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Know Your Computer Network Before Hiring An IT Service Provider

Image of Computer Network Assessment ScanningDo You Know Your Computer Network? The often overlooked and sometimes taken for granted software and hardware that make things happen daily for your business or organization. The computers and laptops, servers and switches, firewalls, the power strip etc. How much of your computer network environment do you actually know?

First of all, it is a fact that the cost of doing business has made it a tough going for many small organizations. Therefore, as CEOs of small businesses and Executive Directors of nonprofit organizations are contemplating how to keep customers, employees and donors happy, a lot of offers are bound to be presented, all promising to save cost and provide I.T. nirvana.

For that reason, before you throw the doors open for service providers to come to your environment and start mucking around, it may be a good time to backup for a minute and take time to ask yourself these few questions:

Do you know what you have, in terms of computer network infrastructure?

  • Do you know your hardware and software?
    If the answer is no, maybe or not sure, start the documentation process now. You should know your network devices, operating systems and software programs.
  • Do you know the difference between a home router and an enterprise router?
    If you are using consumer brands like D-Link, Netgear, or Linksys routers to connect your commuter network devices, the answer is probably “No”.
    While such routers are great to connect home networks to the Internet, they are probably not the best option for most midsize businesses. Almost all of these types of routers do not have capabilities for enterprise grade management. Furthermore, they lack troubleshooting features, and for that reason, they have weak performance capabilities, reliability options, and above all, lack the protocols and modules required for most company networks.

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How Businesses Can Protect Their Wireless Access Points

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The current high rate of mobile users warrants that wireless access users, especially business users, should know how to protect their wireless access points.

First of all, regular business travelers, high-tech adventurers, or those who just love traveling are increasingly vulnerable to unique cyber security threats. This is even more dire in the case of business travelers because they often carry sensitive data that may be personal or business related.

And most noteworthy, this sensitive data reside on a variety of devices from laptops, tablets, and smartphones to other smart devices such as wearables and home appliances.

A recent survey of financial districts found a high percentage of Wi-Fi clients actively probing for “Free Public WiFi”, and cyber criminals create fake wireless access points (SSIDs), hoping that unsuspecting users will log into one of these.

Fraudulent SSIDs Can Lead To Wireless Access Points Attack

It can be tough to convince users — especially those challenged by shrinking travel budgets — to avoid the temptation and draw of free wireless Internet access. When employers can’t or won’t pay for unlimited wireless Internet, employees get creative. Why should they waste thankless hours waiting for planes and trains when they could be using Free Public WiFi to catch up on mail, download iTunes, or watch a little Slingbox? (more…)

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Six Risk-Based Questions for Nonprofits With In-House Computer Experts

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Nonprofits and other small and medium sized organizations must ask these six questions before their In-House Computer Expert Quits to avoid disaster.

Here’s an important question most nonprofits don’t think about: what would happen if the in-house IT guru suddenly quit? Most nonprofit leaders think it would only be a temporary inconvenience when, in fact, the opposite is usually true. Want to know how much you are at risk?

If you are the Executive Director, President, or leader of a nonprofit organization, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does your nonprofit organization have a written network documentation about its computer network?
    What software licenses do you own? What are the critical administrator passwords to your systems and devices? How is your computer network structured?  What hardware do you own and when do your equipment warranties expire?  Are there cloud vendors for email, online storage, etc. that you don’t’ currently have?
    Do you allow a single IT person to keep this information under their full control over your network and nonprofit organization?  If they suddenly left for any reason, this could lead to huge consequences for your nonprofit organization.

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7 Critical Cyber Security Measures for Associations

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Your Computer Network Is Being Haunted, And Your Membership Association is Under Cyber Security Attacks.

Right now, Cyber Security attacks are being perpetrated by extremely dangerous and well-funded cyber crime rings using sophisticated techniques to hack into thousands of membership associations to steal credentials, credit cards, and other confidential business data with one goal in mind: blackmail the executives of these associations to recover data, and swindle money directly out of their organization’s bank accounts.

This new threat is called CEO Phishing, and it is a real threat. FBI also calls them “Business Email Compromise” (BEC). If you’ve recently received a bogus email supposedly from your Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, or a member of the board asking for a bank transfer, you just got a taste of this threat.

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

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

The worst part of this is that all the current security tools we pile onto the network are practically useless against these types of cyber security attacks because they target human beings. This is what is popularly known as social engineering attacks.

According to security experts, the most advanced antivirus software, firewall, spam filter, two-factor-authentication, intrusion detection system, secure web application firewall, and data encryption tools will not stop these types of attack.

What can you do?

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Avoid Four Common Business Office Move Mistakes

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A business office Move always present a big pain for those involved, but it doesn’t have to be a horrific, expensive experience. The number one complaint from someone who’s experienced a “bad” move is, “I didn’t know I needed to…” followed closely by “I completely forgot that…” In other words, it’s what you don’t do that makes the move a disaster.

To make your business office move easy and effortless, here are the 4 most common  mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1 — Not Using A Checklist
One common business office move mistake is not using a checklist. This may seem like a no-brainer to those who manage projects, but project management may not be a forte of someone placed in charge of your move (like an office admin, or the IT guy). Even those who use a list typically fail to make the list detailed enough. (more…)

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Mobile Device Safety Tips For Commercial Printing Executives

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Mobile Device Safety Tips For Commercial Printing Executives

It is safe to say that most executives of commercial printing businesses are tied to their mobile phones. Given the sensitive nature of the customer data they sometimes have to manage and communicate, mobile device safety is very important.

Commercial printing executives sometimes have a crazy schedule, and usually have to deal with the erratic demands from customers who want the job done now, on the fly – even when Print-on-Demand customers submit design materials late, or approve proofs at the last minute.

Mobile devices come in handy for looking up requests for quotes, proof approvals, sending files to customers, and browsing websites. At times, when there is a little break from the hectic schedule, mobile devices allow us to keep in contact with friends and family, buy stuff, and pay bills.

Mobile devices can be a double-edged sword. They allow us to store data, contact information, photos, emails and files; and when we can afford to take breaks, provide a source for entertainment.

They could also be a major source of headaches by exposing users to malicious software.

Not managing their usage properly can lead to situations where all that personal information and valuable data, not to mention the information of customers and partners, could be at risk. (more…)

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