27 Nov

Reasons to back up your mobile devices

Companies such as Apple, Samsung, and others have turned mobile phones into mini-computers that can serve as a substitute for your laptop, or as a storage device. If you’re using a smartphone as a communications and storage device, backing up now would be a wise move.

 

Malware on mobile

 
More than two-thirds of the world’s population use a mobile phone with internet connection, so dangers in these handy devices are to be expected. Scarier than the thought of being offline is being online and exposed to malware.

If you use your mobile devices as extensions of your work computers, backing them up is a must. Mobile phones have become as vulnerable to malware as laptops and desktops are, especially if you consider the fact that many professionals and business owners use them for emailing confidential documents and storing business-critical files.

 

Device disasters

 

Malware isn’t the only disaster that can hurt your smartphone. Because you carry it wherever you go, your device can easily be stolen, misplaced, or damaged. They may be easily replaceable, but the data they contain is not. Here are some security threats to look out for:

 

Data leakage

 

Something as simple as transferring files onto a public cloud storage service, or pasting confidential information in the wrong place could compromise your business. In fact, according to specialist insurance provider Beazley, “unintended disclosure” accounted for 41% of data breaches reported by healthcare organizations during the first three quarters of 2017.

 

Social engineering

 

Tricking people online into handing over their personal and financial data is no longer confined to desktops, as this trend is already happening on mobile devices. In a report by IBM, it was found out that users are three times more vulnerable to fall for phishing attacks on mobile devices compared to desktops. This is because phones are where people will most likely see a message first, making them a popular attack vector by cybercriminals.

 

Wi-Fi interference

 

When we connect our devices to public Wi-Fi networks, we are putting critical information at risk. According to Wandera, nearly a quarter of devices in 2017 connected to potentially insecure networks, and some even encountered a man-in-the-middle attack, where someone anonymously intercepts communication between two parties.

 

Out-of-date devices

 
A vast majority of manufacturers, most particularly on the Android front, are ineffective at providing updates for their devices. This can inconvenience end users, as this exposes them to the many threats lurking online. Some smartphones and tablets may receive a security patch from time to time, but manufacturers eventually stop doing so after a while.

 

Physical device breaches

 

While this may seem unlikely for some, lost or unattended devices can still become a major security risk, especially if they are not employing proper security measures such as PIN codes and encryption.

 

Backup options

 

Performing backups on iOS and Android devices is a quick and painless process. For example, companies that use Office 365 or Google’s G Suite enable company-wide backup settings from a single dashboard. Apple’s backup settings usually need to be configured on each device, but it’s a pretty simple process.
 
There are also robust third-party options to back up all your organization’s mobile devices. The best of these are cloud backup services that sync devices and back up contacts, photos, videos, and other critical files in one neat system. These mobile backup tools are offered on monthly or lifetime subscription schemes, which provides small businesses with enough flexibility to ensure long-term protection.

 

Our experts can provide practical advice on security for your business’s computers and mobile devices. Call 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net to ask about mobile backup and other security solutions today.

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06 Aug

Get More Life From Your iPhone Battery

You’re on the go today – out of the office, out of the house, and attending a business event. Everything is going fine and dandy until you look down at your phone to see your worst nightmare come true. Your iPhone is at 25 percent battery life. Before you panic, know that the answer to your dilemma may just be in the palm of your hand: in the Settings of your phone. So when a battery emergency strikes, try these five tips first before screaming into a pillow.

 

Activate Low Power Mode

 

Perhaps the easiest way to save iPhone battery life, Low Power Mode can be activated with a single tap. When switched on, it automatically adjusts several settings to extend the life of your battery: it reduces the brightness of your screen and the amount of battery power your apps are using, disables the automatic fetching of new email, and it powers off the display more quickly.

To activate Low Power Mode, press Settings > Battery and then tap Low Power Mode so that the green light is on.

 

Lower the screen brightness

 

The brighter your iPhone screen, the more battery it drains. And really, there isn’t much of a need to have an excessively bright screen because in most instances (being outside in the sunshine excluded) you can easily see everything on the screen at a lower brightness level.

To adjust the brightness of your iPhone, there are two simple ways to go about it. First, flick the Control Center tab upward from the bottom of your screen. There you’ll find a brightness adjuster that looks like a vertical bar with a sun icon on it. Simply slide the adjuster up or down to increase or decrease your display’s brightness level.

Alternatively, you can adjust your iPhone’s brightness in Settings > Display & Brightness (it’s called Brightness & Wallpaper in iOS 7). You can also turn on Auto-Brightness to automatically adjust the brightness of your phone by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations. When you turn this setting on, you’ll save energy because your screen will need to use less power in dark places.

 

Switch off Wi-Fi

 

As much as you love using the Wi-Fi on your phone, it is a proven battery life killer. The funny thing is, the degree it drains battery life varies by location. For instance, if you’re at home (where iPhone battery life is less of a problem to begin with), Wi-Fi will use less battery. But when you’re out and about, your phone is often searching for a Wi-Fi signal to connect to, and this drains battery. So if you can hold off on your mobile browsing and email till you get home, your phone will stay powered on quite a bit longer.

 

Switch off cellular data

 

Like Wi-Fi, cellular data can also eat up battery quickly – especially if you’re in an area where there’s no cellular coverage. When this happens, your phone begins to search non-stop for a signal, which is a huge battery drainer. So if you’re short on juice and don’t need to browse the internet, turn off your cellular data function. Doing this can easily provide an extra hour or two of additional battery life.

 

Activate Airplane mode

 

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and this is exactly when you need Airplane mode. If you’re down to 20ish percent battery life and need your phone to last for a few hours longer, Airplane mode may just be your savior. By switching it on, your phone will shut down all wireless activity, including cellular, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Doing this is obviously not ideal, but if you have little battery life and want your phone available in case of emergencies, this is your best option (next to switching it off). Once in Airplane mode, you can individually turn on certain wireless functions, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, while staying in Airplane mode.

To switch on Airplane mode, you can do so from the Control Center screen or by going to Settings and then clicking on Airplane mode.

 

Any other options?

 

If you must have your cake and eat it too, there’s an alternative choice that provides an extra battery bump with the ability to use Wi-Fi, keep your screen bright, and use your iPhone without adjusting any settings. The answer is to buy a power supply, also known as a power bank, which you’ve likely seen for sale at your local Best Buy or on Amazon. These delightful portable chargers are continually shrinking in size, with some even as small as lipstick, so it’s no longer a hassle to carry them around. You can simply slide it into your pocket and plug it in when needed.

 

If you’re looking for more ways to get the most out of your iPhone or are looking to service your Apple technology, feel free to shoot us a message. We also manage Windows devices as well, and we’re happy to help in any way possible. Contact us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net

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04 Apr

How to Guard Against Scareware

You are surfing the web, minding your own business, when suddenly a browser window pops up saying you have a virus on your computer. A phone number is provided, and you are urged to call it for support. It looks scary. It looks official. It’s a scam. You have discovered a scareware popup.

 

What is Scareware?

 

Also called fraudware, deception software, or rogue scanner software, scareware appears as a legitimate alert from an antivirus company claiming your computer’s security has been compromised. Sometimes an audible voice will play through your computer’s speakers, issuing a warning that your immediate attention is required. A phone number or website link is provided in the body of the alert. In the case of browser popups, you may not be able to close the browser by normal methods, as it will appear frozen. All of this is a scam to scare users into purchasing bogus or malicious software, or allowing remote access to fraudsters who can steal personal information.

 

How to Manage Scareware

 

Do not panic! It is only a fraudulent popup. Legitimate companies do not use this type of tactic to sell their products. As long as you do not click on a link or call the number provided, your computer will not be compromised. The best thing to do is simply restart your computer and reopen the browser, making sure not to restore pages (if prompted to do so). If you receive another such popup immediately upon opening your browser, contact your IT company for support. Clients of EIT Networks can email helpdesk@eitnetworks.net to generate a ticket automatically, and one of our technicians will reach out to you as quickly as possible.

 

Scareware has been around for a long time, but in recent times the number of occurrences has increased. Knowing what to do if you receive such a popup can keep your computer from being compromised. If you want to discuss scareware or other types of cyber threats, you can reach us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net.

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09 Mar

The Importance of HTTPS

Very few internet users understand the meaning of the padlock icon in their web browser’s address bar. It represents HTTPS, a security feature that authenticates websites and protects the information users submit to them. Let’s go over some user-friendly HTTPS best practices to help you surf the web safely.

 

HTTPS Encryption

 

Older web protocols lack data encryption. When you visit a website that doesn’t use HTTPS, 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 intercepted by anyone with the right tools.

 

HTTPS Certificates

 

The second thing outdated web browsing lacks is publisher certificates. When you enter a web address into your browser, your computer uses an online directory to translate that text into numerical addresses (e.g., www.google.com = 8.8.8.8) then saves that information on your computer so it doesn’t need to check the online directory every time you visit a known website.

The problem is, if your computer is hacked it could be tricked into directing www.google.com to 8.8.8.255, even if that’s a malicious website. Oftentimes, this strategy is implemented to send users to sites that look exactly like what they expected, but are actually false-front sites designed to trick you into providing your credentials.

HTTPS created a new ecosystem of certificates that are issued by the online directories mentioned earlier. These certificates make it impossible for you to be redirected to a false-front website.

 

What this means for daily browsing

 

Most people hop from site to site too quickly to check each one for padlocks and certificates. Unfortunately, HTTPS is way too important to ignore. Here are a few things to consider when browsing:

If your browser marks a website as “unsafe” do not click “proceed anyway” unless you are absolutely certain nothing private will be transmitted.
There are web browser extensions that create encrypted connections to unencrypted websites (HTTPS Everywhere is great for Chrome and Firefox).
HTTPS certificates don’t mean anything if you don’t recognize the company’s name. For example, goog1e.com (with the ‘l’ replaced with a one) could have a certificate, but that doesn’t mean it’s a trustworthy site.

 

Avoiding sites that don’t use the HTTPS protocol is just one of many things you need to do to stay safe when browsing the internet. When you’re ready for IT support that handles the finer points of cybersecurity like safe web browsing, give our office a call. You can reach us at 1-866-BIT-WISE or sales@eitnetworks.net

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02 Mar

VoIP: Hardphone vs. Softphone

You have just decided to use VoIP as your telephony solution, but now your technician is asking how you want to use it. Do you want traditional desk phones (hardphone) or software-based devices (softphone)? Read on to discover the benefits of each and which ones are most suitable for your needs.

 

What’s a hardphone?

 

A hardphone is a desk phone that is connected to your business’s IP network, just like a normal phone. There’s no learning curve associated with VoIP hardphones, and they allow your staff to call anyone worldwide at a more affordable price. The more advanced hardphones have built-in video displays and touch screens to accommodate video calls, eliminating the need of having separate equipment for video conferencing.

 

What’s a softphone?

 
A softphone is any electronic device that uses a software program that allows users to turn their PCs, laptops, and tablets into high-tech phones to make and receive local and international calls. Softphones let you dial a number on your computer or mobile device and speak through its embedded speakers and microphone, or through a headset with microphone, so you can make and take calls wherever you are.

 

Which type is ideal for you?

 
There are some things to consider when you’re choosing between hardphones and softphones:

Are your employees always moving around?
Do they require 24/7 connectivity?
Does your company rely on having top-notch customer service?
What’s your IT budget?
Your answers to these questions will determine the type of equipment you need. If your employees are mostly in the office, hardphones may be better, especially since you probably already have them and they will be available for use with VoIP.

But if your company requires a mobile workforce, adopting a softphone solution may be better. Softphones feature call routing which allows calls to be diverted to one or several specified internet-enabled devices, ensuring your clients have 24/7 access to your employees. Other features like transcribed voicemail messages also enable you to receive messages promptly, no matter whether you’re in a meeting or on the road.

 

Costs

 
Hardphones and softphones each have their advantages, so which one you choose may come down to your IT budget.

For SMBs that have a limited IT budget, purchasing new hardphones for all their employees can be expensive, especially if you require hundreds of them. Softphones may be better if you’re on a tight budget. You just need to download an application and buy some headsets.

If your budget permits you to spend more on telephony infrastructure, then a VoIP solution would be a great way to improve your users’ productivity and save money on your monthly phone bills.

 

We at EIT are here to advise you on any questions you may have pertaining to VoIP, and especially about whether hardphones or softphones are best for you. If you’re interested in upgrading your telephony infrastructure, give us a call today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net

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15 Dec

Facebook Messenger Get’s Down to Business

With over 1.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook’s Messenger app is an unprecedented success. Facebook is now looking to fully utilize the potential of this monster user base and has therefore added a feature for improving connectivity between local businesses and consumers. Read on to learn how this feature could benefit you!

 

The How

 

By installing a plug-in called Customer Chat, retailers can integrate Facebook Messenger with their website, letting their customer support representatives carry on conversations with clients just like they would on Facebook.

Customer Chat also saves conversation histories, meaning a user can be talking to a customer representative on their website and then continue the conversation once they shift to Facebook — without having to start a new conversation. Customer Chat is now open to any business in the form of an ‘expanded public beta.’

 

Facebook’s Grand Plan

 

Like all new services, the success depends on the users. Customer Chat’s primary user base seems to be those who lack the time or confidence involved in sending a formal e-mail for a casual business inquiry.

Regardless, Facebook has long been developing its platform with an eye on chat’s broader benefits to tighten its grip on businesses. A recent stat indicates Facebook Messenger has surpassed 1.3 billion monthly active users.

 

So, What Next?

 

As Facebook seems to be monopolizing and clamping down on the communication realm — both private and business — with Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp, the plan is clear: They want to absorb even more of the communications that usually take place over phone calls and e-mail.

It is still an uncertainty if the new Messenger feature will have a large impact on Facebook’s grand plan, but it certainly could be an great way of communication for many businesses across the planet. Customer Chat opens up new avenues of integration, such as sending money, making video calls or even convincing customer service reps to give you a refund, thus making Facebook the go-to app for anything and everything, especially in this social media age in which we live.

 

Got any questions about Facebook? Let us help you understand the technicalities. Do you need a trusted company to manage all of your IT needs? Call us today at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net.

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08 Dec

Cybersecurity Essentials: VPN

Installing powerful antivirus software and setting strong passwords are no longer considered the bare minimum in cybersecurity. With hackers, government agencies, and ISPs constantly monitoring networks and your online habits, hopping onto a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is crucial for keeping your surfing habits private. Here’s why.

 

What is VPN?

 

Simply put, a VPN is a group of servers you connect to via the internet. Once you’ve established a connection, your computer acts as if it’s on the same local connection as the VPN, making it seem like you moved to a different location.

When you surf the web through a VPN, all the data transmitted and received is also encrypted, preventing anyone — from hackers to government agencies — from monitoring your online activities.

 

Why should you have one?

 

Of course, security and privacy are major reasons why you would want a VPN. For example, if you’re connected to a public WiFi network — like the ones you typically see in local cafes and airports — using a VPN encrypts the information you’re sending or accessing online. This means things like credit card details, login credentials, private conversations, or other sensitive documents can’t be intercepted by a third party.

VPNs are also useful for accessing geo-restricted websites. If you’re traveling abroad and certain US websites are blocked in that region, you can simply connect to a VPN located in the US to access the sites you need.

 

Which VPN should you choose?

 

Given the increasing demand for secure online privacy, VPNs are surging in popularity. The following considerations can help you find the right one.

1. Cost
While free VPNs are available, we strongly suggest you avoid them. These keep logs of your internet activity, and in some cases sell them to the highest bidder. Maintaining a VPN service is also expensive, which means the free ones will likely plaster ads on your browser to make a quick buck.

Paid VPNs like SurfEasy and StrongVPN often come with more robust features and configurations that keep you secure. What’s more, they don’t keep a record of the sites you visit and hound you with pop-ups that lead to dangerous websites.

2. Location
The physical location of VPN servers is important if you want to access region-blocked websites. So if you’re planning on accessing a UK-based service, your VPN provider must at least have servers installed in London.

3. Capacity
Read through a VPN provider’s terms of service to determine how much data you’re allowed to use. If possible, find out how many servers a VPN provider has. If they have plenty of servers online, you can rest assured that they have the capacity to support your internet browsing.

4. Device compatibility
Another important factor to consider is whether the VPN can be used across multiple devices. Nowadays, employees work on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, so you’ll want a VPN that’s compatible with all these.

5. IP leaking
Finally, a great way to evaluate a VPN service is to sign up for their free trial service and visit https://ipleak.net/, which will allow you to check whether your real IP address is actually being leaked. If it manages to track your physical location, you need to opt for a more reliable VPN service.

 

VPNs are now a vital component of cybersecurity, and if you need help selecting the right one for your business, consult with our security experts today. We also offer comprehensive cybersecurity services so no hacker or third party can get their hands on your data. You can reach us at sales@eitnetworks.net or 1-866-BIT-WISE.

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31 Oct

Cisco Introduces AI Services

Modern IT systems are generating more data than ever before, and humans can’t keep up. Thankfully, certain tasks have already been offloaded to machines. Even better, Cisco may have a long-term solution to IT management complexities.

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are extremely useful in helping us sift through massive amounts of information, and networking behemoth Cisco recently announced that they will be incorporating these technologies with two of their services.

 

Business Critical Services

 

This suite of services uses AI-powered automation, compliance, security, and machine learning analytics tools to reduce the complexity of IT systems management. It helps monitor the health of your business services and mitigate risks via automated compliance and remediation audits.

You can also replicate your network to improve reliability between your hardware and software components, and deploy features with automation capabilities.

 

Cisco High Value Services

 

This product support model provides network, software, and solution support using advanced analytics and best practices to access infrastructure performance and remediate issues. Cisco aims to improve business continuity and reduce resource constraints with remote monitoring, automated incident detection, and high SLAs.

Some of the services you can expect include software analysis, workflow integration, customer benchmarking, and predictive network analysis.

Using cutting-edge technologies as well as networking and hardware expertise, Cisco is gearing up its attempt to predict IT failures before they happen. That said, we assume it’s only a matter of time before other major developers follow suit, and when they do, you’ll be the first to know.

 

If you’d like to learn more about how to predict IT failures before they happen, or stay protected and operational when they do, just give us a call at 1-866-BIT-WISE or email sales@eitnetworks.net.

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