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

PremierePC - Managed IT

Join Robert Clinkenbeard for the Virtual Scaling Up/EO Summit: Seeking Opportunities: Leading the Recovery 2.0
Thursday, Sept 17, 3:22 pm – 4:58 pm EDT

Hosted by Verne Harnish, join a great lineup of speakers to include Sir Richard Branson!

Register here

Event Main Page

premiere pc circle logo

There are many to consider. Depending on your industry and the type of data you collect and store, some are more critical than others.

Home networks: Usually residential networks rely on consumer grade routers with no intrusion protection or advanced security services. In addition, they have other unsecure devices like IoT devices, games systems attached. They may offer weak WiFi protection as well.

All these open these networks to additional risk of attacks, often without any awareness.

Secure VPN Connections: These should be used in ALL cases where access back to a central office is needed. In most cases, connecting to the VPN will then filter traffic for that device though the corporate router.

Single-Sign On (SSO):
While cloud services can be a wonderful way to stay connected and access work, ensuring that it is secured is critical. Where possible, get as many cloud applications talking to a central identify provider. There are solutions for clients with and without servers. When a user is added or removed access is then updated accordingly across all systems. This method also allows you to maintain password rotation and other high-level security policies.

Employee vs Corporate devices:
What is your team computing on? If corporate owned and managed devices, then you can ensure those are secure and have your security solutions loaded. When staff begins to use their own devices, you lose control of security and risk your data being stored on devices you do not own or manage. Based on your industry, this can be a huge issue.

Remote working policies and procedures:
Does your team know what you expect and how to move forward? Most firms raced to work from home but spent little time on formally documenting expectations around data security and privacy risks.  Take some time to meet and get everyone on the same page around how to work smart from home.

Social engineering attacks:
With more of your team working from home, its easier for attacks to seem more legitimate. Phishing attacks are on the rise as many have their guard down do to changed routines. Routine training and awareness about company procedures, especially around financial transactions and access to systems is a must. If your team is not using instant communications software to stay in touch, consider it as email is still the most effective conduit for attacks. Use phone calls, virtual meetings, or instant messaging to confirm critical actions.

Think of PremierePC as your own personal IT department. When you call we, answer and help with a full range of technology issues. We quickly gain access to your systems to help diagnose and repair, often without the need for a visit, so you can get back to work.

With our New Client Offer, you will receive 50% off the price of your service plan for two months! Fill out the form here or call us today to invest in the future of your business! 864-335-9223

A service plan allows us to get to know you better, so when problems do crop up we have all the information we need to correct them as quickly as possible.

The PremierePC service plan requires no long-term commitment; this is a partnership.

We offer three different levels of service plans to meet your needs. Learn more here…

iot devices

 

iot devices

What is an IoT device? IoT stands for Internet of Things; these devices are pieces of hardware with a sensor that transmit data from one place to another over the internet. IoT devices include, but are not limited to, smart refrigerators, smart watches, smart fire alarm, smart door lock, fitness trackers, smart lights, echos, google home, etc.

These devices may be smart, but they are leaving security holes in home and business networks. If an attacker gains access to any of these devices and they are on the same network as your primary device (laptop, desktop, smartphone), this attacker now has a direct route to your sensitive and private data on your primary device.

What many do not consider is the nature of these “always on” devices. The convenience of being able to turn your lights on with voice comes at a cost. Devices placed near intimate or private spaces can reveal more than you want. At work, they can listen to passwords and critical business details. Placement is just as important is the network they live on.

How can you prevent this?

Glad you asked! The first major way to mitigate this security risk is to isolate your IoT devices on a separate WiFi network or LAN by using micro-segmentation.

Micro-segmentation is where the WiFi router admin creates VLANs, or virtual networks. These virtual networks act as completely different networks even though they are operating off the same router.

Neat, huh?

This may sound overwhelming for a non techy. Thank goodness PremierePC is here to help! 

A few more tips for IoT devices: change the default password to something unique and secure, know the permissions on all apps you are using, and keep devices updated regularly.

Consider muting devices when not in use to prevent always listening devices. Teach children and staff to be aware of devices and what is said near them.

Contact us today to maximize your business through technology.

premiere pc circle logo

Yes and no, it really depends on the type of gear and if its mission critical or not. Let’s review a few types of hardware and answer with more specifics.

Servers:

Absolutely. Obtain NBD service directly from the manufacturer when purchasing., opt for the longest term they have available., 5 years is the average lifespan of mid to high end servers. For entry level servers, a 3 year term is more reasonable.

Network gear:

Most routers and switches will come with a 1-year warranty. Meraki for example will offer hardware replacement as long as you maintain your security services. For small business gear, the cost of warranty exceeds the risk. For higher end switches in the thousands, this makes more sense.

Workstations / Laptops:

We advise that all new systems be ordered with the 3 year NBD depot warranty option for any business user. Having techs come to you vs you having to shop your unit off waiting weeks is always smarter. The average laptop or desktop will last about 3 years when choosing mid to high end gear.

Monitors and Accessories:

We skip these options as we have seen very few monitor failures due to manufacture defects over the last decade. If there is a problem, it will usually manifest in the first year. Stay away from the cheap brands and pay a little more for quality to avoid any issues.

Within the IT support industry there are no real standards in terms of what or how a company provides IT services. There are differing models such as break-fix, contracts, or hybrid offerings.

With 20+ years in the IT support space, we feel that the Managed Services approach works best for both client and provider alike.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) exist to collect and manage an array of services and solutions for their clients. Within that designation, there can be a focus on vertical or niche industries.

A true managed service provider is one that exists to service a client in many parts of their business, whereas a break-fix firm is available on demand as needs arise.

What we have observed over the last two decades is that clients with an MSP are much better prepared for changes, have a higher security posture, and have better performing networks. To this end, that is our approach. Think of an MSP as your IT controller.

Questions you should ask a potential IT provider should include:

  • How many employees do you directly hire? (Stay away from franchise firms that use back office techs to supplement the owner.)
  • Do you carry full professional liability insurance?
  • Do you focus on proactive work and what can be expected?
  • What is the average wait time to talk to a technician?
  • Can you advise and consult on security and compliance? Is this part of the contract?
  • Do you have a long-term commitment? (Stick with firms that offer you month-to-month pricing as they will scale with you and offer more flexible options.)
  • Can you support all of our business functions? [For example, our MSP will handle just about everything for a client (domain, dns, email, av, help desk, hosted phones, file sharing, etc) Try to get a single source to tie all of your critical business IT needs together.]
  • Get client references, ask for more if needed. Call them, get honest feedback.

Most of all, find a provider you can trust, one that will act on your company’s best interests. As an example, our firm does not add margin to hardware or software sales. We are not here to upsell gear, instead we focus on our service relationship.

Schedule regular meetings with your new IT team and fill them in on your thinking and plans. A good IT provider can be a critical part of your overall leadership team and help you save time and money with smart solutions.

PremierePC - Managed IT

Matthew addresses : What is the dark web? Why should I monitor the dark web? What happens if my company’s information is already present on the dark web? How can PremierePC help my business?

View our Dark Web Video on Youtube

Click here, fill out the form, and access your free report today!