New year, new you.

You may be asking, “What’s the secret to protecting my business against cybercrime?”

The answer: a layered approach incorporating security software, a security driven IT support staff, and employee training.

PremierePC can check each of those boxes.

First, let’s take a deeper look into cybercrime.

Cybercrime uses impersonation, fear, threats, lies, and other manipulation tactics to gain a victim’s trust or trick them to sharing sensitive data.

Impersonation in cybercrime is especially dangerous due to cybercriminals’ expert ability to hide in plain site and create legitimate-looking websites and emails.

Cybercriminals are also able to host malicious content on legitimate sites.

Phishing attempts are also able to, at times, slip through DNS and endpoint protection. This is where employee training is your last defense. Humans are consistently the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain of defense. Therefore, social engineering risks are far greater without a security driven IT support staff willing and able to train your employees.

Everyone, from receptionists to executives, are potential victims of an impersonator. In fact, help desk and call center employees are especially vulnerable because they are trained to be forthcoming with information.

Action items:

  1. Instruct employees to delete any requests for financial information or passwords. When in doubt, call the person who “sent” the request and conduct these transactions in person or over the phone.
  2. Use cybersecurity software with real-time anti-phishing services. If you’re suspicious of any links or emails, don’t click! Contact your IT provider first.
  3. Follow IT security best practices by patching software and securing email servers.
  4. Regularly participate in up-to-date Security Awareness Training and phishing simulations for employees.

Sound like too much? Contact PremierePC and we will be happy to walk with you through every step.

We love this time of year. It’s filled with fun, family, fellowship, food, and unfortunately phishing…

Scammers love this time of year too. The holiday shopping frenzy makes for easy phishing attack and hacking victims. PremierePC is here to help you learn how to protect yourself so you can have a great holiday season.

Do not click on links in emails.

If you’re not sure of the sender, or you didn’t request the email, do not click on any links or open any attachments. Instead, contact the company via their website or phone and ask for more information.

Beware of urgency.

Scammers will play on the fear of missing out on something, like a big holiday sale or a deadline for a bill. Resist any pressure to “act now.”

Watch for emails asking for private information.

Legitimate organizations will never request personal information via email. Do not email information such as passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc.

Research the website.

Scammers are getting better at creating fake websites that look real. Do your research before submitting payment to any sites.

Know your Wi-Fi.

Using public Wi-Fi creates many potential areas for hackers to breach and grab your data or sensitive information. Do not make purchases using public Wi-Fi networks like coffee shops, libraries, hotels, etc.

Keep track of orders.

Scammers will send fake delivery failure notices or package tracking emails to sway you into clicking a link or submitting personal information. Always keep track of what you’ve ordered and who will be delivering it. If you receive one of these emails, call the delivery service or as your post office.

Some of the best ways to avoid scams is continued education and a comprehensive security plan for your business. Contact PremierePC today to see how your security stacks up.

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.

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!

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

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!

Are you only relying on your email platform’s baked in spam filtering? You could be leaving yourself open to a range of threats.

What is email filtering?

Most major email providers use built in settings to move emails to “junk” or “spam.” These settings work great for unwanted advertising. However, they are not as effective in blocking incoming phishing emails that are designed to steal your personal information. These settings also do not prevent users from visiting websites known to contain malware.

Additional email security and compliance services can be layered on to block phishing emails and prevent users from visiting problematic sites.

How does it work?

Email filtering analyzes incoming emails for common trigger words, problematic content or design of the email, previously flagged IP addresses or senders, etc. Emails from unknown senders containing links or attached documents may also set off these phishing filters.

Phishing filters will typically move flagged emails to an additional inbox and place them “on hold” until you release, block, or allow it.

Releasing an email sends it to your normal inbox to be opened. In the future you will have to continue approving emails from the sender. If an email is blocked, then the email is rejected and the sender will be now be blocked from sending you future emails.

What are other ways to protect my network?

  • Implement Two-Factor (2FA) / Multi-Factor (MFA) solutions: These solutions add an additional layer of protection to your users.
  • Recognize signs of a scam: Engage your team in regular security training and phishing simulations.
  • Strengthen password security: Use a password manager and limit repeating passwords across different accounts
  • Maintain up to date hardware and software: Work with your IT firm to ensure you are using the most up to date and secure platforms

Remember that email filtering is only a portion of a whole cybersecurity plan used to keep your company safe.

How can PremierePC help?

PremeirePC is partnered with MailProtector (here in Greenville) to offer a range of email security and compliance services.


Elevate your email security to the cloud and stop spam and viruses for good. Let our team of email security experts protect your users around the clock.
Filter outbound email traffic with the policies you define. Prevent spam proliferation and keep damaging or sensitive data from being leaked via email.
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.

 

Learn more about our email security and compliance offerings and overarching cybersecurity support.

All services sold by the user by the month, no long-term commitments or up-front fees. Services are limited to managed service plan clients.

DID YOU KNOW…

60% of SMBs will go out of business within 6 months of a cyber incident

73.18% of the US population has at least one compromised credential on the dark web

$46,000 – average cost of downtime due to a ransomware attack

dark web monitor

Reusing passwords, or a similar version of the same password, means if one of these accounts is hacked, all of them are hacked. This will happen in a matter of seconds.

Now what?

PremierePC offers a wide variety of cybersecurity solutions to help mitigate and plan for attacks. They will happen. Will you be ready?

Dark Web Monitoring (DWM)

  • Delivers the same advanced credential monitoring capabilities used by Fortune 500 companies.
  • Connects to multiple Dark Web services, including Tor, I2P and Freenet, to search for compromised credentials, without requiring you to connect any of your software or hardware to these high-risk services directly.
  • Provides awareness of compromised credentials before identity theft or data breaches occur.

A Zero-Touch Solution. No need to share access to your server, domain, or DNS settings.

How can we protect against human error?

Regular security training and awareness allows employees to know what to look for, and how to stop phishing attacks from successfully gaining entry into your network. This is a very effective defense against cybercrime.

This solution is INCLUDED with our Dark Web ID solution. No additional costs to layer on a proactive security awareness program.

 

Ready to know what the bad guys know?

Access your free scan now

**Submitting your contact information in this form does not put your information at risk. We will simply use your provided information to compare to information we find on the dark web by searching typical hacker sites, over 500 distinct Internet relay chatroom channels, 600,000 private websites, and 600 twitter feeds. We will then set up a brief meeting with you to review your results.

How do I prevent Hackers from stealing my data?

How can I protect my business and data?

Scenario one: It’s 8:00 a.m. on a crisp, beautiful Monday morning. You walk into the business you own, and immediately realize your entire business is down. Overnight, your data and your clients’ data were stolen. It is being held for ransom. You panic. You’re on your own. now what?

Scenario two: It’s 8:00 a.m. on a crisp, beautiful Monday morning. You walk into the business you own, and realize your business is down, you call PremierePC. We share that a ransomware attack was detected. We identify the source of the attack, isolate it from the network, and then begin to restore all your data from backups. As a result your business is up and running with minimal effort on your part.” You take a deep breath. You are not alone. Thank goodness for PremierePC and a smart Cybersecurity plan.

Which scenario do you choose?

What is Huntress and how does it fit into a broader Cybersecurity plan?

Huntress collects and analyzes metadata about every application scheduled to execute when a computer boots up or a user logs in.

When a hacker establishes access, Huntress is there to help identify the breach, provide remediation steps, and monitor for any remnant footholds.

Huntress discovers new and existing footholds in shady email attachments, malicious website content, unpatched vulnerabilities, and tainted USB drives.

Breach detection alone is not a plan. Pairing this solution with a smart network design and backup and recovery plan help mitigate many risks and allows for flexible restorations.

PremierePC includes Huntress on every server we monitor.

Service plan clients can also add Huntress to each supported device for an additional fee.

New Features

Huntress has just added two new services at no additional cost: Ransomware Canaries and External Recon.

Ransomware Canaries is an early warning and detection system, sounding the alarm that the network has been hit and triggering protocol to restore their system from backups. This happens the moment a part of the network gets “ransomed.”

Networks have become harder to secure as endpoints move from office to homes and other mobile work locations. Ransomware canaries is a key solution.

External Recon is an automated tool which monitors the network, on a constant search for exploits that hackers have used in the past to penetrate security.

Huntress automated what hackers do to find vulnerable ports and make the client aware of them before hackers find them.

Additionally, there is a threat mitigation report that is automatically generated for customers to show the dangers that security software has intercepted and display the persistent nature of cyber-attacks.

Contact us today to learn more about automated breach detection and reporting from PremierePC.

cybersecurity

cybersecurity

Real-World Example: A food distributor received an invoice email. The email looked real: “from” the expected vendor, arrived at the expected time, and equaled the expected amount. The thieves had been watching. The company didn’t discover the problem until the real vendor got in touch to ask why the payment was late. By then, nothing could be done. The cybersecurity measures were not previously in place. Loss: $23,500.

Understand

What is cybersecurity?

Well it’s not just one thing; it is many things.

“Cybersecurity is the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.”

Cybersecurity can change based on industry, size, and services you already have in place or want to have in place.

Many people are afraid of cybersecurity because they think it is difficult, outside their knowledge level, and it can often be hard to implement. Many companies ignore it. This is not a solution. 

Your risks of not implementing cybersecurity measures include hackers, attackers, intruders,  malicious codes/malware, and vulnerabilities.

(Thanks to Homeland Security for the above quoted info.)

Analyze

So, what is the solution? How do you figure out what your business needs?

Do you have a dedicated IT department to analyze your business’s specific needs? Or do you simply use hosted email with default security settings and take your chances with your daily computing platform?

Are you proactively training staff on cybersecurity issues and searching for security holes in your system?

Have you implemented single sign on and MFA across cloud applications?

Are you monitoring devices on your networks to ensure they are not bringing in intrusions from outside?

Are you paying attention to how and where company data is being stored and accessed?

In today’s world, remote work is becoming increasingly popular and needed. Is your company implementing security measures to protect remote workers along with company-owned data?

Protect

You could spend as much money as you want to and still not achieve 100% protection. Making sure you spend the right money on the right solutions is the right way forward.

There are many areas that cybersecurity needs to be applied to. Having these particular areas properly managed by a professional team can mitigate your exposure to threats.

Some security solutions include: 

  • Firewalls with active security subscription.
  • Protecting users from inbound threats, phishing, and other external compromises via email.
  • Monitoring the DarkWeb for data which is already compromised.
  • Ensuring you are using next generation endpoint anti-virus solutions that monitor for behavior not just signatures.
  • Auditing how employees are using, accessing, and storing company-owned data.
  • Having a reliable source to call when you have questions.

What’s next?

Cybersecurity doesn’t have to be hard, scary, or overwhelming when you have professionals handling it. It can be as expensive as you want it to be, or you can get solutions that are customized to your needs.

If you have questions, we are here to make cybersecurity easy, affordable, intelligent, and a perfect fit for your needs. At PremierePC, Cybersecurity is built into all we do.