Tag: cybersecurity

The Top IT Threats to Small Businesses and How to Deal With Them

GAGE-IT-threats-blog

Regardless of your industry, small businesses around the world are dealing with very similar IT problems. There are many obstacles and challenges business owners must overcome in order to remain operational, secure and successful. In smaller organizations, we know that you may not have an in-house IT specialist, and that can present unique challenges. We’re here to help by sharing with you the most common IT problems small businesses face, and how to prevent or deal with them.

 

Cybersecurity Threats

Cybersecurity is a hot topic in IT right now and is one of the biggest challenges for small business owners. Simply put, cybersecurity is the protection of your computers, network and data from compromisation or damage. The truth is that most businesses are not investing in the advanced security systems needed to protect their data and assets. While nothing is 100% fool-proof, there are some security measures you simply must take to optimize data protection. Protect against viruses by equipping your computer with antivirus software and make sure to update your systems and programs regularly. Additionally, make sure your networks are secure by safeguarding your Internet connection and email systems. Another thing to take into consideration is passwords. Train your employees to make strong passwords and to change them often. The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests that you should “consider implementing multi-factor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry.” This additional step could be vital in preventing hackers from getting into your personal files. Cybersecurity is one of the most important aspects of your business and should be taken into consideration before a problem occurs.  

 

Using Outdated Hardware And Software

Using outdated hardware and software can lead to many problems such as slow speeds, overspending, security problems, downtime, and much more. Not only can utilizing outdated software discourage your consumers and cause communication hiccups, but it can also often mean that your software is unsupported which usually means it is unsecured. Many major attackers will take advantage of your unsupported and outdated technology. The longer your software has been exposed, the more time it gives hackers to exploit your data. You must update your software to avoid being hacked and potentially losing your data. While we understand that the financial investment can seem daunting, the truth is that using unsupported software could actually be costing you more than the upgrade fee! Taking advantage of the latest versions of the software will dramatically reduce the number of bugs and save time on tasks. It can help improve the efficiency of your team, as well as communication with your customers. Using outdated hardware and software then leads into the next important IT problem in small businesses.

 

Backup And Disaster Recovery

It’s extremely important to have a reliable backup solution for any type of business. We know you may have accidentally deleted an important file, or had a server crash, or even experienced a power outage that causes business downtime. In order to avoid these risks, our best advice is to have a custom backup solution BEFORE these events happen. Your data can be corrupted, lost, or stolen through many outlets such as human error, hardware failure, malware, and hacking. Find a backup provider that will catch (and fix) these problems before you’re even aware that there’s an issue. If a problem does arise, have a plan to recover your data and restore your systems as quickly as possible. Some, if not most, businesses cannot tolerate downtime and business interruption. It’s well worth the cost to take the hassle out of I.T. management, so you can focus on your business.

 

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With our complete suite of managed IT services, GAGE provides network monitoring and care, 24/7 Helpdesk, and business continuity. We are always prepared to find you and your business with customized data solutions. To learn more about our services, read about our products & services or contact us today!

 

The 3 Best Practices for Email Phishing Attacks

phishing-blog

 

Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce individuals to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers. According to PhishMe research, “91% of the time, phishing emails are behind successful cyber attacks.”

The overwhelming majority of security breaches caused by phishing are completely avoidable. While cybercriminals have grown more sophisticated in their approach, the average attack consists of the same key ingredients: an undereducated employee, effective bait and a temporary lapse in judgment. While we are in the business of securing an organization’s entire network and protecting them from any threats whatsoever, there are some initial steps that will safeguard a company without costing much time, energy or capital expenditure. These measures we’d like to share are extremely easy to implement and are excellent first steps in protecting a company from cybercrime.

 

The “From” Field

The first sign to look for is the sender’s name in the “From” field of the email. Cybercriminals often use misspelled email addresses, such as JohnnyStealyastuff@gmaail.com, for example, in order to deceive the receiver into thinking that the email is coming from a reputable company. At a quick glance, many recipients won’t recognize the typo in the address field and they’ll open the email which opens them up to the bait.

 

Hover Your Mouse Over Link

The next step for employees is to hover their mouse over links, instead of clicking them without thinking about it. Lots of hackers use very long links or they hope that the recipient will just click on the link right away instead of previewing the destination by hovering above and making sure that the domains match where they expect to be directed. If the preview link looks suspicious, that’s probably because it isn’t a legitimate offer. We recommend deleting these types of emails.

 

Look in the Footer

The final step for employees is to look in the footer. One of the current laws around email marketing requires senders to leave a physical address within the footer of the email. This is often left-out by cybercriminals and is a very easy way to tell if the email is a phishing attempt. Furthermore, there should also be an “Unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the email, which is another step that most hackers ignore.

 

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By simply addressing these three initial steps, SMBs can avoid the vast majority of cyber attacks coming at their business. They are some of the simplest, yet most effective ways of minimizing risk within an organization. If all organizations were even this educated about cyber attacks, we would see a dramatic drop in incidents. Contact us or give us a call to find the right solution for your business.

Gage Protects SMBs From Windows 7 End of Life

Baton Rouge, LA – March 2019 – Gage a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), is helping small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) secure their organizations from cyber-attacks, by addressing the Windows 7 “End of Life” policy that will begin in January of 2020. Microsoft has announced that they will cease supporting the software, providing updates, enhancing security features and the software will essentially become obsolete. SMBs need to be aware of this transition because cybercriminals are constantly inventing new methods and techniques to exploit weak infrastructure. If a business doesn’t adapt and bring in technology that can keep pace with the ever-evolving security threats that the modern business faces, they will eventually become a “sitting duck” for cyber attacks.

Many businesses handle problems like this in the same manner that they handle all other problems. Ignore it until they suffer a minor consequence, and after they feel some of the pain, then they react and begin solving the problem. However, this is a very dangerous strategy to utilize given the potential consequences. For example, we can look at the costs that some major players have paid for insecure infrastructure. According to Time Magazine, “The Equifax breach cost the company over $4 billion in total.” While small businesses can’t withstand losses like that, there’s also a stronger push from authorities for tighter cybersecurity measures, bigger fines and harsher penalties for lax policies.

“Business owners need to act, now,” advised Jason Landry, VP of Sales of Gage. “Indecision is also decision. The majority of Windows 7 users will migrate to the cloud which coincidentally will provide many increases in security capabilities that could greatly reduce their need for ad-hoc security features, driving total cost down. However, the key to a successful transition is starting early because these things take time. Unfortunately, businesses who decide not to act, may place themselves in even graver danger because they will be extremely susceptible to cyber attacks, precisely because Windows 7 is obsolete technology and it may be too late.”

 


 

ABOUT GAGE

GAGE is a full-service telecommunications and IT services company that has helped businesses since 1980.  Founded in Baton Rouge, the company’s original mission continues today, which is to provide the very best products and services that enable its clients to increase their profitability, obtain a competitive advantage, and improve employee productivity. Gage has served the Louisiana business community for nearly 40 years through a culture of striving towards excellence and unparalleled commitment to customer service.

Gage works with companies of all sizes with business phone systems, computer networks, managed IT services, structured cabling and standby generators. The company conducts a complete needs analysis to ensure that each customer implements the right technology to meet their needs now and into the future.  Gage has been recognized with numerous industry awards and has become one of the region’s leading technology services companies.

For more information on Gage, please call (225) 753-4243 or visit www.gagetelephone.com

GAGE Protects SMBs From DNS Attacks

Baton Rouge, LA – December 2018 – Gage a leading managed technology services provider (MTSP), is helping small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) protect themselves and their customers from DNS (Domain Name Server) attacks through innovative technology solutions. As businesses around the world continue to migrate to cloud-based technology, and the demand for these solutions continues, the risk of a DNS-based attack grows simultaneously, as well. Gage is actively educating the business community and protecting SMBs from these threats.

Many businesses don’t realize the potential dangers of this type of threat because of its abstract nature. Domain Name Servers (DNS) maintain a directory of domain names and translate them to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. When hackers attack, they essentially overload websites with traffic, and then siphon traffic from the site the user was attempting to visit to a malicious one. Once the user arrives, they are subject to phishing attacks, malware installation and a whole host of other threats. Domain Name Servers are essentially the intersection between an Internet user and any business application they’re attempting to reach. Having unsecured DNS settings is like having an unsecured traffic system. If hackers can get inside and control which lights turn green and which turn red, imagine the traffic and accidents that could occur. This is essentially what is happening within unprotected networks.

“Most business owners are completely unaware of this threat and it’s growing prevalence. We basically tell our customers that if they don’t have DNS security measures in place, they don’t have any security at all,” stated Jason Landry, VP of Sales of Gage. “If there’s a site that is known to be malicious, the company simply must prevent access.”

An oversimplified explanation of DNS security is that everyone uses the Internet and that DNS security services actively disables employees, vendors and customers from being able to visit sites that are known to have been contaminated or malicious in nature. This safeguards all stakeholders and keeps company reputations strong by preventing hackers from ever reaching the data they wish to misuse.

DNS attacks have even reached major players in today’s business world. In fact, in 2016 there was a major DNS attack that shocked the world and captured everyone’s attention regarding the power of the issue. The Guardian reported that the attack was “…bringing down sites including Twitter, the Guardian, Netflix, Reddit, CNN and many others in Europe and the US.” The Guardian also added, “The cause of the outage was a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, in which a network of computers infected with special malware, known as a ‘botnet’, are coordinated into bombarding a server with traffic until it collapses under the strain.”

 


 

ABOUT GAGE

GAGE is a full-service telecommunication and IT services company that has helped businesses since 1980.  Founded in Baton Rouge, the company’s original mission continues today, which is to provide the very best products and services that enable its clients to increase their profitability, obtain a competitive advantage, and improve employee productivity. Gage has served the Louisiana business community for nearly 40 years through a culture of striving towards excellence and unparalleled commitment to customer service.

Gage works with companies of all sizes with business phone systems, computer networks, managed IT services, structured cabling and standby generators. The company conducts a complete needs analysis to ensure that each customer implements the right technology to meet their needs now and into the future.  Gage has been recognized with numerous industry awards and has become one of the region’s leading technology services companies.

For more information on Gage, please call (225) 753-4243 or visit www.gagetelephone.com

GDPR, New Cybersecurity Regulations on Horizon for Corporate America

 

Gage Advises Clients That GDPR Isn’t Far from the States

Baton Rouge, LA – October 4, 2018 – Gage, a leading managed technology services provider, is helping small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) navigate the recent changes in cybersecurity standards that are highly likely to affect American businesses. Many have heard about Facebook’s recent controversy around Cambridge Analytica and irresponsible data sharing policies. Marc Zuckerburg even testified in front of the EU in order address these major concerns and the result has been the passing and implementation of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which took effect in Europe in late May.

This new regulation demands transparency and responsible data practices on behalf of all companies that do business in the EU. Some examples of GDPR in effect are:

//  Requiring all subscribers to opt-in again to receiving all newsletters/marketing emails/etc. and

//  Companies need to report any major data breaches to all of their customers within 72 hours of the breach occurring. There are many more components to the regulation, however, the penalties for not adhering to these standards are in the millions.

This standard is very likely to reach the US marketplace and for most companies, this standard is already affecting their businesses. For example, if a business has any suppliers, customers, or satellite offices in countries located within the EU, they need to take a serious look at their data practices and make sure they are compliant. In time, many experts expect GDPR or some derivation of it to affect US-based businesses.

“We strongly believe data regulation is coming to the US marketplace – it’s certain that some form of cybersecurity regulation is imminent and severe penalties will follow businesses that aren’t compliant,” stated Jason Landry, VP of Sales of Gage.

“There’s simply been too many data breaches that have affected major companies like Dropbox and Target for regulation not to come. When it does, Gage’s proven cyber security program will play a major role in helping our customers meet these new regulations,” added Mr. Landry.

Cybersecurity has transitioned from the era where an enterprise could “play dumb,” expect a slap on the wrist, pay minor fines and resume business as usual. Cybersecurity is now a central pillar of any organization’s success or demise and with the stakes as high as they are now, SMBs need to address their data policies and practices immediately.

While most business owners dread the idea of spending time, energy and money on meeting a new compliance, the simultaneous opportunity is for businesses to leverage the expertise of Gage to lower their operating costs through the deployment of advanced technology to offset the new investments in cybersecurity that they will likely be required to make. Whether the organization is large or small, soaring or declining, it’s time to revisit cybersecurity policies today.


ABOUT GAGE

Gage is a full-service telecommunications and IT services company that has helped businesses since 1980. Founded in Baton Rouge, the company’s original mission continues today, which is to provide the very best products and services that enable its clients to increase their profitability, obtain a competitive advantage, and improve employee productivity. Gage has served the Louisiana business community for nearly 40 years through a culture of striving towards excellence and unparalleled commitment to customer service.

Gage works with companies of all sizes with business phone systems, computer networks, managed IT services, structured cabling and standby generators. The company conducts a complete needs analysis to ensure that each customer implements the right technology to meet their needs now and into the future. Gage has been recognized with numerous industry awards and has become one of the region’s leading technology services companies. Contact us to learn more.

Gage Partners with ID Agent to Heighten Cybersecurity

 

Leading Managed Services Technology Provider Joins Forces with Cybersecurity Leader to Optimize Cybersecurity for Business Owners

Baton Rouge, LA – March 30, 2018 Gage a leader in managed technology services, announced today that the company has partnered with ID Agent, to enhance the security of SMBs (small to mid-sized businesses) across the nation. ID Agent and this partnership will enable business owners, to prevent identity theft and thwart cybercriminals from gaining access to sensitive data.

“When owners are made aware of the threats and risks that are facing their business, they’re capable of bringing in the right infrastructure to protect themselves from cyber-attacks.”

“We’re thrilled to announce this partnership. It’s going to have a huge effect on the business owners we serve,” stated Jason Landry, VP of Sales of Gage. “This partnership allows business owners to get a very clear and immediate picture of how their cybersecurity is currently performing. When owners are made aware of the threats and risks that are facing their business, they’re capable of bringing in the right infrastructure to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. This partnership is so important because it gives a very clear picture of the company’s risks.”

The partnership between Gage and ID Agent will combine human and sophisticated Dark Web intelligence with search capabilities to identify, analyze and proactively monitor an organization’s compromised or stolen employee and customer data. Business owners will receive real-time alerts, so they can focus on running their organizations. This partnership will not only allow businesses to monitor the dark side of the web, but it also provides the option to monitor an organization’s supply chain, third party partners and vendors that may have access to sensitive data, as well.

“At the end of the day it’s all about protecting employees who don’t realize the threats they face when executing their day-to-day responsibilities,”

“At the end of the day it’s all about protecting employees who don’t realize the threats they face when executing their day-to-day responsibilities,” added Landry. “Employees who spend time browsing the Internet, who share their email passwords freely, or use unsecured, cloud-based tools to do their work may not necessarily realize all of the potential vulnerabilities facing their network. We consider it to be our duty to educate the marketplace on these types of solutions to prevent as many cyberattacks from happening as possible.”


About ID Agent

ID Agent provides Dark Web monitoring and identity theft protection solutions, available exclusively through the reseller channel, to private and public organizations and millions of individuals at risk of cyber incidents. Its flagship product, Dark Web ID, delivers Dark Web intelligence to identify, analyze and monitor for compromised or stolen employee and customer data, mitigating exposure to enterprise clients’ most valuable asset–their digital identity. The company’s SpotLight ID provides personal identity protection and restoration for employees and customers while enhancing their overall cybersecurity awareness as well as further safeguarding corporate systems. For more information, visit: https://www.idagent.com or go to LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

About Gage

Gage was established in 1980 by Gregory A. Wood, Sr. The company’s original mission continues today, which is to provide the very best products and services that enable its clients to increase their profitability, obtain a competitive advantage, and improve employee productivity. Gage has served the Baton Rouge and South Louisiana business community for nearly 30 years through a culture of striving towards excellence and unparalleled commitment to customer service.

Gage helps companies of all sizes simplify their technology decisions with straight answers about everything from business telephone systems and computer networking to VoIP and voicemail services. The company conducts a complete needs analysis to ensure that each customer implements the right technology to meet their needs now and into the future.

Gage has built a strong team of highly experienced and industry certified voice and data specialists. These individuals proactively assist customers through high level support and strive to exceed their expectations on a daily basis. The team is backed by a fleet of state-of-the-art service vehicles ready to respond to customer calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. GAGE has distinguished itself from the competition by becoming one of the region’s leading telecommunications companies.

Contact Gage to learn more about how you can optimize cybersecurity in your business.