Most companies rely heavily on their IT network, and use it as a tool that will help their business grow, operate more efficiently, and give them the tools to be competitive in their market. Unfortunately, in today’s technological landscape it is vital to consider risks – and most importantly – be prepared for them. Poor preparation can lead to data loss – or worse – and a serious disruption in your business.
Businesses should consider an IT audit as part of their network management. An IT audit is a detailed assessment of a company’s tech policies, web services, equipment, software applications, security protection and operating system. When reviewing each of those assets, IT auditors look for any gaps that could be a security risk or hinder a company’s growth. At the end of the evaluation, a report outlines what was done during the audit and recommendations to fix any potential security risks or needed upgrades.
There are several reasons a company should conduct an IT audit. First and foremost is protecting your company’s data. An audit can find places where your company’s defense against hackers is weak. Cybersecurity threats can come from outside or even inside the company. Looking at who has access to your devices and software is all taken into consideration. An audit also reassures that your business is fully compliant with any laws and policies relevant to your industry and business procedures. This is important, because if it’s discovered that your business is not compliant, your company could face serious penalties and consequences. Finally, an audit is a good opportunity to make sure all your hardware and software is running efficiently.
ICC can help you keep operations running smoothly. We conduct a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack and make sure your network is running to its highest performance. Our audits include analysis of data backups, compliance, internet connectivity, cybersecurity, antivirus evaluation, and so much more. If you are missing one piece of the pie, you may be putting your business at risk and could be faced with significant business disruption or financial loss.
To learn more about ICC’s audits, visit https://www.iccusa.net/services/it-audits. To schedule an IT audit, give us a call at 970-419-0602.
May 15, 2023
Are you stepping on cables when working at your desk? Do you feel like you’re looking out for wires when walking around the office? Cable installation is extremely important in any office or business space to avoid safety risks, space constraints or damage to your office network. Cables keep your networks connected and communications going, including the Wi-Fi and security systems – all critical to your daily business – so you don’t want to risk damaging them.
Keeping cables properly organized also makes troubleshooting problems inside your business look presentable to clients and gives your staff a more efficient work environment.
Cable installation might seem like an easy task to control, but it can be challenging to feed and organize cables and wires around desks, office furniture and in closets. Consider including cable management in your technology support. Besides safety hazards, tangled or unmanaged cables can result in cord damage and possibly cause the cords or outlets to overheat. Too many wires and cables around office hardware can disrupt airflow that can also cause equipment components to get hot.
Some ways to control and organize cables is with the use of wire guides, floor cable covers, ties and cable loom tubing that help prevent cords from getting tangled or stepped on. Replacing cables can get expensive so you’ll want to install everything neatly right from the start.
Cables provide the most reliable connections in keeping your network running at an optimum level. Proper cable installation provides better throughput and helps software run smoother and may increase Internet speed, allowing you to work more productively. Any kinks in or damage to the cable can slow down connections. Additionally, cable types vary and deliver different levels of performance; it’s important to know which cable types are going to work best for your network.
Good cable installation and maintenance is important to your company’s operations. ICC can help keep your office cables and wires organized and clean, so your office equipment is running at maximum efficiency. ICC experts can help you design your office space, install, implement, manage, and maintain your entire IT system to ensure the safety of your employees and get the best performance from your equipment, including cabling. ICC consultants are your trusted, technical experts to keep your business going.
If you need new equipment installed or even reconfigured, please give us a call at 970-419-0602.
April 12, 2023
Computer lingo has very much become part of our office vernacular, but it’s important to use the terms correctly. Although it may seem obvious, there are many people who frequently interchange the words hardware and software. If a problem arises – or you’re speaking with an IT consultant – it’s important to be able to identify these correctly.
Simply put, hardware refers to the physical, tangible components of your computer system, which includes your monitor, keyboard, mouse, and peripheral equipment like scanners and printers. Hardware is also used to describe devices like laptops.
Software refers to the programs and applications that run on your hardware, such as web browsers, graphic design programs and office suites. The software is installed into the hardware and is what actually makes the hardware functional. One can’t perform without the other. We need both software and hardware to get tasks done on our computer systems.
A key difference between hardware and software is that hardware can wear over time from extended use. Software doesn’t wear out, though technology changes and it can be affected by a virus! Software can be upgraded with new features, but hardware most of the time needs to be replaced with newer models because new features aren’t available on older models.
The working relationship between hardware and software is crucial to helping you get your job done, and is important to your company’s operations. ICC can help keep your hardware and software running smoothly and our experts can help you install, implement, manage, and maintain your IT system. When it comes to hardware, ICC will recommend reliable products for a consistently high-quality lineup. ICC has partnerships with leading industry distributors, and has many years of experience supporting our recommended products. When it comes to hardware and software, ICC consultants are your trusted, technical experts to recommend the right hardware and software to suit your business needs.
If you need new hardware or software, or are looking to upgrade, please give us a call at 970-419-0602.
March 13, 2023
Phishing attacks continue to be a security hazard to businesses. Phishing is when a cybercriminal disguises as a trusted source to trick an employee into opening an email, clicking a link, or downloading a document. If that happens, it can result in your computer being infected by malware, and your financial information and customers’ personal information being stolen or lost. The damage control can be irreparable – not to mention the damage to your company’s reputation.
There are different categories of phishing:
Email Phishing: As described above, this is an attempt to obtain access to sensitive information using deceptive emails or ads. Many times, there is a sense of urgency tied to really motivate the recipient to open or click on the links.
Spear Phishing: This is more of a tailored attack, using information that is of interest to the targeted group or person, such as news stories, to lure them into opening a link.
Whaling Attack: This type of phishing is directed at senior executives in a company, often to manipulate them to reveal highly sensitive information or even authorize a wire transfer.
Domain Spoofing: When a fake website name or email domain is used to trick a recipient into engaging with a malicious email or website.
Take phishing scams seriously and dedicate resources to spot these. Train employees and protect your business, understanding the consequences of not making this a priority could be serious. Prioritize making sure everyone is aware of phishing scams, how to recognize and develop a plan to respond if you are targeted.
ICC can help you understand and learn how to NOT fall prey to phishing scammers. We can put a comprehensive plan in place to protect your data. 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 and 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 putting your business at risk and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss. To get started call us at 970-419-0602.
February 13, 2023
If your business relies on Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 operating system, we recommend you start thinking about replacing it. Now 10 years old, Microsoft will officially stop offering support for Windows Server 2012 on October 23, 2023. It’s not because anything has gone wrong with that system; it’s just because the newer operating systems are more efficient and secure.
You might be tempted to continue using Windows Server 2012 until it no longer works for you, but there are some potential pitfalls in doing that:
If learning you’ll need a new operating system just put you into panic mode, don’t worry! Starting early can help minimize stress and cybersecurity risks for your business. Plus, we are here to help! ICC will review available options with you, whether it’s replacing your current server or moving to a cloud server. We’ll handle the process of assessing the scope of work, upgrading your system, and testing and training your team on the new operating system.
ICC can help you keep operations running smoothly, and we would love to put a comprehensive plan in place to protect your data. 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 putting your business at risk and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss.
Ask us about upgrading your system and start planning now. Give us a call at 970-419-0602.
January 10, 2023
The holidays are upon us! While Santa is making his list of who’s naughty or nice, you are probably making your own lists of what needs to get done. With consumer activity at a high and many staff members taking time off, the holidays can be stressful for small businesses. Let technology help you get ready and be safe over the season, whether that’s at the office or at home. Here are tips from the experts at ICC:
Kirk Bane, President & CEO: Hardware can be repurchased if stolen, but your data can’t be replaced. If you plan to close your office at all during the season, make sure to backup your data either with an external hard drive – located offsite – or cloud storage.
Jesse Courchaine, Managed Services Director: Make sure you have a crisis communication plan in place. The holidays are a prime time for hackers. Create an “on call” list and make sure everyone knows who to call or what to do if a security breach were to happen.
Shaun Bullock, VP of Sales: Your website doesn’t go on vacation when you do, so make sure you still have some support available to monitor live chat help, social media engagement, etc. Consider posting a notice on your home page or sending customers an email letting them know about reduced hours over the holidays.
Mason James, Senior Technical Consultant: Make it easy for customers to find relevant information on your website. Use banners or highlight most requested information like holiday return policies or shipping deadlines on your home page.
Austin Gardner, Technical Consultant: Make sure the software on all your devices is up to date. A lot of the connection issues people face is due to outdated software.
Jim Otepka, Technical Consultant: Especially if you’re an online retailer, you may want to consider boosting your WiFi connection for the holiday season. The easiest way to do this is by upgrading your router and installing a range extender.
Bryan Richmond, Technical Consultant: When you leave the office, make sure to log out of all accounts and applications. That way no one will have access to your accounts via your physical desktop or laptop.
Patrick O’Brien, Technical Consultant: If you’re traveling, take photos or scan important documents like your passport or driver’s license and store them in a secure account like Google Drive or iCloud.
Dan Gepner, Technical Consultant: Be very cautious of phishing scams at the office and at home. Unfortunately, the holidays bring out more cyberhackers than usual. Even if an email sounds familiar do not click on any links or download attachments. They are written to deceive you.
Ryan Tool, Technical Consultant: Turn off Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communications) when not in use to reduce the risk of cyberhackers getting into your data.
Tyler Harnden, Business Development: These days it’s important to provide different payment methods. If you don’t have them already, consider adding options like mobile wallets (i.e. Apple Pay). You don’t want a customer abandoning a purchase because you’re not offering their preferred method of payment.
Josh Layton, Business Development Consultant: The holidays are often the busiest shopping time. Use this time to collect information on what your customers like, get an idea about their shopping habits, and more. This data can be very helpful later.
Teri English, Project Manager: Take advantage of automation. Get all social media posts and eblasts created in advance and schedule them to publish while you’re out of the office.
Susie De-Foort, Finance Manager: Whether it’s your personal or business account, regularly check your online activity for anything unusual. Set up alerts with your bank to notify you of any suspicious activity or new purchases.
Rebecca Flores, Administrative Assistant: This may be a good time to change passwords. Use passwords that are long and use multi-step verification whenever possible for personal and business use.
ICC can help you with more ideas to keep operations running smoothly over the holidays. We can 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 putting your business at risk and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss.
December 12, 2022
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.
November 16, 2022
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.
October 19, 2022
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.
September 21, 2022
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.
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.
July 20, 2022