Tech Terms to Know in the Modern Business World

Tech terms are everywhere, and it seems like everyone uses them nonstop. But do they actually know what they mean …? Do you…?

If not, here are a few tech terms every modern business professional should be familiar with. Learn what each term means and pick up a few conversation starters in the process.

Cloud Computing

When you store your data within a remote or offsite server, you rely on the cloud to handle business. This usually means you can access your data from any location or with any connected device. It improves your flexibility and makes your business more mobile.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A VPN gives you and your staff the ability to access your private business server using a public network. In other words, you can work and send information using any internet connection, as if your computer was directly connected to the private network. This is highly recommended if you have remote employees.


A keyword is what people use to search for something on the internet. It isn’t always one word, and it can be as generic or as a specific as you need it to be. This word or phrase should sum up the gist of your webpage and help people find your site easier.


A vector can be many things, but here, it’s a graphic. These graphics are made up of “paths” rather than pixels, making them easy to work with. A designer can cut these images out with little hassle and use them within a design. Typically, vectors seem more “cartoonish” in nature.

Hot Spot

At this point, most everyone should know what a hot spot is but just in case… A hot spot is simply an area that provides internet access, typically found in places like a coffee shop, airport, hotel, or college campus. It isn’t always free, and sometimes it’s password-protected.


UX stands for user experience. When you have a good UX, it normally means you have a pretty solid website (or app). In others, people enjoy being on your site (or app). It’s easy to get to, easy to maneuver through, and nice to look at.


Information technology is the long-winded version of I.T. This term encompasses your network and all the hardware within it that stores, sends, and receives data.

Managed Services Providers (MSPs)

A Managed Services Provider is basically an I.T. company that proactively maintains and monitors your network, hardware, and technology infrastructure as a whole. Traditional I.T. companies use the Break-Fix model (Your computer breaks, you call the company, and they come and fix it). On the other hand, MSPs regularly update and manage all aspects of your technology to fix issues before they even happen.

Looking for simple ways to improve meetings? Technology can help.

Modern technology can improve so many different facets of your business. But in some cases, these areas might not be so obvious. In other words, you and your team are so accustomed to the status quo that you don’t even think of other possibilities… like your meetings for one.

Incorporate the tiniest amount of technology into your meetings, and you can easily increase productivity, improve engagement, and maximize collaboration. Here are a few quick ideas to help you and your team make the most out of all those meetings.


Apps aren’t just for building magical kingdoms and swiping to the left for hours. Apps can also be used to pull off more effective meetings. With the right set of meeting apps at your team’s side, you can schedule sessions (Calendly, Appointlet, NeedToMeet), track minutes (Team Meeting Timer, Lucid, Less Meeting), build agendas (Minute), jot down notes (Cisco Spark), share files (Dropbox), and so much more. Apps like these will help you and your team get on the same page and stay there.

Big Screens

Who doesn’t like a big screen? Throw one of these bad boys into your next meeting, and you’ll notice the engagement levels shoot through the roof. But it can’t be just any big screen… it needs to be a touchscreen, write-all-over, connect-to-business-applications kind of big screen. In other words, something like a Mondopad. Use this gadget like you would a whiteboard but also do things like video conference and screen share.

Phones, Laptops, and Tablets

Most people think it’s a terrible, terrible thing to use a phone or other connected device during a meeting… but why? Maybe back in the day this was looked upon as a business Faux Pas, but nowadays, it should be considered something relatively normal. Allow people to bring their devices into a meeting so they can take notes, schedule activities for later, and manage their time more effectively. Otherwise, you’re limiting their abilities simply because someone at some point told you to do it.


Great Apps to Track Down a Lost or Stolen Phone

Smartphone have become an essential part of our everyday lives. Not only because it’s a collection of apps, photos, messages, and contacts that make up his or her digital life, but it’s also a large chunk of money… anywhere from $200 – $1200!

Because of this, losing a phone can be an awfully traumatic experience. You’re forced to start over from scratch and invest another portion of your savings into something that might just be lost or stolen a few months from now.

However, there is a way to fight back against lost or stolen phones, and it all starts with a phone-finding, anti-theft application. Here are a few to get you headed in the right direction.   


With Prey, a stolen or lost phone has the potential to be recovered. This phone-finding, anti-theft application gives you the ability to take photos and lock your device remotely. This means that hypothetically you could take a photo of the thief with your phone’s camera and then keep them out of your phone and away from your data with remote locking.

Prey also allows you to wipe your data remotely (if it comes to that) and retrieve data stuck on your phone, like messages and call logs. Receive the location of your phone, determine if there are any Wi-Fi hotspots nearby, and take screenshots of what the thief is doing on your phone.  


Avast Anti-Theft

Avast has a lot of the same capabilities as Prey. You can remotely lock your phone and wipe its data. You can receive screenshots, retrieve data, and learn about the surrounding Wi-Fi. One interesting feature Avast has, though, that Prey does not is that you can activate a loud siren. And the siren will only get louder if the thief tries to turn it down.

Another interesting feature is its SIM-Card-Change Notification. If the thief slips a new SIM Card into your phone, you’ll receive a message with the phone’s new number and location.



Lookout is also very similar to Avast and Prey. It has the same basic phone-finding, anti-theft features that the two previous applications encompass. However, Lookout differs because it incorporates features such as Identity Monitoring and Threat Protection. So, not only will the app help protect you from identity theft, but it will also work to protect your device from known cyber threats.

And to keep things even more safe and secure for you, Lookout will send you reports on recent data breaches and backup your mobile data in the process. 



Cerberus is slightly more intense than the other apps previously mentioned. In fact, a film student based in Amsterdam recently used this app to create a documentary on where stolen phones go. With this app, he was able to setup custom alerts, listen to phone conversations, turn on the camera, read messages, and track the phone’s location. Cerberus will also backup your data and give you the option to remotely lock your device, wipe its contents, and retrieve data.  

Interested in learning more about keeping your mobile devices safe and secured? Give us a call today! Our I.T. experts would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Four Reasons Your Business Will Get Hacked

Businesses get hacked all the time. At this point, we expect hackings to happen. But… this doesn’t mean we necessarily accept them or that we forgive a business when they become a victim of a data breach or fall upon a security misfortune.

This being said, it’s important to know what will get your business hacked, so you can avoid these things at all costs. Here are a few things that will most certainly throw your business into a world of hacking.


You aren’t training your people.

Usually, technology is pretty smart, and for the most part, it can keep hackers out. It’s the people using the technology who aren’t so smart. They’re the ones who allow hackers to slip through, and oftentimes, it’s the direct result of a social engineering attack.

These attacks can play out any number of ways – through your inbox, in person, over the phone, through the mail – but the end goal typically involves someone giving away sensitive data. This can be anything from credit card numbers and login credentials to passwords and personal information.

Whatever the case might be, it’s all preventable with just a little training. If you fail to train your employees on the ins and outs of social engineering, then your company will pay for it with its data, reputation, and, quite possibly, its future.


You don’t have policies.

Cyber security doesn’t just entail a handful of monitoring and prevention tools bundled together to create a layered security solution. That’s way too simple. In reality, cyber security involves much more, and you can thank the human element for that.

If you’re serious about that whole not-being-hacked thing, then you need to create detailed policies that actually help you do that whole not-being-hacked thing. These policies should address issues such as passwords, internal updates, external access, hiring and firing, and training. The more bases you cover, the better off your business will be.


You do have policies, but you don’t implement them.

If you go through the hassle of creating policies, then you might as well follow them. More oft than not, companies will create security policies but they won’t stick to them. They rarely train new hires on them; they forget to update them, and they never discipline employees for failing to follow them.

There’s no point in having policies if you don’t stick with them. Create. Implement. Update. Then regulate.


You don’t change.

Things change over time, including cyber threats. This means, that your cyber security policies, strategy, education, and tools should change over time, as well.

If you remain stationary, you really aren’t remaining stationary. This is because while everything else is progressing and evolving, you are not. You are falling behind. You are not remaining stationary because you are becoming less and less modern, less and less of a competitor, and less and less of a challenge to hack.

Never stop learning and always keep your business at least one step ahead of the threats.


Has your business experienced a cyber-attack firsthand? Do you worry about whether or not your business is secure enough to withstand a cyber-attack?

If so, then give us a call today to schedule your no-cost security assessment. Our security experts are looking forward to your call!


What to look for in an IT provider

The relationship between technology and running a business has rapidly evolved over the last few years, making it even more important to have a professional IT staff by your side.

Whether it’s increasing your team’s efficiency or keeping your business safe from hackers, technology has the ability to make or break your business. But with so many IT guys popping around the block, how do you know which one is right for your business?

The truth is, there’s a huge problem in the IT industry today. So many IT companies pride themselves on what the industry considers “Permissions to Play,” to the point where they’re all starting to sound the same. I’m talking about things like:

  • Fixing computers
  • Having a fast response time
  • Great customer service
  • Having smart people…

I mean which IT company CAN’T do all of those things fairly well?

When looking into partnering with an IT company, you need to look for a company that will take a more in-depth role in your technology, as it relates to running and growing your business. It’s not about hiring some techy guys to fix your computers. It’s about having a professional CIO by your side, every step of the way.

So what services should you really be looking for?

IT Consulting

Building your competitive edge calls for hard work, some serious talent, and a whole lot of perseverance. But, do you know what else it takes? Technology.

You create strategies for every aspect of your business, and the same must be done for technology. Thinking of opening up a second office? Concerned about the efficiency and security of your remote staff and devices? Are your employees wasting time on sites like Facebook and on your dime?

IT consulting is what you’re looking for. The good IT Company will hold regular meetings with you and your team to discuss any concerns, upcoming projects and growth plans. Together, you will create a technology roadmap to ensure everything happens on time and on budget.


Compliance as a Service

Compliance challenges are common in the workplace, especially as the laws change and develop. Protection of the customer’s privacy is a hotbed issue, and if you operate any kind of business that deals with health records or credit cards, you must be compliant or face fines and penalties.

But being fully compliant is easier said than done. Managing and maintaining your compliance and levels of security can be daunting, time-consuming, and will more than likely require specialized IT expertise. Make sure to look for an IT provider that will assist you in meeting compliance laws, whether it’s HIPAA, PCI, or whatever other compliance law you need to meet. This service typically includes a comprehensive risk assessment, regular audits, tracking and documentation of all changes made to the database, and ongoing issue detection.


Vendor Management

IT companies are directly responsible for managing the majority of your on-site and off-site technology. They resolves issues you may be having with your computers, network connectivity, and hardware, just to name a few.

But what if your printer breaks? What if you’re frustrated with the speed of your internet? What if you’re having to spend hours trying to get a hold of customer support to get your main business applications running properly?

An IT company that truly takes an in-depth role in your company will not only manage the technology they install, but will also manage your other technology vendors. So when that copier breaks, you can rest assure that your IT Company will work to get it resolved in a timely manner. This allows you to focus on your business- not your vendors.


Flat-Rate IT Services

Another big problem in the IT industry today: IT companies are notorious for luring you in with a low monthly rate, only to nickel and dime you to death by the end of the month. They’ll charge you for things like onsite support, 24/7 helpdesk, project management, they’ll even charge you for parts! Now how the heck do you budget for any of that?

A respectable IT company will charge you one flat-monthly rate that never changes for the duration of the agreement, unless you add something new, of course.  Things break and go wrong all the time and when it’s least expected. By having a flat-rate service, you’ll never have to worry about going over budget, no matter how often these issues occur.


There are many other services to consider in addition to ones listed above. Project management, proof of Concept lab testing, internal security training, mobile phone support, the list could go on for pages.

Every company is unique, so make sure the IT provider you’re speaking to does a full network assessment before coming onboard. Only then will they truly be able to provide you the solution that makes the most sense for your business.

As you can see, it’s not about just fixing computers anymore. When you hire an IT provider, you’re hiring a fully-staffed technology staff to become an extension of your business.

Everyday Habits that Leave You Vulnerable Online

  1. You use the same password for multiple accounts

You already know that your passwords should be strong, duh. But besides using long combinations of random numbers, letters, and symbols, you should also make each password you use unique to that account. If you use the same password for multiple accounts, a hacker who gains access to one account also has access to your other accounts. So keep separate passwords and change them every few months. Sound like too much to remember? Some great options include LastPass or Dashlane.


  1. You overshare on social media

It’s easier than ever to share details of your life, but all that social media sharing can leave you vulnerable to identity thieves, who can piece together information you share to crack your passwords and answers to security questions. Disable location sharing, don’t reveal your birthday or the first concert you attended, and give a second thought to telling the world you’re on vacation. It’s always better to post after you’ve returned! There’s nothing worse than advertising that your home is unattended from this date to that date.


  1. You regularly connect to public Wi-Fi

Although you may enjoy setting up a makeshift office in a coffee shop equipped with Wi-Fi, tread very carefully. Public Wi-Fi networks make it easy for hackers to see everything you do while you use the connection. If you must use public Wi-Fi, never log into banks or social media accounts, and consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to protect your sensitive data. VPNs act like a tunnel around your information so potential thieves cannot see all your data.


  1. You immediately open unfamiliar email

If you don’t think twice before opening an email (or attachment) from an unfamiliar sender, you put yourself at serious risk of phishing. Phishers are scammers who send emails containing links or attachments that, once you click on them, can trick you into revealing your login information or infect your computer with malware or ransomware.

Be mindful before opening any unusual emails, and pause before clicking on links or attachments that seem suspect. Before you click on a link that appears to be from your bank, for example, go directly to your bank’s website or call your bank to determine if the email is legitimate.

Or, if you’re using a desktop computer, hover your pointer over the link and see where it really redirects to.


  1. You accept invitations to connect from strangers

Although online platforms offer legitimate professional networking opportunities, be wary of impulsively accepting invitations and requests from strangers. Cyberstalkers can use social networks to gain information on potential victims and send unwanted messages. Before you add a stranger to your social networks, take a good look at his or her profile and consider the risk. It can be easy to assume you’ve simply forgotten that person from a brief interaction at a networking event, but that’s why looking closely at their profile will help you weed out the scammers from the real people.


  1. You rely on autofill

When you’re logging in to an account or doing online shopping, autofill and autocomplete features can save a ton of time. But storing your data makes it seriously vulnerable to cybercriminals. Make sure you disable autofill on your browser, and take the extra time to manually type in your credit card number each time you buy something. It may seem like a hassle now, but it’s a breeze compared to dealing with identity theft. Trust us.


  1. You overlook your old accounts

Whether you have to create a username and password to read a random article or try a yoga class at a new studio, it’s easy to rack up a large number of online accounts. But having your personal information stored on multiple unused accounts can put your data at risk. Keep track of every new online account you open, and delete any accounts you no longer use. Doing so will ensure that only the companies and platforms that you’re active on will have access to your data.


  1. You leave your computer unattended

Some criminals are more low-tech. If you regularly leave your computer, phone, or tablet unattended, you put your information at risk. Even leaving your devices unattended while you go to the restroom or get coffee can leave you vulnerable. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommends you lock your computer any time you’re away from it. Protect your devices with a password that you must enter each time, and close your laptop’s lid (or put it to sleep) when you step away from it.


The internet can be a very dangerous place. Contact us today to learn more about keeping your personal and professional online presence secure.

5 Ways to Keep Your Staff Mobile and Secure

These days, work doesn’t just happen from nine to five. With smartphones and other devices, business happens 24/7. As a boss, it’s important to foster mobility—but, at the same time, boundaries should be established to keep your data as secure as possible.


Even if you don’t supply your staff with company devices or require them to work from home, most employees still use their personal devices to access company information from work and on-the-go. For this reason, it’s important to take the security of these connected devices very seriously.


Here are a few best practices to keep your staff mobile and secure:


  1. Require training

Employees definitely won’t take cybersecurity seriously unless they truly understand the damage it can have on the company they work for. Require regular training sessions and motivate your staff to learn the implications of unsecured devices. No one wants to be the one responsible for taking down the entire business, do they?


  1. Require MDM software

Mobile Device Management (MDM) software allows you to secure company data if a device is lost. Downloaded only at the agreement of the device owner, this software can wipe data remotely, reset factory settings, or completely erase a device. You never know what can happen if a lost device winds up in the wrong hangs. MDM software is your plan B and shouldn’t be a problem if your staff has the company’s best interests at heart.


  1. Register and update

Register all connected devices with the IT department (or with upper management if you don’t have an IT department). Registering devices gives your techs the ability to know if and when a device turns up missing, and it also gives them the ability to monitor, track, and install all required updates. If you can’t get all your employees to remember to register new devices, then refuse Wi-Fi access to all unregistered devices. We all love free Wi-Fi at work, so taking it away until they register is a very effective method.


  1. Create a mobile device policy

Smartphone usage puts your company at risk when precautions aren’t taken. If employees want to use their devices for work (or on the company network), then you need to establish a BYOD (bring your own device) policy.  Most employees are more than willing to sign on the dotted line and accept the terms and conditions. Just make sure they know what they are and can completely understand them.


  1. Don’t forget about the apps

Most companies are so concerned with who is connected to their network that they forget to think about why they’re connected. With so many cloud storage apps, sharing apps and collaboration apps, the security fears are endless. Use mobile app security tools to identify problem apps and to block network access until threats are removed.



Not sure on where to start with all of this? Contact us today and we’ll be glad to help!

4 easy steps to protect yourself from ransomware

Make sure everything is up-to-date and patched to the most recent version


Ransomware searches for vulnerabilities in your software and operating system to find a way in and carry out its malicious plans. The WannaCry ransomware discovered a security hole in the Windows operating system and used it to spread across networks.


Vulnerabilities can be found in anything, like your email client, internet browser, server, and nearly any other software that connects to the vast internet. Vendors issue patches for their software very regularly, which you should install as soon as possible, as inconvenient as it may seem. It’s better to be safe than sorry.


Want an example? Microsoft had issued a patch for the vulnerability a month before the WannaCry attack, but unfortunately, hundreds of the thousands of computers hadn’t installed it.


With an antivirus—which you should definitely have, by the way—make sure that it’s set to automatically install the latest updates.


If you’re using an outdated operating system that is no longer supported, seriously consider upgrading to a newer version as well.


Minimize your attack range


As long as you’re connected to that pesky internet, there’s no such thing as absolute security. Even networks and computers that aren’t connected to the internet (air-gapped systems) aren’t absolutely secure.


An up-to-date antivirus unfortunately can’t protect you against the thousands of unknown viruses that are created every day, and a patched system won’t stop a zero-day attack (an attack that exploits a vulnerability that isn’t publicly known).


Therefore, you should try to plug the holes in your network as best you can. All major operating systems usually come with easy-to-use and pretty effective firewalls. Make sure that firewall is always turned on, and only open ports that you absolutely need.


With that being said, turn off operating system features and software that you don’t need. That includes file-sharing services and browser plugins like Flash and Java, which are rife with security holes.


Another smart measure that can reduce your attack range is keeping your work on a limited account as opposed to an administrative account. By not using an administrative account, you’ll be successfully limiting the access of the malware in the unfortunate case it does strike.


Monitor and manage your trust


Attackers often use phishing to deliver ransomware. Phishing is a type of scam that involves targeting victims with legitimate-looking messages that contain malicious links or infected attachments. Since the targets think the email comes from a trustworthy source, they’ll download and open the attachment, which will then deliver the ransomware.


So be very careful with the emails you receive, and don’t open any attachments unless you’re absolutely certain of the source. In case there’s any doubt, use the phone or social media to verify the authenticity of the message with the sender.


You should be very wary of certain file formats, including Microsoft Office documents (.doc, .xls), executables (.exe, .bat), and compressed archives (.zip, .rar). Cybercriminals commonly use Word macros to perform ransomware attacks.


Have a solid and tested backup plan


You should always be prepared for the worst coming to pass. While there have been certain scenarios where ransomware encryption has been successfully reversed at no consequence, for the most part, nothing short of paying the attackers will decrypt your files. Ain’t nobody got time for that.


That is exactly why you should always keep solid backups of your files. For files that don’t need to be modified, such as pictures and videos, you can use old-school DVDs. For other types, you can use other removable media, such as thumb drives.


External drives can work well, but they’ll be useless if they’re connected to your computer when it becomes infected. Sorry.


Cloud backups are good too as long as you make sure they aren’t mapped to local drives. Ransomware can go through all your local drives and encrypt their content, whether they’re on your hard drive or in the cloud.


Lastly, be careful when storing your archives in shared folders. Certain breeds of ransomware will scan your network and find unmapped shared folders and encrypt their content too.

What it Costs to Hire an IT Professional

You’ve probably thought about hiring an IT person at some point, and for good reason. The business world is becoming so reliant on technology that any network slowness or downtime can really impact your team’s efficiency, your client satisfaction, and your overall bottom line. But since technology is so precious (and expensive), the cost of hiring your own in-house IT person is a lot more than just the agreed upon salary.

So if you’re looking to hire your own IT person, listen up!



It’s important to keep in mind that there are several different job titles for IT professionals, so salaries will vary depending on the level of experience required. Small and medium sized businesses who do not currently have an IT department will start by hiring an entry level Computer/Network support technician.

According to, the national average salary for a Computer-Network Support Technician is around $42,000 a year, or $18.03 an hour. So now that you have an idea of how much the salary is, let’s talk about everything else you’ll need.

Your new IT professional is going to need a real badass computer (most likely with several monitors) that can efficiently run all of the software needed to maintain your network. Speaking of software, you will definitely need to invest in network diagnostic tools and the most up-to-date security programs.

If you have multiple locations, they will most likely need a cell phone with a data plan and most likely a vehicle expense account or a company car. We haven’t even talked about benefits and worker compensation yet.


Where the Managed Service Provider comes in

As you can see, hiring an IT professional isn’t cheap. One person might not even be enough if you’re a larger business or if your business runs 24 hours a day (IT guys need to sleep too). So what’s the solution?

Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Think about it. Why hire an individual person to handle all of your technology needs when you can bring on an entire IT company for the same price, if not cheaper?

Managed Service Providers will not only have the skill and talent to keep your technology safe and up-to-date, but they will also have all of the resources needed to ensure all your hardware and software is running efficiently. Whether you have multiple locations or staff that works after-hours, a Managed Service Provider will give you piece of mind, so you can focus on what’s most important, running your business.


If you’re interested in learning whether or not managed services is right for your business, then give us a call today to schedule a private briefing with one of our technology consultants.

Things you should never do when creating passwords

Everyone always had advice on how to create a password… but what about how not to create a password? In other words, what are the things you should never do if you want to create and maintain a solid collection of passwords? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Don’t use a word found in the dictionary.

Don’t ever create a password that consists of one lone word that can be tracked down inside a dictionary. When a group of hackers play out a brute force attack, automated software basically throws out a bunch of guesses until they find the correct password. And typically, dictionary words are the first guesses thrown out.

Don’t reuse passwords.

This goes two ways. Never take a password you’ve used in the past and use it for a new account, and never take a password that is currently being used on one account and use it for a second account. This is because if one account gets hacked, any account relying on the same credentials could also be hacked – and it won’t even be hard. All a hacker has to do is plug-and-play, no hacking necessary.

Don’t use a common phrase.

Just like it’s easy to crack a dictionary word, it’s also pretty easy to crack a password created from a common phrase… something like “ilovelove” or “peanutbutteandjelly” or “tobeornottobe.” Password-cracking software will automatically check for combinations like these, too.

Don’t use an ordered sequence of numbers.

Everyone says to throw numbers and characters into your passwords to make them stronger, and that’s a solid tip. However, it doesn’t always help. For example, throwing a 1 or 123 onto the back or front of a password won’t do anyone any good except a hacker. To legitimately strengthen your password, shoot for random combinations of numbers (5024 versus 1234) or a random placement (pass5024word versus password5024).

Don’t use something that can be found on social media.

Sometimes hackings are targeted and closer to home. It’s not always a massive attack on a random website. Because of this, you need to be careful with the “things” you base your passwords off. For example, using your spouse’s name or your favorite football team as your password isn’t a good idea. This type of information can quickly be found on your social media profiles.

Don’t write your passwords down.

For some weird reason, people think it’s okay to write down their passwords and keep them on their desks or stored in a drawer. This is a terrible idea. Random hackers from some far-off country aren’t the only sources of hackings. A hacking could happen right in your own background and even inside your own office. Don’t leave your password laying around from someone to pick up and do what they please with.

Don’t share your passwords.

Never at any point is it okay to just give your passwords out. Even if it is a trusted friend or your brother from another mother, don’t do it. They may not do it intentionally but there’s always the possibility that your password could get loose. It’s better to play it safe and keep your passwords to yourself.


The Internet can be a very dangerous place, which is why it’s important to have strong passwords as your first line of defense. If you’d like to learn more about internet security and best practices, contact us today!