Ransom + Software May = Ransomware

Ransom + Software May = Ransomware
Ransomware

Advancements in both hardware and software technologies have allowed businesses to expand their markets, reach new customers, and become far more productive than they could have possibly dreamed.

As is often typical however, new ways of doing business also open up new avenues criminals can use to steal, or hamper a company’s daily operations just “for the fun of it”. In some cases, hackers and criminals employ what amounts to kidnapping of data or other technological resources until a business pays a ransom. For companies who are not well prepared for such attacks — ransom + their corporate software vulnerabilities may indeed equal a ransomware attack.

How It’s Done

There are several ways that hackers and criminals can gain access to corporate networks and the data that resides on them, but one of the most popular is through a phishing attack.

In a phishing attack, a hacker will typically send an email that looks like it is from a legitimate source such as another employee, often high ranking in the company, or another company that may be a client, vendor, or partner. If the employee receiving the email is not fully prepared to spot a phishing attempt, they might reveal the login credentials for access to the corporate network and/or software applications. Once in the system, hackers can encrypt files, barring employees from accessing any corporate systems until the company pays a ransom. In more than a few cases, the ransom amount paid was quite steep.

Who is Vulnerable

Essentially anyone doing business online can become vulnerable to a phishing attack. However, in recent years municipalities have become increasingly vulnerable to these types of attacks. Large and even medium-sized cities have become popular targets since the systems they oversee provide essential services for both businesses and residents in the area.

Prevention

Proper training is one of the essential keys that can help to eliminate a ransomware attack. Employees need proper training to spot phishing attempts and other suspicious online activity.

A comprehensive tested backup plan is also essential. Up-to-date backups that are held in areas where even hackers cannot access them is key to recovering from a ransomware attack. Regular testing of a backup restoration is also essential to ensure the restoration process will run smoothly if an attack should occur.

If you would like to know more about how to prepare your company to withstand against cyber criminals, please contact us.

Understanding and Creating Respect in the Workplace

Understanding and Creating Respect in the Workplace
Creating Respect

Neglected and disgruntled employees can get in the way of your company’s success. This often occurs when they feel disrespected by fellow employees or by upper management. On the other hand, employees who feel respected in their workplace are more confident and loyal. For a company to be successful, employers and managers must know how they can nurture and sustain a culture of respect in their organization. 

A majority of employees regard respect as the most important leadership trait. However, more and more employees continue to report massive instances of disrespectful behavior from their seniors.

Surprisingly, many leaders do not fully comprehend the main elements of workplace respect. Thus, even the most genuine initiatives aimed at establishing a respectful workplace are treated with open suspicion. 

So, how do you create a workplace that prioritizes respect?

Know the Types of Respect

Respect is generally classified into two types. All employees are entitled to owed respect. However, it is common for some employees to outperform others and become essential to a company’s growth. These rare crop of employees deserve earned respect. 

A seasoned team leader knows how to infuse the two types of respect into the daily operations of the company. You can use owed respect to increase cohesiveness among employees and earned respect to motivate exceptional employees.

Be Consistent

Always display a great degree of equality when showing respect to employees. Low-level employees are adept at noting seemingly negligible cues that they may interpret as respect or disrespect. Feelings of being ignored or favored are likely to develop within the lower ranks. To prevent the emergence of such an unsuitable workplace culture, you should set a consistent level of respect across the workplace.

Be Sincere

Nothing creates an atmosphere of respect than unhindered expressions of honesty. Flattering and suspicious compliments can cause havoc to your company’s culture of respect. 

Contact us for more information.

Aiming For a Healthy Workplace Dynamic: Understanding the Value of Respect in the Workplace

Aiming For a Healthy Workplace Dynamic: Understanding the Value of Respect in the Workplace

A company’s success is not only determined by the quality of its products and services or customer metrics. Personal relationships and perceived behavior among employees in the workplace also have a significant effect on company productivity. With global conversation shifting towards diversity and inclusion, employee pools are now filled with differing perspectives, personalities and work style. A healthy workplace dynamic can determine if your greatly diverse employees perform optimally or contribute to a dysfunctional work environment.   

All employees, whether high in the hierarchy or low on the totem pole, want to feel respected and valued. People in the workplace want to know their feelings, ideas and presence, are respected by their colleagues. A recent study showed that globally, nearly 20,000 employees ranked respect as the most vital leadership behavior.

Being respectful in the workplace is not limited to employees alone. Employers must lead by example, also exhibiting acceptable conduct and a good attitude, as well as treating all employees fairly. Employers must be careful to find a good balance between showing owed and earned respect, with the former being accorded to all employees, while the latter is earned by those who have excelled in one way or another.  

There are several ways to demonstrate respect in the workplace. Some of these are;

  • Anger management: People in a group will inevitably rub one another the wrong way sometimes. Maintaining control during moments of anger is essential, especially in a professional setting. People in the workplace should avoid getting fixated on what makes them irritable and learn to let little issues go. They should also understand their triggers and avoid them. Looking up and learning some anger management techniques can also be of help.  
  • Proper Communication: Discourse that is laced with abrasive, belittling, dismissive or insulting language should be avoided at all times. Conversations among colleagues should always be polite, and any debates should be respectful and professional.
  • Pay Attention: Acknowledge colleagues as much as possible. Small actions like greeting them, holding a door open, and offering help are subtle clues that communicate respect and value.
  • Avoid Judging: Making hasty or unfair judgements about colleagues can affect how you talk and relate with them. Be willing to compromise and endeavor to be open to new perspectives, preferences and work styles. Most importantly, think about what you want to say or do and how it will make others feel.

Benefits Of A Workplace Culture Of Respect

The value of respect in the workplace cannot be overstated. Encouraging mutual respect in the workplace will:

Minimize stress, conflict, and communication problems

A consistent and strictly implemented culture of respect will improve communication between colleagues at every level of an organization. Such a positive atmosphere will optimize how well they work together. It will also reduce stress resulting from conflict and concern about negative perceptions.

Increase productivity

With respect to fostering mutual understanding and better communication, colleagues will be less focused on each other and more focused on company ideals and objectives. Business decisions will be suggested and respected, and tasks will be implemented eagerly. Less friction will also mean more time to improve individual growth and team productivity.

Improve knowledge-sharing

When there is mutual respect, and higher chances of positive reception, employees are more likely to exchange ideas and bounce suggestions off one another freely. This will lead to an increase in knowledge, skills, and expertise.

Decrease turnover rates

Feeling respected contributes to job satisfaction, commitment, and loyalty. Motivated employees will remain longer where they feel well treated and apply themselves diligently to their work, leading to company growth.

In Closing

Promoting a culture of respect in the workplace and improving employee dynamics will stop employees from being side-tracked by unimportant matters and enable them to unleash their full potential and remain highly productive.

At AE technology Group, we create customized and innovative solutions that foster team collaboration and build a stronger organizational culture. Contact us today!

Why You Need A Specialized Technical Support: Getting the Most Value from a Managed Help Desk

Why You Need A Specialized Technical Support: Getting the Most Value from a Managed Help Desk
Technical Support

In this digital age, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any business that does not rely heavily or entirely on information technology. Whether for advertising, communication, or their actual core businesses, all business owners make a significant investment in installations and development of appropriate technology for their line of work.

While there are many tech-savvy people in the workforce nowadays, there is still a need for technical support specialists to handle the more specialized aspects of technology management. For instance, not everyone can create a code for a specific program, or troubleshoot certain functional issues within software.

Therefore, you definitely need a trained and experienced individual or team to handle these issues. It is also essential to get the professionals because IT installations can be quite expensive and you wouldn’t want to risk getting them damaged by a well-meaning, albeit unqualified, individual.

Your Options

There are various ways of getting technical support. The more traditional approach has been to hire an individual or team to deal with all things IT; from software to hardware installations and troubleshooting.

However, in recent times, technical support has been outsourced to companies that specifically offer this kind of service. Referred to as Managed IT Services, this has become quite popular both as a business model and as a requested service.

There are various ways to engage with managed IT services:

Tandem

Here, you retain your IT staff while hiring managed IT services. You then divide the labor, as it were, between your two teams. Most businesses prefer to have the in-house IT team focus on the company’s core business while the managed IT services team will handle the recurrent or mundane, yet time-consuming jobs.

Troubleshooting

In this arrangement, the managed IT services team only show up when the in-house team is unable to address a particular problem sufficiently. Think of it like calling the fire department; they only come when they are needed and in emergency situations. 

Total

Within this total engagement, there is no in-house IT team. Everything, large or small, is handled by the outsourced IT team. The rest of the staff simply call a designated number when they come across some tech difficulties, and they will be assisted.

Making the Most of It

As a business owner, most decisions are made with the impact on the bottom line firmly in mind. So, naturally, you want to ensure that this outsourcing of IT services will be worth your while (at the very least) and possibly lead to increased profits (which is the best scenario). So, how do you maximize your partnership with a managed tech help desk?

1. Know what you need

What exactly do you need? There are many services offered by managed tech services, but these can be tailored to the specific needs of your business. For example, you may only need your system continually monitored with alerts being sent to your in-house IT team for management. Alternatively, you may need the outsourced team to do the actual troubleshooting alongside or in the absence of an in-house team. So, first, be clear about what you need.

2. Run the numbers

Once you know what you want, calculate how much it would cost an in house IT department to deliver vis-à-vis an outsourced team. Remember to take into account all the easily overlooked issues such as downtime and the ensuing loss of productivity. You may need a professional to do this for you but make sure you get it done so you can see just how much money you will be saving by outsourcing.

3. Do your due diligence

This kind of partnership is critical, mainly due to the tech-reliant times we are living in. So, you want to do your research on each managed IT service provider that meets your specific needs. Ask around for recommendations, check out their portfolios and recent audit reports, critically examine their strengths with regard to what you specifically need, and then make your decision.

Talk to Us

If you are in Long Island or New York City, and you’re looking to get the best possible managed tech service, you should go ahead and give us a call. You may also contact us and we will answer all your questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Streamlining Collaboration: Microsoft Teams vs. Slack

Streamlining Collaboration: Microsoft Teams vs. Slack

Teamwork may make the dream work, but choosing the right collaborative software for your business can be a nightmare without the right information! AE Technology Group is here to help. Microsoft Teams and Slack are two excellent options for the growing corporate technology sphere. Explore the benefits of each prior to selecting the ideal collaboration platform.

Teams

Microsoft Teams is a specialized powerhouse that creates efficiency through streamlining processes and communications. This platform is great for interdepartmental collaboration. 

Get Integrated with Office 365 

If an all-in-one technology solution is vital to your business, utilizing the full range of Office 365products revolutionizes project management and strategic staffing. Teams is a tried and true product that integrates with Word, Excel, Access, and many more. First line employees will benefit most from the ease of managing schedules, projects, and communicating flawlessly between departments with instant messaging. 

Information at a Glance

Teams is typically considered the most user friendly option when it comes to a secure communication system for businesses. The program requires little to know input as far as set up costs, training, and troubleshooting. Better still, Teams allows users to view activity, deadlines, productivity, and data by simply clicking on the dashboard. Small businesses especially may wish to opt for the convenience and simplicity the app provides. Teams is also the more budget friendly option for lean and mean results.

Slack

When it comes to integrated technology solutions, Slack is the O.G. of business communications. Slack predates Teams and offers a broader, more comprehensive structure that allows companies the freedom to create and explore.

Third-Party Integration, First Rate Results

If your business doesn’t use Office 365, Slack may be the better option as this app integrates with a collective of third-party apps and programs. This gives companies the ability to pick and choose which software works best for complex functions that may not be supported by traditional Office applications.

Investing in the Future

Rapidly growing industries that anticipate changes within the next few years should take the opportunity to invest in Slack. Not only will Slack withstand the test of time, but switching to different third-party apps while keeping the same IM system and collaborative network is easy. Office may become obsolete or unable to keep up with the demands of a changing enterprise. Unless your company is certain to be operating with Office for at least the next several years, you’re better off going with Slack.

Looking for more technology breakthroughs? Check out Office 365 vs. G Suite Google and contact our IT experts today to get started.