Handle with Care: Sending Data Securely

In our 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 people sending without thinking about the security of the transmission. One way to gauge the need for security is to consider how you might send that same information via the postal service. Would you put that data on a postcard that anyone could read? Or would you send a sealed, certified mailing and require the recipient’s signature?

Transmitting data on the Internet in plain text is like the postcard – …

Island Hopping: Not Always 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 is an increasingly popular method of attacking businesses. In this approach, the cybercriminal targets a business indirectly. The bad actors first go after the target’s smaller strategic partners. So, vendors or affiliates, who might not have the same level of cybersecurity, become stepping stones to hop.

Attackers might hack into smaller businesses handling the target’s HR, payroll, accounting, healthcare, or marketing. Then, they take advantage of the pre-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 quite simple: attackers gain access to Company A and send a counterfeit business communication to Company B. Company B, knowing the sender, is less likely …

Do Macs Get Viruses?

Many Apple owners believe their Macintosh computers are immune to viruses. Apple itself has run ad campaigns promising its computers “don’t get viruses”. And those who have owned a Mac for years, decades even, are particularly prone to believing. After all, nothing’s happened to them yet. Regrettably, Macs do get viruses, and the threat is growing.

For a long time the argument was that cybercriminals didn’t bother to develop Mac viruses. There weren’t enough users to justify the effort. Instead, they’d focus on the lower hanging fruit – PCs running Windows.

Yet Apple’s market share is on the rise, and it’s increasingly common to see Macs in the workplace, especially in creative industries. Plus, there’s a widespread assumption that Mac users are a smart target as they are likely to be better off. So, while Macs remain harder to infect (installing most software requires a password), there’s often a greater payoff.

The …

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), like Safe Network Solutions, for help.

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

#1 Network and Internet 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? You can’t even check and send emails! Let alone access team documents or enter …

Avoiding Growing Pains: Tech 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 Office 365, or Dropbox to Dropbox Business or Sharepoint. For a small monthly fee, you gain business-grade features, additional retention capabilities, and auditing options.

The basic Google Apps offers business …

Why Your Small Business Needs VoIP

Why would a small business need VoIP? Not just another acronym to learn, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) offers many advantages for small business. Especially SMBs that want to run with the enterprise-sized companies.

Basically, VoIP turns voice conversation into data packets sent between the two network points. Don’t worry, the person you’re calling doesn’t need to be on VoIP. The technology turns the data back into analog at the receiving end if needed.

If you’ve been on Skype, you’ve experienced VoIP. With VoIP you use your broadband Internet connection to make and receive calls. Bypassing traditional or mobile phones, VoIP users avoid long-distance or extra minute charges.

Beyond long distance savings, VoIP setups often include features such as voicemail and call forwarding, at no extra charge. Other useful features could include call forwarding, voicemail transcription, and call recording.

Plus, there’s cost savings from reducing and consolidating communications infrastructure. Streamlining voice, data, and …

Immediate Business Answers with Instant Messenger

You may have hated group projects in school, but collaboration is a lifeblood of business. Yet members of a team may not work in the same workspace. Even those who do, don’t want to spend their day crisscrossing the office to get quick questions answered. While they could send an email or pick up the phone, instant messaging is an even more efficient solution.

Don’t confuse this solution with the old AOL or MSN Instant messenger. Instant messaging (IM) for business takes group communication and collaboration up a notch.

First, IM is truly instant communication, faster even than email. When you type in your comment and hit Enter, your message appears on the screen instantly. You can see it, and everyone else in the chat can see it. While email is fast, it’s not instant. You must wait for the email to arrive and hope the recipient has their inbox up …

What Happens to Your Data When You Die?

Death is a morbid topic most of us try to avoid. Making a will and saying we prefer cremation is the extent of our advance planning. Yet, you may want to also think about what’s going to happen to your data.

Consider your digital footprint. You have photos, files, and emails on your computer and your phone. You’re also documenting your life on social media, and sharing on more than one channel.

Your wearable technology (say an Apple Watch or a Fitbit) may be recording information too. If you have a virtual assistant in your home, it’s recording your search history and saving that data on the cloud.

Yet many of us never think “what will happen to my data after I die?” Do you want it deleted? Are there digital assets you want to share? Perhaps there is tangible value attached to some of your digital assets. At the very least, …

Building a Good Relationship With Your Managed Service Provider

Good relationships are essential to your business success. Connections with customers, clients, vendors, suppliers, and service providers impact your bottom line. Here’s how to develop a strong relationship with your Managed Service Provider (MSP).

Improve efficiency and flexibility
Enhance security and compliance
Take a proactive approach to system maintenance
Reduce costs and enjoy predictable pricing
Gain access to new technologies

Along with overseeing smooth IT operations, the MSP’s experts can advise and consult. The following strategies can help you build a good relationship with your MSP.

Open the Lines of Communication

Transparency in the relationship can make a big difference. With a deeper knowledge of your needs, the MSP can better plan your technology solutions. Communicate goals and the direction you want to take your business. This lets the MSP collaborate to enhance your IT capabilities.

A service provider frees up internal IT staff for strategic planning, special projects. If those initiatives …

Stop the Inbox Insanity: Tips for Better Email Management

A staggering 269 billion emails are sent every day. Your business is receiving only a small fraction of those emails. Yet your staff likely feel as if at least 269 of those are coming their way daily. In fact, the typical employee in 2018 received 90 emails, and sent out 40.

Email is a powerful tool. But its help with doing business ever faster creates added business pressure. Consider these five strategies for better email management.

Don’t start your day with email. Many people do. It’s how they set up for the day. However, beginning the day with a cup of coffee and clicking through your inbox, can backfire. Many of those emails become items on your to-do list. You put off important tasks from your day responding to other people’s requests. Plan your day around your business needs first. Even knock off some of the more important tasks, before …