5 Cybersecurity Tips You Must Teach Your Employees

Today, more than 40 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses. 

If you happen to run a small business, this might be cause for alarm if you aren’t taking the proper precautions. One of the most important precautions to take is to set up cybersecurity policies in your company, while also making sure that your employees are properly trained and educated. 

Below we’ll dive into the best cybersecurity tips to push in your business. 

The Top Cybersecurity Tips to Teach Your Employees

Without question, educating your employees on cybersecurity is one of the most important investments that you can make in your company.

So what exactly should you be teaching your employees about cybersecurity?

Below are some of the main points to keep in mind. 

1. Make Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly

You need to be sure that your employees aren’t creating flimsy passwords that can be easily hacked. This not only puts their work portal at risk but it also put your entire company’s data on the line. 

Set up a policy for password strength to ensure that each employee is setting up passwords that are virtually impossible to crack. 

When you start with this step, many of your other cybersecurity concerns become a non-issue. 

2. Be Wary of Sites You Shouldn’t Trust

Make sure that you educate your employees about the danger of certain sites. First, check the protocol of every web address, ensuring that they have a secure “https://” extension. 

Even today, phishing is still one of the most common and dangerous forms of cyberattack. 

If they don’t personally know or do business with a sender, they shouldn’t open any files or fill out any forms. 

3. Get to Know the Data Protection and Emergency Plan

Each and every company should have a data protection and emergency plan. 

A cyber breach response plan will mitigate damage and help you quickly communicate with customers. This way, your company can get back on track. 

4. Use Two-Factor Authentication

In this age of cyber threats, two-factor authentication is an absolute necessity. With two-factor authentication, your employees will have to verify both a password check and a special code sent to their e-mail address or mobile device. 

Requiring these two steps adds a layer of protection from cyber threats. 

5. Upgrade Software Whenever Possible

Finally, take the time to make upgrades to your software so that you can work through bugs and short up any cyberattack weaknesses you have in previous versions. 

Make it so that your employees can’t log in and access regular activity without having the newest upgrade. This way, you’ll always know everyone that accesses your data is on one accord, so troubleshooting and safety precautions become simplified and strengthened. 

Handle Your Company’s Cybersecurity Needs

These are the cybersecurity tips you need to be imparting to your employees. 

When you are ready to take your company’s cybersecurity and information technology (IT) to the next level, we’ve got you covered. 

To learn more about our services, contact us via the web, or call us at (504) 603-9910 (New Orleans office), (985) 603-9910 (Northshore office), (225) 624-4900 (Baton Rouge office). 

Essential Small Business Management Software for 2020

Efficiency and productivity are two things that every business strives for. The more productive the workforce is, the more profitable the business is.

There are a million ways to make your team more productive and efficient. Fortunately, there are software tools that can make it much easier.

Read on to discover the top small business management software tools you have to use to make your business run better.

Accounting Software

The health of your business isn’t measured by revenue, but by cash flow. About 82% of businesses close because of cash flow issues, making it the main reason why businesses shut down.

Having a great accounting program to help you manage your business is an absolute must so you can easily manage your cash flow.

QuickBooks has long been the industry leader in the field and you can find a plan to fit your business, no matter the size.

Customer Relationship Management

Small business owners have so much to keep track of it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. A customer relationship management solution will help you keep track of leads and customers.

You’ll be able to see exactly where your leads are in the sales cycle and stay on top of your customers’ needs.

Some of the top CRM solutions are from SalesForce, Zoho, and HubSpot.

Marketing Automation

How would you like to have your customers come to you instead of constantly chasing your next customer?

Marketing automation is a simple way to allow you to do just that. A simple marketing automation tool will allow you to build an email sales funnel and have it sent out automatically as you get subscribers. MailChimp and SendPulse are two tools that are good starting points for marketing automation.

There are also solutions that are more complex and allow you to segment leads and trigger emails for certain events, like if someone abandons a shopping cart on your website.

Document Sharing in the Cloud

It seems like everything is moving to the cloud. The cloud is simply the internet.

One tool that you need is a cloud service that will allow you to store, access, and edit documents from anywhere.

This is particularly handy if you spend a lot of time on the road meeting with clients.

Managing Software

These are all great tools that can help you manage your business and be more efficient. However, you have to manage all of these tools. You want to make sure that your software is updated, and your employees are trained to use them.

Integrating new tools in the work environment is challenging because employees don’t like change. They need to understand why the change is necessary and how it will make their work better.

The Top Small Business Management Software Tools

Small business management software is necessary if you want to do things faster and more efficiently. There are countless tools to choose from and you want to find the solutions that best fit your needs.

Managing a business is tough. Managing technology to run your business presents even more challenges. You don’t have to figure it all out by yourself. Contact CORE Networks today to find out how we can help you in your business.

5 Reasons Why Employee Education is Important in Protecting Your Network

Insider-caused data breaches are happening more often and at higher costs to companies, according to the Ponemon Institute.

Institute experts recommend stepping up efforts to minimize risk. One of the top steps you can take is to hire experts to train your employees on policies and procedures.

Here are five reasons why employee education is vital in protecting your network.

1. Security Will Become a Clear Priority

You’d hate to see your company make data breach history, and your employees would too. It’s hard to feel proud of a company doesn’t seem to care about security and privacy.

By setting aside company time for training, you’re showing employees your company is serious about security. This increases the chances that they will take it seriously as well.

2. You Will Raise Awareness and Provide Specific Directions

Anyone can fall victim to common cyber security risks. Knowledge is the top way to fight that.

Do your employees even know you have a security policy? Do they know what to do if they see something that concerns them or if they think they may have slipped up? Are they aware of what kinds of threats are out there today?

They will be if you bring in professionals to educate them properly. After all, nobody wants to see the employer who puts food on their table lose cash because of security-related legal bills.

3. Employee Education Makes Security Personal

It’s unlikely every employee feels personally responsible for security issues, such as protecting business data. It can feel like a responsibility that rests on IT’s shoulders. Teaching employees to protect your company helps them realize that it’s part of their daily job description.

One way education does this is by making security a personal problem. When employees learn that data breaches can release their own HR and payroll records, that can raise a red flag and inspire action.

Adding this personal touch also helps employees feel like they’re getting a benefit. They can use the tips they learn for their own accounts and home network.

4. People Will Open up to IT

Once employees gain a sense of their role in security, they will understand how important it is to be honest if they have a concern. They will be much more likely to report issues to the IT department or the managed services provider.

Having a reporting plan in place will make it much easier for employees to know what to report and how. Thanks their training, everybody on staff will be ready to react quickly.

5. Your Policy Will Fit Your Company

When you include employees in training, the direct interaction can help ensure everyone is on the same page about your polices and procedures. Giving employees the chance to ask questions, share concerns, and provide feedback may help you build a better plan for the future.

You’ll end up with a policy that works for your company’s needs and culture. You’re more likely to see success.

Get Expert Help with Employee Education for Superior Network Security

With professional employee education, you can get your network security in gear. If you’re ready to educate your employees, contact us to get started.

What Does Windows 7 Support End of Life Mean for Your Business?

In 2019, Help Net Security found out that 43% of businesses were still running Windows 7.

If your business is among them, it’s high time to prepare for Windows 7 end of life. From January 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide support for this system. As popular as it was, Windows 7 always had a limited lifespan.

Not sure why it’s time to move on? Here’s a quick guide to help you out.

What It Means

First things first: why is the end of Windows 7 support such a big deal?

For starters, there’s the matter of security. Once Jan. 14 rolls around, PCs running Windows 7 will face higher exposure to security risks. These include viruses, corruption, data loss, cyber-attacks, and so on.

Also, your business may be subject to regulatory compliance such as GDPR, PCI, or HIPAA. In this case, if you continue to use an unsupported operating system, your business won’t pass its yearly audits.

The Two Options

The best way to protect your IT infrastructure is to migrate to Windows 10 by the Jan. 14 deadline. You have two viable options at your disposal.

1. Upgrade to Windows 10

Are most of your business laptops and computers less than three years old? If so, your best bet is a simple upgrade to Windows 10. This won’t take a long time and allows you to keep your existing files and software.

The upgrade costs depend on whether your PCs have Windows 10 pre-loaded. If they do, you only need to buy the installation file ($120-$200 per machine). If you need to buy the license as well, you may end up spending a lot more.

Once you add the license costs into the mix, the age of your existing PCs becomes a key factor. The older a computer gets, the closer it is to the end of its life. If you’ll have to replace it soon, it may not be wise to invest in it.

2. Purchasing New PCs

Your other option is to buy PCs that come with Windows 10 installed. This is the more expensive route, as well as the more time-consuming one. Researching new PCs, transferring the files, and setting everything up can take a while.

That said, this may be the right move for two types of businesses:

• Businesses with computers that are more than three years old

• Businesses with computers that don’t have the Windows 10 OEM license

As mentioned above, the Windows 10 license and software can be steep. In these situations, businesses should look at each individual PC. If most of them don’t have licenses or are older than three years, getting new PCs makes sense.

Of course, keeping PCs that are older than three years is also a valid option. That said, keep in mind that these will keep slowing down over time. Plus, they may not be completely compatible with Windows 10.

More on Windows 7 End of Life

As you can see, you shouldn’t take the Windows 7 end of life deadline lightly. If your business has an in-house IT department, they should already be on top of it. If you have a managed service provider, check in with them.

Want to know more about the security issues that Windows 10 can protect you from? Worried that your business isn’t safe from cyber-attacks? We can help you out — contact us right here, and we’ll get back to you!

Break-Fix vs. Managed Services: Everything You Need to Know

There are over 1 billion computers in use around the world. Many of them are used by businesses.

If you use computers to manage your business you need to find a way to maintain both the computers and the software that you use. 

There are two main options you should consider when thinking about maintaining your computer system, these are break-fix repair and managed services. If you are on a tight budget it can be very confusing to know what to do.

Here is a comparison so that you can choose the option that is right for you.

1. The Key Differences Between Break-fix and Managed Services

The key differences between a break-fix- service and a managed service is that a break-fix service is used as needed. This means that you only call a break-fix repair company when something is broken.

A managed service is responsible for your IT services around the clock.

2. Speed

A break-fix service will often charge you an hourly rate. How much you will eventually pay is highly dependent on how fast or how slow they work.

With a managed IT support service there are often guarantees made to customers. The faster the managed service provider works to solve your problem the better it is for their reputation and maybe even their pay depending on the guarantee that was made.

A break-fix service will often charge you more than once if they have to deal with the same problem twice. If you have a managed service and this happens there is usually no extra charge.

3. Get Access to the Latest Management Systems

When you use a managed IT service you are likely to have access to the latest in management systems. This is because your service provider has an incentive to keep you up and running.

Using a break-fix service means that you will have to implement the latest systems yourself. If you are to do this, you will see your costs for maintenance rise rapidly.

4. Have Your Own Dedicated IT Team

Having an inhouse IT team can be costly and if you are a small business this will raise your budget. Even when you have an in-house team you may find yourself limited by hours of operations.

When you have an IT team from a managed service you pay a monthly fee for a team that is always on call and dedicated to your cybersecurity

Final Thoughts

You have now seen the major differences between a break-fix service and a managed IT service. If you rarely have IT issues then you can choose a break-fix service. If your budget can manage costly repairs then you can also go with a break-fix service.

However, if you have a limited budget and need regular IT assistance then you should choose a managed service. In the end, you will save more money.

You will also have greater peace of mind when you use a managed service because you can rest assured that someone will always be on call to deal with your IT issues.

If you would like to get managed IT services please contact us.

The Benefits of VoIP Telecommunications for Your Business

Every business needs a way to communicate with employees, vendors, and clients, no matter how big or small it is. But despite technology getting better and better, the majority of companies are stuck with traditional landlines.

An alternative to consider is VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol. What is it? The simplest explanation is calls made using broadband internet instead of phone lines.

Below, we’ll explore the benefits of VoIP service for your business.

You’ll Save Money

When you rely on phone lines for communication, you’ll need several lines to handle your calls. But with VoIP service, all you’ll need is broadband internet and payment for the initial setup of the system.

Plus, when you have traditional landlines, you usually have to pay extra for things like voicemail and call forwarding. Pay one flat fee for VoIP service and get those extras included. Plus, there’s no such thing as long-distance fees anymore.

The Call Quality Is Better

It’s true that if you don’t have a good internet connection, the call quality of VoIP can be subpar. But chances are, you’ve invested in good internet service so your business can run smoothly.

The call quality of VoIP is so good that not only does it match traditional landlines in quality, but it also surpasses it quite often.

Calls Are More Secure

If you have to communicate sensitive data, there are extra steps VoIP uses to secure your calls. It uses encryption, which means if anyone intercepts the call, they can’t “unlock” the information inside unless they have the “key.” This key is unique and only you have it.

Enjoy More Than Just Calls

A traditional phone line can only serve a few purposes: calling and faxing. But with VoIP, you can do so much more. Not only can you call and fax, but you can also do video conferencing, instant messaging, and more.

With all these features, VoIP will enable your workforce to become more productive.

Better Accessibility and Flexibility

When your company relies on a landline, your employees can not take it with them when on business trips. Of course, they can use a company cell phone, but with that can come with limitations. All they have to do is bring the portable VoIP adapter with them, and they can use the service so long as they have an internet connection.

You can also assign VoIP line numbers to your remote workers who are halfway across the world. This essentially means you can have a global workforce that’s always easy to reach.

Use VoIP Service for Your Company

As you can see, VoIP service has many advantages when compared to analogue phone lines. These are outdated, so keep up with the ever-evolving technological world; replace your phone system with VoIP service to not only save money, but to also make improvements in various areas of your business.

If you would like to get VoIP service for your business, please get in touch with us to discuss this option.

Is Your Business Ready for Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is in full swing. Hurricane Florence is barreling towards the Carolinas and there are three other systems being watched. Most coastal residents have some idea as to how to prepare their house and other buildings for hurricanes, but what about your I.T. stuff? Are you storm-ready on the I.T. side?

Back It Up

The most important thing to do is make sure everything is backed up. If you haven’t done a digital backup of all your important files, now is the time to do it. Consider things like Excel spreadsheets, photos, emails, Quickbooks, etc. There are different backups to consider:

Onsite = Onsite backups use devices like USB and removable hard drives. They are easy, fast, and don’t require internet. However, you have to remember to take the backup device with you if you evacuate.

Cloud/Offsite = If you have a lot of data and/or don’t want to risk forgetting your backup devices when you evacuate, you might prefer a cloud-based option. This way, if your office floods and/or electricity goes off, your data is being stored somewhere else and is still accessible via cloud.

Both onsite and offsite options can be set up to backup your information regularly, which is ideally what you should do.

Failover

Depending on your setup, you may also want to consider a failover system. For example, if you have an important server running at your business that you’re worried about losing power to, you can set up a failover system to take over if/when your main system goes offline. Of course, you’ll need to monitor said failover system, just like you need to monitor backups. If you don’t monitor such things, they may not work when you need them.

You’ll likely want to keep tabs on your employees, so find out their hurricane evacuation plans ahead of time. Some may evacuate out of the danger zone and yet remain in an area that loses electricity and/or cell phone service, while other employees may evacuate far enough away that they will retain both and could work remotely if requested.

If you are interested in our data backup services, please contact us, and stay safe this hurricane season.

Business Security and Your Anti-Virus Software

When you’re the owner of a business, one of the most important aspects is making sure that the workplace is secure. Not only is it important that you educate your employees on the dangers of cyberspace, for example, but you need to be sure you’re doing your part as well. Don’t share you password(s) with anyone, and always make sure to keep them updated. With that said, do you have anti-virus software installed as well? It’s one of the most efficient ways to protect a business.  Here are some important tips to consider when using it. Continue reading “Business Security and Your Anti-Virus Software”

Advantages of Working with a Local VoIP Provider

Small businesses and large businesses alike are increasingly acquiring VoIP services, which have not only helped streamlined business services, but also ensured greater client satisfaction as well. There are lots of local VoIP providers nowadays offering businesses with the chance to acquire their services and take advantage of the many benefits it offers. What are the advantages of working with a local VoIP service provider you ask? Continue reading “Advantages of Working with a Local VoIP Provider”

How to Spice up your Company Voicemail Greetings

Your company voicemail greetings are very important, since it says a lot about your business to your clients and customers. Everyone hates generic recorded voicemail greetings, whether they are on your home phone or business phone. This is why it is important that you personalize your company’s voicemail greetings, and most VoIP solutions that let you do that.

If you’re not in your office, you can leave a voicemail greeting, to act as your first line of communication with clients or potential clients. Adding your own personality in the greeting, will ensure that you standout to your client, but make sure that it is still professional. So here is how you can spice up your company’s voicemail greetings: Continue reading “How to Spice up your Company Voicemail Greetings”