Break Your Break/Fix Cycle in 2021

Stressed computer engineer working on broken cables screaming in frustration

There are generally two approaches to technology maintenance. One of them addresses issues as they appear, and the other involves addressing possible issues before they become operational problems. How does your business go about technology maintenance? If it’s the first, also known as “break-fix” IT, then you are going about things the wrong way and leaving a ton of savings on the table.

One appropriate way of thinking about technology maintenance is like imaging IT as your car. When you purchase a vehicle, you try to take care of it as best you can because it is an investment that will hopefully yield a return on the costs associated with it. You want to keep it on the road so that you can keep getting value out of it over an extended period of time.

But what happens when your car starts to make strange noises and inconsistencies with operations start to appear? If these issues are small enough, you might think you can get away with ignoring them for a little while, as the car still gets you to your destination. If you ignore them long enough, though, you might find yourself stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck to bring it to a garage.

From here, the folks at the garage take a look at the engine and try to diagnose your problems. The mechanics find that something serious is causing a problem within your vehicle that must be addressed, and the vehicle simply cannot function until the repairs have been made. You are left with questions about how much the repair job will cost, how long it will take, and whether or not your budget can handle it.

The same problems occur when small businesses run into technical problems. They might want to address these issues before they become problematic, but they don’t have the budget or the ability to do so. They try to avoid facing the problem until it becomes so bad that it cannot be ignored any longer, a practice that eventually creates more problems later on down the line. It’s better to resolve issues before they become this serious.

Relying on break-fix IT is simply not the best way to approach technology issues, especially when you don’t know what the problem is or how to address it. It’s better to outsource this responsibility to someone who can handle routine maintenance in order to prevent these types of costly breakdowns. That’s where our proactive IT services come into play!

With our knowledge and expertise, we can ensure that your business’ IT systems are monitored and maintained for any signs of wear and tear. We’ll know about weaknesses in your systems long before they impact operations, giving us ample time to address them before they create costly downtime and up-front costs for replacement parts/components. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

Firewalls: The Unsung Heroes Network Security

Shield Firewall protection hacker illustration

The term firewall is not a new one, and it’s not as old of a term as you might think. Before it became commonplace in the computing environment, it was first introduced to the world in 1983 when it was used in a movie titled WarGames. Nowadays, it is used mostly in regard to network security. Let’s take a look at what a firewall does and what the different types of firewalls do.

First, What Does a Firewall Do?

A firewall’s name comes from the structures built into connected homes and multi-family residences that protect individual units from fires. A residential firewall keeps a fire from spreading, while a computing firewall monitors your network traffic for unauthorized connections. A properly configured firewall is a critical part of any cybersecurity strategy.

Firewall Varieties

There are many different types of firewalls out there. Here are just a few examples:

Virtual Firewall

A virtual firewall is hosted in the cloud. It protects an environment that is hosted in the cloud or within a virtual machine. You can customize your virtual firewall to suit your specific needs, be it for a specific application or to protect an entire cloud environment.

Stateful Inspection Firewall

Most modern infrastructures include this version of a firewall. It performs a function called dynamic packet filtering, a process that involves all traffic passing through a firewall being analyzed to ensure it is in the correct state, i.e. not infected by threats or otherwise.

Unified Threat Management Firewall

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, a UTM firewall also includes antivirus software. UTMs are designed to be a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none solution. They work for many smaller businesses as a part of their network infrastructure to keep users and data protected.

Is a Firewall a Requirement for Your Business’ Cybersecurity?

In short, yes, although it should be mentioned that true cybersecurity includes much more than just a simple firewall. A firewall is only one piece of your cybersecurity strategy, so you will need even more safeguards put into place to keep your company as secure as possible from threats.

AE Technology Group can equip your business with the best security tools out there. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.

What Does it Mean To Go Passwordless? Just Ask Microsoft

Finger Print Biometric Scanning Identification System

Passwords have long been a staple against security threats, but the password could soon be a thing of the past. Microsoft is advancing toward this new concept, but what does it mean for your business?

Let’s look and see what going “passwordless” can mean for an account’s security.

How Does Passwordless Even Work?

Passwords were the standard for quite some time, but compared to other security measures, they are less secure against threats than you might think. A complex password may have once been enough, but this is no longer the case. Password-cracking software and the massive increase in computing power means that hackers can discover passwords in no time, and weaker authentication methods are inferior compared to other available options. Add in the fact that most users have no clue how to make a secure password, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Multi-factor authentication is one of the best ways you can secure an account. Instead of using one only key to unlock your account, you use multiple factors to open it. For example, you might use a biometric like a face, fingerprint, or iris scan, or even a secondary authentication code sent to your mobile device.

As for your Microsoft account, Microsoft is thinking about ditching the password in its entirety, giving users the option to sign in using the Microsoft Authenticator application, Windows Hello, or codes sent to your email or smartphone. Here are the steps to go passwordless for your Microsoft account:

  • Download the Microsoft Authenticator application on your smart device
  • Link your application to your account
  • Go to accounts.microsoft.com and look for the Security tab
  • Under Additional Security, turn on Passwordless Account
  • Follow the prompts displayed, and you should be good to go!

The fact that you can go passwordless for your Microsoft account is all well and good, but whether you should or not will likely be up to personal preference. As for your business, we want to emphasize that you should move toward multi-factor authentication wherever you possibly can. It’s that much more difficult for a hacker to crack an account.

AE Technology Group wants to help your company implement multi-factor authentication and work toward greater network security. To learn more, reach out to us at (516) 536-5006.