work remotely

    Now that businesses in Rhode Island and the rest of the country are beginning to slowly reopen, some are deciding to keep employees at home either full or part-time. For example, Twitter recently announced that its employees could work from home permanently after the pandemic is over. While companies were initially worried about connecting employees to their business apps and communication systems from home offices, a big concern that arose was remote cybersecurity. How do you change your IT security structure to cover remote employees? More than 1 in 3 organizations surveyed have experienced a cybersecurity incident related to a remote working environment. When employees are dispersed in multiple locations and those locations are homes that lack business- grade Wi-Fi equipment or network firewalls, security becomes even more important.

    Security Issues to Tackle for Safe At-Home Workers

    There are distinct security challenges when deploying a remote workforce. But just because you may need to adjust your cybersecurity strategy, doesn’t mean you can’t properly secure all those at-home workers and enjoy the advantages that a flexible telecommuting workforce can mean. Here are several reasons that cybersecurity is even more important in a work from home (WFH) environment, and how to address each.

    The Network Environment Can Be Less Secure

    When computers are connected to the same network at the office, just about all the other equipment they’re sharing that Internet stream with are also business related. But in a home environment, a work PC could be on the same network with easier to hack or riskier devices, like a doorbell security camera or a teen’s cell phone. A way to remove the risk of a hacker breaking into a high-risk device and then discovering your work PC on the same network, is to segment the router. This just involves creating a guest network and putting only work devices on that Wi-Fi stream, separate from other household devices.

    Home Routers Have Less Security

    There are several differences between consumer-grade and business-grade routers, and one of them is security. Consumer routers have lower security standards because they’re not typically used in an office setting. They’re also one of the prime IoT targets for hackers, especially now that business data is being access through home routers around the world. Two ways that this risk can be mitigated.

    1. Have permanent WFH employees use a business-grade, and properly firewalled router
    2. Have remote and mobile employees connect through a business virtual private network (VPN)

    WFH Employees Can Be More Susceptible to Phishing

    When employees are working from home, they’re at a risk of feeling cut off from the normal support system they have at the office. This includes help combating phishing and knowing what to do with a questionable email. Hackers have accelerated their efforts during the pandemic, with phishing attacks increasing 667% in March alone. You can help employees stay safe from phishing and other cyberthreats while working from home by giving them the IT support they need in the form of cybersecurity awareness training, remote IT support, and anti-phishing and managed antivirus software.

    Remote Connections Can Leave Data Vulnerable

    A mobile workforce needs to have the ability to connect remotely to multiple assets. These can include servers that are located at your office and several cloud applications that your company uses. Enabling those remote connections leaves those assets at risk of a hacker exploiting them. You have several tools you can use to enforce remote connection security. These include:

    • Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all logins
    • Deploying a cloud security app, like Microsoft Cloud App Security
    • Using whitelisting to approve which IP addresses can remotely connect to an on-premises server or PC

    Work Being Done on Unsecure Devices

    Employees working from home may be using their personal computer to access work product. Others may have taken home their business workstation, but now it’s outside the normal IT security infrastructure at your office. In either case, PCs can be left without critical security updates or not have proper antivirus/anti-malware protection. If they suffer a hard drive crash, companies can also end up losing valuable work product. Combating the device security issue takes a multipronged approach:

    • An endpoint device manager, like Microsoft Intune, can allow you to remotely manage security updates and revoke access to business apps if needed.
    • Managed anti-virus/anti-malware can keep devices updated and monitored for any threats.
    • A cloud backup system can capture all work data on WFH employee devices and back it up safely in the cloud so it’s not at risk of being lost.

    Secure Your Remote Employees with Help from Onsite Techs!

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can help your business set up a solid cybersecurity strategy that protects your remote workforce and keeps your data secure and accessible. Contact us today to schedule an IT security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 05/30/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Can We Use Our Office Tech as Usual After 8 Weeks of Being Dormant?

    Certain non-essential businesses have begun reopening in Rhode Island, giving business owners a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

    Many business owners are walking into offices and retail locations that have been shuttered for about two months and they’re looking forward to seeing them come to life again. But reopening your business after weeks of being dormant isn’t as simple as just turning on the lights and equipment. Technology needs to go through certain steps to ensure it’s properly prepared and safe for your reopening. In addition to addressing IT service for your electronics, businesses are also faced with new guidelines when it comes to reopening that can change how they’ve normally done business. These include things like:

    • Social distancing requirements for employees and customers
    • Wearing of masks
    • Regular disinfecting of premises
    • No-contact payment systems

    To answer the initial question: No, you cannot just walk back in after 8 weeks and use your office tech as usual. You need to take a few steps first to ensure it’s secure, can operation effectively, and is safe to use.

    Guide to Getting Your Technology Ready for Reopening

    The last thing you want when you can finally reopen your business after being on lockdown for several weeks is to have your equipment go down shortly after reopening. Here is a helpful Tech Reopening Guide from Onsite Techs of Rhode Island to give you the information you need to ensure your tech is ready to support your business again.

    Step 1: Do a Thorough Dusting

    After being dormant and unused for 8 weeks or so, equipment is likely to have gathered dust. Dust isn’t just unsightly it can cause serious equipment problems if left unchecked. Dust particles inside a computer can cause an almost immediate head drive crash. Ensure all equipment is unplugged, then use compressed air and microfiber cloths and wands to thoroughly dust all your equipment, including computers, keyboards, servers, point-of-sale (POS) devices, printers, etc.

    Step 2: Disinfect All Electronics (Carefully!)

    While it may be well past the time the virus could still survive on a surface, disinfecting is important. By starting your business off with fully disinfected surfaces, including electronics, you instill trust and help both employees and customers feel better about visiting your business location. Electronics need special care when being disinfected to ensure sensitive components aren’t harmed. Tips for proper sanitizing of your technology equipment, include:

    • Use a solution or wipe with at least 70% alcohol
    • Do not use bleach or water
    • Do not submerge electronics in cleaning agents
    • Use clean microfiber cloths to ensure you don’t leave lint or scratches
    • Allow disinfectant to remain on surface at least 30 seconds
    • Keep equipment off and unplugged during disinfecting

    You may also want to contract with a service to keep equipment sanitized on a regular basis.

    Step 3. Turn Devices on and Scan for Any Malware

    If your equipment was still connected to the internet while your office was closed, it’s important to ensure that it didn’t get compromised by a hacker while you were gone. Have a thorough virus/malware scan done to ensure your cybersecurity is still intact and your network hasn’t suffered a breach.

    Step 4. Apply All Updates and Security Patches

    There are likely to have been several updates issued for your operating systems, software applications, and hardware while your devices were dormant. These need to be applied before you begin using your equipment. Unapplied security patches were linked to 60% of data breaches in 2019.

    Step 5: Reposition Equipment if Needed for Distancing

    When you left your office 8+ weeks ago, you most likely didn’t have to worry about placing devices at least 6 to 8 feet apart. But now, businesses are required to socially distance, which means you may have to move employee computers, POS devices, or other technology in your office. This needs to be done strategically by an IT professional, so you don’t end up with broken network connections or unsafe wires running throughout your office.

    Step 6: Have Equipment Thoroughly Checked and Serviced

    One last step before your equipment is ready to get back up and running at full speed is to have your devices serviced. They could possibly run into hardware problems, or a critical service like your cloud backup and recovery may have become disconnected. You want to have all equipment thoroughly checked and serviced to make sure there are no hidden problems and that hardware is fine and ready to go back into full-time operation.

    Need Help Getting Your Tech Ready for Your Reopening?

    Don’t risk potential downtime right after you reopen your office or retail location. Contact Onsite Techs of Rhode Island! We can ensure your computers and other IT devices are safe, secure, and ready to support your business. Contact us today to set up a technology consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 05/11/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Why It’s Vital to Use Multi-Factor Authentication to Secure Your Accounts

    One of the biggest challenges when it comes to cybersecurity for businesses in Rhode Island and the rest of the world is keeping accounts secure and protected from being breached. Many business applications and online accounts are protected only by the strength of the password needed to get in. And in many cases, this isn’t enough. There are two key factors making it difficult for companies to ensure proper cybersecurity when it comes to login credentials:

    1. The growing number of database breaches that expose millions of user passwords that are then sold; and
    2. Poor password habits by users

    Stolen Credentials

    Credential theft has become a lucrative endeavor for many cybercriminals. Passwords that are hacked or stolen in large database breaches continue to be a hot commodity. For example, stolen Office 365 account passwords can fetch anywhere between $15 to $100on the Dark Web. The number of annual insider threat incidents due to stolen credentials has nearly tripled within the past two years to 2.7 incidents per organization.

    Poor Password Habits

    When it comes to employees setting strong passwords, many businesses face an ongoing challenge. While most users know that they should be setting strong, long, and unique passwords for every login, they don’t. Most users have so many account passwords to remember, that it becomes a nearly impossible task and they fall into bad password habits, including creating weak passwords and reusing them over multiple accounts. According to the 2020 State of Password and Authentication Security Behaviors Report, here are some of the problems that companies face with securing passwords:

    • 39% of users reuse passwords across their work accounts
    • 51% of employees share their passwords with colleagues
    • 56% of employees that use a personal device to access work data don’t use multi-factor authentication

    One proven method of securing login credentials, despite bad password habits and the growing number of account password breaches is to us multi-factor authentication (MFA).

    How MFA Can Stop Almost All Attempted Account Breaches

    Multi-factor authentication, which is also known as two-factor authentication (2FA), is extremely effective at preventing accounts from being breached, even if the hacker has a compromised password. MFA works by requiring another form of user authentication beyond just the password. Typical forms of login authentication include:

    • Something you know: A password or answer to a challenge question
    • Something you have: A device to which an authentication code is sent
    • Something you are: A biometric, like a fingerprint or retinal scan

    Most logins require the first form of authentication, something you know, which is your username and password. With MFA enabled on an account, a second authentication factor is added, which is typically in the something you have category. The most common is a 6-digit authentication code sent to a user’s device that needs to be entered to complete login. This one simple step added to all your business account logins can significantly decrease your risk of a password breach.

    How Effective is Multi-Factor Authentication?

    Both Microsoft and Google participated in studies on the effectiveness of MFA/2FA for preventing account breaches. Both found that using this additional step of authentication is extremely effective at protecting accounts from hackers. Microsoft noted that their cloud services see over 300 million fraudulent sign-in attempts daily and that the use of MFA was found to block 99.9%of account hacks. 81% of data breaches involve credential theft. Google found that using MFA in the form of a text message sent to a user’s phone was able to stop 100%of automated bot attacks, 96% of bulk phishing attacks, and 76% of targeted attacks. When an on-device prompt was used for the method of code delivery, those numbers increased to stopping 100% of automated bots, 99% of bulk phishing attacks, and 90% of targeted attacks.

    Implementing a Multi-Factor Authentication Strategy

    There are a few different ways that you can implement a multi-factor authentication strategy for your business. First, you want to identify all the different account logins that your employees use and categorize them by type. For example:

    • Cloud application
    • Website
    • Remote login
    • Internal company application

    You can enable MFA for your accounts by:

    • Turning It On in Each App: For example, if you use a cloud solution like Microsoft 365 (formerly called Office 365), then you can turn it on for all users in the administration settings.
    • Using a Cloud Security App: You can streamline the user MFA experience and make administration easier by using one platform, like Microsoft Cloud App Security, that can apply MFA for all your cloud platforms in a single place.
    • Using MFA with a Password Manager: A password management application can both help users remember strong, unique passwords and ensure those passwords are protected by MFA.

    Get Help Preventing Data Breaches at Your Business

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can help your company develop an overall cybersecurity strategy that includes password protection, solid network security, and more. Contact us today to set up an IT security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 04/29/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What Do I Need to Teach My Employees About Coronavirus Phishing Scams?

    Employee cybersecurity awareness remains one of the vital layers in an overall IT security plan for a business. We always recommend ongoing training rather than a "one and done" approach, because the threat landscape is always evolving. Phishing is still the main delivery method for malware and credential theft attacks, but the method and sophistication of the attacks change from year to year and event to event. For example, the coronavirus pandemic has not only changed the way we live and work in Rhode Island (and the rest of the country), it has also brought on a whole new onslaught of phishing attacks. These attacks take advantage of the fact that many employees are working from home remotely and connecting from less secure networks. They also play on the fears associated with the outbreak. In 2019, nearly 90% of organizations around the world experienced targeted phishing attacks. The phishing landscape has changed dramatically with the COVID-19 crisis. To ensure your employees don’t put their devices or your data at risk, they should be updated on what to watch out for and reminded how to avoid falling victim to a phishing email.

    COVID-19 Phishing Awareness Training Topics

    With company networks spread out due to telecommuting, businesses are more at risk of attacks and facing a costly data breach. That makes connecting with your employees and keeping them "cyber aware" even more important. Here are topics you should cover with them related to the new attacks around the coronavirus pandemic.

    Phishing Has Increased Dramatically

    Employees need to know to expect more phishing scams coming into their inboxes and to be on the lookout for them. In just three weeks during March 2020, phishing attacks increased 667%, and there is no sign of them slowing down.

    They are a Prime Target

    With millions of employees working remotely from home, hackers know that means easier access to sensitive business data. This makes telecommuters a prime phishing target. Factors for this include:

    • Home networks are typically less secure than business networks
    • Employees may be cut off from the normal IT support they get
    • The need for information about COVID-19 is high, along with fear
    • Employees will be using remote connections to on-premises devices, which are a potential entry point for hackers

    Links are Used Much More Than File Attachments

    Phishing scammers now largely use links to malicious websites instead of a malware laden file attachment (although those are also still used) to get past antivirus defenses. Some people mistakenly think that just clicking a link will be safe, but those links go to sites that often do "drive by" downloads of malware as soon as the page loads. Others will go to a spoofed login page that looks legitimate and is designed to steal user credentials. Employees need to know that links are just as dangerous.

    What Types of Scams to Watch Out For

    There are new scams related to the pandemic popping up daily. All of them designed to fool the recipient in different ways. Here are some of the common themes that employees need to be aware of:

    • The "HR department" sending a link to a "new policy" on infectious diseases with instructions to read it by a certain date.
    • A new IT company purporting to be working with the employee’s company during the crisis and warning that the user’s email will be deactivated if they don’t click a link to respond.
    • Spoofed messages pretending to be from the CDC or World Health Organization with a link to "important information about the outbreak in your area."
    • Malicious apps or websites that offer a coronavirus map, that’s actually just a way to plant malware.
    • Emails related to fake offers of personal protective equipment (PPE), coronavirus cures or fake prevention products.
    • Scams related to the coronavirus stimulus with links to give your personal information to get your relief check.

    Refresher on How to Avoid Becoming a Phishing Victim

    Repetition is key when it comes to any type of meaningful training and the same is true when it comes to cybersecurity awareness. Remind employees of key tactics they should take to avoid falling for a phishing email:

    • Hover over links to reveal the true URL
    • Be suspicious of any unexpected email
    • Don’t download file attachments or click links in emails from unknown recipients
    • Double check with colleagues by phone or text if you receive a strange email from their address
    • Don’t fall for the common tactics of urgency and fear that phishing scams use
    • Get a second opinion from an IT pro on any questionable emails
    • Use good cybersecurity best practices (antivirus app, web protection, patch updates, etc.)

    What to Do If They Get a Phishing Email

    Employees should know what to do if they receive a questionable email. Let them know where they should forward the email to and when it is okay to delete it from their inbox and deleted items folder. This not only helps your organization keep track of attacks and let other employees know about them, it also gives the user comfort that they know the correct action to take.

    How Secure is Your Remote Workforce?

    Phishing is one of the many threats that business and home networks face. Ensure your cybersecurity plan includes your remote workforce by working with Onsite Techs of Rhode Island on a holistic strategy. Contact us today to set up an IT security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 04/16/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What Most People Don’t Know About O365

    Here is a little video Michael did about O365 Backup.

    You can read the O365 service agreement here:  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/servicesagreement/

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  • 03/30/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    How Do I Ensure Remote Workers Don’t Put Our Data Security at Risk?

    Just 15 years ago, having employees work remotely from home was a novel idea, and not one that many companies looked at seriously. There were too many challenges when it came to having telecommuters connect to business software and files that had to be overcome. But flash forward to 2020, and companies here in Rhode Island and around the globe have been exploring the cost saving benefits of a remote workforce. One of the biggest drivers that helped them get over those earlier hurdles was the widespread adoption of cloud solutions that allow access to business apps from anywhere. Over the last 10 years, the number of remote workers has grown 91%. Another recent event that’s causing the number of remote workers to skyrocket (even if only temporarily) is the coronavirus pandemic. The need to socially distance to prevent the spread of the virus has caused many companies to send their employees home to work remotely. When you have your team accessing business apps, talking to customers over VoIP, and logging in remotely to workstations, a big challenge that comes up is how to keep all those connections secure. Cybersecurity can often be an afterthought with a transition to remote workers, especially when it’s done with little advance warning. But without it, your entire business could be at risk due to a ransomware attack or data breach of an employee’s home network. Following are the ways that Onsite Techs of Rhode Island keeps our clients’ data and networks secure when their business is operating virtually from several locations.

    Security Best Practices for Telecommuting Employees

    When your company’s technology infrastructure is now spread out over multiple employee homes, data security is more challenging. But with certain best practices in place you can ensure the same solid network security that you do when everyone’s working from the same office. You’ll find that many of these best practices are included in our managed IT services plans that make technology security easy for companies (because we handle it for you!).

    Make Sure Devices Have Patch/Update Management

    The computers or mobile devices that your employees use to work from home leave your business data at risk if they’re not updated with security patches in a timely manner. 60% of the data breaches in 2019 were due to unpatched vulnerabilities. A good patch and update management plan means that all devices have software and operating system updates applied shortly after they’re released. We handle this remotely through our managed services. Whether your employees are using their own personal computers or have brought home their office workstations, update management ensures they’re not left vulnerable to a data breach.

    Use a Business Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    A VPN allows internet connections to be encrypted and secured, even if employees are connecting from an unsecure Wi-Fi. Virtual private networks redirect your internet connection through their servers, which have several safeguards that ensure a hacker can’t intercept your data. VPN software is simply downloaded on all devices (computers and mobile devices) and the user connects through the VPN software when going online.

    Managed Antivirus/Anti-Malware

    While you may have a firewall at your office, that onsite solution isn’t going to protect computers that employees are working from at home. Each device should have an antivirus/anti-malware solution to ensure malware isn’t downloaded that could then be passed through to cloud storage or other file systems. Managed antivirus allows your employees to focus on their work rather than having to worry about updating the software or what threats it may be stopping. Instead, it’s monitored and managed remotely by IT professionals who can ensure all safeguards are keeping your team protected.

    Web Protection (DNS Filter)

    There are already multiple phishing attacks related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) being sent out by scammers. These are in addition to the regular phishing campaigns that offices see in user inboxes on a weekly basis. The main tactic these scams use is a link to a malicious website that can be used to steal login credentials or download malware on a computer. Having your remote workers use a web protection software (also called a DNS filter), keeps them from accidentally vising a malicious website and infecting their computer. This type of app checks an address before allowing the user’s browser to load the site. If the site is malicious, it redirects them to a warning page instead.

    Cloud Backup Systems

    Employees may be saving work product on their personal computers while working at home. You want to ensure that those files are backed up safely, so they aren’t lost in the case of a hard drive crash or ransomware attack. The easiest and safest way to do this across multiple locations and devices is through an automated cloud back up that is managed. A managed backup means there is an IT pro keeping an eye out to ensure no backups have run out of space or otherwise gotten stuck in the backup process.

    Automate Your Remote Worker Security with Managed Services

    You can ensure that your entire remote workforce is secure, and your data is safe by working with Onsite Techs of Rhode Island. Contact us today to set up an IT security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 03/26/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    5 Steps to Effectively Transition Your Business to a Remote Workforce During COVID-19

    Many Rhode Island businesses, along with those in the rest of the country, are contemplating their remote working options or have already implemented a "work from home" directive. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed life as we know it and created a lot of uncertainty about the weeks to come. In the meantime, companies have been altering their operations by instituting telecommuting to help their team socially distance to keep everyone safe. Cloud services have made it easier for employees to access their work from anywhere, but not all offices are 100% cloud based. Having files and needed software located on on-premises servers and individual workstations makes a fast transition to a remote workforce tricky. Another concern is that due to the need to quickly send employees home to work, businesses may not have all their "ducks in a row" when it comes to the transition. Critical items left unchecked like remote connection security and device/app compatibility could end up causing major issues when employees begin working from home. But with the right IT partner and guidance, you can ensure a smooth transition even if it has to be done within a few days. Onsite Techs of Rhode Island has been helping local businesses with remote changeover support to mitigate any problems when moving their office operations to a virtual environment. We’ve put together some key steps to take to help with a smooth transition.

    Use an Ordered Strategy for a Remote Work Transition

    There are multiple moving parts to an office technology infrastructure. It includes software, cloud applications, computers and other hardware, servers, and network security protections, like firewalls or antivirus programs. While you can’t just pick up that infrastructure and move it to every employee’s home, you can create flexibility. With a flexible IT strategy, you’re able to utilize a cloud infrastructure to work just as well remotely and minimize any business disruptions or downtime. The average cost of IT downtime to businesses is $5,600 per minute. Here are some comprehensive steps to take to smoothly switch over your employees to working at home and keep your business running effectively. Keep in mind that Onsite Tech of Rhode Island is more than happy to assist you with the process to make it as easy for you as possible.

    Evaluate Your Digital File Assets & How They’re Accessed

    In the course of business, your employees access multiple files. They might need a product handbook PDF to email to a customer or a reporting spreadsheet that they update daily with data. Look at how these digital file assets are accessed now so you can ensure access once employees are working remotely. Considerations include:

    • Are all files contained in a cloud storage platform?
    • Do some files reside on a physical server or workstation?
    • How can employees continue to access & update the files they need?

    Moving all files to a cloud storage platform, such as OneDrive or Dropbox, can both allow access remotely and ensure all files generated by remote workers are being stored securely.

    Review Your Business Apps/Software

    Are you using software that is hosted on a local server or individual computers? If some of your applications aren’t cloud-based, they won’t be accessible to employees working remotely unless you make allowances. Some options to allow remote access quickly to non-cloud software include:

    • Using remote access software (i.e. TeamViewer or LogMeIn Pro)
    • Migrate to Windows Virtual Desktops (makes non-cloud software accessible virtually)
    • Have employees take their workstations home (this won’t work if your software is housed on a central server though)

    Evaluate Staff Computers

    You can skip this step if you are allowing your employees to take their work computers home while working remotely. But, if employees are expected to use their personal desktops or laptops to telecommute, you’ll need to ensure they’re up to the task. You don’t want to find out when someone it trying to connect to a virtual video conference, that their computer isn’t powerful enough to handle your conferencing software. Make sure employee computers have the memory, processing power, and capabilities to handle the employee’s day-to-day business tasks and the applications they require.

    Secure Remote Worker Connections

    Security is a big concern when you have workers accessing company data from multiple home networks. Some may also be connecting via a free hotspot that’s unsecure. One of the easiest ways to do this for all employees is to have them connect through a virtual private network (VPN). Other cybersecurity concerns include whether the computers being used are updated regularly with software patches and whether they have a strong antivirus/anti-malware application installed and activated.

    Don’t Forget Tech Support

    Ensuring your workers have the technology support they need is critical when they’re working remotely. They may be dealing with installing work apps on their personal devices and running into issues. They may also worry about a virus and not know who to turn to since they’re working at home. We offer remote tech support services that can fix many common issues with no in-person visit required. Our professional technicians simply use a secure connection to log in to a computer and it’s just like we’re at the keyboard. Here are a few of the many items that we can address via remote support:

    • Virus/malware removal
    • Preventative maintenance
    • Microsoft Office issues
    • Driver issues/updates
    • Registry issues
    • Blue screen errors
    • Software issues
    • PC optimization/tune-ups
    • Recover deleted files
    • Email problems/email setup
    • File backup and recovery

    Get Help with an Efficient Remote Work Transition

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can take the stress out of implementing a companywide remote work transition. We’ll ensure your team has what they need to work effectively and that your network and data are protected. Contact us today to set up a consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 03/16/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What Cybersecurity Precautions Should Construction Companies Take?

    The security of your network and data is a top priority for companies in every industry sector. But when it comes to construction firms, they have some unique challenges due to the mobility of their work and the fact that they typically have a higher employee turnover rate than many other industries. Another challenge is that a construction firm may have their technology infrastructure spread out over several sites. Their main assets being at their office, in addition to other IT assets deployed throughout project locations, making their cybersecurity needs more demanding. The construction industry has seen an increase in cybercrime recently. According to threat protection software developer Symantec, 1 out of every 39 individuals in the construction industry gets targeted by a phishing campaign. Some of the biggest cyberthreats to construction firms include:

    • Email wire fraud (Emailing a client posing as your company with alternate wire information)
    • Breaches related to public Wi-Fi
    • Data loss due to lost or stolen laptops and mobile devices
    • Ransomware attacks due to unsecure endpoints
    • Breaches of client and employee databases

    The average cost of a data breach is $3.9 million. The best way to protect your company from a costly data breach is by using cybersecurity best practices with an emphasis on the areas that make construction companies particularly vulnerable.

    IT Security Tips for Construction Firms

    To ensure your IT infrastructure is properly safeguarded from data breaches, data loss, virus infections, and other threats, you need to deploy multiple layers of protection to reduce risk. Here are the most important safeguards to implement in a construction firm.

    Mobile Device Management

    By the nature of construction and the need to have personnel deployed to various sites, a construction firm’s workforce is mobile. This means that there are several endpoints that can access company data or that are holding important conversations with clients via text message that you need to secure and manage. A mobile device and endpoint management platform such as Microsoft Intune, offers you the ability to both keep tabs on mobile device access to your data and also protect certain MS applications at the app level from unauthorized access. Mobile device managers allow you to secure mobile access to your data by doing things like:

    • Remotely lock or wipe a device
    • Revoke business app access remotely if someone abruptly quits
    • Track access to your data by device
    • Keep "business" and "personal" separate on employee-owned mobile phones
    • Automatically deploy software updates and security patches

    Firewall with Advanced Threat Protection

    A firewall safeguards your network by monitoring traffic coming in or going out. It looks for suspicious activity and blocks it before it can impact your system. With multiple endpoint devices connecting to the network at your office from multiple locations, you want to make sure you have advanced threat protection with your firewall that will do things like:

    • Give you the ability to use whitelisting to stop unknown programs from executing
    • Block malicious websites that users might visit accidentally
    • Monitor for suspicious behavior rather than only looking for known threats
    • Use artificial intelligence to catch zero-day malware

    Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    Mobile phones can connect to many different public hotspots a day in the course of a contractor going between the office and jobsites. Connecting to an unsecure Wi-Fi can leave your data at risk by allowing a hacker to steal a login, payment card details, or other sensitive data. A business VPN can be used from any location and ensure a secure, encrypted tunnel for your data exchanges even if employees are connected to a public Wi-Fi. VPNs can also add an additional layer of user security by masking the device IP address and user location.

    Backup & Recovery Solution

    Construction companies have multiple moving parts when planning and executing projects. Project information can also be spread out over many employee devices (computers, laptops, mobile), making data loss a huge risk. Ransomware attacks are also a major concern due to the typical turnover that construction firms see and the difficulty that poses with keeping employees properly trained in cybersecurity awareness. Having a backup and recovery solution in place is a vital safeguard to ensure that no matter what may happen to cause a data loss incident, you have a full and up-to-date copy of all your files stored safely and that is easily recoverable to keep you operating.

    Email Security Application

    One way to avoid employees getting tricked by a phishing email and infecting your network with malware is to keep spam and phishing out of their inboxes in the first place. Construction firms are particularly susceptible to phishing due to the large sums of money typically being transferred during different phases of a project. An email security application can keep your employees’ inboxes from getting filled with spam and dangerous phishing by blocking them at the source. This has the dual benefit of increased cybersecurity and improved productivity since they don’t have to sort through all that spam.

    How Strong is Your Company’s Cybersecurity Plan?

    A data breach can have a devastating impact on your construction firm. Don’t risk it! Onsite Techs of Rhode Island provides dedicated cybersecurity expertise and cloud-based tools to keep your network and data secure. Contact us today to set up an IT security consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 03/02/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    5 Big Technology Trends Impacting the Construction Industry in 2020

    When thinking of "high tech" sectors, the construction industry isn’t one that typically comes to mind, but the use of technology has been just as transformative as it has in any other business sector.

    Just take the use of mobile as one example. Approximately 77% of contractors use mobile technology in their daily work to manage and complete projects. Mobile apps allow contractors to send data directly from the job site to the office and give them easy access to project planning and engineering apps they need. Construction is approximately 14.7% of the global GDP, and the industry is projected to keep growing. With over 70,000 commercial construction companies in the U.S., the industry is very competitive, and one way a company can gain an edge is through adoption of the right technology solutions. Which tech trends promise the biggest opportunities for streamlining and expanding capabilities for contractors in the coming year? We’ll explore them below.

    Construction Tech to Explore This Year

    Adoption of technology in any industry can vary widely from company to company. Some use just the basics and are resistant to change, while others take every technology advantage that they can get to stay competitive and growing. Those construction professionals that embrace technology have a much better chance of staying on top in an increasingly tech dependent world. Here are some of the emerging trends when it comes to construction technology to explore and take advantage of in 2020 and beyond.

    Drone Technology

    Approximately 42.6% of construction companies are experimenting with the incorporation drones into their workflows to expand their capabilities. Drones can be helpful in site surveying, especially in areas that may be dangerous for a human surveyor to go. They’re also a way to deliver stunning project visuals to customers showing a project throughout all stages of progress and can be used to inspect work that’s being done. When property owners are reviewing presentations from several contractors at the same time, the effective use of drone photography can easily make one construction company’s work stand out above the others.

    Modular Construction

    A major cost cutting trend in the construction industry recently is the use of modularization. This is where building components are standardized and made in a way that they are easily assembled onsite. This reduces lead times by allowing components to be partially constructed in advance offsite. Modular construction is also designed with the ability to be self-contained units (wiring, plumbing, etc.), so additions can be added easily and less expensively without major upgrades needed to the existing construction. Use of technology like smart building systems helps to keep the components self-contained and also gives contractors the ability to virtually model how pieces will come together. Of those contractors currently working with modular construction, 67% expect the industry to continue to grow over the next three years.

    Augmented Reality

    Imagine being able to walk into an open space and virtually plan out and visualize how various components will impact a space. How much easier would it be to sell a client on a design upgrade if they could see it overlaid right inside their building? Augmented reality may still be in the early stages, but it’s already enabling faster planning with less rework when it comes to construction and engineering projects as well as allowing stakeholders to "see" the finished result virtually before the first brick is laid.

    IoT Devices

    Currently, the standard types of internet connected devices in wide use on construction sites are mobile phones and smart security cameras. That’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to IoT devices. Smart wearables like hard hats, safety glasses, and vests that collect data will help with "on the fly" data input and management and offer direct, real-time, connections back to the office, where data can be analyzed and acted upon. Tools with tiny tracking sensors built in will also help reduce loss of expensive equipment by allowing contractors to keep tabs on the whereabouts of their assets.

    3D Printing

    Another technology that is in its infancy but holds great promise for the future is 3D printing. With the use of 3D printing technology, a construction firm can reduce the cost and lead time of certain building components that may be smaller, but still vital to a building’s infrastructure. The ability to 3D print components (for example, those used for piping and cabling) can also help contractors solve issues with having to change a design to fit the available parts. Instead, they can create a part that fits their design needs and have a way to make replacement parts quickly.

    Is Your Contracting Firm’s Tech Prepared for the New Decade?

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island helps companies take full advantage of what technology has to offer through simple solutions that have big positive impacts. Contact us today to set up a technology consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 02/24/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Windows Just Released a Virtual Desktop: Here’s What You Need to Know

    In the early days of cloud-based technologies, companies had heard about this new thing called "the Cloud" but weren’t quite sure what it meant for their company and day-to-day business operations.

    Less than a decade later, cloud adoption is at 96%, meaning that just about all companies around the world use at least one cloud solution. The creator of the most popular cloud solution by user count is Microsoft. Their Office 365 platform is used by millions of organizations to power office workflows. It also was one of the key drivers of cloud adoption for many companies. Now, Microsoft is poised to create another big shift in how we work through their Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). Virtual desktops are currently at that same stage that cloud solutions were several years back. People have heard of them, but they haven’t yet been adopted widely. This is something that WVD is bound to change due to the connection to Windows 10 and Azure virtual server environments. Just like Office 365 brought a familiar product into the cloud space, Windows Virtual Desktop does the same for Windows 10. It helps introduce organizations to a new concept, which is hosting their workstations online rather than on a computer hard drive, and it does it through the familiarity of the Windows operating system and Microsoft universe.

    What is Windows Virtual Desktop?

    On September 30, 2019, Microsoft announced that WVD was generally available worldwide. It is the only service that offers a simplified management, multi-session Windows 10 virtual environment. What is does is host your entire workstation virtually, including:

    • Operating system
    • Files/folders
    • Settings
    • Applications

    So, instead of being tied to a single physical computer, you can log in to a workstation from any PC or mobile device. It allows you to have your "main computer" with you no matter where you are. When you look at how cloud solutions freed offices from computer-based software, making business applications and their data available from anywhere, taking the next step to virtually hosting your entire PC environment is the next logical phase.

    Benefits of Transitioning to Virtual Workstations

    The concept can seem a bit daunting at first. And common questions come up, such as, "What if I don’t have an internet connection?" But, with many companies having most of their workload in the cloud already, that means they’re already relying pretty heavily on being connected to access their data and business apps. As of 2019, 60% of business workloads were running on a cloud service. There are several benefits of considering going fully virtual and transitioning your workstations to WVD.

    Workstation Security

    One of the biggest causes of data breaches is when operating systems and software aren’t updated with security patches in a timely manner. This can be a time-consuming task if you’re not using managed IT services because it means you have to ensure several workstations in multiple locations throughout your office are kept regularly updated. When you’re using virtual desktops, you can administer them all through one central control panel, allowing you to automate updates easily and see reporting that instantly shows you if any desktops are showing any security risks.

    Highly Scalable

    When you’re purchasing physical computers for employees and your needs change, you don’t have the same fast scalability as you do when working with cloud environments. For example, if you’ve got 20 virtual desktops for 20 employees and then your needs change to only needing 18 desktops. You can easily scale your subscription down to so you’ll only be paying for what you need. Likewise, when you add employees, you can provision them a virtual desktop in just minutes that is already set up with the software and settings they need for their position.

    Lower Hardware Costs

    When you’re housing your workstation environment on a cloud server, the physical PC that you use to connect to it does not need to be as robust or have a large amount of hard drive storage. Since WVDs are hosted virtually, the physical device you use for access can have fewer features, allowing you to save money.

    Improved Business Continuity

    Many companies use cloud solutions because they allow them the flexibility to access their work from anywhere and they also protect their data in case of a natural disaster at their office, malware infection or some other event that could cause downtime and data loss. When your workstations are also cloud-based, this offers you additional protection in the event of a flood, fire, or even an extended power outage, because your workstations are still intact and able to be accessed from a different location and device.

    Make Non-Cloud Applications, Cloud Accessible

    Some businesses use custom applications for their workflows, and these aren’t always cloud-based. But when you host your entire operating system environment virtually, it means that any software on that WVD is also available from any location. This allows you to make non-cloud applications accessible as if they were designed for cloud connectivity.

    Learn More About the Virtual Desktops of the Future

    Deciding between cloud and on-premise IT assets can be complicated. Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can help simplify the process by taking at look at your technology infrastructure and sitting down with you to see what’s working for you, and what you’d like to improve. Contact us today to set up a technology consultation at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 02/10/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What Are the Biggest Threats Coming to Email Inboxes in 2020?

    One constant threat when it comes to cybersecurity is phishing. Phishing are those emails that come in a variety of different formats, all designed to trick the recipient into thinking they’re legitimate and clicking on a malicious link or downloading a file infected with a virus or malware.

    Email is a popular target of cybercriminals because it puts their message in front of someone who can mistakenly think it’s real, and by way of an authorized user downloading or opening a dangerous file, their malware can often get past basic security features. Having strong spam filtering and email security is important, because phishing attacks keep growing and becoming more sophisticated all the time. It’s estimated that 1 in every 99 emails is a phishing attack. Every employee receives an average of 4.8 phishing emails per week, and nearly 30% of them make it past default security. Phishing is the number one deployment method for malware and the main cause of data breaches, making it very costly to businesses. Phishing attacks cause business losses in a number of ways:

    • Decreased productivity
    • Loss of sensitive data
    • Damage to reputation
    • Monetary losses from a data breach
    • Lost business
    • Data privacy rule violation penalties (HIPAA, PCI, etc.)

    To properly protect your business from a cyberattack, it’s important to ensure your cybersecurity plan is as strong as possible, and that includes ongoing employee awareness training of the new and emerging threats coming into their inboxes each day.

    Watch Out for these Phishing Scams

    As users have become wise to telltale signs of a phishing email, such as misspelled words and burry images, hackers have upped their game to create phishing emails that are much harder to detect. For example, the email below is designed to look exactly like an AT&T email, using their logo, colors, and footer. The only visible sign that it’s a fake is the URL when hovering over the "right here" link. Knowing to be on the lookout for fake emails of a certain genre can help prevent users falling prey to extremely sophisticated phishing attacks. Following are some of the attacks on the rise that users should watch out for in 2020.

    SharePoint File Sharing Scam

    One type of phishing attack that’s been exploding is designed to steal Office 365 login credentials. Once a hacker has the password to get into an account, they can send phishing and spam through your company email address, potentially gain access to more user accounts, and access files you have stored in the platform. One way they do this is through a fake SharePoint file sharing email. The recipient receives what looks like a normal request to share a SharePoint file. The link they see to click to share the file is a OneDrive link, which adds to the seeming legitimacy of the email request. But when the user clicks the link, it redirects them to a spoofed Office 365 login page that’s designed to steal their credentials as soon as they enter them.

    PayPal Phishing Scam

    Another emerging scam is created to steal a person’s PayPal details, thus giving them access to the attached bank account or debit card through the PalPal system. The email is designed to look like a common warning that we see often from services these days, one that warns of a new login from an unknown device. Users that panic and click before thoroughly checking the email out, are taken to a fake login page that’s set up to capture their PayPal login.

    Coronavirus Email Scams

    Unfortunately, hackers are quick to jump on any big news that they can use to their benefit, and one of the latest is the huge Coronavirus outbreak that has people on edge. The Coronavirus started in China and cases quickly spread throughout the globe, cause a panic and triggering phishing emails designed to prey on that fear. This scam involves an email that comes with a link or attachment claiming to contain information on how to protect yourself from the spread of the Coronavirus. The signature is often from Dr. (somebody), which is another ploy to gain the trust of the recipient. But it’s just another way to trick someone into downloading a computer virus of other type of malware.

    Phishing from Legitimate Email Addresses

    One of the things that hackers go after is a way into legitimate email accounts. This includes Office 365, Gmail, or any email of a legitimate provider, such as a website provider like Bluehost. One of the identifying factors that users are typically trained to look for when receiving an unexpected or suspicious email is the email of the sender. If that email is coming from a legitimate email address, either of a co-worker or service that your business uses, then the recipient is much more likely to trust it and take the action that the email requests. For example, in 2019, emails were received by Bluehost customers from an admin address matching the provider’s domain that warned that the customer was about to lose service if they’re didn’t login to their hosting panel to take action.

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  • 02/04/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What are the Biggest Cybersecurity Mistakes Made by Small Businesses? (& How to Avoid Them!)

    Everything’s going along like usual, it’s a Thursday and the week’s been pretty productive for your office, then suddenly someone notices that they can’t access a client database to add a new invoice. "Hmm, that’s strange," you think.

    Then more users check, and they’re locked out too. You come to realize that your server has been infected by ransomware and you’re now you’re in full-blown emergency mode and all business comes to a screeching halt. When the dust clears and the ransom is paid (because you didn’t have a backup), one employee sheepishly admits that they may have accidentally clicked on a strange email link. That’s a typical scenario of how a malware infection can occur due to some common mistakes that many small businesses make. In the case of the above scenario, the mistakes where:

    • No employee cybersecurity training to teach phishing email identification.
    • No backup of data that would’ve avoided having to pay a ransom.
    • No ongoing managed security plan that would’ve been monitoring the server for threats proactively.

    Whether an attack is ransomware, spyware, credential theft, or stolen customer credit card numbers, a cyberattack is costly no matter what size business you have. But it’s especially damaging to small and medium businesses that don’t have the resources to deal with the aftermath. 83% of small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the funds to deal with the repercussions of a cyberattack. It’s often just common mistakes that are to blame when a business falls victim to an attack, so knowing how to avoid those mistakes and go a long way towards protecting your company against a cyberattack and the costs that come along with one.

    Common IT Security Mistakes to Avoid

    Good security can become a habit, just like mistakes can. It’s often just a case of knowing what you’re doing wrong so you can correct it. Here are the biggest mistakes that small businesses make when it comes to their data security and how to correct them.

    Not Properly Updating Software & Operating Systems

    Many small businesses don’t have a formal update plan in place. So, some user computers are updated regularly, while others aren’t. The ones that aren’t updated in a timely manner can leave a big hole in your network security because those updates contain vital security patches. Unpatched vulnerabilities were responsible for nearly 60% of reported data breaches at businesses in the last two years. AVOID: The best way to avoid this mistake is to sign up for managed IT services that include handling all your patches and updates to ensure they’re installed across all devices in a timely manner.

    Not Using Password Security Controls

    If you’re leaving your password security to your users, there’s a good chance that you’ll have some weak passwords that are easy for hackers to get past, making your network and data vulnerable. AVOID: You can avoid the weak password problem by utilizing admin tools in programs like Office 365 that will not accept weak passwords, forcing users to create strong ones. Enabling multi-factor authentication for all users also significantly increases password security.

    Not Having a Mobile Device Management Policy

    Cloud applications are great and allow for the flexibility of accessing your work applications from desktop or mobile. Unfortunately, many small businesses haven’t taken the time to get a handle on employee mobile device use for work, leaving company data vulnerable because it’s accessible by multiple unsecure smartphones and tablets. AVOID: Mobile use has exploded over the last 10 years, and it’s time to ensure mobile device security at your office if you haven’t already. The easiest way to do this, especially if you’re using a bring your own device (BYOD) policy, is through the use of a mobile device management application, such as Microsoft Intune.

    Not Regularly Testing Backups

    All too often a business will get hit with a data loss incident, go to the backup they thought they had only to realize it isn’t complete or has stopped for some reason. A common backup mistake is to start a backup for the first time, then never check it again until you need it. AVOID: Backups need to be checked regularly to ensure they’re still running smoothly and backing up the data you need. It’s also important to check to make sure they haven’t hit a space limit and stopped recording new data. Managed backups can help ensure your data backup is regularly checked for integrity.

    Thinking You’re Too Small to Need a Cybersecurity Plan

    Just because your business may be smaller than others, doesn’t mean that you don’t have the same needs when to comes to your cybersecurity plan. Companies without a plan are often the ones caught most off guard when a cyberattack hits and are most unprepared to deal with it. AVOID: Take the time to map out your cybersecurity strategy, including what vulnerabilities you have, what steps you’re taking to protect your network, and what to do if an attack is discovered. Being prepared both helps prevent data breaches and reduces their cost of impact. For example, just the formation of a formal incident response team reduces the cost of a data breach by $360,000.

    Get a Handle on Your Cybersecurity Plan with Onsite Techs!

    Onsite Techs of Rhode Island is your "go to" cybersecurity resource. We can go through an assessment of your current IT security processes and let you know any vulnerable areas and what to do about them. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 01/21/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    5 Tips for Worry-Free Backups of Your Business Data

    Not having a complete back up of your business data can lead to serious vulnerability and business continuity issues. You could be hit with ransomware and have no choice but to pay the ransom or you could lose your data for good due to a major hard drive crash or physical damage to your computer. There are a lot of potential threats out there when it comes to data loss. It can be caused by everything from accidental deletion to a flood or fire. Yet 46% of small and medium-sized businesses don’t have a backup and disaster recovery plan. Some of the costs involved when a company experiences data loss and doesn’t have a way to quickly recover their information includes:

    • Downtime costs (they average $100,000 per ransomware incident)
    • Loss of digital assets that may never be recovered
    • Cost of recreating lost data
    • Potential loss of business entirely if unable to recover

    So, backup and recovery are one of the most vital parts of any good IT security plan and make up the foundation of business continuity. Knowing a few of the basics can ensure you’re doing it right and won’t have to worry about missteps that can cause problems with data recovery.

    Good Backups are Only a Few Tips Away

    While backing up your data might not be the most exciting part of your technology infrastructure, it’s one of the most vital. Here are tips on best practices to help backups go as smoothly and worry-free as possible.

    Use the 3-2-1 Backup Rule as a Foundation

    The 3-2-1 backup rule is designed to keep businesses from making a few common backup mistakes, like keeping their data and backup on site or not having a redundant backup to ensure their data is protected. It’s a great foundation to use when planning which backup systems that you’re going to use and where they should reside. The rule goes like this:

    • 3: Keep at least three copies of all your data. This could be the copy that’s on your computer’s hard drive, plus a local backup, plus a cloud backup.
    • 2: Ensure at least two of those copies are on different backup media. For example, you don’t want both your backups to be on a removable hard drive.
    • 1: Make sure that one copy is kept offsite. Having a cloud backup that’s not stored onsite protects you in the case of some type of disaster or damage to your premises.

    Use a Full System Backup Rather than Just File/Folder Backup

    If you’re just copying your files and folders, then if your computer were to crash, you’d have your files, but lose any operating system settings, emails, and applications that you had. This would mean recovery would take longer. Backups that take a full image of your computer, operating system and all, provide you with a much faster recovery should anything happen to your computer, because they can restore everything as it was.

    Automate Your Backups

    Use backup systems that will continually back up your devices automatically, so you and your staff aren’t having to remember to start a backup. It’s easy to get busy during the day and forget to take a backup that evening. Plus, automatic backups can be set to capture changes every hour or even as they occur, so you won’t be left with a day or more of missing data should anything happen.

    Monitor and Test Backups

    It’s easy for backups to have issues and you not even know about it. Some may stop recording new data because they’ve run out of space, and others may stop suddenly due to a file problem. The easiest way to ensure your backups are running smoothly and that your data is intact and can be easily recovered when you need it is to use a monitored backup plan through a trusted IT provider, like OST.

    Include Cloud Services in Your Backup Strategy

    Just because your data is in G Suite or Office 365, doesn’t mean that it’s safe from loss. 1 out of 3 companies lose data that’s kept in cloud services (aka SaaS applications). Companies like Microsoft recommend that users back up their data stored in their cloud services in a 3rd party system. Make sure your cloud services data is included in your overall backup strategy and is being backed up separately by a backup service designed for that purpose. This will ensure you have access to your information should your cloud provider have an outage, or a user accidentally delete something they shouldn’t.

    Need Help with Your Backups?

    There’s no reason to spend hours creating an effective backup plan. Onsite Techs of Rhode Island can customize a backup and disaster recovery plan for you that’s right for your business and protects your data and business continuity in the case of a data loss event. Contact us today to discuss your backup needs at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 01/07/2020 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Adopt the Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. Strategy to Build a Strong Cybersecurity Foundation

    Cybersecurity has become one of the most important priorities for any size business, but especially for small businesses that may not have a strong foundation of data security best practices.

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  • 12/31/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Don’t Let Your Domain Get Hijacked!

    Don’t Let Your Domain Get Hijacked!

    In business today you are probably give out your web address often. Your Web domain is your business identity on the internet. You may have a business website to represent your brand. Every bit of content reflects your business. You might also have email addresses at the domain name (marketing@yourbusinessname.com). Imagine the upset of finding out that someone else has stolen your domain.

    When your domain gets hijacked, you lose control of your website, its email addresses, all associated accounts and it’s not easy to recover them.

    Examples from the Infosec Institute:  

    An advertising agency spent US$15,000 and 19 months recovering its stolen domain.

    The owner of ShadeDaddy.com lost US$50,000 and had to lay off six of its eight employees. He said domain name theft is "like your house got stolen."

    How does a domain get stolen?

    There are several ways this can happen to an individual or a business.

    The simplest is that your domain name expires without you knowing.  Domain registrars are required to send notice one month and one week before the domain expires. The reminders can sometimes go to an email address that is no longer active or to the Web company that set your site up years ago. Once your domain rights lapse, your site gets disabled and the domain name goes back into a pool of domain names for anyone to buy.

    There are criminals who make money from purchasing domains. They hope to profit from your company’s need to get its domain back. Or they profit from redirecting traffic from your Web address to their own.

    There are also "Domain hijackers." These cybercriminals also want to profit from Web traffic redirects or to access your domain emails to send false invoices. They might intercept emails sent to your domain to learn proprietary information. They could also change the content on your site or redirect traffic to a hub for online gambling, or worse.

    These hijackers could try to steal your domain by gaining access to the email account you used to set up the domain. Cybercriminals might also use phishing emails to obtain the access credentials. They can use the password reset mechanism to take over your account and transfer the domain to a different registrar.Your domain registration company could be affected, too. At Onsite Techs we recommnd picking an accredited registrar for your domain registration.

    Protect Against Domain Hijacking

    At Onsite Techs we help businesses with this kind of problem.  We can provide your business with ongoing domain management.  Our first step is to protect your access credentials. Leveraging two-factor authentication can also help prevent hijackers from stealing your domain. We may also use a registry lock. This lets you know of suspicious activity and gives you some time to react.  It’s important to know who is managing your domain anme and how it’s being managed.  Let Onsite Techs make sure this process is up to date for your business.

    Reach out to our experts today! Call us at 401-773-7766.

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  • 12/17/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What does BCC Mean and What’s it Used For?

    I’m sure you’ve seen those extra fields below the "To" field in your email client.  CC stands for carbon copy, and BCC stands for blind carbon copy.

    Go try to find someone who has never accidentally hit "replied all" when meaning to send an email to only one person. It’s embarrassing and can aggravate those people with more emails flooding their inbox. Another common email mistake is misusing the CC and BCC fields in outgoing messages. This can prove costly for business.

    When you use CC, it’s like you’ve imprinted your message on an old blue sheet of carbon paper. The email copy sends to your To recipients as well as anyone you have CC’d. All recipients can see who else you sent your message to. This is a great way to encourage collaboration and accountability.

    When you use BCC, your To recipient and anyone else you BCC’d gets the email, but you’re not showing where you sent the message. This is for when you’re addressing a large group of contacts that may not know each other, or when you are sending a group message but you want to respect the privacy of all your recipients.

    The Blind Carbon Copy Problem

    A big problem is using To or CC when meaning to use BCC. If you do this you end up exposing all your contacts’ email addresses. Personal contact information needs protection, and people’s privacy demands respect. You don’t want to make this mistake with a few emails, or worse still hundreds or thousands of emails.

    There are many examples of BCC blunders. West Ham United Football Club in England faced a heavy fine from UK Information Commissioner for confirming all season ticket holders with email addresses in the CC field. In another example, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse was fined US$260,000 for exposing possible victims of child abuse in the same way.

    Scotland’s National Health Service messaged transgender patients with their addresses in the To field. Instead of using BCC, the sender used an open distribution list. This shared 86 Glasgow patient email addresses and, perhaps, patient names and dates of birth when the addresses incorporated those details. You can bet there were some heated replies to that message, although the reports didn’t share whether they were "reply all" or not.

    Also, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a real estate company employee mistakenly CC’ing 300 customer emails. A customer complained and the error resulted in a six-figure fines.

    What is the Solution?

    Any CC or BCC mistake could be a data breach. Be Careful. Don’t risk the loss of customer trust and possible compliance issues.

    At Onsite Techs we recommend you use mailing software like Mailchimp when you need to send out an email to a large group of people when you’re not necessarily expecting a response.  Email marketing platforms send an individual copy of your message to every person on your mailing list, so there’s no risk of your contact list being exposed.

    We hope you enjoyed this tip from Onsite Techs.  Call us today for all your business IT support needs at 401-773-7766!

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  • 12/12/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    The 12 Benefits of Managed Services

    With the holidays upon us, we thought we’d do a technology twist on an old classic, The 12 Days of Christmas, and list the 12 benefits of managed services.

    If you’ve been struggling with technology issues, preventing virus infections, or just trying to ensure your team doesn’t get slowed down by IT problems, then you’ll want to consider the time and cost savings that come from having a professional handle all your technology needs. 80% of the cost of a computer happens after the initial purchase. These costs include the applications and peripherals that you use with your computer, but a bulk of the costs are divided between maintenance and troubleshooting IT issues. This is where the contrast between reactive and proactive support can make a big difference in your overall technology costs. Small businesses are often watching their expenses, and this can sometimes cause them to just fix things when they break instead of investing in proactive support. Doing things with a "break/fix" mentality means you’re often paying more in repair costs as well as suffering more downtime due to computer crashes. When you use proactive maintenance through managed services, your costs are reduced because you’re avoiding those expensive IT emergencies. Each unmanaged computer costs businesses an average of $5,000 annually. When you’re planning ways to save money and be more efficient in the new year, consider a managed IT services plan and what it could mean for your productivity, budget, and peace of mind.

    Services That Make Your Tech Stress Free

    While we may not have a partridge in a pear tree, we do offer services that make your tech stress free. When you’re planning your 2020 technology strategy, here are 12 ways that managed services can make it a banner year.

    1. Reduce Technology Costs

    Maintaining your technology helps you reduce overall IT costs. Think about your car. If you didn’t regularly change the oil, you would end up with a breakdown, the costs of a tow, and expensive repair costs much higher than the costs of those oil changes. Technology costs are similar. If you don’t maintain your computers and network, you end up with expensive downtime and emergency IT costs much higher than a monthly maintenance fee.

    2. Help When You Need It

    Your customer service team is having problems with your VoIP software. You’re trying to decide between two different project management tools and aren’t sure which is the best value. These are things that your IT pro can help with, giving you expert advice when you need it.

    3. Improve Productivity

    Employees spend an average of 22 minutes per day dealing with IT related issues. Multiple that by just 10 employees, and that’s over 18 hours a week of lost productivity that could be saved if you had a managed services plan.

    4. Reduce Risk

    Having managed services helps you reduce your risk of a data breach or other cybersecurity incident. Many of these breaches (like ransomware attacks) put small companies out of business.

    5. Predictable IT Costs

    A monthly managed services fee is predictable and easy to put into your budget. There are no unexpected surprises and you’re able to budget expenses more easily throughout the year.

    6. Increase Equipment Lifespan

    When computers, servers, routers, and other technology are maintained properly they last longer, which means you get more value out of your technology investments.

    7. Compliance Assistance

    If you have to comply with data privacy regulations like HIPAA or PCI, having managed services can ensure your data is properly safeguarded so you don’t have to worry about compliance violations and fines.

    8. Competitive Edge

    When your technology is working like clockwork and you have the expert insight of a technology pro to help you make better IT decisions, you gain a significant competitive edge over your competition.

    9. Scalability

    Managed services plans are designed to scale along with your business, so you’re not locked into services you don’t need. Choose just what you need, then add on as your business grows.

    10. Vendor Management

    Dealing with multiple hardware and software vendors can take up a lot of your time. Leave the vendor management to your managed services provider and get better service and peace of mind.

    11. Business Continuity

    Services like managed backup and disaster recovery and cloud solution management can ensure your business is resilient no matter what and your data is protected.

    12. Focus on Your Core Business

    When you and your team and worrying about your IT, you’re not focused in your core business or growing your company. With a technology pro handling everything for you, you can put your full resources into running your business at peak efficiency.

    See What a Managed Services Plan Can Do for You!

    Find out just how much better your business can run with a managed services plan. Onsite Techs  can either support your existing IT department or be your IT department. We’re flexible and can find a plan that fits your needs and budget. Contact us to schedule an appointment today at 401-415-6290 or reach out online.

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  • 12/10/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Equipment Failure – What to do Next

    Equipment FailureWhat to do Next

    Have you invested in information technology? Do you depend on your equipment to support your business?  Have you experienced equipment fails? It’s likely to happen eventually and it equipment failure can leave you scrambling to find a replacement solution for essential technology. It’s a tough place to be, but it can also be an opportunity.

    When you hear the news that a piece of equipment has failed, anxiety quickly sets in. It can mean costly downtime and you’re going to need to budget for a replacement. You have to spend time determining the next, best solution. Users, and customer could potentially get frustrated too.

    If the equipment that’s broken down is a hard drive or server, stop everything, and call for expert help. Anything you do can result in more data loss. This includes the age-old IT self-help remedy of turning it off and on again!

    When anything carrying data fails, the next question is whether you have a recent backup. Can you restore data from that backup? At Onsite Techs we recommend you have as many as three data backups for safekeeping, with at least one of them kept off-site.

    OK, it’s dead. Now what?

    After the initial freak out, once you’ve determined that technology is done for, take some time to reassess.

    Your decision-makers can start out by deciding whether that equipment needs replacing. Don’t just have a knee-jerk reaction and replace it. There may be new improved options available.

    An on-site equipment failure is a great opportunity to look into cloud technologies. The cloud is more than Software as a Service solutions giving users access to applications online. Infrastructure as a Service offering can quickly get up and running with new technology, and you gain access to enterprise-level infrastructure. Replacing hardware is no longer your responsibility. Plus, you’ll only pay for what you use and be able to scale up or down as needed.

    There’s also less chance of losing data when working in the cloud. Cloud computing takes away the single-point-of-failure problem so that your data is available anywhere you have an internet connection. Even if your desktop computer dies, you can still get into the same virtual desktop from another device. Cloud service providers build in redundancies, so data is not stored on a single server. This supports business continuity even after equipment failure or natural disasters.

    Onsite Techs Can Help

    Save yourself the stress of dealing with technology failures alone by partnering with Onsite Techs. There are many advantages. First, we make sure you have a working data backup that’s tested for reliability and secure.

    Onsite Techs experts also aim to detect potential failures before they happen. If a device needs replacing, we want to know before the last gasp of life. That helps ensure a smooth transition and helps level out the budget impact.

    Onsite Techs experts know what’s involved in migrating technology to the cloud. We can help you weigh up the pros and cons, assessing what’s best for your individual business. Plus, we develop your migration strategy and provide ongoing support.

    Onsite Techs can identify the best providers for your needs. We tailor our services to your business workload, regardless of company size. Unlike a software salesperson, we don’t enjoy selling you more than you need. We want you to have the best technology to help prevent issues before they happen.

    Call Onsite Techs for a consultation today at 401-773-7766. 

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  • 12/03/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    6 Things You Need to Know About Ransomware

    6 Things You Need To Know About Ransomware

    Here at Onsite Techs one of the problems we often see is Ransomware.  This is a well-named type of cyberattack. Cybercriminals taking this approach steal your data and hold it hostage until you pay a ransome.  They do this by accessing your network to get you files.  Then they encrypt the files and demand payment for the passcode. Here are the top seven things we at Onsite Techs want you to know about this threat.

    #1 It Can Happen to You

    Cybercriminals rely on your false confidence. Don’t think "it won’t happen to me." Attacks on government, education, healthcare, or financial institutions get publicity, yet organizations of all types and sizes are targeted.

    #2 Ransomware Targets People

    A popular method is to send out phishing emails hoping that people enter their access credentials. Targeted business communication emails are used too. The attacker gets to know your business first. Then they send an email impersonating a colleague, supplier, or customer asking you to take login to something or update contact details by clicking on the link or downloading a file.

    #3 Ransomware is Expensive

    Once the ransomware is installed on your system, it locks down your files. To regain access to the files, you need the password or decryption key the attacker supplies when you pay the ransom; that’s if they keep their end of the bargain once you pay. These are criminals you’re dealing with after all!

    In Coveware’s analysis of Q3 2019, the average ransom payment increased by 13% to $41,198 as compared to $36,295 in Q2 of 2018. And that’s just the cost of the ransom. Other costs include the cost of downtime, lost revenue, and long-term damage to your brand. There’s also the expense of removing the ransomware, forensic analysis, and rebuilding systems.

    The average ransomware attack in Q3 2019 resulted in 12.1 days of downtime. — Coveware

    #4 Ransomware Requires Cryptocurrency

    Ransom payment is usually made by bitcoin or another cryptocurrency. Your business needs to buy cryptocurrency with actual cash, then transmit the ransom. They choose cryptocurrency because it’s very difficult to trace. It doesn’t help you that bitcoin is not something you can charge back like a credit card.

    #5 A Recovery Plan is Helpful

    Planning in advance can help you respond more strategically. Document your plans to disconnect infected computers from the network as soon as possible. Also, power down any machines that could be vulnerable to avoid spreading contagion.

    You should also discuss in advance whether or not your business will pay a ransom. Weighing the costs and benefits without a deadline on the decision can help you react more reasonably.

    #6 You Can Avoid Being the Target of an Attack

    You don’t have to wait around worrying about a ransomware attack. There are many things you can do to help prevent this type of attack:

    • Filter traffic, preventing it from coming into your network in the first place.
    • Scan inbound emails for threats and block certain attachment types.
    • Use antivirus and anti-spam solutions and regularly upgrade and patch vulnerable software.
    • Educate all users about social engineering.
    • Allow remote access to your network only from secure virtual private networks.
    • Back up your data to more than one location so that you can restore any impacted files from a known source.

    Ransomware is a lucrative, relatively easy mode of attack for cybercriminals. They could target your business. Contact Onsite Techs today for help implementing the best protection practices to keep your data safe. Call us at 401 773 7766

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  • 11/25/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Security or Flexibility, What Matters More?

    Onsite Techs is Here to Help Customize Your IT Support

    Security or Flexibility: Which Matters More for Your Business?

    Business is all about making choices. One such choice is whether to value IT security or business flexibility more. Unfortunately, you can’t have the best of both at once.

    While having absolute security or flexibility may sound good, neither is necessarily for the best. An entirely secure environment is tough on users while a fully flexible IT environment is near impossible to keep safe. When weighing security and flexibility, you can think of it as a slidingscale: more of one means less of the other. If you choose to build up your security, you can limit business productivity because your staff may loose time bumping up against security constraints while trying to get work done. You may on the other hand decide to give your staff full flexibility, but you do so at the risk of leaving your business more vulnerable to cyber attacks. A bank protecting funds or a hospital with private patient data would prioritize security. Alternately, a small widgets business might not worry about data security as much.

    Finding the Right Balance

    As a business leader, you must find the sweet spot between IT security and business flexibility. Onsite Techs provides businesses with customized IT support to make sure you land in the right place on this sliding scale.

    One major consideration is the type of data the IT security is protecting. If you are a credit card or health insurance company, you are responsible for securing customer information, so security is going to be very important to you.  A university with many networked computers also needs to think about security because criminals can target your school’s processors to power their attacks. The potential impacts of a security breach on your business are also a factor. Cyberattacks can mean business disruption, and lost productivity and business revenue, plus damage to brand reputation and loss of customer loyalty. If your business is in a highly regulated industry you could also face massive fines and legal fees. If you run a graphic design business on the other hand, the need for speed and efficiency may outweigh heavier secirity measures.  When work teams collaborate globally, business flexibility is also critical.

    Get MSP Input into This Equation

    Onsite Techs is what’s called a managed services provider (MSP). Our IT experts will examine your business processes and goals, determine your appetite for risk and effectively set that slider between IT security and business flexibility. We monitor your cybersecurity day and night so that you don’t have to.  At Onsite Tech’s we also recognize the need for adaptable security in order to respond to your businesse’s shifting needs. When that big deal comes up, you don’t want to have to deliberately risk security. Ultimately, you’re looking to achieve flexicurity – just the right combination of both. Onsite Techs will let your technology users do their best, while your business remains secure.

    Want to balance security and still be business friendly? Contact Onsite Techs for a consultation today! Call us at (401) 415-6290!

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  • 11/18/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    What is a Firewall?

    What is a Firewall and How Can Onsite Techs Help Your Business Utilize This?

    Hearing the term "firewall" in the context of computing can be confusing. How does a tall, blazing fire separating rescue teams from  trapped people apply to computers? Well, imagine the rescue team using heavy blasts of water in a desperate attempt to save the day.  A hacker is just as motivated to gain access to your data. They will try anything to bypass your security and get inside your network perimeter.   

    In a business office, computers and printers are often networked together. This lets Ray in accounting and Jenny in graphic design access the same business tools. In computing, a firewall sits between that internal network and the internet outside. It’s kind of like a nightclub bouncer. You want it to be as intimidating as possible to keep the troublemakers out.  

    Your firewall can be hardware, software, or both. Onsite Techs can set up your business network with what we call packet-filter firewall.  This monitors and controls network traffic by filtering data entering the network according to predetermined rules.  This kind of firewall will examine small amounts of data (called "packets") to see if they contain threats.  The firewall we deploy will check packet data against criteria such as allowed IP addresses and packet type. If the data is suspect, the firewall stops those packets. If not, the data will continue to its destination.   

    A firewall set up by Onsite Techs also monitors outgoing traffic.  This is because if your company has fallen victim to a malware attack an infected computer in your network could be sending out harmful information. This attack turns a computer into a bot and it could be "phoning home ."   

    An effective firewall set up by Onsite Techs will also help prevent denial-of-service or (DoS) attacks. In a DoS incident, thousands of computers are used to send an overwhelming amount of traffic to a network. It’s like putting 10,000 people in an elevator with an occupancy limit of 20 – expect a crash. One famous 2016 DoS attack seriously disrupted Amazon, Visa, PayPal, Netflix, AirBnB, and more.   

    Packet-filtering firewalls aren’t the only option we provideOnsite Techs also employs something called Stateful inspection. This checks where the packet came from, where it is going, and what application requested it. This end-to-end examination is more rigorous. All the parameters must match trusted information for the packet to pass through. This approach offers a smart, fast way to inspect for unauthorized traffic.   

    At Onsite Techs, our job is to create and monitor these firewalls daily so that you don’t have to think about threats like this.  We will always be watching out for your networks data.  Should anything go wrong, our team is ready and waiting to solve the problem.  Need help deciding on the right type of firewall for your business? Want to be sure your firewalls are going to withstand attack? 

    Onsite Tech’s experts can help. Contact us today: (401)4156290!  

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  • 11/11/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Use Online Scheduling to Save Time

    Onsite Techs Tip of the week:  Use Online Scheduling to Save Time!

    Setting up a meeting or training can be such a headache. You send an email or leave a voicemail with some suggested times and the other participants respond with completely different times, often within the time window you identified as unavailable. Sigh! The possibilities go back and forth until finally at least a few of you agree. The more people you want to get to the table the more layers of complexity: "Does this work for you?" "No, how about Monday?" "Sorry, Paul can’t meet then." "Same time Thursday?" "Jane and Lisa are out then." "AARGH!" Setting up an agreed-upon calendar appointment doesn’t need to be difficult. Online scheduling helps you to easily plan around people’s availability.

    Did you know that Americans hold an average of 11 million meetings daily?

    Online scheduling tools allow you to send out a link to a calendar showing your availability. You can then allow customers to schedule directly from your website. The recipient has only to click into the calendar and choose the time that works for them. You can set it up so that all participants receive an email or text confirmation and reminder of the meeting.

    Whether it’s a one-on-one or a group meeting, you have ownership of the scheduling process. You can also set the online scheduler to add extra time before or after meetings. Spending all your time in meetings? Reduce the number of meeting slots available on a given day. You can even prevent meetings called at short notice by setting a minimum preparation time. You can also set a buffer to avoid meetings in the first 15 or last 15 minutes of the day.  Another challenge online scheduling helps you avoid is managing time zones. These schedulers detect the invitees’ locations and display your availability accordingly. 

    Calendar Integration Helps Too

    Remember when "I’ll have to check my calendar" referred to a physical pocket calendar? Now calendars are on our devices but we struggle to handle having a hard-copy calendar, another on a phone and another one on a desktop. Online scheduling tools integrate with many calendars. Monitoring your Google, Outlook, Office 365, and/or Apple iCloud calendars, your online scheduling tool ensures you aren’t double-booking. Plus, integrations with online meeting platforms let you access meetings from your device. 

    Many online scheduling tools will even let you accept payments. This means you can have invitees register and pay through the same platform. Talk about removing registration barriers. You can also integrate some online schedulers with Google Analytics.  This is so beyond looking to a calendar to check the date of a meeting. Now, you’re using an online scheduler to gain usable data.  Do some research on online schedulers to learn more and get started.  The basic features of an online scheduler are easy for any business to install and will be invaluable timesavers for your business.

    We hope you enjoyed this useful tip from your friends at Onsite Techs. Contact us for all your IT and computer service needs: (401)415-6290!

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  • 11/04/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Why Your Business Needs Managed Security

    Why Your Business Needs Onsite Techs Managed Services  

    Locking your front door after a burglar has already ransacked your house doesn’t do much, and the same is true of cybersecurity. With the help of Onsite Techs, you can stay ahead of security threats with well-tested, leading-edge technologies.   

    Ransomware, Trojans and crypto mining make the news regularly these days. Businesses and consumers are aware of the threats, yet there is no single magic pill that can keep you safe. Cybercriminals are mixing up their tactics to outwit their targets and the results are increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. Password theft and password-based breaches remain a daily occurrence in 2019. This is only one of many areas of concern in the realm of Cybersecurity.  

    Onsite Techs is what’s called a managed service provider or MSP for short.  An MSP will  help your business to stay on top of evolving threats. For a small, fixed monthly cost, you add our  team of experts to your arsenal. Instead of reacting, we work  proactively behind the scenes to identify vulnerabilities and prevent attacks.  When business  security is internal, a single person or small, overworked team tries to stay current.  With Onsite Techs, in-house IT teams focus instead on business tasks. You can trust Onsite Techs to know the latest, most effective technologies. Our MSP experts do extensive training and regularly attend security conferences so that your business benefits without having to spend finite resources.   

    Onsite techs managed services makes a security difference. 

    Onsite Techs will learn your system, network, and applications. Our  IT experts get to know your business and its workflow needs.  We will recommend the best tools for you to use and make suggestions that prioritize productivity, ease of use, cost, and security. Instead of having to deal directly with vendors and salespeople, you will gain an objective perspective on what technology truly suits your needs.   

    Onsite Techs can also help you boost your employee cyber education and awareness.   As a premium MSP, we can also test and track your staffs cyber behavior on-site and off-premises. Onsite Techs understands your entire technology ecosystem and will determine the most effective ways to keep your business protected.   

    Onsite Techs proactive approach will save you from data breach devastation. Financial damages resulting from a breach can be large. In 2018 a Cisco study found that 54% of all cyberattacks resulted in damages of more than $500,000 USD. Those costs aren’t the only risk of a data breach. Your business also risks   

    • theft of intellectual property;  
    • loss of competitive advantages;  
    • damage to brand reputation;  
    • customer dissatisfaction and loss;  
    • regulatory fines.  

    No matter your business size or industry, you are at risk. Cisco found 40% of companies with 250–499 employees had experienced a severe security breach in 2018. Larger organizations were similarly impacted but tended to be more resilient.  When a small business is breached the damage is usually even greater. Their core systems are likely interconnected, which allows the attack  to spread easily.  The threat landscape is always shifting. You might also be at risk from targeted attacks against your employees (e.g. faked business email communications), ransomware (holding your data hostage), or other advanced threats.  

    Managed services provided by Onsite Techs will ensure you have the people, processes, and technology to protect your business. Plus, if the worst happens, we have the skills to mitigate the damage and get you back up and running quickly and easily 

    Onsite Techs can provide your business with the best available cybersecurity. Want to learn more? Give us a call today at (401)415-6290!  

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  • 10/01/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Due Diligence

    Are You Doing Your IT Due Diligence?

    The words "due diligence" may make you think of a courtroom drama on television. Surely, that’s something only lawyers have to worry about? Not so fast. Due diligence is something your business can be doing, too. Are you covering the basics?

    Due diligence is about taking care and being cautious in doing business. It extends to how you manage your technology, too. You may think you’re immune to a data breach or cyberattack, but cybercriminals can target you regardless of business size or industry sector.

    Depending on your industry, you may even have compliance or regulatory laws to follow. Some insurance providers also expect a certain level of security standards from you. The costs associated with these cyber incidents are increasing, too. Don’t leave your business vulnerable.

    What due diligence involves

    Technological due diligence requires attention to several areas. Generally, you’ll need to show the following:

    1. Each staff member has a unique login. Require complex, distinct passwords. Educated your people to protect these (e.g. not write them on stickie notes that sit on their desktop).
    2. You have a process in place for regular data backup. We recommend a 3-2-1 backup strategy. Keep three copies of your business data. One on the cloud with the other two on different devices (e.g. on your local computer and on a backup USB drive).
    3. You patch and upgrade security consistently. Ignoring those reminders and waiting for the next release is risky.
    4. You’ve installed antivirus software. You won’t know your computers are infected until it’s too late. Be proactive.
    5. Email filtering is in place. These filters help protect your business from spam, malware, phishing, and other threats.
    6. You have installed firewalls to monitor and control ingoing and outgoing network traffic.
    7. You limit user access. Instead of giving everyone full access, set conditions based on role and responsibility. This approach minimizes vulnerabilities.
    8. There are physical security procedures to limit access to your environment. You might install security cameras, fence a perimeter, and require RFID scanning in protected areas.
    9. If your company lets employees use their own phones, laptops, or tablets, have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in place. Installing mobile device management software is useful, too (and we can help with that!)
    10. You test your security, too. You can’t take a set-and-sit approach to securing your network, systems, and hardware. Ongoing testing will help you identify risks, repair vulnerabilities, and protect your business.

    It can also help you to prove that you’re being diligent by:

    • keeping copies of any training provided and employee handbook messaging;
    • updating your organizational chart regularly;
    • vetting contractors/vendors before granting them access;
    • having a policy in place that quickly denies access to any former employees;
    • inventorying all devices on your network.

    IT due diligence protects your business. Meeting these security standards can also cut costs and preserve your brand reputation. Demonstrating vigilance helps you avoid hefty compliance or regulatory fines and fight litigation. In the event of legal action, you’ll also want to prove the efforts you made. So, be sure to thoroughly document all IT security efforts.

    Due diligence doesn’t have to be difficult. Our experts can help you determine the best preventative measures for your organization. Some business risks will pay off, sure, but when it comes to your IT, caution will have the best results.

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  • 09/09/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    The Dark Web and Its Impact on Your Business

    Business owners today know the internet is not only a force for good. Some people exploit the Web for ill intent. They congregate on the Dark Web, and small businesses need to understand the risks.

    What is the Dark Web?

    You and your employees spend time daily on the Web. They’re researching clients, checking out competitors, and searching for information. They are not accessing the Dark Web. The Dark Web houses dangerous, often illegal activity. This includes black-market drug sales, illegal firearm sales, and illicit pornography.

    The Dark Web’s collection of websites is inaccessible using standard search engines or browsers. Users employ a Tor or I2P encryption tool to hide their identity and activity, and they spoof IP addresses.

    To go into the Dark Web, you also need to be using the Tor or I2P service. Plus, you’d need to know where to find the site you are looking for. There are Dark Web directories, but they are unreliable. The people on the Dark Web don’t want their victims to find them. Ultimately, it’s not somewhere you or your employees need to be.

    So, why do you need to know about it? Because Dark Web users can buy:

    • usernames and passwords
    • counterfeit money
    • stolen credit card numbers or subscription credentials
    • software to break into people’s computers
    • operational, financial, or customer data
    • intellectual property or trade secrets

    The Dark Web is also where someone can hire a hacker to attack your computers.

    The Dark Web business risk

    The Dark Web itself isn’t illegal, and not all its traffic is criminal. It is also visited by journalists and law enforcement agencies, and it’s used in countries prohibiting open communication.

    Yet the number of Dark Web listings that could harm your business is growing. A 2019 research study found that 60% of all listings could harm enterprises, and the number of those Dark Web listings has risen by 20% since 2016.

    Business risks from these Dark Web listings include:

    • undermining brand reputation
    • loss of competitive advantage
    • denial-of-service attack or malware disruption
    • IP theft
    • fraudulent activity

    With media attention on data breaches impacting millions, it’s easy to think a small business is not at risk. However, bad actors don’t target a business for its size – they look for ease of access.

    Dark Web information is up to twenty times more likely to come from an unreported breach. Privacy specialists told a Federal Trade Commission Conference victims included medical practices, retailers, school districts, restaurant chains, and other small businesses.

    Reduce your risk

    If your information ends up on the Dark Web, there’s little you can do about it. The bright side, at least, is that you would know that your business security has been compromised. Be proactive instead. Keep your security protections current, and install security patches regularly.

    Consider a unified threat management (UTM) device, or UTM appliance. The UTM plugs into your network to serve as a gateway and protect your business from malware, illicit access, and other security risks.

    Your UTM security appliance can provide:

    • application control
    • anti-malware scanning
    • URL and content filtering
    • data loss prevention
    • email security
    • wireless and remote access management

    Or let OST take care of all aspects of protecting your business. Pay a consistent monthly fee for us to handle all your technology, patching, monitoring, and assessment needs.

    Stay on top of the latest cybersecurity threats with an MSP, or learn more about installing a UTM. We can help protect you from the dangers of the Dark Web. Call us today at 4017737766!

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  • 09/02/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Security Patches — The Better Way to Update

    Updates often come at the worst moment. You go to shut down your laptop to rush to a meeting, and you get a "Windows is updating. Do not power off" message. Argh!

    Or you leave your desktop to go to a meeting and come back to find your computer has restarted in your absence. Those unexpected bug fixes and performance improvements lost you all your unsaved work.

    You know updates are important. They help patch security flaws. These are the vulnerabilities that hackers love to exploit. Updating helps you keep business documents and data safe. Software updates can also add new, useful features and remove outdated ones. Plus, keeping software and systems up to date is good cyber citizenship. Security patches protect from attacks that could also impact employees, customers, and partners.

    Updating is a pain but oh so important

    The WannaCry ransomware attacked hundreds of thousands of computers in more than 150 countries. Among those infected were the UK National Health Service, FedEx, Telefonica, the Russian Interior Ministry, and more, all because people (and companies) weren’t keeping their computers updated. The later Petya ransomware preyed on the same vulnerabilities, despite the publicity around WannaCry and Microsoft having already released a patch.

    Still, people don’t bother updating. According to a Skype survey, 40% of respondents didn’t update their machines when prompted, almost 25% required a second prompt. Nearly 45% worried that installing the update would weaken their computer’s security.

    And keeping Windows up to date isn’t enough. Hackers aren’t stopping there, so you can’t either. You also need to be patching third-party applications such as Java or your Adobe suite. More employees are also bringing their own devices to the workplace. Overlooking security updates for these entry points is like leaving a window wide open and expecting criminals to walk by.

    Equifax’s failure to update a Java virtual machine proved costly. Hackers accessed over 145 million credit reports in 2017. The company lost more than $5 billion in market cap, and the CEO lost his job.

    Businesses need a better way to keep your software security patches current. Here’s help.

    Keeping security patches current, conveniently

    Avoid the inconvenience of the "Update Now" interruption by setting up automated patching. Patching all your computers or different device types can be time consuming.

    Determine when downtime won’t be as disruptive, and schedule patches for that timeframe. This lets you update an entire department when they aren’t there, or patch individual computers around the employee’s schedule. For instance, if your accountant comes in only on Tuesdays, you wouldn’t patch that computer that day.

    This approach also creates a consistency your employees can plan around, which allows them to manage all security updates without you having to lift a finger.

    To do this, you can outsource the patching to a managed service provider (MSP) like us. We will install remote monitoring and management (RMM) software to manage all security updates without you having to lift a finger.

    The RMM software gives us visibility into your business technology. We’ll track your hardware, software, and network environments to keep ahead of issues. This sets your business up to respond faster to any events.

    Using the RMM, OST can automate software patching and OS updates to reduce the hassle.

    Conclusion

    Automating or outsourcing software updates can improve your security and compliance. Your employees enjoy new features, extended support, and access to the latest technology. A reliable, secure system can improve stability, speed processes, and drive increased productivity.

    Get expert help determining patching priorities, or partner with OST to install RMM and monitor and resolve issues remotely. Give us a call at 401-7737766!

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  • 08/14/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Are You Due? How To Determine if a Renewal Notice is Fake

    Are You Due? How To Determine if a Renewal Notice is Fake

    Your business relies on any number of service providers. You’re likely paying for domain names, website hosting, data backup, software licenses, to name just a few. And that’s only your online presence! So, when a renewal notice comes in, you might just forward it on or file it away for future reference. Here’s what you should be doing instead.

    First, when you get a renewal notice, you should confirm that it’s legitimate. This is especially true of domain names. Your business’s domain name and expiration date are publicly available. Anyone could look them up and send you an invoice. Scammers do. They monitor expiring domain names and then send out emails or convincing physical invoices telling you it’s time to renew. They are not doing this as a civic service!

    Instead, they will be trying to get you to switch your domain services to a competitor or, worse, hoping you’ll pay your renewal fee to their account, which has no connection to your domain.

    • Look out for the following indicators that the notice is a fraud:
    • The price is much more than you’d expect.
    • The deadline is within seven days.
    • You don’t know the business name.
    • This business has never contacted you before.
    • The notice requires you to send a check.

    Handling Authentic Renewal Notices

    Once you’ve determined the authenticity of the renewal notice, you’ll want to take stock. Putting your licenses or other online services on auto-renewal plans can be easier, but it may not be cost effective. Before re-upping your plan consider:

    • Are you still using this service?
    • Do you really still need it?
    • Do your current needs meet your current plan?
    • Should you upgrade or downsize?

    You might also contact your provider directly and ask:

    • Is there a better product available now?
    • Are you eligible for a loyalty discount?

    The company you’re dealing with wants to keep your business (hence, the renewal notice). That can give you some leverage in negotiating what you are paying or what service you are getting. You could treat an annual renewal notice as an opportunity to renegotiate terms. It’s not always going to work, but it can be worth a phone call as you try to keep business expenses under control.

    Finally, you should pay attention to any deadlines on the renewal notification. Some are sent months in advance. That seems so helpful, but if you put it away to deal with later, before you know it you’ve missed an important date and the service is stopped.

    You should always get a renewal notice for something like a domain name. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires companies to send reminders approximately one month and one week before your domain name expires.

    Don’t leave your renewal to the last minute. With expired domain names, for instance, you can lose your website! Options and fees for renewing domain names, including expired ones, are going to vary, so be sure you know what your subscription involves.

    Also, there are bad actors out there who monitor domain expirations to buy them up at bargain prices. Then, when you notice the subscription has lapsed, you have to pay a king’s ransom to get the Web address back. Yes, it can happen to you. In fact, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) handled a record 3,074 cybersquatting disputes last year.

    Avoid being overwhelmed by all the subscriptions and service plans your business relies upon. We can monitor your license and domain expiration dates to ensure your business is current. At the same time, OST has the expertise needed to determine what plans best suit your business needs.

    Give us a call at 401-773-7766 to enjoy the peace of mind a managed service provider brings!

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  • 08/07/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    6 Target Areas to Reduce IT Spending

    6 Target Areas to Reduce IT Costs

    Your business is always looking to reduce costs. Looking at the information technology budget line items is headache inducing. So much money spent in one area, and there’s so little you can do about it! But is that really true? IT expenses may not be as fixed as you think. Take a look at these target areas where you might reduce costs.

    #1 Software

    Your business likely pays to license software such as Microsoft Office 365 or Adobe Photoshop. Reviewing these software agreements, you can often find cost savings:

    • You may be able to renegotiate a subscription if the provider wants to move you onto to a new offering.
    • You may find that you are paying for software that your employees are no longer using much. Maybe you can reduce or remove it.
    • Perhaps the pricing has changed, and there are now better plan options available.
    • There may be an open-source software alternative to save acquisition and maintenance costs.

    #2 Hardware

    Your current hardware may be underused, need refreshing, or have lost productivity. Look for opportunities to run applications on less expensive devices, or link together several computers to replace expensive server equipment. Standardizing platforms can also significantly reduce IT costs while providing consistency.

    #3 Cloud Computing

    One way to cut IT infrastructure costs is to move to the cloud. You may be able to run software on the cloud for a fraction of the cost. Moving data backup to the cloud to replace an on-premises server can also cut costs, not to mention the utility savings from not having to power the replaced components.

    Even if you’re already in the cloud, you can explore whether you are on the best available plan for you and consider:

    • Are you paying for more storage or resources than you need?
    • Are you taking full advantage of mobility and scalability features?
    • Are you duplicating on-premise and cloud-based services?

    #4 Internet Services

    Your employees need to be online; you’re not going to cut out internet services. However, you may be able to control costs:

    Should you buy modems or routers instead of renting them from your provider?

    • Consider the internet speed in your plan. Do you need that level of service?
    • Is slow internet speed costing your company money when, in fact, you’ll be more efficient with an upgrade?
    • Are you able to bundle services to find cost savings?
    • Are you in a position to renegotiate your plan?

     #5 IT Staff and Services

    Avoid infrastructure costs and the hiring expenses of onsite IT staff by outsourcing. Often your business can pay a set monthly fee or go on a pay-per-use model to gain services such as:

    • IT help desk support
    • security
    • disaster recovery
    • backup

    #6 Utilities

    Don’t overlook the costs involved in powering your IT components. Review your utility bills to identify trends. Can you save money by turning off equipment? Is there a better plan available with a competing service? Should you renegotiate the terms of your existing plan?

    Time for a Technology Audit

    Ultimately, the best way to identify specific areas to cut your IT budget is a technology audit.

    Your IT needs are always changing, and the technology evolves, too. Many businesses add expensive components or systems with "room to grow." New tools get added on as needs arise. Your use of certain technologies may expand or shrink.

    OST can provide an overview of all the software and services you use, and of bills related to your IT budget to find areas to streamline or cut altogether. It may seem counterintuitive to pay money in an attempt to save money. However, an outsider’s perspective can provide fresh insight into the "way things have always been done" and help you see new opportunities for consolidation.

    We can help you meet your budget goals. Contact us today at 401-773-7766!

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  • 07/31/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Failure is Not an Option

    Failure is Not an Option: Getting Rid of Single Points of Failure 

    You might think that your business is going to be OK even if a single device goes down. After all, there are other devices your people can use. It’s not as if the entire system is going to fall like a house of cards. Or is it? Get rid of single points of failure to make sure one vulnerability doesn’t take down your whole network.

    A single point of failure (SPOF) can be a design, implementation, or configuration weakness. Star Wars fans will already be thinking of the Death Star’s ill-designed thermal exhaust port. That was the SPOF Luke Skywalker exploited to destroy the Empire’s planet killer. 

    Yet, cybercriminals don’t need the Force to target IT fatal weaknesses. SPOFs for technology include:

    • Having only one server that runs an essential application. Without that server, your employees can’t use that business tool.
      • Solution: Plan for the worst with built-in server redundancy. Have multiples of any hardware that is business critical. Migrate to the cloud so you can continue accessing applications, software, and storage.
    • Power outages can wreak havoc on computers and devices operating your network.
      • Solution: An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) device can help prevent intermittent power interruptions to your computers, switches, and modems. Cloud solutions reduce the risk of this problem too. Employees can continue to access data and software working at different locations.
    • Your physical location could also be the SPOF. What if road closures, fire, floods, or a violent storm prevent you from being able to get to the office? Without a backup, you’ll struggle for business continuity.
      • Solution: Pool computer resources in the cloud (servers, storage, applications, and voice services). This provides continued access anywhere, anytime, and often from any device.
    • Sorry to say it, but your staff could also be your fatal weakness. Perhaps you have one or even two in-house IT experts who know everything about your technology. But, what do you do if they both quit? Or one is sick and the other is on vacation when something goes wrong?
      • Solution: You can’t have every person become a subject matter expert on all aspects of IT. So consider outsourced IT.
    • You can’t get online without an internet connection. Yet you’re reliant on an external provider for that access. Planned downtime for maintenance is easier to plan around. Still, unexpected issues can cause the internet to go out.
      • Solution: Have a backup solution to pick up the slack if the main connection goes down. A router that supports having a 4G modem, for instance, could be a good failover.

    Failure is Costly

    Having one device out of commission is frustrating, but not necessarily the end of the world. But, when the damage wrought by a single weakness spreads business-wide, you could face serious consequences. 

    Downtime for systems failure or data breaches can be:

    • Expensive — In addition to potential overtime for IT staff remedying the situation and possible revenue losses, your company may also face fines.
    • Time consuming — your people must adapt to a new reality while IT resources are spent trying to get back to business as usual.
    • Reputation damaging — any disruption to business as usual could undermine customer trust and prompt churn.

    OST understand the danger of SPOF. Avoid weaknesses that can lead to systemwide failures or loss of business information. Partner with OST and we will identify and eliminate these vulnerabilities at your business. Contact us today at 401-773-7766!

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  • 07/22/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Sending Data Securely

    Sending Data Securely

    In today’s digital economy, we send and receive information quickly online. The Internet offers immediate communication with colleagues, clients, vendors, and other strategic partners. Yet we shouldn’t prioritize convenience over data security.

    What data do you send in a day’s worth of emails? Sensitive data you send might include:

    • personally identifiable information (PII);
    • credit card or payment card information;
    • attorney–client privileged information;
    • IT security information;
    • protected health information;
    • human subject research;
    • loan or job application data;
    • proprietary business knowledge.

    The problem is that people are sending without thinking about the security of the transmission. One way to gauge the need for security is to consider how you would send that same information via USPS. Would you put that data on a postcard that anyone could read? Or would you send a sealed envelope, certified mail and require the recipient’s signature?

    Transmitting data on the Internet in plain text is like the postcard – anyone can read the information. And before you think that no one can actually see your data in transit, think about where you are sending from. Your office network may be password protected and secure, but what if someone waiting for their coffee at Starbucks opens the message using the free Wi-Fi network?

    Anyone can intercept communications on open networks with the right tools. This type of cyberattack is common enough to merit its own name: a "man-in-the-middle" attack.

    So, how can you stay safe when sending sensitive data?

    Embrace encryption. Encrypting the data is like sending that sensitive information in a locked box. Encryption encodes the information to add a level of security. If encrypted data is intercepted, the scrambled data is unreadable by unauthorized users. Only a user with the correct decryption key can access the text.

    Encryption also provides additional confirmation that the information is coming from a reliable source.

    Your business should also require Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) for sending and receiving large or numerous digital files. You may have heard of FTP, but this file transfer protocol is not encrypted. SFTP is the secure version of FTP, as it encrypts the files in transit. If  hackers does intercept the files, they won’t be able to read them without the decryption key.

    Specifically, encourage your employees to:

    • use encrypted email only (providers such as Gmail and Outlook support it; others require third-party apps or services);
    • encrypt files before sending to the cloud (in case accounts are breached or services hacked);
    • never open business communications on unsecured Wi-Fi networks;
    • keep good track of laptops and other portable devices and use drive encryption in case – with encryption, a lost laptop or stolen thumb drive is more secure, and criminals will have a difficult time stealing sensitive information, too;
    • control data access – grant permission to view, edit, or send files with sensitive information only to users who need that data for their jobs.

    OST help your business decrypt how to send its sensitive information. Turn to experts in cloud services and IT security to learn how to securely send and receive data.

    Contact us today at 401-773-7766!

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  • 07/15/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Island Hopping: Not Necessarily a Good Thing

    Island Hopping: Not Necessarily a Good Thing

    The phrase "island hopping" conjures up positive images. You might think of cruising beautiful sandy beaches on a tour of tropical islands. Too bad cybercriminals have given the term a new, less pleasant spin.

    Island hopping has become a popular method for hackers to attack businesses. In this approach, the cybercriminal targets a business indirectly. The hackers first go after the target’s smaller strategic partners. So, vendors or affiliates, who might not have the same level of security, become stepping stones to hop.

    The criminals might hack into smaller businesses handling the target’s HR, payroll, accounting, healthcare, or marketing. Then, they take advantage of the existing relationship to access the final destination.

    Humans are trusting. Cybercriminals exploit that. With island hopping, attackers leverage the trust established between strategic partners.

    It’s  simple: attackers gain access to Company 1 and send a counterfeit business communication to Company 2. Company 2, knowing the sender, is less likely to question a download link or opening an attachment.

    After all, it’s not coming from a stranger; it’s a message from perfectly pleasant Suzanne at Company 1. You may have in the past already shared logins to various sites/portals, or passwords to unlock zip files.

    The Rise of Island Hopping

    This is not a new form of attack. In fact, it’s named after a military strategy which the United States Navy used in World War II to establish a stronghold in the Pacific Islands.

    Perhaps the best-known island-hopping cyberattack was is 2013. Retail giant Target was the aptly named target of a point-of-sale system breach. Hackers stole payment information from 40 million customers. The first "island" in the planned attack was Fazio Mechanical Services. The heating and refrigeration firm suffered a malware attack shortly before Target’s breach. Fazio’s hackers stole email credentials needed to access the Target’s networks.

    As businesses continue to enhance their cybersecurity, it’s predicted that island hopping will become more popular among hackers. According to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 report, less than 33% of businesses globally know how strategic partners secure their networks. A majority (over half) rely on trust that business partners would uphold the same security standards as they do.

    Preventing Island Hopping

    You may be one of the islands to hop or the attackers’ final destination. It depends on your business size and industry. Either way, your business is vulnerable to malware attack, infected systems, or a data breach. Plus, if you’re the stepping stone, you’re likely to lose the target company’s business, too.

    How do you prevent island hopping? First, secure your networks and systems:

    • Follow best practices to detect and identify vulnerabilities and reduce risk.
    • Educate your employees about the dangers of business communication scams.
    • Raise awareness of phishing schemes and social engineering.
    • Require two-factor user authentication.
    • Change all default, generic, or predictable passwords.
    • Keep security up to date (patching and system upgrades are mandatory).
    • Control who can access your networks and servers.
    • Protect all endpoints (including employee devices in a Bring Your Own Device workplace).

    When it comes to cyber island hopping, your business doesn’t want to be a layover or the final destination. Keep your cybersecurity borders tight to avoid unwanted visitors.

    Want to make your business inhospitable to island hoppers? Work with us at OST. We can help assess cybersecurity, provide a plan to reduce risk, and upgrade technology. Let us support your efforts to fend off unwanted tourists.

    Give us a call on 401-773-7766.

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  • 06/25/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Locking Up Cybersecurity with a Managed Services Provider

    Locking Up Cybersecurity with a Managed Services Provider

    Cybercrime is not the most costly of illegal activities. That dubious distinction goes to government corruption, followed by drug trafficking. Cybercrime comes in third. Yet cybercrime does take the top spot when it comes to numbers of victims. OST can help.

    Cybercrime has hundreds of millions of victims. Two-thirds of people online have experienced personal information theft or compromise. A 2018 Security study by McAfee suggested that represents more than 2 billion individuals!

    If any of those people works at your business, it could mean trouble for your security, too. Why? People tend to think they have too many passwords to remember. So, they use the same login information over and over. That means a hackerl could leverage employee data to access business systems, too.

    Cybercrime is a global problem for both individuals and businesses. The hackers, after all, can make big bucks from their crime with low risk of discovery. The global cost of cybercrime is an estimated $600 billion a year. And no one and no business is immune.

    More people are going online. Businesses are becoming more reliant on digital transactions. Cybercriminals are quickly adapting. They’re motivated, but are you?

    Securing Your Business with OST

    It’s safe to say your Information Technology team has a lot to do. Everyone at your office is working hard, but is cybersecurity getting the attention it deserves? Ultimately, there is no better way to keep your systems secure than with managed services.

    Our job at OST is to help your business stay ahead of security threats. Finding out about risks or vulnerabilities after the fact is no good. That’s like closing the barn door after the prize stallion has already bolted.

    An in-house cybersecurity team providing 24/7 protection isn’t affordable for most businesses. It’s just too cost prohibitive for most small and mid-sized businesses.

    Working with an managed service provider (MSP) like OST is a more affordable alternative. You avoid investing in the latest technology and building up an on-premises infrastructure. Instead, you pay a consistent fee for the MSP to handle technology patching, monitoring, and assessments.

    OST uses well-tested, leading-edge tech to stay on top of cybersecurity threats. With OST as your  strategic partner we will:

    • set up security on your infrastructure;
    • oversee your company’s security systems;
    • ensure regulatory compliance;
    • track threats 24/7;
    • maintain strong data protection.

    An internal IT team oversees many areas, but the MSP focuses on continuous monitoring. It keeps up to date on the global threat landscape and any industry vulnerabilities.

    Still not convinced that paying an MSP is worth it? The average cost of a lost or stolen record was $148 per record in 2018. You might view working with an MSP as paying for insurance. With ongoing monitoring OST helps your business avoid security breaches. And their devastating costs (including to productivity, compliance, revenues, and brand reputation).

    This extension of your security staff helps maximize resource efficiency. And their day-to-day focus is on reducing risk and minimizing damage from cyberthreats. With an MSP you add dedicated security experts to your team. Secure your technology while gaining advanced threat intelligence and customized security strategies.

    A managed services provider identifies vulnerabilities and secures your business environment. Stay ahead of cybersecurity threats with OST. Find out more today!

    Call us at 401-773-7766

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  • 06/12/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Avoiding Growing Pains — Tech Tips for a Thriving Business

    Avoiding Growing Pains — IT Tips for a Thriving Business

    Maybe you started your business in a basement or home office. It was just you at the beginning. Then, your service or product gained traction. The number of staff grew, and you moved into an office. It’s amazing how far you’ve come. Better still, your business continues to grow. It may be time to consider some of these tech tips to help your thriving business.

    #1 Upgrade to Business-Grade Cloud Services

    Perhaps you’ve been relying on free software from Gmail, Outlook, or Dropbox. Who can argue with free email, calendars, collaboration and file storage right? Well, it may be time to upgrade to the business versions of the software your team relies upon.

    Move from Gmail to Google Apps, or Outlook to O365, or Dropbox to Dropbox Business. For a small monthly fee, you gain business-grade features.

    Office 365 offers business email, video and voice conferencing, secure team messaging, shared calendars, 50GB cloud storage and document, spreadsheet and presentation creation. Plus, you gain greater security and administration controls. Right now, a disgruntled employee could refuse to give up control of a business account.

    You’d be out of luck. With O365, your business would control all accounts and could simply reset the password.

    Or Dropbox Business, OneDrive and SharePoint provides added storage space and user activity and sharing auditing. Unlimited file recovery and version history make recovery easier. A remote wipe feature protects files on a stolen device). 

    #2 Revise your backup strategy

    A consumer grade backup setup is enough when you are only dealing with one computer. Now that you have many computers, it’s worth enhancing your backup strategy.

    With 3-2-1 backup, your business has a minimum of three backups. Two would be onsite (but separate from one another) and the other offsite. We recommend the cloud. Having your backups in a unified location helps efficient recovery if disaster strikes. With cloud backup, your data is encrypted for storage in the cloud. You can set parameters for how often data is backed up and confirm that it is backing up correctly. Then, if something does go wrong, you can access essential data from anywhere, anytime via the cloud.

    #3 Consider Cloud-based Accounting Services

    Traditional small business accounting software like Quickbooks Desktop requires a large database on the desktop computer. As more people need access to the database, the problems start. With multiple people accessing the accounting software:

    • The network can slow when people try to access it remotely
    • Changes can’t be made while someone else is in database
    • Data can get mismatched depending on who has the "newest" version

    Cloud-based accounting packages address these challenges. With online accounting software such as  QBO, Xero or FreshBooks, it’s easy for your business to scale. Business owners can connect to the data from any device with an Internet connection. Plus, in the event of a disaster, productivity won’t suffer as the information is safe and secure on the cloud.

    #4 Outsource your IT

    Your expanding technology allows you and your staff to do more than ever before. Great. But it also takes extra resources to monitor, manage, and secure it all. By outsourcing IT, your business gains IT expertise. 

    Meanwhile, your in-house IT team can focus its efforts on driving growth.

    Outsourcing IT also provides long-term cost savings by reducing downtime, cutting infrastructure costs, and improving security to 

    avoid costly cyber-attacks.

    Keep your business growth in check with an eye out for value-adding initiatives.

    Want to know more about the benefits of any of these tech tips? Give us a call at 401-773-7766.

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  • 05/30/2019 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Are You Sick of Ongoing IT Issues?

    Like a persistent cough or muscle strain that won’t go away, many IT issues prove ongoing. Every time they come back you think about getting an expert’s opinion. Then, the cough fades, you can walk freely again, or your computers are back up and running. You keep on going. Until the next time. If you’re sick of ongoing issues with your IT, look to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for help. (Hint OST is an MSP)

    There are many IT issues that can negatively impact your ability to do work. Let’s consider some of the common ones, and why an MSP is the right prescription.

    #1 Network and Internet connectivity issues.

    Business is done online these days. Not being able to connect to the network and slow connections are frustrating. Without the Internet, how can you do your job, how can your employees? They can’t even check and send emails! Let alone access team documents or enter data into cloud accounting software. A lagging network also slows down application and data loading time. It may only be a few moments of thumb twirling. But add that up over several times a day and multiple by employees. You’re looking at a decrease in productivity that adds up.

    OST has the know-how to survey the IT environment for what’s causing these frustrations. When there’s a problem, we are ready to resolve it and help improve reliability.

    #2 Repeated malware infections.

    This can mean a couple of things. First, you don’t have effective system and application protections in place. These attacks shouldn’t be able to make it through the door in the first place. With the right firewalls, anti-spam, and protections, you should be able to keep your system on lock down. You don’t have to do this yourself. Your internal IT team has a lot to manage and monitor. Gain expert backup with an MSP reviewing your security protocols to keep the bad guys at bay.

    Secondly, educate employees about the dangers of social engineering. Don’t let them keep falling for the phishing emails and downloading malicious files. Also, ensure passwords are strong enough to avoid adding another point of entry. 

    #3 Printing problems.

    Many businesses are printing less today, but we’re not done with hard copies entirely. So, when a printer starts whirring, spinning endlessly, or can’t connect, efficiency halts. Know that printers sold at big box stores are consumer grade quality. Avoid printer frustrations with solid business-class printers (which your MSP can identify) We work with several companies that lease and service business grade printers.

    #4 Application overload.

    Maybe some of your employees prefer Dropbox. Others rely on their free Gmail accounts. This hodgepodge of options can cause chaos. Staff have difficulty remembering the passwords to all of the accounts they need. So, they simplify, and that makes their accounts more hackable. 

    Upgrading to business-grade versions of important applications is easier with an MSP. They’ll help identify the software that best addresses your business needs.

    #5 Aging technology.

    You’ve had your current computers for ages. They are slower than you’d like, but you don’t have the time to look for something else. Plus, you can’t imagine having to learn something new. You’re too busy. But aging tech is more likely to fail, which could prove catastrophic if you don’t have the right systems backup.

    OST know IT. Based on your individual business needs, we can suggest a plan of attack to update your IT and keep it secure. We can also provide backup strategies to prepare for the worst and recover quickly.

    Basically, OSThas your back when it comes to IT. Work with experts who focus on technology day in and day out. You’ll typically save money and gain time to spend innovating in your field.

    Gain a competitive advantage with the support of an MSP. Give us a call at 401-773-7766 today!

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  • 10/16/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    WPA2 No longer secure

    WPA2 No longer Secure

    The WP2A encryption that most WiFi access points use has been cracked and leaves all networks using it exposed, giving hackers full access to data on networks.

    Companies are already coming out with new firmware for routers and access points to correct the WPA2 vulnerability called KRACK (details HERE). To read more about this vulnerability you can also read this Miami Herald article or this one in the Daily mail.

    Almost all routers and access points are affected and need to have their firmware updated to patch the vulnerability. Not all companies have released new firmware yet but will in the coming days.

    Give us a call if you want to schedule an appoinment if you need help updating your equipment.

    (401) 415-6290

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  • 07/24/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    4 Ways IT Services Keep You Connected to Your Clients

    4 Ways IT Services Keep You Connected to Your Clients

    As a small business, your pool of loyal clients are incredibly valuable to you. Those who bring their business back to you again and again are more than important revenue streams, they are people who have invested in your success. These customers enjoy the cozy personalized style of your service to big corporations and are a likely source of referrals as your company grows. Perhaps most importantly, they have come to rely on your ability to provide for them and often need to be able to contact you, your platform, or your service on a regular basis. You owe it to your loyal customers to be available when they want to speak with you without worrying about unreliable networks or broken software. The best way to provide unbroken quality of service to your valued customers is with an IT service team. Even if you’ve been managing your own computer system for a while, here are four great ways that an IT service can enhance your ability to stay connected.

    1 Network Security

     Just because you are a small business doesn’t mean you won’t get attacked by malware, spyware, ransomware, and phishing expeditions. Remember that in a lot of cases, these viruses are automated to spread and wreak havoc wherever they go with no regard for the identity of their victims. An IT service can help you set up a rock solid security system that will have you prepared for even the nastiest virus infection. Protection starts with finely tuned firewalls and anti-virus scanning software and is supported by frequent and thorough backups so that if a device does get compromised, it can be wiped and restored within the day.

    2 Business Software Suite 

    While smaller businesses tend to work with a tidier suite of software, chances are that your office uses a unique combination of CRM, data management, and industry-specific programs. You need this software suite to coordinate customer relations and provide your service, but installations are not always well-behaved. Sometimes a piece of software will glitch out either crash or fail to save. Often these problems are based on an update for either your OS or software that has created a minor incompatibility. When this happens, a dedicated IT service can sort out the snarl and get your systems back online with the programs you need to serve your customers.

    3 Fast Solutions

    Most companies below a certain size are certain that they can handle their own IT tasks. After all, the office is barely more than a few personal computers gathered together and most people handle their own machines, right? Unfortunately, this is not true and most people eventually end up on the phone with tech support. When something does go wrong, there’s a good chance it will happen in the middle of a busy work day while clients are actively trying to get in contact with you. When you have an IT service team ready to jump in and provide solutions, you can get back in business a lot more quickly than trying to fix it yourself.

    4 On-Site Repairs

    Every now and then a problem comes along that no amount of remote troubleshooting can fix. In this case, you need a computer expert with a kit of tiny screwdrivers to get right to the heart of the issue, deep within your computer case. When you have been trying to fix your own computer, coming down to a hardware issue is often the point where you might throw up your hands and call it a lost cause. However, an IT service crew has an in-depth understanding of your computer systems and can often get you and your machines back in place and serving customers where remote tech support never could.

    While your customers may never see your IT services team, they will surely feel the effects when your website runs smoothly and every one of your technical issues is solved quickly and efficiently. With talented IT support, computer problems will never stand between you and your customers again. For more information about small business IT services, please contact us today!

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  • 07/17/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Support Your People With Our Small Business IT Services: We Come to You!

    Support Your People With Our Small Business IT Services: We Come to You!

    As a small business owner, you hope that your employees can handle all of the essential tasks that your organization requires, but this is not typically the case. A big reason is that startup companies tend to build operations around customer needs. They tend to add various support functions, such as accounting and IT personnel, as their organization grows. Unless your company gives IT support to other businesses or designs computing networks, you probably don’t consider IT to be one of your core competencies. You probably need more IT assistance. That being said, adding more employees to the payroll costs the organization benefits, not just wages. A good solution is contracting with a third-party provider of small business IT services. When you have external techs come to your job-site and work with employees, they can see how their needs are being directly supported. Our techs become part of the team. In this post, we consider how onsite techs will provide an essential function without detracting from your core business activities:

    The Evolution of Small Business IT Services

    It’s common for a small business to use IT services for setting up a computing network for employees to use on a daily basis. An initial network build gives employees what they need to perform traditional desktop applications, but a small business must add more capabilities over time. When you have an internal network that needs to be upgraded to accommodate more traffic and greater data streaming, you might need additional servers. These will be located in the cloud or backed up in the cloud, which enables your company to recover data following any disruption to the network. Small businesses are vulnerable to IT threats just like large companies (i.e. hackers, power failures, fire/water damage, viruses, and employee sabotage). Working with a partner with onsite techs monitoring the status of all IT systems, your business has extra protection. 

    The Changing Nature of Business Communication

    While techs provide support, they also suggest when a small business should upgrade to new kinds of software applications. There are applications that are common to larger organizations, for example, that will help employees collaborate more in a real-time business environment. We like the example found in a recent Inc.com article. "Collaborative tools like Slack are replacing email for internal communication. Started in 2013, Slack surpassed 4 million daily users in October 2016. Though this does not mean that companies will abandon email altogether, it does change how you need to think of email." If you picture your managers creating a separate channel for each project and business activity that employees work on, Slack enables them to openly communicate on each topic. Increased transparency with a tool like Slack means that employees experience less confusion, which saves managers time. For example, if employees understand the details of a project differently, a manager can use Slack to clarify what needs to be done. All employees can read where the manager addresses questions and concerns. They can add comments and ask their own questions. Slack eliminates the need for many staff meetings and endless chains of emails.  

    We believe that your small business can increase its IT capabilities through a new and improved data infrastructure. We are happy to inspect your existing computing systems and to recommend machines that should be replaced. We can make your network more secure, ensure there are adequate mechanisms for data backup and recovery, and teach employees how to use new applications. In the future, your employees will work more collaboratively, especially on mobile platforms. For ideas such as using Slack for greater productivity, we hope that you will contact us today.

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  • 07/10/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    The Long-Term Savings IT Professionals Can Provide to Small Businesses

    The Long-Term Savings IT Professionals Can Provide to Small Businesses

    If you have recently started a small business, you might feel overwhelmed with all of the additional aspects that come along with this. One thing most small businesses will have to struggle with is technology when it comes to computers and IT-based systems. If you run your business primarily on a computer, ensuring your daily systems are up to speed is a must. IT support might be an additional expense, but can actually save you money in the long run. Here are four ways bringing on IT support can actually save your business money in the long run.

    1. Proactive Maintenance

    While you might be an expert when it come to the field you specialize in, you might not be completely up on all of the needs of your computer systems and technology. It can be worth it to bring in an IT professional to help with monitoring systems, catching possible costly repairs before they happen, and to be there to upload new programs and software. If you wait until your systems are outdated or you have a real problem on your hands, emergency IT assistance can be costly. You might get stuck needing to purchase new equipment instead of quickly fixing systems that you’ve kept up-to-date with an IT professional’s help along the way.

    1. Keeping Clients Safe

    Keeping your business protected is important, and the security of your clients needs to be thought through as well. The last thing you want to do is lose a client due to compromising their personal information or spreading a computer virus. If you can bring in an IT service that can update your security systems, virus software, and firewalls, you can be rest-assured your systems are safe and working properly. You can pass this information along to your clients as well so that they know you value technological safety measures. Keeping everyone that works with you as protected as possible should be a part of your overall game-plan, and can keep you from losing clients inadvertently.

    1. Smart Technology Recommendations

    The world of technology is always changing. Keeping your business practices up-to-date is important, and part of this goal should be to keep an eye on your computer-based programs. IT specialists can recommend efficient programs, the right cloud-based storage for your needs, and new safety technology that you might want to take advantage of. Outdated technology can slow you down, put your business at risk, and keep your business from running efficiently. These factors can limit opportunities you might have with bigger clients and projects. If your technology is up-to-date, you can take on more work and won’t be stalled, which could ultimately cause you to lose money.

    1. Freeing up Your Time

    If you are always battling computer issues, you won’t be focusing on your business needs. While you might know your business in and out, this doesn’t mean that you can be an expert when it comes to all of the behind-the-scenes needs, such as IT, accounting, and marketing. If you can bring in an IT expert to trouble-shoot when you are having a problem, they most likely can get you back up and running quickly, and you won’t waste your own time trying to figure out computer problems outside of your scope on your own. By focusing your time on your business and leaving your IT needs to an expert, you can continue to grow your business and not lose out on jobs because you are focused on IT problems instead.

    While you might feel like a one man show when it comes to your small business, smart business owners know when to call in support in order to save time and money in the long run. If you are starting up a small business in Rhode Island, having the right IT support can make a huge difference in your daily operations. Contact us for general computer-related advice or on-site IT support needs. Working with other professionals and building a team that helps you keep your business running is a great long-term plan that will save on costs and keep your business running smoothly.

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  • 07/05/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Four Pieces of IT Advice You Should Never Ignore When it Comes to Your Small Business

    Four Pieces of IT Advice You Should Never Ignore When it Comes to Your Small Business

    These days, there are very few small businesses that aren’t empowered by technology and computer systems. If you are relying on your IT needs to support your business on a daily basis, it is important that your technology can keep up. Bringing in an IT professional to assess your space and tech needs is a great start. The next step is to put advice into practice when it comes to your work space and IT security. Here are four pieces of advice you may hear from an IT professional that you should strive to incorporate into your small business.

    1. Computer and Software Upgrades

    If you own a small business, you know that behind-the-scenes infrastructure can be expensive. One area you shouldn’t skimp on is technology, especially when it comes to computer and computer-related equipment. Your local IT specialist is in the field and knows what current systems will make your business more efficient. If your personal computer doubles for your business needs or might be a few years old, you may be due for an upgrade. If your IT specialist recommends new equipment, just remember that this could save you money and frustration in the future.

    1. Setting up Automatic Updates

    While your computer might be up-to-speed today and working well, this doesn’t mean that your systems will be safe and updated tomorrow. The best way to protect your computers, your business, and your clients is to set up automatic updates so that you don’t have to manually update items in the future. An IT professional can come and set up auto updates so that your computer can do these on-schedule when it comes to software needs and patches to the system. While shutting down your system for scheduled updates might feel like a pain, ignoring or putting these off can cause risks to all aspects of your business. If you can let your computer update in the background or overnight, you won’t lose too much time and your operating systems will be protected and updated. 

    1. A Mechanism to Back up Files

    If a big part of your business is online or through programs on your computer, the last thing you want to happen is to lose any progress you’ve made. If your IT specialist recommends backing up your files to a cloud-based system or to an external hard drive, this isn’t something that you should delay. This is a good way to protect your work, as well as information pertaining to your clients. Be sure to set up reminders to back up work that you save to your computer periodically so that you don’t let this lapse. An IT specialist should be able to set up your systems to back up in real-time as well, especially if this goes to an external server or cloud-based tool.

    1. Take Security Tips Seriously

    You might not think that you are at much risk for viruses or hacking scams if your business is small, but these risks can happen to anyone and you need to protect yourself. Your IT professional might recommend resetting passwords periodically or setting these up with stronger requirements. If firewall and additional virus protection is recommended, this can also protect your systems so you aren’t a victim or inadvertently pass on computer viruses to others – especially clients. Sometimes this additional work can feel like a pain, but is worth the effort when it comes to protecting your computer systems and those you work with.

    If you are running a small business, you might be trying to do all pieces of this on your own. If you aren’t sure if your technological needs are really up to par, it might be time to bring in a professional. If you can hire on a local IT tech to come in an assess your work space and equipment, you can work more efficiently and keep your business safe and secure. If you are looking for IT assistance for your small business in the Rhode Island area, contact us to help.

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  • 06/20/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Finding the Right Fit for Your Small Business IT Service

    Finding the Right Fit for Your Small Business IT Service

    You know better than anyone the unique challenges of running a small business. Unlike big corporations, there isn’t a headquarters to fall back to, you don’t have international locations, and you can’t just take a pre-configured computer out of petty cash when yours breaks down. For small businesses, especially those with fewer than 20 employees, every computer matters. Your ability to run your necessary business software, stay in contact with clients, and provide your services is vital to the bottom line and the livelihoods of everyone invested in the company. This means that every single computer based issue, no matter how seemingly small, needs the immediate prioritized attention of your IT service.

    Small Business vs Big IT

    When choosing your IT service, it’s important to know how they will treat you when that fateful day comes and you need technical assistance within the hour, not within the day or week. IT services that cater to big businesses have big business policies and can take for granted how important every broken minute of a computer is to your small business. You don’t have another computer to fall back on and there isn’t nearly so much ‘wiggle room’ in your budget for days spent offline and on the phone with IT. You simply cannot afford to trifle with the infrastructure of automated phone trees, multiple transfers, or drawn out solutions. When it comes to the right IT service for your small business, you may be looking in the wrong places.

    Boutique IT for Small Business Needs

    Not every IT service caters to the big corporations. Some have realized that there are thousands of small businesses whose needs are not being met, and have endeavored to fill that niche. Many of these new agencies have been small businesses themselves and understand the technical needs of companies with only a few employees and computers. One broken computer in your office is a significant percent of your total technical resources, unlike the fraction of a percent it would be to a large corporation, and each IT solution needs to be treated with a heightened amount of urgency and attention. With a small business IT service, you know your needs will be addressed with the gravity they deserve, and your representative admin will work closely with you to get your computers back online as quickly as humanly possible.

    Handling Necessary Repairs

    Sometimes your issue isn’t caused by software, viruses, or a flaky internet service provider. Every now and then, there’s a truly hardware based problem and repairs are necessary. This doesn’t change the vital importance of getting back online quickly, only the steps required to do so. To prepare for these potentially disastrous moments, be careful which IT service you choose, many only offer online and cloud solutions. They may make recommendations about repairs but under no circumstances will arrive at your office with toolkit in hand. For this kind of service, you need not only boutique, but local IT professionals ready to do whatever it takes to get your business tech back into ship shape before your next client calls in.

    If you run a small business, choosing your IT service is an incredibly important decision because you need them to be there when it matters most. Your company deserves better than a one-size-fits-all solution, and there’s no need to settle for services tailored to the needs of big business. Look for boutique IT, ready to provide service exactly when and how you need it, online, over the phone, or in your office making physical repairs. For small businesses in the Rhode Island area, Onsite Techs are the solution you’ve been looking for, providing personalized IT services from Charlestown to Providence and the surrounding areas. Contact us today for more helpful small business IT information or to schedule a consultation with one of our expert technicians. We’re ready to provide everything your small business needs from an IT service.

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  • 06/13/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    4 Tips on Ransomware

    4 Tips on Ransomware

    Ransomware is arguably the biggest threat on the internet these days. In the first quarter of 2017, one of the take-aways was that Cerber ransomware dethroned Locky for #1 ransomware menace. Here are four facts about ransomware that everyone should know.

    Cerber ransomware rises in first quarter 2017Cerber ransomware arrived on the scene in March 2016 and immediately made a big impact on businesses. One year later, Cerber constitutes 90% of Windows ransomware — which is a big deal since 60% of all malware attacks on Windows are ransomware attacks. By the first quarter of 2017, this new family of ransomware had displaced Locky as the internet’s #1 ransomware menace. Poor Locky only has a 2% share now which is, to a large extent, due to its pulling up stakes in the game.

    Why — up to now — ransomware is short-lived. Cyber criminals become more and more professional every day. As professionals, they must innovate or give way to newer models. Cerber became the leader so quickly in 2016 because it provided Ransomware-as-a-Service to other cyber criminals who lease the rights to use Cerber — and to customize Cerber to their needs — in exchange for a cut of the profits. Another feature in its meteoric rise is that Cerber spreads by using spam networks to send out large spam campaigns or major exploit kits. (An exploit kit is software that runs on web servers in order to identify vulnerabilities on the computers it talks to and then downloads malicious code to those computers.)

    Cerber is popular with hackers because the creators release frequent upgrades, with exciting new features and tools to avoid detection by cybersecurity. One of its newer features has the threat read its ransom demand to the victim using text to speech technology.

    Impact of ransomware on businesses. The average dollar amount demanded by ransomware in 2016 was US$679 which was an increase over 2015’s average demand of US$294, according to ISTR Special Report: Ransomware and Businesses 2016. Symantec says it is impossible to accurately determine how much ransom money businesses paid to cyber criminals because the victims seldom announce how much they paid. In addition, payments aren’t in US dollars. Payments are generally in cryptocurrency, which have unique identifiers for each wallet and, therefore, remain hard to trace.

    The FBI reports, however, aptly illustrate the scale of the problem. The FBI says that it received 2,400 reports of ransomware in

     2015 to the tune of reported losses of more than US$24 million. That’s an increase over 2014 when 1,800 reports of ransomware netted about $US23 million. It’s a lucrative crime business because many victims are willing to pay the ransom, believing they have no other choice.

    Additional expenses as the result of a ransomware attack. The ransom paid is just the tip of the expenses resulting from a ransomware attack. Legal fees may incur if customers lose sensitive financial information and sue the business. Organizations often have to completely shut down the network which results in downtime expenses. Financial expenses for specialized cyber support increase during and after the attack. Last, but not least, the loss of data in files destroyed or encrypted has a definite impact on the company’s reputation, its brand, and its finances. Perhaps, even more significant, in a hospital or physician setting, the potential for loss of life from inaccessible medical records or even critical medical equipment form the long-term effects of a ransomware attack.

    The latest wrinkle in ransomware is the offer of free decryption for your files if you help infect another company’s files with ransomware. To learn about how ransomware raises ethical questions for businesses, read inc.com’s article entitled "Would You Infect Someone Else With Ransomware To Save Your Own Files?"

    To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact usWe want to help you secure your business.

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  • 06/06/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Five Ways IT Support is the Smart Way to Protect Your Small Business from Common Risks

    Five Ways IT Support is the Smart Way to Protect Your Small Business from Common Risks

    If you have a small business that you might even be running out of your home, you are probably used to being in charge of all aspects of your business. The thing is, as your business grows and gains traction, one area that you might want to leave to the professionals is your IT support needs. This isn’t something that can just lead to annoying problems, IT issues can also affect the integrity of your business in many ways. Here are five ways small business IT services can help keep your business safe and your clients receiving professional, continual service.

    1. Protecting Clients Remotely

    While you might provide excellent customer service to clients and be an on-time, hard worker, if your tech safety fails, this might fail your clients as well. Inadvertently sending out viruses to clients can give you a bad reputation, and if your computer isn’t backed up properly, there might be security breaches involving personal client information. It is on you to protect your business as well as your clients. Having an on-site technician come and review your computer’s software and update needs can help you feel secure in your business’s online safety.

    1. Firewall and Antivirus Updates

    If you primarily use your computer for your entire small business or for tracking projects and contacting clients, making sure your computer and tech systems are working at their best is important. If you aren’t sure what your computer’s antivirus status is or if your firewall options are maximizing your productivity and safety, an IT professional can quickly get your computer systems up-to-speed. If you office is growing and you may have shared networks among a few staff, making sure all computers in your network are up-to-date will keep your business safe.

    1. Advice for Backing Up Work

    Depending on the type of small business you are running, you might track all sorts of things on your computer – from project deadlines, finances, and continued contact with clients. If you don’t have a plan in place to properly back up all of your work, bringing in an IT professional for advice can streamline and safeguard your existing process. This might involve advice on both the perks and safety limitations of cloud-based back ups, or recommendations such as external hard drives to periodically backup all of your business-related files.

    1. Up-to-the-Minute IT Support

    While you might know how to update your computer and even backup your work, there are always new viruses and issues on the horizon when it comes to technology. Bring on an IT professional that is ‘in the know’ and works in the world of computers and technology every day. They will know what to look out for and how to protect your computer and business from new scams, viruses, or out-of-date software that might need to be manually updated.

    1. Troubleshooting Takes Time

    While you might be able to eventually track down what is wrong with your computer if you can’t connect to the internet or find a saved file, these tasks can take time out of your work day. If you are wasting your morning on complicated technology troubleshooting, you are neglecting clients by redirecting your time. If you can bring in a technician that can take the time to troubleshoot for you, you can get back to work and keep your business thriving without any daily setbacks from computer issues.

    If you are running a successful small business, you have enough on your shoulders already. You don’t have to worry about fixing IT problems yourself on top of the day-to-day of running a business. If you are looking for on-site support for your IT needs in the Rhode Island area, contact us to get started. Protecting your business and clients is a big part of running a business, and your IT safety needs to be a priority.

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  • 05/30/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    5 Simple Solutions to an Evolving Cyber Security Threat

     5 Simple Solutions to an Evolving Cyber Security Threat

    Cyber security is no simple issue. No less than 43% of cyber attacks target small businesses, due at least in part to the fact that only 14% of small business owners consider their cyber security abilities as highly effective. The number of weekly attacks is growing every year.

    Fortunately, while the problem is not simple, some solutions can be. With a few steps, you can increase the protection of your data and ensure that you can stay in business safely for the foreseeable future. Here are 5 simple strategies your small business can implement to keep its data secure.

    1) Keep Your Software and Firewall Updated

    Without a doubt, the easiest way for potential hackers to enter your system is through outdated software. Vendors of firewalls, databases, and other software typically release updates specifically designed to prevent breaches and patch holes on a regular basis. It’s your job as a business owner to take advantage of these updates.

    Put simply, a firewall or anti-virus software will not succeed if it was installed two years ago, and doesn’t account for malware that was designed within the past few months. Regular updates tend to be simple, but have a potentially significant effect on keeping your data safe.

    2) Use Secure Communications

    As Small Business Trends point out, it’s surprising how many small businesses use unsecured channels like email and direct mail to communicate about secure data. In reality, you probably just don’t know that far safer and more reliable communication methods can significantly improve your cyber security efforts.

    Fax, for example, is actually more secure than either of the above. Meanwhile, encryption tools like PGP can help to ensure the safety of your email communication.

    3) Protect Against Internal Threats

    Did you know that threats from internal sources actually comprise the majority of cyber attacks? It’s true: more than 30% of all attacks are carried out by malicious insiders (such as disgruntled employees), while another 23.5% result from so-called inadvertent actors. 

    To prevent each scenario from happening, make sure your to implement levels of security privileges. Put simply, no employee should have access to data that isn’t relevant to their position. Comprehensive training and education for anyone with access to secure data is another important step.

    4) Build Your Contingency Plan

    Despite the above, your business is never entirely safe from cyber attacks. That’s why any small business, in addition to taking proactive cyber security measures, should also have a contingency plan that kicks in when the (almost) inevitable breach occurs.

    First, start with a point person within your company who oversees your cyber security efforts. Then, build a reliable data backup plan in case attackers hold your secure data hostage. Store your data in multiple locations to ensure that there can be no single point of failure.

    No less than 60% of small companies go out of business within 6 months of a cyber attack. Only a combination of preventative measures and a reliable contingency plan can ensure that a data breach, while devastating, won’t be life-threatening for your business.

    5) Work With a Reliable Partner

    All of the above tips are relatively straightforward, but can be daunting for SMB owners to implement. What do you do if you recognize the potential threat of cyber attacks, but don’t know where to start?

    Ideally, you find a partner who can help you get on the way. At Onsite Techs, we focus specifically on helping small business clients improve their IT practices, including cyber security. From implementing more secure software to building a contingency plan, we want to be your partner in ensuring reliable cyber security. To learn more about our services, and get started in protecting your business, contact us.

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  • 05/16/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Hit by Ransomware? Don’t Panic!

    ​​ Hit by Ransomware? Don’t Panic!

     This weekend the world reeled from a massive ransomware attack called WannaCry.  Hospitals, major companies and government offices were hit by a virus that seeks to seize control of computers until the victims pay a ransom.

    It’s your worst nightmare. You bring up your computer, and you see a message telling you that all your files are encrypted, and that you have to hand over money if you ever want to see them again. Your first impulse on seeing a ransomware message is to panic.

    Panicking is exactly what they want you to do. The criminals who disseminate ransomware want you to make a frightened, hasty decision to pay them. The message may tell you that more files will be encrypted if you don’t respond quickly, or that after a certain length of time you won’t be able to get them back at all.

    Don’t panic. We may be able to help.

    Paying is a last resort

    Sometimes people have no choice but to pay. Hospitals are favorite targets, because any lost time could endanger lives. But you should weigh your decision carefully, and if there’s any reasonable alternative, you shouldn’t pay.

    • Paying supports crime. You’re rewarding the crooks’ actions and providing them with more resources.
    • There’s no guarantee you’ll recover your files. These people are crooks, after all.
    • It may not be necessary. You may be able to undo the damage without their cooperation.

    Not all ransomware is the same. We can rank it on a rough scale of difficulty:

    • Pure bluffing. Some "ransomware" just puts up a pop-up window claiming your computer is locked up. Force-quitting the browser is usually enough to get rid of it. Another kind of bluffing is a claim that your files will be reported for illegal content. There’s rarely, if ever, any substance behind the threat.
    • "Locking" ransomware. This kind doesn’t damage any files but just prevents you from running applications. We can remove it and get your machine back to normal.
    • Broken encryption. Some ransomware really encrypts files, but in ways that have known remedies.
    • Serious encryption. Unfortunately, some kinds of ransomware really do encrypt files in a way that’s unbreakable without the decryption key.

    Check your backup

    If you have a recent backup of your files, you can restore them without too much trouble. Make sure to disinfect your system first, or the same thing will just happen again. Also make sure you still have a good backup. Ransomware tries to encrypt any attached drives it can find, precisely so you can’t recover from a backup.

    An offline cloud backup is the safest. It backs up files through an API rather than treating the backup as another storage device, so ransomware shouldn’t have any way to get at it.

    Talk to us first

    Your first reaction on seeing a ransomware message should be to draw your hands away from the keyboard, take a deep breath, and think about your options. Your next response should be to give us a call. We can examine the effects on your computer and tell you what is possible. There’s only one other thing you should do right away: Disconnect your computer from the network, so the damage can’t spread to other devices.

    In some cases, we can remove the malware and restore any damaged files. We may be able to assist you in restoring files from backup. It may turn out that your only options are to pay the extortionist or lose files, but we’ll help you explore all other options before that.

    Whatever the situation is, you need a thorough malware checkup after getting a ransomware message. There may well be other malware on your computer, ready to make a second round of demands or to steal information. You need to make sure that when the nightmare is over, nothing remains lurking on your machine. Checking the other devices on your network at the same time is also a good idea.

    Prevention is the best treatment

    Of course, it’s best if your computer doesn’t get ransomware at all. We can help you to set up computer and network security to keep the large majority of attacks from getting through, and to maintain reliable backups so that you can recover if the worst happens. Contact us to learn about the services we offer, and then you’ll be able to sleep without nightmares.

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  • 05/09/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    The Biggest Cyber Security Threat You’ll Face: Your Employees

    The Biggest Cyber Security Threat You’ll Face: Your Employees

    Most small business owners are lucky enough to know the majority of their employees by face and name, if not well enough to develop a personal relationship with them. You know full well that none of them would do anything that would deliberately sabotage your business’s security. Unfortunately, the biggest cyber security threat your business face’s may be sitting just a few offices down from you–and the worst part is, they don’t even realize it! Protecting the essential cyber security of your business doesn’t just mean running quality antivirus software and being sure that your IT team monitors traffic. It also means ensuring that your employees know how to help protect your company.

    Their Passwords, Your Company

    As a small business owner, it may never have occurred to you just how important your employees’ passwords are. Sure, you have a few basic rules in place; but you’ve never considered just how easy it could be to snatch their passwords and use them to break into your company’s vital data. If you want to keep your business truly secure, make sure you’re including these requirements in your password rules:

    • Change passwords regularly, especially if you’ve been hacked or suspect that there has been a security breach. Note: adding a new number to your password doesn’t count as changing it!
    • Request a random combination of letters and numbers, not a dictionary word or even a phrase that’s easy to remember. Many hackers use dictionaries as part of their database.
    • Insist that the passwords for company networks and programs be different from one another–and different from the passwords that your employees use for their online interactions in other areas of their lives. This helps prevent spillover from cyber attacks on other companies from reaching your business.

    Social Engineering Problems

    Many people–especially those from older generations–want to believe the best in others. When someone comes in or makes a phone call to the business, they automatically assume that individual is there for their stated reason, and they tend to offer them the information they’re looking for in an effort to be "helpful." Then there are phishing emails and other social engineering attacks–many of which your employees might not recognize. Some common social engineering scams include:

    • Pulling known customer information off of your social media accounts in order to gain access to more information
    • Dropping a USB device with a virus or other software encoded that will install on your computer as soon as it’s plugged in
    • Calling from the "IT department" and asking you to "check out a new system" by putting your login information into their fake webpage
    • Coming in as a repairman or someone else you would expect to be in the building in order to gain access to confidential areas

    Closing the Security Holes

    If your employees can’t recognize the scams, they don’t know how to prevent them from targeting your business. In order to close those security holes, you must not only engage quality antivirus protections, but also the protection that comes from well-trained employees. This includes:

    • Creating security policies
    • Letting employees know how they are expected to respond in the event of a potential security threat
    • Discussing potential scams with your employees as you become aware of them

    The better trained your employees are, the better they can help you protect your business. It’s not just the IT team that must stand on the front lines of your business’s protections. It’s every employee–and you can give them the power to do so. If you want to learn more about raising your business’s cyber security and keeping yourself safe from cyber attacks, contact us today to learn how we can raise that vital part of your company.

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  • 05/01/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Cyber Security Threats Are Shifting toward Businesses

    Cyber Security Threats Are Shifting toward Businesses

    Internet attacks can hit anyone, but the current trend is toward targeting corporate sites. That’s the news from Kaspersky Lab. Attacks on individual users were down 21%, but ones aimed at corporate systems increased by 28.4%. This includes small enterprises as well as megacorporations. Cyber security is increasingly important for all businesses.

    Attacks follow the money

    Criminals see more value to be gained by breaching business systems, and they’re focusing their efforts more. Alexander Liskin at Kaspersky thinks that software vendors’ increased efforts to fix security flaws may be a factor driving the shift. A successful attack takes more effort, so attackers are concentrating their efforts where they hope for a good return. Computers in homes usually don’t have large quantities of Social Security or credit card numbers.

    The most targeted vulnerability in 2016 was one that the Stuxnet worm exploits. It affects only older versions of Windows or ones that haven’t been patched, but a lot of them are still in use. On those systems, viewing a specially crafted LNK (shortcut) file in Internet Explorer is enough to get infected. The user doesn’t have to download or run anything.

    These trends should remind business owners, large and small, that they need to maintain strong security measures and keep their system software up to date. Large corporations may be the favorite targets, but people looking to break into computer systems know that small ones often have weak security and are easy pickings.

    The threat of ransomware

    Another reason for targeting businesses is the opportunities which ransomware opens up. New varieties are constantly appearing, and targeted attacks are growing more common. A successful attack encrypts files on the victim’s computer, and a payment is required to recover them. Businesses can’t afford to lose important data, so they often give in and pay. They don’t always get their files back.

    Small businesses are popular targets because their security and backup budgets are limited. Attackers don’t collect the large sums they get from hospitals and other large organizations, but they see each small business as an easy victim, and they add up.

    A successful attack on one computer can endanger the whole network. Many varieties try to encrypt attached servers or copy themselves to other computers. When an infected computer is discovered, it should immediately be isolated from the network, and the other machines should be checked for any problems.

    Network defense is complicated

    Another reason for the increased targeting of businesses is that network complexity opens up opportunities. Small business networks are no longer simple structures with a server and a few desktop computers. Mobile phones, remote connections, and Wi-Fi access points can open up weak points in the network. Once malware gets onto any device, it has inside access to the local network.

    Spam with malicious links or attachments is more clever than it used to be. It’s often crafted for the organization it’s aimed at, or even for an individual. Opening an attachment can put a backdoor on the computer, letting the attacker pull information out until it’s found and removed — if it ever is.

    A secure business network has defense in depth. It uses firewalls, mail filters, and software updates to keep attacks out. It runs anti-malware software to kill any that get onto the computer. It’s monitored for any sign that a breach has happened. It maintains an up-to-date backup to help in recovery from any damage.

    Keeping up with all these needs is beyond the scope of most small businesses. We can help to keep your business network secure with expert management services. Loss of data and productivity to computer breaches can ruin a company, but a well-managed network will remain safe from most attacks. Contact us to learn how we can make your network more secure.

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  • 04/24/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Five Reasons New Home Businesses Should Have a Local IT Contact

    Five Reasons New Home Businesses Should Have a Local IT Contact

    If you have a home business, getting your home office set up in a way that is effective and professional can be a challenge, but is a must. One thing you shouldn’t discredit are your IT needs, including having a local service contact. If you find yourself in a bind either with file recovery, possible viruses, or other computer-based problems, this can slow your business down. Here are five reasons an on-site tech that can come to you will keep your business moving forward and ahead of the game.

    Advice for Businesses

    Home computers might come with certain help desks that are great for this use, but not really appropriate for a business setting. You might be using email to reach a wide audience, working behind the scenes in website development, or will be managing listservs. The protection you might need will be specialized, and your computer might actually be more of a target. If you can ensure you have the right protections set up and monitored on your work computer with a professional, you can feel confident in future business endeavors from your home work space.

    Home Computers Versus Work Spaces

    If you have both a family computer and a business computer, keeping these separate but equally protected is important. Home offices might share WiFi with their family’s tech needs, or family members might even use your work computer here are there. These are big reasons why you need to make sure all computers in your home are protected. On-site techs can review your system and suggest safeguards such as virus protection, stronger passwords, and troubleshooting problems in a home office.

    Protecting Your Clients

    If you use a computer to contact your clients and grow your business, it isn’t just your computers and IT items that you should be thinking about safeguarding. You don’t want to be a target for viruses that you could inadvertently spread to your clients. Make sure your virus protection is up-to-speed, your internet connection is protected, and other measures are put into place so that clients you interface with are protected as well. The best way to keep your business at a professional level is not to inadvertently cause costly mistakes that can anger clients.

    Having Local Support

    Even if your computer or other home office technology comes with a warranty or a hotline that can be called, sometimes having local IT support can quickly solve problems and ease frustrations. If you are working on a deadline or have quick turn-around windows when it comes to your business needs, having a computer system that won’t fail you is important. The thing is, accidents happen, and you might find yourself in a bind with your home office. Knowing you have a local expert that can quickly come and trouble-shoot can make all of the difference.

    Growing Your Company

    While your small business might be run out of your home office at this point, this may grow in the future to a larger site or involve more staff. If you already have IT support set up for your business needs, this can seamlessly grow with your business and move into larger spaces and future needs with you. Finding local IT support that can work for small and large businesses will give you the flexibility to move your company forward and benefit from the same tech help.

    Starting a small business out of your home can be a great opportunity, but getting started on the right foot is key. If computer-based systems or other technology needs aren’t necessarily your strong suit, there are local tech support professionals that can help your business grow and stay professional every step of the way. If you are looking for an on-site IT support for your home business in Rhode Island, contact us for help.

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  • 04/18/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Why Small Businesses Need Cyber Security

    Why Small Businesses Need Cyber Security

    The average cost of an online security breach is $4 million according to the Cost of Data Breach study conducted by IBM last year. About half or 48 percent of the breaches were malicious in nature. With each passing year, hackers and cyber criminals are starting to target small and medium-sized businesses. Research from the United States National Cyber Security Alliance shows that around 36 percent of small businesses were victims of cyber attacks. Around 60 percent of the businesses had to close their company since they lost business and other key factors.

    If you are a small business owner, it is important for you to protect your website from both external and internal threats with professional cyber security. External threats can include hackers and criminals you don’t personally know, while a disgruntled employee who wants to steal company information or leak it to your competitors is an internal threat.  

    The Most Common Types of Malware Cyber Attacks

    Malware, which is short for malicious software, is a broad term used to describe different harmful computer programs. Depending on how the criminals programmed the malware it can steal money from your company’s bank account, take your employee’s or customer’s personal information or many other criminal acts. Here are just a few of the most common malware attacks small companies can experience:

    • Ransomware
    • Trojans
    • Worms
    • Spyware
    • Viruses
    • Adware

    Many companies become vulnerable to malware due to phishing schemes. Phishing involves using email attachments, links, software and other programs to collect information and gain access to your company’s data. When you or an employee decide to download an attachment or click on a link in an email, it can give hackers the perfect opportunity to gain access to your company’s computer network.

    Ransomware is one of the most popular malware programs. The malware locks victims out of their computer and denies them access to their files until they pay the hackers. The cyber criminals usually promise that they will give the victims the ability to log into their computer after they received payment.

    Why You Should Use An IT Company to Improve Your Company’s Cyber Security 

    The best way to prevent ransomware and other malware cyber attacks from happening in the first place is by partnering with an IT company. Below are several ways an IT company can inprove your company’s cyber security:

    • Strengthen your company’s firewall
    • Continually update your company’s firewall
    • Fix any security glitches 
    • Encrypt sensitive employee and customer data
    • Create security documents and protocols for employees to follow
    • Reconfigure your company’s privacy and security settings 
    • Protect your computers and networks from viruses, malware and infections

    Many business owners do not have the time, experience or technical knowledge to protect their company from internal or external cyber threats. When you partner with an IT company you can focus on your core business. An IT company can closely monitor your computer networks and systems and let you know if they see anything suspicious. They can also educate your employees on how to improve your company’s cyber security and prevent future attacks.

    Please don’t wait until it’s too late and you are the victim of a malware scheme. We encourage you to be proactive and focus on how you can protect your company against future cyber threats.  

    Contact us today by email or call (401) 415-6290 to schedule an appointment at our Rhode Island office. One of our technical experts can sit down with you and review your company’s technology and offer suggestions on how we can help make your business even more secure. We’d be happy to answer your questions and explain what we can do to protect your small business from potential online threats. 

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  • 04/11/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Computer repair: Know When its Time to Seek Professional Help

    Computer repair: Know When its Time to Seek Professional Help

    In today’s technology driven world, our computers are becoming a necessary part of our everyday lives. Many of us work on our computers during the day, and enjoy streaming videos on them at night. This makes it important that your computer is functioning properly so that you are not slowed down by your computer’s performance. However, many people have a hard time determining when they are in need of computer repair. Here are a few of the most common signs you can be on the lookout for which can indicate that you are likely in need of professional computer repair.

    Sluggishness

    When you first get a new computer, one of the things you will notice is how fast it runs. Over time, your computer will begin to operate more slowly as it ages; however, your computer should not start running significantly slower seemingly out of the blue. If your computer begins operating very sluggishly, this is likely a sign that your computer has become infected by a virus or malware, which is causing your computer to run more slowly than usual. Viruses and malware should be seen to as soon as possible, as they can cause problems system-wide throughout your computer.

    Frequent Crashes

    Have you been working or playing on your computer and suddenly your screen freezes, or your computer suddenly shuts down, and you lose everything you were working on? Computer crashes are not only annoying, but they are usually a sign of serious problems with your computer. However, there are a variety of problems that can cause your computer to crash, such as a disruption in your computer’s internal power supply, overheating, problems with your computer’s hard drive, or even a virus. The wide range of issues that could be causing your computer to crash can make it difficult for most people to find the source of the problem. Thusly, if your computer has been crashing, you will want to have it seen to by a professional who can find the root cause of these crashes.

    Ads, Ads Everywhere

    Pop-up ads blocking your screen is a problem that has plagued computer owners for years. These advertisements on your screen generally indicate that your computer is infected with some sort of virus or adware. By the time you experience such invasive pop-ups, the infection has likely become widespread throughout your computer, and will need to be dealt with professionally in order to ensure that the infection is eradicated completely. Otherwise, you may soon end up facing the same problem again in the near future. 

    You Can’t Connect to the Internet

    If you have ever turned on your laptop and have been unable to connect to the internet, you know how frustrating this problem can be. While your computer may appear to be running smoothly, no matter what you do, you cannot seem to access the internet. In this situation, the first thing to do would be to try connecting to the internet on another wireless device, such as your cell phone, in order to determine if there is a problem with your computer, or if the problem is your wireless router or internet service provider. If you are able to access the internet on another device, then there is probably something wrong with your computer. For instance, your wireless adapter may have failed and will need to be replaced. A professional will be able to help you determine what is causing this problem.

    While essential to our everyday lives, computers can be finicky and will occasionally need to be repaired. It is then important that you know the signs indicating that your computer is in need of professional attention. Contact us to learn about the signs you can look out for indicating that your computer needs to be repaired.

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  • 04/06/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Fix My Computer 101: To Self Serve or Hire a Specialist

    Fix My Computer 101: To Self Serve or Hire a Specialist

    A computer that doesn’t turn on, inches through tasks, freezes completely, or displays odd and unsettling behavior, is a disrupt to your entire life.

    From freelance writers to students in the classroom and even elite business gurus, computers serve as key functionary role in everyday life. Whether it’s a video on YouTube for employee training, calendaring and scheduling, or access to an entire company’s archives, learning how to approach system disrupts is an imperative tool.

    Self-Servicing Your Computer

    For personal computers or small business operations, self-servicing is a great option. Of course, the level of self-service is dependent on the issue at hand, as well as the time available and experience of the individual rolling up their sleeves and diving in.

    Reinstalling the Operating System

    When your computer is running slow, it may be time to give it a bit of a fresh makeover. Simply put, reinstall the operating system. This fix can also help with file corruption and annoying error messages. A bogged down system is generally caused by inundating startup programs, unnecessary toolbars, or the excessive archiving of cookies.

    It all comes down to reinstalling Windows.

    Before following the guidelines in the provided link, make sure to perform a back up to an external device such as a hard drive.

    Bloatware

    Per How To Geek, "If you’ve just purchased a new computer – or reset your old computer back to its factory default state – you’ll often find it packed full of useless software. Computer manufacturers are paid to include these programs, which slow your computer down (particularly during the startup process) and clutter your system tray."

    They go on to provide a few simple and direct routes to removing bloatware without paying a service to do it for you.

    • PC Decrapifier
    • Visit your "Uninstall" program and manually remove any programs that seem like overkill
    • Start from a clean slate by (once again) reinstalling Windows

    Upgrades

    Oftentimes, computers slow down due to space issues. In these cases, you’ll need to perform an upgrade to your RAM or Hard Drive. How To Geek provides a few easy, step-by-step guides for in-house upgrades:

    How to upgrade RAM

    How to upgrade Hard Drives

    Fix My Computer! Find a Specialist

    For those without the time or expertise, especially larger companies or complicated issues, it may be time to find a specialist. Finding a quality expert at a reasonable rate can be a difficult task in this technological boom. Computers are commonplace in the home and businesses, therefore everyone needs a great computer repair service.

    Referrals

    The most important step in finding a computer repair service is getting a referral. Check in with co-workers, friends, and family. Online review sites, such as Yelp, are great tools for a deluge of information. Keep in mind that not all reviewers are honest or reliable. Therefore, when using online resources, look for quantity. If they have one stellar review and ten not so great ones, this is not the company for you.

    Mom & Pop vs. Corporate

    There are benefits and drawbacks to both small business and large corporate computer repair services.

    For example, corporate companies such as Geek Squad provide luxury services such as delivered to your doorstep help and online scheduling. With that said, larger corporations lack the individualized customer service that mom and pop shops generally offer. On the other hand, mom and pop shops generally rely on the passion for the craft and see the importance of each and every customer.

    It all comes down to your preference.

    Interview

    This may seem like a strange tactic, but it oftentimes pays off.

    It’s best to visit the computer repair service in person. Have a face-to-face conversation with the technicians who will be responsible for your computer. Ask questions regarding their experience, why they are in the business, and why they chose to work with that specific organization.

    Keep a wary eye on other customers that are perusing the shop or are picking up and dropping off computers. These customers may end up providing an on the spot referral without even knowing it.

    With a team of professional, certified repair technicians, Onsite Techs Computer Services focuses their high quality touch on the RI computer repair space. Currently servicing over 3000 clients in Rhode Island and the surrounding areas, Onsite Techs has become the go-to computer repair team. For more information or to speak directly with a representative, feel free to contact us.

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  • 04/03/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Comprehensive, Yet Personal, Small Business IT Services

    Comprehensive, Yet Personal, Small Business IT Services

    A small business needs more than just reliable computer technicians. It needs comprehensive IT services that will cover an entire spectrum of technological needs. In order to be productive in the modern world a small business needs reliable solutions that will keep it resilient. Back up and protection are also important. Let’s take a look at the different aspects of IT services that small businesses need in the modern atmosphere of technology.

    Managed Services – A small company is no different than a large one when it comes to their technological needs. As your company grows so does its reliance on technology. You cannot afford to let your IT resources become scarce, or you can be overrun with the daily responsibilities of keeping your infrastructure running smoothly. Backups, patches, and security are just a few of the things you will need to avoid major IT problems and outages. A good support company should be an extension of your existing IT department. They should be able to take care of day-to-day infrastructure monitoring. This will free up your IT staff for high end projects. If the situation calls for it, your support company should be able to provide full IT support. In essence acting as an outsourced IT department. With this option you don’t even need an on-site IT staff.

    Backup Disaster Recovery (BDR) – Disaster recovery is not just for large businesses. Your policies, procedures, inventories, and vendor/customer lists are unique to your organization. If something happens that destroys that data, you are looking at months, maybe even years of data reconstruction. Disaster has become a new term. It’s not just adverse weather, but also Malware, spyware, hackers, and even terrorist attacks. Any of these things can leave you without the essential data that is vital to your company’s operation. You should have a disaster recovery plan that fits your needs. Whether it’s just offsite storage or a complete virtual backup of all your major software and data.

    Cyber Security – You can’t afford to think cyber-attacks won’t ever happen to you. Additionally, the mind-set of it being an acceptable risk is a recipe for disaster. Think of it like car insurance, you may never get into an accident but without insurance it could devastate you. Just like a car, your cybersecurity requires simple updates and maintenance to keep your data and software protected. Most cyber-attacks are the result of uninformed employees and negligence, losing a phone, clicking the wrong link, even using weak passwords can let hackers and malware into your system. Your support company should not only set up with top-of-the-line virus protection, but they should be ready to train you and your staff in proper planning, procedures, and protocol. Then they should be willing to act as 24X7X365 support and protection, continually monitoring the system for alerts.

    Server Sales, Installation & Support – Setting up professional level business servers offers you newfound benefits. These include Centralized security, file and print sharing, data backup, and centralized virus and spyware management. Your servers should be set up by specialists that can take unique variables into consideration. Things like files, databases, applications, printers, user’s rights, and security systems are unique to each company and need to be integrated in a relevant fashion. Your network should include the usual backup systems and remote monitoring. However you cannot forget the physical protection of redundant power supplies, hot swap RAID hard drives, and UPS systems.

    Here at On-Site Techs we provide all of the above mentioned services. We take it to the next level by offering surveillance camera systems. If it involves technology and will make your business safe and productive we can do it! What sets us apart is how we do it. We specialize in compassion and communication. Our clients’ comfort is our number one goal. We walk you through every step of the process. We never make a repair, change anything, or make an installation, unless you are 100% comfortable.  We treat you like the VIP that you are during every step. So contact us today. We will provide corporate level IT services without treating you like a statistic.

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  • 03/21/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Fix My Computer: Something Isn’t Right!

    Fix My Computer: Something Isn’t Right!

    Is something wrong with your computer that you can’t put your finger on? Maybe there are days it won’t boot up the first time, then works when you try again. Maybe it crashes too often, but not in a predictable way. Maybe it just slows way down for a while, then gets back to normal.

    You might be hesitating about whether to have someone fix your computer. You’re afraid that if you do, it will perversely run flawlessly while a technician looks at it. Maybe it’s really just normal operation. If it usually runs and there’s no smoke coming out, maybe you should leave well enough alone.

    It’s true that you can’t call for service every time something misbehaves, but ignoring real problems is dangerous. An issue that gets bad enough can completely stop your machine from running and wreck your files. When it reaches that point, it’s more expensive and disruptive to fix, and you might not get all your data back.

    To fix or not to fix?

    How do you decide when a computer problem needs professional attention? Here are some guidelines:

    • Failure to boot. If not booting up is a common occurrence, even if it does the second time, you’ve got a problem. Some component may be working only after the machine warms up, and this can be a sign of more serious failure to come.
    • Files getting garbled or lost. If a file disappears just once, it could be a user error. If it happens repeatedly, or if garbage data shows up in a file, you have a problem. If you ignore it, you could lose a lot of data.
    • Mysterious hesitations. This is a tricky case. When you first bring up the computer or log into an account, it will be slow as it loads up all its resources. Files may seem to be missing, then appear. That’s normal and not a cause for worry. When you connect to the Internet, you’ll sometimes experience long pauses, and that’s normal too. What’s more suspicious is periods when the system seems to freeze for a while after it’s been running normally. Sometimes there are harmless reasons for this, but if your system is misbehaving in other ways as well, it could be a cause for concern.
    • Software crashes. If one application crashes consistently, it might just be a software bug, and you should look for an update or search the Web for similar problems before taking more serious steps. But if different applications are crashing in unpredictable ways and it’s a frequent occurrence, that could be a sign of underlying problems.

    Fixing isn’t just hardware

    A computer is a complicated combination of hardware and software, and it isn’t just hardware that needs repair. Your file tables could be corrupted. Your disk might be full. Malware could be lurking on your computer. You might have incompatible or buggy software installed.

    When you have your computer serviced, a technician will run a series of diagnostic tests to find both hardware and software problems. This can uncover problems which you didn’t know existed, giving you a more reliable, stable system after they’re fixed.

    The problem isn’t always inside the box. If you have connected devices, they can have their own problems. If they aren’t getting reliable power or the connecting cable is defective, that will cause problems. Power supplies can go bad. We can look at your entire system or network to see where any problems might be.

    If you’re still not sure whether you need to fix your computer, contact us and describe your problem. We’ll let you know if it sounds like something that needs attention or just the normal strangeness computers sometimes show. The final decision is up to you.

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  • 03/20/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Data Management 101: The Benefits of Backing Up Your Data

    Data Management 101: The Benefits of Backing Up Your Data

    The technological boom has paved the way for a new age of innovation, which has also strengthened our dependability upon these services. Technology not only provides extremely versatile tools, but it also acts as a massive storage dump for oftentimes highly sensitive information and priceless histories. This new boom has also given rise to new threats such as savvy hackers and dangerous viruses that target data archives specifically for their robust and invaluable content.

    Due to these threats (threats that keep up with any innovative roadblock created to stop them) separate archive systems, such as the Cloud, have become an integral part of data security. From personal storage such as photographs, music, and documents, to large corporate archives, backing up data to a safe, secure, yet accessible archive should be the top priority.

    Archive vs. Backup

    Before venturing further into the world of backing up data, it’s important to clear the air regarding the differences between backing up and archiving data.

    Per TechTarget, "backups are primarily used for operational recoveries, to quickly recover an overwritten file or corrupted database. The focus is on speed, both to back up and recover, and on data integrity. Archives, on the other hand, typically store a version of a file that’s no longer changing, or shouldn’t be changing."

    The difference comes down to the operations of each.

    Archives are valued for their ability to locate specific historical documents in a short amount of time, while backups are primarily beneficial in the event of hacking, viruses, or simple human error. Used together, these two operations provide a broad range of benefits including a higher level of security and a comprehensive, no-hassle avenue to record and store histories.

    When choosing a combined archive-backup platform, it’s important to consider "the specific platform, what the organization’s retention requirements are, and the expected goals of the backup and archive process."

    The Benefits of Backing Up Data

    1) Recovery

    One of the obvious reasons to regularly back up data comes down to recovery in the event of infiltration via a virus or simple human error. 

    • Viruses

    With the growing intelligence hackers and their partnering viruses, backing up your system on a routine basis is incredibly valuable and is generally the saving grace to recovering after an attack. New viruses are being created on a daily basis across the world. With that said, most tech savvy individuals look to the future to foresee the types of viruses that may come their way.

    Predictions for 2017 include the Internet of Things (IOT) Ransomware, a lethal and stealthy form of spyware called Pegasus, a ramp up in malicious advertising (Malvertising), and mega data breaches. A mega data breach refers to a malicious hack – via virus, bugged app, or any other accessible route – that successfully accesses an organization that hosts an excess amount of clients. For example, in 2016 Google experienced a mega data breach when over 1 million of their accounts were hacked.

    • Human Fallibility

    With that said, regularly backing up your data also protects against simple human fallibility. Humans make mistakes. It’s not a case of if, but when. Accessing deleted documents or having the option to refresh a program before the damage was done saves time, increases efficiency, and decreases the overall stress for employees and managerial staff alike.

    2) Auditing

    When it comes to backing up data in the case of an audit by the IRS, it all comes down to compliance. Compliance spans the gamut from encryption protocol to acquiring an offsite archive or storage.

    With that said, regulations are defined by the type of data a business or organization compiles and stores. Financial information including banking information and credit card numbers is handled differently than say client information such as names, addresses, and social security numbers. Becoming familiar with how to properly backup and secure all types of data is incredibly important, not just for clients, but also in the case that your business is audited.

    3) Competitive Advantage

    Technology has changed the way many businesses operate, as well as the factors that play into success and competition. Backing up data could make or break the success of your business. If your system is compromised and data is lost, the time in which it takes you to find your feet and get up and running is crucial. This time, between disaster and open doors, is referred to as "deadly downtime".

    Competing businesses are filing this deadly downtime vacuum by poaching customers who need assistance and can’t wait. Investing in an easily accessible, regularly updated archive will shorten turnaround time in the event of a disaster.

    With a team of professional, certified repair technicians, Onsite Techs Computer Services focuses their high quality touch on the RI computer repair space. Currently servicing over 3000 clients in Rhode Island and the surrounding areas, Onsite Techs has become the go-to computer repair team. For more information or to speak directly with a representative, feel free to contact us.

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  • 03/20/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Outsourcing your IT updates, patching and computer system compliance tasks

    Outsourcing your IT updates, patching and computer system compliance tasks

    Being responsible for all of the issues affecting your IT infrastructure can take a lot out of you. As a business owner, or manager, you have a ton of tasks that require your attention and expertise. It is important that you keep yourself as free as possible, so you can focus on mission critical issues that require your expertise. So, how can you make sure that your tech environment is running properly, and issues are being taken care of in a proactive manner?

    In the past, many were hesitant to outsource their tech related tasks, probably because there was less common knowledge about all of the things involved in making the decision to do so. Now, remote and cloud technologies have become extremely reliable and secure, and people are tech savvy enough to recognize that everyone is outsourcing some piece of their technology plan.

    Your servers and workstations are the brains and brawn behind the workforce that helps your organization grow and succeed. If you are fortunate enough to have a tech department working for you onsite, you are probably aware of the fact that often their time is being consumed with mundane tasks that are needed to maintain your internal network. Imagine if your IT staff could focus more time and resources on business related goals?

    The fact is, computer updates, security patches, and other compliance related issues that you might handle internally, can be easily handled by a trusted tech partner who you’ve outsourced responsibility to. Remote and cloud enabled technologies allow a technology provider to schedule, maintain, and support almost any technology related need you have.

    Security and compliance are issues that all businesses have to deal with, so bringing in someone to help with the heavy lifting can be beneficial. It is key that you work with your tech partners to bring them up to speed on your particular needs and issues. If you require tech related reports and assessments for meetings, or have other unique requirements, we can work with you to provide you with the support you need.

    Computer updates should be scheduled for the right times, and working with an outsourced partner can make the task of keeping your systems updated a breeze. You can rest assured that most updates will be performed during non-working hours, and computers will be in tip-top shape when your employees need them to be. You also have the unique benefit of consulting with your outsource team, regarding any new software updates that might be needed within your organization, for any reason.

    The goal of any true outsourced tech partner is to make sure that your business experiences minimal interruptions due to any and all computer related issues. If you work hard to create a level of trust with your partners, you can expect to receive many benefits from an outsourced solution. You can save time, money, and other valuable resources, when you have a solid technology vision and plan for support.

    Before deciding if you want to outsource, you should consider all of your needs. How many workstations do you have? What are you concerns regarding your server? What email service are you using? Listing all of these things will help you, and anyone you bring in to assist you with the maintenance of your computer assets. 

    There are clear benefits to consolidating and outsourcing your tech support needs, but it is up to you to decide how much you can truly gain from bringing in a partner to help. You can contact us anytime for help in understanding how, and why you might want, to move forward with a new tech partner.

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  • 03/16/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    One Backup Isn’t Enough

    One Backup Isn’t Enough

    Having a backup is much better than not having any. Having just one, though, is a risky approach. Whether it’s a local backup or cloud-based, any single backup can be insufficient. A redundant approach is far safer; it’s unlikely two or more backups will fail at once. Neither onsite nor offsite backup is enough by itself.

    Reasons onsite backup isn’t enough

    The easiest way to back up files is to copy them to a local drive with an automated process. If that’s the only backup, though, it carries several risks.

    • Backup media can fail. A disk drive or tape can develop unexpected errors. They might not become apparent for a long time. The system seems to perform backups successfully, until you try to recover the affected files. Then you find you have damaged files, or nothing at all.
    • A disaster can wipe out backups. A catastrophe such as a hurricane or fire can wipe out everything in the office, including the backups. At least one copy needs to be at a safe distance, where the same event won’t affect it.
    • Ransomware can mangle files on attached storage. Ransomware encrypts files on a computer to force its owners to pay to recover them. In order to keep victims from easily restoring from a backup, it also attacks files on any attached drives if it can.
    • Human error can ruin a backup. Users can access local backups as file systems. They can delete files from it by mistake. Manual backups are especially error-prone; backups that are supposed to happen every day might not, or they might leave out important files.
    • The available storage might not be sufficient. If the backup volume fills up, backups might stop working without being noticed. Older files will still be there, but new and changed files won’t get backed up.
    • RAID isn’t a redundant backup. A RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) system is a useful storage device, but it doesn’t count as more than one backup. The disks are all in the same box, so the whole device can fail at once. In spite of the name, not all RAID configurations even have internal redundancy.

    Reasons cloud backup isn’t enough

    If you have just one backup, an offsite cloud backup is better than a local one, but a single cloud backup isn’t enough by itself either.

    • The backup agreement could terminate. There might be a bookkeeping error, the company might think you’ve violated the terms of service, or you might forget to pay the bill. The company might go out of business or stop offering the service you’re using. Normally someone should notice this and take action, but should a company stake its data on not making a mistake?
    • Bandwidth might not be sufficient. The Internet connection might not have a high enough bit rate to keep up with a full backup. It might be necessary to exclude some files so that the backup won’t fall behind. These files may be less important, but they should still have some level of backup.
    • Backup software could stop working. An offsite backup works only as long as the local software does. A software upgrade might break it, or a configuration error could keep it from reaching the cloud service. A long time might pass before anyone notices that the backup just isn’t happening.
    • Cloud services can become unavailable. The Amazon S3 outage served as a reminder that even the most respected cloud services sometimes have outages. An Internet access failure or a DDoS attack can make a remote service unreachable for hours. When things are going badly on the Internet, a business can be under extra pressure to keep performing. That makes having a good local backup important.

    Back up by the 3-2-1 rule

    All forms of backup have their risks, and strategic variety will keep any single failure from ruining everything. The 3-2-1 rule is a widely recommended approach:

    • Have three copies of your data (including the original).
    • Keep them on at least two distinct media.
    • Store one of them offsite.

    For critical data, having even more copies doesn’t hurt. For standard practice, having both onsite and cloud backup provides a high level of safety. Both of them should get regular monitoring to make sure they work. Contact us to learn how we can help you to set up a backup strategy that will give you the confidence you need.

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  • 03/13/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Complete and Compassionate Computer Repair

    Complete and Compassionate Computer Repair

    At home or at your small business, a computer malfunction can happen at any time. So you look for a local repair company and call in the cavalry. When these technicians arrive they sit down at your computer and start making changes and repairs. Oftentimes, they leave for additional equipment and supplies, only to come back and continue making changes. They make no eye contact, have no smile, and display no personality. Then, without explaining anything they hand you a bill and leave.

    This is not how it is supposed to be. You should never be in the dark when it comes to your computer problems. Your technicians should explain every step of the repair process. They should ask you questions about what went wrong and what you normally use your system for.  Additionally, they should offer you a preventative service plan to nip any future problems in the bud. All of this should happen with an air of respect and courtesy.

    Depending on what went wrong, computer repair is much more intricate than just fixing or replacing hardware. It takes deep analysis of your computer and its attached peripherals to identify the problem. It also takes a full understanding of what your system is primarily used for. Identifying exactly what you were working on when the error occurred is also essential. Sometimes viruses are the root cause. Other times, it can be outdated or faulty software. On occasion entire operating systems need to be updated, reinstalled, or simply replaced.

    No matter what the issue and no matter what the resolution, on-site techs has a different approach. When we come to your home or business, we do it with our signature friendly neighbor touch. We will ask you what happened, identify what went wrong, and then suggest the best plan of action to fix your issue. At that time, before we make any changes, we make sure you are 100% comfortable with our resolution.

    We offer a full spectrum of repair solutions. Sure, we can fix your immediate issue, but we can also investigate what your primary system uses are, along with the errors you most commonly encounter. With this information, we offer long term service techniques that will insure that your system has the right software, operating system, and virus protection. All of this will keep your machine(s) at peak performance and error free no matter what the issue.

    In addition to our repair services we also offer many other solutions to keep your home or business systems running smoothly. We can install and maintain servers, set up and monitor workstations, and even offer surveillance systems. However, it goes beyond that. Our back up and disaster recovery solution can insure that your data , as well as that of your customers is safe and secure. By backing up everything in the cloud we can recreate your entire system on virtual machines so that production can continue as normal.

    Is your system secure? Let us check it out for you. We will review and revisit your exiting security frameworks and make sure you are protected from current and future threats. By setting up an alert system, we can help you monitor your system integrity in real-time. We will even train your staff in the proper use of these amazing features!

    So contact us today, our customers are our only focus. If you have small business, we can handle your system needs with ease. No matter what the size of your operation we can assist you at every level of your Information Technology needs. If you are residential customer we are happy to help. Businesses are important, but so is the individual. No job is too small for our dedicated team. We will get you back on track and make you the priority, no matter what the problem. We do all of this with courtesy, understanding, and most importantly, a smile!

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  • 03/07/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Should You Hire a Full-Time Employee for Small Business IT Services in Rhode Island?

     Should You Hire a Full-Time Employee for Small Business IT Services in Rhode Island?

    You seem to be spending more time tending to computer issues for your small business and less time dealing with operations and customer services. There’s enough money in the budget to hire a full-time computer employee to take care of your digital headaches. But do you really know how much one costs?

    • In Rhode Island, computer user support specialists average $50,340 a year, or $24.20 per hour, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you don’t mind going with a beginner who may need a lot of hand-holding then you can pay under $32,350 yearly, which is what the lowest-paid 10 percent earn. If you want an experienced person who can work independently, the top 10 percent get over $72,960 annually.
    • There’s more to compensation than basic salary, says the MIT Sloan School of Management. You need to account for federal and state taxes, Employment Security, the Job Developer Fund, and Temporary Disability. Then there are vacation, holiday, and sick leave periods. When your employee is out of the office, do you hire a temp to take over computer duties? Your business and liability insurance will go up because you now have an employee. Then you may also decide to provide health insurance and retirement benefits at extra cost. All these extras generally increase the base salary by 1.25 to 1.4 times. Suddenly, what you’re spending for your employee amounts to between $62,925 to $70,476 a year for the average range.
    • You hopefully have enough room at your location to carve out a space for the new-hire. If not, you’ll need to move into a bigger place. At the very least, he or she will need a chair and a work table as well as a computer, office supplies, and perhaps a land-line extension. Is parking free in your building? If not, you’ll need to pay for employee parking. All these costs vary considerably depending on where you are in the state. Figure out how much these extras cost for you alone and add that to the price of an employee.
    • You need to spend time and money recruiting this employee. Start with advertising online and in the local paper. When the applications and phone calls come in, you need to sort them all and call back the best prospects for an interview. Talking to each applicant will probably take at least half-an-hour or more, especially if you have a complex set-up. When you finally settle on somebody, you must spend time in training and creating job procedures to follow.
    • What happens when the workload increases? Do you overwork your employee, perhaps offering additional money as compensation? Do you hire a part-time to pick up the extra tasks? Or do you get another full-time employee and go through the same process of trying to find one and paying out even more compensation.

    When you add all these issues and money up that little extra you had in the budget for an employee suddenly seems inadequate. You may also discover that far from spending more time on running your business, your spending more and more time dealing with employee-related issues, such as paperwork, defining tasks, and checking up on whether the job was done correctly.

    A more cost-effective way to deal with your computer needs and experience less hassle is to hire third-party experts like us. We come in only when you need us, which does not permanently add to your overhead. In addition, we have the expertise to deal with all kinds of digital issues, including ones you may not have even considered. When your workload changes or increases, we can easily cope with it once you let us know. Please contact us to see how our services can help with your small business IT services.

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  • 03/02/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Custom Fit Small Business IT Services That Ensure Safety and Success!

    Custom Fit Small Business IT Services That Ensure Safety and Success!

    You have a successful small business. You understand your product or service better than anyone else. No one can compare to you when it comes to what you do best. However, do you have the right IT Tools and solutions to compliment your expertise, protect your business’ interests, and keep your employees productive?

    Businesses need internet, but that also means being at risk when it comes to viruses and malware. One wrong click on a website, or one wrong file opened and you can find your system being invaded by malicious software. Not only can it destroy important work or programs but your customer’s data could be at risk. A business class security suite can keep your system and your customer data safe and secure.

    Let’s face it you cannot watch your employees all of the time. It is easy for them to get distracted when they have internet access at work. A successful business is even more successful when your internet is geared to keep those employees on track. Whole business filtering can keep your employees focused on their tasks and off of distracting web pages.

    Now that everything is safe and your employees are not getting distracted, you can safely leave the office without worrying about your productivity. However, it is impossible to predict when something is going to go wrong. What if you could keep an eye on your employees work habits and the security of your servers no matter where you are, as well as making sure that your stations and servers are in working condition. Well, you can. It is possible to use remote monitoring to keep an eye on both. This system can even be used by technicians to do remote maintenance.

    At Onsite Techs we provide the above solutions for your small business and many more. We have been keeping small businesses protected and productive in Rhode Island for years. We make sure that your technology works for you rather than against you. We do all of this with our unique personal touch, treating every customer with dignity and respect. Contact us today, and find out how our dependable IT solutions will not only keep your business safe, but also help it achieve new levels of success

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  • 01/21/2017 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Network Security Is More Than Good Password Policy

    Network Security Is More Than Good Password Policy

    Protecting your network and its data should be your #1 priority if you are managing your own IT infrastructure.  Having good password policies is, believe it or not, often a neglected precaution in organizations of all shapes and sizes. Strengthening your network security through a good password policy is a great place to start tightening up your systems, but it’s not enough.

    Password123

    Yes, we’ve all used this password, whether it is because it came pre-loaded with our router, or our "tech guru" used it for our default email login. There is no shame to be felt from being guilty of lazy password creation, but there is no reason for it either.

    Setting up a good password policy within your organization doesn’t take a lot of work. It’s a good idea to copy the strategy of a big tech player like Google and require that your users’ passwords be a mix of special characters, numbers, and letters.

    The goal is to make your passwords tough to figure out at all levels within your organization’s technology infrastructure; this includes workstations, and server level software systems. You don’t want to allow users to leave their passwords out in the open either, so establish rules for creation, management, and storage, and document those rules within your tech policies.

    Smart Devices

    Nowadays, organizations are allowing employees to interface with all types of business software via the web and on different types of devices. If you are one of these types of organizations, keep track of who is accessing what apps from where. Smart devices are a luxury and workers like to be enabled while mobile, but you want to lock down your processes as much as possible. Again, create and document good security practices.

    Much More

    We’ve really only scratched the surface here, and good comprehensive network security is about utilizing good practice and procedures, while working together with a group of qualified security professionals. Contact us to talk about how we might be able to help you improve the strength of your network’s security.

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  • 12/30/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    A Disaster Recovery Plan For Freedom

    A Disaster Recovery Plan For Freedom

    Chances are you are using technology to manage both your personal and business lives. You’ve got a server running at your location and you’re going to be connected to that data in more ways than you most likely know. What happens if the hardware that you are using fails due to an unforeseen force of nature, i.e., anything that you didn’t expect? Well, not much if you have a disaster recovery plan.

    A good disaster recovery service will take all of your important data and monitor it closely, then if it sees signs or warnings of an impending issue, software will notify a team of professionals who’ll swoop in like super-heroes and get your data back. The thing is, that’s just the service. You need to plan for disaster if you’re using technology to support your business’s infrastructure, not just pay for a service.

    So, yes, we’ll back-up and protect your email, files, application data; the whole nine yards. We’ll even offer up 24×7 support during your time of crisis, but who is going to plan how you handle it on your end?

    You need a chain of command, you need a list of assets to immediately do a health check on, you need someone who is going to handle inquiries from your internal staff. We’ll need to talk to someone and work with them, so you can keep your most important assets focused on growing the business, while we handle the restoration of your technology environment.

    These may be tough issues to ponder, and we don’t want to make you fearful. Our goal is to get you thinking about this now, so that you don’t have to scramble for the proper support during an emergency. It can be a nice process when the right team is in place, and we’re always here to help, so contact us when you’re ready to talk about creating a good disaster recovery plan.

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  • 12/15/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Full Spectrum Computer Repair

    Full Spectrum Computer Repair

    Dealing with technology issues is not something anyone wants to contend with, especially small business owners and busy professionals. We know you have much more important and enjoyable things to focus on. Let us handle your tech needs, all of them.

    Computer repair is not a simple system that consists of a stuffy technician telling you what’s wrong in a language you don’t understand, and then asking you for money. Recognizing the full spectrum of computer maintenance and repair requires a keen eye to detail and a proactive attitude. If we’re doing our jobs right, you have uninterrupted access to your personal computing devices and their software capabilities 24×7. Viruses may exist, but they are not an issue because we’ve got you backed up. Inter-connectivity between your software and different devices, like your smartphone and tablet, it’s seamless and we’ve got your back here too.

    A true technology professional will assess all aspects of your computing lifestyle, and also ask you questions to better understand how you need to use your devices. Once we understand your landscape, we’ll come up with a plan for repairs, maintenance, and on-going support. We won’t just run a virus scan and ask you for money, and if you encounter this type of behavior, you should run away from the perpetrators! We’re here to partner with you as a trusted advisor and make sure you can enjoy your devices while letting them enhance your life, not control it!

    So, feel free to contact us with any of your needs, because true computer repair is about more than just "repair".

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  • 12/11/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Automating Updates, Patching and System Compliance

    Automating Updates, Patching and System Compliance

    Small business owners and professionals know how important it is to automate processes when possible. You have already assumed the heavy task of keeping your brand established and growing your business, so automating your technology updates, patching and system compliance should be easy and thoughtless. This is why you need a trusted partner’s help.

    A team of professional technology support specialists can implement software and hardware systems that are proven and solid. While no security plan or computer related infrastructure is 100% invulnerable, there are ways to strengthen the trust you can have in your network’s hardware and software.

    You need a good backup and disaster recovery plan and top-notch monitoring systems in place, so you can rest easy knowing that even if a piece of your tech fails, you’ll be confident in your ability to do business amongst the turmoil. With good planning and a pro-active approach to virus updates and network maintenance, piece of mind is not hard to find.

    How do you know that your systems are being protected?

    You need to choose a technology support professional that cares and will enable you to establish trust in their abilities. Your technology staff should be proactive and also address your immediate needs in an informative and timely manner. They should also give you the details you need in easy to understand language that you can understand, in other words, you should never be underwhelmed with support and overwhelmed with mumbo jumbo!

    We know it can be tough to make important decisions regarding your technology needs, but we’re here to make your life easier in that department, contact us and we can talk.

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  • 12/05/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    How Often Must You Back Up Your Data For Full Disaster Recovery?

    How Often Must You Back Up Your Data For Full Disaster Recovery?

    When disaster strikes and your company’s operations are interrupted, every hour of downtime means lost revenue. Worse, it can potentially mean the loss of customers who turn to competitors to get the goods or services you are unable to provide. That’s why having a well thought-out disaster recovery plan (DRP) that enables you to get your operations restored as quickly as possible is crucial to the continued success of your business.

    Most companies realize that they need to back up their data on a regular basis. What many have not adequately considered is the fact that the frequency of their backups can have a huge impact on their ability to recover from a disruption. For example, if backups are performed on a weekly basis, up to a full week of data accumulated before the outage might be unrecoverable. If that data includes customer payment records, or perhaps clinical notes taken at a medical facility, that large a gap would clearly be unacceptable.

    There is, of course, a cost tradeoff associated with more frequent backups. Simply put, the more backups you do in a given period of time, the more it will cost. That’s why in formulating your disaster recovery plan, you’ll need to assess which portions of your data actually require frequent backups, and which have less stringent backup requirements. Customer transaction data, for example, might need to be backed up in near real time. On the other hand, information stored in your Human Resources department’s employee database will probably remain safe even with a much less frequent backup schedule.

    One of the advantages of using a cloud-based managed services provider, such as Onsite Techs, is that they can manage your backup schedule at whatever level of granularity is needed. You’ll be able to designate which sets of data require more frequent backups, and which can be handled on a more leisurely (but still regular) basis. Onsite Techs can manage the entire backup process on a schedule that fits your particular needs. And the great thing is, you’ll pay only for the backups that are actually done.

    If you’re ready to determine the best data backup strategy to insure your business can fully recover when disaster strikes, Onsite Techs would be happy to assist you. Please contact us.

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  • 12/01/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    How to Know You’ve, “Done Enough,” When it Comes to Disaster Recovery

    How to Know You’ve, "Done Enough," When it Comes to Disaster Recovery

    Though many SMB owner/managers are starting to understand how critical it is to prepare for an IT disaster, many of them think that disaster recovery ends with one simple solution.

    While one company can provide you with a solution that seems simple, a lot goes into establishing a proper disaster recovery protocol for individual organizations. It’s important to understand what you need.

    The desire to save money and a general lack of awareness often stops SMB owner/managers from making the right DR decisions.

    Unfortunately, many businesses in the private sector make the mistake of undervaluing a complete disaster recovery planning protocol. They seek to save money and cut corners. The public sector is perhaps more aware of the risks involved in not having the right safeguards in place.

    Many SMB owners and managers put on their consumer hats at work, tending to act like ostriches with their heads in the sand.

    Most people love their connected lives and refuse to face the reality that there can be a dark side to their online activity. Unfortunately, at the rate many SMB business owner/managers are going, it will take a disaster to teach them that taking precautions doesn’t equal paranoia or overreaction.

    However, it’s important for SMB owner/mangers to understand that there is hope. With cloud solutions, cost considerations are no longer an issue. Most cloud-based disaster recovery protocols are well within most budgetary restrictions. In addition, once you’ve established your protocol with your IT vendor, you can stick your head right back in the sand. Your managed services provider will take care of all the security maintenance and updating for you once they understand the needs of your organization.

    You and your staff will have limits on what devices you can use, sites you can visit and software platforms you have access to while you’re at work. However, you can go ahead and enjoy your meme’s and cat videos at home or on Starbucks WiFi if you so desire.

    2 Key Considerations

    1. Network recovery is also a part of disaster recovery. Many businesses think they can stop with a data backup solution, an, "IT guy," and some general form of software protection and call it a day. However, if you don’t have a network recovery solution as part of your protocol, you won’t be able to retrieve that data and that software will have nothing to protect, because you will have no way to revive your down network.
    2. Your organization needs a disaster recovery plan. Employee mistakes, data breaches, weather outages, poorly configured outdated hardware and many other events can occur within any business model. You don’t simply need disaster recovery to come back from huge disasters, small network issues can interrupt customer service and business operations a great deal as well. Every business has multiple processes and many key players. It’s important to make sure all those areas can bounce back if need be.

    Contact us today at Onsite Techs. We can quickly discover what your business needs to come back from any emergency situation.

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  • 11/25/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    How Managed IT Services can Help Small Businesses

    How Managed IT Services can Help Small Businesses

    Every operator of a small business looks to control cost the best way they can because this is a major determinant of whether their companies will survive in the environment in which they operate or not. That calls for a small number of employees to manage different operations within the firm, while owners seek other services they require from outside. IT managed services are one of those they outsource and here is how managed IT services can help you save on cost.

    Access to support when necessary

    Managed IT services operate remotely. That means that those individuals will only offer solutions when the need arises, as they monitor your systems from wherever they are. That means they can arrest situations which can affect your business negatively before they happen, and this will save you any losses that this may cause from time to time.

    Focus on business operations

    It is not possible for small businesses to deal with IT issues, since they may not have the necessary knowledge to handle such technical problems. Any attempt to do so withdraws their focus from core aspects of the business, and this may result in severe losses. If you opt to outsource these services, then you will be able to focus on how you can enhance your operations to avoid such losses.

    Access to expert advice

    Managed IT services will offer you access to invaluable insight on how you can improve your processes for efficiency. Most small businesses lack such knowledge, and that results in inefficiencies that translate to significant losses over time. Reach out to us for more.

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  • 11/15/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Benefits of Outsourcing IT services

    Benefits of Outsourcing IT services

    The IT arena is dynamic and one of the vital arms in most business operations. Today, both small and medium-size enterprises make use of IT services in their day-to-day functioning. The challenge, in this case, is that such firms do not have the infrastructure and expertise to manage their IT departments. Here are the reasons why small business choose to outsource IT.

    Around the clock monitoring

    Your IT environment needs close monitoring every other day, and time throughout the year. While you may not have the time, expertise, and staff to do this, Managed Services Providers have the personnel to handle data backups, inventory auditing control, software updates and patches, anti-virus updates, among other tasks. In addition to these, they will also arrest issues on time, to prevent downtime in future and advise you on the upgrades you require.

    Cost control and reduction

    It is costly to maintain your IT department because you need to hire qualified personnel, who need proper compensation and that, becomes a monthly expense for you to shoulder. When you outsource the services, you will be able to monitor and control your monthly costs. Managed service providers offer cloud services as well, which reduces investment in IT infrastructure, and this lower cost on your part.

    Access to current technology

    The experience and expertise that managed service providers possess will avail you access to current technology that you may not have thought about, in addition to tools and techniques that you did not have before. That is important because the IT environment changes fast and these experts will ensure that you keep tabs with these dynamics. Talk to us now for more.

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  • 11/10/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    10 Steps to a Winning Disaster Recovery Plan

    10 Steps to a Winning Disaster Recovery Plan

    Creating a disaster recovery plan is the most important step to prevent your company from being permanently halted by the effects of a natural disaster. Natural disasters can cause a business to suffer daily losses that average $3,000. With roughly 75% of businesses admitting that they lack a disaster recovery plan, the need for a focus on disaster recovery is greater than ever. Below are 10 elements to cover in your disaster recovery plan

    1) Create a disaster recovery team. Employees need to know who to contact if a disaster strikes. Your disaster recovery team should have a key spokesperson who communicates instructions to team members and employees. This person will also oversee the key steps of your disaster recovery plan and communicate plan results to employees.

    2) Assess your company’s key risks. This step involves identifying your most critical information and communication systems, along with the physical work requirements (remote office space, furniture, supplies, etc.) that are needed for your business to operate.

    3) Make sure you have a disaster kit on hand. A disaster preparedness kit should contain some basic items that you will need to weather the initial effects of a natural disaster. Your disaster kit should include a flashlight, first aid kit, fresh batteries, water, battery-powered radio, and non-perishable food.

    4) Ensure that you have an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) or generator. This will help you keep key systems operating in case your power fails. Be sure to choose a UPS or generator that is the right size for your business, using care to allow for future growth in your business.

    5) Invest in safety features such as a safeguarded alarm system and smoke detectors. Other safety elements to consider include a sprinkler system with high-temperature sensors and thermal detectors. Check each system regularly to ensure that they are fully functional.

    6) House your data center in a location that is higher than street level. Choose a second or third floor location if your office has multiple floors. If your offices are in a single-floor building, make sure your data racks are elevated off the floor.

    7) Have a plan for call center backup. Highlight which types of calls are the most critical for your business and create a process to funnel those calls to an alternative location that possesses the phones, staff, and systems needed to respond to calls. Make sure you have a way to remotely reroute calls and transmit messages. There should also be a forwarding mechanism for key phone numbers.

    8) Back up your data. Remove any back-ups of your tapes or external hard drives every day and house them in a safe but easily accessible location. Two or three people should have a key to this location. You should also back up your data remotely to the cloud.

    9) Provide disaster recovery training to all employees. Training is critical to your ability to carry out your disaster recovery plan in the smoothest way possible. Employees should know who to call in the event that disaster strikes and what measures to take to ensure their safety. Once safety is covered, employees should receive instruction on how they can perform their jobs remotely if feasible.

    10) Enlist the support of a proven disaster recovery specialist. The best way to approach disaster recovery is with the support of a disaster recovery specialist. Onsite Techs is owned and operated by a seasoned team of IT experts with over 30 years of combined industry experience. Whether you are reeling from the effects of malware, hackers, or a natural disaster, the Onsite Techs team has the expertise to help your company survive the most unthinkable disasters. 

    While it may not be possible to prevent a disaster from occurring, you can create a plan to help prevent the harmful effects of a disaster from devastating your business. Contact us today to find out how we can help you create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

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  • 11/07/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Managed IT Services, Technology For Businesses Living In The Now

    Managed IT Services, Technology For Businesses Living In The Now

    As a small business owner you hear it all the time: Move everything to the cloud! You better have a good Disaster and Recovery Plan! How secure is your network?

    All good, but what does it all mean, and how do you approach these topics without being overwhelmed? The simple answer is, Managed IT Services.

    It is the DUTY of a professional managed services provider to make sure YOU, the small business owner, can sleep well at night knowing that your technology needs are taken care of in a responsible and proactive way.

    Why spend countless hours and bucket loads of money for on-site computer technicians, when you can have ALL THE HELP your business needs for a fraction of the cost you would incur by hiring your own tech department. We can handle your network security needs, backup and disaster recovery plans, desktop support, virus protection; you name it and we’ve got you covered.

    All of your technology needs taken care of for an extremely reasonable monthly fee. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

    Most small businesses are already outsourcing their tech needs to managed IT services providers because they know that their time is precious and growing a business requires them to be worry free. They don’t have time to be bogged down by the day-to-day responsibility that comes with managing on-site tech professionals, and neither do you. Even if you keep a "computer guy" on staff, you are only going to see major benefits with outsourcing elements of your technology needs.

    Contact us today and we’ll begin to show you how you can SAVE MONEY and TIME with a good Managed IT Services provider.

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  • 11/04/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Can small businesses really save lots of money with Managed IT services?

    Can small businesses really save lots of money with Managed IT services?

    Many small businesses worry about the cost to have someone maintain and manage their IT department.  They often believe that hiring their own part or full-time technician is the way to go. What they don’t often realize is that one person can rarely handle everything required, or do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Managed IT service companies like Onsite Techs can actually be a much more cost-effective and efficient solution for your company’s needs.

    Managed IT services help relieve you of the duties and troubles that seem to constantly keep you from doing what you are really good at…running and growing your company. And believe it or not, the easy to budget costs for these services comes in at a small percentage of what you would have to pay a skilled technician. For a small fee monthly, our company will take away your worry, ongoing cost, and frustration when trying to manage your own IT  environment.

    Our IT specialists keep track of your system with active software day-in and day-out, 24 hours a day, so we can always keep track of and correct any problems quickly before they turn into big, money losing problems. We will always attempt to fix any system problem remotely before ever taking other, longer steps, so that your system will stay on track.

    We also provide Desktop maintenance care and monitoring services to take care of computer issues your employees many be having, whether it’s a virus infection, spyware, or the need to install patches.  We can handle it all, discreetly in the background. Our highly trained specialists will constantly monitor the security and health of your system, so that you will not worry about encountering breaches or problems that can crash your computer systems, or slow down your workforce.  Because these situations costs loss of productivity, and in turn, lots of money down the road, we help to keep them away from your IT infrastructure.

    So as you can see, our company, Onsite Techs, can really save you not only lots of money, but will keep problems at bay, so you and your employees can concentrate on the important things.  Why not contact us today for an evaluation of your needs, and start saving money today.

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  • 10/27/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Murphy’s Law Insists on a System Disaster Recovery Plan

    Murphy’s Law Insists on a System Disaster Recovery Plan

    Murphy’s Law is a well-known adage which says, "anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." When it comes to protecting your IT system, you should be prepared for such a "law" to take over anytime.

    Imagine some worst-case scenarios for computer network or server disasters. First in mind are probably power surges and lost data. But viruses, malware, and terroristic hackers from around the globe wreak horrible havoc and can affect your personal information or that of your customers. It isn’t just a possibility for big business. It can happen at home. It can happen to your small business.

    Two words can save you a lot of money and heartache with your system:

    Be prepared.

    At Onsite Techs, we specialize in residential and small business computer repair, data recovery and virus removal. In fact, we incorporate state-of-the-art security and data protection and offer affordable options for every situation. Our BDR solution is a fully managed backup and disaster recovery platform, complete with robust data protection, secure and dependable cloud storage, and a range of cloud-based backup options. This platform can not only prevent the trouble but when deployed during a crisis, our certified backup technicians become your personal experts, taking control of monitoring and verification of your clients’ backups, so you can focus on your customers.

    Here are some of tthe reasonsto use our BDR solution:

    • Secure, predictable backup
    • Flexible hardware support
    • Complete disaster recovery and cloud replication
    • A proven technology foundation: born in the Cloud

    . . . and more.

    Be sure to contact us and find out all the pricing and packaging options available. You only pay for what you need. Those have to be some of the most satisfying words for any small business or home office customer to hear.

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  • 10/20/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Outsource your computer updates

    Outsource your computer updates

    Keeping software up to date is important. It’s not just a matter of having the latest features, but eliminating bugs and having up-to-date security protection. Defects turn up, and updates fix them. Some bugs make software work improperly, or they cause crashes. Others leave paths open for malicious software to exploit.

    While it’s important, updating everything is also complicated. Essential software includes operating systems, browsers, servers, supporting libraries, and plug-ins. Some of them can auto-update, but others can’t. In some cases you don’t want to use auto-updating, because it might make other software unstable or obsolete. A website might break with the introduction of new server software. One update might depend on installing another update first. You can’t blindly automate everything.

    Not all updates need to be installed right away. If one introduces new functionality but doesn’t fix any major bugs, it may be better to wait. It might require you to update a database, website, or other data in order to work properly. In that case, you should delay installing it till you’re ready to address everything related to it.

    Many businesses don’t have time to sort out which updates they need and which they should postpone. If you can’t justify a full-time IT staff, handling updates becomes an extra job for people who should really be spending their time on other things. An alternative is to outsource updates to a managed service company.

    Full-time professionals working for a managed service will know not just what to update, but when. They’ll know which updates need to be installed right away, and which call for a more cautious approach. If installing a new version could cause compatibility issues, they’ll let you know. They may also catch items that need updating which you weren’t aware of. While they’re doing this, you have more time to focus on business.

    Onsite Techs’ managed services can help to run your business’s IT operations more smoothly. Contact us to learn what we can do for you

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  • 10/13/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Managed Business IT Services: Insuring Performance, Reliability and Security

    Managed IT Services: Insuring Performance, Reliability and Security

    Too many small business toss and turn at night worrying about the ins and outs of their day-to-day performance and the many factors that drive that performance and, in turn, profitability. The last thing they want to worry about is technology. Never-the-less, there are certain inherent expectations. What are the top three things a small business owner wants from their technology? That question can really be answered quite simply:

    • performance
    • reliability
    • security

    First, in order to meet core business goals, a business owner must be able to depend on staff and infrastructural performance. They want reliable performance, however, not hit-and-miss performance. Finally, business owners want security. Balancing these three things is critical for company success and customer satisfaction. Managed business IT services are a must in this accomplishment.

    What too many small business owners fail to realize, unfortunately, is that achieving their business goals in a technological sense is never a matter of pulling a gadget out-of-the-box, plugging it in, and skipping off to fairy tale land. Indeed, balancing performance, reliability, and security involves not just the technology but also the people who work with and depend on that technology. That is why we are here to help. Twenty-four hours a day, we are just a phone call away. Anytime you mix technology and people you automatically create a number of hurdles that must be overcome. We’re here to help with those hurdles, to help your business achieve your core business goals.

    The first hurdle in achieving reliable, effective and secure performance is choosing and installing the right technology in the first place. Next, staff must be taught how to use the technology. In many organizations there are those that are technologically savvy and those that are not. Then, there are the in-betweens. The challenge facing any organization is to bring this diverse workforce together and consolidate their focus in a single direction, optimized organizational performance. Managed IT service is the key.

    The right technology can transform a small business into a well-oiled machine. The technology is a tool. The people are the ones that make that tool work. To do so most effectively, however, personnel must be trained. Some might require more training than others. That is just the nature of working with human beings. Fortunately, that is where we excel. Contact us and let us help your team get up and running in the most effective manner possible.

     

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  • 10/10/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    The Importance of Disaster Recovery for Small Business

    Why Small Businesses Need a Disaster Recovery Plan 

    In this day and age of ubiquitous computers and technology, every business — no matter how big or small — must be constantly aware of and cognizant of their IT situation. Especially one you consider the rampant number of data breaches and IT emergencies that have plagued even the largest of firms, any prudent business owner knows the value of protecting their digital data, and also being prepared to respond should an IT-related situation threaten their company’s livelihood. Every business must have a disaster recovery plan; the alternative is not an option.

    IT Protection Services for Small Business

    We offer Continuity247, which is our full-service backup and disaster recovery platform serving IT providers. This service includes the security and dependability of cloud storage, latest-in-the-industry data protection, and myriad backup options tailored to suit the needs of your business – these provide the option of local backups, as well as cloud-based backup choices. With all of issues facing you in your venture, the very last thing that needs your attention is the security of your digital information. Once you entrust us with your IT handling, we step in, analyze your needs, and take a full-charge approach to your firm’s digital needs. 

    Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan

    You had a passion which inspired you to start your small business. The more time that you are able to dedicate to strategic growth initiatives, customer relationships, marketing, and the latest industry trends will organically translate into faster growth for your company. This is an empirical fact regardless of the industry, business, or service you may offer. 

    Tech Professionals for Your Disaster Recovery

    At Onsite Techs, we employ only experienced, certified, professional technicians. Experience the difference, with our preventative maintenance plans, discount membership programs, and technology needs assessments. So don’t hesitate to contact us today: we will assess your company’s needs, formulate a plan for you using your feedback, and have you on the road to IT peace of mind in no time!

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  • 10/06/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Ransomware: What It Is And How To Protect Your Business

    Ransomware: What It Is And How To Protect Your Business

    Several years ago, when we first started hearing about ‘ransomware,’ we were told it was only happening to individuals and that they were being specifically targeted. Now cyber criminals are becoming greedier and going after small businesses. Here’s what you need to know about them, and how to protect yourself and your business against them.

    If knowledge is power, there are 3 main types of ransomware you need to be aware of.

    "Scareware"

    These are the annoying pop ups that occur when you’re just surfing the web. They claim that your computer has been identified as having seventy billion pieces of malware and the only way to fix is it if you pay a fee RIGHT NOW. This is patently false. They are meant to scare you and get you to react before you think. 

    Threat Level: 1  

    "Screen Lockers"

    This is when things get a bit scarier. On start up, these show a full screen image that claims your computer has been detected doing something illegal. It’s usually accompanied by a very official looking FBI or Justice Department seal. They then want you to pay a fine because of said illegal activity.  

    The FBI will not freeze your computer if they detected you doing something illegal. They also would not ask you to pay a fine to get access back into said computer. 

    Threat Level: 4

    "Encryption"

    This is the worst of the worst. This is someone getting into your computer and seizing control of ALL of your files,which they then encrypt — and only they hold the key. There is no way to get this back, other than paying the fine, which only makes you and others targets in the future.

    Threat Level: 10 

    If things are that bad though, what can you do? In this case, your best answer is to protect yourself ahead of time. First, do daily backups of every computer you work on. Whether this is to a server, an external hard driver or to the cloud, this is one of the most important steps. Even losing one day’s worth of files can set back a small business by months. Second, hire a professional to create an amazing firewall for you — something that both detects and thwarts potential threats. Third, stay aware. Social engineering is the most common way computers are infected. If it looks suspect, it probably is. 

    Ransomware is a very real danger to both individuals and to businesses. When you’re ready to fight back against it and to protect your business, please contact us. 

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  • 10/02/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    The Essentials of Network Security

    The Essentials of Network Security

    Even for those who are experienced in the workplace, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of network security. If there are currently no threats in your business, for example, you may be a bit more laid back about keeping your network secure. However, this attitude is exactly what makes businesses an easy target for hackers. When it comes to small businesses especially, this mindset is especially prevalent. With that said, what are some security tips you should take into consideration?

    First of all, when accessing your network, always be careful about websites that ask you to enter personal info. This is especially true when it comes to your social security and bank account number(s). If the page asks you if you want the password remembered, always decline. After making any transactions, be sure to logout as well. As an extra security measure, it also doesn’t hurt to clear your internet history. 

    As another essential of network security, never use the same password for any login. After all, if a hacker figures out your password for one account, it would be a cinch for them to figure out the rest. Always make sure to use strong passwords, as well. A combination of numbers and letters, it should be hard for anyone to figure out, but also something that’s easy for you to remember.

    As a final security measure, set up a spam folder for your email. After all, there are plenty of tricky scams out there. While it’s usually easy to figure out which emails are legitimate and which aren’t, setting up a filter for the messages is great for preventing them from getting mixed in with the important emails.  

    For more information, contact us today at Onsite Techs. An IT company that helps residential and small business clients with their computers and networks, we can assist you with anything from virus removal to email and file server support.

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  • 09/26/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Ransomware Protection 101: Tips for Defending Your Business

    Ransomware Protection 101: Tips for Defending Your Business

    What is ransomware?

    In short, ransomware is a type of cyber threat stemming from software that literally holds your computer system hostage. This type of malicious software blocks the owner or user from accessing the system until a designated ransom is paid. Generally, ransomeware viruses encrypt a businesses computer system or certain critical files. A few recent and highly successful ransomware software types are Cryptolocker, TeslaCrypt, and Cryptowall.

    While it is not critical to pay the "ransom", the infected business will have to sink money into disinfecting and restoring backup data. In the end, it just depends on which will be more expensive: paying the ransom to gain access or paying a professional to restore your system and files.

    With this is in mind, it’s more important than ever to 

    3 Tips for Defending Against Ransomware

    1) Back-Up Your System

    As mentioned above, one of the most detrimental issues with ransomware attacks is access to your data. Some hackers may even search out systems that don’t have routine or regular back up’s in place. Therefore, the best way to defend your system, avoid attacks, and save on costly restoration is by backing up your data. Depending on the expediency of new data procured on a regular basis, businesses may want to consider daily or even multiple daily back-ups.

    2) Know How to Identify Threats

    Businesses with an in-house tech team are generally familiar with constant warnings regarding malicious links and scam emails.

    In tech terms, these emails and links are called "phishing", which refers to hackers who pose as legitimate entities with the intent to breach security and gain financial access to an account or system, and malvertising, which is malware embedded within ads through the compromising of an advertiser’s network.

    Both phishing and malvertising are popular avenues for ransomware attacks. 

    Therefore, an important aspect of proactive protection against ransomware attacks is learning how to identify phishing and malvertising attempts and knowing how to discard them properly. The simplest way for larger businesses to protect themselves is by implementing a "just say no" policy. Never open emails or click on links that lead to advertisements or that are from unfamiliar senders. It’s also extremely helpful to have employees undergo awareness training to become familiar with phishing and malvertising attempts.

    3) Disconnect, Disconnect, Disconnect

    If a system has been compromised by ransomware, the most important step is to disconnect all systems. This includes network operations, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connections. While some of your systems may be infected, disconnecting will stem the spread of the infection.

    After the infection has been contained, it’s important to review and identify which systems have been infected and with what strain of the virus. The type of virus will determine how to decontaminate. If it is known, there may be companies that can help debug. Unfortunately, for those with an unknown strain, deconstruction of the system or paying the ransom may be the only options.

    With a team of professional, certified repair technicians, Onsite Techs Computer Services focuses their high quality touch on the RI computer repair space. Currently servicing over 3000 clients in Rhode Island and the surrounding areas, Onsite Techs has become the go-to computer repair team. For more information or to speak directly with a representative, feel free to contact us.

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  • 09/23/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Managed IT services for small businesses, a huge cost savings

    Managed IT services for small businesses, a huge cost savings

    Why Managed IT services for small businesses?

    If you are a small to medium- sized business looking for ways to beat the competition and stay on top of the heap, look no further than managed IT services. With managed IT services the buyer gets to set the parameters and the pricing they can afford through a contract called an SLA, or service level agreement. The SLA will identify for both parties what is needed, and what the purchaser can afford. The payments are scheduled monthly. If a purchaser decides they need more or less managed services, they contact the service provider and re-negotiate the contract. These types of contracts offer many variations on IT services, at a fraction of the cost of having an in-house IT team handling your computer infrastructure.

    How does this help my small business or home office save money?

    Managed IT services in a small business can be scaled up or down according to demand and needs. Once the contract is in place, the IT group monitors or "manages" your entire system from a remote location. Updates, security patches and other compliance issues for servers are handled remotely and quickly. While you are focused on running your business and making a profit, the managed IT team is remotely guaranteeing that all of your systems and updates and security patches are handled on time, and out of the office.

    In-house IT gets pricey.

    So pricey that the majority of smaller businesses and home offices just won’t use them. There is no sense in hiring someone to manage your data and technology who charges more for three days of work than your entire infrastructure cost to begin with. Managed IT can make all the difference. For a set fee, your systems, precious data and storage are all maintained and pampered off-site. No interruptions in the work-flow, and no labor costs associated with having an IT team or person.

    From security to software, managed IT has the bases covered.

    Managed IT specializes in guaranteeing the safety and security of your servers, infrastructure and software. Your data and clients are protected by a 24 hour watch that alerts the management group to any and all hackers or viruses trying to breach your system. They also ensure that your software, all of it, is up to date and fully enabled. From the remote location they will monitor all of your hardware and keep it in top form. It is a way to have twenty- four- hour eyes on all the components of your system without any extra people on the premises.

    This puts your business in the realm of having high-level technology at affordable costs.

    As a small business you have the same technology advantage the big boys and girls have, at a fraction of the cost. That kind of technological advantage always spells good news for your bottom line.

    Managed IT is an excellent option in the competitive business atmosphere.

    It is tough to make a small business thrive with the competition out there. Not to mention rising labor and supply costs. Any opportunity to save money while still getting great service is a boon. From lawyers to accountants to small doctor’s offices, managed IT is a great resource. When you are ready to learn more about your managed IT options please contact us

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  • 09/15/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Protecting your business against Ransomware

    Protecting your business against Ransomware

    What is Ransomware?

    To protect your business against ransomware, you need to know what it is. Ransomware is the latest in a steady stream of hacks and security breaches designed to remove your hard-earned cash from you through tricks and theft. Brought to you (again) by Eastern European hackers and thieves, Ransomware takes over your hard drive and demands in loud, noisy graphics that you pay x amount of dollars to a certain group, or your hard -drive will crash , destroying everything on it.

    Headache inducing? Absolutely.

    This obnoxious "banner ad" takes over your screen and will not go away until you are able to patch over the virus and move on. It comes complete with very loud sirens and bells that add to your irritation and frustration as time goes by and you can’t remove the garbage from your screen.

    Ransomware often disguises itself as a legitimate company that just "happened" to discover the infection on your system. Because they have hijacked your hard drive, you cannot get through to your system until you have paid the fee. Add to that, Ransomware will attack your emails and all nets that you are on, furthering the chain of infection and frustration.

    Ransomware is moving from individuals to businesses.

    While the initial ransomware attacks were predominantly directed against individuals, the hackers are upping their game. More and more ransomware attacks are being targeted against businesses. These attacks are far more subtle and designed to dupe a more "computer-savvy" clientele.

    Is my business at risk?

    Everyone and every company is at risk. It depends on your security protocols and software. Here are three tips that should eliminate the concerns about ransomware attacking your business:

    1) Back up every computer every day. While we all know backing up your drives is important, many of us do not understand how important it is. In a business scenario, loss of one days work can destroy a small company. The process of backing up your files can be automated through your server or through a cloud.

    2) Have a professional create a solid firewall for your company. A decent firewall can block and strip Ransomware of threat capacity, while at the same time protecting every computer at your office. A decent firewall for a small company can save you thousands of dollars by preventing phishing and other viruses too. A professionally managed firewall will constantly update itself according to the latest attacks.

    3) Consider managed services,  Remote moniotring is an excellent alternative to non-stop attacks and cyber- hacking. You may not be able to afford an in-house IT group, but a remote monitoringprovided by a reputable IT company is about a hundredth of the cost, and provides better protection than all the IT geeks on the planet.

    In conclusion:

    It would be nice if the Eastern European countries could stabilize and create real jobs for these ever- creative cyber-thieves. Until that happens? You need to protect yourself and your company.

    Ransomware; just like every other malware and virus on the planet maximizes frustration and lost productivity, while taking your money. When you are ready to fight back against these cyber-criminals, please contact us

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  • 09/11/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    The Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan

    The Benefits of a Disaster Recovery Plan

    There’s no doubt that having a disaster recovery plan is important when you’re in the workplace. Many businesses are aware of this, but unfortunately, may not take any potential threats or disasters seriously. More often than not, this is especially notable when it comes to small businesses. Generally speaking, some tend to have a laid back attitude, and assume only the large corporations are targeted by hackers. However, small businesses are an even easier target due to their lack of resources when compared to the higher-ups. With that said, why is having a disaster recovery plan important, regardless of your business size? Overall, here are some reasons as to why.

    While this may seem pretty basic, peace of mind is a huge benefit for businesses who have a contingency plan for disaster. After all, there are many things in the business world that need to be managed on a daily basis. Between making sure your employees are staying on task, and that you’re reaching your sales goal(s), these aren’t even the icing on the cake when it comes to managing a business. Knowing that your data is secure (regardless of what disaster occurs) gives you one less thing to worry about. Even if an incident were to occur, such as a power outage, for example, copies of your info are safe and sound on the cloud servers or USB flash drive.

    However, having a disaster recovery plan also secures your business reputation. Many customers understand that businesses are subject to attacks from within and other security breaches. However, they still expect you to take action and have a plan against it. Failure to have a plan for recovering your data, may lead your customers to look for business elsewhere. After all, they aren’t going to risk having their data compromised. However, with a disaster recovery plan, not only is your company’s reputation secure, but it becomes well-known among any potential customers as well. 

    For more information, contact us today at Onsite Technologies. We look forward to hearing from you.

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  • 09/08/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Experts Recommend Cloud-Based Spam Filters

    Experts Recommend Cloud-Based Spam Filters

    Recently, Penn State University faculty, staff members, and students fell prey to a common scam; spoofed emails. These appeared to be from legitimate delivery services such as FedEx. The email was so convincing that hundreds of recipients opened the attached .zip file, without hesitation and unknowingly installed a type of software known as ransomware on computers across campus. Not only were the targets of the scam fooled, so apparently, was the institution’s email spam filter.

    Need for Business-Grade Email Spam Solution

    With the increased sophistication and perseverance of cyber criminals, it is more important than ever that businesses be on the defensive when it comes to their protecting their email. The general MO for these crimes is to use clever and highly targeted emails to lead you to websites that are able to, without your knowledge or permission, install small pieces of software on your system. This software collects your private information. Once collected, the information is then sold on a very well organized underground economy. This makes the need for a business-grade Spam filter for your server and email imperative in today’s environment. 

    Are you already a victim?

    Makeuseof.com offers these tips on detecting, encountering and preventing malware on your computer.

    You might have a problem if:

    • Your homepage redirects you to another site.
    • You are redirected to another site without warning and without clicking anything.
    • You are experiencing pop-ups even though you have them blocked in settings.
    • You are experiencing crashes.
    • You notice a change in your toolbar or new programs.
    • Your computer is lagging, whether online or offline.
    • You see a message directing you to pay for an "unlock" or to rid your computer of the virus. This is ransomware.

    Take These Steps Immediately

    Requirements for Business Grade Spam Filters

    Experts recommend that businesses and institutions have email and server spam filtering that meets the following criteria.

    • Is cloud based – no hardware of software
    • Real-time protection
    • Offers inbound and outbound protection
    • Provides comprehensive reporting and custom filters
    • Is compatible with your current web and cloud-based applications, software, and hardware.

    Without effective email defense, businesses risk data leaks, possible disruption in functionality and consumer loss of confidence, all of which will affect your bottom line. To find out how OnsiteTech can help protect your organization from malicious email spam, contact our experts for a consultation today.

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  • 09/04/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Network Security: Securing Your Passwords

    Network Security: Securing Your Passwords

    Whether you’re logging into your personal laptop, or are doing business transactions from a mobile device, passwords help to keep you secure. Not only are the letters hidden by symbols when typing it out, but the code itself is generally hard to figure out. With that said, sometimes it’s easy to be careless with your password(s), especially in a business environment. When you’re in the workplace, here are some tips you should consider for keeping your password(s) safe.

    First of all, don’t share your passwords with those in the workplace. The more we get to know others, the more we trust them. With that said, when we develop a relationship with people on the job, it can be tempting to share our passwords with them. You may be thinking that no one would ever be crazy enough to give away something that valuable. However, you never know what situation may arise. For example, let’s say someone in the workplace is having problems with their laptop. They’re asking to borrow your device momentarily, and want to know the password as well. Would you be willing to give it away, or are you going to enter the password yourself? Would you want them to look away while you’re typing in the password? Things like these are important to take into consideration.

    To keep your password(s) more secure, change it on a regular basis as well. Not only will this throw off anyone who’s been trying to guess at it, but this also stops hackers dead in their tracks. Speaking of which, make sure to use a strong password too. Avoid using your social security number or birthday, as those are very easy for anyone to figure out. The key to having a strong password is using a tricky combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, while also making sure it’s something that’s easy for you to remember. There’s nothing worse than making your password so complex, that you end up getting locked out of your laptop or online account.

    For more information about the importance of passwords and your network security, feel free to contact us today at Onsite Techs. We look forward to hearing from you.

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  • 09/01/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Use a Business grade Spam filter to avoid being scammed

    Use a Business grade Spam filter to avoid being scammed

        The significant increase in cybercriminal activity over the past decade has placed countless businesses at risk of sustaining significant losses due to malicious spam, phishing attacks, ransomware and other malware. Small businesses are especially vulnerable to these threats since employing a large, professional IT division to combat these external threats is neither feasible nor affordable for businesses having less than 250 employees. Protecting the company, its employees and its customers it critical to sustaining a business. To provide a significant layer of security, using a business grade spam filter can mean the difference between a thriving business and one that has been severely compromised.

        There are many good reasons to use a business grade spam filter, even for companies that employ less than 50 people:

    1.  Ensures that suspicious e-mails are not sent to employees
    2.  Blocks viruses and other significant threats
    3.  Saves time and increases productivity
    4.  Preserves the good reputation of the company

    Although we may get a chuckle about those e-mails that claim that we are the recipient of $2 million dollars from an unknown benefactor in a distant country, large numbers of spam emails tend clog an employee’s inbox. After a while, the employees will become numb to these e-mails causing them to distractedly delete legitimate e-mails along with the spam resulting in missed business opportunities and poor customer communication.

         Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their use of spamming techniques which can bypass normal e-mail filters. Some of these e-mails resemble legitimate business correspondence causing employees to click on these e-mails and the links within them resulting in an infected network. A business-grade spam filter will block these e-mail links removing the risk of intrusion.

        The third benefit of a robust spam filter is improved network and server performance. Excluding huge volumes of e-mail spam will free up significant network bandwidth allowing processing of higher volumes of e-mail and other business data quickly.

        Perhaps the most important benefits of a business-grade spam filter is protecting customer data and preventing viruses from infecting other users and networks. Customers will not view data breaches kindly and the costs associated with fines, lawsuits and other remediation cripple the future business prospects of the company.

        Protecting a business from malicious spam is one of the most important actions an owner can take to sustain its viability. Contact us and learn how to protect your business from these threats.

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  • 08/29/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Why Does a Mobile Workforce Need a Help Desk?

    Why Does a Mobile Workforce Need a Help Desk?

    Many companies rely on employees that work from outside the office. In a recent article, Tech.Co mentions that an estimated 37% of employees in the U.S. telecommute a few days or more each month. Even without a telecommuting arrangement, many other employees work outside the office, whether they’re on a business trip or catching up on work at home. They may also use a variety of devices, including Smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

    What happens when these employees suffer an IT problem? Maybe an application on their device doesn’t work or they’ve been locked out from an account and can’t remember their login credentials. It’s critical that they receive assistance from a reliable IT help desk for small businesses.

    What are some of the benefits of a high-quality help desk?

    • help desk professionals are knowledgeable about a variety of software and devices, including mobile devices.
    • they know how to deal with network issues that may keep employees disconnected from each other and unable to collaborate.
    • help desk offers live support round-the-clock, every day of the week. No matter where your employees are working from or what time of day it is, they can reach out for prompt, clear, and comprehensive assistance.
    • when they switch to a different device or work from a different location, your employees may need to re-enter login credentials they’ve forgotten. They may also struggle with cyber attacks, such as malware that infected their device after they used hotel Wi-Fi. A help desk gives them a timely intervention for IT emergencies.

    Help desk support maximizes the benefits of a mobile workforce, ensuring that your employees can conduct business from anywhere, on any authorized device. They can work more productively and flexibly, resulting in an increase in business earnings. Please contact us to further discuss the help desk support we offer.

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  • 08/25/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Managed IT Services Can Help Prevent Massive Outages

    Managed IT Services Can Help Prevent Massive Outages

    Recently, Delta made the news with a costly power outage that disrupted its computer systems, leading to numerous delayed or canceled flights. Though further investigation is necessary, it’s possible that the outage and its rippling effects stemmed from an overly complicated system with too few backups and redundancies.

    Outages occur for all kinds of reasons and extract steep costs from companies. Although no company can afford to get bogged down by outages, smaller businesses are especially vulnerable, as they have a harder time bouncing back from IT disasters.

    To reduce the chances of an outage, or to respond more quickly and effectively to it, small businesses can rely on managed IT services. The following are some of the ways a managed services provider can help:

    • Regularly evaluating and performing maintenance on your company’s hardware.
    • Performing updates to software whenever new versions are available. (Updates usually fix security and performance issues from older versions.)
    • Upgrading different components of your computer system when necessary.
    • Monitoring your network for signs that parts of your system are struggling or failing.
    • Backing up your data reliably, on a timely schedule, so that you can recover the most recent copies and successfully restore the data after an IT outage. (Permanent data loss and outdated data backups are among the crippling costs of an outage.)
    • Ensuring that you meet high cyber security standards. Network monitoring, firewalls, and anti-malware programs are all essential cyber defenses. Managed services providers also stay up-to-date on the latest threats.
    • Checking your system for major flaws. Maybe your current IT setup, with the way your devices are connected and configured, makes you more vulnerable to an IT outage.

    Be sure to contact us for more information about our managed services. Working with a high-quality managed services provider will reduce the chances of a major IT outage and its crippling financial losses.

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  • 08/22/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Three Reasons You Need a Business-Grade Spam Filter

    Three Reasons You Need a Business-Grade Spam Filter

    At best, spam emails are full of useless content. At worst, they pose a serious threat to your business’s security. Without a business-grade spam filter, you and your employees remain more exposed to cyber security threats and waste more time struggling to manage your inbox.

    The following are three major benefits of business-grade spam filters:

    1) Spam emails are often dangerous. Criminals may deploy them to infect your system with malware (billions of emails contain malware) or to trick you into sharing sensitive information via phishing. If your filter catches these malicious emails, your employees are much less likely to open one and click on a corrupted link, download an infected attachment, or send confidential information to a disreputable party.

    2) Spam is becoming more sophisticated. Cyber criminals are increasingly relying on spamming techniques meant to bypass ordinary filters. Earlier this year, Bloomberg Technology wrote about "artisanal spam" or "snowshoe spam," sent out in smaller batches from sources that haven’t yet been blacklisted. These spam emails may have the look of a legitimate business email, free of blatant misspelling and spam-like keywords. It’s not enough for businesses to rely only on basic filters, which are much more likely to miss these sophisticated scams.

    3) Business-grade spam filters save you time and increase productivity. With a strong business-grade filter, you lower the chances that legitimate emails will get misidentified as spam. Filters that are powerful will successfully process higher volumes of email at a quicker pace, with minimal delay. A high-quality anti-spam program will also give you oversight as you manage your inbox and adjust settings to suit your business needs.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us for additional information about business-grade solutions to spam emails.

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  • 08/18/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Ransomware Makes Data Backup More Important than Ever

    Ransomware Makes Data Backup More Important than Ever

     This year’s big news in attacks on computers is ransomware. It’s malware which encrypts some or all of your files, making them useless. You can’t decrypt them yourself, since you don’t have the encryption key.

    If ransomware hits your computer, you face a choice between paying criminals and losing your files — unless you have a fresh offsite backup.

    The attack usually starts with a phishing email. If the recipient opens the attachment, it downloads software which proceeds to mangle your files. After it locks up your files, it displays a message demanding payment to unlock them. You’re supposed to pay in Bitcoin through an anonymous channel.

    A local backup isn’t enough to protect you. Ransomware looks for attached disk drives and mangles them as well. To be safe, you need a backup that you can’t just read and write like a disk drive. An automated offsite backup will do the job.

    Your backup software sends files to the remote site. After that, it’s hard to delete them, either by mistake or intentionally. It should run at least every hour, so that it’s never very far out of date. If a ransomware attack hits your computer, it’s still unpleasant, but you won’t lose many files, so you won’t have to pay an extortion fee.

    Make sure to remove the ransomware from your computer before restoring files. Having to restore your files twice isn’t fun. Besides, the malware may do other things in addition to encrypting your files.

    Offsite backup protects you against disasters of all kinds, including fires, floods, and catastrophic disk failure. It’s a good investment for anyone with files worth keeping.

    To learn more about our IT services, from backups to complete system management, please contact us.

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  • 08/15/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Why is a Disaster Recovery Plan Important?

     Why is a Disaster Recovery Plan Important?

    When you’re working in a business, always be prepared for the unexpected. Believe it or not, disasters are quite common in the workplace. Sometimes, it’s easy to prepare for them, but in other cases, they might hit when you least expect them to. With power outages, for example, they happen in the blink of an eye. If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place when one occurs, it could have a major impact on your business. With that said, what are some other reasons you should have a disaster recovery plan, and the consequences involved with lacking one?

    Whether it’s a security breach in the business or a hacker trying to scam you in cyberspace, man-made disasters are quite common in the workplace. Having a disaster recovery plan is important so that in the case something does happen, you literally have nothing to lose.

    As an example, let’s take a look at a more recent threat known as ransomware. Not only are the files on your hard drive locked and your computer inaccessible, but the cybercriminal also demands a large sum of money. If you fail to pay them, all the files of your hard drive are deleted. On the other hand, if you have all of your data backed up, there’s no need to worry. After all, the criminal doesn’t get power from locking your hard drive. They control you by threatening to delete your valuable information. With your data backed up, however, their scare tactics won’t work.

    However, not every disaster in the workplace is because of hackers or even natural disasters. Sometimes, it’s due to mistakes we make. It’s easy to get careless and delete sensitive information, especially when it doesn’t seem to be of use anymore. With that said, always double-check to see if what you’re about to delete still has value, or if it may be of use later. In the case that you still carelessly delete some sensitive info, this is why it’s important to have a disaster recovery plan. Regularly store your data on a USB flash drive, and invest in cloud computing as well. 

    For more information, contact us today at Onsite Techs. We look forward to hearing from you.

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  • 08/11/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Three Key Ways to Prevent Data Backup Failure

    Three Key Ways to Prevent Data Backup Failure

    At Smart Data Collective, a recent post discusses three IT disasters that plague small businesses. Number one on the list is a loss of data resulting from failed data backup measures.

    Many businesses assume that if they’ve adopted a data backup solution, they’re prepared for any disaster and their data will remain available to them. Too often, these assumptions are mistaken.

    How can you prevent data backup failure? The following are three tips:

    1) Choose the backup method best suited for the data

    There are different options for backing up data, including cloud-based solutions and solutions involving local storage (and sometimes a combination of the two). Choose data backup providers that are reliable, and understand the strengths and drawbacks of each backup solution.

    For example, many businesses back up at least some of their data on tape cartridges, without realizing that even the slightest damage to the tape can result in data loss. Furthermore, it can take days or weeks to restore data from tape, which makes it an unreliable choice for critical data that you’d need immediately.

    If you back up data on the cloud, check that the provider doesn’t keep all your data in one place; in case they suffer their own IT disaster at that location, they need to make sure they won’t permanently lose their copies of your data.

    2) Run tests

    You should regularly check that your data backups are complete and recoverable. When you try to restore the data, is anything missing or corrupted? Also, how long does the restoration take?

    3) Prioritize security

    Your data backups are a target for cyber criminals. Sometimes, data backups fail because of theft or tampering from hackers. Other times, the data gets stolen in physical form, maybe when it was backed up on a storage device in your office or on tape. If you choose a cloud-based data backup provider, check their cyber security standards. Sensitive data in particular should be protected with high-quality encryption.

    Don’t hesitate to contact us for further assistance with performing reliable data backups. We’ll help you ensure that your data backups are complete and protected against loss.

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  • 08/08/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Disaster Recovery Plan: A Plan Within a Plan

    Disaster Recovery Plan: A Plan Within a Plan

    disaster recovery plan goes beyond just securing data should a breach or an unexpected total shutdown of a company’s IT system occur. Essential and necessary is the managed backup and recovery methods in case of disaster. Data priority and protection, vital system’s relevance and other factors immediately impact the recovery efforts. Solutions necessarily take the shape of prioritizing, while providing assurance to company clients that their information is secure and IT operations can continue smoothly.

    A clear understanding of how the system works provides the best explanation.

    Having a cloud over you these days, means something positive. Fully managed recovery requires invoking pre-planned procedures to assure data viability and essential system’s restoration. The backup of data to a local appliance first occurs. This allows for replication offsite to the cloud. The precursor involves certified technicians. They take daily control over client’s backups, managing the key services that are unique to each IT provider’s clients. With a direct approach, our technicians manage, monitor, and verify client data, making sure it is secure and viable beyond the disruption point.

    The additional plus provides continuity in business operations — also cloud based.

    Once a disaster occurs and systems fail, the first thought is to protect the client’s data. Using a private network in the cloud, the client’s entire site is immediately accessible. Now appearing as virtual machines, the client experiences a near seamless break in business activity.

    This approach circumvents the historic use of hardware-oriented solutions. The insurance and assurance of technology "Born in the Cloud,"  enhances confidence in the managed recovery system. Not designed to support the cloud, the technology is inherent to the cloud.

    Using a Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) platform further enhances data security and comprehensive end-to-end IT data protection.

    During the recovery process, all backups use a centrally located appliance. Through remote access, initiation of common tasks is easy to implement. Protection of machines can quickly occur, allowing for restoration of files and folders through the virtual machines in the cloud. The ability to adjust retention settings during the managed process of recovery provides more protection capabilities.

    The RMM also enables NOC technicians wider capabilities. With direct access, our technicians gain immediate access to secured machines and seek solutions to issues with a broader view of the problems.

    For further questions on how to protect your  data through managed recovery and seamless continuity of operations, click here to contact us.

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  • 08/05/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Should You Have a Web Filtering Policy?

    Should You Have a Web Filtering Policy?

    Is it a good idea to filter the websites that employees are allowed to access? This question raises huge amounts of controversy. If people can access any sites they want from the office, they might waste time, annoy other employees, and download malware. A managed service can set up filters to block sites selectively.

    On the other hand, restricting their access conveys a message that you don’t trust employees to act responsibly, and it might stop them from accessing information they need. Social media and video sites may seem like time-wasters, but sometimes that’s where the information needed for a work-related task is.

    The most important rule is to tell employees up front what you’re doing. If you set up filtering to block some sites, tell them so before activating the filter. Explain why you’re doing it, avoiding unnecessary accusations. Provide a way they can get at the information they need when it’s necessary.

    It might be better to publish an acceptable use policy without blocking any access. Explain the reasons and what employees should do if they need an exception. If you monitor Web access, say in plain terms that you’re doing that. The worst case is for employees to find you’re "spying" on their Web usage without having told them.

    There’s a different kind of filtering which is very desirable, though, and has nothing to do with controlling employee behavior. This kind uses a regularly updated list of malicious websites to prevent people from innocently exposing their computers to attacks. This is something you should have for every computer, even (or especially) the CEO’s machine.

    It’s not just disreputable websites that can cause concern. Attackers can compromise legitimate sites, using them to distribute malware. Filtering services try to catch these sites and list them till the problem is fixed. Getting blacklisted is sometimes the first warning a site owner gets that there’s trouble.

    Internet filtering is among the many managed IT services which Onsite Techs offers. To learn how we can make your computer systems safer and more reliable, please contact us.

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  • 07/28/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    A Legit Backup Disaster Recovery Plan (BDR) is CPR for your Business

    A Legit Backup Disaster Recovery Plan (BDR) is CPR for your Business

    For a small business owner, a data server crash can mean disaster, according to an article on Mashable.com

    • 72% of all businesses suffering major loss of data close up shop within two-years
    • Causes of most server crashes are usually unknown
    • Irrecoverable data loss occurs almost exclusively from not backing up data
    • 60% of small and medium businesses admit to not regularly backing up their data

    For an IT professional, a database server crash is a thought that precipitates chills. For that reason IT pro’s are like a bunch of Boy Scouts touting their famous motto" Be Prepared."

    The first step in this preparation is to evaluate the systems you have in place and consider the following. 

    • Do you have a current inventory of hardware and software? 
    • What is your tolerance for downtime if you had no access to the data on your server? 
    • Are there any Service Level Agreements (SLA) associated with your equipment or software?
    • Does your company have in place, a policy on how to handle sensitive data, such as customer’s financial information?
    • Is it feasible to hire IT professionals who have experience in planning, training and implementation of disaster recovery plans? Is it feasible not to? 

    Next you can begin to develop a plan. It is imperative that businesses have a Backup Disaster Recovery Plan (BDR) in place that meets the following criteria:

    It Assumes the Worst.

    Plan for failures within the plan itself and have prepared a "plan B" and "plan C". Small businesses may not have the resources to build-in multiple redundancy to their BDR. It is important that the areas that posing the greatest loss-risk are the most protected. 

    It is Straightforward.

    Making sure that the server is appropriately backed up and the data secured is paramount. However, if the software you use to recover the data is overly complex and difficult to use, recovery times can significantly increase. Disk imaging is currently thought to be the most simple and easiest to restore. Consider this for your most precious data. 

    It Includes Periodic Reviews and Testing.

    Regular and periodic testing of your BDR is important to assure that in the time of crucial need everything goes smoothly. 

    It Identifies Employee Responsibilities.

    No matter the size of your business, assign trusted employees positions to your disaster team.

    "All disaster recovery plans should clearly define the key roles, responsibilities and parties involved during a DR event," says Will Chin, director of cloud services of CDI, Llc.

    Contact Onsite Tech for your Technology Needs Assessment and to learn about the data backup and recovery services we offer small businesses.

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  • 07/28/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Could your small business use Managed IT services?

    "I’m sorry, I don’t know whats wrong." Could your small business use Managed IT services?

    Chances are you are not a highly trained specialist in virus and malware protection. you probably are not a specialist in hardware installation and integration. If you run a small business you have likely felt the pressure of a system failure or a computer crash at least once, probably at the worst possible moment, like tax time or when payroll is due and it is time to print employee checks or make those direct deposits happen. Hiring managed IT services could help with that. 

    Running your own show is rewarding, and updating your growth and new products or practices on social media should be a regular activity in your online presence, but it is also time-consuming, and sometimes it just gets pushed to the back burner. It seems like such a small detail but in today’s integrated world of digital and physical reality your internet workplace matters, and it matters a lot. Keeping things current would be so much easier with some information technology professionals on your team. Our technicians can help.

    "What do you mean you lost my (insert critical information here)." You can’t do business if you cannot find your businesses information. Data security is about more than virus protection and information recovery. It is about peace of mind. Having a staff of IT professionals on call can provide that peace of mind.

    These are just a few things to think about tonight after you lock up and go home for the day, and if you are worried about what is happening after you leave the shop for the night, call us, we can set you up with security cameras too. Give them a call at 401-773-7766 or click here.

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  • 07/24/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    How Can I Help You? The Help Desk Does More Than You Might Think

    How Can I Help You? The Help Desk Does More Than You Might Think

    You have probably called a help desk at some point in your life. Maybe you couldn’t manage your home’s connection to the internet. Maybe you couldn’t connect at work or there was an issue with file sharing. Whatever the case, if you were lucky, the technician at the Help Desk gave you the direction necessary to find and fix the issue. If you were not lucky they sent someone over to address the problem in person as quickly as possible. Either way, they worked as hard and fast as they could to get you safely and securely back to work.

    You might think that is all the rigorously trained professionals at our help desk do. It certainly seems like it would be enough to help clients navigate the sometimes esoteric ins and outs of the machines we increasingly depend on, but it isn’t. There is more than that to be had from our small business Help Desk service here at Onsite Techs of Rhode Island.

    Our Help Desk offers so much more. Are you struggling with a template for a Microsoft Office application like Word or Excel? The Help Desk can help. If the problem is with the printer they can fix that too. Even your mobile devices like your tablet and mobile phone are no mystery to our technicians. And of course, we can help with virus and malware protection and removal, troubleshoot issues with email, and resolve a comprehensive list of issues that include just about any difficulty you might have. This is all a part of the our small business help desk. Contact us to learn more and find out all the ways the Help Desk here at Onsite Techs can help you.

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  • 07/22/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Helping Your Small Business Staff Out in the Field

    Helping Your Small Business Staff Out in the Field

    Despite having a small business staff of 5-15 employees, you’re probably discovering your team has little time to spend in the office. In the world of law, manufacturing, contracting, insurance, or real estate, your team is probably out working with clients in the field to keep your small operation afloat.

    As a result, they’re likely using mobile devices often to either communicate with you, clients, or entering critical data to use later. While this helps make your small business run more efficiently, do you have managed IT services in place to help you through potential disasters?

    With top insurance companies pointing out that far too many small businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place, you may have to think about your own risk. Those same statistics show it takes three months or more for small businesses to recover from disasters, which could pose a devastating financial blow.

    This isn’t necessary when you have dedicated IT management in place to keep things monitored across your entire network.

    Preventing Disasters in the Field

    Many note the potential pitfalls of applying a BYOD policy to the workplace where employees use mobile devices on their own time. One of the biggest concerns is using public Wi-Fi networks when needing Internet service in outlying locations.

    These are particularly vulnerable because they don’t have security teams monitoring the network. It could make any private data your field employees deal with open to hackers, hence possibly violating compliance rules.

    When hiring an IT management team to work for you, they’ll monitor the network of your team’s mobile devices so assure they have complete security. This monitoring goes on around the clock so those working on weekends and holidays get assured security, plus tech support when it’s needed.

    Dealing With Nature and Theft

    Natural disasters are everywhere today, typically in places we don’t expect. What happens if a natural disaster suddenly hits, and your team’s mobile devices somehow go missing?

    The same goes for theft as the most common problem for mobile devices used in field work. All it takes is one second for a smartphone or tablet containing private data to get into the hands of a thief.

    Quality IT management handles these problems for you by making sure your data is always sent to a secure server. There, you can retrieve all contents when your mobile devices get lost.

    Back at your headquarters, all of the above could occur as well. IT managers work remotely and monitor your network in your office 24/7. Frequently, problems occurring in the middle of the night can get fixed before you even come to work in the morning.

    At Onsite Techs, we’re there for you as a proven IT company ready to help your small business clients with their computers and networks.

    Contact us to learn more about our tech services for many business categories.

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  • 07/18/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    3 Aspects of the Help Desk: What Makes it Great

    3 Aspects of the Help Desk: What Makes it Great

    Through the overwhelming reliance on technological systems and software, help desks have sprung to life in almost every type of business. From university campuses, to healthcare offices, to retail stores, wherever there is a technological infrastructure there is usually a help desk to support and troubleshoot.

    And this is for a very good reason.

    Help desks resolve technological issues quicker, efficiently streamline workflow in IT departments, and allow employees to focus on their job.

    3 Aspects of the Help Desk: What Makes it Great

    1) Multitasking

    One of the best aspects of implementing the use of a help desk is the immediate ability to multitask in more efficient and generally smarter ways. Workers submit "help tickets", which are then automatically sorted and categorized into individual cues. At that point, IT professionals are able to prioritize based upon demand, similarity, importance, and any other criteria that deems appropriate.

    2) Let the Metrics Talk

    A help desk not only allows IT professionals to work faster and more efficiently, but it also provides metrics that are analyzed to detect pattern issues. Help tickets regarding similar tech issues will be cued together, allowing the IT professional to take notice of a larger problem. By fixing the root problem, a company can be saved time and subsequently money. On a larger scale, workflow can be streamlined via metric reports that help to identify trends.

    3) The Portal of Information

    Most help desk software generally employs one main portal. This portal is used by workers and IT professionals alike as a landing page for employees to submit help tickets, IT staff to communicate, and both employees and IT staff to close out resolved tickets.

    Yet, portals also offer a great avenue to share information and create connectivity. IT professionals are able to address any common mistakes or issues that may arise. The portal is a great way to post helpful articles, warn employees of upgrades or system down issues, and post educational opportunities. On the other hand, employees can post suggestions for betterment such as tools, classes, or reoccurring issues.

    With a team of professional, certified repair technicians, Onsite Techs Computer Services focuses their high quality touch on the RI computer repair space. Currently servicing over 3000 clients in Rhode Island and the surrounding areas, Onsite Techs has become the go-to computer repair team. For more information or to speak directly with a representative, feel free to contact us.

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  • 07/14/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Setting Up a Disaster Recovery Plan

    Setting Up a Disaster Recovery Plan

    We never expect a disaster, but it can happen to anyone. Businesses that suffer major data loss from a disaster usually shut down before long. With a good recovery plan, though, you can come through fires, theft, or floods with your data intact.

    The first step in a disaster recovery plan is identifying all essential systems. You need to keep this list up to date, to make sure you aren’t omitting any important data in your plan.

    You need to set up offsite backup for all of these systems. The backup needs to reside in a secure location, a good distance away from your primary systems. The backup needs to be one you can reconstruct a running system from, not just a copy of the data files. The backup process and the offsite copy need to be secure.

    Preparation for the worst requires a plan of action. How will the management contact people? Will you still have the recovery passwords if the office burns up? How will you restore the systems if the existing machines are ruined? How quickly do you need to restore minimal access to customers?

    A plan may sound good, but if you never test it, chances are something is missing, and at best there will be a lot of confusion when carrying it out. Practicing a full recovery may be too disruptive, but the people in charge of the plan should test it as much as reasonably possible. Restoring a backup to a test server and booting it is a reasonable readiness check.

    In a disaster, some key people might be incapacitated or unreachable. A recovery plan should provide for backing up people as well as data, so that an incomplete team can do everything that’s needed.

    Onsite Techs can help to set up your disaster recovery plan so that your business can survive serious mishaps. Contact us to learn more.

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  • 07/11/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Why Your Business Needs A Professional Help Desk Service

    Why Your Business Needs A Professional Help Desk Service

    Almost every business has an IT Help Desk of some kind. The problem is, for many small businesses the help desk is named George or Mary – employees who have their own responsibilities, but who are willing to share their computer expertise with coworkers who need help. That informal approach to IT support may seem the most cost effective for an organization with a limited budget. But is it, really?

    What happens when a worker has an immediate need for assistance, but George and Mary are busy with their own tasks, or are away from the office? And even if a knowledgeable employee is available to help coworkers when a computer-related problem arises, the effect is that at least two people will be experiencing down time from their own responsibilities while the issue is addressed.

    Worse, while George or Mary may be the best available resource when a hitch in computer or network operations occurs, usually their expertise is limited to issues they have learned to solve through their own personal experience. Many of the difficulties that can occur with the complex mix of technologies that even small companies depend on today may be beyond the abilities of an informal helper to quickly and successfully address. The result is often confusion and frustration for affected employees, as well as costly delays in getting the issue resolved.

    Outsourcing IT support to a qualified Help Desk provider can alleviate these problems and more. By making use of such a service, you relieve your employees of the frustrating task of tracking down someone who can help with the issue that is blocking them from getting their work done. They can just pick up the phone, knowing that a certified professional is on the other end.

    Sometimes it’s a hardware or configuration problem, such as the inability to print to a selected printer, or a computer that’s running slowly. Perhaps a user is experiencing difficulties using particular software applications such as MS Word or Excel. The problem could be a difficulty accessing the network, or maybe something as simple as a user who has forgotten a required password. Whatever the issue, a good help desk vendor will be able to provide the needed assistance 24/7.

    If you would like to explore how a professional help desk service can improve both employee satisfaction and your bottom line, please contact us.

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  • 07/07/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Business Today and The Need for Managed IT Services

    Business Today and The Need for Managed IT Services

    What are the Benefits of Managed IT Service?

    1. Maximize Productivity: Small business owners wear so many hats: managing, advertising, decision-making, etc. Business is a 24/7 commitment and any edge can mean the difference. Outsourcing your IT staff means security, knowing your customer’s data is safe and your employees can access files quickly and reliably.
    2. Lowering Cost: Investing in managed IT gives you a predictable cost structure with a monthly contract that fits your budget. Knowing exactly what you’ll spend each month allows your company to predict future expenditures. No more emergency IT costs or maintenance bills after a system crash that could have been avoided.
    3. Expertise: Staffing an entire IT dept is difficult for small businesses and too costly in the long run. Data backup, PC repair, and security monitoring should be handled by professionals. An outside support team will minimize downtime and keep your business running smoothly.
    4. Keeping up with Technology: Technology is ever-changing, tablets and personal phones are common in many companies. This advancement brings new threats and challenges to your business data and security. Evaluating and deciding which new software best suits your business is better left to IT professionals. Your managed IT team is trained to find the best technology for your business, saving you time and money.
    5. Data Security: Recent data breaches have damaged major companies and cost them customer trust and revenue. Securing your customer’s data means monitoring your network 24/7, reporting any suspicious activity, and neutralizing threats immediately. A managed IT team means having the support you can depend on when threats arise.

    Every minute your computers are down, revenue is lost. Customers are driven to your competitors, never to return. Having a managed IT support team means backup is there to prevent system crashes and downtime. Outside IT support gives you the security to focus on your business and do what you do best. Less downtime means lower IT costs and greater employee productivity. Click here to find out more and start enjoying the many benefits managed IT support can bring to your business.

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  • 06/30/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Help Desk: Saving You Time and Money

    Help Desk: Saving You Time and Money

    No one wants the busy flow of their work day to become hindered by technical issues with their computers, programs, or network. Help Desk can offer a quick resolution, by addressing each client’s specific needs, through live support, thus saving you time and money. No need to worry about talking to machines, Help Desk offers knowledgeable, and proficiently trained professionals, live 24/7.

    How often are your employees turning production time into down time, costing your company time and money? Trying to resolve technical land slides on your own, when not trained to do so, can result in loss of assets. Help Desk can offer a quick recovery to all your technical short comings. Customer profiles created, and stored, offer a friendly recognition each time you place a service call. Your personal profile will also help with the isolating process, through stored information pertaining to previous technical issues. 

    Help Desk, not only services small business, but will also jump to the aid of homeowners and personal needs. No more trouble shooting programs or emails on your own. At an affordable price, Help Desk can help you with all your personal computer needs. Supporting popular apps, guarantees no more missed Skype, or login failures for important business to business video conferencing. Fallen victim to viruses running ramped through your PC? Help Desk can help you with these and much more!

    Help Desk specializes in isolating issues, and implementing remedies, all while meeting high expectations, and maintaining quality assurance, through the ongoing training of their technicians. Save time and money, let Help Desk work for you, contact us and we will start your personal profile today!

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  • 06/29/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Network security and you

    Network security and you

    Network security is everyone’s responsibility. Your computer network, large or small, can still be easily compromised. You have installed the latest virus protection and it is up to date. Check. You have installed Malware programs and the definitions are up to date. Check. Network passwords secure and changed regularly. Check. So, how, you ask, is your network at risk?

    EBCAK.

    It is not just your network, it is every network OnSite Tech visits.  It is not just a network problem.  It infects the home, too.  You have never heard of EBCAK?  It is one of those acronyms that get tossed around, but frequently not explained.  EBCAK.  Error between chair and keyboard. You.

    Spear Phishing. 

    A common way to compromise a system or network is spear phishing.  Spear phishing is when an email shows up in your inbox.  It is obviously from a trusted source, only it is not.  The email asks you for additional information, like your name, social security number, or credit card number. Since it is from a company that you regularly do business with, what can it hurt? You open it. You follow directions. Compromise is complete. Spear Phishing is nothing new. It has been around for years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has even written articles about it.

    How to protect yourself.

    Think before you act. If you must take an action that seems even the least bit odd, don’t take it. The email may have the correct logo, it might even be personalized with your first name, but something is not right. Don’t bite. Do not give out personal information. Protect yourself.

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  • 06/23/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    For Small Organizations: The Importance of a Disaster Recovery Plan

    For Small Organizations: The Importance of a Disaster Recovery Plan

    It’s tempting to assume that only medium and large organizations — those with more than 50 employees — need a disaster recovery plan. These organizations typically have some differentiation of employees into departments or teams, and they need a plan for continuing operations after a disaster. The reality is that small businesses are particularly vulnerable to being temporarily or permanently crippled by disasters. One reason is that small organizations lack a large budget and have a small IT staff. They must depend on a skeleton crew or an external provider to restore hardware and software systems to normal conditions. 

    Try Disaster Recovery Planning With Onsite Techs!

    As a small business owner or a private individual with computer systems that matter to you, imagine the appeal of having the right experts on your side. If you take the time to craft an appropriate disaster recovery plan, you and your employees will know what steps to take to get all IT systems up and running again. That’s right! A bit of planning goes a long way. With a recovery plan, employees and external IT techs know what to do in response to various scenarios. If all of the servers fail, for example, they know which systems to restore first because they will have the greatest impact on customers while offline. 

    You Aren’t Alone!

    We like to think the support that our techs offer will ease your mind. In fact, we’re glad to assist you with writing a disaster recovery plan. This might include recommendations that some or all of your IT systems should move to the cloud or that your company should invest in faster servers.

    We want you to feel positive about the level of preparedness in your organization.  Inquiring about disaster recovery planning does not obligate you to specific services. For details, please contact us today.

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  • 06/16/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    The Advantages of IP Surveillance Cameras

    Surveillance cameras add safety and peace of mind to a home or business. Traditionally analog CCTV cameras have been cheaper than the digital cameras, but the balance is rapidly shifting, and IP-capable cameras that connect to the Internet offer many advantages.

    IP cameras offer better resolution, higher sensitivity in low light, and a greater field of view. This means clearer pictures of anything the camera picks up. A smaller number of IP cameras than analog cameras may be able to cover an area.

    A CCTV camera requires a DVR on the premises to record video. If intruders steal or destroy it, the record is gone. Some IP cameras can record to cloud servers, so even if a burglar smashes the camera, everything up to that point is safely recorded. This generally requires a monthly subscription fee.

    IP cameras can use wireless connections, eliminating the need to run cables that make them more visible to intruders.

    They can alert you when they detect motion or a face. Some have facial recognition technology and will alert you only when they see someone they don’t know.

    One issue with IP security cameras is … well, security. Some models are so poorly designed that it’s possible to take control of them or intercept their signals over the Internet. From there, remote attackers could get access to the rest of the local network. Check for any reports of Internet security issues on a camera model, and be sure to set a strong password for it.

    That caution aside, Internet-connected cameras have become the clear way to go when setting up a surveillance system. They’re economical and versatile, and the available features give you more protection than the old analog cameras.

    At Onsite Techs, we can help you with all your IT needs from surveillance cameras to server optimization. Please contact us to learn more.

    Surveillance cameras add safety and peace of mind to a home or business. Traditionally analog CCTV cameras have been cheaper than the digital cameras, but the balance is rapidly shifting, and IP-capable cameras that connect to the Internet offer many advantages.

    IP cameras offer better resolution, higher sensitivity in low light, and a greater field of view. This means clearer pictures of anything the camera picks up. A smaller number of IP cameras than analog cameras may be able to cover an area.

    A CCTV camera requires a DVR on the premises to record video. If intruders steal or destroy it, the record is gone. Some IP cameras can record to cloud servers, so even if a burglar smashes the camera, everything up to that point is safely recorded. This generally requires a monthly subscription fee.

    IP cameras can use wireless connections, eliminating the need to run cables that make them more visible to intruders.

    They can alert you when they detect motion or a face. Some have facial recognition technology and will alert you only when they see someone they don’t know.

    One issue with IP security cameras is … well, security. Some models are so poorly designed that it’s possible to take control of them or intercept their signals over the Internet. From there, remote attackers could get access to the rest of the local network. Check for any reports of Internet security issues on a camera model, and be sure to set a strong password for it.

    That caution aside, Internet-connected cameras have become the clear way to go when setting up a surveillance system. They’re economical and versatile, and the available features give you more protection than the old analog cameras.

    At Onsite Techs, we can help you with all your IT needs from surveillance cameras to server optimization. Please contact us to learn more.

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  • 06/09/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Why Small Businesses Need Managed IT Services

    Why Small Businesses Need Managed IT Services

    With a small business of less than 20 employees, your payroll is small, especially compared to larger companies. Your firm’s ability to pay for the best managed IT services is limited. Without a limitless bank account, you must be smart about how to spend IT money. At the same time, you must ensure that all staff members are properly supported and that customers are happy.

    Choosing IT Services

    While you may have at least one IT person on staff, there’s a good chance this  person doesn’t have time to perform routine server maintenance, troubleshooting, and technology upgrades as well as answer employee technical questions. He or she might not be in a position to assist in the development of a comprehensive IT strategy. It just depends on his or her professional background. You might even need an IT person to suggest improvements to your website and to connect web-based tools to your core marketing strategy. Many small businesses aren’t even using experts to launch their search engine optimization (SEO) campaign so that local customers will find them. They might also need help with social media and keeping up with blog posts, many business owners simply do not have the time do the research and then write the content for their blogs, Facebook and Twitter feeds.

    Scalability

    What small business owners love about our managed IT services is that we can scale up or scale down our expert support according to your changing business needs. Be sure to consider the most pressing needs for using computers and software applications in your firm. Purchase your own servers or use cloud-based applications to create your essential IT infrastructure. 

    While it’s hard to explain everything that we can do here as part of our managed IT services, we will gladly provide friendly IT techs at your convenience. For more details, please contact us today.

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  • 06/02/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Shared Passwords: The Bane of Network Security

    Shared Passwords: The Bane of Network Security

    Information security, network security, computer security—you can’t avoid these topics in the news today. Our world is on an unavoidable path toward increasing digitization, which means that thieves and hackers are also an increasing problem for individuals and organizations of all sizes.

    Matters of security inevitably fall on the user to resolve. Network security depends on much more than proper defenses like updated antivirus software to achieve. It takes a fundamental shift in the way that users interact with their devices and information.

    Security’s Achilles Heel

    Until different methods of authenticating our identities become more mainstream, passwords are a necessary evil that we all have to deal with. Some estimates claim that over 100 accounts are registered, on average, to most active email addresses. This means that users also have 100+ unique passwords to remember, right?

    The sad fact is that many people today use the same password for most (or all) of their accounts. This puts everything stored on connected devices at a higher risk of being compromised, included corporate or private networks, regardless of the complexity and strength of the password being used.

    The simple fact is, everyone will have an account compromised at some point, and this has nothing to do with negligence on their part. Inevitably a social network, cloud service provider, email provider, etc., will experience a breach and expose username and password details. At this point, the perpetrators of the breach will likely go "fishing" (no pun intended) with the compromised credentials, or they will sell the credentials off to someone else. These credentials will be used on credit card sites, online banking sites, and more, all based on the reality that so many of us don’t use unique passwords the way we should.

    If the attackers gain other identifying details about the affected users, they can potentially access work networks or portals like Outlook Web Access as well, bypassing every network security measure that the user’s company may have taken to protect its information.

    Solving the Problem

    It may be painful to consider, but the best solution is using a different username and password combination for every online account we own. This is admittedly difficult; remembering all of those complex passwords (dictionary words and number sequences don’t count!) is virtually impossible without some kind of assistance. Writing your passwords down or keeping them saved in a file on your computer creates a similar vulnerability as using the same password for multiple accounts.

    There are some other options, including secure password management tools and multi-factor authentication, to help secure your accounts. Regardless of the option(s) you choose, it’s imperative to change your online habits in order to protect your information and any other data that you may have access to.

    If you want help navigating these tricky waters, contact us for help. After all, the march toward increased digitization isn’t ending anytime soon.

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  • 05/26/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    How Managed IT Services Can Help Your Bottom Line

    How Managed IT Services Can Help Your Bottom Line

    Very small businesses usually can’t afford a full-time IT person. One alternative is to put whoever knows computers best in charge, but that’s a risky approach and can cut into that person’s other responsibilities. Hiring a managed IT services provider may seem more expensive, but it can actually save money. Downtime costs money, and a reliable, well-maintained setup keeps employees productive.

    The ways managed services can keep your costs down and revenue up include:

    • Professional setup. A local network that’s properly set up avoids annoying connectivity glitches that take away from productive work.
    • Security support. Setting up a firewall, making sure individual machines are secure, and full-time
      monitoring add up to less exposure to outside attacks. A single ransomware attack can cost a lot. When computers keep running all the time, without having to remove hostile code, employees can stay busy and revenue keeps coming in.
    • Software upgrades. When software is always up to date, it’s less vulnerable to attacks over the Net, with the same benefits.
    • Software purchases. MSPs can often get you software for less than the direct retail cost.
    • Cloud software. Cloud services sometimes are more economical than buying software, and the extra connectivity they offer may provide even more benefits. Your MSP can help to set them up.
    • Performance monitoring. If your service goes down in the evening, you don’t want to wait till the next morning to find out. Full-time monitoring means quick recovery if possible, or a prompt notification to you if necessary. Extended downtime can result in lost business.
    • Backup. If one of your computers loses its files and they aren’t backed up, the information loss can cost a lot. Ongoing backup makes recovery easier and can save a business from failing.

    When your business’s financial well-being depends on a reliable, uninterrupted IT structure, managed services can be a smart investment. Contact us for more information.

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  • 05/19/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Network Security: Good and Bad Passwords

    Network Security: Good and Bad Passwords

    Many people, probably most, use weak passwords. This is a bad idea, since nasty people would love to know your password, and they have computers to help them. A strong password will make their job a lot harder.

    According to one report, the most popular passwords of 2015, at least among people careless enough to leak them, included "123456," "password," "12345678," and "qwerty." Those are also at the top of any password guesser’s list. An account that uses them won’t stay safe long.

    Other bad passwords are any dictionary word, your name, your spouse’s name, your cat’s name, passwords of 5 characters or less, and any password you’ve seen on a public website, a movie, or a TV show. Substituting numbers for letters, e.g., "p455w0rd" instead of "password," makes it harder to remember without offering much benefit.

    Passwords from the latest trends in pop culture are common. Avoid passwords like "starwars," "civilwar," and "junglebook."

    Any password that you’ve used for one site is a bad one to use for another site, even if it’s otherwise good. You don’t want to give thieves two accounts for the price of one.

    A good password isn’t so short that it’s easy to try all strings of that length. Every additional character hugely increases the pool of possibilities. If it takes a computer a month to try all 9-letter passwords, it will take 26 times as long — over two years — to try all 10-letter passwords.

    How do you make a good password? The most important thing is to make it long. You can still make it easy to remember using a variety of methods.

    A password made from three unrelated words, in at least two different languages, plus some digits, is a strong one. Examples would be "24avoirstorybread" or "Schnell2outlet4doorway6." Silly sentences plus a number, like "FishAteTheQuietHallway9," can be both memorable and hard to guess.

    Come up with your own formula for generating hard-to-guess passwords, use it consistently, and don’t tell anyone what it is, and you’ll achieve a good level of safety.

    Please contact us to learn about the IT and security solutions we offer.

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  • 05/05/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Data backup protects your business

    Data backup protects your business

    One of the most important assets your business has it its data files. Losing business records, correspondence, customer lists, and scheduled events can force a business to shut down. Theft, power surges, accidental erasure, and malware are just some of the events that can wipe out the data on a computer. A good data backup plan is cheap insurance against such disasters and a key part of system management. For the best protection, you should have an onsite and an offsite backup.

    For onsite backup, you just need to buy an external drive, connect it to your computer, and set up software to run periodic backups. On the Macintosh, Time Machine is already installed, and you just need to configure it to keep the backup drive up to date. On Windows 10, you can use File History or Windows Backup and Restore. File History is better for regular backups, while you can use Backup and Restore to create a snapshot of the system. Both together provide the most safety. Backup and Restore lets you create a one-time system image and store it away, and then you can set up File History to do ongoing backups to another drive. An external disk drive costs around a hundred dollars, so it’s not a huge investment.

    Some disasters can affect your whole office, so you also need a backup that’s physically remote. Many services compete in this market, and the cost per year is low. We offer remote backup on our residential and business support plans, fully encrypted and managed by us. The initial backup may take days, but don’t panic; after that it will back up only files that have changed.

    Make sure your backup really works, and that you know how to restore files from it. Keep the password for your online service in a safe place such as a fireproof lockbox, so that you don’t lose it along with your data.

    Please contact us to learn about how we can help with your backup and other IT needs.

    Click here to schedule an appointment

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 04/27/2016 - onsitetechs 0 Comments
    Site Launch

    Our new website is finally up. We’ve worked hard to get a beautiful new site ready and we’re proud to show it off. Thanks for reading our blog. We have lots of great blog posts in the works. Please check back or contact us now to find out how we can help you.

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  • 04/21/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Computer network monitoring and maintenance

    Computer network monitoring and maintenance

    If your network is connected to the Internet, someone will try to attack it. If you let down your guard long enough, they’ll succeed. Ongoing network monitoring and maintenance are the key to a secure network.

    A firewall is essential. It can be either a machine designed for the purpose or an off-the-shelf computer running firewall software (and as little other software as possible). Either way, make regular use of its monitoring and reporting capabilities, setting it up to notify the administrator in case of unusual traffic.

    You need to find the appropriate level of notification. Casual attempts to exploit weaknesses are so common that stopping to investigate each one is impractical. Set up notifications when there’s an unusually high level of attempts or significant anomalies in traffic. A large number of failed login attempts, for instance, can be a sign of a concerted attack. If your administrators get too many alerts for routine situations, though, they might not notice when a serious issue arises.

    Notifications of unusual outgoing activity are equally important. They may point at a compromised machine on the local network, in which case you need to take quick action. Excessive outgoing traffic may indicate that one or more of your computers have been "zombified" and are sending out spam. You want to catch this quickly, before your provider notices and cuts you off or major email services blacklist you.

    Network monitoring also lets you know when your servers are getting more legitimate traffic than they can handle. If your network is providing a service to customers, slow responses can make them unhappy even though they aren’t saying anything to you. If it’s overloaded with responses to requests coming from your network, you may have to upgrade your Internet connection to stay productive. Or maybe you’ve just got an employee who’s watching too many videos instead of working.

    For firewall, antivirus, and other protection software to be effective, you have to keep them up to date. New threats are always emerging, and vendors try to keep up with them. Either set the software to auto-update or, if you prefer to review it first, run daily checks for new updates. This applies to the operating system on each computer as well.

    Please contact us to learn how we can help you to set up a secure network.

    Click here to schedule an appointment

    or call 401-773-7766 if you have need some help with your laptop.

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 04/19/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Helpful Guide to PC Backup

    Here’s a Helpful Guide to PC Backup

    In today’s fast-paced world, PC Backup is of the utmost importance. Usually data files, photos, music, projects and films are all stored in a common place – your PC however, having all your computer files in only one place is quite unsafe as you can easily lose the data you’ve spent a lot of time accumulating and creating.

    There are several forms of backup that you can use to reduce the risk of ever losing your precious data. But why is it that so many people still complain of losing some important files? Perhaps it’s because most people think it’s a complicated affair but we are going to debunk all these using this simple and helpful guide to PC Backup.

    What should you back in addition to your ‘important files?’

    Documents, photos, music and film are usually the first things to be backed up, but you should also consider other data types such as:

    • Browsers

    This might not seem important until you lose all your passwords, bookmarks, favorites and cookies. Most browsers come with an onsite backup feature, for example, Mozilla has an inbuilt backup and sync in Firefox. All you need to do is set up an account on the menu bar and you can set this up on all your Firefox enabled devices.

    • Email

    Ensure that all your important emails are backed up especially if you don’t use Gmail or outlook.com. You can either back up your emails manually or consult our technicians here at Onsite Techs for a more efficient method.

    Other data you should consider backing up are drivers and social networks such as Facebook, twitter, Instagram and linked in, just in case of data loss.

    Different types of backup

    • Selecting files

    If you have specific data that you want to back up, use software that allows you select the files you want to save, but remember, you need to have at least 2 copies of a file done on a regular basis to ensure you are always safely backed up.

    • Cloud storage and file synching

    If you are using more than one computer, then you need to use a file synchronization software that will ensure you always have the same files on all your devices. This include online backup that allows you to access your file even from your smartphone at any time for as long you have internet connectivity. You can use Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft One Drive.

    We provide you with fast, onsite or remote, malware removal, virus removal, PC Backup, troubleshooting, networking and a local one hour service window. Contact us today for the best backup, computer and networking solutions.

    When it comes to PC Backup, you are better safe than sorry!

    If you need help designing and executing a backup plan for your home or business, please contact us.

    Click here to schedule an appointment

    or call 401-773-7766 if you have need some help with your laptop.

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 04/14/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Network Security Is Crucial

    Network Security Is Crucial to Small Business Survival

      When you close your business for the evening, you probably lock all of the doors and windows to make sure that nobody can get in. Physical security is important to you; you wouldn’t want to return in the morning to find your cash register and safe emptied or your equipment and inventory missing. You should take the same types of measures to protect your network security. For many small businesses, more money flows through their network than their cash register. Credit card charges, banking logins and other financial transactions all flow through your network. This makes insecure networks a target for hackers looking for ways to access financial accounts and steal money. Every year, small businesses lose millions of dollars to hackers; according to NPR, theft from small business bank accounts is often not covered by the bank. Maintaining your network security is key to reducing your risk of cybertheft. Holes in your network can allow hackers to enter and set up software that monitors your transactions, and then create transactions of their own. This may be what happened to business owner Stuart Rolfe; hackers likely monitored his communications with his bookkeeper, and then used the information to credibly instruct his bookkeeper to send more than $1 million of his money to accounts in China. Cyber security professionals can help to reduce the risk of these types of thefts by securing your network, ensuring that your systems are patched and secured. They can scan your systems for known types of rootkits and help you to develop a security strategy. If you need help designing and executing a network security plan for your business, please contact us.

    Click here to schedule an appointment

    or call 401-773-7766 if you have need some help with your network.

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 04/02/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    5 Ways to Stay Secure Online

    5 Ways to Stay Secure Online

    We handle many different problems each week but the majority of calls we get are from people who got in trouble by clicking something they shouldn’t have. Here are 5 tips to keep you secure online.  

    1. Hook up to a network that you know.

    Free Wi-Fi is tempting, but be sure that you consider who is providing the connection. Public connections at the local coffee shop are usually unsecured and leave your machine open to outsiders. While these networks provide a convenience, there are risks to be aware of.  Check out this post at pixelprivacy.com for a more in depth post about the dangers of public Wi-Fi.

    2. Bank and shop with caution.

    Shopping from familiar websites is a good place to start. Stick with the reputable sites that are tried and true – like Amazon or eBay. Also, when checking out and finalizing the purchase, look for the ‘padlock’ symbol or the abbreviation ‘https’ in the address bar at the top of your browser. This will ensure that you are on a secure, encrypted part of this webpage. Keeping an eye on your bank statements for suspicious activity is always a good idea, among these other best practices for shopping online. Read more

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  • 03/22/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    black laptop screen?

    What Happens When Your Laptop Screen Goes Black?

    Depending on the circumstance, a black screen on your laptop could be nothing: it could be that a computer’s sleep function has been engaged, shutting off the screen, which can usually be fixed by "waking" the computer with the spacebar, mouse or key combination for your laptop. However, if you were working on it and it simply went black, there are a number of possibilities to consider when troubleshooting on your own. If you need help, our local techs can be onsite within a 1 hour service window to help you determine the problem.


    1. The graphics card or LCD is malfunctioning. The easiest way to check if this is a problem with your computer is to plug your laptop into an external monitor. If you suddenly see everything that was on your screen as before and can interact with the computer as before, then chances are that your LCD is the culprit. If not, however, this would indicate that there is a problem with the graphics card or motherboard. The smartest solution, if nothing pops up when you attempt to boot, would be to call one of our local techs to take a look at it and advise if it needs computer repair.
    2. There is a problem with the LCD inverter. The way to check this is to see if you can get your laptop in bright lighting and try to see if anything is happening on the screen. When there is an LCD inverter (often labelled a "backlight") problem, the LCD cannot become bright enough to produce a picture. This has a pretty fast resolution; call us! Replacing the inverter is a straightforward task and it can be fixed within a very short window.

    3. There is a problem with your motherboard. Depending on what type of laptop it is, the replacement of the motherboard can often rival the cost of replacing the laptop altogether. If this is the case, then the solution is usually pretty drastic, and it might be smarter to have a specialist look into moving your data on to a new laptop.
    4. Malware. Surprising as it is, malware can often make a computer look non-functional. One way to check is to reboot your computer and see if there is a login at the BIOS screen, whether you see your operating system’s boot sequence (such as a Windows screen) and take a look at when precisely the screen goes black. This may involve a technician to use malware removal or virus removal tools from safe mode or something similar to resolve the issue. The good news is that if this is the case, it’s unlikely that any hardware will have to be replaced.

    Click here to schedule an appointment
    or call 401-773-7766 if you have need some help with your laptop.

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 03/03/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Computer or phone scam victim

    Did you or someone you know receive a call from Microsoft?

    Or was it Dell, HP or the IRS?

    Almost everyday we get calls from customers that have been targeted by these thieves. The person will tell you that they can see on their system that your computer is infected by hundreds of pieces of malware, Trojans etc. and if you would like for them to fix it for you (for a fee of course). or they have popup windows on their computer with a woman voice who starts speaking over the computer very loudly, while a loud siren screaming in the background. She loudly tells you not shut off your computer, and she instructs me over and over again to immediately telephone the telephone number shown on the computer screen to receive immediate virus removal help from them.

    None of this is real and is just tactics used to make you give out your credit card information and steal your money.  Sometimes once they get access to your system they will leave malware behind so they can access your computer without you knowing it.

    Click here to schedule an appointment
    or call 401-773-7766 if you have been a victim of these criminals!

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 03/02/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Virus Removal Rhode Island

    If you are looking for the best Virus and malware removal Company in Providence Rhode Island and surrounding communities of Cranston, Warwick, Smithfield and Johnston consider Onsite Techs your fastest choice. Affordable Computer Repair Service. Onsite same day Service available.

    Virus removal services we provide:

    Yesterday, a client called into our Rhode Island computer repair office asking if we offered virus removals and where she could drop her computer off, we were happy to inform her that there was no need for her to bring the computer to us, because as our company name states we are "Onsite Techs" Our virus removals include malware and spyware removal, Windows updates and a tune up. Our antivirus protection is the best in town and is monitored and maintained by us so our clients do not have to worry about updating and scanning.

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 03/02/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Data Recovery Rhode Island

    If you are looking for the best Data recovery Company in Providence Rhode Island and surrounding communities of Cranston, Warwick, Smithfield and Johnston consider Onsite Techs your fastest choice. Affordable Computer Repair Service. Onsite same day Service available.

    Here are some of the services we provide:

    Data Recovery and Data Backup

    Spyware, Malware and Virus Removal

    Network Installation

    Data Recovery and Data Backup

    PC Desktop and Laptop Computer Repair, Mac Computer Repair

    Managed Services

    Server install, Server monitoring and Repair

    Troubleshooting

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 03/01/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Computer Repair Rhode Island

    If you are looking for the best Computer Repair Company in Rhode Island, consider Onsite Techs your fastest choice. Affordable Computer Repair Service. Onsite same day Service available.

    Here are some of the services we provide:

    Data Recovery and Data Backup

    Spyware, Malware and Virus Removal

    Network Installation

    Data Recovery and Data Backup

    PC Desktop and Laptop Computer Repair, Mac Computer Repair

    Managed Services

    Server install, Server monitoring and Repair

    Troubleshooting

    Michael Andersen and his team of certified and friendly technicians come with an extensive background in the Computer and Network service industry, with over 20 years of combined experience. We serve clients in the Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown, Narragansett and the rest of Rhode Island

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  • 02/19/2016 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Management Tools for Your Small Business

    Most small businesses and individuals are not in the technology field.  While some business owners may have just enough knowledge to set up their necessary local software, discussion of networks and security is beyond their scope.  Regardless, these are essential elements of running a secure business in just about any area and not addressing them could end up costing you both time and money.  Here some basic technology management tools that you should investigate for your growing business.

    Networking

    It no longer makes sense for everyone in an office to have a separate and isolated PC as shared information is generally vital to running a business.  Depending on your company and its needs, setting up a network is probably going to save you money in long run.  Whether you choose to use server technology, the cloud, or some combination of the two will depend on your circumstances.

    Data Security

    Regardless of the type of system you set up, data security is more important today than ever.  On the server side, firewalls should be used and strong anti-virus protection put in place.  Employees should also be trained on security issues, such as protecting access points.

    Password Protection

    Password protection is a big part of data security and it can’t be understated.  While all employees should be trained to use strong passwords, these may still be vulnerable to hacking.  There are several good password management tools for small businesses that promise to keep your information secure.  Among these are CommonKey, LastPass, and Password Genie.   Each of these tools locks down your personal information and even allows you delegation permissions if you wish to share it with managers.

    Backup Solutions

    There is nothing worse than having a computer failure in your business and losing valuable data.  Customer names, sales records, or important financial information can disappear overnight.  This is why it is so important to have automatic backup and restore systems in place.  Our solutions are very affordable considering the potential cost to your business of a data loss.

    Troubleshooting Issues

    When an issue with business systems does arise, having a local company that you can turn to for onsite fast assistance is critical.  Most businesses aren’t prepared to simply shut down when there are customers waiting, so finding a company with a 1 hour service window would be ideal.  Often, the issue could be as simple as virus removal or malware removal and other times there may be more technical problems such as networking updates that haven’t been installed.

    While most people didn’t go into business to run network systems and troubleshoot virus removal problems, they are a fact of life in today’s world.  Setting up an efficient running system is the first step and having safeguards in place for backup and ongoing services will keep your company online and taking care of its core business.

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  • 11/05/2015 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    When was the last time you changed your password?

    Do you use the same password for facebook and banking?

    Does your password consist of a combination of your child birthday and your dogs name?

    Is is password1 or even worse 123456?

    Is it because you couldn’t possibly remember individual passwords for every website you access?

    If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you are leaving yourself open to having your password hacked and your identity stolen.

    Luckily there are tools that can make it a lot easier to manage and create complicated passwords and you don’t have to memorize all of them. You just have to remember one.

    Enter password managers. Password managers are applications that help you manage, create and store passwords for all of your online activities.

    In this article we are going to focus on Lastpass; Lasspass installs into your browser and imports all the passwords that are stored here (you will be surprised how many!). You then create a master password and from then on all you have to remember is that one password. Lastpass will then fill in automatically all the passwords that you have stored. Lastpass will also remind you to change your passwords when they get too old.

    Here is a short video explaining a bit more:

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  • 09/22/2015 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Office 2016 – Released today!

    It has been 3 years since the last major update to the most used office suite on the planet. Microsoft released Office 2016 today and if you are a office 365 subscriber you can download it for free by going to your office account and click install.

    There are a bunch of new features but the most useful one for the common user has to be the "Tell Me"feature. Lets say that you don’t know how to insert a footnote in a word document, simply type footnote into the "tell me" box and Microsoft will show you how and where to do it.  Need a specific formula in Excel? Simply type it in and again Microsoft will list options that will get you on the right track.

    for a screenshot tour of all the new features checkout Howtogeek.com

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  • 09/13/2015 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Tool bars – Why you should get rid of them

    How many tool bars do you have in your browser? Do you remember installing them?

    a tool bar is an installed add on in your browser. In most cases it adds another bar at the top of your browser window, typically below the URL window. A toolbar may contain a search box, links, menus or other features. There are thousands of different tool bars out there, the most common come from Google, Bing (MSN) and Yahoo.

    Why do these companies want us to install their tool bar? They want your searches and by getting your searches they also get to show the ads that they want you to see.

    There are many legit tool bars but many more bad ones that once installed can track your every move on the internet and even give access to more dangerous software such as root-kits, trojans etc.

    Tool bars can also slowdown your computer and browser.

    The benefit of legit tool bars are so low that we generally advise to get rid of all tool bars. There is really no need for them.

    Give us a call if you need some help removing those pesky tool bars, we will even tune up your computer while we are there.

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  • 09/13/2015 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Should I update?

    "I never know if I should update?"

    We hear that almost every time we speak to a customer, some people are worried that they might screw something up or that the notification to update is legit. Many times people do not update because it is inconvenient.

    Here is why you should update

    An operating system such as Windows, Mac OS or Linux is a very complex piece of software with millions of lines of code. To read through every piece of code would take one person weeks if not months and years, so pinpointing a bug in the code is extremely difficult and very time consuming unless you know what exactly is causing the bug. No operating system, or any other software for that matter, is released bug free. Although beta testers that use and test the software before it is released report many major problems, some major and many minor bugs go undiscovered until months or years after the software is released, so constant updates to fix these bugs are necessary.

    Sometimes, problem free program code is changed to make things easier to use or more secure for the end user. Improvements can sometimes be made up to 10 years or more after the software is released! In the first year of an operating system being released to the public, there may still be major problems and security bugs in the code. Fortunately, users are reporting these discovered bugs, therefore developers such as Microsoft and Apple are  fixing those bugs non-stop, and releasing updates. Most people have automatic updates already enabled on operating systems such as Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8, but people that disabled their automatic updates, should check for updates at least monthly, or even better,  enable automatic updates. Many bugs that cause your computer to freeze, programs to close unexpectedly, leave your computer more open to viruses or other attacks, and other undesirable issues can be corrected simply by installing updates on a regular basis.

    If you upgraded to Windows 10 then you can no longer turn off Windows Updates, Microsoft took it out of your hands.  This is a good thing for the average user, if you are a tech guy then you might not agree.

    Besides windows you should also update your browsers, anti-virus and other software on a regular basis.

    If you must have Adobe Flash and Java* make sure they are updated regularly also.

    *we recommend uninstalling them completely.

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  • 09/13/2015 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Remote Backup – Is your data safe?

    Onsite Techs is committed to protecting your data onsite and via Remote backup.

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    • Data loss statistics are frightening for both homeowners and small businesses: Hardware and system failures account for 78% of all data loss.
    • Over 700,000 new viruses were identified last year alone 93% of companies that suffer a significant data loss are out of business within 5 years.
    • A hard drive crashes every 15 seconds 100% of all hard drives eventually fail! Think about all of the critical data that is on your home or business computer. Financial documents, important letters, spreadsheets, presentations not to mention all of your music files and irreplaceable photos!
    • While CD’s and desktop backup devices are a good first step, what would happen in case of a fire, flood or break in? Your best (and safest) solution is off site data backup. Your data is securely encrypted and then sent via the internet to a level 4 data center.

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    We can help you setup remote backup and protect your valuable data.

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  • 09/13/2015 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Is your Password safe?

    Do you use the same password for everything?  Is it Password1, 1234567 or the name of your child or dog?

    There is a more secure way to have a strong secure passwords without having to remember crazy character combinations such as 13ghGYO*&#$%.

    There are many password managers, but I use and recommend KeePass . Keepass helps me keep track of all my passwords and keep your password safe, there is even a iPhone and Android app and the best part is that it is free!

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  • 09/13/2015 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Membership

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Onsite Techs offers affordable Memberships for both Residential and Business Customers to save you time and money!

    This membership includes:
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    • Low Monthly payments
    • up to 20% Discount off the standard hourly service rate
    • Software and Hardware Discounts
    • V.I.P Priority Service
    • 10% Off Preventative Maintenance Rates
    • And Exclusive Offers

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    If you’re looking for a great solution for your small business computers, or you need a larger solution, contact us today.

    *Ask your Technician how signing up for a Membership can save you money!

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  • 09/13/2015 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Parental Control

    The internet is part of all of our lives, everyone have access to infinite amounts of data, pictures and movies. A lot of this data is not suited for children and we here at Onsite Techs get asked all the time "How do I control what my children have access to?".

    There are a few options for parental control ranging from software to hardware options that can block access specified by the user.

    Software solutions

    There are many different software packages that will block access to what is specified but the user, we recommend AVG Family Safety and McAfee Family Protection both programs can block games according to the rating and monitor instant messaging. The settings can be accessed from any PC as they are  stored in the cloud. The level of control is very comprehensive and individual user settings are easy to configure.

    Hardware Solutions

    Some routers have built in parental control, which means you can configure your kids access levels right in the router settings. The benefit is that all devices that access the internet via the router such as computers, tablets and game consoles can have access limited via the routr settings. One of the drawbacks is that individual user settings can be difficult to setup.

    Mobile

    If your child have a cellphone then none of the solutions we mentioned above will block anything on the phone once they are of the WiFi network.

    Besides the built in parental control settings on a phone you would have to install an app, Net Nanny has IOS and android apps that are very intuitive to setup and configure.

    Social

    Net Nanny also have a parental control software solution for social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ and LinkedIn.  It identifies online threats such as cyberbullying, cyber-stalking, or grooming.

    We have only mentioned a few of the solutions that are out there these days, if you find it all confusing and you don’t know what would be right for you, give us a call and we will be happy to walk you through it step by step.

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  • 06/20/2014 - Michael Andersen 0 Comments
    Rhode Island’s On-Site Computer Service

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    Call now for fast service!

    Central RI 401-773-7766

    Southern RI 401-560-0022

    Schedule Online Now!

    Spyware and Virus Removal

    System Tune Up & Maintenance

    Data Recovery and Backup

    We offer a full range of computer diagnostics, repair services and solutions for your business or home. Virus removal, wireless networking, business networks and routing, PC upgrades, System Tune-ups, Computer troubleshooting and more.

    Same day, evening and weekend and remote appointments available!

    We are local, friendly, fast, and we understand your problem!

    info@onsitetechsri.com

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RI Service Areas: Providence, Cranston, Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown, South Kingstown, Narragansett, South County, Jamestown, Newport, and surrounding communities. 

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