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.


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.


HOUSTON, December 18, 2020 – The Houston Business Journal ranked Elevated Technologies on the 2020 Largest Houston-area Cyber Security Companies List for the second year in a row. Historically, this list recognizes the top successful IT companies in the Houston area. Based on revenue and services provided, this list represents companies that have proven an impact on the technological side of the business in an effort to innovate and protect. As a proud representative on this list, Elevated Technologies hopes to continue the streak for the years to come.

About Houston Business Journal

The Houston Business Journal features pertinent local business news. They use their platform to help provide businesses with the tools needed to grow, network, and hire. The Houston Business Journal provides subscription-based content that includes area rankings and top business news. HBJ is also a part of the American City Business Journals network. The American City Business Journals (ACBJ) is the largest publisher of metropolitan business newsweeklies in the United States. For access to content, articles and rankings, visit The Houston Business Journal.

About Elevated Technologies

Since its establishment in 2006, Elevated Technologies has continued to provide Houston-based businesses with expert IT support and technology services. Our experts work diligently to allow for smarter and more efficient IT management, protection, and specialty solutions. These highly-trained and certified computer engineers specialize in helping each individual client find solutions to meet their unique IT needs. All at a price point that works for every client.

A Houston Top-Ranked Cybersecurity Company 2020

Learn more about how Elevated Technologies provides solutions for Houston Businesses when you contact us.

Allow us to focus on your IT, so that you can focus on what matters, growing your business.


Online shopping is on the rise in 2020, due in large part to the global pandemic COVID-19. With the holidays approaching, those numbers continue to increase daily. While shopping at home helps keep consumers healthy and safe, it also increases the risk of eCommerce fraud and online shopping scams. Online retail fraud has grown by an estimate of one-third this year. This can include skimming cyber attacks and eCommerce business scams. Elevated Technologies strives to educate and equip businesses for safer online operation.It is crucial that shoppers take precautions by paying with credit cards and keeping records of their transactions. Businesses too must also do their part in eCommerce fraud prevention. At Elevated Technologies we have the tools to keep your business’s cyber security up-to-date. This will help keep your business and your customers protected from hacking and scams.

How Thieves Commit Online Shopping Scams

Online shopping scams can occur in a variety of ways. Some are within a business’s control. Others are not. There are ways to combat the many different types of payment frauds. Elevated Technologies equips your business to shield itself from online criminals and e-skimming. Read more below about what businesses can and cannot control when it comes to eCommerce fraud. 

Businesses Can Control eCommerce Fraud

If you think of your business’ website as a house, your security comes from locking the doors and windows. By keeping your perimeter secure, and only letting in wanted guests, you create a safer home. Elevated Technologies specializes in providing top-of-the-line customized network security. Our expert protection helps defend your small business with eCommerce fraud prevention.

Elevated Technologies customer data security protections include:

  • Managed firewall
  • Managed secure WiFi
  • Managed remote connectivity
  • Managed Windows patching
  • Managed third-party patching
  • Managed anti-virus protection
  • Vulnerability scanning
  • Two-factor authentication
  • User awareness training

 Online Shopping Scams Businesses Cannot Control

Customer data protection goes a long way in preventing eCommerce fraud. But there are many scams that your business cannot control. Most include digital payment frauds and the consequences that come along with it. In some cases, hackers create fake retailer websites. Hackers then take the shopper’s money without providing goods or services. Another tool hackers use is to create fake emails, texts, and social media pages. They pose as a legitimate retailer and trick customers into spending money on nothing. This is not only a trick used on customers, they can target your business as well. Payment fraud is an unfortunate reality in online shopping and most times out of a business’s control. 

Warning Signs of Online Shopping Scams

One of the keys to protecting your small business’ online data from online scams is by recognizing the warning signs. Typically, scammers want you to act quickly before you can catch up with their lies. They may create a sense of urgency and try to establish themselves as a trusted figure. They may even use intimidation or fear so that you will obey before thinking it through.

Common scams against small businesses:

  • Fake invoices
  • Nonexistent advertising
  • Unnecessary licenses or approvals
  • Unsolicited goods
  • Phishing attacks on employees
  • Credit Card processing scams

Customer Data Security FAQs

How can you prevent skimming?

Our experts at Elevated Technologies protect businesses with managed data protection and phishing scam testing. Not only must businesses protect themselves reactively but also proactively. Proactive scam protection includes educating employees and protecting sensitive information. We teach your employees how to spot a suspicious email and what to do when it happens. 

How do companies protect customer data?

Customer data protection begins with Elevated Technologies’ managed data protection. Secure data is the first step in scam prevention. Immediate reporting of fraud to the FTC and the Better Business Bureau is also crucial. 

Elevated Technologies provides reliable and regular data backups. Should your business ever experience a data breach, our dependable data recovery allows your company to react quickly. We help you eliminate downtime and provide proactive customer data protection.

Your Solution is One Call Away

With eCommerce fraud on the rise this Holiday season, now is the time to protect your company. Although there are some scams out of your control, there are tools available to help protect your business. Contact Elevated Technologies today to take the first step in safeguarding your business from online scams.


How to Create a Secure Business Network 

While wifi provides businesses with freedom, flexibility, and connectivity, it doesn’t come without its risks. Unlike the wired networks of the past, where data traveled through a cable, wifi now sends data out in directionless waves. If your network is not secure, it is possible for any bystander to access it and intercept this data. Some wifi hackers, known as “piggybackers,” might just be looking for a web connection to surf on. But, more malicious hackers can compromise other network devices, steal files, or commit crimes traceable back to you.

It’s in a business’s best interest to ensure wifi security for themselves, their employees, and their customers. For small and mid-sized businesses, who have a 40% chance of surviving more than six months after a cyber attack, it’s especially imperative.

The good news is that you can create a secure business network by taking the right steps when setting up your wifi. To help you get started, we’ve outlined the most essential elements of wifi security. Protect your information and reputation with these rules for routers, encryption, and managed wifi.

 The importance of wifi network security

Business wireless network security saves you from devastating short and long-term consequences. In the least harmful cases, piggybackers take up bandwidth and make your internet sluggish. In the worst cases, hackers steal personal information, steal your business identity, or commit crimes on your network. 

These can add up to huge financial and legal blows for a small business. You could be held legally responsible for compromised customer information or illegal activities. Your business could face negligence, lawsuits, and a loss of employee and public trust. It might be impossible to bounce back.

What is Managed Wifi?

Managed wifi enlists the help of experienced professionals to ensure wifi network security. It’s the most comprehensive and reliable step you can take to create a secure business network. Most in-house teams are too busy with other IT issues to carry out the day to day monitoring and tracking it takes to keep up with relentless hackers. Managed wifi providers vigilantly watch for network and login anomalies. They stop potential breaches, hackers carrying viruses and malware, unauthorized users, and more.

Elevated Technology offers secure managed wifi services to protect businesses from any wifi security attack. We work with you to custom build a secure business network from the bottom up. You can enjoy the connectivity of wifi knowing that your business, employee, and customer data is safe with expertly managed wifi.

What are the Wifi Security Types?

Wifi routers use different types of encryption to protect your information during transmission. Encryption turns your data into a secure code so that others are unable to steal it. Since the ’90s, encryption protocols have evolved, resulting in three wifi security types: Wired Equivalent Privacy or WEP, Wi-Fi Protected Access or WPA, and an updated version of the latter known as WPA2. However, when it comes to secure business wifi, they are not all equal.

WEP

WEP is an outdated encryption protocol that is only found on older wireless routers. It is easily breakable and hackable. Businesses should never rely on routers that use WEP for wifi security.

WPA

WPA improved upon WEP, giving users the option to use a wifi security key, which allows all employees to use the same password to connect. Users can also run it in enterprise mode, allowing every employee to connect with their own username and password. Though more advanced than its predecessor, WPA is still older technology that has proven to be easily breakable and hackable .

WPA2

WPA2 is currently the most secure encryption protocol. It improved on WPA by using the government-approved Advanced Encryption Standard, or AES. Until the arrival of WPA3, businesses should use routers with WPA2 for maximum wifi security.

Wifi Security Best Practices

How do I secure my company’s WiFi?

In addition to using encryption, there are several steps you can take to secure business wifi. Keep in mind that no one step is comprehensive aside from using managed wifi. You will need a combination to cover all your bases.

  • Set up a strong router password
    • WPA2 protection uses a password by default. You should create a strong password at setup, and change it often to kick off any unwanted piggybackers.
  • Limit which devices can access your network
    • Set your router so that only devices with identified MAC addresses can access the network.
  • Change your wifi’s name
    • If your wifi network is for private use and not for customers, give it a name that only your employees will know.
  • Hide your wifi
    • If for private use, set the name of your network to “hidden” mode so that users must know the name to access it.
  • Set up a guest network for visitors
    • Your customers and contractors likely won’t steal your data, but using a guest network ensures your passwords stay safe.
  • Work with managed wifi providers
    • Leave it to the experts to monitor, manage, and catch potential breaches in your network.

What is the best security for WiFi?

Managed wifi security provides the most protection for your business. Providers, like Elevated Technology, assess your needs and design a custom wifi security system to keep your network safe. Experts monitor your network, spotting anomalies, and watching for patterns to predict breaches. Managed wifi frees up your IT team to focus on more pressing matters in the office, and ensures 360-degree protection from cyber attacks.

Protect Wireless Network Disruption with managed wifi security

Take charge of your wifi security and protect your business, customers, and employees with a secure business network. Elevated Technology is here to help Houston businesses stay safe from hackers and theft with our expertly managed wifi services. Contact us today to learn more about what managed wifi can do for your business wireless network security.


Catch the Warning Signs of Business Identity Theft 

Identity thieves don’t just go after individuals. The past several years have seen a dramatic increase in criminals aiming with bigger targets. By impersonating businesses, they drain accounts, open credit lines, and steal customer information. Thieves do this by pretending to be owners or employees and creating false credentials and business filings. They might also mimic company e-mail communications, websites, and more. 

If successful, business identity thieves can leave a company deep in debt, with legal and tax troubles, bad credit, and a ruined reputation. Luckily, there are ways to safeguard your business from such consequences. Many fall victims because they fail to recognize business identity theft’s red flags until the bills show up or law enforcement gets involved. By learning to spot the red flags of business identity theft on your own, you can prevent criminals from ever getting that far. Protect your finances and customers by recognizing the signs that you might be subject to corporate identity theft.

What are some warning signs of identity theft?

Early signs of corporate identity theft

Criminals often start with scams or by impersonating company higher-ups to collect information. By catching these phishes, you can prevent thieves from ever gathering enough material to steal your identity in the first place. Watch out for:

  • Seemingly official emails to owners or employees asking for account numbers, passwords and usernames, SSNs, and other business information
  • Bills and invoices for services you don’t use or items you did not purchase
  • Urgent requests for wire transfers from a CEO or higher up
  • Unverified credit applications

Later signs of business identity theft

The earlier you catch small business identity theft, the better. If a criminal has successfully begun to impersonate your business, you might experience:

  • A disruption in regular billing schedules
  • Charges or notices for new accounts that you didn’t make
  • The IRS rejects your tax return or claims that you have already filed an unfiled claim 
  • Strange IRS notices or transcripts
  • A notice from the Secretary of State Office that your official business address or that owner or manager names have been changed

How does identity theft affect businesses?

Business identity cloning can be devastating to a company, especially a small business with few reserves. The IRS reported in 2016 that the 4,000 reported business identity theft cases garnered a combined $268 million in costs. Beyond the initial cash loss, small business identity theft can also sink your credit score. It can upset supply chain payments and schedules, and get you in trouble with the IRS and state tax organizations. 

In the worst cases, you might lose all credibility with current and potential customers. When thieves steal customer information by impersonating your website or e-mails, it’s hard to regain trust. Business commercial identity theft can also result in personal identity theft for yourself and employees.

How can criminal identity theft occur?

The National Cyber Security Society names four ways that business identity theft occurs:

  • Financial fraud: Thieves use your business name and information to take out loans or open credit card accounts.
  • Trademark ransom: Criminals trademark your logo or name and charge high amounts for you to repurchase it.
  • Tax fraud: Impersonators file returns for your business, using your subsidies or stealing your returns.
  • Website or Identity Cloning: Thieves pretend to be your business online to steal customer information. 

Business ID theft protection

Comprehensive business ID theft protection involves preventative measures and continuous monitoring. Precautions like strong passwords and turning on charge and fraud alerts for your digital banking accounts can go a long way. You should also be cautious about which computers you use to log in to business accounts and access your information. Make sure you are running current anti-virus and security software on all company computers.

Still, because modern identity thieves have places like the dark web to hide, reliable monitoring is often out of a business’s scope. This is where services like Elevated Technology’s business identity theft monitoring come in. We scan the internet’s deepest pages to ensure your company’s information is not out there for sale. We predict criminal activity based on industry trends, to help ensure you stay guarded against future attacks. Our services have allowed businesses in the Houston area to catch business identity theft early.

Reporting business identity theft

If you find yourself a victim of corporate identity theft, act immediately to safeguard your accounts. Contact your bank and credit card company to let them know that you’ve been compromised. You should then notify the appropriate law enforcement and government agencies as soon as possible. Also, report the theft to credit reporting agencies.

Taking the first step: business identity theft monitoring

With such devastating consequences, the threat of business identity theft can loom large over owners. However, by watching for warning signs and taking business ID theft protection measures, you can keep the clones at bay. The experts at Elevated Technology are here to help Houston businesses do just that. Contact us today to take the first step with business identity theft monitoring.


Think for a moment about how far your beloved business has come. You’ve worked so hard to get your company to where it is today and are so proud of where you’re at and the bright future ahead. What if, all of the sudden, a hurricane was to roll through and devastate your place of work, destroying your technology with lost data as an outcome? Is this something you could come back from? Is this something you are prepared for?

Unfortunately, hurricane season isn’t over until the end of November. With the possibility of these wicked storms striking your business, it’s essential that you take necessary precaution and preparation just as you would for your home (gathering supplies, a generator, food, water, etc.) Having a backup plan to ensure your organization’s data remains protected is crucial. Those who don’t could be making a catastrophic mistake that could end their business for good.

Below is a checklist to ensure your business’s data and IT systems remain protected during a hurricane.

Inventory and Evaluation

Do a walkthrough of the premises, inventorying all valuables and evaluating hardware/software assets and data. Make sure that the make, model, operating system, network devices and serial numbers are included in your inventory. Store this information off-site or in a cloud-based system. It is also a good idea to take pictures and/or videos of all equipment and valuables on the premises so that you can claim insurance in case of any damage.

Back-Up

Backing up your data should go without saying. However, while it’s essential to back-up data on-site, it’s even more important to back-up off-site. Most backup and recovery companies ensure their data centers are invulnerable. Not only are these buildings under extreme security, protecting from any potential intruders, but they’re also virtually bulletproof to any form of natural disaster (including hurricanes!) Storing your data off-site is a great business practice, not only protecting your business from natural disaster, but also in the event of a cyber-attack. It’s safe to say you can rest easy knowing your data is completely secure off-site.

Consider the Cloud

A cloud-based system can be a blessing for businesses. Like off-site backups, cloud backups are inherently situated elsewhere which means your backups are no longer vulnerable to disasters and other causes of data loss that happen at the source. When you use a cloud computing service, your data becomes remote. Not only does this make for a seamless recovery if disaster strikes but also allows employees to work from home if there is any damage to the office.

Regular Backup Testing

Nowadays, testing the recovery of systems has been made extremely simple with new technology. Given its simplicity, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be testing your backups on a regular basis. These tests ensure that any data stored in your backups can be restored quickly so that your business is able to get back up and running after disaster strikes.

Protect Electronics

Aside from securing doors and windows on the premises, there are other preparation measures you can take to protect your office space and technology.

If a hurricane is on track near your office, it’s essential to prepare the space for the worst. Start by shutting down and powering off all computers, devices, printers/scanners and other systems. Then unplug machines, power surges and Ethernet cables from computers or docking stations. You can use dry bags or plastic to cover electronics for short-term protection. Lastly, if you’re on a bottom floor or stand-alone building, it’s a good idea to move these electronics in a safe room and/or high off the ground to prevent any flood damage.

Be Prepared

Knowing what steps to take before disaster strikes will help you be as prepared as possible in these worst-case scenarios. Elevated Technologies is committed to ensuring our clients are prepared with the proper technology to meet their current/future needs as well as advising them about safeguarding their business from natural disasters, cyber-attacks and other catastrophes.

Contact Elevated Technologies today if you have any questions regarding disaster recovery or any of the other managed services we provide. Our goal is to provide you with exceptional IT management and support so that your business can be as efficient as possible.


To Pay or Not to Pay Ransom: 6 Reasons to NEVER Pay

You open your laptop to a message on your screen from a hacker who is telling you that they’ve encrypted your data and you won’t get it back unless you pay a $5,000 ransom.

I know you’re probably thinking that if you pay up, it’ll be easier, you’ll get your data back and this will all be over. This is actually not the case. Cybersecurity experts and even the FBI urge anyone who has been affected by ransomware to never pay the ransom. Here are the multiple reasons why:

Reason 1: You May Not Regain File Access

This is arguably the biggest problem when paying ransom. You’re dealing with a cybercriminal whose mission in life is to manipulate people and systems for their own selfish benefits. So, what makes you think you can trust a criminal’s word? They aren’t reliable and don’t care about restoring your file access. So if you pay the ransom, there’s a good chance you just lost your data AND a hefty amount of money.

Reason 2: Some Ransomware Doesn’t Encrypt

Ransomware typically falls under one of two categories: the kind that encrypts the victim’s files and the type that doesn’t. Encrypting ransomware is the most problematic, as it requires a decrypt key to restore file access. Non-encrypting ransomware may still restrict access to your files. However, it’s usually easier to fix than its encrypting counterpart.

With non-encrypting ransomware, you can often fix the infection using anti-malware software. Since it doesn’t encrypt your files, you don’t have to worry about obtaining a decrypt key. Rather, you need to lift the restriction that’s preventing you from accessing your files, which may be possible through traditional anti-malware software or system restores.

Reason 3: You Could Become a “Known Player”

This one is serious. Whether your ransomware attack is on a personal device or a work device, you should never pay the ransom because you could be targeted more than once. By paying the ransom, you mark you or your organization as a “known player” to the hacking community. If the cybercriminal does give you the encryption key to regain file access, that key could contain a signal that leaves “breadcrumbs”. This identifies you as someone likely to pay the ransom a second time. A few months later, you could be targeted all over again.

Reason 4: It Funds Criminal Activities

A lot of the time, money hackers gain from their victims through ransomware attacks are used to fund future attacks and other illicit activities. Hackers can and will use this money to purchase new computers, servers and software that allows them to target even more victims with malicious software. By paying the ransom, you’re encouraging hackers to continue this illegal behavior. On the contrary, not paying will send the hacker a message that there’s no money to be made off of you.

Reason 5: There May Be Decrypt Keys Available

Depending on the specific type of ransomware infecting your computer, you may be able to find a decrypt key without paying the ransom to the attacker. As explained by NoMoreRansomware.org — a site that publishes free ransomware decrypt keys — some malware authors make mistakes when implementing their ransomware, allowing cybersecurity professionals to crack the encryption. In other cases, police seize and raid the cybercriminals’ computers, on which the decrypt keys are stored.

Some of the ransomware types for which decrypt keys are available include:

  • AutoLocky
  • BTCWare
  • Crysis
  • Chimera
  • CoinVault
  • Jigsaw
  • Rakhni
  • Ronnoh
  • Rotor
  • Shade
  • TelsaCrypt
  • TorLocker
  • WannaCry (CWRY)
  • Wildfire
  • Xorbat

If you know the name of the ransomware infecting your computer, search for “[ransomware name] + decrypt key” on Google. With a little bit of luck, you may find a solution.

Reason 6: The Attack May Not Be Legit

Not all malicious software demanding money is actual ransomware. Fake ransomware looks like the real deal, but it doesn’t lock or otherwise restrict access to your files. Many victims end up paying it, however, because they believe their files are encrypted and want to regain access as soon as possible.

By definition, ransomware is a type of malicious software that restricts access to the victim’s computer data until a ransom is paid. Even if a pop-up message demands payment in exchange for unlocking your files, it could be fake ransomware — and paying it will have no effect on whether you can access your files.

Now that you know why you shouldn’t pay the ransom, click here to learn how to prevent ransomware attacks and keep you and your organization safe from cybercriminals. 

Elevated Technologies offers round-the-clock security monitoring for your business. Hackers never sleep and are driven by a desire to break into your business’s system to gain access to your data and your clients’/customers’ confidential information. Let us defend your network so you can rest easy and focus on your business. Remember: preventing a cyber-attack or data breach is way more affordable than recovering from one. 

Contact us today if you’re at all worried about the security of your organization.


Passwords are like toothbrushes: Choose a good one, never share it and change it regularly.

Did you know that more than half of data breaches result from weak or stolen passwords? A password may seem like a small security factor, but the majority of the time, it’s the only thing standing between your account and a hacker. This is why it’s essential to take the necessary precaution and craft strong, complex passwords for your online accounts, especially when these accounts hold valuable information.

Password security can seem like a nuisance to some people, but taking the extra steps to ensure your accounts and sensitive information aren’t compromised can save you in the long run. Password security is much like working out: You don’t want to do it, but when you do, you feel stronger and more confident! Take a look at the tips below to start strengthening your password security immediately (you’ll thank us later!)

Tip #1: Don’t Use Personal Information

Keep information like your family members’ names, pets’ names, birth date, personal addresses and phone numbers out of your passwords. These details are usually public and extremely easy for a cybercriminal to find on your social media accounts or on forms that they can get their hands on. Don’t make it easy for them by using easy-to-guess passwords.

Tip #2: Use Different Passwords for Different Accounts

I know what you’re thinking. You have a lot of accounts! That’s a lot of different passwords to keep up with. But, think of it like this: Imagine a hacker cracks your Facebook password. Are you using that same password on any other accounts that a hacker could get into? Oh, you’re using that password on ALL of your other accounts such as your bank account and work accounts? Need I go further?

Studies show that at least 59% of people who are aware of the risk, still use the same password on multiple accounts. It may seem inconvenient to take the time to change up these credentials, but it’ll be even more inconvenient when you wake up one day and realize multiple of your accounts have been compromised. At the very least, have 3-4 passwords or passphrases that you use for your accounts. It CAN happen to you, don’t ever have the mindset that it couldn’t.

Tip #3: Change Passwords Regularly

While it may be a bit unrealistic to change every password to every one of your accounts on a monthly basis, it is reasonable to change these passwords every few months-a year to ensure the security of your accounts. You should also be changing your password if any of these situations arise:

  • After a service discloses a security incident
  • There is evidence of unauthorized access to your account
  • There is evidence of an attempt to login to your account from an unknown location or device
  • There is evidence of malware or other compromises of your device
  • You shared access to an account with someone who is no longer using the login
  • You logged into an account on a shared or public computer

Tip #4: Use a Combination of Characters

We’ve all seen the anticipated and dreaded password requirements when creating a password for a new account: “Passwords must have:

  • Eight characters
  • One symbol
  • One number
  • One uppercase
  • One lowercase”

But, hey, they wouldn’t just ask you to do this for their amusement. Yeah, the extra steps might be a little frustrating and take a couple more seconds of your time, but doing so adds more variables that can make it much more difficult for hackers to gain access to your account. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather deal with the nuisance of a complex password than the inconvenience of a data breach.

Tip #5: Use Passphrases

A passphrase is pretty self-explanatory. Instead of a string of characters, a passphrase is exactly what it sounds like – a phrase used for a password. For example, someone could use the passphrase “Be the change you want to see in the world.” A passphrase can also contain symbols and doesn’t have to be a proper sentence or grammatically correct; the main point is that a passphrase is:

  • Easier to remember – It is always easier to remember a lyric to your favorite song or a memorable quote than it is to remember a string of random symbols.
  • Harder to crack than an average password – There are now state-of-the-art hacking tools that are able to crack even the most complex password, but even the most advanced cracking tool won’t be able to guess or pre-compute these passphrases.

Just ensure that your chosen phrase isn’t so common or popular that someone who knows you can easily guess it.

Tip #6 Use Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

There have been many instances where companies could have avoided a breach by using multi-factor authentication (MFA). Multi-factor identification (sometimes called two-factor authentication) is an increasingly popular security feature that allows you to have more than just your username and password to access your account. After entering your username and password, MFA requires a second piece of information that could be any of the following:

  • Something you know: a PIN, password or pattern
  • Something you have: an ATM or credit card, mobile phone or security token
  • Something you are: a biometric form of authentication, such as your fingerprint, your voice or your face

Multi-factor authentication and two-factor authentication are great ways to keep your passwords strong and essentially safeguard your accounts from potential breaches.

Tip #7: Hide Physical Evidence of Passwords

In an environment where passwords are updated regularly, it might seem convenient to write it on a sticky note and put it on a monitor or in an unlocked desk drawer for reference until it changes again. In reality, this could be a massive security hole if someone were to walk into the office space looking for data to steal. Nowadays there are plenty of password management apps that safely store and retrieve your passwords for you. Some good ones are:

Tip #8: Don’t Share Passwords

Whether you like it or not, you are compromising your accounts any and every time you let someone use your credentials. From the moment they have access, you have no idea what they will do with your account details or whom they might share it with. By keeping your information private, not only are you making sure that your personal information is secure, but you’re saving yourself from potential responsibility for malicious acts someone could partake in on your account. If someone were to hack into your account and commit a mischievous act, you could and probably would be held accountable by your superior.

Take these tips into consideration next time you enter a new or change an old password. Taking the extra steps to ensure the strength of your passwords will result in an extra, necessary layer of security for your accounts and your company.


When it comes to managed service providers, IT professionals either love them or hate them. Many of these professionals who have been burned by a poor-quality MSP will find it hard to change their perception of the industry. To see the true value of managed service providers, it’s important to clear up the misconceptions some might have when it comes to these controversial providers.

MSPs are third-party technology specialists that deliver infrastructure, network, application and security management services to organizations. This concept is only a little over a decade old, and like most younger industries, there are exceptional providers and some that give MSPs a bad reputation. As the industry evolves, the higher-quality MSPs continue to separate themselves to provide an unbeatable IT support option.

Below are four busted myths that will help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to MSPs:

Myth #1: Your IT Department Will Be Fired or Lose Operational Control

When work is outsourced, many assume that you are downsizing to shrink expenses. Your present IT staff might fear they will be let go or lose control over IT-related operations if your idea of hiring an MSP gets brought to their attention.

Bust #1

CompTIA survey showed that only 6% of companies that hired an MSP actually fired their in-house IT department. Hiring an MSP doesn’t have to mean the end of your current IT team’s future at your company, but rather the beginning of a reprioritized role.

Myth #2: MSPs Fail to Give Your Company a Competitive Advantage

MSPs grow their business by gaining new clientele. Many believe that if these MSPs are providing the same services to each of their clients, they will lose their competitive edge by lacking differentiation with their technology and data.

Bust #2

The value of an MSP isn’t necessarily to provide a custom solution to give you a competitive advantage over your competitors but to free up valuable time for you to spend leveraging your data for growth instead of wasting it worrying about your IT. An MSP can help lower costs and free up your precious time by taking over the time-consuming tasks that keep your business in order. This way, you and your team can focus on what really matters: Figuring out ways to outsmart and outwork your competitors, eventually outlasting them.

Myth #3: Transitioning to an MSP Will Create Internal Confusion

When it comes to your work routine, many employees are apprehensive to change. When new technologies and systems are introduced, there is always an adjustment period where these employees have to learn how to use new technologies and tools. With the learning curve that comes with hiring an MSP, many believe that it will cause confusion, stall production and hinder efficiency until everyone is adjusted.

Bust #3

The majority of MSPs are used for the intricate and highly technical aspects of a business’s infrastructure that have little effect on your employees’ day-to-day office routine. However, if there is a new tool or service that is introduced to your team, it is likely brought on to make your business more productive and efficient. An MSP will also always ensure that everyone is brought up to speed and be there to clear up any confusion you might have throughout the adjustment period. Overall, your internal department should feel less stress when working with an MSP.

Myth #4: MSPs are More Expensive

Many believe that hiring a company to outsource tasks that their present IT department already manages is a waste of money. They also won’t believe MSPs when they guarantee that their company will save on operational costs. They think it’s hard to validate the costs and too risky.

Bust #4

MSPs allow a business to maintain its IT environment for a fixed monthly cost. This fee typically covers round-the-clock support, routine maintenance, troubleshooting and repairs on an as-needed basis. Countless studies have shown that a fixed, consistent expense like this can give your budget some much-needed wiggle room for investment in your business. The savings can be used to grow your business, educate your staff and expand your reach. You’ll be able to do the things you really want to do with your business without having to worry about your IT.

Conclusion

An effective service provider will improve and empower your internal IT.

Every business, big or small, must come to terms with the fact that every business operation is tied to technology. Your company’s IT environment is critical to the success of your business. Partnering with a managed service provider can help you to maintain an infrastructure that is up-to-date and reliable, so you can focus on what matters most: increasing revenue for your business. Elevated Technologies will work with your company to establish the managed services that your company needs. You handle your business and we’ll handle your IT. Want to know more? Contact us!