Tip of the Week: 7 Ways to Secure Your Smartphone

A hacker or worse can easily access the personal or company information located on a mobile device if you do nothing to keep them out. Thankfully, there are several methods you can use to keep unwanted eyes off of your mobile device?s data: Lock Out Strangers with a Lock CodeThis should be a given. Without a passcode on your phone, anyone with physical access to your device can obtain whatever is on it, be it personal information, company data, or even your family?s home address. This is not information you want to share with any potentially malicious entity, both in the virtual world or the material world. Encrypt your DataMost smartphones and tablets allow you to encrypt your entire device so your data can’t be read if a user doesn’t have a password. This makes it much harder for someone to steal and sell your information. Prevent Websites from Tracking Your BrowsingWhen you are browsing a website, that website is collecting information from your device to provide you with advertisements based on your interest. While this works (sometimes), you probably don?t want to accidentally leak unwanted information about your person to the Internet. By selecting the Do Not Track option in your mobile device?s browsing settings, you are asking websites to not collect information from you. While this doesn?t always work, most websites will adhere to your preference. Avoid Calls from Unknown NumbersYou might remember being called by anonymous numbers that you?ve never seen before and listening to automated messages from some company you don?t care about. These are a waste of time, and annoying. Even when there is someone on the other end, they are usually trying to sell you some meaningless service. Other times, they might have more malicious intentions. The stranger on the other end may be posing as a bank representative to steal sensitive information from you without you realizing it. In these cases, it?s better to not say anything, and in some cases, not answer the phone at all. Find Lost Devices with GPS TrackingIf you have lost your device, there?s a good chance that nobody will find it? but there?s also a chance that someone will find it. What if that person were a hacker, or someone with less-than-pleasant motives? In this case, don?t forget that you can track your phone via GPS. Both Android and iOS offer services which can help you lock down your phone and even find it with GPS tracking. Add Contact Information to Your DeviceUnfortunately, locking down your phone won?t help a good samaritan who finds your phone and wants to return it to you. In case you are somehow unable to locate it with GPS, and your phone is found by a decent human being, you should include at least some information about how to return it to you. Just be careful not to leave too much information in it, or you might risk being the target of identity theft or worse. Keep Your Device on Your PersonObviously the best way to avoid any of these scenarios is to keep good track of your device. If you don?t lose your phone, the chances of someone else getting their hands on it are greatly diminished. Try a Mobile Device Management Solution from White Mountain IT ServicesThese tips only really apply to physical […]

Can You Tell the Difference Between an IT Issue and an IT Problem?

The hard truth is that it can often be difficult to discern a technology issue from a problem, but if you?re in need of a cold, hard definition for the two, we?ve put these together: An IT issue is one which is potentially disruptive to everyday operations, but it may not be apparent at the present moment (i.e. it?s not immediately effecting your business). An IT problem is basically an IT issue which has matured. It is the result of not dealing with minor disruptions as they happen. It is now negatively affecting your business. One of the biggest differences between an issue and a problem is that one of them is easily preventable. To help you further understand the difference, we?ve put together several scenarios which can be prevented thanks to proactive IT services. Security DiscrepanciesYou?re checking your email and you see what looks like a perfectly legitimate sign-up form from one of your favorite websites. However, what you didn?t realize is that the URL to the form starts a download, which in turn installs malware on your system. In a situation like this, all of your pains could have easily been avoided if that email didn?t make it to your inbox in the first place. In this case, email spam is the technology issue which could lead to malware or viruses infecting your system, which is the problem. White Mountain IT Services?s Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution is designed to keep threats out of your system, and quickly neutralize the threats that do land in your network. In this particular case, the UTM provides spam blocking features which prevent suspicious emails from making it to your inbox in the first place. Putting Off MaintenanceYou know your business?s technology needs to be up-to-date and current, but in the throes of business it can be difficult to remember when patches and updates should be applied. Not applying the latest patches and updates to your operating system and your software is like leaving a wide-open hole in your defenses, and you?re practically begging for a threat to get through. If you?re thinking the issue is the unapplied maintenance, then you?re right. Neglecting proper maintenance leads to potential vulnerabilities and security breaches. With a remote maintenance solution from White Mountain IT Services, we can automate the patching process for you so your systems are always up to date and secure. Data LossA business that doesn?t keep external backups of their data stands to lose it all. Let?s say a flood wipes out half of your office. Technology certainly isn?t water-proof, so naturally your servers and workstations take some serious damage. In the event a natural disaster strikes, your hardware could be destroyed by the elements; and with it, your data. Businesses who can?t access their data for an extended period of time likely won?t be in business for much longer, so it?s important to take natural disasters and data loss into account. In this case, the issue is a lack of data backup, and the problem is data loss. Data backup is sometimes considered an afterthought for some businesses, even though it should be a top priority. White Mountain IT Services?s Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution prepares your business for any type of data loss disaster, whether it?s caused by hardware failures, natural disasters, or hacking. You?ll enjoy several backups […]

It Might Be Time to Reevaluate Your VPN Strategy

VPNs are a common means to extend the reach of your business?s network. They are often used by remote workers to access corporate data locally through their Internet-connected devices while on the go. This, in turn, allows for increased productivity and availability of mission-critical information. However, with the advent of cloud computing and the immense amount of new Internet-connected devices entering the market (thanks to the Internet of Things), your VPN solution might be in need of a good evaluation. To find out how your current solution holds up, it?s important to see how the cloud and other new technologies are going to affect it in the years to come. Considering the CloudAccording to Processor magazine, the cloud is changing the way that company?s look at VPNs and mobile computing in general. VPNs are a technology that?s been around for a while, and it hasn?t changed much since its inception; unlike the cloud, which is growing more popular and dynamic by the day. For instance, many VPN users might only be using it to manage their own on-site network, and their particular solution isn?t designed to cope with the advances in cloud technology. When considering that your business?s data will be directly available for anyone able to connect to your network, it?s important to take into account the different ways a user will access that data. This includes mobile access points, wired connections, and even through the cloud. Security and Identity AuthenticationThis, naturally, leads businesses to a solution which should be designed with security in mind. The purpose of the VPN is to provide users with a secure avenue of access for confidential corporate files, even if the WiFi hotspot is sketchy at best (think free hotel WiFi). Therefore, you need to ensure security if you?re hoping to reap the benefits of a VPN successfully. According to James McCloskey at Info-Tech Research Group, ?If a person is [connecting via VPN] from an unmanaged, non-corporate device, you do really want to make sure they?re not going to be in a position to intentionally or otherwise access resources they don?t need and store them on their local machine.? This is a very real risk that is associated with VPNs and must be addressed if you want to continue taking advantage of one. White Mountain IT Services?s VPN is capable of maximizing the security of your business?s network while taking advantage of a flexible, easy-to-use solution. Additionally, with our other managed IT services, we can augment your VPN with cloud management, security services, or a mobile device management solution. If you?re not sure how to approach a reevaluation of your network security and performance, we?d be more than happy to lend you our expertise on the subject. Give White Mountain IT Services a call at (603) 889-0800 today for a free analysis of your network security and efficiency. Together, we can help your business achieve optimal productivity with your technology and push your bottom line to greater heights.

How to Handle an Employee that Wants to Use their Smartphone at Work

Situations like this are created by the influx of employee?s bringing their mobile technology into the workplace. This makes for a whole new paradigm that business owners haven?t had to deal with in the past. If there was sensitive data on the device and it was lost or stolen, you, as the business owner, would be liable to notify your affected clients. This is one embarrassing phone call that you don?t want to make, and if you have clients in other states, it quickly becomes a federal issue. Due to complex liability issues such as these, many business owners are opting to ban the use of employee-owned mobile devices in their offices altogether–a move that may hurt the morale of your technology-loving staff. While it?s great that an employee is willing to check their work email from their own smartphone, or bring their own iPad into meetings to take notes, it starts to spread your data out into areas your company might not be able to control. This is where mobile device management comes in. It starts with building a Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, policy, establishing company rules for employees who want to access company data and communications with their mobile devices. Setting up policies that enforce the user to password protect and encrypt their devices, and being able to remotely wipe the device if it?s lost or stolen, will protect your data from the worries that BYOD causes. We can help you gain control of mobile devices that are accessing your data, and with the risks of BYOD accounted for and covered, you will open your business up to the benefits of BYOD, which include: BYOD is cost effective. BYOD gives you access to the latest mobile technology designed to improve efficiency. BYOD makes your company more attractive to younger workers. BYOD improves employee satisfaction. BYOD gives you a mobile workforce. To confidently take advantage of these BYOD benefits and more, reach out to White Mountain IT Services at (603) 889-0800. We?re happy to help you find the best mobile solution for your business.

3 Concepts to Think About Before Adding Thin Clients in Your Workplace

While bulky desktops can eat up a ton of electricity and space, the thin client is essentially a desktop terminal without a hard drive. That might sound pretty useless at first, but their truly redeemable factor is that they are incredibly versatile. The thin client doesn?t have anything stored on it locally. It calls all of the applications and other mission-critical information from the server it?s connected to. It?s not uncommon to find these devices on college campuses, public places like libraries, and in more recent years, the workplace. These machines generally only consist of the graphics interface, and for businesses who store their information and services on the cloud, they only need a web browser in order to function properly. Are you considering setting up thin clients for your business? Here are three topics to think about when making your decision. Fewer Costs Associated with Thin ClientsAs you can expect, thin clients tend to not use up as much energy as a full-fledged workstation. This is because all of the computing power is coming from the server itself, rather than the hardware. Wouldn?t that put a lot of strain on the server itself, though? Servers consume a ton of energy, producing excessive amounts of heat, and they generally require some sort of dedicated air-conditioned environment. However, there?s a solution for this. If your business takes advantage of virtualization services, you can move your server to the cloud and save on those energy costs, too. If you?re not sure how to proceed with your server virtualization, White Mountain IT Services can handle this daunting task for you. Minimal Points of FailureThis particular fact is a double-edged sword. If the server does indeed process the applications and information for several clients on your network, what would happen if something were to go wrong with the server? A thin client infrastructure is vulnerable to all of the same issues that plague server maintenance. If a hardware failure were to strike and cause server downtime, the thin clients would cease to function properly. On the other hand, this also means that thin clients rarely need the heavy-duty protection that the full-fledged workstation would. The only machines which need software-level protection from common threats would be the server, since the thin clients pull all of their applications and information from it. It?s imperative that you keep data loss and security in mind when using thin clients. White Mountain IT Services can arm your hardware with the best security solutions on the market, so you can concentrate on maintaining normal operations. We also have our powerful Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution available to prevent downtime and data loss in the event of a server crash. This is especially important when using thin clients, since all functionality relies on the server itself. Our BDR can take the place of your server in the event of a disaster, so operations can resume while you integrate a more permanent fix to the issue. Flexibility and ScalabilityIf you find your business is really taking off, it?s simple to add another thin client to your IT infrastructure. Think of it in these terms: When you hire a new person, they?ll require a machine to work on. Equipping a workstation with all of the software they?ll need to perform their duties can take plenty of time […]