Info Advantage was formed in 1992 for the purpose of specializing in Information Technology consulting, which encompasses business solution development, software development, and platform support from IBM’s midrange to a growing number of Intel based solutions.

4 Rules Every Remote-Worker Should Follow

4 Rules Every Remote-Worker Should Follow

With today’s great technology solutions, working remotely is no longer just a dream. Many businesses have either a partial or a complete remote staff, and it’s all held together by modern technology solutions. However, even with the latest tech, the remote worker still has to invest in their own success. If you work remotely, here are four ways that you can maximize your productivity and keep yourself from getting in the way of your best work.

Have a Dedicated Office
You might have your own cubicle or office space at your workplace, but when you work remotely, you often have to get creative. You could turn a booth at a restaurant into a workspace, or your living room sofa into your office. However, this is often counterproductive and distracting. Instead of hoping to get work done away from your desk, you should arrange to have a dedicated home office with lots of space and privacy. This should be the place where you go to get good, solid work done; where all of your files and technology solutions are located. Also, it helps to avoid working in busy public places whenever possible, like coffee shops and restaurants.

Set Specific Rules for Your Family and Visitors
If you’re going to work remotely, this will often mean setting up a home office where you can go to get your best work done. If you have a family that’s always at home, it can be distracting. You need to set clear boundaries so that they know when it’s a good time to drop by your office. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to limit what you should be doing during the workday. It’s one thing to take a short break to handle some minor chores, but another entirely to get distracted by multiple large tasks. Working remotely is a privilege, and as such, you need to stay productive in order to retain this flexibility.

Keep Working Until the End of Your Shift
When you work remotely, you might have the impression that taking an early-out might not be a big issue. However, this can be a slippery slope; one day you’ll start taking more and more time off of the end of the day, and before you know it, your work performance will suffer and you won’t have anyone to blame but yourself. Plus, if you continuously abuse this privilege, you might ruin the opportunity to work remotely for the rest of your coworkers.

Use the Right Technology Solutions
Remote workers are only as effective as the tools that they use to get work done. This is why businesses often have to implement proper technology solutions, like virtual private networks and Voice over Internet Protocol communications, to ensure maximum protection for their investments and productivity for their employees. If your organization could use a tech revamp to accommodate remote workers, Info Advantage can help.

For more information about how to keep your remote workers productive, contact us at (585) 254-8710.

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ShadowBrokers: The Group Behind WannaCry

ShadowBrokers: The Group Behind WannaCry

The WannaCry ransomware attack was created by hacking amatures who copied from a famous hacker group known as the shadow brokers. While WannaCry is no longer a threat with the latest security update, a recent announcment shows that the hacker group is going to continue to release dangerous security exploits for anyone to use, at the right price.

Who are the ShadowBrokers?

There are a few theories about who makes up the membership of the ShadowBrokers group. These theories range from official National Security Agency employees to Russian spies. However, all these theories are based on unreliable information, so not much is actually known about the group. The only thing known for certain is that the ShadowBrokers use social media to sell cybersecurity secrets to amatures.

What do they sell?

The ShadowBrokers’ first started to auction off security secrets in August of 2016. They promised the highest bidder would receive cycbersecurity vulnerabilities that work just as well as government cyber weapons. Over the next year, the ShadowBrokers used a variety of different means to sell their secrets: auctions, crowdfunding, and direct sales. In April of 2017, their fifth release of information went public, which included the ETERNALBLUE Windows vulnerability that allowed WannaCry to infect over 300,000 computers in a single day.

The Latest Release

The ShadowBrokers have recently announced a subscription service that would include access to bi-monthly security exploit releases in early September 2017. The first package they sold included an NSA exploit titled UNITEDRAKE, which allows hackers to remotely monitor or control a computer running any Microsoft OS between Windows XP and Windows 8.The exploit can also discreetly record audio from your microphone, video from your webcam and anything that is typed on the keyboard. It can also remotely remove itself from the target computer, leaving no signs of a breach.

How to protect yourself from ShadowBrokers releases

Luckily, all the security exploits that the ShadowBrokers have released targeted older, outdated versions of software.The best way to protect your computers is make sure your operating system is properly upgraded and patched. Advanced network monitoring can detect suspicious activity, but that requires a significant amount of time and IT knowledge, making it difficult for small- to medium-sized businesses who usually don’t have the resources to handle around-the-clock maintenance. This is where Info Advantage can help.

If you are worried about the ShadowBrokers releases, or have any other cyber security concerns, contact Info Advantage today at (585) 254-8710 today to learn more about how we can help keep your network safe.

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VoIP: Cloud vs On-Site Hosting

VoIP: Cloud vs On-Site Hosting

 

Today's phones aren't what they used to be, and that's not a bad thing. Whereas old telephones were constritive and faulty, today's phones are about internet-based systems such as VoIP. With modern VoIP phones, there are a couple methods of hosting  — via the cloud or on site. But what are the differences between the two options?

Installation and Management

On site VoIP phone systems are installed and hosted at your company’s office, often managed and maintained by inside personnel. While you can hire a third party to manage the phone system for you, there is no way to avoid hardware cost of setting up your VoIP phones.

Cloud-based VoIP, on the other hand, hosts all the software and hardware off site and is maintained by a VoIP provider. Other than the physical phones your employees will use, everything is provided virtually. This means you won’t be bothered with expensive hardware costs, nor will you need an on-site employee to manage the system.

Security

You might think having an on-site VoIP is the obvious choice when it comes to security, but you'd be surprise to find that's not often the case. If you have a large amount of accessible IT resources, deploying VoIP on site gives you a better control over your security, since you will know your system’s capabilities without the need to contact a provider. However, cloud-hosted VoIP remains a favorable option  for many small to medium sized businesses, since security is taken care of by a the provider, whose reputation rests on maintaining the most stringent security measures. They are well-versed in identifying vulnerabilities, reducing the area of attacks, and protecting all entry points.

Control

An on-site solution will give you much more control of your VoIP phones, since you can design systems suited to your needs without relying on a third-party to make changes. This makes it a popular choice for larger businesses, often with dedicated IT technicians that can customize and work on the system. With cloud-hosted VoIP, you relinquish certain control to your service provider, which is the price you pay for the convenience of professional deployment and maintenance. This doesn’t give your provider the right to monitor your calls or conduct any activity that breaches your private business conduct.

Scalability

On site VoIP systems rely on your in-house employees to add or remove features to accommodate your business' needs as they change and grow. There are various backend processes involved, and each expansion or upgrade often increases the complexity of the processess. With a cloud-hosted solution, you’ll have an entire team of technicians at your back. This means features can be added or removed as things in the company change. If you’re anticipating any future changes or growth, a cloud-hosted VoIP system will be much easier to manage.

Whether you’re looking to host your VoIP phone systems on site or in the cloud, Info Advantage can help make the process run smoothly. Call one of our VoIP experts at (585) 254-8710 today to learn more about what VoIP system is right for your business.

 

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KRACK Attacks: New Wi-Fi Vulnerability Found in WPA2 Protocol

KRACK Attacks: New Wi-Fi Vulnerability Found in WPA2 Protocol

Experts are warning Wi-Fi users of a newly discovered vulnerability with the Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) protocol that can be used against all modern protected Wi-Fi networks. This includes information such as credit card numbers, passwords, emails, photos, chat messages, and more. In addition, a hacker may be able to use the vulnerability to inject ransomware, malware, or other attack methods by injecting and manipulating the data. These are known as key reinstallation attacks, or KRACKs.

The weakness can expose any product that uses the Wi-Fi standard protocols, meaning that the vulnerability isn’t only found in a specific product or implementation. During a study by KU Leuven, researchers found that the vulnerability has already affected products from Android, Linux, Apple, Windows, OpenBSD, MediaTek, Linksys, and more.

According to ArsTechnica, "it works by exploiting a four-way handshake that's used to establish a key for encrypting traffic. During the third step, the key can be resent multiple times. When it's resent in certain ways, a cryptographic nonce can be reused in a way that completely undermines the encryption."

For more information on KRACK attacks, visit https://www.krackattacks.com/ or you can read the in-depth academic paper here: https://papers.mathyvanhoef.com/ccs2017.pdf. You can also contact us at Info Advantage at (585) 257-8710 to learn more about the vulnerabilities that can be threatening your data, and how to protect your business from cybercriminals.

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Statistics Show Your Employees Might Be Mishandling Your Company Data

Statistics Show Your Employees Might Be Mishandling Your Company Data

 

How safe is your company’s data? According to a new survey released by tech giant Dell, there’s a large chance that it’s not very secure at all. The statistics revealed by the survey are dismaying, with the survey’s key finding was that 35 percent of employees report that it’s common practice to take proprietary company information when leaving their firm.

As bad as that is, the rest of the statistics in Dell’s survey were even worse. About 36 percent of employees regularly open emails from unknown, untrusted sources, making them extremely susceptible to threats such as phishing attacks.

Forty-five percent of employees admit to engaging in behaviors they know to be unsafe from a cybersecurity standpoint, including; using personal email accounts for work, misplacing company-issued devices and connecting to public WiFi to access confidential or proprietary information.

In addition, 72 percent of employees reported being willing to share proprietary, sensitive or confidential information under certain circumstances.

All of this paints a stark picture of a problem with no easy solution. The old saying is true; your employees are your greatest asset, and also your company’s biggest threat.

It’s easy, for example, to say that better employee education is the answer. While the exact scope and scale of the problem may not have been known before, it’s certainly no secret that phishing attacks aimed at rank and file employees have been a longstanding problem. To this point, few companies have bothered to attempt to better educate their employees.

Worse, the few that have haven’t seen much of an improvement.

In a similar vein, it would be easy to make the blanket statement that having a robust data policy in place would go a long way toward alleviating the problem. However, talking about it and actually developing and implementing such a policy has, at least to this point, proven to be a daunting undertaking.

 

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