Category Archives: Uncategorized

WILL YOU BE READY WHEN RANSOMWARE ATTACKS?

As a MSP, we’re all too familiar with frantic calls from prospects whose hardware have been infected with Ransomware. You can hear the panic in their voices as they ask for immediate help. Though they want us to rush in like the A-Team of IT and fix their problems, we always make sure we have a conversation first. The reason being? We want the client educated on the probable outcome before they spend any money on ransomware removal. 

Why Ransomware Removal Is So Tough

The newer ransomware is deceitfully very good software. It locks you out of your data and then goes looking for more victims on your network. If you’ve got one infection, you are likely to get more.

Our best solution, rather than ransomware removal, is to restore from a good backup, but then we find out frequently the client was just protecting their servers, not the PC’s data.

Sadly, no one is safe. Large and small businesses get hacked with the same frequency. Even family photos and personal information can get swept up in a ransomware attack. It’s always sad when our clients lose personal memories. Though their business data might be safe on a protected server, their personal files are usually not and are lost when we have to fully wipe an infected PC. Worst of all is this can be prevented.

Avoiding the Threat from Ransomware Attacks

Staying one step ahead of ransomware attacks takes preparation. Backing up your critical data is one of the most important steps you can take. Ask your MSP which tools they use; a multilayered approach is required for security as no single vendor can or should “do it all” when critical data is involved.

Additionally, make sure your staff recognizes there are simply some emails they shouldn’t open. If you get an attachment from an unknown sender, you should delete it. Train your staff to be careful, but also block websites you know are malicious. Since removing ransomware isn’t an option, you can’t take any risks.

There are also solid security tools and business processes to protect your organization. Have a frank conversation with your IT provider. I’ve said it 100 times before, but with data security an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It may be the only thing between you and total data loss.

So before you have to pursue ransomware removal, take care of your backup solutions. At ECMSI, we can provide you with business continuity that prevents you from ever losing your livelihood to ransomware attacks, system failures, or even natural disasters. Check out our backup solutions and prevent your company from being held hostage by circumstances outside your control.

Layered security: Protecting your data, process and investment

Cybercriminals raked in more than one trillion dollars globally in 2020, targeting businesses big and small.1 28% of the businesses successfully targeted by cybercrime in 2020 were in the “small business” category.2 Bottom line—your business is a potential target.

The problem: Where will the next attack strike?

  • Your business process is made up of many layers that are supported by your IT environment. Advanced cybercriminal tactics can target each layer individually.
  • Your internet use Your network Your employees Your applications Your devices
  • Just deploying antivirus, using a firewall, and regularly updating your operating system is no longer enough to protect your business.

Layered security

  • Layered security is the next step in securing your mission-critical data and workflow. We provide cost-effective IT security management, monitoring, and maintenance that is proactive and comprehensive. No aspect of your IT use is left out as we deploy protective protocols across each layer of your IT environment.
  • Internet layer – Securing your data traffic
  • Network layer – Protecting against lateral attack
  • People layer – Protecting identities and accounts plus employee training Application layer – Employing proper software management
  • Device layer – Keeping individual machines from becoming a target

Why layered security?

  • Demonstrating industry and regulatory compliance
  • Avoiding risks posed by new technologies
  • Allowing teams to work safely from anywhere
  • Keeping unplanned downtime to an absolute minimum Protecting proprietary information and confidential client data

The business benefits of layered security

  • Ability to securely pursue organizational objectives
  • Higher productivity due to minimized downtime
  • Lower risk profile
  • Adherence to cybersecurity insurance mandates
  • Faster response to and resolution of IT security incidents
  • Granular reporting of IT security posture to demonstrate compliance

Keep your business running at full speed—let us handle the cybersecurity

Working with our full team of IT security professionals gives you the peace of mind to tackle the next phase of your organizational development, landing new deals and expanding into new markets. Our team helps you move forward by taking on the time-consuming tasks of cybersecurity management. Each of our cybersecurity management agreements are cost-effective and tailored to the level of protection you need today and to grow tomorrow. Contact Shane Nesbitt, IT Consultant, for more information: (330) 750-1428

Let Us Tackle Your Tech, So You Can Focus on Your Business

You have a lot to juggle. Everyone looks to you for answers, instruction, and direction. It’s hard to carve out time in your schedule for what you want to do and for growth strategy implementation. Every business leader faces time constraints. It can feel like you’re a rubber band stretched to the breaking point.

So, maybe you’re thinking about tasks to delegate to free time for you to work on your business instead of in your business. Our team of IT professionals works with busy business executives every day, taking on IT maintenance and support and freeing them to tackle go-forward business initiative. It’s how our clients find time to keep their competitive edge. 

But I Can Do the IT Management for Our Business.

We understand you have the skills and the willingness to do the menial, day-to-day IT updates, upgrades, and patching. But you shouldn’t have to be the one to do that work. Your time is too valuable. 

You’re the leader—the visionary. You’re the one person in your organization who can’t be duplicated or replaced. Taking IT off your hands frees up your time and energy, allowing you to put effort into gaining revenue, avoiding stagnant growth, and accelerating ahead of the competition.

Taking Security Worries Off Your Plate

Cybercriminals and their tactics evolve every day. You already know how challenging it is to stay up to date and keep your systems fortified against malware, phishing attacks, and ransomware. It’s an endless battle and a drain on your time. Let us deploy and manage a full stack of cutting-edge IT security tools to give you the confidence to work on projects with greater ROI.

Managing Your Own IT Can Divert Your Attention from Pro-Growth Opportunities

Your “Top 5 things to do to steer the company” list never seems to get tackled. Often, this is because your attention gets sucked away by the tedious jobs that you’d rather not do. As a result, growth slows and revenues plateau.

There’s a better way. Freeing up all your time and attention for c-suite strategy and decision making allows you to make more progress within your business.

Let Your Employees Do What They Do Best

You’ve hired some of the most talented people in your field to get work done and help you grow your business. While they may be competent with day-to-day computer issues, they shouldn’t have to learn or perform their own IT support either. Partnering with our team of IT professionals allows your employees to get away from IT issues and fully leverage their industry skills.

100% Focus on Your Business Goals and Growth

There is nothing more powerful than a CEO focused on finding ways to scale their company to the next level. Why use up your day on work that doesn’t have the potential to exponentially improve your company?

A Single Point of Accountability for Your IT Maintenance, Security, and Support

There’s no need to wonder, “Who am I going to get to handle this?”  You don’t have to keep putting off necessary IT maintenance work because you have more important work to do. We are your single point of accountability for everything IT. We are the partners that take on your burdens, so you can focus on the next steps in business.

No business is too small or too old to start implementing managed and professional services. Whether your venture is new and you want to start off on the right foot, or you believe your business needs a boost in productivity, our team at ECMSI is here to help! ECMSI is the area’s leading managed service provider with a track record of continued success with their proactive approach for over two decades. If you have any questions regarding MSP’s and how one can help your business, please feel free to give us a call at 330-750-1428 . ECMSI, Making IT Easy!

Increase Password Security with a Password Manager

One of the most frustrating things about passwords is trying to remember all of them. From your desktop login, social media, email, and so on – the combination of words and numbers just start to blend. We’ve seen sticky notes and notebooks filled with username and passwords. While these tactics help us remember and manage our passwords, it’s also increasing our risk of guess passwords and stolen credentials.

What Are Some Common Password Mistakes?

Physical Copy

Whether in the office or at home, keeping a physical copy of your passwords could expose your credentials to anyone who walks by. Whether that’s a disgruntled co-worker, cleaning or maintenance personnel or any colleague or supervisor, having your information readily available puts you and your company at risk. You are also risking the damaging or loss of your physical records, whether it’s mistaken as “trash” or damaged, you may have no way to recover your credentials.

Setting Simple Passwords

Setting simple passwords can conveniently grant you access to your accounts, but it also makes it easier for threat actors to guess. As more databases are being breached, one set of credentials can compromise your entire online reputation if you reuse your passwords. Threat actors will use harvested credentials across a multitude of websites because they’re aware of the convenience of reused passwords.

What’s a Better Way to Manage Your Passwords?

With a plethora of passwords to maintain and update on a consistent basis, it may seem like a daunting and frustrating task. Password managers such as LastPass, are software applications that are designed to store and manage online credentials, so you don’t have to remember them all. Password managers take the hassle out of creating long-unique passwords and having to remember them. These types of password mangers help you stay on top of password best practices by create secure passwords and alerting you when there are duplicate passwords in your account. All in all, a user only needs to remember one master password for their password manager and use a multi-factor authentication to keep their information secure.

What Are the Benefits of a Password Manager?

Not only do password managers keep your passwords secure and up to date, but many offer plug-ins that can auto-fill your passwords for convenience. Some also offer password generators that can create complex passwords on demand and store them for each new login. Additionally, password managers with auto-fill capabilities can bypass malicious keyboard logging that can record your key strokes and clipboard the content of every time you copy and paste.

“Password managers add both ease and security. You can create complex passwords for each one of your accounts and store them in a password vault. The only password you’ll have to remember is the one you’ll use to get into the vault. This allows you to create long, complex, and secure passwords without having to remember each one of them.”

– Nate Bair, Security Team Lead at ECMSI

Improve Your Password Security Today

ECMSI offers a state-of-the-art, multi-layered security suite to ensure your network and critical data is being protected. We offer a free network health assessment to answer your questions, show you where you’re vulnerable, and what our recommendations are to keep your network healthy and productive.

Every Business Should Invest in Cyber Security. Here’s Why:

Cyber security is essential to businesses of all sizes. Learn how to keep your business up to date and protected from the most common digital threats.   Cybersecurity is no longer a concern exclusive to large corporations. Since the infamous attacks on Equifax, Target, and Apple, cybercriminals have started to shift their focus towards smaller businesses. Without proper security protocols, small businesses are sitting ducks even for novice hackers. In recent years, the cost of data theft targeting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) has risen significantly. The threat has prompted many SMBs to invest more heavily in third-party data security services.

Cybersecurity in A Continuously Evolving Digital Space

Ever-evolving technology makes the world more connected, but also makes data more vulnerable to attackers. Gone are the days when an antivirus, firewall, and email filter were enough to earn a passing cybersecurity grade. As criminals refine and improve their methods of attack, businesses and IT professionals must step up their defenses.

The most recent trend in cyberattacks is a shift towards SMBs, many of which lack the breadth and depth of data security that larger corporations are likely to have. Illicit tactics such as email phishing, direct hacking, and installing ransomware can spell big trouble for SMBs. If your data is compromised, the results can extend to your customers and other members of your supply chain.

Consequences of A Data Breach

The fallout from a data breach depends on the scale of the attack and the value of the data stolen. Hackers may be able to seize control of accounts, drain funds, freeze assets, and access sensitive customer information. If you operate in the healthcare or financial sectors, you may be liable to pay reparations in addition to suffering the cost of stolen capital and the inability to continue operations. The cost of a large-scale data breach can devastate even the wealthiest of corporations and will most certainly overwhelm a small business.

How to Improve Cybersecurity

A common misconception is that only large corporations can afford effective cybersecurity. In most cases, implementing cybersecurity isn’t merely a matter of money, but of proper training and awareness. This includes email phishing, which is often the first step attackers use to conduct large scale theft of usernames, passwords, and other sensitive data.

Educating and training your employees on cybersecurity minimizes the risk of data theft at the point of contact. Your business should have protocols to identify signs of phishing, choose secure passwords, and grant or deny access to information. You can also inform your customers about how to keep their information secure. Taking this two-pronged approach shows customers how committed you are to keeping their data safe.

Many small businesses do not have the personnel, expertise or time to put in their IT security and that is when they are put at a high risk for their business or employee data to be compromised. These proactive security steps are an absolute necessity to any modern-day business. ECMSI is the area’s leading IT Management provider whose goal is to keep its partners productive, safe, and secure.  Call today for a FREE Network Health Assessment and find where your network is vulnerable and where ECMSI can help! (330) 750-1428

WHAT ARE YOUR BUSINESS GOALS FOR 2022?

As we’ve established our foothold of the first month of 2022, businesses are continuing to plan for the new year. In your plan for 2022, have you considered where you’d like to see your company establish a stronger foothold on technology? What about your business goals and how technology can play a big part? When your work with ECMSI as your Managed Services Provider (MSP), you’re getting a true partner in business and in IT.

Owner/CEO of ECMSI, Ralph Blanco, says “Your strategy as a business owner should be to understand how to keep your staff safe and productive.  It may not be a pandemic that shuts you down in the future if you don’t keep your IT strategy current.  With more and more threats hitting the industry it is critical that you continue to improve your layered security to reduce the chances that your staff becomes hostage to downtime.  Understanding what it takes to take the appropriate steps to protect your business should be a priority strategic topic for 2022.”

Technology to Reach Business Goals

It’s established that small to midsized businesses are requiring more than just the lowest level of functioning technology to remain competitive. By partnering with ECMSI, you’ll become accustomed to quarterly strategic reviews, budgeting discussions and evolving services to ensure you have access to the technology needed to achieve your goals. We’re here to help your staff reach peak productivity and reduced downtime to ensure your business can continue to grow.

Cyber Security

Cyber Security should always be on a business owners mind. While this past year has proven how effective cyber security services can keep your business safe, many businesses are not prepared. Ask yourself: Are you protecting your critical data? Do you have current and clean backups? If you lost all of your critical data – could you recover? ECMSI’s robust cyber security suite keeps your business secure and offers total peace of mind.

Get Help Creating an IT Budget

When you establish business goals and the involvement of reputable IT support, ECMSI will help you stick to your budget and even help prepare for it. By being on the same page as our partners, everyone is able to stay on track with planning and expectations. Best part about budgeting with ECMSI? Quicker, more predictable decision making!

Planning for the new year is daunting but your IT strategy shouldn’t be. Want to learn more about how IT fits into your 2021 business goals? Let’s talk today: (330) 750-1428

www.ecmsi.com

Checklist: Choosing the Right MSP

Businesses aren’t built to be one-size-fits-all. So, why would your IT network be? Without an advanced technical background, how can you determine which vendor offers the best value? How do you know they’ll be able to cover all of your company’s unique needs? As an office manager, these are questions you’ll likely ask as you compare managed service providers . Let’s look below at the IT services you should always consider when looking for a managed service provider (MSP):

1. Network Monitoring

Did you know, your business should always be on the defense against cyber attacks and other disasters? MSPs should offer 24/7 network monitoring to ensure any problems that arise within your system are immediately addressed and resolved. Network monitoring is a necessary safeguard to reduce the risk of downtime and security breaches by identifying issues before they become a larger problem.

2. Cloud Services

By moving you company towards cloud computing, you’ll notice benefits such as enhanced productivity and efficiency. The MSP you choose should be able to host your applications or servers in a secure, off-site data center. This will allow you to access your data and desktop at any time – from any location.

3. Strategic Planning

The MSP you choose should have a clear vision for your company’s IT future.  A strong MSP should monitor trends and continuously update your network where needed. Opt for a partner with a project team – to keep you and your business on-track.

4. 24/7/364 Customer Support

Many network issue are unpredictable, but your MSP should be prepared to handle anything at any given time. If your provider can’t guarantee 24/7/365 support, it’s time to reconsider.

5. Virus & Malware Protection

Hackers are evolving and finding more creative ways to get into your network. Working with an MSP who offers a layered security approach will greatly reduce the risk of security breaches or hacks. Do your research and be sure to compare what you think you’re getting to what’s actually being provided.

6. A Strong and Proven Track Record

Nothing can tarnish an MSP quicker than a bad reputation meaning, the choice you make for an MSP is critical to your company’s success. Ask for records of customer satisfaction and retention. Don’t be afraid to ask for references, too. If you think your provider isn’t stepping up to your needs or they’re not offering the services above, it’s time to reconsider what you’re currently using.

If you have any questions regarding MSP’s and how one can help your business, please feel free to give us a call at 330-750-1428 ECMSI is here to make IT easy!

Stay Secure while online shopping this holiday season

We’re heading into that time of the year where your doorstep is full of online shopping orders! While it’s undeniable that holiday deals are some of the best around, it’s important to always keep your security in mind before purchasing. Check out the below tips on ways to keep yourself safe while online shopping this holiday season:

1. Shop Secure Sites Only

Prior to entering any of your personal or financial information, it’s important to make sure the site that your one is secure and legitimate. The easiest way to tell if your site is secure is to check for the “https” at the beginning of the site address.

2. Don’t Use Your Debit Card

When online shopping, it’s best practice to use credit cards or a payment service like PayPal. Credit cards offer more security and less liability is a card number gets stolen. Because debit cards are linked to your bank account, you become a much higher risk if someone is able to back your information.

3. Beware of “Too Good to Be True” Links

Before you start clicking around, take precautions on accessing links that seem a little too good to be true, especially on social networks. If you find yourself really tempted by an offer, save yourself the risk and do some research or find someone else who has tried to take advantage of the deal before clicking.

4. Create Stronger Passwords

We know. We’re always stressing the importance of stronger passwords. But unique and secure passwords are your best gate keeper when keeping your information private.

5. Outsmart Email Scams

Similar to avoiding click-bait links, beware of email scams. Email scammers send out malware and viruses by disguising them as “special offers” or “gifts”. Safe bet: Don’t open emails from people or companies you don’t know. Especially those who alert you that “there may be a problem with your account!” – if you’re genuinely worried about the safety of your bank account, give your bank a call.

It’s always important to follow safety protocols when accessing websites, emails and more. Score some great deals – but keep it secure!

cybersecurity for you and your business

Enterprise-Class IT Protection for the SMBs

Nearly every company in operation today runs the bulk, or entirety, of its workflow on computerized systems. Those IT systems allow companies like yours to increase efficiency and compete head-to-head with similar businesses throughout the world. The downside to your IT environment is that it must be secured, or everything—your data, workflow, and confidential client information is at risk.

Smaller Businesses Are Not Immune to Cyberattack

Because enterprise-level organizations have fortified their IT environments, cybercriminals have pivoted to target the low-hanging fruit of less protected, SMBs in recent years. In fact, 43% of cyberattacks are directed toward the small business.1 That’s where our team of cybersecurity professionals step into the picture. We provide comprehensive, robust IT security measures that help you protect your business while simultaneously leveraging the benefits of digital workflow and advanced productivity tools. 

Guard Against:

  • Unauthorized access to your data
  • Phishing Ransomware
  • Internal corporate espionage
  • Malware (viruses)
  • Malicious hacking

Implement Best-Practice Protocols:

  • Management of updates and patches
  • Data backup and protection strategies
  • Secure remote workflow access options
  • Antivirus and firewall configuration and monitoring
  • Incident response and mitigation
  • Email security measures
  • Network security management

Protection for Your Business – Without the Enterprise-Class Price 

By partnering with our team for IT security management, your business can utilize the protective power of top-of-the-line cybersecurity tools and personnel. Because we are able to spread the high cost of enterprise-class cybersecurity tools and IT specialists across our client base, we offer best-in-breed security solutions to small and mid-size companies like yours within a simple monthly payment structure.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Cybersecurity:

  • Faster breach event recovery
  • Increased stakeholder confidence
  • Peace of mind Protection of brand reputation
  • Access to a full stack of cybersecurity solutions and specialists
  • Ability to safely utilize work-from-anywhere technologies
  • Increase efficiency by eliminating nuisance phishing, adware, and spyware

Strengthening Your Weakest Link – Your Employees

Untrained staff can inadvertently allow cybercriminals access to your IT systems, your company’s data, and your customers’ private information. To help mitigate this risk, our team provides an array of training options for your employees, helping them stay safe while using internet-connected or cloud-based workflow.

Reliable, secure and high-quality services are what’s essential to keeping your business up and running. If you have any questions regarding MSP’s and how one can help your business, please feel free to give us a call at 330-750-1428. ECMSI is here to make IT easy!

UNDERSTANDING CYBER SECURITY THREATS

The rise of new technologies has changed the way organizations operate, compete, and evolve. When deployed strategically, each of these emerging technologies can offer organizations a leg up in a fast-paced marketplace, greater insight into their operations, and more control over their business. However, the changing nature of our digital environment is also providing cybercriminals and bad actors with a larger attack surface—and more dangerous tools—than ever. The evolution of workplace technology has also increased the sophistication of cyberattacks.

Given this reality, it’s critical that managed services providers (MSPs) and their customers understand what cybersecurity issues and challenges they’re up against. As companies increasingly rely on connected technology, the stakes of data breaches are clearly growing.

What are the most important security issues facing companies today?

As companies become more reliant on their digital environment, their vulnerabilities to cyberthreats increase in turn. While this certainly doesn’t mean that organizations should forego critical IT investments to reduce their potential attack surface, it does mean that stakeholders need to stay aware of the specific cybersecurity issues that are most pressing to their companies.

Similarly, greater investment in the cloud means that an increasing number of companies are storing and processing proprietary data offsite. The expansion of cloud computing has enabled numerous benefits, including greater organizational flexibility and cost savings. However, relying on the cloud—whether public, private, or hybrid—requires careful cybersecurity protocol. While third-party providers may be responsible for the security of the cloud itself, customers are generally responsible for the security of the information they store and use in it.

What are the threats in cybersecurity?

With new platforms and capabilities opening companies up to new vulnerabilities, it’s critical that MSPs understand what tactics cybercriminals might use to take advantage of unprepared and unprotected organizations.

Across the board, cybersecurity threats that organizations have been familiar with in the past have become even more dangerous. Phishing—the process through which cybercriminals attempt to lure employees to click on links or download files to extract sensitive information—has evolved and matured. And while new technology like blockchain is specifically designed to be secure, users still have private keys that they use to conduct transactions at their specific blockchain node. Successful phishing operations could put these keys in the hands of bad actors and jeopardize the reliability of the network and the applications that rely on it.

Once cybercriminals have access to an organization’s network, the threats they pose are immeasurable. Bad actors may set up a cryptojacking operation in which they harness the resources of computers across a company to mine cryptocurrency, leading to significantly decreased performance. They may steal proprietary information—trade secrets that have the potential to jeopardize a company’s performance—and extort executives for ransom in return for not releasing it. They may even launch integrity attacks, effectively overwriting information in critical databases and allowing cybercriminals to commit fraudulent acts.

The full range of cybersecurity threats that companies face goes on, but the common link among them is that greater network connectivity across companies heightens the potential damage of cyberthreats. This means attacks that may have crippled one area of an organization in the past now have the potential to devastate the whole organization.

What are the challenges of cybersecurity?

The cybersecurity challenges that organizations face range from the internal to the external. On the one hand, companies need to safeguard proprietary information, protect employees, and earn the trust of those they do business with. This requires a shift in organizational culture that puts cybersecurity front and center and educates employees. On the other hand, organizations increasingly need to comply with government regulations as consumers become more concerned about their personal information. This poses new cybersecurity challenges for companies who will have to go to greater lengths to stay compliant with new regulations.

Internally, organizations need to recognize the importance of cybersecurity. Stakeholders need to be prepared to invest in the type of technology and expertise needed to secure their IT infrastructure and maintain that security around the clock. While cybersecurity may have previously taken a back seat to other business areas, companies now need to take a proactive role in monitoring their network and considering potential attack vectors.

Additionally, organizations need to confront the challenge of educating their employees in the reality of cybersecurity. From phishing attacks to ransomware, today’s workers need to be trained to spot nefarious activity, avoid engaging with it, and alert appropriate stakeholders as soon as possible. By educating employees on what threats the organization faces and what form they may come in, it’s more likely that massive breaches can be avoided and damage can be minimized.

How can MSPs support organizational cybersecurity?

Given the full range of threats your customers face today, it’s up to you as an MSP to secure their IT infrastructure and help protect their business. MSPs should consider how they can best deter cybercriminals, detect illicit activity, and defend customers’ networks.

The key here is having multiple layers of defense:

  • Patch management—Patching helps you ensure that all operating systems and third-party software is kept up to date with the latest security patches.
  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR)—EDR helps you identify potential threats at endpoint level and then respond effectively through automation.
  • Email protection—Since email is still the main vector cybercriminals use to get a foothold in an organization through phishing, being able to filter out potentially dangerous messages and attachments, can help reduce your attack surface.
  • Web protection—The use of malicious websites to get people to inadvertently download malware into their network is prevalent. Being able to stop staff from going onto known malicious sites by blocking access to them is and important layer of defense.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of partnering with ECMSI? Give us a call at (330) 750-1428 or visit www.ecmsi.com.