- Pay the ransom. This payment is usually via credit card or bitcoin (a digital currency). Some ransomware viruses even provide help lines if you’re having trouble. Of course there are no guarantees your will get access to your data–these are thieves you’re dealing with.
- Don’t pay and lose your data – This has its obvious downsides, unless…
- You have a safe, clean backup. In that case, you are stuck with the nuisance of restoring your data with the backup, but you aren’t out any money. However, this comes with a caveat: your backups have to be clean. The problem with ransomware viruses is that just making backups may not be sufficient to protect your data, as the backups can be infected also. In the next blog, we will address your need to add an additional layer of protection to handle ransomware attacks.
We just can’t remind you enough that you need to develop a culture of security among all of your employees. Changing passwords frequently, not sharing passwords, and learning to recognize and avoid opening nefarious emails are the top three lessons you need to reinforce with your employees. And don’t make it a once-in-a-while memo, make it part of your office culture, with ongoing reminders, links to articles explaining phishing scams, and routine reminders to change passwords. Contact your MSP if you’d like to learn more techniques to educate your employees about their data security responsibilities.
Like everything else, office phone systems began transitioning to fully online/digital well over a decade ago. The proper term is “ Voice over Internet Protocol” or “VoIP.” In a practical sense, it means that your phone lines are no longer coming in over traditional, “plain old telephone” lines, or other standard protocols from the 1960s to the 2000s. Instead, voice signals are now being carried to your phone from the telco via the internet, such as your broadband connection.
- You cut the higher landline charges, especially for international calls
- Old fashioned systems are becoming obsolete, and parts aren’t available
- You don’t need 2 separate cabling systems anymore. One for telco, one for internet is no longer necessary.
- They rely less on hardware to do the job, so reconfiguring for a new employee or a major office shift is much, much easier. It is now a software change, not a hardware issue.
- Your employees are no longer tied to the phone at their desk. VoIP allows integration with mobile devices.
There are 4 benefits for the small firm and today we will look at the first 2.
Elasticity – With onsite computing, if you need additional capacity you have no choice but to purchase that capacity in discrete steps, which means bearing the costs of being over-capacity for a period of time until growth catches up. Onsite computing also means you must have the capacity to handle your own peak computing and storage demands, and resources may go underutilized much of the time. The cloud allows complete elasticity in the utilization of computing resources. You buy only what you need, as you need it. You can grow or downsize as the business demands.
Pay as you go – On-site hardware involves significant capital expenditures. The cloud allows you to pay for only what you use. The cloud also allows you to benefit from economies of scale that aren’t available using the in-house model. Labor, equipment and maintenance expenses are shared across a vast pool of users.
In the next few weeks, we’ll return to this subject to look at other ways the cloud brings efficiencies to your technology infrastructure that you could never achieve on your own.
Christmas is a great time to be generous. Unfortunately, there are Grinch’s out there that have hearts 2 sizes smaller than yours. So, as you are going about spreading your normal holiday cheer, make sure you trust, but verify. Don’t open every ecard. Don’t give to every charity drive. Fraudsters have done their homework, and they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Falling for these attacks can result in security breaches, identity theft, or financial loss. So, how can you identify and avoid them?
- Avoid following unsolicited links or downloading attachments from unknown sources
- Use safe online shopping practices like only shopping from reputable vendors and make sure the webpage begins with ‘https://’
- Keep your computer patched and protected with antivirus
- Check your shopping app settings – you are responsible for all charges in your shopping app unless otherwise stated
- Check your statements
- Be suspicious- if something seems odd, pay attention and follow your lead
- Before you make a charitable donation, check out the charity, ask for details, and consider donating a Gift-in-kind rather than a monetary donation– review the FTC publication on Charity Scams
Check out these tips and more from the Department of Homeland Security. Be careful, trust but verify, and have yourself a merry little Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Protection against on-site disaster – If a disaster strikes your physical business location, on-site resources can be damaged, destroyed, or become inaccessible for a period of time. Even if it isn’t a major disaster, if you have a failed server your business could be down for an extended period. When everything occurs in the cloud, you are vaccinated against this type of business calamity. You can still access and use computing resources from anywhere.
In summary, left entirely on its own a small firm just does not have the resources and capital to fully support its own technology infrastructure. The cloud turns that upside down, enabling firms to enjoy the benefits of a fully supported tech foundation without levels of expenditures that are just not feasible for smaller operations.
Small firms need to realize they are most vulnerable to business disruptions, as they have less capital and fewer resources to carry them through a bad period. The cloud represents a simple and value driven resource to address business continuity issues that could turn a small firm’s business upside down.