Category Archives: Managed Service Provider

Work Smart with an IT Consultant

Technology should allow you to work smarter, not harder. However, if you’ve never heard of a server, think beating your computer is a good repair practice, or believe the Cloud is some mysterious thing in the sky, chances are your technology is putting you to work instead of the other way around. But there is hope that won’t break your bank and leads to increased productivity: an IT consultant.

Your Local IT Consultant

It’s no secret that expensive products and services, while often beneficial when properly used, flood the market and can affect a small business’ bottom line. As a result, most business owners’ scam meters are on high alert. It doesn’t have to be this way with your technology.

With so many IT solutions available, the market is rich with engineers capable of making your company a productive machine. While not all of them have your best interest in mind, think of a good IT consultant as a friend concerned with your well-being. The best always consider your individual needs; however, since it’s still about business, their goal is to not only make you happy, but save you money, time, and generate more revenue by optimizing your technology.

IT’s not a Hard Choice if It’s a Smart Business Decision

IT consultants have a unique solution for having your back 24/7: Managed Services. As Managed Service Providers (MSPs), industry professionals’ primary goals are to optimize your company’s infrastructure, protect your business’ private information and digital assets, and work to automate your technology workflow.

What does this mean for you in a nutshell?

  • Fewer computer/server breakdowns and repairs, which translate to time saved.
  • Less chance for security breaches and loss of private and proprietary data, a challenge too large to overcome for some businesses.
  • Less time wasted on menial tasks by allowing automated technology to work for you.

These add up to less time spent trying to make your technology work and more time doing your real job. This translates to money saved and the potential for increased revenue.

Put Your Faith in an MSP You Can Trust

The most productive companies use technology to make things easier, not to add more work when their systems fail. The only businesses that should work hard to ensure your IT runs smoothly are ones that specialize in the industry – let your trusted friends at ECMSI help. We believe IT and your business is a relationship, one that we nurture together.

Contact Shane Nesbitt today: (330) 750-1428

An Investigation on Data Breaches in 2018

Recently, Verizon published their 11th edition of their Data Breaches Investigation report that looked at over 53,000 security incidents including over 2,126 confirmed data breaches. We wanted to highlight some of the key take a way’s in this report and show some of the shocking statistics businesses face when it comes to technology security in 2018. We are going to look at some of the motivating factors for hackers, what industries are affected the most and how a typical organization reacts to a cyber attack.

Who does the hacking?

73% of cyber-attacks are done by outsiders. These are organized criminal groups whose goal it is to specifically hack into systems illegally and collect information. 28% of attacks are done internally by those who may have the credentials or a way into the system with official credentials. These are especially hard to track because you never know who may be using company data for their own personal gain.

Why attack?

76% of breaches were financially motivated. Hackers are looking to steal information such as credit card numbers or social security information in order to use other people’s identities. We also see hacking in the form of malware that holds data for ransom for a fee. Found in over 39% of cases where malware was identified, ransomware is one of the most popular forms of online hacking today.

Who can be a victim?

Virtually any business that plugs in to any network could fall victim to a cyber-attack. Unfortunately, there are many ways a hacker could infiltrate in, whether it be POS, email, misuse by an employee, social media etc.  The most popular however is a direct hack by a group or person who specifically wanted to get in a particular network. Following close second is malware and phishing attempts. 4% of people will click on any given phishing campaign with 17% of all breaches happening because of human error in the everyday workplace.

Industry trends in data breaches.

Based on the Data of over 53,000 incidents and 2,126 confirmed breaches the number of the two categories for specific industries are as followed:

Accommodation: 338 breaches, 368 incidents
Education: 101 breaches, 292 incidents
Financial: 146 breaches, 598 incidents
Healthcare: 536 breaches, 750 incidents
Information: 109 breaches, 1,40 incidents
Manufacturing: 71 breaches, 536 incidents
Professional: 132 breaches, 540 incidents
Public: 304 breaches, 22,788 incidents
Retail: 169 breaches, 317 incidents

The Reaction

While most compromises happen in a very short time span, with over 87% taking a minute or less, finding out about them is a whole different story. On average, only 3% are discovered within minutes, while over 68% went undiscovered for months or more. The report states that in many cases it isn’t even the organization that recognizes the breach but an outside third party such as partners, law enforcement, or the most damaging, by customers.

Staying proactive and keeping your cyber defenses up is one of the most important things to any business in 2018. While no defense mechanism is a 100% guarantee. Having a plan and being able to respond quickly is the best chance of stopping hackers in their tracks and restoring your data.

To see the full report by Verizon click here

Contact ECMSI for a FREE network health assessment to see if your business is being effected by malware. Find out if their are any vulnerabilities in your network and what you can do to stop them! Fill out the form below.



The Threat of Social Engineering.

You can defend your data with all the latest and best technology. But if just one team member gets tricked into giving away the keys to the castle, it’s game over. Hackers know this. And that’s why so many use social engineering to break in.

And it’s not just the big companies you hear about on the news. On February 3, 2016 a suspect posing as the CEO of Magnolia Health Corp. obtained a spreadsheet with sensitive data about their employees. On February 23, someone posing as an employee of Central Concrete Supply Company obtained confidential W2 records and disappeared with them.

In a 2011 survey, Check Point Software Technologies found that nearly half of the companies surveyed reported one or more social engineering attacks resulting in losses ranging anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 per occurrence.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t any whiz-bang tricks or tools that will automatically prevent a clever “social engineer” (SE) from breaking in. The keys to protection are awareness and vigilance. To help you know what to watch for, here are five common ploys – and how to deflect them:

Familiarity – In this type of scheme, the hacker becomes familiar to an employee. Social networking sites can reveal an employee’s schedule and favorite hangouts. The hacker might then frequent the same bar or restaurant. After a drink or two, some key fact may slip out… The best way to bust this ploy is to be careful to not get lulled into a false sense of security around people you haven’t thoroughly vetted.

The Consultant – A social engineer poses as a consultant for hire. Once they get the gig they can scoop up all the info they need from you and your team because of their seeming authority. Watch for this especially with IT consultants. Do NOT trust blindly. Vet every consultant, and never give all the keys to the kingdom. Just because someone has the skills to fix your server or network doesn’t mean they won’t steal your data. Vet thoroughly, and, as Ronald Reagan said, ‘trust but verify’.

Piggybacking – The SE waits by a secured door for someone to use their passcode and enters right behind them. Or the SE struggles with a heavy box and asks a legit employee to hold the door open for them. Being kind and helpful, the employee helps the SE right into the building… free to do as they please. To foil this one, never forget the dangers of allowing a stranger in without proper clearance.

The Interview – Key information often escapes during interviews. A smart social engineer will gain an interview and deftly pick up all the information they need to hack into your network. Make sure any data provided during an interview offers nothing in the way of secrets. Keep the conversation light, or even superficial to avoid leaking critical data.

Angry Man – You may have seen this on TV… Somebody has an angry tone on the phone, or is grumbling to themselves as if they’ve just had an argument. We all tend to avoid people like that. Enough people avoid them and the way is cleared into the heart of the company – and your data. Don’t go along with it. When you see this exploit unfolding, call security.

The key to preventing social engineering attacks is a well-trained workforce. You and your people may be your company’s greatest asset. Yet without regular, proper training, human beings can be the weakest link in your company’s data defenses.

The Most Important Things to Monitor 24/7

Plenty of IT support firms tell you they monitor hundreds of things on your network and can present a huge 500 page report “proving” they are doing their job.   While many things are important to monitor, there are a few we see constantly ignored by an IT staff.  Save yourself a lot of trouble by checking these three things and make sure you are protected.

Data Backup / Business Continuity
Check your backup reports every day.  Make sure they show no failures, but more importantly check the logs at least once a week to verify critical items are being backed up.   We’ve seen plenty of clients add a new volume of documents on a  private folder for the CEO/CFO to share them for a new project, but they forgot to add it to the backup rotation.   Someone deletes a file accidentally and it can take days to renter the data.

Log Monitoring
You should be checking firewall, switch, server and several other logs for unknown or problematic activity.  It a pain to be sure, but what’s worse would be to ignore something and then find out a failure or weak point could have been prevented.  We’ve seen servers run out of drive space that were sending warnings for weeks and firewall logs showing an attack penetration days before clients lost access to their data.  Most importantly, if you are subject to government compliance’s.  Are you sure your are meeting all of the legal requirements?

Windows patching and Anti-Virus
Do you have systematic processes in place to notify you if Windows security patches are installed?  What about your anti-virus engine?  Is the scanner database current on all connected devices?  It only takes one infected machine to cripple a network and cause data loss to happen or worse, a data breach.

There are a few more items that are critical to watch and if you’d like to know more, feel free to contact us.

My Coffee Machine Got Hacked

In today’s world it seems like anything can fall victim to a cyber attack. We all know that a computer, wireless network, server, (etc.) can be compromised. Now imagine that you’re at work and you see a ransomware message on your coffee machine’s screen. That’s right… a COFFEE MACHINE. This may sound ridiculous but it did happen and could happen to any workplace. Bet you didn’t know ransomware is now a part of the new continental breakfast.

A chemical engineer with a degree in computer science posted this instance on Reddit and explained exactly what happened that led to this attack on their workplace coffee machine. It all began when a factory worker encountered a ransomware message on his computer, he then called the help desk to get the issue resolved and stepped out to grab a cup of coffee. The worker then noticed the same message on the coffee machine’s screen. Now, this ransomware did not just shut down the employee coffee supply and hold it for ransom (which, that would be a whole other nightmare),this ransomware spread throughout the factory and shut down factory systems. So how did this all happen?

Coffee machines are supposed to be connected to their own isolated WiFi network, the person who was installing the network made the mistake of connecting it to the internal control room network, when they noticed the coffee machine still wasn’t getting internet they then connected it to the isolated WiFi network. While a hacker was poking around in their systems they noticed that huge security fall and managed to squirm their way into the system and gridlock the entire factory network.

A coffee machine is not the only issue, practically any computer- implemented or computer enabled device can be compromised, this then leads to a wild search for what else is connected to that same network that could also become infected? Network vulnerability is like a screen door. If you do not pay attention and their is the tiniest hole in the screen somehow at least one fly will manage its way through and get into your home.

Being proactive and making sure your systems are always being monitored for any issues is very important. Implementing the right security precautions and making sure your network is sealed tight is the only way to prevent malware from grid locking your network. Finally, please make sure your office coffee machine is installed properly!

Forgot Your Password? The Future May Help.

Probably one of the most annoying things about technology today is trying to remember all your passwords, from your desktop login, social media sites, down to your online financials, a combination of words and numbers can really start to all blend together. If you’re like most of us, you probably have the same password for everything. This practice is EXTREMELY unsafe, and not recommended by any IT technicians or service providers. So, is there any end in sight to the madness? Well, current trends in biometrics may just make passwords obsolete.

Today, many cell phone users are logging onto their phones and entering all their apps with their fingerprints. Apple’s “Apple Pay” on iPhones are becoming ever more popular and allows for users to pay with their cards at retail locations using their fingerprints to authenticate the purchase. The Samsung Galaxy S8 phone has an upgraded retinal scanner that can be used to unlock the phone and can be used as a second factor in authenticating any number of online services. Microsoft’s Hello is allowing Windows 10 users to login through facial recognition and a patent for the company indicates they are trying to develop ways to pair a touchscreen with gestures made on the screen to authenticate. Some ideas out there are even hinting at using brainwaves for authentication to unlock computers!

What will this mean for the future of passwords? Maybe soon all you will have to do is think about unlocking your Facebook page and like magic, it would work. While that may seem farfetched, who knows what the future can hold? Much of this research to eliminate passwords is being supported. In the U.K. the National Cyber Security Center is looking for proposals that will do away with passwords and is offering $32,160 in research funds per proposal.

However, while things are still in the works we will have to still stick to the “old-school” way of keeping our information safe, with your first pets name and your birth date numbers (did we get some of you??…). Until then, we recommend creating strong passwords (using capital letters, numbers and symbols) and using different passwords for each account you have.


Call ECMSI today for a free consult!