Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Tip of the Week: Understanding Your 2FA Options

 Regardless of how airtight your organization’s password policies are, relying on passwords as your exclusive security measure just isn’t enough to resist some of today’s threats. This is why we—along with most other industry and security experts—recommend that two-factor authentication (2FA) be put into place. Let’s review some of the options available for your 2FA, and the added security it can introduce, for this week’s tip.

First of all, we should clarify something: any 2FA is better than relying on a password alone. There are three ways for a password to be undermined, after all. It could be stolen, guessed, or cracked through software. Boosting your security with an additional confirmation of your identity gives those who would attack one of your accounts an extra hurdle to clear, which is why you should embrace every opportunity to use it… especially in the professional setting.

What Kinds of 2FA Are There?

There are a few different varieties of 2FA you can choose from.


Basically, when you try to login into an account, a secondary code is sent to your mobile device for you to provide. Not only is this a convenient and user-friendly option, but it is also accessible thanks to how often people will have their mobile device in the vicinity (if not on their person). While not the most secure option available thanks to phishing attacks, using text-based 2FA is still a safer option than foregoing 2FA altogether.


Authentication applications function by kicking out a refreshed code every minute or so that must be input into the requested field before the time expires. As a result, the mobile device serves as an extra key that the person accessing a resource needs in order to open it. Again banking on the near-symbiotic relationship many people develop with their mobile devices, the tradeoff here is that the device needs to be powered on and ideally present… so forgetting the phone at home could seriously hinder productivity.


You know that key analogy we made with the authentication apps? Modern hardware authentication solutions are the more literal interpretation of this concept. Requiring the user to plug a token or a USB dongle into their hardware or press a button on the device, this method has surged in popularity with phishing and other scams being so commonly used. While these keys have a price, it is comparatively small to what a data breach could result in.


We’ve all seen the spy films, where an authority figure accesses a super-secret lair or lab by having their iris scanned, their handprint analyzed, and other similar tests. Biometric authentication is the practical application of that and is now found on devices as common as a smartphone. While useful, its convenience can be tempered by some solutions being less accurate than others.

The Best Option for You is the One You’ll Use

It’s really as simple as that. While the above options aren’t all as secure as the others, they each are undoubtedly better when the alternative is protecting your precious data with a crackable password.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The FCC is Using an App to Fix Internet Inequality

 Connectivity to high-speed, broadband Internet has quickly transitioned from a convenient luxury to a practical need for personal life and business alike. Considering this, it seems amazing that Internet access isn’t nearly as equally distributed as the need for it is. However, the Federal Communications Commission is calling on the public to help them change that by downloading an application that they first released in 2013: FCC Speed Test.

Is Broadband Accessibility So Important?

Look at it this way: how much do you do every day that requires some form of Internet connectivity? Between shopping, consuming entertainment, keeping in touch with people, and (as we tend to focus on) working remotely, it’s becoming rare that something doesn’t involve Internet access nowadays.

However, while this is the reality for many, just as many don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of the Internet for much at all, simply due to the lack of broadband connectivity in their region. To try and correct this, the FCC has taken action, reinvigorating their Speed Test application and campaigning for people to install it.

What Does FCC Speed Test Do?

Assuming that enough people put the application to use, the FCC can use the app to collect data specifically concerning the quality of Internet services in different areas. Once this data is compiled, it will help inform them where the most pressing investments need to be made and their available funds divided up accordingly.

By analyzing a Wi-Fi or mobile network’s baselines, including its upload speeds, download speeds, and latency, the app helps collect reliable data directly from the source: the networks being evaluated. While these evaluations run once every 24 hours by default, their schedule and data usage can be adjusted to fit your needs.

The app will also test connection speeds, giving users a visual representation of where they stood at different times and in different locations. While FCC Speed Test does collect some data (including location, IP address, device type, operating system, and ISP) none of it is personally identifiable to the user.

Android users and those running iOS alike can use the app. If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to visit the FCC’s FAQ page about it.

Hopefully, these kinds of actions will bring a more accessible Internet to those areas lacking it, helping businesses and individual users alike. What do you think about these efforts? Is this an app you’d be willing to download? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Cyberattacks are Happening Faster with Less Time for Early Detection

 In what sounds like a positive shift, cybersecurity experts have announced their research has found that cyberattacks are spending less time on the networks they infiltrate. Unfortunately, this isn’t such a clear-cut positive. Today, we’ll discuss “dwell time” and how less of it is a problem. 

What Is Dwell Time?

Dwell time is a term that’s used a lot in technology. Typically, it is used to measure how long a user stays on a particular webpage, but in this context it is the duration a threat comes in contact with the network’s filter before it is detected by the software or a technician. You may be surprised to learn that in the latter context, the median dwell time for malicious code is 24 days. This may seem like an eternity, but just 10 years ago the median dwell time of a threat was well over a year at 416 days.

It’s reasonable to assume that since people are more cognizant of web-based threats and therefore are investing more time and money into cybersecurity initiatives, that the number would shrink rapidly. It stands to reason that the shorter the dwell time is, the more apt a program designed to catch cybersecurity threats would be able to quarantine and eliminate the threat, right? Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. 

New Threats Complicate Things

Many of the attacks we see today are far more sophisticated than they were a decade ago. Threats like ransomware, for instance, are now used more today, and dwell time isn’t as big of an issue. In fact, while your average attack method has a dwell time of 45 days, ransomware’s average is just five before it is deployed and causes you to be locked out of your files or systems. Ransomware doesn’t sit on the network, it is deployed and devastates quickly.

Ransomware Is More Sophisticated

Today more hackers are deploying more ransomware than ever and it’s a major point of emphasis that every network administrator should understand. Not only that, ransomware tactics are becoming more aggressive. Now there is a situation called a “multifaceted extortion” where ransomware is deployed and instead of deleting or stealing the data, they threaten to publish it publicly. Most organizations would do anything to keep their intellectual property and the sensitive information of their clients, vendors, and workers confidential.

It’s Not Just Ransomware

Network administrators need to be aware that it’s not just ransomware they have to be on the lookout for. Unpatched software exploits have exponentially risen recently. In fact, over one-quarter of all hacks (29 percent) happen because hackers find an exploit in a business’ network. Phishing, which is often cited as the most dangerous hacking method only accounts for 23 percent. 

Prepare Your Business’ Network

With the threat landscape the way it is, it is important that you diligently patch your software, keep your tools updated and actively train your employees to help you keep threats off your network. At Net It On, we can help. Give us a call at (732) 360-2999 to learn more about how to ensure your business can navigate through the minefield that’s out there today.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

YouTube Can Help Take Your Business Where You Want It to Go

 I think if you took a deep look at it that you are probably paying too much to train your employees. If you account for the cost of the resources and the time it takes to properly train someone, you are talking a substantial amount of money. There is a way to use YouTube to subsidize your training practices and get the information you need your new employees to see more cost-effectively. 

YouTube and Your Business

Let’s not take a lot of time telling you about YouTube. If you don’t know what YouTube is you are in for a rude awakening once you see it. YouTube has billions of videos and that is a good thing for people. You can learn how to fix your car, care for your houseplants, or format that screenplay that has been in your OneDrive for the past ten years. For this reason, it is a great resource for business, as well as something that you need to keep an eye on.

YouTube can end up costing your business quite a bit too.

Anyone that has been on YouTube knows that there are literally millions of hours of videos about any topic important to any human being. It’s a lot of content. In fact, according to Google, the parent company of YouTube, nearly five billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. This is why many organizations have chosen to block or limit the use of YouTube. 720,000 hours of new video content is updated every day, and a lot of it is video game and movie reviews.

So, How Can I Use YouTube to Improve My Business?

There are many ways to use YouTube to your business’ benefit, but we’re not going to get into marketing and content creation here. Really, all we want to impress on you is that no matter what your business does, there is a literal library of content out there that, if you use it properly, can be beneficial to your business. 

Using existing YouTube content can help you educate your staff about your type of business goals, your culture, your market, the services you provide your customers, customer relationships, physical and cybersecurity, and much more. To do this, you’ll have to learn how to make a playlist. 

How Do I Make a Playlist?

Just as you would if you were making a music playlist, YouTube provides the ability to put together a playlist of videos. By choosing videos that can help improve the knowledge base of your staff, you can get them to quickly learn what you need them to learn to do their jobs more proficiently. Here’s how to do it:

  1. You find a YouTube video you want to add.
  2. Directly under the video, you will click the Add to button.
  3. There will be a dropdown menu. Choose Create new playlist.
  4. Enter a name for the playlist.
  5. Choose any privacy settings you want to enact for the playlist. For businesses, we suggest unlisted.
  6. Click create.

That’s it. Then you can add to the playlist by clicking on the Add to button under a video and placing it on the corresponding playlist. You will quickly find that the hardest part about building a playlist is watching content. Once your playlist is finished, however, you will reap the benefits as your staff will become more knowledgeable and start asking the right questions about how to do their jobs better. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Lessons to Learn from Coca-Cola’s Insider Trade Secret Theft

 In today’s business, your data is your number one asset. For this reason it is important that you take steps to protect it. One case that accentuates this is the case of Xiaorong You, which is currently playing out in a Tennessee court. The accused is charged with stealing trade secrets and committing corporate espionage, as she is accused of allegedly stealing almost $120 million worth of BPA-free technologies from several companies, among them the Eastman Chemical Company and Coca-Cola.

Let’s take a look at how these two companies deployed their threat detection systems and the effect they had on the companies. 

You’s Story

Xiaorong “Shannon” You, a naturalized US citizen and Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Engineering, has worked at several companies since the early ‘90s. From December of 2012 to August of 2017, she worked for Coca-Cola as a principal engineer for global research, moving to the Eastman Chemical Company to work as a packaging application development manager from September of 2017 until June of 2018, when her employment was terminated.

During her tenure at both companies, You was given access to many trade secrets that only a handful of employees were privy to. In the indictment, You is charged with retaining these secrets (despite affirming that she hadn’t in writing) and then handing them over to the People’s Republic of China in an attempt to qualify for its The Thousand Talents program. This program has been used before to introduce advanced technologies to China, with the Department of Justice having prosecuted some cases similar to You’s.

Her modus operandi was that she retained this information by simply uploading data to her personal Google Drive account or captured especially sensitive information on her smartphone. Once she captured this data, You worked with a Chinese national named Xiangchen Liu to form a separate company in China that went ahead to use these trade secrets to begin revenue generation. They allegedly used an Italian BPA-free manufacturer to incorporate the stolen technologies onto their own products.

The theft of this information impacted several companies, including Coca-Cola and The Eastman Chemical Company, AkzoNobel, Dow Chemical, PPG, TSI, Sherwin Williams, and ToyoChem. This led to the charges she currently faces.

How You’s Employers Could Have Stopped Such Activities

There were stark differences between the way that Coca-Cola and The Eastman Chemical Company handled these issues. You left Coca-Cola in August of 2017, but her indictment states that the crimes she’s charged with didn’t happen until 2019. This means that Coca-Cola had no knowledge of the theft until after she had been exposed by her later employer. 

This fact is indicative of two reasonable hypotheses:

  1. Coca-Cola lacked the tools to detect such activities in real-time, making it far more difficult to prevent protected and sensitive data from successfully leaving the corporate environment.
  2. Coca-Cola also lacked the policies that could have prevented non-authorized devices from entering the workspace or otherwise being kept in proximity to sensitive company data or infrastructures. While old-fashioned, the concept of taking photographs of such information is no less effective for its age.

If you compare that to You’s sudden dismissal from the Eastman Chemical Company, you would have to consider that they had the data protection standards implemented to catch would-be thieves pretty rapidly.  If they hadn’t, the $120 million in trade secrets could have been substantially more. 

This just goes to show that any business can have the right idea about security, but not pay close enough attention to the details. Coca-Cola is a massive brand, but it couldn’t stop You from allegedly raking the company over the coals. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Smart Technology Can Actually Help You to Streamline Your Business

 A lot has been made about smart technology over the past few years with one major takeaway: it is far too risky to deploy. Security problems with Internet of Things (IoT) devices have been widely discussed and it has kept organizations from deploying technology that can really help their business. Let’s take a look at some of the technologies that your business can use to streamline your operations.

Smart Technology Gets Smarter Through AI

Before we get into specific business solutions, we should mention that many of today’s smart technologies utilize some form of AI to help them be effective in business situations. AI typically does one thing extremely well: fuels successful automation. Obviously, this benefits both the operational-level workforce and the business as a whole. The whole point in deploying these smart technologies is as a subsidy to your current workforce to help them do their jobs better and focus on the right things to help generate revenue. 


One of the best ways to invest in smart technology is to use it to enhance the capabilities of your security systems. Not only are there smart physical security tools that typically come with door, window, and motion sensors that alert business owners and managers immediately when there is unauthorized activity, there are also technologies that are built to alert decision makers when HVAC systems aren’t working optimally. Additionally, AI can be used to improve your operational cybersecurity as well as using the same general principles. 

Utility Management

Businesses can save up to 15-to-20 percent on their utility bills with the use of smart thermostats and lighting. These technologies can be set on a schedule or even detect usage and modulate electricity consumption. With more businesses going to more flexible work schedules, they are a great way to save some money without having to constantly pay attention to the in-office environment. 

Digital Assistants

I know what you’re thinking: “You're not going to tell me that Alexa can help my business.” That’s exactly what I’m saying. These apps may not be all the way there now, but they do offer some pretty solid features. They are probably most effective as a hub to manage all the other smart devices you may use, but they can also be used (with integrations) to schedule meetings, set up correspondence, and quickly access information.

Other Internet of Things Devices

There are all types of innovative devices that have been produced over the past few years that are designed to help people manage their tasks. From wearable devices like smartwatches to connected devices inside your printer that tell you when your ink/toner is low, to RFID tags that can help manage inventory, the IoT can fuel a culture of efficiency in and around your business.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Technology is Changing the Way We Look at Productivity

 The concept of productivity isn’t what it used to be. It has evolved significantly over time. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 16th century, where subsistence living was less frequent, where the term started to mean what we know it to mean today. Today, we’ll take a look at how the modern definition of productivity came about.

Changes in Technology Fueled a Reimagining of Productivity

The life of a worker in the late 16th and 17th centuries wasn’t always so much to bring home a paycheck, it was to sustain their lives and the lives of their families. With no refrigeration, no electricity, food had to be acquired and prepared in short order. Even after people started moving to cities and forgoing the subsistence life, most of their time was trying to secure shelter and food. 

Birth of Modern Productivity

By the end of the 18th century, global trade had created demand for new goods and services. This is when you first start to see productivity mentioned regularly. In Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, he describes labor as:

  • Productive labor, which produces added value
  • Unproductive labor, which produces no additional value

Shortly thereafter, the polymathic Benjamin Franklin developed his own philosophy of productivity that asked the questions that modern productivity is centered around:

  • “The morning question, What good shall I do this day?”
  • “Evening question, What good have I done today?”

These questions and the development of new technologies that would change the world went a long way toward creating the definition of productivity that we know today. In fact, one could say that the more technologically advanced society has become, the more apt people are to reference productivity. Take into account that initially slave labor was used and then for half a century low-wage workers (many of a very young age) toiled in unsafe conditions before labor unions pushed for protective measures.

The Shift to Modern Productivity

After the turn of the 20th century, what could only be described as the predecessor of today’s efficiency guru was born. Thought leaders such as Franky Winslow “Speedy” Taylor and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (yes, the ones from Cheaper by the Dozen) started a movement that has since grown into a massive industry of management consultants. 

For much of the early 20th century, productivity was looked on as a patriotic duty as workers toiled through the first two World Wars and the Great Depression. This expanded productivity to women, who up until this point, were looked on more as domestic caretakers than workers. 

Food, which was the major driving force behind work just centuries ago, has transformed to adjust for more productivity elsewhere. The TV dinner was developed in the 1950s and the invention of the microwave oven only made those prepackaged and easy-to-make meals more of a mainstay in homes. This also revolutionized the ability for food chains to make food quickly. This led to the explosion of fast-food chains starting in the mid-1970s.

The Development of the PC

Computers changed the world. With the development of computers that you can use to expand productivity, and then computers that you could take on the go, you’ve seen a complete shift in the way that people categorize productivity. 

Where to Go from Here

Now that we have superior tools to be productive with and new applications that are using technologies like artificial intelligence to automate tasks that people are slower to accomplish, productivity should be higher than ever. It has plateaued in many instances, however. This can be explained by the amount of distractions available to the average worker. If it wasn’t for automation, we’d probably be falling deeper into recession. 

Productivity Reexamined

Getting back to the definition shift of productivity, there is currently a shift prioritizing value over the core metric of output. This is because workers today are extremely undervalued by many organizations and they need to establish guidelines to lure workers into being more productive than in previous generations. Workers want to be productive, but they also don’t want to work for as long and as hard as the people they’ve replaced. That’s why value is so important in today’s workplace. 

Don’t mistake this shift for one that doesn’t measure output. Output is still important, but value of work is much more important with the technological options available to companies today. Businesses are more focused on doing the right things over doing a lot of things that don’t add value to the workers, the executives, and most importantly, the customers. 

The Journey, Not the Destination

Today’s productivity standards aim to balance the means with the ends. Today, it’s all about the experience, whether that be at work or as a customer. In a way, it builds meaning to the work that is being done and makes this work more tolerable to people who have shorter attention spans.


One of the biggest shifts we’ve seen in productivity is that most things today are approached as a team. Since people enjoy their work more when they aren’t being micromanaged, companies have structured work environments that require contributions from many people instead of a few. Essentially it is an assembly line where people are in constant contact with each other. Building trust with your team goes a long way toward giving modern workers the fulfillment they need out of a job that takes over a large portion of their waking hours. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Tip of the Week: Reducing the Impact of Blue Light Exposure

 With each day, it seems that we all have a new threat or risk to worry about. Lately, there’s been a lot said about the dangers of blue light exposure, with lots of things to buy that supposedly help fix the problems it can cause.

Wouldn’t you know it, but blue light actually can create some issues that could negatively impact your health and wellbeing. Let’s discuss it, and what you can do to address it.

What is Blue Light?

Let’s start off with some basic science: what we see as “light” is just what our minds perceive it to be. There are actually many different kinds of light rays that all interact to provide us with what we see each day. We could go into a lot more detail, but we’ll leave that to the real professionals.

One kind of light ray—blue light rays—has the highest energy levels of the bunch, paired with the shortest wavelength. Blue light rays occur naturally in sunlight, and also come from a lot of indoor sources: LED and fluorescent lighting, electronics, televisions, computers, and the mobile devices we’re all so fond of.

Now, the human eye is naturally suited to help filter out certain types of light, ultraviolet light included. Blue light isn’t included.

So, while blue light can help to improve some cognitive functions like alertness and memory while promoting wakefulness and healthy amounts of sleep, it can also be a detriment in some ways (particularly in terms of its contributing to eye strain and macular degeneration).

Where Our Devices Come into This

Historically speaking, the sun and other natural forms of light were the only way that humanity got any exposure to blue light at all for most of human history. It really wasn’t until incandescent light was created that there was another option available.

However, as we’ve surrounded ourselves with more and more artificial light sources, we’ve exposed ourselves to more blue light than ever. In doing so, we’ve shifted the balance… and it certainly doesn’t help that our modern lights contribute more blue light than any incandescent bulb ever could.

In terms of blue light’s impact, this could prove to be serious. Let’s consider what a Harvard study observed about blue light exposure compared to other kinds when exposed for the same amount of time. After six and one-half hours of blue light exposure, enough melatonin (the hormone that dictates the body’s circadian sleep patterns) was suppressed enough to shift these circadian rhythms by three hours. In comparison, the same exposure to green light only caused an hour and a half shift—literally half of what blue light did.

These effects can be compounded, not only decreasing sleep time, but also increasing the risk of depression, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues.

Fixing the Blue Light Problem

Clearly, blue light can be a real problem if it isn’t managed. Fortunately, there are simple ways to minimize its effects, like:

  • Avoiding brighter screens within three hours of bedtime
  • Making sure you’re getting plenty of exposure to other kinds of light to help regulate your circadian rhythms
  • Using red lights over blue lights for nighttime light, helping to avoid melatonin suppression
  • Investing in blue-light filtering glasses or time-controlled filtering apps

Furthermore, modern devices increasingly come with settings to help you accomplish some of these things.

In Windows, accessing your Settings and going to System > Display > Night Light Settings allows you to Schedule your device’s Night Light configuration, either based on Custom times or from Sunset to Sunrise.

Macs offer Night Shift, which is customizable from System Preferences > Displays > Night Shift.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Is Your Business Ready For What’s Coming?

 When the pandemic hit early in 2020, many business owners didn’t understand the situation they were about to face. Many businesses didn’t have the technology in place to support remote work, and the ones that did likely had employees that weren’t prepared for the responsibilities that come with working from home. Now, as millions of people are getting vaccinated and governments are slowly lifting restrictions, the question becomes: What now?

Work Strategies

A lot has been made about remote work. Business owners didn’t think it would work for them, then in a blink of an eye, they were forced to make it work for them, but the general consensus among business owners is that they would like to return to “normal” as soon as they can. “Normal” may not be possible, however. One study found that over 70 percent of workers who worked remotely during the pandemic are expecting more flexibility, even if nearly half of those same workers are looking forward to getting back into their respective offices.

How does this make sense?

Like many things that have happened during the global health crisis: it’s not supposed to. Basically, workers, like business owners, have mixed feelings about working remotely. At first, there was excitement, but as time went on, sitting for hours in video conferences, kids running around, and trying to ignore the giant pile of laundry just off the field of view of your webcam, took its toll. That’s not to say that they would trade it completely, but you may be surprised to find out that many employees who are working remotely aren’t doing as well as you’d think.

One major issue is that a majority of polled business leaders say they are thriving right now while their subordinates are largely struggling. Many workers pride themselves on their ability to be productive regardless of the situation, but some of them are overburdened with the increased digital intensity of their jobs. If someone who works in an office is having troubles in their life, especially the type of troubles that have an effect on mental health, most of the time someone will notice. Working from home, however, management tends to assume that everything is fine unless they hear otherwise. 

So, while decision makers are also largely working from home, they are making more money, developing better relationships, and being able to take a lot of their vacation time, while production workers are feeling largely overworked, underappreciated, and left to fend for themselves working for organizations that tell them that developing a team (or family) atmosphere is a priority.

Remote-Fueled Stagnation

Remote work doesn’t just negatively affect workers, it can negatively impact the course your business takes. When people are in one location there is a tendency for them to communicate better, more ideas to get thrown around, and decisions to be made with direct input from everyone. After a year or more of video conferencing, people just resign to completing the tasks on their schedule and have a tendency to dislike video conferencing more and more. 

This lack of interaction breeds complacency and a stalling of forward movement in a business. Some more company-centric administrators may disagree, but anytime an organization is resigned to groupthink, that business is in trouble. 

The Hybrid Office Experience

The fact is that businesses, especially smaller businesses that find themselves completely leveraged as restrictions phase out, are going to be looking for their people to be the most productive they can be, but they are also going to ask many of them to come back to the office. Some people are looking forward to it, but others are not. Regardless, expect for many businesses to remove the need for people to report to the office everyday. 

This is great, right? Not so fast.

How many days are you going to expect to have to go into the office? Well, it depends who you ask. According to one study 68 percent of polled executives would like to see their staff at work at the very least three days a week. Workers, on the other hand, said that it should be a maximum of three, but less depending on an employee’s responsibilities.

What’s strange is that 22 of U.S. executives consider bringing back their employees to be a major point of emphasis, while similar companies in Canada, Germany, Japan, and China don’t find this to be a major issue at all. In fact, less than five percent of polled executives consider this a strategy.

One thing is certain about the hybrid work model: nothing is certain. Will it help or hurt company culture, productivity, retention rates, and other metrics that aren’t just numbers to a business, but dollars and cents? Would it be better to just choose one over the other? Nobody knows, because every business is different. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Facebook Dealing With Fallout From a Huge Data Leak

 Facebook is by far the largest social media network and it does bring a lot of value to a lot of people. Whether that be for personal use or professional use, Facebook has staked a claim as the most successful technology company in the world. With this comes scrutiny, especially if you’ve operated the way Facebook has over the past few years. Let’s take a look at a situation that Facebook is dealing with in 2021.

What’s the Issue?

The situation Facebook has found itself in didn’t actually start recently. In 2019, they acknowledged a data breach that exposed the Facebook ID, phone number, birth dates, email addresses, and more than a half a billion Facebook users (533 million). Recently, this information, which had been for sale on the dark web since the breach, was dumped online and made available for free. 

Facebook wanted to make sure that the narrative surrounding the massive data dump was positive, saying that they have since patched the vulnerability that made this happen. Some cybersecurity analysts aren’t so sure as there is evidence that it had been acquired by scraping, a hacking strategy used to lodge loose unprotected data. Either way, it has peaked the attention of many data privacy advocates and government officials. 

Once Data is Leaked, It’s Leaked

The massive data breach that resulted in this recent release, may not have any tangible value, but Facebook’s market value has dropped more than $80 billion since news of the breach hit the airwaves in 2019. We also know these facts:

  • One of Facebook’s major revenue streams revolves around transactions with this data.
  • This data is out there for free.
  • It was likely obtained from a hacking tactic called scraping.

Once a person’s data is available online, it is out there forever. That’s why it is so important for your company to prioritize putting in place tools and strategies that will help you keep your customers’ and your staff’s data safe. If Facebook wasn’t one of the largest technology companies with one of the most utilized services in the world, the billions and billions of dollars this whole snafu would have surely bankrupted them. As it stands today, Facebook is still worth a whopping 665 billion dollars. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

How Can Your Small Business Improve Its Physical Security

 Small and medium-sized businesses have been playing catchup for over a decade when it comes to getting the physical security solutions that larger companies utilize. Fortunately, the gap has shrunk in recent years. Today, we thought we would outline the need for these tools and the physical security solutions that your business should be using to protect your assets.

SMBs aren’t just mom-and-pop shops, they can have hundreds of people on the payroll. That doesn’t mean that physical security isn’t important for smaller businesses, it just outlines that even small companies have a lot of people and resources to protect. For the larger business--even the larger SMB--having a team of people looking after the business’ security is typical. These businesses will have security guards on staff whose jobs are to monitor and patrol. 

These organizations typically have all of the following tools in place:

Security Cameras

The innovations to security camera systems have been remarkable in a short period of time. Only a few short years ago it seemed that any surveillance cameras produced images that had lousy detail and were sometimes more of a hindrance than a help. Today’s security cameras, however, have high-definition (HD) cameras with megapixel IP lenses that capture everything in great detail. 

Other improvements include camera systems with a wide dynamic range (WDR), digital signal processing (DSP), and noise canceling. These features help these HD systems create cleaner images in a long list of different environments. Some systems support low-light operations for use in times when businesses are closed. 

Today, there are camera options for all types of businesses, even the mom-and-pop shops we referenced before. A number of options provide additional value through integrations with security companies, or advanced technology features that use AI to analyze any motion detected to trigger a recording, trip an alarm, or simply alert the authorities. 

Security Systems

Outside of your surveillance system, SMBs may want to consider installing a more sophisticated security system on their brick-and-mortar facilities. Looking beyond the digital camera system, businesses can establish motion detectors, door alarms, and access control. These systems typically work through your business’ wireless network, so you will need to have a high-speed and reliable connection, but it is a great investment to protect your business’ assets. 

Access Control

We typically talk about access control as a type of security used to protect your business’ digital assets, but the same principle applies to your physical security. Not all employees need access to all parts of your business, and with a comprehensive access control system, you can make that so. Typically, these systems are a combination of automatic locking and authentication systems that are placed on doors. You can choose from mechanical, which uses a keypad for entry; electronic, which can power any number of authentication systems, such as key fobs or badges; or biometric, which ties access to some type of physical attribute. Whichever you choose, your access control system can be controlled through a secure portal through security software. 


You wouldn’t think of lighting as being a strong deterrent against theft, but you would be surprised. Unfortunately, leaving the lights on all the time is wasteful and expensive. To use lighting for security, motion-detecting lights, as well as lights that are set to come on at the same time every day, can ensure that your business isn’t left in the dark when it comes to securing your brick and mortar assets. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Solid State Storage Can Breathe New Life Into Your Computer

 When you are looking to buy a new computer, you need to consider the options available for data storage. This is especially true if you are looking to replace a computer used by several users. The more people that use a computer the more files will likely be stored, after all. Today, however, there is another determination to be made: how fast is your storage device?

Storage Really Isn’t a Concern Anymore

Storage used to really be a problem, but today users have all types of storage options on a new PC or laptop. Typically, most budget laptops will come with a hard disk drive (HDD) that has 256 GB or 512 GB or 1 TB on it. The funny thing is that it costs the factory that produces them the same amount to make them regardless of the capacity. 

With humans producing more data than ever—around eight billion 1.4 MB floppy disks per second—there have to be new storage options available. 

And there are.

The modern disk drive can now hold more data and run much faster. Think about it this way, the built-in storage of an average, off-the-rack PC holds the equivalent of about 750,000 of those floppy disks that we all used 20 years ago. If you consider, too, that there are cloud vendors that provide basically unlimited amounts of storage, you wouldn’t worry too much about the quantity of data held on your PC’s disk drive. 

The 1TB drive that was built into your PC really is a lot and unless you plan on using it for high-storage tasks: photography, video editing, 3D modeling, or gaming, you won’t really need everything you get. 

At this point capacity shouldn’t be your final metric for determining the PC you’ll use, unless you know for a fact you’re going to need a lot of storage.

Really, Only Performance Matters

Ultimately, your hard drive's effectiveness is the defining factor. The modern PC has an incredible amount of processing power, which means running resource-intensive software is a breeze. This means the speed of your hard drive could be a problem if it doesn’t perform fast enough. 

There are two types of disk drives:

Hard Disk Drive (HDDs)

HDDs contain magnetic platters that spin at very high rates of speed. They have been the standard for decades now and are generally more affordable than other forms of storage. These rewritable platters are capable of storing high capacities of data and are used in servers and other high-yield storage facilities. 

Solid State Drives (SSDs)

SSDs are effectively digital storage devices. They contain no moving parts, and as a result, they are much faster, which has an effect on all of a system’s processes. These drives were initially expensive, but prices have been dropping as they become the norm. At Net It On we typically recommend that any new workstation or laptop should have an SSD for the main system/application drive.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Looking at the Future Impact of Blockchain

 For the past decade or so, one of the most mentioned emerging technologies is blockchain. It was hailed as the technology that would change everything, but as far as the practical uses that would facilitate that change, blockchain hasn’t seemed to have done much. Today, we thought we would take a closer look at blockchain and why it hasn’t become the world-altering technology a lot of people were expecting.

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain technology is pretty complicated, so why don’t we give you a basic summary. The blockchain is a distributed ledger that is ultra-secure, unalterable, and completely transparent. It uses encryption to provide reliability. So each transaction on the blockchain is its own specific block, regardless if it is simply making an adjustment to information in a previous block. Since this information is stored over several computers and not just centralized, it is nearly impossible to hack without breaking the chain and corrupting the record. 

When Will Blockchain Change the World?

It already has, of course. As the technology that makes cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin possible, it already has provided a value to society. Blockchain, however, has been mentioned as one of those technologies that will change the world because it can be used for data security and reliability, an increasingly important aspect considering the number of threats that are out there at the moment. 

 At this time, there are numerous ways that blockchain technology can be used. Companies big and small are trying to bring to market new and useful pieces of technology using blockchain; they just haven’t accomplished this yet. Why? It’s simple. 

Blockchain Changes Everything

The major problem with replacing the technological systems that are used today with blockchain fueled systems is that companies have already invested in innovative solutions. The cost is simply too high to abandon those systems to integrate blockchain-based alternatives. While it has been proven in specialized cases that blockchain technology provides unparalleled data security, reliability, and transparency, it’s simply not cost effective enough for businesses to prioritize at the moment. This should change as blockchain technologies begin to become more cost-effective for businesses to use. For now, however, it’s just not a viable option for many businesses. 

Industries that are Using Blockchain

There have been some industries that have rolled out some effective blockchain technology. These include healthcare and finance, but going forward you will see blockchain-fueled systems in the following sectors:

  • Asset management
  • Capital market infrastructure
  • Finance
  • Global trade and commerce
  • FinTech and payment systems
  • Real Estate
  • Individual identity and access control
  • Energy
  • Governments
  • Healthcare
  • Law
  • Media
  • Contract management
  • Philanthropy

 This list is growing rapidly. We’re only years away from blockchain-enhanced systems keeping transactional data safe, regardless of the industry. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Tip of the Week: Microsoft Word Features You May Not Have Known About

 If your business utilizes Microsoft Word in any way, shape, or form, there’s a good chance that you aren’t using it to its full capabilities. Let’s go over just a few of the features that the software offers that can assist you in excelling (whoops… wrong Office application) in your day-to-day responsibilities, and how to put them to use.

Focus Mode

There are times that the Microsoft Word interface—packed with utility and features as it is—can be a distraction to your workflows. Fortunately, Microsoft Word has a means to remove this source of distraction from your display: Focus Mode.

Activating Focus Mode effectively wipes away the interface from the top of your screen, allowing you to focus exclusively on the content that you are producing. In the View menu, go to the Immersive section and click on Focus to activate Focus Mode. Your interface will disappear leaving only the document you're working on. When in Focus Mode, you can also change the background of your document workspace to a color that better suits your needs.

To exit out of Focus Mode, simply hover your cursor near the top of the screen to call the interface back up. Selecting Focus again will return your display to normal.

Immersive Reader

The Immersive Reader button appears right next to the Focus button and is intended to make reading a document more accessible by temporarily changing text size and formatting to suit the reader’s unique needs. You can even have your text automatically broken up by its different syllables if need be.

Of course, some people comprehend what they are reading better if they can listen to it, which Immersive Reader also enables through its Read Aloud functionality. With full control over the voice that is reading, what in the document is being read, and how quickly it is being read out, this makes it much simpler for people with different productivity styles to succeed the way they do best.

Inserting an Online Video

Sometimes, multimedia is just what a document needs to be particularly engaging, and if you have a video on YouTube or Vimeo in mind that you want to include, Word provides a simple means of doing so. Under the Insert Menu, you’ll find Online Video. Clicking this will enable you to paste in a link to insert the video clip into your document.

This video can be moved around and resized as you see fit and can be played within the document itself.

Admittedly, these capabilities may not be the ones you use the most out of what Word has to offer but can certainly be helpful to know at the right time. What other programs or solutions would you like to see more tips about? Let us know in the comments!