Twin Valley & SKT to Help Boost Kansas Tech Industry FlagshipKansas.Tech Announces Board of Directors, Officers

For immediate release

WICHITA, Kan. (January 7, 2022) — In its commitment to lift up Kansas’ powerhouse technology industry, FlagshipKansas.Tech has appointed three new members and a slate of new officers to its board of directors. Among the new board members is Megan Harper, manager of marketing and sales for Twin Valley and SKT, the state’s largest independent broadband and communications company. She joins technology industry leaders in furthering the nonprofit’s mission to raise awareness, attract and retain technology talent, and support technology workforce training and education initiatives in the state.

“Supporting technology companies, tech innovation, and education is vital in elevating our state’s profile to attract and retain businesses and creating a next generation workforce,” Harper said. “Twin Valley and SKT have been advocating for cutting-edge communications and connectivity in rural Kansas for more than 75 years, giving individuals, businesses, and communities the tools to succeed in a digital world. Supporting FlagshipKansas.Tech’s mission is an important part of fulfilling our Pledge to create meaningful community outreach initiatives on a broader scale.”

Technology companies continue to find themselves accelerating to meet current market needs and position themselves for the future. According to CompTIA, the tech industry makes a

$10 billion impact on the Kansas economy, and FlagshipKansas.Tech looks to gain even more momentum to help propel the industry forward in 2022.

In addition to Harper, Rick Ehresman, President of Spectrum, Inc., and Scott Sproul, President and CEO of Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center, Inc., have also joined the FlagshipKansas.Tech board of directors. Each will serve an initial three-year term.

FlagshipKansas.Tech 2022 board officers will include:

  • Chair – Luis Rodriguez, President of Keycentrix
  • Vice-Chair – Ben Sebree, Vice President of R&D and Technology for Civic Plus
  • Treasurer – Amanda Duncan, Vice President & Chief Development Officer for Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas
  • Secretary – Rick Ehresman, President of Spectrum, Inc.

“We, of course, love to help attract new tech companies to Kansas, but we are even more eager to champion the amazing technology companies that are already here,” said Luis Rodriguez, President of Keycentrix and FlagshipKansas.Tech Board Chair. “Our state is a place where tech companies can thrive. We will do all we can to support the growth of technology companies in Kansas.”

“The diverse experience from our new board members will enhance our commitment to amplifying Kansas as a top priority for tech companies, talent, and education,” said Ashley Scheideman, Executive Director of FlagshipKansas.Tech. “I look forward to our board members contributing their leadership gifts and ability to get the job done to help Kansas technology reach new heights in 2022,” Rodriguez added.

About FlagshipKansas.Tech

FlagshipKansas.Tech raises awareness, attracts and retains technology talent, and supports technology workforce training and education initiatives in Kansas. Those interested in learning more about FlagshipKansas.Tech’s mission, membership, and/or collaboration opportunities can contact Executive Director Ashley Scheideman at ashley@flagshipkansas.tech or (316) 469- 6800. The FlagshipKansas.Tech office is located in Suite 351 of Groover Labs, 334 N. St. Francis Avenue, Wichita.

About the Twin Valley Family of Companies

Twin Valley is a fourth-generation family business that has 75 years of experience providing cutting-edge technology and connectivity throughout the central U.S. Together with ISG Technology and SKT, Twin Valley helps customers unlock possibilities to realize their full potential by providing a unique combination of broadband, managed IT services, technology consulting, professional services, and cloud/data center solutions for both residential and business. Twin Valley and SKT are committed to providing customers and communities with the most reliable broadband network, internet options at the best value, quality hometown customer service, and meaningful community outreach initiatives. Learn more at twinvalley.net, SKTC.net, and isgtech.com.

12 Days of Chri… We Mean Cybersecurity

12 Days of Cybersecurity

The holidays are a time for celebration and spending time with family and friends. But they can also be a time when your cybersecurity is put to the test.  During the holiday season, small and medium-sized businesses are often a target for cybercriminals, as they may be less likely to have robust cybersecurity measures in place than larger businesses.

Cybercriminals may attempt to steal sensitive information such as customer data or financial information or to infect devices with malware that can be used to launch future attacks.

Through the 12 Days of Cybersecurity, we will cover 12 different cybersecurity areas that, when properly secured, will help make your holidays a little more secure.

1. Vulnerability Testing

The first tip for keeping your business safe is to do a PEN test or vulnerability scan.  A PEN test helps you understand how vulnerable your systems are by having a third-party attempt to penetrate your systems from outside your network and from within. This will tell you how well your security system is working. A vulnerability scan tests for specific vulnerabilities in your network, making changes to what you need to be fixed.

Remember, security is a journey. There is no magic bullet when it comes to security. It takes a combination of strong security measures, vigilance, and ongoing education to keep your business safe from cybercrime.

Cybercriminals are continually getting smarter and coming up with new ways to exploit vulnerabilities in systems. As a business owner, it is important to be proactive and continually update your security measures to stay ahead of these threats.

2. Network patching

According to a recent study, 60% of security incidents could have been prevented if a patch had been applied. This is because many security vulnerabilities are fixed with patches, which are small software updates that fix the security holes.

However, many businesses do not apply these patches, as they can be time-consuming and can sometimes cause compatibility issues. Businesses need to be sure to apply these patches in a timely manner, as leaving them unpatched can leave your systems vulnerable to attack.

Additionally, make sure you have a system in place for testing patches before you apply them to your live systems. This will help to mitigate any potential issues that may arise from the patch.

3. Managed Firewalls

One of the most important aspects of cybersecurity is keeping your systems and devices up to date and configured properly. This means regularly applying patches, using strong passwords, and avoiding malware. To help make this happen, businesses are using next-generation firewalls (NGFWs).

While NGFWs have quite a few similarities to traditional firewalls, they can block malware from entering a network, something that a traditional firewall is unable to do. If your business is looking for a low-cost option that will boost your basic security, an NGFW is the way to go.

By keeping your systems and devices up to date and properly configured, you can help reduce the risk of a cyberattack or data breach.

4. Multi-factor Authentication

One of the most important steps businesses can take to protect themselves from cybercrime is to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA is a security measure that requires more than one form of identification to access a system or account.

This can include things such as a password, a pin number, a security token, or biometric verification. MFAs and 2FAs can be as simple as a one-time password sent to a mobile device but can be incredibly effective. A study by Microsoft found that Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) can block up to 99.9% of automated attacks.

Businesses should consider using MFA to protect their online accounts, such as email and social media accounts, as well as their networks and systems. Additionally, MFA can be used to protect cloud-based applications and data.

5. Employee Awareness

Cybercriminals often use email as a means of delivering malware and stealing data. Phishing emails can trick unsuspecting victims into giving up sensitive information by pretending to be from a trusted source.

It is important to provide employees with training on how to recognize phishing emails, as well as other cybersecurity threats, in order to minimize the risk of a cyberattack on your business.

We recommend running phishing campaigns on your network periodically to train people who click, turning them from a liability into a human firewall.

6. Email Security

Email security is one of the most important aspects of cybersecurity. In fact, according to a recent study, 90% of attacks happen as a result of employees clicking on emails. This makes employee education and awareness training imperative to reducing the risk of falling victim to phishing emails.

Emails that contain malware, viruses, or ransomware can infect your computer networks and devices. This can give cybercriminals backdoor access to your systems, data, and other critical information.

By having email security tools in place, you’ll be able to filter out malicious emails before they have a chance to get the best of one of your employees. 

7. End-User Protection

No matter how well-protected you, your employees, and your data are, it can all come crumbling down with one click from end-users. By and large, end-users are every organization’s greatest security liability and have the potential to turn your business into the next cybersecurity headline. 

If your end-users are not protected, they can easily become infected with malware and other viruses. This can leave your business vulnerable to cyberattacks and data breaches.

Businesses need to have a comprehensive security solution in place that includes DNS/Web Security and endpoint protection. DNS/Web Security helps to stop threats before they happen, while endpoint protection helps to protect users if they do get infected.

By including both DNS/Web Security and endpoint protection in your security solution, you can help keep your end-users safe from cybercrime.

8. Combine AI with Security Experts

So, you’ve got the basic layers of protection in place: A firewall, antivirus, web and email security, etc. Now what?  Technology tools, while a great first step, is not the end of your security journey. Once the tools are in place, you will find the result to be an influx of alerts.  A lot of alerts. While admittedly helpful, they can be problematic as well.

The next level of protection to consider is implementing a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM), in combination with a team of security experts. A SIEM provides real-time analysis of security alerts generated by applications and network hardware and monitors for threats and possible problems. 

Combined with a  team of security experts trained to know what alerts are most important, they can focus their attention on the threats that matter most to your organization. The presence of a SIEM in your business enables in-depth analyses of threats in order to create best practices in real-time in order to prevent problems before they happen.

9. 24×7 Monitoring

While businesses may take a break during the holiday season, cybercriminals do not. In fact, they may be working even harder to steal data and infect systems. This is why it is important to have a comprehensive security solution in place that includes 24×7 monitoring.

A Security Operations Center (SOC) can provide round-the-clock monitoring of your systems and networks for threats. This allows you to detect and respond to threats quickly and effectively.

Additionally, having a SOC can help you to mitigate the risk of a data breach or cyberattack.

The best way to protect your business from cybercrime is to partner with a SOC that has the experience and expertise to keep your systems safe.

10. Incident Response

No business is safe from cybercrime. In fact, even the most resilient businesses can still be hacked. The best way to protect your business is to have a comprehensive security solution in place that includes incident response planning.

If you do experience a cyberattack, it is important to have a plan in place so that you can respond quickly and effectively. This plan should include the steps that need to be taken in order for your business to recover.

It is also important to have a team of experts who can help you during an incident. A team of cybersecurity professionals can help you to mitigate the damage caused by a cyberattack and help you to get your business back up and running.

11. Data Backup

Another important aspect of cybersecurity is backups. If you don’t have backups, your business can be easily devastated in the event of a data breach or cyberattack.

It is important to make sure that your backups are air-gapped from your network. This helps to ensure that they are not compromised.

Additionally, you should make sure that your backups are stored in a secure location. This helps to protect them from cybercriminals.

12. Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance is a type of insurance policy that helps to protect businesses from data breaches and cyberattacks. It can help to cover the costs associated with these incidents, including the costs of repairing the damage done, hiring experts to help with the recovery process, and paying for credit monitoring services for affected employees.

Cyber insurance is becoming increasingly important as the number of cyberattacks continues to rise. Businesses that do not have cyber insurance are at a higher risk for data breaches and other types of cybercrime.

It is important that you do your research when it comes to cyber insurance. This will ensure that you are not stuck with insurance that dictates what you should do in the event of an attack.

… And a Great Managed Service Provider Team

The holiday season is a time when many businesses take a break. However, cybercriminals do not take a break and continue to work hard to steal data and infect systems.

No business is safe from a cyberattack or data breach, which is why protecting your business is important for the future of your company. If you are not sure where to start, it is important to partner with an award-winning IT Company that provides Managed Cybersecurity that can help you to protect your business from cybercrime.

Log4J – What it is. And What You Need to Know.

What is Log4J?

Log4j2, also known as Log4Shell, is a vulnerability that exploits Apache Log4j – a free, open source software that provides logging functionality, debugging and other mundane functions most people don’t think about.

On December 10th, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued cyber security alert CVE-2021-44228 giving it a “10.0 Critical” severity rating. If exploited, bad actors can completely take over a server running Log4J, steal money, data, etc. via Remote Code Execution (RCE).

How Widespread is the Log4j Vulnerability?

Because of its reliability and flexibility, Log4j is used by thousands of websites and applications across the world. Companies like VMware, Microsoft, Cisco and others are evaluating various product sets to determine the extent of the exposure. One thing we do know, is the challenge is worldwide and it affects companies of all sizes.

A list of known Log4j related softwares has been published on Github to help identify where you may have vulnerabilities. Important to note is that the risk of exploitation applies to public devices and applications.

What is being done?

The Apache Software Foundation has issued patch revision 2.16 which disables some underlying code within Log4j 2 that allows exploitation. But with the widespread nature of the framework/applet it is not yet know how many systems, appliances, and software applications are affected.

ISG Technology is actively working with our vendors and partners to identify any potential exposure that may exist within our customer base. We are also scanning our systems and the customer systems which we manage to find and address Log4j vulnerabilities. If you have any questions, please reach out to your ISG representative or Contact Us to schedule a meeting.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Apply the Patch – The first thing to do is apply the Log4j patch if the application allows for it. Please note that most vendors/manufacturers will need to provide unique patches for their specific applications. And, just like any patch, this can cause downstream issues. So, make sure to check any connected systems to ensure they are fully operational after the patch.

Scan Your Systems – There are a handful of ways to scan your systems for this vulnerability. If you’d like help doing this, reach out to your ISG representative or Contact Us to schedule a meeting.

A Beginner’s Guide to VPNs: What are They, and How Can They Help My Business?

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic meant a rapid shift to remote-based work environments for many organizations worldwide. However, while the explosion of remote work accelerated many companies’ digital transformation, it also brought new cybersecurity risks and threats. 

Produced in Partnership with VMWare

Luckily, with the help of tools like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), businesses can keep their data secure while allowing their remote workers to connect to internal servers without creating a security breach.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN is an app that allows internet users to connect to a network or transfer information securely through end-to-end encryption. It allows the organization to send their data from one computer or server to another through a shared network. 

A VPN renders the data passing through the network untraceable and unreadable to bad actors or third parties who may attempt to steal confidential information. Users can also create what appears to be a new IP address, which can help them get around location restrictions and other problems.

How Can a VPN Benefit Your Company?

VPNs are relatively simple, but the work they do is complicated. If your company or business is not already using a VPN service, it is time to consider getting one. Due to the pandemic, most small and medium-sized businesses have begun using VPNs to connect with their employees who work in remote locations. 

But that is not all a VPN can do. Here are more benefits a business can get from using a VPN.

  • Guaranteed data security
  • User and online anonymity
  • Geographic independence
  • Cheaper long-distance telephone charges
  • Improved network efficiency

What Are Some of the Disadvantages of Using A VPN?

As much as VPNs are great, they also have their limitations. Here are some of the drawbacks of using a VPN service:

  • May limit your internet speed
  • Premium VPNs can be expensive
  • Cheap or free VPNs are prone to attack as they are not secure
  • Can’t access data saved on the computer if it’s not connected to the VPN
  • Illegal in some countries

How Businesses Can Protect Themselves From Cyber Attacks

Produced in Partnership with VMWare

VPNs are excellent tools for small businesses as it lets them access their private network securely from remote locations. However, it is essential to consider more security measures, as you are still on the internet. Here are some tips businesses can consider to further protect their network from cyberattacks.

  • Establish strong passwords
  • Put up a strong firewall
  • Install antivirus protection
  • Enable two factor or multi-factor authentications
  • Regular data backup
  • Provide employee security training
  • Work with a trusted managed IT services provider

Secure Your Business Today

The benefits of using a VPN as a business are undeniably substantial. However, depending on the VPN you use, you might have some trouble setting it up. 

ISG Technology is a leading Managed IT services provider with world-class IT experts who have extensive experience helping businesses protect their remote employees and their data by installing secure VPNs. 

Get managed backup, data recovery, and cloud services from ISG for comprehensive protection at an affordable price. Contact us today to learn more about how ISG Technology can help your business thrive.

Produced in Partnership with VMWare

Employee Security Tips That All Businesses Should Use

Effective workplace security is becoming more and more critical. With news of increased ransomware attacks dominating headlines, the threat couldn’t be clearer. The majority of the most devastating hacks in recent memory couldn’t have happened without negligent or ill-informed employees.

The two most common attack methods used by ransomware bad actors are phishing attacks and brute force hacking carried out against RDP services. Why? Because they work—by targeting the weakest links in a cybersecurity perimeter, bad actors can gain access to systems and data far more easily than if they go after vulnerabilities in software.

Educating your employees about the kinds of threats they face gives you a better chance of avoiding these expensive and disruptive events. Here are some practical tips to increase employee awareness—and data security.

  1. Learn How to Identify Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are typically emails that seem to be from a legitimate source. The email might ask for “verification” of sensitive information or include some sort of “software update” that the recipient is urged to install right away. Teaching your employees how to recognize the signs of a phishing attempt may be the best first line of defense in keeping your data secure

Here are some more things to be aware of:

Misspelled Words, Mangled Grammar, Nonspecific Salutation Lines

If you receive an email that contains language that doesn’t seem right, that’s a sign it could be a phishing attack. If an email sent to you opens with “Valued Customer” or some other generic form of address, that’s another big warning sign.

Always Check Links

Hover over links in email messages to be sure they’re pointed to where they claim to be. The domain in the text of the email should match the domain of the link in the preview. If it doesn’t? Don’t click it.

Requests For Usernames, Passwords, or Other Sensitive Information 

It’s unlikely that anyone would legitimately ask for this information via email. If you receive a request like this, call your IT department for more information.

Be Wary Of Attachments

Scan every attachment you get for viruses, and never open an attachment with a file extension you don’t recognize.

If you want the highest quality of cybersecurity education for your employees, invest in managed IT services that can ensure thorough employee security training.

Use Unique, “Fresh” Passwords

Passwords should never be used more than once and should be changed every 90 days at a minimum.

Some useful tips about passwords:

  • The best passwords contain 12-15 characters and use a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Length is the most important factor in password creation. A password using all lowercase letters will suffice if it is long enough.
  • Use a phrase or a short sentence for you to remember, but not one from pop culture. A good example could be “ilovepepperonipizza”.

Better yet, use a password manager that can store passwords safely in an encrypted vault and only require you to have a master password.

Avoid Single Factor Authentication

99.9% of compromised user accounts fail to use Two or Multi-Factor Authentication. 2FA or MFA is a must for secure logins.

While this might sound fancy, MFA or 2FA will usually send a code or request to a secondary device. Once you authenticate access on that device, you’re good to go.

Separate Business and Personal Devices

Keep personal devices off of your business network, or use a VPN to ensure files can be accessed securely by remote workers. Allowing employees to access your network from potentially compromised personal devices is asking for trouble.

And while it may be tempting to use your work devices for personal means (e.g. social media, gaming, and online shopping), designate those activities to your personal devices.

Be Cautious About Wifi Connections

It’s well-known that public hot spots aren’t secure, but it’s worth saying again. While it may be tempting to get some work done at the airport or a coffee shop, those connections will leave your online activity viewable to anyone looking.

Similarly, some stores or public locations will use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections to track your location while within range. When not in use, turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi so that you aren’t automatically connected unknowingly.

If your job means traveling and using public Wi-Fi, invest in a VPN to make your connection more secure.

Keep a Clean Machine

One of the best ways to keep your device secure is by staying on top of what’s on it. This can be done in two ways: keeping all applications and software up-to-date, and deleting old or unused applications periodically.

Having an up-to-date device is a great defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Use Encryption

Encrypting devices is widely recognized as one of the best steps you can take to ensure data security—so much so that device encryption has been a default feature on Android devices since Android 6, and Apple devices since iOS 8. 

For Windows, use BitLocker, for macOS use FileVault, and on Linux use something like dm-crypt.

Final Thoughts

IT security isn’t something to be taken lightly, and having reliable cybersecurity training isn’t something that can wait. Good security relies on well-trained and knowledgeable professionals, making your IT support team one of your most valuable assets.

If you’re looking for high-level IT security professionals, ISG Technology can help. Our team of expert technicians is more than capable of keeping your network secure, and your data safe.

Want to learn more? Contact us today.

What to Expect from the Windows 11 Update

The newest version of Microsoft Windows is here, but many aren’t sure about the new system. While people are curious about this new release, the real question is what can you actually expect to see from Windows 11? 

This blog post will help answer that question, as well as give information on some of the defining features of the Windows 11 update.

New Features

One of the defining traits of the Windows 11 update is the amount of time and attention that was put into making the software more customizable and more productive. Here are some of the other defining features:

Customization Options

One of the most exciting features is the way you can customize your Windows experience and make it personalized to yourself and how you use your computer.

Microsoft tried to go for a design that was more flat and modern with their latest update, which is why this new system has been getting a lot of buzz.  Many users were complaining about the lack of a start button in the last update, but now you can see that the look of your background can be changed to suit the way you want it, and this new update even puts a start menu back in.

Updated UI

Another design decision that was made with Windows 11 is the user interface.  The interface is very clean and modern looking, similar to what you would see on an Apple or Android device.  

Now, instead of having a ton of icons for all your different programs that automatically show up, you can get rid of them and then re-add them to the desktop if you choose.  This streamlines everything so it isn’t cluttered and hard to organize.

Widgets

One more new design feature is the addition of more widgets and apps than ever before.  Most people are already used to using widgets on their cell phones, but now you can use them directly on your desktop as well.  These widgets allow you to accomplish tasks like accessing weather or news updates without actually having to go open an app or program.

File Explorer

Another new feature that the Windows 11 update has is the file explorer being completely redesigned.  Instead of having everything separated by different folders, the new file explorer allows you to view all your files in one place.

It also shows you which were most recently viewed or edited, so that it is easy to track down where exactly a file has gone.

Snap Groups

One last feature that makes this update revolutionary for Microsoft is the way it remembers your snapped multi-tasking.  If you use snap on a Windows device, you know all too well the frustration of having to re-snap everything after minimizing something.

In the new update, when you minimize an app it is automatically snapped at a 90-degree angle on the side of your screen.  For those who use split-screen on a regular basis, this makes the process much more efficient and you don’t have to spend as much time trying to get back to where you were before.

Improved antivirus and antimalware programs

While the update does bring some welcome features, it doesn’t automatically give users an impermeable defense against viruses and malware.  That work still needs to be done on the user’s end. To help with that, Microsoft has launched a new service called Microsoft Defender Security Center.

Microsoft Defender will scan your computer for viruses, spyware, and other malware. It works much like Apple’s built-in Mac protection tools or the antivirus software that you may already have installed on your Windows device.

But Microsoft says Defender is different because it will recommend actions to help protect your computer—like automatically updating programs if they haven’t been updated in a while, or making sure the PC’s firmware has the most recent updates.

Microsoft claims Defender can be used alongside free antivirus software like Avast Antivirus and AVG Antivirus—a practice they recommend. But if you’re already using paid, full-scale protection from companies like Norton Security, Bitdefender, and others, Microsoft says they don’t recommend you switch.

Backward Compatible

Another way Microsoft has made this update easier for their users is that they have also kept it compatible with previous software.  This means that your information and files should stay completely safe after the update, and you shouldn’t lose any of the work you had already done before.

The format of Windows 11 works much like how apps work on a smartphone.  If you install a new update for an app, there is no need to uninstall the previous version and then reinstall the updated version – you can simply do it right from your phone.

Affordable Pricing

Microsoft’s free upgrade period is in line with what they did back when Windows 10 launched two years ago. Back then, users only had one year to upgrade their PC before they were charged $139. If you missed out this time around, Microsoft expects the next free upgrade will come in May 2023 after another five-year span between releases. That means if you buy a new laptop or desktop tomorrow with Windows 11 built-in, you won’t have to pay again until at least May 2028.

According to Microsoft, PCs running on Windows 11 should be able to automatically download important performance and security updates within the first month that they are released by Microsoft.

Microsoft says it has reduced its typical release cycle of Windows 10 updates from three years to 19 months for consumers, and the company will continue to provide new feature updates for free for both consumers and business customers.

Final Thoughts:

Windows 11 is a big update with many new features. We’ve only covered the tip of the iceberg, so it would be wise to read up on all of them before installing any updates or applications that will affect your system. For more insights into what technology has in store for us, contact ISG Technology today!

Here’s How IT Professionals Became the Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic

COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. Besides the immense impact on healthcare, the pandemic has also challenged the way companies operate. 

To keep up with the times and address the need for continuity, many businesses have transitioned from the traditional workplace to a remote or hybrid working environment. In fact, 70% of companies see the hybrid work model as the new normal

And IT professionals are to thank for the success of this hallmark transition.

The Move To a Remote Workforce

The immediate need for new technological arrangements left many businesses feeling anxious. Yet the IT service providers that stepped up to the challenge were able to bring much-needed innovations to businesses all around the country.

BYOD Policies 

IT professionals have developed strong BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that ensure workforce productivity along with business information security. Through managed IT services, IT professionals can set certain restrictions and allow workers a level of access that protects data integrity.

Cybersecurity

Workers have better connectivity through heftier cybersecurity and lead to safer access to company files for businesses. From installing VPNs allowing remote employees to access data to advanced firewalls that kept malware out of company networks, IT professionals juggled it all.

Cloud Services 

Transitioning data capabilities to the Cloud is the first step in enabling a remote work environment. Managed IT Services have made this transition a walk in the clouds, to say the least. IT professionals have helped countless companies continue their operations remotely through cloud services, addressing changing needs due to the pandemic. 

VoIP 

Communication is key to a thriving business environment, and working remotely challenges the way people communicate. By providing VoIP technology to businesses, IT professionals have been able to bridge the communication gap and offer cost-effective solutions to address communication concerns. 

Helping Industries Across the Board

While all businesses have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, businesses centered on healthcare, education, and government have been hit hard. Those who manage these businesses’ IT infrastructures have had to work overtime so that these important sectors can m

Education

Over 70% of countries worldwide have deployed some form of digital instruction. Schools had to shift to online learning platforms to facilitate e-learning. Even though schools are gradually reopening worldwide, IT professionals still have their work cut out for them as they develop better video conferencing tools and suites. 

Healthcare 

There has been an increase in the popularity of teleconsults over the past year. Even with the acceptance of online consultation, people are still clamoring for an improved patient experience. IT professionals are continuously developing better software that allows for seamless information integration and online assessment tools that can help healthcare workers remotely deliver the best services. 

Government 

IT professionals have been able to help government offices transition from the traditional office environment to a hybrid workplace. Government workers can work remotely on a secure system to ensure continuity of services even in light of the pandemic. IT professionals are working hard to develop new security protocols and improve antivirus software to ensure data integrity. 

Issues Facing IT Professionals

The problems facing IT service providers have evolved because of the pandemic. From the technical issues to the lack of manpower, the pressure has never been higher for these individuals.

Data Breaches 

Recently, there have been multiple cyberattacks targeting businesses and governments worldwide. Covid phishing scams are also reasonably common. Developing stronger antivirus programs and enhancing security protocols are hurdles that IT professionals must constantly overcome. 

Lack of Manpower 

The increase in the demand for managed IT services has grown exponentially during the global pandemic. Meanwhile, the workforce has shrunk, requiring the IT professionals who are working hard to work that much harder.

A Chance to Say “Thanks”

ISG Technology works hard to allow its clients to unlock possibilities for their business. This is a huge reason why ISG Technology has created Project RecognITion, an initiative designed to honor the individuals who have put their efforts into providing IT services under these unusual circumstances.

Is there someone at your company who has gone above and beyond the normal limits of your IT department? Nominate the IT professional who has made a difference for you and your company!

SMBs vs. Enterprises: Who Gets Hacked More?

CNBC and Momentive recently conducted a survey of small businesses, revealing that nearly 60% of small business owners are not concerned about becoming the victim of a cyberattack. This is unfortunate, as hackers and cybercriminals are targeting small businesses more frequently than ever before.

The nonchalant attitude about following basic cybersecurity protocols may be because news media reports mainly focus on incidences of hacking that target big enterprises. However, in actuality, it is small businesses that are most at risk. In fact, one in five small-to-medium-sized businesses are victims of hacking each year. And of those, more than half go out of business within six months simply because they failed to prepare for a cyberattack.

Why Do Hackers Target Small Businesses?

There are a variety of reasons that cyber-criminals prefer to go after small businesses rather than larger corporations.

Lower Levels of Security

One of the main reasons small businesses are more at risk is that large enterprises usually have higher levels of security. Many small businesses don’t believe they have room in their budget for proper cybersecurity, and so they don’t even bother to make the small but critically necessary investment in managed IT services and a data recovery plan.

Lack of Training

A lack of training about cybersecurity is also to blame. When you think of cybercriminals, you envision highly skilled hackers using all sorts of computer code to gain illegal entry into a network. While this happens occasionally, most data breaches occur because of human error. And that is exactly what hackers and cybercriminals are counting on when they target a small business.

Many employees cannot spot a phishing attack, which is one of the primary methods hackers use. Visiting unsecured web pages and downloading files from unknown sources are other ways employees fall prey to hackers, who can easily install malware on a computer and potentially gain access to the entire IT infrastructure.

What About Medium-Sized Businesses?

The term “medium-sized businesses” (which refers to businesses with 75-500 employees) is often glossed over when talking about SMBs being hacked. This might lead to a false sense of security; if your company is somewhere between those easy-to-hack small businesses and fortress-level security enterprises, wouldn’t that make you less of a target? 

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. More often than not, the reports of ransomware and phishing attacks are actually on businesses that are categorized as medium-sized businesses. The more brand awareness a company name has, the bigger the target on its back.

But how are enterprises getting hacked less if their company is a household name? Similar to the reasons hackers target small businesses, medium-sized businesses don’t have the high levels of cybersecurity, both in their internal training and in the tools they have access to, making them a perfect potential victim.

How a Cyberattack Can Affect Your Business

Security breaches can definitely hurt an enterprise, but they are devastating for small businesses. A cybercriminal can hold all your data hostage for ransom using ransomware, or they may simply choose to wreak havoc on your network, deleting data and shutting down your systems. Without an action plan or data recovery solution in place, it can be extremely difficult to recover from such an attack.

Even if your business manages to recover, your brand’s reputation could suffer because of the compromised private data of your clients and customers.

Being Prepared for a Cyberattack

Reducing the risk of cyberattacks doesn’t need to be a large expenditure. There are several things your employees can do that won’t cost anything at all. Instituting strong password policies and ensuring that your firewalls and system software receive regular software updates can make a huge difference.

But anti-virus software isn’t enough. For enhanced protection, retain the services of a managed IT provider. A managed IT services provider can monitor your network 24/7, serving to detect, prevent, and eliminate cyber threats.

ISG: Your Cybersecurity Partner

When you choose ISG as your managed IT services provider, you gain a partner that never stops protecting your business and your data against cyberattacks. We’ll assess your network, strengthen weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and reduce the risks of data loss. Additionally, we’ll help you set up a data recovery solution and secure collaboration so you can gain peace of mind from knowing you’ll be able to recover from any loss or damage.

Contact us today to create a plan for managed backup and data recovery from ISG for comprehensive protection.

HPE Platinum Partner
Written in Partnership with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

Business IT Guide: Keeping Users Productive & Happy

IT solutions and software are essential for businesses to maximize productivity and streamline operations. However, it is very common that new technologies hinder productivity when not correctly implemented, and lagging, inefficient systems can slow operations.

Here’s how you can keep users happy and productive by providing essential support, tools, and processes.

increasing IT productivity

The Critical Importance of Enabling Workers to Be Productive 

With the business world’s tech solutions constantly expanding, businesses are becoming leaner and more efficient than ever. As a result, IT solutions enable companies to operate at record-breaking speeds while increasing the quality of the output.

However, while IT solutions can be incredibly beneficial for businesses, they can have a steep learning curve, and downtime caused by tech slowdowns can result in major profit losses.

If employees spend countless hours per day trying to understand how to use a new system properly or waiting for lagging systems, this can lead to decreased productivity and employee happiness.

Leading solutions like Microsoft 365 enable teams to remain connected and up to speed. Enabling your team with the right solutions, including software and hardware, is critical to your organization’s success. 

When and Why to Offload User Support to a Third Party

When internal IT departments can’t keep up with support tickets or need to focus attention on other projects, it may be time to offload user support to a third party.

Another common situation is that business managers and other higher-ups get tied up in IT problems when their time could be better spent focusing on other areas of the business.

Outsourcing user support is a cost-effective way to maintain fast, high-quality IT systems and keep productivity up.

A third-party IT provider can not only help you solve problems when they arise, but they can also help you choose the best IT tools for the greatest efficiency in your team, and implement those solutions and provide user training.

Not all employees will be equally tech-savvy. If a business finds that productivity decreases when they’re trying to implement or manage a new IT solution, it may be time to bring in a team of professionals to help manage these new solutions. And if communication, productivity, and employee satisfaction are stagnant or decreasing, getting the input of IT experts with experience in your industry can help turn things around.

The Goal of Lifecycle Management

Lifecycle management is the process of managing the complete lifecycle of a tech system. It not only covers purchasing and installing new hardware, but it also manages decommissioning or upgrading existing systems to meet current needs, implementing solutions that are long-lasting and scalable, and considering long-term equipment needs.

Working with a company that can provide you with 360-degree solutions, from installation all the way through to maintenance and decommissioning, can significantly benefit a business through savings in both costs and time.

With the right lifecycle management for your IT infrastructure, you can reduce costs and avoid disastrous events that leave you with equipment that’s all down at the same time.

User Training and Self-Help

When businesses implement new IT solutions, there must be a level of training for all employees.

This training should inform employees to gain knowledge of the new system and how they can access help themselves through services such as IT support and online chat support.

ISG’s Service Desk allows employees to reach out throughout the day and get help from certified engineers to assist with any tech-related problem they experience.

Top-Rated IT Services Keep Your Business Flowing

For companies to remain competitive, they need business-optimizing IT solutions.

ISG Technology understands that, while it is essential to streamline business with IT solutions, there is a learning curve to overcome before productivity increases. We’re here to make your day-to-day life as easy as possible, from implementation to employee training to support.

Through services such as ISG’s service desk and M365 offerings, companies have IT help desk solutions and IT support to mitigate issues that may occur in downtime and productivity. 

Work with ISG Tech for professional, reliable IT solutions that keep your company moving and your employees happy.

Cybersecurity Lingo Every C-Level Executive Should Know

Businesses face various security threats, including ransomware, phishing attacks, computer viruses, and more. With these security threats increasing, managed security services are no longer a luxury—they’re a necessity.

Before business owners and executives can fully understand the advantages of managed security, they need to understand some basic IT security terms. Here’s our glossary of basic cybersecurity terms executives should know:

glossary of cybersecurity terms

Business Cybersecurity Basics

  • Cybersecurity – the protection of computers, networks, and infrastructures from digital threats and risks.
  • BYOD – “Bring Your Own Device,” a business policy that allows or requires employees to use their own devices instead of company-provided ones, that can impact cybersecurity.
  • Infrastructure – the physical and organizational assets and framework comprising an entity. In IT, infrastructure includes hardware and equipment like monitors and servers; software; and organizational processes.
  • Network – a group of computers that are digitally connected to enable communication, file sharing, and other data transmissions. Types of networks can include Local Area Networks (LAN), Wide Area Networks (WAN), and many others.
  • Managed IT Services – IT services that provide continual support, generally on a monthly payment plan, to proactively manage IT reliability, infrastructure, and security.
  • Managed Service Provider (MSP) – an IT provider that offers managed services.

Risks, Threats, & Vulnerabilities

  • Threat – an individual or event that has the potential to negatively affect your systems.
  • Vulnerability – a weakness in your security that can be exploited or penetrated.
  • Risk – the probability that your IT will be compromised due to threats, vulnerabilities, etc.
  • Cyber Attack – a deliberate attempt by an individual or group to breach an organization’s network or infrastructure to steal or erase data, cause disruptions, or otherwise cause harm.
  • Data Breach – when an unauthorized user gains access to restricted data. Data breaches are often caused by cyber attacks, but they may also be caused by vulnerabilities in systems or software which can then be exploited.

Types of Cyber Attacks

  • Malware – any malicious software that is harmful to a network, system, or user.
  • Ransomware – a type of malware that blocks access to a system or data until a ransom is paid.
  • Phishing – a type of cyber attack, often in the form of an email, that attempts to manipulate a recipient into giving up personal or financial information.
  • Spear Phishing – a targeted phishing attack where the attacker uses specific information about the victim, such as place of work, interests, or organizations they do business with, to manipulate the victim into giving up information.
  • Virus – a malicious computer program that replicates itself to “infect” other programs after it is triggered by a bad actor.
  • Worm – a piece of malware that self-replicates to infect other programs automatically once it gains access to a computer.
  • Botnet – a network of computers that have been infected with malware and is controlled by a bad actor. A botnet can be used to send a large amount of traffic in a DDoS attack.
  • DDoS Attack- a “Distributed Denial of Service” attack uses a botnet to bombard a website with a huge number of requests in order to to slow or crash the website.
  • Trojan Horse – malware that exploits a “back door” to gain remote access to a computer.
  • Spyware – malware that operates in the background to collect information such as keystrokes, login credentials, and other data, undetected by the user.

Security Tools, Services & Defenses

  • VPN – a Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a private network on a public internet connection by encrypting your data.
  • Firewall – a network security tool that monitors traffic and prevents unauthorized access based on a set of instructions.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) – a password protection tool that requires two or more forms of authentication before allowing a user to log in.
  • Cloud Computing – an umbrella term pertaining to services, products, and platforms hosted on a secure remote server.
  • Security Framework – a set of standards that serves as a structure or guide for security, such as NIST.
  • Threat Detection & Response – the process of monitoring systems to detect and respond to threats.
  • Pen Testing – penetration testing evaluates an organization’s vulnerabilities, generally by attempting to “hack” their network to explore what weaknesses cyber criminals might be able to exploit.
  • Endpoint Protection – security designed to protect endpoints in a network—devices such as computers and mobile devices where users can access the network. This becomes especially important in a remote network, where endpoints may be spread out rather than located in the same physical location.
  • DNS Protection – Domain Name System protection can blacklist potentially dangerous websites, advertisements, and malware to prevent you from being exposed to risks.
  • Managed Protection & Response – a managed security service that proactively searches for vulnerabilities, potential breaches, and suspicious activity and works to remediate them.
  • SIEM – Security Information and Event Management combines security information management and security event management by analyzing security threats in real time.

Digitally Protecting Your Business

ISG Technology is proud to help businesses with their IT support needs by providing 24/7 network monitoring, real-time alerts and notifications, infrastructure maintenance, and more. We make security simple through our Managed Security offering, which mitigates business security risks by utilizing the most advanced cybersecurity tools and practices to protect your company.

Contact us today to protect your business from cyber threats and gain complete confidence in your security.