October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so it’s a great time to learn about what you can do to protect yourself and your business from cyber threats of any and every kind.

In our technologically advancing society, cybercrimes and intrusions are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Prevention starts with every user of a connected device to be educated and aware.

What everyone needs to understand is that you are an attractive target for cybercriminals. If you have money (any amount, really), data (emails, documents, passwords, usernames) or a place to work, you’re a target. It’s that simple. Don’t ever think it won’t happen to you, because it most definitely can.

You’ll be surprised how easy it is to better protect yourself and your data from cybercrime. All it takes is some time educating yourself and adjusting a few habits in your routine. Here are 20 cybersecurity tips everyone should apply to improve their online safety:

Tip #1: Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Be cautious when connected to public Wi-Fi. If you have to connect, make sure not to type out any personal information, especially credit card or bank account information. Free Public Wi-Fi is all around us, making it easy for hackers to get unrestricted access to unsecured devices on the same network. Your best bet is to avoid it altogether, if possible.

Tip #2: Update

Always keep everything up to date to ensure the latest security. To most, software updates may not seem that important but putting off these updates makes the door to your private information easier for hackers to open.

Tip #3: Be Safe Online Shopping

Never online shop from a device that isn’t yours or an unsecured network you don’t trust. While online shopping is convenient, it’s also easier for a cybercriminal to get their hands on your credit card information if you aren’t smart about it. When shopping online, follow these simple steps to ensure security:

  • Use a safe, secure and trusted network
  • Implement strong passwords
  • Be picky about which websites you shop at (https vs http, not providing info about the company, etc.)
  • Don’t save your card information in an online shopping account
  • Verify your account activity and transactions regularly

Tip #4: USBe Careful

Be cautious about what you plug into your computer. Never use a USB or external hard-drive from an unknown source. It could be infected with malware, viruses, etc.

Tip #5: Keep Up With Your Bank Activity

Check your bank and credit/debit card activity regularly to confirm transactions and monitor for any suspicious activity. Frequently checking activity and statements will better ensure that no fraudulent transactions have been made. Online banking makes it easier and faster to monitor your account, so there’s no reason you should not be keeping up with your activity. The sooner you can detect any sketchy activity, the easier it should be to fix it.

Tip #6: Check for the ‘S’

How can you tell if a website can securely handle your data? Check for the ‘s’ in https. This added ‘s’ stands for ‘secure.’ Https encrypts the data you put on the website and the data you get from it so that no one can intrude or tamper with the data flow. If a website starts with http instead of https, don’t give them any personal information and get off the site to stay safe.

Tip #7: Don’t Mindlessly Click

Pay attention to what you’re clicking on! Nowadays, humans are so distracted by the Internet and our devices, sometimes mindlessly clicking on things that might not be as secure as it looks. It only takes one misfortunate click to end up with a malware infection. Remember to avoid clicking on:

  • Short links with a questionable destination
  • Links or attachments in emails that you never expected (even if it seems urgent)
  • Misleading pop-ups on web pages

Tip #8: Be Aware of Malvertising

Malvertising is a tactic where hackers inject malicious code or malware-filled ads onto legit online advertising networks and websites. When you see ads on your favorite websites, be wary. Just one out of the many ads on the site could be infected, searching your device for vulnerabilities and potentially leaving your computer with a serious infection. Use an ad-blocker and a reliable antivirus to safeguard your device. If you see an ad you feel tempted to click on, try typing in the website on another tab yourself, instead of clicking on what could be an infected advertisement.

Tip #9: Cover Your Cam

Cover your computer or laptop’s webcam when you’re not using it. It may seem silly, but you never know who’s watching you. There have been many instances where people’s computers/laptops have been hacked with intent to spy. These criminals will watch and/or listen to what you do in your personal space. While it may seem unreasonable to most, it’s always a good idea to cover your webcam when not in use. Better safe than sorry, right?

Tip #10: Think Again Before You Accept That Friend Request

Cybercriminals often create fake profiles to befriend you and get you to share confidential information about you or your company. They will also have access to whatever personal information you share with your friends, like your workplace, where you live, where you went to school, etc. which can make it easier for them to crack your passwords. It’s best not to accept friend requests from people you don’t know in real life.

Tip #11: Remove That App

Device manufacturers love to stuff your brand new device full of “free” applications, but clutter is the enemy of a speedy computer or device; outdated apps are a breeding ground for hackers. So, if you’re not using them regularly, it’s best to remove it completely. This way you don’t have it sucking up processing speed AND leaving the door open to hackers and malware.

Tip #12: Stop Saving Your Card Details

Don’t be lazy! Stop saving your credit or debit card information on online accounts, ESPECIALLY untrustworthy ones. If you want to buy something online, take the few extra seconds to fill out your card details every time. It may seem like a pain in the…fingertips…but card fraud is 100 times more of a pain!

Tip #13: Be Wary During Sports Seasons

Different sports seasons and events are a prime opportunity for cyber attackers. These scammers will use the hype to their advantage and attempt to expose sports fans to cyber risks. With football and basketball season in full swing, be cautious of links you click on, sporting apps you download, where you give your credentials to and especially of where you place your sporting bets.

Tip #14: Alert Yourself

Set up withdrawal and transaction alerts for your bank accounts. Having these notifications will allow you to spot and report fraudulent activity before the money has already been siphoned into a cybercriminal’s hands.

Tip #15: Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Require 2FA to access your online banking accounts. Most banks have this as a security setting for your account. This will prevent a hacker from accessing your account and obtaining your information EVEN IF they crack your password.

Tip #16: Stop Reusing Your Passwords

No, seriously. STOP. Let’s say a hacker cracks your Facebook password. Darn, right? Guess you have to make a new Facebook account. No. Think for a second: Are you using that same password on any other accounts? How many accounts would that hacker be able to access? What information of yours could be stolen or compromised? Is it the same password as your bank accounts? Bet I made you worry there for a second.

It may seem inconvenient to have to keep up with different passwords for all of your accounts, but it will be even more of an inconvenience when you wake up one morning to multiple of your accounts in jeopardy.

Tip #17: Pay Attention to Permission

Not only should you be careful about what apps you install on your devices and where you download them from, but you should pay attention to what permissions these apps ask for. Don’t mindlessly click accept when a weather app asks for permission to access your camera roll. That doesn’t add up, does it?

Tip #18: Lock Your Device

Never leave your smartphone or any of your devices unattended without a security passcode in place. Leaving your devices unlocked leaves all of your information available to whoever walks past. It’s a good idea to activate your device to auto-lock the screen after a short period of inactivity.

Locking your phone or device is one of the most simple security measures, yet many don’t utilize a screen lock. Nowadays, devices have fingerprint and face authentication to unlock your screen, making it more effortless than ever; there is no excuse to not have a passcode or some form of authentication in place. It’s not worth the risk.

Tip #19: Back it Up

Back up NOW. Not just your computer but your phone and any other devices you have. Make sure you are implementing automatic back-ups for the best protection of your information and data. You might not think you’ll ever be in the situation where you’ll have to retrieve your data from a back-up, but hey, IT happens.

Tip #20: Be a Little Paranoid

Yes, I said it. It is okay to be a little paranoid and suspicious. Being aware of what’s going on online can help keep you safe from compromise. Follow these last simple tips to live by online:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not true
  • If it looks fishy, stay away
  • If someone asks for your confidential data, don’t give it to them unless they are a trusted source

There are plenty more cybersecurity tips and advice to keep you better protected from cyber threats. Applying what you’ve read here is just the start. You should constantly be educating yourself on cybersecurity, as there are always new scams and tactics these cybercriminals use. It’s a scary world we live in, but as long as you stay aware and practice cybersecurity, you’ll be better off than the majority.

If your business needs better IT support and data protection, contact us today!


In our last blog post, we touched on the 5 categories of phishing. We learned about vishing, smishing, search engine phishing, spear phishing, whaling and the scenarios that one could catch themselves in if faced with a phishing attack. In today’s post, we’ll go over seven common types of phishing and what you can do to avoid them.

1.) CEO Fraud

CEO Fraud occurs when a cybercriminal sends an email to a regular employee (usually someone in the accounting or finance department) pretending to be the CEO or another executive of the company. The goal of these emails is to fool the employees into completing unauthorized wire transfers or disclosing confidential information. 

Make sure you always check the sender details, confirming identity. Unless you’re 100% certain of the sender, don’t act on anything. Take a look at this helpful chart from KnowB4 to get a better understanding of CEO fraud.

2.) Clone Phishing

Clone phishing is when a previously sent email that contains a link or attachment is maliciously copied to create a near-identical or cloned version. Scammers swap the attachment and/or link in the email with a malicious one. The cybercriminal often uses the excuse that they’re re-sending the original message because of some type of issue with the link or attachment, hoping that the victim will try clicking on the “fixed” attachment or link.

To prevent a clone phishing attack, always check the sender’s email and confirm it’s legitimate. Hover over any link to verify the landing page before clicking on it. If something looks off, follow up with the organization it appears to be coming from in a separate email or phone call.

3.) Domain Spoofing

Domain spoofing occurs when a cybercriminal spoofs an organization’s domain. These criminals are known to purchase domains that sound similar to popular, trustworthy domains like google-info.com and manager-apple.com. The goal of this kind of phishing is for cybercriminals to make their emails look like they’re coming from a legitimate domain by forging an email header or making a fake webpage that looks identical to the real domain’s site design using a similar URL.

While domain spoofing can be hard to recognize, keep an eye out for anything that looks sketchy. If something looks off, verify the organization’s actual email or webpage and report any suspicious domains to anti-phishing organizations.

4.) Pop-up Phishing

This kind of phishing occurs when a pop-up window appears when surfing the web. In most cases, cybercriminals will infect legitimate websites with a malicious code that causes these pop-ups to appear when people visit them. A good example would be if you visited your bank’s website and a pop-up appears telling you to input your account number and card information.

Generally, you shouldn’t trust pop-up messages on websites and should use pop-up blockers on your browser extensions.

5.) HTTPS Phishing

Did you know that over half of phishing websites are served via HTTPS? Did you know that the “s” in HTTPS stands for “secure”? Well, in this day and age we can’t be sure that our data is safe and “secure” anymore when visiting a site that starts with HTTPS. Phishers have been adopting HTTPS more often on their sites. When you get a phishing email or text, the malicious site(s) they lead to seem trustworthy as ever.

Unfortunately, we can’t trust websites solely based on if it has a lock icon or “https” in the address bar. Remember to think twice before clicking a link and always consider the source.

6.) Website Spoofing

Similar to domain spoofing, website spoofing is the act of creating a duplicate version of a trusted website that appears to be the original. This kind of scam is commonly used by imitating banking corporations and obtaining victims’ banking and financial information. Make sure you always double-check the address bar, verify the company’s legitimate web and email address and always keep your browser updated to better safeguard against these kinds of insecurities. Look at this visual from Box Phish of a spoofed google sign-in box and the legitimate google sign-in box. They are almost identical and nearly impossible to tell apart. It’s scary, but something everyone needs to be aware of and look out for.

7.) Man-in-the-Middle

A man-in-the-middle attack (MiM) is when a cybercriminal secretly relays and alters the communication between two parties they believe are directly communicating with each other. Hackers will impersonate themselves on both sides to access sensitive information like transactions or other confidential data. A common target is financial websites between the login and authentication.

One way to avoid MiM attacks is to avoid using free public Wi-Fi. Hackers can easily gain access to unsecured devices through the same free network you place yourself on. It is also always a good idea to use VPNs to help ensure secure connections.

When you realize how many different ways hackers can and will try and trick you, it can be intimidating. Remember to always take cybersecurity seriously; it’s no joke and it CAN happen to you. No matter how invincible you think you are, you are NOT. Use a password manager, use 2FA (two-factor authorization), verify suspicious communications through official channels and use websites that are secure and encrypted. Make sure you are staying up-to-date and educated on cybersecurity and most importantly…PRACTICE IT!

Here at Elevated Technologies, we constantly work to defend your network and devices against malicious threats and abnormal user behavior. To prevent a data breach and to better protect your company, contact us today.

For a free cybersecurity assessment click here.

To download a FREE cybersecurity report on the Top 10 Ways a Hacker Can Rob your Business, click here!


Phishing has been a popular tactic for hackers and cybercriminals since the 90s and only has become more advanced over the years. When people think of phishing, they usually think of email scams, but most aren’t aware that there are various types of phishing in today’s day and age; not just email. It is important to recognize and understand the many kinds of phishing attacks and how to recognize them for the safety of you and your business’s information.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a type of cybercrime in which a target(s) are contacted by a form of communication (email, phone, text message, etc.) posing as a legit organization or company to lure the target into providing sensitive data (personal information, bank/card details, account credentials, etc.)

Categories of Phishing

1. Vishing

This phishing is done over phone calls. Voice Phishing = Vishing. Vishing relies on social engineering to trick you into providing sensitive information that can be used to access your important accounts. These attackers pretend to be from a trustworthy business.

Scenario: A voice message disguised as communication from a financial institute asking for the target to call a number and validate their account information for security or official purposes.

2. Smishing

This phishing is done over text or SMS alerts. “SMiShing.” Since a lot of people rely so much on texting nowadays, this kind of phishing attacking is a growing threat. Most people are aware of the threat of clicking a link through email, but this is less true when it comes to text messages.

Scenario: A recipient may receive a fake message or order detail with a cancellation link that would actually be a fake page designed to harvest your personal details.

3. Search Engine Phishing

This phishing is a relatively new kind of phishing and refers to the creation of fake webpages that target specific keywords and wait for an unfortunate user to click on the site link.

Scenario: A too-good-to-be-true discount or giveaway from a site pops up when searching for shoes on google. The site appears to be a typical online retailer, but the products are fake and you will never receive your item. These scammers will take your money and likely the information you’ve provided, as well.

4. Spear Phishing

This phishing is a targeted take on email phishing. Spear phishing is usually extremely successful because the scammers spend a lot of time researching their target (on social media and company website) and specially crafting the information they send to them, making it more believable. This is the most commonly used type of phishing.

Scenario: Attacker will pose as a business you trust, like your bank. They will send an email about a great deal, say you are owed money, an account is about to be frozen, etc. and will get you to enter your personal information.

5.Whaling

Whaling isn’t far off from spear phishing. The difference is that the targeted group becomes even more specific and personalized, making it almost impossible to detect. These attacks target enterprises’ top executives (CFO, CEO, COO), or “whales” in phishing terms. Technology, banking and healthcare organizations are the most targeted sectors here because of the large number of users and high dependency on data. The idea here is that information or credentials from one of these high-value executives will open more doors than an entry-level employee. The goal is to steal employee information, sensitive data and cash.

Scenario: An executive gets an email from what looks like a “trusted” source asking for their current and former employees’ W-2 forms. The executive sends the information, leading to a breach of income tax data for all current and former employees. Employees are now susceptible to income tax refund fraud and other identity theft schemes. This was an actual happening with Seagate.

Always remember: If it looks fishy, it probably is. It’s unfortunate that we have to live in a society where we have to be extremely conscious about what we click on and who we are sending our information to, but that’s the life we live in. Next time you open an email or text, answer a phone call or even shop online, BE WARY.

Stay tuned for the second part of this article which will go over the types of phishing! For more about recognizing and avoiding phishing, click here.


In this day and age, many small-medium size businesses are transitioning from in-house, hourly IT support to managed IT service providers. With these MSPs (managed service provider) come flat-rate IT support, where you pay a flat monthly fee. No extra charges or hidden fees, just the cost of what your company actually needs.

For many businesses, paying for full-time IT personnel just isn’t feasible. IT technicians have education and expertise that a minimum-wage salary clearly won’t satisfy, so their salary needs must be met as well. In-house IT personnel also may not have the broad range of skills that MSPs have. Since “IT” is a broad term that covers a wide range of multiple technologies and skill sets, an in-house IT worker could likely be extremely experienced in one field and completely lacking knowledge in another. This is where partnering with a managed IT service provider who is skilled in all IT realms, is your best bet.

Partnering with an MSP that offers flat-rate support will ensure that your business only pays for the services it needs, at a set price that won’t fluctuate unexpectedly. It is more cost-effective than having in-house support while offering you and your staff peace of mind.

Benefits of Flat-Rate IT Support

With flat-rate IT support comes transparent pricing, predictable costs, scalable features and more. You will pay only for the services your company needs and costs won’t increase if someone got a raise or your company had to deal with an IT disaster. Flat-rate IT support:

  • Provides a timely, dedicated help desk with educated and skilled IT engineers
  • Actively monitors and maintains your businesses systems 24/7 so that you can rest easy when you leave work
  • Eliminates costly downtime and IT failures that could be detrimental to your business
  • Provides scalable IT services that will support your business even as it continues to grow
  • Eliminates costly charges of disaster and data recovery

Flat Rate with Elevated Tech

Using an in-house IT expert or the most technologically advanced employee on your team can only propel your business so far. Here at Elevated Tech, our support teams are dedicated to ensuring that your business continues to enhance its productivity while eliminating all unnecessary stressors with reliable support and management.

If you run a small or medium-sized business, a flat-rate IT support service probably makes more sense than hiring full-time in-house IT staff or paying someone by the hour. At Elevated Tech, we offer a full suite of business IT solutions at a single, manageable flat rate that stays constant no matter what.

To learn more about the benefits of unlimited flat-rate IT support here at Elevated Tech and what our flat rate includes, click here!

Give us a call at 281-653-7726 and we’ll provide you with a fair monthly flat rate that gives you all-inclusive managed IT services.


Whether you work from home or in office, you will inevitably find yourself searching for public Wi-Fi in certain conditions to keep up with your workload. Nowadays, you’re likely to find free, public Wi-Fi at restaurants, hotels, airports, bookstores, coffee shops, etc. With the urgency that some jobs possess, these access points can be a godsend. However, free, public Wi-Fi comes with risks that many truly don’t comprehend. Understanding the risks that pose a threat to the average business traveler is essential to keeping your important business data from becoming another hacking statistic.

Risk 1 – Monkey in the Middle

The fact that free, public Wi-Fi requires no authentication to gain connection to a network is convenient for consumers but is also desirable and convenient for hackers. Hackers can easily gain access to unsecured devices on the same free network.

Your biggest threat to free Wi-Fi is that the hacker could position himself between you and the connection point. Unfortunately, if this happens, you would be sending your information or online whereabouts to the hacker, who then relays on it.

If this unfortunate situation arises, the hacker has access to every bit of information you’re sending out while connected to the network. This could be your card information, confidential emails or files, security credentials to personal accounts or even to your business network. Once the hacker has your data, they are able to access your systems or accounts at their leisure.

Risk 2 – Malware

Hackers have also been known to use unsecured Wi-Fi connections to distribute malware. If you permit file-sharing across one of these networks, a hacker can place infected software on your computer. Some hackers have even been known to hack the access point itself, causing pop-up windows to appear when someone tries to connect to the network. If someone clicks on the pop-up, it would install malware on the device.

Nowadays, Wi-Fi is so common and we are increasingly becoming more reliant on it. It’s safe to say that these risks and security issues will only increase over time. As long as you are aware and take precautions to these threats, there is no need to chain yourself to your desk and never trust free Wi-Fi ever again. Here are some ways to steer clear of these risks:

Solution 1 – VPN

Using a VPN, or virtual private network connection is a must when connecting to an unsecured connection, especially when it involves work for your business. Even if a hacker positions himself in the middle of your connection, the data here would be intensely encrypted. Since most hackers are after easy targets, they’ll likely move on to a more naïve victim when they see your information will take longer to access and decrypt.

Solution 2 – SSL Connections

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. For general internet browsing, it’s not likely to have a VPN available. However, you can still add a layer of encryption, or SSL, for your protection.

Make sure that you enable the “Always Use HTTPS” option on websites that require some kind of credentials or even those that you frequently visit. Keep in mind that hackers are experts on how people reuse their passwords, so your credentials for a random online retail store may be the same as your banking site or network for your business. Sending these credentials in an unencrypted setting could lead to a disastrous hacking situation.

Solution 3 – Auto Wi-Fi and Unnecessary Wi-Fi Usage

Smartphones and tablets nowadays have an option where you can automatically connect to available, unsecured Wi-Fi. While some might think this feature is great and helps take a load off their cellular data, what they don’t know WILL hurt them. It is the best and safest option to go into the Wi-Fi settings in the device and make sure that the option to automatically connect to open networks is turned off. This way, it should ask you to join networks instead of automatically connecting to an unsecured network that could potentially put you in a very unfortunate hacking situation.

When it comes to computers, even if you haven’t actively connected to a network, the hardware in your computer still transmits data between any network in range. While there are security measures in place to prevent this from compromising you and your data, there are routers that work differently and can be accessible to a smart hacker. Keep your Wi-Fi off if you’re using a program that doesn’t rely on the Internet. As a plus, this will also improve your battery life. It is important to note that even with taking all the necessary security precautions, it is possible to run into issues from time to time. This is why it’s detrimental to implement Internet security on your machines and devices. Taking these steps will safeguard you to the best of your ability when it comes to public Wi-Fi risks.


Here’s the thing: No business is immune from a ransomware threat. Ransomware has become a profitable tactic for cybercriminals and was listed as the most significant malware threat of 2018. Ransomware attacks have increased over 97 percent in the last two years and these attacks show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files unless a ransom is paid. It targets both technical and human weaknesses by keeping a person or business from their most sensitive files and/or systems.

These cybercriminals use phishing attacks or other hacking methods to gain entry into a computer system. A common way ransomware infects your computer is through email attachments that you click on or accidentally download. Once ransomware is on your computer, the infection encrypts your files and prevents your access. The hacker then communicates that they have your data and will only give that information back if you pay the ransom. If the ransom is paid, these cybercriminals may or may not give you access back to your files.

Preventing Ransomware

Ransomware is an extremely lucrative market for hackers and can be challenging to stop. Taking preventative measures is the most important step to take when it comes to these attacks. To protect you and your company’s data, keep these preventative steps in mind.

1.) Anti-Malware/Ransomware Software

To help safeguard your data, you should be implementing a trusted security suite that offers more than just antivirus. Your security software should consist of anti-malware and anti-ransomware on top of antivirus.

2.) Security Scans

The security software on your system is only effective if you are regularly running scans on your computers and devices. These scans act as your second layer of defense in the security software, detecting threats that your current IT guy might not be able to find.

3.) Early Threat Detection

Installing ransomware protection software can help identify potential attacks. These kinds of programs can find intrusions in real-time and prevent them. Using a firewall that blocks unauthorized access to your computer or network is a great way to prevent ransomware from infecting your computer.

4.) Education

One of the most important ways to prevent a ransomware attack is to thoroughly educate yourself and your employees about these types of threats and cybersecurity in general. Often, a ransomware attack can be traced back to an unwitting employee who clicked a link or attachment they shouldn’t have. When employees are informed on these types of attacks, many ransomware occurrences can easily be avoided.

At Elevated Tech, we offer cybersecurity training to you and your employees to ensure everyone is on the same page and no unfortunate, costly mistakes are made.

5.) Password Security

In many cases, your password is your first line of defense against these hackers. Your password is in place to protect your information and keep others out, so you should be implementing a strong password strategy for you and your employees. Take measures into improving your password security and making sure you don’t become infected with ransomware over a weak password.

6.) File Extensions and Mindful Clicking

Pay attention to file extensions before you click on a file/attachment. The file extension is the period followed by three or four letters that indicate the file type. For example, .pdf is a PDF file, .jpg is a JPEG file and .docx is a Windows’ Word Document. Windows has an option where you can set up your computers to display the file extensions when you see a file.

File extensions to avoid are .exe, .vbs or .scr. Even if these executable extensions come from a “trusted” source, do NOT open. They are likely ransomware or viruses.

Never click links in an email. Always type the website out yourself in your browser. Set your privacy settings in your email to require you to enable links or photos every time. You can check photos or link sources by rolling your cursor over any photos or links—NOT clicking them—to see if the preview address that appears matches the link. If it doesn’t, it’s not authentic.

7.) Blocking Unknown Sources

  • Vulnerable Plug-ins – Cybercriminals can and will use various types of web plug-ins like Java and Flash Player to infect your computer. Java and Flash Player are two of the most common that these hackers use because they are standard on many sites and are easy to attack. If you use these plug-ins, it is essential to update them regularly. However, your safest bet is to stop using them altogether.
  • Unknown Email Addresses and Attachments – Filter out and reject incoming mail with executable file extensions and set up your mail server to block email addresses of detectable spammers and malware.

8.) Backup

Even if you take every precaution into preventing a ransomware attack, there is still the possibility of your defenses falling short. The best way to safeguard against these attacks and decrease the impact on your business is to have a regular, secure backup system in place. To be even more prepared in these instances, it is vital to back up your systems in the cloud as well as locally.

Backing up your data is essential because hackers cannot easily access your information when it’s in a safe place. Also, it will be easier if the time comes to wipe your systems and repair with your backed up files following an attack.

Now that you know a little more about ransomware and how to prevent these malicious attacks, check out one of our previous posts that helps explain why you shouldn’t pay the ransom if you get attacked.

While taking these suggested steps will help prevent ransomware attacks, the best way to safeguard your data and systems is partnering with Elevated Technologies. Working with an MSP like us will ensure that your company’s sensitive information is constantly safe and secure by utilizing our data protection and network security services. We are confident in our top-of-the-line cybersecurity and want you and your business to succeed without you having to worry about potential threats to your business.

Contact us today and take the right step toward bettering your business!


Laptops are becoming increasingly more popular for business use. Not only do they provide all the power, speed and storage that is detrimental to the success of your company, but they allow you and your team to get work done from anywhere.

With laptops becoming so popular, there are more to choose from than ever before. The process can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re not super techy, so we’ve provided some useful steps to help your buying experience be less daunting.

Budget

The first step before purchasing a laptop or multiple laptops for your business is to set a clear budget before shopping. When entrepreneurs don’t set a budget before shopping for their business, especially technology, they often end up either overspending or underspending. While people don’t necessarily think underspending is a bad thing, it can end up costing you more in the long run because of its low-cost quality and performance. Making a fair investment in the tools your employees need on a day-to-day basis will only benefit you and your company in the long run.

Design

There are many different design features to keep in mind when shopping for your business’ new laptop(s). Here are some basic features you should think about before deciding on a model.

Traditional or Hybrid

Traditional laptops are the laptops we’re all familiar with, they open on a hinge. Hybrid laptops, also called convertible laptops or 2-in-1s, are laptops that double as a stand-alone tablet. Some hybrids have screens that have hinges attached to the computer allowing a 180-degree range-of-motion, while others have screens that disconnect completely. Many employees that travel frequently like to switch back and forth between a laptop and a tablet. In this case, a hybrid design is the best option.

Keyboard Comfort

It’s easy to see past comfort and functionality when you’re looking at a sleek design and high-resolution screens, but for business users, a comfortable keyboard is very important. Keep in mind that when you’re shopping and come across a small laptop, the keyboard is, too, small. This can get tiring typing like this all the time. If possible, try to test the keyboard before purchasing it. In the case that you’re shopping online, look at the measurements and make sure it is the right size for you and your employees.

Portability

If you travel or work in different locations regularly, you should consider making the sacrifice of screen and keyboard size for a lighter-weight laptop. A general rule of thumb is that a device that weighs less than three pounds is portable enough for travel. Before finalizing the decision of your new portable laptop, always make sure it has the required ports and battery life.

Touchscreen

If you are a person or business who uses touchscreen frequently, investing in a laptop with this feature is a smart move. Keep in mind that they are usually more expensive, slightly heavier and drain the battery faster than one without touchscreen capability.

Battery Life

While some business owners consider it a nonissue, others consider battery life as a huge deal-breaker when searching for the right laptop. In any case, it’s always a good idea to look at the battery life of any device you buy.

Memory and Storage

The storage and memory of a laptop is a very important spec to look at before making your purchase. There are two basic types of memory and storage your laptop will have: random access memory, or RAM (short-term memory) and hard disk drive, or HDD, more commonly known as a hard drive (long-term storage.) Some computers will have a solid-state drive, or SSD, in addition to HDD, while others just have SSD for long-term storage.

SSDs are newer than HDDs but are an increasingly popular storage option because they’re faster than HDDs. SSDs are more durable and compact than standard HDDs because they don’t have any moving parts. Here’s how to see if the laptop you’re interested in has enough memory and storage for your business use:

RAM – Forget about laptops with 2GB RAM. Look for laptops that have 4GB or 8GB. In this case, the higher the better. Some will even have 16GB but it’s usually unnecessary for most business users.

HDD and SSD – A minimum combined storage capacity of around 256GB should be fine unless you are planning on doing a lot of video editing. If you’re interested in a Chromebook, you will have a lot less hard drive space (which is okay if you’re a cloud person.) The suggestion here is mainly for business users interested in Windows or Apple devices.

CPU

Last, but certainly NOT least, CPU (central processing unit.) This is one of the most important things to look for when choosing a laptop. The CPU is basically the engine if your laptop were a car. It has a huge impact on your device’s usability. It’s easy to overspend on processors when you don’t actually need that quality. Would you buy a Ferrari and never drive more than 35 mph? Absolutely not!

Check out this extensive guide from VSbytes to see which CPU you should go with.

Laptops need to be serviced and kept secure, especially when being used in a business setting. Does your IT expert know the ins and outs of your new laptop model? Can they keep up with the maintenance and security it needs to function properly? Contact us today to eliminate your stress and worries when it comes to your IT. We look forward to working with you and bettering your business! For more information about working with us, click here.


As a dentist, you’ve worked so hard and put in so many hours to get your practice to where it is today, so it’s safe to say you’ll do everything you can to ensure your practice succeeds.

When practices aren’t getting the essential tools and programs out of their information technology, there is usually a serious lack of efficiency and waste of hard-earned money. With that being said, keeping an IT support expert in the office is usually unconventional and impractical. Even if it was, one IT expert is not enough and unlikely to keep up with the ever-changing IT industry. This is where a managed service provider (MSP) comes into play. MSPs have the most knowledgeable IT engineers on their team that are experienced in dental office software systems and can provide the tech support that will only help your practice succeed.

1.) HIPAA Compliance

Federal regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, education, motor vehicle manufacturing, etc. follow government-mandated rules and guidelines concerning the use, storage and security of information. Being in the healthcare industry, your dental practice is expected to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to ensure patient privacy and security.

It is detrimental that dentists and other handlers of patient information in this industry evaluate their IT systems, digital records maintenance, and patient information handling practices, as well as be fully knowledgeable of the relevant healthcare rules and regulations.

Having an MSP will ensure that your business stays HIPAA compliant by keeping your IT software and systems up to date with the latest and greatest data security.

People believe that oneof the benefits of having your own internal IT staff is that they are constantly available to resolve any issues that may occur. However, what happens when a problem presents itself in the middle of the night or weekend?

2.) Consistent Support

MSPs are staffed 24/7 to resolve any potential issues that could occur. Some issues just can’t wait until Monday morning to be fixed. Even if they could, your team’s efficiency and ability to get their work done would be at risk.

Complete around-the-clock support from an MSP safeguards your operations and guarantees that issues are resolved as quickly and effectively as possible. Implementing these professional engineers to monitor your IT systems will allow your business to maintain focus on the most important tasks.

3.) Security and Proactivity

For many organizations, security is easily the most important reason to have dedicated IT partner monitoring and managing their network and systems, and with good reason. The majority of cyber-attacks target small businesses. While these businesses may house tons of important, confidential data, they usually can’t afford the aftermath of a cyber-attack.

The more successful your practice becomes, the greater your risk and potential consequences of a security breach. MSPs are heavily invested in cybersecurity and make sure their partners’ systems are safeguarded and secure 24/7. By proactively adapting and modifying their security processes, they ensure that your practice’s and patients’ data is protected.

4.) Less Money and Time Spent

In an in-house-only structure, greater proficiency often means spending more money and time. This kind of investment is usually very inefficient and expensive. MSP consultants are focused on key business needs because they recognize that they can provide more effective and sufficient support for these needs and charge a lot less than it would cost an individual to accomplish the same tasks.

IT operations are one of the greatest examples of this benefit. Infrastructure is extremely costly. IT trends are constantly changing and can create confusion for those who are inexperienced. As mentioned earlier, it’s virtually impossible for an in-house IT team to manage the company’s systems and keep up with the ever-changing industry.

All of the services of an MSP are yours for a fixed monthly fee. This includes maintenance, monitoring, repairs, updates and more.

Partnering with an MSP like us, Elevated Technologies, gives you access to first-class resources when you need it without breaking your bank. Without the burden of maintaining IT operations and learning the latest in IT management, you’ll be able to invest that time in the success of your business.

If your dental practice hasn’t implemented an MSP, now is the time. If you need more information or would like to schedule a free assessment with us, contact us now! We look forward to working with you and bringing you Houston’s top-of-the-line IT support.


In our advancing society, technology is inevitably moving to the cloud. Almost everything in the digital world is connected to the cloud in some way or another. Over the last 10 years, traditional software models have been pushed to the side to make room for cloud solutions. Looking ahead, the sky is the limit for cloud computing and the businesses that take advantage of it.

What is Cloud Computing?

In simple terms, could computing is the storing and on-demand access to data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. Cloud computing allows you to access your data and programs outside of your own computing environment, freeing up the memory and computing power of individual computers. Rather than storing your data and software on your personal computer or server, it is stored in ‘the cloud’. This creates a flexible and global way of accessing your data at any time, in any place.

Cloud computing is a more efficient way of delivering computing resources. With cloud computing, software and service environments are subscription-based — users pay a monthly fee instead of buying licenses. Software and platforms are managed by the providers and are constantly updated for maximum performance and security. Computing power is remote instead of centralized, so users can scale up or down depending on the business fluctuation. Multiple people can access a shared program or file and collaborate in real-time from different locations.

Now that we know more about the cloud, let’s dive deeper into how it works and how it benefits businesses.

How Does it Work?

There are three main types of cloud computing service models:

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is the most common method of cloud computing for small businesses and accounts for 24% of all enterprise workloads. Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it from the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management. The software application host controls and maintains the application, including security, availability and performance. You, as a user, have limited control over the application and configuration settings.

An example of SaaS would be Gmail, a web-based mail service. When using Gmail, you are not hosting your own email server; Google hosts it and you are simply accessing it through your browser.

Other examples: Other google apps, Office 365, Netflix, Hubspot, Dropbox

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS is the basic layer in cloud computing and accounts for about 12% of all enterprise workloads. IaaS offers a cloud-based alternative to on-site infrastructure, which allows for businesses to avoid investing in expensive on-premise resources. With IaaS you are able to buy the amount of storage that you need, as you need it, and purchase more when you expand.

Examples: Amazon EC2, Rackspace and Windows Azure

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS could be described as a crossover between SaaS and Iaas. PaaS accounts for about 32% of all enterprise workloads and is only expected to grow. A PaaS provider offers software and hardware tools via the Internet in which people use to develop applications. Most PaaS users tend to be developers who are building software or applications. Essentially it means that these developers don’t have to start from scratch when creating apps, saving them a lot of time and money.

Examples: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, salesforce, Google App Engine, Apache Stratos

Depending on your needs, your business could use one of these service models or a mixture of the 3.

Benefits

When you use a cloud computing service, your data becomes remote. This minimizes the need to manually do software updates, computer upgrades, and other IT maintenance services on your internal systems. Because your in-house systems become virtual, the need for data management at your business continuity and stop at nothing to ensure your business has all that it needs to operate at its best. Other benefits of our cloud computing system include:

Cost-efficient

Switching to cloud computing could greatly reduce the cost over time of managing and maintaining your IT systems. Rather than purchasing expensive systems and equipment for your business, you can decrease your costs by using the resources of a cloud computing service provider. Your operating costs could decrease because of:

  • Included costs – System upgrades, new hardware and software may be included in your contract
  • No need to pay wages for IT staff
  • Energy consumption costs may be reduced
  • Less time delays

Scalability

Scalability is probably the greatest benefit of the cloud. Different companies have different IT requirements; a large enterprise of 1,000 employees won’t have the same IT needs as a small company of 100 employees. Cloud computing is a great solution because you are able to quickly and efficiently scale up/down your operation and storage needs to suit your situation, allowing flexibility as your business needs change.

Data Security

It is safe to say that for every business, regardless of industry or size, a data breach is the biggest fear. Data breaches and other cybercrimes can deeply devastate a company in revenue, customer loyalty and brand positioning.

Cloud computing offers many advanced security features that guarantee data is securely stored and protected.

Cloud computing providers implement baseline protections for their platforms and the data they process, such authentication, access control and encryption. From there, most providers enhance these protections with added security measures of their own to boost data protection and tighten access to sensitive information in the cloud.

Disaster Recovery

Along with data security, data loss is a major concern for all organizations. Storing your data in the cloud guarantees that data is always available, even if your devices like laptops or computers are damaged. Cloud-based services provide speedy data recovery for all types of emergency situations — from natural disasters to power outages.

If your business is in need of cloud solutions or looking for a more cost-efficient host, contact us today! To see more information on our cloud services click here.


“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently” – Warren Buffet. Sure, we’ve probably all heard this quote many times, but it is truly one to live by, especially when it comes to your business.

You’ve worked years, maybe even decades, to build your business to where it is today. A simple mishap that could lead to a cyber-attack could ruin everything you’ve worked so hard for, in a matter of seconds.

Despite these potential risks, several studies indicate business owners and executives do not perceive cybersecurity occurrences as a major risk to their company’s reputation. For large companies like Target, Home Depot, Sony and eBay, they have all recovered from the negative impacts of cyber-attacks. While they did have to deal with unexpected expenses to redeem their brand image, they were certainly never at risk of going out of business. However, small and medium-sized businesses do not have the financial resources or various revenue streams that help diminish the effects of damage to their reputation. For a smaller-sized business, cybersecurity is crucial because a cyber-attack could be fatal to their business.

Prepare and Prevent 

Being prepared is the best way to prevent and lessen the damage of cyber-attacks. Create a plan and necessary steps to take in the unfortunate event that your business is attacked, including contact information for IT specialists and/or technical experts to assist you through this process. Follow these other steps to make sure you are taking preventative measures to prepare for a potential breach:

  • Communicate and notify employees and clients that were potentially affected.
  • Have an alternative communication strategy, as normal communication services may have been impacted by the breach. Educate your employees on cybersecurity and these precautions regularly so they know how to handle the situation and what is expected of them.
  • Enable encryption on all devices including desktops, laptops, external drives, phones and tablets.
  • Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) for any application or device that could be accessed directly from the internet.
  • Implement regular vulnerability testing/assessment that will find the holes in your security and continue to monitor and quickly alert you to any abnormalities.

Many cybersecurity mishaps happen because of human error. These days, phishing scams can be extremely deceiving and sophisticated. Clicking on an illegitimate link or entering personal information into a pop-up that seems legit but is actually a scam are common mistakes. To avoid these mishaps, it’s necessary to schedule regular cybersecurity training programs for all staff.

Backup

A backup is the most detrimental tool for data integrity. Some believe that just having a local copy is enough precaution, but it’s not. An offsite backup copy will prevent it from being jeopardized the same as your in house copy in the event of a breach and may allow you to recover quicker.

Keep Your Systems Up To Date 

Make certain that your company has the latest technology and security systems. Implementing the latest and greatest technology can provide peace of mind and prevent loss of valuable time and money. State-of-the-art systems will allow you and your team to focus on your company’s actual business while decreasing risk and saving money over time.

Implement regular checks for updates in all systems. Have an IT security expert or a managed IT service provider regularly run risk assessments on your company’s systems.

Call Elevated for Support

The complexity of cybersecurity attacks is constantly expanding, and software alone can’t always handle these attacks. Recognizing this rising complexity of technology solutions, software, security threats and management requires a high level of tech industry expertise. Outsourcing an IT company with professional and certified tech experts is the most fool-proof way to protect your business from potential cyber-attacks. At Elevated Technologies we deliver premier managed IT services, cloud solutions, data protection and network security for a flat rate. Houston businesses that require critical technical support and proactive maintenance trust Elevated Technologies. As a result, our clients are able to maximize availability and operations without compromising performance or stability. Contact us today to take the step towards safeguarding your precious business!