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Capstone Works, Inc. has been serving the Cedar Park area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Protect Your Business from Digital Threats

National Small Business Week is April 29 to May 5! According to the United States Small Business Administration, "more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year."

You and other small and medium-sized business owners play a critical role in the American economy. That makes your network a prime target for hackers. This National Small Business Week, take a moment to reflect on the role technology plays in your company.

Your IT infrastructure is a key element of your business. Have you taken the steps to protect it in case disaster strikes?are you safe online 400

Protecting Customer Data 

Most businesses collect customer data, using it to build positive relationships with their clients. Think of the auto repair shop that sends a reminder email when you are due for an oil change, or the hair salon that sends you a coupon to use on your birthday. These personalized communications are extremely valuable to small and medium-sized businesses that want to differentiate themselves from the competition and encourage previous clients to return.

Your customers need to trust that their information is safe with you. Recently, news broke of a major Under Armour/MyFitnessPal data breach affecting more than 150 million customers. The story comes directly on the heels of the recent controversy over Facebook’s data use practices. What do these stories mean for your business?

Customers may have more questions about why you need their information, how you plan to use it, and how you plan to protect it. Are you prepared to answer these questions? If not, contact Capstone Works. We can help you assess and improve your current data security practices so that you can answer your customers with confidence.

When Data is Exposed 

No cybersecurity plan is 100% effective. Hackers get more sophisticated by the day and are extremely skilled at exploiting human error in order to infiltrate business networks. Small and medium-sized businesses like yours are some of their favorite targets because they know these networks are often left minimally protected. What steps will you take if your system is attacked?

Planning ahead is critical. Don’t get caught off guard; anticipate the attack before it happens.

Work with a trusted Managed Service Provider like Capstone Works to create a Disaster Recovery Plan. We will run through potential scenarios so you understand where IT threats may come from, and work with you to determine the steps you will take to identify and lock down breaches as soon as possible. We will also help you develop a plan for when and how to let your customers know their data has been exposed. Capstone Works will be there through each step of this process.

Preparing for Anything 

A comprehensive Disaster Recovery Plan is not limited to preparing you for hacks and data breaches. The right plan will prepare you and your employees for any other scenario with the potential to affect your IT infrastructure, from natural disasters like floods or tornadoes, to man-made disasters like ransomware or phishing attacks.

With this plan in place, you will be able to assure your customers that you are taking every precaution with their information, and you will rest easier knowing that you are ready for any IT threat.

This National Small Business Week, make sure your business is prepared to face IT threats. Your customer data is too important to risk. Contact us today to protect your business, your customers, and your reputation.

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March 31 is World Backup Day!

disaster recoverySmall and medium-sized business owners must take every precaution against cyberattacks, and World Backup Day is the perfect time to assess the cybersecurity tools in your arsenal. In the current high-threat environment, it is good for business to add as many layers of digital protection as possible. That’s where File Folder Sharing (FFS) comes into play.

FFS is the practice of sharing digital resources, like documents, multimedia (audio or video), graphics, programs, images, and e-books. While the most obvious business benefit of FFS is convenience, granting your team members the ability to collaborate no matter where they are, FFS also gives you an added layer of cybersecurity protection.

Using FFS to Back-up Your Business Data

Securing backups in the cloud can save files that would otherwise be compromised in an attack. Your device may be infected, but with your files backed up in the cloud, you can restore them quickly and easily. This backup ability empowers business owners over hackers. When hackers demand ransom to unlock your devices, their threats are significantly weakened if your FFS solution enables you to restore your files.

At first glance, FFS products may appear to be identical, but the features they offer vary. Most importantly, certain systems offer more protection than others. Which FFS solution is optimal for your needs?

How do you decide which FFS solution is right for your business?

  • Is it safe to choose your FFS product based on cost, or are there specific “must have” features for your business?
  • Is a popular, well-known, and widely used product really the best, or does it just have the most name recognition?
  • Is it worth spending more for a product that offers end-to-end encryption to avoid higher costs in the event of an attack?

These can be tough questions to answer without the time to devote to complex IT matters. Assessing which FFS product is right for your business takes research, expertise, and time. At Capstone Works, we are experts who stay current on the best practices for cybersecurity and the tools available in today’s market. Save staff time by partnering with Capstone Works to determine how to back up your data and increase productivity with the FFS solution that best suits your business.

The right FFS product can make a critical difference for you when hackers strike. Differentiate yourself from your competitors who are not investing in the right cybersecurity solutions. Avoid the pitfalls of cyberattacks by consulting with Capstone Works to determine the best strategies and products to meet your security needs. Contact us today or give us a call!

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Mobile Safeguarding: The New Malware Prevention Practice

Mobile malware attacks skyrocketed last year. In just the first quarter of 2017, tablet McAfee had already detected more than 1.5 million new incidents of malware specifically targeting mobile devices. By January 2018, Google had removed 60 apps from its Play Store due to malware.

As their screen size, speed and performance have increased, smartphones have begun to replace devices like laptops and desktop computers, and hackers have caught on. In this climate, your business can no longer afford to put mobile security on the back burner.

By now, you’ve trained your employees to recognize suspicious emails, frequently change their passwords, and proactively run software updates. You are more confident than ever that your team is following cybersecurity best practices. But have you thought about the risks mobile devices are posing to your business? Mobile device users have become more vulnerable to phishing attacks than desktop users. When a member of your team uses a mobile device for any work-related project, like accessing files or sending attachments, your network may be exposed.

Mobile devices are not going away. Today’s workforce demands 24/7 availability, which means your employees may be accessing your network from a variety of devices more frequently than ever before. It is safe to say that most mobile device users are not as vigilant about ransomware or phishing attacks as they are when working on a desktop.

Mobile devices may be the hole in your cybersecurity plan that gives hackers access to your network. We can help you close the gap before hackers attack your business.

Here are four cybersecurity steps your workforce can take today:

  1. Make sure employees working remotely are connecting through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Do not connect to public WIFI networks on a company device.
  1. Require regular software updates so that devices have the latest security patches.
  1. Lock devices with strong PINs and/or Touch ID. Just as we all know not to use “password” as the password for our bank account, we need to take the same care with locking our mobile devices in case they fall into the wrong hands.
  1. Update your apps. Just as you need to update your operating system to take advantage of security patches, users must do the same with their apps so that hackers cannot exploit known flaws that a patch would have fixed.

These are only the first steps. Don’t overlook mobile security. Contact Capstone Works today to protect your network. We are here to help your team stay protected in the face of mobile attacks.

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Five Signs That You’ve Been Hacked

January 28 is Data Privacy Day, and the New Year is the right time for implementing resolutions and fresh starts. Haveidentity security you resolved to be more vigilant in 2018? Your small business cannot afford to overlook the dangers posed by hackers who are getting more sophisticated every year. But how do you know if you’ve been hacked?

Here are five tell-tale giveaways that your device has been compromised.

1. Spam emails are being sent from your company computers and email accounts.

Spam emails look legitimate because they are coming from your trusted email address.  Many of your customers may open them, annoying your subscribers and possibly leaving them open to security threats of their own. Monitor your sent folder as much as you monitor your inbox to be sure all outgoing communications are actually from you.

2. Slow internet connection.

When hackers gain access to your network they begin using your bandwidth for themselves.

3. Unauthorized programs have been installed on your network.

If you notice an unfamiliar program that was not authorized, documented, or installed by anyone within your organization, don’t brush this off as something an employee must have done. While there may be an innocent explanation, this can also be a sign that a hacker has invaded your network. If you don’t recognize a program, you should not click on it without checking with Capstone Works first. You will never regret caution.

4. Unfamiliar programs are requesting access to your network, or your Firewalls or other security programs have been uninstalled.

If your security systems are dismantled or missing, unfettered access to your systems may be allowed to wreak havoc in your network.

5. Visitors to your home page are redirected to another site or antivirus solutions are flagging your site.

An internet search for your site results in error messages that warn the searcher that malware has been detected on your site.  This warning means that hackers have certainly uploaded some sort of malicious software to your system. 

What can you do if you have noticed these signs? Contact Capstone Works.  We are your cybersecurity experts and we will perform a full security audit on your entire system. We keep up with the latest strategies used by hackers to steal your data so you don’t have to. Don’t risk downtime, loss of data or taking a financial hit due to hackers. Contact Capstone Works today, or celebrate Data Privacy Day by resolving to give us a call on January 28!

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Is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy Right for Your Business in 2018?

it managerAs 2017 winds down, it is time to forecast the workplace technology trends for 2018 and anticipate how these trends can impact your small business. We are in the business of making sure you are prepared for what the changing technology environment will throw your way.

One of the biggest trends is Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. These policies allow employees to use their own laptops, tablets and smartphones for work, accessing shared files through the cloud.

What are the benefits of this kind of system for your business?

Your team may not be in the office from 9-5 Monday-Friday (remote work and telecommuting is another big 2018 workplace trend).

There are many benefits to BYOD policies. Switching between devices leaves additional room for errors and inconveniences that could result in lost productivity, such as leaving an important document saved on the office desktop and being unable to access it over the weekend. When your employees are using their own devices, instead of switching from one device for work and using another at home, it is less likely they will be able to access the files when they need them, increasing their ability to be productive.

There is also cost saving element associated with this type of policy as your company does not have to shoulder the burden of purchasing hardware. Employees may even like being allowed to use their own preferred devices. After all, as so many people already own a smartphone, providing a company cell phone may be unnecessary, even cumbersome as users need to switch between their work and personal mobile devices. Instead of buying a laptop when you onboard a new employee, you may only need to purchase supplemental software like Photoshop and antivirus solutions. Having company-purchased software like the Adobe Creative Suite that they may not otherwise access can be an additional perk of the job, improving your relationship with your employees. They also get to use the devices with which they are most comfortable or familiar, instead of being a Mac user at home who must adjust to a PC at the office, or vice versa. In many ways, the policy seems like a win for everyone involved, but BYOD workplaces also have their share of risks.

What are the risks?

Your employees are not all going to be IT professionals, and that means that BYOD policies leave more room for user error and security risks than if every worker is using devices selected and maintained by your IT department. You will need to set specific security policies, and look at providing a secure network for your employees to access from home, rather than accessing unsecured WIFI networks. When you implement a BYOD policy, you necessarily give up a level of control. When an employee leaves that device goes with them, and with it, potentially sensitive information like company passwords.

There are many reasons that BYOD policies are becoming more and more common, but is it right for your company? We have outlined some of the general productivity, cost and convenience considerations. We can also help you assess the costs and benefits of a BYOD policy for your unique business, and create a cybersecurity strategy for you. Don't worry about figuring it out on your own; contact Capstone Works today!

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(512) 343-8891 x2

715 Discovery Blvd
Suite 101

Cedar Park, Texas 78613