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Could Your Organization Benefit From Utilizing Managed IT Services?

Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:15 Written by

An article posted by Bluefin.com, a payment security firm, calls the shortage of skilled information technology workers "the newest cybersecurity threat." Per Infosecurity-magazine.com, as of November 2019, the number of unfilled positions for trained IT personnel stood at 4.07 million worldwide, an increase of 1.14 million from a year earlier. This personnel shortage has continued to worsen since then, with no end in sight. This poses a tremendous challenge for organizations in need of these workers, especially those experiencing growth that may, for the first time, be faced with managing an expanding IT infrastructure.

Companies offering managed IT services on a contract basis are helping to fill the void left by the personnel shortage. If your organization is struggling with management of your technology resources, perhaps partnering with one of these service providers is your best option. Doing so could increase the efficiency of your business by allowing you and others within your organization to focus on more important things, like growth and continuous improvement. You may even save some money.

Is Your Organization Prepared for a Ransomware Attack?

Monday, 22 March 2021 17:07 Written by

Various reputable sources, including the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Canadian Crypto Module Validation Program and Microsoft, have reported a significant increase in the number of ransomware attacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. How prepared is your organization to defend against such an attack? There are best practices that, if implemented, could prevent an attack from being successful or at least mitigate the effects thereof. Additionally, there are recommended actions to take if your systems or data are affected. Risks associated with giving in to the attacker's ransom demands should also be considered before any payment is made.

How the attacks work

Malicious software is used to deny access to data or systems until or unless the attacker's ransom demands are met. Methods for delivering the malware payload vary, with the three of the most common being phishing emails, exploitation of application vulnerabilities, and delivery via remote desktop protocol (RDP). The use of phishing emails as an attack vector is currently on the rise.

Privacy Concerns: New Technology to Grade Meetings Through Surveillance of Attendees

Thursday, 04 March 2021 20:31 Written by

Like it or not, data collection technology is pervasive. Your online activities and purchases are tracked. Your travels are monitored, and your location history is stored. Cameras regularly capture your image in public places. Now, technology recently patented by Microsoft for the stated purpose of improving meeting efficiency in the workplace may soon be monitoring the effectiveness of your behaviour at work. The collected data is then used to evaluate meeting participants' body language and analyze the data collected to determine whether or not they are making significant contributions to the meetings they attend. Although this technology is still in its infancy and there are currently no indications of when, or even if, Microsoft plans to make it available for deployment in the workplace, concerns have been raised that it crosses a line and that, if widely implemented, it could result in changes that will negatively impact a significant percentage of the working population.

How It Works

Using sensors, cameras, and software algorithms, Microsoft's "Meeting Insight Computing System" (MICS) will collect data on each meeting participant's body language, expressions, and participation level. MICS will also track how much time attendees spend on activities that are not meeting-related, such as texting or reading email. For remote meeting participants, MICS factors in whether or not they activate their cameras. The system will also take environmental factors into consideration, including the temperature and level of noise in a meeting room. Meeting time is also considered. A hot meeting room, a room with a distracting level of noise, or a meeting running into lunch hour could affect the attendees' levels of participation.

How SaaS is Changing IT Departments

Monday, 22 February 2021 17:25 Written by

As software as a service (SaaS) tools continue to gain more popularity with businesses, it's only natural that on-premises, perpetual license software will decline in usage. That's already resulting in significant changes for information technology (IT) departments in many companies. For example, technology managers recognize that they will need staff with different skill sets, new infrastructure to support cloud-based technologies, and a complete overhaul of their processes to support their evolving mission. Here are the most significant ways that SaaS is transforming IT departments.

Hiring for Different Skill Sets

Traditionally, IT staff have been expected to possess highly technical skills because workers needed to be able to manage and configure on-premises software and servers. However, since cloud-based servers require less technical expertise, IT departments need fewer computer science graduates with programming and database management skills. Instead, technology workers need more proficient in business analytics and savvy decision-making skills. As more companies transition to SaaS, it becomes more about creating business processes based on what the technology can effectively support, as opposed to customization, because that's how it's always been done. Therefore, IT departments will likely hire an increasing number of business graduates - and fewer computer science grads - in the future.

LibreOffice: An Open Source Alternative to Microsoft Office

Thursday, 04 February 2021 18:03 Written by

The phrase "open source", as used in the title, can also be read as "free." That is correct - there is a fully functional suite of office software applications very similar to, and compatible with, Microsoft Office. Developers donate their time to maintain the LibreOffice suite of applications and keep them up to date.

LibreOffice will run on your Windows operating system and will open, edit, and create Microsoft data files including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. It has been around in one form or another for years and is totally free to download. You do have the option to make a donation to the cause, but there is no requirement to do so.

A Very Brief LibreOffice History

In the early 1970s, Richard Stallman was a Harvard-educated software engineer working on artificial intelligence projects for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As software development migrated away from the university environment and into the private sector, jobs like Stallman's were gradually eliminated, including his in the early 1980s. Stallman was not pleased that private industry was making money writing computer programs and believed that software is meant to be free. And so began the Free Software Foundation in 1985. Developers from around the world joined Stallman's cause, creating free applications and updating and improving them over time.

Teleworking: Information Security Essentials for Organizational Leadership

Friday, 22 January 2021 18:43 Written by

Teleworking: Information Security Essentials for Organizational Leadership

The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to rapidly develop and implement policies and procedures that enable their employees to work remotely. As time has passed, many companies have begun to recognize the monetary benefits associated with teleworking, including reduced utility costs as well as a decline in the need for office space, furniture, and conference rooms. Corporate management teams are now considering making telework a permanent part of their businesses. One primary concern is maintaining the security of information systems and networks and the sensitive data residing thereon.

Using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) for secure remote capabilities

If your organization already utilizes VDI and you have enough licenses to accommodate your teleworking staff, you are ahead of the game. VDI users can be provided role-based access, giving them access to only the resources they need to perform their jobs. All of those resources remain secured inside your organization's environment or in the cloud; thus, physical security and unauthorized access concerns are reduced. VDI also uses less bandwidth and is easier for your IT staff to manage than Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections.

Free, Reliable Tools to Help You Protect Yourself From Identity Thieves

Wednesday, 13 January 2021 20:22 Written by

There are many reputable free tools available online that will allow you to lower your chances of becoming an identity theft victim. You can quickly find out whether your personal information has been compromised in a data breach. You can also take advantage of no-cost offerings that enable you to check the security of your passwords and receive alerts regarding future security violations that may expose your sensitive data. Additionally, you can obtain free copies of your credit reports and sign up for credit monitoring tools that will alert you to suspicious activity.

7 Common Myths About Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) You Shouldn't Believe

Friday, 06 November 2020 16:21 Written by

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) has surpassed Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to become the most popular website protocol on the internet. According to research conducted by tech survey organization W3Techs, over 60 percent of all websites are now powered by HTTPS. They use a digital certificate that encrypts their data as it flows to and from their respective visitors.

While HTTPS is undeniably popular, its technical nature has given rise to many myths. When deciding whether or not to use it on your website, you must separate fact from fiction. Otherwise, you may unintentionally take the wrong path with your website.

10 Tips for Developing a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)

Wednesday, 14 October 2020 19:34 Written by

Most businesses rely on information technology (IT) systems. Even a small business may have critical data and applications without which it could not operate. Computers have become more reliable, and many business systems are now cloud-based. Even so, if the hardware is stolen or destroyed in a natural disaster, the downtime that it would cause could have a significant impact on any business.

So, a company should have a plan to get systems online again ASAP following an IT disaster. But, if you have never prepared a disaster recovery plan (DRP) before, where do you start? Here is a ten-step guide to help you develop a disaster recovery plan for your business.

5 Ways an IT Provider can Save Your Business Money

Thursday, 01 October 2020 14:03 Written by

Outsourcing your IT department offers impressive benefits, such as improving productivity, increasing security, and gaining access to the latest technology. However, one of the main advantages of using a managed service provider is that it is an excellent way to save your company money in many ways. Instead of hiring additional IT employees, a managed service provider will take care of all your technical needs in the workplace at a fixed price each month. Ultimately, this will make it easier to stay within a budget, as you will not have to worry about any unexpected expenses.

Here are a few more ways that an IT service provider can save your business money.

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