In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, our office will be closed Thursday, November 26th and Friday, November 27th.

We look forward to assisting you on Monday, November 30th.

From all us of here at PremierePC, we wish you and yours a very safe and happy holiday.

how can i reopen my business safely?

2020 brought many surprises and changes. One of which shifted many in-office employees to start unexpectedly working from home.

In 2020, 88% of the organizations, worldwide, made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work from home after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

This flexibility is great to continue business operations. However, it brings about serious holes in security unless you are fully prepared.

So what can an MSP like PremierePC do to help boost security and mitigate threats for work from home employees?

  1. Secure VPNs – this can ensure employees are utilizing the same security tools that are available in the office, mitigating cybersecurity threats and data breaches.
  2. Network segmentation for home networks –  this allows for multiple individual networks under a single network, simplifying security policies if done correctly.
  3. Remote endpoint incident management – this allows technicians to access remote laptops and deploy patches remotely.
  4. Maintain the latest software updates – software vulnerabilities, security loopholes found in programs and operating systems, are typically revealed as they are solved in the latest version. If not updated, programs and operating systems are easy targets for the bad guys.
  5. Educate on phishing attempts – hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities and weak points to take advantage of. An MSP like PremierePC can provide continuing education and phishing training to employees to mitigate these threats.

We know this can be very overwhelming for someone who is trying to focus on actually running their business. PremierePC is here to help! Contact us today.

MFA, Multi-Factor Authentication, is a security enhancement that requires two or more different forms of authentication to gain access to an account. These forms can be something you know (your password or pin), something you have (a smart card or key), or something you are (your fingerprint or eye scan).

MFA is a hot topic these days in the IT world. With hacking attempts consistently on the rise, it is becoming increasingly more important to secure online accounts and data as much as possible.

Last year, internal Microsoft users who enabled MFA blocked around 99.9% of automated attacks against their Microsoft account.

So we know MFA is important and effective, but what do the experts say about how to use MFA?

Microsoft is urging users to stop using SMS text and voice calls for MFA.

Experts know that telephone networks are prone to security issues:

  • SMS and voice calls are transmitted in cleartext and can easily be intercepted by the bad guys.
  • There are also readily available phishing tools that can quickly grab SMS-based one-time codes.
  • Phone network employees can also be tricked into transferring phone numbers to a bad guy’s SIM card, called SIM swapping, allowing attackers to receive the MFA codes on behalf of their victims.

A more secure option includes app-based MFA, like Microsoft’s Authenticator app.

The most secure option includes hardware security keys.

But always keep in mind, some type of MFA is better than no MFA.

Do you have multiple accounts in Microsoft Teams? Tired of logging in and out constantly?

Microsoft Teams on the desktop is getting a new feature that will allow users to add multiple accounts and manage them without logging in and out.

This new feature will allow users to link accounts together, enabling them to switch directly by altering their settings. This is set to roll out by end of this year or early next year.

However, there are more feature updates coming to Teams.

Users will be able to create custom pages, enabling businesses or educators to create a more cohesive team identity.

Invite links will be improved so that invited users will gain access to notes, files, or anything else shared during a call, even after the call has ended.

Contact us today to learn more about how to increase and streamline communication within your organization.

holidays_laptop_buying_guide

laptop_buying_guide_gift_computing

Thinking of gifting a new laptop this holiday season to yourself, your employees, or a loved one?

Lost in a sea of tech specs with no idea of what to do?

PremierePC is here to help!

Here’s a list of specs to look for, what they mean, and what we recommend.

Platform

Windows – most flexible operating system, runs on more laptops than Chrome OS or Mac OS X.

Mac – limited line of computers, tend to run more expensive, less flexibility.

Chromebook – least expensive, however this functions more like a tablet than a laptop. Chromebooks use the Chrome web browser as the primary user interface and run applications rather than software and are highly limited in their feature set.

What we recommend: Windows

CPU

The CPU is the central processing unit of a computer where instructions are taken from programs and applications to perform calculations.

Typically, a faster CPU means applications will run faster.

What we recommend: Intel Core i5 and above. (Choose i7 and above if you tend to run many applications at once, edit or create media, or run high-end games.)

Storage

The Hard Drive contains everything the CPU is going to need to do its job, including the operating system, apps, and files. There are two types:

  1. Spinning hard disk drives (HDD) drives read and write data with a head similar to a vinyl record album. HDDs are less expensive, however they are mechanical and fragile.
  2. Solid-state drives (SSD) are a bit more expensive but offer at least three times the speed and a much faster laptop overall. SSDs require less power and increase overall battery life and are shock resistant.

What we recommend: 500GB SSD

Memory

RAM, random access memory, stores just the portion of the data from the hard drive that the CPU needs at any given moment. If you run multiple applications at once, you will use more of your RAM. Therefore, more RAM means a faster machine.

8GB of RAM may be sufficient for day-to-day computing, allowing for fully loading Windows, a few productivity apps, and a web browser.

However, if you run multiple applications at once, you will need 16GB of RAM.

What we recommend: 16GB RAM

Other specs to look for

Displays running full HD (1920 x 1080) will look sharp and not consume too much of your battery life.

Decide if you want a full size (15-17″) laptop with a number pad or a 14″ portable laptop.

Understand your laptop’s docking station capabilities and options.

Touch screen capabilities are widely available in many laptops.

Integrated graphics chips are typically sufficient unless you are doing high-res video editing or gaming.

Ensure your laptop has the ports necessary for connections you need.

8+ hours of battery life is ideal.

Test out or research the keyboard and trackpad.

Research the brand. Don’t buy simply because you found a cheaply priced computer.

Our top laptop recommendations: Lenovo Thinkpad E14 or E15

You’ll end up wasting money in the long-run if you don’t do your research! Call PremierePC today for a laptop recommendation.

The holidays.

Full of fun, family, friends, food.. and, unfortunately, increased cybercrime activity.

In 2017, fraud attempt rates were highest on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and December 21—the cutoff date for express shipments to arrive before Christmas.

43% of all consumers who had their identity stolen say it happened while shopping online during the holidays in 2018.

The holidays are a key time for cybercrime, exploiting unaware and uneducated internet users. Attackers can defraud and monetize their actions with little effort.

For example, spoofed email addresses can be used to gain access to supplier or customer login. Phony websites can be made to look exactly like those of major retailers. Public Wi-Fi is another hunting ground for attackers. All of these can be used to capture and record credit card information.

So how can your data remain secure during this holiday season?

Never reuse passwords or even similar versions of passwords. Use strong passwords, mixing numbers, special characters, and letters.

Verify online reputation of the e-commerce sites you visit.

Avoid shopping online or accessing bank account information on anything other than secured, private Wi-Fi connections.

Never click on suspicious links, open unknown files, or download items from unknown sources.

Look at the URL of sites you visit, cybercriminals may create a site with just one character difference in the URL to gain access to your data.

Check in to your bank accounts and track all purchases. Report any fraud immediately.

Keep all operating systems and applications up to date, ensure you have security measures in place.

Educate! Stay up to date on cybersecurity trends and solutions.

Interested in analyzing your security posture? PremierePC is here to help. Fill out this form to start your cybersecurity plan today.

hiring_technician

PremierePC has a fantastic full-time opportunity for a motivated self-starting technical support specialist with a keen eye for detail.

The Technical Support Specialist will assist in simple break-fix technology situations, onsite visits, drop off and issue diagnosis, and running remote optimizations and routines. Most importantly, we are looking for an individual who is eager to learn, highly customer-focused, patient, an effective communicator, and has a positive attitude.

Interested? Apply here.

Microsoft teams is a communication platform in the 365 family of products, offering chat, videoconferencing, file storage, and application integration.

So what’s new?

The ability to create ad hoc breakout rooms will be available starting next month.

Microsoft says this is one of the most requested Teams features.

Meeting organizers will be able to split up participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions.

Presenters can then hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and close the rooms to return everyone to the main meeting.

New Jive Communications integration, streamlining your phone calls.

Teams now allows people to start calls for the Jive platform from inside of Teams.

Microsoft is partnering with meditation app Headspace on a customizable “virtual commute” feature.

It uses automation technology to help users close out tasks and designate work for the following day, log their sentiment about the work day, and then directs them into a guided meditation process.

The company cites a 2017 study by Microsoft researchers that demonstrated the improvement in productivity that came from winding down from work at the end of the day.

Its more recent research finds that the blurred lines between work and home are hurting their feelings of well-being.

Teams is getting new “Together Mode” backdrops, and custom layouts for presentations. 

The new backdrops show participants in shared virtual spaces including conference rooms and a coffee shop.

Custom layouts will let presenters determine how their content appears to meeting participants, including the ability to superimpose their own video feed on top of the slide they’re showing.

As collaboration technology needs continue to rise, Microsoft offers secure and trusted opportunities for success. Want to learn more? Contact PremierePC today!

The lines between work and home devices are being blurred, remote work is on the rise, and businesses are turning to social media more each day to promote, market, and engage with clients and prospects.

We know this is an effective means of marketing and engagement, but at what price?

There’s a risk?

Huge amounts of data have been gathered and leaked on the Dark Web about social media users, this is a problem.

In one breach earlier this year, a social media data broker exposed the public-facing profiles of 235 million users, 92 million profiles were scraped from Instagram, 42 million from TikTok and four million from YouTube via a misconfigured online database. That data almost inevitably ends up on the Dark Web, powering cybercrime like password cracking, credential stuffing, and phishing.

Attackers are getting smarter; they are facilitating phishing attacks not only with email, also with messaging apps like LinkedIn and WhatsApp. Cybercriminals build trust through these apps and then lead victims to visit a phishing page.

Password theft is on the rise through impersonation, shown in this recent Twitter hack. Attackers may trick employees into believing they are a contractor who lost their password. Data breach from brands and influencers empower targeted spear phishing against fans; these may look legitimate because they can include personalized details.

As it becomes increasingly more common for social media to be used for business, it will become increasingly more common for cybercriminals to use social media in their attacks.

Oh jeez. This is serious. Now what?

Taking action now to combat potential risks can prevent social media from being a source of trouble for your business.

PremierePC is a fully integrated IT provider, we eliminate the need for multiple vendors, and create a relationship where we are responsible and accountable to you. Our focus is, and always has been, local and regional small to medium-sized businesses.

We stay up-to-date on cybercriminal trends and the latest and greatest solutions to mitigate these attacks. PremierePC learns each client’s unique environment and looks for potential risks for cybersecurity breaches. We offer data backup in the event that a breach happens, we can access your data and get you back up and running as quickly as possible.

We are passionate about your security. We would be happy to review our baseline security questionnaire with you to analyze your current environment and security strength. If you see you need help, we also have a new client offer.

Contact us today for your free baseline security audit.

Email encryption via Bracket offers an added layer of security to your email platform ensuring compliance in difficult industries like Health Care and Financial Services.

User-friendly encrypted email with no plugins or apps. Simply wrap brackets around the subject in any email client and Bracket handles the rest.

New with Bracket 3

Secure file transfer

Included with Bracket is our encrypted file transfer service, Bracket Share. This gives every Bracket user their own personalized file transfer page with an easy URL (Share link) they can give to anyone. Shared files and messages show up in the Bracket inbox just like a regular message.

  • Customizable link

    Bracket Share links are customizable, so users can make them easy to remember and share.

  • Personalized invites

    You can have Bracket email people an invitation to share. These can display your personalized profile, so your contacts feel more confident about sharing their sensitive data.

  • Anyone can share… anytime

    Anyone with your Share link can share encrypted files and messages when it’s convenient for them. No account required.

  • Sender validation

    Senders who share through the Share link are securely validated via inbox authentication to prevent abuse.

  • Send large files with easeDon’t worry about bounced emails with large attachments. Bracket can handle files up to 1GB in size with up to 25 files allowed per message. Large files are good to go when sending from Bracket’s webmail interface or Bracket Share.

Want to take the solution for a spin? We are able to offer Bracket 3 for free until end of 2020 to all net new Bracket users (new users only, no existing domains).

Call us today to try it out!

864.335.9223