Phishing Attacks are a Huge Threat

Keep Your Security up to Date

Phishing Attacks are on the rise and you have to keep your defenses up to date.

Threats

The threats keep coming and more businesses are being affected.  Protect yourself, your company and your customers by improving your security. 

And the threats are real and are on the rise. Whether is it locking up your data for ransom or getting control of one of your emails accounts to try to get your team to pay fake invoices, the crooks are getting smarter. 

Make Improvements

Your job, if you run a company or head up IT, is to make your company as hard to penetrate as possible.

When you look to make the improvements, look to check the box for security training.

Make sure that the security training you select includes Phishing testing.

Phishing attacks are continuing to grow more common. Studies have shown that 25% of all data breaches originate with a phishing attack. People are at great risk from falling for these scams.

Read the report here – The Three Most Harmful Examples of Phishing Attacks (expertinsights.com)

Security Training

The first question that we hear around training is, “who is to be trained?” Everyone who has access to the system needs to be trained.  Along with “Defense Wins Championships” another well-used phrase is, “You are only as good as your weakest link”.  The criminals are searching for that weak link. 

Security Training takes two forms here.  One is short videos and emails that prepare your team for what to look for to heighten awareness.  Vigilance against an attack is a great defense. 

A second spot to see how ready your group is for a phishing attack is to run your own test attack. For those that don’t do this yet – Phishing testing is where your IT team leverages a system to send planned “fake” emails to your employees. 

Then you see who falls for the fake emails.  The fake emails have great offers in them, for example “click here to win a free pizza” if you just provide some personal information.  Scraping the PI (personal information) is the point of both the real and test phishing attacks. 

Pay attention to who fails the fake attack.  These team members are vulnerable to a real attack.  Make sure that they take the awareness training. 

In some cases, when the Phish is well targeted, we have had personnel enter their user name and password.  That make breaking into your system really easy. 

If you need help with a Phishing testing system and awareness training, let us know. Phishing Attacks are on the rise – defend your company with Viener4Gates.

Next Time

Over the next few blog posts we are going to get into the following and more –

Get and use MFA (multi factor authentication) for at least your email.  If you have confidential information, Use MFA as you access your servers as well.

Clean up unused accounts

Keep track of all of the PCs and make sure all are managed, patched, and have current antivirus

Keep your firewall up to date

We can get into backups, tough questions the insurance companies and auditors ask and more in the future installments.

We are proud partners with Nextiva.  Nextiva is the Viener4Gates choice for phone systems.  We always keep our eyes up for news in the VoIP sector, and here is the news of the day – Nextiva ranked #1 VoIP provider. It is always refreshing to see the Nextiva is ranked #1 again with US News and World Report. 

From US News and World ReportNextiva ties for the No. 1 spot in both our rating of the Best Business Phone Systems of 2022 and our Best VoIP Business Phone Systems of 2022. The company’s cloud-based phone system offers many features large and small businesses need in all of its plans.

Click here to see the report

Voice over IP (VoIP) is the way to go with a phone system.  VoIP is part of the “work from anywhere” style of today’s business. VoIP type of communication systems can use your existing network cabling, Wi-Fi and in some cases your existing cell phone to build the most effective, efficient, and flexible phone system.  A new VoIP system usually saves you hundreds of dollars a month over a traditional system. 

Choose from traditional phone handsets, our very popular softphone option (use your computer as your phone), cordless Voip phones (pictured above) or even using your existing cell phone as a desk phone – it is all very affordable with Viener4Gates and Nextiva.

Why does Nextiva rank so highly?  From our point of view, it is quality of product, tech support and the ability to execute on new ideas. 

“To see that phrase, ‘Nextiva ranked #1 VoIP provider’ again” – says Viener4Gates Mason Viener, “it is just natural. Nextiva gives us a great platform for telephony and is a great value to our customers”.

Viener4Gates specializes in pre-sales, consulting, installations and configurations of Nextiva systems. Our team handles the entire transaction, moving your phone numbers, assisting you with digital faxes and, of course, training and then supporting your company with Nextiva.

Contact us for more information, we offer free VoIP reviews for your business and the network know how to implement the system.  Viener4Gates makes your company work. 

Global Supply Chain Issues cause empty shelves for color printing

June 15, 2022

Here is an easy one to get started – What is an MFP?

MFP is the acronym for a multifunction printer; it’s an all-in-one device with multiple uses: printing, copying, scanning, and faxing most commonly, and, increasingly, many more things besides. With an MFP, you no longer need a device for each job, as it does it all for you.

Most of our customers use Color MFP devices as the main printer, copier and scanner in their offices.  From the now ubiquitous HP 479 (in many executive offices) to the Xerox 505/S and the workhorse HP 578dn offices run on their Multi-Function Printers.

The HP 479 (pictured below) and its larger and smaller cousins are now globally out of stock.

The HP 479 is a stalwart of business offices and home users alike. Unfortunately, they are out of stock.

Shortages of microprocessor chips, global shipping issues, lack of critical manufacturing chemicals and overall disruption from Covid have all been blamed.

This lack of printers started as a slow down in delivery from the fall of 2021 has morphed into a “can’t get a HP printer anywhere” serious business issue.  Adding into the fray, prices on available units have doubled.

We offer mainly HP and Xerox.  Our team acquire printers from large distribution centers.  Firm dates on products are not available and the channel cannot even add additional purchase orders.  Current supply lines are as bad as I can recall.  

Our purchasing team has leveraged the 30 years of good will and relationships that Viener4Gates has to continue the supply chain at a trickle. But that only covers the customers that absolutely need to have a device.

If you are in the market for a color MFP, it will be tough sledding for a while.  I have heard from that it will be mid-2023 before the supply catches up to the demand.  Meanwhile, expect prices to continue to rise as the color MFP continues to be the hardest item to locate in the general small business IT market.

By: Wayne Viener

Windows 11 goes live this week on Tuesday, October 5th. The new operating system makes its actual debut.

On background, my daily use PC is a Lenovo ThinkPad. It is good business machine that runs Windows 10 Pro, with an Intel i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a large SSD. This machine that is less than two years old is not capable of running Windows 11. I expect many (if not all) of you will have relatively new machines that cannot run the new Windows 11 operating system.

The question is, “Why?” Why would Microsoft release an operating system that excludes probably 85% of the business-class computers that are in the marketplace right now? It’s going to exclude many of the computers that people bought to become Windows 10 Pro compliant. PCs purchased just a year or two ago are not compliant? This puts many businesses in the same situation that now I find myself, with an expensive piece of hardware that is going to be made obsolete because it cannot run the newest Windows operating system.

Microsoft is trying desperately to improve the security of the primary business operating system, and additionally provide a better gaming experience for others who run Windows computers. That seems to be the main push of Windows 11. The method by which it’s being done is to leverage a processor included only on newer chipsets. And it’s been a struggle for Microsoft to explain why these features are entirely dependent on new chips and new hardware that many people don’t have.

Microsoft’s hardware requirements are generally looked at as a push to enable a more modern BIOS, which is a UEFI BIOS that supports features like Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 (Trusted Platform Module). And if you combine TPM 2.0 with some of the virtualization technologies that Microsoft uses, one can make a more secure computing experience. There is a security benefit that is evident to people who are on the inside of how computers work. Microsoft said a combination of device encryption, virtualization-based security, hypervisor-protected code integrity, and secure boot can knock down malware by over 50%. However, to run all those platforms in the background, you must have a very new chipset.

So, the question is: if nobody can use the platform in general, has security been markedly improved? I would say, at least for right now: no, it has not.

For people who have newer hardware, but not the eighth generation or newer processors, (2018 into 2019 for purchasing dates), you are out of luck. 

Returning for a moment to discussing my ThinkPad, I bought it in 2019 and it is not compatible. Just two years ago. If you did not buy your computer brand new in the last 18 months, Windows 11 will not run on your PC. 

We are talking about millions and millions of PCs that cannot use this platform.  From the perspective of an end user, I’m not overly thrilled that my relatively new, name brand, i7 notebook can’t load the new OS. From the perspective of someone who is paid to be a chief information security officer (CISO) for our client companies, having a new operating system that’s coming out that fits into approximately none of our customers is bad optics for Microsoft.

I don’t think we have any customers that have all new hardware. In the post-pandemic of time of flux, where there aren’t that many chips to be had and computer prices are up, here is a new operating system that requires almost all your customers to buy new PCs if you want everybody protected. You have to buy all new hardware for the organization, when we just assisted many of these customers in buying and deploying all new hardware for Windows 10 Pro.

It looks like a repeat of the Windows 8 release, where Microsoft pushed and pushed and still there was comparatively low adoption and even less love for the OS. It took Windows 10 until people were ready to come off Windows 7, and we still have customers who love Windows 7 even though it left extended support almost two years ago.

It will be a huge challenge for Microsoft to get solid adoption of Windows 11, especially for business users.

We will see what this next year brings, if Windows 11 makes huge profromance gains many will adapt it if not many will not feel the need to invest in tech made for the consumer market.

A VPN is a service that both encrypts your data and hides your IP address by bouncing your network activity through a secure chain to another server or your company server. This obscures your online identity, even on public Wi-Fi networks, so you can browse the internet safely, and securely. It can also allow you to access network drives remotely and keep the hybrid workspace secure.

Virtual private networks or VPN’s number 1 goal is to keep your information safe. Most paid VPN’s do this by encrypting data to mask your traffic along with giving off a public IP to further hide your identity from attackers.

Overall VPNs are just one part of building a secure computing environment. Viener4Gates has utilized Watchguard VPNs in everything from single user systems to multi-thousand user systems.

Welcome to our new team members!

Yarden Hoffer

Yarden specializes in Customer Care, digital information and marketing. Yarden is also on the Nextiva support team.

Sandeep Prasad

Sandeep specializes in Customer Care and systems. Sandeep is also on the help desk support team.