Category Archives: Uncategorized

Your businesses’ network may be easier to hack than you think, due to the Internet of Things (IoT).

There is a myriad of apps that allow us to control the thermostat, turn on the lights and even to see what the dog is up to at home. But, for businesses, are these conveniences putting them at risk for a data breach? The answer is yes! The Internet of things (IoT) is all around us.

The term Internet of Things (IoT) is mainly used for devices that wouldn’t usually expect to have an internet connection, like a thermostat, video doorbell, and refrigerator, and then, communicate with your network independently of human action. This independence can be a valuable access point for hackers.

For example, a North American casino experienced a data breach from hackers that used the sensors in a fish tank. The fish tank sensors were connected to a PC that regulated the temperature, food, and cleanliness of the tank. Someone was able to hack into the sensor, and once he was on the network, he stole the casino’s sensitive data.

So, what can you do to secure your business network? Here are 4 simple suggestions:

  • Start with your router – Your router is the “front door” to your business network. Invest in a router that offers a high degree of security.
  • Create a “guest network” – You can establish multiple networks on your Wi-Fi router. Having a guest network with limited permissions and a strong password on your business network will protect your data.
  • Enable Two-factor authentication – Two-factor Authentication is an additional security layer on top of a device’s password that requires secondary authentication via email or SMS. When used properly, two-factor authentication can stop the bad guys from gaining access to your accounts and taking control of your IoT devices.
  • Most security breaches are caused internally. Training your employees is a vital process in network security. NSA offers Free Security Training. Schedule one of our expert solutions consultants to come out and present a workshop on Network Security to your employees.

Keeping your business’ network safe is an ongoing process. As the Internet of Things keeps growing, hackers are finding new and ingenious ways of getting ahold of your data. Let Network Security Associates’ Managed IT and Managed Cloud Services keep your network safe and give you peace of mind. Contact us today at www.nsa-nv.com or 702-547-9800.

Microsoft Extended Support Ending Soon! Better Start Thinking about Upgrading Now

Microsoft 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.

Don’t wait 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 us today for a FREE MIGRATION ASSESSMENT to see what is the best upgrade option for you and your business

What To Do Before the Microsoft Extended Support Ends in 2020

Contact Network Security Associates for a Free Migration Assessment of your Entire Computer Environment.

Network Security Associates 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

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.