3 Simple Tips To Help You Secure Your Data At Work

Securing your data at work is crucial. Think about it – could you really recover from data loss if you didn’t have any files backed up?

Probably not – you would likely end up going out of business.

Don’t let that happen.

Check out these 3 easy ways to secure your data in the workplace.

 

Use Strong Passwords

Hackers are getting smarter all of the time – and that means that your passwords are getting weaker. Make sure that you don’t use easy dictionary words for your passwords. Even if you combine a dictionary work with a combination of numbers it still isn’t a very strong password.

If you want some easy tips on how to create a secure but memorable password, check out our previous blog post.

 

Back Up Your Data

What would happen if a natural disaster or security disaster occurred and you didn’t have any of your data backed up?

Chances are, you’d lose a lot of money and the trust of your clients. And that’s not all – you could even lose your entire business!

There’s no need to risk everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

Here at Preferred, we offer security solutions to give you the peace of mind you need and know that your data is backed up. That way, you can stop worrying about losing your data and know that you’ll be able to easily recover if it does ever happen.

 

Talk To Your Employees

Human error is one of the top causes of security breaches.

You need to make sure your employees know how important security is in the workplace. You could hold a meeting or even plan an event to let them know best practices for keeping company and personal information safe.

You should also make sure that you enforce security policies, and that those policies are easy to understand. That way, your employees will not have to question what the security rules are and your data will remain safe.

 

Have you already followed these steps? If you need further help securing your business, contact Preferred today – let’s work together to make sure your company data is safe!

How Network Security Services Can Make Your Life Easier

As a business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Chances are, it’s hard to for you to truly relax when you’re worrying about all of the different things that could go wrong and put you out of business in an instant.

And, if there’s one thing that can completely destroy the company you’ve worked so hard to maintain, it’s a security breach. But there’s good news – you can easily prevent a security breach from happening. All you need to do is take advantage of the right network security services.

First of all, network security services give you peace of mind because they decrease your risk. When you’ve got the proper security in place, you no longer need to worry about hacker attacks, malware infections, and other disasters that could put you out of business. You can sleep well at night knowing that your valuable company information is being kept safe.

You also need to take downtime into account and think about how network security services can help you keep downtime to a minimum. When a security issue arises, everyone can no longer work at 100% productivity – employees to become distracted from their job duties, and that can ultimately cost you money. When you take preventative measures instead of simply reacting to security issues, you can keep your efficiency high and your stress low.

Speaking of stress, network security services can actually decrease stress for both you and your employees. Obviously, it will help you because you won’t have to worry anymore about losing your business – but it will also help your employees by reducing their need to worry about managing your network. Think about it – if you’ve got your current employees trying to manage your network, they are put under a huge amount of unnecessary pressure to keep it safe!

With network security services, you and your employees can focus on the bigger picture – your vision of success for your company. And that’s what’s really important, right?

Here at Preferred, we offer network security services designed to give you all of these benefits and more. We take the time to get to know you, recognize your company’s specific needs, and then build a solution that has been specifically tailored to fit those needs.

Don’t deal with the unnecessary stress of putting your company at risk anymore. Contact Preferred today, and let’s work together to keep your company safe. 

4 Easy Ways to Create a More Secure Password

Imagine. You’re logging into an online account that you use regularly. You’ve typed your username and password like always, and you’re waiting patiently for the page to load.

 

But then… You receive some bad news.

 

“Your password has expired.”

 

Oh no. You’ve had the same password forever. How are you possibly going to come up with a new one that you can easily remember?

 

We’ve all been through it. It’s not always easy to come up with a password that is both simple enough for you to recall and complex enough to keep your data safe.

 

Here are 5 tips to help you next time you’ve got to come up with a new password.

 

#1) Use an Acronym

 

Remember when you were in grade school and you were learning about the color spectrum? Your teacher didn’t simply teach you the order of the colors – you learned the acronym ROY G BIV: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.

 

The acronym makes it a lot easier to remember, right?

 

You can do the something similar to create a secure password. Think of a sentence that is easy to remember. Then, take the first letter of each word in that sentence and use it as your password. For example, you could use the sentence “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Then, your password would be TQBFJOTLD.

 

To anyone else, that would just look like a bunch of random letters. But you would be able to remember it easily by memorizing one simple sentence.

 

#2) Capitalization Variation

 

When you’re creating a password, you should try to vary the capitalization as much as possible. That’ll make your password a lot more secure.

 

So, from the previous example using the acronym, you could capitalize every other letter and use TqBfJoTlD instead of TQBFJOTLD.

 

#3) Numbers

 

There are several creative ways you can use numbers to make your passwords stronger.

 

One option is to stick some numbers right in the middle of your password. It’s pretty common for people to put numbers at the end of their passwords, so putting them in the middle gives you extra security. So, we could take the example password, TqBfJoTlD, and change it to TqBf1234JoTlD.

 

Did you notice that I put the number between the subject and the verb in the sentence? That’s another way to make it easier to remember.

 

And you don’t have to use “1234.” In fact, it’s a good idea to come up with your own number. The more digits, the better.

 

#4) Use Special Characters

 

Most websites will allow and even encourage the usage of special characters in passwords. Some even require that you use at least one of them.

 

My favorite is the exclamation point, because it is logically easier to remember. Especially when you use a sentence acronym, like in the example. It’s easy to remember to add an exclamation point at the end, because that’s where it would normally fall – at the end of a sentence.

 

So the new password, using the acronym, the capitalization, and the numbers, would be:

 

TqBf1234JoTlD!

 

Looks complicated, right? But it makes perfect sense to you.

 

This kind of password would make it tough for someone to hack into your account, yet it’s easy for you to remember.

 

You’ll be amazed by how much this method can amp up your account security and simplify the process of logging in to your accounts.. So, go ahead. Try out these tips and see what you can come up with!

 

3 Ways Hiring a Managed Services Provider is Like Hiring a Personal Bodyguard

 

Have you ever considered hiring a personal bodyguard?

Unless you’re a celebrity or a politician, I’m guessing that your answer is no.

But – think for a second.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a personal bodyguard? You’d walk around knowing that someone that you trust is keeping you safe. You’d be able to sleep well at night knowing that you’re always being protected.

When you hire a managed services provider, you’re basically hiring a bodyguard for your company. Here’s how:

 

Reduce Your Risk

Think about it. When you hire a bodyguard, you’re protecting something very important: your life.

When you hire a managed services provider, that provider helps you protect something pretty important too: your company! By tracking potential problem areas in your infrastructure, a managed services provider can help you prevent problems before they ever occur. That way, you’ll know that your infrastructure is optimized and fully secured.

 

Partner With An Expert

Bodyguards are trained experts in their field. This is especially true if they are armed on the job – often, they must have experience in the field of combat and familiarity with a wide range of weapons.

The IT professionals you’ll partner with when you hire a managed services provider are just like those bodyguards – they’re trained experts in their field. When you talk to one of these professionals, you can rest assured that you’ll be able to get the help you need.

Also, when someone uses a bodyguard, they enable themselves to shift their focus from worrying about being unsafe to more pressing issues.

When you use a managed services provider, you’ll be able to focus on the more strategic aspects of your business. Wouldn’t it be nice to shift your focus from day-to-day issues to bettering and growing your company as a whole? Whether you already have IT services or not, outsourcing your IT services can help.

 

Gain Peace of Mind

When you have a bodyguard protecting you, you gain peace of mind – you know you’ll be kept safe because you have a trained professional protecting you.

You’ll gain peace of mind by hiring a managed services provider, too.

Whether it’s remote assistance, data backup, remote monitoring, or something else, a managed services provider can offer you services you need to gain peace of mind.

 

So, what’s it going to be? Are you going to use a managed services provider as your company’s personal bodyguard, or are you going to miss out on peace of mind, reduce risk, and a partnership with a trusted expert? Contact Preferred today, and let’s work together to secure your most valuable asset: company’s future.

 

7 Important Benefits of Cloud Computing

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By using the cloud, employees can access the resources they need to work by simply connecting to the Internet. When you make cloud computing a part of your business, there are several benefits that you’ll be able to take advantage of.

 

Mobility

With the cloud, you and your employees can access the company database as long as you can connect to the Internet. You’re no longer stuck in the office; if you need to work remotely, it’s no problem. That way, you can work while traveling or work from home if you need to.

 

Flexibility

The cloud allows you to access your information from any device – a smart phone, tablet, computer, or any other mobile device, as long as the device is connected to the Internet.

 

Security and Storage

By storing your information in the cloud, you can feel confident that your data is being kept safe. You are no longer limited to storing your data in physical locations. That way, if a natural disaster occurs and destroys your physical storage, you won’t lose all of your valuable company information.

Also, you gain almost unlimited storage capacity when you use the cloud. This saves you from worrying about using up all of your storage space and no longer being able to save your data.

 

Reduced Downtime 

When you use cloud computing, your employees can focus on their job duties instead of worrying about fixing IT issues. That way, your employees will be more productive and accomplish more at work.

 

Save Money

You can save a lot of money when you use cloud computing. Not only will you save on electricity and equipment expenses – you’ll also save on staff and operating expenses.

 

Easy Growth

Cloud computing platforms grow with your company. Whether you need to expand or downsize, you can feel confident knowing that your infrastructure can make that change with you.

 

IT Experts on your Side

When you utilize the cloud, a managed service provider such as Preferred Technology Solutions remotely maintains your system for you. That way, you can gain peace of mind knowing that experts are handling your infrastructure. This will allow you to focus on the bigger picture – like the strategic vision that you have for your company.

 

With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why moving your company to the cloud is a great choice. Why wait? Contact Preferred today at 972-644-1992 and let’s work together to improve your infrastructure.

 

 

 

 

 

Command Center Deploys Technology to Keep Drivers Safe

With safety being a top priority for NTTA, you can drive easier knowing NTTA roadways are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week using cutting-edge technology – all in an effort to keep our customers and employees safe.

House in the NTTA Command Center, the Authority uses and intelligent transportation system that monitors a majority of the NTTA System by AXIS cameras provided by PTS.

Fortinet Security Research Leads Expertise on Mobile Malware

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sep 22, 2011 – Fortinet® – a leading network security provider and the worldwide leader of unified threat management (UTM) solutions, today announced that in just five years, the number of mobile malware has grown from 52 to over 2,500*. With more than 15 years of experience in cryptology, security protocols and operating systems, Axelle Apvrille has conducted in-depth research on mobile malware such as the Symbian Yxes worm, the Zitmo Trojan and more recently Spitmo, the latest Android malware which intercepts SMS from financial institutions and is the first to spread without the help of Google’s Market or any other third-party markets. The threat of mobile malware is now reality for Android users: records showed that a single malicious sample was downloaded more than 200,000 times**.

Media Alert: Application Security, Beyond the Firewall

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Sep 20, 2011 – Fortinet® – a leading network security provider and the worldwide leader of unified threat management (UTM) solutions, today announced that Application security has evolved far beyond the old days of “allow” or “deny” at the firewall. The rapidly changing nature of applications has made enforcing network security extremely challenging for organizations looking to stay ahead of the latest threats. Traditional firewalls and stand-alone network security solutions cannot detect many of today’s most popular applications, creating dangerous gaps in network security strategies. This session will provide examples of how attackers are taking advantage of the latest applications to hide malicious content, and the range of options offered by network security vendors that organizations can use to detect and block these threats.

Disaster Preparedness Checklist

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS CHECKLIST

Preferred Technology Solutions can help you prepare your Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Plan. Please contact us to discuss your readiness and formulate a plan. The importance of being prepared cannot be overstated. Please look over the following checklist and let us know how we may help you to prepare your business in the event of such an occurrence.

• Have a plan to provide emergency notification to all employees, clients, visitors and customers in an emergency.

• Document a timeline for workplace preparation and closure. Consider the safe shut down or removal of servers and other equipment. Allow time for employees to prepare their families and take care of personal matters as well. Allow enough time for them to execute their personal preparedness plans. (Encourage them to have one and to practice it with their families.)

• Develop a phone redirection strategy should your phone service be interrupted. For example, does your main line automatically roll to a cell phone or external land line 5 to 10 miles from your main facility? Or, can it be remotely be set to roll to another line? Do you know how to program your system do this? If not, our certified engineers can help.

• Assure your employees know where to go to take cover in the event of a tornado. Unlike a hurricane or tropical storm, a tornado may develop almost without warning, appearing within minutes and leaving little time to react. Winds can exceed 200 mph causing enormous damage in its path. Basements and storm shelters are the safest. Otherwise, the interior 1st floor hallway or interior room away from windows, doors and outside walls. Put as many walls as possible between you and the outside. For outdoor work avoid trailers and automobiles. The best place to take cover is in a water free ditch. In all cases it is best to be covered by a mattress, blankets or heavy towels.

• Contract PTS to provide a location for recovery should your facility be damaged or inaccessible. We can provide work space and rapid replacement of servers, PCs and other business essential hardware and software.

• Assure all important electronic and paper documents are copied and stored at a safe off-site location.

• Provide each employee and critical partner with a binder of your disaster plan including their specific responsibilities and a list of home and cell phones of employees and critical partners. Review and update the contact information quarterly. Communication following a disaster is critical. Establish a communication plan that will work regardless of the nature of the disaster. Consider a secondary toll-free number or website that is hosted outside of your region. Instruct employees on when, how, and what to communicate through these channels following a disaster.

• Train on the process to assure critical employees and partners now what will be expected of them. For example, you may need IT staff within hours after a disaster to reestablish your systems.

• Store water, nonperishable food, first-aid supplies, generators, cleaning supplies, batteries, flashlights, and other necessities you anticipate maybe needed.

• If travel to your facility or to remote locations will be needed during the recovery phase, know the airline scheduling options and review them quarterly.

• Contract hotel and meal arrangements that will be required.

• Develop a plan to allow your payroll, benefits, and HR functions to operate during a disaster, after a disaster, or during any period in which access to your workplace is restricted.

• Establish a plan for safe for re-entry into each facility following a disaster. A third-party inspector may be necessary to verify safety.

• Regularly conduct drills to assure everyone knows where to go and that the phone and other documented processes work.

• Be sure this information is in your on-boarding procedure.

5 Ways to Make Your Keyboard Easier to Use

By used with permission from Microsoft at Home

For most people, the keyboard is the main way to enter information into and control their computer. But are you controlling your keyboard, or is your keyboard controlling you?

If you make typing mistakes or find your keyboard a bit uncomfortable, it’s not hard to correct those problems. Here’s how to quickly and easily change your keyboard settings and comfort options.

1. Get to know your keyboard
Even if you’ve been using a PC for a long time, there may be features on your keyboard you don’t know about. Take a moment to get to know your keyboard so you can be more efficient when you’re working.

2. Change keyboard settings
Once you’ve gotten more familiar with your keyboard, there are a few settings you can change to help you work more smoothly.

You can alter:

  • How long you need to press a key before the keyboard character starts repeating.
  • The speed at which keyboard characters repeat, which helps you to avoid typing errors.
  • The rate at which the mouse pointer blinks, which can help its visibility.

3. Take shortcuts 
Even if you’re a whiz with the mouse for Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP, keyboard shortcuts are typically a more efficient way to work. They’re called shortcuts because they reduce multiple clicks into one quick press of keys, like hitting a chord on a piano.

Getting to know a few keyboard shortcuts for the things you do all the time, like saving or closing files, can make using your PC much easier and faster.

Here are just a few popular keyboard shortcuts.

Press this To do this
Windows logo key Open the Start menu
ALT+TAB Switch between open programs or windows
CTRL+S Save the current file or document (works in most programs)
CTRL+C Copy the selected item
CTRL+Z Undo an action
Windows logo key +F1 Display Windows Help and Support
ESC Cancel the current task
Application key Open a menu of commands related to a selection in a program. Equivalent to right-clicking the selection.

For more, see the detailed list of keyboard shortcuts for Windows Vista, or Windows XP. Note: shortcuts for Windows 7 are the same as those listed for Windows Vista.

4. Make it easier to press multiple keys
Do you find it difficult to press multiple keys at once? For example, if pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL is an acrobatic feat, you can set up Sticky Keys. With Sticky Keys you can hit one key at a time in a keyboard shortcut. You can even set it to make a noise so you know it’s working.

You can set up Sticky Keys in Windows 7, Windows Vista or Windows XP. (Hint: Press your “SHIFT” key 5 times in a row, then click on the link, to get going with Sticky Keys in Windows 7 or Windows Vista.)

5. Find a comfortable keyboard
It might also be time for you to evaluate the ergonomics of your desktop. Microsoft offers a full line of Natural and Comfort Curve ergonomic keyboards to ensure you’re comfortable when you’re working on your computer. Having the right keyboard can really make a difference!

Tips for using your keyboard properly
If a new keyboard isn’t in your future, be sure to use your current keyboard properly to avoid soreness or injury to your wrists, hands, and arms. This is particularly important if you use your computer for long periods of time.

Curious about how to create a more ergonomic work space for yourself? Check out these tips to help you work more comfortably and reduce your risk of painful injuries or disorders.

Here are some general tips to help you avoid problems:

  • Place your keyboard at elbow level, with your upper arms relaxed at your sides.
  • Center your keyboard in front of you. If your keyboard has a numeric keypad, you can use the spacebar as the centering point.
  • While typing, use a light touch and keep your wrists straight.
  • When you’re not typing, relax your arms and hands.
  • Take short breaks every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Type with your hands and wrists floating above the keyboard, so that you can use your whole arm to reach for distant keys instead of stretching your fingers.
  • Avoid resting your palms or wrists on any type of surface while typing. If your keyboard has a palm rest, use it only during breaks from typing.