18 Feb 2020

Why & How to Use Password Managers Like LastPass

Up to 80% of hacking-related incidents are the result of weak or stolen passwords. 

 

Stop for a minute and consider how many online business accounts you have. Be sure to think about all your programs, software, apps, email accounts, and cloud accounts. Even if you only have a few employees, it’s easy to think of a dozen off the top of your head. 

 

When you think about all of these accounts as your “network,” you start to see that a password is not just a single gateway to a single account; it can actually be an entry point for your entire network. 

 

What are your Credentials Worth to You vs. a Hacker?

 

Weak passwords, reused passwords, password sharing, and unprotected password storage are three major security issues in many small businesses in Canada. In fact, information from leaked passwords in 2018 showed that plenty of people still use terrible passwords

 

So, what are the costs vs gains when someone steals your information? Individual businesses spend an average of $34,604 per year on cybersecurity incidents. Meanwhile, login credentials being sold on the dark web cost as little as $2. 

 

It’s worth getting to know how you can protect your organization’s passwords (without losing access to accounts or making it difficult for employees to login).

What is a Password Manager? 

Think of a password manager as a vault for all of your passwords. It creates and stores difficult passwords for your accounts, locking the whole thing with a single master password. That means you only need to remember one password to get access, and that you’ve taken those multiple access points and brought them into a single access point, leaving less room for hackers to get in.

You also have more control over who has access to your accounts. If an employee leaves, you can change the master password without going through and changing every individual account.

Options for Password Managers: 

LastPass

Our top pick for a password manager for small businesses is LastPass. There’s a free version that allows you a ton of range, but the premium version offers a lot more features to increase security and convenience.

1Password

This is another great option for a subscription-based password manager. If you’re a solopreneur and you want to use touch or face recognition as your master password on Mac/iOS devices, 1Password is the perfect option.

Dashlane

Dashlane is another great option, but it tends to cost more, and the free version is limited to one device and 50 passwords, making it a bit less cost-effective for small businesses.

 

Are Password Managers Secure? 

Yes, password managers are secure and they’re still your best bet for password protection. According to How to Geek, LastPass and 1Password have both passed third-party audits and code reviews. They state that these companies don’t actually have access to your master password, which stays on your device, meaning they don’t have access to any of your stored passwords. 

 

One of the best features of any manager you choose is the ability to share passwords with others without typing them in. This means you never have to reveal the passwords under those big black dots, which adds a thick layer of security, especially if you have an extensive team or deal with multiple contractors.

 

Other Ways to Protect Your Business Passwords

Although password managers come highly recommended by most managed service providers in Edmonton, there are plenty of other ways to boost your password security. One way is to include multi-factor authentication on your accounts (which you can also typically do with your master password in your manager). 

 

Never write down passwords or share them over a device. Never reuse passwords across accounts as this creates a major point of entry into your entire database, even if it’s spread across multiple accounts. 

 

Finally, be sure to have a security audit and staff training from a trusted MSP in Edmonton. This can help kickstart a cybersecurity program that can easily save your business thousands of dollars, many hours of lost time, and other major risks.

 

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10 Feb 2020

10 Tech Trends for Businesses to Watch in 2020

Technology is advancing faster than ever before, and there are plenty of new game-changers working their way into the technological trends for 2020 and beyond. Here are the top ten tech trends that will help you optimize your business this year:

 

1. The Release of 5G

The race for 5th-generation mobile networks has already begun. While 5G became available in some areas during 2019, the tech still has a low availability. In 2020, it’s expected to become far more widespread. 5G allows for much faster downloads and uploads plus a more stable connection than its predecessors, as well as an easier way for other trends like autonomous driving to advance and develop. 5G will make your work more time-efficient and productive.

 

2. The Multi-Cloud

Using a multi-cloud strategy involves using multiple different cloud providers to meet separate requirements. Multicloud is becoming more and more commonplace every day thanks to multiple benefits. One reason you may decide to use multi-cloud strategies is if you want to avoid getting ‘locked in’ to the infrastructure of a single cloud provider. Another reason may be the security and recovery – putting all your data into one cloud can hurt if that cloud suffers an outage or something similar. Overall, it can make your work more efficient, and you’ll have fewer problems accessing your information. Keep in mind that it’s important to have a strategy before you migrate your data to the cloud successfully

 

3. AI Security

Cybersecurity is key, especially with new and improved technological developments. Businesses are beginning to discover that using AI can be a fantastic way to combat security issues and keep your servers and data safe. This AI can be used in multiple different ways, from analyzing data to defending against network attackers, protecting your business from harm.

 

4. Digital Twinning

Digital twins are ideal for developing and operating assets and infrastructure. A digital twin is a software model of a physical object, essentially a replica of a real-world object designed to predict accurate outputs for the inputs you provide. This tool can be used for many different issues, with manufacturing being the most common; it even includes the healthcare sector, with accurate replicas of human patients. Being able to understand how a structure will react in different situations allows for a safer and easier work process.

 

5. Autonomous Vehicles

You’ve probably already heard the buzz around autonomous driving. Companies like Tesla are testing the limits around intelligent driving, and the concept is becoming more and more rational. It’s not just driving, either – concepts like drone delivery are finally becoming possibilities instead of fantasies. These autonomous devices can lower the safety risks in your work environment and improve your efficiency.

 

6. The Rise of Blockchain

A blockchain is a form of database used to record transactions in a more encrypted and safe way. A popular form of blockchain you’ve likely heard of is Bitcoin, but other blockchains are likely to rise in 2020. Blockchains use technology, making it impossible to alter or manipulate your transactions, making it an attractive choice as it allows for complete safety in your business’s transactions.

 

7. Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is a relatively new concept in the technological world, but the appeal is growing fast. A quantum computer uses aspects of quantum mechanics to work. Quantum computers would be able to store far more information than a classical computer today and would solve problems today’s computers can’t even begin to handle.

 

8. Edge Computing

Edge computing essentially brings the cloud to you. Instead of your data needing to be sent to a data centre, it can be processed much closer to you. This means your data can be prospered even faster; whether it’s going to a website or talking to a voice assistant like Google Home, you’ll get a response faster than the speed of light. Efficiency is incredibly important in a business environment, and this is a great way to take advantage of it.

 

9. Medicine and Health Advancements

Health technology is developing more and more every day. Advancements in tech like AI and double twinning now allow for multiple new possibilities in the world of medicine. We are constantly gaining a better understanding of how our bodies respond to diseases and illnesses as well as medication. This year we will be able to see more personalized healthcare as well as new breakthroughs in medicine.

 

10. Extended Reality

Extended reality (XR) is an umbrella term for all kinds of immersive realities, like augmented reality or virtual reality. These technologies have been mostly used for entertainment purposes but are quickly becoming more useful for businesses, particularly in terms of training. Training through simulation allows for a consequence-free learning environment for any new workers.

 

Stay Up to Date on Technology in Your Business

2020 is a year of great opportunities for your business. Staying caught up on new tech trends and implementing them into your business is a fantastic way to stay in the market. The way you use technology has the potential to change the future, so use it to your advantage. 

To learn how to bring new hardware and software solutions into your business, get in touch with Alt-Tech’s experts. There’s nothing we love more than helping a business take their technology capabilities to the next level. 

 

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24 May 2019

How to Prepare Your Business for a Phishing Scam

Working online comes with certain risks. There are computer viruses, malware, spyware, worms, Trojan horses, and ransomware – just to name a few. With all of these potential threats, how can you keep your company safe online?

According to a 2017 study, 90% of online attacks can be traced back to phishing scams. Even though so many attacks are related to phishing, many companies still aren’t sure how to identify and avoid phishing scams. To help, we’ve put together some of the best ways to identify and prepare for a phishing attack.

 

What is a Phishing Scam?

A phishing scam is one of the most common cyber attacks we face. In a phishing scam, the hacker will usually disguise themselves as a reputable company and contact you through email. The phishing message will ask you to click a link or download an attachment, which allows the hacker access to your personal information like credit card numbers, account numbers, login credentials, and other sensitive company information. This also leaves you vulnerable to malware attacks.

While phishing emails are most common, there has been a spike in phishing attacks using text messages and direct phone calls. We’ve also seen an increase in spear phishing, which is a targeted phishing attempt directed at and personalized for a specific individual. These attacks are typically geared toward identity theft, so make sure to pay close attention to suspicious texts and phone calls.

 

How Can You Detect Phishing?

Phishing emails used to be littered with spelling errors and obvious mistakes that made them easy to identify. Scammers have gotten a little smarter over the years. Fortunately, there are still a couple simple ways you can detect a phishing attack before it strikes.

 

Read Closely

While it isn’t common anymore, it’s still best to double check all emails for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or other red flags. These are all signs of a phishing scam. Remember, if an email seems ‘phishy’, it probably is.

 

Look For Urgency

A phishing scam will usually want you to act now. Maybe it’ll say that your account is about to be closed or that there’s a limited time offer. Either way, their goal is to make you feel as if you need to act quickly. Remember, most companies won’t close your account without ample warning, so don’t panic. This urgency could indicate a phishing scam.

 

Double Check the Information

While it might look like it comes from a legitimate site, a phishing email will be coming from a less than reputable source. You can verify the legitimacy of the email by looking at the sender’s email address, the phone number and contact information, by contacting the legitimate institution to verify, or by typing the alleged web address in a search engine.

 

Protect Your Business

The best way to protect yourself from phishing scams is through preparation!While you can usually identify a phishing scam using the tips above, it’s still best to have a little extra protection in place.

 

Update and Install Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware Software

You can keep your personal information more secure by keeping your computer’s operating system and anti-virus tools completely up to date. And this helps with more than just phishing attacks. Having anti-virus and anti-malware in place will help protect your business from all kinds of online attacks.

 

Educate, Educate, Educate!

Your employees are your best defense against online attacks. To get them on board, train every employee on what a phishing scam is, how to detect it, and what the proper response is.

 

By following these steps, you can help prevent phishing scams from harming your business. If you want to improve your business’ online security, call Alt-Tech’s security team and learn how we can help protect your business online.

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14 Mar 2019

Cyber Security Isn’t Just a Concern for Big Businesses. Here’s Why It Matters for Small and Midsize Businesses, Too

Whenever there’s a cyber security story in the news, it’s always about a multinational corporation. This can give small and midsize businesses (SMBs) a false sense of security. In fact, more than half of all cyber attacks impact small businesses. The reason is simple: although the payoff for cyber criminals is reduced, success rates are much higher due to less-sophisticated cyber protection.

How Are SMBs Attacked?

The most common way SMBs are attacked is through hacking, although malware is also a major problem. Other risks include social engineering, misused privileges, and physical breaches.

A main cause of cyber attacks is a disorganized approach to security. Most SMBs have no single security plan; rather, they add on new preventative measures as their business grows and this lack of a comprehensive plan leads to holes in security. Furthermore, the adoption of new equipment constantly puts businesses at risk of new types of breaches.

To make matters worse, employees can lack the training that’s required to eliminate risk areas. When team members are uninformed, a breach can occur simply due to human error.

Results of a Cyber Attack

Although costs are far lower when a cyber attack affects an SMB than when one impacts a large corporation, the hit to the company can be significant.  When a business lacks the resources to absorb such costs, it can have serious repercussions for the company.

Preventing an Attack

The best way to protect your business from a cyber attack is to stop trying to handle security in house. An IT company specializing in cyber security can set up a system that will encrypt your data, require authentication to access sensitive information, and have authorization capabilities to restrict user access.

While many IT companies in Edmonton will provide you with basic support, you need a company that goes a step further. Alt-Tech offers cyber security solutions to meet the needs of your business and prevent your data from being compromised, whether you use internal hardware or employees bring their own devices into the workplace.

Contact us today to learn more about the comprehensive security plan you need to properly protect your business.

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