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Remote Working During COVID-19 Made Easy

How You Can Quickly Shift To A Remote Working Business Model To Maximize Productivity In Today’s Challenging Climate

As a business owner at the moment, you’re now facing unprecedented challenges including remote working set up and management, to help deal with the corona virus pandemic. You are asked to self-isolate and practice social distancing to “flatten the curve.” You are asked to allow your employees to work from home to reduce possible exposure and slow the spread of COVID-19.
 
These are all reasonable requests. However, as a business owner you also need to maximize productivity, bring in revenue and try to grow your business in these demanding times. How can you accomplish these goals when your office is now likely closed, and you’re concerned about productivity dropping off? That’s where we as an IT Managed Service Provider want to guide you as best we can to get the best out of your employees and your IT resources at this challenging time to drive productivity and get positive outcomes from remote working while staying secure, disaster free and driving growth.

How do I enable remote working from home while managing employees and ensuring operational success?

The answer does lie in setting up your office to function remotely, but if you haven’t done so or are just starting to get this process rolling we can guide you along to ensure success. We recently wrote about IT hacking here and this is something t be mindful of especially with remote working however, there is no need to panic because there are steps to stay secure.

If you’ve never implemented a work-from-home policy before, it may seem like a whole different world. Managing an entirely remote workforce goes far beyond giving your employees a laptop and reminding them to check in every once in a while. After all, there are many factors most business owners haven’t ever had to consider, such as:

  • What technologies do I need?
  • How can my employees work from home without compromising the security of our network?
  • How can I make this new work environment as easy, comfortable and productive as possible?

1. Don’t allow employees to use home computers or devices- Their mindset may be, “Well, I’m working from home so I may as well use my home computer.” This is a dangerous mistake. Our team works hard to ensure your company computers and network are secure and protected from malware, viruses and cyber-attacks. Their home computers and devices could be littered with tons of downloaded music, videos, images and more. Because it’s more exposed, it can invite malware into your network. Rather, provide a company-approved and secured computer/laptop for employees to use at home.
 
2. Secure their WiFi access point. 
Without a secure WiFi access point, you’re essentially leaving a back door open to hackers. That’s because WiFi signals are often broadcast far beyond your employees’ homes and out into streets. Unfortunately drive-by hacking is becoming more popular among cyber-criminals today. A few tips for securing your employees’ WiFi access points:
 

  • Use stronger encryption and a more complex password
  • Hide your network name
  • Use a firewall

 
These security measures are not difficult to set up. But if you have any questions or need assistance, we will be happy to help get your employees set up remotely.

3. Use a two-factor authentication VPN. VPN stands for virtual private network. It’s essentially a private, encrypted tunnel that goes direct to your IT network in your office. Ideally, you’ll want your VPN to support two-factor authentication. This means it’s doubly secure because your employees will need to call in to access the network. If you don’t have a VPN for your employees to use, you can consider other services, such as GoToMyPC or Zoho. While these products are not as secure, at least they keep your home network from being exposed. 

As business owners & directors ourselves, we too are having to pivot and work differently than we ever have before. However, because we have the technology and infrastructure in place, we are still surprisingly productive. 

Can I get this done with mimimal disruption & little or no financial cost?

Yes, you can is the answer to both questions. Our team wants to help your business survive and thrive during today’s unique environment. If you and your IT team need extra hands right now…or solutions to help your employees work SECURELY from home…we have software tools, expert staff and resources we’d like to offer you to keep your business as productive as possible.

Please click the link below if you wish to book a quick 10- to 15-minute call to discuss how we can gave you free IT Support and guidance over the coming weeks.

Alternatively you can email danny@cinnte.ie & let us know what day/time suits you for this quick call to suss where you are regarding your IT in your business so we can plan this together! Stay safe and stay positive!

Top Ways IT Hackers from Get Around Your IT Security

Top Ways IT Hackers from Get Around Your IT Security


 

How much do you know about IT Hackers? Cyber-crime is at an all-time high and IT hackers are setting their sights on small and medium businesses. They are doing this via Firewall and anti-virus weaknesses in particular in the IT security setup. These IT Hackers know the small and medium businesses who are “low hanging fruit.” Don’t be their next victim! This article reveals the most common ways that hackers get in and how to protect yourself today.

IT Hackers Take Advantage Of Poorly Trained Employees-

The #1 vulnerability for business networks are the employees using them. It’s extremely common for an employee to infect an entire network by opening and clicking a phishing e-mail (that’s an e-mail cleverly designed to look like a legitimate e-mail from a web site or vendor you trust). If they don’t know how to spot infected e-mails or online scams, they could compromise your entire network. IT Hackers are very well aware and well equipped to make the most out of gaps when it comes to poor employee IT security practices.

IT Hackers Exploit Device Usage Outside Of Company Business-

You must maintain an Acceptable Use Policy that outlines how employees are permitted to use company-owned PCs, devices, software, Internet access and e-mail. We strongly recommend putting a policy in place that limits the web sites employees can access with work devices and Internet connectivity.

Further, you have to enforce your policy with content-filtering software and firewalls. We can easily set up permissions and rules that will regulate what web sites your employees access and what they do online during company hours and with company-owned devices, giving certain users more “freedom” than others. Learn more about cyber security awareness training for your employees here.

 

IT Hackers Take Advantage Of WEAK Password Policies-

Passwords should be at least 8 characters and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and at least one number. On a cell phone, requiring a password to be entered will go a long way toward preventing a stolen device from being compromised.

Again, this can be ENFORCED by your network administrator so employees don’t get lazy and choose easy-to-guess passwords, putting your organization at risk. At Cinnte, we highly recommend you have strong, enforceable password policies.

 

They Attack Networks That Are Not Properly Patched With The Latest Security Updates-

New vulnerabilities are frequently found in common software programs you are using, such as Microsoft Office; therefore it’s critical you patch and update your systems frequently. If you’re under a managed IT plan, this can all be automated for you so you don’t have to worry about missing an important update.

They Attack Networks With No Backups Or Simple Single Location Backups- 

Simply having a solid, reliable backup can foil some of the most aggressive (and new) ransomware attacks, where a hacker locks up your files and holds them ransom until you pay a fee. If your files are backed up, you don’t have to pay a crook to get them back. A good backup will also protect you against an employee accidentally (or intentionally!) deleting or overwriting files, natural disasters, fire, water damage, hardware failures and a host of other data-erasing disasters. Again, your backups should be AUTOMATED and monitored; the worst time to test your backup is when you desperately need it to work!

 

They Exploit Networks With Employee Installed Software-

One of the fastest ways cyber-criminals access networks is by duping unsuspecting users to willfully download malicious software by embedding it within downloadable files, games or other “innocent”-looking apps. This can largely be prevented with a good firewall and employee training and monitoring.

 

They Attack Inadequate Firewalls-

A firewall acts as the front-line defense against hackers blocking everything you haven’t specifically allowed to enter (or leave) your computer network. But all firewalls need monitoring and maintenance, just like all devices on your network. This too should be done by your IT person or company as part of their regular, routine maintenance.

 

They Attack Your Devices When You’re Off The Office Network-

It’s not uncommon for hackers to set up fake clones of public WiFi access points to try and get you to connect to THEIR WiFi over the legitimate, safe public one being made available to you. Before connecting, check with an employee of the store or location to verify the name of the WiFi they are providing. Next, NEVER access financial, medical or other sensitive data while on public WiFi. Also, don’t shop online and enter your credit card information unless you’re absolutely certain the connection point you’re on is safe and secure.

 

They Use Phishing E-mails To Fool You Into Thinking That You’re Visiting A Legitimate Web Site-

A phishing e-mail is a bogus e-mail that is carefully designed to look like a legitimate request (or attached file) from a site you trust in an effort to get you to willingly give up your login information to a particular web site or to click and download a virus.

Often these e-mails look 100% legitimate and show up in the form of a PDF (scanned document) or a UPS or Fastway tracking number, bank letter, Facebook alert, bank notification, etc. That’s what makes these so dangerous – they LOOK exactly like a legitimate e-mail.

They Use Social Engineering And Pretend To Be You- 

This is a basic 21st century tactic. Hackers pretend to be you to reset your passwords. In 2009, social engineers posed as Coca-Cola’s CEO, persuading an exec to open an e-mail with software that infiltrated the network. In another scenario, hackers pretended to be a popular online blogger and got Apple to reset the author’s iCloud password.

If you want to learn more about how you can ensure your IT security is as strong as it could be and how you can improve this to ensure your data, network and all IT systems are kept safe, you can learn more here, or you can fill out the form here and we would be happy to send one of our Consultants to you to perform a complimentary IT security assessment.

Don’t wait for hackers or other cyber criminals to take advantage of any vulnerabilities in your system. Help your business to be secure & grow by having the best IT security you could possibly have.

How Office 365 Can Improve Your Business

Are your frustrated by Microsoft Office 365 products and wondering how to get the best of them?

Office 365 can improve your business by saving your business time and money but maybe you didn’t know this? You are perhaps perplexed by how it can work for you and how you can resolve migration and billing issues with Office 365 in the cloud.

If you are confused or think you are not getting the best value or experience for Office 365, let us help you and explain how it can save you time and money in the long run.

As an IT Managed Service Provider supporting Office 365 for many years, our IT Engineers understand that you will have run into some problems. Problems with billing to the point of your account being shut down or limited because of payments not being applied to your account properly.

You may also have had Problems getting a hold of anyone with the expertise and answers you need to licensing problems and questions about compliance. Problems with navigating the complicated licensing of Microsoft Office 365, Azure, server licenses, etc. You can read more about Microsoft Office 365 here also.

 

How we at Cinnte can make Office 365 better for you to use:

We aim to make Office 365 billing, jargon and use for our clients as seamless and easy as possible for end users like yourself who are in business. You can also learn more about how we can help you implement Office 365 for your business here.

We are one of a select number of Microsoft CSPs (cloud solution providers) in Ireland and our role is to always make the process of using Microsoft products as straightforward as it can be for our clients! We have migrated over 700 users to Office 365 for multiple organizations & businesses since 2011 when it was released by Microsoft.

 

Why You Should be Using Office 365 for Business if you are thinking of migration:

  • No upfront buying costs because it takes away the necessity for capital buying and therefore enhances your flow of cash
  • Very flexible insofar as you will be enabled to add more users easily and scale up or downwards based on business needs
  • Boost to your IT and your business from using up to date versions of software, providing access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office applications.
  • You can access your files and data anywhere and at any time through a stable internet connection using Office Web Apps.
  •  Sophisticated technologies such as Teams & SharePoint are more cost effective and accessible than ever before
  • Each separate 365 license allows you to operate 0365 on up to 5 different devices.
  • Security is increased considerably and Microsoft offers a 99.7% backup guarantee which means it is practically impossible that any files will be lost period. It offers advanced threat protection from suspicious users or devices and secure mobile device usage whereby employees use of company emails and other apps can be managed remotely if you have an IT policy and your IT Provider can and should manage this for you.

 

Are you still unsure about Office 365 and why you need your business:

Office 365 migration is a no-brainer for a business owner. There are many advantages for business, whether you need to improve your collaborative abilities, improve productivity, data backup and threat protection as well as better email capabilities, Office 365 does everything i says on the tin.

However, if you want to learn more about the specifics of rolling it out and how to implement it for your business, get in touch with us today and we will be happy to discuss your current Office requirements. Contact us by emailing us today at info@cinnte.ie and one of our team will get back to you ASAP!

Data Leaks- How Your Company’s Data Is Being Leaked Online

Data Leaks- How Your Company’s Data Is Being Leaked Online

Data Leaks- Is Your Company’s Data being leaked online?

Data leaks are becoming increasingly common and they can happen silently via a previously unknown entity. Indeed, there is a growing trend creeping into organizations of all industries and sizes in the form of unauthorized external: Shadow IT. Shadow IT are unauthorized cloud applications employees are using and downloading to perform work-related activities with company data. This can be file-sharing services like Dropbox or surveys such as Zoomerang. The list goes on and on.

Shadow IT is important to understand because if your employees are using these applications, they could potentially exposing you to external risks. These include hacking, system crashes & other IT disasters if they are not restricted. Shadow IT can include hardware, software, web services or cloud applications that employees turn to without IT authorization to accomplish their tasks and projects.

 

Why Should I be worried about Shadow IT & my employees accessing external cloud applications?

So what’s the problem? For starters, if you’re in a highly regulated industry like medical or financial services, you’re almost guaranteed to be flagrantly violating data privacy laws & the GDPR.

In addition, if you’re audited, you could end up facing BIG fines, not to mention legal fees and bad PR. Second, the barrier to entry is LOW.

Anyone with a browser and a credit card can purchase or enroll themselves into applications that integrate with your organization’s critical applications and/or store company data such as client lists, e-mails, files, etc.

Of course, not all cloud apps are bad, but you as the owner and your IT person or company need to at least be AWARE of these applications to determine if they’re a threat to security or a violation of data privacy laws, and simply to keep your confidential information, well, confidential!

Are all Cloud Applications bad & should we limit all   access to external applications?

Of course, not all cloud apps are bad, but you as the owner and your IT   person or company need to at least be AWARE of these applications to   determine if they’re a threat to security or a violation of data privacy laws.   Also and simply to keep your confidential information, well, confidential!

For starters, your IT company or person should be constantly monitoring your network for new and unknown software or devices. This can (and should!) be incorporated into routine vulnerability testing. If you’re not sure this is being done now, find out. As Intel founder Andy Grove once said, “Only the paranoid survive.”

How will I know how secure or in danger of data leaks my company is?

You won’t know ever fully know for sure until an independent IT Support Provider does a detailed assessment for you!

However you can establish  what applications are being used, you can set your company firewall to block applications you DON’T want employees to access with company data and devices, and allow those that are company-approved.

Also, make sure you catalogue these sites somewhere by user with the login information for that person.

If an employee leaves your organization or is fired, they may remember what the username and password are to these cloud applications and could use them to harm your organization or steal data to sell or give to a competitor.

Don’t put yourself at risk! If you want to learn more or would like a free IT Security Assessment with us to determine how secure & safe you are from the threats posed by possible data leaks, please click at the link and we will book you in for this complimentary 1 hour assessment with one of our IT Consultants.

 

BOOK YOUR FREE IT SECURITY ASSESSMENT TODAY BY CLICKING HERE & FILLING OUT THIS SHORT ASSESSMENT FORM WITH US! 

Is Your IT Services Provider Holding You Prisoner?

 

Would you know where all your information is stored if your IT Services Provider left you in the lurch? 

If your IT Services Provider went away, would you know where all the passwords, data, software licenses and disks, key codes, and other important information were stored? Do you know how to log into your server? Do you know the passwords to all your employee’s workstations?

Do you know where your offsite data is stored and how to access it? Is your network documented so that another IT person could come in and pickup where they left off? If not, your IT Services Provider is holding you prisoner. 

Your IT provider is ‘seemingly’ be doing a good job, so you might not mind too much. However, you should STILL have him or her document your network in case they didn’t show up one day for work. We wrote about the importance of having an IT Services provider in recent times, but equally important is having a top notch one. You can also learn more about this here.

If you AREN’T really happy or aren’t sure what they are actually doing in terms of their work and aren’t sure if they are doing a good job, that’s all the more reason you should have this done.

Are you staying with your current IT Services Provider out of convenience or fear?

Occasionally we at Cinnte IT have came across potential new clients who aren’t really 100% happy with their IT guy’s work or what they’re being charged for. Yet they,  stay with them out of fear they will lose data, access to to their systems or worse. As one business owner to another, this is NEVER a good reason to stay with your current provider.

 

How To Know If Your IT Service Provider Is Doing A Good Job

Another reason business owners stay with their current IT Services Provider is simply because they don’t know what good service really IS. Therefore, they lowered their expectations. Over and over again I’m absolutely HORRIFIED by the incompetence and irresponsibility I discover when I audit most business networks.

In 98% of the computer networks I review, I find faulty or non-existent backups, security loopholes, shoddy reporting, and flawed systems. These simply cost more to maintain and don’t align with the operations of the business.

Plus, not a week goes by where we don’t get a ‘crisis call’ from a business owner with a major technical disaster that COULD have been prevented. Why do so many businesses pay for substandard computer support?

Simply because they don’t know how to truly verify that their network IS secure and end up having to take someone at their word.

 

 Here’s a quick quiz to know if your IT guy IS doing a good job. If your technician does not score a “yes” on every point, you could be paying for substandard support:

  • Do they answer their phones “live” and respond to support issues in one hour or less?
  • Are they remotely monitoring your network 24-7-365 to keep critical security settings, virus definitions, and security patches up to date?
  • Do they INSIST on monitoring an offsite as well as an onsite backup, or are they letting you rely on outdated tape backups?
  • Do they INSIST on doing periodic test restores of your backups to make sure the data is not corrupt and could be restored in the event of a disaster?
  • Have they provided you with written, network documentation detailing what software licenses you have, critical network passwords, and hardware information, or are they the only person with the “keys to the kingdom?”
  • Are they consistently (and proactively) offering new ways to improve your network’s performance, or do they wait until you have a problem to make recommendations?
  • Do they provide detailed invoices that clearly explain what you are paying for?
  • Do they explain what they are doing and answer your questions in terms that you can understand (not geek-speak)?
  • Do they complete projects on time and on budget, or does every project end up taking longer and costing more than you expected?
  • Do they offer any guarantees on their services?
  • Do they have other technicians on staff who are familiar with your network in case your regular technician goes on vacation or gets sick?
  • Do their technicians maintain current vendor certifications and participate in ongoing training, or do you feel as though they are learning on your dime?
  • Do they take calls from other clients while working on your network (and on your dime)?

If Your Current IT Guy Failed This Test, I Want to Give You A FREE Network Health Check To Make Things “Right”

If you’re NOT happy with your IT Services Provider (or even if you are) or you have a sneaking suspicion that they aren’t doing the best job possible, then call us in for a second opinion.

At no cost or obligation to you, we’ll come to your office and conduct a network health check to look for problems with your backup, security, speed, and any other problems that could lead to data loss, downtime, and high repair fees.

To claim this free service, simply email us at info@cinnte.ie or fill in our quick pre-assessment form it only takes two minutes!

Happy networking,

Cinnte Team!

 

Cinnte Technologies Achieves IT Security Cyber Essentials Award- Global Industry Standard in IT Security and data protection

We at Cinnte Technologies are pleased to announce our recent award in being a certified IT Security Cyber Essentials’ company. 

The reason we the went through this rigorous IT security and data protection process, is to reassure customers that we take cyber security seriously. We recently wrote about mobile IT security for mobile phones used for businss purposes here.

We want to help  small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) who can be assured that we are serious and ceritfied in providing  IT security.

We have numerous  IT security measures in place which we then help our clients implement. We are GDPR experts and help new and established small businesses to implement GDPR compliant policies to protect their data and their client’s data. We are serious about IT security and about data protection here at Cinnte Technologies.

 

The Crest Cyber Essentials’ includes five important control pillars which can shield organisations from data breaches, hacking and internal data leaks. These are; firewall and internet gateways, secure configuration, access control, malware protection and patch management and software updates.

You can learn more about the entire specifics of the Cyber Essentials here. Do you want the best IT security and data protection in your business here and what it means to protect your business from IT security threats?

If the answer is yes, then, we at Cinnte Technologies, recommend this certification for all businesses.

We can advise and help to implement many or all Cyber Essentials for IT security and data protection. Please get in touch if you would like help setting up stronger IT security, data protection and GDPR policies and mechanisms in your business. If you are based in Cavan, Monaghan, Meath or West Dublin, please get in touch with us today to book a FREE CONSULTATION. This is guaranteed to improve your IT security and get your business Cyber Essentials certified.

Email us at danny@cinnte.ie or call 0494360080. Alternatively, click the link below and sign up for your free IT Security consultation!

Fill out the Form below to Book Your Free IT Security Consultation today