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How to Properly Deploy IoT on a Business Network

The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a futuristic concept. It’s rapidly transforming industries and reshaping how businesses operate. IoT is a blanket term to describe smart devices that are internet enabled. One example is smart sensors monitoring production lines. Connected thermostats optimizing energy consumption is another.

Experts project the number of connected devices worldwide to continue growing. It’s estimated to rise from about 15 billion in 2023 to 21 billion in 2026.

IoT devices are weaving themselves into the fabric of modern business operations. But successfully deploying them on your existing network isn’t always easy. It can feel like navigating a maze.

Have you been struggling with the integration of smart devices? This guide will equip you with the knowledge and steps you need.

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Needs

Before diving headfirst, it’s crucial to have a clear vision of your goals. Ask yourself and your team a few questions. These questions will help ensure you’re aligning smart devices with business needs.

What problem are you trying to solve with IoT?

Are you aiming to improve operational efficiency? Possibly, you want to gain real-time data insights. Or you may want to enhance remote monitoring capabilities.

It’s important to target your IoT device deployment. Defining the issue that it’s meant to solve helps you do that.

What type of data will you be collecting?

Take time to define the nature and volume of data generated by your chosen devices. This is essential for choosing the right network infrastructure.

What level of security do you need?

Security measures depend on the sensitivity of the data collected. You might need specific measures to protect it from unauthorized access.

Go through these questions as a first step. You’ll gain a clearer picture of your specific needs. This enables you to select the most appropriate IoT devices and network solutions.

Step 2: Select the Right Devices and Network Infrastructure

With your goals in mind, it’s time to choose your components. You’ll want to look at both the devices and the infrastructure of the network.

IoT Devices

When choosing smart devices, consider factors like:

  • Compatibility with your existing infrastructure
  • Data security features
  • Scalability
  • Power requirements

Research reputable vendors. Choose devices with strong security protocols in place. Look for good firmware protection.

Network Infrastructure

Your existing network might be lacking. It may not be equipped for the extra traffic and data generated by IoT devices. You may need to upgrade your bandwidth. As well as deploy separate networks for IoT devices. You may also need to invest in dedicated gateways. Ones that can manage communication between devices and the cloud.

Step 3: Focus on Security Throughout the Journey

Security is paramount in the realm of IoT. Compromised devices can become gateways for cyberattacks. Malware attacks on IoT devices increased 77% during the first half of 2022.

Here are some key security considerations.

Secure the Devices

Ensure the chosen devices have strong passwords. They should also be regularly updated with the latest firmware. You want to choose devices that offer features like encryption and secure boot.

Segment Your Network

Create separate networks for IoT devices and critical business systems. This minimizes the potential impact of a security breach on your core operations.

Install Network Access Control (NAC)

Install NAC solutions, such as multi-factor authentication. These controls restrict access to your network only to authorized devices. They also help you enforce security policies automatically.

Track and Maintain

Continuously track your network for suspicious activity. Regularly update your security protocols and software to stay ahead of evolving threats.

Step 4: Deployment and Ongoing Management

You should now have the necessary hardware and security measures in place. It’s time to deploy your IoT devices.

Here are some tips:

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully during installation and configuration.
  • Test and confirm the functionality of your IoT devices. You should do this before fully integrating them into your network.
  • Develop a comprehensive management strategy for your IoT devices. It should include regular maintenance, firmware updates, and issue monitoring.

Step 5: Continuous Learning and Improvement

The world of IoT is constantly evolving, and so should your approach. Here are some tips for continuous improvement.

Analyze the Data

Once your IoT devices are operational, analyze the collected data. This helps you gain insights, identify areas for improvement, and refine your strategy.

Embrace Feedback

Encourage feedback from stakeholders within your organization. Use it to constantly refine your implementation and address emerging challenges.

Stay Informed

Keep yourself updated on the latest trends and advancements in the IoT landscape. This empowers you to adapt and leverage new technologies as they emerge.

Successfully deploying IoT on your business network requires careful planning. As well as prioritization of security and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Get Expert Help for Your Network Devices

Need help embracing a proactive approach to IoT adoption? We can help you transform your business operations. As well as unlock the full potential of smart devices at your business.

Contact us today to learn more.


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Handy Checklist for Handling Technology Safely During a Home or Office Move

Moving can be a chaotic and stressful time. Especially when it comes to handling your valuable technology. Whether you’re relocating your home or office, it’s essential to take extra care. Both with fragile items and when packing and moving your devices and other tech items.

To help you navigate this process smoothly, we’ve put together a handy checklist. Use this to help ensure your technology remains safe and sound during the move.

Back-Up Everything

Before you start disassembling your technology, make sure to back up all your data. Create copies of important files, documents, photos, and any other irreplaceable information. You can either use an external hard drive, cloud storage, or both. By doing this, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve protected your data. Should something unfortunate happen during the move, your files will be intact.

Organize and Label Cables

We all know the struggle of untangling a mess of cables. This is true especially when you’re eager to set up your devices in the new place. To avoid this headache, take the time to organize and label your cables before packing.

Use cable ties or twist ties to keep them neatly bundled. Attach labels to identify which cable belongs to which device. Trust us; this simple step will save you a lot of time and frustration later on.

Pack Devices Carefully

When packing your devices, opt for their original boxes whenever possible. If you have the storage space, this is why you don’t want to toss those out. The original packaging is designed to provide the best protection during shipping. There are usually specific compartments to secure each component.

If you don’t have the original boxes, use sturdy cardboard boxes. Wrap each device in bubble wrap or anti-static foam to prevent any damage. Fill any empty spaces in the boxes with packing peanuts or crumpled paper to ensure a snug fit.

Remove Ink Cartridges and Batteries

It might seem easier to just load up your printers “as is” to move them. But that’s not a good idea. For printers and devices that use ink, it’s crucial to remove those cartridges. Do this before packing the devices. Ink cartridges can leak or dry out during transit. This can cause a mess or render them useless.

Also, remove batteries from devices such as laptops, cameras, or remote controls. This precaution prevents accidental power-on and potential damage during the move. Pack the cartridges and batteries separately in sealed bags and label them.

Take Photos of Cable Connections

Before unplugging cables from your devices, snap a quick photo of the connections. This visual reference will be very helpful when it’s time to set up everything at your new location. You won’t have to worry about remembering which cable goes where. And won’t need to spend hours trying to figure it out. Simply refer to the photos, and you’ll be back up and running in no time!

Pack Your Wi-Fi Equipment Separately

Reconnecting to the internet is usually one of the first things done for both home and office moves. To make it easier, pack all your Wi-Fi network equipment separately from other items.

This includes your modem, router, ethernet cables, and other network connectors. Clearly label the box “Wi-Fi Equipment” so you’ll know right where to go first to get online.

Secure Fragile Screens

Are you moving devices with delicate screens, such as TVs or monitors? Then take extra precautions to protect them from scratches and cracks.

Place a soft cloth or microfiber cloth over the screen. Secure it with elastic bands or tape. This barrier will shield the screen from any accidental contact during transit. Additionally, make sure to pack these items in a vertical position to reduce the risk of damage.

Inform the Movers about Fragile Items

When enlisting professional movers, be sure to be clear about your technology. Inform them about the fragile nature of your devices and other tech items. Clearly label the boxes containing your valuable devices as “fragile.” Provide any necessary instructions to handle them with care. By communicating your concerns upfront, you reduce the chances of accidents while moving.

Test Everything After the Move

If you’ve moved offices, you don’t want to find out about problems on a busy Monday morning. Once you’ve moved your technology and reconnected cables, turn your devices on. Test them to ensure they work as usual and weren’t damaged.

Something may not look damaged on the outside. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t internal damage. You want to know this upfront so you can file a claim and call in an IT service professional to help.

Need Help with a Safe Technology Move?

Moving can be a hectic and challenging process, especially when moving office tech. But with the right approach, you can ensure the safety of your devices from point A to point B.

Need help from the pros to move your technology securely? Give us a call today to schedule a chat.


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Do You Still Believe in These Common Tech Myths?

In today’s digital age, technology plays a significant role in our lives. But along with the rapid advancements and innovations, several myths have persisted.

Is it okay to leave your smartphone charging overnight? Do Macs get viruses? And what about those 5G towers? What’s going on with those?

Common tech myths can often lead to misunderstandings. They can even hinder your ability to fully use various tools and devices. In this blog post, we will debunk some of the most common tech myths that continue to circulate. We’ll also explore the truth behind them.

Myth 1: Leaving your device plugged in overnight damages the battery.

First is one of the most persistent tech myths. Leaving your device plugged in overnight will harm the battery life. But this myth is largely outdated.

Modern smartphones, laptops, and other devices have advanced battery management systems. These systems prevent overcharging.

Once your device reaches its maximum charge capacity, it automatically stops charging. This is true even if it remains connected to the power source. In fact, it is often recommended to keep your device plugged in overnight to ensure a full charge by morning.

So, feel free to charge your gadgets overnight without worrying about battery damage.

Myth 2: Incognito mode ensures complete anonymity.

Many users believe that using incognito mode in web browsers guarantees complete anonymity. They feel completely secure while surfing the internet using this mode. But this is not entirely accurate. While incognito mode does provide some privacy benefits, they’re limited.

For example, it mainly prevents your device from saving the following items:

  • Browsing history
  • Cookies
  • Temporary files

However, it does not hide your activities from your internet service provider (ISP). Nor from the websites you visit. ISPs and websites can still track your IP address. They can also still watch your online behavior and collect data.

Do you truly want to remain anonymous online? Then consider using a virtual private network (VPN). Or other specialized tools that provide enhanced privacy protection.

Myth 3: Macs are immune to viruses.

Another prevalent myth is that Mac computers are impervious to viruses and malware. It is true that Macs have historically been less prone to such threats compared to Windows PCs. This does not make them immune.

Some people that tout this myth point to malware statistics. For example, in 2022, 54% of all malware infections happened in Windows systems. Just 6.2% of them happened in macOS.

But you also need to factor in operating system (OS) market share. As of January 2023, Windows had about 74% of the desktop OS share. Mac’s OS had just 15%.

When you consider this, it turns out the systems aren’t that different when it comes to virus and malware risk. The infection rate per user on Macs is 0.075. This is slightly higher than on Windows, at 0.074. So, both systems have a pretty even risk of infection. This is the case even though Macs have a significantly lower infection count.

As the popularity of Macs has grown, so has the interest of hackers in targeting these devices. Malicious software specifically designed for Macs does exist. Users should take proper precautions, no matter the operating system in use.

You need to install reliable antivirus software. As well as keeping the operating system and applications up to date. Exercise caution when downloading files or clicking on suspicious links. Being aware of potential security risks and practicing safe browsing habits is crucial. This is true for Mac users, just as it is for any other platform.

Myth 4: More megapixels mean better image quality.

When it comes to smartphone cameras, savvy marketing sometimes leads to myths. Many people believe that more megapixels equal better image quality. This is a common misconception.

Megapixels are an essential factor in determining the resolution of an image. But they are not the sole indicator of image quality. Other factors play a significant role. Such as:

  • The size of individual pixels
  • Lens quality
  • Image processing algorithms
  • Low-light performance

A camera with a higher megapixel count may produce larger images. But it does not guarantee superior clarity, color accuracy, or dynamic range.

Manufacturers often strike a balance between pixel count and other image processing technologies. They do this to achieve optimal results. When choosing a smartphone or any camera, consider the complete camera system. Don’t only focus on the megapixel count.

Separate Fact from Fiction

In a world where technology is an integral part of our lives, you must separate fact from fiction. Debunking common tech myths can empower you to make informed decisions. It can also maximize the potential of your digital experiences. An understanding of the truth behind these myths helps you use technology more effectively. It can also help you better protect your privacy.

Get the Technology Facts from a Trusted Pro

Whether you need help with an infected PC or setting up a corporate network, we’re here for you. We cut through the tech myths to bring you reliable and efficient service.

Give us a call today to chat about your technology goals and challenges.


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8 Tech Checks to Make Before You Travel

Our technology inevitably comes with us when we travel. Most of us won’t even travel to the end of the block without our smartphones. When you go on a trip, not having your technology there when you need it can ruin your day.

Travel smarter and more securely by doing several checks before you go. Use our handy tech travel checklist. It can save you from suffering from lost devices, missing chargers, or a data breach.

1. Check Your Apps

Have you ever sat at an airport gate wondering why it looked so empty? You then found out that your gate had changed, and you had no idea. You go rushing to the other end of the concourse, hoping you’re not too late.

How did everyone else know about the gate change? They most likely had the app for the airline and received a notification.

Before you leave for a trip, make sure to download any apps you may need. It’s better to download them when you’re at home on your own Wi-Fi. If you wait until you’re at the airport, reception may be an issue.

Some of the apps you may want to grab or update before your trip are:

  • Airline app
  • Train app
  • Hotel app
  • Theme park app
  • Camping ground app
  • Weather app
  • City tourism app

2. Check Your Cords & Adapters

People leave behind countless chargers and adapters every day. They litter airports, restaurants, and train stations around the world. Make sure to bring a backup charger for your laptop, tablet, or phone. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying a premium for a new charger in a gift shop. Your device could also go black if you lose its charger and can’t quickly get a new one.

3. Check Your Power

A great way to ensure you have the power you need is to buy a small charging battery. You can find these in most major retailers or online. They are small “blocks” that hold a charge and can power up a cell phone in a pinch.

Having this extra backup also helps you avoid potential juice-jacking ports. These are fake or compromised public USB charging ports. Hackers use them to steal your data when you plug in.

4. Check Your Mobile Plan

If you’re traveling out of the country, you’ll want to check your mobile plan. If you don’t have the ability to call internationally, then you may not be able to text or call home.

Carriers can add an international capability to your plan, but ask about pricing. It can get expensive if you’re on long calls or using mobile data. An alternative is to set up a VoIP app you can use with your office, friends, or family while you’re traveling. These enable both calls and SMS, but you do need an internet connection.

5. Check or Add a VPN

Free Wi-Fi may be a welcome site when you’re on the road, but it can also be dangerous. You don’t know who else is using that Wi-Fi. A hacker hanging out on the connection can easily steal your data if you’re not protected.

It’s better to use either your mobile carrier connection or a virtual private network (VPN) app. VPN plans are inexpensive and will keep your data encrypted, even if you’re on public Wi-Fi.

6. Check Your Backup

Unfortunately, mishaps occur when traveling. You may leave your phone behind on a boat, have your luggage lost, or get your device stolen while in a crowded area.

10% of all laptop thefts happen in airports.

Don’t lose all your data with the device! Back up your devices to the cloud or local storage before you travel. This ensures that you won’t lose the valuable information on your device. You also won’t need to think twice about enacting a remote “wipe my device” command if necessary.

7. Check Your Device Security

Make your devices as secure as possible before you hit the road. When we’re traveling, our minds are occupied by other things. So, you may not think to check your antivirus or avoid suspicious phishing links.

Protect your devices before you go using:

  • Antivirus/anti-malware
  • DNS filtering
  • Screen lock with passcode
  • Sharing features turned off
  • VPN application
  • Find-My-Device feature turned on

8. Check Your Double-Checks

What do we mean by checking your double-checks? Use the buddy system as a backup. When the family is getting off a plane, each should check with the other that they have all their devices.

If you’re traveling alone, have a friend or family member check up by text. Did you grab your charger? Is your VPN turned on?

Those little reminders can go a long way toward avoiding digital travel nightmares.

Improve the Security of Your Devices Now

Don’t leave your devices unprotected. This could mean a breach of your banking app or personal data. Contact us for device security solutions to reduce your risk.


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7 VoIP Setup Tips for a More Productive Office

The global pandemic put a big emphasis on the need to run a business from anywhere. Enabling employees to work remotely requires cloud solutions. This includes collaborative platforms like Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone systems have also become critical.

VoIP allows companies to stay in contact with customers and potential customers. Employees can work from anywhere and still answer the business phone line. Callers get a similar experience no matter where employees may be working, office, or home.

When you have people working from home, those old landline systems are inefficient. This has led to a large movement by businesses to VoIP. Both for necessity and cost-savings.

According to Microsoft, 82% of organizations have reported saving money after implementing VoIP.

While VoIP is the way to go for the future, this doesn’t mean it’s foolproof. Companies that don’t set up their system efficiently, can experience issues. This includes things like dropped calls, low bandwidth, and features left unused.

If you’ve been struggling to make your cloud phone system more efficient, check out these tips below. They provide setup best practices for VoIP. Use these to positively impact your bottom line.

1. Check Network Capabilities

You can’t just assume that you can enable a VoIP system, and all will be well. Your network may not be able to handle the extra bandwidth needs without adjustments.

Things you want to look at include jitter and packet loss. Additionally, review router settings to make sure it can handle peak traffic times. Experiencing dropped calls or choppy audio shows a need to address issues. These may include adjusting network hardware and/or increasing your ISP bandwidth.

2. Prioritize Your VoIP Software Using QoS Rules

Quality of Service (QoS) is a router settings area that allows you to say which traffic is most important. If QoS is not in place, it means resource issues. A large cloud backup could kick in and interrupt your calls because it’s taking up bandwidth.

QoS sets up “traffic lanes” that give priority to certain functions. You’ll want to have your VoIP software prioritized to get the bandwidth it needs. This avoids issues with less critical processes hogging up internet resources.

Using QoS keeps your calls smooth. It also improves the reliability of your cloud phone system. It’s also a good idea to use these rules for other important cloud activities.

3. Provide Quality Headsets for Your Team

A cheap headset can ruin the call experience for a potential customer. If someone calls in and can’t hear anything or gets choppy reception, they’ll quickly get frustrated. They will most likely figure that your company doesn’t have its act together.

Your employees may not be able to afford high-quality headsets. They also may not know what type to buy. Head off potential problems by issuing quality headsets for your team to use.

4. Set Up Departments & Ring Groups

One of the great features of VoIP phone systems is the ability to set up ring groups. You first set up your department groups (accounting, marketing, etc.). Then set the included employee extensions.

Creating a ring group allows you to have a call go to your customer support department as a whole. This is better than one person, who may be busy. That way, the whole group gets the ring, and the first available person can pick up.

Ring groups improve the caller experience by reducing the wait time. It can also mitigate the need for the caller to leave a voicemail and get stuck waiting on a callback.

5. Create Your Company Directory

Auto assistants are extremely helpful and nearly all VoIP systems have them. First, you set up your company directory and then record messages to prompt the caller.

For example, you can set up a message that prompts them to input the last name of the person they are trying to reach. If they aren’t calling a specific person, they can be routed to a department.

While setting up a company directory takes a little effort upfront, it will save much more. You no longer will need to have someone specifically routing every call. Callers can also get to the person or department they need faster. This improves the customer experience and boosts office productivity.

6. Have Employees Set Up Their Voicemail & VM to Email

When you get out of a long meeting, going through a bunch of voicemails can take time. Instead of having to listen to each one to see which calls are a priority, you could simply read through them.

The voicemail to email feature in VoIP phone systems will automatically transcribe voicemails. They are then emailed to the recipient. This improves efficiency. It also eliminates wasted time having to listen to entire messages to know who called.

Have employees set up this feature with their extension and email address. Some VoIP systems also offer an option to have transcribed voicemails sent via SMS.

7. Train Your Team on the Call Handling Process

Don’t leave your employees to jump in and learn a VoIP system themselves. It’s important to train them on the features and the company calling process. This ensures that your team can enjoy all those time-saving features.

Get Help Enhancing Your Business Phone System

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What to Include in a Year-end Technology Infrastructure Review

When the year is coming to a close, it’s the perfect time to plan for the future. Most businesses begin the year with the hope of growing and improving operations. Much of how a business operates depends on technology. So, it makes sense to look to your IT for areas of optimization.

A year-end technology review provides an opportunity to look at several areas of your IT. The goal is to take time to focus on improvements you can make to boost your bottom line. As well as what tactics to take to reduce the risk of a costly cyberattack.

A recent study by Deloitte looked at digitally advanced small businesses. Small businesses that make smart use of technology are well ahead of their peers. Here are some of the ways they excel:

  • Earn 2x more revenue per employee
  • Experience year-over-year revenue growth nearly 4x as high
  • Had an average employee growth rate over 6x as high

The bottom line is that companies that use technology well, do better. They are also more secure. According to IBM, businesses that have an incident response plan reduce the costs of a data breach by 61%. Using security AI and automation can lower costs by 70%.

This year-end, take some time to do a technology review with your IT team or managed IT provider. This will set you up for success and security in the coming year.

Considerations When Reviewing Your Technology at Year-End

The goal of a year-end technology review is to look at all areas of your IT infrastructure. Security, efficiency, and bottom-line considerations will be the key drivers for future initiatives.

Technology Policies

When technology policies get outdated, people stop following them. Review all your policies to see if any of them need updating to reflect new conditions. For example, if you now have some staff working from home, make sure your device use policy reflects this.

When you update policies, let your employees know. This gives them a refresher on important information. They may have forgotten certain things since onboarding.

Disaster Recovery Planning

When is the last time your company did an incident response drill? Is there a list of steps for employees to follow in the case of a natural disaster or cyberattack?

Take time to look at disaster recovery planning for the new year. You should also put dates in place for preparedness drills and training in the coming months.

IT Issues & Pain Points

You don’t want to go through a big IT upgrade without considering employee pain points. Otherwise, you might miss some golden opportunities to improve staff productivity and well-being.

Survey your employees on how they use technology. Ask questions about their favorite and least favorite apps. Ask what struggles they face. Let them tell you how they feel technology could improve to make their jobs better. This, in turn, benefits your business. It can also help you target the most impactful improvements.

Privileged Access & Orphaned Accounts

Do an audit of your privileged accounts as part of your year-end review. Over time, permissions can be misappropriated. This leaves your network at a higher risk of a major attack.

You should ensure that only those that need them have admin-level permissions. The fewer privileged accounts you have in your business tools, the lower your risk. Compromised privileged accounts password open the door to major damage.

While going through your accounts, also look for orphaned accounts. You need to close these because they’re no longer used. Leaving them active poses a security risk.

IT Upgrade & Transformation Plans for the New Year

If you make IT upgrades and decisions “on the fly” it can come back to bite you. It’s best to plan out a strategy ahead of time, so you can upgrade in an organized way.

Have a vulnerability assessment performed. This gives you a list of potential problems your company should address. Eliminating vulnerabilities improves your cybersecurity. Planning ahead allows you to budget for your upgrades and avoid unplanned expenses.

Cloud Use & Shadow IT

Review your use of cloud applications. Are certain apps hardly used? Do you have redundancies in your cloud environment? A review can help you cut waste and save money.

Also, look for uses of shadow IT by employees. These are cloud applications that are being used for work but did not go through approval. Management may not even be aware of them. Remove this security risk by either closing the accounts or officially approving them.

Customer-Facing Technology

Don’t forget to look at the customer experience of your technology infrastructure. Go through your website and contact process as a customer would.

If you get frustrated by things like site navigation, then your customers and leads may be too. Include optimizations to your customer-facing technology in your new year plans.

Schedule a Technology & Security Assessment Today!

We can help you with a thorough review of your technology environment to give you a roadmap for tomorrow. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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Tips for Overcoming Barriers to a Smooth BYOD Program

Bring your own device (BYOD) is a concept that took hold after the invention of the smartphone. When phones got smarter, software developers began creating apps for those phones. Over time, mobile device use has overtaken desktop use at work.

According to Microsoft, mobile devices make up about 60% of the endpoints in a company network. They also handle about 80% of the workload. But they’re often neglected when it comes to strong cybersecurity measures.

This is especially true with employee-owned mobile devices. BYOD differs from corporate-owned mobile use programs. Instead of using company tools, employees are using their personal devices for work. Many businesses find this the most economical way to keep their teams productive.

Purchasing phones and wireless plans for staff is often out of reach financially. It can also be a pain for employees to carry around two different devices, personal and work.

It’s estimated that 83% of companies have some type of BYOD policy.

You can run BYOD securely if you have some best practices in place. Too often, business owners don’t even know all the devices that are connecting to business data. Or which ones may have data stored on them.

Here are some tips to overcome the security and challenges of BYOD. These should help you enjoy a win-win situation for employees and the business.

Define Your BYOD Policy

If there are no defined rules for BYOD, then you can’t expect the process to be secure. Employees may leave business data unprotected. Or they may connect to public Wi-Fi and then enter their business email password, exposing it.

If you allow employees to access business data from personal devices, you need a policy. This policy protects the company from unnecessary risk. It can also lay out specifics that reduce potential problems. For example, detailing the compensation for employees that use personal devices for work.

Keep Your Policy “Evergreen”

As soon as a policy gets outdated, it becomes less relevant to employees. Someone may look at your BYOD policy and note that one directive is old. Because of that, they may think they should ignore the entire policy.

Make sure that you keep your BYOD policy “evergreen.” This means updating it regularly if any changes impact those policies.

Use VoIP Apps for Business Calls

Before the pandemic, 65% of employees gave their personal phone numbers to customers. This often happens due to the need to connect with a client when away from an office phone. Clients also may save a personal number for a staff member. For example, when the employee calls the customer from their own device.

Customers having employees’ personal numbers is a problem for everyone. Employees may leave the company, and no longer answer those calls. The customer may not realize why.

You can avoid the issue by using a business VoIP phone system. These services have mobile apps that employees can use. VoIP mobile apps allow employees to make and receive calls through a business number.

Create Restrictions on Saved Company Data

Remote work has exasperated the security issue with BYOD. While BYOD may have meant mobile devices in the past, it now means computers too. Remote employees often will use their own PCs when working outside the office.

No matter what the type of device, you should maintain control of business data. It’s a good idea to restrict the types of data that staff can store on personal devices. You should also ensure that it’s backed up from those devices.

Require Device Updates

When employee devices are not updated or patched, they invite a data breach. Any endpoint connected to your network can enable a breach. This includes those owned by employees.

It can be tricky to ensure that a device owned by an employee is kept updated. Therefore, many businesses turn to endpoint management solutions. An endpoint device manager can push through automated updates. It also allows you to protect business data without intruding on employee privacy.

The monitoring and management capabilities of these tools improve security. This includes the ability to safelist devices. Safelisting can block devices not added to the endpoint manager.

Include BYOD in Your Offboarding Process

If an employee leaves your company, you need to clean their digital trail. Is the employee still receiving work email on their phone? Do they have access to company data through persistent logins? Are any saved company passwords on their device?

These are all questions to ask when offboarding a former staff member. You should also make sure to copy and remove any company files on their personal device. Additionally, ensure that you deauthorize their device(s) from your network.

Let Us Help You Explore Endpoint Security Solutions

We can help you explore solutions to secure a BYOD program. We’ll look at how your company uses personal devices at your business and recommend the best tools. Contact us today for a free consultation.


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7 Things to Consider When Getting a New Computer to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

Have you ever bought a new computer and then had buyer’s remorse a few months later? Maybe you didn’t pay attention to the storage capacity and ran out of space. Or you may have glossed over memory and experienced constant freeze-ups.

An investment in a new PC isn’t something you want to do lightly. Doing your research ahead of time and consulting with a trusted friend or IT shop can help. It will keep you from making major mistakes that could come back to haunt you later.

Here are several things to consider before you put down your hard-earned money on a new computer.

The Amount of Memory (RAM)

One of the big mistakes that people make when looking for a new computer is to ignore the RAM. Random access memory may be called RAM on the specification or “memory.” If your system has low memory, you run into all sorts of problems.

These issues can include:

  • Browser freezing up when you have too many tabs open
  • Issues watching videos
  • Some software not working properly
  • Sluggish behavior
  • Inability to open multiple applications
  • Constant freezes

Memory is the “thought process” of the PC. If there isn’t enough, it can’t take on another task until it completes the current processing tasks. This can cause frustration and ruin your productivity.

People often go for those low-priced computer deals when looking for a new device. But these can include only 4GB of RAM. That’s not a lot if you do much more than staying in a single application or just a few browser tabs.

The higher the RAM, the more responsive the system performance. So, look for PCs with at least 8GB of RAM. Or higher if you do any graphics/video or other processing-intensive activities.

User Reviews for Longevity

Buying a new computer is an investment. So, it’s natural to want that investment to last as long as possible. You don’t want to spend $700 on a new computer, only to begin experiencing problems when it’s just two years old.

Take your time to research user reviews on the specific models you’re considering. You’ll begin to see patterns emerging. Steer clear of models that have consistent complaints about breakdowns sooner than expected.

You may have to pay a little more for a system that has a better track record of performance. But it will save you in the long run when you have more years of usable life before that device needs replacement.

Whether the PC is for Personal or Business Use

If you have a small business or are a freelancer, you may try to save money by buying a consumer PC. But this could end up costing you more in the long run.

Consumer PCs aren’t designed for continuous “9-to-5” use. They also often lack certain types of firmware security present in business-use models. The price gap has also shortened between good consumer computers and business versions. If you’re not looking at the cheap systems, you’ll find that it’s not that much more to get a business-grade device.

The Processor Used

It can be confusing to read through the processor specifications on a computer. How do you know if Intel Core i7 or i3 is best for your needs? What’s the performance difference between AMD and Intel processors?

If you don’t want to do the research yourself, you could call up your local IT shop. We will be happy to steer you in the right direction. We’ll explain in layman’s terms the differences. As well as which processor makes the most sense for your intended use.

For Laptops: The Case Type

If you’re looking for a laptop computer, it’s important that it is durable. Laptops have some unique characteristics that differ from desktops. For example, the screen is often folded down one or more times per day. Additionally, the keyboard is part of the case and is not easily replaced by the user.

If you get a laptop with a cheap plastic case, it’s bound to break during normal use. Keys could also easily pop off the keyboard, requiring a trip to a computer repair shop.

You want to consider the materials used for the case. Paying an extra $20-$30 upcharge for a better casing is definitely worth it. It can help you avoid unneeded headaches.

Storage Capacity

Storage capacity can be a pain point that you experience after the fact. If you buy a computer without paying attention to hard drive space, you could regret it. You may not be able to transfer over all your “stuff” from the old system.

But storage capacity can also be an area where you can save some money. If you store most of your files in the cloud, then you may not need a lot of hard drive space. The less space you need, the lower the price.

Hard Drive Type

If you can get a computer with a solid-state drive (SSD) rather than a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) you should. SSDs are faster and less likely to have read/write issues. They have no moving parts; thus they are quieter as well.

Solid-state drives have come down in price quite a bit recently. There are many affordable options, and you’ll also find some PCs with both a hard drive and SSD.

Come to Us Before You Spend Money on a New Computer

Don’t blindly invest in a new computer without some expert guidance. Contact us today for a free consultation to save you from a bad new PC experience.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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Checklist for Better Digital Offboarding of Employees

Digital footprints cover today’s modern workplace. Employees begin making these the moment they’re hired. They get a company email address and application logins. They may even update their LinkedIn page to connect to your company.

When an employee leaves a company, there is a process that needs to happen. This is the process of “decoupling” the employee from the company’s technology assets. This digital offboarding is vital to cybersecurity.

You don’t want a former employee to maliciously email all your customers from their work email. Sensitive files left on a former staffer’s computer could leak months later.

20% of surveyed businesses have experienced a data breach connected to a former employee.

Digital offboarding entails revoking privileges to company data, and much more. This is a critical process to go through for each former staff member to reduce risk.

Below, we’ve provided a handy checklist to help you cover all your bases.

Your Digital Offboarding Checklist

Knowledge Transfer

Vast corporate knowledge can disappear when a person leaves an organization. It’s important to capture this during a digital offboarding process.

This could be something as simple as what social media app someone used for company posts. Or it may be productivity leveraging. Such as the best way to enter the sales data into the CRM.

Make sure to do a knowledge download with an employee during the exit interview. Better yet, have all staff regularly document procedures and workflows. This makes the knowledge available if the employee is ever not there to perform those tasks.

Address Social Media Connections to the Company

Address any social media connections to the former employee. Is their personal Facebook user account an admin for your company’s Facebook page? Do they post on your corporate LinkedIn page?

Identify All Apps & Logins the Person Has Been Using for Work

Hopefully, your HR or IT department will have a list of all the apps and website logins that an employee has. But you can’t assume this. Employees often use unauthorized cloud apps to do their work. This is usually done without realizing the security consequences.

Make sure you know of any apps that the employee may have used for business activities. You will need to address these. Either change the login if you plan to continue using them. Or you may want to close them altogether after exporting company data.

Change Email Password

Changing the employee’s email password should be one of the first things you do. This keeps a former employee from getting company information. It also keeps them from emailing as a representative of the company.

Accounts are typically not closed immediately because emails need to be stored. But you should change the password to ensure the employee no longer has access.

Change Employee Passwords for Cloud Business Apps

Change all other app passwords. Remember that people often access business apps on personal devices. So, just because they can’t access their work computer any longer, doesn’t mean they can’t access their old accounts.

Changing the passwords locks them out no matter what device they are using. You can simplify the process with a single sign-on solution.

Recover Any Company Devices

Make sure to recover any company-owned devices from the employee’s home. Remote employees are often issued equipment to use.

You should do this as soon as possible to avoid loss of the equipment. Once people no longer work for a company, they may sell, give away, or trash devices.

Recover Data on Employee Personal Devices

Many companies use a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. It saves them money, but this can make offboarding more difficult.

You need to ensure you’ve captured all company data on those devices. If you don’t already have a backup policy in place for this, now is a good time to create one.

Transfer Data Ownership & Close Employee Accounts

Don’t keep old employee cloud accounts open indefinitely. Choose a user account to transfer their data to and then close the account. Leaving unused employee accounts open is an invitation to a hacker. With no one monitoring the account, breaches can happen. A criminal could gain access and steal data for months unnoticed.

Revoke Access by Employee’s Devices to Your Apps and Network

Using an endpoint device management system, you can easily revoke device access. Remove the former employee’s device from any approved device list in your system.

Change Any Building Digital Passcodes

Don’t forget about physical access to your building. If you have any digital gate or door passcodes, be sure to change these so the person can no longer gain access.

Need Help Reducing Offboarding Security Risk?

When you proactively address digital offboarding, the process is easier and less risky. Contact us today for a free consultation to enhance your cybersecurity.


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This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.

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6 Important IT Policies Any Size Company Should Implement

Many small businesses make the mistake of skipping policies. They feel that things don’t need to be so formal. They’ll just tell staff what’s expected when it comes up and think that’s good enough.

But this way of thinking can cause issues for small and mid-sized business owners. Employees aren’t mind readers. Things that you think are obvious, might not be to them.

Not having policies can also leave you in poor legal standing should a problem occur. Such as a lawsuit due to misuse of a company device or email account.

Did you know that 77% of employees access their social media accounts while at work? Further, 19% of them average 1 full working hour a day spent on social media. In some cases, employees are ignoring a company policy. But in others, there is no specific policy for them to follow.

IT policies are an important part of your IT security and technology management. So, no matter what size your business is, you should have them. We’ll get you started with some of the most important IT policies your company should have in place.

Do You Have These IT Policies? (If Not, You Should)

Password Security Policy

About 77% of all cloud data breaches originate from compromised passwords. Compromised credentials are also now the number one cause of data breaches globally.

A password security policy will lay out for your team how to handle their login passwords. It should include things like:

  • How long passwords should be
  • How to construct passwords (e.g., using at least one number and symbol)
  • Where and how to store passwords
  • The use of multi-factor authentication (if it’s required)
  • How often to change passwords

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

The Acceptable Use Policy is an overarching policy. It includes how to properly use technology and data in your organization. This policy will govern things like device security. For example, you may need employees to keep devices updated. If this is the case, You should include that in this policy.

Another thing to include in your AUP would be where it is acceptable to use company devices. You may also restrict remote employees from sharing work devices with family members.

Data is another area of the AUP. It should dictate how to store and handle data. The policy might require an encrypted environment for security.

Cloud & App Use Policy

The use of unauthorized cloud applications by employees has become a big problem. It’s estimated that the use of this “shadow IT” ranges from 30% to 60% of a company’s cloud use.

Often, employees use cloud apps on their own because they don’t know any better. They don’t realize that using unapproved cloud tools for company data is a major security risk.

A cloud and app use policy will tell employees what cloud and mobile apps are okay to use for business data. It should restrict the use of unapproved applications. It should also provide a way to suggest apps that would enhance productivity.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policy

Approximately 83% of companies use a BYOD approach for employee mobile use. Allowing employees to use their own smartphones for work saves companies money. It can also be more convenient for employees because they don’t need to carry around a second device.

But if you don’t have a policy that dictates the use of BYOD, there can be security and other issues. Employee devices may be vulnerable to attack if the operating system isn’t updated. There can also be confusion about compensation for the use of personal devices at work.

The BYOD policy clarifies the use of employee devices for business. Including the required security of those devices. It may also note the required installation of an endpoint management app. It should also cover compensation for business use of personal devices.

Wi-Fi Use Policy

Public Wi-Fi is an issue when it comes to cybersecurity. 61% of surveyed companies say employees connect to public Wi-Fi from company-owned devices.

Many employees won’t think twice about logging in to a company app or email account. Even when on a public internet connection. This could expose those credentials and lead to a breach of your company network.

Your Wi-Fi use policy will explain how employees are to ensure they have safe connections. It may dictate the use of a company VPN. Your policy may also restrict the activities employees can do when on public Wi-Fi. Such as not entering passwords or payment card details into a form.

Social Media Use Policy

With social media use at work so common, it’s important to address it. Otherwise, endless scrolling and posting could steal hours of productivity every week.

Include details in your social media policy, such as:

  • Restricting when employees can access personal social media
  • Restricting what employees can post about the company
  • Noting “safe selfie zones” or facility areas that are not okay for public images

Get Help Improving Your IT Policy Documentation & Security

We can help your organization address IT policy deficiencies and security issues. Reach out today to schedule a consultation to get started.


Featured Image Credit

This Article has been Republished with Permission from The Technology Press.