Managed IT: Who’s Watching Your Network Part 1

While you’re enjoying fall break, who’s watching your network? Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you’re free from security breaches, system errors, and more. Read our six-part series to learn how you can ensure your data is safe while you take time off from your business.

If an emergency occurs with your system, who is looking after it? The web is a 24/7/365 structure, and you need eyes on your network at all times. A managed IT contract can ensure you have a team of dedicated tech experts serving your network around the clock. This summer, take the opportunity to actually enjoy a vacation and take a much-needed break from the business and outsource your IT management. Your system will be monitored with a proactive approach to errors, as well as go into defense mode should an attack occur.

Managed IT is a smart solution whether or not you have your own IT team. These services can remotely manage your entire system which is perfect for small or medium-sized businesses that aren’t ready to hire their own IT employees. Skilled technicians can also work side by side with your staff to provide support and expert advice should errors occur.

The last thing you want is to receive emergency phone calls from your business while you’re on vacation. Whether you’re off the grid or just trying to enjoy quality time with your family, it can be hard to solve system errors when you’re away. Not to mention it can be stressful for you and your employees at the office as precious minutes of downtime slip by, costing your business money and productivity.

Managed IT contracts provide 24/7 network monitoring with a proactive approach to managing your IT infrastructure. This constant monitoring can help eliminate small problems before they becoming debilitating to your system. Remote monitoring and management of servers, desktops, and mobile devices ensures that nothing ever slips under the radar. Managed IT identifies and fixes problems before they create downtime.

Whether it’s a software update, harmful virus, hacker, or spyware, your system can’t afford to wait until your IT team gets back. If a problem gets out of hand, your website or primary applications could go down, causing you to lose business. With managed IT services, you get peace of mind at all times should an attack occur. This is perfect for the busy summer season, when you and your employees are hoping to enjoy family vacations and unplug for a while.

Unfortunately, businesses of all sizes are increasingly at risk of a cyber-attack. Managed IT providers also offer security services by partnering with trusted vendors to provide cybersecurity solutions that keep your business protected. They install components such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and anti-virus software to reduce risk. Should an attack occur, constant monitoring means threats are proactively detected in real time and automatically mitigated.

With managed IT, you can spend more time building your business, not learning how to take care of your IT infrastructure. A team of experts takes care of your system and suppliers, including giving strategic advice on how technology can help support your goals. Whether your expertise is in something other than tech, or you want someone else to take the reins sometimes, managed IT is a smart business decision.

Consider managed IT this season, so you can enjoy peace of mind while you and your team spend days by the beach, pool, or exploring a new city. Proactive monitoring keeps your system updated and running smoothly, and the team is ready to snap into action should an error occur. With a team of IT experts on your side, you can trust your network is safe and your business is growing. When we work together, we can achieve more for your business.

LANConnect Systems to Attend Ocean State Business Expo

LANConnect Systems of Foxboro, MA will be discussing Data Security for your business at the Ocean State Business Expo on October 18, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick, RI.

Cyber security is complex and so are the tactics used by hackers to evade modern-day defense techniques. Visit our booth and cut through the complexity with concise and easy-to-understand discussion on the latest threats.

“LANConnect is excited to participate at this year’s expo to help business executives know there are solutions and a company that is focused on protecting their company’s data assets.” said Peter Kokinda, CEO of LANConnect, “Protecting your data is critical to continued productivity and operations.”

We look forward to seeing you and discussing your data security concerns.

About LANConnect Systems

LANConnect Systems (www.LANConnectsystems.com) is a network management, Cloud and systems technology integrator providing end-to-end solutions that ensure business integrity for small, medium and enterprise-level clients.  From design through deployment LANConnect is an advocate for clients to strategically align their business and IT objectives.  We architect, implement and fully manage IT solutions spanning computing infrastructure, enterprise management, VoIP, security and cloud solutions.  The company is headquartered in Foxboro, MA.

How To Protect Yourself From a Future Email Attack

This is Part 3 in our series on email hacking

Whether you’ve been hacked or not, everyone can take stronger efforts to protect their accounts. In the modern age, it’s no longer if you get hacked – it’s when. There are measures you can take, however to make it more difficult for hackers to gain control of your accounts. Follow these steps to keep your data and identity safe online.

Use Secure Passwords

Change your passwords on all accounts frequently, and they need to be strong, with at least 12 characters, including numbers, letters, special characters. Avoid any common information about you, or things that could be learned from your Facebook account, like address, kids’ names, pets’ names, birthday, etc. You should have a different password for every online account you have. A unique phrase that is creative and unpredictable is best, something like, il0veTr@vel, would be a good option.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

You can set this up on your email, Facebook, banking sites, and other accounts as well. Every time you login, you’ll be sent a unique temporary code via text or to another email account, and you’ll need to input that to access your account. Hackers would have to also take your cell phone in order to login to your accounts if you set this up, so it gives a good layer of protection.

Use Secure devices

If possible, only access online accounts from your personal computer or device, while using a secured internet connection. Avoid accessing personal accounts from public computers, which could have been infected with malware, or might use an unsecured internet connection. If you do use public computers, always log out of every account when you are finished. It’s also advised to use your phone’s cellular data if you need to access a secure account, as opposed to public internet.

Protect your financial information

Though it’s convenient to have your credit card or banking info saved on accounts or websites you use, if your account is hacked, they now have all that information. Whenever you need to enter financial information on a website, make sure it is secure, so the URL starts with “https://”—remember that the “s” is for “secure”). And always log out once you are finished.

Never open suspicious emails

If you get an email from your bank or PayPal that looks strange, don’t open it. If you’re unsure if it’s real, call the office before opening it. Hackers have been known to impersonate banks, the IRS, and more to try and get your information. If you get a weird email from a friend with a link that you weren’t expecting, don’t click it. Call them to see if they sent the email before you open it. It is best to delete spam or dubious-looking emails without opening them.

Get account alerts

Some accounts give you the option to sign up for an email or text alert when your account is accessed from a new device or unusual location. This will instantly update you if an unauthorized person is accessing your account. As a result, you’ll minimize the amount of time they have in your account. If you get a suspicious alert, change your password immediately.

For your computer & devices:

  • Update security software

All internet-connected software and operating systems should be updated regularly, like email programs, web browsers, and music players. Sometimes an attack could have been prevented if your system was updated to the latest security measures.

  • Install antivirus software

If you don’t already have security software, it’s a good idea to install a firewall and antivirus software and keep them up-to-date. If you need recommendations for software, let us know. These programs will help identify threats and help you remove any malicious software. Beware of scam software that may get you to download programs that actually contain malware.

Getting your email hacked is a scary prospect, but if you know how to keep your account secure and what to do if it happens, you can minimize the impact. If you have any further questions about protecting your accounts from hackers, please contact us.

What to do if your email gets hacked

This is Part 2 of our series on email hacking.

Now that you’ve determined if your email has been hacked, what do you do? You definitely shouldn’t ignore it. You don’t have to be a celebrity to have valuable information in your email that hackers want. They aren’t looking for gossip – they want your data. Some will keep passwords or logins to government departments or large companies they may want to ’target’ to hack them. But the more sophisticated ones will sell your details including name, telephone, email address, and credit card details and cash in on The Dark Web.

Here’s what to do to clean up the mess the hackers left behind.

Change your Password

If you still have access to your account, change your password immediately. Always use at least 8-10 characters with a variety of upper and lower case and throw in some symbols and numbers. Avoid using any information a hacker could easily find, like maiden name, address, kids’ names, birthdays, pets’ names, etc.

Report It To Your Email Provider

Most likely, your email provider has seen this type of hack before and may be able to give you more details about the nature and source of the attack. They may also have specific tools to help you protect your information and get you up and running. If your work email was hacked, also inform your IT professionals for additional guidance.

Inform Your Email Contacts

Many email hackers will send emails to your contacts, posing as you, with links to then remotely hack your friends as well. Let your contacts know they should not open any emails or click any links from you that look suspicious. Also, if they did open anything from you, encourage them to check their own accounts for hacking.

Change your Security Question

It’s not enough to just change your password. If your email provider uses security questions, change those as well. Pick the most obscure questions, with answers that only you would know. Or better yet, come up with lies for the questions (as long as you remember them). If hackers get access to your answers to the questions you already had associated with your account, they could use them to log into other accounts.

Add Multi-Factor Authentication

If your provider has the option, add multi-factor authentication, which requires use of a one-time code to log in. It does add another step to your login, but you’ll be extra protected.

Check Your Email Settings

Hackers might have changed your email settings so they get a copy of your messages forwarded to them. Look to make sure there’s nothing suspicious hidden in your settings. Don’t forget to check your email signature, ‘reply to’ email address, and your sent folder. Eliminate any weird links or email accounts you don’t recognize.

Scan Your Computer for Malware and Viruses

Your hackers may have gained access to your entire computer. Scan your computer for any viruses, and get them taken care of as soon as possible. You may need to take your computer in to a repair shop so they can remove any that might be present.

Change Other Passwords

First, update any accounts that use the same password as your previous email account. This includes social media, banking, Amazon, Netflix, wherever you commonly login. Then, think about any other accounts associated with your email address where you may have sent recent “change password” requests, or have passwords that were shared in your email. Change those accounts as well.

Consider Creating a New Email

If you continue to get hacked, and your email provider isn’t helping, you might need to start a new account, but don’t delete your old account! Hackers could then recreate the account and spoof the old account causing unknown issues for yourself.

Monitor Your Information

The hacker may have been able to access your Social Security Number or other pieces of valuable personal information from your email. If this is the case, you need to monitor your credit and other financial accounts for suspicious activity. Check your credit report through the free sites to make sure nothing suddenly changes. You may want to contact the fraud department of these financial institutions or other organizations to let them know that you were hacked to ensure that they investigate and protect you from further issues.

Read part 3 of our series to learn how to protect yourself from further email hacks.

LANConnect Systems Ranked Among Top 501 Global Managed Service Providers

11th Annual MSP 501 Identifies World’s Most Forward-Thinking MSPs & Leading Trends in Managed Services

LANConnect Systems ranks among the world’s 501 most strategic and innovative managed service providers (MSPs), according to Channel Futures 11th-annual MSP 501 Worldwide Company Rankings.

The MSP 501 is the first, largest and most comprehensive ranking of managed service providers worldwide. This year Channel Futures received a record number of submissions. Applications poured in from Europe, Asia, South America and beyond.

As it has for the last three years, Channel Futures teamed with Clarity Channel Advisors to evaluate these progressive and forward-leaning companies. MSPs were ranked according to our unique methodology, which recognizes that not all revenue streams are created equal. We weighted revenue figures according to how well the applicant’s business strategy anticipates trends in the fast-evolving channel ecosystem.

“We are proud to be among the best of the best for several consecutive years,” said Peter Kokinda, CEO/President of LANConnect Systems. “Our people continue to demonstrate they are the best in our region, they deserve this recognition.”

Channel Futures is pleased to honor LANConnect Systems.

“This year’s applicant pool was the largest and most diverse in the history of the survey, and our winners represent the health and progressivity of the managed services market,” says Kris Blackmon, Channel Futures content director and editor of the MSP 501. “They’re growing their revenue, expanding their customer influence and exploring new technology that will propel them for years to come.”

Top 4 Ways to Keep Your IT Costs Down

Cutting costs is the primary goal for most business owners. They’ll scour their books looking for areas that offer a little wiggle room and decide what’s important and what’s a luxury. The reality is, due to lack of time or expertise, nearly every business has hidden savings within their IT. Here are four major steps you can take to make better technology decisions that improve your bottom line.

 

#1 – Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Network

Proactively monitoring a network’s device data lets you identify abnormal activity in real time, giving you the ability to act before small hiccups snowball into large problems. Plus, it reduces downtime and investigation time, saving you time and money when problems do occur.

 

#2 – Look at Downtime Differently

You can spend thousands to protect your company, but no form of technology is completely fool-proof. All businesses experience some form of downtime. The reason companies pay so much for networks isn’t to ensure they’re up 99.9 percent of the time but to make sure the .1 percent they’re not available doesn’t bring your operation to a screeching halt. What does your businesses continuity plan look like? How long can you be down? How will you access your data if your servers crash? Will your business survive? Preventing downtime is important but having an action plan that kicks in when downtime takes place is imperative.

 

#3 – Prepare for Growth

The biggest costs that often get overlooked are in predicting the pace of business and change. Growth is the reason you’re in business, but it’s tough to anticipate costs when it happens fast. You need scalable, flexible technology solutions. Look to the cloud to meet your currents needs with the ability to scale up or down while also removing the costs of increasing physical hardware and software licensing.

 

#4 – Ask Questions First

Advice from a professional is the best way to ensure you don’t overspend on IT. Too many businesses jump into making hasty, uniformed decisions about technology investments and network infrastructures and end up paying too much. By talking with a managed service provider like us, you get all the facts and understand the cost associated with each potential decision.

 

Technology is essential for your success, but you have a lot of balls in the air, so it often takes a backseat or doesn’t get the right focus—leading to costly decisions. Now’s the perfect time to get some expert advice. Through November 30, get a free, no-obligation IT cost reduction assessment. We’ll take a look at your current situation, make recommendations on where you can save and offer affordable options for the future. If we can’t save you money, we’ll give you $100. We’re here to help.

How to See if Your Email Has Been Hacked

Whether it is a personal email or a business account, getting your email hacked is a scary possibility. Hackers can quickly gain access to anything you’ve sent – like passwords, account numbers, or bank information – plus, they could use your account to send viruses to other computers, and then hack them.

In this three-part series, we discuss how to determine if you’ve been hacked, how to report the hackers and get them out of your accounts, and finally, how to protect against them in the future.

To start, how do you know if your email has been hacked? A first hint is if someone in your contacts informs you that they received a strange email from you. Ask them to send you a photo of it. If you don’t recognize it, you’ve been hacked.

Let’s do some detective work. Has your password been changed but you don’t remember doing it? That’s a problem. The first thing a hacker typically does is change your passwords and change the contact email so you can’t get back into your account.

Open your email app and look over your messages. Pay attention to the read/unread status to see if any messages have been read that you don’t remember reading. Look in the sent folder to see if there’s anything you did not send. Deleted emails can also give you clues. Also, look to see if there are any password reset request emails for different websites that you don’t remember sending. The hacker could be trying to get into your other accounts.

If you have any other unexpected emails from your bank or other official business, it may be a hacker attempting to get you to reveal more information about yourself. Call your bank and ask about the message before responding.

You can also check the recent activity of your account (if you have a service including Yahoo!, Google, or Microsoft). They will have a record of who has been accessing your email, including date, user’s operating system, mobile device type, and the Internet Protocol (IP) address. If you’re seeing unrecognizable information on there, that could be evidence of outside hacking.

A third-party website can also do a final check to see if your email has been compromised. Have I Been Pwned? will inform you (for free) if your email has ended up in a database due to a data breach. But don’t get too alarmed right away. Make sure to check the dates –it could be reporting an old breach for which you’ve already changed your password.

If you’re not seeing any suspicious information on these sites, but you still believe you’ve been hacked, it might be an inside job. If an outside computer isn’t doing the hacking (which would be indicated by someone accessing your email from a different IP), then someone is directly logging into your computer to hack it. This could be someone in your home or office, or a public place you may have left your computer unattended. Always log out when you step away from your computer, and don’t leave it out if you leave the room.

If you’re seeing these signs, unfortunately, your email has likely been hacked. Depending on the severity of the attack, you might be able to rid yourself of hackers and clean up your accounts in just a few days. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where we discuss how to report the hackers and how to get your accounts up and running again.

Questions about email hacking or internet security? Browse our blog for more topics, or contact us to see how we can help your business stay protected against hackers.

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According to an IHS study, outages cost enterprises $700 billion a year. Though this statistic is alarming, it doesn’t quite hit home for many businesses. But, doing the math for your specific organization and calculating your true cost of downtime is critical to understanding how much you can really afford.

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Focus on Running Your Business, We’ll Focus on Running Your IT

As technology continues to evolve, so do your technology needs. But many businesses lack the internal resources they need to fully manage IT on their own and—when your resources are lagging behind—your business lags behind your competitors.

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Are you safe and secure in the cloud?

Six Ways Cloud Can Increase Your Risk

Every day, more businesses are looking to the cloud because it delivers cost-effective productivity, collaboration, efficiency and more. But, even as its popularity continues to grow, the Cloud Security Alliance warns that businesses that embrace the cloud without fully understanding the environment and its associated risks are more likely to encounter a myriad of commercial, financial, technical, legal and compliance risks.

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