Did you know oil and gas companies lose about 3-5% of their production due to unplanned downtime? As oil and gas companies adopt new technologies, managed IT services are necessary. Particularly in keeping your IT infrastructure efficient and reliable. Managed IT services provide support, and put in place solutions before attacks happen. This prepares companies for any disaster and provides a procedure in the event of a cyber-attack. Meanwhile, helping companies maintain their reputation and quality of service. Managed IT can also be a competitive advantage against other players in the industry. 

So why do oil and gas companies need Managed IT Services? Managed IT services for Oil & Gas are an essential part of how this industry runs and operates. Managed IT Services tend to all IT needs so that the company doesn’t have to. That way, employees can perform tasks without the hassle of IT issues. In the office or on the field, employees must be able to work, access, and communicate. Managed IT reduces IT issues, provides proactive maintenance and defends against cyber-attacks. This helps ensure day-to-day operations are secure and data is safe. 

Benefits of Managed IT for Oil & Gas include: 

·      Reduced operational cost

·      Improved quality and efficiency

·      Optimized management

·      Enhanced recovery

How does it work? 

Managed IT services are a cost-effective way for businesses to outsource technology services. Managed IT provides knowledge, resources, and support to meet your tailored IT needs. 

IT Services for Oil & Gas:

·      Help desk

·      Management for servers

·      Mobile device management

·      Managed Security Services

·      Disaster recovery

·      Data Back-up

·      Restoration

To create a custom IT infrastructure for your company. A managed IT provider will perform an assessment to analyze the company’s situation. They will then be able to address any concerns and create a solution tailored for you. Managed IT services will then build, maintain, and monitor your company network. Ensuring all operations run as they should.

Types of Oil & Gas Services

In the Oil & Gas Industry, IT is a crucial part of productivity. If you have employees located in different departments or on the field. Day-to-day operations still must run smoothly. Regardless of the environment and conditions in which this industry operates. Managed IT custom builds a solution by mixing and matching services to meet the needs of an Oil & Gas company. 

Types of Managed IT that are industry-specific for oil & gas companies are:

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing allows employees to access resources and data anywhere, at any time. This is beneficial for oil & gas employees that are in different time zones, areas of the country, or on the oil rigs. They can remote access the cloud and access everything they need to do their job. Cloud computing stores, manages and monitors data so that there are no interruptions. Cloud computing has 24/7 access and security, offering flexibility for your employees. Work that is accessible increases productivity resulting in profits.

Network Security

Managed network security protects businesses from any kind of cyber-attack or threats. Services include installing a firewall, securing a WiFi connection, anti-virus protection, and more. This is especially important for Oil & Gas companies wanting to protect sensitive data. Data sent and received along with other private company information could be at risk. With managed network security services, you are able to prevent and maintain control. Clients want to know if their information is safe when doing business with you. Having a reliable network security provider upholds reputation and profitability.

Data Backup

Data Backup ensures the protection of your data in the event of a data breach or disaster. Regular backups keep your sensitive information up to date and saved to the cloud. For example, because data gets backed up to the cloud, it is retrievable. It remains safe and secure in the cloud so that you can recover your work. Oil & Gas companies can’t afford to lose data. The data collected on-site is vital and can cost a company a small fortune or days of lost work. Backup services include frequent backups, file recovery, and reduced network traffic.

Oil & Gas Managed IT Service Professionals

Elevated Technologies offers all three Managed IT services listed above. We want to help you stay up to date with the latest cyber threats and provide 24/7 support. Managed IT Services for Oil & Gas is a vital tool that implements productivity in the workplace. Not only for the employees but the industry as a whole. Elevated Technologies has a reliable team to take over your IT needs. Keeping your data safe and ensuring operations are running up to your standards. Visit our contact page to get a quote or ask more about the services we offer. We would love to work with you, learn more about us on our home page!

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What applications do you use for your day-to-day operations? And how do they help optimize your business activity? Every business is different and has different uses for certain software. That is why you will see that some software is best used for one company and not the other. 

Are you able to collaborate with coworkers? How secure is your information? Free software could be beneficial in a sense of cutting costs, yet, it may not be the most ideal. Free software for businesses can cause compatibility issues with other programs. Making it difficult to communicate and perform other daily tasks. On another note, using free applications such as Gmail and Yahoo are great for personal use. But, as for professional use, your business could be at risk for liability issues. Free applications rarely have any kind of warranty or guarantee that you are safe from bugs. This could lead to the loss of sensitive client and or business information. That in turn affects the reputation and level of professionalism of your company. In some cases, this could be difficult to overcome and leaves your business in a vulnerable state. 

Now that we have discussed some of the risks, free software does have its benefits. Free software for businesses is easy to use and does not need updates on the users’ end. Not to mention, it’s free! Users have the freedom to explore the applications without locking into subscriptions. This gives users the flexibility to choose the right software for their business.

What is Open Source software? 

Open source software is free applications that are transparent to the public. It’s maintained by designers, engineers, and developers. These contributors can make improvements to the design and function of an application. In open source software consumers are responsible for issues present. Unlike commercial software, vendors are responsible for responding to issues. Open source software can perform operations for businesses for little to no cost. A few examples include Firefox, OpenOffice, and GIMP

Open Source Benefits and Risks

Open Source software provides a convenient solution to meet business needs. Especially for businesses that are trying to keep operating costs low. You may want to think twice about how open source software programs are putting you at risk. For example, business functions such as payroll hold sensitive employee information. This includes addresses, bank information, and social security numbers. Open Source vulnerabilities include lack of security, compatibility issues, and lack of warranty. With that said, there is no guarantee that your business operations are secure. Because community members of open source software are volunteers. They hold no obligations to protect users nor are they liable for any issues that may occur.

Benefits of Using Free Software

  • Flexible
  • Cost-Effective
  • Easy to use
  • No lock-in subscriptions
  • Transparency

Risks of Using Free Software

  • Lack of security
  • Liability Issues
  • Lack of warranty
  • Operational Insufficiencies
  • Poor developer practices

Free Software for Business FAQs

Is free software secure?

Yes, generally free software is secure. Contributors from all over the world collaborate and work out any bugs the program may have. Because the number of contributors is so broad this can mean that bugs get fixed faster. 

Can open source software be hacked?

Yes. In some cases, open source software is more susceptible to cyber-attacks. It depends on the size of the community associated with an open source project. For example, a large open source software such as Microsoft is still vulnerable. But, it has a much larger number of contributors. These contributors are adding new features and improving software at a rapid pace. As for smaller open source projects, they may not get the same attention as the larger project would. This could result in more downtime, making your information more accessible to hackers. Make sure your open source is reputable and has a robust community of contributors. 

How is open source software useful to small businesses?

Open source software allows small businesses to perform daily tasks at little to no cost. Businesses are able to gain unlimited access to full functioning software. Which helps optimize growth and efficiency throughout the company. But, as a business grows larger in scale, it may need more advanced tools to ensure the safety of the business.

Can I use free software for business?

Absolutely! Free software is beneficial for many aspects of a business. Some even prefer free software applications. 

Dependable IT Support

Free software for business has many benefits, but it is also important to understand the risks. Thinking about using free software as a software solution for your business? Stop, and ask yourself how your software optimizes your business activity. Elevated Technologies helps educate and advise businesses with these types of questions. Contact us today to ensure you’re using your open source software safely.

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Do I Need a VPN

One may ask “Do I need a VPN?” The answer is yes! Now let’s ask, What is a Virtual Private Network? A Virtual Private Network, protects your network and keeps sensitive data safe. Whether you work from home, at a coffee shop, or on the go, you can securely connect to your corporate network. A VPNs encrypted connection allows employees to work safely outside of the office. This is possible through any device that meets the requirements, or what is also known as a device’s posture. Examples include laptops, tablets, and even smartphones. Without a VPN an employee’s traffic is accessible by third parties. This could lead to significant downtime, data loss, and increased susceptibility to cyber-attacks. A business needs a VPN to ensure all work is private and secure.

How VPNs Work

So, what does a VPN actually do, and how does it work? It disguises your online identity and encrypts your internet traffic. This prohibits a third parties’ ability to track and steal information. What is a VPN used for? A VPN is used to hide information such as your IP address, internet traffic, and data. This is one of the main jobs a VPN should perform. Other benefits include protecting your internet history, limiting downtime, and authentication methods. A VPN keeps track of all log-ins and makes it difficult for third parties to receive access. A VPN is able to secure information due to its encrypted connection which is known as a tunnel. This tunnel supports a secure remote network for employees.

Types of VPNs

A site-to-Site VPN is a connection between two or more networks. These networks can be across many locations or branches of the company. Whereas a Remote Access VPN is a connection between a remote device and the primary network. In this case a business will likely give equipment out such as a laptop or phone that connects to the company’s VPN. 

Site to Site

A site-to-site is usually used by larger companies that have more than one location. Employees are able to connect to the same VPN to have access to resources housed on the primary network. This type is more complex and not as flexible as the others. But, it is the most effective when ensuring communication between departments. 

Remote access

As for remote access VPNs, businesses can connect endpoints to the corporate network. Endpoints describe devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. These endpoints are then checked to ensure they have the right posture to run securely. The devices connect to the network, unlike site-to-site where it’s network-to-network. Remote access is beneficial for employees who travel or work from home. This allows a secure connection from anywhere, even on public WiFi.

IT Support in Katy TX

Now that you know the importance of a VPN, ask yourself Do I Need a VPN? And let us do the rest. Reach out to Elevated Technologies to learn more about the services we provide. How can we help you and your business run smoothly? It’s your job to run a business, let us keep up with the latest IT support. Contact us today!

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IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Disaster Recovery is not always the first thing business owners take into consideration when running a company. With this said, digital threats are a serious liability and danger to businesses. Disasters such as cyber-attacks, floods, fires, employee errors, and hardware malfunctions are only a few of the reasons to invest in an IT disaster recovery plan. A plan helps businesses take the necessary precautions to tackle any digital threat. It not only informs the business owner but the staff as a whole as well. 

An IT disaster recovery plan outlines a plan of action to stay safe, all while keeping business owners updated with the latest tools and trends. Disasters happen all the time, so why not have your team 10 steps ahead of the game. IT companies such as Elevated Technologies strive to help businesses stay educated and out of harm’s way when it comes to security breaches or data loss.

As employees become more knowledgeable about digital threats, there is still no guarantee that anyone is risk free. The importance of a data recovery plan is to prepare with techniques and tools before the disaster happens. Today, more than 80% of the nation’s population is working remotely. This means that employees are at even more risk to cyber attacks, considering home connections tend to be less secure.

Developing an IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Any amount of downtime during a security breach can cause a business to suffer financially. Not to mention the stress of losing profitability and reputation. The more downtime a business has the more costly it becomes to restore. Review the below steps and questions to help you avoid financial loss and minimize risk.

IT Disaster Recovery Plan Steps:

  • Collect an inventory of hardware such as servers, desktops, laptops, and wireless devices as well as software applications and data.
  • Identify critical data and perform regular backups, to guarantee the protection of all data. One of the most common and cost-effective services that perform backups is the “cloud”. Cloud services secure all critical data in the event of a hardware malfunction or data threat. This ensures data is secure and accessible through any given device.
  • Create a system of action if and when a disaster or security breach happens. This would include assigning roles, procedures, routes of communication, and practice. A business disaster recovery plan should act as a checklist for the staff in case of an emergency.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What needs to be considered in creating your plan? 
  • Do you know the consequences of “x amount” of downtime for your company?
  • What data is considered “crucial”? 
  • How often should data be backed up?

Disaster Recovery Strategies and Procedures

An IT Recovery Strategy is developed in the business impact analysis and is responsible for all business functions and processes. Without all hardware, software, data, and connectivity, it could mean failure. Businesses that can’t tolerate any downtime will oftentimes use dual data centers. This handles all processing needs. Because data mirrors between the two centers, this lessens the chance of lost data. However, this isn’t always ideal for every company. This can end up being very costly, so this is usually an option for larger companies. Small to midsize companies have other options like using an internal recovery strategy. This model stores data at more than one facility and can use the vendor strategy where they rely on vendors to fully configure data.

Business Impact Analysis

A business impact analysis is an assessment that identifies all potential risks and vulnerabilities of a business. Complete this risk assessment before creating an IT disaster recovery plan. This reduces the chance of blindsiding a company by any disruptions. It also prepares a business for the consequences of those interruptions.

Data Cloud Backup Services

Data loss can happen at any given time. Whether it’s caused by natural disasters, hardware malfunctions, or ransomware attacks. Backups help businesses save and store data in a secure place to where compromised data is restorable. Cloud backup services are a cost efficient way users can feel confident in their protected data.

Disaster Training and Testing

Although there isn’t any guarantee a disaster won’t happen, there are ways businesses can stay updated and prepared. Implementing security training can help employees learn about the risks of ransomware attacks. This will give individuals specifics to keep an eye out for in the event of an attack

Assessing Your Current IT Backup System

Protecting your business with an IT disaster recovery plan begins with assessing your current system and processes. Contact Elevated Technologies for help deciding which step to take next in safeguarding your important information.

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types of data breaches

Before we get into the types of data breaches, we need to ask the question – what is a data breach? The definition of a data breach is when an unauthorized person gains access to your data or network. This “hacker” can then delete or share your personal or company data.

​​What are the risks of a data security breach? The implications of a breach of data depend mainly on the type of data hacked. For example, types of data breaches in healthcare might risk thousands of patient files and can even put their lives at risk. Different types of personal data breaches can provide hackers with a detailed profile of your personal data. From where you live, work, travel, to your social security and bank account information. Consider everything about you that exists virtually. 

What types of security breaches exist? We have followed the trends and statistics on data breaches 2020 and data breaches 2021 to help you protect your company data. The 7 most common types of data breaches listed below will give you a good idea as to how to prevent data leaks and cyber security breaches.

Common Types of Data Breaches

1. Password Guessing

It may surprise you to know that one of the most common types of data breaches is perhaps the simplest one: guessing. Unfortunately, many people don’t get too creative in making their passwords, making them easy to guess. And what’s even worse is that most people use the same password or variations on the same password across all of their accounts. This means that if a hacker can guess just one of your passwords, they can gain access to almost all of your virtual information.

Have I Been Pwned, a resource that checks accounts for signs of data breaches listed the most commonly used passwords.

  1. 123456
  2. 123456789
  3. qwerty
  4. password
  5. 111111
  6. 12345678
  7. abc123
  8. password1
  9. 1234567
  10. 12345

2. Phishing

Phishing attacks typically involve an email set up to appear as though it is from a trusted source, for example, an account you already have. The hacker will request personal information or action, such as clicking a link or downloading an attachment. The Internet Crime Complaint Center reported that phishing crimes (the top reported crime) over doubled from 2019 to 2020.

The 10 most frequently-used subject lines in attacks are:

  • Request
  • Follow up
  • Urgent/Important
  • Are you available?/Are you at your desk?
  • Payment Status
  • Hello
  • Purchase
  • Invoice Due
  • Re:
  • Direct Deposit
  • Expenses
  • Payroll

3. Malware

This is an umbrella term for many different types of computer viruses that can wipe entire computer systems. These viruses threaten companies with deleting any and all data that they may rely on.

The main way to prevent a malware attack is simply being careful to not open anything that you are not sure of the source.

4. Denial-of-Service Attack

A Denial-of-Service Attack (DoS) involves flooding a network with traffic to the point of overloading it. While data is not stolen or deleted, this attack forces a company to shut down until they are able to identify the breach. However, DoS attacks may serve as a distraction while other attacks take place. 

DoS attacks typically target large companies, since they take a lot of coordination and are most often a form of protest.

5. Physical Types of Data Breaches

20% of cybersecurity incidents in 2019 started or finished with a physical action (ENISA Threat Landscape 2020 – Physical Threats).

Many companies ignore this type of threat in considering their cyber security, but it is far more common than people think.

65% of employees said they behaved in ways or adopted practices that may risk physical security. This type of attack starts with simple mistakes such as leaving a prototype out or writing down a password.

6.  Keystrokes

A keystrokes attack occurs when a hacker gains access to your keyboard activity – your keystrokes. In doing so, they gain access to everything you type; credit cards, passwords, phone numbers, personal information, etc.

Typically, this attack comes as a form of malware and can threaten your personal or company computers.

7.  Ransomware

A ransomware attack is very similar to kidnapping or holding a hostage. The hacker will send a message to the victim, demanding money in exchange for not publicizing or deleting their data.

The Harris Poll found that 20% of Americans have fallen victim to ransomware attacks. 

Not only do these types of data breaches threaten data privacy, but they also force a company to shut down while addressing the security breach. The average downtime increased at the end of 2020, going from 19 days in Q3 to 21 days in Q4 (Coveware’s Q4 2020 Ransomware Marketplace report).

How to Protect My Company from Common Types of Data Breaches?

So, how do you prevent data breaches? While there is no perfect method of protection, staying familiar with the most common types of data breaches is a good way to start. 

You can also begin implementing standard practices to improve cybersecurity. Have employees regularly update passwords and train staff to recognize phishing scams. 

Most importantly though, have a dedicated company data breaches response team. Having an incident response team at the ready can reduce the average cost of a breach by $2 million (IBM 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report). This team can also help you with cloud-backup services that keep your data safe for when cyber security breaches do occur. 
Contact Elevated Technologies experts today to learn more about our tips and resources for protecting your data!

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Spoiler alert: a lot has changed in the past year and a half. The ways we shop, eat, celebrate, educate, and travel will be forever changed after March of 2020. Perhaps the most widely experienced change has been the shift from office-based to home-based employee work. Remote work setup has raised concerns about data privacy now that company data security is in the hands of everyday employees. Keeping up with the data privacy trends in 2021 strengthens your virtual private networks (VPNs) and safeguard your business.

Let’s face it, a vast majority of home-based workers either do not employ safe data sharing practices or are not aware of them. This leaves any companies vulnerable to data leaks and cyber-attacks. To keep your business data safe, you must comply with the new normal trends and regulations that cover privacy. Here are the data trends that you should watch out for this year.

1. Global Data Privacy Regulation Trends

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 began a whole new era of data protection and privacy. This affected more than 60 jurisdictions worldwide. This is not merely a trend that businesses and organizations ought to keep up with and understand. Companies must comply with this regulation. Failure to do so could entail steep penalties for companies and compensation for data subjects.

One of the repercussions of the GDPR is the decrease in the amount of data that businesses can store. Organizations must also delete customer personal information when it’s no longer needed. In addition to this, companies need clear consent from the data subjects before you can process and store their information. Data storage must become more efficient, protected, and managed than ever before.

To demonstrate GDPR compliance, companies and organizations must:

  • delegate data protection responsibilities to their staff
  • maintain proper documentation of the data collected and used
  • train your employees in implementing security measures
  • have established contracts with third parties that process data for them

2. Data Privacy Transparency Trends

As more and more data breaches occur, a top data privacy trend in 2021 is the consumers’ demand for data privacy transparency. Customers now have increased awareness of their rights and the cost of their data. Companies that fail to address these concerns find themselves losing customers to competitors who create a safer environment for sharing personal information.

Online shopping has been steadily rising for years. The pandemic has brought online marketplace activity to all-time highs. There are now more people who use the web for purchase than ever. Because of this, we advise businesses to establish and maintain digital trust with their customers. Data privacy trends in 2021 show that secure data policies, data sharing practices, and privacy-enhancing technologies are now vital to the health and growth of a company.

3. Third-Party Risk Management Trends

Another trend brought about by the GDPR is the heightened focus on third-party risk management and risk assessment. This means that businesses must be more careful in choosing the third parties that they work with to prevent personal data breaches. You must now follow more rules when it comes to sharing consumers’ personal information with third parties. This is also true in how the latter can use or sell the information. One of these rules is having Data Processing Agreement contracts in place for third-party companies you hire to process your data.

More organizations are foreseen to incorporate privacy frameworks to prevent potential data risks and comply with data regulations. Leveraging companies that provide managed network security helps strengthen your business’s privacy program and achieve compliance with the GDPR.

Moving Forward with Data Privacy Trends 2021

Ensuring the data privacy of consumers and complying with the GDPR helps solidify your consumers’ trust in your business. It is also important to keep abreast with data privacy trends in 2021 to better address your customers’ concerns and retain loyalty. Remember, companies that fail to provide consumers with the safety they demand could end up with dwindling customers and profit. You can protect your company from data risks by investing in privacy technologies, managed IT services, and data security.

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Did you know that every Fortune 500 company has been exposed to the Dark Web at some point? Their massive Internet presence and amount of customer data leave them vulnerable to attacks. While no one is immune to the dangers of cyber attacks, those who invest in cyber security fare better than those who neglect Dark Web protection.

So how do you prevent your business from falling victim to attacks done using the Dark Web? In his book, Small Business – A Hacker’s Playground: Cyber Security, Elevated Technologies founder Jason Rorie gives us valuable insights. Rorie explains the Dark Web, how it affects small businesses, and the steps you can take to protect your online accounts from cyber attacks.

What is the Dark Web?

The Dark Web is the hidden part of the Internet only accessed using a special kind of software. The websites here are still visible to the public, but server details are hidden, and these sites are not indexed by search engines. Because of the degree of anonymity, some whistleblowers use it as an avenue to release classified information. Unfortunately, the Dark Web also attracts those who use it for more harmful and often illegal activities. Fraud, hacker solicitation, subscription stealing, and purchasing credit card numbers & bank login credentials are a few examples of Dark Web activities.

What are the Dark Web Security Threats?

Phishing

Hackers can use the Dark Web to send seemingly legitimate emails to unsuspecting victims called Phishing. This tricks the recipient into giving away their personal details or login credentials. Once the hackers receive the sensitive information, they send malware to the victim and demand a ransom to stop the attack on the victim’s computer.

Malvertising

In this type of cyber attack, the hackers inject malware into various legitimate advertising networks. Like what they do in phishing, they also deliver malware to victims whose personal details have been captured. 

Watering Holes

The attacker observes a particular group and zeroes in on an individual who often visits certain websites. Then, the attacker infects someone from the group with malware. This tactic capitalizes on the fact that attacking one victim could affect the whole group.

Web Attacks

The hackers begin by finding the weaknesses of an Internet-facing company. Then, they exploit that vulnerability to infiltrate the company’s network and find login credentials.

Protecting Against the Dark Web Security Threats

Use Secure Passwords

Simple protection against the Dark Web is to stop using simple passwords that are too easy to guess. Create complex passwords by incorporating a variety of characters. You should also avoid using the same password for different accounts. While no password is completely secure, these measures should make it difficult for hackers to access your account.

Change Passwords Regularly

Using the same password over an extended period will make your account more vulnerable to hacking. Changing your password every few months will make it difficult for hackers to break into your account. In addition, you will be able to determine if someone else has been trying to log into your account.

Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Your email, social media, and bank accounts should have two-factor authentication. This makes it much harder for hackers to access these accounts. Another benefit of 2FA is a lesser chance of losing access to your own account since those who log in will have to go through a double layer of security. 

Answer Security Questions with Fake Answers

Social media has made it possible for anyone to find out the most private details about a person. For this reason, it would be wise to create fake answers to security questions. This way, hackers will not be able to crack the answer that easily.

Password Managers

There is a service called the Dark Web ID that detects stolen credentials and mitigates cyber security threats. It monitors the Internet and private websites to ensure that its clients’ credentials are not found on the Dark Web. It also manages passwords to make sure that these personal details are not compromised.

Criminal activities done using the Dark Web generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue. This amount equals the money that businesses lose when they fall victim to cyber attacks. To prevent this scenario from happening to you, ramp up your company’s cyber security today. Don’t know where to start? Elevated Technologies is here to help. Contact us today to help protect your business from the dark web.

For more information on Dark Web security, check out our founder Jason Rorie and his book Small Business – A Hacker’s Playground: Cyber Security.

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Email phishing is a type of cyber attack that tricks users into divulging their login credentials, bank details, and other critical personal data. It mainly aims to extort money from your business through various means, including ransomware, blackmail, fake invoices, and fake approval for money transfer. A single attack could typically cost a mid-size company $1.6 million.

To prevent your business from falling prey to phishing emails, you need to know how to spot such attempts. In his book, Small Business – A Hacker’s Playground: Cyber Security, Elevated Technologies founder Jason Rorie gives us valuable insights on what to look out for and how to stop phishing emails from damaging your business.

How to Spot a Phishing Email

Offers That Are Too Good to Be True

One of the indications of a phishing email is an eye-catching offer that will prompt you to enter your personal details to claim a prize. Some messages will try to lure you in with the promise of a new phone or other irresistible items. Once you type in your data, the attackers will use your information against you.

Time-Sensitive Offer

Another sign of a phishing email is an offer that you have to act on right away or within just a few minutes. There are even some messages that prompt you to update your login details to prevent your account from being disabled. The best course of action is to ignore such emails and avoid clicking on any links. You can also verify it by going directly to the primary source of the message.

Suspicious Hyperlinks

You can tell if there is a phishing link in an email by hovering your mouse over the hyperlinked text and inspecting the actual URL attached to it. Some links will take you to a completely different site than what should be linked. Others have subtle spelling mistakes that could trick you into thinking that it’s the official website of a real company. 

Suspicious Attachments

One of the signs of a phishing email is a suspicious file attached to an email. Do not open such files as they could contain ransomware or viruses. Be wary of random attachments that you are not expecting or are not relevant to the message.

How to Stop Phishing Emails

Stopping phishing emails involves effort from both the users and the company. On the individual level, users need to know what a potential cyber attack looks like. Businesses, on the other hand, can take a few steps to prevent phishing attempts.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Turning on the 2FA for account logins is considered the most effective move against phishing attacks. This adds an extra layer of verification for every login attempt, thereby preventing employees from using credentials that have been compromised. Your 2FA could be a one-time password sent to your mobile phone, a login alert via email, or an answer to a security question that only you know. It’s simple, but it works.

Strict Password Rules

Companies need to implement strict policies on passwords. Some of these rules may include changing your password every few months and not using the same password used in other accounts or applications. Another tip is to avoid selecting the option to save your password each time you log in to an account. 

Increase Awareness Among Users

The most effective course of action to stopping phishing emails is to provide your employees with proper phishing email training and testing. Without training, it is difficult for employees to tell the difference between a legitimate email and a phishing email. The unfortunate truth is that over ninety percent of cyberattacks start with phishing emails.

The Bottom Line

The number of phishing attacks on businesses increases each year, and smaller companies have become the primary target. With this in mind, prioritizing cyber security for your Greater Houston business in a digital world has never been so critical. Because human error is one of the leading causes of data breaches, you must approach the problem with a two-prong solution: testing and training. Elevated Technologies provides both of these services to equip your business best. Contact us for a free quote or more information.

For more information on protecting your business from Cyber threats, check out our owner Jason Rorie’s book Small Business – A Hacker’s Playground: Cyber Security.

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Today Inc. magazine released their annual Inc. 5000 Regionals list, naming Elevated Technologies No. 145 of the fastest-growing private companies in Texas. This region-specific ranking, an extension of the esteemed Inc. 5000 list founded in 1982, gives national attention to local growth leaders and job creators. Much like the Inc. 5000, the Inc. 5000 Regionals highlights and bolsters successful entrepreneurs and groundbreaking teams.

“Across every single industry, these businesses have posted revenue and growth rates that are beyond impressive, further proving the tenacity of its founders and CEOs,” Inc.’s Editor-in-Chief, Scott Omelianuk said of the honorees. In its second year, the Inc. 5000 Regionals is one of the most prestigious recognitions an independent small business can earn. The list demonstrates the significant impact these businesses have on a larger economy. It also introduces the most dynamic companies in an area, encouraging partnerships for greater growth.

“The Inc. 5000 is a great honor — companies need to prove tremendous growth to be named to the list — which makes it an exclusive flagship event,” Omelianuk explained to Publisher’s Daily upon the new list’s founding.

“The regionals have the added benefit of connecting people within ecosystems — too many founders spend too much time working in isolation and any opportunity to bring them together is a win . . . . We see enormous value in fellow founders and business heads being able to make relationships locally, share solutions and even work through regional problems — becoming a talent magnet, for example — together.”

To qualify, Elevated Technologies had to demonstrate top-ranking annual revenue growth from 2017 – 2019. A two-year jump of 89% put Elevated Technologies at No. 145 for the Texas region, alongside other dynamic businesses from nearly every sector. Coupled with an August 2020 placement as No. 4381 on the Inc. 5000 general list, which demonstrated three-year revenue growth of 75%, Elevated Technologies is honored and encouraged to be recognized as both a local and national business leader.

The full Inc. 5000 Regional: Texas list for 2021, including company profiles and an interactive database, can be found at Inc. 5000 Regionals: Texas 2021 on March 16.

Since 2006, Elevated Technologies has provided Greater Houston businesses with premier, affordable IT support. From Managed IT services to Cloud Computing and more, we work with you to create a custom-made solution to fit your needs. Start utilizing IT to empower, grow and support your business. Contact our team of experts and innovators to learn more.

More about Inc. and the Inc. 5000 Regionals

Methodology

The 2021 Inc. 5000 Regionals is ranked according to percentage annual revenue growth over a two-year period, from 2017 and 2019. In 2021, there are six regional lists: Texas, Florida, DC Metro, California, the Midwest, and NY Metro. To qualify, companies must be based in one of these regions, and must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2017. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent—not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies—as of December 31, 2019. (Listed companies may have gone public or been acquired since.) Companies had to have generated at least $100,000 in revenue in 2017, and $1 million in 2019. Inc. reserved the right to decline applicants for subjective reasons.

About Inc. Media

The world’s most trusted business-media brand, Inc. offers entrepreneurs the knowledge, tools, connections, and community to build great companies. Its award-winning multiplatform content reaches more than 50 million people each month across a variety of channels including websites, newsletters, social media, podcasts, and print. Its prestigious Inc. 5000 list, produced every year since 1982, and its Inc. 5000 Regionals list, now in its second year, analyze company data to recognize the fastest-growing privately held businesses in the United States. The global recognition that comes with inclusion in the 5000 gives the founders of the best businesses an opportunity to engage with an exclusive community of their peers, and the credibility that helps them drive sales and recruit talent. The associated Inc. 5000 Conference is part of a highly acclaimed portfolio of bespoke events produced by Inc. For more information, visit Inc.

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Did you know that 72% of cyber attacks take place in companies with less than 100 employees? These companies are ideal targets for hackers since they have little to no budget for IT security. Not only that, but as remote working increases in popularity, more and more companies put themselves at increased risk.

How do you keep security when employees work remotely? The key to successful security in remote work includes the proper guidance from a trained individual. Elevated Technologies founder, Jason Rorie, gives his insights for implementing a remote working security policy in his book, Small Business – A Hacker’s Playground: Cyber Security.

Cybersecurity Risks of Remote Working

“Surveys have been done that focused on the security of remote workers. They have shown that organizations were aware of the risks of freelancers and contractors; however, the reason they faced problems was that they were unable to enforce the security policies and procedures on their remote workers. Here are some significant risks that organizations face:

  • Failure to enforce security
  • Lack of commitment for best security practices
  • Risky behavior on the part of the remote workers”

Remote working security awareness can only go so far. Individual staff must understand their role in protecting against cyber threats. Employees working remotely regularly access company data on privately-owned devices and wifi networks. Companies are exposing themselves and their stakeholders to nearly infinite risks. Mobile devices are physically easy to steal or hack, especially in public places like coffee shops. Unsecured wifi networks might be allowing hackers an open door to your device’s data. It is crucial that remote employees know how to protect themselves from cybersecurity threats.

Security Training for Remote Workers

“With security awareness training, your employees will learn how important it is to secure their laptops and their personal computers before they start working remotely. It is important for them to realize that security awareness does not only depend on securing a computer system. It also refers to the people present in the company, and how they communicate with others while handling important information.”

Even the best cybersecurity system is not enough. Human error plays a big part in maintaining cybersecurity. Proper work from home security awareness training empowers remote employees to protect data on their end.

Training should include teaching remote workers to avoid the following:

Sharing a Computer

“There is a high risk of being unable to track all the websites being visited, and therefore, this could put your office data at risk.”

Sharing a computer increases the traffic and exposure on that device. The other user(s) might not exercise the same caution in protecting the device. Also, should a cybersecurity incident occur, the cause would be harder to track down. Companies should have a specific device for each employee to perform work-related activities.

Accessing Other Unsecured Networks

“Hackers can easily access the information being sent on the internet because the connection is not a secured one.”

Employees must ensure a secure network connection at the remote site(s). Whether at home or somewhere else, secure remote network access keeps hackers locked out. Don’t allow the internet access to your device’s data unsecurely.

Remote Workers Security Best Practices

While training for remote employees is vital, there are other tools to help protect your company data. There are tools and cybersecurity tips for remote workers to take advantage of for daily use. Consider implementing these tools within your remote working security policy.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

“Just like a firewall, a VPN protects your laptop’s data online while having front end security and appearance, while being part of a Wide Area Network.”

“When this process is carried out successfully, the remote employee will have a secure connection and access to the company’s internal network.”

If wifi networks can be so dangerous, how do you secure a remote connection? What is the most secure way to connect to your network? Secure remote network access begins with a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs make sure that no third party can see any information communicated to or from your computer. Every remote employee should be using a VPN when on their computer.

Firewalls

“The function of the firewall is to filter the information coming through the internet into your company’s, or home’s computer systems.”

A firewall guards the data coming in and out on a network, blocking anything it deems suspicious. Most often, this includes viruses and hackers.

Using the Cloud

“Data is safe with the cloud because it is not stored on the remote employee’s personal device.”

“Cloud-based services are secured with a password and two-factor authentication before the data could be accessed.”

Refrain from storing important company data on individual devices. Instead, minimize cybersecurity risk and centralize company data through secure cloud hosting. Not only does this reduce your remote worker’s cybersecurity risk, but it also makes it easier for remote employees to access company data.

Continuing to Improve Your Cybersecurity for Remote Workers

The technology of the modern workplace is continually evolving. As new risks appear, Elevated Technologies works hard to provide relevant and effective solutions. Contact us today to find out more about protecting your company’s remote staff!

For additional information and resources, check out more from our owner, Jason Rorie, and his book: Small Business – A Hacker’s Playground: Cyber Security.

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