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Tips to Avoid Credit Card Fraud This Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner. For many that means a time to be joyful and giving. For others, it marks the perfect time to take advantage of increased spending to steal consumers’ personal financial information. 

It’s a sad reality that during a time of year that is meant to be merry, we need to be very careful of thieves and hackers. A click of the mouse to add items to your online shopping cart may seem like the easiest way to get holiday shopping done, but online shopping offers a window of opportunity for cyberhackers if not done securely. (Even while shopping in-person, we need to be vigilant of credit card skimmers.)

In 2020, consumers reported 4.7 million cases of fraud, identity theft and other consumer deceptions!

Below are a few tips to protect you, your credit and identity as you shop:

Look for secure websites: If you’re shopping from a new website make sure there is an “s” included in the web address. It should be “https” in the URL not just “http.” The ‘s’ is for secure. A small padlock icon should also be present in the address bar.

Be on the Alert: If it’s an option, activate alerts from the card company to let you know when your credit card has been used or when a suspicious transaction has been made.  Or when there is a charge made above a certain dollar value. Setting alerts will allow you to act fast and freeze your card if necessary. 

Stay Private: Do your online shopping on a private network. NEVER be tempted to shop online using free public WiFi at a coffee shop or library. If you’re shopping online outside of your home or office, make sure you use a VPN, virtual private network.

Be Vigilant with Emails: Do not click on any links or download attachments from a sender you don’t know. Such a mistake can put your personal information into the wrong hands. There are companies that may even pose as FedEx, UPS or another delivery service to say “your package is on its way” with a fake tracking link. That phish bait will give cyberattackers access to your financial information. Always be vigilant! 

Get Chipped: Chip cards are safer to use than magnetic stripe cards. When using a chip card, an encrypted code is generated each time a transaction is made. The code helps to conceal your credit card numbers. 

Use Unique Passwords: There are many of us who are guilty about using the same password or two for everything. This is dangerous! Although it can be challenging to remember or keep a record of all your passwords, it is best to use different passwords for each shopping site you use. If a cybercriminal gets a hold of one of your passwords, they will attempt to use it on other websites. Use a mix of lower case, upper case, symbols and numbers to make passwords difficult to crack.

ICC can help put a comprehensive security plan in place to protect your financial information. We conduct a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack, protect your data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. Our defense strategy includes network security, email security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost data. If you are missing one piece of the pie, you may be exposed to cyber-attacks and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss.

Source: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/consumer-sentinel-network-data-book-2020/csn_annual_data_book_2020.pdf

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November 16, 2022

Your network just went down – now what? 

As we’re tapping on our keyboard at the office or at home, we usually take it for granted that our computer will always turn on and access to our files will always be there. But what do you do when your network goes down and you’re left without access to your files, programs and the Internet? 

The thing you shouldn’t do is panic or get angry. Don’t start banging on the computer, thinking it will magically come back to life. Start by trying to identify the cause of the problem. Gather as many details as possible to share with your IT department or company. Is it an isolated case or are all computers down? Is it just the company email that is down, or is there no Internet access at all? Is there any indication of a virus? Once you’ve gathered the details, relay them to your IT managers, and then apprise company employees what is happening. 

At this point, most of the responsibility is now in the hands of your IT managers to restore functionality. Hopefully, they have a good recovery plan that will help to troubleshoot the problem and allow staff to get back to work as soon as possible. During that time employees should hopefully have other ways to work and keep them busy while they are being given updates.

Once your network is up and running again and everyone has resumed productivity it would be worth it to take the time to review your recovery plan to discuss if it effectively served its purpose. Make any improvements if necessary. If your network failed and you didn’t have a recovery plan to help you take immediate action, consider partnering with an IT company like ICC to put one together. A recovery plan will put you in an advantageous position if your network goes down again.

ICC can help you prepare a recovery plan, and play a critical role in the implementation of the plan, technology and any future troubleshooting. ICC conducts a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to protect your data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. At a minimum, a comprehensive recovery plan should include network security, email security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost data. 

When you have a plan in place it’ll be easier to remain calm when/if your network goes down again and restore it as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

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October 19, 2022

Cyber Security Tips for Business Travel

Companies face an increased risk of cyberattacks when their team members travel. Business travelers are a prime target for cyber criminals because they carry valuable company and client data on their devices. Cyber criminals also know that business travelers aren’t always vigilant when it comes to securing their devices, making them more susceptible to data breaches.

Another factor that also contributes to additional risk is that security on the road and in the air is unsecure. For instance, public Wi-Fi networks in hotels and airports make it easy for cyberhackers to find and access connected devices. It’s not difficult for cybercriminals to read and track your information when connected to a public network.

With more businesses resuming travel, cyber criminals are on the prowl. Here are some tips to protect your company data and make sure it doesn’t get into the wrong hands while traveling. We encourage you to share these tips with your employees.

* Close devices when not doing business. Keep devices locked and locked away in a hotel safe when they’re not being used. In addition to a strong password or PIN, multifactor verifications can make it more challenging for a hacker to get into your device.

* Use VPN with public Wi-Fi. Companies can reduce the risk of their employees getting hacked on a public Wi-Fi network by using a VPN, which encrypts your device’s information so passwords and data cannot be read.

* Update software. Make sure software is always updated, especially before going on the road. Software updates are critical to maintaining security on your device.

* Have a response plan. Whether they’re traveling or not, employees should have a response plan so they know exactly what to do if their device has been lost, stolen or if they’ve detected that their device may have been hacked.

ICC can help you put together a comprehensive security plan for when your team travels. We conduct a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack, protect your data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. Our defense strategy includes network security, email security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost data. If you are missing one piece of the pie, you may be exposed to cyber-attacks and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss.

Give us a call to start putting a plan in place for your company at 970.821.8588 in Colorado or 307.632.2022 in Wyoming.

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September 21, 2022

Outdated technology? Call ICC to get back in style!

You may not be one to keep up with fashion trends, but when it comes to your business and technology you should definitely make it a point to stay on top of what’s “in” and what’s not! 

Technology is evolving at its fastest pace ever. It can be easy to lose track of it all if you try to maintain business technology all on your own. In this fast-paced digital age, a computer’s average lifespan is 4-6 years old. It might be tempting to try to save money by holding on to computer equipment until it breaks down, but when it comes to your business and data, holding on to old hardware and software programs could do your company more harm than good. 

If you’re having trouble updating software, or you’re hearing strange noises coming from your computer, then it’s time for an IT makeover! Plus, there are several reasons to make sure your network is updated.

  • Stronger cyber security: New products come with frequent security updates and patches. The consistent updates strengthen your network’s defense against data breaches, malware infections and other cyber risks, protecting your company’s data, clients and reputation.
  • Greater efficiency: Old equipment is slower and may not integrate well with new software programs, causing computers to crash and frustrate employees. New equipment will run faster and keep employees working much more efficiently.
  • Better product support. Manufacturers don’t provide support for outdated products. Their energy is put into current offerings. Keeping equipment up to date will ensure you have access to updates and current warranties.

ICC has been helping businesses make over and maximize their IT for over 24 years. ICC includes setting up cyber security precautions, managing backups, addressing workflow inefficiencies, and more.

So, don’t hold on to that antiquated equipment. Let ICC help you upgrade to the latest styles in IT hardware and software. Call us at (970) 419-0602.

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July 20, 2022

Your Business Isn't DIY... Your IT Shouldn't Be Either!

You may consider yourself a DIY expert. That ability can certainly save you money when you’re fixing something around the house. However, when it comes to your office and business – don’t be tempted to DIY your network or cybersecurity. It doesn’t matter how manyYouTube videos you watch to show you how to secure your company’s data, business technology is not the best way to test your DIY skills.  

 

Handling your IT is not a one-person job. It is safer to invest and put your trust into a professional IT team. Maintaining your company’s network is not just installing software updates; it really needs to be a well-planned and managed effort. There is a great amount of time and background knowledge involved in planning and executing a network system, plus a high level of expertise required to keep all the pieces of your network current and working together smoothly. Handling yourIT is also not just a 9-5 job; your system needs to be monitored and protected 24/7! A third-party team of IT experts will put the right tools in place to monitor your system around the clock. And finally, employees need to be trained on best practices and how to help protect data as well.

 

An IT service company will also ensure that your business is consistently in compliance with evolving laws and regulations. The cost to hire experts will far outweigh the cost to try to remedy lost data or reputation management should a breach of security happen.

 

Your network and security strategy are not “set it and forget it.” ICC provides an effective combination of the right hardware, software, updates, and management for well-built IT solutions. It is our job to be on top of new and different network configurations, solutions, and product innovations. We service so many clients that our hands-on experience gives us a leg up on how to deal with potential problems and how to best avoid them.

DIY and business technology isn’t a good combination. Leave IT to the experts and focus your time, energy and expertise on what you know best. This will result in a cohesive and less stressful situation for you and your company.

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June 20, 2022

Cybersecurity Shouldn’t be a Game of Gamble

A wise man once said, “If you think it is expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.” If your business is dependent on the integrity of your computer network and the data you are storing, don’t take a chance with your cybersecurity policy.

Cybersecurity should only be handled by experts. We understand that especially for smaller companies, it may be difficult to allocate budgets toward cybersecurity, but the investment into protecting your company and your customers’ private information is well worth it. If a cyberattack were to happen on your company, the financial and reputation damage could be irreparable.

Hackers are experts, using sophisticated tactics and software to break through and access your data. Why would you hire an amateur to compete with an expert? Your best line of defense against hackers is putting a team of skilled and experienced professionals in place to manage your cyber risk.

ICC conducts a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack, protect your data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. At a minimum, a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy should include network security, e-mail security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost or compromised data. If you are missing one piece of the pie, are exposing yourself to cyber-attacks and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss.

Technology can be challenging. We strive to simplify the complexity of IT. With decades of experience, ICC is here to help you protect what matters most to your company: your data, your employees, your livelihood.

Let us show you the ICC difference.

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April 27, 2022

Security

Is my business too small to get hacked?

The answer is a resounding NO. We’ve heard about the big brand companies that have experienced serious cyberattacks. However, just because your company name may not be big enough to make a news headline does not mean you aren’t at risk. In fact, if you believe that, you are making your company prey for hackers. Small businesses may actually be more of an attractive target for a cyberattack than larger companies. Here are a few reasons why.

• Many small businesses think they’re insignificant to a hacker and so don’t put much importance on cyber security. Their network protection is vulnerable because it is not being properly managed.
• Hackers believe many small businesses don’t have the budget or IT staff to put proper cybersecurity in place.
• Many small business owners don’t acknowledge the worth of their database. For instance, if you are a nonprofit with big donors, that information is very valuable to a hacker.

Small businesses have a lot to lose. Think about what kind of information is stored in your system: customer lists, possibly including credit card information, passwords, vendor information and much more.

The idea that small businesses aren’t a target is mistaken. Identity theft, ransomware and phishing continue to be real dangers to small businesses. Cyber protection is a real investment into the safety of your business and customers. It’s important to put the proper defenses in place.

ICC conducts a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack, protect your data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. At a minimum, a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy should include network security, e-mail security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost data. If you are missing one piece of the pie, you may be exposed to cyberattacks and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss.

To learn how to upgrade your small business cyber protection plan, give us a call at (970) 821-8592 for Colorado and (307) 316-5665 for Wyoming.

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March 23, 2022

Security

Introducing, John Hintzman!

Count on Cyber Insurance from PFS!

Most companies rely on technology to run their operations. If your company collects data, then it is most likely a target for cyber criminals. Like anything else of great value, it’s important to protect your business and assets with insurance. Cyber insurance can help protect your company from the potential damaging effects from a cyber-attack, including, ransomware, phishing attempts, revenue loss, reputation damage, legal fees, damaged equipment and more.

ICC protects our business data with cyber insurance from John Hintzman at the PFS Insurance Group. John has been in the insurance industry for nearly 30 years, joining PFS in 2008. After getting to know his clients and learning how they operate their business, John is effective at providing innovative risk management solutions. He enjoys building lasting relationships with his clients and giving them the peace of mind that their business is protected. It has been a pleasure working with him!

John works out of the main office in Johnstown, however the PFS Insurance Group has offices in Greenwood Village, Sterling and Yuma.

To learn more about the PFS Insurance Group, visit https://mypfsinsurance.com/.

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March 10, 2022

IT Services

Cybersecurity Threats to Keep Top of Mind in 2022

Living in a digital world in which a lot of business is conducted online can be really concerning. Think about it: bank deposits, financial information, photos, employee information, etc. Cybersecurity risks are real and have become a normal concern these days. Security breaches can result in just a minor inconvenience to devastating financial loss. Most business owners aren’t sure what they should be concerned about the most. Here are some of the top considerations when planning to protect your company’s data:

– Phishing Attacks: Although phishing attacks aren’t new, hackers are consistently finding new ways to tempt employees to unknowingly click on a fake link, video or download – compromising your security.

– Remote Worker Endpoint Security: With more and more employees working from home devices like laptops, smartphones and tablets are a risk. Employees working from home, or especially from public places like coffee shops, risk uploading business data to an unsecure network.

– Cloud Jacking: One of the newest concerns to surface as more businesses and individuals rely on cloud computing. Cloud jacking is when an account is taken over by a cybercriminal – it can be something like identity theft or just data theft.

– IoT Devices: IoT, which stands for Internet of Things, refers to any web-enabled device connected to an app. The more devices that are connected the more entry points a hacker has to get into a network.

– Ransomware Attacks: Under this type of attack, hackers do not return stolen data until a ransom is paid. Handling this situation is unpredictable as many ransomware attackers still don’t release data even after payment is made.

– Deepfakes: These are videos, links or emails often targeted to specific individuals or businesses that are made to look authentic to lure employees to click on them.

– Mobile Malware: Most businesses focus on their desktops but it’s important to also protect mobile devices. As more high-volume work is being done on mobile devices, mobile security should be made a priority.

Cybersecurity can be daunting because it can be difficult to stay on top of the newest threats and protection recommendations. ICC conducts a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack, protect data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. At a minimum, a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy should include network security, e-mail security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost data. If you are missing one piece of the pie, you may be exposed to cyber-attacks and could be faced with significant business disruption.

To get started please call ICC at 970-821-8592 or if you are in Laramie call 307-316-5665.

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February 23, 2022

Security

Are you testing your backup system?

Most companies understand the importance of backing up data and have regular backup systems in place, but are you also checking backup systems to make sure they are working correctly?

Backup management requires, not only having a system in place, but continual monitoring to ensure your data is being backed up correctly. Many Managed Services Providers fail to properly monitor data backups. Monitoring backup can be tedious and it’s important that sufficient resources are allocated to monitoring. It’s also important that a documented process is in place for consistency.

Additionally, a periodic backup restore test should be completed as an ongoing effort to ensure you can actually restore your data quickly in the event of an attack or system failure. It’s worth the time and effort to go through the process to familiarize yourself (and department) with what needs to be done if the need arises. In your tests you’ll want to focus on two critical measurements RPO and RTO so everything can be properly restored to meet your expectations. If you’re not sure how to execute such a test, ICC can help. At ICC, our skilled technicians monitor the status of your backups 24×7 and can perform a restore test twice a year giving you peace of mind knowing everything is taken care of.

It is important to remember that periodic backup restore tests are just a small piece of the cybersecurity pie.  ICC conducts a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack, protect your data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. At a minimum, a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy should include network security, e-mail security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost data. If you are missing one piece of the pie, you may be exposed to cyber-attacks and could be faced with significant business disruption.

To get your backup system tested give ICC a call at 970-821-8592. Our strategies are designed to build good habits and protect your business by protecting your data.

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January 26, 2022

Security

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