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Directive Blogs

Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Ways to Be Smarter About Your Data

Here’s a fact that you’ve heard before: data loss is a nightmare for your business, and ransomware is the boogeyman. Once your data has been breached, your company’s reputation is damaged in perpetuity. That’s why it is important to confront these fears and start prioritizing data security. 

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Cybersecurity Insurance Gaining Steam

Controlling your organization’s data relies on keeping your network and computing infrastructure free from threats. Early detection allows your business to actively confront risks before they develop into major issues. However, threats are becoming more difficult to detect in early stages, and one hidden threat could doom your entire business. 

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Taking a Look at the Future of Cybersecurity

How concerned are you with your business' cybersecurity? When you envision your business in the future, do you see yourself constantly fighting cyberattacks, or paying ransom? Hopefully not, but what if cybersecurity turns into one of the most difficult parts to maintaining a steady business? Today, we will look into the future and hypothesize what your business may need to do to defend against cybercriminals. 

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Cybersecurity Throughout History

The way a business approaches its network security is a crucial consideration - especially to a business that is planning to have a future. This has contributed to cybersecurity becoming a multi-hundred-billion-dollar (per year) industry. In its short history, cybersecurity has had a huge impact on businesses, so we felt it would be useful to go through some of the highlights of its deployment.

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Celebrating Cybersecurity in Professional Services

The professional services space is filled with important information. Lawyers, accountants, doctors, and many more professionals have access to some of the very most personal information available. For this reason, they are continuously targeted by hackers. Since October is cybersecurity awareness month, we thought we would take a look at modern cybersecurity practices to see which ones were working best for professional services firms. 

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Can Apps Provide Secure Password Management?

Do you use different passwords on every account you’ve created? Are these passwords sufficiently complex? Chances are at some point you have used a repeating password. Remembering 35 different logins for 35 different applications is hard enough, so it’s not surprising that the majority of people will use the same password for many applications. Bad password practices are all too common. So, how can you fix this?

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Hacking Doesn’t Take a Computer Science Degree

There’s a reason that cybercrime is so popular: it is no longer reserved for those with extensive programming knowledge to profit from. Now, according to a report by Deloitte entitled Black Market Ecosystem: Estimating the Cost of “Pwnership”, there is a complete economy built around easily accessible hacking tools that don’t require specialized knowledge to leverage.

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Are You Ready for a Ransomware Resurgence?

Ransomware attacks grew less common in both 2018 and thus far in 2019 when compared to 2017. Unfortunately, recent events have made it more likely that this trend will reverse in the near future. Why is that? Simple: some municipalities have set a precedent of paying up.

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Secure Businesses Go Beyond the Firewall

Some terms are thrown around like everyone knows what they are. This is especially the case with IT and technology solutions. Perhaps it’s a result of them being around for quite some time in professional environments, but it doesn’t help those who are unfamiliar with the technology. One term that we should all understand is “firewall,” as it’s omnipresent in the business sector, but it’s far from the only security solution you’ll need to guarantee safety.

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Are You a Security Threat?

Just like you can form habits to be more productive, you can also form habits that expose your organization to risky situations, namely security problems. Your employees in particular are likely to have picked up a couple of nasty habits over time, so it’s up to you to address them and keep them from becoming an issue in the long term.

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Network Security is Crucial for Every Organization

Avoiding risk is important for every business, unless your business is as a daredevil, then mitigating risk will have to do. Nowadays, with technology being an omnipresent element in most businesses, technology-based risks have grown in concert. As a result, the modern business owner and IT administrators need to understand the new risks and how to proactively work toward avoiding (or mitigating) them.

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Wow That’s a Lot of Money - Otsego County Residents Lost Nearly $70k to Scammers So Far This Year

According to the New York State Police, Otsego County residents have been experiencing and falling victim to a slew of scams that have resulted in the reported loss of nearly $70,000 so far in 2019.

Let’s take a look and talk about how you can protect yourself and inform your friends, family, and coworkers of this threat that is definitely feeling too close to home for many of us.

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Your Business Needs to Prioritize Network Security

There is one constant in the business environment, and it’s that your organization will be placed in a constant state of being at risk the second you start to make a name for yourself. What a lot of organizations don’t understand is that it doesn’t matter how high or low-profile a business is, there will always be data on a network infrastructure that is valuable to hackers and is targeted by threats.

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Cybercrime’s Evolution and the Potential Blockchain Shield

Cybercrime has morphed over the past decade or so. With unbreakable encryption making breaking directly into a network all but impossible, phishing, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and other methods of indirect hacking have become en vogue. As a result, software companies are looking in some strange places to find building blocks for intrusion mitigation. One interesting emerging technology being used for this purpose is blockchain.

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SMBs Are Never Too Small for Hackers

Small businesses often fall into the trap of thinking that they are too small to be attacked. This misconception could ultimately cost your business too much. The fact of the matter is that all businesses have data that is worth something to hackers, and we’re here to prove it to you and offer a solution to this dilemma.

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How to Secure Data Using Passwords

All that stands between hackers and your accounts’ data, be it personal information or sensitive business info, is a measly string of characters that may (or may not) be complex enough to thwart their attacks. We’re talking about your passwords, and for many businesses, they are the only thing protecting important data. We’ll walk you through how to make sure your passwords are as complex as possible, as well as instruct you on how to implement additional security features to keep your data locked down.

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4 Decisions You’ll Make About Your IT

Business is never quite as simple as it’s made out to be, and nowhere is this more true than with your organization’s IT. Today we will be covering some of the most important parts of your IT’s decision making that will need to be addressed, questions and concerns included, especially in regard to business-critical functions.

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Ransomware Shuts Down Doctors’ Office - Is Your Business Protected?

Let me ask you a question… let’s say that you’re about one year from your projected retirement, when a ransomware attack encrypts all of your files. What do you do? Pack it in and retire early? This is precisely the situation that the practitioners of Brookside ENT & Hearing Services of Battle Creek, Michigan, have found themselves in - and it may not be over yet.

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Monitoring Your Whole Business is Smart

Managing a business requires a lot of monitoring, and with enough of it, you might be able to enhance productivity through proactive maintenance and management. Let’s take a look at some of the issues that organizations commonly deal with in regard to management and monitoring.

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Do and Don'ts of Managing Your Passwords

Password security is a tricky part of running a business. After all, it’s not just dealing with your own password, but those of the many employees all throughout your organization. In times like this, it’s helpful to provide them with a list of how to make the best passwords possible. Here are a couple of examples for what to do, as well as what you shouldn’t do, when building a proper password.

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Network Security a Challenge for Colleges and Universities

Millions of students--approximately 16 million--call colleges or universities their home for at least a portion of the calendar year. They are educated by another 1.5 million or so faculty, staff, and other employees. Most of these institutions of higher education understand the challenges presented by maintaining networks, particularly the ones that students connect countless devices to. With all this in mind, can a college campus’ network truly be secure, or is it a fool’s errand?

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Social Media Can Cause Security Concerns

Social media is a great tool that your business can use to communicate with clients and prospective customers, but in an age where you can expect your employees to have their own accounts, it can be devastating to overlook the security issues associated with it. Today, we’ll examine how you can protect your organization from its employees’ social media use.

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Contemporary Cyber Threats You Should Know

Cybersecurity is a critical part of managing any business. This is especially true nowadays when there are countless individuals and organizations formed specifically to steal credentials and sensitive information from your organization. Today we will be dedicating some time to how your business can reinforce proper cybersecurity practices.

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Securing Your Business from the Internet of Things

Now that the holidays have come and gone, you might have a couple of new gadgets in your home or office that connect to the Internet. Depending on what these gadgets are, you might have a serious security issue sitting right in front of you without realizing it. Some devices that don’t normally connect to the Internet--also known as Internet of Things devices (IoT)--aren’t as secure as you’d like them to be, particularly in a business environment.

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Here’s How Companies Struggle with IT Security

No business can be successful if it’s constantly suffering from data breaches. Therefore, you should take measures to mitigate the issues caused by these threats before they present themselves. Here are four of the biggest issues your business could face in the field of network security.

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Tip of the Week: Improving Some Cybersecurity Basics

What are your chances of being hacked, or targeted by some kind of cyberattack? I hate to tell you this, but they’re probably a lot higher than you might think.

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Your Business May Be Most Vulnerable from the Inside

It can be easy, with all the threats covered in the news, to assume that the biggest dangers to your business all come from the outside. This is a dangerous mistake, as there are plenty of vulnerabilities that originate from within your organization, making it easier for outside threats to come in, if not being bigger threats in and of themselves. Below, we’ll review some of the biggest, mostly internal dangers that your business may face.

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Otsego County Target of Significant Cyberattack

We continually cite just how important IT security is, but like most things, people may not completely understand just how crucial it is until it hits home. Otsego County, would seem to be too small of a place to attract a hacker’s attention, but the Otsego County county government network was reportedly attacked. County Information Technology Director Brian Pokorny said hackers gained access to the county website and other files through a zero-day vulnerability,

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Looking Back at This Year’s Cybersecurity Issues

Every business in operation today needs to have some kind of comprehensive network security. Simply put, there are too many threats that can come in through an Internet connection for them to continue doing otherwise. The past year provides plenty of anecdotal proof of this fact, as a quick glance back can show.

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Here Is a List of this Year’s Most Devastating Hacks

Today, we’ve compiled some statistics that give these threats context, as well as a list of some of the most devastating hacks from the first half of 2018. Hopefully, these lists will put into perspective just how important building a network security strategy is for your company. Here are some statistics to help reinforce just how important cybersecurity is:

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Help! My Staff Hates My Company’s IT!

Fellow business owners, do you ever feel like you need to walk around on eggshells when it comes time to implement a new process or policy with your employees? Does it seem like your staff fights back tooth and nail when there is any technology change or IT restriction? You aren’t alone.

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Security Threats and Defensive Measures You Can Take

Network security for small businesses is far from simple. There are countless threats out there that want to see your business fall, and it only takes one to see this come to fruition. Unless you take action now to protect your organization, you risk the future of your business. But what is it that businesses need to protect from, and what measures are out there that can accomplish this feat?

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Mobile Device Management Builds Mobile Reliability

Even if you try to ban them in the office, it’s inevitable that your employees will bring their mobile devices to the workplace anyway. Instead of worrying about them wasting away the day, why not try to turn the devices to your advantage? There are more tools out there than ever before to not only add smartphones to your workflows, but to make them profitable and valuable for your organization.

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4 Internal Threats Every Business Owner Should Understand

In light of all the data leaks and vulnerabilities that have been brought to light over the past few years, network security has to be a priority for every business. One problem many organizations have is that while they are protecting their network and infrastructure from threats outside their company, the real threats are actually coming from inside. Today, we’ll look at four ways threats can cause havoc from inside your organization.

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Are You Ready to Adapt to Network Security Changes?

Humankind has always adapted and improved technology to make life easier, starting all the way back at fire and the wheel. Nowadays, our approach to making life easier through technology is centered around productivity and security - if we can accomplish more than before in the same amount of time, without worrying that it will be stolen, we’re happy.

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A Brief Overview of Network Security

The reliance the modern business has on its IT cannot be understated. As a result, to keep their computing network and infrastructure running efficiently, companies need to have a network and cybersecurity policy in place. With the development and use of organizational computer networks with multiple endpoints, understanding the basics of network security is helpful when implementing and employing network security systems. Today, we take a look at the parts of your network, their functions, and what you need to do to protect them.

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Sorry Han, When it Comes to Security, You Need to Know the Odds

Star Wars is a cultural phenomenon. For the past 40+ years audiences from all around the world have become enthralled with the characters, the story, and the technology that existed a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Who knew that it was also a wonderful lesson in modern IT security? For today’s blog, we look at three situations that happened in Star Wars: A New Hope; and, how, if proper IT strategies were put in place, the Empire would have been able to protect its greatest asset.

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Tip of the Week: Spotting Fake Apps on the Google Play Store

Mobile devices have countless uses, all of which enable users to get the most out of them. But what if all of your efforts at finding the best applications for the job are wasted on finding a fraudulent app on the Google Play Store? Believe it or not, the Google Play Store has its fair share of malware available for download in all types of disguises. Here are a few tips to help you avoid installing them in the first place.

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Threats are Changing - Are You Prepared to Change with Them?

Security is a part of business that is constantly changing and evolving. What worked ten years, five years, or even two years ago may not be relevant in today’s security environment. What are some of the major changes that your company can expect to see in the coming years? We’ll walk you through some of the ways that security will be changing in the foreseeable future, and what you can do about it.

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FREE Printout: IT Security End-User Checklist

This guide was created so that business owners, office managers, and IT departments can provide it as an educational resource to showcase some of the most basic IT security practices that can be implemented in your workplace. We recommend printing this out and handing it out to your staff for maximum results.

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FREE Printout: Dos and Don’ts of IT Security

The following guide is designed to be used by business owners and office managers as an educational resource to establish some basic IT security best practices in the workplace. Feel free to print it out and hand it out or post it in common areas.

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Tip of the Week: Which Browser Provides the Best Security?

For most users the Internet browser is one of the most utilized applications on their computer or mobile device. With the influx of aggressive problems, it is mighty useful to know which Internet browser is the best for keeping your data, identity, and network secure. Today, we will take a look at the five most popular Internet browsers found on desktop and laptop computers and decipher which are the most reliable.

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Tip of the Week: How to Protect Yourself from Invoice Impersonation

As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated in their methods of attack, it is important that your staff--the ones on the front lines--are educated to spot these attempts and know what to do if one is encountered. In order to spot these attacks, it is important to know what to look for.

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Large or Small, Data Breaches Can Wreck Your Business

It’s no secret that a data breach can have serious consequences for any business, especially after some of the events that occurred throughout 2017. From the costs to repair any internal damage done to the efforts it takes to regain client trust, recovering from such an attack is no easy feat--and they’re only poised to get worse.

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A Social Media Strategy Helps Businesses Start the Conversation

Building a social media strategy can be somewhat troublesome for the modern business. Not only do you not know how it can affect your organization, you also know that your competitors are likely using it. To this end, we’ll go over how your organization’s social media practices can influence success.

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There are New Ways to Secure Your Data

Security is an aspect of running a business that absolutely cannot be ignored, regardless of whether or not you see it as a considerable issue in the near future. The fact remains that your organization will always be at risk unless you take actions to keep it safe today. By taking advantage of some of the latest and greatest security tools on the market, you’ll be able to protect not only from the basic threats, but more advanced ones as well.

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Is Your Cybersecurity Prepared for 2018?

2018 could potentially be a big year for your business. However, your business needs to be around long enough to see any positives that may come its way, which means you need to be prepared for the negatives. Here are five resolutions for you to make this year to help preserve your organization’s cybersecurity.

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Two-Factor Authentication Frequently Asked Questions

Data security has to be a core consideration of the modern business, so every small effort you can take to protect your business is important. One such effort is the implementation of two-factor authentication. However, your employees may not initially feel entirely comfortable with some facets of two-factor authentication.

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Using 2017's Examples to Maintain Network Security in the New Year

Network security is a crucial consideration for every single business, especially ones that utilize the Internet. There were a lot of negatives and some positives that came out of 2017 in regards to cybersecurity. Below we have listed some of the most troubling cybersecurity statistics collected in 2017, and we’ve followed it up with suggestions on how to keep your business safe in 2018.

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Data Security Has to Be A Priority For Your Organization

Considering that since January 1st of this year, there has been upwards of 10 million personal information records lost or stolen each day, odds are that you, or someone you know, has had their records compromised by a data breach. With such a high incident rate, individuals and businesses that have never received any kind of notification that their records were included in a breach, generally consider themselves lucky and assume that they are not at risk of identity theft or unauthorized account usage. Unfortunately for them, that is not always the case.

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Why A Network Audit Is A Good Idea

Most small businesses don’t have the luxury of an in-house IT department. Even if they do have one, it’s likely a small department run by a handful of folks who have their hands full with either implementation projects or simply staying afloat. With opportunities to invest in the improvement of your infrastructure few and far between, a network audit can help you identify where your network suffers most, and what you can do about it.

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Why You Should Pay Attention to Data Security Notifications

If you’ve watched the news lately, chances are you’ve seen the Equifax breach and the ridiculous fallout it has caused. Over 133 million personal records have been stolen. While it’s difficult not to feel individually victimized by such a breach, it’s important to remember that it’s often not your specific credentials targeted by hackers. Since businesses often hold onto valuable information, they have big crosshairs painted onto them. It doesn’t even stop there--any vendors or partners you deal with are also in danger of hacking attacks.

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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybercrime is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world. From the largest enterprise to the individual, it can affect anyone, anywhere. To help ensure the cybersecurity of American citizens and their businesses, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other agencies work together every October to raise awareness about the threats people face online through a series of educational events and activities.

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Who Needs To Be Involved In Network Security? Simple: Everyone

Network security is an important part of keeping both your business and your staff away from online threats, but it’s not enough to implement the best, most comprehensive solutions on the market. There are a surprising number of facets to network security, and in order to optimize protection against online threats, you’ll need to know all of them. Thankfully, you don’t have to do this alone.

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Major Cyber Threats Are Less Of A Worry With An MSP’s Help

There are dozens of surveys and reports produced each year that evaluate digital threats and cybercrime. Not every publication applies to every business - but many of them do have some important take aways about the best practices of handling IT. Here’s few highlights from the 2017 Cyberthreat Defense Report that offer important insight for SMBs and their use of technology.

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When It Comes To Your IT, There's No Such Thing As A Dumb Question!

Especially with so many people claiming to be tech-savvy, asking a question about IT can be a bit nerve wracking. Because of this hesitation, there are a lot of people who don’t ask questions about technology because they feel like their questions might be stupid. For example, having an updated operating system is a term that is tossed around a lot by IT professionals, and even some not-so-professionals.

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Protect Your Business with Strong Network Security Practices

With the surge in the number of small and medium businesses that have fallen prey to malware and cyber criminals, there is a lot of focus of what an organization can do to prevent being a victim and how the company should handle themselves after an attack. There is another key factor to preventing cyber criminals from penetrating into your network: your employees.

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Your Employees are Your Most Important Security Feature, and Biggest Risk

Here’s a question: on a scale of one to ten, how confident are you that your employees are acting in the best interests of your organization’s network security? How confident are you that you’re setting a good example when it comes to handling your business’ security? Unfortunately, any confidence you have on this matter may be misplaced.

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Tip of the Week: 12 Security Rules Every PC User Should Follow

While you are probably spending a fair amount of time thinking about your business’ security, can you confidently say the same about those that you’ve employed? Unfortunately, your workers may not put much thought into network security. This could very possibly lead to some severe issues potentially harming your business operations.

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Common Misconceptions Concerning Business Cybersecurity

Today, we want to talk about something that not a lot of businesses would want to think about. What would happen to your organization if it were to suddenly experience a hacking attack? While security solutions can go a long way toward protecting your organization, you still want to make sure that you’re not relying solely on your security tools for protection. Rather, you should always stay vigilant, even if you don’t think something could go wrong.

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How Does a UTM Firewall Protect Your Business?

Every time you pick up a personal computer from a vendor, chances are that it will have an extremely basic firewall pre-installed. These consumer-grade firewalls leave much to be desired, especially in the business environment. You’ll want to make sure that your organization is equipped with enterprise-level solutions designed to protect on both a fundamental level and an advanced level. To do this, you want to take advantage of a Unified Threat Management solution.

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What a Firewall Does and Doesn’t Do, and Why it Matters for Your Business

So you keep hearing about the need for a firewall, but maybe you’re not exactly sure what it is or even what it does. As a business owner, you don’t need to fully grasp the complexities of network security in order to effectively manage your company. Although, it is beneficial for every business owner to understand the basics of what a firewall is, along with a working knowledge of how it protects an organization’s IT infrastructure.

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Over 75% of Organizations Are Vulnerable to Hackers, Study Finds

Is your business prepared to handle all kind of online threats? A recent study shows that it probably isn’t. According to the think tank Ponemon Institute, four out of five businesses don’t have the infrastructure or security experts they need to spot and prevent incoming cyber attacks from succeeding. This is a significant statistic that can’t be ignored, especially if you want to secure your business.

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Having a Network that’s Tested Guarantees You’ll Overcome Any Disaster

Does your SMB have an internal IT department? Chances are that it is a major pain point for your organization, and even if you do have one, it might be bogged down with so much work that mistakes can happen and threats can slip through the cracks. Sometimes the best way to protect your network is to know where and how threats manage to get there in the first place.

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The Explosion of Mobile Devices is One Trend Your Business Must Account For

You may have heard about the Internet of Things in passing, but do you truly understand the nature of these connected devices, and how they will affect your business in the coming years? The Internet of Things is a major trend that needs to be addressed if your business plans on succeeding in the near future.

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Can Your Firewall Protect You From 304 Million Different Kinds of Malware?

b2ap3_thumbnail_malware_increase_400.jpgSmall and medium-sized businesses continue to have problems shoring up their cyber security. Even with the latest solutions, like antivirus and firewalls, they still need to be wary of impending attacks. New threats are created on a daily basis, all of which want to infiltrate your network and cause harm to your business. In fact, 27.3 percent of all malware in the world was created in 2015 alone. Will we ever escape from the clutches of malware?

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Complacent IT Technicians Can Be a Company’s Worst Nightmare

b2ap3_thumbnail_be_safe_on_network_400.jpgThe modern business is inundated with all types of threats, from people outside the organization phishing around for information, to employees that are aloof to their role in your network’s security. If your network’s security is like a levee, it is indisputably an IT department’s job to fill in the gaps to ensure a deluge of misfortune doesn’t swamp your company’s IT. So what happens when your company’s IT department is the biggest offender of perilous activity?

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