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3 Reasons to Use an MSP in 2020

According to The annual report on IT Budgets and Tech Trends, forty-four percent of businesses are planning on increasing their technical spend in 2020. This includes developing a partnership with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) for their IT requirements. 

Here are 3 reasons why using an MSP can be effective for your business:

  1. Minimize business cost

According to Information Technology Salaries in the United States, in 2020, companies will spend 

$40,297 to $126,733 per year on one in house employee to manage their IT infrastructure.

Business owners are not choosing to become tech-savvy and cost-saving by investing in a partnership with an MSP, they are minimizing costs by taking the worry out of managing their own IT infrastructure.

An MSP will usually have a broader range of IT solutions and services than in house IT professionals with access to helpdesk with multiple engineers to help solve any issues that may arise. Instead of one IT person, you instantly have a team of IT pros ready to go.

2. Better business focus

With your IT Infrastructure in the hands of a professional MSP,  you’ll have peace of mind so you can focus on your business.

Leave the IT issues to the IT pros.

The MSP serves business owners/companies to have a better business focus by taking care of the technical issues. We all know how irritating and how stressful it is when we are experiencing technical issues. What more stress can it cause to companies? Can you imagine call center companies having technical problems while they’re communicating with their clients via the Internet? Clients might have a bad impression on the company and through this, companies might decrease the number of clients and decrease their sales! Businesses must focus on customer satisfaction.

3. Provide proactive solutions

Your MSP will have a proactive approach to prevent IT issues before they arise or escalate by automatically detecting and preventing threats and providing IT roadmaps for future requirements.

Not only does the proactive management system work in a way to ensure your business runs smoothly, but it also helps with budgeting purposes as you’ll be able to have a clear view of what’s to come in the future.

These are the 3 reasons why smart business owners use MSP in 2020 which keeps and leads them to more sales and success and better focus on their own business.

Top 3 Cyber Threats and How to Prevent Them

We all know what a threat is. It is basically an activity that represents a possible danger. This may be an object or a person who possesses intent and capability to harm. If someone told you, “I am going to kill you”, that is an example of a threat. But do we know about cyber threats? Are all people familiar with them? What harm can it cause to us and how can we prevent them? The purpose of this blog is to help you get familiarized with these 3 top cyber threats and help to prevent them from happening.

First, let me explain to you what a cyber threat is. A cyber threat is a malicious act by a hacker to illegally steal your data such as personal information, passwords, photos, videos, bank accounts, or even access to your computer. A cyber threat can cause harm.

Now, let’s talk about the top 3 cyber threats and how you prevent them.

1. Phishing Attack

This is the most popular type of cyber threat. According to Phishing Facts | Statistics on Phishing and other Cyber Threats, 70% of breaches associated with a nation-state or state-affiliated actors involved phishing in 2018. 

A phishing attack is when a hacker attempts to steal your data by including a link to your email, chat or text messages. Once you click the link, the hacker can steal your data and have access to your system. 

Hackers will use interesting headlines, legitimate emails and the names of popular companies to trick you into giving out your information. As long as we can stay one step ahead, we can protect ourselves from these types of attacks

Preventions:

  • Never ever click unexpected or suspicious links on your emails! The moment you open that link, it’s like you are opening yourself to infection.
  • Know that your email is coming from a legitimate source. If you are not expecting it, do not open it. A phone call to the person can be a quick way to find out if it was meant to be sent to you.
  • Be familiar with the common phishing language such as ‘verify your account’, ‘contest winner’, and ‘billing problems’.
  • Use firewalls and antivirus software.
  • Always keep your system up-to-date!
  • Think before you click!

2. Social Engineering Attack

It is the psychological manipulation of people into performing an action to give away their sensitive information.

I personally experienced this kind of attack. I was inside the mall when someone came up to me and introduced himself as an employee from a popular bank. He looked pleasant and dressed very well. He also spoke in a professional and articulate way. At first glance, my impression of him was that he was in fact, a bank employee. 

He asked me a number of questions about my bank account. He also asked to see my ATM card and specifically the CVV (card verification value) number written behind my card. He was holding a pen and paper. I found this man very suspicious and of course, I didn’t let him see my card, nor did I answer any of his questions. 

When I arrived home, I did some research on other cases (like mine) in my area. I discovered that a number of people were reportedly hacking bank accounts by pretending to be a bank employee and asking people for their sensitive information like CVV and account numbers.

Like me, you can also avoid being a victim by:

  • Keeping your personal information about yourself or your organization private
  • Do not reveal any of your financial information to either someone in person or over the phone 
  • If you believe you gave your financial information, contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that may have been compromised.
  • Change your password immediately if you might have revealed it. 
  • Consider reporting the case to the police to stop this from happening.

3. Ransomware

You might be familiar with the word “ransom”. You might be thinking that it is a sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner. But what exactly is ransomware? 

Ransomware is one of the most successful threats that cybercriminals are using up to now. You might hear cases of people suddenly being unable to access their own social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. 

Ransomware is basically when a cybercriminal takes control of your computer and declines your access to your own files. You are warned that your info, photos or videos will be published in public unless you pay a large amount of money to stop them (ransom).

Hackers or cybercriminals do this by spreading the threat via email (phishing attacks), websites and attaching files on your computer.

Ransomware is a serious threat that can be spread over a network or spread through Wi-Fi. There’s a lot of money in ransomware. The average cost of a ransomware attack on businesses is $133,000 and Ransomware has cost businesses more than $8 billion in the past year (2019).

According to WIRED UK – Future Science, Culture & Technology News and Reviews, the increasing number of government agencies, public and financial institutions and electricity companies – all critical parts of daily life – suffered IT system shutdowns as a result of ransomware attacks. They chose these because cybercriminals are opportunists. They target the organizations that they believe are most likely to produce the biggest payback. It also said that in this year (2020), ransomware attacks will take aim at public infrastructure.

We need to prevent these ransomware attacks so that we don’t fall victim to cybercrime.

You can protect yourself from ransomware by:

  • Restoring your files from a known good backup like cloud backup services. Restoration is the fastest way to regain access to your data.
  • Do not install suspicious software. Always read reviews about the software you are planning to install.
  • Always check if you are browsing on a safe website.
  • If your computer asked you to save your password, say NO. If you saved your passwords on a local machine, they will be able to look into that file and look at every single password that you saved on that machine.
  • Always update! Make sure your systems and software are updated with relevant patches.
  • Do not pay the ransom. Sometimes, even if the ransom is paid, there is no guarantee that you will be able to regain access to your files. Remember that they are cybercriminals. They can trick you in many ways.

These cyber threats can infect not just your hard drive. The cyber threats are becoming more powerful and can take your entire network and result in business disruptions. These threats need to be taken seriously as all of us can be a victim.

If you want more information on how you can protect yourself and your business from Cyber Threats, get in touch with New Zealand Computing Solutions | IT Services and Software.

What’s your experience regarding cyber threats? 

Let me know and let’s see how we can prevent them.

8 Simple Tips to Prevent Getting Infected with Ransomware

The Internet has a lot of things that catch our attention. It may be an interesting application or website, a surprising message saying that we’ve won a prize, a headline for a blog, news, an article or anything that triggers our curiosity.

We’ve all been there before, clicked on something we shouldn’t and the next thing we know, our computer is frozen with a whole heap of things running on our screen which we can’t exit.

Every day phishing attacks and malware gets more sophisticated making it harder to know what is real and what is fake. With a few skills, it will massively reduce your chance of getting Malware.

1. Install an antivirus protection tool.

Trend Micro can give you the confidence to work in the digital world by safeguarding your information. It protects against viruses, dangerous websites and other threats. The security for your remote workers or even branch offices can be managed via the Internet. They help people or companies protect your information from hackers from your business security solutions and for your online security at home.

If you’re running an older operating system that hasn’t got Windows Defender installed, you could look at other antivirus options. There are many on the internet up for grabs. BE AWARE, when you are looking for these, there are fake websites advertising for “antivirus protection” which gets you to click a link to install what you think will protect you, however, it actually will infect your computer.

Do your research before you impulsively install something quite the opposite to what you’re looking for. Malware protection options I would recommend are:

Trend Micro Antivirus

Sophos Intercept X  

2. Browse Smart

Sometimes people allow the infection of Malware to be just a little too easy. If you’re browsing websites such as Free movie downloads, Spin to win $3 million dollars, or Click Allow to win a prize, you’re almost asking to get infected.

If you think you’ve clicked on a dodgy link, here is a tip to remove it:

  • Click on Chrome’s main menu button represented by three vertical dots in the top right corner.
  • Click on “Settings”.
  • Scroll to the bottom and click on “Advanced”.
  • Look for the Privacy and Security section and click on “Site Settings”.
  • Click on “Notifications”.
  • Look for the sites that are sending you unwanted notifications and click the three vertical dots button next to those sites.
  • Click on “Remove”.

3. Never click links in a suspicious email

Firstly, check the email that it is sent from. If you’ve received an email from apple support requesting you to update your password, and the sender’s email address is apples.support@applecomputers.com  this could ring alarm bells. Being aware of the subtle differences in an email address from the sender is key.

The next test you can do is to hover over any external links within the email. If the link is a fake, you’ll see a series of random letters or perhaps a similar domain, but not a valid domain eg. applecomputers.com rather than apple.com.

Your family, friends, and employees should also be trained to look for an illegitimate email address before anything else happens. Encourage them to always take a second look at the sender’s email address before responding to the email, especially about giving their sensitive information or clicking on any links.

4. Pull the plug

If you think you’ve clicked into something that could be infecting your computer, take no risks. Pull the power plug out of your computer and contact your tech support immediately. It pays to pull out the ethernet cable as well – just to be extra safe that your computer won’t be on the network and potentially infect other computers.

There is no time to be wasted when it comes to Malware, you’re better to be safe than sorry.

5. Use strong passwords

Strong passwords are a must when it comes to technology. NEVER have the same password for multiple logins. Passwords need to be long and contain capital letters and numbers. Do not have anything that can be linked to you i.e birthdays, addresses, etc. 

Applications like Bitwarden or 1Password are secure ways to manage your passwords. These apps can generate random strong passwords for each site and store them safely so that you do not have to remember them.

6. Take care in recognizing who’s calling you

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These days hackers have become more and more common in the Telemarketing and Social Engineering side of things. Hackers will commonly target elderly people who are more inclined to believe them.

Never give out credit card details, bank accounts, passwords or anything of this nature to an unrecognized source over the phone. Be cautious about who you are talking to.

These scammers pose as everyday services such as phone providers (Vodafone), IT companies (NZCS), electricity companies, anywhere that you could potentially be a customer. 

They will usually tell you that you have an outstanding amount to pay or a problem with your computer and ask you for your details to pay the bill.

If you’re ever uncertain whether you’re talking to the correct person, ask if you can ring them back. If they say no you’re certainly not speaking to who you think you are. Most companies will understand if you want to call them back due to security reasons and ringing them back is the best solution to finding out who you’re speaking to. Don’t redial the number on your phone, look up their number on their website and go from there.

7. Log out of websites when finished

This one’s super important. However safe you may think you are being while browsing, we will always pose a risk of getting malware. Logging out of a website once you’re finished is a MUST. Do not save passwords on your browsers (Google etc have an option to “save password”) It is a better idea not to.

If you’re ever hacked and you have all of these passwords saved, you could potentially lose everything. You want to keep your risk as minimal as possible. If you think there is a chance someone has your password make sure you change it as soon as possible and turn on two-factor authentication if there is an option.

8. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

At first, we used only one password for everything including social media accounts but that wasn’t good enough nowadays that’s why many people are now using 2FA. The 2FA adds a second method of identity verification to secure our accounts. 

First, the thing you know is your password, then something unique that you have. It can be your phone or your fingerprint. Attackers can’t access your account even if they have your password because they cannot have your fingerprint.

You can also use a code. Whenever someone attempts to log in to your account, you will receive a text message or an email with a randomized 6-digit number.

If you want to enable two-factor authentication in your Google account, follow these steps:

  • Go to Google Account and log in to your account.
  • Click on the Security tab on the left.
  • Click on 2-Step Verification.
  • Click the Get Started tab.
  • Enter your Google password to verify it’s you.
  • Click Try It Now.
  • Tap Yes on the Google pop-up that appears on your phone or tablet.
  • Confirm your phone number. It serves as the backup option in case Google Prompt doesn’t work.
  • Enter the 6 digit code that you received to your phone number and click Next.
  • Click Turn On to enable the 2FA.

So there you have it – 8 simple steps you can take on board that’ll save you from potentially being infected with Malware. 

If you want more tips to prevent getting infected with ransomware, visit New Zealand Computing Solutions | IT Services and Software

Why is my Chrome printing small?

There are some hidden settings in your printing options that you might not have known were there and now you’re stuck printing chrome documents at a much smaller scale than you’d intended. Say goodbye to your frustration, here’s the solution:

 

While in Chrome, prepare to print a something:

Click on the more settings option as shown below

Look through the different options and locate the scale, make sure that it is set to 100. When I found these settings it was set to 40 which is why I was having this problem.

 

Easy as that! This is most likely the problem you’re having. Let us know if you’re still having problems by leaving a comment below!

5 Things That Could be Wrong With Your Website

You’ve created a sweet website – It’s looking a million dollars and you’re ready for business to start rolling in from your new online empire…

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to ensure that your website is a super success

Q. Can your website be viewed easily on your mobile device?

In this day ‘n age, if your website is not responsive to a mobile device (smartphone/tablet), then your it will simply be overlooked. Who can be bothered with a website that is too big or too small for their smartphone screen?!
Having a responsive website means that the size of the site displayed will automatically adjust and display correctly on a mobile device without the user having to zoom in or out to see that magnificent creation that you have designed and presented as your website. The option to ‘View full site’ is also recommended (just to look extra savvy and it’s pretty useful sometimes too).

Q. Can I call you easily if I want to?

I’ve found you online and I’m ready to call you and talk bizo – Please make it easy for me! Ensure that your phone number is visible in the header on the right – that’s where I (and everyone else) will be looking. I don’t have time to figure out those 0800WORD phone numbers – I like digits. Add ‘click to dial’ on your responsive website – saves me having to mess around with that old pen and paper (what’s that?!?!)

Q. Who am I really dealing with?

You’re a good looking bunch and I want to see your faces! People like doing business with people and a small insight into your team will be a good start to building a business relationship that will last.

Q. Where is the go button?

Your website is great, I’ve checked out what you can offer and your awesome team and now I want to get started. But how? Make that call to action obvious! You are burning money if you don’t have the big red ‘Go’ button!

Q. Is your website up to date?

Or so last year? Updating your website regularly is super important! Designs get old faster than the paint and signage on your building and your website is your shop window to the world open 24/7 – keep it updated! Every 12 – 24 months is advised.

Now with that in mind, how about giving us a call and we can talk further about your website? Call Greg or Tash on 0800 895 210 for a no obligation review.