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IT Strategy

Tech Talk: 3 Practical Steps To Avoid Getting Hacked

In today’s technology landscape, cybercriminals are now primarily targeting individual users rather than breaking into systems. In today’s Tech Talk, we’ll review three best practices you can implement to protect yourself from cyberattacks, whether at work or home.

    1) Phishing Scams
    Understand how to identify and avoid phishing scams. Phishing occurs when a hacker sends an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate institution or company to trick users into giving up their personal information. They mimic real logos, web addresses, and language from real companies to prompt you into clicking malicious links, downloading harmful files and logging into fake websites. Once you enter your credentials to log in, the criminal on the other end steals your username and password to breach your account. Another common tactic is a CEO scam, where a fake email appears to come from a CEO or top executive asking employees to transfer money to them. To combat scams that invade your inbox, make sure you never click on links or open attachments that look suspicious. If someone asks you to transfer money or sensitive information via email, you should think twice and verify that request with the sender in person or on the phone.
    2) Password Discipline
    A good password strategy is also imperative to being connected online. The media is replete with headlines of data breaches where millions of accounts are compromised. Some of this can be attributed to the mistake of using simple, repeat passwords across different accounts. Thankfully, there are tools like LastPass and Dashlane which can generate complex passwords for your various accounts and house them in one location. Today’s password management isn’t complete without Two-Factor Authentication, or 2FA. 2FA works by creating an extra layer of security by validating login with a text message or app prompt on your smartphone. Implementing 2FA can prevent over 90% of security breaches.
    3) Phone Scams
    Lastly, cybercriminals are targeting smartphones for their attacks. This occurs when a hacker contacts you personally, such as pretending to be from the IRS or a law enforcement agency and will coerce you into paying back taxes or doing a wire transfer. The tactics you’d use against phishing emails should also be used here, so don’t give out sensitive information or send payments in response to unsolicited phone calls.

In conclusion, healthy cybersecurity is built on knowing how to spot phishing emails, improving your password management, and knowing when you’re receiving a call from a scammer. Make sure you follow these three principles to stay safe wherever you are!

October 22nd, 2019|

Tech Talk: Five Reasons To Consider Microsoft 365

In this Tech Talk, Sebastian Igreti explores the top five features within Microsoft 365 that your business needs to know to defend itself from growing security threats and improve its productivity. Let’s dive in!

  • #1 – Online Protection

    With Exchange Online Protection, you get an email filtering service that guards you from malware hiding in emails and attachments. This also comes with ATP or Advanced Threat Protection, a cloud-based solution that monitors and pinpoints cybersecurity threats lurking in your inbox.

  • #2 – Mobile Device Management

    Mobile Management is a feature that contains a Bring Your Own Device Policy, which lets your employees use their own devices to access company data. Your team members can work on their personal phones, laptops, or tablets while connecting to company files without the worry of getting breached. This gives your company the convenience to work flexibly while getting a robust security perimeter.

  • #3 – Built-In Security Features

    With Azure Information Protection, you can control who can access sensitive content housed in documents and emails, while blocking outside users. Also, files like spreadsheets or Word docs containing information like credit cards and social security numbers are kept from being shared with Data Loss Prevention.

  • #4 – Windows 10 Pro

    Windows 7 is approaching its end of life, which means that in 2020, support will be lost and it’ll be time to move to the latest system. So included with Microsoft 365 is an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro. This also gives you Windows Autopilot which ensures that new devices are business-ready right out of the box and contain apps installed from the cloud.

  • #5 – Microsoft Teams

    Finally, Microsoft 365 for Business comes with Microsoft Teams, a communication tool that allows you to collaborate with coworkers via phone calls, meetings and individual or group chats. It’s available on PC, Mac, phones, and tablets, giving you the convenience to connect and collaborate from wherever you are.

In conclusion, Microsoft 365 is packaged with all the applications you need for effective IT security and helps your company’s success with great productivity tools. So feel free to reach out to us as you explore how Microsoft 365 can benefit your organization!

September 13th, 2019|

Tech Talk: Windows 7 End of Life

Microsoft has recently announced that support for the widely-used Windows 7 will be coming to an end in January 2020. Join us on today’s Tech Talk as we dive into the steps your business will need to take to prepare for these upcoming changes.

Windows 7 Support Is Ending

The start of 2020 will mean the end-of-life for Windows 7 support, along with Microsoft Server 2008, Exchange 2010 and SQL Server 2008. The most important thing to be aware of is that software patches for all of these systems will cease. This is so important because without continued patch updates, those systems will remain susceptible to cyber security issues, increasing the chance that your organization will encounter a data breach or ransomware attack.

You might be wondering what steps to take? First, if your business has workstations running Windows 7 with computers that are three years old or less, we recommend upgrading them to Windows 10 before the deadline. For computers that are older than three years we recommend replacing them entirely.

Thankfully, the new Microsoft 365 package includes upgrade licenses from Windows 7 to Windows 10 Pro. So, if your organization is looking for a cloud solution and wants to beef up your security, you now have the opportunity kill two birds with one stone. Also, Microsoft is offering free extended support if you chose to transfer your server workload to Microsoft Azure.

With this knowledge, you can plan out to your strategy for the upcoming end-of-life for Windows 7. We at TechMD are committed to helping your organization stay up-to-date with ongoing changes and move your business forward. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions and have a great day.

April 9th, 2019|

Tech Talk: How to Develop an IT Strategy for 2019

5 Things to Consider When Developing Your 2019 IT Strategy

At this time of year many of our clients are finalizing their budgets and plans for the coming year. Part of our job at TechMD is to help them develop and implement a sound IT strategy that aligns with their business objectives. With that in mind, here are 5 things you should consider while developing your IT strategy for the coming year.

1) Develop a technology mission statement.

Consider how you want technology to support your organization’s goals. The basics like email and file storage are similar in all organizations but what you need to figure out is the unique way you want your technology to impact your specific business. In general, you need to determine where your company is going and how technology can help take you there.

2) Perform a technology SWOT analysis.

This is where you outline your company’s technology related strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Doing this will help you see areas where technology can help mitigate weakness and threats or provide you with the ability to capitalize on strengths and opportunities. A sober word of caution: just about all organizations should have cybersecurity in their threats column.

3) Review your short- and long-term goals.

Knowing what your organization is working to accomplish will help you think about which technologies are worth investing in and how they can bolster your team to better achieve those goals. The business world is rapidly moving towards cloud technology. If you haven’t considered this already, next year needs to be the year where you consider how the cloud will impact your business. The digital transformation is happening, and your response could make or break your business.

4) Address the training and development needs of your team.

You’ll want to prioritize cybersecurity training for your staff, because they are the number one target for cybercriminals. You’ll also want to consider what new skills need to be learned as you adopt new technologies and how you will educate your employees who utilize those skills.

5) Develop an IT budget.

Many businesses leaders we talk to consider an IT budget an oxymoron; they feel like IT costs are always surprises and investment is always out of control. But with the right focus and team an IT budget can be created and followed. The IT budget should align with your goals and ensure your company can properly invest in the technology you need to run your organization effectively.

The most useful IT budgets are based on a 3-year cycle and provide you with great visibility into the investments required for that time frame. During this process, make sure that you involve your organizations leadership team and stake holders. If you don’t have a C-level IT employee at your company, you may want to look into engaging a company like TechMD or an outside IT consultant to help guide you through the process.

We’d love to help!

If you have any questions about how to build your IT strategy for the coming year, we’d love to help. Please feel free to reach out to us here.

For more information about the cloud and cybersecurity, please check out the links below:

Further Reading

December 13th, 2018|

Tech Talk: Is AI Ready For Small Business?

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly emerging technology that is set to change the landscape of all kinds of industries. But with so much news surrounding new developments, you may be wondering if AI is right for small and mid-sized organizations today.

First let’s dispel some myths. The first thing to know is that AI will not instantly solve all your business needs. And despite its growth, implementing AI will require both massive commitment, resources and the right set of skills to integrate it into your systems. Also, you’ll want to avoid adopting AI for AI’s sake alone; 99% of businesses don’t actually need AI to be profitable right now. Instead, ensure new technology aligns with your business needs.

Tools You Can Use Right Now

Now with that said, there are some current AI applications that you can leverage today, ranging from marketing, logistics and operations to fraud detection and more. For example, Fin is an app that utilizes machine learning in tandem with skilled remote staff to act as your personal virtual assistant. Using speech-to-text technology, you can have a variety of tasks performed on your behalf.

Salesforce’s Einstein is another example that uses artificial intelligence to gather predictions and recommendations based on customer data and business processes. You can then use that data to automate responses and actions to improve sales, and in so doing, happier customers. Also, if you feel that your business objectives are in line with the capabilities of AI and machine learning, be sure to check out the solutions provided by Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google’s Cloud AI.

Steps To Take

Understand that the key to AI is good data, so make sure you are implementing effective solutions to collect and store data so it can be leveraged in the future. Lastly, follow these steps to keep up with AI trends:

  • Capture your most important data digitally so it can be leveraged in the future.
  • Stay on top of AI advancements in your industry.
  • Don’t hesitate to leverage AI and machine learning today if you have clear business needs that might be accomplished with today’s AI technology.

Thanks for watching this Tech Talk and come back next time to learn more!

Further Reading

November 6th, 2018|

Tech Talk: Enhance Workflows with Process.st

In this Tech Talk, Sebastian Igreti talks about how Process.st has revolutionized how we manage workflows by combining a documentation platform with media-rich checklists. This means our team is constantly exposed to business-critical documentation while working through process checklists, while also encouraging us to update documentation as we go.

Find out more about Process.st at https://www.process.st.

August 21st, 2018|

Tech Talk: Conquer Your Inbox with Sanebox

If you’re anything like most professionals, you probably receive hundreds of emails on a daily basis, and filtering through them to find the ones that need immediate attention can be time-consuming. In this Tech Talk, Sebastian Igreti discusses how Sanebox has helped TechMD team members filter bulk email, remind me about unaddressed emails, and automatically categorize incoming messages for organized reading.

July 10th, 2018|

Tech Talk: Work Seamlessly with Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 includes a wide range of cloud applications that can revolutionize productivity, collaboration, and work mobility. In this Tech Talk, Sebastian Igreti tours Office 365 and discusses how it can transform the way businesses leverage the traditional Office software stack.

January 25th, 2018|

Tech Talk: Trakstar’s Employee Evaluation Software

If you’re looking for a better way to do employee performance reviews, consider taking a look at Trakstar. In this Tech Talk, Sebastian Igreti covers how we use Trakstar to measure, track, and report on employee performance, and why we love how it helps us manage performance reviews and maintain a customer-focused company culture.

You can learn more about Trakstar on their website: https://www.trakstar.com/

January 9th, 2018|

Tech Talk: Streamline Hiring with SparkHire

At TechMD, we believe that finding the right people for the job is central to the success of our business. On this episode of Tech Talks, Sebastian Igreti discusses how we leverage SparkHire to streamline our hiring process and help us find the right candidates. SparkHire allows you to reduce the need for time-consuming phone screens, gather quality information about candidates before meeting them in person, and easily collaborate between hiring managers.

You can learn more about SparkHire at https://www.sparkhire.com.

August 25th, 2017|

Tech Talk: How OfficeVibe Boosts Employee Morale

Looking for a better way to facilitate employee engagement and improve morale? In this Tech Talk, Sebastian Igreti covers how OfficeVibe enables businesses to capture feedback from team members, provides improved visibility over employee engagement and morale, and helps business leaders address festering issues before they affect company culture.

July 18th, 2017|

Tech Talk: Five Essential Steps to Protect Yourself from Cybercriminals

Threats and attack vectors from cybercriminals continue to evolve, and businesses need to stay on top of the changing cybersecurity landscape to ensure their critical business and customer data is protected. On this episode of Tech Talks, Sebastian Igreti discusses five essential steps to keep your business safe from cybercriminals.

July 11th, 2017|

Tech Talk: Microsoft Azure VDI: A Game Changer

Microsoft recently announced their Azure Virtual Desktop Solution, which allows organizations to move their entire IT infrastructure into Microsoft’s first-class cloud environment. If you’re interested in learning more about what’s on the IT horizon and how it can benefit your organization, check out this episode of Tech Talks, where Sebastian Igreti discusses the latest in cloud technology.

July 5th, 2017|