Elevated Technologies - Your IT Ally in the Cloud

Cyber Security Tips to Safeguard Your Social Media Accounts

When taking steps to maintain cyber security, it’s not only your website and email that you want to secure but also your social media accounts. Cyber-attacks are a risk for your business as well as to the privacy and security of your followers.  Unsure about the security of your Social Media accounts?  Contact our Cyber Security Department today!

Risks to Social Media Accounts 

While people often think about cyber security concerning websites, it’s also necessary to keep this in mind when using social media. As sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and others get vast amounts of traffic, it’s increasingly tempting for hackers to target these platforms. Businesses also face significant challenges in this area. If you have a business, your finances, reputation and customers’ security are all at risk. Some of the dangers include:

• Identity theft. This is a potentially devastating problem. Identity thieves use personal information to steal money, commit crimes or simply out of malice. Anywhere online that you store personal information, including social media sites, is a potential gold mine for identity thieves.

• Account hacking. When hackers gain control of your account, they can post anything they want. Many hackers do this simply for fun. For a business, however, there’s nothing fun about the hit to your reputation if someone posts offensive content under your name.

• Malware. These programs are often used for spamming, to collect information, or to deliberately harm someone’s computer. Social media sites are full of links to malware. If you and your employees aren’t careful, it’s easy to infect your computer when someone clicks on such a link from one of your social media accounts.

• Phishing scams. This is a type of scam where hackers impersonate a legitimate company for malicious purposes. One danger is that someone will impersonate your business to scam your customers. Another is that someone in your company falls victim to a phishing attack and compromises your information.

These are some of the most common security risks on social media. In some cases, attacks are from random hackers. Businesses, however, also face threats from unscrupulous competitors, dissatisfied and vengeful customers, and ex-employees.

How to Safeguard Your Social Media Accounts 

There are risks every time you access the internet. However, certain precautions make you safer. Here are some of the best ways to keep yourself safe on social media.

• Monitor your accounts. If your business is active on social media, you probably log in regularly to your accounts anyway. If you’re lagging behind on one or more sites, however, make sure you periodically check in to at least make sure everything looks good. If someone has hacked into your account, you want to know about it as soon as possible.

• Have a strict social media policy. You put your business at risk with social media practices are too casual or undefined. For example, it’s best to have a dedicated team in charge of social media rather than giving everyone access to your accounts. Putting an expert in charge helps to keep you safer and helps you maintain a consistent policy. Make sure you have clear rules about what your employees can and cannot do on social media sites. You might, for example, tell employees not to post personal information on your company account. Also set rules on sharing content and clicking on links.

• Keep your passwords secure. Make sure all of your passwords are complex and hard to guess. Never use simple sequences of numbers, personal names, or dates. Use a unique password for each site (i.e., don’t use the same password on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) Only reveal passwords to people who need access to social media accounts. Whenever an employee with password access leaves your business (or when an agency or freelancer completes a project), change your passwords.

• Use two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is an important step that makes your accounts more secure. That is an extra step needed to access your accounts, such as a question (e.g., “What was the name of your first pet?”), an image, or a verification code.

Site-specific Tips for Social Media Security 

While certain cyber security principles apply everywhere, there are also specific differences between the different sites. Here are some things to keep in mind on some of the most popular social media platforms.

• Facebook — Check out Facebook’s extra security features such as setting up login approvals, which is an example of two-factor authentication where you need an additional step to log in. Turn on login alerts, so you know when someone logs into your Facebook account from a new device or location.

• Twitter — Go to privacy and safety settings. The most important settings here are “verify login requests” and “require personal information to reset my password.” Without these precautions, anyone can change your password. You may also want to disable “add a location.” Clicking on “protect my tweets” means only people who follow you see your tweets. As a business, of course, there are reasons to keep your tweets public.

• LinkedIn – On LinkedIn’s privacy settings, there are quite a few options, such as deciding who can see your updates and connections. Here it’s up to you to find the right balance between privacy and visibility. Turn on two-step verification to secure your account. Because LinkedIn is a B2B network, you have to watch for hackers putting up fake company profiles or people falsely claiming to work for you. One way to reduce risks here is only to accept invitations to connect with people you know.

In some ways, it’s more challenging for businesses to secure their accounts than individuals. You don’t want to keep your posts and business information private as you obviously want to attract publicity. However, it’s still important to use caution and make sure you make it difficult for anyone to hack into your account or steal your information. Keep these guidelines in mind and make sure that all of your employees use common sense and are well-trained in basic cyber security principles.


Why Small Businesses Should Use the Cloud

As of today, more than 30% of small businesses across America have migrated to the cloud, with that number expected to triple by 2020. Simply put, the cloud has revolutionized the way small businesses are run. Despite this, some businesses are still skeptical about the cloud. To contest this resistance, here are the top reasons that any and all small business owners should consider Elevated Tech’s Managed Cloud Solutions.

Cost

The first and most obvious reason is that moving to the cloud can save a lot of money in the long run. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is that cloud computing fully makes use of its hardware, while also increasing its value, meaning the business that owns said server can accomplish more with less. The outcome is that small businesses have lowered IT requirements, rack space, and power usage, among other things. The frankly invaluable result of this change is lower hardware, maintenance, installation, support and upgrade costs.

Collaboration

Because of the sharing capabilities of the cloud that are able to save one master document across several computers, more than one employee can work on the same project at once more efficiently and in real time. It also gives employees who have to leave the office but still need to work on something the ability to finish at home. Plus, managers can make sure their employees are in fact working on their assignments by being able to check in whenever they want.

Flexibility

One of cloud file sharing’s most tempting draws is the ability to access whatever you want from any device connected to the cloud. These days, accessing files, documents and other such work-related items when not in the office is essential, even for smaller businesses. Utilizing the cloud, managers can access essential files anytime, from anywhere, via a wide variety of devices, from smartphones to laptops. This can also be implemented as a cost-saving measure by having employees bring their own devices to work, saving the company money on electronics entirely. Plus, this allows employees to work on devices and interfaces they’re most comfortable with, meaning everyone wins.

Integration

With cloud-based business solutions come a wide range of chances for simple but effective integration. Small businesses that have adapted to the cloud receive the option of integrating with providers that work exclusively in the cloud. For instance, small businesses now have access to specializations on back-office operations that they had no knowledge of otherwise. These include specializations on human resources, marketing, and many others. This can give the owners of small businesses more time to focus on more critical operations of their business. In short, integration on this level frees up so much time for small business owners.

It cannot be overstated just how much help the cloud has been for small businesses in keeping up with the major players in this increasingly competitive market. The cloud has its downsides, yes, and can seem scary to the less informed. But for a small business owner trying to stay afloat, it is an invaluable tool that can help your company soar above your contemporaries.


Dark Web Monitoring Is Here!

 

Elevated Technologies Now Delivers Dark Web Monitoring Services through ID Agent Partnership

 Elevated Technologies Offers Monitoring and Alerting of Stolen Digital Credentials, Increasingly Valuable Asset on Dark Web

 Houston, TX – January 30, 2018 – Elevated Technologies announced its new Dark Web monitoring services provided through its partnership with ID Agent, provider of Dark Web monitoring and identity theft protection solutions. With Dark Web ID, Elevated Technologies offers around the clock monitoring and alerting for increasingly compromised digital credentials, scouring millions of sources, including botnets, criminal chat rooms, peer-to-peer networks, malicious websites, bulletin boards and illegal black market sites.

“With the security landscape ever changing and more small / medium size businesses are being targeted, a partnership with ID Agent was a must.  They add a robust Dark Web monitoring solution to our new Cyber Security department Elevated Cyber Security.  This new department is solely focused on a vast amount of security services for the SMB community.  We welcome ID Agent onboard and look forward to a great business partnership assisting the Elevated family.” said Jason Rorie, Founder of Elevated Technologies.

The Dark Web is made up of various digital communities, and while there are legitimate purposes for the Dark Web, it is estimated that over 50 percent of all sites on the Dark Web today are used for criminal activities, including the disclosure and sale of digital credentials.

“Digital credentials such as usernames and passwords are widely used to connect to critical business applications – the reason these credentials are among the most valuable assets found on the Dark Web,” said Kevin Lancaster, CEO of ID Agent. “Unfortunately, the unaffordability of cyber offerings has played into the cyber poverty line experienced by small businesses. Dark Web ID, however, delivers an affordable model that provides small businesses with the same advanced credential monitoring capabilities used by Fortune 500 companies to organizations in the SMB and mid-market space.”

Dark Web ID is the industry’s only commercial solution available to detect customers’ compromised credentials in real-time on the Dark Web. It vigilantly searches the most secretive corners of the Internet to find compromised data associated with your customers’ employees, contractors and other personnel, and notifies them immediately when these critical assets are compromised. There are a few competitors in the market but none completely focused on the Dark Web as ID Agent’s solution.

About ID Agent

ID Agent provides a comprehensive set of threat intelligence and identity monitoring solutions to private and public sector organizations and to millions of individuals impacted by cyber incidents. The company’s flagship product, Dark Web ID, combines human and sophisticated Dark Web intelligence with capabilities to identify, analyze and monitor for compromised or stolen employee and customer data, mitigating exposure to clients’ most valuable assets – their digital identity. From monitoring your organization’s domain for compromised credentials to deploying identity and credit management programs in order to protect the employees and customers you serve – ID Agent has the solution. For more information, visit: http://www.idagent.com or go to LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

About Elevated Technologies

If you want more from your IT support company and are in need of a robust system to solve even your most challenging technology problems, your solution starts with Elevated Technologies. With Houston’s most advanced team of IT support experts and one-of-a-kind IT solutions, even your most challenging technology problems are no match for Elevated Tech. Our team of IT support experts implement advanced technology strategies, leveraging IT as a competitive advantage. Our mission is to create a personal, trusting relationship with every client in order to serve each business to the fullest.


How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi connections provide free access to the internet, allowing you to stay connected while away from home. However, using public Wi-Fi can be risky, as any personal details and sensitive information sent over an unsecured wireless connection could be intercepted by other people using the same network. If you intend to use public Wi-Fi connections, there are a few precautions you should take to keep your device and data safe.

Keep Updated

Software updates provide the newest patches to protect against security threats, so it’s crucial to keep your operating system, software and apps up to date. Ideally, you should be using the auto-update option on all computers and devices with internet access. Elevated Technologies provides IT management of mobile devices along with laptops, desktops, servers, etc.

Install Security Software

A firewall is essential for all computers, but a good all-around security system should also protect against viruses and spyware. For mobile phones and other devices, there are many free security apps available from reputable companies, such as McAfee, AVG and Avast.

Tweak Your Settings

Turn off file and printer sharing before connecting to public Wi-Fi. Most computers will do this automatically if you set up the Wi-Fi connection as a public network. Most mobile phones, tablets and other devices also offer extra protection for public Wi-Fi connections, but these security options vary greatly from one device to the next.

Add Extensions and Privacy Apps

Browser extensions like AdBlock Plus, Ghostery and Privacy Badger can help to protect privacy and keep your data secure. For mobile phones and other devices, Ghostery Privacy Browser and Firefox Focus offer enhanced privacy protection when browsing the internet.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) enables you to route all of your online activities through a private and secure network. The easiest way to set up a VPN is by using a service, such as IPVanish, TunnelBear or ExpressVPN. You can also set up your own VPN, but this can be complicated, so it’s important to do plenty of research before attempting to create your own private network.  Let us assist with setting us your secure company VPN for traveling devices!

Use Extra Security Measures

Many websites now use secure connections (HTTPS), but some older websites still use unsecured connections (HTTP), so it’s important to look at the address bar to make sure that you are accessing a secure website, especially if you intend to enter sensitive information, such as usernames or passwords. Whenever possible, use two-step security settings for your email and other personal accounts, as this will provide an extra layer of protection.

Public Wi-Fi is a convenient and free way to access your online accounts, but it also leaves your data vulnerable to hackers. Taking a few precautions will help to secure your computer and devices, but you still need to be careful when entering sensitive information. In particular, you should avoid accessing your bank, credit card or other financial accounts through public Wi-Fi.  Contact Us Today for a no-cost IT Security Assessment of your IT Network and Devices!

 


Prevention is Ideal, but Detection is Essential!!

Looking back at all the threats and breeches of 2017, the threats today and the ones in the future, Elevated Technologies has developed a new, robust security solution for Houston Businesses. We now have a 24/7/365 Cyber Security Operating Center and Incident Response Team!

This means we can collect, correlate, and monitor the logs generated from infrastructure devices whether on premises, cloud or hybrid. By monitoring the logs, our expertly trained security analysts can detect malicious network, domain, and web traffic. Often this malicious traffic will come from known suspicious geographical areas or from domains known to be connected to criminal organizations.

62% of cyber victims are small and midsize businesses. This can’t be ignored. Even if you current have someone doing your IT support, this solution is different and needs to be addressed!

Become compliant with most regulations such as PCI-DSS, SOX, GLBA, FDIC, HIPAA.

Identify and address these (an more) threats

  • Port scans, host scans, denied scans, sudden change of traffic between certain IPs or other anomalies in traffic
  • Network server/device and admin logon anomalies – authentication failures at all times an unusual IPs
  • Network access irregularities from VPN, wireless logons and domain controller. Account lockouts, password scans and unusual logon failures
  • Rogue endpoints, wireless access points
  • Botnets, mail viruses, worms, DDOS and other “zero day” malware identified by cross correlating
  • DNS, DHCP, web proxy logs and flow traffic
  • Abnormalities in web server and database access

Contact Us Today And Receive Our “Understand The Advanced Threat Landscape” Report and Take Advantage Of Our No-Cost Cyber Security Vulnerability Scan


How to Avoid Getting a Computer Virus

A computer virus will lay dormant on your computer until you do something to activate it. The simple act of opening an email can make a computer virus active. Once a virus is activated, it will send itself to people you know, and it will infect their computers like it infected yours. Here are some helpful tips you can use to prevent computer viruses from troubling you:

  • Go directly to a company’s website if you want to download one of their programs. Don’t download a program from some other website. When a site is reputable, it will usually scan its computer for viruses and remove them.
  • Make sure the music or videos you download are from well-known and reputable websites. Networks designed to share music and videos often carry viruses. These sites are also known to carry spyware.
  • Stay away from programs you find on forums or blogs. These programs may be infected with a virus. No matter how tempting these programs are, do not initiate these them.
  • Make sure you have antivirus protection. Protection such as this can be purchased or downloaded for free. Once installed, an antivirus program should be updated regularly. Updates may be done automatically.
  • Don’t download a program a friend sent you. Your friend’s intentions may be good, but there could be a virus on your friend’s computer that unknowingly infected the program you received. If you feel you must have that program, find out which website your friend found it on and download it from there.
  • Never open an attachment you receive from an unknown source. If you have no idea who sent the attachment, don’t be curious to find out what it is about and click on it. Just delete it and forget about it. Don’t open attachments you get via email even if you do know who they’re coming from, as there are viruses that can get email addresses from a computer and infect other computers. Some viruses can send out virus infected emails without the owner of the infected computer knowing about it.

Be cautious of links you receive in emails, as emails are sometimes used to send viruses. If you happen to click on a link that came to you in an email and it asks for personal information, don’t give it out. Don’t click on the link if you are not absolutely sure you know where it will take you.   If you concerned about your computer and network security, contact Elevated Technologies today for a no cost, non-intrusive tune up!


Elevated Technologies Ranked Among Top 100 Cloud Services Providers

7th Annual Talkin’ Cloud 100 Report Identifies Top Cloud Services Providers

December 5, 2017: Elevated Technologies ranks among the world’s Top 100 cloud services providers (CSPs), according to Channel Futures seventh-annual Talkin’ Cloud (TC) 100 report.

The full report is available now by visiting ChannelFutures.com.

Based on data from Channel Futures’ online survey, conducted between August to October 2017, the TC 100 list recognizes top cloud services providers (CSPs), including MSPs, hosting companies, cloud consultants and more. Rankings are based on annual cloud services revenue growth, and input from Channel Futures editors.

“This is a great honor and very humbling to be mentioned alongside other great CSPs around the globe,” said Jason Rorie, Founder, Elevated Technologies. “We are dedicated to providing the best solutions for our clients.  Leveraging our CSP and MSP practices, allows us to do just that – be the best IT partner possible.”

“On behalf of Channel Futures, I would like to congratulate Elevated Technologies for its recognition as a Talkin’ Cloud 100 honoree,” said Nicole Henderson, a contributing editor at Channel Futures who oversees the TC 100 project. “The organizations on this year’s list demonstrate everything from technological prowess to thought leadership to business excellence across a number of functional disciplines. If you want to understand where the market is heading, watch these companies in 2018.”

About Elevated Technologies

If you want more from your IT support company and are in need of a robust system to solve even your most challenging technology problems, your solution starts with Elevated Technologies. With Houston’s most advanced team of IT support experts and one-of-a-kind IT solutions, even your most challenging technology problems are no match for Elevated Tech. Our team of IT support experts implement advanced technology strategies, leveraging IT as a competitive advantage. Our mission is to create a personal, trusting relationship with every client in order to serve each business to the fullest.

About Informa

The Channel Futures brand is part of Informa which operates at the heart of the Knowledge and Information Economy. It is a leading business intelligence, academic publishing, knowledge and events business. With more than 7,500 employees globally, it has a presence in all major geographies, including North America, South America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  For additional information on Informa, visit www.Informa.com and for information on Channel Futures, visit www.ChannelFutures.com.

 Contacts:

Elevated Technologies:

Elevated Technologies Marketing

marketing@elevated-tech.com

Channel Futures:

Nicole Henderson, Content Director, Channel Futures and ITPro

nicole.henderson@informa.com


Cybercrime 101: Recognizing Malware

The word malware means mysterious sounds, blank screens, and crashing computers to many people. What they often don’t realize is the subtle nature of cybercrime. Malware creators don’t want their victims to find their malicious software: it can’t do its damaging and lucrative work if they discover it too quickly. Thankfully, anyone can learn how to recognize malware in all its forms and avoid becoming the next victim of cybercrime.  If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms on your IT network, contact us immediately!

Sudden Poor Performance

Most computer owners experience performance issues because they either install too many programs or run software that uses too much of the computer’s resources. Malware, however, will run silently as a background program and use up your computer’s processing power, which can lead to several problems if your machine can’t handle the extra load. If your computer suddenly struggles to run web pages and programs as well as it did before, you probably have malware.

New, Unwanted Toolbars

Many programs install toolbars, but malware versions are almost impossible to remove. If an unexpected toolbar appears that you can’t uninstall, or if it keeps reappearing after you delete it, you probably have malware somewhere on your computer.

Unexplained Pop-ups

Malware creators love pop-ups, though they aren’t as common today as they were a few years ago. Although being bombarded with mysterious pop-ups is annoying enough, malware ads will sometimes link to websites that will install more malicious software on your computer. Thankfully, it is easy to recognize malicious pop-ups since they commonly appear when no internet browser is open.

Scary Security Warnings

Installing fake security programs is one popular method criminals use to extract money from their victims. Malware security programs usually appear with no warning; they typically come with downloads from file sharing sites and display scary warnings about fake problems. These programs will scan your computer much more quickly than safe software since they’re not looking for anything, and there’s nothing to find.

You Lose Access To Your Computer

Some malware programs work by holding computers hostage. They will restrict access in some way until their victim pays a ransom. Corrupting personal files and permanently blocking the computer screen with large, immovable warning signs are their favorite techniques. The images they display often claim to represent a law enforcement agency, like the FBI, and will accuse the victim of committing a cybercrime. They will then ask the victim to pay a fine. Of course, paying them off is no guarantee that they will release your property.

Your Online Contacts Receive Erratic Messages

Scammers sometimes use spamming email and social media contacts to deceive their victims. If your contacts claim they are receiving messages from you that you haven’t sent, your computer is either infected with malware or a criminal has your account details. Malware often hides in messages sent this way and will activate if someone opens an infected attachment or navigates to a malicious website.

Malware messages share a few characteristics and learning them is the best way to avoid becoming a victim. Oddly enough, some messages will warn you that your computer has malware on it, and will install software when you open an attachment or navigate to their website to fix the problem. Others will imitate transaction confirmations or software updates from bogus companies. Some even hack email accounts so they can spam your inbox with messages from your contacts that don’t match their usual tone or writing style.

Malware isn’t merely an annoyance. Not only can it destroy your files, but it sometimes even leads to identity theft and extortion. That is why it is so important that you understand malware’s warning signs so you can react quickly and limit the damage.

Elevated Technologies Managed Network Security – Contact Us Today!


Improving and Optimizing Your Windows 10 Experience

The improvements features introduced in Windows 10 make it one of Microsoft’s most successful operating systems. However, poor PC management practices can still detract from the user experience. Here are several ways to improve these practices and ensure a high quality operating system.

Windows 10 has advanced security features, but it can still experience issues when you are not up-to-date on the latest protection and practices. Many forms of malware or viruses can enter this operating system, so consider doing a thorough scanning of your PC at weekly or bi-monthly intervals. If you make a habit of scanning your PC and updating antivirus programs, you can improve your chances of staying virus-free. Please contact us at Elevated Technologies with any questions or concerns about malware or viruses.

Another measure of PC performance is the amount of RAM space you have. Having more RAM equates to a faster PC. Consider adding at least 4 gigabytes of RAM for a 32-bit PC, or 8 gigabytes for a 64-bit system. You can look into adding more if you plan on using your PC for design, video-editing, gaming, or other intensive processes. You can also monitor the bandwidth MHz rating of your PC’s memory. The higher the MHz rating is, the better your PC will perform.

If you have not installed Windows 10 yet, then this next step can apply to you. Before installing the operating system, determine whether you have a hard disk drive (HDD), or solid state drive (SSD). Generally, Windows 10 performs at a more optimized level on an SSD over an HDD.

Keeping drivers for your devices and motherboard updated is also essential for an optimized PC. You can find updated drivers by simply going to your device manufacturer’s website. Each driver update can help keep your PC components running efficiently. Before downloading a driver update, look into whether it is compatible for a 32-bit or 64-bit Windows operating system.

Many internet service providers (ISPs) promote fast bandwidth, but they can also overwhelm your system. When this happens, the loading speeds of programs can be affected. To prevent this, use a faster DNS server such as Google Public DNS. Once you have found the one you want to run with, set it as your primary DNS server in your TCP/IP settings.  Questions about your IT network configuration can be solved by Elevated Technologies’ Managed IT Services

Lastly, one of the most important factors to maintaining a perfectly running PC is to ensure the operating system itself is updated. These updates are critical since they can fix bugs and patch up security vulnerabilities. Windows 10 updates are generally available on the second Tuesday of every month, but other updates can be released as a response to security threats. Be sure to make the time to install these updates, as they can extend the life of your operating system. Once you have developed a habit of making regular security updates and upgrading to the most compatible hardware, you can ensure the best Windows 10 experience.


How Small Businesses Can Stay Safe from Hackers This Holiday Season

Keep your small business protected from hackers this holiday season with these tips and tricks from Elevated Technologies.

Do you realize the holidays are one of the most popular times for hackers to target small businesses? With these tips, your small business can stay safe from hackers this holiday season. Digital media professionals recommend owners step-up cybersecurity measures to safeguard their business from attack while the festive season reigns. Here’s how you can protect the well-being of your enterprise and stay safe.

Key cyber security tips

Boredom is an issue among workers as the holidays approach. They surf the Internet, checking their Twitter and Facebook accounts and looking at personal emails which may contain malware. Doing so allows hackers to gain entry into computer systems. Millions of businesses are at risk and can benefit from the following advice.

  • Use data protection strategies to match the information your business keeps. Data encryption, encryption keys, and multi-factor identification, for instance, can defend sensitive files. Thieves might steal them, but they won’t be able to gain access to records.
  • Educate staff about staying alert to the possibility of hackers using them to break into computer systems. Teach them about the methods hackers’ use, such as sending personalized emails and pretending they are associates.
  • Monitor your small business well using passwords and malware defense. Also, make sure firewalls are in place, and antivirus software and network security certificates are up-to-date.
  • Restrict admission to vital data via employee’s mobile phones. Be wise and invest in a centrally controlled system that allows IT departments to wipe stolen devices remotely.
  • Carefully dispose of sensitive data. You might imagine information disappears from your computer when you erase files, but, until the disk space it took up is reused, it can be found.

Don’t let hackers spoil the holidays. Contact Elevated Technologies today to protect your IT network from today’s cyber threats! Keep your enterprise secure, and you can enjoy peace of mind.

 


Your IT Ally in the Cloud