Category Archives: Uncategorized

What do mother’s really want for Mother’s Day

Every year my family asks me, “What would you like for Mother’s Day?” I often say something like, “I don’t know. Let’s just go out for dinner.” But, is that what I truly want? Dinner? At a crowded, noisy restaurant? Humm… Not this year. What DO I WANT? Good Question.

I went online to search for a gift idea that was truly meaningful and, instead, uncovered articles that highlighted gifts that just didn’t “hit home.” Time to herself, a clean house, a handwritten note? COME ON! Is that the best you can do? I mean, I have time to myself as I fight traffic to and from work. A clean house? This held much more importance to me when my children where younger, but now that I don’t have a living room full of toys, I can pretty much say the house usually looks ok even if the neighbors drop by. A handwritten note? Please… Not even going to spend time on that idea.

I didn’t think figuring out what I truly wanted would be so difficult. I mean, I should want something? Right?

Then it hit me! I would like to spend time with my children, with no cell phones or distractions. I’d like to have a nice conversation with them or a nice walk. I don’t need a fancy dinner, flowers or even a card. Just time with my two children, hearing them laugh and expressing ideas and dreams.

If you’re looking to spend quality time with your children this Mother’s day, hereare a few local places to take a nice walk and enjoy each other’s company:

  • The Clark County Wetlands – 7050 Wetlands Park Ln, Las Vegas, NV 89122
  • The Clark County Museum – 1830 S Boulder Hwy, Henderson, NV 89002
  • Floyd Lamb Park – 9200 Tule Springs Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89131
  • Red Rock Canyon – 1000 Scenic Loop Dr.

I have been to each of these places and enjoyed myself immensely. I think you will, too.

Happy Mother’s Day from Network Security Associates.

3 Essential Tips for Spring Clean Your Office

We all have that stack (or two, or three) of papers, files and things “to do” piled on our desk. We say to ourselves, “I’ll get to that when I have a spare moment.“ But, in today’s fast-paced work environment,  spare moments are hard to find.  Here are 3 simple office cleaning and organizational tips to help you tackle that pile, get organized and be more productive.

  • Schedule time

Make an appointment with yourself to go through the piles of stuff on your desk or in your in-box. Accomplish this by setting a calendar invite for yourself so you don’t forget, and stick to it. Carving out time can help you get organized.

  • Scan, Scan, Scan!

Every office should have a scanner. Scanning documents, receipts and other important pieces of paper has multiple benefits.

  1. You have access to your documents at your fingertips. No more going through endless files in a file cabinet searching endlessly for that one important document.
  2. You can easily share documents with your fellow workers or employees either by way of sending a file by email or for easy collaboration using an online tool such as OneNote or ShareSnyc.
  • Declutter your computer’s desktop

We all have PDFs, photos, Word, and/or Excel documents saved our desktops. We save them there so we can quickly find what we are looking for. But, overusing your desktop as a file manager can be a bit overwhelming. It can actually make it more difficult to find the file you need. Keeping files in a dedicated folder and even sub-folders will take the guessing work out of “Where did I save that?”

We here at Network Security Associates hope you find these spring cleaning tips useful. Contact us today to schedule your free, in-person Network Security Assessment. The assessment focuses on:

  • Security
  • Performance
  • Data Protection
  • Compliance

Our highly skilled technicians focus on multiple aspects of your company to detect both hidden risks and obvious areas of concern to help your company save even more money by preventing potential security breaches. Visit www.nsa-nv.com/network-assessment/ or call (702) 547-9800 to learn more.

Windows 7 End of Life & What it Means For Me

Windows 7 and Server 2008 end of life means that Microsoft will no longer improve the product, accept warranty claims, or provide non-security hotfixes. This is known as mainstream support.

It will continue to offer bug fixes and security updates through January 14, 2020.

 

 


What To Do Before the Microsoft Extended Support Ends in 2020

  1. Contact Network Security Associates for a FREE Evaluation of your Entire Computer Environment. We will:
    • Identify computers that need to be upgraded or replaced
    • Identify and consider replacing legacy systems that  use an older operating systems and/or software with updated technology
    • Develop a timeline and budget for upgrades and replacements

An infrastructure update is no small task, so starting as soon as possible is of the utmost importance to make sure proper planning and execution takes place.  January of 2020 is still over nine months away, but that doesn’t mean there is time to wait.
There is a lot of planning that needs to take place before doing an infrastructure update properly. Time should be allotted for inevitable troubleshooting and delays. With such a big and complicated process at least a few small things will inevitably not go as planned and cause holdups.
If you are considering waiting until the last minute to update your Microsoft operating system, we highly recommend leaving 6 months of leeway between your projected finish date and January 14, 2020. Your data and security are too important to put at that kind of risk

Contact Network Security Associates today at 702-547-9800 or just click to sign up for a Free Evaluation.

 

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Best Practices and Proper IT Services

With smart devices surging in popularity, it’s inevitable your employees may want to use their own mobile phones for work-related tasks. Allowing them to do so has multiple benefits, but there are also a few risks your company should acknowledge and have proper IT services in place to safeguard against.

Benefits of BYOD

Safeguard Your Network With Network Security Associates’s IT Services

An easy way to increase employee satisfaction is to permit them to use their own mobile devices. This seemingly small concession can boost employee productivity and reduce your company’s expenses. Instead of having to pay for a device and work-related mobile plan for each employee, you can reimburse your employees for a specified portion of their device expenses. The alternative to this is providing employees with devices specifically for work-associated tasks. However, most employees would prefer to only carry a single device.

Disadvantages of BYOD

There are a few drawbacks to permitting employees to bring their own devices. They may use outdated devices that expose your company’s sensitive information to virtual threats, including malware. You may find it harder to enforce rules regarding device security for your employees’ devices; they may balk at being asked to restrict their usage of the device.

It’s possible your employee might leave your company. If so, you must make sure they don’t have any data stored on their device. Another issue is the phone number associated with the phone. Your employee has a right to keep their number, and this means if they leave the company, your customers will be able to contact them.

You also have to provide IT services for a variety of different phone models. If you opt for corporate devices, it’s possible to issue the same device to every employee, requiring only one type of device support.

Best Practices for BYOD

You can optimize the advantages of permitting employees to bring their own devices while confronting the disadvantages by following these best practices. Make sure you clearly convey company rules for mobile devices to your employees.

For example, you should require your employees to use encrypted devices. They should also password-protect their devices and work-related programs. Another option is to enact a guideline that limits the age of the device an employee can use or require a specific operating system.

Get Adequate IT Services for All Devices

Utilizing the IT services of an experienced company, like Network Security Associates, is another way to add safeguards to employee devices. Our team will create isolated networks that provide a means of secure transmission for corporate data. We can also retrieve data from a specific mobile device and remotely wipe a device if an employee separates from the company. Contact us today at 702-547-9800 to get started.

NSA Welcomes Jeff Wagner

Network Security Associates welcomes Jeff Wagner as a Senior Solutions Consultant.

“With more than 10 years of Technology & Information Security experience, we know that Jeff’s skills will add value to the already experienced team here at NSA.  “I surveyed the MSP (Managed Service Provider) landscape in looking to continue my career in technology and found a home at NSA.  I always believed that you can’t effectively help customers unless you can be responsive to their needs as they see fit. NSA provides both remote and onsite assistance and doubles down in letting their clients dictate the level of service. That’s just one of the reasons why I’m so pleased to be part of the team at NSA.”

 

Give Yourself A Valentine At Work

Remember back in grade school, the excitement of giving and receiving valentines from classmates? Bright red paper cards with Peanuts, Scooby Doo, and Bugs Bunny on them and hoping for Hershey’s Kiss from that special someone you had a crush on? Well, now that we are adults, Valentine’s Day may have lost some of the magic, but there is still some love we can show ourselves every day at work.

Drink Lots of Water

Our brains are about 70% water, and our bodies around 50–75% water, depending on age and gender. It’s not surprising being inadequately hydrated can affect how we feel and perform at work. Research has shown even a reduction in dehydration levels of as little as 2% of body weight can influence mood, lead to greater feelings of fatigue and reduced levels of alertness. So, start your day off with a tall glass of water, and drink it thought the day.

Maintain Good Posture

It’s easy to get your back and neck out of whack when sitting at a desk all day. All your nerves run through your spine. If any of your nerves are depressed, you may experience a dip in your performance. Ensuring you have an ergonomic arrangement, sitting up straight, and aligning your head properly with your screen can help you maintain a healthy spine and healthy body.

Stand Whenever Possible

One study from the European Heart Journal found excessive sitting was associated with worse health, but if participants replaced two hours a day with standing, they showed lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, and lower risk of heart disease.

Don’t forget to give some love to your computer, too.

  • Keep it clean! Nothing shows wear and tear like having a dirty screen and keyboard. Dust, dirt, and grime can cause PCs to malfunction and keyboard keys to stick. Fans clogged with dirt can cause your machine to overheat. A dirty screen can and will affect the display, so wipe down your machine, use a keyboard vacuum or canned air to remove dirt from your keyboard and PC fan.
  • Get a surge protector. An electrical surge can fry your hard drive. If you are in an area prone to storms or electrical surges due to fluctuating power supplies, get a surge protector. Invest in a good one, otherwise, you might find yourself buying another machine.

Remembering, giving a little love to yourself and your computer each day will help you both work better and may help you both “live” a bit longer.

Think your password is secure? Think again

A password policy designed for federal agencies must be secure, right? Surprisingly, that hasn’t been the case, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The NIST created many of the password best practices you probably loathe — the combination of letters, numbers, and special characters — but it now says those guidelines were misguided and has changed its stance on the matter. Find out why and how it involves you.

The problem

The issue isn’t necessarily that the NIST advised people to create passwords that are easy to crack, but it steered people into creating lazy passwords, using capitalization, special characters, and numbers that are easy to predict, like “P@ssW0rd1.”

This may seem secure, but in reality, these strings of characters and numbers could easily be compromised by hackers using common algorithms.

To make matters worse, NIST also recommended that people change their passwords regularly, but did not define what it actually means to “change” them. Since people thought their passwords were already secure with special characters, most only added one number or symbol.

NIST essentially forced everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember but easy for computers to guess.

Recently, the institution admitted that this scheme can cause more problems than solutions. It has reversed its stance on organizational password management requirements, and is now recommending banishing forced periodic password changes and getting rid of complexity requirements.

The solution

Security consultant Frank Abagnale and Chief hacking officer for KnowBe4 Kevin Mitnick both see a future without passwords. Both security experts advise enterprises to utilize multifactor authentication (MFA) in login policies.

This requires users to present two valid credentials to gain access to their data. For instance, a code texted to an employee’s smartphone can serve as an added security measure to thwart hackers.

Moreover, Mitnick recommended implementing long passphrases of 25 characters or more, such as “correcthorsebatterystaple” or “iknewweretroublewhenwalkedin5623”. These are much more difficult to guess and less prone to hacking. As for the frequency of changing passphrases, it will depend on a company’s risk tolerance.

Simply put, passwords should be longer and include nonsensical phrases and English words that make it almost impossible for an automated system to make sense of.

Even better, you should enforce the following security solutions within your company:

  • Single sign-on – allows users to securely access multiple accounts with one set of credentials
  • Account monitoring tools – recognizes suspicious activity and locks out hackers

When it comes to security, ignorance is the biggest threat. If you’d like to learn about what else you can do, just give us a call.Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Productivity-boosting tips for PC users

We all want to become more productive. Business gurus always emphasize the importance of time management and taking breaks to avoid burnout. But aside from motivating yourself to work more efficiently, there are plenty of tools that increase your daily output. If you use a computer all day, check out these productivity-boosting tips.

Monitor productivity levels

Start by tracking how much work you complete on an average day. There are useful apps for this such as Google Chrome Extensions like RescueTime, which record your most frequently visited sites and track how much time you spend away from your computer. Running the app will provide you with a productivity rating and a detailed log of how you spend your time at work.

If you discover you’re wasting a huge portion of your time on social networking and other productivity killers, you’re more likely to make conscious adjustments on how you manage your time.

Get rid of clutter

You can also decrease distractions and increasing output by deleting old files, uninstalling unused programs, and organizing documents into appropriately labeled folders. This makes files easier to find and improves your computer’s performance.

As for the clutter in your email inbox, Gmail and Outlook both have features that filter out unimportant messages. Simply enable Priority Inbox on Gmail or Clutter on Outlook to get a clean, spam-free inbox.

Block time-wasting sites

Visiting non-work-related websites hinders productivity. A quick five-minute break to check your Facebook feed may not seem like much, but a few of those per day add up to a lot of time.

If you and your employees have trouble staying away from social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it’s a good idea to block access to them using URL filters.

Alternatively, you can use apps like StayFocusd or Strict Workflow. These allow you to set a limit on how long and how many times users can visit non-work-related sites.

Stay on track with to-do lists

To-do lists help you break down large projects into manageable, bite-sized tasks. Crossing things off the list is surprisingly satisfying since it gives you and your employees a sense of accomplishment and total visibility of your progress.

You can choose from a wide variety of digital to-do lists like Google Tasks or Trello. These platforms allow you to set deadlines for small tasks and write clear instructions for each. What’s more, they’re incredibly easy to use and are great for keeping track of your workflow.

Use keyboard shortcuts

Mastering keyboard shortcuts will make it easier to perform simple functions. There are more than a hundred useful shortcuts, but some that you should always keep in mind are:

  • Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V, Ctrl + X – to copy, paste, and cut selected items
  • Ctrl + Z – to undo changes
  • Ctrl + T – to open a new tab on your web browser
  • Alt + Tab – to switch between open windows
  • Alt + F4 – to close the program

For many more like these, take a look at this list of advanced shortcuts for Windows.

In this digital age of short attention spans, focus is key to achieving business success. Drop us a line today if you’d like to know more about how tech can induce focus and improve overall productivity.Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Amazing improvements in Office 365

If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, you’re in for some souped-up enhancements. Most involve artificial intelligence (AI) making sense of your data for you, so you spend less time and effort manually processing it. Here are a few of the latest enhancements that’ll give you more time for value-added tasks (and for coffee breaks and power naps, too).

Office

Write and draw with digital ink

Typing is easy on desktops and laptops, but when you’re on touch-enabled devices, keyboards are cumbersome to use, whether they are extra hardware or as space invaders on your screen. Now, the Draw tab is available on your favorite Office programs so you can use your finger, a stylus, or a mouse to doodle and write. You can automatically convert your handwriting to text in Word or OneNote by implementing the handwriting input function of your Windows 10 touch keyboard.

Chat with colleagues right inside the app

Now available exclusively to Office 365 subscribers, the chat function lets team members message one another within a Word document, PowerPoint presentation, or Excel spreadsheet as they work on it together.

Word

Write with your voice

Ever wished you had a personal secretary who could type dictation for you? As an Office 365 subscriber, you won’t need one. Sign into your account, turn on your microphone, then go to Home > Dictate (in Outlook, go to Message > Dictate instead). Once the Dictate icon turns red, you can start writing your document just by speaking. It’s that easy! Now available in Word for Office 365, Outlook for Office 365, PowerPoint for Office 365, and OneNote for Windows 10.

Edit documents with natural gestures

With your handwriting and voice digitized into standard text, editing your document is easy, thanks to natural gestures. It’s like using a pen to insert or cross out words on printouts, but immediately seeing your edits afterward! Other magical things you can do include inserting spaces and paragraph breaks, stringing broken-up words together, and circling text to select it. Now available in Word for Office 365 and Word Mobile.

PowerPoint

Transform your scribbles

Sometimes you need to draw or write by hand to get stuff down quickly. Using digital ink can be the quickest way to communicate, but turning scribbles into editable text or easy-to-manipulate shapes for a slideshow presentation later on is time-consuming.

Or rather, that was the case, because now Ink to Text and Ink to Shape can convert your handwriting and hand drawings into standard text or shapes, respectively. Now available for PowerPoint for Office 365, PowerPoint for iPad, and PowerPoint for iPhone. Ink to Shape is also available exclusively to Office 365 subscribers on Excel for Office 365, Word for Office 365, Excel 2016, Word 2016, and Visio Online Plan 2.

Excel

“Ideas” literally let you work smarter

Pie charts, bar graphs, scatter diagrams — with so many ways to visualize data, it can become troublesome to implement the right graph. Thankfully, the upcoming Ideas will let AI come up with the most apt graphs for you. Just click on a cell in a data table, click the Ideas button on the Home tab, then voila! Excel comes up with charts for you to choose from. It can even set trend lines, recognize outliers, and create summaries for you — all without having to write an unwieldy formula! Coming soon to Excel for Office 365, Excel for Office 365 for Mac, and Excel Online.

A picture is worth a thousand data points

Since optical character recognition software is already a couple of decades old, it’s about time we’re able to extract data tables from pictures. Soon, the Insert data from picture function will let us encode ingredients lists from recipes and digitize printed receipts by taking their photos. Coming soon to Excel for Android tablets and Excel for Android phones.

One formula, many values

For so long, Excel users had to enter a formula and copy it to get multiple values (known as an array) from their data tables. With dynamic arrays, however, all you have to do is write a formula once, press Enter, and you’ll instantly get values for entire columns or tables instantly, which means faster processing with fewer errors. To illustrate, you can use a dynamic array to fill up entire multiplication tables, and when you change or add more factors, the array will recalculate and resize automatically. Coming soon to Excel for Office 365 and Excel for Office 365 for Mac.

Outlook

Quickly create tasks

Outlook now lets you create tasks and to-do lists the way you write emails. Just click Tasks > New Tasks, type the name of the task in the Subject box, and add task details in the body. You can also set its priority, start and due dates, and even a reminder for it.

Additionally, you can create tasks out of emails by dragging an email to Tasks on the navigation bar. This is way faster than copy-pasting email contents onto the body of a task, though keep in mind that email attachments aren’t carried over to the newly made task.

Make the most out of Office 365! If you’re already a subscriber or are currently looking into it, let us help you configure and implement it for maximum productivity.Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

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 us to ask about mobile backup and other security solutions today.Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.