You’re concerned about getting ransomware as everyone should be, but you don’t know what you can do to minimize your risks. Follow these five steps to reduce the chances of your data being hijacked and falling victim to ransomware.
Make regular backups. This is Ransomware Defense 101. The scammers want to restrict access to your data, but if you have a recent backup copy of it, you’re one step ahead of them. Organize your vital data so that it is stored in a secure location, and regularly back it all up. – You can back up your data to an external USB drive, or have it backed up to the cloud (we recommend doing both!) How often you back up your data should be based on how often your files are updated. Daily user? Backup daily!
Keep your computer updated. Whatever platform you’re using, desktop, tablet, or smartphone, stay up-to-date with your operating system updates and security patches. Did you disable Windows Update? Switch it back on, and make sure you’re running the latest version. *Note – Windows 7 stopped receiving critical updates in January 2020. It’s imperative that you upgrade your operating system to Windows 10 to ensure you’re receiving the latest updates and security releases.
Spot suspicious files, enable file extensions. One way of combating ransomware (and other malware) is to use your eyes. Many malicious tools have multiple file extensions (such as, for example; .PDF .EXE) which immediately identifies them as dangerous if you know what you’re looking for. By enabling file extensions in Windows, you can spot and delete them (or let your anti-virus software destroy them).
Email Filtering and Hyper Vigilance. Most desktop email clients automatically scan incoming messages for malware and viruses that are attached, but hackers are constantly trying new methods to deliver their malicious files to your PC. As a general rule, you should never open an email or an email attachment from someone you don’t know or recognize. To avoid filters, hackers will send you a link that will lead you to a site that will automatically start the download of a malicious file. It’s best to avoid clicking on any links that are received through email, even if the link looks legitimate. Hackers will often change one letter within a domain address, which will lead you to a malicious site. Stay Hyper Vigilant!
Employ a Firewall and Internet Security Suite. As with all data security challenges, the best protection you’ll get from ransomware is with a competent internet security suite and an up-to-date firewall. There are many options available for your network and internet security. Give us a call if you’d like to learn more about our recommendations.
CREG Systems deploys a myriad of tools to help protect our partners and mitigate their risks or malware and ransomware. Call us today to learn more about how we can help secure your network and keep your data out of the hands of cyber-criminals.
Using a managed IT service provider (MSP) is often an appealing option for a company looking to outsource the support of their entire IT infrastructure.
Maintaining modern IT systems requires a specific and high-leveled knowledge base, which you can tap into by utilizing an MSP. As a bonus, managed IT services also provide solutions to some of the problems accompanying in-house IT services.
There are many benefits to an MSP.
Managed IT services are a great option for small- or medium-sized companies looking for redundancy, knowledge and cost savings when it comes to addressing their IT needs.
Managed IT services monitor and manage your IT network remotely. An MSP can detect problems and solve issues before they cause disruption, give you insight into your IT system, and address technology needs as they arise.
There are four primary benefits of using managed IT services:
Managed services offer redundancy.
MSP engineers are knowledgeable.
Managed services are cost-effective.
Managed services are easy to find.
By touching on each of the above topics, we’ll give you an idea of what to expect with managed IT services. However, if you’re looking for a longer, more in-depth explanation of managed IT services, contact us for a personalized discussion.
1. Managed services offer redundancy.
The top benefit of choosing an MSP versus an in-house IT department is it provides redundancy.
With a managed service provider, you’ll have access to a technician ready to address your IT problems 24/7/365.
In the world of managed services, redundancy means there are additional resources so you never go without service.
Like any other employee, an in-house IT technician takes sick days, vacations, or personal days. Often, IT issues aren’t resolved until that person returns to the office. Your assigned MSP technician will still have days he or she is out of the office, but redundancy ensures there is still a technician to address your problems.
Redundancy also prevents your IT technician from being overwhelmed by the requests that piled up while he or she was gone. With an MSP, you have a pool of resources at your disposal to keep your IT systems running smoothly.
This is also true for augmented managed IT services where an MSP supports your existing IT team. Your in-house IT folks can rely on the MSP to stay on top of requests when he or she is gone.
With an MSP responsible for all your IT needs, the technicians support each other.
2. MSP technicians are knowledgeable.
To ensure an in-house IT team can address all levels of problems your IT system may encounter, you’d have to hire an extremely skilled employee. Some of the things your technician will have to know:
Windows and/or Mac operating systems
Network troubleshooting and set up
Virus and malware removal
Voice and email set up and troubleshooting
Writing and troubleshooting script
Troubleshooting and configuring web applications
IT stack set-up, configuration, and migrations
Network and security solutions
Configuring hardware platforms
The majority of items on the list requires the knowledge of tier 1 or 2 (entry-level) technicians. The more complex components, like network and security solutions, routing protocols, and configuring hardware platforms, require a more experienced technician to address them. Those components of IT services are less common, though.
In other words, small- and medium-sized companies with in-house IT have to pay for more resources than they’ll need most of the time. They need the depth of expertise available for the instances when they’ll need to handle some of the more finicky components of your technology stack.
An MSP hires technicians with expertise in specific IT disciplines. This means they should have a representative with an answer to any problem you have.
3. Managed services are cost-effective.
For the amount of expertise you receive with managed IT services, you’ll have significant cost savings. Most managed IT service plans cost as much as the salary and benefits of a tier-1 or tier-2 engineer.
Hiring an IT technician with the knowledge most companies need easily starts in the $100,000 to $150,000 range.
This doesn’t include the cost of benefits.
According to the US Department of Labor, the average employer pays around $24,000 per employee for paid leave, bonuses, overtime, insurance, retirement, and other legally required benefits.
Most small- and medium-sized businesses are hard-pressed to find a surplus in their budget of $125,000 or more for one employee.
With an MSP, you’ll pay less and get more. Your expense will cover continual service and provide you access to every skillset you need.
The cost of managed IT services is complex. As a guide, you can expect to pay $500 per site for an audit and around $85 per user per month. You’ll also need to purchase a firewall for each site, if you don’t already a supported one in place.
A year of managed IT services typically costs between $12,500 and $118,500, depending on your size and needs. The high end of the cost for managed services is still less than the low end of a salary and benefits for a qualified in-house technician.
4. MSPs do the recruitment for you
If the cost isn’t prohibitive in your IT plan, you might find yourself hindered when it comes to recruitment. To find someone with the mastery of the skills you’ll need in an in-house IT employee, you’re going to have to search far and wide to fill the position.
Recruitment also costs more money, and the elusiveness of the right candidate can draw out the recruitment process and rack up a large bill.
Without having to spend any additional money, a reliable MSP will assign you an technician who is a good match for your company. He or she will work closely with you, get to know your unique problems, what programs you rely on, and your company individually.
Even though you won’t choose the technician from the pool of candidates, you’ll still end up with an expert best suited for your company’s needs.
Not only does an MSP, like CREG Systems, provide the most for your money, but we’re also easy to find.
Where to Start
You could draft a job description for a highly skilled and knowledgeable IT technician, pay to post it online, and spend time (and money) on the recruiting process to ultimately end up with an expensive line item in your budget.
However, if the process of hiring your own in-house technician sounds difficult and expensive, choosing an MSP provides a better, simpler option.
If you’d like to learn more about how an MSP solution might be right for you and your business, contact us today for an in-depth discussion about your specific needs. (315)788-0000
Communication is key to providing much needed community support.
Watertown NY, February 13, 2021 – If you’ve placed a call into the Watertown Urban Mission or Impossible Dream thrift store recently, you may have noticed the new automated attendant greeting and simplified routing options that are making it easier to connect ‘North Country’ residents to the help and support they need during the pandemic.
CREG Systems has supported the Urban Mission’s phones, alarms, and cameras for the better part of the last 20 years. CREG recently donated and installed an upgrade to the mission’s Nortel phone system, allowing them to take advantage of new features such as remote worker/mobility integration, built-in multi-level auto attendant, instant messaging, voicemail to email integration, and easy system/user administration. This has allowed the mission’s staff to be dynamic, adapt to changing COVID guidelines, and keep all lines of communication open with the community it supports.
“We at CREG Systems have always believed in the Urban Mission’s vision and recognize how important their work is for the community. Communication is vital during this global pandemic as people are relying on community organizations for help now more than ever,” said CREG Systems President, Jason Wendt. Lead installation technician, Jim Nichter also added “We’re excited to bring life back into the Mission’s phones. The new mobile and PC apps will let them answer their work phones no matter where they’re working from. If you need them, they’re just a call away.”
Watertown Urban Mission Executive Director, Dawn Cole had this to offer, “We truly appreciate our longstanding partnership with CREG Systems. This generous donation of a much-needed upgrade to our phone system has revolutionized our communications infrastructure, allowing us to be more responsive to our friends and neighbors in need.”
About CREG Systems Corp.
CREG Systems Corp has served Northern NY businesses in all areas of communication, security, cabling and technology since 1973.
Data Privacy Day is an international effort to empower individuals and encourage businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data, and enable trust.
Data Privacy Day is a global effort — taking place annually on January 28th — that generates awareness about the importance of privacy, highlights easy ways to protect personal information and reminds organizations that privacy is good for business. Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. Data Protection Day commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection. Data Privacy Day is observed annually on Jan. 28.
Data Privacy Day is the signature event in a greater privacy awareness and education effort. Year-round, NCSA educates consumers on how they can own their online presence and shows organizations how privacy is good for business.
In 2021, NCSA is encouraging individuals to “Own Your Privacy” by learning more about how to protect your valuable data online, and encouraging businesses to “Respect Privacy”, which advocates for holding organizations responsible for keeping individuals’ personal information safe from unauthorized access and ensuring fair, relevant and legitimate data collection and processing. These themes are encouraged through the below messaging and calls to action:
Calls to Action
Personal info is like money: Value it. Protect it. Personal information, such as your purchase history, IP address, or location, has tremendous value to businesses – just like money. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for, and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return.
Keep tabs on your apps. Many apps ask for access to personal information, such as your geographic location, contacts list, and photo album, before you can use their services. Be thoughtful about who gets that information, and wary of apps that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering. Delete unused apps on your internet-connect devices and keep others secure by performing updates.
According to a Pew Research Center study, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. Respecting consumers’ privacy is a smart strategy for inspiring trust and enhancing reputation and growth in your business.
Calls to Action:
If you collect it, protect it. Data breaches can not only lead to great financial loss, but a loss in reputation and customer trust. Follow reasonable security measures to keep individuals’ personal information safe from inappropriate and unauthorized access. Make sure the personal data you collect is processed in a fair manner and only collected for relevant and legitimate purposes.
Consider adopting a privacy framework. Build privacy into your business by researching and adopting a privacy framework to help you manage risk and create a culture of privacy in your organization. Get started by checking out the following frameworks:
Conduct an assessment of your data collection practices. Understand which privacy laws and regulations apply to your business. Educate your employees of their and your organization’s obligations to protecting personal information.
Transparency builds trust. Be open and honest about how you collect, use and share consumers’ personal information. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used and design settings to protect their information by default. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization and the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.
Maintain oversight of partners and vendors. If someone provides services on your behalf, you are also responsible for how they collect and use your consumers’ personal information.
We offer cybersecurity services to businesses that assist in the education of employees and mitigate cybersecurity risks
Defendify by CREG Systems Cybersecurity Platform
Cybersecurity Risk & Assessment Tool
Cybersecurity Policy Builder
Incident Response Builder
Dark Web Scanning for Stolen Passwords
Phishing Simulation Tool
Employee Cybersecurity Awareness Training Videos & Webinars
Many businesses do not believe that they are a potential target of cybercrime. Personal information is not limited to your basic social security number or credit card information. For instance, it can include recipes as a restaurant owner all the way to market strategies. To find out why you could be at risk of a cyberattack, watch our webinar on cybersecurity!
Our staff are trained and certified as Certified Information Security System Professional (CISSP), Certified Ethical Hacker, and Certified Wireless Network Administrator and holds CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, Windows Server 2016, and Microsoft Exchange certificates. In conclusion, our staff is the best equipped to deliver you the best cybersecurity in the North Country.