Building a Secure P@$$w0rd

It seems we can’t go five minutes without some major brand announcing they’ve had a data breach and all of your information is floating around an ominous (but real) entity known as the dark web. Even if your information isn’t acquired as a result of a massive data breach, you can certainly think of at least one time when a friend, family member, or professional colleague sent out a mass SOS to alert their contacts that their email had been hacked.

The bad news is, everyone who is connected to the internet is at-risk. There are some safeguards that can be put in place, such as two-step verification (if your email provider offers this), secret image or word confirmations, identity-specific questions, and so forth that can and do offer protection from identity thieves. If you do nothing else, be sure to assign your accounts with a complex password. In 2018, we should be well beyond leaving off numerals or special characters, and for the love of Pete, your password should never, ever be “password”. Please.

So where do you start? Remember, not only does your password have to be secure, but you need to be able to recall.

First—one of the best ways (as an employer) to prevent data breaches is not necessarily to require frequent password changes, as associates will often recycle a variation of a previously used password, rendering the practice more or less meaningless. And it’s no wonder why employees would do this—with the level of complexity that most passwords demand, this is kind of like asking each employee to instantly memorize a new phone number every 30 to 90 days. The better way to prevent breaches is to monitor the activity on the account. Did Susie Q really try to login into her company email at three in the morning? Ask her. If yes, you’re good. If no, it might be time for a password change.

Second—be technical over complex. According to the NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre), the long, complicated passwords frankensteined together with multiple character types are somewhat counterintuitive because people, when it comes down to it, are predictable. Such as replacing the letter O with a zero. These strategies are predictable and place a lot of burden on the user with minimal benefit to the overall security. Worse, the people you’re trying to keep out are well aware of your security workarounds. They will then use a combination of frequently used words and character substitutions to undo your gloriously long password.

So what can employers do?

Lock it up. If a user fails to enter the correct password after a certain number of attempts (no more than ten), then lock the account.

Take away certain words—particularly if they’re frequently used. Forbes has a list of frequently used passwords as of December 2017, which includes everything from “letmein” to “monkey”, “starwars”, and, yes, our old frenemy “password” (and its accomplice, “123456”).

5 Reasons Why Your Company Should Switch to a VoIP System Now

Capture

A reliable phone system with up-to-date features can be the change that helps your business flourish. Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, systems allow you to make phone calls over your internet connection instead of standard analog phone lines. This service offers better functionality, lower costs, and other helpful business benefits.

How could your business profit from a VoIP system?

(more…)

PCnet Celebrates 30 Years in Business!

PCnet 30th Anniversary Logo-01
October 28th marked PCnet’s 30 Year Anniversary!

We’re proud to be a part of Springfield’s amazing community, made up of friends, partners, clients and team members.

As we honor our past and celebrate all the many blessings and people that have gotten us here, we now look forward and will work to uphold all the values that we as a company hold so dear.
Thank you to everyone that has been a part of our family business.

As technologies change, there’s one thing that doesn’t, the team you rely on to help you navigate that change.

We look forward to helping your business recognize its full IT potential by taking IT off your plate and giving you the time to focus on what you do best.

Thank you for trusting us as your IT partner, we look forward to growing with you!

Marty Roach
President, PCnet & 85under

WPA2 Wi-Fi Security Vulnerability

shutterstock_247356091It was announced yesterday that a vulnerability was discovered in the vastly used WPA2 Wi-Fi protocol. This vulnerability leaves the potential for compromise if an attacker is physically within range of your Wi-Fi network. If compromised, the attacker would be able to attain sensitive information, passwords, credit card numbers, emails, manipulate data, and more.

(more…)

The End of Life for Office 2007

shutterstock_56197189

What does it mean for your company?

Ten years ago, Microsoft presented Office 2007, a software suite which helped popularize the Ribbon interface toolbar and several other software enhancements. Businesses still use this decade-old software suite, despite mainstream support ending in October 2012. Most companies have upgraded to newer versions of Office, but many still rely on the 2007 Office suite. With extended support for the software end date of October 10th, 2017 quickly approaching, it is time for businesses to seriously consider upgrading to a newer version. (more…)

DRaaS: A step above Offsite Backups

PCN_site-layout-v3_services_images

The concept of Offsite Backups seems to be understood by most – PCnet backs up your data to our “Cloud” (offsite), where it can be retrieved when needed most.  However, “Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)” is still foreign to many business owners.

“Disaster Recovery” does suggest a more robust approach to an unforeseen data emergency.  But is DRaaS necessary for your business?  Let’s find out… (more…)

Why Your Second “In-House” IT Hire Should Be “Outsourced IT”

Outsourced IT is cheaper than hiring more IT personnel.

Your first step into the world of IT came with an in-house hire, and your business responded by growing…a lot. So much so, in fact, that your in-house tech cannot keep up. Now projects are piling up, IT security is falling behind, and the auditor’s reports aren’t looking good.

Sound familiar? It might be time to expand your IT department. And when you make that decision, it may be much more advantageous to consider an outsourced IT solution. More and more, outsourced IT is becoming the definitive solution for companies either just entering the world of IT, or those learning one lone employee isn’t enough. (more…)

Has Cloud Computing Replaced the “Black Box”?

Will cloud computing make computer brands obsolete?

“Black box” refers to a term coined by IBM’s PC. This PC was first introduced August 12, 1981. It used an 8088 processor and could access up to 1 megabyte of RAM. More than 50 new businesses came on the market prior to the release of the IBM PC in 1981. Over the years, as many companies have replicated IBM’s PC, only a handful have survived. Companies like Dell, HP and Lenovo are now market leaders in the server and PC space. This has been directly related to the power of the name brand that these companies have created.

While name brand is still important in some respects, it’s not as meaningful as it once was. Cloud computing is now taking hold and these name brands will be increasingly insignificant as businesses move to the cloud. Cloud computing is expected to more than double during the next six years, from 37 percent to nearly 80 percent (more…)

The Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi can be a security risk to your personal information.

The Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

It’s all too convenient. In many shopping and public spaces, your mobile device tempts you with fast and free internet. You may be thinking that it’s probably safe because it’s being provided by a major retailer or hotel chain. As you consider the risks, you might assume or hope for safe access, but the reality is often quite different. According to security firm, Kaspersky, “The biggest threat to free Wi-Fi security is the ability for the hacker to position himself between you and the connection point. So instead of talking directly to the hotspot, you’re sending your information to the hacker, who then relays it on.” It is impossible to know for certain that you are connecting to a safe and properly identified host. So, what can we do to protect ourselves?

Virtual Private Network (VPN):
With some advance planning, you can encrypt your mobile device data signal so that your information is unreadable by hackers in transit. It’s a little like riding a subway from your house to the police station every time you go to town. (more…)

Top Ten Cybersecurity Tips

shutterstock_255283351

  1. 1. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code
    Make sure each of your business’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and update regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.

2. Secure your networks
Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, (more…)