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Cybersecurity and Laptop Safety

Cybersecurity Laptop TheftTypically, when we think about cybersecurity, we think about external threats to internal databases. We imagine hackers, identity theft, and financial gain. But, according to studies, threats to your own cybersecurity are much closer than you think. According to research company Gartner, a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. And according to research from the University of Pittsburgh, laptops have a 1-in-10 chance of being stolen, but just a 2% chance of recovery.

Keeping Your Laptop Safe

Anyone who owns a laptop is at risk. Think of how portable your device is. How many times have you taken it to a coffee shop, or left it on the front seat of your car? If it’s stolen, lost, or compromised in some way, your confidential information could get into the wrong hands. Here’s some advice to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you.

Treat Your Laptop Like a Child

You wouldn’t dream of leaving a small child unattended in a public place. You wouldn’t ever let a stranger take care of your small child, even for a short period of time. If you are in a public place, take your laptop with you when you run to the bathroom or out to the car, even for just a moment. When you arrive at a hotel or airport, don’t allow someone else (outside of security personnel) to handle your laptop. This may seem extravagant, but ensuring your device is with you at all times is crucial.

Remove Any Sign or Reminder of Passwords from the Body of the Laptop

That sticky note near your trackpad with your password reminders is a huge no-no. If your computer is stolen, the thief now has easy access to your computer and any websites where you’ve used the same password.

Plan for Theft

Using an anti-theft software like GPS and Track can be a huge lifesaver, but must be installed in advance, of course. Additionally, record the serial number on your laptop and take photos, especially of any unique or customized features. Change your passwords often.

Don’t Let Others Use Your Device

Allowing people you don’t know, or don’t know well, use your laptop to “just check email” or “Google something real quick” could be a huge breach of your own security. Hackers don’t need much time to get compromising information from your device.

 

Let Rx Tech IT Services Handle It For You

Don’t leave your cybersecurity in the wrong hands. Whether you’re looking for IT Support, Computer Repair, Network Cabling, Data Recovery, or more, contact us for a Free Quote today.

Uninstalling Adobe Flash

As of December 31, 2020, Adobe Flash is no longer supported on browsers around the world. Or as CNN put it, “Adobe has officially killed off Flash Player, the buggy, hated, security vulnerability of a web browser plug-in.” Though once used for so many things, from video games to YouTube videos, the software is now obsolete.

Uninstalling Adobe Flash is a necessary security precaution for all users. In fact, you’ve probably gotten notices on your browser about uninstalling the software. Flash has consistently been a target for hackers and malware users. To keep your system safe, uninstall today.

Adobe offers tools that make removal of Flash simple and straightforward.

On Windows: Adobe tool for removing Flash from Windows.

On Mac: Adobe tool for removing Flash from Macs.

Changing your password for different websites is a crucial step in protecting your information. Imagine that you have an account with only FIVE different websites: Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. On each of these websites, you use the same strong and complicated password, something liek U>wi928ZFP%cjr!.  Maybe you’ve even memorized the password, however complicated it might be.

The Hack

Imagine that one day, one of those five providers experiences a hack. The company, though taking many precautions, has left your information vulnerable. The hackers now have access to each user’s:

  • Login ID
  • Email address
  • Password
  • Password hints/security questions

And now they have access to your account on the service that was hacked.

But that’s not all.

Vulnerability

That same information you’ve used to log in to the hacked website is the same information you use to log in to the other four. In fact, most people have accounts on one or more of the major services above. A hacker will know this, and attempt to use the information on more accounts. And very often, they are successful. A security breach on one website can exponentially affect your online security.

Protect Yourself

By using the same password on all of your accounts, you put all of those accounts at risk.

Avoid this by:

  • Using long, strong passwords, of at least twelve characters, randomly generated.
  • Use a different password for every single account you have.
  • Use a password manager like LastPass to keep track of them all for you.
  • Enable two-factor authentication when it’s available.

Hiring an IT Consulting company could be the answer to many of your business struggles.

Wondering if IT Consulting is the right choice for your business? See if any of the signs below sound familiar…

According to Finances Online64% of IT budget increases for businesses are due to a need to upgrade outdated infrastructure. An IT Consulting firm can help you determine what changes need to be made to keep your organization running effectively and efficiently.

Sign #1 – Your IT Equipment is out of date

Are your computer systems, network capabilities, software issues, or other IT elements a constant frustration for your team? Do slow-running programs annoy your employees? Do problems take hours or days to fix, even when they seem like minor issues? Your IT technology could be out of date.

How IT Consulting Can Help:

IT Consultants from Rx Technology will take your entire system into account, letting you know how to keep your organization safe and running smoothly by making sure you’re keeping up with the latest and best technology. It’s our job to stay up to date so that you can focus on your customers.

Sign #2 – You’re Wasting Money

Hiring an IT Consulting firm may sound intimidating or expensive, but the decision to work with a company like Rx Technology for your services will save you money in the long run.

How IT Consulting Can Help:

We will provide your business with a better plan for managing your IT budget. You may be spending unnecessarily in one area or lacking in another. Our guidance will help you streamline your processes and keep your organization running smoothly.

Sign #3 – IT Issues Are Wasting Your Time

IT issues are a huge concern in the business world. Not only do they  compromise your company’s efficiency and effectiveness, but they are a waste of your time and your employees’ time! And of course, wasting your employees’ time means wasting money.

How IT Consulting Can Help:

By hiring a company like Rx Technology for your IT Consulting services, you will be ensuring that any ongoing issues are addressed and solved quickly and you’ll be better set up to handle other issues in the future.

Sign #4 – Your IT Involves a Lot of Guesswork

If you don’t have an IT expert to turn to for setting up your computer systems, handling network repair, ensuring customer data is safe, chances are you are guessing at how to make it all work. Managing big systems and large amounts of data requires expertise that only an IT Consulting firm can provide.

How IT Consulting Can Help:

The key is to be proactive, identifying potential issues before they become actual issues. IT Consulting services from Rx Technology assist you through project planning and optimizing IT Technology utilization. Our goal is to help you save money and make money by streamlining and enhancing your setup and resolving issues quickly and completely.

Sign #5 – You’re “Pretty Sure” That Your Data Is Secure

In the world of data theft and hacking, “pretty sure” is never good enough. Too many businesses believe their information and customer data is secure on backup drives or in clouds. Unfortunately, these practices expose sensitive information to potential hackers, which is extremely dangerous.

How IT Consulting Can Help:

An IT Consulting firm can help you monitor where you save your information and help you make sure it doesn’t get lost or stolen. Not only that, but hiring a firm like Rx Technology will ensure that even in the event of a security breach, you have a crisis plan in place.

Hire an IT Consulting Service Will Protect Your Company and Save You Money

Are you interested in Managed IT ServicesIT SupportIT ConsultingNetwork CablingStructured CablingNetwork SecurityBusiness Intelligence, Computer Repair, or other Tech Support for your business in and around San Antonio?  We’d love to help. Get in touch today by calling (210) 828-6081 or clicking here for a free quote!

Quick Solutions for Working From Home

Man working from home in front of big monitor

Typically, internal IT is built around a core of ideas that your organization focuses on, as well as what network systems mean to them. Some organizations focus on helpdesk more, or they rely on a team of engineers to keep their systems up and running. Each engineer brings their own skill set of technology systems. What do you do when one of those engineers moves on or doesn’t work out? Bringing on a new employee can be daunting, even while you know what you are looking for, you may find that the person you see on a resume doesn’t end up being the skill you were looking for in practice. There are alternatives to replacing a staff member, one of which would be to hire a Managed IT Services organization to fill in the gaps. The benefits of hiring a Managed IT Services organization are:

  • Access to a team of technicians with varied skill sets and certifications. Instead of one individual that may or may not have all of the skills and knowledge you are looking for, you could gain access to an entire team of professionals that have different experiences to bring to the table. Managed IT Services provides a broad range of knowledge and certifications your organization can tap into.
  • A suite of tools for monitoring, disaster recovery, and support is usually available for your organization or business when utilizing Managed IT Services. Additionally, your organization can leverage their economy of scale in regards to monitoring and patching software for desktops, anti-virus, remote viewing support software, network, and security monitoring software for a fraction of the cost of purchasing directly. These tools are often provided by default and automatically generate tickets for critical alerts bringing attention to a situation much quicker than relying on end-user input.
  • Manning a helpdesk is painful, and retaining help desk employees can be difficult. With an IT Support company handling your helpdesk calls, you can have your high-value technical workers stay focused on critical applications and services, while ensuring all of your employees can get help with desktop is another advantage with automatic escalations; Internal IT staff can be kept current on all situations and even assign work as needed.
  • Get extra assistance for projects or large implementations without having to train staff or temporary workers. Whether it’s moving offices, organization-wide technology refresh, or inventory of technology devices, it’s much easier to leverage an IT Support company that has knowledgeable staff and processes designed around deployments.

Consider looking at an outsourced IT firm to help with internal tasks, whether it’s for highly specialized work or simply providing end-user support. With a team of highly skilled knowledge workers that a Managed IT Service organization brings you can ask for as little or as much support as your organization often requires for less than the cost of one salaried IT professional.

Rx Technology is an IT Support organization with a full helpdesk and engineering team as well as access control, low voltage/network cabling, and physical security products. We have been servicing South Texas’ network and IT support needs for over 20 years.

How Can We Help?

Are you interested in Managed IT Services, IT Support, IT Consulting, Network Cabling, Structured Cabling, Network Security, Business Intelligence, or other Tech Support in and around San Antonio?  We’d love to help. Get in touch today by calling (210) 828-6081 or clicking here for a free quote!

Contact Us Today


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Scoring Big by Blending Internal IT with Managed IT Services

When to Hire a Managed IT Service Provider

Typically internal IT is built around a core of ideas that your organization focuses on, as well as what network systems mean to them. Some organizations focus on helpdesk more, or they rely on a team of engineers to keep their systems up and running. Each engineer brings their own skill set of technology systems. What do you do when one of those engineers moves on or doesn’t work out? Bringing on a new employee can be daunting, even while you know what you are looking for, you may find that the person you see on a resume doesn’t end up being the skill you were looking for in practice. There are alternatives to replacing a staff member, one of which would be to hire a Managed IT Services organization to fill in the gaps.

The benefits of hiring a Managed IT Services organization are:

  • Access to a team of technicians with varied skillsets and certifications. Instead of one individual that may or may not have all of the skills and knowledge you are looking for, you could gain access to an entire team of professionals that have different experiences to bring to the table. Managed IT Services provides a broad range of knowledge and certifications your organization can tap into.
  • A suite of tools for monitoring, disaster recovery, and support is usually available for your organization or business when utilizing Managed IT Services. Additionally, your organization can leverage their economy of scale in regards to monitoring and patching software for desktops, anti-virus, remote viewing support software, network, and security monitoring software for a fraction of the cost of purchasing directly. These tools are often provided by default and automatically generate tickets for critical alerts bringing attention to a situation much quicker than relying on end-user input.
  • Staffing a helpdesk is painful, and retaining helpdesk employees can be difficult. With an IT Support company handling your helpdesk calls, you can have your high-value technical workers stay focused on critical applications and services, while ensuring all of your employees can get help with desktop is another advantage with automatic escalations; Internal IT staff can be kept current on all situations and even assign work as needed.
  • Get extra assistance for projects or large implementations without having to train staff or temporary workers. Whether it’s moving offices, organization-wide technology refresh, or inventory of technology devices, it’s much easier to leverage an IT Support company that has knowledgeable staff and processes designed around deployments.

Consider looking at an outsourced IT firm to help with internal tasks, whether it’s for highly specialized work or simply providing end-user support. With a team of highly skilled knowledge workers that a Managed IT Service organization brings you can ask for as little or as much support as your organization often requires for less than the cost of one salaried IT professional.

Rx Technology is an IT Support organization with a full helpdesk and engineering team as well as access control, low voltage/network cabling, and physical security products. We have been servicing South Texas’ network and IT support needs for over 20 years.

 

How Can We Help?

Are you interested in Managed IT Services, IT Support, IT Consulting, Network Cabling, Structured Cabling, Network Security, Business Intelligence, or other Tech Support in and around San Antonio?  We’d love to help. Get in touch today by calling (210) 828-6081 or clicking here for a free quote!

Contact Us Today


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How to Protect Yourself Against Ransomware or Other Malware

Train Staff to Recognize Suspicious Email

What is the weakest link in your organization? Since attackers commonly use social engineering to infect users training becomes imperative to educating your employees about the signs of social engineering. Email is the most common way of influencing end users and leaves them vulnerable on a variety of levels since we all use email as a communication tool. As these types of attacks mature we’re seeing incredible detail and execution that fools even the most cautious users.

In one incident a VP of Finance, soon to be a CFO, received an emergency request from the CEO that required a wire transfer to a business account. The email was very convincing and appeared to be from the CEO of the organization, with a specific time deadline, and was very effective at fooling the VP into sending the money. The loss was not only $250,000 sent to an unknown account, but the VP was released for the oversight. In the scramble to learn what had been done we learned that the email was so well crafted, and the VP was usually the best at detecting malware emails and submitting them for review. But why did she fail to detect this one, what could we learn to prevent something like this in the future?

We came to the conclusion that she probably shouldn’t have been held accountable due to the timing and execution of this email, with very few telltale signs to indicate that this email was not legitimate. It had the correct return address, used the same signature, formatting and was even short if not a curt request for immediate attention that matched the sender’s previous emails.

We determined that with training and sending practice emails threats like this can be stopped at the entry point, at the beginning of the process where our weakest links exist. Anti-virus, firewalls, and other filtering or prevention techniques are just not effective against threats that carry no payload. Or if there is payload like Ransomware attached or linked in the emails they are so new and look legitimate so that the best protections in the world look past them initially since they appear legitimate.

There are methods of sending out test emails that mimic the situations where users will be tempted to click through and execute an alert on our end that the end user failed to detect our subversive mail. At this point we record that, alert the end user to not click through on suspicious emails and collect data across the organization so that corrective training can be prepared. We’ve learned that this training brings with it a near perfect success rate as we train and coach repeat offenders to learn exceptional detection techniques for malware emails.

There is only so much technology an organization can deploy, manage, and update for network intrusion prevention but at the end of the day our weakest links exist between the keyboard and chair. In a quickly expanding technological world it’s important to remember that training is a much less expensive prevention technique you can employ on a moment’s notice.

As for the VP of Finance, we worked with the CEO to recognize the inevitability of the attack and its particularly vicious method of intrusion. He agreed to re-hire because in his own words, “she was the best he had ever worked with”. Don’t lose a great employee for failing to give them the tools to be successful! Prevention is better than the cure.

The original question was what is the weakest link in your network security? The people you employ. Let’s help them to become human firewalls and avoid costly mistakes with simple but effective training.

Learn more about the Security Services Rx Technology provides for San Antonio area organizations.

 

 

How Can We Help?

Are you interested in Managed IT Services, IT Support, IT Consulting, Network Cabling, Structured Cabling, Network Security, Business Intelligence, or other Tech Support in and around San Antonio?  We’d love to help. Get in touch today by calling (210) 828-6081 or clicking here for a free quote!

Contact Us Today


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What Does an IT Support Company Do?

IT Companies Focus on Your Technology So You Don’t Have To

Choosing an IT support company like Rx Technology is one of the most important decisions you can make for your business. With the amount of technology innovation over the last ten years, it’s imperative that organizations focus on their infrastructure improvements not just on business strategies for growth. To remain competitive businesses need to update their IT strategies along with internal processes.

Also known as Managed Services Provider (MSP), an IT support company is built around a group of IT specialists who make up the core of the company’s IT team. This team provides support for several different organizations serviced by the IT support company or MSP.

Their experience in cloud services such as server hosting, desktop hosting, file storage, or data backup and disaster recovery services, not just one company but they share that support cost across hundreds of businesses in the area they support. With a pool of knowledge workers, an IT support company can offer comprehensive services at a fraction of the cost of hiring a cadre of technology employees. With on-demand helpdesk, your employee’s can submit tickets or call the support line for immediate attention to problems faced in working with technology. Keeping your employee’s productive and reducing internal needs, you can focus on what makes your business grow.

What Does an IT Support Company Do?

There are two facets to IT companies support plan. The first is fixing issues with technology, but they go one step further. They look to remediate the underlying problems with technology systems to alleviate additional calls. Correcting core issues drives productivity on the organization side and helps drive profitability on the IT services side.

A good MSP or IT services company will provide a monitoring service for all desktops and servers to report on issues before they are widely known, think of this as an early alerting system that gives the technology support company time to address the issue quickly.

Another facet of IT support is creating a ticket. Some companies provide ticket submission via email or a portal; another great offering is allowing employees to call with quick issues to talk to a live technician to tackle easier problems quickly over the phone.

Preventative Care for your Network

Much like medical care is focusing more on managing risk rather than waiting for unmonitored issues to become full-blown problems, IT services work with your company to co-author technology solutions to stay ahead of current trends before they become a problem. If you work with a business application that has a substantial upgrade, you’ll want to know if your current desktops are ready to handle the new application needs before the update occurs. Understanding how your organization does business is another critical component, so services and trends match your business goals and create alignment between both agencies.

Preventative planning also includes providing great backup services or full disaster recovery plans to keep your data safe in the event of a simple power outage, ransomware and malware, or something much more devastating.

Other Preventative Care Services</h3

  • Server Virtualization
  • Offsite Cloud Backup
  • Business Continuity
  • High Availability

There are several services offered by IT support companies.

  • Workstation and Server – patching and optimizing systems consistently for security and stability.
  • Infrastructure Planning – understanding of components like servers and switches but also of cabling and connecting those systems.
  • Employee Turnover Planning – having a cookie cutter routine to follow when employees move or change is critical to reducing costs.
  • Ethical Phishing – training employees to become human firewalls, protecting organizational data at the source.
  • Email Migration and Hosting – converting from internal email systems to external or from one service to another it’s important to have a partner that has the depth of skill for a smooth transition.
  • IT Projects – if you aren’t ready to go full outsourced IT or you have a fully trained staff currently IT services organizations can deliver project management for any infrastructure or connected environment projects that may be too large or time consuming for your current team.

What Happens After You Decide to Hire an IT Support Company?

The IT support company will need to access your existing systems and processes to make the best recommendations for a mutually beneficial agreement. The assessment may be a review of your current systems, servers, desktops, or firewall and switches, or a complete scan of all devices to understand what condition they are currently in and what needs to be updated or corrected to move to a preventative care solution with an IT support services company. It may seem daunting at first but after the initial assessment things can move quickly and your organization can start realizing improved support services right away.

For additional information, please contact us today for an assessment of your environment.

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Understanding Enterprise vs. Consumer Wireless Deployments

Building a Better Wireless Network Infrastructure

One topic that comes up frequently here at Rx Technology is wireless connectivity. More organizations than ever are looking to ditch the cable in return for monitoring and connecting users over the air. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not a time to go the local electronics boutique when it comes to your business.

Normally when WIFI is deployed you would select various areas to run the Wireless Access Point’s (WAP) and connect them and go. This can have a mixed return if you’re too close in some areas to another WAP or if you are too far away, or if the devices themselves do not communicate to hand off users from one device to the other as the signal changes. Wiring and metal studs can also have a profound impact on your ability to get a strong signal. One way to check is to run a test that creates a Heat Map of your office. This consists of capturing signals with a device or mesh around the building that can listen to wireless signals and determine the coverage and power across the floor plan. This creates a map like the one shown that will help to determine where devices need to be placed, and if they are adequate or if you need additional access points.

All Access Points are not the same, some promise a more power to go further, but the signal strength is inadequate, and others promote just enough power to stay in range within each of the other access points but may require additional devices. A careful review and analysis has helped us here at Rx Technology understand what those differences are in the products. Some manufacturers have ramped up the signal dispersion but fell short on the power, meaning on a heat map it will show nice coverage across the entire area but a lack of power is evident in the various areas we travel through. Clearly this isn’t optimal as we’re looking for just enough power between access points to blanket each affected area without casting your WIFI signal out to the street and neighboring buildings just because the device can run at “ludicrous” mode. More exposure means more risk, and that means more time and diligence in protecting your network.

Even in the world of Wireless technology all things aren’t created equal. Signal power can mean the difference between a file download taking a few seconds to a few minutes. It may not seem like much but in productivity tests with slower signals has shown that selecting links to enter data and submitting can increase work times for the same data by several percentage points per week. Obviously this depends on a number of factors but it’s not a stretch to note that slower connectivity will create slower data collection and distribution which will affect end users productivity. This may be nominal for one user but tie in using consumer grade equipment and the number of dropped connections, lost data, and other issues and it will lead to some serious morale issues if nothing else.

A good wireless strategy doesn’t have to be expensive. Heat maps can be done on a variety of levels and range in cost but most offices can be mapped in less than a day with significant amount of data to determine if there needs to be a rework of the existing infrastructure. Looking at that information a determination can be made if existing devices are beneficial and can be re-worked into a new plan or if a complete technology refresh is due. Running cables to the areas needing new hot spots, and connecting that back to your existing infrastructure sometimes takes two different organizations and coordination, however, some companies like Rx have the staff and team to handle both sides of that equation. You’re better off working with one vendor for the entire project than working on each piece independently due to the ability to move, reorganize, or swap WAP locations easily.

If you do go through a wireless review please remember to not only get a heat map created before the project but make sure you get a follow up after new access points have been deployed or old ones moved so you can see the results from the project. Even in that instance it’s not guaranteed to be a move and success! Sometimes the building itself will play with the signals and prevent a strong signal from one area to another. There are several levels to enterprise class wireless access points so don’t be afraid to shop around for the best products. Providers may prefer one brand over another, but in most cases there isn’t a clear winner in any brand, so much of it is subjective or based on internal configurations or simply what you are looking to achieve with your wireless management. It all depends on what you want to cover and how much control you want your solution to have.

One more point about enterprise class access points that is often overlooked but we can’t stress the importance enough is the ability to have a guest or separate internet connection broadcast from your devices. If employees bring mobile phones or tablets to work it’s best to allow them to connect to a guest network that is completely segmented from your internal infrastructure. This prevents malware from personal devices to infect the network and it insures that all the devices on your network belong and can be filtered, managed, and tracked while other unknown devices stay on an outside network connection. Remember it’s about ease of access, but you want to keep your business data as secure as possible. It’s imperative that you consider every aspect of security as it comes to your deployment for wireless. Begin with the end in mind and make sure you’re developing good security habits during the planning phase so it doesn’t have to be broken down later to fix any mistakes or oversights. Something about measure twice and cut once comes to mind… Although we don’t recommend cutting any wires until you speak with a good technology consultant first for your wireless deployment needs!

Contact Rx Technology today to talk to someone about your wireless network needs.

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