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Capstone Works, Inc. Blog

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. 

Is It Time To Upgrade The Operating System On Your Office Devices?

Are you using Windows 7, older versions of Outlook for email, or Windows Server version 2011 and below? If so, it’s time beproactiveto learn about Microsoft’s End of Life Support. You do not want to find yourself in need of tech support for an unsupported product. That’s why being prepared is critical. What products are nearing the end of their support life cycle and what can you do to help your business stay on top of these changes?

First, it is important to know when products are being phased out. Microsoft has specific product life cycles. According to their website, support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020. That gives users less than one year to prepare. Windows 7 launched on October 22, 2009, at which time Microsoft committed to ten years of product support. As this time period expires, it is important to note that this lack of support can leave you vulnerable if you do not upgrade your Operating System. For example, those automatic updates that many users get in the habit of ignoring often include critical security patches that you will no longer receive. If you’re using Windows 7, it is time to upgrade. 

Now that you are thinking about upgrading your Operating System, how do you get started? The process can certainly sound overwhelming. You may have questions or, alternatively, you may be unsure as to what questions you should be asking. It’s time to contact a trusted Managed Service Provider like Capstone Works to help you navigate this process.

What else do you need to know to keep your IT updated? Microsoft has been moving toward a subscription-based model, pushing clients and companies to move toward Office 365 subscriptions instead of the old model of buying a disc, loading Microsoft Office onto your device, and having a perpetual license for the product. Users who have a perpetual license, such as those on Office 2016, will need to upgrade by 2020 in order to use their product in conjunction with the suite of Office 365 products, like SharePoint and Exchange. These end dates are important to keep track of in order to keep all of your products working together. When you connect Office 365 products with “legacy” versions of Microsoft tools, you do not benefit from the full range of the current product capabilities and certain aspects may not work properly. Therefore, it is important to have a trusted Managed Service Provider on your side to help you keep everything working together, make timely upgrades, and keep track of product lifecycle end dates.

How else can Capstone Works help? We can guide you as you choose the right IT products and software solutions for your office. For example, we can go over the pros and cons of moving to Office 365 now, staying with a perpetual license model, or waiting until the End of Life deadline to make any changes. With all the other aspects of running a business taking up time, it can be a challenge for business decision-makers to navigate the many options available. We are here to take IT off your plate and help you ensure you are making the best, most informed decisions possible in a timely manner. With a partner like Capstone Works on your side, you will not be caught off guard when a product nears the end of its support life cycle, and you will be able to make proactive, informed business IT decisions.

Contact Capstone Works today and be prepared for any changes technology companies throw your way!

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Preventing Data Breaches on Data Privacy Day

b2ap3 medium network securityThe start of 2019 comes with promises of many new technologies that you, as a business decision-maker, can use to help grow your business. Though these new avenues can open many doors for your business, these advancements are also creating new vulnerabilities and avenues for hackers, thieves, and phishers to take advantage of. Luckily, Data Privacy Day is right around the corner.

The day is celebrated on the 28th of January each year and is intended to educate users on data privacy to promote a safer, more secure, and more private internet for citizens all over the world. It’s also a good day for people to review their social media privacy settings, update old passwords, and take a look at the state of your digital data security. 

The purpose and goals of Data Privacy Day are of particular importance to businesses. Each year, millions of businesses face attacks to their security as a result of totally preventable vulnerabilities within their IT infrastructure. While not all attacks turn into breaches, that doesn’t mean they’re not cause for concern. 

So, what can you do to protect yourself this Data Privacy Day? Depending on your business, a good place to start is to increase your password security. This can be done by requiring more complex passwords from your employees, requiring they change them up regularly, and by instating two-factor authentication, which provides additional security to confirm the person logging into your network is legitimate.

If you haven’t already, setting up firewalls and using encryption to secure your network is also a great idea to keep out hackers. Additionally, limiting privileges to certain parts of your network only to those for whom access is necessary. This limits the potential that certain information will fall into the wrong hands.

Finally, having back-ups, either of your entire environment, or simply of vital data, is one of the best ways to prevent attacks that corrupt, steal, or try to ransom your data.

Whatever your needs, Capstone Works takes the initiatives of Data Privacy Day to heart. We will work with you to craft a customized security plan that will prevent attacks from happening and keep your business’ data safe and secure.

Not only have we made it our mission to stay updated on all the latest possible threats to your industry, but we also work to educate our clients on these matters, and make sure they’re able to make informed decisions about how to protect their businesses.

After an audit of your current security infrastructure, we can determine where your vulnerabilities lie and prevent them from being used against you. Whether you need as simple a fix as a software patch, or a more substantial overhaul of your internal security procedures, like making sure users are forced to use secure passwords, servers run on secure protocols, etc., Capstone Works has you covered.

Start your New Year off right. Data Privacy Day is a great time to give your business’ security measures an update, so don’t pass by without a second thought. Contact Capstone Works today and rest assured that 2019 will be a great year for your business.

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Does Your Workplace have a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy?

tabletWe are in the business of making sure you are prepared for whatever today’s ever-changing technology environment will throw your way. One of the biggest current trends is Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD. BYOD is exactly what it sounds like — your employees using their own devices in the work-place. With the holidays coming up, and employees receiving new devices, much of your workforce will be equipped to handle a BYOD policy. As this practice becomes more common, it is time to craft an official policy to help protect your business from the risks.

A Bring Your Own Device Policy outlines the rules around employees using their own laptops, tablets, and smartphones for work, whether that means in-office work, or work from home. Today, much of the workforce accesses work files remotely on personal devices. If you do not yet have a BYOD poli-cy, it is time to build one.

Why do you need to set a policy?

There are particular risks and benefits that arise when employees use their own devices. To be sure you enjoy the benefits and decrease the risks, you need a policy that helps employees understand how best to utilize their personal devices in the workplace. You need a formalized document that sets rules and protections in place so that employees have the tools to use their own devices without put-ting your network at risk.

Given that human error is the biggest flaw that hackers exploit, developing a policy and educating your employees as to BYOD best practices is critical to the health of the modern business. But first, do you even want to permit this practice? When making this decision, it’s important to know the benefits you can expect.

What are the benefits of BYOD?

Employee morale
Team members get to work on the devices with which they are most confident and familiar. For example, instead of being a Mac user at home who has to adjust to a PC at the office, or vice versa. Em-power them to work when they feel most efficient and creative, rather than having to wait to get to their office desktop device. Additionally, they may enjoy access to business software in their down-time that they would not have bought themselves, like Adobe Creative Cloud, and come to view it as another perk of the job.

Newer technology
Your employees may opt to upgrade their devices more frequently than the company does.

Reduced costs
When your employees use their existing smartphone rather than a work-provided device, you can en-joy a cost-savings. Similarly, instead of buying a laptop when you onboard a new employee, you may only need to purchase supplemental software like Photoshop and antivirus solutions.

Convenience
Save your team the annoyance of switching between personal and work phones, or accidentally leaving an important document on their workplace desktop and being unable to retrieve it when they want to continue the project over the weekend.

While you can see there are many benefits of allowing your team to work on their own devices, there are many risks and complications that can arise if this practice is not implemented with a policy in place.

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 net-work 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; and when an employee leaves, that device goes with them. If you do not have a set policy, there is a risk they could be taking potentially sensitive information with them, like company passwords. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t implement BYOD at your company, only that you need IT experts in your corner to help you do it. That’s what Capstone Works is here for. Contact us with any of your BYOD questions and we can help you determine your next steps. We help you anticipate the pitfalls of empowering employees to bring their own devices into the workplace so that you can avoid them, and enjoy the benefits instead.

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 strategy for you. Ultimately, BYOD is becoming a more and more common business practice, but is it right for your company? We can answer that together. Contact Capstone Works today!

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Celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month

firewallDo you know every web application your employees are using? There is a high probability that your workforce is utilizing many devices and applications without explicit approval. Collectively, these programs and devices are called Shadow IT. Shadow IT is essentially any application employees download or IT service they sign up for without vetting by your IT provider. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the perfect time to address the hidden risk of Shadow IT. If you aren’t dealing with your Shadow IT problem, your business is not as secure as you think it is!

There was a time in business when any piece of software would go through a thorough vetting process. These days, times have changed. In today’s technology environment, employees are always looking for the next new app or platform to increase productivity. Employees are more tech savvy, and that makes it is less likely that every piece of IT in use has gone through a thorough vetting process or a risk assessment.

Shadow IT also includes personal devices. There is a growing tendency for team members to get work done at home using their own laptops, iPads, or desktop devices. Personal devices are notorious for lax cybersecurity practices. When employees sign onto the business network using their own devices, there is a major risk that they will bring a virus into that business network.

At this point, it is difficult to imagine an organization that is not implementing Shadow IT, whether deliberately or not. There are countless tools that employees and departments may start implementing innocently without thinking they need to involve your IT provider. Many managers and employees are now selecting their own IT services independently, without checking with an IT expert. From file sharing solutions like Dropbox, to free project management platforms, employees are constantly finding new ways to efficiently collaborate and share information from wherever they happen to be. They no longer need to be in the office to check on the status of a project, or access a sensitive document. Employees are looking for ways to hit and exceed their goals, and they are not necessarily thinking about cybersecurity or the risks they are taking.

As a decision-maker, you must always balance risk and reward. The cost of increased employee productivity may be security, and that may not be a cost you want to cover. They are likely to choose programs for ease of use and convenience, without noticing a lack of important security features like two-factor authorization or encryption. Shadow IT may also lead to mounting costs as different teams pay individually for software that would have a lower group or business rate.

What can you do to protect your business in this climate? You certainly don’t want to discourage employees from building better processes and working when they feel inspired. Yet there are many ways in which Shadow IT puts your business at risk and creates cost inefficiencies. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Contact Capstone Works today. We can work with you to assess Shadow IT usage, then build and implement a new Shadow IT strategy. If we find your team members using unsecured tools, our experts can recommend alternatives. Don’t wait to get started! We will bring your Shadow IT into the light.

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Is It Time for a Network Assessment?

When was the last time your business underwent a Network Assessment? As a business decision-maker, there are assessmentmany moving parts to keep track of, and IT monitoring can easily fall through the cracks until something breaks. This approach can lead to unexpected expenses and business downtime. With a Network Assessment, you can anticipate and plan for potential IT snags, and resolve issues before they become major problems.

First, it is important to understand what a Network Assessment is and what it can mean for your business. This service assesses your IT infrastructure, including processes, security, and performance to identify problems and solutions. It is your first step toward improving IT efficiency and data security.

Now that you understand what a Network Assessment is and why it would benefit your company, it is time to find the right IT provider to manage the process. Partner with Capstone Works and get your Network Assessment scheduled. We’ll help you to:

• Understand network vulnerabilities
• Identify bandwidth bottlenecks
• Increase IT performance and efficiency
• Shore up your cybersecurity defenses

When do you want to have a Network Assessment performed? A Network Assessment is especially critical if you are planning any major IT roll-outs, like a transition to cloud storage solutions, changing to VoIP phones, or if any of your infrastructure is nearing end-of-support or end-of-life. This service can also help shed light on any ongoing issues you have been experiencing, like slow performance speeds.

In the event that issues are identified during the Network Assessment, it is time to determine which actions you should take with the data you have obtained. This is where many business owners and decision-makers may begin to feel overwhelmed. How do you make the best decisions without comprehensive IT expertise? Many small-to-medium sized companies have limited or even no IT staff, or team members who are spread too thin. That’s why Capstone Works is here for you as you navigate these concerns. You do not have to deal with these issues alone. We understand that discovering IT problems can feel overwhelming. At Capstone Works, we believe your IT should be an asset to your business, not a headache. Not only will we perform a full Network Assessment, but we will also work with you to build a plan of action that has you feeling confident. Even if it sounds overwhelming, being proactive can make a big difference, and identifying IT issues is actually the first step to creating an IT infrastructure that works better for your business.

Ready to learn more about our Network Assessment services? Contact Capstone Works today. With our trusted, vetted IT experts on your side, your Network Assessment will provide you with both an understanding of your current IT infrastructure issues and a solution-oriented approach to identifying your next steps.

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Protect Your Business from Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks are a serious threat to any size business. For a small business, a ransomware attack can even result in the company going out of business. Last year, ransomware was found to be the most prevalent form of malware connected to company data breaches; cybersecurity provider Malwarebytes cited a staggering 90 percent increase in detected ransob2ap3 medium network securitymware attacks. Being vigilant and armed with a ransomware plan is not just another best practice, it’s necessary to company survival.

There are two types of ransomware to look out for: encryptors and lockers. Encryption ransomware programs take your files hostage, converting them into a code that will require decrypting. Locker ransomware takes entire networks and devices hostage, sometimes even preventing a computer from booting up. Both types of ransomware tend to have a time limit associated with them. If the ransom is not paid within the time frame, the hackers threaten further sabotage. You do not want to find yourself pitted against criminals like these without a trusted IT partner by your side.

Systems can be infected in several ways. One common method is through phishing attacks, which are communications that pose as content from trusted sources like banks, governments, or popular businesses. These attacks ask users to click on an attachment or a link that then invades the network. Other tactics include pop-up ads and exploiting browser vulnerabilities. There is even a new trend of demanding a ransom without actually infecting the network or device! This method is executed by hackers sending multiple emails threatening users that there is a destructive malware infection on their computer waiting to be activated unless the ransom is paid. At Capstone Works, it is our job to make sure we stay on top of the common tactics so that your network is always protected.

Don’t face the threat of ransomware attacks alone. These attacks can quickly escalate into extremely high-cost disasters. The price of a ransomware attack goes beyond the ransom you pay. For example, the Erie County Medical Center reported it recently spent an estimated $10 million on a $30,000 ransom. How did this happen? Responding to the attack can lead to additional high-cost consequences like staff overtime, lost revenue, emergency IT services, and staff training to prevent another mishap. These costs may be even higher if you are caught without a plan in place and a trusted IT partner like Capstone Works in your corner.

Prevention is your best strategy. Our goal is to work with you to recognize common tactics and train your employees so that we can decrease the likelihood that a ransomware attack will find its way into your network or device. We will monitor your network for suspicious activity, and help you back up your files so that you, and not the hackers, are in control – even if they infect your system. We can also help you manage and predict costs by building a ransomware plan as part of a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy.

Contact Capstone Works today. We will make sure you are ready for whatever hackers could throw your way.

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Is Your Business Ready for the Internet of Things?

The summer season has arrived! Warmer weather means families are spending time enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, bike rides, and beach days. With less time in the office comes more time on other devices, especially wearable technology like Apple Watches or FitBits. In other words, it is time to think about IoT security.2

IoT stands for Internet of Things. Today, we are interconnected like never before, and more and more of our everyday devices are connecting to the internet and to each other. Consequently, more personal and business data is being shared. Your IT strategy must now encompass all the different ways through which you and your team are connecting to your business network.

You are probably wondering how an employee’s fitness tracker affects your cybersecurity strategy. Fitness trackers need to connect to another device like a computer or smartphone in order for the user to view all of the data they collect throughout the day, or input information like foods eaten or how many glasses of water they had. In this example, your employee might be connecting their fitness tracker to both their work and home computers. If their home computer is less secure, a hacker may be able to use the fitness tracker to also infiltrate your network. This is just one example. New IoT devices are now coming onto the market constantly. Soon, smart home assistants could be as common as smartphones. You may even make use of them in your office. With all of this innovation and change, it can be hard for your IT strategy to keep up.

IoT devices are known for being unsecured and lacking built-in security systems. They are also designed to be found and recognized by other devices, so if the default password has not been changed, it can be extremely easy for a hacker to find and access a device by exploiting a known default password. In order to secure your network in the face of increased connectivity, you need to put proactive policies in place, rather than depending on the device’s security systems. Hackers are sophisticated, and their favorite targets are those they expect to be unsecured. They assume that small-to-medium sized businesses are not investing in cybersecurity and will not keep up with the latest technology trends.

We’re here to prove the hackers wrong. With Capstone Works in your corner, you can be confident that we will keep you up-to-date on the latest cybersecurity best practices. We can also help you develop and implement policies that will help manage which personal devices your employees connect to your business network, and educate them around the security steps they need to take when doing so. Even seemingly small steps, like making sure they change their devices’ default password, can make a big difference.

Contact Capstone Works today. Partner with us to keep up with today’s latest technology trends and manage the risks so that hackers never catch you off guard.

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Are Passwords Leaving Your Network Unlocked?

Passwords today are like spare keys that have been given out to too many friends and neighbors. Common password content like birthdays, favorite sports teams, or names of children or pets are easily found on social media accounts.seccomp

Cybersecurity is vital to a successful business, especially as hackers try to exploit the companies they expect to be the least protected: small-to-medium sized businesses. Your accounts need an extra layer of protection so that your business network does not fall into the wrong hands. This is where multi-factor authentication comes in. Multi-factor authentication requires two or more pieces of evidence before a user is granted access to a protected account or device. We see this in practice all the time. For instance, at the ATM, the user must present both the correct debit card, and enter the right PIN. This is an example of two-factor authentication at work. The system works by requiring information the end user possesses, like a PIN or a password, with an object the intended user should have on hand.

Today’s businesses rely on cloud storage. The cloud is an incredible efficiency tool that empowers your workforce to access what they need when they need it. With that ease of access comes a risk that your information could be accessed by the wrong individuals, especially if you have not taken every precaution to secure it. When your sensitive business accounts and databases are secured only by passwords, you are putting yourself at risk, even when the passwords are complex and changed frequently. You need backup protection in the event that passwords are compromised.

There are many products that help you add this layer of protection to your network. Trying to sift through, select, and implement these products can be time consuming and confusing. At the same time, you know that an upfront investment of time and resources into cybersecurity can make all the difference when hackers strike. Multi-factor authentication creates more work for the hackers, and more opportunities for your defenses to protect your network. If someone is trying to invade an employee’s email account, guesses the password, but then needs to enter a randomly generated code that went to your employee’s phone or workplace computer, they may move on to invade a less protected network. Unlike a PIN, which suffers many of the same pitfalls of a password, these codes may only work for a limited period of time and have no personal connection to the user, meaning they cannot be guessed. This type of system gives you greater confidence that the people accessing your network are the ones meant to be there.

Setting up multi-factor authentication can have some unforeseen complexities, and is best handled by IT professionals who have the expertise and skillset to implement this useful protection for your business.

Capstone Works has the experience and cybersecurity expertise you need to ensure your network is as secure as possible. Contact us today to talk about your next steps.

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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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The time-suck and security risks of managing your own IT

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As a business owner, you have enough on your plate keeping your organization moving forward and getting ready to face new challenges. You need to be prepared to take advantage of new opportunities when they come your way. Are you losing sleep over IT worries? How can you ensure that you are moving in the right direction when most of your time is consumed with figuring out IT issues? Even more, are you ignoring your IT and hoping for smooth sailing? That is the surest way to end up in the middle of an IT disaster! This 4th of July as we celebrate our nation’s independence, declare your independence from IT worry! With Capstone Works, you can rest easy knowing that we have your back and are working in your best interests.

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I like to read all the news which you are sharing in this blog. I read your post and I found it as very informative. Always give u... Read More
Tuesday, 21 November 2017 05:22
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Slow Computer? Increase your memory to boost computer Speeds

Sometimes when your workstation feels bogged down, a relatively cheap and simply hardware update can make a huge difference in performance. Adding more RAM (Random Access Memory, often just referred to as memory) can be a game changer for your bogged down PC.

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