The fast-paced, tech-savvy environment makes managed network services a smart move for startups and small businesses. Rather than scrambling to throw together digital infrastructure, fully managed IT services in Chattanooga, Tennessee provide professional-level expertise and security from day one. Below are three benefits of small business IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Why a Small Business Benefits from Using Fully Managed IT Services
Starting off on the right foot in the digital environment gives a leg up to any modern business and represents a critical requirement for survival in a startup-oriented economy. Here are three benefits for small business IT Services in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
1. A Managed IT Provider Increases Security and Reduces Risks
Hackers dedicate their careers to breaching security. Businesses should meet this dedication with equal vigor. Managed IT providers give businesses the same level of professional cybersecurity as the leading tech companies.
When it comes to technology, small businesses are at a disadvantage and hackers know it. Since 2011, cyber attacks have increasingly targeted small businesses because they bank on the assumption that startups and family-owned operations will not have the expertise to thwart infiltration. This approach has worked up until now.
Managed IT services provide one prominent solution to this problem. One of the largest benefits of these services involves the ability to leverage professional experience and infrastructure without needing to make the costly investment to develop them in-house.
The IT industry is rapidly evolving and that is not set to change any time soon. Hackers continue to find more creative ways to make off with valuable data. The challenge of staying on top of all their tricks may stress and bloat a company’s security budget.
This environment creates more ways for critical details to slip through the cracks and create exposure. Conversely, there exist few problems which professional cybersecurity experts have not seen before. When it comes to small business managed network services or IT services, there is no excuse to slack on partnering with a reliable provider.
2. A Managed IT Provider Simplifies Compliance
Finance, healthcare, and manufacturing comprise the three largest industries of Chattanooga. Regulatory compliance is far more than just a buzzword or even a best practice in these industries. Legal requirements make it a priority.
Compliance regulations cover the storage, use, and transmission of data. When correctly followed, they provide a framework which guarantees the safety of employee, patient or consumer data; depending on the industry, these may range from encryption recommendations like in NIST, to legally mandated procedures such as in HIPAA. Failure to comply often involves costly fines or even lawsuits resulting from a breach.
Managed network service providers know regulatory compliance and can help streamline an organization’s achievement of the requirements. In the case of managed IT services, the burden of compliance gets shifted to the professionals. Small businesses can stop worrying.
3. Stay Focused and Boost Competitiveness
Small business IT services keep employees focused on what matters: making the business successful.
IT problems can disrupt productivity and can cause businesses to lose money because most businesses heavily rely on digital infrastructure. The smaller the business, the greater the potential impact. Rather than focusing on profitable strategies, employees spend time detangling problems and searching for the right fix.
Adopting fully managed IT services in Chattanooga, Tennessee also gives small businesses a competitive edge, especially in the city’s startup tech sector. The city where Coca Cola bottled its first drink has a reputation for innovation. Citywide access to fiber internet and investment into startup infrastructure has attracted workers and investors looking for the next big thing which will disrupt an industry.
This means small businesses need to present a professional digital face from the start. They must convey the same stability as established companies, along with the promise of agility and creativity not found in a larger company.
A broken website, half-functioning server – or worse, a successful hack – simply does not send that message. With the right managed IT provider providing seamless support, even startups can send the message that they take security seriously.
Small Business IT Services Give Startups a Boost
Managed IT providers constitute a logical choice for startups and small businesses for many reasons, and those benefits are amplified for newer businesses. Professional experience in digital infrastructure and cybersecurity ensure that a business gets off the right start.
Sixty percent of small businesses fail with six months of a cyber attack, making managed IT services a vital component of every organization. Interested in ensuring the longevity of a business? Contact us today to see how RJ Young’s managed IT services can support your business’s success.
Finding a Huntsville Managed IT Services provider can be challenging, especially in the growing technology market.
A 2018 survey indicated that two-thirds of small businesses reported experiencing a cyber-attack in the twelve months prior. Unfortunately, that mind-boggling number is not a fluke. Hackers bet on a lack of experience within small businesses to secure their customer data and trade secrets. As more regions develop startup infrastructure like the Huntsville technology economy, these attacks will only grow more common.
An increasing number of businesses leverage professional IT services and support to avoid becoming a part of that statistic. Partnering with a managed IT provider will have many immediate benefits including freeing up employees for other strategic applications. Agility constitutes a critical ability in the fast-paced world of tech startups. Managed IT services can help provide this skill.
Technology Guide: What to Look for When Choosing a Managed IT Services Provider in Huntsville, Alabama
There are more than a dozen managed IT providers that operate in the Huntsville, AL area. This area had been recently called the tech hub of the South. Look for these three qualities in a managed IT provider to ensure you are making the best choice.
1. Modern and Well-Planned Facilities
One of the main advantages of using managed IT services includes cost-effectiveness. Outsourcing IT lets a small business gain access to newer technology and improved cybersecurity without the upfront investment which such infrastructure demands. A full service managed IT provider must be able to deliver on these points with a modern, robust network operations center.
Up-to-date facilities indicate a proactive approach to data security. Sophisticated automation technologies or artificial intelligence deployed in deep analytics represent two emerging capabilities in cybersecurity which clients can expect to see. These technologies create the flexibility to rise to the challenge of addressing security in a perpetually evolving digital environment.
Physical investments in redundancy and disaster recovery indicate a commitment to protecting against data loss. This includes considering physical location. A business in Huntsville, Alabama must consider infrastructure prepared to deal with flooding. Many people believe that living on a 100-year floodplain means that they will never see the historic flooding often mentioned in the news.
This means that such a disaster will catch most people off guard when it happens, and a good managed IT provider will consider this when planning its physical and cloud infrastructure.
2. Strong Hard and Soft Skills
The thriving tech scene of Huntsville, Alabama is ideal for attracting startups, but qualifications do not equal experience. IT professionals need a strong set of technical skills, and the ability to know what solutions are appropriate in different environments. IT deployment looks very different in the case of large corporations and small businesses. Leveraging IT solutions to meet the needs of small and growing companies often require the type of creativity and ingenuity which only come with experience.
Additionally, soft skills matter because small businesses often exhibit more specialization than larger ones. They often benefit from service programs which specialize in specific industries. A managed IT provider experienced in working with retail businesses will understand the needs of a retail business much better than one which primarily works with industrial manufacturers.
However, soft skills go beyond simply understanding the unique composition of a small business. IBM identifies deep skills like managing change, professional communication, and cross-platform integration as hallmarks of competent, reliable service. A managed IT provider may implement adequate cybersecurity for a business which can deepen client and vendor relationships, making the provider ultimately sustainable.
3. The Ability to Grow with a Business
Small business can pose particularly challenging IT requirements. They may have unusual business structures which underscore the demand for bespoke solutions. Small businesses constitute dynamic systems which experience change rapidly. Look for a provider who can keep pace with an organization as it expands, changes direction, and encounters unexpected circumstances.
A good clue as to a managed IT provider’s ability to scale lies in its approach to solutions architecture. Effective scaling relies on features like modular infrastructure, and this often manifests as a services catalog. A provider adopts software or processes which fit together like building blocks in this approach. The result creates a high degree of customization possibilities without needing to rebuild an entire system each time.
Scalability has advantages which sustain both the client and the provider. Scalability ensures long relationships with clients, deepening the value and support which a managed IT provider can achieve in the long run.
Looking for a Managed IT Provider in Huntsville, Alabama?
Huntsville, Alabama has made a name for itself as one of the fastest growing tech hubs in the US. Acquiring the IT services and support which a startup or small business needs can be a challenge. Also, it can be especially challenging in an environment that embraces a self-reliant and entrepreneurial spirit.
Managed IT services help small businesses put their best foot forward in the digital field. They ensure their most valuable data remains secure from day one. Find out how managed IT services can benefit startups and small businesses while providing excellent customer service. Contact a managed IT services professional today!
Despite the best efforts of individuals and businesses alike, cyber security incidents rose sharply in 2018. This, despite increasing awareness of the importance of cyber security. While some recent cyberattacks, like the Facebook attack, proved to be very public and well-known, other attacks often go unnoticed or unreported in mainstream news.
Why is the number of cyber security incidents rising, despite strong efforts from professionals around the world? There are several reasons contributing to this rise, which all businesses should know about. Education is the best tool for increasing prevention of these cyber security incidents.
New Types of Cyber Security Breaches
One of the biggest reasons for an increase in cyber security incidents was cryptocurrency mining malware. Cryptocurrency was not well-known until recently. That all changed in late 2017, when cryptocurrency prices rose to all-time highs. What was once an obscure method for exchanging funds online had suddenly become a popular investment tool for many people, which created a new target for hackers.
Even though cryptocurrency prices dropped steadily throughout 2018, there is still value in these digital currencies. As a result, hackers have developed malware that can use the processing power of victim’s computers to mine cryptocurrency. The funds are sent to the hacker, while the victim may be unaware.
The challenge for individuals and businesses is that malware lowers productivity, slows devices, and can lead to premature device failure.
Cyber Attacks are Big Business
As new types of security breaches are developed and discovered, the potential gains for hackers continue to rise. In the past, many cyber security incidents focused on stealing online banking info and other important pieces of information from individuals. While this was profitable for hackers, it pales in comparison to the scale of some recent cyberattacks targeting businesses.
It is estimated that cyber attacks cost the U.S. economy more than $100 billion per year. This is due to the increasing value of these devastating attacks. For example, ransomware can encrypt a company’s important data and hold it ransom until payment is made. Some businesses without proper backup plans end up paying large sums of money to have their data unlocked.
One of the most high profile recent cyber attacks using ransomware involved the city of Atlanta. City services were disrupted, public data was likely accessed, and the final cost had the potential of reaching millions of dollars for the city.
Governments are Getting Involved
When many people think of a hacker, they think of a computer geek sitting in a dark apartment with a bright screen and lines of code flashing past. Of course, those scenes from movies that form our imaginary idea of what a hacker looks like are not always accurate. In fact, many hackers may be sanctioned by foreign governments and even working out of government buildings around the world.
Countries like Russia and China have ramped up cyber attacks against other nations and companies around the world to disrupt operations or glean sensitive information. The United States recently accused China of corporate espionage and alleged that Chinese hackers backed by the government had been accessing and stealing sensitive data from American businesses.
As governments continue to consider cyber attacks as a legitimate form of espionage or warfare, hackers may find that they have greater support and backing to carry out their deeds. This may be one explanation for increased cyber security incidents over the past year.
How to Protect Against All Types of Security Breaches
Perhaps the only good news to come from recent cyber attacks is that awareness and vigilance will continue to increase. Hackers rely on security weaknesses to carry out their attacks and, with proper prevention, many cyber attacks can be stopped.
Education, awareness, and implementation of security best practices can greatly reduce the chances of falling victim to cyber security incidents.
To learn more about cyber attacks and how to keep your data safe, please contact RJ Young today.
Cyber security is a major concern for any business, from small mom and pop shops to major multinational corporations. In fact, it is estimated that cyber crime could cost users and businesses $6 trillion globally by 2021. That is a staggering figure that could seriously hinder the growth and operations of any business. Perhaps one of the scariest issues surrounding cyber security is that hackers are constantly finding new ways to attack devices and networks. Businesses must stay on their toes and work hard to eliminate threats before they become legitimate targets. To help prevent threats, IT professionals should be aware of the top IT security trends for 2019.
The Growth of IoT
IoT (internet of things) refers to the many different connected devices that are entering mainstream business. There was a time when businesses mainly had to concern themselves with basic connected devices like computers, multifunction printers, and other essential network devices.
Today, businesses need to consider things like connected speakers, smart assistants, tablets, smartphones, connected light switches, among a whole host of other devices. It is estimated that the IoT industry could grow by up to 15% year over year through 2020.
This poses an interesting dilemma for businesses and cyber security professionals. Do they embrace IoT and the potential risks that may be associated or ignore the rapidly growing trend? Businesses that hope to be a part of the future may not have much choice. Rather than ignore one of the biggest IT security trends for 2019, businesses should get ahead of this issue.
Cryptocurrency Mining Malware
Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, were a part of the mainstream consciousness as prices reached all-time highs in late 2017 and early 2018. After a major crash in the value of cryptocurrencies, there was much less discussion about this modern investment and payment technology. However, cryptocurrencies have not disappeared and neither have the threats associated with them.
Although the value of cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, are not as high as they once were, they are still widely accepted online and still have potential for growth in the coming years. This makes cryptocurrency mining malware a very real cyber security threat in 2019 and beyond.
This form of malware is installed on unsuspecting devices without users being aware. It covertly takes control of processing power to mine cryptocurrency in the background while users complete normal daily tasks. This leaves less processing power for users to take advantage of and, in some cases, could lead to premature equipment failure. This ultimately costs businesses money as they replace devices much sooner than they should need to.
The Rise of Mobile Technology
The way people do business is changing. 80% of people are using smartphones today. In addition, more and more apps are being released that make doing business on mobile devices more efficient and effective. This is a huge opportunity for businesses, but could also become a major cyber security threat if handled incorrectly.
One of the biggest IT security trends for 2019 will involve employers embracing the mobile workforce and its associated challenges. How can employers ensure that devices are secure without holding their employees back with outdated security efforts?
Mobile employees will need the right devices to ensure they can do their job wherever they may be. This enables employees to do their best work at any time but, of course, companies must first embrace this technology.
Bringing Cloud Security Down to Earth
The business world may be on the edge of a data revolution. More and more businesses are moving data and services to the cloud. While this enables businesses to become more agile and move away from physical storage, it also introduces new security concerns.
When businesses move to implement cloud services, they must ensure that their organizational security is ready to handle this new technology. Luckily, cloud services can be made to be as secure as any other data storage method – as long as the right steps are taken.
There are also potential savings for businesses that choose to adopt cloud services. Large spaces for data storage equipment will no longer be required and associated costs, like electricity, can be cut as well. This cost-benefit will certainly make cloud security and implementation one of the biggest IT security trends for 2019.
Keeping Step with Technology and Cyber Security
Predicting technology and cyber security trends can be a challenge as the industry moves so quickly. It is impossible to say what the next great app, service, or device could be. However, having a trusted partner is essential to keeping up with the constantly changing technology landscape for businesses.
To learn more about the cyber security trends of today and tomorrow, contact RJ Young and learn about their managed IT services that can protect businesses from new threats, while allowing them to embrace new technologies at the same time.
In our digitally connected world, it has become easier than ever to conduct business. However, the connections people create among themselves and organizations online have also created a profitable environment for hackers who want to steal money, data, and disrupt business leaving business owners to wonder, how can Managed IT Services protect my company from VPN hacks & ransomware attacks? As technology continues to advance it is safe to say that threats from hackers will continue to grow hand-in-hand.
In recent years, hackers have been focusing on businesses and large organizations to maximize their profit potential. Last year, in just a single quarter, Maersk reported a $300M loss due to hacks and the costs associated. Of course, they are not the only business to be affected. Some companies may be unwilling to share details of hacks, which makes estimating the true scope of these hacks nearly impossible. Businesses of all sizes across all industries need to be wary of growing digital threats.
What Are Ransomware Attacks and VPN Hacks?
Both ransomware attacks and VPN hacks have become much more popular in recent years. These hacks are growing more and more sophisticated with each passing day. In fact, nearly 1 million new types of malware are released online every single day. Keeping up with hackers is a constant, ongoing battle.
Ransomware is, as the name suggests, a type of malware that requests a ransom. Of course, in order to demand a ransom, the hacker must have a hostage. In this case, the hostage is your valuable data that could include employee files, sales contracts, customer data, and more. Most ransomware attacks encrypt data and give victims a limited window of time to pay the ransom or lose their data forever. Typically, ransoms are paid in the form of hard-to-trace cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Monero.
VPN hacks are much more sophisticated hacks usually carried out by large organizations rather than small hacker groups or individuals. Using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your information is a great online security practice. However, a VPN is only as good as the security behind it. Using outdated protocols or simple security keys can make it easier for cybercriminals to access a VPN and the information or devices on the network.
The Best Offense is a Good Defense
No business is immune to hacking attempts. The question for business owners and managers should not be “if” a hacking attempt will be made but, rather, “when.” To be prepared for ransomware attacks and VPN hacks, prevention is key.
This is where managed IT services can make a world of difference. Caring for an entire company’s IT services is no small task. There are day-to-day maintenance activities as well as security patches, updates, and other preventative activities that need to be done. In many companies, these tasks are simply too much for a single salaried staff member. One missed update or patch could spell disaster as it is essentially an open door for hackers to walk through.
In addition to preventing against existing attacks, an IT service provider must constantly be learning and research to stay ahead of emerging threats. If all of this sounds like a lot for one person to take on, that’s because it is a lot for one person to take on. Instead, working with an entire team dedicated to IT services and protection against online threats means there are more hands on deck. Think about it this way: if you were going to move to a new house, would you try to move all of your furniture yourself or would you ask a few friends to come by and help?
Get Constant, 24-Hour Protection
When you are settling down for a night of rest, hackers on the other side of the world may just be starting their day. One of the main advantages to choosing managed IT services is that the team is available at a centralized help desk for whenever a problem may arise.
On the other hand, a salaried IT employee can only work so many hours. They need rest, vacation time, and time with their family. It is simply unrealistic to expect a single person to always be available when a problem may come up.
Should the worst occur and you need to restore services from a backup, managed IT services can begin work immediately and reduce total downtime. This is a level of responsiveness you simply cannot expect from in-house staff.
Protect Your Business with Managed IT Services
RJ Young has been providing managed IT services to small and enterprise level businesses for over 25 years. Their experience, professionalism, and dedication are essential for new and emerging threats.
Want to learn more about how managed IT services can protect against attacks on your business? Contact RJ Young today.
For many businesses, the most secure and affordable way to handle their network is by utilizing an external company’s expertise. By using managed IT services, companies are able to focus on their business, while simultaneously meeting compliance and security standards. In the age of network breaches and cyber attacks, it is more prudent than ever for businesses to understand how managed IT compliance and managed IT security differ and why it matters.
The Ins and Outs of Compliance and Security
Prior to learning about the differences between managed IT compliance and security, it’s imperative to understand IT compliance and security.
Compliance Is External
“IT compliance is the business of making sure that everyone is following the rules. The question is, what rules are they compliant with?” – Chapter President of ISSA – Chattanooga
The external rules facing companies are typically found in the form of statutes or laws. These can be laws relating to specific industries such as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for Education or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for Healthcare. Other standards are used as a means of risk management for national security. A prime example of this is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This standard was put in place to protect credit card users from schemes.
Rather than focusing on the technical needs of the company, compliance is used for reporting purposes and aimed at meeting regulations to keep legally running their business. With hundreds of IT standards to meet, companies often enlist managed IT compliance services from another company. This decision allows them to focus more of their time and energy on their operations, while the IT services ensure the company’s IT network is meeting the benchmarks set by their respective regulatory committee to avoid paying fines that can reach up to $1.5 million per violation each year.
Security Is Internal
Whereas compliance focuses more on satisfying an external entity, security is about protecting the company’s internal network and confidential information. A company that provides IT security to businesses, when broken down into its simplest form, finds ways to mitigate any network issues and prevent harmful threats from ever occurring. Essentially, the company is hiring someone who has a broader range of capabilities and offerings to protect their business. While internal IT may have some ability to safeguard a business’s network, they may not have the manpower to handle a company-wide security threat. Managed IT services have teams dedicated solely to protecting the client’s entire company from threats. This kind of security guarantees that a business’s data and sensitive information is safer than it would be using the capabilities it possesses in-house.
The Security and Compliance Relationship
Compliance standards are all about ensuring companies are meeting certain levels of security in order to protect individual users on a national, and sometimes international, level. There is a certain level of IT security that a business inherently has when they are meeting regulatory compliance. From this standpoint, security and compliance seem to go hand in hand with one another. While meeting the compliance benchmark may seem to provide a sufficient amount of security for a business, this is often not the case.
“Being compliant does NOT mean you are secure, as many recent breaches have shown.” – Chapter President of ISSA – Chattanooga
Meeting bare-minimum compliance standards in an effort to reduce costs associated with information security leaves a company vulnerable and highly susceptible to a cyber attack. Another reason to avoid simply meeting compliance targets is the ever-changing nature of Information Technology. A business is never truly finished protecting itself. Constant upgrades and improvements are being made to protect businesses from threats that are more adaptive and intelligent in design.
Why Managed IT Is the Proactive Solution
Compliance benchmarks, though they may be updated periodically, are reactionary in nature. After a large breach, action committees need to get additional laws and amendments passed to alter the original law. Unfortunately, this process takes time and requires evidence of need -such as a large breach- before it is enacted. Needless to say, simply being compliant prevents a business’s IT security from being up to date. As formerly stated, managed IT services help put a company’s focus back on managing their business rather than staying compliant. When a company employs the help of managed IT services for regulatory compliance, they acquire a team of IT professionals. This team uses its expertise to provide an advanced-network security program that not only meets compliance standards but exceeds them. They proactively seek out potential hazards in the pipeline in an effort to eliminate any threat before it happens.
Is your business safe from the next wave of cyber threats? Learn more about how RJ Young’s Managed IT Services can help your business stay secure and meet your industry-specific regulatory requirements by filling out our contact form or calling us at 800-347-1955.
IT services are among the most important services a business requires in today’s connected, digital world. Millions of malware threats are released every year and the time required to manage, update, and patch all devices used within the business is far greater than a few years ago. For many, having in-house IT services makes sense. There is always someone in the building that can assist with any issues that may arise. So, if this solution is the right one, why are so many smaller businesses opting for managed IT services?
What are the differences between these approaches? Which one makes sense for businesses that need quality IT services that meet their needs and budget? Let’s take a look at managed IT services and compare them with in-house technicians to help your business choose the right service provider.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services may be a new concept to some businesses who have always had dedicated, in-house IT services. With communication technology making major leaps forward, many businesses have discovered that quality service does not necessarily mean the IT technician has to work in the same building.
With managed IT services, a dedicated provider delivers service, support, and advice to a number of companies. If the cost of IT services is spread out among a number of businesses, then a larger team with better services can be provided at a lower cost to individual businesses. For small and medium-sized businesses that may be running on razor thin budgets, this price makes managed IT services very attractive.
Is There a Cost Benefit?
When any business is considering managed IT or an in-house technician, there are several reasons why they make their final decision, but the main contributor is cost. IT services are important for every single business of any size and people who offer those services are in high demand. In fact, the salary of a management level IT professional can easily exceed $100,000 per year, plus benefits. That is a huge cost to small business owners and businesses of any size.
Small business managed IT services are usually less costly than hiring in-house IT services. In addition, the cost of managed IT services typically includes services that even the best in-house technicians cannot offer. Services like after-hours support, network monitoring, malware protection, and more are all offered by managed IT services. Not to mention, with managed IT services, your business can count on support every single day. A single in-house technician has to sleep, go on lunch breaks, and take vacation. During those times, they may be unavailable, and, therefore, cannot always be relied upon.
Keep Up With Changing Technology
One look around your office can reveal that technology has changed dramatically. Having managed IT services helps ensure your business is ready for changing trends.
You have likely heard the phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” No phrase is a better description of in-house IT technicians. Most are very skilled at what they do, but it is nearly impossible to provide adequate IT services without several people collaborating. Remember, IT services encompass network security, device deployment, software updates, issue resolution, employee support, malware protection, and more.
With managed IT services, you get an entire team of people working to help you. No single person is expected to be a master of all areas of IT services. When you have managed services for your business, you can count on getting responsive support from knowledgeable staff, no matter what the concern may be.
What other options do businesses choose for IT?
Small and mid-sized business often have a friend, family member, or a ‘guy they know’ handle their technical support. When it comes to cost and scheduling, consultants are often the worst possible option for a growing business. Consultants will charge for everything they can, and friends and relatives aren’t always the best option when it comes to managing your business. Bringing a friend or relative into the workplace can cause issues internally. Friend and relative relationships aren’t always conducive to a company’s work environment. Choosing a managed IT partner limits the cost for support and implementation, and eliminates a lot of the issues that hiring a friend or a family member brings into an office setting.
Which IT solution is best for my business: The Verdict
Having an in-house technician dedicated to your business and only your business may seem appealing at first. However, when comparing in-house services with managed IT services, there is a clear winner. Managed IT services offer better support, greater expertise, and a lower cost to businesses than alternative options.
Small and medium-sized businesses have little room for spending in excess. Choosing managed IT services over an in-house technician can have a dramatic influence on your business’s bottom line. That additional money can be reinvested in other areas of the business. This ensures that you can make all areas of your business stronger. At RJ Young, we have over 25 years of experience providing exceptional IT services to businesses of all sizes.
Still unsure if managed IT services are the right move for your business? Learn more about the benefits of choosing managed IT services and consult with us about your unique needs.
Millions of emails are exchanged daily throughout the world. As email continues to be a prominent form of communication, our Managed IT Services team warns that the opportunity also increases for a cyber threat. Phishing is one of the most common cyber threats in today’s world.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is one of the most frequent causes of security breaches. According to Tech Target, “Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication channels. The attacker uses phishing emails to distribute malicious links or attachments. More importantly, these links and attachments can perform a variety of functions, including the extraction of login credentials or account information from victims.”
Phishing cyber criminals instruct individuals to provide sensitive data like personal information, bank and credit card details, or passwords through electronic forms or ransomware. Individuals can be notified by email, telephone, or text message. Thieves use this strategic method to lure you into giving them your most precious information, threatening your network security. Phishing attacks result in credit card fraud, identity theft, and financial loss.
One of the most common ways that phishing cybercriminals obtain sensitive data on their victims is through email. According to Phishing.Org, these are few simple tips to think about before opening and clicking an email:
Too Good To Be True
You know those emails you get saying you have won a free cruise? In spite of the fact that you have not entered a for that cruise? Those offers all seem too good to be true, probably because they are. Enticing offers are used to attract your attention right away. The cybercriminal wants you to click the call to action button which will in return, allow them to attack your personal information. In this instance, the most natural thing to remember is that if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Sense of Urgency
A common tactic amongst cybercriminals is to add a sense of urgency. These criminals may tell you that you have a limited time to claim the offer or threaten immediate account suspension. That is just not true. Generally, most credible organizations will give you ample time to respond when your intimate account details are involved. When in doubt, contact the organization in question. The organization will be able to provide you with all the necessary information and verify the email in question.
One of the fastest ways to verify a cyber threat in an email is to check all the hyperlinks. Take your mouse and hover over the directed hyperlink. Hyperlinks should match the URL they are leading you to and that the URL in question is spelled right. For example, if the hyperlink says RJYoung.Com, but when you hover over it says AJYoung.Com, do not click it. If you suspect the link may be suspicious, it is better not to click it.
If an unexpected email has an attachment, do not open it! Often these attachments contain ransomware or other viruses that can overtake your entire computer to steal your personal information.
Whether you know the sender or not, does the email make sense for you to receive? If not, do not even open it. Also accidentally opening the email can cause issues. Most of the time cybercriminals have a call to action in the email. Whether it is donating to a fundraiser or asking for personal help, be conscious of how the email’s wording and what they are requesting. Many times, the email will explain there is a problem you need to verify, notify you that you are a winner, or ask for help.
A bank will never ask for personal information via email or suspend your account if you do not immediately update your personal information. Most banks and financial institutions usually provide an account number or other personal details within the email.
Protecting Your Business From A Cyber Threat
Cyber Security Education
Make sure that you are continually learning how to defend yourself, and arm your business with an information technology expert. Just as experts are staying up to date with the latest technology, so are the cybercriminals. Be sure to always educate yourself on how cyber threats are changing and how they can affect you.
A Practical Application
Recently, we conducted an internal email test for our employees using Sophos Intercept X. This technology is one of many used by our clients as part of their Managed IT Service Plan. We sent a fake phishing email to all of our employees and tracked the number of opens and clicks to evaluate our own risk of a cyber threat.
After that, we sent out an educational email to make employees aware of the test and provided detail information on what to be mindful of when receiving a potential threatening email. We presented our employees with an easy to follow infographic to use as a guide for analyzing phishing scams in the future. Education is often the most cost-effective solution to protecting your network’s security.
Cyber Security Service
If it seems like cyber threats seem to be occurring more frequently and taking down business operations across the globe, you’re right. The number of data breaches in the U.S. has jumped 29 percent in 2017 according to The Identity Theft Resource Center and CyberScout. The best way to prevent these attacks is to have a proactive plan for your business. Make sure your Managed IT service partner understands your business. RJ Young’s Managed IT Services include the design, upgrade, and maintenance of cloud services and IT networks for small to mid-sized companies. We create customized plans for our customers to fit your specific needs and goals for success.
As technology advances, so do cybercriminals. Cyber attacks seem to be occurring more frequently than ever and hurting businesses throughout the world. Furthermore, for many small to enterprise-level businesses, a cybersecurity breach can quickly impact the business’s compliance with significant IT compliance regulations. Even companies with enterprise-level IT support can benefit from easy and necessary IT Security safeguards. Here are 3 easy ways to help safeguard yourself against a cybersecurity breach that takes only 5 minutes each week.
1. Change Your Passwords
Every IT network support progressional will tell you – change your passwords often! This fast and easy fix could save you from a cybersecurity threat. Set time aside to update your passwords on all of your accounts. Experts recommend having different passwords across all your personal network. This ensures that if one is compromised the hacker has access to only one system, not all of them.
Forget the tough passwords; new guidelines recommend keeping it simple. According to the United States National Institution for Standards and Technology (NIST), new password guidelines help you stay protected. NIST suggests, keeping your passwords simple, long, and memorable. Phrases, lowercase letters, and typical English words and objects are suggested when creating passwords. This recommendation had changed from when the organization suggested using unique characters and a mix of lower and uppercase letters.
These new guidelines may seem surprisingly easy, Paul Grassi, senior standards and technology adviser at NIST, who led the new revision of guidelines, says that these new guidelines will help users create longer passwords, which are harder for hackers to break.
Once a cybercriminal has access to your personal credentials they can impersonate you to send personal emails directly to your friends, family, and co-workers. Soon, and IT security breach can lead to imposter postings on your social networks where cybercriminals seek to collect even more sensitive information. This a small business managed network services nightmare. It is also often a socially and professionally embarrassing experience.
Managed IT Services Expert Tip:
A bank will never ask for personal information via email or suspend your account if you do not immediately update your personal information. Most banks and financial institutions usually provide an account number or other personal details within the email. This information is how you can ensure that the email or phone call is coming from a reliable source.
2. Think Before You Click
Many IT network security threats happen by accident. You see an email from an old friend or a significant update from your bank, and you just go ahead and click on the email without thinking. Unfortunately, these emails are socially engineered to look like they came from a trustworthy source, not a cybercriminal. Here are some things to think about before clicking an email.
One of the fastest ways to verify an email is to check all the hyperlinks. Take your mouse and hover over the directed hyperlink in an email. Make sure that the hyperlinks match the URL you land after clicking. Check for spelling errors in the web address. Popular websites are often manipulated but contain spelling errors. For example, if the hyperlink says www.mybank.com, but when you hover over it says wwwmybank.com, do not click it. If you suspect the link may be suspicious, better to not click it.
Is this offer too good to be true?
Most of these cybercriminals will present you with an eye-catching deal to make you think you have won a contest; you have not entered or asking you to claim a prize that is too good to be true. In an instance like this, it is best to remember that if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you ever have questions, contact the organization directly from a contact page on a trusted website, or your business’s managed IT services team, not the email in question.
Who is sending this email?
Whether you know the sender or not, does the email make sense for you to receive? If not, do not even open it. Simply, delete and move on. Accidentally opening the email can cause IT security issues and potentially make you vulnerable to a cybersecurity threat. If someone you know is asking for money, call or text to verify. When in doubt, always think critically before acting.
3. Install Updates
We all know how annoying it can be when your computer continually reminds you to update your software. That said, an enterprise-level managed network services expert will tell you these updates are essential in protecting you against a cybersecurity threat. Updates give you more than just the latest and greatest features; they make sure you also have the most updated security to protect your IT network. Thousands of new malware variants run every day. Having out of date security software is almost as bad as having none at all.
Is your software up-to-date?
Your un-updated software is vulnerable. According to Sophos, cybercriminals can exploit this vulnerability by writing code explicitly targeting your network’s system. This can infect your computer without you ever taking action. When your computer is compromised, cybercriminals steal data and gain control over your computer and personal information.
Managed IT Services
The 5 minutes each week you devote to strengthening your network will help protect you from any future threats. Small to enterprise-level business owners who are not comfortable with handling their network’s security are good candidates for small business network services or enterprise level managed IT services. Managed IT services allow business owners to focus on their business rather than their system. RJ Young offers free network assessment for businesses. We can help ensure your organization is protected from IT security vulnerabilities.
As RJ Young continues to grow, career advancement opportunities arise for our employees. We believe we have the best team in the industry, so we would like to take a moment to celebrate success. We recently sat down with Joey Lush to learn more about his recent promotion and the future of the IT team. Check out the interview below to learn more. Congratulations to Joey Lush Chief Technology Officer!
How long have you been with RJ Young?
I will be celebrating 16 years with the company in March.
What was your previous role?
Most recently, I served as the Vice President of Technology. In this role, I oversaw all of the technology aspects of RJ Young. This included everything from daily personal computing, to our new soft phone system, to our internal custom ordering software, and much more.
What is your new role?
My new role is Chief Technology Officer. As RJ Young continues to grow as a technology provider, it is critical that the internal structure looks like a well-established technology company. One of the first steps was to have a CTO on staff, as well as a support staff under him to maintain the various aspects.
What does the restructure of the department look like?
It will allow me to oversee all of the groups within the technology department of the company – Help Desk, Software Support, Connectivity, and Data, as well as our customer-facing IT Services division. Within the entire technology department, we have also made some changes. Cody McPherron will now oversee all internal technology related items, while Jake DeMille will focus primarily on customer-facing technology needs.
Why was this change necessary?
The lines between traditional Service Technician and IT professional are being blurred. It only makes sense to have one central team who can help with a host of technology related challenges.
This change will help us properly align all technology within one department. We will be able to look at the bigger picture of the company and more strategically grow the organization through technology. Sharing resources and knowledge will lead to faster response times, streamlined processes and a better experience for both our internal and external customers. An increasing number of technology issues can be resolved phone by our Help Desk or Connectivity teams, and we see value in growing a team of people who can remotely fix everything from network issues to personal computing problems to copier troubles.
Can you give some more insight into Cody’s promotion?
Prior to this change, Jake was handling all customer-facing and internal technology aspects. With the customer-facing IT Services being a rapidly growing offering for RJ Young, we felt that Jake needed to focus his time on the expanding customer-facing IT Services team. It only made sense to allow Cody, who was overseeing about 30% of support on the internal side, to oversee it all and allow Jake to focus on external customers.
How does this change benefit the rest of the company?
This change will benefit the company in many ways:
- It allows us to provide a better solution for our customers as well as our staff internally.
- It allows us to focus more in depth as a true technology provider and have the necessary process aligned to be successful.
- It allows Cody to look into new methods to better run our internal processes, which in return creates a level of trust within the organization.
- It will provide better internal support as it allows for improved communication within the technology team.
Anything else you would like to add about the IT department?
This new structure will also provide a new opportunity for Ron Perkerson. He will now be in a position to expand his duties to include day-to-day support at the assistant manager level. Overall this will help the department continue to grow and to plan for the future.
The new structure will also allow us to technology standards, policies, and procedures company-wide and make sure those are being followed and implemented correctly. Overall, we are positive that this will allow us to be proactive to change, rather than reactive. It’s a very exciting time to be part of RJ Young and I am grateful for this opportunity.
Congratulations to Joey Lush Chief Technology Officer!