Gmail’s proactive anti-phishing enhancements

By EDITOR 

To this day, cybercriminals still have an old reliable weapon in their arsenal — email. With it, criminals can fool recipients into revealing personal information or clicking on a malware-ridden attachment. This kind of scam is called phishing, and it continues to persist because many people still fall for it. To protect email users from phishing attacks, Google has enhanced Gmail’s anti-phishing features.

Machine learning
Google uses machine learning technology to further enhance their email security. Phishing scams usually follow a predictable pattern, so Google experts developed an algorithm that analyzes such patterns and updates Gmail’s security database in real time. When the same phishing attempt is made, Gmail flags and quarantines potentially dangerous messages.

According to Google, around 50% of emails sent to Gmail accounts are spam and phishing emails, but with the new detection algorithm, Gmail has achieved 99% accuracy in detecting them.

Click-time warnings
Google has also added precautions for suspicious links. When Gmail detects an incoming email from untrusted senders containing either encrypted attachments or attachments with scripts, Gmail automatically flashes a warning message.

Gmail also identifies and scans links to external images, and prompts a warning if the links come from untrusted domains. Although Gmail does not completely block access to the link (in case of false positives), it advises you to be extremely careful if you do decide to proceed. Or you can choose to quarantine the message or send it to your spam folder.

External reply warnings
Another enhancement focuses on securing reply messages to prevent employees from falling prey to email spoofing. Spoofing is when a cybercriminal impersonates someone’s email address.

Gmail warns users when they are about to send a reply to an address that is not in their contact list or company domain, from an unauthenticated domain, or one that’s similar to an authenticated domain. This improvement prevents users from being fooled into giving away sensitive information to third parties.

Every Gmail user can take advantage of these new security controls today, but keep in mind that these can’t replace security awareness. Even Google has emphasized that these Gmail features are complements to existing security systems and best practices. Being able to identify what is or isn’t a scam goes a long way in protecting your business. To find out more about the latest from Google, get in touch with our Lanlogic experts or watch out for more Google-related posts.

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3 Easy ways to protect your business data

By EDITOR 

Most business owners are too busy running their respective offices to be concerned about optimized security settings and other technical matters. To spare them the agony of deciphering IT jargon, here are three easy ways to prevent data theft.

Cover your webcam

If Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, former FBI Director James Comey, and National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden all believe their webcams could be compromised, there’s no reason you should feel safe. They’re not overreacting because of some ruthless paparazzi that’s hounding them. It’s a fact that cybercriminals can use your webcam to spy on you.

Though it might sound like a scene from an action movie or crime thriller, this has actually happened on several occasions. Hackers do this either to satisfy their voyeuristic tendencies or, more commonly, to steal personal information. This is a very real threat with disturbing repercussions.

With your webcam, cybercriminals can examine your surroundings, determine your location, as well as spy on the people you’re with. They can use this information to hold you ransom and threaten to broadcast your most intimate and vulnerable moments if you don’t pay up.

Fortunately, guarding yourself against this danger is easy. Covering your webcam should do the trick. You can use regular tape or you can purchase a cheap webcam cover online.

Use a privacy shield

Think of privacy guards as those iPhone screen protectors but with an anti-snooping feature. These are thin covers you put on your computer, laptop, or smartphone screen to limit viewing angles. Once installed, anyone trying to look at your screen from anywhere — except straight-on — sees nothing.

Privacy filters are commonly used to protect work devices that display or contain critical files with sensitive data or confidential information. However, less sensitive, personal devices are still vulnerable to “shoulder surfing” — the act of peeking at someone else’s screen, with or without ill intent. This is the reason we recommend using these protectors on all devices.

Get a physical authentication key

Requiring more than one set of credentials to access sensitive resources has become the standard practice for established online services. With two-factor authentication in place, you can gain access to your account only after you’ve entered an authentication code. This is something that the website sends to your smartphone once you’ve entered your account credentials.

Until recently, two-factor authentication relied mostly on text messages sent to mobile phones. But professionals now realize that phones can be hijacked to redirect text messages. Moreover, authentication codes can be stolen, or users can be tricked into entering these codes via a convincing phishing website.

If you’re looking for authentication services that can’t be hijacked, stolen, or lost, your best bet is a USB or Bluetooth key that you can carry always. This means nobody — not even you — will be able to access your account without the physical key. Talk about ultimate security at your fingertips.

If you need help setting up two-factor authentication or IT security services, contact our Lanlogic experts and have peace of mind.

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How hosted Exchange helps businesses

By EDITOR 

Servers can host nearly every type of software solution, including email and office support, of which Microsoft Exchange is widely considered to be the best. If you’re looking into a new email server solution, you’ve likely come across hosted Exchange. But what is it and how can it help?

What is Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange is a messaging system that offers businesses a number of services, including email, calendar, task management, address lists, and more. By integrating Exchange into your business, you can access all of these servers from any location, on almost every device.

Many companies that purchase Exchange install it on servers that are usually on premises. This setup can be a bit expensive, especially for small businesses. Moreover, the server needed to host it can take up space that a business may not have. This is why many companies prefer to operate on cloud-based systems.

What is hosted Exchange?

To meet the demands of businesses of all sizes, many IT companies like Microsoft started to offer hosted Exchange. In this setup, your IT provider makes space available on one of their servers. They then install Microsoft Exchange in a space accessible only to your company, over an internet connection. They are in charge of ensuring the data stored within is secure and accessible to you at all times. Many hosted Exchange providers will also offer extra features like improved security, full-time management, and data backup.

In other words, hosted Exchange is the cloud-based version of Microsoft Exchange managed by the host company. You and your employees will still be able to access it as if it were hosted in your office.

Benefits of hosted Exchange

Companies looking to integrate hosted Exchange into their business can enjoy the following benefits:

1. Predictable and lower costs

Like many other hosted services, the majority of hosted Exchange services are offered on a monthly, per-user basis, inclusive of maintenance and hosting. This makes costs predictable as you’ll be paying a fixed fee.

Hosted Exchange also lowers overall costs. If a business were to calculate the cost of purchasing a new server, Microsoft Exchange, and the infrastructure required to use it, plus maintenance fees, the total and per-user cost will likely add up quickly. For many small businesses, paying a monthly fee will be far less expensive than hosting a Microsoft Exchange solution in-house. What’s more, you save money on maintenance overhead and future expenses.

2. Easier implementation

Implementing Microsoft Exchange in your office would require you to find space for the server, install the server and Microsoft Exchange. Once installed, you’ll have to manage Exchange and add new accounts and users. In case the service goes offline, you’ll have to fix it yourself. With a hosted Exchange solution, your IT partner will take care of hosting, management, and installation, so you can focus on running your business.

3. Flexible solutions

Growing businesses may find it tough to scale up or down on an in-house Microsoft Exchange solution because it’s limited by the capacity of the server. With hosted Exchange, you can just contact your provider, who can ensure that space and resources are available. The hosted Exchange provider can also help scale your solutions in case you move offices.

Looking to learn more about hosted Exchange and how your business can benefit from it? Chat with one of our Lanlogic experts today!

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Selecting the right VoIP system for your business

By EDITOR 

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services are taking over communications in the digital age, making your office landline a thing of the past. More companies are starting to deploy VoIP because it is popular and cost-effective. What factors do you have to consider before getting your own VoIP system? Here are some tips you can use.

Flexibility or ease-of-use?

Choosing between a hosted or managed VoIP setup depends on the type of service your company is willing to pay for. Would you prefer flexibility or accessibility?

Managed VoIP means that your company is in charge of managing and maintaining the on-site system. While initial costs are generally greater due to hardware and maintenance fees, when it comes to managing your own telecommunications network, a managed VoIP system provides your business with more versatility and control.

On the other hand, with hosted VoIP systems, you leave the cost of new hardware and the maintenance of the telecommunications network entirely to a third party. This also frees your company from the burden of having to monitor and update your own telecommunications technologies. For many small businesses, a hosted VoIP option is the more attractive choice, as you only pay for the services you use from your hosted service provider, and these initial fees tend to be lower than the alternative.

Do you want to be more technically involved?

Deciding between a managed and a hosted VoIP system depends on how much you are willing to be involved in the management and maintenance of your VoIP setup. Generally, many companies with limited IT knowledge tend to take the hosted VoIP option while those who have more resources to customize their own telecommunications networks are more willing to go with a managed on-site VoIP setup.

Have you considered mobile VoIP systems?

With VoIP systems, telephony is no longer bound to a specific phone network. Modern employees now have a multitude of communication tools to choose from, all while accessing them anytime and anywhere. Choosing VoIP systems that offer mobile integration can allow your workers to join video conference calls and answer direct calls even when they are not in the office.

Does your business intend to expand?

When choosing the right VoIP system, you have to make sure that the service provider can complement your company’s plans for growth. With so many mobile devices being developed, selecting a VoIP service that is compatible with the latest technologies can keep you ahead of the game.

Cloud-based solutions can help ease your expansion plans because these services will constantly update your telecommunications network for you. This means you never have to worry about your technology falling behind in functionality.

Check your internet connection

Regardless of which VoIP provider you choose, it is important to note that a strong and stable internet connection is necessary to support your communications network. Before purchasing from a specific VoIP provider, you should find out if your company requires a dedicated broadband or leased lines. While leased lines offer improved voice quality, opting for dedicated broadband services offer higher internet speeds.

How much does it cost?

How much you are willing to pay for a VoIP system? First, check how much the hardware and installation of the service costs. Then look at how much a provider charges for managing, updating, and maintaining your telecommunications system.

Finally, make sure that a VoIP provider’s services meet your company’s communication needs. If the VoIP provider is offering a bundle of services that your company might not even require, then it might be in your best interest to choose a different provider.

While picking and deploying a VoIP system can seem like daunting tasks, there’s no denying that any good business needs VoIP to function. If you are planning to install a new VoIP system, consider some or all of these factors to ensure you’ve made the right decision. And of course, if you’re looking for a provider, our Lanlogic experts are happy to help you in any way possible.

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Considerations for server replacement

Old vintage computer in the laboratory

By EDITOR 

If you’re thinking about replacing a server for your small business, then that probably means your company is experiencing success and is starting to grow. That’s great news. But is it really time to invest in a new one? Or does waiting too long risk slowing your business down? Either way, it’s important to consider your decision carefully. As a business owner, you should take the time to answer the following questions before deciding on your aging server.

When do my servers need to be replaced?

This is a difficult question, but there are two factors you will want to consider — age and performance. The useful life of a server is around three years. While it’s not unheard of for servers to function properly beyond year three, relying on them beyond this point can be risky as hardware problems occur more often. This means you will have to deal with costly repairs and possible unpredictable downtime.

Performance is another factor to consider. Even if your servers are only a year old, it doesn’t make sense to keep them around until year three if they are slow and too costly to maintain. It’s important to do a cost-benefit analysis in these situations and look at how much money you will lose in repairs and downtime and then compare it to the cost of buying new hardware.

Do I have an alternative to buying new servers?

Believe it or not, the answer to your server problems might not necessarily be purchasing more physical hardware. One way to avoid this is by embracing virtualization. This process allows your servers to be stored and maintained off-site with everything being delivered to your office via the internet.

There are two notable benefits of virtualizing your servers. First, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on new equipment. Second, virtualization is a scalable technology, meaning you only pay for the data capacity you use. For instance, if you only need two and a half servers, you can do that. This is in contrast to having physical equipment which would require your business to either make do with two servers or splurge and buy the third one even if you didn’t need all of that space.

Of course there are a few things you need to consider before making the switch to server virtualization. One of the biggest issues is security. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable keeping all of your data off-site. While this isn’t a concern for some companies, others may not see this as palatable. There are several workarounds to this issue, including the hybrid option where you keep sensitive data on-site and everything else off-site.

Can I do anything to prevent a full-scale server replacement?

Yes. It’s certainly possible for you to buy some time and give your current servers additional life, but these are short-term fixes, not long-term solutions. Server upgrades are a good place to start if your servers are less than three years old but are degrading in performance. Installingadditional CPUs or memory may increase server performance at a fraction of the cost of buying new servers.

You can also utilize old servers for non-critical workloads. It’s possible to extend the life of servers that may have four or five years of wear-and-tear on them via repurposing. Instead of swapping out all of your servers, use the old ones for non-critical processes and purchase new ones to handle critical workloads. This will help you get a better ROI on your technology while avoiding a wholesale hardware purchase which could cripple your budget.

If you have any questions about your servers and how you can increase their performance, get in touch with Lanlogic today. We can help you procure new hardware or show you the benefits of virtualization.

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WWDC 2019’s biggest reveals

By EDITOR 

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s keynote for 2019 proved to be a blockbuster. This year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) featured an even more powerful flagship desktop suite, Apple OS improvements, and several other developments that further prove that the company always listens to its toughest critics.

Privacy commitment

In Mr. Cook’s keynote speech, he hammered home Apple’s commitment to ensuring user privacy. According to him, Apple will be utilizing new privacy tools that will allow users to sign into third-party apps with their AppleID without giving away excessive user information the way conventional sign-in methods do.

iOS 13 launch

Another exciting update is the launch of iOS 13, Apple’s next-generation version of its famed mobile operating system. iOS 13 is projected to be the first iOS version to deploy dark mode, a new and improved sleep mode, app optimizations, Files app improvements, an updated CarPlay interface, a less obtrusive volume HUD, and a new WiFi-less tracking feature that connects using proximity with other devices.

iPadOS

Apple also confirmed that Apple’s tablets won’t be getting the new iOS 13 update. Instead, they’re getting their very own operating system, iPadOS. The first big change over iOS that you’ll notice is the home screen. App icons are more compact, giving you the option to display the Today View next to them. Multitasking is also much easier by enabling you to use split view and pull up and app in a side window. What’s more, iPadOS will come with USB drive and SD card support and a serious performance boost, suggesting that Apple is on its way to replacing bulky laptops.

Mac OS 10.15 launch

The launch of macOS Catalina (the official name for the upcoming macOS 10.15), Mojave’s successor, is also one of the major announcements in the conference. The new macOS will be a launching pad for a fully-unified app network, where developers can design a single app that works with either a touch screen or a mouse and trackpad.

Apple will also be launching new Music, Podcasts, and Books apps as part of its continued Marzipan efforts, it’s soon-to-be-launched cross-apps merger. Also, the new MacOS will no longer support 32-bit apps.

New Mac Pro launch

The dramatically retooled flagship desktop computer Mac Pro was also launched whose entry-level model now features an octa-core Xeon processor, 32GB of RAM, a Radeon Pro 580X GPU, and a 256GB SSD. Higher-end configurations will feature a Radeon Pro Vega II GPU, Apple Afterburner, up to 1.5TB RAM, and a specialized graphics card which has the processing power for more than 6 billion pixels per second.

More changes will likely be announced throughout the year, so if you’re an avid Apple user, it’s important you stay on top of the latest news and updates. Contact Lanlogic today if you want to get the latest Apple updates and tips.

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5 Tips for protecting corporate data

By EDITOR 

A data breach can happen to anyone, even to the most secure businesses or financial institutions — and cybercriminals could even attack your company’s network. How can you be sure your network is completely hacker-safe? As a business owner, you can’t afford a data breach, as it could cost you your clients and reputation. Employing strict security measures can make any cybercriminal think twice about trying to break into your network. Here are some tips to protect your corporate data.

Use Two-Factor Authentication

Using a complicated password to secure your system is no longer an effective way to solve the issue of cybersecurity. We tend to use that same complex password in our email accounts or bank accounts, and if one of your logins is compromised, this can result in grave consequences.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security for your systems and accounts. It can be biometric verification for devices that you own, or a time-sensitive auto-generated code that is sent to your mobile phone. This security feature works in the same way websites would require you to confirm your email address. They want to make sure that you’re not a bot or anything else.

Encrypt all data

Encryption is a great obstruction to hackers, since it scrambles and descrambles data every time someone tries to read it. Encryption also causes compatibility issues if the data is not being accessed via the company’s own network systems. While applying encryption can be costly, it is certainly well worth the money if it can protect your business data from falling into the wrong hands.

Keep systems up to date

Technology is moving at a fast pace. Hackers are always upgrading their tools to take advantage of outdated security systems, so companies should do likewise to protect their valuable resources. Yet many companies don’t install software updates immediately. If the update closes existing security loopholes, delaying an update exposes you to external attacks. So install software updates as soon as they are released.

Back up frequently

Although you’ve implemented several layers to your security, sometimes hackers can still find their way in. This is why you need to back up data frequently, whether it’s on-site, off-site, or by way of cloud backups. In the worst-case scenario where your systems do get infiltrated, you can restore lost data from those backups.

Monitor connectivity

Many businesses have no idea how many computers they have, so it’s very hard to keep track of which computers are online. Sometimes a company’s computers and servers are online when they don’t need to be, making them tempting targets for attackers. It’s advisable to configure business servers properly, ensuring that only necessary machines are online and that they’re well-protected.

It’s much more expensive to recover from a data breach than to prevent one. If you’re looking to protect your business IT systems for potential threats, contact Lanlogic today so we can help.

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Lanlogic, Inc. Acquires Teleset, Inc.

LIVERMORE, CA–(Marketwire – July 2, 2019) – Lanlogic, Inc., a leading IT solutions consulting and managed services company, announced today the acquisition of Teleset, Inc., a long-standing unified communications solutions integrator headquartered in Walnut Creek, California.

Founded in 1984, Teleset delivers critical collaboration solutions and services, such as unified communications, contact centers, security, data centers, storage and virtualization, cloud solutions and managed services, to businesses throughout Northern California.  Teleset will become an integral part of Lanlogic’s goal of providing best-of-breed technology solutions for its customers.  As a result of the acquisition, Teleset is now Teleset, a Lanlogic Company.

“With the acquisition of Teleset, Lanlogic enhances its technical ability as a leading provider of integrated collaboration and productivity technologies, support and services,” said Dan Ferguson, President and CEO of Lanlogic.

“Teleset has always placed the needs of our customers as our highest priority,” said Peter Andersen, founder of Teleset.  “Lanlogic has an unmatched reputation for being a very customer-centric service company and I am confident they will embrace the customers of Teleset with the same level of commitment.”

About Lanlogic, Inc.

Lanlogic is an IT services, support and consulting company located in Livermore, CA, celebrating almost 25 years of delivering excellent customer service.  The company is the trusted advisor for a vast number of small, mid-market and enterprise companies, local government agencies, and educational organizations.  Its network management and support services provide peace of mind to organizations that are looking for a comprehensive approach to IT service management.

About Teleset, Inc.

Teleset is a telecommunications solutions integrator located in Walnut Creek, CA, showcasing over 35 years of experience.  We are experts at implementing and supporting both on-premise and cloud solutions.  Thus we are not biased when it comes to recommending the best solution.  Teleset guides its customers toward the optimum configuration resulting in a smooth implementation.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Press Contact:
Salena Ferguson
Marketing Manager
925-273-2328

 

 

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What goes into a business continuity plan?

By EDITOR 

Events out of your control can disrupt your business operations. While you can’t necessarily control the unexpected, you can take some precautions to prevent most business disruptions. Here are some things to consider when developing a business continuity plan (BCP).

Backup your data, applications, and servers

Today, companies are more dependent than ever on IT and data. If these critical components suddenly become inaccessible, there’s little chance your business will survive. Regularly backing up these elements ensures they can be restored quickly in the event of a disaster, security breach, or damage to IT equipment.

In the past, most businesses would create backups on-site and with tape backups, but today more and more businesses are using the cloud, and here are several reasons why:

  • Cloud backups are affordable and cost much less than onsite backups
    Backups can be automated, therefore saving you time
  • Cloud providers usually back up your data to multiple locations (so if one of their facilities goes down, your backups are still safe at another site).
  • Backups can be accessed from anywhere, whether it’s at an employee’s home or at an alternate office.
  • If you need to access them, backups can be restored quickly

Virtualize servers and desktops

When you virtualize your servers or desktops, they can be used at any location – be it at your workplace, home, or a coffee shop in the Bahamas. In terms of business continuity, this is useful in case your main office suddenly becomes unusable due to hostile weather conditions.

Have a backup power supply

No electricity means zero productivity and money down the drain. Having a backup power supply will ensure that when the electricity goes down, your employees can continue working.

A good solution is an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), which gives employees a fair amount of time to finish their work as if nothing ever happened. Also, if you have a server room, a UPS will ensure your vital servers stay cool.

Utilize social media

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, most people are on at least one social network these days. And if there is any kind of outage or disaster, social media is usually one of the first places customers, colleagues, staff, and vendors will check the status of your business. So when it comes to business continuity, keep at least one social media account active to keep your customers and followers informed.

Implement unified communications

Unified communication (UC) creates a virtualized communication infrastructure. That means instead of your communication tools – like phones, instant messaging, and video calls – all being stored locally at your workplace, you can access them anywhere. So if your office is inaccessible, employees can still use your phones and other communication tools from their homes. What’s more, UC tools can route business calls to your employees’ smartphones. That means they’ll never miss an important call, even if they’re not in the office.

Keep in mind that these are only the first few items you have to address in your business continuity plan. You’ll also need to consider things like training employees and having a communications plan for informing stakeholders. If you want more advice on these areas or need top-class business continuity tools, contact Lanlogic today.

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Things to consider when virtualizing

By EDITOR 

Powering your IT equipment costs money, but how much will you actually spend? If you have no idea, you’re in for a treat. Here are four questions you need to ask yourself before considering virtualization.

Studies have shown that over 70% of IT budgets go to “keeping the lights on.” If that sounds like a lot of money, it is. You could be spending thousands of dollars powering your IT equipment and paying your staff to manage it, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Virtualization can reduce your expenses without keeping you awake at night.

If you’re ready to learn how, here are four questions you need to ask:

1. What’s the cost of your data center?

We’re talking about the whole kit and caboodle: your servers, backup power supplies, air conditioning, security devices, and the overhead costs for the space to store everything.

2. How much do you spend cooling your servers?

Keeping your servers cool is a fact of life. Have you ever considered how much this is costing you?

3. What is your budget for cabling and adapters?

Don’t forget these. Aside from purchasing physical cables and adaptors, what’s the cost of maintaining them?

4. How much does your IT staff spend to manage these resources?

It takes time for your staff to manage your IT, and time is money.

How does virtualization eliminate these costs? With virtualization, you can kiss the data center, servers, cables, and adapters goodbye (hello, new office space). Instead, equipment is stored off-site and delivered via the internet. Your computers and network continue to function normally. The only difference is they’re out of sight. This equals lower maintenance costs, fewer overheads, less equipment, and fewer headaches.

And let’s not forget the time it takes to manage all of your IT equipment. Virtualization frees up your IT staff, allowing them to focus on more important things, like your business’s IT strategy and market. You may even have the option to completely eliminate your in-house IT staff. How’s that for cost savings?

Ready to make the switch to virtualization? Need more questions answered? Let’s talk. Call Lanlogic today.

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