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Be careful with social engineering scams that install malware

Reduce Malware Infections in 7 Steps

7 IT Solutions To Reduce the Risk Of Malware Infections

Friday, June 26 2020 The University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine paid over $1 million to regain access to data after hackers encrypted it with malware.

Situations like this happen all the time. Unfortunately, businesses and institutions across the world have failed to properly prepare for cyberattacks. In many cases it’s a matter of outdated infrastructure and insufficient funding. In other cases, it’s neglect or improper training.

Because of the fact that if your system is infected, you likely won’t be getting your files back unless you pay the ransom, you likely don’t want this to infect your work systems. One of the ways to limit the possibility of this is to educate your employees on how to minimize the chances their systems will be infected. Here are seven practical IT solutions to reduce the risk of malware infections.

1) Watch out For Vulnerabilities

Cyber attackers are using all kinds of technology to exploit networks and systems. One piece of malicious tech they use are exploit kits. Exploit kit, also exploit packs, are programs used to deliver malware to a vulnerable network.

What do I mean by vulnerable? A vulnerability in software is a mistake, or error, in the code. The hacker manipulates the user into visiting a malicious website and if any errors exist in the code of the system, the exploit can be implemented.

Furthermore, exploit kits function in the background making it difficult to determine when you’re experiencing an attack.

Update your operating system, browsers, and plugins. If there’s an update to your computer waiting on queue, don’t let it linger.  Additionally, updates to operating systems, browsers, and plugins are often released to patch any security vulnerabilities discovered.

You can protect yourself from these types of attacks by avoiding links and remembering to update your software. Many of us have the nasty habit of putting off systems updates. The little icon in the corner that reminds us of a new update is often seen as a bother. However, consider the alternative.

These systems updates fix any security vulnerabilities the developers and programmers uncover. There is actually a type of vulnerability called a Zero-Day vulnerability and it happens when hackers exploit undiscovered or unintended vulnerabilities. The malware is actually called zero-day exploits.

This applies to mobile phones as well. Software updates on your phone are meant to strengthen the software and patch any flaws the programmers missed when releasing the software. Software is constantly improving because code is constantly improving.

This explanation in many ways oversimplifies the process but it works for our purposes.

2) Remove Software and Files From your Systems You aren’t using

We’ve all heard of spring cleaning. We look through all the things we have and toss out what we don’t use. If we let things accumulate they create clutter and can create big problems. Well, the same thing applies to software on your devices.

You have to periodically look through all the software on your devices and determine which ones are outdated and which ones are worth keeping. For example, Microsoft no longer releases software updates for Windows 7 and Windows XP. Furthermore, using these applications without support or patch updates puts you in a position to get hacked.

How old are the applications you use? When did you last update them?

Do your homework and find out or someone else will.

3) Be aware of Social Engineering

Cybercriminals spread malware into your systems through social engineering tactics like phishing. There are older, less commons ways too that are worth going over. In some cases, a hacker will place an unlabeled USB in a public place or an office. The idea is that an unsuspecting victim will pick it up, consider it harmless and claim it as their own. This is also a form of social engineering because it still manipulates users into executing a certain action.

There are anti phishing tools you can use like Retruster that protect against fraudulent emails, phishing and ransomware. There are also many plug ins available for free that help users identify malicious links by creating a “safe to click” marker on them.

4) Inspect your Inbox Like Your business depended on it: Because it does.

Understand that the biggest vulnerability your business has walks on two feet. It doesn’t matter how many tools, tips and software updates you have if you fall for a social engineering scam. And it doesn’t just happen to small companies either.

Facebook and Google put together were victim to a payment scam of over $100 million. Between 2013 and 2015 a Lithuanian hacker managed to send each company fake invoices while pretending to be an Asian manufacturer they were in business with.

This is an example of Vishing, a.k.a. voice phishing. Leading to the next point:

5) Always Verify credentials with Cold Callers

Vishing is a bit more difficult to pull off on companies. However, when done correctly it can generate a huge amount of profit for the scammer like I mentioned with Facebook and Google.

Depending on the company you might get a call from someone pretending to be Microsoft. In other cases it’ll be a vendor or a bank checking in. It’s difficult to say in what form these scams will come because the scammers tailor them specifically for a business.

In the case of Facebook and Google, for example, the scammers had to know they two companies were working with that specific vendor.

For your company it will be different according to your specific circumstances. If it isn’t believable then the victim won’t fall for it.

6) Make sure You have a Secure Connection

Whether you’re working in the office or remotely, you need to ensure your connection is secure. If you’re working from home, perhaps you’ll need a VPN to protect your Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, when you’re browsing on the web make sure the website is secure.

7) Use strong passwords with Multi-layer authentication

A large percentage of people reuse the same passwords for the personal and professional logins. It’s time to change that habit. Companies like Google and Apple created password generators that create strong, complex passwords. However, don’t leave it up to google.

If your business doesn’t use multi-layer authentication for access to important documents, files or websites, you’re living in the past. Nerds Support uses multi factor password authentication to ensure whoever is logging in can only do so if they are the right person.

Our systems require a mobile phone confirmation, email confirmation and password confirmation in order to provide access to our systems. That way, if a device gets stolen or a hacker gains access to a password, neither will be enough to access files alone.

Conclusion

Malware attacks are growing. Now that businesses are moving towards remote work, protecting against these types of attacks are more important than ever. Cyber security is not just about the technologies that protect your important data. It’s also about what you are doing to protect your business. It is the first and the last line of defense.

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5 Mistakes When Choosing a Managed IT Service Provider

What is The Role Of A Managed IT Service Provider

One of the biggest misconceptions about working with a managed IT services company is the idea that you have to replace your IT department.

However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Managed Services companies are usually brought in to augment and assist existing IT personnel.

Small and medium sized businesses often hire a managed IT services company to provide the same support they would have with an advanced IT department at a lower cost.

Co-managed IT services are options as well. Co-management services are for businesses that already have an IT department but want to improve upon it while taking advantage of the cost savings and structure of an MSP.

The benefits of a managed services company are numerous. For one thing, they handle application and network security issues while lightning the workload for I.T. departments.

Every business wants to grow, but growing too fast comes with its burdens as well. Rapid, exponential growth could start putting a strain on your resources and time. IT is no exception.

But, should you make the decision of hiring a managed IT services company, you have to know what to look for.

Unfortunately, business owners fail to consider some very important factors when choosing an MSP that is right for them.

Here are 5 BIG mistakes businesses make when hiring an MSP and how to avoid them.

1) Letting Managed IT Services Handle ALL of your Problems

Outsourcing all of regular applications and security to an MSP doesn’t rid you of responsibility. It’s still very important that you develop a strategy alongside your IT department and review it with the Managed services provider.

Businesses have to stay in the know when it comes to IT solutions and requirements. An MSP might know your industry well, but only you know your company.

As a business owner you need to discuss compliance, security, infrastructure and strategy regularly and frequently. This ensures the MSP is doing their jobs according to your business goals and complimenting them.

2) Relinquishing Control

Some providers gain popularity simply because they are large. But that doesn’t make them right for your business. Especially since they are so large that establishing a point of contact is nearly impossible.

This is a big problem among large public cloud providers. Public cloud providers have so many clients that they don’t have the time to cater to a individual client’s needs. It devolves into a tenant/landlord relationship rather than a partnership.

You are sharing their services with other businesses and they don’t have time to review your concerns. There are even cases where support is sold separately from the cloud service.

At the end of the day an MSP is an extension of your business, not a business unto itself. They are there to consult and contribute but not control. Choose a provider that is transparent and easy to access.

Which leads me to mistake number three.

3) Choosing a provider that is indifferent about response time.

Downtime is a significant issue for all businesses. However, not all MSP’s act accordingly when it comes it comes to downtime.

Choosing a provider that fails to properly respond to down time is particularly horrible because it can be frustrating, agonizing and terrifying.

Imagine your business goes down and not only is the response time slow, but support is nearly unreachable. The average response time for a large MSP is 5.5 hours. They often market themselves in a way that de-emphasizes their response time in favor of their durable network and security. But, that’s just a trick.

A great MSP has multiple alert systems and responds to downtime in twelve minutes or less. Anything beyond that is negligence. It doesn’t matter how popular, “efficient” or “secure” an MSP is when during an outage or downtime they’re nowhere to be found.

54 percent of companies experienced a downtime event that lasted more than eight hours. That means over half of all companies, regardless of size, experience downtime of over a full work day. Furthermore, that could lead to massive hits in profit and revenue.

According to a Ponemon Institute Study, the average cost of an outage is $9,000 per minute. Let that sink in. Eight hours, sixty minutes an hour, $9,000 per minute. Let that sink in.

4) Thinking all MSP’s are Essentially the same

All MSP’s are different. Managed IT Services companies have resources and tools that suite different companies. Don’t assume that all MSP’s offer the same services or have the same expertise.

For example, Nerds Support works with many financial services companies and CPA’s. As a result, we put a heavy emphasis on cloud compliance and regulations. Financial firms are heavily regulated due to the sensitive information they work with on a regular basis. So whatever MSP a financial firm hires has to closely follow those same regulatory guidelines.

To achieve compliance we had to undergo SOC I and SOC II audits to ensure our clients felt secure relying on us with securing their data and systems.

You have to make sure you ask any potential MSP the right questions. If you want to know exactly what questions to ask a prospective MSP, check out our e-guide “22 Questions for your IT Department”.

5) Misunderstanding Service Level Agreements

The contract between a company and a Managed IT services provider is called a Service Level Agreement, or SLA. Make sure that the contract and the agreement are clear that all relevant staff knows the ins and outs.

That includes where and when these services are available, where their servers are located, how to contact support and what is covered in the terms of billing.

The MSP should provide you with a non-disclose agreement that needs to be signed before the provider gains access to your company’s confidential data.

There should also be an understanding of how to report and analyze resources and services. If something isn’t working to your expectations, know how to report it and who to report to.

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Hosted Solutions Makes the Most of Your Miami BusinessMi

To some people, hosted solutions seems easy enough to comprehend. However, hosted solutions is such a generic term, that most people seem to have a different definition for the term.

Hosted Solutions refers to a plethora of solutions and services that is meant to serve end users in the giant world of the cloud. Thousands of different businesses need different types of applications and hosted solutions helps the cloud figure out which user needs what kind of application.

CPA firms might need a cloud that works with financial applications, while law firms may require a cloud that can hold a large quantity of documents and contracts. In the article below, find out what makes a hosted solutions plan good.

Hosted Solutions Should Provide all the Applications that You need

A great hosted solutions plan should be able to provide all the applications you need from one cloud, which is why Nerds Support is a great IT support Miami team to keep your business running efficiently. Take CPA Firms in Miami, for example. When an accounting firm uses Thomson Reuters’ cloud, they are only able to use Thomson Reuters’ applications. This means that if an accounting firm wishes to utilize Microsoft or Quickbooks, they will have to turn to another cloud in order to use these tools.

With Nerds Support’s Miami Cloud Computing Solutions, Miami CPA Firms would not have to use two separate clouds, but rather one reliable and flexible cloud to make cloud services for CPA Firms look effortless.

Hosted Solutions Should Provide a More Flexible Cloud

Having all of your business applications on one cloud means that your employees do not have to remember as many passwords to access their files, as they would if they were working on two separate clouds. Having one cloud would also make it easy to work remotely. If you own a freight forwarding company, having all of your business applications on one cloud can help any employee that is always on the go. Since employees in freight forwarding companies may be constantly on the road, it can be annoying to have to sign into two different clouds through a phone.

Employees working at home will also have a hassle-free experience, thanks to Nerds Support’s Miami cloud solutions! Nerds Support’s cloud hosting solutions holds almost all business applications, remote workers will save themselves from downloading two clouds to their laptops. The space that they will save will not only make their laptops faster, but make them more productive as well.

Nerds Support Provides Award-Winning Miami Business Hosted Solutions

Nerds Support’s Miami Hosted Solutions helps Freight Forwarders, CPA/Accounting Firms and Law Firms in South Florida. The team works with companies in order to provide the best solutions for their businesses. State-of-the-art technology will protect your businesses, and all the applications you need, from data breaches and hackers. Our highly advanced Miami cloud solutions also assure companies that they will be able to keep all of their business applications on one cloud.

If you would like to learn more about hosted solutions, you can fill out a contact form here or you can call us today at 305-551-2009.

A man using his cell phone to make a business call

Miami Law Firms NEED Data Protection More than Any Other Industry!

Over the past couple of years, Law firms and attorneys have become the industry that are most prone to ransomware attacks, data breaches and other forms of cyberattacks. In other industries, most companies are able to recover their information and run their business once again. Some companies are even able to do this without having to pay a ransom to their attackers. However, in the law industry, the sad truth is that most companies never fully recover from the attack and as a result, they are forced to go out of business.

During this time, our IT Support Miami team feels it is important to highlight the need for business data protection plans in Miami, especially for Law Firms and Attorneys in South Florida. Below, our Business IT Support team lists three benefits of having a data protection plan.

Automatic Data Backups in Miami

Nerds Support’s automatic data backups ensure that your law firm will never lose information. Our data backups are completed once a day to ensure that if your company has any type of incident, our Business IT Support specialists will always have a copy of your information, ready for you to use at any time. This assures that you will always have access to your information.
Business Technology Solutions across South Florida

Our Business IT Support team is equipped with the best skills needed to keep your law firm safe. Our 24/7 IT support is paired with Data Centers and our signature Hardware as a Service (HaaS) to make sure your business is one of the most efficient and secure businesses across South Florida.

Nerds Support’s highly monitored Miami Data Centers keep your law firm information completely secure. Our data centers are always being guarded from the servers to the facility itself. Nerds Support’s IT Support Miami servers are constantly scanned to make sure there are no data breaches or malware in the system. The facility is also heavily guarded to make sure that only authorized personnel come in and out of the premises.

Nerds Support’s Hardware as a Service (HaaS) adds on to South Florida data protection in the sense that our Business IT Support team provides the most up to date technology for your business. Our 24/7 IT Support Miami team also makes sure your technology comes with the latest software to fight ransomware and other malware.

Disaster protection for as Far as West Palm Beach

Another huge advantage that a data protection plan has is that Miami data protection can really help business owners across South Florida with business continuity. From hurricanes to power outages, our Business IT support team has, time and time again, proven themselves capable of protecting businesses across South Florida and keeping them running 24/7.

At Nerds Support, our Business IT Support team is passionate about keeping your Miami law firm safe and secure. If you would like to learn more about our Hardware as a Service and business protection services, please feel free to fill out our contact form or call us at 305-551-2009.

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A Freight Forwarder’s Guide to: Data Protection in Miami

At a glance, data protection seems pretty self-explanatory, but when business owners, such as Miami freight forwarders, look at all the things data protection consists of, these business owners will find that data protection is so much more than protecting data. Data protection is, literally, protecting the livelihood of your business.
Nerds Support’s data protection in Miami services consists of the following:

  • Daily automatic data backups
  • Heavy data monitoring
  • Business disaster recovery
  • Business continuity plans

These services can provide Miami freight forwarders the security they need to carry on their business in a sufficient manner. When combined with our Miami Cloud Services, freight forwarders will truly be able to take on their business on a global scale. Our IT Support Miami team has laid out the importance of each of our data protection services.

Daily automatic data backups

Nerds Support’s daily automatic backups in Miami use their highly monitored data centers to make sure your information is completely safe. Nerds Support’s automatic backups also save a copy of all your company’s information. This is so that if your information ever gets lost, you always have a copy of your latest information. This ensures that even in the worst case scenario, you would only lose a few files.

Heavy Data Monitoring

Nerds Support’s secure data centers constantly scan their servers for any detection of malware or hackers. If they catch something that doesn’t appear right, they alert business owners right away and let them know that the threat was being taken care of.

Business disaster recovery

When going into business, the first thing a freight forwarder should know is that a disaster is imminent. But the second thing a freight forwarder should know is that every business owner can combat disasters with a good disaster recovery plan.

Nerds Support’s disaster recovery plan has proven to be safe and effective for businesses. During Hurricane Irma, Nerds Support was able to keep their servers running at 100% before, during and after the hurricane. This made Nerds Support’s clients one of the few businesses that did NOT have to shut down because of the hurricane. With Nerds Support’s Miami Cloud Solutions, this also meant that employees could work from any place in the world. They didn’t have to miss a day of work.

Business continuity plans

There are many reasons for a business to temporary shutdown. Such reasons may include a power outage, a natural disaster, or even human error. But no matter what the scenario may be, it is important to be able to have a plan in place so that business owners can run their company again in a timely manner.

This is especially true for freight forwarders, who need to stay connected almost 24/7 in order for their business to run efficiently.

Contact Nerds Support

If you are a business owner on the go and you are ready to change your business’ security, contact Nerds Support. We will provide you with data protection in Miami services. You can fill out a contact form here, or call us at 305-551-2009.