Friday, January 29, 2016

Hackers Take the Law Into Their Own Hands, Is This a Good Thing?

In 2015, we saw countless hacking attacks against major corporations, from health insurance providers like Blue Cross Blue Shield and Anthem, to government offices, like the United States Office of Personnel. Due to the stigma associated with hacking, we often forget that there are a lot of hackers out there who try to use their skills for good--or, at least, less awful purposes.
Vigilantism is a frowned-upon and dangerous practice. Even though it’s been immortalized and glorified by various superheroes, like Batman and the Green Arrow, it’s a slap in the face to the laws that govern the land. However, there are situations where it takes criminals to defeat criminals. Hackers who use their skills to take down other criminals might seem admirable, but it’s important to consider why society may benefit from their actions.
Authorities are having a hard time protecting people from the surge of questionable online activity, and the fact that the world has let the Internet become a place where the message of hatred, bigotry, and fear-mongering can reach the world’s population in unprecedented ways. On the other hand, whether or not the actions of hacktivists like Anonymous are right is up for debate. While they might not be attacking users for the sake of attacking them, they’re still performing illegal activity. This fact can’t be ignored. However, if their cyber attacks on terrorist groups and other dangerous entities can help to make the world a safer, less hate-filled place, we think that’s something that even the authorities can agree with.
Whether or not your business is the target of vigilante hacking groups like Anonymous might not be apparent, but we can assure you that there are plenty of bad hackers out there who would do anything to get ahold of your business’s private and sensitive information. Regardless of what type of hacker is targeting you, you need to be prepared with a Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution designed to keep your business safe from all manners of threats. A UTM is a comprehensive security tool that combines enterprise-level firewalls and antivirus solutions with preventative measures, like spam-blocking and content-filtering solutions. The goal of a UTM is to limit your organization’s exposure to online threats as much as possible, reducing your chances of being targeted.
It should be mentioned, though, that no solution is perfect. Just like the world will always contain cruel and unusual entities, the Internet will spawn some vile threat that may one day seep between the cracks of your defenses. When that time comes, at least you’ll be ready.
What are your thoughts on the increased hacktivist activity? Do you think that what they’re doing is right, or should they be punished for breaking the law? Let us know in the comments. If you’d like any more information about UTMs and other security solutions, reach out to us at (732) 360-2999.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tip of the Week: What to Do When Passwords aren’t Strong Enough to Secure Your Data

More often than not, it’s always recommended that you use a solid password to optimize your online accounts. However, just because passwords are critical, doesn’t mean that you should put all your eggs in one basket. Passwords should only be the start of a comprehensive online account security setup.
First, we’ll explain why passwords have lost their edge in recent times, and some of the great ways to overcome their shortcomings that are available.
Why Passwords Are Insufficient
The use of passwords has come to be known as single-factor authentication, which grows less secure as time goes on. This is because the tools that hackers use to infiltrate accounts have grown increasingly advanced over the past few years, which also means that the damage that they can inflict has also increased substantially. Passwords are an impossible situation either way; either you make them so complex that you can’t remember them, or you make them simple enough to remember, but they’re not very secure. Hackers have all sorts of tactics available to them, including stealing passwords from databases, coercing credentials through spear phishing tactics, or even brute-force attacks where the hacker tries as many passwords as it takes to crack your security.
What Your Alternatives Are
The best way to approach account security and access control, in general is to take a two-pronged approach. On one hand, you’re going to need some form of two-factor authentication, which requires extra credentials and makes logging into accounts much more difficult for hackers. The idea is that these secondary credentials are sent to a device currently in the possession of the employee using the credentials, like in the form of an SMS message or phone call. This means that hackers will need access to both the password and the physical device to take advantage of an account. These criminals often find the extra effort unappealing and will move on to different targets.
An additional part of two-factor authentication is keeping an eye on your account access logs. You want to make sure that nobody is accessing your network or online accounts without prior permission. More importantly, monitoring your access logs helps to make sure that hackers haven’t obtained your credentials and aren’t using them to infiltrate your network. The most common case is hackers using legitimate credentials to access an account, and the security solution sees it as normal activity. If you’re monitoring your access logs, you can dodge problems like this.
In addition to two-factor authentication practices, we also like to recommend that your business use an enterprise-level password management system. By storing all of your passwords in a secure application, you can effectively utilize complex passwords for all accounts, pushing your password security through the roof.
For more information about two-factor authentication and password managers, give Net It On a call at (732) 360-2999.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Are Mobile Devices in the Workplace Worth the Risks?

With so many great mobile devices at your team’s disposal, it’d be a shame to not allow them to use their devices in the workplace. This trend, known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), has been taking the workplace by storm, and offers a great way to enhance productivity both in and out of the office. BYOD, while a great asset, should only be approached with caution, as the slightest oversight could expose sensitive information to the world.
The Security Risks
We’re talking, of course, about the security of data. Businesses that use mobile devices for work purposes will undoubtedly be taking their information on the road, which in itself presents several unique problems that need to be addressed. In order to effectively leverage your organization’s mobile devices for maximum productivity, be sure to address the primary issue that stems from BYOD: the control of data stored on mobile devices.
For example, let’s say that an employee stores sensitive client information on their personal mobile device. This device isn’t regulated or controlled by company policy, so what would happen if the device were to become corrupted or attacked by viruses or malware? The employee might have thought it a great idea to be even more productive outside of the office, but now, you have a data leakage disaster on your hands.
The most common way of addressing BYOD concerns over data leakage is integrating a mobile device management (MDM) solution. An MDM is often a software solution that helps businesses restrict what’s capable of accessing data stored on applicable devices. Apps can be restricted or allowed access to data depending on their uses.
The Benefits
Security risks shouldn’t be enough to dissuade you from taking full advantage of BYOD. By taking a careful and thought-out approach to BYOD, there are countless benefits that can be reaped. As reported by ITProPortal, here are three major benefits of BYOD for small businesses:
  • More productivity: Letting employees use their own devices for work allows them to be more productive, simply due to the fact that they’re more familiar with their own devices than those provided by the company. This also tends to improve morale, which can be a powerful motivator in itself. If employees are carrying around a productivity machine in their pockets, they might even be willing to work from home, too!
  • Cost-efficiency: Why bother spending money on mobile devices for your team, if they all have devices that they can use themselves? By allowing employees to bring their own devices, or at least pay a portion of the cost for desired services and devices, you’ll be lessening the amount of overall expenses that you’re spending on your company’s tech needs. This money can be better used on other initiatives, like projects that are designed to increase your profitability.
  • Consistent updates: Employees that manage and maintain their own devices are more likely to make sure their devices are up-to-date with the latest patches and updates. Doing so is important for the same reason that updating desktop software is important. It shores up device vulnerabilities in operating systems and applications, allowing for a more secure experience.
If you’re ready to take full advantage of mobile devices, reach out to Net It On to discuss your specific mobile device policy needs. We’ll help you determine the best approach to BYOD. To learn more, give us a call at (732) 360-2999.

Friday, January 22, 2016

6.4 Billion Devices to Be Connected to the Internet By Year’s End!

The Internet of Things is a trend that has been a long-time coming. Some of the devices it brings are great for productivity and efficiency, but others are still relatively useless. Regardless, it’s estimated by the IDC that global Internet of Things (IoT) spending will exceed $1.3 trillion by 2020. With such a large amount of capital being invested in IoT devices, your organization will need to know all there is to know about the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things is a collective term for the horde of wireless devices that connect to the Internet. This includes your workstation, laptop, or smartphone, along with more minor devices that you wouldn’t ordinarily consider Internet-connected. These devices are usually consumer-based, but can include any of the following:
  • Smart watches
  • Digital cameras
  • Fitness tracking technology
  • Household appliances, like blenders, coffee makers, etc.
  • Baby monitors
  • Home and building automation, like security cameras, thermostats, door locks, etc.
  • Smart cars
This list barely scratches the surface, too. Gartner’s IT glossary is even more liberal with its definition, stating that the Internet of Things is:
[...] the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.
Basically, these devices communicate with each other, and they’re designed to make life easier through the use of smart technology. Even though most of these devices are for the average consumer, this hasn’t stopped the Internet of Things from making its way to the business environment. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2016, there will be over 6.4 billion devices that connect to the Internet, with 5.5 million new devices being added every day.
While the IoT is especially helpful for the manufacturing and transportation industries, many of these consumer-targeted devices will likely fall into the hands of your employees, which brings about an entirely new problem in the form of security. The numerous Internet-connected devices attached to the IoT could potentially access sensitive information that they shouldn’t be privy too. There’s also the ever-present threat of these devices being infected by viruses, malware, and other threats. If the infection spreads throughout your infrastructure, dealing with IoT devices can quickly become more trouble than they're worth.
Therefore, the clear resolution to this problem is to integrate a comprehensive plan outlining the role that IoT devices and BYOD play in your organization, as well as the potential threats of allowing them access to your network. Users who plan on bringing in their devices from home should need to register these devices with IT, or at least verify that they’re not a threat to any sensitive information on the network. If you start adding devices to a network haphazardly, it could drastically affect operations. Not only does it present a security risk, but unexpected network traffic from the new devices could present a bandwidth concern, which could lead to downtime and unnecessary expenses.
The Internet of Things and all of the problems it comes with can be a lot to take in, especially if you’re a business owner with a ton on your plate. Net It On would be happy to assist you with all of your technology concerns. To learn more, give us a call at (732) 360-2999.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tip of the Week: When Was the Last Time You Cleaned Your PC?

A clean computer is one that you can rely on. Like all other kinds of technology, a computer needs regular maintenance and cleanup sessions that preserve its working ability and prolong its life. Since January is Clean Up Your Computer Month, there’s no time like the present to ensure that your PC is squeaky clean. Here’s how you can give your computer and its components a comprehensive cleaning.
Before you start cleaning your PC, you should be sure to power the PC down and unplug it from the power supply. Doing so makes sure that you don’t accidentally damage both yourself or the PC while cleaning it.
The Monitor
Believe it or not, you might not immediately realize that your monitor is in need of some serious cleaning. Just take a good, hard look at it. Dirt, dust, fingerprints, and other grime can accumulate, giving your monitor a very nasty look. If your monitor is in especially gross condition, it might even be difficult to read what’s on the screen. Hopefully it never gets that way, but you should know that cleaning your monitor once in awhile can go great lengths toward enhancing your user experience.
The process is easy enough, as long as you keep one imperative rule in mind: Absolutely do not spray any liquids directly on the screen. Spraying something at the screen makes it much more difficult to control, which means that the chances of chemicals or water seeping into the monitor are greater. In most cases, your best bet is to use a damp cloth to wipe the monitor down. Water should work fine, but for LCD displays you’ll want to consider using rubbing alcohol. As always, take a minimal risk when cleaning the monitor, and you shouldn’t have any trouble. Once the screen is clean, all you have to do is vacuum away any remaining dust, and make sure that any monitor vents aren’t obstructed.
The Keyboard
As you might guess, the keyboard is the grimiest part of your PC setup. In fact, keyboards are known to hold more bacteria and germs than the average toilet seat. This is why it’s so important to clean your keyboard from time to time, if not regularly. Before starting, it’s important that your PC is powered down when you unplug the keyboard from the computer. If you’re using an older keyboard and you don’t power your PC down first, it could cause some severe problems, but it’s more likely that you’re using a USB-connected keyboard. Either way, make sure you shut down the PC, just to be safe.
First, you’ll want to make sure that you have a surface nearby that’s easy to wipe off. You’ll be turning your keyboard upside down and shaking it. Just take a moment to appreciate all of the nasty particles that accumulate underneath the keys. All of that is dust, food, and dead skin. Next, you should use a can of compressed air to dislodge some of the more stubborn particles. Depending on how nasty they are, you might have to remove keys to get the best clean. To safely remove a key, press down on the key directly beneath it, and insert a flat object (like a butter knife or a flat-head screwdriver) under the key. Apply the proper leverage and it should pop off easily enough. From there, it’s as simple as blowing compressed air and carefully wiping down surfaces that need it. As long as you haven’t spilled soda or coffee on your keyboard, this process should be good enough to achieve a decent level of cleanliness.
The PC Itself
Cleaning the rest of your PC is mostly a matter of looking at the fans on the computer casing. These fans are responsible for cooling the system, but when they start to collect dust, a PC might be at risk of overheating. An overheating PC can lead to serious long-term damage, like hardware failure or data loss. The best way to take the fight to this inevitable issue is to use a can of compressed air. Blow the dust away from the fan, not into the computer casing.
It’s a pretty good idea to give your PC a once-over with compressed air. Dust can accumulate on a piece of machinery that remains stationary for too long, and a computer is no exception. As mentioned before, steer clear of spraying any liquid anywhere inside or outside a computer, unless you know exactly what you’re doing. You don’t want to ruin any internal components of your PC while trying to clean it.
It’s a best practice to clean out your PC hardware every 6-to-12 months, but this can vary depending on how dusty your working area is. You’ll most likely be cleaning only the computer case fans, but it’s also a good idea to clean the inner mechanisms of your PC on occasion. Doing so can be dangerous without the oversight of a professional IT technician though, so proceed at your own risk. If you’re ever unsure of whether or not you’re handling your tech correctly, give Net It On a call. We’d be happy to advise you on PC cleaning best practices.
For more computer tips and tricks, be sure to subscribe to our blog.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bitcoin Use Reaches Record Levels, Despite Its 2014 Fiasco

Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency used for anonymity on the web, was once the hottest thing on the cyber market. Everyone thought it was a great innovation that allowed for improved online privacy for transactions. Thanks to some rather complicated matters, though, Bitcoin took a nosedive and has needed some time to get back on its feet. Now, it seems people are finally using Bitcoin again, and in a never before seen quantity.
The fall of Bitcoin, according to WIRED magazine, is directly linked to the falling through of a major Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, as well as the sketchy activity associated with Silk Road, the online drug trafficking market that enjoyed the anonymity of Bitcoin. Based in Tokyo, Japan, Mt. Gox was responsible for handling nearly 70 percent of all Bitcoin transactions. However, following an immense hacking attack, which left over $450 million worth of Bitcoin missing or stolen, Mt. Gox was forced to declare bankruptcy in 2014. Authorities claim that the screw-up was caused by a relative lack of management, experience, and apathy.
As you can imagine, losing 850,000 Bitcoins is pretty shocking, especially since nobody knew where they went. The estimated worth of these Bitcoins at the time of the theft was greater than $450 million, making it a massive, crippling heist. By all logic, Bitcoin should be a thing of the past, used only by hackers and those with questionable motives; but here’s the kicker. Bitcoin is being used more than ever before. In fact, its usage per day peaked in late December 2015, perhaps in response to the holiday season.
ib graph 1
Bitcoin’s main draw for investors is the technology behind it, known as the blockchain, which many believe can be used for stock exchanges and other purposes. As defined by WIRED:
The blockchain is essentially a database running across a vast array of independent machines. With Bitcoin, it oversees the exchange of money. But it can oversee the exchange of anything that holds value, including stocks, bonds, and futures as well as houses and car titles.
There are plenty of Bitcoin startups and veteran organizations alike who want to use the blockchain technology to make Bitcoin more usable, including Coinbase, a Bitcoin exchange company in San Francisco, California. Their most notable contribution is the development of a Bitcoin debit card, which allows users to spend Bitcoin anywhere that accepts a VISA card. The main draw of doing this is that organizations can avoid the processing fees associated with credit card transactions, so the idea is that businesses will start to accept Bitcoin as payment without the cards in the future. Wouldn’t that be something?
With all of these new developments in Bitcoin technology, perhaps we’ll see a world where Bitcoin is used by more than just people who have something to hide. Maybe we’ll even see an increase in use of other kinds of cryptocurrency, including everyone’s favorite, Dogecoin-- the adorable cryptocurrency based on the derpy charm of a goofy Shiba Inu dog.
ib doge 1
What are your thoughts on the return of Bitcoin? Are you an avid user of the cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

PC Users Share Some of the Blame For Falling Victim to Hack Attacks

Many computer users make use of security tools that limit their exposure to hackers, and they generally understand that hacks are something that can realistically happen to them. On the other hand, there are plenty of other folks out there who don’t worry enough. They might think their PC holds no value to the average hacker, but they’re wrong.
This should come as no surprise to any security-minded business owner, but some people think that they’re not important enough to be hacked. They believe that they’ve got an invisible shield between themselves and hackers, who want nothing more than to steal anything and everything they can get their grubby little hands on. Chances are that cybercriminals have found a way to monetize just about any form of data that can be harvested from a computer, be it simple and benign, or up close and personal.
Even the most civilianized PC holds valuable data to hackers, and all it takes is the infiltration of a virus or a piece of malware to end everything. Once a PC is infected, the possibilities are, quite literally, endless. Hackers can enslave your machine and use it against others by turning it into a botnet, or they can rig it with spyware and trojans to collect information over time. They can gain access to social media and email accounts, online shopping accounts, and bank accounts. They can even turn your PC into a spambot to spread threats to other systems.
To emphasize just how dangerous an infected PC can be, check out this infographic used by Brian Krebs on his security website:
As you can see, there are a plethora of options that a hacker has when infecting your computer. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that any PC or workstation is going to hold some sort of sensitive credentials, regardless of who’s using it, and for what purpose. Especially in the business environment, you need to be taking advantage of comprehensive security measures that limit your exposure to threats, and proactively eliminate those that you are exposed to. The goal of taking proactive measures to protect your organization is to catch small issues and correct them before they turn into crippling problems that are more difficult to resolve.
To this end, a Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool is a much-desired solution. The UTM takes powerful security tools, like an enterprise-level firewall and an antivirus solution, and combines them with preventative tools like web content filtering and spam blocking to make sure that your workstations, and the network they’re connected to, are minimally exposed to threats. While it’s still not a full guarantee that you’ll completely avoid hacks, the chance of you running into them is still negligible compared to those who simply “hope” to avoid hackers.
If your business is ready to start taking security seriously, give Net It On a call at (732) 360-2999. We can work with you to shore up any weak points in your company’s infrastructure, and advise your staff on security best practices.

Friday, January 15, 2016

School of Rock! - 1/14/16 - Winter Garden Theatre - NYC

This was a great show. I was floored at the talent of the kids on the stage. A great night out in the city with the Brana clan.

And every great night is celebrated with some ice cream at Dairy Queen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tip of the Week: How to Type Special Characters Like Accents

What’s the difference between a cafe and a café? By definition, there’s no difference, but to a coffee aficionado, that symbol above the ‘e’ makes all the difference. But how do you type special characters like this? Here are two easy ways.
Copy/Paste What You Need
One way to type special characters is to cheat by copying and pasting. To do this, use Google Search to find the word you need with its special character. For example, if you search for “cafe,” then you’ll inevitably see the word “café” in the results. Simply copy and paste the word you need into your document. Just make sure you paste it as plain text. Otherwise, you might have conflicting fonts.
Although, in order to have the pasted word match the style of the rest of your document, you may have to reformat it. To do this, highlight the word and clear its formatting with Ctrl+\. Next, adjust the font, font size, color, and other style properties to match the rest of your text.
Use Alt Codes
The average PC user might not know about Alt codes. Basically, Alt codes allow you to enter in a string of characters while holding down the Alt key. When you release it, it should result in a special character. Just be sure that you’re using the number pad on the right-hand side of the keyboard. Otherwise, if you’re using the normal numbers on the top of the keyboard, it won’t work. You can find a list of codes here.
Now that you know how to type special characters, you’ll never again be limited to only what you can see on your keyboard. For more useful tech tips, subscribe to Net It On’s blog and be sure to check back every week!

Monday, January 11, 2016

5 Cloud Security Issues that Every Business Has In Common

Security is a primary concern for businesses that take advantage of the cloud, but the industry often dictates to what extent a business is concerned about cloud security. Yet, despite the varying cloud needs of industries, there are several variables that should be addressed when thinking about cloud security, including data permissions, account compromisation, and, of course, malware and other common online threats.
As reported by CloudLock in their Q4 cloud security report, there are several security issues that come up for specific industries, but there are five that are most prevalent throughout, regardless of what type of business you are:
  • Account compromisation: How secure are your accounts from being infiltrated and taken over by hackers? You particularly need to be wary of administrator accounts being compromised. If hackers manage to get into your network with valid credentials, they won't set off any alarms for your security solutions, meaning that they’ll essentially have free reign until the problem is resolved. To this end, it’s crucial that you make your passwords as secure as possible by using upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Cloud malware: Is your cloud solution protected in the same way that your business’s in-house network is? You should be taking advantage of a Unified Threat Management (UTM) tool for your cloud infrastructure. A firewall, antivirus, content filter, and spam blocker will be exceptionally potent to protect your business’s cloud data.
  • Excessive data exposure: Who within (and outside) your organization can access the information that you’re storing on the cloud? For example, some employees shouldn’t be able to access financial records or personally identifiable information. In this case, you’d be exposing too much information to users who shouldn’t be privy to it, which makes it all the more likely that the data could be exposed to internal and external threats. Limiting who has access to critical information is a crucial step to take when considering your cloud’s security.
  • Over-exposed personally identifiable information (PII) and payment card information (PCI): In other words, is your data complying with the various laws and regulations surrounding the collection of sensitive information? Do you collect information like credit card numbers or health records? If so, you’ll want to revisit how you store and manage this data, as your business could be subject to harsh fines should they be stolen or corrupted by hackers.
  • Collaboration: Again, this returns to the ability to keep those who need access to critical information in the loop, without putting that information on the line. It’s up to you to make sure that your team isn’t sharing information with others who shouldn’t have access to specific information.
While it’s important to consider that your business has more specific industry standards to focus on for cloud security, it would be counter-productive to write off these five overarching trends. If you’re unsure of what kind of cloud security your business needs, we’d be happy to lend you a hand. For all of your business’s cloud security needs, you can call Net It On at (732) 360-2999.

Friday, January 8, 2016

4 Growth Scenarios Your Network Needs to Be Prepared For

Naturally, businesses put a lot of time, energy, and resources into growing their sales figures and bottom line. All of that is great, but if business owners don’t also plan for how success is going to add new pressures and challenges to their IT infrastructure, then a lot of time will be wasted reacting to growth-related network issues. Scenarios like this can be easily avoided by planning your network to grow alongside your company.
Here are four IT challenges that a growing business will need to be mindful of.
Additional Users
So you’ve doubled your workforce in the past year? That’s great; let’s just hope that your network can accommodate all of this extra traffic and that your security solution can protect your data from adding twice as many access points. If you didn’t plan for these additional users, network traffic will slow to a crawl and your IT infrastructure will be overwhelmed.
Additional Devices
Even if you’re not experiencing growth with your staff, workers in your office may be growing the number of personal devices they bring to the office. For example, if you haven’t reevaluated your network since before the first iPhone was released, then it may not be able to handle the strain of every worker connecting their mobile device to it. Another possibility you’ll want to be prepared for is users connecting multiple devices to your network; like the employee who feels it necessary to use their smartphone, tablet, and laptop -- all at the same time! The best way to prepare for this influx of devices is to have a BYOD policy enacted that accommodates mobile device trends. Net It On can help you with this.
Additional “Things”
Currently, the most significant trend facing the technology industry is what’s known as “The Internet of Things.” This is where a variety of “things,” like data-collecting devices used for analytics purposes are connected to a company’s networks. NetworkComputing explains the challenge of IoT:
Internet access for everything we touch is an imminent reality. Sooner or later, nontraditional network devices will be more common than traditional devices that plug into the network -- think lighting and security controls, scanners and sensors, even your office coffee pot. These "things" will soon infiltrate the network, hogging bandwidth and using network protocols, which means you need to prepare now for the network takeover of the "things."
What can your business do to prepare its network for this influx? First off, you need to make sure that your network has enough bandwidth to handle the increased traffic. Secondly, you need to implement a security solution designed for the new challenges presented by the IoT. For example, traditional IT security focuses on the activity of humans, but now your network will have to deal with security challenges imposed by having many times more machines than humans accessing your network, some of which could be compromised.
Therefore, you’re going to need a network monitoring solution that’s designed for IoT, like what Net It On offers.NetworkComputing explains:
If you're not already, you should be monitoring the network, applications and quality of service, and now is the time to get real control over IP address management as we look towards IPv6 migration, which will be even further hurried by the onslaught of Internet-connected devices.
Additional Customers
Of course, the most pleasant growth is the kind that makes you money. Having more customers access your website or call your company via your VoIP system to place orders and sit through sales demos will add more traffic and stress to your network. If your network is set up to handle the needs of a small business, and you’ve grown to become a medium-sized business, then you’re going to miss out on some sales opportunities.
Net It On is here to help your organization handle every growth scenario that will challenge your network's integrity. We do this by designing an IT roadmap that’s customized for the unique challenges of your business. This roadmap takes into account the latest IT trends, and it accommodates your IT needs for the next one-to-five years. Being prepared for the technological challenges of the future will make things easier on the budget, and give your business plenty of bandwidth to handle the technology that you rely on.
Call us today at (732) 360-2999 to schedule an appointment to create your very own IT roadmap!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Tip of the Week: We Bust the Myth of How Mobile Apps Drain Battery Power

Every mobile device user wishes for more battery power. There are many tips floating around the Internet on how to extend your battery’s life; one of them just isn’t true--closing out your apps. When it comes down to it, your battery is better off if you just leave your apps opened.
Many users assume that closing an app is the way to go because they think that, if it’s no longer open, then it’s no longer running and draining power. While this may be the case for a PC, mobile apps work differently. CNet explains:
When you leave an app, your phone actually pauses it in its current state. So, all of those apps that show up in your task manager aren’t actually draining your battery; they’re just frozen, sitting in your phone’s RAM, or memory. That way, the next time you launch it, you can pick up where you left off. When you kill an app, you’re actually taking it out of your phone’s memory, which means that the next time you launch it, your phone will have to do the work of putting it back in the RAM.
Essentially, it takes significant battery power to open a new app, and an opened-yet-frozen app doesn’t consume any extra power (outside of what the app normally uses by running in the background). Therefore, closing and opening your apps all day long will actually cause your RAM to do more work than it needs to, and thus, drain your battery quicker.
To be clear, there are many mobile apps that operate behind the scenes and eat up significant power, whether they’re open or not. To find out which apps are the biggest energy hogs on your Android device, go to Settings > Battery. This informative screen will break down app power consumption and data usage by percentages. It’s worth a look.
While you’re thinking about which apps use the most energy, it’s important to keep in mind that notifications can eat up a significant chunk of power. Therefore, you can save power by disabling notifications for apps that you don’t need to be notified about. Do this on Android by going to Settings > Sound and notifications > Application notifications, and then block the apps that you don’t use.
We know that keeping your apps opened like this seems counterintuitive as far as normal computing practices go, but we assure you that it will work like a charm. The next time you're in a pinch and need to extend the battery life of your mobile device, fight the urge to close and keep those apps open!
For more great tips from Net It On, subscribe to our blog!

Monday, January 4, 2016

How Unified Communications Can Unite Your Business Like Never Before

A modern business needs to keep up with the latest technology solutions, and communications are no different. Believe it or not, though, many organizations have yet to commit to a comprehensive unified communications strategy that encompasses their entire network. It’s more important today than ever before to maintain a professional grip on your communications technology, including how your organization approaches both internal and external communications.
Unified Email
When you think about your organization's email, do you picture a unified email client or a scattered group of email addresses from random providers? Some businesses still allow employees to use their personal email addresses as their primary communication method, which is frowned upon for several reasons. For one, it looks unprofessional. Free email addresses like those from Gmail and Yahoo are great for personal use, but not for your business. Another reason you don’t want personal email addresses used is due to employee turnover. Should the team member leave your organization, they could depart with important access credentials and information that would then be inaccessible, and even at risk of being compromised.
Consistency is key for unified communications. Therefore, you should use an email setup that’s consistent throughout your organization. Your network administrators or IT service provider should have full control over accounts, so they can be promptly shut down upon the resignation of key personnel, or stored away in a secure archive for later viewing. Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of your brand and professional image in an entirely new way.
Unified Instant Messaging
Instant messaging, or IM, has grown very popular over the past decade, thanks to the advent of high-speed Internet, mobile texting, and social media messaging features. Now, businesses want to take advantage of IM in the office environment, and for good reason. It helps to achieve greater response time for important matters and improves communication considerably within the office. For example, let’s say that you have a time-sensitive matter that needs to be addressed quickly. Rather than sending the recipient an email, which they may not see for several hours, you can send an IM to get a quicker response.
The best part of a unified communications solution is that its components are often very similar to consumer technology in usability. For example, many people use email and instant messaging outside of the office, which minimizes the learning curve of implementing new communications technologies. In reality, the main difference between consumer communications technology and unified communications is that unified communications solutions are created with enterprise-level control.
Net It On can implement and host your business’s email solution for you, which takes the stress of managing and maintaining it off your shoulders. Furthermore, we can help your organization maximize productivity with an instant messaging solution that suits your needs. To learn more, give us a call at (732) 360-2999.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Could You Go 99 Days Without Social Media?

Employees who are addicted to social media is a problem for modern businesses. Despite the professional networking benefits of social media, it can be a major distraction and time-waster. Before you lock down all social media websites on your network, you should first try to understand why humans have such a hard time leaving social media alone.
For the purposes of this article, let’s take a look at Facebook--easily the largest and most-used social media outlet out there right now. The reasoning behind why people can’t quit Facebook was the subject of a study performed by Cornell University researchers. The results were based on the online experiment called 99 Days of Freedom, which challenges participants to go 99 days without checking Facebook. Sounds like a pretty daunting task, huh?
More specifically, though, the study focused on the surveys completed by those who are participating in 99 Days of Freedom. Surveys designed by Just. Researchers at Leiden University were issued to willing participants at the 33, 66, and 99 day marks, and it yielded some not-so-surprising results.
ib chart
What was surprising was a significant number of users managed to make it 99 days without checking Facebook, with only a marginal number of users crawling back to their favorite social media site. What’s most interesting about the survey, though, are the trends that they discovered in the survey data that led to users taking back Facebook:
  • Self-diagnosed addiction: Some people might feel that Facebook (and social media in general) is addictive. This is usually the case if it’s made into a habit or included in a routine, just like any other addiction. Those who think that Facebook is addictive will naturally feel more of a pull to return to it.
  • Privacy: Naturally, users who felt that their Facebook activity was being monitored were less likely to continue using Facebook. This makes sense, considering how some people refuse to use Facebook completely because they don’t want to expose themselves to the Internet. In the office, this works to your advantage, especially if you’re monitoring the web history of your end users.
  • Mood: In what appears to be a strange finding, the end user’s mood can affect how often they use Facebook. A good mood helps to keep you off of social media, probably because you’re being entertained and engaged by something else.
  • Other Social Media: The study found that users who have more than one social media account, like Twitter, are less drawn toward Facebook. This is likely due to users having somewhere else to go for their social media purposes.
People who were able to give up on Facebook for 99 days saved, on average, 28 hours. That’s a lot of time wasted browsing cat pictures and memes. Of course, something like social media is only bad in large quantities, so the key to limiting your own exposure to it is self-control. Otherwise, you could accidentally throw away countless hours that could be better spent on other things.
While social media is known as a time-waster, this isn’t to say that all social media should be blocked in order to retain productivity in the office; rather, we suggest that you implement a web content filter that’s capable of blocking content on a per-user basis. This way, you can only block social media websites for problem employees, while still allowing access to those who need it to perform their daily duties.
For more information about our web content blocking solution, give Net It On a call at (732) 360-2999.