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New Study Finds That Paying Off Your Ransomware Attackers Has Some Severe Consequences

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We know, we know; you’re probably sick of seeing ransomware in headlines, and so are we, but we cannot stress enough how important having an awareness of it is for any business owner. A new study has found that businesses infected by ransomware who choose to pay up experience a different type of fallout--one that is a major cause for concern and a stark reminder that there are no guarantees with ransomware. Ever.

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Best Practices in IT Decision Making

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For some companies, their IT is like a boat to a fisherman: they could conceivably do the work without it, but they wouldn’t have a business. For this reason, it is important to know how to ascertain which technology investments are right for your business at any given time. Let’s go through a few considerations decision makers should highlight when choosing new technology for their businesses. 

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Being Prepared Goes a Long Way Toward Averting Disaster

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Data recovery is a major pain point for small businesses, but not all organizations have the same resources and assets that make it possible. Small businesses in particular are more prone to forego data backup and disaster recovery because it does not provide an immediate return on investment. Well, we’re here to tell you that this mindset is wrong.

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There Are Serious Benefits to Setting Up a Knowledge Base

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If you are looking for a way to smooth out the edges of your business, consider putting together a knowledge base that includes all policies, procedures, and other information so it is readily accessible by the people that interact within and from outside your business. Businesses that have well-documented policies and procedures have a tendency to have less difficulty onboarding new hires, fewer operational problems, and can always provide access to resources needed by employees, customers, and vendors. Today we will give you a few tips on how to successfully create a working knowledge base.

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Top 5 Small Business Apps of 2021

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When you run a small business, you’re often pulled in several directions all at once. Not only are you in charge of everyday operations, but you must handle payroll, employee issues, and anything else that pops up. Which small business apps are best? That will largely depend on your business and your own preferences. If you don’t have the time to wade through an endless list of apps, we’ve compiled a list of options to get you started! Best App for Project Management? Basecamp Basecamp is the most well-known project-management app of this trio, and it might be the easiest to use of the bunch. The interface is streamlined and intuitive, and it’s easy to invite collaborators, chat within projects, attach files, create checklists, and track your progress. You can also create helpful workflow calendars that keep everyone on track and on the same page. Best App for Workflow? Workflowy WorkFlowy is a web-based organizational tool that enables users to create lists: personal to-dos, notes, team projects, research papers, and many more. It is a text-based, zoomable document that is flexible enough for organizing ideas in one's own way. Best App for Payment? Square Square could be a life-saver, if your...

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Considerations That You Need to Make When Adding New Technologies

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It’s no secret that new technology can be useful for a business, unfortunately too many businesses struggle with their technology implementations. When adding new tools to your business, you will need to understand that the more deliberate you are, the more success you will find. Rushing any new deployment is sure to have some types of issues. For today’s blog, we take you through some of the best practices of adding new technology to your business.

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The Pitfalls of Cloud Computing and How to Overcome Them

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Businesses use cloud resources all the time; and, they use them for many different reasons. Some use them because they have to support a remote workforce, some use them so they don’t have to come up with large swaths of capital or don’t want to pay interest rates for financing their central hardware. Some only use them sparingly to fill in the gaps created by product and service demand.

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Privacy Engineering is the Key to a More Secure Future

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Data privacy is a bit of a hot topic in today’s business environment, especially with high-profile hacks and ransomware attacks emerging and putting organizations at risk. In particular, the emerging concept of “privacy engineering” has a lot of businesses thinking about how they can secure their organization and future-proof their data privacy infrastructures. Let’s discuss what privacy engineering is, as well as what some big names in the industry have to say about the future of data privacy. What is Privacy Engineering? The International Association for Privacy Professionals, or IAPP, defines privacy engineering as “the technical side of the privacy profession,” which can mean any number of things. For some, it is making sure that the processes involved in product design take privacy into consideration. For others, it might mean the technical knowledge required to implement privacy into the products. At the end of the day, it seems there is a general consensus that privacy engineering is the consideration of privacy, from a user’s standpoint, throughout the production process, from conception to deployment. This is notable for a couple of reasons. Systems and products that take privacy into consideration at every stage of development will be much more consumer-friendly. Users can...

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A Basic Understanding of Informatics

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Many professionals see the word “informatics” and think of one of two things. First, what the heck is it? Second, isn’t that just computer science? While the two certainly are similar and often used interchangeably, they are quite different. Let’s take a deeper dive and see what the field of informatics entails, how it can be applied to computer science and business, and why it’s important to consider for your organization. Defining Informatics Pinning down informatics is a bit of a tricky one, as it is most commonly used when referring to healthcare. In regards to medical informatics, Merriam-Webster defines it as “the collection, classification, storage, retrieval, and dissemination of recorded knowledge.” Now, we know what you’re thinking. Wouldn't that definition be applicable in just about any other context? Well, you’re not the first one to think of this definition in a fluid manner. The definition of informatics has shifted throughout the years to reflect this more abstract line of thought. Generally speaking, informatics can be referred to as the study of any system, artificial or natural, and how it shares or processes information of some sort. If we zoom out a bit with our definition, you can see how informatics...

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Hackers Use the Pandemic to Send Out Phishing Threats

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The first half of this year has seen its fair share of ups and downs, especially on a global scale. With a global pandemic still taking the world by storm, it’s despicable that hackers would take advantage of the opportunity to make a quick buck using phishing tactics. Yet, here we are. Let’s take a look at how hackers have turned the world’s great misfortune into a boon, as well as how you can keep a lookout for these threats. According to reports from SecureList, spam and phishing trends in Q1 of 2021 relied heavily on COVID-19 and the buzz generated by it. Let’s take a look at some of the major threats that took advantage of the pandemic. Stimulus Payment Scandals The first couple months of 2021 saw businesses and individuals receiving payments from governments, such as economic impact payments or business bail-outs. Hackers took advantage of this opportunity to try to convince users to hand over their credentials through the use of messages that both looked and sounded professional. As is often the case with phishing messages, some users of specific banks were targeted through the use of near-identical websites designed to steal credentials and fool users. Others tried...

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A Major Update to Windows 10 Is On the Horizon

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Back in 2015, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows, meaning that we should not expect Windows 11 anytime soon. Still, a major update to the Windows 10 operating system has been confirmed to be on its way. What’s coming with this next update to Windows 10, and what does it mean for your business? What We Know If we’re being honest, there is not much currently known about the upcoming update to Windows 10. The update, code-named Sun Valley, will reportedly bring several enhancements and updates to the user interface. CNet reports that some of these changes will apply to the Start menu (hopefully in a good way), Action Center, File Explorer, and Taskbar. It is also hinted that changes made to the user interface will borrow in part from the unreleased Windows 10X operating system, an OS that was in development for dual-screen devices like the Surface Pro.  Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, has teased the update, going so far as to build the hype train at Microsoft’s Build 2021 Conference from March 25-27. Here is what he had to say during the keynote speech: “Soon we will share one of the most significant updates...

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Businesses Have Access to These 3 Powerful Communications Tools

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What kinds of communication tools does your business utilize on a daily basis? Chances are that your communication infrastructure can benefit from some of the latest and greatest solutions on the market. Communication is one aspect of your business that you definitely do not want to skimp on, as failing to implement the proper tools can bleed into other aspects of your organization, including operations and, in return, your bottom line. Here are three technology solutions that all small businesses should implement for their communication infrastructures. Email & Instant Messaging We know what you’re thinking—obviously a business needs email to communicate properly both internally with its team and externally with clients and vendors. However, we urge you to reconsider the way that your email solution is currently set up. Do you host it yourself on-premises? Is it properly secured? Can you access your work email on any approved device? Are you able to access it through the cloud? These are important questions to ask for the sake of productivity and efficiency. We at Netcotech recommend that you work with us to set up a cloud-hosted email solution so that your business can focus on maintaining operations rather than managing an email...

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How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication for Your Google, Apple, and Microsoft Accounts

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Two-factor authentication is commonplace in the office environment, but it’s not commonplace enough, if you ask us. Too many organizations pass on it, placing their security at risk for no good reason. While the methods might vary, the benefits of two-factor authentication are too good to ignore. We’ll walk you through how to set up two-factor authentication for three of the most common accounts in the business environment: Microsoft, Google, and Apple. But first, let’s discuss what two-factor authentication is and why it’s so beneficial to utilize. What is Two-Factor Authentication? It used to be the case that users would only utilize passwords to secure their accounts. However, passwords are easy for hackers to take advantage of on their own. Two-factor authentication uses at least two of the three methods below to secure an account rather than just the password alone, theoretically making it more difficult for a hacker to access an account. Basically, unless two of the three methods are fulfilled, the account will not be accessible. Here they are: Something you know (a password)Something you have (a secondary device you own)Something you are (biometrics, facial recognition, fingerprinting, etc) Why Is It Important? Imagine that your online accounts are a...

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A Solid Mobile Device Strategy Needs These 3 Components

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It’s no surprise that mobile technology has infiltrated the workplace in more ways than one. Many businesses issue company-owned devices to their employees to get work done while out of the office, while others allow employees to bring their own devices, or use their own laptops and smartphones for fulfilling their day-to-day duties. That being said, it’s important to remember that mobile devices need to be managed in a very specific way to maintain security. Let’s discuss how your business can manage the benefits of mobile devices in the workplace without sacrificing security. Remote Wiping Let’s say that one of your employees goes on a business trip and they set their briefcase down for a moment while they order a cup of coffee or some other task. When they return, the briefcase is gone, along with any devices that were in it. Besides scolding the employee for their negligence, your first thought might drift to the question of “What about the data found on that laptop?” What might the thief do with such data? The possibilities should have you concerned. Should you fail to recover the device, you will want the capabilities to remotely wipe the device of any and all...

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Tip of the Week: How to Properly Inventory Your Technology

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Businesses use technology to varying degrees, but even small businesses have a lot of technology that must be tracked on a daily basis. With so many devices floating around the office, how are you making sure that you know who has which device, when it was issued, and how it’s being used? We suppose the question is not “how” you are keeping track of it all, but “if.” For this task, we recommend implementing an inventory tracking system for your business’ technological assets. Do I Really Need One? In short, yes, and for a number of reasons. Even small businesses have a ton of technology that is constantly being assigned, reassigned, and taken out of the office. Take, for example, the average employee. They might have a work desktop that stays at the office, a company-issued laptop for working remotely, and maybe even a company-issued smartphone to stay in touch while out and about. It makes sense to track who is in possession of which device from both a logistics and security perspective. That said, your tracking system will be made up of two different components: the tracking method itself and the records you keep. You could, of course, keep a...

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How to Determine Which Cloud Solutions Are Right for Your Business

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When we talk about the cloud, what springs to your mind? The cloud might sound like a business buzzword, but in reality it’s one of the most important components of a technology infrastructure, especially in today’s online environment. Considering the ongoing pandemic and unpredictability that the situation brings, you don’t want to wait any longer; you should have started thinking about implementing the cloud yesterday. What is Cloud Computing? When we talk about the cloud, it’s mostly in the context of cloud computing. Most people utilize cloud computing on a day-to-day basis in at least some capacity, whether they realize it or not. Most email solutions these days are stored in the cloud, so anytime you access your Gmail account, you are using cloud computing. Cloud computing is essentially when data lives in an online environment. This makes the data available through some kind of account or portal, improving accessibility and flexibility in general. It’s a great way for businesses to keep operations going even while out of the office. That being said, most businesses will have to ask themselves whether a public or private cloud is the ideal solution. Public vs Private When considering cloud computing, you will find that...

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Make Sure Your Staff Understands the Importance of Their Role in Your Organization’s Cybersecurity

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Today, employees have to be a major part of every business’ cybersecurity attempts. The reasoning is simple: attacks are more likely to come in the form of end user correspondence than on a direct assault of the network. As a result, it is important that cybersecurity is more than just another line item on a task list, it has to be built into the culture. Let’s discuss a few ways to get your employees to care about cybersecurity.

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3 Ways Your Small Business Might Benefit from Artificial Intelligence Technology

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Artificial intelligence has taken the world by storm, and the advent of emerging technologies has many small businesses thinking about how they can utilize it to cut costs, improve operations, and eliminate unnecessary or repetitive tasks. Let’s take a look at three ways your business can leverage artificial intelligence to the best of its ability.

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The Components of a Successful Business Continuity Strategy

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With the future so uncertain, it’s no surprise that many organizations are turning their focus toward business continuity. There are a lot of components that go into making a successful continuity plan, and if you want to optimize your chances of survival in the face of a disaster, you need to ensure that all your bases are covered.

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Password Best Practices from the National Institute of Standards and Technology

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Passwords are probably the most important part of keeping accounts secure. That’s why it is so important to follow industry best practices when creating them. Today, we’ll take a look at the standards outlined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in creating the best and most secure passwords.

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