6 Cyber Security Tips for Remote Workers

cyber security tips

As we transition into the #WorkFromHome life, staying safe remains our top priority. Don’t forget to consider data security and cyber threats while working remote. Viruses of a different kind can throw a wrench in productivity and compromise core systems and information. Stay safe at home with these 6 Cyber Security Tips for Remote Workers.

Best Practices for The Best Remote Office Experience

Transitions are the perfect opportunity to review best practices and ensure your company is operating at maximum efficiency. Preventing cyber attacks begins with a thorough review of your organization’s security and compliance. 

Review employee password requirements and ensure your company is following the recommended security protocol to keep your sensitive information from slipping into the wrong hands. Protect your clients and your team by requiring two-factor authentication and passwords that consistent of a phrase or sentence with capitals, numbers, and special characters.

Ensure employees have logged out of all devices aside from their designated work computer. Be clear with your team that personal devices should not be used for work purposes. These devices are unsecured and may compromise integral security. This includes transferring files with confidential information between work and personal devices.

Support your crew with sufficient resources such as tablets, work phones, and laptops for on-the-go business instead. For easy data transfer, opt for convenient and secured Cloud storage solutions.

Secure Wi-Fi Networks

Portals, email, and CRM’s aren’t the only platforms that require strong security. Remote work should always be conducted via a secured Wi-Fi network. This ensures that sensitive information is not transmitted through compromised channels. For staff that are currently working from home, offer a DIY IT workshop to get them started. 

Change the router password to meet best practice standards and consider installing firmware updates and cracking down on encryption levels. 

Protect Privacy

Cyberspace is a dangerous realm. You never know who may be viewing your information and tracking your supposedly private IP address. From advertisers to phishing scams, accessing sensitive information and demographics is surprisingly easy.

Get your team outfitted with the protection of a virtual private network or VPN. A company wide VPN supports secured browsing by masking the IP address (or digital footprint) of each user. These helpful tools encrypt internet traffic, keeping company data protected and private information secured.

Check for Updates

Good anti-virus software is only as good as its last update. Think twice before hitting the “later” button on daily or weekly updates. Although keeping software and applications in top shape can seem like an extra annoyance in your busy day, these updates contain essential information and patches for vulnerabilities.

Firewalls, anti-malware, and anti-virus software are the most critical components to prioritize. These programs are constantly adapting to capture and quarantine new, evolving threats. Ensure an automatic update schedule has been enabled. Taking a few minutes to streamline applications will save you a lot of grief in the event of a cyber attack.

Don’t Be a Victim of Cyber Crooks

There’s no better time for a company refresher on the importance of cyber safety. Phishing scams are on the rise since the increase in remote workers. These devious cyber crooks typically operate by sending scam emails, calls, or texts in order to gain personal and financial information on their target. Make your team aware of recent scams and threats while keeping each member up to speed on what they can do to prevent a data breach.

A few SOP’s for remote work might include a cheatsheet of information you should never give out via phone, text, or email, as well as helpful tips on how to spot a phishing scheme.

Be Prepared

One positive element to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is that the current situation underscores the value of preparedness. Data loss can happen to anyone, whether by human error or cyber breach. Be sure your company is prepared with a backup plan in case the unexpected happens.

Investing in a robust Cloud storage system provides a sufficient backup in case of disaster. This simple solution is typically the most convenient and cost effective for small to mid-sized businesses. If all else fails, AETechnology Group has your back(up) with disaster recovery options for our Long Island and New York business clients.

Contact our experts today for all your remote work needs as we continue to empower businesses to prioritize safety alongside productivity.

Computer Tip of the Day: Internet Speed And Your Business

computer tip of the day internet speed and your business
Internet Speed

If a positive internet “surfing” experience is desired, whether at home or at the place of employment, the following points should be considered:

  • Bandwidth
  • Latency
  • Computer health
  • Internet Browser Extensions

Bandwidth is the allowance of data that may be downloaded per given unit of time. For example, if a typical DSL plan of 1-20 Megabits/sec is purchased, that means the ISP (internet service provider) will allow downloading approximately 1-20 megabits of data per second. To put that into better perspective, contrast it with the speed of a dial-up Internet connection plan of approximately 20-30 kilobits per second, which is only a very small fraction of 1 megabit. Therefore, if high-speed internet is desired, it’s probably better to not choose a dial-up internet connection plan.

However, don’t be fooled by only looking at the data allowance per second when choosing a plan. There’s a variable one must consider called network latency, and can usually only be determined by reading the reviews of a given ISP. Latency refers to the delay that data must endure after given the command to transfer, and many different factors can contribute to latency. For example, if one is considering purchasing a satellite internet plan, keep in mind that although the data allowance per second might look good, it just so happens that the latency of a satellite network could be such that it will not feel like you are using a high-speed internet connection; the internet connection will feel very slow.

After the above is considered and the internet plan is purchased, it’s pretty much up to the computer user to make sure the device being used to access the internet is in good health. Even with the fastest internet plan available, a computer in poor health will diminish the speed of the internet service being used such that all that glorious speed will not be noticeable. This means making an effort to become familiar with computer maintenance. An internet service provider might offer computer maintenance as part of a purchased plan, but it would save a lot of money to do a little research and become familiar with maintenance.

Using the internet typically happens via an internet browser. With the explosion of internet usage in the last decade, internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome have made available extensions or add-ons which can enhance the internet experience. Adding these to your browser, each with a specific purpose, can come with a negative side. Sometimes these extensions can cause a browser to become slow or to crash, therefore, using too many of these simultaneously can greatly diminish the speed of the internet. It would be in a computer user’s best interest to learn how to turn extensions and add-ons off.

Please contact us for a consultation.

Computer Tip of the Day: Power Management

computer tip of the day power management
power management

Computers run more reliably when they don’t encounter power outages and brownouts.

A machine that suddenly loses power not only leaves documents unsaved but can suffer damage to both the hardware and the file structure. To keep this from happening, computers should run from an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). It’s an economical way to make them last longer and avoid data loss.

The Benefits of a UPS

A UPS contains a battery which is normally fully charged from the line current. The computer gets its power from the battery, even when current is available. This makes the voltage smoother, without dips and surges. Unstable line current shortens the life of any electronic equipment which is plugged directly into it.

Computers hold data in memory rather than writing every change immediately to the disk drive. This lets them run faster and use less power, but it means they will lose data if the power fails. The disk drive can be left in an inconsistent state, so file directories can be damaged. A UPS lets the machine keep running during a brief loss of power, and it allows time to shut down machines properly during a longer one.

Having UPS protection is useful with all machines that plug into the wall, but it’s a necessity with servers. Having them fail in an uncontrolled way is too big a risk.

Understanding UPS Ratings

The capacity of a UPS is measured in volt-amperes (VA) and watts. According to the textbooks, a volt-ampere is the same as a watt, but there’s a difference because of the way alternating-current devices work. The VA rating measures the “apparent power” drawn, which is larger than the actual power. The VA rating is the apparent power, and the watt rating is the actual power. The ratio of actual to apparent power is the power factor, which is always less than 1.

To figure out how much capacity you need in a UPS, take the power drawn by each device that you will connect to it; the label should give either watts or volts and amperes. Multiple amperes by volts to get watts. The total of their power requirements should be smaller than both the watt and VA ratings of the UPS.

A power supply should list both its VA and watt ratings, or else the VA and power factor (which lets you calculate the watt rating). Don’t go by just the VA number, even if it’s the more prominent one.

UPS Maintenance

The battery of a UPS has a limited life, and over time its capacity will shrink. Schedule replacement of all UPS batteries, if not the whole power supply, every two years.

An uninterruptible power supply is an inexpensive investment in the life of computer equipment. Every IT shop and home office should have at least one. 

Contact us at AE Technology Group to learn more about how we can keep your systems running reliably.

Password Protection – Computer Tip of the Day

password protection computer tip of the day

Password Protection

One of the most important things to make sure you do when browsing the web or even just using your computer in general, is to make sure your passwords are as secure as possible in order to keep your data safe from hackers and keep your accounts secure from various kinds of attacks on your accounts and personal information.

What many people don’t seem to realize is that there are a number of different ways to get hacked that can be easily avoided by users, in theory. The most common methods currently used to try and break into your accounts are dictionary attacks, cracking security questions and social engineering. In addition, many people making hacking their accounts easier on hackers by setting extremely simple passwords which can be easily guessed or using the exact same password for multiple accounts.

Dictionary Attacks

Dictionary attacks are when a hacker figures out your password by trying a massive number of different options one after another until they manage to break into your account through repeated attempts. The primary method of avoiding having your account broken into like this is to is to avoid things like spelling words backward, common dictionary words and consecutive combinations of letters like qwerty, asdf and so on.

Breaking Security Questions

Quite a few people use common words or names like their first name, their pet’s name or their place of work as answers to their security questions and all of these things are extremely straightforward to figure out with a bit of research. You can easily make these questions much harder to figure out just by making the answers to your security questions something a lot harder to figure out as well as making them things that a potential hacker couldn’t find just by browsing your Facebook page.

Social Engineering

This is a fancy term for elaborate lies and it is an alternative to standard hacking. Social Engineering is where a hacker attempts to manipulate you into revealing certain pieces of confidential information like their email password or social security number.

Reusing Passwords

Using the same password on multiple occasions is generally not the best idea as it does make hacking you much easier. It also exposes multiple accounts to being hacked simultaneously as breaking the password on one account will allow a hacker access to every single account that uses that password.

For more tips and hints on how to protect your accounts from hackers, contact us today!

Computer Health – Computer Tip of the Day

computer health computer tip of the day

Computer Health

It’s possible to keep a computer in optimal condition without much technical knowledge. To achieve this, keep the following points in mind:

  • Install sufficient hardware
  • Manage programs that run at boot-time
  • Keep the internal storage defragmented
  • Antivirus does not speed up your computer!

Whatever task a computer is used for, there would ideally be hardware installed that is fast enough to perform those tasks. For example, it’s not advised to run gaming software on a computer with a relatively low amount of RAM memory; the software manufacturer’s recommendations should be read to understand the hardware requirements for optimal performance of the software.

Once there is sufficient hardware installed, something a computer user should keep in mind is which programs will be allowed to run when a computer is powered on. When a computer program is installed, there is typically an option to make the program run automatically when the power is powered on. The problem is that if too many programs are set to run when the computer is powered on, it will cause the computer to boot-up relatively slow, and also cause the computer to run slow after it is fully powered on. It’s a common habit, often unrealized, to have too many programs running automatically when the computer is powered on.

Keeping a computer’s permanent internal storage device (hard drive) in optimal condition helps with speed. Running an operating system (such as Microsoft Windows) defragmenter on a normal schedule will keep the files stored on the hard drive in good order. Sometimes any given computer file can be fragmented which the defragmenter serves to mitigate.

Computer viruses are commonly misunderstood. A virus is a software program written to take advantage of a computer user by exploiting security “holes” in an operating system (such as Microsoft Windows), or computer program, commonly called an “app.” A virus is not just anything that can go wrong with a computer; it’s often believed this is the case. Installing an anti-virus program helps to fight against viruses; it does not help a computer to run faster. Though, overall, an anti-virus program can help a computer system to run better since it helps to protect against viruses.

Doing a search for subjects including keywords in this blog will aid as a learning tool to help understand computer maintenance.

Please contact us so that we may assist in computer health.