Friday, December 25, 2020

Adobe Flash Will Soon Be Unsupported Software

 Flash Player is going to be going out of support, the 24-year-old software being retired at the end of this year. That's a pretty big deal: Flash Player, at least initially, was a solution that most users have used at one time or another. What will this loss mean for your business’ processes?

Hopefully, Not Much at All

Flash hasn’t been the most reliable solution out there lately, and has even caused a few difficulties. However, the actions taken by Adobe have made Flash Player a thing of the past.

Adobe has pulled the plug, and Microsoft and Apple alike have also taken steps to distance themselves from Flash by removing it from many Internet browsers, as well as from their mobile operating systems and devices.

You probably haven't used Flash Player for some time, but that doesn't mean you don’t still have it installed. We would like to remind you to remove it from your system before it contributes to significant security risks.

A system that has the solution installed has active security vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals to their advantage. As a result, it could soon and easily be used as a means of attacking employees. Whenever a software solution of this kind is no longer supported, it does not receive any security updates of any kind. This not only enables cybercriminals to take advantage of the lacking security in the software itself, it opens up the possibility of cybercriminals posing as Adobe and offer to “update” the solution further, if only to gain access to your infrastructure.

Keep in mind, if you have older software that uses Adobe Flash (as a lot of software from the late 90’s and early 2000s sometimes did), it might not work as intended moving forward. There isn’t much anybody can do for you—it’s just time to update to modern software as this nearly 30-year-old technology is going away.

To avoid this, it is crucial to fully update all solutions in your company's infrastructure and, when the time comes, to remove unused or unsafe ones. Make sure your entire IT environment is optimized and secured so you can work productively with your team without worrying about the reliability of your tools.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Is Remote Work a Bigger Risk with Certain Employees?

 Despite all that has gone on, many businesses have managed to stay open by embracing the remote capabilities of today’s technology. This is undeniably fortunate… however, it is crucial that we also acknowledge the importance of cybersecurity as these actions are taken.

As it happens, many business owners hold some preconceived notions as to which of their users constitute the biggest risks while working remotely. Let’s turn our attention to some statistics to see if these notions have any merit.

Cybersecurity in the Home Versus in the Office

Before we begin our review, it is important that we start off by acknowledging one thing: your employees probably aren’t used to subscribing to the same cybersecurity standards at home as they do in the office. While there will be exceptions, your team is generally going to be somewhat lax in their at-home security precautions.

This could easily cause remote work to become problematic. Consider it: when working remotely, your team isn’t operating within the protections installed on your business’ network. As a result, they could unwittingly allow in a threat and thereby give it access to whatever data or resources the individual responsible is privy to. Not only does this reinforce the importance of general access permissions, but it also makes it crucial that you encourage your employees to maintain high standards of security whenever and wherever attending to business matters.

According to a survey taken by the National Cyber Security Alliance, personal security standards are a mixed bag in more ways than one. Compiling the responses of 1000 American adults, with the sample split evenly between those aged 18 to 34 and those from 50 to 75 years of age, this survey helped to identify a few differences in behavior between these two cohorts.

The Survey’s Findings

Many of the insights that this survey presented were somewhat predictable. For instance, the younger cohort were more likely to put multi-factor authentication in place, 89 percent of respondents doing so compared to the elder cohort’s 70 percent. Similar numbers came up when it came to whether a user regularly applied software updates—83 percent of the younger group did, while 63 percent of the older group would.

Having said that, many of the data points generated through this survey told a much more two-sided story… one in which security practices were inconsistent across the board. While the younger cohort would more often use MFA, they would also neglect to update their basic security solutions, would connect to public Wi-Fi far more often, and didn’t reinforce their security when working remotely.

So, in this way, every age group can be a risk to cybersecurity while they work remotely… it just comes out in different ways.

How Does This Impact Your Business’ Security?

Here’s the hard truth: assuming that one group of users is inherently more or less secure than the other is a recipe for disaster, whether your team is working remotely or coming into the workplace each day. This means that your business’ security lies in your team’s awareness as a cohesive unit, which in turn means you need to do everything you can to keep them vigilant.

To do so, you need to clearly establish rules and procedures for everyone to follow as they’re working, wherever they happen to be at the time. Giving them different materials and exercises to use and evaluating their preparedness can help keep them accountable, as well as reveal to you where your potential vulnerabilities lie and what you need to do to resolve them.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Tip of the Week: Maximizing the Value of Your IT Investments

 Businesses are in a tough spot right now, which makes their costs an even bigger issue for them to keep in mind. Luckily for businesses everywhere, however, many technologies are available now that can greatly benefit their operations—without being unattainable due to their price. Let’s consider five such technologies and strategies that can bring productivity and efficiency without sending you into the red.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

With them being a tool used daily, your business can’t really afford to skimp on its software solutions. Once upon a time, this meant that a business was bound to be on the hook for an expensive and temporary investment that they would have to re-up later to keep up with the updates.

SaaS helps to remedy this. Instead of the above methodology, Software as a Service gives you access to the most up-to-date version of a software title that is available, for the number of employees that work best for you. Does a small team need a particular tool that nobody else does? SaaS allows you to equip those employees with the appropriate software on a monthly subscription basis.

As a result, SaaS enables you to transition a capital expense into a sustainable operational expense, simplifying your budgeting. This, paired with the innate scalability of SaaS, allows practically the smallest businesses to enjoy the benefits.

Stopping the Binge Spending

It isn’t unheard of that, just as they try to pull the most ROI out of their solutions as possible, many business owners will then try to change everything at once. This strategy isn’t the most practical one to follow, never mind the fact that implementing these changes at all is going to be a challenge.

Instead, businesses should prioritize and focus on individual improvements, ensuring that each is effective and scalable before adopting another. This will help reduce the chance of overinvesting in a solution or investing in one that isn’t effective.


Something else to keep in mind, concerning your software: it is only as capable as the user putting it to use. If the user is unaware of its potential, you simply won’t see the returns you could otherwise. That’s why you need to make sure that you properly train your team on what they can do with the solutions you’ve provided them. If you don’t, you could find yourself pushing a frustrating hassle on your team—instead of a beneficial new means for them to accomplish their objectives—potentially frustrating them and leading them to push back.

This kind of training will need to be ongoing to get the most out of your solutions, especially as they improve over time. Make sure you leave yourself open to questions and offer your support to your team as they work.

Price Compare

Prices for anything can rise and fall, which creates more opportune times to invest in the solutions you need. Naturally, many solutions will be introduced at a high price and become less of a financial burden over time as the technology improves. Just consider it—video conferencing once required businesses to invest a ton of money into the infrastructure it demanded, and now it’s built into every smartphone available. Being an early adopter can sometimes be beneficial, but it often pays off to wait a little while for demand to settle and prices to level out.

Invest Prudently

Finally, it’s important that you streamline your investments by focusing on those investments that can benefit your operations the most. Consider what could come from each of your potential improvements and which would do the most for your business. That should be the first thing you invest in, and what you build your later investments upon. While this may be some basic advice, it is no less effective for it.

Friday, December 4, 2020

How to Ensure Your Remote Workforce Isn’t Making You Vulnerable

 Considering the current popularity of remote operations, the security of your business’ resources should be one of your greatest concerns. While this process isn’t necessarily easy, it isn’t something you can afford to neglect. Let’s take a few moments and walk through some of the most critical considerations to your office and its data security.

Acknowledging the Threat

First off, it is important to recognize that chances are good that your business will be attacked in one way or another, particularly when people are working remotely. Consider how well you’ve secured your business’ network infrastructure—what are the chances that your team members have done the same in their homes? There are also many threats that specifically target many of the applications that are commonly used for remote work.

When implementing remote work, the most important thing is to acknowledge that your team members are at a greater risk than otherwise. This makes it even more vital that they are prioritizing the best practices that will help keep them secure.

Insulate Sensitive Information

Some of your business’ data is bound to be of a more private, personally identifiable nature. This kind of information needs to be particularly protected, denying any without authorization access to things like passwords, payment cards, or email addresses. Applying role-based access requirements and similar prerequisites helps to limit the data an employee can see; and by extension, a cybercriminal can access through them.

It also doesn’t hurt to require your team to connect to your infrastructure, rather than pulling data to their own devices. That way, any changes they make will be stored centrally, not on their individual device.

Use a Virtual Private Network

Speaking of connecting to your infrastructure, a virtual private network helps to protect your data from spying eyes as your team members work remotely. While it isn’t a cybersecurity cure-all, you can at least know that the encryption of the VPN is keeping your data safe in transit.

Require Multiple Forms of Authentication

Hearkening back to the access controls we discussed earlier, you should always have your data storage protected with the most secure solutions available. Multi-factor authentication—or requiring more than just a remembered password along with their username—has become a popular choice, with options ranging from one-time generated access codes to biometrics. This helps you keep your data locked down and inaccessible to all except those whose roles call for it.

Does remote work make your security a little more challenging to ensure? Sure, but during a time when the safest way to operate is remotely, the little extra effort now will be well worth it in the long term. If you would like assistance in implementing any of these security features into your remote operations, or any other IT business utility, make sure to call Net It On at (732) 360-2999. We’re happy to help.