Author Archives: Anton Ruighaver

Your Business’s Future is Bright With VoIP

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a phone system that’s been around for over two decades. Though that may seem surprising, it actually makes sense because that’s about how long the internet has been mainstream, and VoIP needs an internet connection to function. Small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) should definitely consider VoIP if they want to advance in the future. First, we’d like to give you a quick rundown of what SMBs get from a robust VoIP calling plan today: Convenience – It’s easy to manage. Scalability – It’s even easier to expand. Economy – Calls over the internet are cheap. Portability – Access from anywhere with high-speed internet. Efficiency – Attach emails, send e-faxes, conduct virtual meetings, etc. These are the core qualities that make VoIP systems so beneficial to SMBs. But how will value propositions like these be … READ MORE »

3 Easy Ways to Protect Your Business Data

Most business owners are too busy running their respective offices to be concerned about optimized security settings and other technical matters. To spare them the agony of deciphering IT jargon, here are three easy ways to prevent data theft. Cover your webcam If Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, former FBI Director James Comey, and National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden all believe their webcams could be compromised, there’s no reason you should feel safe. They’re not overreacting because of some ruthless paparazzi that’s hounding them. It’s a fact that cybercriminals can use your webcam to spy on you. Though it might sound like a scene from an action movie or crime thriller, this has actually happened on several occasions. Hackers do this either to satisfy their voyeuristic tendencies or, more commonly, to steal personal information. This is a very real threat … READ MORE »

Productivity-Boosting Tips for PC Users

We all want to be more productive. Business gurus emphasize the importance of time management and taking breaks to avoid burnout. But aside from motivating yourself to work efficiently, there are plenty of tools that help increase your daily output. If you work in front of a computer all day, check out these productivity-boosting tips.   Monitor productivity levels Start by tracking how much work you complete on an average day. There are many useful apps for this. For example, Google Chrome has an extension called RescueTime, which records your most frequently visited sites and tracks how much time you spend away from your computer. The app will provide you with a productivity rating and a detailed log of how you spend your time at work. If you discover you’re wasting a huge portion of your time on social networking … READ MORE »

A Primer on Watering Hole Attacks

Cyberattacks come in many different forms, with new methods being developed all the time. What’s bad is that personal information is now often stored online, be it through social media or through government and healthcare services — and these are juicy targets for criminals. Learn more about one way these criminals steal data — through watering hole attacks. What are watering hole attacks? Watering hole attacks are used to distribute malware onto victims’ computers in a similar way phishing activities are conducted. Cybercriminals infect popular websites with malware, and anyone who has had the misfortune to visit have their computers automatically loaded with malware. The malware used in these attacks usually collects the target’s personal information and sends it back to the hacker’s server. In extreme cases, the hacker will actively take control of the infected computer. But how does … READ MORE »

How Good is Your Disaster Recovery Plan?

You may think you know all about disaster recovery plans (DRP) from attending conferences or reading up on the subject. But one of the best ways to learn is by example, and the following real-life case offers valuable lessons. Learn about the DPR audit of a state government office and the knowledge gained from it. Hosting certain types of data and managing a government network legally bind you to maintain DRPs. After an audit of the Michigan Department of Technology and Budget, several failures led to a trove of helpful tips for small- and medium-sized businesses attempting to create a bulletproof disaster recovery plan. Update and test your plan frequently What was one of the first and most obvious failures of the department’s DRP? It didn’t include plans to restore an essential piece of their infrastructure — the department’s intranet. … READ MORE »

A Smart Approach to Cybersecurity Investment

Cybersecurity is a threat to businesses across industries. Sometimes, organizations invest in security software without realizing the risks that come with it. Here are compelling reasons why identifying threats before buying cybersecurity products is paramount. Uncover threats and vulnerabilities Every business should run a risk assessment to evaluate its current cybersecurity infrastructure. Doing so is one of the easiest ways to identify, correct, and prevent security breaches. After discovering potential issues that cyberterrorists could exploit, rate them based on probability of occurrence and potential impacts on your business.Keep in mind that risk assessments are specific to every business, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for technology that will work for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Variables like your line of business and operating environment will account for differences in needs and risks. For instance, manufacturing companies and insurance groups have … READ MORE »

Work Smarter in Outlook With These Tips

People are constantly searching for an easier way to keep their email inboxes in order, customize their email signatures, and improve group communications. The good news is that Microsoft Outlook has these features built in, you just need to know where to look.     Clean Up your inbox No matter how meticulously organized your Outlook inbox is, there’s always room for improvement. For a little computer-assisted help, try the ‘Clean Up’ feature. From your Inbox, click the Home tab and choose from Outlook’s three Clean Up options: Clean Up Conversation – Reviews an email thread or a conversation and deletes redundant text. Clean Up Folder – Reviews conversations in a selected folder and deletes redundant messages. Clean Up Folder & Subfolders – Reviews all messages in a selected folder and any subfolders, and deletes redundant messages in all of … READ MORE »

Why You Should Care About HTTPS

One basic internet security habit that everyone should remember is to avoid websites that aren’t secured with the HTTPS protocol. This is as simple as looking at your URL bar to check whether the URL string starts with “https” and whether there is a symbol of a closed padlock beside it.   HTTPS Encryption When you visit a website that doesn’t use HTTPS, which is common with older websites that have been left on its domain with minimal intervention, everything you type or click on that website is sent across the network in plain text. So, if your bank’s website doesn’t use the latest protocols, your login information can be decrypted by anyone with even the most basic tools. HTTPS Certificates The other thing outdated web browsing lacks is publisher certificates. When you enter a web address into your browser, … READ MORE »

The Dangers of Autocomplete Passwords

Hackers have found a new way to track you online. Aside from using advertisements and suggestions, they can now use autocomplete passwords to track you down. Feeling unsecure? Here are some ways to keep you out of harm’s way. Why auto-fill passwords are so dangerous As of December 2018, there are 4.1 billion internet users in the world. This means users have to create dozens of passwords, either to protect their account or simply to meet the password-creation requirements of the platform they’re using. Unfortunately, only 20% of US internet users have different passwords for their multiple online accounts. Certain web browsers have integrated a mechanism that enables usernames and passwords to be automatically entered into a web form. On the other hand, password manager applications have made it easy to access login credentials. But these aren’t completely safe. Tricking … READ MORE »

Office 365 Add-Ons That Boost Productivity

Microsoft’s Office 365 has made everyday business operations more efficient with programs like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and Outlook. As if that’s not enough, it also offers these add-ons that streamline users’ workflow. #1. Teams Teams is ideal for organizations that collaborate frequently. It’s an instant messaging and document-sharing platform which seamlessly integrates with Office 365 programs and services. Users can create channels to work on projects, discuss topics, hold meetings, and more. And like similar programs such as Slack and Google Hangouts, Teams is customizable and accessible across mobile devices. #2. Office Tabs Office Tabs allows you to open multiple files in one window, which saves you from having to go through each opened document until you find the right one. It also lets you save or close the list of tabs in a single click, with an additional … READ MORE »